SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: (RUDE STATEMENT DESIGNED TO MAKE RAW RECRUITS PAY ATTENTION.)
RAW RECRUIT 1: I’m having trouble with his accent.
RAW RECRUIT 2: He’s staring at you. Now he’s staring at me. Ulp.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Fearrr! Aye. Whit is it guid fur?
RAW RECRUIT 1: He’s always talking about fur.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Fur fearties, that’s whit fear is fur.
RAW RECRUIT 2: What if I have fear of fur?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Aye, ye luik rah type. Whit is fear o’ fur fur?
RAW RECRUIT 1: We’re going to regret asking every single question.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: I will now speak more slowly, for the elucidation of the Americans in the audience. Those of you who appear to be having difficulty with my accent.
RAW RECRUIT 2: He sounds scarier now that I can actually understand what he’s saying. Which means I’ll be able to follow orders.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Worried aboot rah sub-pre-pluperfect past-indifferent?
RAW RECRUIT 1: What is that?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: It’s somethin’ ah jist made up.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Ulp.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Do we have to learn it?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Naw.
BABY SEAL: Hey Sarge.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: This Baby Seal is Vanderkarr, newly-promoted wi’ her erse-lickin’ rank o’ Corporal. You’ll notice ah picked up three stripes fur erse-lickin’.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Fur again. I’m afraid to ask…
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Corporal. Ah’ll let ye dish oot a wee bit punishment…
BABY SEAL: Drop and give me twenty paragraphs soldier!
RAW RECRUIT 1: Ma’am, yes, ma’am!
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ye ca’ this a story? Whaur’s the sterrrt o’ it?
RAW RECRUIT 2: Er, I, started in the middle. Got that from #badwritingtips. I thought it was a good writing tip.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: An’ the end. If ye can ca’ it an end.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Giant marshmallow man attacks
. Sometimes you just pluck these ideas out of thin air. New York
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Seems gey familiar tae me.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Did he just say guy, or something else?
RAW RECRUIT 1: Sarge, we just can’t get through. Take our collaborative novel, for example.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Whit’s the haud-up?
RAW RECRUIT 2: This stubborn character won’t reach the end of the chapter. We’re top-heavy with characters as it is. He’s quite useful in a tight spot, but he’s coming across as a coincidence-bound miracle-worker whose only task is to dig the writer out of a hole.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Lay doon some expasishun.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Sarge, we just don’t have the room for heavy exposition at this point. That’ll demolish our readers. This chapter’s tough-going as things stand.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Nip back therrr, see it. Yon drivin’ scene. Blaw it up.
RAW RECRUIT 2: But…we must establish character-transfer from there to here.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Jinny drove tae rah hoaspital in a frenzied waste o’ petroleum. Yon’s yer trouble richt therrr. Sterrrt wi’ rat, jist rah same. Wan line’ll dae rah trick. Ditch rah nixt fower pages.
RAW RECRUIT 1: But Sarge, the parking scene will never survive the loss of our driving text.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Aye. She spends too much o’ yer reader’s time parkin’. An’ that’s wan reader. Apostrophe s. Jist me. Luikin’ tae build up a followin’?
RAW RECRUIT 2: The drive sets up her thoughts when parking.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Trouble wi’ you lot is rat ye’re a’ fearties. Therrr’ll be times in a tale when ye’ve nae ither oaption but tae bring oot rah big guns an’ fire aff pages o’ expasishun. Fur it’s expasishun rat’ll blaw a hole through a’ rah boather.
RAW RECRUIT 1: If we cut four pages of driving, we lose four pages of parking. That renders the next six pages of traipsing through hospital corridors obsolete. You’re asking us to take the scene away from her and put it all on the other guy. With exposition instead of atmosphere.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Since when’s a’ rat been mutually exclusive? Did she no’ jist swan through a crackin’ chapter a’ aboot her woes?
RAW RECRUIT 2: Well, yes.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: If she’s oan rah stage a’ rah time, is therrr nae ither character waitin’ in rah wings?
RAW RECRUIT 1: Notice how he rolls his Rs when he froths at the mouth.
RAW RECRUIT 2: I think he froths at the mouth when he rolls his Rs.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Keep writin’! Ah huv tae see tae the richt flank. Vanderkarr, hit oot wi’ wan o’ yer war-stories.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Ma’am, how do we get through this?
RAW RECRUIT 2: We heard you were there. D-Day.
BABY SEAL: Yeah. I deployed a novel. Shot it at a publishing company. My D-Day was hell. That’s as it should be. I almost didn’t make it to shore. Thousands of writers, crammed in there. Looking at the target. Shying away from it. Knocked out by lack of confidence or darn-fool thinking.
RAW RECRUIT 1: What did you do?
BABY SEAL: I was washed up on the beach, and almost washed-up before I had a chance to put my training into action. Yeah, I was there. Feeling lost, alone. There was nothing to see. I’d just crawled out as far as I could, and didn’t know what to do next. That made me the one big lonely fish in the barrel. Fear took chunks out of me. Wasn’t nice. No, it wasn’t nice at all.
RAW RECRUIT 2: How did you cope?
BABY SEAL: I started yelling.
BABY SEAL: This is over! I can’t go on! Stuck here on this endless empty white beach. The blank page! What’s the point of it all? I’ll never be good enough to get anywhere. The haze, closing in. Up, down. Left, right. I barely know where I stand.
BABY SEAL: So I fired off one of those Twitter flares. That had worked, before.
