That novel I haven't been writing until an hour ago

Posted by Toast on May 29, 2011, 1:28 p.m.

I felt like starting to write stuff like fiction like stuff today. Let me know at what point during the words that follow your eyes passed out with boredom. Or you could just give me feedback. Whatever. But really, do. Please. Thank you. Would you read this hypothetical novel? Of course you wouldn't. Cue me trying to be funny/surreal/witty (oh and it's about a videogame store and indie videogame making and other stuff. I just haven't got to those bits yet. And the second bit of these bits is rushed and stuff).

Yes, right then

He was, very, disconcerting, probably. He hated officey places and this office was pretty officey so he hated it. He looked down at his unlaced trainers, askew on the officey office floor and thought for a second he saw an ant crawl in there. But it was just one of those specks you get, like the big specks after a camera flashes, and then you try and look at it but it runs away. He heard a clock tick-tockling. That was annoying so he took the opportunity to look up and find it. Outside was far too bright, a lot brighter than he remembered it supposed to being outside, and the part of his brain responsible for keeping him awake took offense.

The clock itself was one of those ones that went backwards, with the purpose of marketing alcohol, alluding to the frivolous, bewildering nature of inebriation. While he could relate to the anticlockwise clock it was for this exact reason he hated it. What the hell time is it supposed to be? Ten to six, presumably, but it'll take him another few minutes of observation to build up enough evidence to fully support this assertion, as he sticks a mop of fringe back further up his face, as that wasn't going to assist the investigation at all.

The trick with those specks is to keep looking straight ahead and get it just in the corner of your eye. Trick the little blighter, then it doesn't move. But now the pen on the desk is going all out of focus, and there's two of it. Damn. This room smells of coffee. Are you supposed to wear suits at interviews? He was an interviewee, so he was wondering.

The intervieweee sat stiff at the receiving end of a stout wee man with one of those bloody juvenile, shiny Alienware laptops with all the little lights and the little man on the front. The arsehole. Surprising he hasn't put the Apple sticker you get with your iPod on it. The owners of Alienware laptops have no friends. He probably still drinks milkshake and dreams of owning a Ferrari. A red one. Like all of those arseholes, with the ambition and cool of a ten year old paraplegic. The arseholes. He was an interviewer, so naturally it was convienient for him to be an arsehole in the unwilling intervieweeee's universe. He wanted a job, really he did, or at least he wants money and something to do. Just not today or all weekend.

All of this guy's hair is on his neck, he's wearing one of those T-shirts, those T-shirts (this one says 'Itsa me, Sparticus!'), and glasses for +10 IQ points. He's tappiting something on that Alienwank (hurr) and looking all stern and stuff.

"So Maxwell," said him.

"Yeh, Max." said he.

"Can I call you Max?" Interviewerr smirks as if he thinks he just said something witty. But he didn't. He just said something completely redundant.

"Err. Yeh. I didn't even know I was called Maxwell."

"So when we look for new employees, Max, there's certain qualities we're looking for, we believe our retail outlets purport themes and ideals we want our workers to share. What do you think those might be?"

"Like, liking HMV?"

"So could you be perhaps a little more specific?"

"Like, music and movies and stuff?"

"So do you like music and movies?"


"So where do you buy your music and movies?"

"Sometimes the internet."


"Yeh, other times I just torrent and stuff, y'know."

Tchut-tchut-tchut-tchut-tchut-tchut-tchut-tchut, shaked the little neckbeard, as the dour little man had suddenly had his little day ruined. Nevertheless he let out a little something-like-a-smile, but it looked sort of painful and not happy.

"So Max, what experience do you have in the small-scale cooperative product distribution market?"

"You mean, selling? Erm, on eBay, my feedback score is like a blue star or something."

"Great. What do you sell on eBay?"

"Like, music and movies and stuff."

The little neckbeard goes into overdrive as interviewerrr stares right down at his belly-button and grows three more chins.

"Ok, Max. So we'll let you know in a few days about the results of the interview."

Max thinks it's probably gone well. He shuffles into his pockets as he stands up at the directions of the interviewhirr.

"Would you like a Rolo?"

The little neckbeard shakes one last time.

Ok, so what

He sat by the edge of somewhere a few hundred metres from where he just was on the main street coming out of HMV next to Mickey Ds next to the knickers shop, with all the knickers in the window. The street had quickly deteriorated in that short distance. There was a Betfred and a Chinese called the Chinese and some boarded up spots and a model trains and railways shop and more boarded up spots and terraces and a corner shop. HMV was like the second shop he'd looked for job vacancies in and he was pretty exhausted to say the least. The first was some guitar shop that sold about twenty £80 guitars, one £200 drum kit and one Fender Telecaster, had some enthusastic square guy in denims at the counter. Place looks like a cupboard. They weren't looking for anyone, for sure.

Max would've liked to have worked somewhere like a guitar shop because he fancies himself as not only a musician but as an artist who transcends all artistic mediums and dimensions including the spiritual one. When that didn't work out he looked for a record store, because that was where cool artist people work too. Then he remembered that there were no record stores, because of the Internet, and this not being the 70s. The Internet is so mainstream. He wasn't sure why HMV was a valid alternative, but he tried anyway.

So he just kind of sat by the edge of somewhere. It started to get dark and then it started to rain, so he started looking for the nearest bus stop. Now it was raining really heavily, so he looked for the nearest place to crash. He didn't know exactly where he was, he'd been walking for a while. At some point a bright smear appeared through the haze. In sheer delight he skipped towards it and right through the door of the shop the bright came from, displaced slightly down the alley.

