All the ways you can shoehorn politics into your book

Hello!! After my post yesterday, I thought it might be fun to talk about all the ways you can (and some of the ways I’ve seen) shoehorn politics into books- enjoy!

Usual *disclaimers* that this is satire and should not be taken too seriously applies…

First and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room: Donald Trump is ORANGE- and there’s no way that joke’s been overused- so make it at least five times. For no reason. Preferably with cheerleaders over lunch. Because cheerleaders are very politically engaged.

orangutan and trump

Yeah laugh it up… but all us orangutans are *offended*

While we’re at it these high schoolers are having a normal conversation and then BAM *moralising*. It’s been a lonnng time since I’ve mentioned this but you can and you must *insert the most banal opinions* into dialogue. Preferably something that virtue signals just how on message the author is and strawmans the opposing view. My favourite is the good, old-fashioned “war is bad”. You can follow this up with “yes, but it’s necessary”, then “but it’s b-a-d”. Etcetera, etcetera, until the bell tolls.

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Well done, have a pat on the back

Oh look, your character has litter- and you know what that means don’t you… GLOBAL WARMING (of course there are several stages in between, but who cares, what is science anyway) And you know when I’m reading a fluffy teen romance, I want to be reminded that the polar ice caps are melting. Please, tell me more. Time for a page long monologue while they walk the halls…

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Remember: “catch it, bin it, kill it”- put that on your book’s tagline 😉

Now your character is sitting in class. Perfect time for some internal thoughts! Perhaps akin to: “Something, something, red button, something something, we’re all gonna die… oh is that a hot guy! Never mind.” That’s called stream of consciousness and it’s for only the smartest writers!

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BREXIT (there’s no punchline, just put that in and leave your reader to squirm)

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Also, the teacher gets to use their lesson as a soapbox for their political views- YAY MORE MORALISING! (actually this happens … I don’t know why I’m being so sarky about books for, they’re kinda just representing the politicisation of everyday life- which means all of the above is actually just representing real life- which makes me wonder WHAT THE HELL is happening in the real world arghhhh)

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Annnd that’s all I have for now! What other ways do you think politics can be shoehorned into a book? Let me know in the comments!

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Worst Fantasy Novel Plan- EVER!

*Lovingly made for all fantasy fans*

Ever wonder how cliche fantasy books get written? Well wonder know more, because this is the ultimate guide for writing the WORST fantasy novel imaginable! Enjoy!

pathetic fallacy sad-face-doctorBefore we get started we need a prologue about *mysterious forces* at work. It must be overladen with plenty of pathetic fallacy- make sure that wind roars and rain falls- you set that tone! Please note that this can’t have any actual bearing on the plot, because that would be daft. Instead, let’s flashback 10000 years, before the dawn of mankind, to where a magical talking rook-creature-thing lived. There- that seems sufficiently random and obscure. Now we can forget all about that and get to the actual plot…

*****

Welcome to the village of Farplace where nothing ever happens and say hello to this random farmhand Nut M Portant (Nut for short). He doesn’t have many hobbies, except horse riding, being the only person around who practices sword fighting with a staff, and visiting the old guy with the long white beard who lives on the edge of the village (watch out- he’s gonna be important). Also he spends a lot of time complaining how bored he is.

bored

wargBut then!- lo and behold- something dark and evil and wolflike (but with a human voice for convenience sake) comes to the village late at night and kills the Nut’s father, who, with his dying breath tells him to go to the old guy for help. It turns out that old guy is an important wizard known as The Last Wizard Standing (didn’t see that plot twist coming, did you?).

Yet Last Wizard is not feeling particularly helpful right now. He sends Nut on his way *immediately* without giving him any information or guidance, just an old sword.

Also at the same time an elven woman with an unpronounceable name (something like llwellgenlle). She’s from an order of Only Women-No Men Allowed (seriously keep out!) comes to the village seeking the slayer of the wolfthing (shall we just call Swargs- from the old tongue title meaning It’s A Warg- and be done with it?) She’s totally not allowed relations with ANY MAN- which means she’s perfect for a prospective love interest.

sword fightingNut runs into said love interest just as he’s coming out of Last Wizard’s hut. He is instantly struck by her beauty. Conveniently- for the sake of the plot- a Swarg pounces just as they cross paths- but Nut really easily smites the beast! (very important to note here Nut’s amazement as he’s never handled anything more than a practice sword before). The female falls into his arms in a swoon.

