***Disclaimer: this list is in no way guaranteed to work, as the Booker Prize is chosen by the industry, for the industry***
STEP #1: Start with character- a really, really pretentious character. Everything will revolve around them and their exhaustingly dull inner-monologue, so make sure they have as annoying a personality as possible. Don’t give them any positive traits- remember they need to be as off-putting as possible. We can’t have readers actually wanting to pick up this book.
STEP #2: Remove any semblance of plot; make the story as boring as possible. Remove any hint of entertainment- because this is serious literature (emphasis on the serious bit). Instead, this book should primarily spin around political discussions and go on an ideological journey. Think something that might be better suited to a lecture and write that.
STEP #3: Be “experimental”. Irritate your reader. By no means should your book be readable or pleasurable in any way. On that note…
STEP #4: Add a ton of existentialism. Nothing says high-brow more than a depressing dose of existential misery.
STEP #5: Make sure there’s some navel gazing thrown in for good measure. Lots and lots of navel gazing.
STEP #6: And then add some more (because no way was that depressing enough!)
STEP #7: Add in some gross bits. Seriously, you’ve got to make this book as unenjoyable as possible.
STEP #8: Feel free to add in some colourless and bland side characters.
STEP #9: But don’t include any subplots (have you forgotten STEP 2?)- keep things simples!
STEP #10: End on a high- and by that I mean, go out with a whimper. This story can’t actually go anywhere! SERIOUSLY, DO NOT FORGET STEP 2!
Now go get this baby published and prepare to bring in the accolades! (Unless of course someone writes an actually good book that year and you inevitably miss out)
Falling out of love is like coming off a crack addiction… or so I’ve been told. I’ve only ever experienced the former- so I can definitely attest to the fact heartbreak is no joke. Which is why I have written this very, very serious post 😉 Now, you can go online and find lots of (sensible) suggestions on how to work through your heartache by writing lists, analysing, rethinking your entire existence… but this isn’t going to be anything like that. No, this is going to be practical advice you can put into action *starting right now*- you’re welcome! 😉
#STEP 1: Wallow in music. Go on- fish out an old mixed tape or put on Spotify or do whatever you cool kids do these days to listen to your favourite jam. Then get into a starfish position on your bed, ready to do some serious moping. Wailing along with the most mournful tunes is essential, so make sure the neighbours are out (if you like them). Do not- and I repeat *do not*- get out of your pyjamas at this stage! It could be detrimental to your recovery!
#STEP 2: Nibble on chocolate. At this point, you should be beginning to move out of your corpse pose and into a foetal position. Which means you can begin to take in some sustenance to keep you going for the next few stages. A few chocolate raisins should do the trick. Bear in mind, you are just working up an appetite for stage 3…
#STEP 3: Gorge on ice cream! Well done!! You’ve made it the crucial point in your recovery that will be vital to your survival! You should now be able to sit upright (even if you still can’t see straight from crying). You have permission to do this while reading over old texts, watching rom coms and screaming “WHY” into the aether (none of which are essential, they are merely optional- whatever keeps you going until you’ve finished all the tubs of ice cream in your freezer).
#STEP 4: You should probably take a shower. It’s been a while.
#STEP 5: get out of those raggedy jim-jams and into your raggedy gym clothes! It’s time to do some exercise! No, don’t look at me like that- this isn’t some cruel and unusual punishment. Science says exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy- so go get yourself some endorphins! It doesn’t really matter what you do: yoga, punching things, walking the dog or all of the above- whatever works to get the blood flowing!
#STEP 6: get creative! Paint a picture, write a series of poems, bake a cake (or 20)- do whatever you need to get those juices flowing! You’ve got to get all that angst out of your system somehow.
#STEP 7: refill the well– whether that’s going on dates or reading books or watching movies. Because you’re almost there with your healing journey (and all those emotional beats will never feel sharper… so you may as well feel them now).
#STEP 8: get busy living… whatever that means to you.
#STEP 9: Write a list on the internet about how to heal a broken heart (where you really struggle because you can’t even remember what you did and what it felt like because my goodness was it that long ago?)
And that’s all I’ve got for today! Do you have any (better) tips you can add? Let me know in the comments!
