Monday, December 19, 2011

Laughs Abound

New York City — Reindeer Arrests Stir International Butter Crisis

The arrest last week of five reindeer by New York City police horses has brought the support of European dairy farmers and the opposition of Canadian Caribou attorneys.

The reindeer were arrested when they refused to help police horses with crowd control. Busy shoppers were bothering the horses with signs of, "Only the One Percent Can Afford Butter Cookies.”

The reindeer were read their rights and hustled off to Rikers Island stable before being rein arraigned.

A police horse veteran said through an interpreter that reindeer visiting New York should aid the civil control that keeps the city moving, especially for the top one percent of horses who qualify for extra hay and oats.

A spokeself for Thorsnowfall, Santa’s chief of staff, denounced the arrests. He said, “The reindeer were planning the new weight allowance demanded by air carriers for Santa’s sleigh.”

Those weight allowances were changed to dairy farmers. Thor said, “That does not help the 99 percent of people who believe in Santa’s giving.”

New carrier weight regulations were set into effect as a response for the dairy farmers in Europe who wanted to keep more butter in Europe and noticed that most extra weight came from carriera shipping butter to US gourmet stores that helped the one percent.

The news about the butter crisis has been noticed at National Public Radio, which broadcast a recent story about the butter crisis affecting Norwegians. The usual display of butter cookies for the holidays decreased to where butter hungry children sought friendly cows who would let them churn milk drops.

The Norwegian crisis extended to the border where people tried to smuggle Turkish butter through Finland and Russia. However, butter sniffing dogs at checkpoints threatened the smugglers as new teams of the agency Minimizing Emulsifier Liquids Taskforce (MELT) acted to stop the smuggling.

The US is considering forming such a MELT unit and adding it to the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

“Now all we need is another weapon, like the powerful butter knife to be added to the bureau,” said Norman Cloture, the ATF spokesman. “And people forget how hurtful those ice cream scoops can be when you bite on them.”

The European dairy farmers were appalled that reindeer would support the 99 percent because the farmers wanted help from the Santa faction. “When we succeed, everyone is better,” said Chloe Estarole, the butter spokeswoman.

Butter petitions were faxed to New York City in support of the horses’ decision to arrest the reindeer.

However, a Caribou lawyer from Qu├ębec, who specializes in reindeer civil rights, has traveled to New York with briefs signed by animal notaries that verify the reindeer right to have international status. “These are not nationals of New York or even the US,” said Ann Tler, the Caribou through an interpreter. When asked what she thought of the horses’ blatant display of force, she said, “Grunnn…blu.”

New worries abound as the smugglers arriving into Norway from Russia seem to be aided by the Russian Mafia who take some butter off the top to supply their illegal quantities of potatoes.

Russian bars are now opening in places as scattered as Oslo and New York where people can pick up butter in ounce bags to sniff at private parties. One Russian bar even specializes in offering butter on top of caviar.

The new income from the Mafia is leading to increased crime where the mob charges increased amounts from buyers. Those buyers then resort to crime by stealing Velveeta from convenience stores in the hope of creating new butter by free-basing at home.

The leading imprisoned reindeer, Vixen, promises to keep up the protest in Rikers until all US animals realize that if any one species can be imprisoned to support human greed, then all animal species are threatened.

Image courtesy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Words Come Alive

Conflict's Pacing

Your character enters the dark room, hearing the ticking of the bomb, ready to explode. But as we place our characters into the major conflict of the story, how do we blend the mini-conflicts? Who set the bomb could be one question. What prompted the character to a life of danger, or are more than two factions fighting, could be other questions.
These questions go beyond the writer who craves to build a story. These methods of analysis help anyone who views the news, faces daily stress or tries to solve problems.
Pacing the conflicts allows you to blend the mini-conflicts with the major obstacle so you can round out your story.

Three steps can help —
Link the mini-conflicts by thinking about the social, political, ideological, cultural, and economic forces in the major conflict.

Find a way to segment the time when the conflicts strike.

Find a way to segment the way the power is used in the story.

Let’s explore this with a hypothetical example. While the following comes from the world of fantasy, the concepts apply to any conflict — lover’s quarrel, court room drama, or health crisis. In this case, let’s have a protagonist who must prevent the Dark Lord from using some magic within a stone that enslaves people.
Link Major Conflict With Minor Ones Using SPICE.
Notice how SPICE can stand for Social, Political, Ideological, Cultural, and Economic forces. Those are forces that surround the character.
You could design a mini-conflict around the magical stones being held only by nobles or a member of a high caste elite, hence a social issue. However, the leaders of the society are the Quarry Masters who rule over the location of the stones. This could be the political issue. In the mix, you might have a requirement that only Shamans can give blessings for the use of the stones, which produces an ideological and cultural dimension. Then add to the blend the idea that the magic can only be found in rare stones, which supplies an economic factor.
¶ Segmentation Divides the Time.
You can add to the suspense of the conflict by setting a time frame on the protagonist. Break up the activity of the protagonist into solving mini problems on the path to the overall goal. 
Maybe the protagonist needs to prevent the enemy from seizing a key quarry and that means taking the character one week to accomplish. Within that week, other problems confront the protagonist. To start the process, the protagonist could be assisted by a Shaman where the priest’s blessings are necessary. That could take one day. On the way, the character needs to find noble support. That might demand him to side track his goals for two days. But the protagonist needs to warn some key quarry leaders and that obstacle could lead the person on a three day trip. All of this happens within that week where the character has to seize that one vital stone quarry.  
¶ Segmentation of Power in Magic
Divide the power in the magic so several factions have some control.
By segmenting the power, you can design twists in the overall conflict. Think about the possibility that the stones only work when held by nobles. But even those nobles need the Shaman’s blessing to work the magic. Maybe the stones fail when the necklace is chipped. Chip fixers become important even though they are low on the social hierarchy. Stone power could change to the opposite energy when the bearer is ill from herbs. Herb masters could be used by nobles to protect the power. Then necklace makers might harness a separate power that controls part of the magic.
In the combination of these steps, think about how the blending helps you create twists and suspense. One description or way is to think about a disaster-hope connection. Solve each mini obstacle by giving the character some answer to the overall goal. You can then take that answer and use it to create larger obstacles or new conflicts in upcoming scenes.