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“Hail fair maiden, I thee help!” he says to her (note: always mess up the syntax for conversations- we don’t want the dialogue to be too comprehensible).

She responds in her native tongue (he understands- naturally- even though till now he’s only spoken “common”- keep up!) (any and all translations must be done by the reader using the helpfully provided dictionary in the glossary)

“Ah fair maiden!” Nut goes on in common, for the reader’s sake. “Never fear- I have thee saved, thou wilst now be my love interest and have no need to speak at all, except for the occasional incomprehensible word, you are most welcome.”

Last Wizard comes out of his house and applauds. “That was all a test- congratulations!- you’re not dead- that means you passed!”

Yay! That’s a relief, isn’t it? As we let that sink in, Last Wizard explains that he has some very important information (though he’s shaky on the details cos *reasons*) pertaining to a quest because of a prophecy that he can’t remember the exact details of…

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“Prophecy? What prophecy?” Nut asks, emboldened by Last Wizard Standing’s words.

“Prophecy- oh er- mumble bumble… Yes it’s important… but I think the soup’s burning…”

Okay so that’s enough explanation. I think it’s a good time for the Priestess/Elf/Love Interest to announce she was looking for him too- so she’s joining the quest as well. And it’s probably a good time to infodump about why she thinks it’s important to save the world- something about the trees talking and the origins of Village Farplace came and some crucially-non-crucial stuff about magical creatures… (be sure to include as much of your world-building notes as possible here- you never know how many opportunities you’ll get and you must make the most of every. single. one.)

so damn bored

wizardAlrighty then, time for the quest! Make sure to bring this forgetful wizard along for the ride, but make sure he forgets anything expedient when asked and only use his powers when you’ve written yourself into a particularly tight scrape you can’t get out of with logic (it happens). You now have the perfect plot-foil. You’re welcome 😉

Where are we going? Who knows! How long will it take to get there? Doesn’t matter! Just make sure to include these landmarks on the journey:

  • A secret cache of weapons in a not-at-all well-hidden tomb (make sure to describe weaponry and helms in excruciating detail)
  • A very beautiful, peaceful place they can rest (but not live in permanently) that’s home to the elves- preferable to visit after a run-in with some more swargs and norcs (not orcs- keep up!)

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  • An inn where they drink yummy yummy mead (actually I have had this at a fair once and can confirm it’s pretty darn good, so I get why people in fantasy drink it now, but I digress…)
  • blanked out writingA place where “natives” live- description is blanked out for offensiveness (no I didn’t actually write this bit, what do you take me for?) Here they learn important *lessons* they never thought they would from *insert ambiguous term* people.
  • You can also pad out this section with creatures like: A dragon with a hoard, some friendly dwarves, sex goddesses, a thieves guild, a rebellion, goblins, riddlers, ents, basically anything from Tolkien you’ve not managed to rip off yet.

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Please insert intermittent exposition because, as the author, I’ve done all this work on the world building and you need to hear all of it damn it!

mordorFinally they arrive in scary, scary Ochaye- which is supposed to be the villains’ lair, but this early into the story you’ll only get a projection of him. We have the opportunity to drop lots of very mysterious truth bombs like “I killed your parents… something… lost prince… something something… chosen one.”

That sort of thing- make sure it whets the appetite, but doesn’t actually reveal anything too expedient this early in the story. Oh- did I mention- this is obviously going to be the start of a series (of an indeterminate number of books). But don’t worry- you won’t get a sequel for years cos this is a fantasy… Annnd I’m leaving it there.  The projection of the baddie disappears in a cloud of smoke. I’m sure I’ll continue this one day, but in typical fantasy fashion I’m gonna go focus on writing something else now. (Maybe an anthology of all the backstory I couldn’t squeeze in…)

Voila- you now have a terrible fantasy novel! Leave it for three years, let your readers stew, and come back when they’ve lost interest. 

