Friday, November 1

Shall I Compare Thee To A Hedgepig?

Hello, Quillers. Today is the first of November - at least for the majority of you in the Northern Hemisphere like me - which is important for three reasons.

1. Today is Quillbert's birthday! That's right, the little hedgepiggy is 4 years old today. Don't be worrying about his lifespan or mortality, however. I've seen him parachute into the Hunger Games, take a chomp out of one of Lord Voldemort's snakes, and go for a joy ride on a Dalek. He won't be going anywhere any time soon.

2. It is the one year anniversary since I uploaded the first video onto the Quill Café YouTube channel. The video was titled 'Why Writers Should Be More Like Hedgehogs' and I still stand by that advice. Embrace your inner hedgehog!

3. Last but not least it is, of course, the first day of National Novel Writing Month, where people all over the world set out to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Crazy! This is my fifth year participating and I am setting out to redeem my honour after an epic fail last year.

Dwelling on writing and hedgehogs and Quill Café, I was thinking about the ways in which I have come across hedgehogs used to describe things in literature...

Shakespeare would reference hedgehogs as vile or use them as an insult in his plays.

A character in 'Widow's Might' by Sandra Brannan is described as looking akin to a hedgehog because of her spiked hair.

In 'The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline' by Nancy Springer - the fourth book in the Enola Holmes mysteries - the sharp strokes of a quill produces hedgehog handwriting.

The protagonist in 'The Story of Tracy Beaker' by Jacqueline Wilson describes something as being hedgehog-flat.

All descriptions genuinely inspired by one creature but not the expected cliche of applying a hedgehog metaphor or simile to a character who has a prickly exterior. It made me think about ways we can draw inspirations from the things around us and apply them to our writing in a way that can ring true but also be unexpected.

Best of luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo this month! Perhaps you might be able to draw some unconventional inspiration from the things around you. Maybe even a hedgehog.

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