***Because I didn’t see these titles and think “how romantic”***
I am perfectly sane. I’ve just been inside a long while. Watching you from afar. Thinking of you twenty-four hours a. fucking. day. Loving you. Which is perfect sane.
The banging must be real then. It’s not in my head.
The air is close in here. Stale as the Dorito dust soaked into my t shirt. I know I haven’t showered in weeks. Which won’t do- it won’t do at all. You wouldn’t like that. But I comfort myself that at least I’m not dressed in a onesie on a Tuesday afternoon. Like you used to. I used to wonder- were you doing a conference call with the pyjama company?
That noise. It reminds me of the sound you used to make as you clunked around your living room in those great big boots. I could hear them all the way over here. But I didn’t mind. I used to like watching you lose yourself in cooking samosas, tapping your toes to an invisible beat.
Curtains twitch. My eyes dart around your room, trying to catch a glimpse of your ghost. Or whoever’s there now. I make my way around the open space as if I had walked there many times and not just the once.
There is that confounding banging again. It reminds me how alone I am.
I used to wave at you. Grinning from ear to ear. Smiling through tears. Hands thumping together while we applauded the nurses or the dustmen or whatever. We were all in this together back then. That meant a lot. Those are precious memories to me. No one can take them away.
The noise is like a heartbeat now. Da dum, da dum… No that’s not right.
That’s why I went over there after lockdown ended.
Bang! Bang, bang!
Took you by the hand- or maybe by the neck- I can’t remember which.
What kind of person writes a generic thriller with an awful twist? Well today it’s going to be me with a generic thriller novel plan!Enjoy!
November 2021. Out in the dismal northerly wastes *ahem* windswept landscapes of the United Kingdom, The Adams family (not to be mistaken for the Addams family) are going on a staycation.
In an incredibly overpriced holiday home (a house that has a History-with-a-capital-H) we have 7 close family members: Mr Adam Adams, his wife Mrs Adam Adams, his mother-in-law Ms Stepford, his two creepy twins darling children, his (unimportant and therefore unnamed) sister and his brother-in-law Rhett Herring. Naturally, because this is an old house with a History, they are all going to start dying, one by one… obviously starting with the unnamed sister!
But before we get to the bloody bit, we must have an obligatory row between Mr and Mrs Adams. They are discussing something that happened in the past (unspecified) and how they will overcome it (they won’t). Mrs Adams is drinking excessively for the sake of the plot because of this terrible thing that happened in their marriage. And Mr Adams is just trying to get away from the humdrum of his necessarily dull life (and a dreadful scandal unfolding at work that he is deeply embroiled in). His sister and Rhett Herring are being SUPER ROMANTIC- which is why it’s surprising when she (really I don’t have a name for her) winds up with her wrists slashed in the hot tub.
Granny Stepford is found over the body with a knife, but of course no one has any idea who did it, so they phone the police for an expert opinion. Unfortunately, all the phone lines are dead (thanks to the twins slashing all the phone lines). Everyone immediately overlooks the little rascals and starts questioning Rhett and his motives. After all, he is new to the family and how well do they really know this working-class wheeler dealer anyway?
As it gets dark and they devise a plan to drive to the nearest village, they discover that the cars have both broken down. Bummer. They shall just have to make it through the night in the old house with a history of dead bodies (and a graveyard in the back garden next to the hot tub). All Mrs Adams can do is try and figure out the mystery for herself through her alcohol-induced haze.
Naturally, she’s absolutely certain it was Rhett, because how could it be anyone else? Not her loving (but admittedly adulterous husband). And not her obviously devoted mother (who just happened to bring her professional kitchen knives for a weekend away). And not her darling children (who have more of an interest in taxidermy than should ever be healthy for ten year olds).
She goes to confront him and finds him skewered in the billiards room! Where he was just playing snooker with Mr Adams. The same Mr Adams who borrowed loads of money from him and then used it to cover embezzling a load of funds at work (so that he could live it up with a mistress who left him for a billionaire that could better fund her lifestyle). But Mrs Adams does not think of any of this, because she is an alcoholic with mental health problems and possibly a drug addiction (she’s also very, very stupid). Distraught, she seeks comfort in a bottle and wanders round the haunted house in the dark, scared of every creak and crank she hears.