He stepped right in and shook his hair and coat and socks. The sheer delight of shelter and light overcame him. He then noticed he was standing in a videogame store and there were alot of games strewn wildly about the place. Then the lights went out. A guy appeared from behind the counter.

"Oh… we're closing." Max flung his arms around wildly.

Max, not wanting to waste such a golden opportunity, set out to coerce the man for employment. He knew little about videogames, but he was a brilliant coercerer.

"That's a nice… game, there."


"Is that the one where you shoot the things that shoot at you?"

"I guess."

"Oh, I think I've played that one…"

"…is that a sign that says 'Job Available'?" There was a sign that said 'Job Available'.

"Yeah." The guy who was behind the counter now wants to lock up the front door and leave.

"Please, could I have it?"

"The sign? No."

"The job."

"Sure. You're hired as of now. But come back tomorrow morning, this place is closing."



Castypher 12 years, 11 months ago

First note: Stop trying to use unnatural words. If it's not in your vocabulary, or something you wouldn't normally say, don't say it. Colorful words often confuse the reader, and nobody likes to have a dictionary next to them while they read your book.

Speaking of vocabulary, why does "interviewerrr" have three r's?

Second, you have a note of formality but the way you describe is far too informal. Decide what you want to do and stick with it. The description is nice, but not consistent. You're playful with your speech in some areas, and creative in others.

And third:

"…is that a sign that says 'Job Available'?" There was a sign that said 'Job Available'.
Now that is redundant. If you want to be humorous, I'd suggest being a little more subtle. If that wasn't an attempt at humor, then you decide whether to describe things in dialog or in narration. Try not to do both. And as an added note, don't do so much of "he said" or "he replied". There's a little thing we refer to as "show, don't tell" and it has to do with using description ("he wrinkled his eyebrows") over talking about how they said it ("he said in confusion").


You have your tenses mixed up often. Choose between past or present tense, but not both.

There are plenty of things I wanted to mention, but I can't seem to put them into words right now (without someone who loves writing as much as I do coming by and pointing out a mistake I made). So this is it for now.

Now are you writing a novel or a novella? In any case, keep posting your work here. Stories are too rare on 64Digits.

Toast 12 years, 11 months ago

Thanks. I don't write, haven't read much recently, don't do English or any subjects that require essays… So yeah, I'm not surprised I suck. I am however really interested in putting my thoughts into language, sharing my humor, telling stories… this is a learning experience, like learning an instrument, and I'm honestly looking to learn from criticism, so if you don't mind pointing out more things later I'd appreciate it.

Stop trying to use unnatural words
That's a valid point. I try not to, unless I'm being ironic, but if that doesn't come across, there's no point and I'm just being frustrating. A while ago I read about George Orwell's rules about effective writing. I'm not sure how well known they are, being from George Orwell they probably are, but this is them:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

I think these rules are brilliant, and should be taught to schoolchildren or something, but then on the other hand of things, you have works of fiction like Finnegans Wake, and everything in-between, like how A Clockwork Orange has a fictional dialect… so how do you answer the apparent contradictions? To paraphrase jazz, can't the wrong words sometimes be the right ones? How do you develop or innovate language if you have to stick to literary regimen? Is it naive to think you can innovate in a meaningful way when so many have tried before you?

A few more questions, I noticed as I was writing that alot of the vocabulary and idioms I was coming out with are probably British or even more regional, not globally known. Obviously it becomes harder for a global audience to understand, but does it make it less entertaining? Are you better off making compromises, like only using slang words that are deducible? Eg, you might be able to deduce "nowt" as being slang for "nothing", but you might have more trouble recognizing "garn yam" as "going home".

Speaking of vocabulary, why does "interviewerrr" have three r's?
I guess you could attempt to communicate the same thing using italics, like interviewer, but I'm not a fan of italics. I was trying to convey the way people often over-pronounce the er and ee on those words… it was funny at the time, but I guess the more you think about it, the less funny it is, so the less it will be to other people.

Second, you have a note of formality but the way you describe is far too informal.
I think I understand, but could you give any examples to contrast between formal and informal description? You don't have to quote me, if it helps you demonstrate better. And I get all nervous when I'm quoted anyway.

If you want to be humorous, I'd suggest being a little more subtle.
Noted… being confusing and being obvious aren't mutually exclusive and I seem to do too much of both. It was meant to be humorous. Again with the "after you've thought about it…" thing.

You have your tenses mixed up often. Choose between past or present tense, but not both.
If you think that's bad, I keep switching between third person and first/second without realizing. I need to look into that more, my brain thinks erratically concerning tenses. I think I look at how the words read rhythmically more than sensically.

Now are you writing a novel or a novella?
I think I'd be interested in writing something as long as a novel… I guess you're thinking quality over quantity and such… I've just always preferred long stories.

Cesque 12 years, 11 months ago

In addition to the stuff Kilin said, I think inconsistency is the biggest issue. Personally, I think you should stick to a form of informal "what the guy is thinking" kind of narration (not necessarily in the first person). I don't think the style is particularly bad, it's just hard to follow sometimes.

I think this was the best paragraph:

The trick with those specks is to keep looking straight ahead and get it just in the corner of your eye. Trick the little blighter, then it doesn't move. But now the pen on the desk is going all out of focus, and there's two of it. Damn. This room smells of coffee. Are you supposed to wear suits at interviews? He was an interviewee, so he was wondering.

It reminded me of The Informer (the film) or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (the book!).

MMOnologueguy 12 years, 11 months ago

I keep reading it in an american accent by mistake and the british words sound very awkward.

Cosine 12 years, 11 months ago

Your style reminds me of Douglas Adams, but it isn't quite the same. Either way, I enjoyed it!