Ingredients for making the VERY BEST main character!

Lately I’ve been wondering what does it take to get a load of random character traits, stir them altogether, shove them in the oven and see what comes out… Because this is the year of baking metaphors 😉 In all seriousness… this post isn’t very serious 😉 (I just wanted a fun way to talk about some character tropes I don’t like). Okay time to look at the ingredients…

Let’s start with a dusting of special snowflakery. A main character has to be good at everything… otherwise how will you know they are the main one? The best way to achieve this is to have them be the best from the very beginning (but they don’t know how great they are) because if you leave them to ferment, they might simply explode in the process! No, better to just get an instant mix of perfection. Never have them be vulnerable; always give them every ability in your world. There should be nothing they can’t do- because is the point in side characters if you can’t outshine them and how else will your readers know your mc is a badass? What’s that you’re saying? You want flaws? Oh well, if you insist…

Make them clumsy! You don’t want your character to have any character imperfections (that they can work on) so instead give them two left feet! And make sure they trip over at every opportunity. Have them be uncoordinated to the point of it being baffling, causing genuinely life-threatening scenarios. Don’t worry- this won’t come across as slapstick, because you will have a love interest darkly berating them for nearly getting everyone killed over an untied shoelace. Speaking of which- introducing…

The love-interest-appendage. This entirely makes up for your main character having no personality. This love interest should be moody, speak only in grunts, but be impossibly hot. Not sounding exciting enough? Never fear! When in doubt, make two love-interest-appendages! (this will be useful later!)

And if you need these characters to do something together or bond in anyway, you can just have them be pretentious. They can do things like recite “memorised” verses back and forth. Just pages and pages to fill with someone else’s words- because that’s how you hit the big word counts! Thus you have now given them “obscure” interests that no one else has- which is especially good if you have a female lead, cos then they are conveniently…

NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS! Oh wow- who doesn’t love this trope? This character doesn’t like “normal” girly things like clothes and makeup, cos they’re just so cool and unique. One of my favourite things to include in this trope is having them be bitchy about all other female characters- especially ones who have boobs you envy or blond hair or (*OMG*) boobs and blond hair!! Because girls that have features you envy deserve your ire and this teaches teen girls really healthy messages about how they should treat other women. Also don’t have them be friends with other women- paha! No way is this possible when there is man candy on display. Let them all claw each other’s eyes out- that’s a fun form of conflict. And on the topic of bitchiness…

Your protagonist should be nice-ty. Aka they are really quite nasty, but somehow they believe (and everyone around them believes) they’re a saint. And here’s where that love triangle gets realllly useful- because you can have them cheat on their significant other, emotionally and physically, all the while having other characters saying how sweet they are and how they’re only in this predicament because they’re so nice (barf). Who knew this dilemma came from a place of pure goodness? I’m telling you, this book is going to teach so many *positive* messages.

And when in doubt, you should add some telling into the mix. Make sure to have other characters tell how clever the main character is for instance. Don’t have them problem solve a complex test or put them in challenging situations they have to get out of- just put in that they’re a certified genius and your reader is sure to believe it!

Plus, you can blend in the fact that they’re a plain jane (/plain john). And yet everyone is falling over themselves for their god/dess-like features. Weird that!

Also, add a pinch of bad parenting. Now, I say a pinch, because I don’t just mean removing the parents from the story altogether or an example of abuse. I mean, they should be non-absentee absent parents. I know a lot of people complain about dead/missing parents- so you know what’s better? A parent that’s *right there*… buuut completely ineffectual. Somehow they managed to bring up a child to near adulthood, not letting them run into traffic etc, but at the last hurdle they seem to have just taken their foot off the brakes and don’t seem to care whether their teen lives or dies. Smart.

Mix it all together and what do you get…

Bella Swan!

Okay, just kidding! But it’s pretty close! Do you agree with me here? What ingredients would you add? Let me know in the comments!

