Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Halfbakery Novel

A book that uses all the most bizarre and innovative ideas generated by the bakery.
  [vote for,

I'm considering writing it myself. It'd have to be a murder mystery, of course, to support my love of noir. Douglas Adams would be a heavy influence, I suspect...

The ideas wouldn't have to be good, or oringinal; just entertaining. The most-croissanted, of course, would be included. And some of my own, naturally. The ones with actual merit. I know I've had a few bad ones, for sure. Blah, blah, blah, enough.

Eugene, Jul 20 2003

1/2 bakery book http://www.halfbake...2f2_20bakery_20book
could we have all these ideas and comments in bookform [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Susen Saga http://www.halfbake.../The_20Susen_20Saga
[phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

TabulaRasa http://www.halfbakery.com/user/TabulaRasa
[waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, road cones flocked.   

snarfyguy, Jul 20 2003

       It was a dark and stormy night. A hullaballoon loomed out of the darkness. Suddenly, a large pin appeared, causing panic within.
egbert, Jul 20 2003

       Where would it start and when would it ever finish?
silverstormer, Jul 20 2003

       Thanks to the literary wonder that is a "series" it doesn't have to end. But I'm not sure where it would start...maybe this "world" would start when everybody could, somehow, put their ideas into reality. Resulting in something that is not quite reality.
Eugene, Jul 20 2003

       For really bad ideas it could be a 'who dun it.'
sartep, Jul 20 2003

       Or a "Who bun it?"
bristolz, Jul 20 2003

       Starting the list of ideas to be included with: Panic PIN. Use Bizarre Metaphors. Tails For All. Film Noir Home (and other themes). Carrymehome.com. The Personal Soundtrack. Flocking Road Cones. I can 'sea' U. Human Biolumenescence. stuff that gets sad when stolen. connecting coins. Still-in-the-office-accessories. Douglas Adams Memorial. Hammock Pants. Lifeless Limericks...etc. Combine all these things and all the other great ideas I haven't mentioned, and imagine the setting that would be created...a setting that could only be looked at rationally by starting shiftily out from under the brim of a fedora. I love fedoras.
Eugene, Jul 20 2003

       And puns. Lots of puns.
Eugene, Jul 20 2003

       The worst? Or the best?   

       It's the Star Wars/Matrix Syndrome: Really cheesy, yet really good. Or it could be, anyway.   

       Cheesy...cheese. I'm hungry.
Eugene, Jul 20 2003

       They would have been being dark and stormy nights.
waugsqueke, Jul 20 2003

       It was a stark and dormy sight, where Susen swaggered out of the smoke-filled bar and into the lobby. After 2 and 1/2 bottles of Schnapple and some Beerios, she was as drunk as a Los Alamos phone directory. The owner of the corner pastry company tried to get her bearings--this was a pub she didn't frequent that often; the main dining room's turntable floor spun too fast for her, and the live robotic entertainment left something to be desired. The "Rocking Road Cones" were fine when they stuck to industrial, but they butchered Bubbahemian 1/2Rhapsody, and simply couldn't keep up with 1/2 Week. Susen plopped onto the bench, fidgeting with a dangling tentacle of her polarsquid. Maybe it was the night air, maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was that all-night debate on the merits of religion versus physics for describing the momentum of goldfish, but she couldn't keep her eyes open. She scribbled her pickup code word on a scrap of napkin, gave her Etch-a-Watch a shake, and dozed into oblivion.   

       En route to his forty-second pickup tonight, (it was always busy on World Day), Eugene Baker read aloud the directions and code word to his pickup and dropoff, 'redhead, custard, corner of 8th Blvd. and 7th street,' to be transported to '221 Equestrian Avenue. 8th and 7,' Eugene muttered, 'isn't that where they had that anti-spam demonstration the other night? Hope that's all cleared out.' The carrymehome.com premium service driver was not having a good night. After run-ins with both the Fashion police and the local Harley Krishnas, he'd about had enough of this beat.   

       Arriving just across the street from the slumbering Susen, Eugene parked his extended edition clown car in the alley and crossed the busy thoroughfare, dodging a teetering city Helter-Skelter bus as it rounded the corner. 'Dame didn't say which corner, but I'll bet flounders to fishbones that that dozing redhead on the bench is her; she's quite out of it, and looks like she comes from the better side of town, anywho.' Noticing the scribbled napkin in her hand, the driver verified his code word to hers. 'Custard. Yep, that's my pickup...'
RayfordSteele, Jul 20 2003

       EXCELLENT, Rayford. I suddenly doubt my ability to write it...such is what comes of seeing good writing.   

