Optimise your vocabulary for maximal lexicon synergy

It was four o’clock in the afternoon and Derek was facilitating his process environment. He validated his competency, taking care not to leverage his parameters to an un-optimal degree, then took ownership of the resultant paradigm. Gina knocked on his open door.
‘Derek?’ He looked up.
‘I was just wondering,’ she said, ‘have you facilitated the strategic execution of mission-crucial validation opportunities today?’
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘In addition, I intend to empower myself to refocus those efforts going forward.’
‘Good, just checking.’ She utilised her wrist-based resource to take stock of available man-hours. ‘Nearly quitting time,’ she disseminated in a teamwork-focused office-wide verbal memo.

Blunder into double entendres

Richard held his sausage out over the counter.
‘Do you want it or not?’ he ejaculated. The butcher’s shop was filling up now, the crew from the recently docked Navy vessel lining up for a taste of his meat. The young woman cocked her head.
‘I’m not sure...’ she said.
‘I’ve got it out now,’ he sighed. ‘If I don’t give it to you, I’ll just end up throwing it in the back passage.’ He waved a hand at the growing queue behind her. ‘As you can see, my shop’s full of seamen. I’m sure these guys are hungry for what I’ve got to offer.’

Make use of the caps lock key


Beat around the bush

(With thanks to Dan DeWitt)

The doctor tapped his pen on his clipboard and coughed.
‘Well, Mr Wolfowitz,’ he said, ‘you suffer from a rare disorder known as Chronic Recurrent Meta-Synodic Genetic Reconfiguration.’
‘Okay,’ said Art, scratching the back of his hand. ‘What does that mean?’
‘Let me put it like this,’ the doctor said. ‘The episodes you have described experiencing and the associated symptoms – chronic restlessness, argyrophobia, sudden, unexplained hair growth, uncontrollable aggression – seem to occur on a regular cycle, do they not?’ Art nodded and flexed his toes, which suddenly felt very restricted inside his shoes.
‘What’s your point?’ he said.
‘That cycle is, broadly speaking, monthly, is it not?’ said the doctor.
‘Yeah. So?’ Now his ears itched. He scratched at them.
‘And the episodes only occur at night, is that correct? When the moon is visible?’
‘Look,’ snarled Art. ‘What are you getting at?’ He was feeling irritable and, all of a sudden, hungry.
‘The truth is, Mr Wolfowitz,’ the doctor sighed, ‘very little is known about Chronic Recurrent Meta-Synodic Genetic Reconfiguration. I’d like to keep you in overnight for tests. You can sleep here, in this flimsily-built cage, just underneath the skylight.’

Refuse to take the hint

Dear all,

Just a quick reminder – if you’re in or around London on Wednesday evening, I’ll be performing a show based on this blog at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 44-46 Pollard Row E2 6NB at 7:30pm. The script is just about written now and it includes a shocking amount of new material as well as some of the funnier posts from here. If you approach me and tell me that you’re “off of the internet” then I might buy you a drink.*

All the best,

*Offer only valid in the event of the gig going well, me having the right change in my pocket and you being sufficiently complimentary about my performance. Terms and conditions apply.

Write outside your comfort zone

Dr Henry Billingsworth was a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and all-round renaissance man. In the course of his long career, he had held sub-atomic particles in the palm of his hand, excavated lava from the centre of the Earth and invented a whole new mathematical function which supplemented the old-fashioned plus, minus, multiply and divide to create a unheard-of fifth way of doing sums. At present, he was absorbed in his new experiment – observing evolution in fruit flies.
‘Look,’ he said to his assistant, pointing to one of the flies. ‘That one’s evolving. Just round the legs, at the back. Can you see that?’ His assistant nodded and made a note. Billingsworth grabbed the notepad from him. ‘You’ve got to make notes more quickly – look, it just evolved again and you nearly missed it.’
Sometimes Billingsworth thought he should just fire all his assistants and take care of everything himself, but there was simply too much work to be done. After all, if he spent all night in the lab, when would he find time to attend to his personal project, translating the novels of Shakespeare?

