The Phantom Gourmet tries Salad Fingers

I started writing a Halloween short story and there’s a spirit creature that I realized is basically a cross between Salad Fingers and the Phantom Gourmet, a local restaurant review TV show that is a staple of those times when you just happen to be in front of a TV in Southern New England and it comes on. Here they are talking about a hamburger joint in New Hampshire, which I have actually been to:

And for a welcome counterpoint, here’s Salad Fingers:

As weird as it was to realize the origins of this particular character, I’m going with it.

Needless to say, I’m playing both videos at the same time for inspiration, but they’re being cancelled out by the 90s alternative being played at this Dunkin Donuts.

Here are a couple things I’ve learned about while doing worldbuilding research for Stars Fall Out:

The Roman month of Mercedonious. Learning more about the history of intercalation (inserting extra days into the calendar, such as in a leap year), provided the inspiration for me to fix a story problem. I have a section of Stars that, timing-wise, felt weird in relation to the rest of the story. I decided to run with the weirdness; I made them intercalated days called for on the authority of one of the Grand Oneiromancers. One of those “can you believe this law is still on the books?” kind of things.

I also learned how to convert between different number base systems. I’ve always thought it would be cool if we had a base 12 system rather than base 10, so I gave one of the cultures in my story a base 12 system, and another base 9. Now I’m trying to make it as hard as possible for them to change currency, which is adding some nice color to a scene in the bakery when a guy comes in with imperial money.

Also, history of the number zero. Unrelated, for my purposes.

This is the result of my hands-on plot-fixing session the other day. It led to me writing a scene I came up with twelve years ago, but hadn’t figured out how to write (in part because of Stars Fall Out’s long, weird history). I plotted and wrote it in an hour-and-a-half, and it’s improved two main characters, my worldbuilding for the city of Nirsuathu, and even the ending.

I slammed my laptop shut, wished Dunkin Donuts were more conducive to victory laps, then drove to work while blasting “Outsiders” by Franz Ferdinand, which is part of my Stars playlist, and is quite a bombastic song for representing a character who’s been stuck in Nirsuathu for months.

If I ever mention “going through a pack a day,” it will probably be in reference to index cards. I keep finding more uses for them.

Index cards, tarot cards, scissors, two rolls of tape, and two plot outlines, one for reading, and one for chopping into pieces.

It’s time to fix a plot problem.