The Gentleman’s Occupations: Writer

Hello there,

To keep the momentum of our new Occupations category going I shall tell you about the wonders of the gentlemanly occupation of writing.  Many gentlemen have been writers and vice versa, however what really makes a good gentlemanly writer isn’t so much his books, but more so his name.

G.K. Chesterton didn't just have the greatest writer's name of all time, he also enjoyed having the grumpiest author's picture.

Before any gentleman can start writing literature he must work out the best way in which to write his name to make it sound like an author.  Try initialising your first or second name, if that doesn’t work initialise both of them.  In the case that your name will never sound like an author’s, there is a simple and well worn way to get that bookish ring, simply create a pen name.

Some say that J.R.R. Tolkien went overboard with his initials, however if anyone said anything about it Tolkien would just write them a 1000 page letter of rebuttal (These letters were later bound and renamed to The Lord of The Rings)

Many great writers used pseudonyms to cover up their awkward names.  Instances of these are Samuel Langhorne Clemens who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who is better know as Lewis Carroll.  However sometimes the pen name has been used to worsen ones name in the case of C.S. Lewis (who correctly used his initials to good effect) who published some work under the inferior name of Clive Hamilton.

Ernest Hemingway didn't need to change his name because it was Ernest, which means 'writer' in Norse. Here he is seen writing over a typical breakfast of two Ostrich eggs and tea.

There are two main categories of writing that a gentleman may pursue, fiction and non-fiction.    Within these literary realms a gentleman literally has artistic license to write anything.

Ian Fleming took his artistic license wherever he went (pictured).

Within the writings of non-fiction the gentleman may want to write textbook style theses or instead opt for the more biographical recounting of stories and events (often but not necessarily whilst travelling).

Jack Kerouac changed travel writing with his unique style and the fact that he wrote all of his notes on a fence.

In the category of fiction a gentleman may write whatever he wants.  ‘Whatever he wants’ can include such themes as secret agents, mythical worlds or private investigators.  The main component that makes up a good gentleman’s novel is a dynamic and interesting protagonist (see The Gentleman in Literature).  The story itself is always secondary to the characters.

Hunter S. Thompson (a good name) wasn't great at creating protagonists so he just made himself the protagonist.

The next most important thing after choosing your name, genre and protagonist, is choosing whether to smoke cigars, cigarettes or a pipe whilst typing your novel in your library.  My personal preference is the pipe as it is a good instrument to help you mull over problems about character arcs and what to have for lunch.

P.J. O'Rourke didn't smoke a pipe and therefore could not mull over what to have for lunch. Luckily for O'Rourke the cigarettes that he smoked often were his lunch.

Now you know the basics you too can follow in the footsteps of many a gentleman and take up the occupation of writing.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't just one of the most gentlemanly writer's of all time, he also had a magnificent moustache, something that is unfortunately eclipsed by his writing (much like his lips was eclipsed by his moustache).

So there you have it.

G.O. Brixley