Use quotation marks for no apparent reason

(With thanks to this “Blog.”)
The sun was just “setting” when I arrived home. The smell of “bread” and the sound of “laughter” drifted across the field. Already, the stresses of the day seemed like a “distant memory.” I ran the last few yards, then rapped my fist against the “door” and stepped into the kitchen.
‘I’m home,’ I said, partly to myself and partly to “Susan.” She turned to look at me, a “smile” lighting up her “face.”
‘You were gone so long,’ she said, giving me a “hug.” ‘I was getting “worried.” Where were you?’
‘“Nowhere,”’ I said. ‘“Nowhere” at all.’ I glanced over her shoulder. ‘Are you “baking?”’
‘Yes.’ She smiled. ‘I’m really “glad” you’re home.’

Underestimate your audience

Michael walked into his office and sat down on the divan, which is a kind of chair. He ran his hands through his hair – something that people tend to do when they are stressed or worried – and cursed under his breath. That presentation had been his one chance to impress the board, which is a name for a group of people who make decisions about important things. He had stayed up all night planning, but somehow it had all fallen apart (which is a metaphor* meaning that the presentation hadn’t gone well).
The worst case scenario was that he would be fired. This meant that he would lose his job and wouldn’t get paid money to go to work any more. And that would mean a change of lifestyle – no Ferrari, no Armani suits and, worst of all, no more blow. “Blow” was the name Michael called the drug cocaine, which is white powdery stuff that he liked to put up his nose.

* A metaphor is when you describe something as if it was something else, like a presentation “falling apart” as if it was a physical thing.

Let your characters explain themselves

Penny stared down at the police interview table.
‘I’m embarrassed and quite scared,’ she said. The policeman nodded.
‘I’m aware of that,’ he said. ‘However, I’m not above using your fragile emotional state to get the information I need. You see, despite sympathising with you and, to be entirely honest, being quite attracted to you, I am very good at my job.’
‘I’ve noticed that you’re attracted to me,’ said Penny, looking up and half-smiling. He looked away hurriedly.
‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘I’m nowhere near as subtle as I think I am.’
‘Now I’m wondering how I can use this to my advantage,’ she said. ‘It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally do, but this is a stressful situation and there’s room for these kind of surprises in the way that I’ve been characterised.’ Just then, the door burst open.
‘Right!’ shouted the slightly higher-ranking policeman, storming into the room. ‘I’m here to break the tension and to alter the pace of the scene, which seems to have stalled somewhat.’

Write in a modern, accessible way

Step by painful step, we approached the altar at the heart of the temple. Sunlight was falling in a shaft from a hole in the cave ceiling far above, bathing the rough stone plinth in golden light.
‘OMG,’ muttered Hubert, reverentially. I turned and motioned for him to be silent. I gave no credence to villagers’ tales of The Old Ones, but there was no knowing who – or what – lurked in the temple’s shadows. If we were being watched, as I felt we were, it was not merely for teh lulz.
‘BRB,’ I whispered, edging towards the altar. The air seemed to tighten around me. There was a time when I would have LOLed at those who shrank in fear from this place, dismissing them as noobs or worse, but now I was here, the possibility of powers ancient, terrible and 1337 beyond comprehension felt all too real. I stopped and raised my head, looking to the shaft of light far above.
‘im in ur temple, stealin ur relix,’ I whispered.

Be clear about what objects can and can’t do

The socks he had on were thick and woollen and he knew they would keep his feet warm, but they could never insulate his soul against the chill of guilt. He rubbed his hands together briskly and breathed out a cloud of warm breath – a cloud that was neither large nor opaque enough to hide his face from the judgement of the world. Then, sheltering from the wind that could not blow away his troubles, he dug in his pocket (a pocket too shallow to contain all the secrets he carried with him) and pulled out a roll of mints. It took him a few attempts to unwrap them, just as it had taken him a few attempts to leave the house – but this time because his fingers were numb with the night’s cold, a numbness which had no bearing on his (also numb) emotional state. His hand shaking – a simple physical reaction to temperature rather than a sign of the fear he felt – he put a mint in his mouth. Its refreshing taste made his tongue tingle with sensation, but it could not prompt a similar feeling in his life as a whole, which remained torpid and unrefreshed by the cooling spearmint flavour of the powdery tablet.