Morning comes, as its wont to do, and she finally comes to her senses. She must confront Mr Adams… ABOUT THE AFFAIR!! She’s been brushing it under the carpet for too long! Never mind the dead people that are piling up and that her children are currently playing with some petrified rat’s bodies. She goes down into the cellar where her mother and husband are currently having a nice drink annnnd HER HUSBAND HAS BEEN FOUND POISONED! DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!
She screams loud enough to wake the dead- though not really loud enough to wake the dead. Just loud enough to get the attention of some neighbours who in turn call the local police. PC plod finally turns up to bulk up the plot… and ends up fed to the lawnmower those little rapscallion twins were using. What a terrible accident.
Now Mrs Adams is more alone than ever. She can’t phone the police again (especially since they heavily implied she had the most to gain if all those people died, since she would then be the beneficiary in any will). She begins to doubt her own sanity and wonder if she actually did do all these terrible crimes. She just can’t remember dammit.
As she’s considering walking the 15 miles over to the police station and handing herself in, her mother appears with a knife and it dawns on her… It was granny all along!! (just go with it) Granny lifts up the knife to plunge it into her- and she conveniently remembers Mrs Adams self-defence lessons and backhands her into a concrete wall. Goodbye granny.
BUT WAIT! There’s more! With her dying breaths, she rasps out that she was not actually granny all this time. You see, the house they were in was MAGIC and allows the dead to come back for one night of the year… So Granny was just possessed all along. By a dead dude. Her abusive ex-husband to be precise. So really this was a message-book all along (please give me some kind of prize!)
Mrs Adams is so relieved that this awful ordeal is over. She puts her arms protectively around her lovely children and promises to always look after them. The twins smile back.
Because sometimes there can be a hint of light in the darkest of books!
Horrorstor– this is my number one pick for a horror book AND a humorous graphic novel! Such an unusual book, styled like an Ikea catalogue, it tells the story of a haunted furniture shop. Which, as it turns out, can be creepy as hell!
The Ivies– mean girls meets murder in this (somewhat satiric) boarding school drama, where, as it turns out, ultra-competitive college admissions can be deadly. And while the characters in this book may take their futures very seriously indeed, the author had a lot of fun with this topic and didn’t take herself too seriously… which made for a great read!
The Thursday Murder Club– on the subject of amusing murder mysteries, this story of a crack-team of old aged pensioners solving crime is absolutely as entertaining as it sounds!
The Appeal– this book is enjoyable in so many ways! Not only is it a book which pokes fun at English village life, but it also allows *you* to solve the mystery it sets up. With emails and a series of clues, the reader gets to answer the who, what and why for themselves.
The Maid– far more character-driven than most mysteries, the focus is far less on the plot and more on the personal development of the protagonist. I found myself rooting for the maid throughout this emotional read.
***BONUS*** Good Omens– while not technically a thriller, I do think that the APOCALYPSE IS NIGH plot is a pretty thrilling topic… and only a duo like Pratchett and Gaiman could’ve made it as hilarious as they did!
And that’s all for now! Do you agree with my choice? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
Ever wanted to know which book is the MOST SAVAGE?! Well I’m about to answer that question for you 😉
So, I had this idea to pick 12 books at random, have them fight it out and kill each other, until only one is left standing!! The winner not only gets to keep their life, but shall be crowned Victor!
Welcome to the inaugural year of the BOOKISH HUNGER GAMES!!! *
*this may be the only time I ever do this, cos I don’t know if this is a good idea, we shall see…
Okay using my whopping great big database from the last 7 years of reading and a random number generator, I came up with the following twelve tributes:
(I’m guessing that the Thief was the most likely one to volunteer for altruistic reasons…)
Right out of the gate, we know that Spanish Love Deception is getting mowed down. It’s weak sauce even for a romance novel and it got in the way of the Silent Patient getting some serious weaponry up its sleeve… (of course this is the last we shall see of the Silent Patient for a while as she skulks off to find a cave somewhere).