       In fact, I'll expound a bit on what you started, if you don't mind...don't expect it anytime soon though. Summer school, y'know.
Eugene, Jul 20 2003

       <<<walking silently through the 1/2 B, muttering under her breath, and shaking her head in disbelief>>>
Susen, Jul 21 2003

       Speak of the devil! Can you try to conjure up [Tabula Rasa] too, [Eugene], so the book can be written in limerick form?
lintkeeper2, Jul 21 2003

       Hi, [Susen]. How's it going?
angel, Jul 21 2003

       *weeps openly*
thumbwax, Jul 21 2003

       Susen!! Yayy.
egbert, Jul 21 2003

       Like I've said elsewhere, it's a developed skill, and anyone can do it with a bit of effort. Weave the background into the story, giving some scene info along the way that clues the reader in. Use interesting snippets in detail to focus on, and build your characters with some assumed history. Read often. You'll start writing like what you read.
RayfordSteele, Jul 21 2003

       I think the book would have to be bound like a rolodex, no beginning, no end.
Especially no end.

       I could have sworn we did this idea before, but can't find it. Ah well, good show.
krelnik, Jul 21 2003

Eugene, Jul 21 2003

       sorry, [lintkeeper2], the [Tabula Rusa] account is deleted. I checked.
Eugene, Jul 21 2003

       The night was dormy and stark,
And Susen needed to park.
The bar was okay
But she just couldn't stay,
For it was becoming too dark.

       (okay, so 'dormy' is not really an oft-used word).
RayfordSteele, Jul 21 2003

       Eugene, yes the Tabula Rusa account may well be gone, if it was ever here. However the TabulaRasa account still exists (link).
waugsqueke, Jul 21 2003

       oh. Yeah, well, _oops._
Eugene, Jul 21 2003

       It’s A Half-Baked World   

       Y’know those ads you see for carrymehome.com? The ones that feature smiling, uniformed chauffeurs escorting wobbling, sleepy drunks to the lush interior of a limo?   

       Seems like it’d be a cushy job. The driver’s seat looks comfy. The pan through the limo’s interior gives you a glimpse of flashy gold and purple trim, and there’s a monitor of some kind up front—in addition to the one in the back, in case a patron wants to web-surf or watch a little TV.   

       Lemme let you in on a little secret, pal—that’s the premium service. If you show up looking for a job, you provide the wheels. The only thing headquarters gives you is a disposable cell phone, one every other month. You pay for extra minutes. Cushy is everything the bargain service ain’t, for both the driver and customer.   

       Hence my bad mood tonight. My ’69 Firebird is acting up, and I didn’t get any details on my pickup’s appearance—I’m gonna have to wander around like a complete idiot saying “peanut-butter president” to random strangers in the hope that they’re my call, and that they’ll remember the code word.   

       I peer through the sheets of water smashing against my windshield. When I bought my car, I’d considered getting one of those ‘Faux Muscle’ jobs, but buying a real one and refurbishing it turned out to be cheaper. Just not cheaper enough—which is why rain is even hitting my windshield.   

       I ignored the street sign’s warning (“Bjorn Wild Way—It’s Really Pissin’ Down And The Road Cones From The Staley Street Construction Project Have Been Infected With A Bezerker Virus!”) and turned left. I don’t know what drives street signs to speak in nothing but capitalized words, but who am I to question what satisfies a street sign?   

       Thumps signaled the arrival of the infected cones. Squeaking urgently, they hopped madly on, well, everything. I inadvertently ran one over while parking. I felt rather sorry for them—I’m a closet SPCA member, Android Division of course. AI doesn’t get enough sympathy. I made a note to report the infected road cones.   

       I grabbed my Self-Cocking Fedora and dropped it onto my head. It fell on the wrong way. Cratted knock-offs. My new Hoberman Raincoat would be just the thing to combat this storm. I retrieved it from the backseat. This would have to be carefully timed.   

       I threw open the door and tossed the Hoberman into the air. It unfolded gracefully, and I leaped under it. If it weren’t for that crat road cone, I would have been high and dry—excepting my ankles. The cone knocked aside the Hoberman and then attempted to do the same to me. I slammed the car door shut and chased the spherical raincoat down the street.   

