Tag Archive | novel ideas

Fiction Friday – Birthday Blues

I missed a week of Fiction Friday last week as I was away so am really happy to be back today. Actually I did write something for the prompt last week at the beginning of this week, I was going to post it, but can’t find where I saved it. That happens when you move between three computers at work!

Enough of this anyway. Today’s prompt from WriteAnything is quite fitting for me – it’s a birthday related prompt, and I’m going out tonight for the 1st of my four celebrations. I know, I’m so spoilt! The prompt is:

Write about a man with an impossibly bad streak of luck on his birthdays, who, as his 40th birthday approaches, is scared of what might happen.

What I’ve written works fine as a short story, but I’ve come up with an idea to develop it further to make a novella, or maybe even a novel. Big ideas. Anyway, I hope you like this, as always it’s unedited.

Birthday Blues.

1st July

           ‘Honey, stop pacing and sit down. Come on, come sit next to me baby,’ Jem patted the sofa next to her and looked up, coyly through her impossibly long eyelashes. When he just looked at her she flicked her long blond hair behind her shoulder and traced a hand down her neck, to the top of her low cut shirt.

          ‘Not now Jem.’ Paul could always read her like a book. ‘I can’t think about anything else right now.’ She sighed, she was almost at the end of her tether about this. She understood he was worried, but thought he was exaggerating a little.

          ‘Baby, it’s going to be fine.’

          ‘Fine?’ The volume of his voice made her jump. ‘It’s not going to be fine. Every year, every single year something bad’s happened. 39 years. Why would this year be any different.’

          Jem stood up and walked over to him. She put her arms round him, or as far round as they’d go, she was a small woman, and he was built like the rugby player he was. She rested her head on his chest and tried to think of something to say. She knew there was no curse, no vex, that god didn’t hate him, but there was no telling him that. He’d built this up to be such a big thing in his head, that there was no telling him anything.

          Last year, it had only been a small thing. His trousers had ripped at the restaurant. At the crotch. They’d been a present from his little sister – cheap skate that she was, she’d got them from a cheap shop. He’d taken them back the next week, and, surprise surprise, they told him lots of people had brought them back with the same fault. He still thought it was him though. There was no telling him.

          The year before was a little more serious, she’d found a lump. She hadn’t wanted to tell him, not on his birthday, but he’d seen her face when she got out the shower. He could read her like a book. It had been benial, but that’s not the point, she’d found a lump on his birthday.

          Every day on 2nd July something bad happened, however small, to him, or someone close to him; his bother falling off his bike and breaking his leg on Paul’s 10th birthday, him losing his car keys three years ago, him nearly choking in the restaurant on the first birthday of his they spent together. Usually it was small things, things that happen every day of the year, but because he was aware of the date, he remembered more than he would if it happened the next day.

          Jem pulled away, taking his hand. ‘Come on, lets go to bed. Tomorrow’s coming, there’s nothing we can do about it. But I’ll be there, I won’t let anything bad happen to you. We’ll be fine.’ She stood on her tiptoes and rested a gentle kiss on his lips. For a second, just a second he believed her.

 

3rd July

           Paul sat holding Jem’s hand. He picked it up and twisted it slightly. She had perfect nails. She’d done them for his birthday to match the pretty pink dress she’d bought. She’s looked beautiful. More beautiful than she had on their wedding.

          He looked up. Her parents were huddled together, tears silently rolling down their faces. They shouldn’t have to do this. It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. He looked back at Jem.

          ‘I’m sorry Jem. I so sorry.’ The tears came then. Silent, but gushing. He couldn’t see through them when he looked at the nurse and nodded. She removed the tube from Jem’s face a flicked a switch.

          ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry,’ he repeated again and again. Jem’s mum left her husband’s side and came over to hug Paul. Jem’s dad did the same.

          ‘It’s not your fault,’ Jem’s mum said as the beeping from the machine the other side of the bed turned to a continuous noise. A doctor lent over and gently touched Jem’s neck. He turned to the nurse and said something quietly. She turned the machine off so the only noise was the three of them crying.

          ‘It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault’ she repeated again and again.

          It didn’t matter what she said, he knew it was. She’d been run over on his birthday. He WAS to blame.

