Thursday, October 7, 2010

Influenza Type A

I did some research online, and apparently the H1N1 virus is a subset of Influenza Type A, which, just so you know, is the strain of the influenza virus responsible for the most epidemics and is the worst type of flu to have.

I have the flu, by the way.

And yes, it's Type A.


I've never had the flu before and have never had a flu shot.  That's the only benefit of actually having the virus apparently -- being sick builds up a better immunity than the shot itself.  So the aches and nausea and misery and fatigue are the trade off for a sharp piece of metal being jabbed into my fibromyalgia-tightened muscles.

I'll take what I can get.

As I was tossing and turning and tossing and turning and tossing and turning ad infinitum or didn't you get that already because I could keep going with the tossing and turning and tossing and turning bit I did come up with a way to get something else out of the flu besides salvation from said painful shot.

Do unto your characters as you would not have done unto you.  Book of Fey 1:1.

That's right, I'm going to give them the flu.  I know it seems cruel, but from where I'm laying (Lying?  I never know.  One grammar point that always confuses me.  I will say this, just as a grammar pet peeve: you're not going to "try and" do anything.  Think about it.) somebody else should be suffering as much as I am and as I'm not into inflicting pain and misery onto my fellow human beings in such a manner I might as well do it to my fictional characters.

Seriously, though.  (Yes, it's a fragment.  Those are allowed outside of term papers.  Laying?  Lying?  Doesn't come up as often when writing about Milton's Raphael narrator versus Milton's Michael narrator.  Although technically, that was a blue book essay, not the term paper.  The term paper was just about the Raphael narrator.  I don't know why they have to be blue books.  I wouldn't discriminate against green books.  And frankly, I think purple books would just make us all cheerful when we sit down to write an in class essay that counts for a third of our grade and we haven't even read the book.  Maybe it's the alliteration.  Blue book.  That's a poetry lesson for you.  Wait.  Stop.  I got lost.  Stupid flu.)  Smooth sailing is the death of your story as my screenplay professor used to say.  When in doubt increase the conflict.  Don't give your characters an easy way out.  Make them work for everything they have to have, even if it's just a vanilla latte the character is trying to get on the way to work.  Throw some traffic in there, a wayward bicyclist, something.  Think about the was The Proposal used this at the very beginning of the movie.  All Andrew Paxton wants is to get a cup of coffee and make it to work on time.  He gets there, yes, but he had to work for it, switching shirts with a co-worker, giving up his coffee cup with the cute barista's phone number, and so on.  Conflict. Drama.  Stress.  Letting the audience know that it is really important for this character to get to work on time with this coffee.  Hints about what his work life is like.  And guess what, poor Andrew's troubles don't end there.  His boss figures out his deception and knows that he orders the same coffee she does just in case he spills hers.  Which he did.

Would any of us want this done to us?  I wouldn't want to live through that crazy morning.  Neither do your characters, but guess what (yes, again, it's repetitive, but I'm sick and not into editing but I am into excuses) it's good for them.  Conflict builds character.  (hardeeharharhar.)  Give your characters the flu.  Turn off the alarm clock.  Make them late for work.  Rush hour traffic.  Thunderstorms while walking into the wedding chapel.  Car accidents.  Wayward bicyclists (I don't know why, it's just funny.).  Whatever, but make your characters work for whatever they are trying to accomplish in your story.  Don't take the second cousin's rich great uncle died and left a bunch of money in the will option.  That's a cop out.  It should never be easy.  Smooth sailing is the death of your story.  When things get easy it's not fun anymore.  There's no reason to root for anyone when there's nothing to fight.  Deepen the conflict.

When in doubt, send two men through the door with guns.

Or just send in the flu.  Type A is best.

(Laying?  Lying?  Milton's angels, that's all I know.)


  1. You got a Grade A in flu! Me too!

  2. So sorry about the flu. There seems to be a very nasty version out there right now.

    Thanks for the elaboration on the subject I mentioned in my blog this week: When your character is satisfied and happy, your story is over.

  3. Alex -- yes I did, lol! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Anne -- Thank you! Luckily I was able to see a doctor right away, whew! I had just read your blog post the other day and your tips were great. I'm flattered you stopped by my little corner of the blogverse. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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