It began ...  as so many great things begin   ...  with an e-mail.


Subj:  The Guerilla Novelists Club

Date:  Sometime in the Summer of '96

From:  Bottlenekk

To:       SecraTerri, FifiOToole, Edmundkaz

Secra, Feef & Ed:

It's officially summertime.  Which means that the traditional season for Literary Mind Candy has arrived.

Yes, I'm speaking of the Summer Novel.  Trashy.  Twisted.  And totally lacking in any redeeming social value.  In short, MY kind of literature.

So this morning, I'm thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun for a few people to write THEIR OWN trashy, twisted summer novel?"

The task requires quick minds, basic verbal skills, and a certain warped perspective on life.  Naturally, I thought of you three immediately.

So you are hereby invited to become charter members of The Guerilla Novelists Club.   Here's how it would work:

1.)  If you're all game, we begin by having each of us invent a character.   Feef and Secra each invent a male character.  Ed and I each invent a female character.  We each send a little bio of the character we invented to the other three.

2.)  One of us writes the first "chapter."  Maybe each chapter is only three of four paragraphs long.  Doesn't matter.

3.)  The first chapter is e-mailed to everyone, with the title "Chapter 1"  -  so we'll know it isn't garbage from MerryFill and accidentally throw it away.

4.)  Most important, at the end of Chapter 1, the first writer designates which of the other three writers must pick up the story and continue it in Chapter 2.

5.)  There are no deadlines.  The person designated to write the next chapter can take as long as he/she wants.  We all have enough goddam deadlines in real life, right?

6.)  There are no rules.  We can all invent additional characters, take the charcters anyplace we want, and have anything happen to them.

7.)  OK, maybe there should be one rule:

None of us can kill any of the four original characters.

We can tie them to the train tracks or dangle them over a pit of Republicans at the end of our chapter, if we want.  But we can't actually kill or dismember them.

8.)  The novel continues through the summer.  It officially ends on Labor Day, or when one of us gets thoroughly nauseated by the whole thing, whichever comes first.

Whaddya think?




The response was overwhelming:

Subj:  Re: The Guerilla Novelists Club

Date:  Sometime in the Summer of '96

From:  SecraTerri

To:      Bottlenekk, FifiOToole, Edmundkaz

What a LAME idea.

Whose LAME IDEA was this, anyway??

(Secra gazing sternly at Bottlenekk ...)

You're just not gonna let it go, ARE you BOTTLENEKK?  BOUND & DETERMINED to create another STRING LIST, aren't you BOTTLENEKK?


Yeah I'm in.



Subj:  Re: The Guerilla Novelists Club

Date:  Sometime in the Summer of '96

From:  Edmundkaz

To:      SecraTerri, FifiOToole, FifiOToole

Yeah I agree with Secra. 

This is just a DEVIOUS plot on your part to get me BACK into the EVIL STRING.



i'm in



Subj:  The Guerilla Novelists Club

Date:  Sometime in the Summer of '96

From:  FifiOToole

To:      SecraTerri, Bottlenekk, Edmundkaz

Hey Bottle, Sec and Kaz ...

This has some definite possibilities.  It beats the heck out of cutting the grass   --  and if we make it trashy enough, it could be next summer's best seller.   Then we can all retire, open bank accounts in The Cayman Islands, and pursue our respective daydreams of debauchery and other pleasant forms of idleness.

Okay --  I vote yes, with one stipulation: NO episodes attempting to sound romantic about breast pumps or ....

... husbands, paramours, pikers, paratroopers, pizza delivery guys or wall-eyed pikes in the bathroom.


Don't call it a rule ....  call it O'Toole Retch Prevention.

Humor me on this and I'll follow the three of you anywhere else you go.

Your warped and Twisted Sister,




Subj:  Breast Pumps & Walleye Pike

Date:  Sometime in the Summer of '96

From:  Bottlenekk

To:      SecraTerri, FifiOToole, Edmundkaz

Hey Gang:

Although Feef's outlawing of post-partum appliances and pointy-nosed fish have probably eliminated all hopes of our marketing the movie rights, the Sleazy Summer Potboiler Project is officially on.

(And dammit, Abe Vigoda would've been perfect as the pike.)

Next step: identify the four main characters and nail down a few basic plot elements:

Feef: Invent one main male character, and give us a one-sentence plot for the novel.

Secra: Invent one main male character, and give us a one-sentence sub-plot for the novel.

Ed: Invent one main female character, and give us the book's first line of dialog (which can be spoken by any character).

Bottle: Invent one main female character, and give everyone the book's last line of dialog (which can also come out of anyone's mouth).

(Editor's note:  Bottlenekk will probably try to pretend that he invented the first and last line of dialog bit.  But the truth is, it's a comedy improv device he stole from The Groundlings, where audience members are asked to yell out a first and last line of dialog that the actors will then improvise a sketch around.  Bottle's co-worker yelled out a remarkably perverse line which involved a tapeworm, and which was so thoroughly disgusting that even the drunk and jaded L.A. crowd was totally repulsed.   Come to think of it, let's add "tapeworm" to the forbidden list, right after "walleye pike.")

There's no time limit on getting your character info and your plot e-mailed to the other three people.

But the person who's last is the person who writes Chapter One.

Fair enough?

Let the novel begin.



Let the novel begin

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