Mr Charles Dickens is here today with some tips for your stories

Today I am very honoured to introduce Mr Charles Dickens and have him write a guest post on my blog. I know, I know, I normally don't invite male people onto my blog, but please - this guy is so welcome. Although I must say, I think you all know him already - there's really no need to introduce him, right? But just in case you don't know him, he's a novelist and he has a beard. Slightly older than most of us, therefore making him very wise. A very experienced novelist, I might add. In fact, so experienced that I asked him to share some tips.

I have to add one more thing before Charles starts the actually post - Dickens style of blog-writing differs enormously from his novel-writing. Just in case you might get confused. :-P (But he will never use any smileys. Of any kind. Not even the classic ":-)" - He flatly refuses.)

So here is Mr Charles Dickens with some tips to brilliant stories...

This is me. I do beg your pardon for the serious expression on my face. I had only written 100 words that day and was extremely disappointed with myself and not in the spirit to be cheerful.
Dear readers, I am touched indeed to hear that people value my opinions! Here are some things/issues your stories are better of with than without...

Long messy hair-styles
I know this starts very random, my dear readers, but I advise you strongly to place on top of your beloved character's heads, some original pieces of hair. For less-well-off characters, I like the spider-web look; the shaggy dishevelled hair - they accentuate so well the face that the character is poor. Of course, the character could in reality easily and quickly cut it off or brush it with their fingers - but nay, forget about tidying it. Your poor characters need spider-web hair. Otherwise they aren't poor enough. They have to look poor - they have to look kind of creepy-poor. It's a fantastic way to accentuate their poverty.
Some examples are illustrated in the pictures below.

Loads of poor people suffering greatly
If you want a moving book - a book that will lie long in the hearts of nations - you need to bring some grim truth into it. Poverty, guillotines, war, murder, spanking, weird illnesses are some good examples. Put at least two of these grim, sad issues into your novel - no, perhaps two isn't even enough. You just need to put the grim truth in your books - shock people, shock them. Shocking people makes them remember your stories.
Of course, now and then you're allowed to write a humerous book. But even then it is important to put in some sad issues. In my story, 'The Pickwick Papers' - a book supposed to make people laugh, not to make them shocked or cry - I didn't forget this tip. When I placed Mr Pickwick in the prison, I showed my readers that life isn't just humour - it is sad. So long story short, my dear readers, put quite a fair amount of poor people in your book - make them suffer greatly.

Some very PERFECT characters
I strongly approve of drastically different characters. In my novels I try to have at least one character personifying the idea perfection of a human being. Lucy Manette and her husband in 'A Tale of Two Cities' are two lovely people - role models. In 'Martin Chuzzlewit' I have darling Mary - there really is nothing wrong with her - and of course, the perfectly good Tom Pinch. You need a few perfect characters - people have told me some of my characters are too good, maddeningly good - but I disagree! Your stories need GOOD characters. Characters that deserve not an ounce of wrong, characters that people want to see happy.

(Note from Naomi: I love these people so much! *sniffle*)

At least one character who is evil - and by evil I mean cooking evil
By contrast, you also need villains. In my opinion, a book is not a good one unless there is a deliciously creepy and evil villain inside. Not all villains have to be equally bad, I'm not saying that, but in my opinion my best books are the ones with the meanest villains. Blandois in 'Little Dorrit' is the villain I am most proud of, I have to say. I loathe him; everyone loathes him; everyone loves to loathe him; no-one feels bad to loathe him because there's not a breath in him that even hints goodness. These are the kind of people every book MUST contain.

(Note from Naomi: This isn't a note. It's just a big SHUDDER. :-O)

Weird names
Mr Pancks, Mr Squeers, Mr Winkle, Mr Snodgrass, Barnaby Rudge, Jeremiah Flintwinch, Mr Bumble... be original! When names are quirky and different, they will remain long in the brains of your readers. I understand of course, if you find it hard to come up with original names. I dare say our beloved Jane Austen had that problem. So here are some examples for you if you find it hard to think of them: Mr Pimpledomps, Mr Zark, Mr Trospetter, Mr Yomerick. Just have fun.

People that are so weird that they don't look like people
As I said before, one has to be original.
Make your character original, my dear readers, and they will stick in the minds of people! Give people one eye! Give them a huge bunch of spider-web hair! Give them a monocle that makes their eyebrows arch up for miles! Give them white powdered faces! Give them dust in their hair! Make them spooky! Make your readers' hearts pound hard! They might say you go over the top sometimes, but in the end people will love your books and they will never get enough of them.
Don't want to boast, but it worked with me.

Thank you, Mr Dickens, for writing for me! I hope you all enjoyed the post - I certainly did. Mr Dickens, I hope you will come back to Wonderland Creek more often in the future. (He just said, 'No thank you, one post was more than enough - he prefers writing his novels. But he says he enjoyed it anyway, just for once.)


  1. Oh my goodness. I am in a state of complete awe. Charles Dickens, writing on my little Naomi's blog! Darling, you must be so honored! I'm sure we all are honored for the chance to glean some of his profound wisdom!

    I am also in awe of Naomi's cleverness. I mean, seriously. This is brilliant. :-)

    Ohhhhh yes, the pain, the suffering! Make them weep, make them mourn! It's very important.

    Gaaahhh, I can't help but crack up hysterically whenever I see a picture of Mr. Pecksniff. You have to admit, he's quite amusing. I'm not sure if I think Blandois ( I call him Rigaud) is worse, or Jonas Chuzzlewit. I HATE Jonas Chuzzlewit with a vengeance. But yes, Mr. Dickens, you are right to be very proud of your Rigaud.

    Mr. Tigg Montague is hilarious. :-) Or was it Montague Tigg? Haha.

    Thank you, Mr. Dickens, for deigning to grace our humble blogosphere with your illustrious presence!

    And Naomi, dear: this was awesome. :-)


  2. Please thank Mr Dickens on my behalf for these most enlightening and inspiring words. I'm sure it was a unique experience for him to publish his words in the wonderful modern world of the internet.
    (But really- that was fantastic and most enjoyable to read. You are so creative!)
    Naomi x

  3. This is hilarious! Nice work Naomi!

  4. Sadie, you're not Sadie - you're Emma. :-) Emma, heehee, thank you! Yes, I am EXTREMELY honoured. :-) Oh yes, indubitably, Mr Pickniff is funny - in a slimy, creepy, disgusting way (he's like a really mean version of Mr Collins) - but he IS VERY mean. And MY YES- JONAS I HATE HIM. I was also debating in my mind as to which one is worse - Rigaud (he'll always be Blandois for me) or him, but I ended on Rigaud, because he's more the-classic-villain-like. If you see what I mean. I think it's Tigg Montague ... I'm not sure, haha.

    Naomi, I will. :-) And thank you ever so much for your lovely words!

    Lois, thank you, m'dear!

    ~ Naomi

  5. *facepalm* I commented under Sadie's name! I do beg your pardon. You must have been really confused. (Actually, I'm sure you knew it was me. ;-P)

    Haha, I said that because first his name's Montague Tigg, but then he changes it to Tigg Montague.

  6. Hahaha, this was so funny, Naomi!
    Good job. I specially liked this line:
    "Don't want to boast, but it worked with me."

    Heehee. I think there are some things ONLY Dickens can get away with...


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