Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idea for Book: the Serial Killer Methodology

The other day I had this thought:

You know how sometimes, in movies, serial killers leave clues for the cops that are composed of individual letters cut out from various publications and pasted on white paper so that the sentences become small, evil collages?

Imagine writing a book in which every sentence was taken from another book. Not literally cut from a book and pasted into a new book, but stolen in miniature deeds of plagiarism from other authors. One would have to plan the story very carefully ahead of time and then read and read and read in an attempt to find the right lines to carry the story forwards.

A bibliography could be appended, almost as long as the book itself, listing all of the sources from which the composition was drawn.

I think I might start with a short story, though, rather than expending the remainder of my life's hours on that project.


  1. This works really well in music. It came via reggae to hip-hop and dance music. Coldcut used it to magical effect, as did The Avalanches. Now there are crass mash-ups everywhere, few of which make musical sense.

    The technique was used by surrealists and lettrists. It was also used to good effect by Australia's greatest poset, Ern Malley.

    I think it would be excellent if you tried a blog post in this style!

  2. SB, clever thought. Stay posted... (or tuned, if you will, to put things in musical terms).