James Marson

Writer of Comedy Writings

Date: February 17, 2016

The Lazy Planet History of London

by Brian Smudge

Brian Smudge

Brian is not qualified in history. Or anything

It’s time to root back through the annals of history to uncover the murky history of London. In this handy print-out-then-cut-out-and-keep-then-use-then-throw-away guide we take you on a brisk Lazy Planet Tour of the History of London.

Please note. As this is the Lazy Planet Guides we may ask you to forgive us some small inaccuracies that may have crept in.

London was founded in 85400 BC by DINOSAURS.

Evidence for this was uncovered in 1896 when eminent Victorian Scientist Billiard Jeremiah Slagheap first dug a hole in his garden in Hammersmith and, finding a hole the size of a DINOSAUR HOOF declared that dinosaurs must have roamed the land in HAMMERSMITH and therefore founded London.

Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs founded London in the Past

London was uninhabited until much later on in history, really until the ROMANS arrived.

The Romans, being very fond of living nice, decided that this small curve in the River Thames was the perfect spot for a trading post, a fort, a massive temple to some of the Gods they made up and some TOGAS. London was born. In AD54.

Roman masonry?

Detail of a Roman thingummy somewhere.

To the ROMANS London was a very popular trading spot where they would meet with people coming from the continent and tell them to go back to the Roman Empire which covered most of the continent. This tradition is commonly practised today.

The Romans brought many things to London including its regularly laid out streets, water, lions and war many of which can be seen on the streets of London today.

It’s easy to imagine how the locals were awed by the presence of so many men with swords who told them what to do. They left quite a legacy!

Then they left around 341 AD. Things were getting busy in the Empire at that time what with it collapsing and it was decided that keeping Britain or Britannicus as it was known was no longer a priority and anyway it was cold.

Picture of Forest?

This is what London looked like when the Romans left

 

The leaving of the Romans left a sizeable gap and local tribes were allowed back into the area. These were made up of Angles and Saxons from Germany and were basically VIKINGS. They raided the coastal town of Londonwich which was today where the Strand is only less busy. After a few raids the Londonsfolk moved back into the walled city of London where there were walls, locked the door and no-one saw them for several centuries during which time they invented the congestion charge.

After the Vikings stopped being so violent and had explained they weren’t really raiders they’d just run out of space for their sheep, the Saxons begun to accept them. Suddenly a new threat appeared on the horizon when the Normans – who were essentially NORSE MEN and so VIKINGS started to eye up the land of the Angles who were DANISH or sort of and the VIKINGS  who were from Sweden.

And so the battle of Hastings was born and in 1066 the Normans took over the country and began numbering the kings. They built the great big Tower of London to mark the event and opened it as a tourist attraction where you could watch beheadings for 10/6 as long as you didn’t eat the ravens or make fun of the beefeaters. This practice still continues today.

England was ruled by the Normans for years and London prospered where it grew around what is known as the City today. It remained the captial all through the WARS OF THE FLOWERS where two groups of Northerners the Lancastrians and the Yorks fought about who should be king and which was better the North or the South and within the North whether the West or the East was better. This is a tradition that continues today.

A map of London from the time of the Elizabethans who are not covered here for obvious reasons.

A map of London from the time of the Elizabethans who are not covered here for obvious reasons.

 

Well that’s all we could be bothered with. But then there was a bridge, a plague, some fire a new St Paul’s, a theatre, some bear fights, lots of georgian town houses, a parliament builidng, some sewage works, fog, a tube network, cars,  the Blitz, a smattering of hideous 60’s high rise, bankers, and airport, Canary wharf, the Dome, a pointless cross-river cable car, congestion charge and a building that burns cars. But nothing is quite as interesting as the Romans or DINOSAURS

IMG_0469

This is what it looks like now

Leave us a comment if you’d like to hear more and tell other people because unless you do I don’t get paid for this.

I have some leaflets that covers other things here so I could copy them out. But otherwise I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to THE HISTORY OF LONDON!
Thanks

Brian

Visit the Lazy Planet

Hello

Right I’ve been doing this:

Lazy Planet2

 

Check it out and the other sillinesses that have been going on at the Lazy Planet Guides…

Go on. Go on.

History of London – Lazy Planet

And now this.

Which is 100% accurate. Guaranteed*

The History of London by the Lazy Planet

map of london

*not guaranteed.

James’ Guide to the Enneagram Parts 1 & 2

Hello

I’ve produced a guide to how to use the Enneagram in your writing.

Part 1: About the Enneagram

The Enneagram – Part 1

 

And Part 2: How to Use it

The Enneagram – Part 2

Enjoy….

James

The Enneagram – Part 2

So.. how to make the Enneagram work for your writing?

Enneagram Image

The Enneagram for Writers

The Enneagram, to my mind, serves two main functions.

  1. It helps avoid some common problems by creating a consistent set of diverse characters.
  2. It helps fuel the imagination about character-specific plot points.

What more could you need from such a simple tool! Let’s look at these in turn.

Avoiding Problems

The first and most obvious way, is to make sure that you’ve got the bases covered – that all your characters are different types.

Designing the Cast

When designing your cast – make sure you have Reformers, Achievers, Helpers, Individualists… Having a diversity of Enneagram types creates a diversity of characters – who all see the world in different ways, want different things and react differently.

Write Distinct Characters

One of the biggest traps writers fall into is to write all the characters the same. By having different types the chance of this happening is greatly reduced.

