Tag Archives: novel

1770. That’s how you do it

Neville was destined to become a famous novelist. Thus far he hadn’t had anything published. In fact he hadn’t quite finished his first novel. It needed tweaking. There was a reason for his not having finished.

Neville became so attached to his characters that he refused to kill any of them off. Thus the pages of his masterpiece gathered more and more characters. They overcrowded the pages. If they had existed outside the novel, and lived in the same house, there would be one hell of a queue outside the bathroom.

Honestly, by the time he got down to the fourth generation he should have killed great grandpa off. But no! Great grandpa was arthritic and senile and very much alive.

Eventually he submitted his tome to an editor.

“There are too many characters,” the editor said. “Kill some of them off. It’s easy; just cross a few out. That’s how you do it.”

“I know, I know,” said Neville. He left the editor’s office with a heavy heart. He began the long walk home. Who to kill off? And how?

He was so engrossed and desolate that he failed to notice where he was going and got run over by a truck.

That’s how you do it.

1675. Almost published!

For some reason Charlie had always imagined he’d be a successful novelist. Such a dream was surely about to come true. His first novel had been accepted by a major publishing company. For over a year the manuscript had been edited, honed, changed, amended, corrected, revised, rewritten, modified, improved, refined, sharpened, perfected, enhanced, polished, altered, transformed, adjusted, brushed up, gone over, read aloud, examined microscopically, and had removed from its pages all possible accusations of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. In fact, Charles reckoned he could hardly recognize the original.

He didn’t like the finished product much. It had had the stuffing knocked out of it.

On his final visit to the publisher Charlie was told that the novel lacked panache and it was no longer going to be published. It simply wouldn’t sell. Charlie told them to shove it. He went home and wrote a poem.

1547. Book worm

(The closing sentence for this story was suggested by Chris Nelson of chrisnelson61. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future closing sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what. Try not to read the closing sentence until you’ve read the story!)

Raymond had three children, two boys and a girl. He was immensely proud of his two sons. They had done so well at school, especially on the sports field. Now that they were old enough to leave school they were as keen as mustard to get jobs. In fact, Jared had already been accepted for a job on the railways.

The daughter, Annette, was another kettle of fish altogether. She was a book worm. “Get your head out of those books and start doing something useful. Reading books won’t earn you money.” It was Raymond’s favourite axe to grind.

“That lazy girl is not going to go far living in fantasyland in her books. This morning I had to physically force her to slam the book shut and start peeling the potatoes for tonight’s dinner. We’ve got a house to run.”

And indeed, Annette had been engrossed in the book. She had only a few pages to go. Ellen, the narrator, had moved to Wuthering Heights soon after Lockwood had left to replace the housekeeper who had departed. In March, Hareton had had an accident and been confined to the farmhouse. During this time, a friendship had developed between Cathy and Hareton. This continues into April when Heathcliff begins to act very strangely, seeing visions of Catherine. After not eating for four days, he is…

Annette left her novel to peel the potatoes. Why was her father so demanding; almost to the point of cruelity? Why couldn’t he let her finish when she was almost at the end?

After half an hour of dinner preparation, Annette returned to her novel. Only then did she notice that the last page was missing.

1409. Going! Going! Wait!

You wouldn’t believe the excitement! It had not been long since Abram had finished his first novel. It was called “Going! Going! Wait!” He had boasted about it online and then… WHAM! … a message came from a publisher:

WE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN HAVING A LOOK AT IT.

“I guess I just struck it lucky,” said Abram.

He sent a copy off to the publisher immediately, and waited…

…and waited …and waited. They never replied. He never heard back.

“I guess it’s not going to get published,” said Abram.

But what Abram didn’t know was that it had been published. It had been translated into Chinese under a different author and name – along with thousands of other Western novels. The “publisher” made a pretty penny, and still does to this day.

1157. Finbarr’s novel

Finbarr was quite upset; a film star had been badly injured doing a stunt. Finbarr had always imagined that particular actor as taking the lead part in the film they would make using his novel as a basis.

Finbarr hadn’t started the novel yet as such, but he had a few ideas. He could actually see in his mind’s eye the credits at the end of the movie rolling over the big screen. Of course, everyone in the theatre would usually be standing and walking out by now – during the credits – but in this case they were so moved they remained seated. When the credits finished the audience applauded. That was not that common an occurrence. Clearly they were emotional. Who wouldn’t be after such a gruelling two hours of intense emotion?

It was therefore extremely disappointing to read of the film star’s stunt accident. Of course, there were other actors, but they wouldn’t do as good a job.

