Thursday, November 20, 2014

Incubatteyries Recharged

    Most writing advice goes like this:


    Write till your fingers bleed and paramedics avoid you for fear of drowning!

    Write till your backside is number than a paralysed octopus!

    Write in the face of a Godzilla / alien horde team-up — but make no reference to this in your writing!

    And so on, and so forth, and bleurgh.

    I did try to follow this advice on Monday morning, really I did.

    I did try to ensure that the Abysswinksback Family Online Writing Advice Facility failed to default on its commitment to splonk forth something vaguely wordy at 9.59am every Monday and Thursday.

    But you know how it is sometimes with necks and waking up and swellings and pus and spider-like fish things that crawl from open wounds above your jugular notch and writhe, writhe, writhe: there’s only so much you can do with cheeks blown out to Kim Kardashian proportions and an Adam’s Apple the size of a tumour bulldozered from a fat guy’s stomach during an episode of Bizarre & Disgusting Ailments & Afflictions.

    I haven’t so much nursed this condition as wrestlered it.

    Fuck writing — I couldn’t even brush my teeth or see my willy to piss straight.

    As for my volunteer hour at the old people’s home down the road, let’s just say that when I phoned to cancel, my voice was so gurgly and weird that they evacuated (then torched) the place, fearing Satanist attack.

    That’s why nothing got written on Monday.

    No blog posts, no fiction, no sonnets praising Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s sensational hair.

    But none of this means that my writerly brain failed to work.

    Behind the wall of pustulent fish-flesh masquerading as my face and neck, sufficient synapses flickered on with the delayed zeal of damp fireworks.

    Ideas came, links were made — some of which were completely unrelated to my neckular tumescence and its associated throbbing agony (and spider-fish bunjee displays).

    So the hard part of writing continued — the plunge into the dread pool of uncertainty, the kiss of idiosyncrasies, the (ok, so, yeah, this sometimes happens) farting.

    Now that I’ve more or less recovered (bar the odd red lump and the occasional random pinhead-thin fountain of clear yellow liquid), it only remains for me to w-r-i-t-e-i-t-o-u-t.

    So maybe that’s my writing advice for the day:

    Speculate!  Incubate!  Speculate!  Incubate!

    The marks on the paper will come in the end.

Sorry #197 — on Monday, I won at Neck

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Curse Of Pre-Christmas

    It’s gettin’ to look a lot like Christmas.

    Not actually Christmas, as in stacks of tinsel and reindeer everywhere you look.

    It’s just LIKE Christmas.

    I’ve always been bugged by the way shops roll out the Santa with the prematurity of knee-jerk ejaculators, but at least in previous years they’ve been honest.

    We believe Christmas begins on November 21st, which is why we have our tree up and our elves gadding, cute n’ perky.

    Customers were then free to grumble or cheer as they shopped, the reliefmongers cussing the Twelfth Nighters for their traditions of misery, and much hissing of they’re completely ruining the spirit of the season on the ditto versa.

    The new pre-Christmas decorations throw the whole thing into disarray.

    The small Christmas is coming notices (compwete with twee iwwustwation) dangled tantalisingly in the red wine and dog food aisle the moment the hallowe’en stuff got binned are merely REMINDERS, as in

    * Your electricity bill is due.  Please pay within 30 days.
    * It’s time for your six-monthly dental check-up.  Please call the surgery at your earliest convenience.
    * We Sommaly piratts.  We hav ur parants.  Pay 1m quids or thay dye neks fiday.

    “Too early to put up the Christmas decorations, Sir?  Indeed it is, which is why you’ll see nothing of the kind in any of our stores for at least another week.  What you see is what you always see: informative, helpful in-store publicity, all of which serves to highlight our forthcoming offers.  We sincerely believe it is in our customers’ interests to provide information that might interest them.  We all have to stock up and keep costs down, and our promotional information reflects this.  We think it’s good news for customers, good news for business — and good news for Christmas.”

    At which point I wrestled the guy behind the counter into the freezer cabinet and clubbed him to death with a pack of frozen beefburgers.

    Regrettably, they were not “2-for-1" — or I might have pummelled his brains out.

Monday, November 10, 2014


    I’m no big fan of multitasking.

