I am a lazy writer. I am lazy in the sense that I often have to force myself to write, and in the sense that, once I have completed a story, I am usually reluctant to do any major rewrites. Little tweaks, yes. Big overhauls, no. I had to admit my laziness to a writers’ group colleague recently; I had submitted my story The Touch of the Taniwha to the group for critique, and when I announced its sale, he asked if I had made many changes to it. I shamefacedly confessed that, despite having received a lot of good, solid advice from the group on how to improve the piece, I hadn’t heeded most of it, because that seemed like too much hard work (I know, I know – people who ask for your advice and then don’t take it, they’re right up there with puppy-kickers and people who talk in the theatre).
My husband and I have recently started watching the TV show Fringe – and no spoilers please, we’re only up to Season One, Episode Five – and it occurred to me that, given my lazy disposition, I might be better suited to a career in TV screenwriting. Taking Fringe as an example, it seems like a pretty easy gig; all you have to do is pick one paranormal ability a week, throw in some pseudo-science, intersperse it with stock scenes from your standard DIY paranormal cop show toolbox, and hey presto, you got yourself a script.
It also occurred to me that this approach to screenwriting lends itself well to drinking games. Wanna play the Fringe drinking game? Here are the rules:
- Every time Olivia goes off to hunt down or confront the bad guys alone – drink.
- Every time an FBI agent does something that goes completely against standard FBI procedure and gets away with it e.g. breaks into a house without a search warrant, takes a couple of civilians along on a shootout, lets a civilian into an interview room so he can break a suspect’s fingers – drink.
- Every time Olivia tells Peter to stay in the car – drink.
- Every time Peter doesn’t stay in the car when Olivia tells him to – drink.
- Every time somebody comes across a room wallpapered in newspaper clippings, photos and/or creepy looking drawings – drink.
- Every time Walter says “This reminds me of a project I worked on in [insert a date two or more decades in the past here]…” – drink.
- Every time Olivia or Peter retrieves some important documents or equipment of Walter’s from a highly improbable and hitherto forgotten hiding place – drink.
- Every time someone gets strapped down to a table – drink.
- Every time somebody starts sticking heaps of those little discs with wires attached to them to somebody else’s bare skin – drink.
- Every time the bad guy is wearing a suit – drink. Drink twice if the suit is black.
- Every time somebody puts some painful-looking, potentially lethal device on someone’s head – drink. Drink twice if the wearer is strapped down to a table. Drain your glass if said device draws blood.
- Every time somebody says “That doesn’t make sense” – drink. Drink twice if that someone is one of the viewers. Drain your glass if that someone is you.
If you make it to the end of the episode and you’re still sober, then either someone has swapped your vodka for water, or you’ve been watching the wrong show.