Fill out this worksheet and keep it in your writing journal. Whenever you feel yourself growing bored with your work in progress, take it out and add a dash of something you love to brighten up your writing.
I first saw a necklace of this kind at Accessorize and was instantly taken by its genius. It came (theoretically) with all 26 letters of the English alphabet, plus the ones that were already arranged on the chain to spell, ‘make your own’. Amusingly, my box was missing the letters B and S, and when I went back to the shop they were all out. The dearth of letters creates some compositional difficulty, and the Accessorize website is rife with reviews from customers complaining that they didn’t have enough letters to spell out their name. My diminutive name is no problem, but I think a name tag is an insipid use of an alphabet necklace, which can communicate far more interesting sentiments.
The full character set of my Accessorize necklace – a sturdy, dark-gold, sans BS, sans serif:
On a recent trip to Primark, I discovered some even nicer necklaces (at a fraction of the price of the Accessorize ones, needless to say) which have two chains, allowing the wearer to “typeset” two lines of text. An older style of these was discounted and at £1, I couldn’t resist. It’s in a more elaborate font, and the chains are a bit too close together (though this is easy enough to fix). The newer style is currently £3 and is in a much more pleasing serif font, with the chains at a better length. The Primark versions come with 28 letters – the O and Y are doubled. Not particularly helpful in English where an extra E would have made all the diffErEncE. The Accessorize version had the advantage of the extra A and E of ‘make’.
Since the Primark versions are so affordable, I would advise the fashionable author to invest in two or three letter necklaces. However, if you enjoy the orthographical challenge of a single character set, here are some writerly phrases I have come up with. Feel free to tweet me your own.
I LOVE WORDS
I AMB LE
STEAMPUNK (GIRL / BOY)
And a few words:
P.S. If you enjoy this sort of word play, I would heartily recommend that you read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, in which the inhabitants of Nollop scramble to find a pangram before their society collapses.
Your antagonist* is tired of being compared to your protagonist. Give him / her some love with this worksheet.
While this worksheet has been designed for antagonists who are characters, remember that this needn’t always be the case! Also works for your real-life antagonists…
More Ways to Understand Your Antagonist
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Whether your character is locked up in a dungeon with her hands chained to the wall, or she’s hemmed in by the walls of your plot closing in around her, this worksheet will come to the rescue!
I used this worksheet to save my heroine when she was left bound and gagged in an underground cavern in chapter 4 of The Floral Underworld!
As my time on the Aegean wings to a close, I’m enjoying some roof-top writing, watching the sun set behind black pines -not Pinus nigra, but the irregular, unstately Pinus brutia– “their fretted summits tipped with cones“. Writing in unusual places could certainly become a divertissement, if not a competitive sport. I wonder what cognitively poetic effects sitting on the edge has on one’s writing; perhaps the thrill of almost losing your pen or your perch translates into a teetering, titillating suspense on the page, for instance? Perhaps being high above the houses leads to loftier thoughts?
The other day, as I contemplated these and other useless theories, I suddenly found myself engulfed in a collective buzz and threw myself indoors, making a beeline in inelegant haste. When I looked back, I saw the tail-end of a swarm of bees undulate once over the terracotta and disappear into the woods. A swarm in july is not worth a fly, so the saying goes.
Despite their crooked silhouettes, the pines conspire (with aphids) to secrete a delicious honeydew, which is transmuted into pine honey by Apis mellifera and sold at roadside stalls by apiarists. There are not enough flowers in this area (except for the ever beautiful, poisonous oleander) for the light, amber flower honey, but one beekeeper I talked to today told me that he takes his skeps to Mount Ida in spring so that his bees can feast on chestnut blossom and produce rich, dark, chestnut honey. Can consuming honey make one honey-tongued (mellifluous)? I feel it is worth a try. Until I return to blighty & pine…