Saturday, December 06, 2008

Using Google Notebooks to plot your novel

A pretty Neat idea, from The Average Idea blog. I think I'll start using it myself.

Do you plot out your novels on notecards? I did too, until I stumbled across Google Notebook.

Some problems I ran into using paper notecards:

  • Cards get scrambled out of order
  • A pain to refer back to when I’m actually writing the book
  • Don’t always have them on me in case inspiration strikes

So I decided to try out Google Notebook to plot out my current novel. It worked fantastically. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to not only plot out your own novel, but also to get the most out of Google Notebook.

Quickly Add Scenes

You can get the bare bones of your novel in place quickly by just clicking the blank space in your notebook. I rifled through all my ideas for scenes to get a rough idea for how the book would lay out.

Trailer Trash XXIII: Zapped! (Scott Baio, Willie Aames 1982)

"It's a movie that's out of this world, and out of it's mind!"

Before there was "Charles In Charge"... there was Zapped!

It's not that I'm particularly excited about that fact. Don't let the exclamation point fool you - it's part of the title.

Before they went on to star together on "Charles in Charge", Scott Baio and Willie Aames starred in the ridiculous teen skin romp. Y'know the type of movie: a lowbrow comedy starring 20-somethings playing teenagers that's sole focus is to flash a bit of female nudity to a predominantly 13-year-old male audience - maybe a nipple here, a panty-shot there. Think Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Porky's or Revenge of the Nerds. These movies are still being made today, but they definitely hit their height in the 1980s.

If you need a visual hint at what kind of movie I'm talking about, check out the poster:

Just one look at that poster tells you it was marketed with the budding feminist in mind, right? (Disturbing trivia: google image-searching "slutty bratz doll" brings up more than 5,000 results, which might say something terrifying about our culture.)

In any case, the plot of the film involves Scott Baio receiving telekinetic super-powers in a botched marijuana-growing experiment. He the does what any typical high school male (in an 80s teen movie) would do: use the powers to cheat in school, make bullies beat themselves up and remove girls' clothing.

Behold the zaniness:

At 0:05 - The music is already way too exciting for this trailer.
At 0:11 - Gotta love a movie that treats women fairly.
At 0:21 - "Barney, you can do stupid things!"... Does this remind anyone else of Trumpy?
At 0:26 - That's a look that just screams "duhhhhhhhh"
At 0:35 - If you're one of our female readers, I'm already sorry to have made you watch this.
At 0:40 - Is it just me, or does Scott Baio look a little, how shall I say... handicapped... in this trailer?
At 0:52 - He at least looks constipated whenever he's using his powers.
At 1:05 - Okay, you see that, girls? This movie totally respects the laydeez.
At 1:14 - Wait wait wait wait wait! Did he just tell us to GET OFF??
At 1:16 - Good lord, I can't help but laugh (at him, not with him) whenever he makes that face.
At 1:27 - Ok, so I'm sorry again, girls.
At 1:38 - Good lord, did they have to name every character in the movie?
At 1:46 - The tag lines are definitely the funniest things about this movie. Oh, and Scott Baio's face.

Besides the "get off" bit and all of Scott Baio's ridiculous facial expressions, my favorite part of the trailer is when the narrator rattles off the list of non-important side characters. Imagine if every movie did this:

"Get off this summer... with Requiem for a Dream! Also starring... the donut cop! The corn dog stand boss! A mailman! Arnold the shrink! Tyrone's mother! The voice of the jailer! A newspaper man on a train! Paramedic Greenhill! A southern doctor! A prison guard! An ECT technician! A banker and a cast of twenty PARTY ANIMALS!!! This movie is OUT OF THIS WORLD and OUT OF ITS MIND!!!"

A special bonus bit of trivia: screenwriter Robert J. Rosenthal also wrote The Van, which appeared on Trailer Trash earlier this year.

"Get off this summer... with Zapped!"

Trailer Trash is a weekly tribute to oddball, cheesy and often just plain terrible movie trailers. Writers: These movies got made... so can yours! You can read through our archive by clicking here.