How to (Try to) Edit a Book #LikeABoss

am writing

Hello everyone! I think we’re technically in the middle of another camp nano? (hard to keep track to be honest- what is time anymore…) And I’m currently completely failing trying to do a readthrough of one of my WIPs, so I figured now was the perfect time to pass on my (*ahem*) wisdom to other people 😉

I know people have been dying to get some good tips from me over the years… And, well, these may not be that good, but they’re technically tips 😉 I will admit I’m also drawing on my subjective experience (my openings tend to start out pretty weak, so I put a lot of focus on those). Nonetheless, I think other writers could probably distil something of use from this anyway… or else get drunk on my stupidity 😉

Apart from the occasional episodes of weeping, which I’ve left out to save time, this is pretty much my process:

witches over cauldron hocus pocus

Step 1: Pour blood, sweat, tears into a cauldron, bring to a boil, gently simmer for a few years, then pull your deformed baby manuscript out AKA WRITE THE DAMN FIRST DRAFT!

narnia cupboard

Step 2: Shove this little beastie out of sight- it’s not ready to see the light of day! It may protest and bang on the floorboards for attention, but don’t worry, this isn’t book abuse (that comes later). This is just a temporary arrangement for both your sakes.

hug a book

Step 3: Bring your book baby out again after a few weeks/months (when its incessant nagging for attention finally gets on your last nerve). Rock it back and forth in your arms. Try crooning a lullaby in its ear as you open that first page for a quick reread…

monster book of monsters

Step 4: NOPE! That was a bad idea! You were completely wrong to describe this as a baby; IT’S A FRICKIN DEMON!!

don't panic

 

Step 5: Okay don’t panic (and don’t stab it through the heart with a stake and sense this evil creature back to whence it came… as tempting as that is, even baby monsters deserve life). As much as you might wish you’d aborted this project earlier and daydream of other projects, this is a living breathing thing making guttural noises in your arms and you’ve got to take some responsibility. You grit your teeth and make your biggest (human) sacrifice, rereading it from beginning to end and making notes of all the (terrible, terrible) flaws.

really long list 2

Step 6: Well, that wasn’t as bad as you thought… it was worse. The list of problems is as long as an immortal life and you think this thing might be possessed by the devil… but as they always say, the first draft is the hardest part, right?!

drum fingers

Step 7: At this point you *drum* your pen on the desk, tapping out solutions to all the problems (you created) in morse code. For some reason, this is soothing.

think pen write

Step 8: Miraculously, you begin to answer the questions you posed in your notes and now, look at that, you’re brainstorming!

grave robbing

Step 9: Alrighty then, it’s time to slay the beast resurrect this manuscript from the depths of hell. You plan to begin on the biggest issues (no point trying to cover up the boils when the heart of the story is on the outside of the body and oozing blood). *Crack your knuckles* and get to work!

chaos

Step 10: Skip around the manuscript at random picking out flaws, then switch to chronological editing intermittently (this is the part of the editing process I like to call THE CHAOS). Also, work on that horrible opening!

focus

Step 11: Okay *focus* now- you can get through the other major edits.

read-fast

Step 12: Reconfigure some major plot points, focusing on consistent character arcs and smoothing out the narrative (and other writerly things).

squirrel attention span

Step 13: Get distracted by some simple issue with the prose (that you really shouldn’t be worrying about at this stage).

highlighters

Step 14: Just keep nit-picking and tell yourself typos are obviously the biggest issue you have to deal with (it may not be true, but it’s comforting).

monkey typewriter

Step 15: Time to tinker with that opening again!

lord of the rings writing gif

Step 16: While you’re at it, work on the ending.

solve crime

Step 17: Find that flaw in the middle that’s been bugging you and brainstorm a million ways to change it.

writing

Step 18: Rewrite entire chapters

delete cybermen

Step 19: DELETE! DELETE!!

not a great plan

Step 20: Realise you’ve made a TERRIBLE MISTAKE. Go back to original plan and try and bring the old version back to life!

hide monster

Step 21: Abandon dead idea and quit while you’re ahead! Time to shove this beastly being (that’s looking more deformed than ever) back where no one can find it!!! Quick!!

Congratulations- your book is now a corpse of its former self you have successfully edited your book!

Now just wait a few months until you have to do this all again!

How to write an important book!