The Thief has a soft centre and tries to protect Little Dorrit, but she gets bludgeoned to death by a team of Wilder Girls, House of Salt and Sorrow and Young Elites (otherwise known as Team YA Killers). The Thief is kinda mopey about this (but really he should’ve chosen a better ally).
You absolutely forgot Accident Season was there… and not in a good way… it dies of hypothermia off screen. One could almost say accidentally.
Wilder Girls, though a strong contender, gets caught in a weird inexplicable gust of acid rain and morphs into some kind of monster. Out of the game… (until a few years from now when her remains are transformed into some kind attack-dog-monster-hybrid-monster-thing)
Eventually Young Elites stabs House of Salt and Sorrow in the back. House just wasn’t as savage as it thought it was.
Captivate totally thought they were in it with a chance to win- because it’s used to being all smart and figuring out what a raised eyebrow means. Unfortunately, they didn’t take a hint and duck when Blackwing raised an axe to their head.
Girl at the Lion D’Or wasn’t really sure where it was going or what it was trying to be, so she drifted around until the end, but got mysteriously murdered off in a cave somewhere. I’m not saying that a certain Patient did it, but they’ve been oddly silent this whole time.
Malibu Rising has surprised everyone by making it this far. Surprisingly resourceful and savage, she burns down half a forest in an attempt to wipe out the remaining contestants. Young Elites and the Thief are both caught in the blaze- they just don’t have very good luck.
However, Malibu shouldn’t have stood there gloating so long, as one of the final contenders, Blackwing, smashes them upside the head. Out for the count.
And of course, the final twist, you won’t even see coming… Blackwing gets their comeuppance at the hands of the Silent Patient. Blackwing goes looking for her, sees her cowering in a cave, thinks he has her cornered… and let’s just say what happens next is a total bloodbath. Silent’s patience paid off 😉
And that’s all for this year’s Bookish Hunger Games!! I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I had fun writing it! Were there any surprises in there for you? Did your favourite contestant make it to the end? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rom coms. But sometimes, I have my doubts about the longevity of the couples in them- particularly when the chemistry mostly comes down to an intense amount of bickering. Too often the writers take two people who have absolutely nothing in common and no shared values… and smooch them together based on one romantic moment/meet cute and a few flirty lines. So this is what happens after one of those stereotypically awful rom com couple gets together (and all the usual tropes have been applied to their story):
AHhh what a beautiful day- it would be so lovely to just skip work and enjoy it with the person you love… except if you do that you’ll lose yet another job (because you can’t keep skipping round in romantic paradise forever). So as much as you love pretending to be being that spontaneous person your lover made you, you’re gonna have to be the old you for just a minute.
And with that you realise every day is not sunshine and roses and that arguing non-stop in the rain is exhausting (yes, I am throwing shade at the Notebook).
Obviously there’s still lots of miscommunication ALL THE TIME- only these days it’s over putting the bins out…
And now they have kids (because of the *surprise pregnancy* plotline at the end of the story) who are definitely being neglected and screwed up by all the needless drama (naturally I’m going to forget about them for the rest of the post, but they do exist, so just imagine little Timmy and Tammy looking sad in the corner).
Oh and they didn’t actually think about the fact they live on different continents, so one party, is absolutely miserable about having given up their friends/family/job to be with this other person. They’re basically having to rebuild their lives with this absolute child love of their life.
And since she’s a Strong Independent Woman That Don’t Need No Man, she’s always giving speeches telling him how she doesn’t need him, she’s stronger than him and she could beat him up if she wants to (and she does want to)… which seems borderline abusive.
But not to worry, because he’s still that guy that controls her every move and follows her around when she goes grocery shopping (which GODDAMMIT isn’t cute anymore because she really wants space to clip her toenails and pick her nose and do other gross human things for a minute!!)
Oh and not to mention his phone is still being hit up by all those girls he used to date- after all he was a playboy in his pre-rom-com life (as was shown in the montage at the start of the movie).
And actually, now you’re back to arguing about that big betrayal that proved you guys shouldn’t be together at all…
Still they have their cutesy moments together where they snuggle and he tells her she reminds him of himself (even though, as previously stated, they really have very little in common and she was only pretending to be into baseball that one time they went five years ago…)
Anyway, you can’t tell your friends you are DESPERATE to do a runner, because you alienated them all when you got together in the first place and it’s taken you this long for them to accept you as a couple.