So what did you think? Please leave me a comment with your thoughts.

The Weekend’s Accomplishments

So much to talk about…

Firstly, all the entries have been posted for the Search Term Challenge on ErgoFiction.  One of the 14 stories is mine, but I can’t tell you which.  You can vote for your favourite 3 (yes, three) until Saturday, then the winner, and authors of all the stories will be published.  How exciting.

I got my writing course assignment back today.  I’ve not had a chance to go through it in that much detail, but it’s looking, um, ok.  I’ve a lot to work on, which is really what I expected.  She didn’t like my story as much as I do, but now I’ve read her comments, I can see why.  All good.  That means I can get on with writing the next assignment.  Can’t wait – it looks great.

I did a little bit of the course on the train home at the weekend – a bit where you do it for practice not for handing in.  They give you an idea of a novel, then you have to write a full synopsis of where you’d take it.  2 1/2 pages later I finished mine.  Loving the idea of the novel, and unsurprisingly it’s totally different from where they took it.  It’s made me think maybe I could possibly write thrillers.  I Can’t use what I did as it’s their idea.  Nevermind – I’ve enough other ideas to keep me going for a few years!

I finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I really enjoyed it, in fact, I’m going to have to do a review of it at some point for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge I’m doing this year.  Should do that while it’s fresh in my mind.

At the weekend I saw my step mum, who reads even more than I do.  I couldn’t even guess how many books she reads a year – I think I’ll just stick to lots!  We swapped Sandra Brown books. I gave her The Crush, which I really really loved, she gave me Standoff.  It was a short novel (compared to the one I’ve just read anyway, that was nearly 600 words).  I read a lot yesterday and finished that too.  I like Sandra Brown, I’m so glad I discovered her.  I guess I need to do a review of that too, again for the T&SRC.

All in all, I had a pretty good weekend with regards to reading and writing.

Today’s thoughts

There are not enough hours in the day.  Fact.  If there were more hours in the day I would be able to fit in everything I am dying to do each day.  I’d like to:

Spend lots of time writing random things – free writing etc.

Spend time writing my novel.

Read.  Lots.

Search for a job I’d actually enjoy.

Continue with my writing course.

Sleep more.

Lots of other stuff I can’t remember.

Or maybe if we could have a longer weekend – say three days, maybe even four.  I’d like to go on and on about this, but I simply don’t have the time.

I’m re reading the last modules for my writing course – they teach the nitty gritty behind writing an article.  A thought came to me the other day – writing an article is similar to writing an essay at school: First you research; then you look at all the information you have; you plan the order you’re going to write it; write it; then edit it.  Only hopefully make it more interesting than a school essay!  Having had this thought, I am now feeling more confident about writing one.  I think I’d be even more confident about it if I was happy with the subject matter.  I like it, I’m just not all that sure about it. 

Oh no.  I’ve just found something to take up more of my time – today at least.  Last night the man in my life told me about an idea for a novel he’d had (he is on fire at the moment), but he didn’t think he’d be able to write it.  It’s kind of comedy/dark humour/mystery.  Think kind of Ben Elton-ish.  I also don’t think I’d be able to write something like that, but for something to write today, I’m writing a synopsis for it.  It sounds really good.  Maybe one day…

That’s all folks.  Why oh why do I love that so much?

Nothing to write

(But bet I can ramble for a while regardless!)

Something I have been meaning to blog about recently is when I first knew I wanted to be a writer.  I’ve read a few people’s blogs where they’ve been talking about how they’ve always known that’s what they want to do. I don’t think I’ve always known I want to write, but I can’t for the life of me remember when I decided I do.

As a  kid I was constantly reading.  I always had a book around me and if I wasn’t out playing I could usually be found in a corner with my head stuck in one.  This continued all the time I was growing up and into adulthood.  The only reason I don’t read as much now is that I just don’t have the time. 

But writing, really no idea when that decision came to me.  Recently I found some scribblings, which kind of formed an idea for a novel, written I think when I was at uni, or when I lived in America (which was my year out from uni).  That kind of surprised me as I thought the 1st solid thing I had written was after I left.  I wonder how much writing I’ve done over the years and don’t remember.  I wonder if there’s loads of stuff somewhere I’ll stumble across one day.

