"Yes, this Charlie Trout [Really, Dan?] character. Now that guy's interesting, complex, a young Mephistopheles. Write from his point of view. Then you'd have a story." Dan complains that he would never write from the point of view of "Charlie," because he hates "that guy." Noah tries to explain that judging the character this way is a problem, which is true, but misses the larger point, which is that Dan still doesn't seem to have a grasp on what fiction actually is. The thing about fiction is that it's fictional. You don't have to worry about making it come from you, because from you is where it comes. You just have to worry about being honest, which you can do in a jail cell or a summer cottage or Dillard's or Wienerschnitzel as well as you can whilst getting a shot glass blown off your head by a stunted adolescent in love with his own dick, because honesty is not something that requires outside input. Unless you're Dan Humphrey and the "outside input" in question is the lobotomy he so desperately seems to want. "You think Capote got national acclaim for In Cold Blood by judging the murderers?" Dan's like, "Damn, I knew I shoulda blown him."
"Dig beneath the surface. Get into Charlie Trout's head. Find the character's humanity." I can't tell if Noah actually realizes how retarded Dan is and is outright telling him to exploit Chuck, or if he's giving Dan the good advice of how you should know the characters you write about, since they are parts of you. Dan makes a hilarious, truly insane face at the idea of discovering Chuck's humanity, which is not what he's being asked to do. Or is it? "We all have a secret. A writer's best tool is the ability to draw out a subject's secret and use it." (What? What kind of creepo-biographer-journalism-hybrid-rape-lit "writing" are they talking about? I am so confused by this conversation. It would seem that on the UES, "writing" "fiction" means exclusively the representation of thinly veiled nostalgic reminiscences from one's recent past using other people's pain as its engine, without regard to craft or personal insight. I don't think I would enjoy reading fiction on the UES.) "Okay, so I go back out there, I make him trust me, and find out his secret?" Apparently: "Be ruthless and bring me back a story with teeth!" Everything Noah says could be applied to actual writing, but he and Dan seem to agree that it's something else entirely. Is there no difference between Paris Review and TMZ anymore?