Friday, August 5, 2016

The Noodle Incident

I was going to move forward from Camp NaNo, but what's the hurry? Let's stay here a little longer. There's no need to rush off to some new project. I wanted to share some snippets with you. At least one I've already put on facebook, so it might seem familiar to some.

But first, let's talk about the Noodle Incident. The name comes from a Calvin & Hobbes comic, and typically refers to some event that is mentioned but never explained.

I'm rather fond of noodle incidents, because they hint at a backstory that I don't have to actually create. You reference some random event (the randomer, the better), and it might tell you a little something about the characters. Was it some kind of trouble they got into? Was it an adventure they had?

Now, my Camp NaNo story from July, Once Upon a Writing Desk, has something of a noodle incident. A literal noodle incident with literal noodles. It's brought up more than once, and elaborated on a bit, but I think each new piece of information only raises more questions.

It begins just after the mac and cheese scene I mentioned last week.

“Where did you learn to make this?”

“A man has to have a few secrets. Maybe I studied for six months with Tibetan monks.”

This then leads into a discussion about Buddhism, and seems to be something that Martin made up. After all, who would learn to make mac and cheese from Tibetan monks? This occurs on page 10, and is not mentioned again until the very end of the story, on page 23. Here, we find Martin making mac and cheese again, and see the return of the noodle incident.

“I’m shit at following orders. Just ask the Tibetan monks. ‘Use yak cheese,’ they said, and I was like, ‘No, man, that’s weird. Where am I going to find yak cheese in Lancashire?’ And they kicked me out. Of the monastery. And Tibet. Just, like, out of the whole country. So then I thought I’d climb Everest, since I was, you know, in the area. But then I stood at the bottom and was like, ‘Fuck that.’ So I went home, and it turns out you can buy yak cheese there, so what the fuck do I know.”

Personally, I think that paragraph is a better story than the 24-page tale that surrounds it. I kind of want to just write a story that is this guy's adventures in Tibet, learning to make mac and cheese from some monks. But that would take the mystery out of it, and it would cease to be a noodle incident.

I have zero idea what my next project is going to be. I have a lot of rough drafts that need to be revised, but I don't know. I still have figured out how to pave over some of those plot holes yet. I'll see you all Tuesday, in any case.

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