Not NaNoWriMo – Part 12

James Proclaims (4)

As November draws to a close, so too must my series of not-novels that I won’t be writing for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

If you’re actually participating in NaNoWriMo, and you haven’t yet given up, then worry not – you still have another two days to hit the coveted fifty-thousand-word count. Also, I salute you, I don’t think, in previous years when I have tried to do NaNoWriMo, that I ever made it past day 15, and even that year I’d really started to fade quite badly by around day 8.

But for my little series lampooning the modern novel, this is the twelfth and (for the time being) final contribution.

To be honest I’m amazed I’ve managed to churn out this many.

When I came up with the concept at the start of the month I only anticipated producing five. But it seems that, while I’ve oft struggled to find the requisite inspiration to produce my own novel, I seem to have no difficulty in finding the inspiration to mock the novels of others.

I’m not sure what that says about me as a person.

Probably nothing good.

But I’ve quite enjoyed it.

Particularly the fact that some people have told me that they would actually buy and read some of these nonsensical novels.

To be fair, they’d probably all sell a lot better than the kind of introspective, self-indulgent lament on modernity that would inevitably be the focus of any novel I might actually be bothered to produce.

And high sales figures is the motivation behind today’s, final, entry into the collection:

Dan Brown

What’s that?

You were hoping for an action-packed thriller starring everyone’s favourite ‘Symbologist’ Robert Langdon? You wanted a slightly incoherent plot underpinned by historical inaccuracy, written with questionable grammar and sentences like “the tall man picked up the big red book”?

You wanted conspiracy theories, implausible dialogue and easy-to-spot plot twists?

Sorry, you won’t find any of that here.

This is a slow-moving piece of high-brow literary fiction about the ruminations of a retired postal worker as he comes to grip with the passing of time and the ever-changing state of the world around him. ‘Dan Brown’ is the eponymous hero of the story, not the author. The author is me. James Proclaims. Surely that’s abundantly clear if you look at the cover of the book?

DAN Brown

No, you can’t have your money back.

A Slightly Confusing Metaphor To Illustrate How Utterly Redundant Cyber Monday Is As A Concept.

James Proclaims (4)

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Sometimes I like to think of Black Friday as the ‘bad guy’ in a second-rate action flick. He’s over-the-top and stupid, but poses a genuine threat to our hero – ‘Captain Common-Sense’.

Oh no! How will Captain Common-Sense survive that unbeatable deal on headphones? How will he remember that he already owns a perfectly good pair of headphones? Headphones that he barely uses anyway. With deals that good, surely, he’s going to be tempted to part with his hard-earned cash on another frivolous purchase. Curse you Black Friday!

Of course, if the movie runs true to form, Captain Common-Sense beats the temptations of Black Friday and wins the day.

And although it’s a genuinely dreadful film, the battle between Black Friday and Captain Common-Sense does well enough at the box office to merit a sequel.

And the sequel is vastly inferior to the already-bad original.

Because in an attempt to make a bigger, more compelling bad-guy, the studio massively misjudges what made the first film popular, which was that, although kind-of inane, Black Friday poses a genuine threat to the wallet of Captain Common-Sense because his deals are ‘for a limited time only’. That’s where the jeopardy is.

So, given that Captain Common-Sense has now prevailed, for any kind of sequel to work, the bad-guy needs to be a bit different.

Not exactly the same but with a different name.

And as far as I can see, the only difference between a ‘deal’ on Cyber Monday as opposed to a ‘deal’ on Black Friday, is that the Black Friday fake deals are available online and in-store, whereas Cyber Monday fake deals can only, by definition, be online. So Cyber Monday is exactly the same as Black Friday, only not as good.

And given that Black Friday is already pointless, Cyber Monday must therefore be worse than pointless.

And on that note…

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!

Let’s Make A Day Of It

James Proclaims (4)

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I enjoy a made-up-day as much as anyone. This month alone we’ve observed ‘World Sandwich Day’, ‘World Television Day’, ‘World Toilet Day’, ‘World Kindness Day’, ‘Beaujolais Nouveau Day’ and the ever-ridiculous ‘Black Friday’.