There were further problems blighting Finbarr’s plans for a novel: who would play the female lead? The actress he wanted initially was now too old. Of course, they could dolly her up a bit with modern technology but it’s not the same. And then they had plundered the forest for timber, which he had thought would have been the perfect setting for the film.

A final upsetting thing was that Finbarr would have preferred it if the scene used during the final credits had been filmed from a circling helicopter. Filming the final view from a high hill with a telescopic lens was not really the right thing to do.

Problems! Problems! Finbarr was back to square one with his novel writing.

1152. Romance reader

Jonathan was nineteen years old and loved to read popular romances. He particularly liked the swashbuckling heroes who rescued the damsels in distress. Then they would fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. Why settle for dark, morose characters when a rumbustious champion could conquer the world? Of course, he never told his friends that he read romances.

It wasn’t silly for Jonathan to think he could be like that. There must surely be some bravery in the world, and some zealous ardour to go with it. All he need do was find the right girl and the right situation.

Anyway, he went to the First World War and got shot.

1129. True recognition at last!

Stanislaus had heard (why do people keep things so close to their chest?) that he had been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. With fifteen plays under his belt, four novels, and over three hundred poems he thought it wasn’t before time! And surely he stood a chance.

To be truthful he had already prepared his acceptance speech. It was full of witticism and wise adages. It was quite critical in parts, especially of publishers. He’d never been able to find one who would accept him for publication.

1109. Lorna

Lorna disliked her name. Some kids at school would ridicule her: “Lorna needs mowing” and “Do you wash your clothes in the Lorna-dry?” and so on. These kids thought they were clever, but Lorna was hurt. She wanted to change her name.

“Can I change my name?” she asked her mother.

“Perhaps you could use your middle name,” suggested her mother. Lorna’s middle name was Elizabeth.

Lorna said she’d think about it. And then… quite by accident… Lorna discovered…

Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor, a novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. She loved it! Why would she ever want to change her name from Lorna? Lorna! The woman who married the handsome and brave Jan Ridd! The woman who lived happily ever after!

1077. What’s the story?

What’s the story? Well, the story is this: I found a book of stories. I thought, why be predictable? Why not do something I’ve never done before, and that is review a book! The book is available through Amazon, and although a review could be posted on Amazon, I thought if the net is cast on the other side of the boat it might catch a couple of fish hitherto uncatchable.

Wuthering Heights aside, there are very few books I would like to say I had written. One such book is Sarah Angleton’s Launching Sheep and Other Stories from the Intersection of History and Nonsense.

If you follow Sarah’s blog, you’ll know the quirkiness of it all. These 86 stories wallow in delightful oddities, and at the same time each expounds on almost eccentric historical points that you “never knew before”. Sarah also manages to include a whole range of true characters from her real life: her husband, her sons, her parents… and you feel almost “part of the family”! There’s enough to satisfy our fondness for wanting to know what’s going on in other people’s lives, and so we think they’re friends.

Each story is short. To me that’s a huge plus. I’m a very modern person, and therefore my concentration span is grievously limited. You can read ten stories in a line if you’re a literary glutton. You can snuggle up in bed and read just one – or maybe another one, and another… because they’re addictive. You can read one out aloud while your partner prepares dinner; it saves getting pre-dinner indigestion by having the television news on. You can read it on the beach (provided you don’t live in Kansas, silly).

Wonderful story titles make one want to read more, such as Why You Should Have Smarter Friends and a Fabulous Cupcake Recipe and Hey, Mom! Do you think this would blow up if I…? and The Dark Days of Pinball: How I Nearly Took a Sledgehammer to a Snowman.

One of my favourite stories is Just Please Don’t Tell My Husband in which the author makes pancakes while giving the history of pancake making and the famous Olney pancake race. Flipping fantastic!

This is a book I like. I recommend it to everyone and every library. It is published by Bright Button Press of St Louis and is available through Amazon (both real and virtual). It would be a terrific gift for any grown-up who likes to read. If I had discovered at school that history could be so interesting I would not have dropped it in order to take Latin.

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

aah

I can deal (at times) with all sorts of computer languages, but I can’t see how to re-blog on WordPress! Anyway, when one is all nervous and shaky and excited, how is it possible to calmly find a re-blog button? The truth of the matter is:

MY NOVEL HAS BEEN REVIEWED!!!! HERE!!!

The review is worth a read just to savour the wondrous writing skills of the reviewer: Uma Shankar. His blog is well-worth savouring – he writes stories, poems, reviews, and translates into English poetry from Hindi. It’s a delight to read a review composed with more aplomb than that being reviewed!!

So I’m posting this connection to his blog not only by way of thanks for the review, but to give others the opportunity to experience and enjoy his considerable literary skills!

Thank you, Uma.