thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Monday, November 07, 2005
I always find reading about Writers' methods and motivations fascinating. In solidarity with my friends from mickey z's website who are attempting to write a novel in one month (see Nanowrimo for details) I would like to go through a couple of my favourites to help them along if they are getting stuck.....

P.G. Wodehouse had a peculiar way of going about his business. He would finish pages of writing on an old typewriter and then stick them on the wall. Pages he felt were not up to standard would be at the bottom and pages nearer to completion would be higher up. If a page was completed to his satisfaction it would be up above the picture rail. He described his life as little more than "sitting in front of the typewriter and cursing a bit."

All of this however, did give us some fantastic moments.....

"Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons."

"Honoria is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a Welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge."

Some of it is almost poetic...

"As a rule, you see, I'm not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling to Aunt like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps...the clan has a tendency to ignore me."

As an aside, the paranoid times we live in now can be highlighted by looking at one of Wodehouse' habits. Upon finishing a letter or an article he would put in an envelope, put a stamp on the envelope and throw it out the window onto the street. He assumed that the average person would pick it up and put it in the postbox for him. Not one thing failed to arrive at its destination. Can anyone imagine this happening now?

ORWELL, in his essay Why I Write said "writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."

He describes the motivations for writing as

1 - Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one.

2 - Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story.

3 - Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

4 - Political purpose -- using the word "political" in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples' idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

He also said that "When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ' I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing."

"I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally."

If you are running out of ideas for your novels then DOUGLAS ADAMS had some excellent suggestions on how to get some. He said that he must have been asked a million times where he got his ideas from and came up with some novel answers...

1. He told himself he couldn't have another cup of coffee till he had thought of an idea.
2. He got them from a small mail order company in Iowa.
3. He didn't know

I hope this helps all the Nano people.

Good luck.
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 12:58 pm  
  • At 4:33 pm, Anonymous Mudge the Expendable said…

    Good morning (my time), Michael, and I hope you're on the mend. I wondered where you were around Mickey's place yesterday.

    This quote is wonderful:
    "Honoria is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a Welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge."
    Honoria Glossop is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. The way she obliviously tramples others' feelings in her desperate attempts to Rule the World remind me of my sister CowSlutBitchHell, only she's not funny because she's real. (She's a lesbian Wiccan vegan humorless sow.) Hnoria on the other hand, spends most of her time blighting Bertie Wooster's life, and that's hilarious! Wasn't Honoria engaged at some point to Cat's-Meat Potter-Pirbright? I can't remember the name of the hearty young squire she ended up marrying....

    This is a very inspiring post, and thank you for it. NaNo!

  • At 4:38 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    cheers mudge

    i can't remember who she married either. the trouble with the wodehouse stuff is which bits to leave out and not which bits to put in.

    this one is cruel but i deny anyone to say that they have not seen this some time somewhere...

    "she looked like she had been poured into her clothes, but had forgotten to say 'when'"

  • At 9:12 pm, Anonymous Mickey Z. said…

    As a writer, what I need most is a 36-hour day.

  • At 1:48 pm, Blogger ~River~ said…

    Ideas via mail would be nice.

  • At 1:52 pm, Anonymous Mickey Z. said…

    Be careful, River. You never know what kind of ideas someone might send along.

  • At 5:25 am, Anonymous Bradley Woods said…

    Good post. I am doing NaNoWriMo this year by hand and I am about 14,000 words are so in and its all by hand. I was looking into getting a typewriter or computer but could not decide on what was best. The only problem that I have with working on a computer is that I find it too easy to get discracted. I feel when I am writing by hand, or maybe, by a typewriter, that I feel the freedom, knowing that my mind will not wander of onto the web.h

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

  • What You Like
  • I believe the word for this is "splenetic". Only 20 seconds long.

  • Imperial Measures
  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

  • Wish You Were Here
  • Wish You Were Here is a 6 minute film about the unprecendted rate of animal extinction we are currently experiencing

  • Gorillas and us
  • I don't like creationism, neither did Douglas Adams

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    some of the blogs I look at
    Arse of the month

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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

    It's All Gone Scottish

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

  • The Scottish Patient
  • Kim Ayres
  • Our Scotland
  • average tosser
  • 1820
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  • J. Arthur MacNumpty
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    If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.

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  • shooting an elephant
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  • the menace of liberal scholarship
  • the modern era of law
  • naming the problem
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