The Battle of the Big One

The Battle of the Big One


A frustrated novelist/creative writing teacher has been working on his new novel for nearly 10 years, but he's had it with the project and with writing in general. He no longer wants to add to the noise of the universe.

He decides to destroy his final novel in a blaze of glory. Because it's on his computer, he can have an infinite number of copies and thus endless attempts at the perfect destruction.

Some of his students try to help him, others try to convince him to do otherwise, and one enterprising hacker tries to move the files to safety. All he's looking for is closure before quitting his job and moving to work at his brother's car lot to quietly live out the rest of his days.

But each increasingly elaborate attempt is increasingly meaningless. In the end, he realizes that no one cares if the novel does or doesn't come out and whether his destruction is amazing or bathetic hardly matters. So if it's all meaningless, maybe it's just as worth publishing as it is destroying. Or not. Who can tell?

What's going on with this project?

In addition to it being my first (and fairly uninformed) foray into dramatic writing — having already a decade of fiction and poetry writing behind me — my characters' motivations were simply too internal, and the stakes of the story, as I originally had them plotted out, were likewise far too internal.

If I were to revisit the concept, I would make the novel's destruction a less central component and the main character's relationship with his students and fellow teachers more central. Even the description above is far more dramatic than my original conception.

Appropriately for the premise, I have no idea where the last draft I wrote is located. After rebuilding the OST from memory, I feel like I could easily write a new draft that could be quite fun, if anyone ever expressed interest in my doing so.

The vibe I was after

  1. "Margot at the Wedding" by Noah Baumbach

  2. "The Squid & the Whale" by Noah Baumbach

  3. "Storytelling" by Todd Solondz

  4. "The Daytrippers" by Greg Mottola

  5. "Naked" by Mike Leigh

  6. "Henry Fool" by Hal Hartley

  7. "Oleanna" by David Mamet

  8. "Roger Dodger" by Dylan Kidd

The Official Soundtrack:

Like all of these early ones, this is partially reconstructed from memory but mostly revised. I "very cleverly" toggle between war anthems and protest songs that follow the protagonist's strife — is the plan going off the rails? is it going well? will he ever feel like he's free of the obligation to publish this bullshit novel?


  1. John Martyn - "Cocain"

  2. Clover - "Mr. Moon"

  3. Johnny Horton - "The Battle Of New Orleans"

  4. Leonard Cohen - "The Partisan"

  5. 2nd South Carolina String Band - "Hawks and Eagles"

  6. Bill Fay - "Camille"

  7. Quicksilver Messenger Service - "Pride Of Man"

  8. Derek Warfield - "The Southern Wagon"

  9. Pentangle - "Light Flight"

  10. John Fahey - "Sunflower River Blues"

  11. Bill Fay - "Omega Day"

  12. Loudon Wainwright III - "Hollywood Hopeful"

  13. Rob Stenson - "La Joie Du Soldat / Dandelion River Run"

  14. Marty Robbins - "Ballad Of The Alamo"

  15. Donovan - "The War Drags On"

  16. Country Joe McDonald - "Kiss My Ass"

  17. The National Lutheran Choir - "The Battle of Jericho"

  18. Barry McGuire - "Eve Of Destruction"

  19. Jim Sullivan - "Roll Back the Time"

  20. Bob Dylan - "Final Theme"