Steal A Style: Savvy Writing Tips

Keen to be a writer? But lacking in self-confidence?

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Has anything changed since your schooldays. Think back! Were you scared in case the teacher thought your work was rubbish? Did you hedge your bets and borrow your ideas from the teacher’s pet – the one seated next to you?

Time to dip your toes in, and to steal a style from a bestselling author. (No, David Walliams! I love you, but I’m not going to steal your style – at least, not in this post!)

Today, I’m taking my follower(s) on a trip to China, courtesy of a memoir in Everyman’s Travel and Topography series; a memoir detailing the journeys of my late friend, Marco Polo. It’s always best, in my humble opinion, to consort with the dead – it minimises the risk of being haunted by the odd plagiarism lawsuit (the Ed Sheeran case being the exception to this rule!).

Method:

  1. Select a book and pick out a random section of text. Use the close-your-eyes-and-open-said-book-on-whatever-page-happens-to-offer-itself-up method, if you really have to!
  2. Use this sample text as a model on which to base your own writing, i.e. use the same sentence structures, but change the theme, setting, characters and references, etc.
  3. Don’t stop there – keep on going! Go with the flow and write down whatever else comes into your head.
  4. Read back through your work of wonder. It will sound brilliant and no-one will know that started off by a little theft of the late author’s style.
  5. Remember, that you don’t have to steal from the dead – you could steal from David Walliams if you really want to – but, if you have plans to publish the piece, a little bit of grave-digging is probably a safer bet! (Why do you think that I spend so much of my precious free time tramping around graveyards?)

Example:

This is a sample of the original text:

As soon as the son attains the age of thirteen years, they set him at liberty, and no longer suffer him to be an inmate in his father’s house; giving him the amount, in their money, of twenty to twenty-four groats. Thus provided, they consider him as capable of gaining his own livelihood, by engaging in some kind of trade and thence deriving a profit. These boys never cease to run about in all directions during the whole course of the day, buying an article in one place, and selling it in another. (p.361)

 

And here is Jay Cool’s transformation:

 

So, what would it be like to be one of the privileged few chosen to work for the prestigious and reputable company, Trustworld, pplc.?

On the very day that ageing employees reach an annual salary of £37,000, or thereabouts, give or take five pounds either way, they are marked-up in red ink, as they are no longer required by the company.

Some might think it only right, at this point in their lives, that these has-beens* be given golden handshakes in the form of big-fat payoffs; and that, thus provided, they be let loose.

Unfortunately, past experience has shown that, once let loose, these rejects have a compulsion to flit around everywhere, like butterflies trying to pack all of the rest of their lives into twenty-four hours of chaos and anarchy.

For this reason, the company prefers to set its new and hungry employees upon anyone displaying the tell-tale-red branding. Whichever employee eats the biggest portion of flesh receives the highest of recommendations and is fast-tracked into the management team.  To date, this practice has proven to be extremely popular with the company’s young.

Sometimes, it is rumoured, the cleaners (if squeamish), after tackling the aftermath, may have a tendency to develop symptoms commonly associated with trauma; this is not, however, of any concern to the primary company, as all of the Maintenance Sub-Contractors have responsibility for the health and safety of their own staff. In reality, thanks to the ingenuity of zero-hour contracts and a high-staff turnover, no claims relating to PTSD,  have ever got as far as to be heard by Judge Romesh, let alone by any Criminal Court. 

The company does not provide insurance to cover the funeral costs, on behalf of the families of deceased staff. This is unnecessary, as all staff are expected, from the outset, to work around the clock, 24/7, out of love for their vocation and for the benefit of the team. To this end, each employee is contracted in marriage to the company, and agrees to cut off all ties to their biological family before commencing their post.

To the best of our knowledge, no reports of Missing Persons have ever been filed.

For this reason, the University’s Careers Advisory Bureau, would be confident in putting forward the names and CV’s of any students looking for a life-long career in which hard work and dedication will lead to fast progression.

Please note that the company has expressed a preference for candidates due to graduate with BA degrees in either Business Studies, Law or Catering.

Should any students be interesting in applying for a role with Trustworld, pplc., please book an appointment with one of our career’s advisors A.S.A.P. (by 12.01 am, on Monday June 2nd, 2019)!

Remember that success, with regards to Trustworld, pplc.,is all about timing and confidence, i.e. slow and cautious types need not apply!

Ms Jay Cool, Careers Manager, University of Wellness, June 2019

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So, go on! What are all you writers waiting for? Pick up that pen, or your laptop, and get digging!

Copyright of text and photos owned by Jay Cool, Comedienne & Blogger Extraordinaire, June 2019

 

Please peruse the June edition of the Colchester  Scribblers’ Meetup group, THE CAMULODUNUM. New members to the group, and creative contributions to our publication, welcome! Please see website for details. You might also like to indulge in other masterpieces produced by our members by clicking through to Colchester Crazies Get Creative blog.

*Please note that the has-beens in question, are not in any way, shape or form related to the beautiful red and green sandals produced by the Swedish Hasbeen company. **

**Please also note that I am not an affiliate blogger for the Hasbeen company, but I would be more than happy were they to offer me a pair of the aforesaid shoes. I will even model them for my viewers! But, I will, it must be noted, not be signing up for a lifelong career in their service!

Jay Cool

 

Bibliography:

Marsden, William, ed.,  Travel and Topography: The Travels of Marco Polo (Everyman’s Library, 1908).

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