Hello all, I have a very *ahem* serious post today about how to write some serious fiction! Usual disclaimer: this is for humour purposes and not to target any particular book/author (funnily enough, while I did draw on bits and pieces I don’t like in fiction, writing this actually made me think that *thankfully* most books dubbed “important” do none of these things). Also, a lot of this is based on my own personal likes/dislikes. Thank you for your understanding in this matter 😉 Now, onto the guidelines!

you choose

#1 Choose a suitable genre– your options are: contemporary, historical fiction, dystopia annnnd that’s it.

 

 

opinion toy story meme

#2 Find a topic that’s on trend and run with it! Make sure it matches up to whatever’s on various manuscript wishlists, because you know, this isn’t really about writing your ideas, it’s about parroting whatever *important people* think. *Do not* choose something close to home or write from any personal experience. If you run out of time to publish this grand idea before the trend dies- never fear, you can just recycle it later! For instance, if you were writing important historical fiction a few years ago, you could’ve gone with the secretly sympathetic Nazi trope- but now you may have to adjust that idea to… some seriously sympathetic Stalinists! (just my prediction for the next trend- you’re welcome! 😉)

reading#3 Loosely research this topic. You don’t want to interfere too much with your preconceived ideas, so don’t do actual research or find data that might muddy the waters. Ignore information that may contain nuance or will make readers uncomfortable (for this reason, I seriously recommend not looking into any kind of psychology or history or the like). Go with popular media takes- then you should be safe from criticism, cos all the people who might evaluate the book already hold the same opinions anyway. I recommend using Buzzfeed as your primary source- that should suffice.

strawman

#4 Moralise! This is my favourite step, because it’s so gosh-darn-easy and oh-so-satisfying! This should involve (but is not limited to): strawmen, pointlessly obvious statements (eg “war is bad”), contradictory ideas, invasive authorial intrusions, a heavy dose of nihilism (if you can manage it), irrelevant information and some illogical arguments. Remember, your view (and that of the powerful people you’re parroting) is the only one that matters!

 

 

character conveyor belt#5 Make all your characters walking stereotypes and tokens! This is great, cos you don’t actually have to put in the work to make them seem remotely realistic. On that note…

 

listen to me#6 Characters are merely mouthpieces for the author’s intent– so don’t you forget it! At every opportunity, put your own (stolen) words into their mouths. The more inane, the better!

 

 

 

doesnt matter#7 The more important a book is, the less the plot matters… so don’t bother to have one! I know I just love reading a book and realising that nothing actually happened for 400+ pages- so this is the model you should work with!

 

drama#8 Add plenty of nonsensical melodrama (nothing says serious like melodrama!). Try to have the emotional range and logic of a hyper, high on sugar, possibly caffeinated five-year-old- that should do the trick. Especially since everyone knows unrealistic is better (personally, I love that Hollywood trope where the unarmed plucky rebels run at a group of armed, evil soldiers and miraculously disarm them- peacefully of course!)

 

i'm awesome#9 I had a think about style and came to the conclusion… it doesn’t matter if you use an extreme version of pared down or purple prose- just as long as you tell other writers this is the *only* way to do it! Prescriptive advice is the best and the most important writers are really into it- so you should be too!

 

closing argument#10 Your ending is super important– use this as an opportunity to moralise more and drive home whatever message you were going for!

 

 

I'm offended#11 Get sensitivity readers to check that your work is sensitive enough for every person on the planet– because it is totally possible to write a book that everyone relates to/loves/doesn’t have problems with (and because there has been no case *ever* of a book going through this process and being cancelled anyway… oh wait, that’s the case with most cancelled books, hmmm nevermind! Do this step regardless! Your job is not to think for yourself!)

 

sympathy#12 Write in your acknowledgements about a dead friend/relative/acquaintance whose real-life story you were inspired by– preferably naming them- so that you can milk sympathy on their behalf. This doesn’t look tacky at all!

 

sarcastic sorry#13 Prepare an apology of sorts that you can put in as an introduction to make up for your lack of research. You can also pre-emptively say sorry on twitter for whatever you’ve written, whilst simultaneously self-promoting and virtue signalling! Look at you, killing three birds with one stone! (also, while you’re on twitter, try and destroy someone else’s career- this is both fun and will make people want to buy your books when the time comes! There are only loads of a few cases of this backfiring…)

***Congrats: you’ve written some propaganda an important book***

Now you can sit back and wait for people to admire your genius! You’re welcome!