So, you’re kinda stuck with each other. Which I suppose is fair enough considering all the shit you pulled in the past (including leaving that poor schmuck at the altar!) I guess you both kinda had this coming.
And that’s it! That’s what happens after the dysfunctional couple gets together in a rom com! But what do you think? Am I being too cynical? Let me know in the comments!
This book was the shit. I looked at that cover and thought “this will either be brilliant or awful- there is no in-between”- and it turned out to be really funny (if you have a somewhat immature sense of humour). Yes, I get why this isn’t the most popular or well-loved books (just look at the goodreads rating of 3.13) BUT it’s perfect if you don’t take things too seriously. And it’s ideal for people looking for new places to visit in 2022… and need a list of places to avoid!
In this quintessentially British guide, you’ll hear about some of the worst best beloved places you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED TO GO TO! Nowhere is sacred- not even our top attractions like Madame Tussauds and Stonehenge (honestly, I love both of those… though I can’t quite put my finger on why… something this book had me questioning!) It even gave me flashbacks to my childhood, when a misguided parent tried to take me to the pencil museum (even I don’t like stationary that much).
With hilarious observations about just how weird British culture can be, you’ll read this book and question your life choices and why you listened to me and titter at all our idiosyncrasies. I already know I’ve got one person to read this and regret it- you could be next!
I do have to admit, this fizzled by the end and got really repetitive (I have to ask the authors why they felt the need to put some of these places in twice?!) However, I can forgive it because I only have myself to blame for reading this in the first place and it was only delivering what it promised. Really though, I learnt a valuable lesson from this book (and can save you the time and money of reading it if you like): kids only want to go to Disneyland, you cheapskate! Gonna give this book a great big pile of bananas (even if the authors of this book end up writing a follow up book complaining about why all fruit are rubbish:
I may be the only person on the planet who enjoyed this book- but sometimes you love what you love! 😉 What’s the weirdest book you enjoyed lately? And… are you bonkers enough to pick this up too?? Let me know in the comments!
Because I am the expert and I am sharing my hard-earned wisdom 😉 You’re welcome!
#1 Daydream!!! This is a great one, because you can literally spend hours doing this without achieving anything (and yet you will feel creative and emotionally fulfilled… in your head at least. Don’t skip this step- it is essential so that you can hit your procrastination goals!!
#2 ALL THE RESEARCH- especially if it is irrelevant to the book at hand. For instance, are you writing a thriller set in Wales- then it’s the perfect time to look up the weather in Zimbabwe! Or are you writing a historical novel about Maoist China- time to look up the most popular cheeses in the world! Because why not? There is a subreddit for everything and someone has got to read them- it could be you!!
#3 Listen to inspirational music. This will put you in the mood of writing… even if you don’t actually pick up a pen. At least you got in the right mood!
#4 Watch ALL the Youtube advice videos- particularly samey ones on the same topic. I know I love hearing the same advice over and over (and never following it). I also find they can be really helpful at psyching yourself out of even trying.
#5 Put on the TV to drown out your thoughts (and impending existential crisis).
#6 Call all your family and friends and acquaintances to tell them you have a great new idea for a book- because nothing kills time better than talking about something rather than doing it.
#7 Find all your old stories and stare at them until they dance off the page (no, you’re not going crazy, you are coming up with ways to make them better- I promise… though maybe you should see someone at this point).
#8 Make notes on all the things you need to be doing- you can even write this in your planner if you’re feeling extra conscientiously unconscientious. Don’t worry if this feels dangerously close to doing some work- you will methodically ignore this plan day by day- just make sure you put your plan somewhere prominent so that it can haunt you for all eternity.
#9 Write pointless blog posts (masquerading as humour) that give bad advice no one really needs… like this one!
And that’s all I have for today! It’s surprisingly easy to procrastinate and get nothing done- you can do it too if you put your mind to it! And if you’d like to share more stellar advice on how to make no progress, feel free to leave it in the comments! We could all use the help!