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Week 224 – Characters, Sixteen Points And Two Types Of Shandy

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t read novels anymore. I miss them but I think when you read as many shorts as we do, your reading discipline changes. At one time I enjoyed reading forty pages of build up, now I think ‘Get fucking on with it.’

I’m happy to be working on the site as this is a replacement for the novel reading that I used to do. I think novels were like records for folks of a certain age. When you knew that one of your favourite authors were due to release their latest novel, you got very excited. It was the same with an LP. (Look it up if you need to!) To all you youngsters out there, that may sound lame, but give me those memories any day rather than waiting to see when a Kardashian is going to have their next bowel movement.

I’d rather spend my time reading or listening to music than changing an image of my face to look like some sort of mutant cartoon character. (The mutant part is there already.)

I waited for any new books by James Herbert, Stephen King, Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham. Herbert and King were all about the skill they had with the horror genre and Rankin and Billingham were all about the characters. ‘Rebus’ and ‘Thorne’, no matter how good the plot, the characters were better.

That’s one thing where short stories fall down, you don’t get time to get to the soul of the character. I’ve found a way how to judge this. I think on them as folks I would see in a pub. You know the types, the ones who hold court and are hysterical or interesting to listen to. Those that you will let win when playing pool as you know that if you don’t you will get a pool-cue-o-gram over the napper when you aren’t looking. The ones who want to have sex with the jukebox or even weirder, with you. The folks that get to a level of steaming early in the morning and stay that way until chucking out time without getting any worse. And the woman or man that is sobbing into their drink singing along to Patsy Cline.

If I’m happy to talk to them, observe them, avoid them or run away from them, they are the characters I want to read about.

I don’t want to read about those who order *a half, half and half shandy or a mineral water unless the ones I do want to read about are doing something violent and depraved to them.

OK, onto this week’s stories.

We had four new writers and a lady who is very close to a milestone.

Our topics this week include; an addiction, therapy, a mass killing, a haircut and siblings.

As always our initial comments follow.


First up was Leila Allison. Her contribution to the site can’t only be measured in the number of stories. She comments, writes many of our Sunday Re-runs and keeps us smiling with all her interaction.

Vmbra Wormwood‘ began the week.

‘The violence towards the statue says so much.’

‘It is understandable that she directs her sadness and anger towards religion.’

‘There are certain places where her abuse would be paled into insignificance due to her destruction of a symbol.’


Next, we had our first new writer. We welcome Maalika Jacobs to the site.

Living Silver’ was published on Tuesday.

‘This could be a metaphor for adoption.’

‘Suspend reality and just go with it – It’s lyrical and lovely and sad.’

‘Vivid and surreal all at the same time.’


On Wednesday we had our third newbie.

Dan A. Cardoza broke the back of the week with ‘Quitting‘.

We hope that all our new writers enjoy their time on the site.

‘There is a hopeless acceptance throughout which was very well executed.’

‘Fairly dark but it had to be.’

‘Quitting stories are ten a penny, so for us to choose one, says a helluva lot! The tone was beautifully judged all the way through and the voice never faltered!’


Still two débutante writers to go.

Blueberry‘ was Joshua Stevenson’s first publication.

We hope to see them all sending in many more stories.

‘I was glued to this. It was hard hitting and thought provoking.’

‘I don’t normally like stories written in this POV – But this worked for me.’

‘This makes you wonder about recognition in this situation, is there still a connection or is it all revulsion and fury?’


And on Friday we had Ian Murphy. We extend the same welcome to him.

Old Rain‘ finished off the week.

‘The simplicity of this stays with you.’

‘I did think it was going somewhere else with the murder but then I smiled.’

‘Just a well written and realistic story.’


Well that’s us for another seven days.

The usual reminders folks.

Please keep the comments coming. It makes our day when we see that there are a steady flow of observations.

And have a go at the Sunday Re-Run.

Just pick an older story that you enjoyed and write either a spiel or an introduction. If you want to throw a couple of questions in, all the better.

It was brilliant to see Sharon Frame Gay get involved with her suggestion of James McEwan’s story. Leila has now a few pals who have helped her out!


I can’t finish off without mentioning The Eurovision Song Contest. We came in last out of a field of twenty six.

I think it shows just how much we are thought of.

Not just a country, but a whole fucking continent shows their contempt and hatred.

Brexit happened because we were worried about Europe passing laws over us. The point is, they wouldn’t even pass water over us. (I nicked that line so I’ll have to forgive Richard Curtis and Ben Elton for writing it regarding Scotland.)



* Shandy – In Scotland this is a drink you would give to your toddler.

You take a half pint glass, fill it half with lager and fill the remainder with lemonade.

(It is used if the kid is overheating or there is a problem with it initiating a pish.)

NB – Don’t give it to an older child as it will cause sadness and much fury. They should be onto Buckfast by then.

And never confuse this with a ‘Hand Shandy’ – That is an entirely different thing!!


Image – From the tele!!! dd

6 thoughts on “Week 224 – Characters, Sixteen Points And Two Types Of Shandy”

  1. Now this is rounding in my head:

    Oh, Shandy
    I drink you to keep me from shaking;
    Yeah, I can put you away
    Oh, Shandy
    You give me DTs and much quaking;
    They’re gonna put me away…

    There’s more, but I think I’ve hit the soul of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leila,
      Just watch how many Shandys you drink. That lemonade gives you a helluva headache.
      I can’t wait to read your first book of poems!!
      Thanks as always!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep a file of “writing tips” — blurbs that seem worth referring to from time to time. I’m going to add to that file “If I’m happy to talk to them, observe them, avoid them or run away from them, they are the characters I want to read about.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks as always.
      To keep your writing surprising, write whilst drunk. The content may not be, the surprise will be your ability to having written in the first place!
      All the very best my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed Cardoza has a very intriguing style. That part about getting to the soul of the character is the thing.. and doing it from a different angle or point of view, with an original style.


  4. Hi there,
    I can’t thank you enough for being about the site and continuing to comment!
    All the very best my friend.


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