Archive | April 2010

Fiction Friday – My Husband Doesn’t Know

I really didn’t want to play today. I’m tired, hungover, pretty sad and didn’t feel like I had any motivation to do it. Thanks Adam for the encouragement… it helped.

Today’s prompt for [Fiction] Friday from Write Anything is: “My husband doesn’t know, but he will soon.” The first, unedited, version of my story goes a little like this:

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. Right now he’s happy, he thinks everything’s fine and going to be fine forever.

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. He’s at home now, cooking dinner. He’s cooking our favourite, Shepherds Pie. He puts his own little twist on it, and puts a layer of spinach between the meat and the potato. He won’t eat it when he finds out. In fact he’ll never make or eat it again; just the thought of it will remind him of this day.

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. He thinks I’m at the school right now picking up our little one. He’s looking forward to seeing us, because he’s been away for a few nights on business. He won’t be doing that again for a while.

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. He’s finished the pie and it’s in the oven cooking. He’s got himself a beer, and poured a glass of wine for me. He’ll regret doing that shortly, when he finds out. At some point in the evening he’ll throw it against a cupboard. The mess it makes on the floor will stay there for a few days until his mother comes to visit and cleans it up.

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. He’s looking at the clock, wondering where we are. We should’ve been home five minutes ago. I’m usually really punctual, but he’ll presume I stopped for something, maybe wine, maybe some sweets for the kid – a Friday treat.

My husband doesn’t know yet, but he will soon. He’s just seen the police car pull up outside the house. He watches them get out the car and put their hats on as they approach the house. He’s wondering what they want. He doesn’t know, but he will soon.

‘Mr Jameson,’ the taller policeman says to my husband as he opens the door to them. ‘I’m very sorry to have to tell you this, but your wife and daughter have been in an accident…’

I actually found this quite hard to write, in fact in my sad old mood I was quite close to tears a couple of times writing it, cause I knew where it was going. Silly emotional me.

I toyed with a couple of ideas before this one came to me, the unfaithful wife, the kid that was in trouble at school, but this one shouted the loudest. I think also cause I’m sad I wanted to write something sad – but I don’t know if it reads being sad – I think it does, but am not sure.

Please, please let me know what you think.

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Orange Skin Eating Aliens and Other Random Thoughts

I really hate thinking up titles. ‘Orange Skin Eating Aliens and Other Random Thoughts?’ Seriously? Come on…

I came up with what I thought was a great title for my last writing course story ‘A Match Made at Dinner.’ I thought it was a pretty clever play on words for the expression A Match Made in Heaven. Uh, well, my mum didn’t really agree, but I ignored her and sent it off. Then my tutor thought it was ‘Sloppy’ or something. Ah well. I try.

So what is this Orange Skin Eating Alien? *sniggers* Well, I was following a prompt from Novelkicks which said you have to use ‘orange’ in your first sentence. My brain’s first thought was of pretty Orange trees. But a description of an Orange tree in a first sentence? Nah, that’s not going to work. So… An alien eating an Orange skin would? Kinna. As long as it doesn’t have to go anywhere. Although I think it’s maybe a good beginning for a children’s book. You know, to add to the long list of possible books I’d like to write.

I should have done the lottery last night. I really don’t have time in my life for this work thing. (She says having been at work for nearly three hours and having done maybe 30 minutes work! – I am lucky, I know I am).

At the beginning of the week I decided I was going to make myself write 250 words a day. Every weekday and TRY really hard to do the same at the weekend. Monday was a washout, but I figure I had the idea on Monday – didn’t want to wear myself out (actually I’ve just though of that excuse, it’s a good one, I’ll use that one again!) So nothing Monday, Tuesday I did 270 odd words, yesterday I did (*goes to check*) 367 plus a few extra, and today I’ve hit 262, plus I’ve finished a story in 420 characters. So all in all, I’m doing pretty damn well this week. I think I’ve blogged every day too. Wow, that’s good. Must be spring giving me a little lift 🙂

Book update 2:

I finally went to the library yesterday to return the book I stopped reading after 70 pages. I had a list of three books I wanted to pick up, but was going to try to stop myself. Well. I semi failed, semi succeeded. On the list were two full length novels and one 70 page (with large print) novel. When I got there I realised it would be wrong to leave with nothing – so I decided on the short novel. Which would’ve been great if I just walked out with that. But I found lots in the collection of short books that I wanted to read – and walked out with four. Uh, yeah, I know. So last night when I didn’t go to the gym (bad knee), I also didn’t read the novel I’ve started and I didn’t read the modules I need to for my writing course; I read one of the books I picked up.

The collection of books are ‘Quick Reads’ which are:

…ideal for regular readers wanting a short, fast read, and for those who have lost the reading habit or find reading tough. They are short, sharp shots of entertainment.

(Taken from the Quick Reads website you can find here).  How great’s that? They are short too. The one I was reading last night (Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman) took me just over an hour to read – maybe a little longer – but basically it was very short. I love that idea and can’t wait to read more. I just hope I can stick to these four, then not get more when I return them. Doubtful, but hey.

*Helen and Walt if you’re reading, I haven’t forgotten I promised I’d blog about the pros and cons I read about posting fiction online. I will do it, I just need to find the posts again. It’s on my to be done list.*

I’ve Started

I said I re-start writing again, and yesterday I did just that. I’m going to aim for writing 250 words a day – I’m even going to try that at weekends.  250 words is, afterall, not all that many when you sit down and start writing (I need to keep telling myself that anyway). There were a couple of days during NaNo last year when I wrote around 7 THOUSAND words.

The difference with then and now is that then I was working on something – a novel. I’m not working on anything now. Maybe I should start another novel, or continue working on ‘Holiday’, but I feel like as I’m doing my writing course I shouldn’t really take on anything else. Plus I’ve got my NaNo novel ‘Italian Infatuation’ (II) to edit. 

I keep thinking about II.  It’s now been nearly five months since I finished it, and I’ve done nothing except read it, and ask other people to read it to get their opinions. I roughly know what I’m going to take out and add to, and I’ve done some more research to fill in the blanks, but I just can’t seem to get the enthusiasm to started editing. 

Anyway, lets move away from these negative things and concentrate on the fact I did some writing yesterday.  It was just a little idea that popped into my head, so will probably never get used, but still, writing is writing. AND I went over the 250 words to 277. Woop! Lets see if I can carry it on today. I’m not going to carry on with that bit of writing, but I’ll think of something.

Actually I’ve already thought of something, excellent.  There’s a website I quite like called NovelKicks and they give a daily writing prompt. Today’s is something that interested me. I thought I’d do it from the perspective of Kate who’s the heroine in ‘Holiday’ – I think it will suit her well.  Who knows it might turn into something that I could add to ‘Holiday’ itself.

I’m a little annoyed with my writing course at the moment. Before I start the next assignment I’ve got to re-read the last four modules I read. I only just read them, so don’t want to have to re-read them already. But I’m going to have to. Damn.

BOOK UPDATE:

If you read my blog yesterday you’ll remember I was having a couple of book dilemmas yesterday.  Well, the cookery book dilemma was sorted by me buying both the books I wanted! Hey they were only £4 each – and I’ll try my hardest to use them, promise.

I didn’t go to the library yesterday, I’m going in a minute. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to pick up any more books while I’m there. I’m reading a book, and I’ve got these writing course modules to read, so I’ll leave them there. I know where they are, so I can go back and find them when I’m done with these things.

A Blog About Books, Maybe Too Many Books?

There are definitely not enough free hours in the day.  Why?  What do I want to do more of?  Why  read of course.  I possibly should say writing too.  Ah.  Yeah, and to write. Uhmm. 

I’ve been thinking this morning about all the books I want to read – I do think about this pretty often.  Yesterday I told you I was reading a book, but was getting a bit bored by it.  Well when I got to page 70 last night, I decided to give up.  Life’s just too short, and there’s too many books I actually want to read, to keep reading something that’s not interesting me.

