Room 101: Writers’ Revenge

ROOM 101

Despite studying George Orwell for A-level, many (many) moons ago, whenever I hear the phrase ‘Room 101’ I tend to think of the BBC comedy series rather than the torture chamber in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  (Yep.  All about the literary culture and class, that’s me…)

The television show has gone through a number of presenters and formats since its first airing, way back in 1994, but the general premise remains the same: celebrity guests must, by the persuasiveness of their argument, convince the host to consign their chosen pet hate to the titular Room 101.

Celebrity or otherwise, I’m sure everyone can think of something they’d like to see the back of…


… but I thought it might be fun to try a writers’ version of the game.  What writing-specific bugbear would you merrily consign to the annals of history?

Here’s a few ideas to start you off…

  • computer updates… computer crashes… computers in general…
  • rejections (say no more)
  • typos that definitely, definitely weren’t there when you pressed ‘Send’
  • spotting your breathtakingly original idea for a novel (the one that’s going to make you a household literary name) in book form, in Waterstones…
  • one star Amazon reviews  
  • waiting.  Oh the endless waiting…

I’ve gone a bit old school with my own choice, mainly because I’m sitting here looking at one of the culprits right now, my blood pressure rising at the very sight of it…

…Yes, it’s pencil rubbers THAT DON’T RUB OUT!!  You know the kind I mean, those hard shiny ones that leave black smears all over your lovely new notebook *grinds teeth* without getting rid of a single mistake.  They’re the mistake, if you ask me.


Why go to all the trouble of adding an eraser to a pencil if it doesn’t actually erase anything?  Why, oh why, oh why?  It’s probably a perfectly good pencil in every other respect – writing and sharpening like a good ‘un – but if it’s got an evil smudger for a rubber then it’s straight into Room 101 with it, as far as I’m concerned.  Harsh but fair, I’m sure you’ll agree…

Any other writerly suggestions out there to keep the poor feller company?

(Update – 28th March: If you’re feeling the Room 101 love (or hate) I’ve just spotted this competition from Brentwood Writers’ Circle who are looking for Room 101 entries of exactly 101 words, closing 30th April.)



How To Be a Plotter AND a Pantser

It’s a question as old as the Twitter hills: are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ponder no more because now you can be both!  Ladies and Gents I give you (dum, dum, dahhhh)…

THE PLOTTING PANTS OF POWER!!!!! *cue trumpet fanfare and lightning flashes*

Yes, it’s the product we’ve all been waiting for, the answer to every desk-bound scribe in search of underwear-based inspiration.pants 2

When it comes to your novel there’s nothing quite as important as a good opening. THE PLOTTING PANTS OF POWER come with a choice of 3 different openings (4 in the mens’ model) and are available in 2 delightful shades of excitement and adventure.

For writers looking to add a touch of humour to their plot we also offer a whoopee cushion insert and of course our reinforced gusset for added seated comfort comes as standard.

Please note the world-building power residing in every pair of pants can NOT be harnessed by the forces of evil.  We do not recommend the use of our product for:

  • Plotting the downfall of the monarchy
  • Overthrowing peaceful nations
  • Harnessing the evil powers of Dr Who Baddies for one’s own personal gain*

*the application of the Cybermen’s ‘DELETE’ function is permissible in certain circumstances



To grow your own critics you will need:

  • 1 packet of mixed critic bulbs
  • 1 generous patch of well-raked earth
  • water
  • patience

Early autumn is the ideal planting time to guarantee a discerning spring crop. Plant your bulbs at well spaced intervals of at least 60 centimetres and cover with soil. Water well.  It really is as simple as that.  You should hope to see your first critic sprouting by mid to late January. At this stage they should be capable of absorbing anything between 1-2,000 words per day although their feedback may be a little basic.

Beta Reader

By late February you can expect an average yield of three to seven critics, each capable of processing up to 20,000 words per week (which, let’s face it, is quicker than most of us can write).

full cropWhile it’s tempting to weed out the harshest critics and sell them off as Sontaran collectables to gullible Dr Who fans, you’d do well to listen to what they have to say.  They’re bound to have a new and interesting perspective on your precious tome and it’s worth remembering that their curmudgeonly nit-picking attitude may be partly due to soggy root feet and chin worms.

Of course if your fingers are of the less-than-green variety (and your garden of the less-than-capacious kind) you could always join a critique group instead.  Apparently some writers prefer it…