Stroking Thomas

I came across this site promising to teach me how to write a book in 14 days (as mentioned – web surfing is one of my bad habits). I didn’t surf to it on my own, but rather from this blog

I was even encouraged to write a small sample and e-mail it in for a free evaluation. The rules were: I was given 3 words. I had to start the story with one of them, and use the remaining two in the first paragraph. I had 5 minutes to scribble like mad. I could use minor variants of the words instead.

So this is the fragment I came up with using the words fire, clock, and certainty:

Fire raged through the three story apartment building. Clocks chimed three in the city and it was the third of March – a certain sign of ominous ominosity.

Jack wiped his brow as he watched the flames licking at the roof of the building. Ghastly shimmering shadows undulated behind the windows.

People began to gather outside to watch the spectacle. Yes, spectacle was the right word. No one cared what was going on, this simply served as a diversion from their normally humdrum day. After all, who didn’t want excitement in their life? Who wasn’t up for a boisterous round of drinks in the pub after work, or on Saturday, or Sunday?

People drank themselves into a stupor and now stood, mouths agape, around the burning building. Dirty, sodden sheep is what they were.

Here is the free unbiased evaluation (yes, I use the unoriginal pseudonym of John, maybe if I was more colourful, I would use something like Maximilian or Alexander):

John, Outstanding!

Now that's the kind of writing that can easily be turned into a book! It grabs your interest right at the beginning and keeps going. The reader just has to ask, "What happens next to Jack?"

But don't take my word for it. Take this bit of writing and show it to your friends. I have a feeling they'll frankly tell you the same thing. Tell me, what did you think after you had written the piece? Did you think it would be that good, or that straightforward?

You see, that's the strategy behind my writing system. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to write your book. I want your book to be marketable, too. Fiction or non-fiction. The system is a proven collection of strategies that is working for people, literally, around the world.

You and I both know there's a book inside you, waiting to get out. Maybe even two, three, or a dozen or more. My objective is to help you make that happen.

I look forward to working with you. And to adding you to my list of successful students. If you'd like to get more information, don't hesitate to go to

Of course, like everything, this life lesson is not free – about $700 of non-freeness (which I presume is US$). Of course, I do get a whole bunch of freebies thrown in. In 5 days, I’ve gotten 6 e-mails from Steve: 3 general purpose lesson / motivation e-mails, 2 special offer e-mails (including one promising me a free audio cassette of one of his seminars – simply for sending my mailing address and home phone number), and 1 writing sample evaluation.

So? What is your evaluation? Are those 4 paragraphs something that can be easily turned into a book? (Yeah, yeah, I know, I tried NaNoWriMo and didn’t exactly run a good race - I didn’t get much past the starting blocks).

Image grabbed from here.


busybee said…
I seldom read fictions, most of my readings are non-fictions related to my work or interests.

Nonetheless, I think you have a good start to more story to be unfolded. No harm trying if you are serious about being a writer.

Keep it up! :)
Richard said…
Thanks for your encouragement Bee.

There is no queston that writing is something I claim to be interested in (and maybe delude myself into believing I am interested in) - but as people say: "If you really wanted to, you would do it, rather than talk about it."
letter for you said…
Its great to know that you have such pleasure and aspiration to write books. I personally think that writing a book is a lot more work (quite a tedious one, whether its fiction or non-fiction); it may be different though, to that of blogging or poetry writing as its a lot more fun and at leisure. But I can tell that you do have the talent and creativity to do it.
Richard said…
Thanks for your encouragement as well LFY.

Certainly, I think I can write better children's books than are on the market. I've seen some wonderful ones - but a lot a pretty mediocre. The problem with writing is that there is so much of it out there. I don't feel confident that I would be able to break through. As I've mentioned or hinted in a number fo places (my blog and commentson other blogs) I'm not very good at marketing myself.
Hey I think that's a pretty cool piece. It does make me wanna know more -- and feeds my curiosity. :)

I think it's great you wanna write a book! I would suggest you start a small project writing mini books first. maybe you may even wanna consider self No payment needed. commission will be paid to author upon sale.

I have a list of other sites for writing opportunities and there's one looking for authors for CHILDREN stories! Let me run through my favourite folders and I shall get back to you soon! :)

As the folks at Nike used to say.... Just do it!
Ooh, I love the idea of you writing a childrens book (I think it would be a great place to start). You definitely have a gift with words. Perhaps you could do the writing, and persuade Sofia to help you with the marketing? :)
Richard said…
Thanks for all your supportive comments. The blog was not really an announcement of any intent to write a book, but rather on the feedback from someone trying to sell me something.

I have the desire, but not the ideas.

We'll see what happens.

Yeah, Elvina, I know the key to accomplishing things is "Just do it". Unfortunately, I recognize that I am good at ideas and starting, but horrible at finishing. The main problem is that my mind/focus/interests tend to jump around a lot.

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