And those are just the ones I’ve mentioned on this blog. I missed the opportunity to cover ‘Hug-a-Bear Day’, ‘Spicy Guacamole Day’ and the truly oxymoronic ‘Use Your Common-Sense Day’ which are apparently also November ‘events’

But today brings a rare treat, for whoever organises the ‘World Days’ has made a double booking. That’s right, November 26th allows us to celebrate two different causes concurrently (well three if you count International Aura Awareness Day, but I’m afraid that might be a step too far for me)

Although there is a slight conflict of interests.

For today is apparently ‘Anti-Obesity day’ and, simultaneously, ‘World Cake Day’.

It does cause something of a quandary.

How can I support both days?

My only conclusion is that I must eat all the cakes, to save everyone else from obesity.

You’re welcome.

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 11

James Proclaims (4)

Back by ‘popular’ demand, here is my eleventh suggestion for a novel that I could have attempted to write during the annual novel-writing festival that is NaNoWriMo.

But to be clear, I’m not writing any of them.

Because they are not good ideas.

And today’s ‘not good idea’ is the following:

Children Of Dystopia

Are you a young adult (or do you fit into the incredibly vague parameters of what might qualify as a young adult)?

If the answer is yes, then maybe you’d like ‘Papier Mache Gorillas’, one of my earlier efforts at a potential YA novel. Or maybe you’d enjoy ‘The Golden Socks’ a magical children’s novel that should appeal to all ages.

But if they both seem a little too saccharine for your tastes, then maybe you’d prefer something a little darker.

If so, does the idea of a dystopian world appeal? One where troubled teens do battle for some hard-to-define reason? Perhaps where many of the main characters meet violent and disturbing ends at regular intervals?

Perhaps you like your fiction bleak, humourless and set in a nightmare version of the future, a sort of ‘1984’ for young people but nowhere near as inciteful or reflective as Orwell’s masterpiece.

Despite the carnage and brutal loss of life, some of the main characters will make it to the end of the novel and there will be the beginnings of a romance forming between two of the central characters, but don’t get too attached, because there will be more death, destruction and trauma in the ensuing sequels, before the trilogy of novels concludes with the toppling of the antagonistic and corrupt authority figures and an ensuing, albeit vague, sense of optimism. Nonetheless any survivors will be so traumatised that there’s no conceivable way they can ever hope to recover any semblance of joy in their lives.

Enjoy it all again as the trilogy gets made into a series of films, although you’ll no doubt be infuriated beyond all level of reason with the inevitable plot changes that will be required to make the big screen adaptation of a such a convoluted plot even remotely possible.

The Lone Planet

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 10

Have I really come up with ten of these?

Well no, as it happens I’ve come up with eleven.

But this is the tenth.

The eleventh is coming soon.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s just enjoy number ten.

For it is the wonderful:

Quest Fallen

If you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, then you’ll love this. I mean if I ever write it obviously. Which I won’t.

But which is it?

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

They aren’t the same thing you know.

Aren’t they?

Really?

In that case it’s probably safer to say it’s Fantasy because there won’t be anything remotely scientifically credible in it.

Or maybe there will be.

I don’t know.

 I don’t even know what it’s about. But there will be unpronounceable names. Of both people and places. And battles. And strange creatures.

And probably far too much about the politics of the made-up world in which it is set.

And not a single hint of anything resembling humour.

Because this is a serious genre and should be regarded as such.

Quest Fallen

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 9

Here I am again with another idea for a book I’ll never write.

Where do they keep coming from?

I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a gift I have.

In which case, it’s quite a rubbish gift.

Still, if that’s my place in the grand scheme of things then who am I to argue?

Today’s non-contribution to the world of literature is:

Papier Mache Gorillas

This is one of those tales that views tragedy through the lens of hope.

There’ll be plenty of bittersweet humour.

Expect to laugh and cry in equal measure.

I expect it’ll be marketed towards ‘Young Adults’  (whoever they are).

But really anyone can read it.

Critics will describe it as “incredibly uplifting” and “deeply moving”.

It will be both of those things.

And not at all cloying, mawkish and a little bit conceited.

monsters

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 8

Another day, another horrendously bad idea for a novel.

A novel I won’t be writing.

In honour of my continued non-participation in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Although one person’s idea of a bad novel is another person’s idea of a ‘must-read’.

It’s all subjective really. There’s probably no such thing as bad or good.

It’s all just shades of grey…

Probably about fifty of them if we’re honest…

Which brings me onto today’s effort…

 Mr Whippy

Basically it’s an unashamed rip-off of Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a book I’ve never actually read. Mrs Proclaims has read it. She described it as “one of the worst things ever written, yet strangely unputdownable”.

