New Type of Fiction Writing: Pit-Fic, or Pitch Fiction

I have been struggling to write a novel I’ve had in the works, for coming on about 20 years. I’ve tried a zillion different angles, bunches of false starts, thought of even trying it entirely in haiku at one point, but I kept wanting to go back and set up an even cooler foreshadowing, or having something specific happen for a really awesome callback, surprise twist, better dramatic motive later on by having someone die early on so having to change the dynamics of mourning early on instead of happy hobbiton-like beginning, etc.

I had gotten so bogged down in trying to figure out the way that I wanted to tell it, and recalling how I had set up with so many other people to read over it to see what they thought, that I really most enjoyed pitching the story itself to people in summary, rather than the writing of the story itself.

One day I came up with a completely separate idea, of a fictional race whose existence hinged on a not-quite-scientifically-accurate premise, and I pitched the idea to Ask Metafilter in 2006.

Years later (appx October 2015), after trying to think of a way to tell that story in a way that worked to my liking, I decided that I liked the discussion about the future written work more than the actual writing of the written work, that I created an extremely short story based on the discussion itself: a writer and an editor are discussing the writer’s idea for a story, with its potential greatness or potential flaws, and the story is told within that framework of a narrator and an observer of the narrator.

“I can’t figure out how to write this story. The physics of it are highly questionable.”
“Like what?”
“There’s a creature that makes first contact with mankind in present day, but they’re not aliens necessarily.”
“Do they live underground?”
“No, they travel by temperature degrees, like how we travel second by second forward through time.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
“And the creature didn’t think that time travelers like us could exist either, because since it defies all boundaries his science understands. He artificially extended his temperature age to reach one we can comprehend.”
“Well, there’s at least one way to tell this story.”
“Oh yeah? How?”
The End.

(and the answer to the final question, is the story itself)

Think a little how the film The Princess Bride is framed around a grandfather reading a story to a grandson, where the grandson periodically interjects questions about the story. Or, consider how the film The NeverEnding Story is centered on a boy reading a book, also observing his responses to what happens.

I was satisfied by this short discussion-of-the-story being the actual story, also partly because I had written another short story called Apology, in which the narrator describes the plight of someone who kept coming up with great ideas for a story, only to discover that someone else had beaten them to it and published/filmed/etc their version, and that he decided to write his own autobiography reasoning that surely no one else could beat him to that story — except I, the writer who invented him, beat him to it.

So, a pit-fic, or pitch-fiction, is a story that is framed within critique, troubleshooting, or otherwise discussion of a yet-non-existent story, but the discussion itself of the story is the story. It could be a great exercise to build how you want to write your story, by writing out the actual brainstorming process of the story as if it were dialogue between characters, and expressing doubts of the story’s coherence, addressing continuity issues, and other damage-control topics about the writing of the story, as an outer orbital launch vehicle transporting the payload of the story idea itself.

I would like to imagine that a publishing company could make a contest for submissions of actual novelized versions of a given pit-fic’s discussed story, and then choose, say, 1-4 winners, and publish all of those winners, with each being their own distinct universe that the original pit-fic established, using the discussion within the pit-fic as the official canon, embellishing otherwise as desired but staying true to the original pit-fic.

This pitch-fiction method is what sets the stage for my best example of one, and a set-in-stone version of the novel concept I had been agonizing over for so long — Pitching Vanguard.

Foods to Eat Without Teeth, and General Eating Tips Just After A Procedure

I recently lost most of my teeth from an oral surgery, and awaiting a two-month healing process before I get a full set of dentures. In the meantime, that’s two months of having to eat things without chewing them like I normally might. I’m actually less than a single week after my “e-day” and I’ve already come up with some weird ways to eat the foods I used to be able to, but without chewing, even while my gums are still sore, so here is my growing list (which will be updated as I add more) —

Obviously the list would include things like yogurt, gelatin-desserts, oatmeal, mashed potatoes or other mashed/strained veggies, but I was hoping to make a list better than just that kind of thing.

These items are just from my personal experience as working, so trying them yourself is at your own risk.

Snack cakes. I was able to pinch a corner of the softer snack cakes (like Little Debbie Zebra cakes) and mash them to the roof of my mouth with my tongue in order to make them small enough to swallow. I haven’t tried any of the ‘sharper’ cakes yet like Nutty Bars.

Hamburger meat. Instead of the usual chomp out of a patty, I tried pulling the cooked patty apart by hand (with napkin handy, because it gets messy), into the teensiest pieces I could manage, and then scoop the tiny hunks up with a spoon or fork, perhaps mixed with tiny blobs of favorite condiments. I was able to eat what totaled a single regular hamburger by hand-separating each ingredient into very teensy pellet-sized pieces and mixing them together like a bowl of cereal, and it tasted pretty much the same, just minus the ability to savor the flavor as well a I might by chewing them. The condiments made the drier texture shreds much easier to swallow. Make sure you get each little burger meat piece very very tiny, like VERY tiny.

