Friday, July 7, 2023

Four Men On The Window Ledge 2

I'm afraid I couldn't get these men to keep quiet--- so here goes part two. I'm afraid it's just as silly as part one. I think two of these men have now been incarcerated for their own good. Or the good of humanity. Or both, Probably both.


Whats the worst review youve had?

M  - Boys own with swearing” Ive no effing idea what that means.

N No worst, really, but definitely weirdest would be The author is pasty but tasty in an undertaker sort of a way, and the book was cheap…”

G One word – ‘Drivel.’ –  Im having a t-shirt made.

D Note to self, don’t buy a book just because it’s set in Glasgow.



If you were in your own book who would you be?

M – Just at the end of the book, where the male hero is dying in his lovers arms, and she is inconsolable with grief, he turns to the window to watch the sunset as his eyes close for the last time, and Id be the guy who drives past the scene in an ice cream van, wearing a grass skirt and ginger wig, mooning out the window while the horn is blasting La Cucaracha.

N Id be the wee boy chasing after Marks ice cream van, his only goal in the world to purchase Leggatts fabled 99 knickerbocker twist…

G Ive already done this. If you are sitting comfortably Ill explain. In my latest book, No More Games, the main protagonist is called Ginger, he has ginger hair (as do I), he is 12 years old in !974 (as was I), he lives in Simshill in Glasgow (as did I), his dad is a policeman in Glasgows central division (as was mine), his best friend gets him in no end of trouble (as did mine), he plays in the local woods (as did I) he goes to Kings Park Secondary School (as did I) – need I go on. No More Gamesmight well be reclassified as an autobiography once Im an international superstar.

D I would be the guy who doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, even at the end when everything is explained to him in easy to understand words. Because generally that’s how I feel after I wrote them.



What word do you find difficult to spell?

M  - Queue. Its just plain wrong and perverse.

N Bureaucrat. Gets me every time…

G Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

D I fidn msto wrds dif..diffa…dify..hard to spill.



What skillset from your previous life do you bring to your writing? Thats if you have any skills.

M – I know who to bring down the technical systems of a bank, which is no use whatsoever, unless its a book about how to bring down the technical systems of a bank, which would be boring and crap. But as a Disaster Recovery exert, Im good at working out all the weird things that could go wrong, which is excellent when you want to drop your main character right in it. And I do. The planning experience is also very handy, as Im a completely disorganised person. If my brain had a sound, it would be a drumkit being thrown down the stairs.

N Im a journalist to trade (but one of the good ones, I said no to the Daily Mail, twice), so I guess that helps me in treating writing like a job. If youve got 2k words to produce, you produce them. Working in a newsroom also kicks the ego out of you pretty quickly when it comes to being involved in the editing process and understanding that a good editor (and I worked with some great ones and some absolute f*ckwits in my time) wants to make the story better and can offer a different point of view. As I dont plan, I guess I approach the books like I would a journalistic story, digging in until I find of the who, what, where, how and why of the story.

G I ran a creativity training business for a long time. Teaching organisations how to improve their creative thinking and action. The techniques to aid your creativity, to get out of that rut, to find new worlds – I use them all the time while writing. My favourite phrase is getting out of that river’ – when Im stuck – can't find an original thought – I have a shed load of techniques to haul myself from that dry river bed – and jump in a fresh stream.

D Having been a newspaper hack like Neil, whoever he is, I suppose I bring the ability not to be too precious about my work. Well, mostly. If I disagree with a suggestion I do say but I understand that we’re all trying to make the book better so I don’t get myself bent out of shape. I also understand the importance of deadlines, although I appreciate the Douglas Adams line - ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.’


Can you yodel? Can this be demonstrated?

M – Yes, I can yodel like a true believer in the Way of the Yode. However, to the untrained ear, its just sounds like Look at my Cheese Horse!” in a Dundee accent.

N Theoretically, I suppose I could, but no-one needs the bleeding ears such an effort would produce, so I guess Im Shroedingers Yodeller

G No – but I can imitate a trimphone and sing the Bay City Rollers chant.

D I am doing it now. I learned it when I was growing my hair so I could be trained to be a St Bernard because I quite liked brandy. I failed the exam though because, apparently, dogs can’t yodel. Also, I didn’t have the necessary physical attributes to be a large dog. Damn evolution for losing our tails.


Are you a plotter, pantser or an inbetweener?

M – A plotter to the nth degree, down to the underwear rotation cycles of my tenth least important character.

N Total pantster. I get an idea, a scene or a line in my head and run with it. For me, planning kills the fun of the story, if Ive worked out whats going on before I write it, why would I got back and do it all again? Its not the most relaxing way to work, but hopefully it makes the narrative punchy and surprising.

G Whats planning? And in that short sentence I lie, a little. I wrote my first book in one run – started at line one and finished three months later – then had to fix it. Now I tend to write about two thousand words a day, stop, go for a walk, think a little on what comes next, then, the next day, hammer out another 2k. So I have sneaked in a teeny, weeny little bit of planning into my writing life – for heavens sake don't tell Leggatt.

D I am a freestyler, because it’s classier than pantster. I believe people should write the way they want to without being lectured by others but letting the story and characters take you where you should be is the correct way to do it. And yes, I’m looking at you, Leggatt. I don’t want to but sometimes a firm glare is necessary.



If you ruled the world whats the first law that you would pass? I.e. the death penalty for people who put flavoured syrup in coffee? 5 Years for bad whistling?

M – Cycling on the pavement? Hung from a streetlight by the earlobes. Using more than two adverbs in a book? Stabbed in the face by a pack of furious editors while being fed feet first into a woodchipper.

N Id make being called Douglas Skelton a capital offence.

G Oh the choices. All the things I could ban – now where would I start? Mmmm – I tell you what – I know the answer. By royal proclamation I hereby ban anything that annoys me under sentence of banishment to one of my book events if found guilty.’ – that will do.

D If I ruled the world…I’m doing my best Harry Secombe impression now… I would outlaw all those awful reality shows on Channel 4 and E4 and More4. I’m talking Celebrity Charabanc Tour, Celebrity Toilet Cleaning, Celebrity Preening and Posing and Pretending to Be Doing Something. In fact, anything with the word celebrity because, generally, the people in it aren’t celebrities. And shrink wrap on CDs and DVDs. I know people don’t use discs now, but I do and that plastic wrap drives me up the chuffing wall. I mean, how in the name of hellfire are you supposed to get it off? Have they welded it on or something? I’m angry now. I’m off to punch my cardboard cut out of Neil Broadfoot.


Normality should return next week. Should. But probably won't.


1 comment:

  1. Oy. Here I sit, contemplating me sausage casings as they spill into me lap through me busted gut...