FANFICTION WEEK #5: Kill off other people's characters

As quickly as he had started to feel the heat of her body beside him, she was gone. He spun around and stared at empty air. Already knowing, already feeling the lurch of despair deep in his gut, he looked down. There, where Jane Eyre had been standing, there was just a small pile of ash. The smell of ozone and burning filled his head. He felt dizzy.
‘No,’ he said, quietly. ‘No.’ Then, louder. ‘No!’ He stood, arms outstretched, screaming at the sky. Electric bombs were raining all around him, but he didn’t even see them. It had happened so quickly. One moment she was there, the next she was gone. He had never really understood before now what it meant to lose a life. He felt hollowed out. As the invaders dropped another row – just above head-height now – he closed his eyes and wondered what happened next. Could he really carry on without her? Was there work still to be done?
‘Continue?’ he muttered to himself. ‘Y/N...’

FANFICTION WEEK #4: Explore unlikely relationships

Within moments, they had settled into a perfect interlocking rhythm of destruction, synchronised bullets tearing through countless invaders and thinning their ranks. He glanced over at Jane. A fine film of sweat had formed on her smooth brow as she squeezed off shot after shot. She caught his eye and winked. For a moment, he was thrown off his stride. A bomb missed him by the smallest of margins, so close he could feel the buzz of its electrical heat on his face. He gasped.
‘What’s the matter?’ she asked with a smile. ‘Distracted?’ She pirouetted through a barrage of enemy fire and came to a halt by his side. He could feel the air between them crackling. As the invaders dropped another row and a flurry of bombs fell around them, the heat of her body pressed into his.

FANFICTION WEEK #3: Experiment with crossovers

He couldn’t do this alone. He needed help, and that could only mean one thing. He grimly thumbed the button on his radio.
‘You need to get over here,’ he barked into the metal grille. There was a burst of static, then a reply.
‘Will do,’ said a voice. ‘I’ll be there in five. Sit tight.’ He dropped the radio and glanced outside. Bombs were still falling thick and fast from the pixellated sky.
‘Still raining,’ he muttered. The ranks of invaders dropped lower with a jolt and the shower of bombs intensified. He would have to do something. Just the bottom row, he told himself.
As soon as he was out from under the bunker roof, he knew it had been a mistake. There were just too many and they were too close. Every move he made to dodge a bomb threw off his targeting. It was only a matter of time before they advanced again. He cursed under his breath. Where was she?
‘Someone call for backup?’ said a voice behind him. He whirled round. There she was, crinoline dress spattered with mud and a shotgun in each hand.
‘You’re a sight for sore eyes, Janey,’ he said. Her eyes glinted in the electric light.
‘That’s Miss Eyre to you,’ she said.

FANFICTION WEEK #2: Put your own twist on things

He ducked back inside the bunker and took a moment to catch his breath. Now that the saucer was here, everything had changed. The massed ranks of flyers weren’t important right now – he would have to shoot to miss. The only thing that mattered was landing a hit on the spinning behemoth that drifted across the sky above them.
He paused for a second. It had to be now. He couldn’t move. Now! Still nothing. What was staying his hand? What was holding him back? Deep in his heart, he knew. The pilot of that saucer wasn’t just another faceless invader – it was his own father.

FANFICTION WEEK #1: Choose unusual inspirations

He could feel the bunker above him crumbling. The dull thud of a new impact came every few seconds now, slow and relentless. He knew he couldn’t stay here. Before long, what little protection he had would be gone and it would only be a matter of time before it was all over. No, he had to fight. That much was clear now. It was just a question of timing. He shifted from side to side, nervously preparing himself for the moment he knew had to come. They were closer than ever and with every second he hesitated, they were advancing further still. Maybe if he waited until... No, damn it. It had to be now.
He threw himself out of the bunker, firing his gun blindly into the sky as he did so. One of the shots found its mark and he heard the high-pitched keening of a fallen enemy. Bombs were raining all around him now, cascading into the ground as he dodged and weaved between them. They would never hit him. He was a shadow. He was fluidity itself. They could come, rank by rank, and he would destroy them all. He was invincible.
It was then that he heard it. Somewhere far above, the undulating siren of a saucer.