02 April 2012

St. Louis Week: Gimme Gimme Gimme

Kicking off St. Louis Week on Shitstarter, we have this project, in which Robin Tidwell aims to raise money for a "new novel." That's all we get to know--not the title, not Tidwell's reason for soliciting money, not her previous work or lack thereof. The "About the Project" text appears to consist solely of the first few pages of the book, her survival-horror narrative's in medias res beginning.
     She took the phone call out in the hallway.
     “No names. It’s time. Are you okay?”
     “Yes. I’ll be taking the side roads.”
     “Good. Someone needs to be picked up. See you soon. Good luck.”
     Abby tapped her Bluetooth and disconnected. She stepped back into the locker room and cautiously peered around the corner. The office at the far end of the room had the curtains pulled shut tightly; she knew what that meant. She closed her eyes for a moment, saying a prayer, but only for a moment. It didn’t pay at all to be unobservant.
Two lines into this novel and I'm already confused. Who is talking? Who is listening? Who is the antecedent of that first word, she? I suppose it's Abby, but I don't learn that until four lines later. What's an office doing in a locker room? Not only does Tidwell make St. Louis look bad by not saying so much as please when she asks total strangers for money to write her novel, she can't write her way out of a locker-room. (My confusion about speakers and spatial relationships is almost enough to make me ignore the gratuitously adverbs and the product-placement. How sad is it when a brand name is the most vivid detail in a novel's opening?)

Not pictured: anything related to this new novel.

Furthermore, Tidwell has not bothered to supply us with an image that tells us anything about this novel. The above photo shows some old books, but look at the spines. These are reference books, not novels. The image gave me an idea: maybe the author had Googled some lazy phrase like "old books" and used one of the first few hits as the image for her Kickstarter page. So I tried it. I did a Google image search for keywords old and books, and the above image was the fourth hit.

I've seen Kickstarter pages that stunned me with their egregious writing, or their Hindenburg-explosions of fonts, or nine-minute promotional videos shot in mop closets, but I have never seen one that took less work and care.


  1. Ten days to go and no funding, that's rough for someone with 829 friends. Ouch.

    1. They don't like her opening lines either.