Pringles chips. I haven’t tried many other chips yet, but I figured out that I could put about 5-7 pringles chips into a mug and use a spoon to crush them quite easily into almost powder, spoonful a heap into my mouth, and then let them sit in my mouth momentarily while saliva built up enough, just moving the spoonful around in your mouth away from the gums. Once it becomes mushy enough, swallow. Be very careful not to swallow too early while the spoonful is still too dry, because it can really scratch going down. Savor the flavor a bit, and mash it to the roof of your mouth to saturate the spoonful thoroughly. May help to take a very tiny sip of water to help move things along.

I chose Pringles to try first specifically because of how brittle they are normally even with teeth, so I assume if I can find some way to break up the tougher chips into basically crumbs, the same principle would work.

Dry cereal. I’m already a fan of using water instead of milk for my dry cereal, and cereals like Kellogg’s Fruit Loops are still manageable with no teeth, if you spoon yourself a small heap dry, and then take a tiny sip of water or milk, and holding it in your mouth until it becomes mushy enough to comfortably swallow. I haven’t tried rougher things like Raising Bran, but consider lots of caution before swallowing anything that isn’t already super mushy, otherwise you might really scratch something on the way down.

Well-cooked pasta. Pasta that is well-cooked, to the point of being very easily cut with a fork, works well for me, especially if something else is added to it that makes it super slippery, such as a cheapo chicken-noodle soup. I typically boil mine on max natural gas stove heat for about 16 minutes, and then draining it with a metal colander, and letting it set aside for several minutes to cool down. If you’re pretty fresh out of e-day, you need to be super careful about anything very hot to drink, so make sure it is well cooled enough. I’ve been able to swallow small spoons of small-elbow pasta directly, because it is a small enough and flexible enough, and is made slick enough to go right on down with minimal fuss. Avoid adding something like breading or crumbs that would make the pasta dry out too much.

I’ll add more as I think of them, or add your ideas in the comments =)

If you’re trying to eat things with little or no teeth, especially right after the procedure, I have a few general tips.

Dump, don’t slurp. In the first few days after your e-day (extraction/procedure day), avoid making any kind of suction action in your mouth, such as slurping soup or Jell-O from a spoon, and especially avoid drinking with a straw. Variation in pressure inside your mouth can possibly break the very fragile clotting in your gums necessary for healing and reduce you back to the bloody gauze stage all over again.

Instead of slurping off a spoon, practice tilting your head back a little, or opening your mouth wide, if you can, and letting the food slide off the spoon into your mouth. Re-enacting the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene will have to wait until you’re healed up better.

Train yourself to swallow with your lips parted. It can be done as practice without any food right now: try to swallow, with your mouth open. For those of us with super-sensitive gums right after the procedure, the very act of swallowing can put unnecessary pressure on them. If you can make the “knocking” or “tsk” sound by pulling your tongue off the roof of your mouth, then just keep your flattened tongue in the initial position for those sounds by pusing up on the roof of your mouth just inside the gum line away from any damage, and try to swallow. Your gums will hurt way less when swallowing this way, and will help to avoid disturbing any delicate healing built up.

Invest in an eyedropper. Just a very tiny amount of water will go a long way to help moistening food better like your own saliva does. In lieu of an eyedropper you can just sip tiny bits of water, but for more flavor from each mouthful, just a very tiny amount of water can help greatly, whereas if you take a big gulp, it can reduce the flavor of what you’re trying to eat substantially.

You could also take a drinking straw, dip the bottom end into a glass of water, plug the top end with your finger, raise the bottom of the straw to your mouth, and release the finger plugging the top so the water falls into your mouth (not sucking on it), and that will act like an eyedropper.

Aside from the flavor enhancement element, the addition of the small amount of water will assist you in preventing ‘dry socket’ since your saliva glands can be better prepared to maintain moisture for when you’re not eating.

Extensive Thoughts and Theories on Blade Runner 2049 Trailer

There’s a new trailer for Bladerunner 2049. These are my theories and breakdown of the trailer.

To understand most of what I’m about to say, you will need to have seen the original Bladerunner, but specifically the Director’s Cut version.

I think after a few viewings of this that it is super obvious that K is a replicant, or at least not human. The “special” line might be that he’s a unique replicant with abilities atypical of a normal one, and that the last page not being there could be that his life up until then had already been written as programming, but was unfinished in some way. Or, the third kind mentioned below.

I think this film might be confirmation that the original Deckard/Ford is not actually a replicant, which I believed the original film hinted at in the Director’s Cut. However, if Deckard were one, he presumably wouldn’t have aged, so must have either had a skin replacement procedure to look older for some reason (in addition to extending his 4-year life somehow).

I assumed that the guy who says “happy birthday” is a replicant with unusual eyes (possible reference to the cruel blinding of the inventor in the original) is not actually blind, but maybe like a kind of jeweler’s eyeglass, ideal for seeing fine details. Plus, he’s got a light on his neck. I suspected he was a rogue savant replicant of some kind, producing his own replicants offsite, apart from the main producer from the original, perhaps to either infiltrate/body-double/double-agent the regular ones, or to make special custom ones with way better abilities than the regular ones who can perform unique functions. I would not be surprised if Agent K/Gosling is one of these.

