Monday, 18 July 2011

The answer is in your back yard

In a recent moment of non-inspiration, I decided to seek advice about my WIP. Getting proper advice, however, is quite time-consuming and potentially expensive, so instead I spent a few minutes consulting the free online version of The Book of Answers. The idea is that you contemplate your question and then click to reveal the words of wisdom by which you should live the remainder of your life. I started with the obvious:

Me: Is my work-in-progress any good?
Book of answers: ASK YOUR MOTHER

Well, I could, but she's a bit biased and I was actually asking you. So, do you think it's any good?
OF COURSE

Oh! Super! But are you sure anyone would really buy a novel about Victorian quackery and freak shows?
IT'S GONNA BE GREAT

How am I going to sort out this whole business of Dr Rasmussen's narrative being in diary format and Tilly's in retrospective first person?
ASK YOUR FATHER

That's all very well, but what if I were an orphan?
THE ANSWER IS IN YOUR BACKYARD

So the answer is dog shit?
YES

Intriguing... perhaps it's time to move on to some questions about writing 'rules'. Are adverbs a Bad Thing?
SEEK OUT MORE OPTIONS

What about speech tags other than 'said'?
YES

Yes that they're a Bad Thing?
YES

'Well, that's pretty conclusive,' she intoned noddingly. Should I avoid the verb 'to be' at all costs?
TRUST YOUR INTUITION

Should I only write what I know?
THE ANSWER MAY COME TO YOU IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE

Do you mean the answer might come to me in another language, or that it is permitted to do so?
A YEAR FROM NOW IT WON'T MATTER.

Very true. A year from now, will I be dead?
FINISH SOMETHING ELSE FIRST

So, if I never finish anything, I'll live forever. Do you agree?
OF COURSE

Nice one! But in the words of Queen, Who wants to live forever?
GENTLE PERSISTENCE WILL PAY OFF

An eternity of gentle persistence doesn't sound that appealing really. Back to the writing questions... should the passive voice be used?
TRUST YOUR INTUITION

Are there any circumstances in which it's all right to tell rather than show?
TRUST YOUR INTUITION

I sense that you've given up with this whole advice thing. I suppose I should actually go and write something rather than arsing about here, shouldn't I?
YES.

9 comments:

Karen said...

This made me laugh. I suppose you could say 'trust your intuition' about pretty much anything, but it's still good advice.

Are you any the wiser though?!

Caroline Rance said...

I'm none the wiser, but I'll trust my intuition and hope some wisdom comes my way soon!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Caroline! I sometimes consult the BoA and these answers are very familiar...
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

Ha ha - next time just dip into 'The Art of Procrastination' Love it. Like an on-line 8-Ball!

Caroline Rance said...

I also used to have fun consulting the BT customer service robot called 'Ask Emma'. She always had some good advice but seems to have given up the ghost now.

Roderic Vincent said...

When is it not a good idea to trust your intuition?

Geraldine Ryan said...

Hilarious, Caroline!

Jane Gray said...

Très drôle Caroline! I think you should produce your own "Book of Clever Answers". I'd definitely consult it.

Leila Rasheed said...

ha ha, brilliant! I have the paper version of this book, but never thought to use it for writing guidance.