Jonathan Benton – Making Scents of Christmas

jkbThis piece relates to my previous blog: ‘Writing when you haven’t got anything to write about’. I used to write poems in my spare time. Often just for a laugh. I wrote the following poem for my niece and nephew many moons ago. My nephew then read it to his class – I’m not sure his teacher was impressed! I borrowed the first two lines from Clement Clarke Moore’s Xmas poem. The rest is all mine. Feel free to personalise the names in the poem and hand it out to family and friends.






Making Scents of Christmas


Twas’ the night before Christmas when all through the house;

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

When all of a sudden, Tom woke with a start,

Surprised from his sleep by young Wendy’s fart.

‘Wake up!’ Tom cried. ‘You made a noise from your bum.

I’m telling Santa you farted, I’m telling our mum.’

But Wendy kept sleeping, unaware of her noise,

Dreaming of firemen and sailors, and other pretty boys.

Tom lay back in bed, until sleep he did slip,

When young Wendy Parker let another one rip.

This fart was much louder, with a voice of its own,

A mini explosion that made Tom groan.

Tom raised his hand, as if to whack her,

When out from her bum blew another cracker.

Wendy woke as Tom choked on her savoury smell

Smiled sweetly and whispered – ‘What’s up pal?’

‘Your bum is what’s up,’ Tom wept in disbelief.

To which Wendy replied with another loud beef.

That smelt of roast turkey, apple sauce and plum pud.

A touch of Christmas, and all things good.

And the moral of the story as you probably can smell –

We all know boys fart in bed … but girls do as well.



Writing when you haven’t got anything to write about – Jonathan Benton

minaea-desktop4-previewWinston Churchill is responsible for one of my favourite quotes: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’. Never, ever give up. The same is true with writing. Sometimes I sit staring at the computer and words refuse to flow – not even a drip. But words beget words. Write anything. Drips become trickles, trickles streams, which then become rivers.


Now that I’ve started quoting, I might as well have some fun, and build each paragraph around one. Oscar Wilde said: ‘I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again’.  Not much was happening for Oscar that morning … Or perhaps it was. Writing is all about rhythm. That comma could have made all the difference. Try reading Dr Seuss – the guy had rhythm. William Shakespeare did too. Good prose is often referred to as lyrical. At the very least, Oscar was trying to make things happen.


‘Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level’. I love Star Wars – every word, and each frame. But a garbage masher? Wouldn’t that be better suited to Sesame Street, not a Death Star? Writers have ‘off’ days, but if the end result is something as brilliant as Star Wars, even garbage mashers have a place.



On writing A Wicked Kind of Dark – Jonathan K Benton

fae-comboA Wicked Kind of Dark began with an idea – a ‘what if’. For me it was a powerful ‘what if’ that needed to be developed. Like all good ‘what ifs’, it wouldn’t let me go, and a story grew around it. Characters blossomed inside the text. Like roses, these characters had thorns. I loved them but they could hurt me.


Then the story finished and I said goodbye … for a while. The first draft is like an overgrown Bonsai tree. Patient pruning was required. I picked up my pen, and like a pair of Bonsai scissors, I cut out obsolete words and weak prose. I pared back scenes and beautified descriptions, polishing the story around the ‘what if’.


Novels are fuelled by ‘what ifs’, powerful ideas with the potential to grow into beautiful stories.


My ‘what if’ … You’ll need to read the story to discover what beats at the heart of A Wicked Kind of Dark.



Jonathan K Benton – Storm Clouds

minaea-desktop2-previewToo often religion is blamed for causing war. I’m not a psychologist, but that argument is another example of people not taking ownership of the problem. Humans cause war. Pure and simple. If religion didn’t exist we’d find something else to hide behind while we lob stones at each other.


I was sitting on the train today. Clouds were brewing over Brisbane. Four women sat in front of me chatting about work. Other people read books, and still more passengers focussed on their phones. A mother sat with her young daughter. The little girl was clutching a big red Dora the Explorer bag and gazing out the window watching the world rush by.


