Blood Oranges by GJ Hart

“It must be wonderful to be mad again?” she said, stroking his hair.
“No,” he replied, “the pain of it. It’s practically physical.”
“Do you remember the morning we drove into Nuevo Laredo. We passed that motorcyclist selling garlic. Do you remember the bulbs darling? Big as blood oranges.”
“No sorry darling, I don’t.”
“Why not?” She snapped, slapping him three times on the forehead.
“Owwwwwww,” he moaned.
“Sorry darling, but you know how I get.”

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Urgent Advice for Aspiring Writers. (redacted)

There’s only one rule, and it’s got nothing to do with short sentences. It’s simple: Never write about _________.
That’s _________ saving good folks from harm, harming bad folks for no good reason, or going on ‘adventures’ that all end invariably with the words “and where the fuck have you been?”

No one wants or needs to know.

But one day I thought: what if I wrote the most fantastic __________ story. That would really shake things up right?

Then I got a grip on myself.

Until I read something, about how _________ can see things, things we can’t. I remembered how _______ would sit for hours, staring into space, laughing, its eyes transfixed.
I thought maybe just maybe there was something left to say and that’s how it all began.
Sixteen days later I was homeless and hiding out in a brick-wheeled RV parked in a disused logistics warehouse next to an industrial sized swinger’s club. My wife was dead, killed by a shock administered via a modified USB stick and a seemingly decent couple, both local celebrities, were looking set to serve life.

So as I said, don’t write about _________. Best just avoid the subject.

Eight Indispensable Tips for (good) Aspiring Writers. On Writing. You’re welcome

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1) Always write on a smartphone, always in front of the TV and always while drinking.

2) Always listen to the opinions of others. Opinions matter, especially those of your bank manager and/or landlord.

3) Spend 89% of any story describing your protagonist’s physical appearance. The rest of the story will write itself.

4) Your characters must eat or they will die. Decide what they like and feed them well. 89% of any story should always take place in a restaurant. The rest in a DIY store.

5) Has your story stalled? Looking for resolution? Death is always a friend. For example, “Denis looked into the swirling tempest. This was what he’d waited for his entire life; ever since the tall man, with a hat like ice-cream had left him on the steps of the orphanage. Something began to take shape amid the chaos. The answer, the answer to every question. Denis died.”

6) Never read fiction. Your work will become contaminated.

7) But If you must, read the work of the author you admire most. Imagine spending a day in their shoes. Google them, find out where they live. Pack a small lunch. Tuna perhaps. Get on a train. Travel to their house. Wait until the lights go out then go through their bins. See what they eat, what washing detergent they use, their favourite wine. Get a room in the hotel on the corner of their street. Tell the maitre d you’re a cousin just in from out of town. 3 days and 10876 photographs later, tell him you can’t afford the bill. Ask him if you can work it off. You’ve worked in kitchens before. Yes you hated it, but it was work, it paid. When he calls the police, run. Run like you did that morning you burnt down the school with a magnifying glass, some petrol and a vintage pornagraphic magazine.

8) Write infrequently