A cry for help

I’m still swithering between three projects: the next Carston novel and sequels to The Figurehead and The Sparrow Conundrum. I’ve started two of them but none has yet drawn me into it sufficiently for me to want to spend all my time on it. But this week, on a whim, I posted a tweet asking whether anyone had any ‘spare characters’. OK, only one person answered it but I realised that it was a possible way of jump starting my writing of Sparrow 2.

Those of you who visited my blogsite in its previous incarnation (livingwritingandotherstuff, which is still there and, surprisingly, still getting hits) may remember I asked visitors to suggest random elements – a word, name, theme, setting or whatever – which I’d combine to make a blog. It was a challenge and it was very enjoyable for me to write – so much so that the eventual blog had to be split into two.

I find that sort of challenge very stimulating and the world of the Sparrow is so extreme and so weird that I think having to incorporate random characters, ideas and the rest into it might produce some interesting plot points and developments.

At least four of the characters from the original will reappear. There’ll also be a vampire thread which has nothing to do with vampires, and a recent set of FaceBook exchanges suggested there’d be a place in it for a kilted male model with the obligatory abdominal structures whose ambition is to be the hero in a Highland Romance. The latter is an example of how random events or thoughts can contribute enormously to a concept in the early design stages.

So… here’s the point. I’m inviting, once again, suggestions for threads, themes, plot points, a character with some specific foibles, genres to parody – anything in fact that would fit into a black, absurd, satirical farce. All those which I use, however much I distort them in the telling, will earn their source nothing but an acknowledgement.

Thus, once again, I look forward to a host of stimulating suggestions or the familiar sagebrush silence..


  1. And to accompany those arias and overtures, a person who loves to dance and sing with his/her dog. In fact, the person does most everything with his/her canine companion.

  2. *Wide-eyed, licking lips, staring vacantly into space, considering…*
    Kilt. Bare torso. With or without a sporran (I’m easy, and no don’t go there). Sword. Big sword. *Really* big sword.
    Focusing, trying hard to think…
    Yes yes yes yes! *Slaps tabletop*
    I’ll have what she’s having…
    Oh look! Kilt!

  3. All excellent, and just the sort of thing I was hoping for. Opera and dogs, perfect, especially if combined. And, Diane, your mention of a bare torso suggests that you know little of the reputation of the Scottish midge. But that does offer scope for a scene in which, however big his sword, he’s unmanned by a cloud of them.

  4. The story of Hitler’s long lost twin Faccio di Bronzo, a mild liberal effete kind of chap who tries hard to do good but is frustrated by unintended evil outcomes at every step. Having organised a parachute jump for charity, the resulting invasion of Crete seems a little extreme. In his spare time he teaches Argentinian Tango at the local old folk’s club – but wait, are the elderly denizens all that they seem? Some of those stiff-legged manoeuvres appear peculiarly familiar. The staff house uniform is obligatorilily hyperkiltification with knobs on, The White Heathen Club is always on the telly and the men have a Stasi tattoo on their, erm, undersporranical parts. In another part of the building, Follicle Spartacus is designing software to overthrow the tyranny of føkking spælchekkers.

    1. Surprisingly, I think this is usable. All I need to do is introduce a character – let’s say he’s a doctor, maybe a psychiatrist, who has wild, even dangerous de or il lusions. Maybe I’ll give him a dog – called Coffee, perhaps. Yes that’ll work.

  5. Dramatis Personae Non Gratae:
    Sucrose Bangsprinkle, Agnes Day, Hubert Sanssouci-Sanssouci, a pervert, Phlegma McFrontispiece, Spotti Ploetloesser the Austrian Berserker, Orra Knobbis-Pro and Fanny deKock Splijt-Traveller, two lesbian poetesses, are on one of their interminable picnics (team building for the use of) at Fraserburgh Links during a torrential downpour, although in Fraserburgh the wind is such that it’s a torrential across-pour. Wilma Frontlick and Splasher Riley are discovered doon amang the dunes. Fuck this automatic spellchucker. Or was it nude among the dunes? Dan Steely and Sir Pottery Spent are moving in with a JCB, piloted by Mick Pimple, a contractor. And in this weather, who could blame him? Ho Li Erthen-Thow, a half-Chinese Jesuit, chases after Coffee, but it’s too late, the JCB is mired in a recent defecatory statement of supercanine proportions. Watch this mindspace. I really miss Rammenas, don’t you?

    1. OK, I give in – you should write the sequel, Donnie. (I especially liked the ‘across-pour’ and ‘ a contractor. And in this weather, who could blame him?’) And yes, Rammenas is sorely missed.

      1. Well, since you were kind enough to let me have the Sardinian Engine, which is currently puttering along nicely in “!Socratic Mind for Modern Times” (a Sci Fi Postmodern Detective Thriller Musical Mystery Domestic Procedural Historical Drama), Coco and I will let you have Sucrose Bangsprinkle, Phlegma Frontispiece and Mick Pimple, plus of course the JCB. Is that fair enough? And we’ll throw in the Chinese Jesuit Psychiatrist as well for good measure.

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