(And yes, the observant reader will notice this doesn’t involve much writing- that is only for unimportant writers!)

How to DNF!

Every so often I come across a meh book and renew my promise to get better at DNFing… but I never do. That’s why I decided to realllly think about how I could improve! With a great deal of research (into fun gifs) I’ve managed to write a comprehensive guide- enjoy!

pick up book

Step 1: Crack open a book, hyped or otherwise, naively *brimming with excitement*

thinking monkey

Step 2: Realise “huh, this wasn’t as good as I thought it would be”

reading

Step 3: *Shrug shoulders* and keep reading- but this time with a growing sense of foreboding…

bored

Step 4: Feel the boredom growing.

mood reader2

Step 5: So. Much. Boredom.

read-fast

Step 6: *Start speed reading*, thinking that maybe it’ll get better, but begin to consider that this book may not be for you and perhaps you should just quit…

my everest

Step 7: But no! There must be a reason you picked it up in the first place! This must be your secret mission in life! You must PERSEVERE!! Continuing against the odds, you feel the weight of this uphill battle as you trek, page by page, deeper into this dreadful tome…

despair

Step 8: With a sinking feeling, you wonder will there be a light at the end of this tunnel…

light at the end of the tunnel

Step 9: …but there is only darkness…

think pen write

Step 10: You wonder if maybe you’re only reading on just so that you can write that stinking review.

agonise over decision I don't know what to do

Step 11: And if this is true, you realise it may not be the best reason to keep reading… yet still you *agonise over the decision* past the 30% mark…

throw book2

Step 12: Okay, that’s it, you’ve had enough. *Put the book down*

three hours later

Step 13: You stay strong for approximately three hours.

choose books2

Step 14: Then you cave and pick that bad boy up again!

pretending to read

Step 15: Ugh, you realise it’s worse than you remember.

throw books

Step 16: *Put that book down again*

hide homer abandon

Step 17: Leave said book on your bedside table for approximately three weeks.

stare shiftily

Step 18: Eye book, thinking “maybe I’ll try it again”.

put book back on shelf

Step 19: Quietly put book back on the shelf, promising yourself this is not the end…

unhaul books

Step 20: …except it kind of is, because you’ll never pick that book up again until three years have passed and you’re looking for something to unhaul. You think to yourself “maybe I was wrong about it”, but nah, it’ll look better in an unhaul photo than a review… and so you announce on your blog that you never finished it and never will!

thumbs up

*Congratulations you have successfully DNF’d

Lonely Hearts for Literary Characters

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, back when dating apps and websites weren’t a thing, there used to be Lonely Hearts adverts in newspapers. And I don’t know what it was about this format that made it inordinately funny, but those snappy little sales pitches always used to get me going. So that got me thinking- what would some fictional characters’ adverts be like? This is obviously a post designed to be taken very seriously indeed 😉

jeremy fisher

Jeremy Fisher– elderly gentleman, likes fishing. Insects are my passion and my dinner. Hopping to live in the Lake District.

little mermaid

The Little Mermaid– Danish singleton, just searching for my voice and to be part of your world. Likes long walks on the beach. Excellent swimmer.

voldemort

Voldemort– charming chap, with distinctive features. Wizard in the bedroom (and everywhere else). Favourite song: who wants to live forever. Very attached to pet snake. I will choose you Potter

dracula

Count Dracula– nobleman from Transylvania. Seeks another future spouse to be eternally by my side. Loves: hosting guests, sordid affairs, black capes, bats, drinking (blood). Dislikes: mirrors, stakes, garlic, daylight.

smaug

Smaug– smoking-hot, feisty bachelor. Will warm the cockles of your heart (and set you on fire). Meat eater. LOVES GOLD.

cersei lannister

Cersei Lannister– killer queen, who likes to keep things in the family. Looking a tall, blond, handsome, twin-spirit that shares the same values and birthdate (hey Jaime, need a hand 😉 )