The disingenuous fantasy blurb

Alrighty then- it’s Sunday! The end of another week! And last week we learnt two things… 1) I like fantasy (okay we already knew that) and 2) I can be a bit lousy about keeping up with my blog (okay we knew that too, so really we learnt nothing). This post was consequently inspired by this simple equation:

Fantasy + Lousiness = Lousy fantasy

So without further ado here is my disingenuous fantasy blurb:

Read this book- I swear there will be dragons in it. The title is vaguely dragon related after all (what did we name this in the end? Fire-flaming-dragon-wings or something…?)

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Also magic- expect magic- and lots of it. (Although this will mostly be in the form of staring mysteriously into fires and errr no one having actual powers… but still…)

Plus we put TOLKIEN on the blurb just now… so now you have to read it to be considered a proper fantasy fan

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We’ve also made this a juicy *thousand pages*- 99% of which will consist of infodumps- so yay!!

And have I mentioned that there will be DRAGONS!!

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*Warning: will not contain actual dragons, just lizard people*

*Also, second disclaimer: don’t read if lots of walking gives you brain blisters*

Okay, hope you enjoyed that! Now I’m gonna try and do some blog hopping… wish me luck!

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Honest YA Dystopian Book Blurb

(Un)inspired by the subject of my last review, I decided to write my own Honest YA Dystopian book blurb- enjoy!

This is one hundred percent about important issues- sort of…

I mean there will be an end of the world plot… even though the world already ended before this book began… But who cares? The world can end twice, right?

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Plus- get excited cos we have not one, but several oppressive governments nested inside each other like a Russian doll (really this book is a bargain- that’s why it’s £9.99 for a kindle edition)

And don’t worry about Instalove- IT WILL BE INCLUDED- we know how much you love it. And expect plenty of staring at the main love interest to- *lots and lots of stares*- to convey all the *emotions*. We wouldn’t want this “love at first sight” thing to be subtle. Also, we know this is important to you as a reader, so THERE WILL BE NO LOVE TRIANGLE (until book 2)…

LOVE triangle of doom

You’ve probably read about ten (better) versions of this before- but ho hum, what’s an eleventh gonna hurt? So sit up and take notice- cos I swear this will not be as exciting as the Hunger Games or Divergent (nor will the protagonist be nearly as kickass, but the narrator will tell you she is on countless occasions)

Also, if this blurb makes you *in any way* afraid for the main character, don’t be! We all know corrupt systems of government are totally useless at stopping teenage girls and their hunky boyfriend(s).

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Annd that’s it- you’ll have to read the “book” to know more  😉 Hope you enjoyed that! 

A Critical Review of The Tiger Who Came To Tea

*Insert usual “this is satire” disclaimer here: sometimes my brain just comes up with this and I can’t be held accountable 😉 *

In times of Trump…

And of Brexit…

What we really need is to come together and invite tigers into our homes… to steal our food and make our water bills impossibly high…?

Wait a minute… I don’t think this book is actually being inclusive. In fact, I think The Tiger Who Came to Tea is actually bigoted propaganda for the BNP… or something…

Oh my goodness, Judith Kerr ran away from the Nazis to start her own genocide against tigers!!! This is racist bilge and we must burn it… Cos that worked out so many times before…

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#MakeCensorshipGreatAgain

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Oh boy- I just know I’ll get in trouble for this one- I really shouldn’t be allowed near children’s books, should I?

Most Pretentious Novel Plan Imaginable

Well hello again- as you can probably tell from my post the other day, I’ve been thinking a lot about pretentious books lately, and wondering what exactly drives a person to write one of these “I really, really want a Pulitzer” atrocities. And since it’s been a while since I made one of my novel plans, I figured I would get in the mindset of these literary crooks and write the Most Pretentious Novel Plan Imaginable!

*The Sitting Room*

(This doubles up as a wanky title and the place where all the non-action is about to go down)

dexter dalwood room

A group of middle class twats are all sitting around a sitting room waiting on the results of the trial of the century. Everyone is fidgety and on edge in such a way that gives away their chief characteristic:

The hostess, Ms Peters, is hovering around with the teapot, pressuring people into taking refills and sending silent messages with her eyes that they better not try to leave before she kicks them out- or so help her she will gossip about them all next time she goes to church!

