Wednesday 5th November

Good morning to you all. Today's prompt is:

5

When God decided to write a novel, instead of just his usual private journal, he began to realize the importance of audience. And beginnings. And endings. Endings were really tricky.

48 comments:

  1. Endings are always tricky. Closed? Open? So are beginnings. Once upon a med res? And if eyes glaze over in between? Call the salvage police and duck. It’s a memoir?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Endings? The ambiguous? The unlikely? The head scratcher? No? The twist: woman proclaims she's the daughter of God. She preaches, performs miracles. She makes the cross herself, whilst cooking tea.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Where is Gabriel when you need him? Shouldn't there
    Be a fanfare announcing an approaching revelation?
    Some staircase of light? Pyrotechnics? Is this all? The end
    Of the question mark?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brian's novel sits in a plastic storage box in a ring binder. To call it a novel is perhaps a little optimistic as the word suggests something complete, compelling and maybe even publishable. But the reality is far removed from Brian's fanciful idea of his elevation to the status of author.

    Other than the ring binder, the plastic storage box contains newspaper cuttings, old postcards with the stamps removed, ancient diaries with blank pages and cardboard tubes of group photographs of unidentifiable people. The inspiration he gets from this collection is supposed to be in evidence in Chapters One to Seven of the novel. However, these chapters merely document the ramblings of a slightly unhinged state of mind with no reference whatsoever to the other items in the box.

    Brian is poor at managing his time, is easily distracted by the goings-on in the bed and breakfast where he lives. He watches. In his head, he attributes historic details of heroic acts to the old man with the whiskers who smells of urine. He fantasises about the young woman directly above him and passes it off as research. In the queue at the Benefits Office, he claims not only his weekly upkeep but that time is his biggest enemy, that his talent and power of imagination is so overwhelming that it is sometimes impossible to capture on paper. He claims that his novel is in progress.

    But what of the ending to this grand narrative? It's hard to say. You see, a long time ago, he had a home, a son and a wife to organise him. Then there was a big bang. To his head. Who knows where he will end up? Meanwhile, his world is chaotic and it is only faith in his novel keeping him going.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bang. Whimper. It’s so difficult. A bang would be dramatic, showy… but only I would appreciate it. A whimper, slow and subtle. Bugger it, I’ll go for world without end.

    ReplyDelete
  7. ‘The problem,’ thought God, staring glumly into the void, ‘is that however much I try for a neat closure like Dickens or Austen, it always ends up like Laurence Sterne.’

    ReplyDelete
  8. So how do you write the best-selling novel of all time? You tell people that they’ll be tortured for eternity if they don’t live by all the rules inside it. And then you change the rules. And make them inconsistent. “Thou shalt not kill” is a superb Golden Rule of Life and works fantastically well for Buddhists but was made of fail for the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians because of all the amendments.

    What’s the point of ‘Thou Shalt not Kill’ when there are riders like ‘unless your neighbour sleeps with your wife’ or ‘unless your daughter touches your second-best knife during a period of menstruation’ or my favourite from the Christian Bloc: ‘unless he has a funny accent or has more money than you.’

    God had a really great time with that one. As a social experiment on a massive scale he really screwed with the mortal’s heads. How did a god born in the Arabian Desert end up a Caucasian? When he wrote the best-selling sequel (now a major film) he made the protagonist a Hebrew from the vicinity of Beirut and again, he turned out blonde and Caucasian. How probable is that? A bit of research goes a long way and getting the race of your protagonist wrong is Classic Writer’s Screw-Ups number 3 (after starting a novel with a dream or the weather).

    But I can’t deny God got the ending right. Fabulous. He took a leaf out of all the best James Bond films and packed all the action and explosions into the end, with the Second Coming of Jesus in the role normally played by James Bond. Add in the whole concept of Judgment Day and you’ve got a Zombie Apocalypse. Brilliant!

    No wonder it’s the best selling book of all time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I always felt God chickened out. He went for the big stuff early on, fire, pestilence, war, miracles,etc. Leaving the last page blank? It's a 'do it yourself' manual.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Although the majority of literary critics expressed grave reservations about this switch of genre, privately the deity’s publishers were rejoicing.

