About Donations to ClarityThe plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.
The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders. The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully. You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.
Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?
Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.
Genre and Your Swim Lane
My publisher asked me what project I was working on. I replied I was working on two children’s books. After some discussion, he suggested I may want to publish the books under a pseudonym. A pseudonym is publisher code for “You’re a foul-mouthed, vulgar, smart-ass, and no parent will read a book to their children written by you”. If I wasn’t such a “foul-mouthed, vulgar, smart-ass,” I may have been insulted.
I started to write a children’s book because my two half-werewolf children asked me to write a book they could read. If you haven’t read my book, Donations to Clarity, it is a comedic fiction/satire which isn’t appropriate for children (It’s full of foul-mouthed, vulgar, smart-ass-ness!). Trying to write a children’s book taught me something: It’s really hard to write outside of your genre. Writers are told to write what we know. A key component of writing what you know is to read works of your genre. The main idea is, as a writer, you will begin to intuitively know what works for your chosen genre.
The problem is, I don’t want to just read humor and satire. I also like to read nonfiction and thrillers. We need to explore and to test the boundaries of our comfort zones. Think of what of what you watch on TV. You probably don’t just watch comedies or thrillers. You probably have a fairly wide range of interests from history, to sitcoms, to documentaries, to sci-fi. My reading also reflects my interests.
When I was trying to find a publisher, I submitted several articles of flash fiction to different literary magazines. If you aren’t familiar with flash fiction, it’s extremely short fiction. Typical word count can range from 55 to 500 words. What flash fiction teaches is to write concisely and with brevity. It can make your writing very muscular by forcing you to chop out the fluff. As part of my research into writing flash fiction, I turned to an unlikely source: songwriters. Makes sense, right? Songwriters paint stories and pictures in very few words that resonate with the audience. Think of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle. The song is a cautionary tale which has left an indelible impression on millions, and it’s only 440 words long if you include all of the choruses. It’s 314 words long with only one chorus. This is a great example of making a powerful impression with relatively few words.
As I was writing flash fiction and sending out query letters for my manuscript, I read Cormic McCarthy’s The Road. The novel inspired me and influenced much of my writing at the time. I didn’t realize it then, but writing outside of my genre was challenging me. As writers, we develop plots, characters, and themes, but writing in another genre forced you to pay attention to the subtle tones and textures of your writing.
The next time you are at a crossroads in your manuscript, try writing some flash fiction in another genre. If you write science fiction; try to write a romantic scene. If you write romance, try writing a satire which doesn’t include a saucy sex-pot rolling in the hay with the dark rogue with a sculpted chest. For me, it was trying not to be a foul-mouthed, vulgar, smart-ass; which is harder than you might think.
Noah Baird wanted to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, but his grades weren’t good enough (who knew?). However, his grades were good enough to fly for the U.S. Navy (again, who knew?), where he spent 14 years until the government figured out surfers don’t make the best military aviators. He has also tried to be a stand-up comedian in Hawaii for Japanese tourists where the language barrier really screwed up some great jokes. On the bright side, a sailboat was named after the punchline of one of his jokes.
He has several political satire pieces published on The Spoof under the pen name orioncrew. Noah received his bachelors in Historical and Political Sciences from Chaminade University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He knows nothing about hoaxing Bigfoot. Donations to Clarity is his first novel.
You can visit his website at www.noahbaird.com or his blog at www.noahbaird.wordpress.com.
Connect with him at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noah-Baird-Writer/100193913390453.