Writing Advice from Southpark

So I caught this documentary on Southpark the other day. Called SIX DAYS TO AIR: THE MAKING OF SOUTHPARK, it shows how Matt Stone & Trey Parker cough out an entire episode in six days. As in, six days before it airs. As in, they have no idea what the hell they're gonna do on day one. As in, hey, did you know Bill Hader is part of their writing team?

ANYhoo...during the doc, Trey (who largely drives the writing bus), dropped a casual tidbit of advice whilst talking about how freakin soul-crushing it is to write. (Me: HOLEEE SHIT. TREY PARKER GETS IT!) Advice was simple: replace your "and"s with some "therefore"s and "but"s when a scene feels dull. Not necessarily in the writing itself, mind, but rather in your idea sequence.

To wit:

Joe Tremors sneezes all over his wife, and sprays her with snot, and crashes into the wall, knocking himself out cold.

Now, just and-therefore-but-erize it, and it becomes:

Joe Tremors sneezes all over his wife and sprays her with snot, therefore sending a fine necrovirus mist into her face. But his wife doesn't wipe it away; she opens her mouth wider. Joe snaps his head in a double take and stumbles, therefore crashing into the wall. He knocks himself out. But unconsciousness will not be a reprieve for him. Instead, the dark screen of his mind will present a miasma of images and other sensory horrors, therefore becoming a perma-freak-show theater. But only one movie will ever play here. And it is an endless reel of what he saw in the seconds before his eyes fluttered closed: his wife's outstretched arms, her unhinging jaw.The laugh spiraling out of the black gulf of her mouth as her claws reach for the top of his head.

See? A pretty decent idea generator and simple. Therefore, you should try it. I mean, that was some surreous drivel above, but see how ATB unlocked all kinds of little gateways? And they all keep branching off into cooler, darker paths. Therefore I should stop now, before I let you too far into the tangled wood of my brain. But...

And thanks to all who swung by during the Pay It Forward shenanigans, and to those awesome individuals who always comment on my posts, however infrequent they may be. I read them all :)


Matthew MacNish | October 19, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Brilliant. Crazy, but brilliant.

Roland D. Yeomans | October 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM

My life gets so hectic as a rare blood courier that I do not get to visit you as much as I would like to. I guess a similar reason is behind your infrequent posts, right?

As always a fascinating, fun post. If you have the chance, come to my post of today where you get to see life through the undead eyes of a love-starved ghoul. Hey, how can you resist a chance to see through those eyes? LOL. Roland

Anonymous | October 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Ha! Love South Park and love this!!!!

Lydia Kang | October 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Love South Park too so this was awesome, therefore you are brilliant.

Did I do it right?

Giles Hash | October 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Very cool. I enjoy good documentaries, and I find South Park to be hilarious. Especially because I've lived in Colorado my whole life. :D

Melissa Sugar | October 19, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I love South Park (almost as much as I love it when bloggers remember to say thank you to followers) Very cool clip & cool you. I enjoyed it. It's amazing what good writers can pull off so quickly.

Anonymous | October 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I don't watch South Park, but I love this advice,therefore we're cool, right?


Zoe C. Courtman | October 25, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Thanks, Matthew!
Laura - me, too! Thanks :D
And Lydia, you TOTALLY did it right :)
Thanks, Giles. I love a good documentary as well. And, thanks for popping in!
Thanks, Melissa. I appreciate the comment & the follow :D
Vicki - we're ALWAYS cool, girl!

Cold As Heaven | November 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

South Park is my favorite TV series. We lived in Colorado some ten years ago, so I know it exists for real, just about an hour drive along highway 285 SW of Denver >:)

Cold As Heaven

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