Archive | February 2010

Fiction Friday and a little more

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front over the last few days  but I thought I’d break my silence for Fiction Friday as I enjoy it so much.  Read all about it and the rules here.  This week’s prompt is:

A family’s life changes dramatically after they are bequeathed an old painting in the will of an obscure relative.

When I read this nothing at all came to me, so I thought I’d cheat a little and not exactly use the prompt, but what happened before.  So here’s my effort…  As per the rules of Fiction Friday it’s not edited, it’s just been written. 

‘I don’t want to go though.  She was weird; I don’t want anything weird from her.’

‘Look Janie now is not the time for one of your teenage tantrums.  Auntie Frederique asked for you to be at the will reading and if it’s the last thing on this earth I do I’m going to get you there.’

‘But…’

‘NO! No buts. Just finish getting ready NOW.  This is not up for discussion.’  Before Janie could even think to say anything her mum had left the room and slammed the bedroom door behind her.  And she thinks I act like a child!

She knew her mum meant business so carried on getting ready.  She didn’t see why she had to dress up to go and see a lawyer, it wasn’t as though she had anything Janie would want. 

They’d not been to visit her for a few years, but Janie remembered being pretty freaked out when they went to visit her.  She lived in a massive dark spooky house in the middle of nowhere.  It was run down, apparently because her father had run up huge gambling debts in the last few years before he died so hadn’t spent any money on repairs.  There was nothing to hand down to Frederique so she just stayed in the rotting old house. 

Janie had never been that close to her, her brother Adam seemed to have a bond with her – he had time for her that Janie really didn’t have.  From a young age she couldn’t understand why someone would stay living in a house like that not move out.  It was creepy and Janie hated going there. 

At least this would be the last time she’d have to go there.  Frederique didn’t have any children to hand the house down to and it was common knowledge that she intended to give it to a cat charity when she died, it was a relief.

Which brough Janie on to question, what did she have that Janie would possibly want?

When she got to the bottom of the stairs she was still puzzling over what an 80 odd year old woman would think a 14 year old girl would want, when Adam pulled her arm, then her into the lounge. 

‘What..’ she started to shout but he clamped his hand over her mouth.

‘Shhhhhhhhh.’ He said slowly releasing his hands from her mouth and arm.

‘What do you want?’ Janie whispered impatiently.  She wanted to get there so she could get out of there as soon as possible. 

‘Do you think it’s the painting?’  He asked in an equally quiet voice.  Janie looked at him blankly.

‘What pain…’ she gasped.  It couldn’t be. ‘But that’s not real.  It’s just a myth… Isn’t it?’  Adam smiled wryly and walked out the door. 

That was kind of fun.  Although I wish we were allowed to edit it,  I think there could be some better descriptions of the house in there.  Actually I’m glad we can’t – I would be here forever trying to make it perfect.

So there’s a couple of reasons why I’ve not blogged recently.  First I’m working really hard on my writing course assignment.  I wanted to have it ready for today to send off, but in hindsight that was a pretty unrealistic goal.  I think I’ll go for next Friday instead.  There’s a lot more research to do than I thought there would be.

Also I’ve got a really horrible cough and cold so when I’ve not been working on my course I’ve been snuggled up on the sofa.  I’ve had it for over a week so it really should be going soon.  I hope.

I’ve a busy weekend coming up, but I hope to get some more of my course done then, I doubt I’ll get a chance for blogging.  Especially not with Valentine’s day on Sunday.  Not that my boyfriend really believes in it.  Not that his beliefs are going to stop him making me a special dinner that night 🙂

Happy weekend everyone 🙂

Edit 2? What edit 2?

Indeed, what edit 2?  I should have started that in January.  It’s now 8th February and Italian Infatuation 0.2 is still exactly the same as Italian Infatuation 0.1.  Why?  Well, I must admin, I seemed to have blocked out the fact I needed to do it a few days ago – until today, I had genuinely forgotten I should be working on that. Oops.  I blame the cough and the cold.  I hate England. 

I also seem to be doing quite a lot of other things at the moment, which are maybe taking up the time I should be editing.   Good things though I think. 

So what am I doing?  Obviously I’ve got  the 20 or so blogs I read a day (thank god not everyone updates their blog daily).  I’ve now made a crack with the second (fiction) assignment for the writing course.  I need to list all magazines I can find that publish short stories, analyse one and write a short story for it.   Oh, I also need to read some modules that I keep forgetting to do.  I’m doing lots of little writing things too: Oneword daily, Fiction Friday on Fridays, and generally finding any prompts from anywhere online I can to write from. 

So really, it’s all good things that are keeping me from starting this edit.  I read somewhere that a lot of people write their first novel then stick it in a draw and it never comes out.  I don’t want to be one of those people.  I know I’m a little biased,  but I think Italian Infatuation is a story that needs to be told!  😉

I’m a little torn on what story to use for the course.  I have one pre written I would like to send, but it’s 1,600+ words and I need to have it 1,500 or less.  I don’t want to shorten it, I think it needs everything it has.  I have a story that I started for Fiction Friday, that I am working on to make a longer more detailed story, but I’m not sure if I can get it up to 1,500.  But I’d like to.  Or, should I just start a completely new story for it?  Oh the decisions. 

