The Thinking Quill

Tally Ho Yoiks!

It’s holidaymaker hunting season, and one disposes oneself decoratively in one’s hammock whilst idly listening as Mater offers increasingly incomprehensible directions to passing motorists. She seems to revel in giving minor misdirections which she knows will have them fully engaged on the ring road for at least a couple of hours before they find their turn off.

Though, truthfully, any time after 11am and the woman is apt to be languishing under the influence of a summer cocktail of Brandy, Pernod, Fernet Branca, and Cab Sov. So it might well be the misdirections are far from intentional. One has not asked. She is utterly incorrigible and it’s too warm to squabble with her – so one merely giggles and fans one’s heated cheeks with an exquisitely painted pleat of Chinese paper.

However. To one’s muttons.

It is one. Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV. Author of the acclaimed and lauded ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’. Raconteur. Lover. Adventurer. Bon viveur. And beloved tutor to a whole generation of putative writers hoping to touch the coattails of one’s literary skill and share a glimmer of one’s outrageous genius. The first, one strives to impart in a manner that even the dullest brain may access. The latter is unique to oneself and is what sets apart the truly great from the merely aspiring.

So listen up mes estudas. Today we have a Very important lesson.

How to Write Right – Lesson 3. It’s Very Upsetting – or The Write Way to Write Bigger

Today we assault the word ‘very’. We make of that little quatrain of letters public enemy number one. We hurl it screaming from the rooftops never to be seen again. Or to paraphrase my particular friend Stavros:  ‘Don’t say ‘very’ Moony my love-button. It’s boring and undescriptive. Just don’t fu****g say it.’

‘Very’ is like the colour grey. It is flat and flaccid, sucking the vibrancy from whatever luxurious descriptor you use it to modify. It pales your prose and dampens down your descriptions. It takes the very depth from dialogue and can make of your writing a desert.

I hear, with the acute sensitivity of my mind’s ear, as you – my poor pupil – cry and scream and declaim it to be ‘vewy diffy’. With what can it be replaced? What other word so succinctly sums up the notion of ‘very’? Do not struggle and rant against the way of the world, dear disciple. Acknowledge the truth. Accept the challenge. Of course it is ‘diffy’. Which is why I am here to offer you a modest list of synonymous sayings to help you on your way.

Very hot: Volcanoesque
Very angry: Viragoesque
Very beautiful: Venusesque
Very fat: Junoesque
Very stupid: Moronesque
Very ugly: Gargoylesque
Very sexy: Marilynesque
Very fast: Ferrariesque
Very graceful: Ballerinaesque
Very humble: IVyesque
Very talented: Moonyesque

And if you, my little cupcakes, have yet to fathom your way through the maze of very hunting, then one despairs.

Think carefully, and for homework write your own list. If you are proud of your novice endeavours, then make good use of them in your writing and banish the vile word to the ‘very’ pits of hell.

One has a date so. Au revoir and ecrit bon

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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