How Not To Tell A Story In Ten Chapters

How Not To Tell A Story In Ten Chapters

by The Urban Spaceman

Chapter 1 – Bearded Madness

Ten Chapters. How am I going to write a whole story in ten chapters? With only 1000 words? It sounds impossible. Implausible. Mad. Chuck Wendig is a crazy beard-wearing madman. Hmm, maybe I can make a story about that… ‘Chuck’s Beard.’ ‘Revenge of the Beard – Part II.’ ‘Beard Wars Episode 1 – The Beard Strikes Back.’ Nah, that’s just silly. I can’t write a story about a beard. Maybe I could get away with it in Movember, but not now. Still, my brain-space is a veritable pit of crazy mind-pictures… surely I can find something to write about.

Chapter 2 – The Virtues of Fresh Fruit Juice

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s procrastinating. Half an hour later I’ve taken a handful of phonecalls, half of them not even for my department, and poured myself a glass of orange, mango and passionfruit juice. It’s sweet, but also sour, and almost thick enough to be a smoothie. Mmm, fresh fruit juice (not from concentrate). Still don’t know what to write about. Maybe I’ll just browse some news websites for inspiration…

Chapter 3 – News Of The Day (and Chris Brown is a Thug)

Missing planes, baby-killing pet dogs, greedy Russian officials, Chris Brown getting done for being violent. Again. Don’t know why they don’t just lock him up in a cell or put a muzzle on him. Oh look, I have an email! I’ll just reply to that. Maybe it’ll give me an idea for a story. Hmm, nope. Nothing even remotely story-worthy in here. Back to the news websites, then.

Chapter 4 – The Best Story Idea In The Whole World (and possibly whole Milky Way galaxy)

Hey, I know! I could write a story about a plane that goes missing, and it crashes on a mysterious tropical island that’s filled with unseen monsters and hostile native people! What? That’s already been done? Oh, poop. Now I feel like I’m clock-watching. Almost dinner time. Or lunch time, as they say in other parts. Stupid clock, TICK FASTER! I wish I had a time machine so I could go into the future and eat my spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread, and then come back to this point to write my story.

Chapter 5 – Eat My Shorts, David Tennant!

No, wait. I wish I had a time machine so I could go into the future and learn tonight’s winning lottery numbers, then come back to now and buy a ticket. I’ll get filthy rich, quit my job, and hire somebody to write the story for me! Muahahah. This is an excellent idea. The only problem is, some scientists believe that even if time travel was possible, you wouldn’t be able to use a time machine to go forward, only backwards. So would that mean I’d be stuck in the past if I went back? Or could I come forwards to the point at which I set off? But what if that took years? I’d disappear and reappear in the same instant but I’d be like… older. And people would be all like “whoa, how did you get so old so fast?!?” I don’t think I could plausibly explain that.

Chapter 6 – Save the Children

Since I don’t have an idea for a story yet, I’ve decided to build myself a time machine whilst I wait for my muse to help me out. Taking stock of available materials. A box of 200 paper-clips, some of them with plastic colouring on them. About fifty rolls of cellotape. Lots of bottles of tip-ex, but it’s crappy stuff, watery as hell, and it doesn’t smell right. I think they took the chemicals out so kids can’t get high off sniffing it. Hmm… I’ll need some sort of power source. I charged my Blackberry up this morning… will the battery be strong enough to propel me through time? I don’t know. But I’ve just remembered that over in the engineering building they have this substance which is hard, but when you run an electrical current through it it becomes soft and fluid-like. I need to get me some of that for my time machine. But how to get my mitts on it?

Chapter 7 – Of Mice and Puppies

I’ve figured out a distraction technique but I’m going to need a puppy. Its cuteness will lure the guardians of the fluidy material stuff away from where it’s kept so I can pinch it. But I don’t have a puppy at the moment. Instead, I’ve made a pair of ears and some whiskers and stuck them on my tip-ex mouse. Tee-hee, now it’s a real mouse. Maybe I can use the little cogs inside it in the construction of my time machine. They look to be made of plastic so they’ll prevent catastrophic chronology overload by impeding the flow of temporal particles. I’ve also found a screwdriver that the photocopier man left the last time he came to fix our machine. Now I’m one step closer to mastering time.

Chapter 8 – WWAD?

What happens if I go back in time and alter things, and we all end up speaking German, or worse; French? What would Captain Archer do? Well, he already has a cute dog, so he probably wouldn’t have any problems getting the fluidy material stuff, but I don’t think he’d approve of me using time-travel to get rich and eat spaghetti. Maybe I need to rethink this time-machine plan.

Chapter 9 – Not A Cartoon Villain

Soooo bored. It’s a slow day. Fridays are always quiet, here. Someone jammed the shredder a few minutes ago, and called me over to fix it. Shredders are much easier to fix than time-machines. Wish it wasn’t so quiet. I have paperwork, but I hate paperwork. I’ll just sit on it for a while. Save it for a rainy day. For God’s sake, why do people save all their shredding in a massive pile and do it all at once, instead of doing it as they go along? Stupid people.

Chapter 10 – If At First You Don’t Succeed, Pretend You Never Cared

It’s nearly dinner/lunch time now. Can’t wait. Then not long until home time. Got a sax session after work, and Sid Meier waiting for me at home, so I doubt I’ll get time to build that time machine after all. Probably won’t even get time to write a story. Oh well, I didn’t want to write anything today anyway.


10 Comments on “How Not To Tell A Story In Ten Chapters

  1. I like it! Since I didn’t even get around to writing about my inability to write the story, I’m impressed. Or is that the one due this Friday, in which case I still have to write it? Now I’m just confused.

    As usual.


    • Well, I’m sure if you do get around to writing a story about your inability to write a story, it will be a mighty fine sto—… tale. Stupid tautology.

      And yes, you still have four days left in which to procrastinate!


  2. Well… I was entertained and amused and quite frantic when it seemed you were streaming my procrastination live (I bet you were, weren’t you?) Would like to know how to tell a story in ten chapters if this is not it? 🙂


  3. These chapters were very funny piece by piece. As a whole, it seemed disconnected at times chapter to chapter, but as this story focuses on a writer who can’t seem to focus, I think it works pretty well. Thank you for sharing!

    P.S. Loved the beard bit.


    • Thank you! Believe it or not, the flow of my story during the first draft was much better… but on a whole, it was very boring, so I scrapped half of it and commenced with the random.


  4. I wish I could write funny stuff. My stuff is funny, then you read more about it and you curl into a ball and beg for the sorrow to end. Mergh.

    Great entry as always. I miss you when you’re not around : )


    • Cheers for the kind words; I miss me when I’m not around too! Unfortunately, my ship’s communication array doesn’t work whilst in quantum space, which means looong boring trips back and forth between galaxies. Luckily I have all the Police Academy films on data-disc, so I’m kept somewhat entertained.

      Personally I think your strong point is your amazing mind for fantasy stories; so my advice is to play to that! Humour is very subjective, after all 😉


  5. Very amusing. What intrigues me though is where do you work; that has an engineering building? (Of course if that part was made up: ignore me)


    • Thanks! And when I’m not busy observing the Earth for my superiors in SCOLIS, I work at a higher education institution on my homeworld. They’re always doing crazy things like playing with fluidy materials.


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