Writing Fantasy: Choose Your Own FAIL

MikeachimThe Everyday30 Comments

Welcome, adventurer! You’re about to embark on the most difficult challenge known to any creative artist – ACTUALLY STARTING WORK.

Millions have tried, and millions have failed!

Will you be one of them?

BEGIN!

……….

1.

During the night someone stole into your room, hung you upside down and lived out their Rocky Balboa fantasies on your face. It’s the only explanation for what you can see in the mirror – not that you can currently see much through that face. You need coffee before you can even think – hell, before you can even BE. And you’ve only got 3 minutes until you start your writing shift for the morning. Do you:

(a) get writing, and never mind the coffee? (Go to 6).
(b) go downstairs and make a pot of truly violent bean-juice, taking as long as it takes?(Go to 8).
(c) stand under the shower for 20 minutes, drinking Red Bull? (Go to 12)

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2.

It was an age of dragons, and heroes, and mouse-related repetitive stress injury. You lose yourself in it. You need gold and experience points. Do you:
(a) look for gold? (Go to 16)
(b) look for experience points? (Go to 16)


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3.

There is no such thing as a “single episode of Battlestar Galactica“. The afternoon and evening pass in a blur of Cylons. Pretty soon it’s time to go to bed.

But you still have another season to watch, so you stay up all night.

So that’s tomorrow’s writing schedule hosed as well, then.

Oh man, you could have been somebody.

THE END


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4.

OMG OMG OMG! @NASA has retweeted your tweet about space kittens! And now 1,737,763 people will want to know more about the peep behind the tweet! You HAVE to follow up while the social media spotlight is shining down on little ole’ you. Do you:

(a) immediately log onto Twitter and tweet out the good news, carefully phrasing it so it sounds like you and NASA hang out all the time, hey no big deal? (Go to 17)
(b) stiffen your upper lip, straighten your back and resist the temptation to fly your own flag online? (Go to 10)


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5.

You knock back a couple of stiff ones, and as the alcohol slams into your bloodstream you gradually un-knurd. Unfortunately your nervous system is so disgusted with you that it shuts down in protest, and you fall asleep, hugging your whisky bottle. When you wake up, it’s growing dark. It’s like being a student again – in the sense that you got absolutely nothing done today.

Aw, bless – you’re utterly pathetic.

THE END


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6.

Your lizard-brain is imploring you to do anything but sit down. You ignore it, sweat bursting from your forehead, and sulkily stab the Power button on your computer. It’s going to take a few minutes to finish booting up. Do you:

(a) get down on the floor and do a few stomach-crunches, like the very, very worst kind of asshole? (Go to 13)
(b) throw yourself down the stairs in a wild attempt to boil the kettle before boot-up is finished? (Go to 8 )
(c) shout at the screen for being so slow, curse computers, curse technology itself, curse Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Charles Babbage and that ape with the thigh-bone in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then go back to bed? (Go to 15)


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7.

You work.

Congratulations.

Against the odds, against the formidable obstacles you threw in your own way, laughing in the very teeth of distraction itself, you did your work.

There’s hope for you yet.

(Well, until tomorrow morning).

THE END


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8.

Blessed is the evil bean of waking, for it sets your mind in motion. Coffee fumes fill the kitchen like smoke from a tire fire. As usual, in your uncontrollable lust to caffeinate yourself, you’ve made way too much coffee for one person. You drink one cup. Ohhhhhh it’s so GOOD – at the same time, you realise you can’t feel your lips anymore. Probably a good time to stop, then. Do you:

(a) knock the cup back and go upstairs to work? (Go to 11)
(b) knock back the remainder of the pot, however many cups are left? (Go to 9)


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9.

Two cups later, you can only see in black & white – worse, you’re going KNURD, the state of super-sobriety that hides nothing of the tedious awfulness of your daily life from your screeching, cowering mind. Why? WHY? You don’t know, but you wish it would all just stop. Hell, what’s the point in anything? Do you:

(a) lay in the hallway, screaming yourself hoarse? (Go to 14)
(b) attempt to drink yourself back into a productive state using single malt whisky? (Go to 5)


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10.

My word – it seems you CAN do this. Incredibly, you’re on the verge of starting actual work. Do you:

(a) celebrate by a quick session on the epic roleplaying game “Cloudlip” you bought on Steam just yesterday? (Go to 2)
(b) destroy the world, turn off your phone notifications, block social media sites and lean into the work? (Go to 7)


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11.

