Sunday, 15 December 2013


In support of READ TUESDAY, I answered my own questions on other people's blogs. Writers chatting to each other on writing. Tedious or devious? Let’s have one more batch of twenty questions, and find out.
   Time for some alternative answers...where possible.


1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

The book is pressed right into my face; I've cannily opened the tome, to widen the shielding properties. I hum and haw over this. The shield is wider, though now thinner. And it's still paper-based, so only acts as a temporary shield. However, if I wait too long the smoke will nail me. So a temporary shield is all I need. I've opened the book with the pages facing me, and all I take in during this fiery drama is the letter E.

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

That one. Him. And I berate him for having wasted my time on his fiction. As he sits slack-jawed, I eat his portion of cake.

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

Yes, it was a GREAT idea to answer this question differently every single time. Well, I - oh - hey, look at that interesting thing over there...

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

Someone else steps in and wins this fight. Did you ever hear of...Kong?

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?

The question is clearly bogus. Who says I'll wake feeling refreshed?

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?

I introduce a mix-up that isn't meant to be part of the plot. This mixed-up mix-up involves luggage belonging to a guy named Mick. Mick's mixed-up mix-up diverts the readers from a massive hole in the plot - something to do with an evil twin. I wasn't really listening. What was the question again?

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

Yes, but the villain then returns in a prequel instead.

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

I save both and watch them fight it out - drifting in the ocean would be empty and meaningless otherwise.

9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?

First, I mix up some luggage.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)

I recall typing this pen is running out of ink, omitting a space of strategic importance.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

These days, my office chair has no castors. I'd say falling out of my chair is slightly more difficult, as a result of the change.

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

The Maltese Millennium Falcon.

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

What a cracked question. And it's taken me this long to realise. I've missed out books I've read and associated movie adaptations I haven't seen. Yes, I've read The Scarlet Letter. No, somehow I haven't managed to catch D. Moore in the movie version. Let's try a quote from Demi.

   "In truth, not very many people have read the book."

   In its day, from the off, Nat Hawthorne's book was a bestseller. Maybe one day I'll watch that film. Yes. One day.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

I should have given thought to other occupational hazards. Or boons. Your odd behaviour is always explained away by using the old magic charm...

   "Oh, I'm a writer."

   After saying that to worried guards, have no fear. Those people will let you wander nuclear power stations.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

This is far easier to do if you read comic books. Batman hit the stands in 1939. Every decade, it became necessary to recreate the character. Update. Alter. Revamp. Good luck reading all the Caped Crusader's adventures in order.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

Work is abandoned when it is published.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?

I've bumped into a few I wish we could all pretend we'd left unread.

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

I'd build it where no one would expect. Where is that? Even I don't know. I've been looking for that secret passage...how long now? Must be here somewhere. This loose panel...

19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Max Jiggle.

20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

We go to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat.

Here's a blog post on READ TUESDAY.


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