I think this is self-explanatory- this is obviously going to be a TOP QUALITY advice post on how you can find ways to be creative, even when the muse has fled:
#1 Pick up a project you’ve already finished and see if you can find *some* way to tinker with it…
#2 Brainstorm for new ideas (which really just means scribbling random things in a notebook- but no one’ll know if you look serious about it 😉)
#3 Go for a walk and invent stories (or even conversations with strangers) in your head. This is a highly productive exercise that you will no doubt mine from in future projects 😉
#4 “Learn” a language on Duolingo- pretending one day you will try to replicate Tolkien (you won’t)
#5 “Research” some topic that may or may not be relevant for your next project- this can mean looking up obscure topics on reddit or even reading scientific journals or (when all else fails) ogling googling pictures of celebrities… for inspiration purposes of course 😉
#6 Make a batch of gingerbread cookies and give them funky outfits (I’d use my own examples but 1) I eat them pretty pronto after making them and 2) I’m not exactly talented when it comes to baking and so they usually come out looking come out looking somewhat deformed… which is another reason to eat them quickly/put them out of their misery 😉)
#7 Pick up that instrument you never learned how to play and make a few out of tune sounds like you’re strangling a cat (you’ll know it’s time to stop when people come running to see where the banshee is)
#8 Sing along (tunelessly) to BIG BALLADS!
# And maybe incorporate some dance moves 😉
#11 Write a post for your blog… just like this!
And there you go- any blocked feelings you’re have undoubtedly vanished and you’re back to your usual creative self! Possibly… 😉
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!
#1 Choose a suitable genre– your options are: contemporary, historical fiction, dystopia annnnd that’s it.
#2Find 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! 😉)
#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.
#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!
#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…
#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!
#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!
#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!)
#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!
#10 Your ending is super important– use this as an opportunity to moralise more and drive home whatever message you were going for!
#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!)
#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!
#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!)
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a massive plotter and I’m at the stage of planning a new project, so I thought it might be fun to explore how my brain works in the planning process (spoiler alert: I’m stuck at step 16). I’m going off what I’m doing right now and what I’ve done for various projects in the past… some of which even turned into full length manuscripts… though some did not 😉 So, obviously, this is completely fool proof and there’s no way it could go wrong 😉 Without further ado, here is my definitive guide on how to (try to) plan a book:
Step 1: Have an idea *POP* into your head like magic- which seems makes it seem like all the hard work is over, right? WRONG!
Step 2: Decide that you are going to do the unthinkable and turn this idea into a book…
Step 3: Time for some *brainstorming* to see if this idea has legs (NB step 3 can be step 1 for some people, because creative people are different, and not all ideas throw themselves in your face 😉)
Step 4: Keep repeating steps 1-3, jumping through the steps in any given order like you’re playing hopscotch.
Step 5: Spend a while (years) writing and compiling notes, adding characters, potentially world building and plenty of contradictory ideas. Make sure your notes aren’t logical at this point- you don’t want to make things easy for your future self!
Step 6: Get on with your life for a bit, work on other creative projects and generally forget about this vaguely fleshed out idea.
Step 7: Dig up/stumble across whatever you’ve been working on (whether it’s in a notebook or some random files on your computer). Have the sudden dawning realisation that you actually want to write this book and decide it will be your *next project*. And that means taking said idea seriously from here on out! So at this stage, do you a) make a schedule for when you can fit in writing time and/or b) rough draft an outline to get the ball rolling…?
Step 8: Neither! That was a trick question! You print out the notes, making a BIG DEAL out of that and promising to be proactive about it from now on! (all the while not really breaking any new ground)
Step 9: Stare at pages, trying to figure out how to write out a basic synopsis out of this contradictory mess (see, I told you it’d be helpful not to make it too logical!) Ah great- now you can either continue on with optional steps 10-11, or skip right ahead to 12…
Step 10: Discover that you did in fact write a helpful synopsis you entirely forgot about…
Step 11: Read it and realise how different it is from the notes
Step 12: *Weep*
Step 13: Devise a complex strategy, involving highlighters, where you colour code notes to match up all the existing ideas. Perhaps even pick up a stack of post its! Maybe get funky with an excel spreadsheet! Whatever you do, make sure it looks organised, but has no functional purpose.
