Tuesday 26 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

A lot of people have agreed with me that Jasper is writing in a strange way. The words he is using are put together so differently from how he writes in his books. I have posted up the most recent piece of writing by Jasper I have, it is the final draft copy of the first chapter of First Among Sequels. I think it is OK to share this with you as it didn’t end up in the finished book! (There is a whole major character that was written out at the last moment and so everything in the draft had to be changed).


I have read both this draft and the emails he has sent me and they are at odds and evens with each other. He must spend an awful lot more time writing his books than he does his emails, but then that makes sense as they also take longer, and are more exciting, to read!


Hi June,
I don’t know about strange, they’re a bit funnily worded, but thats just Jasper’s way. Erm… I guess he just wants you to send through all of the competition entries as soon as you get them, so he can have more ideas for Landen’s brother’s name?

Yes, it reads very oddly.

you have been so kindly through sending to me – Surely it should be ‘so kindly sending through to me’ ? Though the ‘through’ is redundant anyway… Maybe he’s going for some sort of Joycean syntax?

and I do so feel bad for being so constant – Constant as in faithful? Continuous? Or just persistent?

Reading about how very far my fans imaginations are – No apostrophe. Dodgy verb use. This guy is a writer…. right?

inspires me as I write my beautiful story – This sounds like a line from one of those automatically generated spam emails from Eastern Europe.

urgentsome – I think that’s one neologism we can probably muddle along without.

Yours goodbye – ???

Suffice to say, he sounds drunk.

I think that the point was by a translation aid and then back again at least that is, which it looks as to me.


surviving the office advice

Tuesday 26 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

Take a look around the office, I can guarantee you’ll see a
room full of people who are just trying to get through the day without
someone else realising they don’t know what they are doing.

You’ll be fine.

As far as working in an office goes, I work in an office for a publishing
house as well (albeit a small, insignificant one). The Editor of the
magazine I work on is UNBELIEVABLE. Recently he’s decided to answer a
spiritual calling and train to be a vicar part-time. To be honest, I worry
for his future parishioners. If his 15 minute ‘time management’ meetings
regularly last up to an hour and half, imagine how long the sermons will be!

All I can say is, in any office, the best thing to do is keep your head
down, do your job, and hope for the best.

Good luck!

PS- I suppose you could try flirting with the authors to win them over to
your side (I’ve seen Jasper in person before, he looks quite hunky)…

As for the other thing, I actually haven’t worked in an office (I’m in retail post-English degree, and now trying to get something in a library or something else involving books) but as I understand it, the principle is the same as anywhere else – try not to screw up too badly, if you do then admit to it and fix it, and always always always try to remember how people take their tea and coffee.

Um…that wasn’t terribly helpful, was it? Sorry.

Any new workplace is overwhelming, I’m sure it’ll grow on you. I’m working in an office at the moment, and the only advice I can really give is that the impression of efficiency is often more powerful than any actual abilities one has to provide for the job. Make like you’ve learned things from this episode, and come up with a plausible answer when people ask what they are, and the least you’ll have is a killer answer when people ask you in interviews “Give us an example of a time when things didn’t go according to plan”…

On the error in the final question, I did notice it, but assumed that it was caused by a group of radical UltraWord terroristsm, who have so far evaded capture by the forces of truth. I would suggest that you ensure that everyone in your office realises this and that you are working on a brilliant plan to foil them. Blaming Outlandish authors can only harm your cause so make sure that your boss knows that you are responsible for uncovering the foul rumour that JF might himself have been responsible – if there is any justice, you should receive the huge rise you no doubt deserve and will be given a free holiday on the character exchange programme in Tara, including the essential costume and attitude/accent classes.

error check

Monday 25 June, 2007 - One Response

I thought it best to check that what Jasper is saying right, I don’t want another mistake to happen like with the website question!
On 25/06/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

My dear June, you are very good at my job but I am not foolminded!

Please DO NOT remoteish change the time or the location place of the invitation. Perhappenstance I should have made it clearer to you that as this is a different and more lovelied event at a special and secret location which nobody can knowledge of yet. All I can say to you and all you can slide into your nicermosted invite is that it is in Swindon at 1pm in a secret place. I will let know the place when it is at the right time to be told.

I hope this is clear, just use the words I through sent and change not a dot or a W.