So that means a trip to the library to return said book.  Yeah, the library, we all know that spells trouble.  Although, having read today’s Confessions of a Wannabe Chick Lit Author , I think maybe I should stop thinking that.  She nicely pointed out that the person before you could have read the book on the toilet. Euch.  Gross. 

Anyway, library. I started thinking about getting a book out. ‘Cause you know, my pile of 80 odd books at home isn’t enough for me, I want more. Now my library’s got this great online section – including an online catalogue.  Uh oh.  I thought it might be helpful to see if any of my wish list are available at the moment… uh, yeah a couple are there.  I want them.  I shouldn’t.  I know I shouldn’t.  Not when I’ve just started another book.  Not when I need to read some more modules before I get on with my next writing course assignment.  I know I shouldn’t pick them up.  But I don’t know if I’m going to be able to help myself. 

The other reason I shouldn’t is that at the end of this month another couple of books on my wish list come out in paperback, so I know I’m going to HAVE to buy them (my ex did hint at buying them when his bonus came through- which coincides with their release date – but due to his ‘ex’ status I think I’ll be buying them myself! Damn! 🙂  )

The good thing with library loans, is you can have the books for three weeks.  So if I was to get them today, I’ve ages to return them. But then on the other hand, if I know they’re at the library, do I need to get them while I’m reading a book? This is so hard, I know what I should do, but I think I know what I’m going to do – and it’s not what I should do.

Another book related thought.  There’s a Book Event visiting work today.  Luckily their selection of fiction is worse than…(ah help – can you insert funny anecdote here). But they have the most amazing COOKERY BOOKS.  I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my like (I was going to say addition, but that’s maybe a little strong) of cookery books. 

I fully blame my mother for this. She has shelves and shelves of cookery books. More than some shops have. And does she use any of them? Some. Not many. I blame the genes she handed down to me. As soon as I left home I started buying cookery books. Lots of them. And how often do I look at them? Well reasonably frequently; I like looking at them to imagine the meals I could make. How often do I use them? Ah. Well. Not often. In fact, I bought an Indian cookery book at one of the last events. I may have used it once, but I’m not sure.

So why, WHY do I want to buy 2 (yes TWO) more? I am terrible. One’s a Chilli cook book: Chilli’s really good for you and raises your metabolism so helps you lose weight so would be a great book to have. The other one has tips about freezing foods, and… um lots of recipes.  I don’t want to buy them, but I think I might have to. They’re only £4 each.  That’s nothing. And it is pay-day tomorrow… Eek.  I really do not want to be going home tonight with 4+ more books than I came to work with.  AGGGGHHHHHHHH. 

Ok.  Move away from the book talk NTWG.

I didn’t do any writing yesterday. That’s not a good start to my 250 words a day (which technically I said would be from May, but I wanted to start yesterday).  I will do it today. I will, I will, I will. 

Also, I will learn to only put one space after a full stop. It’s just so hard to do when I’ve spent 20 odd years putting two.

New Week, New Blog, New Start

That’s a much more positive title than I’m feeling right now.  I think the grey cloud that’s hanging over my office is having an effect on my mood.  Ugh, I hate rain when it should be sunny.

I made a decision today that I have to start writing more.  Since finished NaNo at the end of November, I’ve done very little writing.  Yeah I write weekly for [Fiction] Friday, and write blogs, but that’s all.  I’m not doing anything else.  So.  I’m going to set myself  a target of 250 words a day of writing fiction.  I’ll say I’ll do it in May, then that should give me a push to get back into it.  Afterall, writers write, if I want to be a writer I need to write!

I might see if I can find an actual challenge, held by someone, that I have to report to for May.  That would kick my ass into writing!