Why do we have to share this planet with puffed up, self-important, sabre-rattling bullies, who will never ride the train with the innocent; despots who hold the world to ransom and care nothing for the little girl with the big red bag.


Our role is to protect the future, not destroy it. Please. No more. Enough.



Jonathan K Benton – On books

jkbLife is chaotic, which is not a bad thing. It just means there are infinite possibilities, lots of potential. It also means don’t ever give up. There might be something incredible waiting for you centimetres (or inches) down your timeline. I won’t lie – there could be something frightening too, but we must search for the good in life. There is a lot of it.


Novels take a slice of this chaos and mould it into something that makes sense. Catch 22 is the only book I know that successfully captures the ‘big picture’. Milo Minderbinder is a brilliant character, and Yossarian most definitely lives. Fantasy is no different. We readers like to relate to stuff – especially characters. That’s why every significant character possesses human traits. Hazel the rabbit from Watership Down couldn’t be more human. Robert Jordan turned honour into a character and gave him a name: Rand al’Thor. Some characters are more nuanced than others, perhaps because the novel is character driven, rather than plot driven. But we must relate to characters.


What constitutes a great book? This question causes heated debates, and because of the chaotic nature of life, there is no right answer. Some argue copies sold – a sound argument. If a book brings pleasure to a large amount of people, then it is doing exactly what a book is meant to do, more so than a less popular book. Others argue a great book must be thought-provoking, full of cleverness and beautiful writing. A fair assessment perhaps? No, because there is no right answer. Books inspire individuals, and we must accept that individuals are unique, and being unique is beautiful (as long as you’re not hurting others).


Yours truly



Jonathan K Benton – Ranking Movies

jkbTime wasters: these films owe us all an apology. The only good thing about time wasters, is that they are utterly forgettable. They fill up the empty spaces in DVD stores, preying on the indecisive (and occasionally adventurous) consumer.


Bearable: exactly that. If you’ve got nothing better to do, and you don’t feel like sleeping, then why not watch a bearable movie. It might have a weak plot, but passable cinematography; alright script, but poor acting.  If anything, a bearable movie will give you something to complain about.


Good movie: good isn’t a great word but these films can be watched again. They might even draw a tear, or surprise a laugh.


Wow movie: most classics (and destined to be classics) fit into this category. The Godfather, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Forest Gump, The Silence of the Lambs – the list goes on and some of these films can crossover into the final category. Everything works in these movies; acting, directing, scripting.


Terrifying movie: this final deeply personal category evokes such profound emotions in us that we are terrified to revisit the experience for fear of losing ourselves in their vast transformational depths. Terrifying movies are unique to the individual – what touches me might not have the same effect on you, reciprocated. They are addictive films, ones that linger in our thoughts, and remain with us forever. Two films that have terrified me are Pan’s Labyrinth and Life is Beautiful. Subtitles aren’t usually my thing, so it is testament to the harrowing nature of these films. They took me on a journey of extremes, soaring joy and deep, wrenching sorrow.

I watched a Wow movie on DVD last night. Definitely a classic fantasy. Labyrinth. The masquerade ball scene is haunting and beautiful.


Jonathan K Benton – First blog,not a blurb.

jkbDear Readers,

I hope blogging becomes easier, because I’ve rewritten this first sentence 12 times, and the text still isn’t singing. I digress. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and say hello. If you would like to get to know me – and I would love to get to know you – a good place to start is right here on my website There’s an email address on the Contacts page. Use it as much as you like. Nothing offensive please.

Blogs are a bit like diaries that people leave lying around on purpose. But this blog isn’t just about me. Please share your own thoughts and ideas. I’ll try to post lots of interesting stuff, mostly about young adult (YA) fantasy. What a great genre! The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter to name but a few. Stephen King is my personal favourite. Often he’s pigeon-holed into the horror genre – not so. Mr King mixes genres like a three star Michelin chef mixes ingredients.

Don’t ever feel that what you have to say isn’t important. I truly believe we’re all in this together – I’m referring to life. Big picture type of stuff!

That’s it for now.

Signing off