This post first appeared in 2013. When I rediscovered it, I thought it deserved a second fifteen minutes in the spotlight.
How many times has your rip-roaring tale of gung-ho-ness stuttered to a halt because you’ve written your characters into a desperate corner, and you can’t find a logical way out? Loads of times, I’m sure – especially if (like me) you’re the sort of writer who can’t stand planning the whole story out before hitting the first key of the story proper. There’s nothing worse for a writer (other than writer’s block) than thinking up a fabulous new direction in which to take the story – only to be forced to ignore it because you can’t fit it into the pre-existing plot.
So my tip for today is this…
Insert needless asides and details that move the story along not one jot, and which might appear at first to be totally spurious, but will later be called upon to get you right out of the literary shit. As an example I bring you this extract from my book ‘Danglydong Dell Diaries’. You will find that it appears needlessly rude – but boy did it come to my rescue when I needed to save my characters from oblivion later in the book…
Blubbersday, the Forty-sixth of Plinth. Like the other two parties before them, the group that was psychically protected by Primrose Pickles entered Far Kinell through one of the four main gates. In their case it was the rickety old Historic gate, where market stalls had been set up that sold ‘old fashioned’ or ‘retro’ stuff – like woollen bloomers, clogs, wooden false teeth, earthenware bed-warmers, beetroot wine, and a plethora of multifarious strap-on dildos.
For a brief moment Colin was quite taken by the latter, and even went so far as to study one or two of them minutely.
“Ere,” Boney called down to him from the broad back of Gargantua the giant cavy, “leave them fake dicks alone. Nothing good can come of tinkerin’ with the unnatural.”
“But I’m unnatural.” Colin reminded his current owner. “There isn’t a natural product in my body. And I was just wondering if I could utilise one of these as an addendum to my ‘special tool’. It could be fun. I could frighten sailors with it.”
Boney had to think about this for a few seconds. “Yeah that sounds alright.” He replied finally, “Maybe we can mass produce ‘em too, and sell ‘em as advanced alien trinkets. They don’t have no patent laws in this world, do they?”
It was a brilliant idea, and Colin duly flicked a few coins in the vendor’s direction, and snatched up the largest, most impressive specimen on his stall. It wobbled alarmingly in his paw as he walked away, and appeared almost too real for comfort. “Indeed they don’t.” He said quietly.
Primrose, meanwhile, was reconnoitring the immediate area with all six senses. She cocked her head upon one side – as if listening to something that no one else could hear.
Gargantua noticed this, and immediately he began mimicking her.
“What are you doing?” Primrose inquired.
“Hoping that whatever you’ve got rubs off on me.” Gargantua replied. “Maybe I can
be the first recorded psychic cavy in history.”
“Do they keep such records in Prannick?” Primrose was instantly fascinated.
Gargantua shrugged his shoulders, which almost flipped Boney from his elevated perch. “Somewhere in some secretive cubby hole of The Wheel they do, no doubt.” He said
Primrose’s fascination dissipated. “I’m trying to sense Tybrow Mooney’s presence, or at least his spore.” She spoke sternly, “Don’t interrupt with mindless trivialities.”
Colin arrived. He waved his wobbly dildo in Primrose’s direction. “What do you think of this, Primrose?” He asked politely.
Primrose wasn’t really paying much attention. “Lovely.” She said absentmindedly.
“Would you like me to go back and buy one for you?” Colin offered generously, “There was a sign that said ‘One size fits all’. Obviously I wouldn’t know what that means, but I’m sure it must be a positive attribute.”
Primrose then noticed the dildo as it wobbled like an elongated jellybean. “No!” she screamed. “It’s disgusting. Put it away.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan
Yes, this e-book is still available at all sorts of places, which includes Lulu.com.