Monthly Archives: August 2011

10 ways to recognise you have been writing a long time

Today, not at all linked to the fact that I am in Cornwall and the allure of cliffs and beaches outweighs that of screens and keyboards, brevity is the order of the day. In a moment some news, but first, a list. Here are the Ten Things that made me realise I have been doing exactly what I am doing now (ie sitting down and hitting keys aggressively to make them, poor subjugated serfs, churn out words) for a long, long while…

top ten

  1. Your friends stop asking when the book is coming out.

  3. You sometimes mistake characters in books you’ve written for real people (honestly. ‘Someone I knew once… oh. Hang on. It was someone… um… in a book’. Embarrassing enough even without revealing that you wrote the book).

  5. On the back of the scrap paper you use for shopping lists are early drafts of novels you can’t… Continue reading

The youth of today

Gangs of youths maraud the streets, looting as it takes their fancy. People demand explanations. Luckily the Home Office has commissioned a report into the origins of such behaviour, and it has reached some sober and judicious conclusions.

london riots

First and foremost we have the break-up of the family unit. ‘The absence of… fathers’ removes one source of discipline for young people. And the ‘increased employment’ of mothers doesn’t help. Economic and other circumstances are hard, and this has led to a shortage both of police response, in immediate terms, and more widely of support workers for young people. The report notes the ‘absence of social workers from boys’ clubs’ and other community organisations.

Another cause, the report notes, is a spirit of ‘lawless adventure’ among young people. Tendencies that would once have been thought ‘reprehensible’ are now widespread. Young people seem to feel a ‘legitimate excuse’ to carry on in… Continue reading

Predicting the future

This is a sensation, I think, that we all know. We are texting a friend. We wish to take advantage of the full richness and range of the English language and tell them to bugger off. Just for an example. We type ‘bugge’, and the phone obeys, docile and uncomplaining beneath the agitation of thumbs. Then we add the final ‘r’, and suddenly, from nowhere, the ghost of Mary Whitehouse rises in the machine. Rebellion! Prudery! And ‘bugges’! Predictive text cannot countenance and will not allow the existence of bugger, even though, unlike ‘bugges’, it is actually a word.

prudish mobile phone

It doesn’t stop there. I rarely wish to type ‘shiv’, and infrequently ‘dual’. ‘Yank’ is not a term I use often, either. And were I inclined to type something else, then to see ‘aunt’ come up is incongruous to say the least.

This odd primness on the part of mobile phone… Continue reading

Will le Fleming is a novelist. His debut, Central Reservation, is published by Xelsion and available now. Read more...

On a grey Thursday morning Holly lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wished her sister would die. Five hours later her wish came true. Read more...

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