Don’t Write Yourself

Another problem is writing every character as yourself.  And that means characters sound like you, and act like you. They do what you’d do (because, you know, you’re a hero too).

By getting a handle on a particular Enneagram type you can make sure you don’t make this mistake – (be the hero of your own story, not the one you’re writing!)

Fuelling the Imagination

But more importantly, the traits of the Enneagram can really help bring rounded characters to life. How? Let’s have a look.

Acting to Type

Start by giving a particular character a type, then get to know that type

Reformer

Reformers like things to be neat and perfect

Look at the various traits and drivers that a Reformer has – they’re perfectionists and they like everything to be in order. This means different things are going to bother them (messiness for example) and they’re going to have a distinct reaction to being under pressure (they get angry). With seven different traits for each character there’s plenty of scope for creating well-rounded variations of Reformers.

It can help to build extreme characters (i.e comedy or small characters) around one particular trait – a Reformer who gets REALLY ANGRY about things (Basil Fawlty, anyone???)

Stoke Conflict

Having a range of different characters also creates that all important conflict.

individualist

Individualists are dreamy and creative

An Individualist (who is dreamy, touchy and obsessed with their output) and an Achiever (who is driven, competitive and sometimes deceptive) are going to create a unique dynamic. There’s a sitcom right there…

You could put them on an oil rig, in space, or in a chip shop. Or in a chip shop on an oil rig in space – but the core conflict is going to be there.  And it’s those human conflicts we crave – when two people want different things – and go about getting it in different ways…

Unity

We’ve talked about differences here. But there’s also something unifying in recognising your character as a certain type.  Examining the traits of a Challenger, for example, it becomes clear that they’re driven by a need for security… They challenge as a way of protecting themselves. They want to know the truth. They risk pushing others away… And this adds a completeness to the character… As an audience member we GET this character. Immediately a back-story begins to emerge… what hurt them? Why do they want to be protected?

Audiences are not particularly forgiving of inconsistent characters either. Would your Challenging protector trust someone they had only just met because it helps your plot? Not for a second. They might appear to trust them but would certainly take steps to hedge their bets, or find more about their new friend. This is rewarding to the audience. of course they’d do that… they say. How do they know? They recognise the type…

Character-specific plot points

As you can see from the above, simply by assigning characters an Enneagram type puts a spin on their interactions with everything – in a justifiable and satisfying way… How each character reacts to the same situation is a very telling route into the character – think about how each of the characters in The Usual Suspects reacts to being interviewed by the police. We know instantly that these are very different individuals.

Themes for Enneagram Types

I will touch on various story themes in another post – but for the time being it’s worth understanding that there are certain themes that suit certain Enneagram characters better.

Story Themes

The various story themes. To be covered in another post…

For example a moral crusade tale suits a Reformer at its helm, a detective tale might suit a driven investigator type – and a lone hero action movie would almost certainly want a Challenger taking the action to the bad guys.

The Enneagram Journey

Enneagram Journey

The Enneagram Journey relates character traits to major stages of the character story

Relating specifically to storytelling I have also created something called the Enneagram Journey. This particularly applies to the hero, but can apply to any character.

The idea behind the journey is that a character must grow and change throughout the story. And each of the traits that a character displays can be indicative of a certain stage of that journey.

 

 

Journey of a Hero

Act One egofix holyidea Ego Fixation and Holy Idea

When we first meet a character they are often self-obsessed and unreformed. Here their dominant trait is their Ego Fixation – that dark little part of themselves. For an example, an investigator type, who is Stingy and ungenerous when we first meet them.

But they also hold, or are aware of, a noble concept – their Holy Idea  – for the Investigator this is Omniscience – they long to know everything – to uncover the truth. In our detective story this might be to uncover the murderer –  and more importantly HOW it happened. Their Holy idea is a chance at redemption.

Act Two feardesire  Basic Fear and Basic Desire

Pushed into the second act, into new circumstances they have to face their Fears and Desires. They are tested  Our detective has a strong desire to appear competent and capable, and face situations where they feel useless – back and forth proving themselves, failing and trying again…

Crisis  temptationTemptation

Normally they reach a crisis point towards the end of the second act where they face their Temptation – that behaviour they resort to when they’re under intense pressure. For the Investigator this can be Overthinking – paralysis through analysis – being stopped in their tracks – unable to see the way forward. To proceed, they must overcome that temptation…

Act Three vicevirtue  Vice and Virtue

Finally in the showdown finale there are two possible endings – They face their all-consuming and damning Vice to achieve their redeeming Virtue.

For the Investigator, this is a choice between being overcome by greed – being corrupted as the killer revealed tries to bargain them out of it, or having an opportunity to profit immensely by keeping the truth hidden. Or maintaining that cool analysis and delivering the truth while those around around them lose their heads.  Either can be the result keeping the audience guessing to the end. A positive ending or a negative ending – just make sure you’ve given the audience enough reasons for them to reach that end (if they fall victim of their vice, we like to see it coming, if they’re rewarded for their great virtue it’s because they’ve earned it)

 

So I hope you’ve got a sense of how the Enneagram can help keep track of your characters and inspire your imagination.

As always take as much or as little as you like from this – it is not prescriptive merely intended to help fuel your imagination as a writer.

To get a handy pocket guide for the iPhone to keep with you, study and store your own character types head over to the App Store!

Enneagram for Writers

Click to head over to the App Store!

Thanks for reading and as always all comments welcome!

James

 

 

 

© 2018 James Marson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