Yours Goodbye


On 6/24/07, June Haversham <> wrote:

Hello Jasper,

The draft you sent me for the invititation has the time as 1pm and the location as secret location. I am making the invite nicermost now, would you want me to write the time as 2pm and the location as Waterstones instead?


june haversham
Junior Designate, Publicity & Marketing
Hodder & Stoughton
(t)  0207 873 6302


Sunday 24 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

This weekend my assignment was to create something for work using the desktop publishing programme. I decided to draw up the invitation for the people who are coming to the Swindon event. I am having to teach myself how to use the desktop publishing programme myself from the tutorial files that come with it under the ‘Help’ button.

He has written down the time as 1pm instead of 2pm, which is strange because I heard Janet talking on the phone to him eariler in the week and she told him then that the booksigning is at 2pm. I thought about it and I think he probably just doesn’t want people to be late and so wrote the time earlier. That is very thoughtful of him, I was late to meet peter after work on Friday and I was very unhappy when I went to find him and he wasn’t there.


On 22/06/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

Hello June

It is time to be outposting invitations to the big launch of my book in Swindon to those who have been scribbling me wonders. I have drawn it with a biro pen and made it look quite nicesome. I am wondering if you could make it nicermost and then post to all so they hear me read the Next book on the Seventh of Swindon. It will be the best and only Next! Make sure the words are spelled out exactly the same way as I have written, as it will be important for the future, which I will tell you about one day that is not right now.




Sunday 24 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

pro·cras·ti·nate      [proh-kras-tuh-neyt, pruh] Pronunciation Key verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.

–verb (used without object)

1. to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

–verb (used with object)

2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

[Origin: 1580–90; < L prōcrāstinātus (ptp. of prōcrāstināre to put off until tomorrow, equiv. to prō- pro-1 + -crāstināre, deriv. of crāstinus of tomorrow; crās tomorrow + -tinus suffix forming adjs. from temporal advs.); see -ate1]

pro·cras·ti·nat·ing·ly, pro·cras·ti·na·tive·ly, adverb

pro·cras·ti·na·tion, noun

pro·cras·ti·na·tive, pro·cras·ti·na·to·ry      [proh-kras-tuh-nuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, pruh] Pronunciation Key, adjective

pro·cras·ti·na·tive·ness, noun

pro·cras·ti·na·tor, noun

2. prolong, postpone. Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.


Sunday 24 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

What is our beloved Jasper Fforde doing writing all these emails to you and spending so much time reading our entries when he should have his nose to the grindstone on his next book?  Doesn’t he know that it takes us less time to read them than he does to write them?  Sometimes I wish I was born in the next generation, so I wouldn’t have to wait for the publication dates.  Very inconsiderate, I do think.I think what we have here is a little case of writer’s block.  Fantasies of cruises? Requests for more entries?  I think we’re looking at the P-word here.

Yes, it’s Procrastination.  And you’re in luck, because I have done some study into this phenomenon, and have even been a sufferer myself.

Procrastination is a terrible disease that afflicts some of the best writers of all times.  At first, it tends to manifests itself in spending time doing other useful things.  I personally experience cooking and cleaning my house as my personal Procrastination symptoms.  However, if it is a serious case, Procrastination starts to express non-useful symptoms, causing otherwise healthy sufferers to spend time reading horoscopes on the Internet, writing emails to anyone and everyone, and even the ‘SIS’ effect (also known as Staring into Space).  In severe cases, patients become obsessive in trying to fill every minute of their day doing anything except addressing the job at hand.  My parents and friends know that I’m not well if they come over and my house is clean and there is bread in the oven.  They’re relieved when they come over to a shambles and an M&S pre-prepared dinner.

Unfortunately, modern medicine has not yet recognised Procrastination as a diagnosable illness.  I expect it will be a few generations before this terrible affliction is given the recognition it requires.  This means that there are no drugs available to treat the problem, yet.

So, what can you do about it?  Well, personally I would be gentle with Mr Fforde.  He is an artist, you know.  But, we’re all aware that he has a sense of humour (if also an unhealthy fear of toast), so I think you should do the following.

1. Raise the possibility that he may be suffering from Procrastination, and reiterate that he is not alone, or in any way defective.

2. Suggest, gently, that he should focus on the task at hand and keep writing his next book.

3. Provide constant support, and even a cheer squad if necessary, to affirm positive behaviour (ie. writing).

If that doesn’t work, it could be that the problem has been diagnosed too late.  And then all we can do it hope and wait.

emails from Jasper

Saturday 23 June, 2007 - One Response

On 26/05/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

Ah June, you are very kind to me. If you can learn about the ways of word writings from me then that is very good. Perhaps one day you will write a book and there will be other Junes to make it into many copies. I am quite excited about having a book published but it has happened to me before, hasn’t it, so I am not as excited as I was then. The book is coming along very well. I have written many much more pages.