I think I might have thought up another idea for another novel this morning.  Serioulsy, can my mind not just work on one thing and one thing only?

Right, I’ve got 25 minutes before my lunch break.  I’m going to work on the course until I go.  I will not work on the story prompt I started this morning.  I will not work on the story prompt I started this morning.  I will not…

Mega Monday Moan

I actually did some writing over the weekend.  Better than that though, I made some notes for my writing course assignment AND bought some magazines for research.  Yeah, get me! 

I’m so excited about it now, I can’t stop thinking about what I’m going to write.  The problem I’ve just remembered is that I’m supposed to read some modules before I write the story.  I’ve read some of them, but not others, and I’m now not planning on going home for a couple of days.  Even with this, I’m still determined to get it sent by the end of the week.  I will do it. 

I’m doing an early shift at work, so am incredibly tired.  I am not a morning person so getting up at 6.15 (with a bad cough and cold) does not make me a happy person.  It also doesn’t make me a very creative person – I know I should write more, but I’ve got that can’t be bothered feeling.  I’m going to type up my notes about the short story for the course, then spend the rest of the day surfing I think.  Happy Monday everyone… Only 4 1/2 working days till the weekend…

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #141 – February 5th 2010

How Fiction Friday works:

  • Spend at least 5 minutes composing something original based on the theme or challenge (below).
  • But, remember, no editing. This is to inspire creativity not stifle it.
  • On Friday, simply post what you wrote to your own blog. Then come back to Write Anything and leave the link in the comment section below.  

Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.

 What?  Are you kidding?  That’s hard.  Right here goes then.  My extract is from the novel my boyfriend is currently reading The Stars Like Dust by Isaac Asimov (for information, it was publised 1955).  I asked for page 25, but he said it was ‘wishy washy’ go gave me this from page 24:

The view-room was a bubble on the ship’s “skin”, a bubble of curved two-foot-thick, steel-hard transparent plastic. The retractile iridium-steel lid which protected it against the scouring of the atmosphere and its dust particles had been sucked back. The lights were out and the gallery was full. The faces peering over the bars were clear in the earth-shine.

 For earth was suspended there below, a gigantic and gleaming orange-and-blue-and-white patched balloon. The hemisphere  showing was almost entirely sunlit; the continents between the clouds, a desert orange, with thin, scattered lines of green. The seas were  blue, standing out sharply against the black of space where they met the horizon. And all around in the black, undusted sky were the stars.

Using that and this picture:

I got this…

The second the earth came into view gasps and mutters filled the room like a tide.  Then silence, the passengers were in awe of the view.  No one could quite believe they were actually seeing the early from this high, and all for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. 

A voice came over the tannoy,

‘10 seconds’

The muttering started again.  They all knew they would only have one minute and 20 seconds in position before they had to start the decent back to Florida, but the time seemed to flash quicker than anyone imagined.

 ‘5 Seconds’.

Julie turned to the man to her right, she recognised him as an aging pop star.  20 years ago she’d idolised him, going to bed each night dreaming of him, now, he looked like a washed up has been. 

‘This is the bit I’ve been dreading’ she said smiling at him.  He smiled back, a smile that showed off his brilliant white teeth and more ‘laughter lines’ than Julie’s 95 year old mother had. 

‘It can’t be as bad as the way up…’

As he finished his sentence they felt the bubble detach from the rocket booster – a ungodly sound that they knew would haunt their dreams for months to come – before their whole bodies were thrust back into their seats and the earth quickly got closer.

When I read the prompt my heart sank.  I’d spent half the week looking forward to Fiction Friday, and then it was something that I was sure I was going to hate.  I knew I really had to use sci-fi or horror which I thought was going to be horrible.  I’ve tried reading sci-fi before and I find it hard to read, trying to understand other worlds or other creatures kind of detracts from me picturing the story in my head, which is what I do when I read. 

Even when I read the extract from the book I had no idea what I was going to write.  I actually chose 2 of the 4 paragraphs my boyfriend emailed me from the book.  The other 2 didn’t make sense talking about rockets blasting sideways or something.  I scrapped them before I’d even read half. 

Once I started writing though, I didn’t find it too bad.  Maybe because I took some sci-fi from the 1950s and changed it into what would probably be a thriller or dark comedy or something set in the future.  I nearly didn’t do it when I read the prompt, but I’m glad I did.  Again, I welcome any positive or negative criticism. 

Elsewhere in the NTWG galaxy, I think I’ve made a decision that the first short story I’m going to write for my writing course will be a lengthened story I’ve done before for Fiction Friday.  That’s what I think today anyway, I’ll probably change my mind a few times before I send it off.  Next week.  I’m going to complete this assignment and send it next week.  For definite.  By Friday at the very latest. 

