Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Rules of Jerky-Boy Engagement

I'm not sure why I thought of Leprechaun II while drawing this.

The character's supposed to live in New Jersey so for the sake of accuracy, I ran this sketch by my trusted guide in the ways of all things Jersey, Daniel Drennan. What follows is a selection from a series of emails on the subject:

Me: Does this sound authentically Jersey?

Daniel: Oh my God. Now you have me analyzing authentic Jerseyness?

Okay, if I think about it, she wouldn't be laughing. She would be sympathetic, empathetic, and the stuff she is saying would be more a corrective; a kind of asking: "What did you do that for?" while understanding it all the same on some level.

Her cursing needs to reflect either a kind of escalation or a de-escalation; and it would be "frickin'" more than "friggin'"...

And contrasted with the "dumb" talk would be revelations of "knowing"...the Jersey debate, as it were... Lucky Charms for example had a leprechaun as a mascot and the tag line "Magically Delicious"...

So maybe:

1) "What are you, a frickin' leprechaun?"

2) "Dude! How many times did you watch Leprechaun II?"

3) "What, is someone after your Lucky Charms?"

4) "Cuz you look "Magically Ridiculous!"

Me: I think I'm starting to get the hang of it...

But... I'm also thinking of the times when I go out of my way to win an argument through sheer douchebagery. Would it make sense for her to be super-mean sometimes or is the standard boilerplate to approach the debate with faux-diplomacy and then invert the nature of the cosmos?

Daniel: It really depends on the nature of the discussion and with whom. If I'm talking with a friend, then I assume the diplomatic stance and let them have it in the debate but with the nuance that shows I'm kidding, and things will de-escalate.

If I'm talking with an enemy, then I assume the diplomatic stance and let them have it in the debate but with the nuance that shows I'm *not* kidding, and that things could escalate.

"Invert the nature of the cosmos" LOL

The meanness in this situation is more to show that the other person has let you down somehow; there's no real gratuitous meanness....when you listen to Glen Jones and XRay burns going at it, XRay will often go way overboard, and the best weapon of Glen is his dead silence on the air, as XRay has to slowly back down....

Me: Considering most of [the story is] just gonna be a bunch of depressed people complaining about their lives, I'm thinking more and more about how to use this escalating/de-escalating as a framework for how the characters articulate what's really going on in their head... Like when one of them goes silent, we know we're hitting a sour note and the discussion doesn't need to go further for the reader to understand what to make out of the jerky-boy discussion that just ensued. So the silent moments punctuate the overall structure of the narrative. Whatcha think?

Daniel: Perfect. It also allows for a projection from the reader into what is going on....I'm very much about the "unsaid" saying more than the "said" these days.

Although I feel like I'm giving away "house secrets"!

* * *

If there's a lesson to be learned about the creative process here, it's that one shouldn't ignore Leprechaun II.

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