       Five minutes later, rain-shielded but soaking wet and a less devout member of the Android Division, I inspected my surroundings. A few gutter surfers and a redhead slumped on a bench were the only occupants of the street. I guessed that the latter was my pickup. I wandered over. Gusts of wind made progress difficult.   

       I opened a flap and pulled her head up by a tentacle of the polarsquid hat she was wearing. Asleep, and in the rain yet. I glanced at the bar—“Duck and Cover,” the picture featuring a duck under an umbrella. A role-playing joint for wannabe crooks unwilling to actually step into the world of crime.   

       I looked at the inside of her forearm, my eye drawn by a glowing tattoo of fire. Under the tattoo, I read: “peanut-butter president,” in cheap ink. Obviously written as a reminder, but faint now from the rain. I leaned closer.   

       “Excuse me, miss. Baker here, Eugene Baker…your ride home. Miss? Miss! Wake up, MISS!” No response. Well, thrack. So much for getting any dryer.
Eugene, Jul 22 2003

       Wow. <<Applause>>.
egbert, Jul 22 2003

       Do continue.
lintkeeper2, Jul 22 2003

       Very nice. A minor quibble: verb tense is tricky to do with a 'now-happening' storyline and not sound clunky; I usually always default to past-tense.
RayfordSteele, Jul 22 2003

       [RayfordSteele] Does that also mean that you sometimes never resort to present tense?
dweeb, Jul 22 2003

       It did, (almost usually always without exception except for once in awhile never).
RayfordSteele, Jul 22 2003

       Soaked through, I waded across the street thinking: “This is what happens when you leave your personal weather radar at home.” I could picture it in my mind, covering the “Au” on my periodic tablecloth of the elements. She was supposed to be at the “Duck and Cover” I guess I should have checked the map before I left the house. Rounding the corner onto Bjorn Wild Way, the goddamned sign was speaking in French so I couldn’t understand it at first and I didn’t notice the Firebird barreling down on me until it was too late to get on higher ground. Had I been the least bit dry, I may have resented the sheet of water that deluged me as the idiot driver turned the corner, his directionally accurate turn indicator barely visible through the rain. I guess the poor sap couldn’t afford an anti-rain magnetic force field.   

       When I found the pub, it was too late. Susen had already stumbled out into the rain. I knew she didn’t have her polo-cator, and I wasn’t about to go back out into this wind and rain without my fibonacci spiral umbrella as I had barely escaped the flocking road cones on the way in. I put in a call to Phil over at the 17th precinct, he was serving out his mandated police service and wanted to go back to his real job as a Hullabaloon pilot but I knew he would help if I could get through. No luck, he had turned on his pay-me phone and I didn’t want to risk the $50 it would cost me if he rejected my call.   

       I ordered several purple things and some blue stuff, tossed the cocktail mice in the sink and sat down to figure out how I was going to make it up to Susen this time.
ato_de, Jul 22 2003

       but how did he (Eugene) know about my snake/fire tattoo??? if he mentions my other ones....
Susen, Jul 22 2003

       Stayed up late on that....looks like I'll do it again.   

       Point, [Rayford]. I'm torn between making it sound more exciting (present tense) and having it sound not so exciting. All that "he did" and "there was" and so on. "The explosion knocked me off my feet" is better than "There was an explosion that knocked me off my feet." I believe there's a word for it (using a lot of past tense), and it's a practice frowned upon in writing, but I can't for the life of me think of what it's called. Hard to avoid though.   

       [Susen], I won't mention the ones passerby can't see. I didn't mention you by name because I'm going to kill you (that is, the character with your name) off. It's a murder mystery, after all. I'm reluctant to specifically name somebody and then kill them, but if permission is given, license will be taken. I mean...um...yeah.
Eugene, Jul 22 2003

       The word is: passive. Passive voice versus active voice.
bristolz, Jul 22 2003

       precisely. I was trying to avoid passive voice.
Eugene, Jul 22 2003

       Chapter 2   

       I tossed the redhead into the backseat, none too gently. The Hoberman followed. Water squirted weakly from my toes. The pumps in my Fountain Boots needed new filters again, and my Pneumatic Muscle Suit had deflated. It now hung loosely on my thin frame. The rips in it followed the Dress Code of Scruffiness that all bargain service drivers are required to obey, but that wouldn’t help scare off a mugger who might want a free ride.   