You’re ready for this. You are READY. What are you? Yes – READY! Crowd roars! Your computer has booted up – oh, wait, it’s still not done, you need to type your password in. Another wait. La dee daa. This is wasted time, and hey, if you used your phone to check the internet, it’s not technically a distraction, is it? Do you:

(a) resist the siren-like call of e-mail and social media? (Go to 10)
(b) grab your phone and check your e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts? (Go to 4)


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12.

This is delicious. You’re loving this the way cats love cat-nip. Who cares about deadlines? I mean, everyone has to give themself a little slack, yeah? And once you emerge from the bathroom, you’re going to be on fire, chile’. You daydream for a while of Pulitzer Prizes and shiny red sports cars.

Two cans of Red Bull and an appalling, environment-slaying 40 minutes of showering later, you realise you’re running late. But that’s okay – you can make up the time later. Do you:

(a) step out the shower, towel yourself briskly and get to the writing as soon as possible? (Go to 11)
(b) take your time purrtying yourself up in front of the mirror, then go downstairs for a coffee? (Go to 8 )


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13.

Early to rise, late to bed, makes you healthy, wealthy and dead. You’re feeling super-virtuous, so you flip over and start a few chin-ups. Unfortunately without any caffeine in your system there’s nothing propping up your feeble writer’s frame, and your bones, muscles and sinews are immediately stretched beyond breaking point.

You suffer a series of wildly unpleasant sensations, and then you pass out.

When you wake up, it’s after lunch. Your working day is over.

Also, you’re going to be in traction for the next month.

Way to go, GI Joe.

THE END


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14.

You lay there, resting your head on the welcome mat, shrieking. Frankly, it’s rather relaxing. Yoga for the throat. It’s a little worrying the way you initially can’t stop, but after an hour you get yourself under control, just in time to be hit in the face by the snail-mail as it’s thrust through the letterbox at a speed suggesting a postman in the throes of mortal terror over what he can hear.

You’re feeling much more alert, but it’s well past mid-morning. Do you:

(a) immediately go upstairs and sit down in front of your computer, ready to salvage your working day? (Go to 11)
(b) Decide the morning is written off, and since you’ve got an hour before your afternoon writing schedule kicks in, watch a single episode of Battlestar Galactica? (Go to 3)


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15.

You instantly fall into the deep sleep of successful denial. When you wake later, you’ll hate yourself. But while hard work pays off over time, laziness pays off right now. And hey, you never wanted your dreams to come true anyway – after all, what would you have to dream about when you sleep in every day? Exactly.

THE END


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16.

With the whole of the bountiful land of Cloudlip to play with, you quickly find what you’re looking for. But you need more! Do you:

(a) look for gold? (Go to 16)
(b) look for experience points? (Go to 16)


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17.

Once on Twitter, you discover an amazingly unmissable conversation about how long pieces of string should be, and you end up telling strangers they are complete idiots, which is enormously satisfying. The morning passes briskly until you realise you haven’t even checked Facebook yet, or updated Pinterest. You do this, taking your time as of course you should (because you’re an artist, not a hack).

Then, since you once heard of someone whose friend lived next door to a person whose brother got a job through LinkedIn, you spend 2 hours cropping yourself a new profile picture from the least worst Christmas party you recently attended.

After that SmugMug, Stumbleupon, Flickr and Klout all need your input. (Or you need theirs. Same difference!).

Then someone pings you on Skype.

You are now so far down the rabbit hole that not even the soles of your feet are showing. There’s no escape for today.

Game over.

THE END

 

Image: _Zeta_.

  • Pam

    You. Rule.

    • Mikeachim

      Takes one to know one.

      …..

      You know, that may be the first time in 30 years I’ve used that sentence on another human being. This second childhood thing is *awesome*. I get to revisit so much STUFF.

  • Caitlin

    Wonderful, Mike. I love the way your brain works.

    Someone should totally reinvent Choose Your Own Adventure books for the digital age – eBooks and apps are perfect technology for this! Maybe I’ll write one. But first I need a coffee, a long shower and I might just check my email and Twitter one more time.

    Sigh.

    • Mikeachim

      Those fine folk at Fighting Fantasy are way ahead of me. The classic that started the craze in Britain, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, is about to be released on Kindle.

      Quote:

      “The Warlock of Firetop Mountain” is the first title in the popular Fighting Fantasy gamebook series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The books have been adapted to make use of the Kindle’s computing abilities, handling the dice rolls, scoring and inventory. There is also an automatic mapping system that shows the reader’s current location and route they have taken through the dungeons. The authors have been closely involved in the adaptation to help keep the original atmosphere of the games on the new device.”