I got my assignment back from my writing course tutor.  Some very positive things were said.  But, alas, she’s not suggesting I submit my story for publication yet.  Aww.  Was hoping she’d be thrilled with it and tell me to.  But now she’s pointed the flaws out, I can see what she means.  Last week I decided that I was going to submit the story this week – that if she didn’t suggest I submit it, I’d make the corrections she noted, then submit it for publication. I’m not going to do that. I think.  I’ve paid a lot of money for her advice, so if she thinks I’m not ready, I’m going to take her advice. It just means I need to work harder and get on with my next assignment quickly.

I must say, there’s a little bit of me that feels relieved I ‘m not going to do it.   If I don’t send my story to a magazine, there’s no chance I can get rejected.  I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason, so maybe right now, with everything else going on, I’m just not strong enough for the (potential) rejection. I’m looking at the positives not negatives. I will grow from this.

One of the tips my tutor suggested was putting only one space after a full stop.  Eek.  When I was taught how to use a computer, I got taught to put two spaces. Automatically I put two spaces, on everything. I do it without thinking, and now I need to stop it. It’s going to be so hard. Put I’ll do it. Somehow. In the whole of this paragraph, I managed to only do it once without correcting it. Once when I was typing about it, if it wasn’t on my mind then, it’s going to be an uphill struggle. Still, will be worth it. 

She also send some information about punctuating dialogue that was really useful.  There’s a booklet that comes with my course all about spelling and grammar.  I really need to read it. 

I’m reading a book at the moment that I’m really struggling with.  It’s a period piece set just after WW2 which is so not my thing.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever finished a non modern book.  That’s bad.  But history has never really interested me, I know that sounds terrible, and so I find it hard to get into things set in the past.  I find it hard to care.  Plus, this is a bit of a horror story.  Don’t usually go for those.  But, it’s had strong recommendations, so I don’t want to give up quite yet.  I think I’m going to give it until page 50, and if I’m still not enjoying it I’m going to give up.  When I’ve got 80+ books sat on my shelf unread, and another ‘wish list’ I’ve created with about 20 books, I don’t think it makes sense to read something I’m not enjoying!

I’ve read a couple of articles over the last few days about posting your fiction work online.  One article said it was a good idea, the other a bad idea.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it over the last week or so, because I’m not sure it is a good idea.  Although my reasons for thinking it’s a bad idea are different to the article’s.  Which I guess is bad – it’s given me more reason to think it’s a bad idea.  Not a bad idea as such, just maybe not what I want to do. BUT, I love taking part in [Fiction] Friday, so I’m just gonna carry on.

I thought I had much much more to write, but it seems not.  Well, I’ll probably post this then remember what else I had to say.  Typical.

Fiction Friday – 23rd April – The School Play

Yay, it’s Fiction Friday again.  My favourite day of the week.  Although when I read the prompt this morning, I nearly didn’t take part.  Usually I read the prompt, then start writing, the plot is formed as I go along.  But nothing came to me today.  Not a single word.  So I thought about it for a while, and an idea eventually brewed. 

I’m happy with the basic plot of this,  but not the writing itself – even as a first draft – and especially not the second half  of it.  I was in a rush to finish it as it seemed to be going on forever!  I hope you enjoy it anyway.  The prompt for this week is:

A segregated audience at a school play leads to a town revelation.

And the story goes like this…

            ‘That’s crazy, we can’t see from here.’

            ‘I’m very sorry Madam, but we can’t do anything about that.’  The teacher pointed ahead to the crack in the floor.  Crack may not describe it – it was a foot wide and took up the whole of width of the assembly hall. 

            Jayne took a step towards it to look in, but the teacher stopped her.

            ‘Madame, you really can’t get any closer, it’s not safe.’

            ‘What caused it?  Is it safe to even be in this room?  Shouldn’t you cordon it off.  I mean anyone could just fall in it.’

            ‘Madame, we’re not letting anyone close to it.  See.’  He pointed to other teachers along the room, also stopping inquisitive parents from getting any closer.  ‘I’m sure it’s very safe.  Now please move back and find a seat, the play will be starting in just a few minutes. 

            Jayne turned round and shrugged her shoulders at Tim.  He’d found a couple of seats that weren’t too far back, although probably much too far back to hear and see what a group of five year olds were saying. 

