Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Keenan Sasser in: Trope Overdose, or TV Tropes Will Ruin Your NaNoWriMo

For AugNoWriMo the past couple years, I’ve been writing metafictional short stories about a writer named Keenan Sasser. It all started back in ’09 with a title (“Any Monkey with a Typewriter”), a name (Keenan Arthur Sasser), and a sentence (“Any monkey with a typewriter can write fifty Keenan Sasser stories a day”). The results can be found in the AugNo anthologies for 2009 (“Any Monkey...”) and 2010 (“Mindsets”). Well, here’s another, just to distract myself from writing Spanner during NaNoWriMo 2010 (Twitter hashtag: #amprocrastinating). Needless to say, I drop the names of both TV Tropes and NaNoWriMo in the title, and all boldfaced terms in the story can be found on TV Tropes. Go figure...

Keenan Sasser in:
Trope Overdose, or TV Tropes Will Ruin Your NaNoWriMo
A Spanner Side Story

Keenan Sasser, quasi-successful novelist and rather more successful creator of story-writing bots, interrupts his raging obsession with TV Tropes so he can come to the book signing that his old school rival Bram Savage is holding in Silverdale for his (apparently) ultra-successful new right-wing political thriller Attack of the Liberal Conspiracy — Again!, accompanied by his younger but more mature fiancée and muse, computer artist Ada Paulette (no last name), who just happens to have a show of her work in an Old Town art gallery. When he told her he intended to go, she insisted on going with him. She said she wanted to keep him from punching Bram. It’s really to keep Bram from punching him.

The Barnes & Noble store is huge, but it is completely filled with obnoxious conservatives who came to worship their hero and chase out any mere customers. They are almost all white people, middle aged or older, bearing the signifiers of obvious (or apparent) wealth; a disproportionate number are women. The young, hip baristas in the café are not amused.

When the author makes his epiphany to his devout followers, the store explodes in ecstatic female screams and squeals. Ada says, “I haven’t heard so much over-aged fangirl squeeing since the last TwiMom convention my mother dragged me too.” The snarky girl barista rolls her eyes and groans. Ada grins at her. “I take it you don’t like Twilight?”

The girl barista’s tone of voice wants to go into a raging tizzy and strangle somebody. “Do not mention Twilight in my presence.”

“Tired of it?”

“My mom and sister have talked about nothing else for years!” She gives Keenan and Ada their mochas and leaves in a huff.

“I can tell not everybody’s so pleased about this signing party.”

Keenan winks wickedly. “You think they’re not pleased, just wait till I get to the front of the line for Bram.” Ada chuckles to herself.

Eventually the time comes when the fan lady crowd dissipates, the cult are satisfied that they have made their sacrifice to their idol, and the signing line gets short enough for Keenan and Ada to come to the front of the line. Keenan grins at Bram and cheerily half-sings, “Hi, Bram!”

“Eek!” squeaks Bram as he sees the pretty face of Keenan Sasser facing him across the table.

Keenan happily tells the people in line behind him, “Bram used to beat me up in school.”

“What the hell are you doing here, Sasser?”

Keenan holds up his copy of Bram’s book. “Why, Bram, I want you to sign my copy of your book. Believe it or not, I actually read the whole thing through.” He winks.

“It’s not for you, punk.”

Mock dreamily, Keenan says: “You know, as I was reading, I realized there was something familiar about your fearless and intrepid hero. I felt as if I’d met him before. Then one day I was exploring TV Tropes to keep from writing my latest NaNoWriMo novel that you’ll never read, and then it hit me: I did know this guy. He’s none other than: The Wesley! And nobody, but nobody does Shilling The Wesley better than you do, not even your ghostwriters.”

Bram stares at him stunned. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“And that’s not all!” Keenan flips through his book, pretending to scan it. “Even better yet, our Wesley’s Plucky Girl sidekick is The Scrappy!

Ada echoes, “Woo-hoo, Scrappy Doo!”

“Even better yet, she’s a Purity Sue too, and Hollywood Homely even!”

“Oh, she was Suetiful All Along!”

The cute emo boy barista has sneaked up behind Keenan and Ada to cheer them on. “Say it, brutha an’ sista!”

Keenan starts flipping the book’s pages in the opposite direction, as if trying to scan it backwards. “Let’s see... Let’s take a look at the supporting cast. There’s Mary Sue, Marty Stu, Mary Tzu, Relationship Sue, Sympathetic Sue, Fixer Sue, Jerk Sue, God Mode Sue, and Lemon Stu. Then there’s the Sexy Secret Agent about whom everybody knows that Her Codename Was Mary Sue. Even better yet, Lieutenant Mary Sue Classic herself makes her obligatory Special Guest Star appearance! And, sure enough, every single liberal in the book is a hissable Villain Sue, and they’re led by the evilly despicable Anti-Sue!. To top it off, every single character in the book is an Overused Copycat Character right down to the Drizz’t Do’Urden ripoff named Zz’dtri! Every single one a Canon Sue. It’s a veritable Thirty Sue Pileup!

Bram just sits there open-mouthed, so bemused by this Most Triumphant Example of a silly rant to even say a word. Ada, getting way too into the fun, deliriously rhapsodizes: “Oh, My Species Doth Protest Too Much!

Keenan plays to the crowd of jeering young non-conservative whippersnappers who gather to heckle the conservative lovefest. “Oh yes, I have read this story before and seen it too many times on Fox. The Evil Liberal Conspiracy launches an evil attack on the ‘Galt’s Gulch’ Expy that is Our Hero’s Mary Suetopia! Here he comes to save the daaaaayyy! Sure enough, Our Hero’s The Only One With A Brain, a.k.a. Einstein Sue, ’cause all the scientists in Hollywood are stupid as all get out and probably in league with the Evil Liberal Conspiracy that every Mad Scientist belongs to, even after it destroys the obligatory Throwaway Country and massacres a whole heroic conservative Red Shirt Army. The whole idea behind all Conservative Pundit Thrillers without exception is that they are the Cassandra Truth, and your brandy new Hot Bestseller is no exception. It’s not even original, either; you didn’t even need five ghostwriters to write a story around the industry standard Copycat Sue. If he weren’t required to Save The World in the interminable sequels, he’d be Too Good For This Sinful World and die a righteous martyr’s death. It’s a wonder you don’t bring God Himself in for a great big Deus Ex Machina Ending like Frank Peretti and Jerry Jenkins do in every damn book they write.”

Bram grits his teeth to keep himself from biting Keenan’s head off.

Of course, all this is no surprise from a writer whose fanfics were always, always about the adventures of Black Hole Sue.

“Buzz off, Sasser,” barks Bram. “Now!

Satisfied, Keenan turns to leave. Ada glares back at Bram. Then, before he has made more than a few steps away, Keenan turns to smile back at him. “Oh, and Bram? One more thing. Don’t do TV Tropes. It’ll ruin your NaNoWriMo.” He winks.


“Can I have my book back first?”

Bram attempts to Murder The Hypotenuse by throwing the unsigned hardcover at Keenan and Ada. They dodge it. Ada drags Keenan off as he half-laughs, half-moans, “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time...”

Copyright © 2010 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

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