RAW RECRUIT 1: You had help?
BABY SEAL: A civilian, named Biozarre. We did the Twitter thing. She was all for joining the Dark Side of Publishing™. I didn’t want to hear it. That wasn’t what I’d signed up for. She called a spade a bloody shovel and battered me over the head with that a few zillion times. I just couldn’t turn to the Dark Side™.
LA BIOZARRE: Send your work over there. Lob some pages at a publishing house.
BABY SEAL: I don’t know, Missy. Hell, you aren’t even in the army. What are you doing here?
LA BIOZARRE: My own thing. I’m planning to self-publish.
BABY SEAL: You’re a…mercenary?
LA BIOZARRE: A knight with a free lance. Well, lance for rent.
BABY SEAL: Could we tone down the phallic imagery, I’m seasick…
LA BIOZARRE: I’m with the Office of Storytelling Services.
BABY SEAL: Missy Biozarre. O.S.S.
LA BIOZARRE: We can put our stuff out there on the internet. Then it’s not about worrying over what’s ready. It won’t even be about rejection. Build an audience. Just go for it.
BABY SEAL: That sounds even more desolate than what I have planned. I think I’ll go back to considering paper publishing companies. Or combination outfits.
BABY SEAL: With that, she was gone. I heard the machine gun rattling in the distance. It was actually her texting thumb, increasing her Morbidly Obese Twitter following. I was alone again.
RAW RECRUIT 2: So what happened?
BABY SEAL: I fired off another Twitter flare. No one answered the call. I slumped on the beach. Telling myself I was doing good work – everywhere except in my writing. I thought I’d lost it. Utterly. That’s when I heard the bagpipes.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Bagpipes.
BABY SEAL: Nutty, I know. He came out of nowhere, with a cold wind up his backside. First out of the landing-craft. I thought he was in the wrong sector. But he’d come for me.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ye’ll be slaughter’t therrr, Vanderkarr. Pick yersel’ up an’ move yer erse.
BABY SEAL: Huh?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Tae yer left. Luik. Ootflanked by despondency. An’ tae yer richt. Encircl’t wi’ doobt an’ despairrr.
BABY SEAL: I don’t know what to do, Sarge. What should I do?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Should ah waste ony time oan ye? Head fur rat blog.
BABY SEAL: Something about rat-fur?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Move yer erse. Grab some cover here. Hunker doon, hen.
BABY SEAL: Uh. Okay. This is my blog. Hey. This is MY blog. WTF?!
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Need tae stock up oan ammo. Whit huv ye goat fur us?
BABY SEAL: Goat-fur now?
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Fower buiks. Ye’ve written fower buiks, but cannae pit them oot. How no’?
BABY SEAL: They’re duds.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Whit’s this? Extract? Luiks fine tae me. Ye can write, lassie.
BABY SEAL: Uh. Yeah. I know that. But, I feel…
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ne’er mind a’ yon. Dinnae fash.
BABY SEAL: I wasn’t going to. Fash. It’s awfully quiet out here. I’m too exposed. Look at that emptiness.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Blank page. Fill it. Lay doon some paragraphs, an’ open up a saycont front.
BABY SEAL: We can’t. There’s nothing.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ye’ve written a’ these buiks. Fire wan aff.
BABY SEAL: Er.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ah’m movin’ up tae launch a massive quarter-mullion wurd epic.
BABY SEAL: Holy Eff!
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Aye, ah ken. It’s nearer a third o’ a mullion. Ye ’hink you’ve goat troubles…
BABY SEAL: Goats again. I don’t know.
SERGEANT JOCK MACBASTARD: Ah huv tae get a message through tae yon DEATH STAR…
BABY SEAL: Oh. I thought that was a small moon.
DEATH STAR COMMANDER: Transmission from the planet’s surface. The plug for Terry Moore is all set. We’ve cleared the ©, Milord. There’s nothing to stop us now.
DARTH SINISTER: Excellent work, Commander. You may edit when ready.
DEATH STAR COMMANDER: With pleasure. Well, it is a porno.
BABY SEAL: The Sarge had taken time from editing porn to talk to me.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Wow. That’s dedication.
RAW RECRUIT 1: What kind of porn?
BABY SEAL: Gerbil porn.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Er…
BABY SEAL: Gerbil-on-gerbil action. None of that funny stuff.
RAW RECRUIT 1: Er…
BABY SEAL: Well, there was some chocolate sauce. I didn’t look into that too closely. Anyway. I faced the worst thing in combat. The waiting. It’s the waiting that gets to you. And the clichés. But mostly the waiting. The cliché of waiting. Finally, I made a breakthrough. Signed a deal. Hybrid. Paper and electronic.
RAW RECRUIT 2: Wow.
BABY SEAL: I didn’t go it alone. That mercenary resurfaced in time to help whip me into shape for the final assault. Missy was all over my manuscript like physicists hunting for bosons.
RAW RECRUIT 2: She’s a mercenary, though…
BABY SEAL: Well, she does a lot of covert stuff. Best not to ask who she works for. The next I knew, I was signed to a deal. Though, you should know, that’s when the campaigning really begins. Leading into winter.
CHURCHILL: We will write them on the beaches, we will write them in the streets and in the fields…we will NEVER surrender. If the English language were to last for a thousand years, men will still say…this…is a thieving magpie language, written by people with thieving magpie minds…
NEXT BLOG: SECRET GARDEN.