Max… Do your toilets flush in the opposite direction of those in the Northern Hemisphere, or has the Simpsons been lying to us all of these years?
Good question. You are referring to the
which influences toilets
to flush counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and the correct
clockwise direction here in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a real force but it’s so
weak it only works if your toilet is in a climate-controlled, vacuum-sealed laboratory,
which is probably not true for both of us.
For me, the real Hemispherical mind-bender is the date the seasons begin. Everyone
knows the seasons are backward in the Northern Hemisphere. But DID YOU KNOW
they’re not exactly opposite? Countries have different definitions of when each season
begins so it can be Winter in the US while it’s Spring in Australia.
Unfortunately you can never be sure if this is true, because it’s one of those
things people like to be pranksters about. If you know someone in another Hemisphere,
the conversation goes like this:
You: What season is it there?
Them: Winter. Why?
You: Are you kidding me?
Them: No. Why? It’s Summer there, right?
You: No, Summer isn’t until next week.
Them: You’re joking, right?
You: Are you?
Max! So good to see you back! You’ve been sorely missed… totally can’t wait for your new story. So, question: how do you know a story isn’t going well? Or, how do you know it *is* going well?
Thanks for the question! Over the years I have figured out a foolproof process for telling whether a story is working.
This won’t work for everyone, but it works for me, 100% of the time. Occasionally I think
I’ve found an exception, but then I realize I haven’t.
Foolproof Method for Determining Whether Book is Working
- Do you wonder whether the book is working? If yes, it’s not. If no, continue.
- Do you ask people to read parts of the book to tell you whether it’s working? If yes, it’s not. If no, continue.
- Do you stop to go write other stories? If yes, it’s not working. If no, continue.
- When you read the last thing you wrote, do you feel like writing more? If no, it’s not working. If yes, continue.
- Are you convinced the book is (or will be) the greatest thing in the world ever? If yes, congratulations, it’s working, for now.
Books that aren’t working can be made to work, though. They may require radical
surgery, like removing everything except one scene, but it can be done. Most of my
books were Not Working for a long time before they started working.
Okay okay! I have a new plan. From now on, this site is all about
ASK MAX!, where people like you post random questions and I post back.
This should be a big improvement over the current situation where I
wonder if there are any topics that someone needs my opinion on and decide no.
BUT WHY NOT JUST DO THAT ON TWITTER, MAX, you ask. Good question. The
answer is: this is my site, crafted with my own bare hands,
and one day Twitter is going to become totally commercial and everyone will be like,
“Ugh, I hate Twitter but now I’m trapped there,” and I’ll be all,
HAHAHAHA. Although I’m probably still going to use Twitter, too. I just
don’t want to live there.
So quick update on what I’ve been up to lately! Mostly I’ve been writing
many different books that kind of suck. That’s less fun than it sounds. I’ve been
trying to fix this in various ways, such as closing down all social networking until I
got it right. I don’t know if that helped. It may have made things worse. But anyway,
I found a story. And I’m pretty deep into it now and it’s failed to die so I’m
a thousand times happier with writing than I’ve been in a long while. So that’s good.
Another thing I’ve been doing is making a computer game. WHAAAT. Yes. I have.
I actually can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. Computer games are story-writing plus programming.
I love those things. They’re basically all I’ve done since 1999.
And this has been turning out unexpectedly well. I don’t know when it will
be ready to show and in the meantime I’m going to keep quiet on what it’s actually about,
just like I do with novels, so… yeah. This is a content-free kind of update.
That’s it. Please hit me with questions via the super-cute speech bubble on
the site front page. And I’m sorry for going silent for so long!
Especially to you guys who have been with me for years and years. You are a big part of what
has made my life and career so rewarding. Please forgive me for going off alone until
I could find something good enough for you.