Pimp your Prose

Pimping your ride means doing up your car so it looks better (or at least, more eye-catching) and pimping your prose is the same process.

Most of us would need help to get beyond go-faster stripes and back-to-black for our bumpers, and we'd appeal to a specialist pimper for whitewall tyres, decals, shaded windows and a paint job.

Ask your friends and family for help in pimping your prose. From my Jamaican neighbour I learned the phrase 'jump his bones' which means to fancy somebody enough to want to have sex with him. The story that I'd called 'The Perfect Man' didn't sell until I pimped the title into 'Jumping His Bones' and then it placed first time out.

My teenage son contributed 'random' and 'emo' as well as defining 'chav'- all of which are now part of my writing vocabulary. The woman who sells second-hand records in Brighton told me she'd 'sooner hire a death-watch beetle as a childminder than leave her toddler with a woman who wore stilettos', a phrase I used in a story about a suspicious new arrival in a rural community.

All around us, every day, people use words and phrases that are fresh and exciting to us - if we don't steal them and immortalise them in prose, they could be lost forever. Ask your grandmother to describe a dreadlocked youth, or a dreadlocked youth to describe your grandmother and you'll find new words, stunning comparisons and suprising insights that you can slide into your work.