During GCSE English Language classes we used to do ‘timed writing’.  Our teacher would give us a topic or line or something and we would have the whole lesson to turn it into a story.  I used to love that; I got my best marks in English for those stories.  I wonder if they’re somewhere at my mum’s house?  In the loft somewhere?  The time that sticks in my mind the most was when our prompt was ‘You’re not bringing that in here’.  My teacher went mad at us all for not thinking of something more original than a lost animal (mine was a puppy – driven from a longing for a puppy when I was little I’m sure).  I often think about what alternative story could have come from that line, but always come back to the lost puppy idea.

When I was a teenager my favourite book EVER was Summer Dreams, Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura – from the Point Romance collection.  I’ve just looked for it on Amazon (to get the author’s name) and the reviews say exactly what I thought every single time I read it – it’s the best romance book ever.  What many people reviewing it also said is that it’s a book for all ages.  I’m 90% sure I’ve still got it at home and have always wondered if reading it as an adult would wreck the memory of it for me.  It would seem not.  I have to find it and read it.  I read it for the 1st time as a young teenager who had no idea what this love thing is, and it really brought it to life, making me want it so much.  I wonder how good it is now knowing 1st hand how it is. 

I always say my reason for wanting to be a writer comes from feeling moved by other people’s writing, and wanting to do that to someone who’s reading my text.  Summer Dreams, Winter Love is possibly the 1st  book I ever read that did that, definately the 1st I remember (and we’re talking 15+ years later here!). 

I think that’s enough reminising now.

There’s an article in this month’s Company magazine about how to earn £50k plus during the recession.  The first person who is given as an example is a lady who’s just had her 1st book published and has signed a three book deal.  It was a really nice story, proving anyone can do it (she had another career and wrote it in the evenings).  It put a little spring in my step this morning!

Hoo hoo, I’ve just discovered a Jane Green book I didn’t know about.  ‘This Christmas’ is a collection of three short stories one by Jane and the other two by other people.  Another book to add to my to read list.

Last week I sent my friend a copy of the short story I wrote recently; she’s also interested in writing and said she’d like to read it.  She loves it.  She thinks I should turn it into a full length story.  She (quote) ‘was hooked after a couple of paragraphs’.  Go me.  That’s given me a lot of confidence in myself.  Other than my mum, I don’t think I’ve ever shown anyone any of my writing, maybe I should…

For a girl that had nothing to write, I sure as hell found something – I think this may be the longest blog I’ve ever done!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

I still hate thinking of titles (which is why there’s a rubbish one here!!!!)

So, I had my days off last week which were going to be packed full of writing, assignment doing and writing sorting.  In actual fact they were filled with relaxing, ‘me’ time and assignment doing.  I’ve done most of the review for the magazine.  I’ve got most of my ideas for the article I’m going to do for the assignment.  I found LOADS of writing I’d done before, some ideas of which I’m going to steel for ‘Holiday’ sub plots.  I didn’t finish the assignment or sort all my writing into any kind of order, but I do feel a bit more positive about it all.  I also did lots of reading – I’ve finished Singletini already!

I did no writing over the weekend.  As usual.  However, I did feel like doing some (the only reason I didn’t was becausr my laptop was at the man’s house), which I feel is a very positive step forward!

I promise sometime soon I’ll do some goals for June and a wrap up of May (yes, I am very aware it’s now 8th and I’ve still not done them – they are on my to do list).

Days off… writing

Well, the first of my 2 days off work to concentrate on my writing and course was quite unproductive – in terms of writing and doing the course.  I figure I needed a ‘me’ day though to refresh, so today’s the day!  I did write a list of things I want to do, and did loads of them, so that’s good

I did do some more of assignment 2 – I’ll finish the magazine review today and I’ve got an idea of the article I want to write (along with a subject that’s happy to talk about it).  It’s going to be a lot of research and work – but I’m quite happy about the subject.  in my mind it’s going to be great!

