Category Archives: Writing

So hey…

That “Two Friends” story I’ve got listed in my Writing Projects?

It’s finished.

Like, 74,000 words worth of finished.  Polished until it shines finished, with all the gaps filled and extraneous scenes cut and the happy ever after given a little bit of spice.  Totally finished.

Also finished is the synopsis and the query letter, so forgive me if I come hide out here for a while before I press ‘send’ on the submit page of Carina Press…

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Filed under Life, Writing

Production and publication

Finally, the last assignment is done.  My ghost story (which I sweated blood over, but lest said about that, soonest mended) is done and printed, and now I am in the final throes of printing my little booklet, The Importance of Being an Airship.

It is online too, here at Scribd.

The Importance of Being an Airship

I have no idea what that’s going to look like, but I need breakfast!

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In class writing

1.
The first session (can’t call it this morning’s, as it doesn’t start til 2pm) was with Phil and we read a dreadful piece taken from a book on football, Red or Dead. Absolutely loathe that style, but only because I am Queen of flowery language and adjectives and that piece had NONE. Urgh.

So, we asked to do some life writing in that style, around the theme of ‘loss’. And then this happened.

A FUNERAL

It’s cold. The roadway is wet. Black and wet. Pitted with small holes where tree roots nudge up and the frost pushes down. Wet leaves line the paths. Splashes of red on the black, smudges of brown and rust. Wet and cold and slick.

The hearse is silver. It’s wrong. Shiny bright silver, reflecting low winter sun. Not black. Not funereal. Silver and clean, glass and chrome. The top hats are black. Dull wool greatcoats cover knees. White collars peep from sombre suits.

A murmured joke, a smothered laugh. Serious faces gather. Quiet voices watch the bearers. The bugler stands out, his gold, brass and red gleam on royal blue.

They file in, one by one. The room fills. Overflows. People stand on steps. Flowers drop intermittent petals. The room is full.

There isn’t a vicar or a priest. The officiant is a friend. An old friend, a brother-in-law, a lay preacher. He knew him as well as a man who married the sister of his wife could have known him. His strengths and foibles. His weaknesses and bravery.

There are hymns. There are always bloody hymns. But more than hymns. We sing Mr Blue Sky. His wife smiles through tears that don’t fall.

Outside, the sun is brighter. Laughs no longer smothered. A child reaches for the bearskin. The hearse is still silver, but no longer wrong.

2.
The next session was on a bizarre piece on trout fishing in America (but not), written by someone who was more than likely on some small tasty little fungi. And the prompt was the Brayford.

NESSIE IN THE BRAYFORD (I make no excuses for the title)

I like to walk around the water. Always clockwise, never widdershins. Clockwise keeps the water to my right, makes me tilt my head towards the middle to watch. The water is dark, choppy in the wind which spits and squalls across its surface. Some days it’s alive, the brown-backed beast moving just out of sight beneath the boats and the birds, the empty plastic bottles and the swirling, muted-rainbow slicks of oil.

It is alive, of course.

Anyone who watches the water for any length of time can see that. It shifts and moves with the wind, then, abruptly against it. Swans startle for no reason, cygnets the colour of slush circling their brilliant parents. I watch them dipping their heads along the edge and emerging green. They like to stay near the edge. I don’t.

It probably wouldn’t eat the swans, I think. It’s never eaten one yet, that I know, but then, it would need permission from the Queen and I’m not sure it can write. Not that anyone else has seen it, hiding in plain sight as it does.

The gentle swell of the water, no tide here, some days still like glass so the cathedral can see her face, reflected back against a sky so blue it hurts. I could see my own reflection if I looked.

I never have.

I walk clockwise around the water. Some days I follow the sun, others I keep my head down out of the wind and let it follow me. The water watches. It doesn’t judge. From the bridge I can see the whole dull length, narrow boats splashes of ill-advised tattoo colour; freckle-flecked with gulls and ducks and coots, a dandruff of old bus tickets and cigarette packets in the corners.

The water is alive.

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So that was those

Yesterday was assignment day. We were required to hand in both our Drama piece and our Portfolio. There was the most enormous amount of grumbling about these, for a whole host of reasons.

Primarily, lack of communication meant that no one was really 100% sure about content, word count, layout or presentation for either of them. I won’t go into numbers or specifics, because it would probably bore the pants of anyone who isn’t part of the course, and those that are already know ALL about it, but needless to say, we weren’t particularly impressed with the way these assignments were presented.

Secondly – two big assignments due on one day? I know my portfolio ran to approx 100,000 words (half of which I put on a USB because omg, waste of paper in this digital age).

However, they’re done. It also seems some of us had huge fun with our plays, once they were wrangled into the correct size/shape, and as mine is short, I’m going to post it up in the pages section.

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Filed under Lincoln, Rambles, Writing

Creation

I make things.  It’s what I do.

I’ve been chewing stuff over in my head a lot over the past few weeks – I’ve been super busy but work doesn’t occupy my brain fully, so there’s always a corner which continues to whirr away whilst the rest of me freewheels through accounts and taking orders and dealing with the day-to-day minutiae of running a business.