Dorian-Gray-pic

Dorian Gray– gosh I’m so beautiful, have you noticed how beautiful I am? I really am a marvel to look at (don’t go in my attic)

miss havisham

Miss Havisham– I have the wedding dress already (may need cleaning). Likes entertaining children. I will wait for you…

gollum

Gollum– my preciousssss… I wantsss you for myself…

bella swan

Bella Swan– teenage girl seeking elderly man for committed relationship… maybe, I’m not sure, *bites lip*. I might want to keep my options open (unless you want to kill me, then I’m game!). So bland you can project all your desires onto me. Likes very specific literature that I will contrive to fit my life/our relationship… Oopsie I fell over.

iago othello

Iago– very accomplished man, somewhat overlooked by those who should pay me respect. Prone to fits of jealousy. Seeks woman who can help with evil schemes.

scrooge

Ebenezer Scrooge– bah humbug! What is the point of celebrating our love for each other when there is work to be done? Then again, I seem to be haunted by my longings…

white rabbit

White Rabbit– I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!

unseen academicals

The Librarian– ook? *presents banana*

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you have any lonely hearts for literary characters to add? Let me know in the comments!

Woke by @TitaniaMcGrath is the most important book of our time

wokeWhat a STUNNING and BRAVE and MAGNIFICENT creature Titania McGrath is. It is an absolute pleasure to bask in her tweets that liberate us from reality and hear to her shrieking *ahem* spoken word poetry. We are all blessed to breathe the same air as her (except that we probably shouldn’t do that cos that is stealing air from minorities). We, the undeserving, are fortunate to merely be able to listen to this goddess of progressivism preaching how much better she is than us. Her wisdom is undeniable.

“It is no exaggeration to say I would rather be living in a Soviet gulag than a capitalist country”

Of course, it can come as no surprise that Titania experienced *horrendous* abuse from an early age, being brought up by wealthy parents and privately educated (the horror, the horror!). Worse still, she recently faced a twitter ban by the evil Nazi capitalist overlords over in Silicone Valley! I now thank my lucky stars that I have never experienced such inhumane treatment!

“That’s the wonderful thing about identity politics: you never have to explain yourself, or even develop your thoughts into what right-wingers call a “coherent argument””

Are we not all oppressed though? Titania teaches us that anything can be a form of oppression if shouted about loudly enough. I for one would love to share my invisible disability of extreme laziness but I’m afraid I’d have to get out of bed early to do that (#slovenlypride). But really, I recognise that my biggest obstacle in life comes from being a woman (obviously) and that even my cartoon depictions of myself are oppressed by the patriarchy (obviously) since no one recognises I’m a woman unless I put on a dress!

orangutan in dress

“When women are valued more than men, then and only then will we have achieved equality.”

Althoughhhh when I say everyone is oppressed, I’m not really talking about everyone. Straight white men don’t count. Even if they’re living in a dumpster, they have privilege. I mean, that goes without saying. I actually bought a copy of this book for my brother’s birthday because he needs to feel SHAME for being born male and having the audacity to stay that way. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson from our Great and Glorious Saviour, Titania McGrath! And on that note, given that I don’t have the power to award this book a Nobel Prize, I shall have to give it the equally prestigious award of 5/5 bananas:

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

Okay, I think I might have blown my cover by engaging in the imaginary free market with that endowment 😉 Of course, *disclaimer time*, this book and my review were satire. I’m afraid I must break character or you’ll all think I’ve gone totally bananas. Surprising as it may be, Titania McGrath is a fictional character invented by the hilarious Andrew Doyle. Having said that, if you’re worried about authenticity, this was replete with plenty of bonkers things real-live-people have actually said. Woke was an amazing antidote to some of the barmy media out there- I was belly laughing and chuckling throughout- so job well done! (and yes, I did actually buy this for my brother’s birthday and he thought it was brilliant too!)

Alright, did I fool you? Did you think I’d lost my marbles? Do you think you’ll pick this up? Let me know in the comments!

To the graduating class of whatever year…

graduating monkey

So, I was reading a book recently by an author that just so happened to get an honorary degree at my graduation and it brought back memories of that “auspicious” occasion. I thought I might recount what I remember of the Dean’s speech, for your amusement, since it left a distinct impression with me:

“Ah- what a charming but irrelevant non-denominational hymn we just heard from the obligatory choir. Greetings graduating class of… err wow is that the year already? Time really does fly by, but this speech won’t, so get comfortable!

