Sunday, 3 January 2021

Editing a novel

I've learned about the writer's craft.
Long finished was the early draft.
It's been some months since last I read it.
The time has come to do the edit.

"Be ruthless" is the key advice.
"Prune that script and don't think twice."
I thus embark upon this chore.
The mantra must be "less is more".

The mental scissors, sharp and sturdy,
Snip away the over-wordy.
They trim out all that smack of "tell".
The adverbs disappear as well.

The key thing is but one refrain:
"Cut, and cut, then cut again."
Those parts that don't move on the plot
Are banished, as they're needed not.

The clues...the hints...have been curtailed,
Those scattered crumbs just faintly trailed.
Irrelevancies, too, have gone.

The finished work reads "twice upon".

A review of an unnamed novel *****

The first stroke of genius is surely the plain cover, which gives away nothing of what's to come. And what's to come is minimalist writing at its finest. Take the unconventionally uncapitlaised word "twice". This instantly intrigues. In common with the more familiar "once", we are inexorably lured into asking "when?". In the past? In the future? Or that ever present bridge in the time spectrum of "now"? But, more pertinently, why twice? Why not thrice or often? The preposition "upon" also intrigues. Upon what? Surely nothing as mundane as a sofa!

The succinct plot leaves everything to the imagination. Who, exactly, are the characters? Can our first impressions of them be trusted, or will they transmute? Indeed, is anything quite as it seems? The potential for twists and turns is infinite, and the denouement is everything the discerning reader could possibly ask for.

This unusual novel is sure to have you turning every one of its 376 blank pages in your desperate need to find the answers to the many fascinating conundrums it presents.

Friday, 20 November 2020

"Eliminate" and "The Wish Gift"

Hello - and especially to viewers in Hong Kong, who have recently shown a lot of interest in this blog spot.


I have just published two e-books on Kindle, both priced at £0.99. Full details can be checked out in the Kindle book store.


Many thanks for looking.


Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Coronavirus - the police ARE on the case

The virus came upon us.

The scenario looked grave.

And so we faced restrictions

As to how we should behave.

But some chose to ignore them,

Their stance one of defiance.

And the police did very little,

In the face of non-compliance.


Where were the disincentives

For "to hell with safety first"?

Was anybody challenged?

Were mass gatherings dispersed?


Maybe law enforcement

Found it difficult to cope,

But, last Saturday, I heard some news

Which gives a ray of hope.


Two people walked along the road,

Both wearing fancy dress.

One looked like a wicked witch,

The other, a princess.


Were they off to some indoor event?

They clearly looked suspicious.

"Are you going to a party?"

Asked a policeman, all officious.


"We're not," replied the older one,

"I hope we're not in trouble.

We're going to our Granny's

And we're in her social bubble."


The PC sent them on their way:

He'd done what he could do.

They weren't about to break the rules,

These gilrs - aged five and two.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Ryanair (again)

We should've gone to Germany, At the start of last July, But restrictions placed on travel meant We sadly couldn't fly. Our booking was thus cancelled. This happened in mid-May. I applied to get our money back, And did this straight away. My request, of course, brought no result, Seemed wholly disregarded. With emails sent by Ryanair, Am suddenly bombarded. "Here's a voucher for some future flight. We've plenty. Take a look. You can redeem it instantly. We urge you to re-book. We have a backlog of requests So processing's delayed..." (In short, you will be lucky If you ever get repaid.) I know we aren't the only ones Who feel aggrieved and bitter. There are thousands out there moaning, As evidenced on Twitter. Of these very many others With such issues unresolved, Some have taken drastic action And got their banks involved. Or have claimed via their insurers, Or are legally assisted. It's runoured that, by Ryanair, Such folk are now black-listed. I've just had another email. It's about my "recent" claim. It's urging "use your voucher" So the message is the same... ..."but should you want your cash instead, 'Click here'is what you do. I complied and my request it seems, Is now "placed in a queue."

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Struggling to get my trousers on

I hadn't worn them for a while,
But their style.

Today I would these trousers don,
And started thus to pull them on.

This can't be true! This can't be right!
They never used to be this tight.

I hopped. I sat. I groaned. I swore.
And writhed upon the bedroom floor.

Another pull, another squeeze.
The waistband's just beyond my knees...

I yank them slowly up my thighs.
In secret, have they shrunk in size?

Inch by inch, am getting dressed,
As legs are ever more compressed.

"Just give up now," instructs my brain.
(But could I get them off again?

The force by which this garment edged,
Might render me forever wedged.)