Thank you for the date I know it now.
I am learning fast. I went to the seaside today and was nearly sick due to the salty water. Watch out for this. It’s salty! You can write this down if you want to, because I am a writer, the much more words of mine that are written down the better . As long as they have my name on them!

Yours goodbye


On 25/05/07, June Haversham <> wrote:

Hello Jasper,

I like what you said about a writer and a publisher being like a book’s pages and a book’s cover. It made me think of books, and I like books. It is very clever the way you wrote about one thing as if it were another thing, that must be why you are such a good writer.
In answer to your question, the book signing (launch?) date in Swindon is 7th July 2007.
Are you excited that your book manuscript is going to be made into lots and lots of books and put in shops?

I am glad you are not cold.


p.s. I am writing a blog at the moment, can I write in it that what you have said?

june haversham
Junior Designate, Publicity & Marketing
Hodder & Stoughton
(t) 0207 873 6302

On 24/05/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

Oh June! That isn’t right: I think you are important. I am just the writer, but you help people to see the books. Without you it would be just me and a book with lots of pages. Which would be fine, but not the same. You are organised. You make things happen, I might write the pages (many of them) but in a sort of way you are the glue and the spine which holds them together.

Of course! The coat! you see how important you are – without you I would be cold.

The first date I would like you to confirm, if you have time in your busy day, is the date of the launch of my book in Swindon! I know, I should this know!

Yours goodbye


On 24/05/07, June Haversham <> wrote:

Hello Jasper,
I don’t think we have spoken before, unless you mean by writing emails to each other, then we have. I emailed you after the time you visited here and left your coat.
I am busy, but I think you are important and I am not! Which dates did you wish to have confirmed?


june haversham
Junior Designate, Publicity & Marketing
Hodder & Stoughton
(t) 0207 873 6302

On 24/05/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

Thank you June.

You are very kind. Have we spoken before? I speak to so many people, I sometimes forget.

I have also lost my diary which is a foolish thing of me to be doing, would it be bad if I wrote to you asking to confirm some dates? I know that you are very important and busy, so please don’t worry if that is a problem. I don’t want to take away you from this important book business.

yours goodbye


On 24/05/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

hello Jasper,

I am well today, thank you. Are you well? I have asked everyone to email you to confirm their addresses to you. I am glad you have written more pages, it is important.


june haversham
Junior Designate, Publicity & Marketing
Hodder & Stoughton
(t) 0207 873 6302

On 22/05/07, Jasper Ffforde <> wrote:

Hello there Hodder friends.

I hope you absolutely all are well.

I’m writing to you because I have done a thing and made all my email addresses get deleted when I dropped my computer on a wall.

So I am writing here today to ask you if

Could you send me back.the important addresses and also any information you have sent in the last few days as I have lost that as well.

The book is going to be excellent and I have written many pages.

Yours goodbye,


Strange occurrence

Saturday 23 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

I received this email a while ago, but now that I come to look at all the messages Jasper sent me this message stripes me as odd. Why didn’t he want the books sent to his house where we send all of his other post? He must have carried all those books back home again after we sent them!

On 04/06/07, Jasper Ffforde < > wrote:

Oh June.

I got home this evening to discover that there had been a fire in my house and my bookcase burned down. This was rather strange but the worst thing was that My books have been burned. Many famous ones by Dickens and Austen and Conan Doyle have gone. It is just like the Great Fire Of London. But also, and this is the most bad, I have lost my own books! The Thursday Next novels. My Thursday Next novels.

As I am writing my book at the moment and it is going very well with lots of pages, it would help you very much if you could send me some copies of all of my books with Thursday Next in would be very much so good!

If you could send them special class post through to


31-33, High Holborn, LONDON, WC1V 6AX

It is close to the Cittie of Yorke pub, which is a nice place.

I would be very much most grateful.

Yours goodbye



Saturday 23 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

And if a person is “narcissistic”, it means they are vain, or excessively fascinated with themselves. The word is derived from Narcissus, who was a character in Greek mythology – he fell in love with his own reflection. Now that’s real vanity!

nar·cis·sism      [nahr-suh-siz-em] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation


1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.

Also, nar·cism      [nahr-siz-uhm] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation.

