Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back in a flash

It's been a while since I've written flash fiction. 250 words doesn't leave much wiggle room to tell a story, but it's a lot of fun to be back as I get something ready for the Bridport Prize

My last flash won the Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize, so at least I have some previous form in the form and may be in with an outside shout. You never know with these prizes, as you have to get through two layers of reader before the final judge even sees your work, so you are dealing with three different sets of literary taste buds.

What I am remembering is that every word is crucial. With the last story, I spent weeks scrutinizing, swapping and fiddling, down to the point where I changed one word about ten times. My planned Bridport entry is now fully written and within the word count, but I am definitely getting out the fine-mesh strainer to refine it over the course of this week.

Anyway, you can read my previous winner here if you have two minutes to spare to see just how tight you have to be.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Unmasking Richard Crompton, The PUNisher

Richard Crompton, and his agent and publishers, would have you believe he is a serious author. He did after all write The Honey Guide, a gritty and literary detective novel set in Nairobi. Said novel has indeed been longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. And it was shortlisted for an LA Times award that was eventually won by JK Rowling in authorial drag. And lots of serious people, including Ian Rankin, have said serious things about it in serious newspapers

I am here to crack about that fa├žade, for the man is undoubtedly the worst punner in human history.

My publisher and I have been kicking around possible titles for the Apocalypse Cow follow-up. Innocently, I asked Richard Crompton if he had any thoughts. What followed in a string of text messages spanning 24 hours displays exactly the depths of verbal depravity this so-called ‘serious’ author is prepared to plumb.

Below I give you his list of suggested titles. Be warned: the groans you issue may well rupture several internal organs.

From Steer to Eternity
The (British) Empire Strikes Yak
Apocalypse Cow 2: Look Who’s Porking
The Sound of Moo Sick
Apocalypse Cow 2: Raising the Steaks
The Tripes of Wrath
Fiddler on the Hoof
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls
The Ruminants of the Day
Two Cows and One: A Space Cuddessy
Cowering Inferno
Episode Moo: A Moo Hope
A Moo to a Kill
A Beef History of Time
The Lives of Udders
Tomorrow Heifer Dies
Carlitos’ Whey
Requiem for a Cream