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Monday, March 1, 2010

Will Shakespeare for Hire

For those of you who like the Limerick Summary, this may be good news...

And then again... ?

I've started a second blog called Will Shakespeare for Hire. I've been toying with the idea for a couple of months, and in a moment of insanity (yes, it was only one moment -- be nice now!) I decided to give it a shot.

Here's the concept: The economy is killing everybody, even famous writers like Will Shakespeare. The Globe Theater went under and Will went broke. Now he's started a freelance writing business centered around the blog, which is going to be his portfolio for gaining new work. Of course, all his past work consists of plays and sonnets, so he's writing samples that apply his style to all kinds of work. And yes, that also means he's doing the blog entirely in blank verse.

It's really not hard to write blank verse; for those of you who don't know what it is, it's an unrhymed poem where almost every line has ten syllables, of which five are stressed. The pattern looks like this:

da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM

Blank verse is very close to regular speech, except for some artistic handling of the stresses. Writing blank verse is easy; writing good blank verse... that's only a little harder. But to trying to sound like a parody of Shakespeare while you do it? Worse yet, trying to sound like Shakespeare reinventing himself for a new century, where the language is quite a bit different from when he was a star?

Ok, I confess -- I must have a huge ego. I know it's going to take me a while to get this Shakespearean thing down, but it should be fun while I try. Some of the pieces will be serious, and some not-so. I started the blog last week, and there are three posts on it so far -- the introductory piece called Reemergence, a serious piece dedicated to the Haiti and Chile earthquake survivors called Shaken, and a "concept ad" dedicated to Saint Viagra called Diamonds Are a Man's Best Friend. There's also an "About" page called The Ploy's the Thing and a sort of "site map" called Folio, Folio: Where's It in the Folio? I'm hoping to add a new piece every two or three days.

How far am I willing to carry the joke? Let's just say that the categories are phrases lifted (or maybe twisted) from Shakespeare's plays, and the blog is set up so Will Shakespeare is shown as the author of the blog. By the time I'm done, he should have a full (and very modern!) profile. So if you make comments on the blog, please address them to Will!

You need to understand that I don't see Shakespeare as "high culture." The guy seems to have been more of a cross between Stephen King and Mel Brooks -- intensely popular, with a lot of cheap jokes and bawdy humor. It just happens that he shaped the English language in the process. So I'm trying to incorporate the type of humor and wordplay he did. (Except I'm doing it in modern English. You should be able to understand what I write.)

If you're into brain damage or just want to watch me have a meltdown, you might want to check it out.


  1. That remains to be seen... my friends are leaning toward the "brain-damaged" explanation. ;-)