Step 14: Try to make head or tail of your new notes
Step 15: Wait around for the Muses to strike…
Step 16: Give up and write a blog post about planning a novel (…ooh getting meta…)
Step 17: Get your shit together and decide just to write out all your ideas in a new synopsis.
Step 18: Type up into one great big messy document.
Step 19: Pause to give chapter titles (this is a great step because while it is entirely unnecessary, it’ll make you feel like you’ve been super clever and productive).
Step 20: Readthrough it with satisfaction (ignoring the inner voice that tells you that this may have to be revised later) and shove it in a drawer to be ignored until you can carve out some time to actually write the damn thing.
Aww what a cutesie title… for something that’s gonna get dark pretty fast 😉
My fortune– I must consult the stars to find out my fate! (I’d say I’ll be looking at tea leaves, but let’s be real, those are in short supply 😉 ) Oh you thought this post would be serious? Okay then, I can do serious…
*THE NEWS*- cos we need regular updates on how we’re all DOOMED- okay maybe too serious. How about something a little more upbeat? I know, thinking about food usually cheers me up, but oh wait…
All those recipes for things I can’t cook because people have been stockpiling and there’s no food left (people have even gone for the bananas!!!)
The TV guide– because even if you can’t plan your next meal, you can plan your next TV marathon!
Unfinished drafts– yes, I did write this one while staring at the page for a good ten minutes trying to figure out what to say next 😉
Instructions on how to WASH YOUR FILTHY GERMRIDDEN HANDS (turn on tap, lather up soap, rub for 20 secs while singing happy birthday… see, now you’ve ticked one item off your TBR 😉)
The government’s lockdown guidelines– which you will need to read over and over and over again to make head or tail of… annnd still be stuck on (both physically and metaphorically) days later.
Messages from loved ones– partly because we love them, mostly cos there’s sod else to do 😉 But on the positive side, mine tend to send me…
ALL THE MEMES! Frankly, the one good thing to come out of this situation!
Annnd I wish I could say this is an April Fool’s Joke- but it seems like this year, the joke’s on us! Also, clearly after a few days of being a cooped-up monkey, I’ve completely lost the plot! Hope you enjoyed this! Now go wash your hands!
What 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!
“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:
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!
Well hello everybody! So, two things have been irritating me lately: 1) people calling things pretentious when they’re not actually pretentious (no beautiful writing does not automatically equal pretentious) and 2) pretentious people being pretentious (usually the same people labelling things pretentious when they’re not). Which is why I’ve decided to do the totally “mature” thing and make THE MOST PRETENTIOUS POST IN THE WORLD just to set the record straight/show that anything you can do I can do better (*yes this is satire, thank you for noticing* 😉)
Alrighty then, let’s get into this discombobulation of an articulation of my emancipation from the oppressive forces that is the English language. Yeahhh look at all those “ations” going into my word salad- myself is a veritable genius 😉 Hope yourself likes myself’s use of hypercorrection there. Thusly, myself thought I’d share my hypnotic-transcendent-mind-boggling-patriarchy-smashing-dominative-sociocratic art with you- enjoy/be amazed by…
Crease in the Wallpaper
A reference, of course, to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work, using shades of light and dark to obfuscate the question is anything even real? The fact that you can barely even see it represents how we are blind to the evils that exist in society purely to oppress us.
As the title suggests, this is a powerful piece reflecting on the wounds society invariably and unwittingly inflicts upon us with is shadowy gaze and accidental touch.
Like my hopes and dreams after this post- completely deflated.
I’m a monkey, I just really like bananas. Also *symbolism* which you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
And my favourite:
I am poor. Send help.
(unfortunately/fortunately we temporarily got rid of the rising damp in the bathroom so you can’t see that in all its glory)
(NB: though I have been forced to use the typical trappings of frames that society superficially demands I use, this is only so that you take me seriously in an increasingly unsympathetic world where artists go underappreciated, NOT because I am a “total wanker” as critics claim.)