            Once Jayne had scrambled past the other parents, brothers and sisters on her row, she sat next to Tim and sighed. 

            ‘No one here seems all that worried about the 15 metre crack in the floor.  I’m worried one of the kids will fall into it.  It’s about a foot wide.’

            Tim frowned at her.  ‘I’m sure Mrs Harper wouldn’t let this go ahead if there was any risk to the children.  You know how hot she is on safety.’  Jayne thought back to the incident with the toxic glue.

            ‘You’re right.’  Tim took her hand.

            ‘Lets just enjoy this.  Our little boy is in his first play.  Lets forget about the hole and enjoy it.’  Jayne lent over and kissed him.  He always knew how to make her feel better. ‘Just out of interest though…’

            ‘I thought we were forgetting about it.’

            ‘We will.  Just… Well, how deep is the hole?’

            ‘I don’t know.  That teacher wouldn’t let me anywhere near to have a look.  From a few metres away it looked pretty deep, and it goes the whole width of the room.’

            ‘Strange.’  Tim got a funny look in his eye. 

            ‘What is it?’  His look had worried her. 

            ‘I don’t know.  I’ve got a strange feeling about this.  Like I’ve read about this or something.’

            ‘Apparently it was discovered this morning, maybe you heard about it on the news?’            ‘Maybe.’  They both knew that wasn’t the case.  An icy shiver crept down Jayne’s back.  She had no idea why.  Before she could think anything further, the lights dimmed in the room, the chatter died and everyone turn to the huge red velvet curtains shielding the stage. 

            Gentle music started and the curtains opened slowly to reveal a forest scene.  At the back there were huge trees, taking up the whole height of the stage, in front children were dressed as trees, flowers and small animals.  

            Jayne nudged Tim and pointed to Mikey.  He was one of the tallest children in the class, so had been given the part of a tree.  He looked so proud to be up on stage. 

            A small child dressed as a farmer in jeans, a red checked shirt, and straw hat walked to the middle of the stage chewing a strand of straw.  Mikey had told Jayne and Tim that would happen – from this distance the straw was invisible.

            Before he could start speaking, there was an almighty roar that shook the room.  The children on the stage screamed and started running.  Some of the parents screamed too.  Everyone was puzzled, what was the noise? 

             As suddenly as the noise started 7 foot black figures flew out of the hole.  They landed on the stage, and started grabbing children.  Once each figure had a child in each arm, they disappeared back down the hole, leaving one single figure on the stage. 

            In the seconds it had taken for the children to be snatched, the parents started screaming, and running forward.  The teachers again prevented them from getting near to the hole. 

            ‘SILENCE.’ The single word vibrated round the room.  It had the desired effect, the room went quiet, except for the music that had been playing.

            ‘TURN THAT MUSIC OFF.’  Instantly it was stopped leaving the room in absolute silence. 

            ‘DO NOT TRY TO FIND US – YOU WILL NEVER FIND US.  WE HAVE FULFILLED THE TOWN’S DESTINY.  THE TOWN IS YOURS FOREVER.’

            In a single leap he flew back to the hole.  Before he got there, the ground started closing up, the hole getting smaller and smaller.  After he disappeared it took three seconds for the floor to return to normal, with no sign there had even been a crack there.

            Parents started shouting at each other, small brothers and sisters were crying; Mayhem filled the room. 

            Tim grabbed Jayne’s hand and whispered something.  Above the noise of the room she couldn’t hear him.  She turned to him.  Unlike everyone else in the room, he was still and silent.  His face had turned white, pure white. 

            ‘Parents! PARENTS.’ Jayne turned back to the stage.  Mrs Harper was standing there trying to get everyone’s attention.

            ‘The curse…’ This time Jayne heard what Tim said.  ‘THE CURSE.’ He shouted so loud everyone in the room heard.  It silenced everyone.  The adults that had grown up in the small town froze.  Their partners had no idea what Tim had meant.  Jayne was one that had only moved here a few years ago.  She looked blankly at Tim.  Then Mrs Harper.