    Sure, I can breathe AND remain upright AND look at Lolcats simultaneously, but juggling bananas while flicking pound coins into tigers’ mouths is mercurial ambidexterity too far for this cack-handed writer, let me tell you.

    What interests me right now are the shifts in thought and deed (same thing, actually, but I love a good shorthand clichĂ©) that must necessarily take place as we move from one activity to another.

    One minute, you’re gardening; the next, you’re cooking dinner — till finally, you’re on  your hands and knees cleaning baby sick from the living room carpet or shopping online for novelty leather motorcycle pantees.

    The point is, there are some activities that lend themselves to easy transitions while others remain problematically clunky.

    Sometimes this is simply the result of incompatible physiological states being bundled together in too short a time frame, as anyone who has tried to connect with their yogic wherewithal after running a marathon will testify.  Riding a horse while drunk is another clincher.  Ditto allowing a drunk horse to ride you as you perform brain surgery on an unanaesthetised epileptic chimp.

    Other times, a change of clothes, equipment or surroundings is required to make the transition, and any self-respecting bunjee jumping naturist will know the deal with this one.

    What’s interesting for writers is that very often the biggest leaps take place (and are necessary) between one version of sitting-at-a-desk-thinking-and-writing-and-looking-out-of-the-window and another.

    There’s no actual leap here, as might be the case if you went from (hot, sweaty) NAKED GO-GO DANCING ON THE BEACH to (calming) GURUCRAFT ATOP MONT BLANC (AVEC SNORKELS).

    The scenario for most forms of writing is the same: chair, desk, pen & paper / gadget, window.

    The physiological state is the same too: broadly calm, sitting posture, no stress on heart or breathing, pyjamas — and so on.

    And yet, somehow, the shift from NOVEL to POEM, REPORT to DISSERTATION, TRADING CARD FLAVOUR TEXT to BLOG ARTICLE rarely happens in the kind of instant you might expect would be the case for transitions from one form of writing to another (for me, at least — you might be a flickermercurial genius).

    What interests me right now isn’t so much the brute fact that these so-called “changes of mind” or “changes of mindset” should exist (and take odd amount of time they take) but what goes on in these transition states.

    Assuming you made an immediate change from NOVEL to POEM, then what would happen?

    You’d stop thinking all your NOVEL thoughts — all of them — and start thinking all your POEM thoughts — all of them — in an ON/OFF electric switch kind of way.

    For this to happen, these thoughts would need to be concrete, known.

    Bird.  Oiseau.  Bird.  Oiseau.

    When we KNOW things, we can switch quickly between them.

    And maybe this is the deal: the fuzziness of creativity is hardly concrete.

    Who knows what constitutes a NOVEL?


    Even the experts don’t know everything about their chosen specialities, and there may not even BE an “everything” to know.  Novels, by definition, don’t actually exist until they’re written, after all.

    Whichever way you think of it, there’s clearly more to juggle in the moment here than mere versions of birds.

    And maybe that’s a good thing for creativity in general.

    Because Bird Oiseau Bird Oiseau simply demonstrates a minimal grasp of French.
    It’s a statement of fact, with little intertwixting of shibboleths — a more easily leapable chasm than the maw of a gulf between my dystopian novel about meerkat vampires on a Death Star (as a vehicle for a contemporary take on the philosophy of William James) and my sonnet about a belly dancer with floppy boobs who slims down to a size 10 after doing battle with her mirror reflection and love for Jamie Oliver’s new hairdo.

    When our oiseaux bulge and swell thus, any kind of intertwixting could well strike us as an inconvenience.

    Grrr!  Go away Fluffy da Meerkat Gunner, with your talk of free will in an inherently fascist universe!  I badly need a word to rhyme with GAZONGAS!  Six syllables!

    Or, you might end up beached in mid-twixty, doomed to write stuff like this:

    Fluffy da Meerkat Gunner peered down his boomer lens at the Imperium’s latest monstrosity.  Its hulking form blotted out the stars like a giant titty, mighty cannons poking from its armoured carapace with the pertness of nipples teased erect by a minimally sexy Southern plonker.”


    when you dance, you entrance, my one true love,
    as Vader, hypnotic’lly dangerous

BUT, if you can bear to wait till things settle down, and actively pursue this moment of hinny twixt hinnies, viewing it as a momentary “one thing” in its own right, then notions of any kind of multitasking vanish.

