Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Voice of God – Part 2

[This is Part 2 of 4 in the 4 part short story The Voice of God. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1 first.]

A thought had been nagging at Frank for the last hour that this probably wasn’t God. It was, after all a giant red dragon, and was therefore likely to be the devil. But weirdly this didn’t disappoint Frank as much as you’d imagine, Frank was just pretty happy knowing that such a thing were possible. And if such things were possible, reasoned Frank, God would probably be along in a minute or two to sort everything out.

Frank had been thinking that God was going to pop in for almost an hour now and he hadn’t shown up, and it was starting to get really cold. Frank decided to stand up and speak.

The response came back inside his head, “Yes?”
“Who are you?”
“I’m Jerome, don’t you remember me Frank?”
Suddenly Frank remembered. Jerome was a toy dragon he had had as a boy. Jerome had been a little stuffed toy dragon but this dragon hardly looked stuffed, this dragon looked like the real thing. He was also around the size of a double decker bus.
“I remember but…”
“Don’t worry about why for now Frank. We’re about to get some visitors.” Jerome looked down at Frank and added, “I’d stand on that bench if I were you”.

Frank quickly stood up and clambered on to the bench. He could here some kind of noise growing, a noise like water flowing really quickly. And then he saw them, coming out of the drains. Millions of black, vicious, fat rats tearing over the courtyard floor. Within seconds the whole courtyard was covered with them clambering over each other. Frank looked over to Jerome who was gently beating his wings and floating above it all.

Do naturists…

Have nightmares where they realise they are the only one in the exam room wearing clothes?

Avoiding cliché

One of the worst things you can do as a writer is litter your work with cliché. It makes the work sound tired and like it was thrown together.

The problem is that there is a reason clichés get used all of the time and that’s that they are a nice kind of shorthand for what’s going on. They tell you a lot of information without getting you bogged down.

There is however a very nice trick you can use which is the cliché variation. This makes it possible to give the sentiment of the cliché without sounding like you can’t write.

What you do is take a standard cliché and change some of the words and leave the sense intact. This actually happens out in the wild with clichés anyway so it isn’t as much of a surprise to the reader. Here are three examples of what I mean all culled from real life.

You couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery

You couldn’t organise a bun fight in a bakery

You couldn’t organise a fire in a matchbox factory

It most often happens out in the wild when the oldest form is seen as being slightly rude (the piss up one).

By creating your own version you use the shorthand everyone knows to convey the sense, but make it clear that you know your turnips from your swedes.

So, fair gamboling readers, it’s over to you. Just how many different ways are there to describe someone who is poor at organising things using this structure?


“Look, do you think I could just touch one?”
“Touch one?”
“Yeah, touch one. Or hold one, or just the bag Davey. I could just hold the bag for a second if your arm starts getting tired. But I’d really rather touch one.”
“Well you can’t people might see.”
“But I could hold the bag. That would be okay, right? I mean your arm must be getting tired pretty soon. Or maybe already. Maybe your arm’s already tired and yeah that would make sense to somebody looking. Somebody who was looking would be like, yeah his arm probably just got tired so he handed it to his friend.”
“Would you just shut up”

Davey didn’t want to give Carl the bag. He didn’t trust him. He didn’t think Carl would steal, Carl wasn’t smart enough for that. But he was exactly stupid enough to get them caught. But the only problem was that the bag was actually really heavy. He’d switched arms already and was about to have to do it again. Carl, the big lumbering ox, would have been ideal for this except for the fact that he just couldn’t be trusted. There had been silence between the two of them for almost a minute and now and Davey could feel the conversation’s resumption coming at him like a train.

“I was just thinking,” said Carl with a tone suggesting that he hadn’t ever spoken on the subject before, “that if you passed the bag to me people who could see us would just think you were just passing the bag to me because it was heavy not because there was something in it that I wanted to hold because it was exciting. That’s all I was thinking. I just want to hold the gold bars Davey.”

“But what about people who can hear us Carl?”