    Modern human civilisation was reviewing the necessity for an imaginary father figure, His bizarre concoction of affiliated rules and regulations and the arbitrary punishment-reward mechanism, originally whipped up in a desert storm during a pre-Enlightenment era. Since people had had enough time on their hands to really think about things, alternative theories had emerged on a variety of relevant subject matters, such as morality, origin and existence that had more than a ring of plausibility about them.

    The righteous wheels really started to come off with the printing of the first dictionary (if only they’d nailed THAT contract), which contained actual definitions of words like omniscient and omnipresent. It got to the point where large swathes of the population had started to question the very validity of the Divine Authorship.

    As a result, sales of God’s traditional material had been plummeting in recent times, labouring mainly under the weight of His image as a sadistic, capricious, vindictive bastard. The previous Extreme Makeover public relations strategy, which had seen the genocidal maniac re-launched as a more caring, sharing feminine type, gained some traction. Unfortunately irksome advances in rational thinking had led to the exposure of the self-contradictory, flimsily-cobbled-together nature of His texts. If ever there was an appropriate time for a wholesale change of tack, it was now.

    There was an air of tension, anticipation and barely suppressed verve as the publisher’s senior staff took their places around the antique boardroom table. Swirls of dust sparkled with each plop of the weighty manuscripts, momentarily distracting nervous glances.

    Sure, they had a tough act to follow, but this really could be the puppy that poked J K Rowling off her empyreal perch…

    ReplyDelete
  11. God’s Mills and Boon novel
    Begins with a big bang
    Heroine meets slimy sort
    Chatted up
    Climax.
    REVERSAL!
    No more sexy beasts
    Anticlimax
    The End
    Hope His next book’s better.

    Julia ju12li65@yahoo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  12. Endings were tricky – words just poured down his pen. All the punctuation in the world couldn’t contain a flow that dragged him along in its wake.

    But beginning was trickier.

    ReplyDelete
  13. “We need to talk,” he said.
    “’kay,” she answered, never looking up, tapping her pencil.
    “What are you doing?” he asked.
    “I’m trying to finish this.”
    “Me too,” he sighed.
    gina benson
    gngbenson@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. God hated people: they'd ruined His story. The Pythonesque romp (He imagined Babs Windsor as Eve)had become an epic failure. People preferred misery: they'd get the ending they deserved.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In the beginning there was only the Word. Then came the characters and thereby the problem; taking on lives of their own, stubbornly defying the narrator. So much for omnipotence.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My book, he thought, will not change the world, but that matters not. I will write to an audience of one and make a pillow of dreams for that one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The sign above the door says: Explore the Meaning of Life.

    Whose life? My life? I don't have a life.

    Not anymore.

    Not one with a meaning worth exploring anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Day 5. Dear Diary, struggling with my novel today. It’s hard to write when you know you have to finish creating the world. Shouldn’t have invented procrastination on Day 4.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Endings are toughest when writing an epic. Good authors use drama, tie up all loose ends.

    God decided to end his creation as it had started - one great big bang...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Opening his notebook, God picks up a pencil. He frowns at the blank page and taps the pencil on his chin.

    “Hmm. Where to start? I know! In the beginning...”

    ReplyDelete
  21. He realised that poetry was preferable with its clear lines, strong endings and all that rhythm; God scraped clay from his nails with an old bone and fashioned a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  22. God begins to read his copy of Novel Writing for Deities:

    First, decide from which point of view to write. Third-person omniscient has become increasingly unpopular with modern readers...

    ReplyDelete
  23. In the beginning was
    Writer’s Block,
    God terrified of angry mobs
    his creation might enrage.

    ‘So I’ll dazzle them,’ he thought
    ‘walk on water, raise the dead,
    love
    the unlovable.’

    ReplyDelete
  24. God’s inkwell occasionally runs dry. Usually filled with angel’s tears, some days they refuse to cry. Then he’ll dip the darkest seas, or steal a dose of colour from me.

    ReplyDelete
  25. In the God ordained book of Life,
    every page is marvelous working,
    a mystery, beginnings, endings
    mythical middle, a debate,
    like a pendulum swings,
    Predestination or man’s own
    doing, persists .

