"The Next Big Thing" the Blog-Chain for authors/writers and Ten Questions

The Next Big Thing is a series of blog posts where authors and other writers talk about their work by responding to ten uniform questions. At the end of the blog we tag other authors who will do the same thing a week (or so) later and so on it goes. So not only do you get to find out more about my book but you also will discover some other interesting writers.
Soon to be published author and friend Mary-Lou Stephens  tagged me and here are my answers:

1. What is the working title of your next book?
I got a feeling it will be my book of handy and helpful tips for young people titled either "Idiots Guide To Planet Earth" (since I'm pretty sure I won't be able to use "..... for Dummies")  or "How Stuff Really Works In The Bizarre World Of The Adults".  Something like that. 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
From talking to people ever since I could talk and watching their eyes glaze over every  time I started talking about anything that wasn't about them directly or about sport, Hollywood stars, the Royal Family, Politics or Natural Disasters. 

3. What genre does your book fall under?
"Guide Books" and possibly also "Religious Texts"

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I would play myself, but with a French accent. Then we would spend the next twenty years trying to convince other actors that it really is gonna be cool and will look good in their Portfolio. 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
That's longer than the book itself.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book will be, I feel very strongly, self-published. It will not be represented by any agency but perhaps by a team of petty litigation lawyers. If there are such things.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What time is it now?  It ain't finished. I'm two weeks in and have done 16,000 words in 147 chapters (some of which are alarmingly short), aiming for 60,000 words and about 500 chapters in toto.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Only one I can think of is called "The Doubters Companion". But for me the mood of it is more along the lines of Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My rapidly-approaching death.
 
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Nothing. There's nothing there. Maybe a quick excerpt from a couple of the chapters:



Pets
Forget pets, dude. Go out into the world and meet people. Pets are a pain in the ass. People love pets cos they think they demonstrate unconditional love. It is nothing of the sort. Pets evolved over the millennia by hanging around human waste dumps and getting hand outs. They learned all their so-called social skills and unconditional love scams in the name of food. They couldn’t care less who feeds them. They are anybody’s.  They always get an infection or break a bone just when you are strapped for cash. They make you feel guilty with their Hollywood eyes and by pushing the folds of fur over their eyes into the shape of the human eyebrows in the throes of sorrow. Don’t’ fall for it. Read a book. Make actual friends. Go online and play warcraft if you have to, but don’t get into pets.

Fish
Now that you still ain’t convinced not to get a pet you might as well get a fish. Just one fish. Fish don’t need walking every day. You sprinkle in some little powder once a week and they’re done. They won’t impress any dates you have over but they might move the conversation along at awkward moments and give you an excuse to have the lights low and romantic. Which brings us to the downside of fish: they love romance but they are gawkers. 
 

Cameras
An invention that saw it’s peak during the 1970s when almost no one could afford a decent model and only large corporations, the military and Hugh Heffner could afford good lenses. In those days you could not talk into your camera or send text messages or video files so it was no use to you if you got lost in the desert or the suburbs. All you could do with it is to pictorially document your diary of your slow, painful death, ie: Day 7 – losing functional use of kidneys. Day 9 – Remembered all the words to “Mama Mia” and, in an unrelated incident, ate my own left eye. Day 12 – Think I saw a rescue helicopter but I can’t be sure how far away it was on account of how I ate my left eye and am unable to spontaneously triangulate.

Non-Powered Flight
Thanks to the popularity of air shows and the pressure upon pilots to perform exceedingly dangerous manoeuvres the sight of winged vehicles crashing into the ground and/or each other has become more and more common. While crashes of petrol, turbo, turbine and rocket driven aircraft are spectacular, loud and non-survivable, the crashes of non-motorised aircraft are more like mishaps in land-bound sports like tennis and trampolining. No matter how out of control, verticle or upside down the non-powered aircraft gets it always finishes with this sound: Bok!  One’s mind instantly imagines a referee on a high chair calling out matter-of-factly:  “Foul. Advantage Stephens.”
These crashes don’t even look like crashes. The aircraft is one minute flying and the next minute not. After a crash the pilot staggers out, walks around on the grassy field drunkenly for a couple of minutes before finally being attended to by a half-dozen middle aged men bearing an uncanny resemblance to the handlers of Sir Roger Bannister when he broke the four-minute-mile barrier at Oxford in 1954 when the world was still in black and white.