       I started the Firebird, but remembered to get my destination before putting her into drive. The redhead was still out like a lazy desk clerk. I rolled her and found her ID. She had one of those fancy new all-in-one cards that made one’s identity so much easier to steal.   

       I cycled through the menu, squinting at the card’s tiny screen, until I found her membership with carrymehome.com. Still valid, and she didn’t live that far away.   

       I punched in the destination and let the Autodrive take over. Sure, I might lose some gas because only the major roads had the Autodrive magnets installed, but I didn’t feel like driving right now.   

       I yawned, and recalled a poem I’d read the other day…it seemed appropriate to this moment.   

       “The was a young man of Kradet   

       Who remarked that ‘Water is wet.’   

       Under his own power   

       He went and took a shower   

       And so the tedium came to full flower.”   

       The limerick summed up my mood perfectly: Damp, bored, and lifeless, as well as not very good. My passenger certainly wasn’t up for a round of HazMat Bingo, the only car game I’d ever cared to play.
Eugene, Jul 22 2003

       Could somebody just let me know if he mentions anything I might wanna know about? Thanks.
waugsqueke, Jul 22 2003

       Gee, thanks, [waugsqueke].
Eugene, Jul 22 2003

       Might I suggest [Eugene]....... "Mr. Waugs, meanwhile, was still dangling helplessly from the tree where he had hung himself up for a nap in his new hammock pants. Before he snuck out, he had unfortunately activated his 'still-in-the-office-accessories', so his absence was not noticed until several days later by Sir Vulture, a close relative of Dr. Duck."
lintkeeper2, Jul 23 2003

       // "The explosion knocked me off my feet" is better than "There was an explosion that knocked me off my feet." //   

       both of which are past tense.
RayfordSteele, Jul 23 2003

       That depends on the amount of shrapnel.   

       "I'm in the middle of an explosion that's knocking me off my feet."? Does quite sound as good.
silverstormer, Jul 23 2003

       in order to make it more immidiate, you must leave the first person. Any first person narrative conveys the information that the principle survived, else how could the story be told?   

       "The explosion tore through the small building like a big explosion in a small building. Gene Baker was picked up and tossed through the closed window, like a dime store detective being picked-up and tossed through a closed window by an explosion."   

       (similies are important too.)
ato_de, Jul 23 2003

       I keep reading this as halfbakery navel. please credit me with the will-power to resist posting it as an echo...   

       <must not do it> even though the thought of various halfbakers contemplating their navels and picking at their bellybutton floss is just so appealing <must not do it>
po, Jul 23 2003

       Give in to the voices [po], they are here to help.
ato_de, Jul 23 2003


It is always a sorrowful sight:
The blocked writer attempting to write
Then, at Midnight (like Poe),
as the words start to flow,
"It began on a dark, stormy night..."
TabulaRasa, Jul 23 2003


       You're alive!   

       Goddess bless the power of the internet. That and the fact the my husband talked to you on this site long ago. How the hell are you?   

       Love, Your Errant bookkeeper.
nibrenna, Jul 30 2003

       Hi, Wonder Woman...um, congratulations on the marriage thing. Email blissmiss, po, Unabubba or thumbwax for my email address. Or, put yours on your profile page.
Susen, Aug 02 2003

       done, see profile
nibrenna, Aug 06 2003

       Great, story, btw. Finally got around to reading it. Can't wait to see what happens next. Will be checking out the Susen Saga soon.
nibrenna, Aug 06 2003

       Could this novel include a Blend-a-Lunch vendor who was murdered by emulsification and puree-ing?
Detly, Aug 06 2003

       "Any first person narrative conveys the information that the principle survived, else how could the story be told? "   

       Read "The Lovely Bones."
bristolz, Aug 07 2003

       Or see "American Beauty". (Not giving anything away- the main character tells you he's dead in the first minute.)
waugsqueke, Aug 08 2003

       NOW I have to see the film.   

       whats the one when you find out he is dead in the last few minutes - brilliant, but of course I had sussed it much earlier :)
po, Aug 08 2003

       6th Sense, Bruce Willis
lintkeeper2, Aug 09 2003

       Man...I need to start working on another chapter...
Eugene, Aug 16 2003

       Years later: Groan.
Eugene, Jan 11 2008

       So have you finished it yet, [Eugene]?
angel, Jan 11 2008

       Another fruitless night with the Missing Persons file, and meanwhile who was this Custard guy, anyway? There had to be a connection there somewhere...
pertinax, Jan 11 2008


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