Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our friends the animals

If you ignore anything you have to physically restrain with a cage, a pond, or a fenced off area of pasture, it’s been several thousands of years since humans have domesticated any new animals. I appreciate that cats and dogs make fabulous companions and friends, but it still strikes me as unusual that we – a species whose entire culture is built on the idea of constant innovation – just sat back and said: You know what, we made the Basset Hound; I think we’re done. Continue reading

Weird Google searches that lead to my site

One of the advantages of switching to a WordPress-based website is that, with no technical understanding at all, I now have access to some interesting stats about my site and its visitors. I recently discovered that I can look up what terms people have typed into Google in order to find my little corner of the web.

I am naturally very pleased that so many people have discovered the site through some variant of “what makes a plot interesting”, although it speaks something of the depth of their writer’s block that these people have clicked through a fair few pages of results to find

There are, of course, quite a few obvious ones in the list. “Pigfender” comes up a bit (alongside “Mrs Pigfender”, I’m pleased to note), as do all sorts of variants on “Scrivener”, “Scapple” and “Novel In A Day”. Some of my favourites, however, include… Continue reading

State of Emergency

I’ve clocked up a few negative experiences in my lifetime. I have had homes burgled twice. I was in the building both times and on the second occasion I confronted the intruder whilst completely naked. I was in London for the 7/7 bombings and the riots. I’ve lost friends to car accidents and suicide. Whilst no one has yet been successful, several people have tried to mug me while I’m minding my own business on the sidewalk.

As writers we observe real life. We take those experiences, some first hand, some third, and use them; sometimes to entertain, sometimes to inform. Continue reading

Is sarcasm really the lowest form of wit?

Someone recently reminded me that sarcasm is supposed to be the lowest form of wit. This got me thinking. Is there an established hierarchy of wit that I’m not aware of? Is it purely linear, with satire at the top, and sarcasm at the bottom? Or is it multifaceted, with each type scored on a number of different qualities, like some sort of abstract series of Top Trumps?

Anyway, in order to help improve the world a little bit (or at least make it conform closer to my own world view), I present the pigfender guide on how to respond to someone who says “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, you know” to you. Continue reading

Disney’s strong females

I recently read a twitter post in which the author moaned about Disney. Now, I’m actually a pretty big fan of Disney and have a pretty low threshold for complaints about them, so I wouldn’t normally have even bothered to read the post… except the author said something that jarred so much with my own perception of the company that I had to (a) read the linked blog to make sure I wasn’t missing something vital and (b) write this to right some wrongs out there.

The author had gone off on some feminist rant about Disney using only weak “Save me! Save me!” type female characters.

Okay, let’s clear this up right now: Disney has some of the strongest, most capable, and the most modern women characters out of ANY studio. Not only that, they have been in this position for arguably well over half a century. Continue reading

Reality TV, attention spans and editing

I think there might be something wrong with my attention span. By which I mean, I think there must be something wrong with everyone else’s attention span. This is the only way I can explain the success of reality TV.

Let’s be clear: reality TV sucks. It sucks in the same way that biographies suck. I don’t mean I have a problem with truth, of course not. The Great Escape is a truly magnificent movie. It’s just that biographies, like reality TV, fail to do the most important part of storytelling: leaving out the boring parts. Continue reading

Why I don’t like Truman Capote

Somebody recently tried to win an argument with me by quoting Truman Capote. The argument (okay, it was actually just a friendly discussion) was about the definition of being a Writer. What the individual in question was unaware of was the fact that I’m really not the sort of person that goes “okay, well if So-And-So says that, then that’s good enough for me”.

The fact is, I simply don’t hold other people’s opinions in the same high regard that I hold my own. Continue reading