One thing I did do a lot of yesterday is reading. Singletini that I’m reading is pretty good.  The story’s great, the way it’s written slightly annoys me.  It’s a little too casual, colloquial for my liking I think.  Maybe it’s just getting used to it, because I’m finding it easier to get used to as I go along.  Maybe it’s because it’s in the 1st person and I don’t read that many books that are.  I originally wanted to write my 1st novel (the one I’ve did 6,000 words for 5 years ago), but that idea went out with ‘Holiday’.  I’m not sure why.  I do like 1st person as I personally think it pulls you  in more as you’re seeing everything through that one person’s eyes, almost like it’s happening to you.  ‘Holiday’ is currently being written in 3d person, but from the heroine’s perspective.  I want to keep it just from hers so the reader experiences what she does – they don’t have the knowledge of what’s happening to other people until it happens to her.

I had the idea for ‘Holiday’ a few years ago, and had written some notes about it.  I think they maybe had the charachter’s names and a bit of detail about the story.  I’ve been trying to find these notes, but can’t.  It’s really annoying me.  I know I wouldn’t have thrown them away, I just don’t know where I’ve put them (this is why I should have a neat tidy life).

In the process of looking for them, I found loads of notes for ANOTHER novel idea I had when I was at uni (I know it was from then because the application letter for my 1st job was written on the back of them).  I’m quite surprised about this as I don’t remember writing anything until the year after I left.  It had some good ideas of things I can move over to this story – and some (basic, but good) character analysis’.

Right off to do the assignment (maybe something of my to do list 1st)…

Quick, quick

I’ve been meaning to write a blog all day (it’s not like I’m busy and can’t find the time!) and yet I leave it until the last 15 minutes of my day (work day that is) to start it.  But I’ve written a plan for it.  Is that excessive?  Writing a plan for a blog?  I’ve heard of writing a plan for a book, for a story or even for a day/month.  But for a blog?  To be honest there’s not really anything interesting on it.  Must get on with it though.

I’ve spent my spare time over the last 24 hours reading through my magazine to analyse it.  I am shocked.  In a 170 page magazine there are only 17 full page or longer articles.  1 per 10 pages (I always knew maths was my strong point!).  Wow.  That’s 9 pages of adverts and mini stories (pages made up of small articles – maybe there’s a technical word for this).  Really that’s not many. 

I had just been shocked at the small amount.  Writing this has made me think that with only that few articles in each month’s magazine (presuming every month is the same) there must be some very very strong competition to get published.  I think this is something I need to NOT think about too much.  I don’t want to start getting bogged down with ‘How the hell will I ever get published?’ thoughts.  Above all I’m doing this course because I really enjoy writing – anything I get from it is simply a bonus!!

I planned to go out at lunchtime to buy a notebook.  I need something I carry round 24/7 to put ideas in.  The seem to be coming through at an alarming rate.  It’s great.  I’d also put dreams in it.  And other (non writing stuff).  I just need to get one.  Tomorrow.

These thoughts that are coming through at an alarming rate – I’ve actually done something with them.  This morning I had two random ideas that I thought would maybe make good short stories or something, but when I started writing them down, realised they would fit really well into Holiday.  Holiday, I have decided, is what I’m going to call the book I’m writing – a working title that is.  Will maybe confuse when I tag ‘Holiday’ that I mean holiday, but that’s something I’ll have to live with. 

Writing’s gone really well today – I’ve tried that write for 5 minutes every hour.  For 5 hours I actually remembered to do it, and managed over 800 words.  If I carry on at this rate Holiday will be written in no time at all.   Not to sound negative but IF is the important word there.

New way of thinking

Yesterday I wrote the basic plot for the whole of the holiday novel.  I need to do it more detailed with scenes etc, and need to make a few decisions on things that will happen, but the basic plan is there.  I’m hoping that this new way of thinking (planning ahead of time) will mean I’ll get a little further than the 6,000 words I wrote for the last one. 

I told someone the plot yesterday, and they thought it sounded good.  Woo hoo.  Just hope I can make it good on paper.  I’m still feeling very positive (even though I have the worst cold – no man flu – ever, and it’s raining).  It is helping that I’m doing well for my word count this month.  Also that I get time to write when I’m at work is brilliant – if I didn’t have time, god knows where I’d fit time in.