“You are all people. You have all had- uh- experiences. Some of you, for instance, had cereal for breakfast. And if you did not have cereal for breakfast, you have probably had it at some point in the past. Unless you are a celiac- in which case I’m surprised you made it this far- just a joke! Just a joke! Please god, don’t get me fired!

My point being, I’m sure each of your journeys, while entirely dissimilar, ultimately bears some resemblances- however small. You have all raced, or in some cases strolled, to the finish line. Now you have arrived, I want you to take a long hard look in the mirror and feel proud. Or not. It is entirely up to you- this is in no way me harassing you to do something you don’t want to do.

I myself am incredibly proud to stand in front of a room of strangers and pronounce them all adults- except for the screaming baby in the back who is perhaps getting ahead of the game a couple of decades early? It was very nice to meet- err I mean mentor- you all.

Now I’d like you to queue up at the front to be boinked on the head with a mystical, space bonnet! (this is a real custom guys)

NB this was satire- *surprise*- so I have to say this wasn’t the actual speech read at my graduation- but it’s close enough 😉

And to anyone graduating this year, congrats! (and if you graduated once-upon-a-long-time-ago, give yourself a pat on the bat, cos there shouldn’t be an expiry date on self-congratulation 😉)

Hating on Fairy Tales: A Not-So-Serious Take on a Ridiculous Article

As much as I’d like to pretend that people don’t write pieces titled: “Five Reasons to Stop Reading Your Children Fairy Tales Now” this is a genuine title of a genuine article. I came across this gem while I was researching for my last piece and being a monkey I just couldn’t resist having my way with it. Rather than deconstructing all their ridiculous claims, I thought it would be far more fun to mock it *ahem* rewrite this piece for them in as honest a way as possible 😉 So *WARNING: INCOMING SATIRE and ALL THE SARCASM*. (If you’re looking for serious reasons I don’t agree with the article, maybe check out yesterday’s post 😉 ) Okay, with that out of the way, I’m heading each paragraph with their reasons to stop reading fairy tales and then I’m gonna respond- brace yourselves! 

monkey typewriter
Let’s get down to some (monkey) business…

  1. “Women are passive damsels that can only be saved by men”

swoon

Well firstly, it’s really important to note for the sake of all the following arguments CONTEXT DOESN’T MATTER. Okay, now that we’ve got that covered, I think it’s really important to ignore all attempts Cinderella makes to save herself- because when in doubt erase women’s agency in a story. Also, Rapunzel no longer stands up to the witch, Snow White doesn’t make it to the forest and Gretel watches as Hansel is roasted… This last one is really important, because as the article states, violence is always bad. This leaves us with the comfortable conclusion that female characters are weak if they run away (presumably cos all male characters in the history of ever have stood their ground- although a young/inexperienced male character running away is a trope… but ahh who cares about that right?) or they’re too violent if they fight back (aka like men). My favourite example of passivity of course is Belle from Beauty and the Beast- since sacrificing herself for her father and inspiring a change in her foe aren’t heroic in the slightest… hang on a minute… Err maybe we should move on?

  1. “Marriage is the ultimate reward”

marriage mawwiage

Never mind that Cinderella got status and power from her new role AND that she escaped her abusive relatives. Let’s also forget the fact that this is basically the equivalent of winning the lottery in Perrault’s days, cos context doesn’t matter and we want to teach people to be ignorant of the past. Also, let’s pretend that the Little Mermaid doesn’t die (*coughs* cos apparently the original version no longer exists *cough cough*) which is nice.  I’m so glad we cleared up that the symbolic representation for future life is *e-v-i-l*.