(NBB: all the photos are raw and unfiltered… except for the ones where I’ve used filters)
Wowwww what a treat that was for the universe. Now let’s get onto my poetry. Alas- there won’t be a live performance of me accosting-strangers-on-a-street-corner à-la-nouveau slam poetry style, so since you are robbed of that, you’ll have to use your imaginations to witness me shrieking wildly *in your mind’s eye*:
infinite forevers And
THE END! Finito! *Takes bow*
I sincerely hope you did that justice by picturing me just like this:
One day some lucky sod’s gonna be studying that prestigious work of art for GCSE. And on that beautiful note, I’ll love you and leave you 😉
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 😉)
So I watched the movie version of Every Day and *wowwww* I had thoughts on it- so rather than doing a review, which would inevitably get me in trouble with book-stans, I thought it would be more fun to do my own honest version of this “super progressive” horrible story- ya know, to get myself in EVEN MORE trouble with book stans 😉 For people that don’t know this book, the basic plot is that a spirit called A takes over a body every day- there’s a bunch of complicated rules for this, but all you really need to know is A can possess anyone in the same age category- which sounds like an okay premise… until you realise it’s YA so there *has to* be a love story. Cos of course. Now you can probably see the problems that might arise here- however for the sake of entertainment (and in case you can’t see the issue), I’ve decided to rewrite this with a relatively sane human being as the female lead (I know, that’s so out there, it’ll almost make this story almost unbelievable). Enjoy! (or ya know, throw rocks in my general direction cos SATIRE IS EVIL!)
“Oh hello there, I didn’t see you. Wait- why are you staring?”
“Because I am your boyfriend.”
There is a peculiar glint to his eye and glitter in his hair.
“Er, yeah, I know. What’s the matter with you? Did you dress up as Edward Cullen today?”
He smirks at me, like he knows something I don’t…
“Do you want to skip school?”
“Is this what we usually do together?”
“You’re being weird.”
He bends his head to kiss me and I decide to just go with it- after all it wouldn’t be the first time and it seems like a better idea than talking at any rate. He stops and pulls away, gawking at me with peculiar intensity.
“Can I tell you a secret? I am not your boyfriend- see ya!”
His eyes roll into the back of his head. There’s a gurgling sound in his throat, like rattling chains. Then he looks up at me, the picture of innocence.
“Wh-what just happened?” he asks.
“You tell me,” I reply shakily.
But he does not have an answer.
The barrista is giving me side-eye. She seems to gulp several times, perhaps on the words can I take your order… but then she does something unexpected.
“I have something to tell you,” she murmurs in my ear, her voice unnaturally hoarse, her eyes carrying a red glint.
I blink. “Do I know you?”
“You did yesterday.”
“Excuse me,” I say, but the weirdo is already walking away.
I can’t be sure- but I think I see glitter in her hair.
I was in Chemistry when it happens again.
The bloke in front of me has one of those forgettable faces- maybe that’s why he looks like a total stranger. Or maybe he’s another wacko. I hedge my bets by saying nothing.
“Let me formally introduce myself. My name’s A. I’m a spirit that jumps from body to body.”
“Righhhht,” I say, edging out of my seat.
He blocks my path.
“Oh I know you don’t recognise me. But that’s okay- I know you. I’ve been… seeing you around a lot lately.”
I half laugh. “Next you’ll be saying you’ve been watching me sleep.”
He stares at me pointedly, a red gleam in his gaze.
I kick him in the shin and flee- what else was I supposed to do?
A is a girl today. And yes, I’ve decided to just go with the whole A thing- if I’m being punked it’ll make for better TV. Besides, there’s that whole red-eye thing.
“Do you have a type?” she/he/it says.
“I’m not attracted to you,” I reply flatly.
“Who cares! I’m attracted to you. Are you too up yourself to be with me?”
I roll my eyes so far back into my head I feel I must look like the scary one. If only.
A does not bother me today. Thank god.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday, the kid I was in was having a lung operation. Wait- why are you running away again?”
I track down one of A’s victims. It was all over the local news: boy wakes up in ditch and claims he was possessed by a demon. They’re saying he’s crazy, looking for attention. I know the truth.
“I think he might have been the devil,” the boy whispers.
“You’re probably right,” I reply incautiously- then look around. I grab a pen and scribble a note in case it’s listening: “It’s stalking me! Send help!”
“Do you not like me cos I’m fat today?”
“Do you not like nose rings? At least I have a great butt!”
It’s inside me. I watch from behind my eyes as A stares at my naked form in the mirror. I am helpless, exposed, furious. Perhaps it feels it too. A opens my mouth and screams:
“WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME!”