      *Computing the dice rolls, scoring & inventory*? That’s a pretty amazing use of the technology. Not just an ebook reader, is the Kindle…

  • You had me at “the least worst Christmas party you recently attended.”

    • Mikeachim

      I’m very glad you didn’t misplace those quotation marks, Jamie. You know how gossip spreads in the blogosphere…

      Somehow I managed to only attend good Christmas parties this year, so when I wrote that bit about bad Xmas parties, I experienced a tangible sense of loss. There’s something pleasingly, reassuringly festive about being at a party where everything and everyone is awful. I hope I can do something about that next year.

      And how about you? ‘Fess up now.

  • Brilliant! I grew up on Choose Your Own Adventure books! Something as mundane as starting work in the morning really is an adventure in itself!

    • Mikeachim

      Agreed.

      Heroic quests are easy. Chucking jewelry into volcanoes, piece of cake. You know *exactly* what you shuld be doing (eg. my sword is glowing, so I should now run like the clappers).

      In contrast, sitting down to work every morning…is terrifying.

      You’ve got to, you know, make it up.

  • I effing love this.

    I really love being friends with imaginative, creative beings. Thank you for maintaining a blog that is interesting and holds my attention.

    • Mikeachim

      I am indeed one of those friends, Cheri.

      I keep my imaginative, creative being locked in a cage. I feed it steak, and pencils.

      (You’re both lovely and welcome. Thank you).

  • “Aw, bless – you’re utterly pathetic.”

    Sweet. Can I play again? :)

    • Mikeachim

      Sorry, the DRM stipulates you get one run-through, then you have to buy the Pro version for $499.99.

      (For it, you get an extra plotline, Skype video interviews with my housemate, my mum and my psychiatrist, and a small pebble taken from my garden that I’ve imbued with Inspiration(TM).

  • Brilliant, and I might I add scary, look into your mind. And mine.

    • If only you could use your powers for good.

      • Mikeachim

        “The world is a mess and…..I just have to RULE it.”

        -Doctor Horrible.

        If I used my powers for good, I’d be misusing them. It’s better and truer this way, Keith. (Well, for me, anyway – if all goes according to plan, everyone else is hosed).

        “Do the things you know you’re meant to do”, say the self-help gurus. I like to think, as my tanks roll over them, that they realise they needed a better editor.

        But it’s OK. Don’t worry. I’ll let you have Scotland.

  • Mike, get back to work.

    • Mikeachim

      *pout* But…but I was just…I wasn’t

      Oh ALRIGHT.

      *lower lip wobbles alarmingly*

  • Fourteen inches is definately the proper length for a piece of string that will have multiple uses. But that’s only if said piece of string is resilient enough for, say, 3-5 different tasks.

    Although if the string’s destiny is single use only, the optimal size is always going to be 9.5 inches according to modern String-Length Theory.

    Doh!

  • Brilliant. And by brilliant I mean, my life.

  • You are amaze-balls. I haven’t recognized myself that clearly in so so many different ways.

  • I’d love to leave a more insightful comment but my phone just beeped. Pretty sure that @BarackObama just retweeted my latest post. I’ll be right back……

  • Hilarious! And yeah, I ended up on #17. I had to retweet NASA space kittens.

  • Wait a minute. Is there a hidden message here that writers should actually WRITE — as in more than 140 characters? as in–checking the e-mail doesn’t count? Whoa! What a brilliant concept. I’ll have to try it some time. After I check my e-mail and Google +.

  • Waaay to painful to read.

  • Oh, wow. This is brilliant. BRILLIANT.

  • Fun post. I always loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. I ended at 17 – which almost accurately describes my day (except the space kittens and NASA thing). I suppose I should close my rss feeds and start working now.

  • I ended up at #5, after chugging all the coffee and falling asleep hugging whiskey. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS EVERYDAY.

    Mike, you are so brilliant.

  • Hilarious. Ridiculously clever. Made my weekend.

  • You know, there’s this moment every morning, when I look into the mirror and I say “Hey, I don’t know you but I would put on some make up if I would be you.” But this person in the mirror doesn’t. Why should someone put on make up to watch just ONE episode of Angel? Is there any coffee left in the kitchen?

  • Shannon M

    you goofed on #16 unless you intnetionally purposely left it so that you can go back to 16 on 16?

    Do I get brownie points for this? :D