I’m nearly through all the modules I have to read before I can start on my next assignment for the writing course.  I’m going to try to read that at lunch time so I can maybe make a start on it over the weekend.  I have a rough idea what it is.  When I first (accidentally) started reading about it, it scared the life out of me, but now I feel much more positive and like I will be able to do it.  I think it is analysing a magazine I regularly read and think I would one day like to try to sell articles for.  We’ll see though. 

This plan for April really seems to be helping.  I’ve managed to cross a few things off it already, which is inspiring me to do more to cross off more.  It also means I have something to blog about again.  It was hard to make an interesting blog when there was nothing to write about.  Now I have something I’m excited about I feel like my blog is interesting again (if only to me).

I guess that’s all for now (really want to add ‘folks’ to that in some kind of thing like that rabbit that says it.  Oh dear!).  I’ll try to blog over the weekend – I really should get in the habit of doing that – my track record is terrible for it!

2 days blogs in 1… A bogof blog!!

So for certain reasons I’ve been writing straight onto my computer – or emailing myself my writing. I’d not had a chance to put the last couple of day’s writing on here, so here we go…

2nd Thursday of writing‏ (Thursday)

This is the 3rd day in a row I have now written. I don’t think 3 days is
enough to constitute a pattern, but it’s a very good start. It is very
coincidental that these 3 days have been the 3 days Steve’s away. I really
need to get in the habit of writing when he’s around.

So I thought today I would write down some ideas for books (probably should
call them novels really…). I actually wanted today’s writing to be my
observations from today’s tube journey as I should’ve done for my course,
but yet again, I forgot on the tube to work, to do anything. (shortened versions of each idea)

1. Girl just returned from a year after uni in America. I’ve actually written 6000
words of this novel. It’s like a diary written by the main character.

2. Four friends finish school or uni (I can’t remember, but now I guess it
would have to be uni – I don’t think I’d be able to write an 18 year olds
minds), and go on holiday to somewhere for a couple of weeks.

3. Women got dumped a few weeks ago – may have been a few months ago.
She’s not been out since as she’s been heart broken. Her sister (or friend)
talks her into going out with her to a new year’s party. This is a Mills and Boon
book.

4. Girl’s ex boyfriend from college or uni or something is now her best
friend. His brother is getting married in Majorca in a few months and in a
moment of *something* he tells his parents they are back together and he’s
going to take her

My favourite at the moment is number 4 – you may have guessed that from the length of it compared to the other ideas.

I really want to write a chick lit novel. I think that’s what I was born to
do (and procreate, but I’m a long way off from that at the moment). The
Mills and Boon idea was concocted by myself and my cousin, with the thought
that the payment for it will pay for our holiday to Hawaii when she’s 21.
The idea is my 1st book will pay for it. Mills and Boon was cause it’s
shorter than a ‘real’ novel so ‘easier’. (I really don’t believe that’s true. Any novel’s going to be hard to write, no matter how long)

Right I now need to get into observation mode. I must observe then do a
couple of things when I get home. One is write a 150 word description of
someone. Can’t remember the second (I’ve got it written down so don’t
really need to worry about it). Must do it. Yes.

I’m not very good at titles‏ (Friday)

I was thinking that last night when I was thinking about my novels. I
couldn’t come up with any good ideas for their titles. And now I can’t for
this email, and never can for my bogs (it seems really funny writing that
– never saw myself as a ‘bloger’. I hope there’s something in the course
that will teach me how to think up exciting titles. Not even exciting, just
good!

I’ve just thought of an idea for a book. Well had two thoughts actually.
I think one might be my new idea for a book – yay me. Although I really
shouldn’t be having more ideas, I should stick with one I’ve already got. I
really like the holiday wedding one. I am pretty good at synopsises – the
start anyway. Not too good at filling in blanks or knowing where the story
goes (except the wedding holiday one – I know they get together in that
one). Actually they’re all chick lit – they always end up with the bloke in
the end. Usually the best friend. Or the one they hated since they met.
Or something.

Ok. Nearly pub time. I do like this extra time I have daily to write. I usually (well 3 days this week) do a kenken (from The Times) in this time too, but today’s was too hard and I messed it up. I’ve copied
it down though and will do on the train home, or something.