Which sounds like a recipe for success if ever I heard it.

And there’s no denying that it did quite well.

Obviously I can’t copy it word for word and just change the title.

So I’m going to copy it word for word, change the title and change the character of ‘prominent businessman’ Christian Grey (I got that bit off the blurb) to ‘prominent ice-cream van driver’ Walter Whippy.

Then I’m going to sit back and watch the money come rolling in…

Mr Whippy (1)

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 7

Ok people, you know the drill. This is the bit of my blog when I tell you about a novel that I’m definitely not writing in order to fully ‘not participate’ in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

There’s a hint of Scandinavian whimsy about today’s effort as I present:

The Old Man Who Did Something

It’s essentially about an old man who does something. Probably something quite ordinary and mundane.

But in doing that thing he will doubtless make the world a better place in some sort of abstract way.

And everyone will feel uplifted.

Which can only be a good thing.

TheCircusJelly

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 6

If I were taking part in NaNoWriMo, I’d almost certainly be on track with my word count and winging my way towards a commercial and critical success.

Instead I’ve chosen to affectionately lampoon the whole thing by sketching out ideas for novels I will never write.

Because they are bad ideas.

Today’s worthless would-be work is the following:

You had me at Cello

Everyone loves a ‘rom-com’, don’t they? So, I imagine they also love the literature equivalent – I think it’s known commonly as ‘chick-lit’ although to my untrained eye that does seem sexist as terminology goes. I’m already a little out of my depth here.

On with the story then and this would essentially be centred around a cellist in an orchestra (hence the extremely clever title), who, despite being attractive, and clearly successful (I imagine it’s not easy to become a professional cellist?) has worrying self-esteem issues that instead of addressing in an appropriate and sensitive way, we’ll use to create lots of uncomfortable and highly comic scrapes for her to get herself into. Although in reality, in the broader context of the world we live in, she’s probably quite privileged and all her problems would fall very much into the category of ‘first-world problems’.

Let’s also say that she’s ‘second cellist’ (do they have multiple cellists in orchestras?) and she has her eye on becoming ‘first cellist’ when her mentor (a loveable and wise old person) retires, early in the story. Instead she is overlooked, despite her obvious talent, for a new orchestra member, who is in every way her polar opposite (except they are both cellists – let’s ignore that minor point). He’s also really attractive though.

Initially there’s a kind of sang-froid between them, but eventually, after a number of hilarious mishaps fuelled by their rivalry, they fall in love. Maybe she becomes ‘first cellist’, but in a way that allows him to step aside graciously and retain his dignity.

Let’s throw in some other clichés too. Like a kooky best friend – probably a percussionist in this tale.

And a happy ending that, when all is said and done, is probably a little ‘too happy’ to be even remotely credible.

MyPrayerJournal (1)

My Kind Of Day

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Today is ‘World Kindness Day’. It’s also ‘Kindness Day UK’. It’s something of a coincidence that both events seem to be happening on the same day. It makes me wonder why there’s even a need for ‘Kindness Day UK’. Why can’t we just all participate in ‘World Kindness Day’?

Is it something to do with Brexit?

Perhaps I’m being unkind to the organisers of ‘Kindness Day UK’. Which is ironic, because I’m not generally an unkind person, so for me to choose to be so on a day when the very opposite of that is being encouraged is borderline preposterous. Particularly as I’m being unkind to a movement that actively wants to make the UK a kinder place, even if just for one day.

Anyway, what’s it all about?

Well it’s all about being kind.

For a day

Through random acts of kindness.

Like giving a stranger a chocolate bar (although not a child, because in that scenario, you are the stranger and smart children always say no to strangers, even on ‘Kindness Day UK’)

Or smiling at people (which is a suggestion listed on the ‘Kindness Day UK’ website) but not in a weird creepy way that makes people feel uncomfortable. It’s not as easy as you think. My advice is to use a mirror to practise first.

Or tolerating the woeful customer service provided by your utility company, even though it’s really irritating that you’ve been kept on hold for twenty minutes only to get through to a department that can’t explain to you why they’ve overcharged for your electricity and then, when you get transferred to someone who might be able to help, you get cut off, only to have to ring back and be kept on hold for another twenty minutes.

So, whatever else you do today, be kind.

You can be as mean as you like tomorrow though.