Author Archives: debooker

About debooker

A brief (and somewhat ambiguous) biography. One hundred words, more or less, about David Booker might include the following: though lost in the cosmos without a compass, he has nonetheless managed to find his way into middle age. As to what he will do now that he is there is still a matter of speculation. He often seeks guidance from his youthful daughter as he alternately approaches and retreats from the slow expansion of his waistline and the slow collapse of Western Civilization as he knows it. He hopes the two will reach a libration (or libation) point and he will creep into old age with some dignity and clothes intact.

Photo finish Friday: “Checkin’ in Once Again”

“One for the money. Two for the show….”

From blue suede to persuade, Elvis is still singing to Marilyn down at the local pizza and sandwich shop. Four years

Elvis and Marilyn hanging out at the local pizzeria from May 25, 2013.

ago, almost to the day, Photo finish Friday featured these two. Not much has changed. Marilyn has gained a cap — which may or may not go with her dress — and she’s clutching her clutch in both hands now. You can never be too careful these days. But they are both still hanging around Harby’s.

Who do you know now that you knew four years ago that might be worth checking in with or writing about. Is he still living in the same place? Does she still have the same job? Do you still see each other and visit?

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Filed under 2017, photo by David E. Booker, Photo Finish Friday

Haiku to you Thursday: “Straggler”

The straggler grieves /

for the love he left behind /

fading into daylight.

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My Top Tips For Writing a Time Slip Novel By Kim Fleet

 

My Top Tips For Writing a Time Slip Novel By Kim Fleet

Source: My Top Tips For Writing a Time Slip Novel By Kim Fleet

A time-slip novel contains two or more stories, each set in a different time period, told in parallel with each other. In my latest novel, Holy Blood, one story line is in contemporary Cheltenham, the other in the Elizabethan Cotswolds. Writing time-slip brings its own joys (exploring new characters and situations) and challenges (double the research), so here are some tips to keep you time travelling painlessly.

 

Decide which is the main story: it helps you to plan your story arc and focus on the main themes of the novel. It also helps to keep characters under control – especially the bolshy ones who think it’s all about them.

Question everything. First ideas aren’t always best, and I rely on my secret weapon, the question, ‘What if?’ when I’m planning and writing a book to ensure I’ve explored all possibilities and chosen the ones that I think will work best. I ask myself, ‘What if this was set in the war? What if this character was a girl, not a boy?’

Use at least three sources for your research. I use the internet for initial research, but I always cross-check using reputable books. It’s a great excuse to get absorbed in the past. Visiting locations can help you pick up details you wouldn’t get from books.

Don’t overdo the historical details by shoehorning everything you’ve researched into the book as it makes the narrative stodgy. If you can keep the sense of the time in your mind while you write, somehow it comes out on the page.

Ensure the stories in the two time periods link up by having situations, objects or places that appear in each. Ideally, both story lines should resolve each other, even better!

Mind your language. Slightly more formal speech and the occasional thee or thou is enough to remind the reader we’re in the past. Under no circumstances use ‘Hey nonny’.

Avoid anachronisms by checking your facts rigorously and remember that not everyone uses an invention the moment it comes out. Words change their meaning, fall out of fashion, and new words come in.

Use coloured pens and index cards, allocating one card for each scene in the book, and different colours to indicate time periods. When you set them out in order you can easily see where you spend too long in one time period and need to break things up.

Use cliff hangers. One of the joys of writing time-slip is that you get a double whammy by ending a chapter on a cliff hanger and by changing time period. It makes the pace very fast.

Get your crayons out and map the connections between all your characters. A character with only one link needs to be given more to do, or be amalgamated with another ‘thin’ character. The density of connections shows where you need an extra sub-plot.

 

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Monday morning writing joke: “Stop it”

Writer one: “Did you hear about the play about the writer of run-on sentences who committed suicide?”

Writer two: “No.”

Writer one: “It’s a period piece.”

 

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New words to live by: “White liners”

Time, once again, for New words to live by. This is a word or phrase not currently in use in the U.S. English lexicon, but might need to be considered. Other words, such as obsurd, crumpify, subsus, flib, congressed, and others, can be found by clicking on the tags below. Today’s New Word is created by taking an adjective and a noun and creating a compound word. Without further waiting, white liner.

OLD WORD
White, adj. Reflecting nearly all the rays of sunlight or a similar light. For example, new snow. The margins of many printed pages.

Line, n. A mark or stroke ling in proportion to its breadth, often made with a pen, crayon, marker, pencil, or other tool on a surface. For example, the white lines on a highway dividing two lanes.

NEW WORD
White liner, n. 1. Any person or thing that crowds the margins or marked edges or lanes of a highway. For example, a person who rides the white center lines of a highway. Or, somebody who parks right on the line of a parking space.

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The Devil’s Dictionary: “Egotist”

A young Ambrose Bierce

In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.

For example, here is a definition for the word Egotist. The Old definitions are Bierce’s. The New definition is mine. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.

OLD DEFINITION
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

Megaceph, chosen to serve the State
In the halls of legislative debate,
One day with all his credentials came
To the capitol’s door and announced his name.
The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
And said: “Go away, for we settle here
All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
To be told how every member stands,
A man who to all things under the sky
Assents by eternally voting ‘I’.”

 

NEW DEFINITION
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. See, Donald J. Trump

Donald, chose to run for president
Saying only he could truly represent
The interest of those who had been ignored
Or in some other way had been deplored.
He marched into office, saying hugely
It was and always about yours truly.
What some still fail to understand
Is that “yours truly” is about the man
And not a form of salutation
Meant for the greater good of the nation.
It has always been about him:
The hymn of him, of him the hymn.

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Photo finish Friday: “Wing tip”

Oftentimes the biggest thing holding you down is the crap from above that lands on your wings.

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Filed under 2017, photo by David E. Booker, Photo Finish Friday