Am sure I haven't put on weight,
So what had caused me to inflate?

A final tug...I reach a hip,
Then note I've not unzipped the zip.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Roman Britain

Welcome to new viewers from Bhutan, Guam, Saint Kitts and Nevis, British Virgin Islands, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.Your flags now appear on "Hello World":

The following recently rediscovered verse is a prequel to "Anglo Saxons, Celts and Vikings".

The Romans eyed Britannia,
Which they coveted with greed.
Caesar tried to grab it,
Though he didn't quite succeed.

But about two thousand years ago,
In 43 AD,
Yet another bunch of Romans,
Set sail across the sea.

To capture this fair island
Was their obvious intent.
Where they landed isn't certain:
It was probably in Kent.

Of subsequent resistance
There are many thrilling tales,
Like the stance of King Caratacus
(Of what we know as Wales).

Or the valiant Iceni tribe,
Whose leader showed no fear.
They knew her as Queen Boudica,
(Oft misnamed Boadicea).

The Romans' skills in battle
Eventually prevailed,
Then they tried to conquer Scotland -
Where, initially, they failed.

In time, they got to Inverness,
But then came to their senses:
What they stood to gain would fall far short
Of garrison expenses.

As the Scottish Picts were deemed a threat,
Defence was thus a need.
"We must build a wall to stop them,"
Emperor Hadrian decreed.

The Romans, whilst in Britain
Imported much of merit.
What exactly was the legacy?
Just what did we inherit?

They brought the modern calendar,
Complete with Leap Year trick...
The amazing quick-fire catapult...
And concrete, glass and brick.

They brought turnips, grapes and carrots,
Pears and apples... apricots.
They had strange new ways of cooking food,
By using separate pots.

They constructed mighty aqueducts,
In which clean water flowed.
And, between each major settlement,
A long straight Roman road.

On a small spot named Londinium,
They made an early start.
It developed very quickly
To become the nation's heart.

They were very fond of bathing
But it seems, once they had gone,
That their rituals of cleanliness
Had never quite caught on.

They left us in 410 AD,
And headed straight back home.
The soldiers perhaps were needed,
To defend their native Rome.

Or economic gloom here
May has caused them to withdraw.
Why they went is still a puzzle.
Historians aren't sure.

The Brits were never viewed as tamed,
They'd not quite thrown the hat in.
They were not completely docile,
And they never mastered Latin.

Until post the Norman Conquest,
When French proved to our liking,
Old English was a mixture,
Of Celtic/German/Viking.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Smart Shop at Sainsbury's

Am standing in the Sainsbury's queue,
And see a youth, with basket, who
Is handing out "remote controls".
Their benefits, this lad extols.

"Smart Shop's simple," now claims he,
Whilst proffering technology.
"The system's easy as can be!"
Except, of course, when used by me.

"You first must scan your Nectar card,
To register. It isn't hard."
And therefore this I duly tried,
To find that access was denied.

Some red lights flashed with true persistence...
No option but to seek assistance...
It all worked fairly well then on.
The gizmo beeped. A green light shone.

Was feeling chuffed. So good, so far.
I then picked up a mustard jar.
But something's wrong! There were no signs
Of zebra coloured little lines.

None at the bottom, nor the top.
I stood bewildered in the shop.
Another jar proved just the same,
No stripes. I'm tiring of this game.

Be sensible, I told myself,
And scanned the barcode on the shelf.
This action, which I'd thought astute,
Resulted in a "Can't compute".

With rapid plummet of my mood,
I realise the system's screwed.
"Ask a colleague for advice"
My screen suggests. I don't think twice.

I wander and I look around.
There is no colleague to be found.
The service desk...the queue is long...
In time, they sort out what went wrong.

I thus resume the merry dance,
But feel as though I'm in a trance.
The checkout looms. I know I've missed
A few key items on the list.

I won't go back. I've almost done.
I've had my fill of gadget fun.
There's just one hurdle left to clear.
I'll pay, and then I'm out of here.

A message at this final stage,
Suggests the store needs "proof of age".
The reason, and my latest folly?
Alcohol was in the trolley.

"I bought some wine. Was that so wrong?"
I ask the chap who comes along.
I care not what this man might think,
And only know I NEED A DRINK.

"I've reached eighteen," I reassure,
"And fifty and the rest years more."
At last, "Transaction is complete,
Please wait, and take your till receipt."

I stand until my brain goes numb.
The till receipt? It does not come...
This can't be right. This can't be proper.
I'm clearly not a Smart Shop shopper.