[Origin: 1815–25; < G Narzissismus. See narcissus, -ism]

nar·cis·sist, narcist, noun

nar·cis·sis·tic, nar·cis·tic, adjective

1. self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.

peter is a narcissus.

brighter still

Thursday 21 June, 2007 - Leave a Response

The best way to not get ‘the boot’ is to make yourself look hyper-efficient. This does not require any actual work. Move quickly about the office – this gives you a look of purpose that impresses people. Moving quickly about the office while carrying a piece of paper around the office – and maybe photocopying it for good measure – is even better: it not only impresses people, but lets them know that you are a Very Busy Person who is not to be interrupted. Also, striding about purposefully while wearing a slight frown is a surefire way of making your colleagues think that you are a driven career woman who is Going Places. The frown will also help to ward off any inconvenient questions of the “why was that quiz question wrong?” variety.

However, should any such question be posed to you, I suggest you deny all knowledge. If possible, blame a temp.

Good luck!

Being a student I’m probably not in the best position to offer career advice, whenever I’ve worked in an office I haven’t been considered important enough to be given a task which carries any real responsibility. At least you’re taking an interest in your work and ensuring your clients’ satisfaction, if they do try to sack you feel free to use me as an impartial witness to your dedication.

Thanks again for contacting me to let me know that I’d got the question right, I’m a big fan of Mr Fforde (I’ll be at his book-signing in Swindon) and I thought it odd that I’d managed not to notice him changing the title of the book.

Then I thought maybe the quiz was a little out of date because I had read that Fford had originally intended to name the book War of the Words. So I chose that one and it, too, was the “wrong” answer. After that, I just guessed. As for emailing in, I figured that about 50,000 people had already done that; plus I’m just not the kind of person who jumps all over people when they make mistakes. It happens to the best of us.

… Could it be that Mr Fforde has some cunning plan of his own that even
you at Hodder don’t know about?

Anyway, I finally managed to overcome my perfectionist tendencies, hoped for
a blissful increase of entropy at the right moment and simply clicked on
another answer. Which – strangely – was accepted. And I guess I was simply
to shy and self-conscious to mail someone and point out the problem. I just
accepted it as a kind of unexpected “plot-twist”.

So – don’t you worry! “The man who does things makes mistakes, but he
doesn’t make the biggest mistake of all—doing nothing.” (Allegedly Benjamin
Franklin, although you never can be sure about such words of wisdom …)

I don’t tend to have great expectations about Internet quizzes so I wasn’t too concerned.

Similarly, I’d advise you not to have great expectations about your job, just as your boss is unlikely to have such great expectations about someone in their first position.

My experience of office jobs tells me the following. Firstly, remember it’s always advisable to beg forgiveness before it’s too late. Secondly, make sure you keep your nose clean outside as well as inside of the office – things like speeding tickets never look good, especially if you have a tendency towards being a bit of a speed demon. Be careful or you might find things may get too hot…


Hodder can’t give you the boot. There’d be riots on the streets of Swindon and Reading. Hodder’s office would be picketed (“Justice for June” would make a very good picket sign, don’t you think?). Questions would be asked in the House. I’d say it was quite a good negotiating tool for a pay rise, actually.

re the competition error: I used to work in IT and if I ever screwed
up, I’d give than an explanation for the fault that included lots of
long technical words. People forgive others that screw up if it seems
that the person screwing up has been waging a battle with technology.

Sadly, there was only so much of “help, my monitor smells of fish” or
“the printer is switched off and i can’t print – what should I do?”
that i could take. So when deleting user accounts or wiping servers
didn’t get me fired, I just picked up my laptop and my camera and
began a life of loafing. No I have no one to fire me, and it’s fabulous.

I have worked in an office for all my working time so far. Not getting the boot is quite easy. You just need to make sure that someone else takes the blame. Or you could blame it on one of those mind manipulating characters from the Thursday Next books!

As for working in an office, sadly my advice would not be very helpful. I have never worked in the same office for more than two weeks. If I start to enjoy a job in an office too much I tend to apologise nicely to my employers and get out. However as far as I understand there are many ways of avoiding “the boot”. First among these is the old staple of not letting on that you need the job, or plain not needing the job. People seem to much prefer giving jobs to people that don’t need them. In fact, the best way to get a job is to pretend you already have a job and you would sooner stay with it than go to the new job. This bamboozles people into thinking that you must be too good for them, and they then feel they have to offer you the job you don’t want in order to punish you for not wanting it by forcing you to turn it down. Then you accept it. They are perplexed by this, so they become unpleasant and resentful towards you in the office. This behavioural cycle also happens with people you fancy. I have been on both sides of this, and neither is pleasant.

Anyhow, hang in there and blame it on the writer. He’s probably nice enough to take it on the chin. Just mail him nicely saying that you fucked up. As a writer, he has the wonderful umbrella of an “artistic temperament”. This allows you to get away with murder and have people smile indulgently about it behind your back. So if he’s half decent he’ll take the hit for you.