He seems to send his hench-lady to go retrieve something, and appears successful by this shot if Decker/Ford is the something. If maybe Deckard/Ford is one of the special units and not actually the real Deckard, that might make better sense.

However, it looks like Agent K/Gosling is able to intervene at some point, judging by his approach to this car, which shows hench-lady and possibly Deckard/Ford’s foot. However, K is washed away by something like a wave of water.

If Deckard/Ford was trying to hide, by the sense I get from his contention with K/Gosling’s entry, I’m curious about why he didn’t just get a completely new image instead of maintaining the old one. Perhaps he’s an imposter or duplicate of the original Deckard, or a holographic projection of an algorithmically-aged Deckard to maintain the ruse that he’s actually human by having aged.

He’s clearly still carrying the same-looking gun he would have used, though, even if he is an imposter somehow.

If he’s the original Deckard, and is a replicant who figured out how to extend a replicant’s life, perhaps that’s what special-eyes wants hench-lady to bring him, as a “key to the future,” to be able to extend the lives of his creations.

A split-second shot of green foliage at about 01:49 just after the digital “Joi” billboard, could be a pretty huge clue, which might be more familiar to Star Trek nerds as the concept of a holodeck, which could be a room where you can simulate environments and interact with holographic-but-still-touchable people and objects.

In Star Trek Voyager was introduced a concept of a holographic person that could exist outside of the simulated environment by use of a portable transmitter. That might also be the “key to the future” that special-eyes wants.

If a holodeck is really a thing, then the metaphorical door is blown way open on a Thirteenth Floor or eXistenZ situation where we’re not sure whether we’re still in the simulation, or if there is a simulation-within-a-simulation, which Trek fans may be more familiar with from Ship in a Bottle episode from TNG.

I really hope this huge holo-person is a character, maybe like a hero’s-journey oracle, or at least an interviewed source that offers a new direction on a lead.

I have a hunch that there may be multiples of the love-interest girl, who might be the same as Joi in the billboard, for double-agent possibilities or not-knowing-it-was-actually-her-twin situations on K’s part, since that could be an obvious weakness on his part, ripe to be exploited or a faking a sense of betrayal as a diversion, etc.

The uniformed lady official who is explaining about the wall concept of society, has me wondering if it could be that the humans are the ones outlawed now, or that there is some other third additional concept that is now the enemy, whereas replicants are fairly accepted now by humans, being basically a human generation later — such as holographic people. The holographic ballerina at the beginning might have been a clue toward that.

The extremely dusty/sandy area shots, of the exterior of the building Ford/Deckard is holed up in, is presumably Las Vegas or some kind of casino area. The non-English characters on the building’s front are Korean, and mean either “Luck” or “Good Fortune” if my sources hold up. The central circular shape between them gives me “what are you doing Dave” HAL-9000 vibes, especially with the little partial-arc in the north-east quadrant looking like a lens glare.

The rug on the floor of the building-entry shot looks like it says “VINTAGE CASINO” which would be weird for a casino to call itself a vintage casino, unless it was created after casinos had been long gone already, so that the building itself could be a kind of ..replication.. and therefore make an ideal hideout for replicants or those friendly thereto.

The hidden casino concept would tie in with the dark (underground?) secret entertainment establishment where we see the Vegas showgirls (holograms?) performing to no audience later on for a split second. Maybe it could be like be a secret hideout for holographics to go, similar to an underground railroad checkpoint for them, or similar to a place like the bar from Constantine where you had to prove your abilities to the bouncer.

Some suspect this could be a date of June 10, 2021. However, some countries use a day-month-year pattern instead of the American month-day-year pattern for all-numeral dates, so the date-looking scrawling might be October 6, 2021. That would correspond to the release date of the film, which is October 6, 2017. That is also significant, because the difference in those 2 dates is 4 years, which is the lifespan of a replicant from the original film. Also notice what appears to be fingers reaching up out of the dirt, for some reason.

I’m not sure why this dead tree appears to be kept aright by support wires, or whether the soil there would even be strong enough to keep stakes to support such a tree. The atmosphere seems to correspond with the image where K/Gosling is looking at something in his hand. Maybe he destroyed something he found so that no one could get it. He’s walking away from the fire maybe as if he set it, rather than being startled from an explosion.

The letters on this license plate look vaguely Hebrew to me. A friend who knows Hebrew says ((answer when he gives me one))..

Some have suggested that the guy who busts thru the wall is K/Gosling, but since Deckard/Ford says, “They know you’re here,” I suspect it isn’t. In this scene, the person who falls down doesn’t look like Deckard/Ford, and the gun firer looks confident that the falling person is dealt with. I think K/Gosling would treat Deckard/Ford with a bit more tenderness than just letting him fall like that, and probably isn’t pursuing Deckard/Ford. The wall-buster might be another henchman of special-eyes.

I will continue to update with additional theories and suspicions as I study it a bit more =)