    The singularity of intertwixtyness lives!

    Let there be Hinny2volition!

    It’s just a thought — as is NOVEL and POEM and DISSERTATION ON NOVELTY MOTORBIKE PANTEES — but we so often miss/dismiss it whenever we journey through the hinny hinterland between other, seemingly more important, concerns.

 (For more equine-themed writing advice, go here)

Monday, November 3, 2014

WRFzat: Rhododendocrosight


   A view of the world made possible when the rose-tinted spectacles have been thrown away and the resultant disappointment and misery has vanished into the ether.

   A form of optimism based on what exists, independent of over-reaction to unhelpful or negative stimuli.

   The witness of matter in bloom.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nanowrimo Is Wasted On November

    As swathes of 1/11ers prepare to do battle with their muses in the name of the novel, the written, and the uncustomarily evidenced, it’s time to silence the dreaded INNER EDITOR and flash about the burg the almost penis-like snake of all our OUTER HOSEPIPES OF WANK.

    This is not to say that NANOWRIMO is baaaaaaad, or that everything that comes of it is a monumentally delusion-fuelled SHOWER OF PISS.

    Even though it MAINLY IS.

    But if (writers, writers) we are to afford ourselves the luxury of immersing our creative wherewithal in mammoth trunk sized squirts or urine, spraying upon ourselves the liquid of purest wank, burdening our wildest excesses of effuse with no condoms hewn of grammatically punctuated uberStrunk — then why insist on cramming it into one of the shittiest months of the year?

    July is HOTTER.

    May has, like,  a hidden command in its only syllable: “I may, I might, I must”.

    And for fuck’s sake, what else is going on in December other than allowing yourself to be robbed of every spare moment in exchange for things you never asked for, synapseslaving up a bunch of TV shows you’d never watch if you had the option of WRITING, and videoing a dessert the whole family is glad you incinerated?

    So, bugger NaNoWriMo MONTH — it’s time we paid heed to THE OTHER ELEVEN thirtysomethings.

    Our inner editors will (and must) catch up with us come December 1st, and outer editors beyond our control will muster degrees — worldes, calories — more scrutiny over our ejaculations LIKE OUR FEEBLE WORDS WERE CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS PRIMED TO FEED THEIR CARBONIZING WHIMS.

    So, let it all hang out for a month (a month!) if you must.

    What shibboleths fly unbidden from you the rest of the time, you wasters?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vault Face: How To Get A Black Belt In Nanowrimo

   This morning, I offer up an old blog post once again, shackled as I am to distracting irritations du jour whose ability to keep me from generating original material is on a par with David Cameron's zeal for mid-morning lip-cellulite busting yodel workout regimes.

   My one hope is that this regurgitation of yesteryear's Abysswinksbackery (October 2012, Time Stamp Buffs) thrusts wisdom in the face (or maybe adenoids) of every writer passing by this morning.

   Nanowrimo is soon upon us!

   But why wait till the 11th month of anything to act upon your "I've been whacked" insprirational zeal?

   What about the other 11 months, you half-of-twelve-and-half-again-and-half-again-with-time-to-spare-wits? 

  WRINO the 11+1.

   Meanwhile, let withered writing advice spill from my pen like blood from the gizzard of a hydra slain by Conan...

    Nanowrimo is almost upon us once more — like an overenthusiastic grandma smothering a teenager with lipstick-splattered kisses as she presses a pillow to his face and cries from the second you were born I’ve dreamed of this moment, you offspring of the devil, you hell-child! — so I thought I’d take a minute to pass on my own Number 1 Writing Tip of Alle Tyme for those of you possessed by the urge to jot down 80,000 words over the course of November and proclaim yourself at the end of it all to be “The New Jilly Cooper” (perhaps) or “shagged to within a millilitre of my life-giving spunk” (most likely).