            She nodded. 

            ‘What? What curse?’  Jayne asked Tim.  He couldn’t answer.  ‘WHAT CURSE?’ someone else shouted.

            Mrs Harper stuttered. 

            ‘Speak up.’ Someone from the back of the room shouted.  Mrs Harper looked embarrassed, it wasn’t like her to let herself not be heard. 

            ‘400 years ago.’

            ‘NO!’ A mother near to Jayne shouted and collapsed to the floor.

            ‘400 years ago,’ Mrs Harper started again. ‘The first settlers of this town arrived.  They built their houses near the lake and started farms around the houses they’d built.  40 years later a figure appeared one evening and spoke to the tribe leader.  The town had been built on the devil’s Soul feeding ground, he wanted it back.  The tribe leader wanted to keep the town in that place – the people had spent 40 years building it up. There was too much at stake.

            ‘After discussing the situation at length, an agreement was made.  No one knew of the dark figure’s visit, and the Tribe Leader didn’t tell anyone about it.  Except, there’s been a myth going round the town since that day.  A young boy had gone to visit the Tribe Leader, but was too scared to show himself with the dark figure there, but he heard every word. 

            ‘Rumour has it, he tried to tell people the story, but no one believed him – certainly not enough to mention it to the Tribe Leader.

            ‘Two years later the Leader died.  The boy again tried to tell the village about the dark figure, they still didn’t believe him.  Through generations the story has been told – we thought it was a myth. 

            ‘We were wrong.  Last night the Dark Figure came to me.  It was the Devil himself.  He told me he was coming to fulfil the town’s destiny.’

            Next to Jayne, Tim’s legs gave way and he fell onto the chair.  Jayne looked at him, but was frozen to the spot.  She couldn’t think about anything other than her son and his classmates disappearing. 

            Mrs Harper stopped talking and wiped her eyes – at some point during the story she had started to cry. 

            ‘WHAT IS IT?’  Another parent shouted.

            ‘The Devil allowed the tribe to stay on the land, but 400 years later, he would return with his Henchmen and take the town’s five year old children.  That would be the payment for the land.  After this the land is ours forever.  The Devil told me last night there was nothing I could do to stop him.  If we tried to stop them, or save the children, he’d take us all.’

            She fell to her knees and started bawling out loud.  A murmur erupted around the room.  Jayne sat next to Tim.

            ‘But there must be something…’  She started.

            Tim shook his head.  ‘There’s nothing anyone can do.  They’re gone.’  He put his head in his hands and started sobbing.

 

So, that’s it.  Not the usual turn my stories take is it!  Let me know what you think of it. 

Today’s Post: RANT!

I am so annoyed right now.  I can’t even begin to explain how annoyed, well I can.  VERY!!!

Background story – When I started this job I got told that there is only allowed to be one person from my site off on holiday at any one time, and as long as there wasn’t anyone else off, you could book that and it would be fine.

Today’s story – Having gone through a really rough couple of weeks, my mum and I decided to go away for a week, just to write, at the end of May.  No one else from my office is off at this time, so I started looking at cottages (we’ve decided to go to Devon/Cornwall).  Today I heard I CAN’T have that week off, because someone from ANOTHER office is off.  I am MAD.  (Hence all the capitals – sorry about that!)

I was really looking forward to getting away.  To spending a whole week dedicated to just writing.  And now they’ve shattered that dream.  I’m so mad I’m tempted to look for another job right now.  Sorely tempted.  I’m not sure I could find another job where I get paid to write and surf for about 4 hours a day.  But still, I’m tempted.  Not that it would help – I’d have to hand in my notice tomorrow to be able to have that week off anyway. 

I was going  to do a nice little post today all about the novel I’ve just finished that I loved, An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell.  But I’m too annoyed with work to be able to think about the nice things I want to say about it.  Will have to wait for tomorrow.

Ooh, there’s something to cheer me up – Friday tomorrow – that means [Fiction] Friday.  Yay!