The Vicar (who apparently lost all right to a name since becoming a member of the cloth) is leaning against the piano clearly trying to say “I can play more than just an organ!! For god sake, cheer me on as if it’s X Factor!!”

Mr Vanderwall is pretending to write something down, whilst itching the side of his nose and wondering if he can get away with a quick, sneaky pick- a look from his wife tells him he can’t.

Aforementioned Mrs Vanderwall (nee Lily Gatherer) is rolling a cigarette with one hand and lifting her skirt up with the other, in a way that says both how devil may care she is and how long it has been since she last had sex.

Mr Smarves is staring up said skirt.

Bill McBlanderson is just staring at the walls.

First plot point: a circular argument has just ensued between Mrs Vanderwall and Mr Smarves.

“But war is bad!”

“Yes, war is bad”

“But it’s bad”

“Yes, it is.”

“I said it’s bad!”

pg-tips-monkey-sustainability-v1Ok- this seems like enough plot for now- I think it’s time for a diversion: insert digression on tea for about ten pages (no, this post is not sponsored by PG tips, I swear). Mr Vanderwall- the writer character and therefore the hero- is drinking all the refills Mrs Jones offers because it makes him feel important and British. It also reminds him of the Cambodian Civil war, partly as he associates all tea with Asia (in a way that is inspired by post-colonial guilt, not racism) and partly because he’d just read the Killing Fields in the hope it would make good small talk, but realised now that this was not a good fashionable choice of book, because it was popular 30 years ago. He really should have gone into an indie book store and asked “what’s popular now and will make me sound smart if I read it”- that would teach him to go into second-hand…

*News broadcast cuts in* (fortunately interrupting this monologue)

Everyone gets nervous and excited- because finally something is happening in this damn plot:

Gloucester City Council finds Tony Blair guilty of littering… Dum dum dum!!

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*Chaos erupts!* Well, I say chaos- more like Bill McBlanderson falling off his chair, because Mrs Vanderwall batted Mr Smarves away as he went for a quick grope up her skirt, with a hiss of “not in public!”.

Annnd that’s it. The book ends in that nice anti-climactic fashion. Maybe with a random obtuse ending moralising that we are all “everything and nothing all at once”- ooh- sounds profound…

So will Tony Blair have to do community service for his crimes? Who know? I guess it’s just one of life’s unanswerable questions- since this is fiction and, like all pretentious books, there won’t be a sequel! Hope you enjoyed that!

The Great Thing About Hogwarts Houses… And Sorting British Politicians!

If there’s one thing I really like about Hogwarts, it’s the Houses system. What makes it different from, say, Divergent is that it is not just measuring your qualities, nor does it completely define you, but takes into account who you want to be most- it’s what makes it the perfect system. It’s how people perceive themselves, rather than what they are. And it’s why it makes sense to me that Peter Pettigrew was in Gryffindor and that Snape would identify himself with Slytherin. (It’s also why Dumbledore is right about sorting them to early- cos let’s face it, eleven year olds don’t always have a huge amount of self-awareness)

As you can see it’s an area that is ripe for discussion. Now since writing my review of Boris Johnson’s Churchill biography– partly looking into BoJo’s own character- I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with my friend a while ago where we started “sorting” British politicians into houses. I’d like to share some of my theories with you:

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I’d put Theresa May in Ravenclaw- she’s certainly a very capable woman

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I had a massive disagreement with my friend on where to put BoJo- but I chose Gryffindor- because I bet he’d ask the hat to put him there for sure. It’s not that I think he deserves to be, but that he wants to be.

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Nick Clegg would definitely get put in Hufflepuff- not that he’s especially loyal- but he’d probably like to think he is. Plus there’s no way he’s smart or cunning or bold enough for the other houses.

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No hesitation- Osborne would be sorted into Slytherin faster than you could say “by George!”- I think he’d actually beat Draco Malfoy’s record for how long it took the Sorting Hat to decide.

Jeremy Corbyn is, of course, a muggle 😉

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Sorry, sorry, I forgot, he prefers “Supreme Leader”…

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So what do you think? Do you agree with me? And- dare I ask- where would you place your politicians? 

(Meanwhile I’m looking forward to all the love I’m gonna get from Corbynistas 😉 )