   Advice on the use of unnecessarily numerous adjectives and equally abundant adverbs, you’ll find elsewhere on the internet (not to mention on every page of every classic novel on your bookshelf) so I won’t dredge those waters of wisdom with my ladle.  Neither will I advise on story arcs or plot — such things are best left to Noah and estate agents, possibly even clued-up acrobats with a penchant for reciting fables.

   Character, dialogue, genre, semicolons — these things also I’ll leave to other experts whose sage advice bulges from every browser window summoned by googling WRITER.  You’ve visited the sites, you know what they all say, you’re aware of the ones who never shave their nasal hair,  yadda heck dang hell heck yadda yadda

   What I present for you today is my own personal secret.  It won’t guarantee you success (such things are impossible for most of us anyhow — unless we’ve slept with Daniel Craig or licked ice cream from his back) and it won’t mean that your characters, plot and prose will sing like a trio of reformed harpies, but it WILL prevent you from making the one fatal mistake guaranteed to piss off your readers (some of whom could be literary agents or President Obama).


   Then here it is, my sage nanowrimo advice.

   Never, EVER, EVER

introduce, mention or describe a character called Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive.

   To do so is FATAL, believe me.

   If you’re writing a detective story, he’ll kill it.  If you’re deep into romance or chick-lit territory, he’ll run your French kisses into the ground.  Even sci-fi/fantasy-cum-punk/garage/grunge buckles before the march of his entropic marauding.

    You want proof?

    Consider how his presence would have ruined every book you’ve ever read and enjoyed till your heart melted like a lump of chocolate...

    “I awoke in my own bed.  If it be that I had not dreamt, the Count must have carried me here.  I tried to satisfy myself on the subject, but could not arrive at any unquestionable result.  To be sure, there were certain small evidences, such as that my clothes were folded and laid by in a manner which was not my habit, and the Count’s manservant, Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive, danced and jigged at the foot of my bed, shrieking, ‘Woo, jugular boogie, babyyy!’”

    “I was eleven when Aunt Fiona died; I remember feeling both peeved and cheated that I was thought to young to go to the funeral.  So I telephoned the  Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive Hotline and said, ‘here, mate — can you come and fix my bloody family with your stunning weaponry array?  Maybe fire off a few lightning bolts?  Impale  some aunties and uncles on your spikes?’”

    “Hindley and Cathy contented themselves with looking and listening till peace was restored: then, both began searching their father's pockets for the presents he had promised them.  ‘You won’t find anything in there,’ said Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive. ‘I’ve sucked everything into my uniquely grotesque gizzard, all ready to regurgitate into the faces of the rich and pompous.’”

    “In May 1945 the news spread around Jinzhou that Germany had surrendered and that the war in Europe was over.  Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman of The Fallow Cloud Hive, came amongst us like the weirdest kind of Santa we’d ever seen, squirting lemonade from his anal funnel and juggling fairy cakes into our mouths.” 

    “Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.
 Leon Perrigrew, Self-rupturing Coypu Shaman
of The Fallow Cloud Hive
doth his flabby stomach project
as the breasts of a comely witch
and I would flog him mercilessly
till his spleen, red raw, flyetheth from him.”

I rest my case.

Recognise the five excerpts of literature displayed here?  Note your answers in the comments trail and I’ll send you a personal (and possibly stunning) useless badge for you to display on your blog (or chest, c/o a suitably qualified tattooist).


fairyhedgehog said...
Thank you. This advice will make my novel perfect.
Whirlochre said...
I'm here to help, I'm here to serve (but never to dress up as a baboon).
Peter Dudley said...
Perhaps you are correct. But I posit that every novel, or at least every screenplay adaptation of a novel, would benefit from a run-on by LEROY JENKINS.
Whirlochre said...
Comment moderation is now enabled in order to prevent my penis swelling to the size of a dirigible thanks to accidental linky dinky supplement signup...
fairyhedgehog said...
Very wise. A penis the size of a dirigible would be a tad unwieldy.
fairyhedgehog said...
Oops. It's not comment moderation, it's the dreaded ReCaptcha. I'm having more trouble posting a comment than a robot!
Whirlochre said...
"A tad unwieldy" is a great pun.

Plus, I did, of course, mean ReCaptcha.

It's a necessary evil at the moment as I fend off the advances of Mwanga Zadangla and a certain amourous Latvian.