10 Life Lessons: “Pump Up the Volume” Edition

This top ten list is brought to you by request and, hell, I’m happy to do it. If you haven’t seen Christian Slater’s turn as Hard Harry (or Happy Harry Hard-on), then stop reading this and go. This post will still be here when you get back, and the themes thrown at you like fastballs in “Pump Up the Volume” are so important that you can’t miss it, since they’re just as relevant today as they were then.

The movie came out 1990, and it spoke to those of us in high school at the time. Everyone has a voice, everyone deserves a basic education, and we treat our younger generation like shit (mostly). I’m a parent, and I know I don’t give my teenager enough due credit. Not only for his thought processes, but his feelings and opinions. “Pump Up the Volume” encapsulates all that, and more, in what, and hour and forty-five minutes? I’ve said enough, but for now, talk hard…


10) “And then one day I woke up, and I realized I was never going to be normal, so I said, ‘Fuck it.’ I said, ‘So be it.'”

09) “I say do it. I don’t care what, just do it. Jam me, jack me, push me, pull me, talk hard.”

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08) “Feeling screwed up at a screwed up time in a screwed up place does not necessarily make you screwed up.”

07) “I like the idea that a voice can just go somewhere, uninvited, and just kind of hang out like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind.”

06) “So I don’t really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally exhausted decade where there’s nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to.”

05) “Being a teenager sucks! But that’s the point, surviving it is the whole point! Quitting is not going to make you strong, living will. So just hang on and hang in there.”

04) “It’s begins with us, not with politicians, the experts or the teachers but with us. With you and with me. The ones who need it most. I gotta believe, with everything in me, the whole world is longing for healing.”

03) “Just look in and I will be there waving out at ya, naked wearing only a cock ring…”

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02) “I’m sick of being ashamed. I don’t mind being dejected and rejected, but I’m not going to be ashamed about it.”

01) “Do you ever get the feeling that everything in America is completely fucked up?”

Fivers for Dialogue

Hello, and welcome back! I keep saying that because I keep not posting things to the blog here. I keep striving to do better, you know, since this is like the one place I can get my mom to read anything I write. And then, most of the time, she just shakes her head and wonder what the hell I’m doing.

(That’s okay, mom, I wonder the same thing, trust me.)

Now that this intro is a bit long, let me get right to it. I’m going to start dropping some Fivers on you. Fivers, Chris? What in the… Fivers will be short, quick posts that convey the top five reasons for something related to writing or the process of writing. Today is dialogue!

  1. Dialogue advances the plot. Information is conveyed between characters when they speak. One example where this comes into play is when one character lies to another and a character acts upon that lie.
  2. Dialogue develops your characters. You see, the right dialogue provides emotional insight. Is your character angry and throwing out curse words? Are they upset and providing one word, clipped answers to big questions? Dialogue further develops your character by supplying details: does your character use the word muggle? They’re probably a Harry Potter fan. Does your character reference supporting the second amendment? They’re probably with the NRA.
  3. Dialogue conveys information without the need for long, protracted prose. Basically, dialogue helps you avoid the dreaded info dump. It can provide details on a character’s physical look or the environment.
  4. Dialogue provides a fertile garden for the use of subtext. You know, subtext, the undertones, the things that aren’t said. Imagine all those holiday dinners where everyone is smiling and laughing and tearing each other apart while doing so. Good times, but that’s what dialogue does.
  5. Finally, dialogue increases the pace of your story. A lot of writers think they’re not really writing if their work is dialogue heavy. This is a falsehood. You increase the white space and create “page turners,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least, as long as your dialogue is sharp and interesting.

I’m always up for comments, so leave me some! Until next time, Brownies!