I’ve just done the Oneword activity for today (use a word prompt to write for a timed minute).  Talk about coincidences, or maybe psychic abilities… Before I start each one I think of the names that I’ll use in that short story.  As I pressed ‘go’ I realised I hadn’t thought of a name.  I closed my eyes before the prompt came on and ‘Joe’ popped into my head.  I looked at the prompt and it was ‘brother’.  Guess who Joe is…

New beginning?

I had an email from my writing course ‘student services’ this morning.  It’s fine for me to study fiction before non-fiction.  I’m really happy now I can do that, it feels like a new beginning to the course, I feel excited about it again.  That’s quite a relief after eight or so months feeling a little apathetic about it. 

I’ve just heard that the location of the office I work at is moving.  We’re all moving to another building in a different area of London in September.  That’s quite exciting.  But, it might mean I have to work a little harder than I have been over the last year (I started a year ago today!); Therefore spend less time writing. 

Because of that, I’d like to get as much of the course done by the time we move as I physically can.  I’ve 19 modules left and 7 months.  I can’t possibly cram it all in with the other things I’d like to do in the next 7 months – eat, sleep, read, go out, not to mention work – but I’m going to get as much of it as possible done by then.  I’d like to get fiction done by September.  At least.  I’ve already today spend maybe an hour or two on it. 

I can’t think of anything else I’d like to say, so I’m going to go and continue with the course 🙂

For the last few days/weeks I’ve had something in my head I just can’t shake.  Now I know I’m going to have to give in to it.  When I was younger I read the Anne of Green Gables books, and loved them.  And now *mumbles under breath* years later I’m going to read them again. 

Or should I say finish reading them.  I had a look at them today and found out there’s a few at the end of the series that I’d not read.  I don’t know where this urge has come from.  Actually, maybe I do… 

Since being an adult, until recently, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to read children’s or young adult fiction.  A few months ago I started to think about a book I read as a teenager, Summer Dreams, Winter Love which I think I could still say is one of the best books I’ve read.  I looked for it when I was back at my mum’s house, but couldn’t find it. I’ve been thinking about buying it again since then and re-reading it. 

Then, around the same time, Laura Best blogged about adults reading Young Adult books and it struck me, we can do it, why the hell not?! 

Weirdly enough around the same time, maybe subconsciously, I bought a novel which turned out to be YA and really enjoyed it. It’s like everything’s telling me something.  So long and short – I’m going to read Anne of Gables.  And, the library have it – woo hoo.  But it’s out on loan until about 10th.  Which is good because I’m reading 31 Dream Street and have Twenties Girl to read next.

My boyfriend thinks I should read something suggested by someone else.  Something out of my comfort zone of romance, chick lit and thrillers.  I think he’s thinking Sci-fi.  I’m sceptical, but I think he may have a point.  As a writer I should read as much as possible, and vary what I read.  Who knows, I might be destined to be a horror writer. Although I strongly doubt that.  With this in mind, can anyone suggest a something they think I should read?  Out of my comfort zone?  I tried to tell him Twilight was, but it fell on deaf ears as I’d blogged saying it was basically a romance novel.  Must stop blogging what I think (doubtful).

Fiction Friday Follow up

Last Friday I took part in Fiction Friday for the second time.  The prompt was that a wife forgot her husband’s birthday 9 years in a row.  On the 10th birthday he snaps.  My (UNEDITED) story is here.

RoseyPosey29 said she’d like to hear it from the wife’s POV.  So… as I like a challenge, I wrote it.  Again I’ve not edited it, and it was written in about 5 minutes.  Here’s Suze’s account of Jim’s birthday:

Suze watched Tim walk out the room and felt her heart breaking just a little bit.  She knew it would be worth it in an hour, but the hurt he’d be feeling until he walked back downstairs felt like it could crush her.        

She pulled herself together quickly, there was so much to do.  She knew she had about 15 minutes before he came back downstairs to go, he would think, to work. 

Her mobile buzzed, it was Frank, he must be outside.  Quickly she ran to the bottom of the stairs, there was no sign of movement upstairs so she opened the front door quietly. 

Frank and three of Tim’s co-workers were at the front; Tim’s sister, niece and parents were behind them; and at the back were Sharon and Mike and Tina and Jerry.  Quickly she ushered them all in to the lounge, being careful to shut the front door silently, then the lounge door behind her. 

In the short time they’d had, Tim’s friends and family had put up a huge amount of decorations.  You couldn’t fail to notice it was Tim’s 40th.  There were banners on each wall, ‘40’ balloons floating round the floor, a massive cake with a 3d ‘40’ in the middle made by his sister and a couple of posters featuring Tim as a baby and child – with 40 printed at the top.

Jerry walked up to her.

‘Thank you so much for reminding me, I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d created that sadness another year.  It just broke my heart watching the realisation hit him that I’d forgotten AGAIN.  I had to stop myself from telling him that I’d remembered.’

‘No problem.  He doesn’t suspect then?’

‘Definitely not.  In fact he thinks I’m the worst wife in the world right now.  He’s probably upstairs now planning on leaving me.’

Something made her turn towards the door.  She saw Tim there with a puzzeled look on his face.  She saw the penny drop…

‘SURPRISE!’

What do you think?