*schmackting = using hackneyed and uninteresting tricks to suggest the image of a performance; acting in a self-consciously actor-y way, focusing on the creation of an image of the performance rather than the telling of the story. Here, referring to leaning on lazy and cliched writer tricks to suggest the image of an insightful and engaging story; writing in a self-consciously writerly way, focusing on the creation of an image of the writer, rather than the telling of the story.
**See also: Claire Danes' chin, David Caruso's sunglasses, Meryl Streep's accent in August: Osage County, Eddie Redmayne's Stephen "Danger" Hawking: International Man of Mystery, and anyone who has ever panted while delivering an angry monologue, unless that person is delivering an angry monologue while angrily running an ultramarathon, having angry/athletic sex, or walking up a flight of stairs with a box from Amazon that YOU KNOW was there when Ryan got home and he just decided NOT to carry it up.
I'm not going to embarrass myself here with a list of MY tricks...
(cough cough references to 90's pop culture
cough cough bringing things full circle
cough cough repetition of the same phrase throughout a piece in an attempt to make the voice of the piece consistent, or give structure to what would otherwise be a rambling link of nonsequitors
(cough cough, for example)
cough cough connecting an everyday occurrence to something surprising, outrageous, and visceral
cough cough line breaks line breaks so many line breaks
cough cough go to the doctor before you bruise a rib this is ridiculous
cough cough you sound like Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday
cough cough except not as sexy
cough cough you remember when Val Kilmer hacked up blood for 2 hours with Kurt Russell
cough cough in the 1993 MTV MovieAward-nominated film Tombstone
cough cough OH GOD
cough cough OH GOD NO
cough cough I'VE GONE FULL CIRCLE
cough cough TO A 90's POP CULTURE REFERENCE
cough cough HELP ME)
... but suffice it to say, Claire Danes' chin ain't got shit on me.
Like so many (if not all) writers, I'm just waiting for someone to ask, "how can you be a writer when you are not a good writer?"
When I don't write often, and therefore write schmackty crap once a week, it feels like I've opened a stable for the horses of the apocalypse.
In an attempt to cut my own shit, I'm going to blog every day for a month. See if that doesn't shake loose the cobwebs and help me remember how to tell a fucking story already.
See you every day from now until April 28, suckas.