    ReplyDelete
  26. I was just thinking
    how it would affect
    the whole family
    if I enrolled on that
    creative writing course
    it’s only two days a week
    plenty of time for miracles.

    echulme@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. God decided that he didn't need an ending. The beginning had worked well, why shouldn't the middle run for ever? So he handed the closed book back to the archangels.

    ReplyDelete
  28. When asked what he was doing these days God would respond, ‘Oh, just a bit of scribbling. Some stuff I’ve been thinking about. A kind of story. Nothing much really.”

    Deborah7@ntlworld.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. The Goddess sighed. Writing her memoirs was more trouble than it was worth. All this writing was wrinkling her skin. And what are Gods and Goddesses but wrinkles in time?


    Jamieson Wolf
    jamiesonwolf@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I hate happy endings. We all know that once the curtain falls reality settles in. Besides, if they’re happy, their ending should be saddening, surely? Where’s the happiness in that?

    ReplyDelete
  31. God was puzzled. The hero was going to save the world, but had to lose everything. That’s what the writing course handbook suggested.

    Writing a good novel was proving difficult. Not just the story, but for a being who shuffles along the corridor of time like a hamster in a tube, the tense wasn’t always easy to decide. Had he done it, was he doing it, or would he?

    He shrugged pulling himself back to the plot. The hero is fastened to a wooden cross, unable to reach the nail extraction tool slipped into his waist band by the beautiful double agent. Frantically, he throws his head back to see if he can bounce his heat vision off a conveniently placed reflective surface to blast himself free.

    Where now?

    “So how about, ‘They woke up and it was all a dream?’” God asks, looking up hopefully.

    “I think it’s been used before.”

    “How about- one for you and one for me and so on until we evenly divide the souls up?”

    “That doesn’t seem right does it?”

    “Ok, let’s stick with he saves them as long as they repent. That works best.”

    “I think so. You won’t forget to tell them that I’m part of the grand scheme will you?”

    “Is the pope a catholic?” Laughs God, but he stops smiling as Satan raises his eyebrow in a way that suggests disbelief. “I won’t forget. You’ll be suggesting that I’m going to forget to put an atmosphere on the moon next. Don’t worry.”

    God hesitates. “You will look after them won’t you?”

    “I’ve already lit fires in their rooms. They’ll be like toast.”

    The image of a soul wriggling on a fork over a fire flitters through God’s mind, but nobody would do that, would they? “That’s good,” he says.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  33. lifeislikeacherrytree@yahoo.com5 November 2008 at 20:43

    Ben can't pretend; he ends it.
    Offended, his girlfriend Wendy plans revenge,
    vends his car, spends his dividends,
    sends him round bends – upending chairs,
    rending limbs, leaving
    his neck distended.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Rules For Good Writing:

    .Have a knockout opening and ending
    .Avoid cliche
    .Think about 'what if'
    .Use surprise...

    God sighed. All these rules. It was easier when he just created.

    ReplyDelete
  35. ‘No, mum, not your bible, I didn’t’

    ‘Nope, wasn’t flicking through Genesis, Matthew nor Revelation’

    ‘Gotta go. Bonfire’s calling and we are all heading in one direction’.

    ‘Hell’s let loose'.

    Colleen
    coll@literaryspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. The end

    Immortal God found the concept of endings hard to comprehend, so created a son, and watched man crucify him. It broke his heart - so he brought him back to life.

    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dying isn’t as easy as some people think! Those nasty little gods of life are forever clapping me back into existence. Do you believe in fairies? Please just say no.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Lucky God – using the Holy Ghost as ghostwriter. Between them they’ve already planned the ending, worldsize bonfire some future November5. Wasted effort! They’re keeping the final year date a surprise.

    Mary Rose.

    ReplyDelete
  39. 12 noon decided to start novel.

    12.30 looked at blank paper.

    1pm went for walk to free mind.

    1.30pm looked again at blank paper.

    2pm Muse obviously on extended lunch-break.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  41. To begin at the beginning: It is a truth universally acknowledged that in a squat grey building of only thirty-four stories, Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams:

    “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” said Gregor gazing at Alice, a bewildered look in his eyes. “It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. The primroses were over.”



    Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her lover who began this disorderly and almost endless collection of scattered thoughts and observations every day of late. “And how was it this time?” she enquired out of duty.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” replied Gregor.

    “And how do you feel now?”

    “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense. If I should die, think only this of me: Midway in our life's journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.”

    “Shush,” said Alice stroking her beloved’s forehead. “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.”

    “Really?” said Gregor

    “Yes,” replied Alice. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. We were living in a village of La Mancha the name of which I have no desire to recall. It was on an exceptionally hot evening early in July - a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs.”

    Just then there was a noise.

    “Listen!” exclaimed Alice. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump.”

    But that is the beginning of a new story- our present story is ended.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Private Kevin Stone was killed by sniper fire. He leaves two daughters and a bitter wife who no longer believes in a God who cannot write a simple happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  43. He wrote 'And they all lived happily ever after.' Then crossed it out with three heavy lines. This was descending into chick lit. No literary publisher would take it seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  44. "In the beginning was the word."
    You say God wrote that?
    So who did the middle?
    He wrote that too?
    OK. So hear this:
    WE ARE DEFINITELY DOING THE ENDING!

    ReplyDelete
  45. The problem is in the concept of Ending. We as mortal entities deal daily with the concept of an end. Our own and others around us. Night and day, years, relationships, all end in our sense of the word. Our concept of infinity however, is sketchy at best, we know its big, but we cannot grasp its edges. We find it impossible to make the concept work for us.

    If you put these two ideas side by side for a moment and put your self in his shoes, you can understand the problem with an End a little better. He just doesn't get it. There is no death, no final curtain. He just is. Forever. Remember infinity? That's him.

    To Him, energy is constant, Planks law, the conservation of energy. When we mere mortals die that's it, lights out, thank you and goodnight. But the energy is still there, the basic atoms are there. Not in the flesh and blood sense we recognize as humanity I'll grant you, but the bits are there. Death is not an end, not in any way we see it and the bits are being put to good use, well mostly anyway.

    Redjim99

    jimbarron@walkauvergne.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  46. Not sure if it was Plank, but I like the name.

    redjim99

    ReplyDelete
  47. From Douglas Bruton (via Sarah, hence it's a bit late!)

    GOD LAUGHS SOMETIMES.

    They think I know. Everything. Before it happens. I’m omniscient, you see. That’s what they say. Omnipresent and all knowing. And the one true God.

    I like it when they say these things. Laugh sometimes, so completely. We all laugh. But no one hears.

    I read somewhere that they think of me as the great clockmaker. It’s a metaphor. I understand that. And as the clockmaker I have created the mechanism and set it all in motion.

    Of course the metaphor is a little thin when you examine it. All those gears and wheels, the escarpment and the spring and the balance, everything working so predictably and the hands turning, and time measured in a way that follows a regular pattern. What I have made is a lot more complex and a lot more surprising.

    Starting it all was tricky enough. More than a simple cosmic clap of the hands and a godly sleight of hand. But where it all will end, I cannot tell. They argue over whether everything is chance or determined. The truth is, I make things up as I go along and the final page is far from my thoughts and always a mystery to me.

    Not omniscient, you see. But seeming so to those who know so much less.

    And as for ‘the one true god’. It doesn’t make much sense. Not really. One god? Alone? And with all that power to create? Doesn’t it make more sense that I’d fashion myself a companion? A buffer against the great cosmic loneliness. Rather than a timepiece to mark the empty eons.

    As for truth. Trust me, there’s a balance. Always. And sometimes lies in what I say. But they hear only what they want to hear – not the laughter or the lies… or even the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Draft for my fifth biographical excerpt:

    Think beyond myself.
    Be truthful in context.
    Do not write in hindsight.
    Leave many possible endings
    for readers.
    Be God of the last page.

    ReplyDelete

Add Your Own Message Here
If you want to take part - great. All you need to do is add your response to our message here as a comment, but remember it has to be exactly 30 or 300 words, and it needs to be posted before 8am GMT the morning after the original post for each day. Please also remember to add your Name and Email Address to the end of your message, so that we can get in touch if your work is selected.