Sir Edmund Hillary
Was neither the first person to break the four-minute-mile (see Non-Powered Flight) nor was he the first person to traverse Antarctica, the Pacific Ocean, or Space. Ed Hillary was a New Zealander and was the first white person to climb to the top of Mount Everest while Tibetan natives carried all his equipment. He was not the leader of the expedition but was sent on to climb the final several hundred meters by team leader John Hunt after Hunt’s attempt was thwarted the previous days by a malfunctioning oxygen tank. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who had earlier saved Hillary’s life in an ice-cravass incident, was the first human being to climb to the top of Everest and have his effort documented in a photograph. Since he could not have taken the photograph of himself it is assumed that Hillary also made it to the summit, along with his antique hand-carved wooden climbing tools,  tea set and assortment of dark chocolates, and took the photo. To his eternal credit Hillary declined Norgay’s offer to take a photograph of him on the summit. Hillary never had to do another thing as long as he lived. After conquering Everest he is reputed to have cringed at every Mountaineering analogy ever uttered in his presence for the rest of his life.


Career Choice
Even before your balls drop/breasts develop you are expected to make concrete and far-reaching decisions about what sort of future you envision for yourself. This is plainly ridiculous especially when you consider how many forty- and fifty-year-olds are still unable to decide what they want to do with their lives. Indeed many of them have pre-pubescent children upon whom they place enormous pressure to make the sorts of decisions they are plainly still unable to make themselves.


Corporation
A corporation is what it says it is and nobody is ever gonna prove otherwise so shut your mouth, loser. Corporations have no feelings because they are not made of anything. They are made up entirely of the spaces that exist between the people who work for said corporations and in this way no individual person can be made to take any responsibility whatsoever. Because no one takes responsibility they feel they can, or the space between them feels, they can get away with blue murder.
Corporations are like the nothingness that exists in an atom, or like the vast expanses of space that exist between stars in the universe. Corporations are more like religious cults than religious cults are. Indeed some corporations and religious cults enjoy a rock-steady symbiotic relationship (see Scientology, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Clipboard Questionaires) and back each other’s bogus claims no matter how outlandish, ridiculous, unpopular or stupid.

Landlord
Is someone who’s dead aunt left them an awkward looking apartment block in an awkward part of town and failed to reveal all details of the property in her last will and testament.

Will
The will is the final hand in the lifelong game of tag comprised of pettiness, in-fighting, jealousy, envy, rage, cheating, double-dealing, deception, complicity and manipulation that runs through the centre of everyone’s life.



Apartments
Should be unreachable to one’s parents and/or in-laws. In Germany they’ve solved the problem of embarrassing drop-ins by nosey parents by building the vast preponderance of apartments between the third floor and sixth floors and not providing a single elevator in the whole country.
An apartment must have a balcony of some sort. Having no balcony is like living in a jail cell. An apartment must have a front door intercom to screen visitors, salespeople and Government employees.

Real Estate
Is a term meaning “Somebody else’s land that my ancestors stole by murdering and raping the original overseers”.

Headphones
Predated the mp3 song file by at least sixty-years, paving the way for lower and lower standards of listener attention and sonic clarity.

Stereo Systems
A stereo system is no more a system than a stove is a hotplate system, or a refrigerator is a food cooling system, or a car is a people transport system. An amplifier and a couple speakers, nowadays often built into the same little box.


Cows
Cows are the singularly most underestimated mammal ever to have lived. Sure, they stand around chewing old grass and spit and stomach acid all day long but they have a great many thoughts about things. Much occurs to the cow as it does nothing but chew. Cows have long ago acquired universal consciousness and oneness with each other and their creator. Whatever one cow learns all other cows instantly therefore also learn. Every cow understands 497 languages, knows exactly how much milk is in it’s udder at any given time, and knows the lyrics to every Everly Brothers’ song by heart.



I hereby pass the onerous responsibility of this writers' chain letter on to the following writers:
Whether they take up the challenge, or wait a little too long to respond (as I did) is up to them...

1. Super talented author and former public service colleague (we did the almighty and cultish F.A.S. Internal Newsletter together) - Jay Verney
2. Extraordinary writer, Premiers Literary Award Winner & friend - Deborah Carlyon
3. Bush Poet extraordinaire and my cousin - Gary Fogarty
4. Vietnam vet, prolific author, my uncle, and Oz's answer to Stephen Pressfield - Gary Blinco



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