Mum comes upstairs.
“Sorry, I’m not available to chat right now,” A hisses with my stolen tongue and slams the door in her face.
Boy, am I going to pay for that later.
“Look I’m sorry I landed you in a psych ward. I may have taken things too far.”
“It’s okay,” I say, even though my hands won’t sit still. “I’ve spoken to someone about… you.”
“Is this the part where you tell me you never want to see me again?”
I close my eyes, remember what the priest told me and repeat it word for word: “I’m asexual,” I say with as much confidence as I can muster.
The shock is visible on the demon’s face; the red glint and glitter instantly begin to fade.
“Forgive me, I should have a-s-k-k-k…”
But it’s too late. I’ve said the magic words. The gender-bending demon is banished by the supreme power of progressive top trumps. The end!
NB this isn’t a critique of the book cos I haven’t read it and NOT GONNA READ IT- even if you pinky swear it’s better than the adaptation. And, having read reviews, both the book and movie seem to believe that having the protagonist say “but you stalked me and kissed me against my will” somehow makes it a-okay. Sorry, no. Pointing out a problem doesn’t fix it. Ultimately, the creepy spirit violated many, many people’s consent. And no amount of pointing that out is gonna erase it. If you love this book, then fine, I’m sure I won’t convince you otherwise- but, yeesh, this went so far over the line for me. I’ll get off my soapbox now 😉
Okay so a while back I did a post about how (not to) criticise a book blogger. And now I thought it would be fun to do a connected post… this time on how to actually write a review! Disclaimer, I do believe in the “your blog, your rules” mantra (phrase courtesy of Drew), but I thought it would be entertaining to address some of the ways we as book bloggers *may make mistakes* (I know, shocker, we’re not all perfect deities incapable of blunders 😉). And if you think I’m letting myself off the hook, this will be a confession post of sorts, cos I’m gonna admit to doing a ton of these!
Not putting any spoiler warnings- just lay on all the spoilers! No one will mind. In fact, the best thing to do is to put a helpful tag at the top that says, “this book contains” with all the spoilers. That way, no one will miss it!
Don’t tell people what it’s about (*coughs awkwardly*- yeahhhh I’ve done this- though, in fairness, I try to put a one line synopsis these days)
I will automatically tell you it’s good because: it’s my taste, it’s got diversity, it’s by a minority/woman/by another human being. In fact, I’m not going to tell any information about this book except give you a laundry list of worthy traits. This is not a review, this is an opportunity to virtue signal.
Use lots and lots of exclamation points and ALL CAPS and bold and italicising (guilty as charged of all of these)
*Insert nitpicking rant about things that will interest no one but the reviewer or people that read said book and hold the identical opinion* (guilty again)
Say something disagreeable and then beg forgiveness immediately after (c’mon we all do it- it’s like a retroactive “no offence but…”)
Complain about the book for the entire review- but gotsta get those arcs, so give it 5* regardless! (to be fair, I’ve only ever seen this on booktube a while ago, but it grates on my nerves to this day)
Justify the rating to the point of absurdity. Just keep going and going and going- repeating all the points until the reader is exhausted and has no interest in what you have to say anymore (*ahem* yeahhh I have been known to waffle)
Annnnd that’s all I’ve got for now! I’m sure I’ve sufficiently offended plenty of people/exposed my failings to the world- so I’ll let you be the judge now- do you have any awkward blogging faults? Or is your blogging technique perfection? (in which case, TIPS PLEASE!!!)
BREAKING NEWS: A presumptuous primate was seen in Northern Ireland, ahead of Game of Thrones returning to the small screens, wandering around the sets in search of dragons- J. Ourno reports.
It’s journey appeared to start in the usually tranquil Dark Hedges aka The King’s Road:
It then went onto the Riverlands and even invaded the legendary Winterfell.
Locals were perturbed by this monkey madness saying: “I don’t care if they say Game of Thrones has been good for tourism- if we go letting any old ape into Northern Ireland, soon we’ll have all sorts of monkey business and gorilla warfare going on. Where will it end?”
We managed to catch up to said orangutan, who had this to say: “I only went on a day trip. Personally, I thought I fitted right in and don’t know what all the fuss was about 😉 I think it’s all bananas!”
Sky, HBO and the production team for Game of Thrones were unavailable for comment.