Part of the reason I’ve been so off kilter is because the only thing I’ve been making recently is a bloody mess.  My house looks like a typhoon just went through it, and not the interesting jet-powered sort either.  But I’ve not written or done any of the other things I do when I need to make.

Today, I had to wait around in the house for some chap to come and fix my washing machine which had chewed up and then regurgitated the solid concrete block that’s used as a counterbalance for the spin cycle.  Gritty grey dust everywhere.  I couldn’t focus enough to write, but I did cook.  I made two batches of soup – curried parsnip and a general vegetable to use up some of the veg that the local gamekeeper drops off for us every other week – and mince pies and a pumpkin pie, and I roasted a half shoulder of lamb for dinner.  My kitchen smells FABULOUS.  It sounds so simple, but the last few weeks have been so batshit crazy that I’ve not really cooked anything properly since I made Christmas puddings the day after we came back from Holland.

It felt really good.

So now I’m sat here with a ball of yarn and I’m working on a blanket which I’ve been meaning to make forever.  I’ve had the dozen bright balls of rainbow coloured softness in a bag for a while, and it’s incredibly soothing to have something to do with my hands whilst I read.  I open something on my laptop/iPad/Kindle and I can sit and read and knit/crochet, occupying both hands and brain and I feel like I’m not wasting my time by sitting idle.  Currently I’m reading through Windmills - I used the opening chapter in the symposium and it went a lot better than I thought.  Maybe I should have stuck around for a little more peer feedback, but I just wanted to hide in the corner and cough some more.  One day I might stop being such an introvert.

So yeah, I’m making stuff.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even make sense if I work at it hard enough.

 

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Filed under House, Rambles, Writing

D-day

Tomorrow I have to read this piece in front of my peers – assuming I decide on which one I actually want to read (spoiler: NONE OF THEM).  That little crack at the end of my last post about not being able to do it because of losing my voice is actually perilously close to being true, however.

Still, these are my options:

1. The first 1100 words of the were/vamp/human cracky thing I started writing which has since become 32k+ and isn’t quite so cracky after all.  (Even if the werewolves end up fighting a dinosaur.  No, seriously.)  I’ve also added another 1500 words from the middle, which deals with the death of an old man.  Cheerful pre-Christmas reading, obviously.

2. A section set in Vienna from a 55k romance-gone-wrong, in which a one night stand on a ferry to Holland ends up getting my protagonist kidnapped by a psychopath and dragged lengthwise across the entire continent to Croatia.  The moral of this story, kids, is never take good looking strangers with French accents back to your cabin.

3.  Ridiculous trope laden werewolf romance, written for Nano 2012.  Ugh, such stupidity.  Why am I even looking at it?  I like the wolf though – he has a dry sense of humour one doesn’t expect from a werewolf.

4.  Another piece of Kaihopara, where Anna arrives in New I’land with Jared and the captain of the airship, Hrafn.  This whole new world is seen through Anna’s eyes.

5.  Something I wrote for my eldest daughter, who was getting a little fed up with all the boring vampire stuff out there.  I said, what about vampire pirates and she went YAY!   So I did this.  #sorrynotsorry

And now it’s nearly 1am and I’m still sat here wondering what the bloody hell I’m going to read tomorrow.

Gods, I hate Christmas sometimes.

 

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More grumbles

Now I’ve got a bloody cough and cold. I NEVER GET SICK. Ugh.

So yeah, my blog posts are obviously reflecting my current intelligent state. Word count since last week = 0. In fact, I’m pretty sure the whole of December has so far been a write off (and the irony of that phrase isn’t lost on me either).

Listening to Sally Nicholls talk yesterday made me at once intensely jealous and somewhat relieved – she gets to spend all day writing if she wishes (in amongst school visits) and yet she only has a 500 word per day goal, and feels satisfied if she hits 1000 words a day. I would dearly love the chance to spend all day writing, or even a whole afternoon. I’m just going to have to carve out a corner for myself if I don’t want to lose the rest of my marbles completely.

I’m also going to admit to being a touch apprehensive about next week.  I know it’s only my tutor group and it may only be twenty minutes but I have to stand up in front of everyone and talk.  Not just talk, but read something I’ve written.  I don’t think anyone could have devised a worse method of torture for me if they’d tried.

I write because I’m a grumpy, socially-awkward introvert and, for the vast majority of time, I don’t have to interact with other human beings when I’m scribbling/typing away.  Don’t get me wrong – I love people.  I love watching people.  I love recording snippets of their conversations, of their lives, noting appearances and mannerisms and the delightful variety of idiosyncrasies that the human race exhibits.  I’m just not particularly skilled at talking to them.  Or presenting myself in such a manner that I come across as interesting and engaging, rather than just an adjective away from putting my foot in my mouth.  Keeping a lid on the eccentric crazy which inhabits a corner of my brain is also difficult.

Oh, hey, what if this cold doesn’t go away and I lose my voice?  :)

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Filed under Lincoln, Rambles, Writing