  1. “Lack of racial/physical/sexual diversity”

Because there’s no such thing as a fairy tale or folklore from the non-Western world. Gosh, I am so progressive… Oh wait. I forgot- other cultures exist- silly old me. But let’s just pretend that’s not a thing and criticise Europeans for being historically European- cos context can eat it. Also this is my favourite bit of the article: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that Disney princesses are beautiful, slim and more often than not, white”- cos it just goes to show that I think reading entails watching a movie. Take that book club!

throw books

  1. “Female characters are either bound to the home…”

All female character should strap swords to their backs and go off to their certain death- cos *context* doesn’t exist. But also fighting is toxic so the female characters can’t do that- which leaves me at a loss as to what would be an acceptable story? By the metric of the article, women can’t stay at home, but they can’t leave it to have “manly” adventures, they can’t get married (and we’re gonna cover a bunch of other stuff they can’t do in #5). So basically, are we saying that it’s probably better to just write about men cos then at least we won’t be able to criticise it into oblivion? Or are stories just bad in general? I get the feeling there isn’t an acceptable answer here.

it feels like a trap

  1. “Or they’re evil step mothers/sisters/witches- or fairy godmothers.

maleficent laughing

The point being that it’s not okay to portray women as good or bad. Pff- who needs complexity? I don’t think it’s okay to portray women as a binary- cos then people might get this crazy idea that women can be either good or bad. Then we might get something other than a Mary Sue for a main character- and no one wants that. We don’t want equality- only men should have the possibility to be either Prince Charming or the Wolf of the story- what we want, as women, is to be seen as the Angel (out of the house). What we want is flawless female characters that stroll into the story, take down all the men and then kick all the ass- is that so much to ask?

Also, moving on from the article, thanks to a few recent remarks by celebrities, I now know not to take food from strangers- OBVIOUSLY Snow White was subliminally telling me to take apples from people I don’t know, even if it kills me. Also, I do not consent to magical true loves kiss- never mind that this is fantasy and it kinda reminds me of mouth to mouth resuscitation- LALALA NOT LISTENING!!

Alrighty then- I think I might have offended enough people for one day- see you all in the next post 😉

Books that are just cat propaganda

*Attempt at humour alert- take this post seriously at your own peril!*

cats and dogsSince that incredibly note-worthy film Cats and Dogs was released, the fact that cats not-so-secretly want to rule the world has been exposed for us all to see. Well, I posit the theory that cats have an even greater agenda! Cats are ever-present in books and their oft sympathetic portrayals are evidence that a lot of books are just propaganda, designed assist this feline takeover. Let’s look at the evidence shall we…

Dick Whittington and his Cat– cat heroics- need I say more?

dick whittington cat
This one even inspired a cat statue in London!!

The Warriors Series– more cats fighting the good fight. No points for spotting the hidden messages here 😉

warriors into the wild

The Tiger Who Came to Tealast time I mentioned this book I was larking about making fun of people that read a little too much into children’s books- but not this time! This time I’m DEADLY SERIOUS. The message of this book is very indirect, because some might even forget that a tiger is in fact a BIG CAT. But if you look below the surface, it’s basically telling young and impressionable souls to open their doors to felines, let them take advantage of hospitality and then saunter off as if nothing has happened. Well, I’m onto these disgusting fiends!

tiger who came to tea

Samuel Whiskers– even though it’s about a rat, you support the cat. Because that’s what the cats want!

tom kitten

Garfield– the ultimate fat cat teaches us to indulge our furry “friends” with lots of lasagne and basically let the scroungers sponge off us (little suspecting that they might one day pounce on an opportunity to enslave us further!)

garfield

We also can’t forget movie adaptations…

the birds

The Birds– this is super subtle, but just think, when you’re watching this movie, didn’t the thought occur to you that the problem could have been solved with a bunch of cats? Portraying their mortal enemies as our mortal enemies is one of the ways cats ingratiate themselves into our lives. I’m telling you, they’re conspiring against us!

illuminati conspiracy

Disney was also very pro cat (no I’m not skirting over the fact there are dog movies and the logo is a mouse- that’s all a front I tell you!)

Ermm yeah- so that’s my really logical argument that cats are trying to indoctrinate us through different forms of media. I doff my tin foil hat to anyone I’ve convinced- which, I’m sure, is everyone. So what books do you think are on board with this pro-cat agenda?

Also- at the risk of starting a flame-war in the comments- what do you prefer, cats or dogs? (I’m gonna disappoint you all and say that I don’t actually have a preference, I just wanted to make this silly post 😉 )

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.

saved by the bell
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!