This was written this evening after a couple of prompts/challenges from a friend. It had to feature physics (a weak subject for me), a Big Bang Theory reference, and budding romance… About 920 words in around an hour. I’m not unhappy with the outcome.
Kevin grabbed the coffees after Dolores paid for them and steered past sitting mothers, bulging strollers, and sharp elbowed, shaven headed twenty something’s with laptops and massive black americanos. Dolores signaled him from the furthest reaches of the shop, she’d bagged a tiny round table between the toilet and a dark green pot plant.
“It’s free because there’s no phone signal back here and the Wi-Fi is down.” She took the coffees from him so he could sit down.
“You’d struggle to get a baby buggy in here as well.” Kevin raised his cup to his mouth and cautiously stuck his tongue out just above the scalding brown liquid. Damn he always did that, weird habit. Of course it was too hot to drink yet. Continue reading
I doubt there is anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of Nanowrimo, if there is click the link. In brief every November those who choose get to write 50,000 words in one month. Quality, subject matter, daily rate, etc don’t matter what matters is that you write the first draft of a “50,000 word novel” in one month.
It’s an intriguing approach and I can totally understand how it appeals to people – it forces you to write a substantial amount of words to a deadline. Great. More power to the founders and any participants sore elbows.
Seriously though – do I want to do it? No thanks.
I write because I enjoy it, as soon as it becomes a chore, a millstone around my neck – I don’t want to do it any more.
So please don’t ask me if I’m joining in because no.
I’m tempted to start a rival called ‘NaJoywri’ National Joy of Writing Month. 30 days, you have to write as much or as little as you like that inspires you to love writing again, write nonsense, write poetry, write surrealism, write limericks, write comedy sketches, write a story about jam and sunflowers… ahem, where was I? Ah yes, my point is write for the hell of it. Don’t be a slave to word count.
And if you want to get published (and who doesn’t secretly if not openly?) Then practice on quality not quantity.
So I popped along to see the Antiques Roadshow being filmed round the corner this morning. My partner is still there… We didn’t have anything to take but watching a series of middle aged and elderly women queuing up to have their jewellery appraised by the experts made me think, how easy it would be watch them, then follow them off the site and take their things for yourself.
If you were an amoral character in a short crime story anyway…. Might have to write that later…
Ludlum first noticed the journalist or cop on Wednesday, the day after he took 30k from Hausmann. She was late thirties, in a smart jacket and a suit skirt that finished pleasantly above her knees. She walked past his table and he appreciated the rear view as she turned and made a beeline for an empty snug across the way.
Ludlum hadn’t got where he was today without learning how to identify the tell-tale signs, the smart not too expensive suit, slim, reasonably attractive, confident. Journalists, plain clothed cops, feds, etc etc they only had two templates; male, or female. The same seemed to be true in most countries Ludlum had visited, but she was a fellow American not a Brit. The JC Penny suit was a dead give away.
Kenny’s was a comfortably appointed wine bar a few blocks away from Oxford Street and somewhere that Ludlum always paid a visit to when in London. It had nice worn leather armchairs and brown and grey snugs with dim orange lighting and few windows, mercifully blocking the cold drizzle outside.
So in the last couple of days I’ve written about 3000 words of what might be either a novella or more likely a long short story, in the third person and in a fairly pulpy and homage heavy style. So far it has in just the first few words two main points of view – one is the protagonist, and the other is his main antagonist for this initial sequence.
Now I’ve generally believed that even that is too many povs in that short space of time, my instinct is always to keep things simple, and entire novel shouldn’t have more than two or three povs at the most. And one is often enough. And then as if to make things worse, I’ve written a brief scene where pov switches rapidly between the two characters…
Now rules are made to be broken, and I did it because the story demanded it, but I’ve reread it a few times and I dunno I can me having to scrap it and rewrite that scene at some point.
Another quick bit of flash fiction – again inspired by the prompts from Chuck here. I was initially disappointed by the title I got, but it kind of forced me to write something… Again pretty throwaway, but I had already written over 1800 words of another story today
The Gravedigger’s Daughter
I worked hard the whole month after mama died. Old mister Jenks offered me a couple of days off but work kept me focused. Well it would have if it wasn’t for Maeve, with her long red hair, green eyes, freckles, and blue dress which showed a tantalising glimpse of pointy heeled boot when she stepped off the boardwalk.
Still I mainly concentrated on cooling and polishing the brass work, stretching the leather, and minding, cleaning, and feeding the horses.
Moustache Eddie couldn’t believe it when he asked me after catching me watching Maeve one too many times.
“You can’t really be interested in her boy.” He drawled, before spitting out a wad of exhausted chewing tobacco into the corner of the stable. “She’s a queer girl, I swear she’s only got eyes for her daddy, and he’s certainly got eyes for any fella looks at her.” Continue reading
It’s just one word after another
So following the 1000 word flash I wrote on Monday, I managed to write another 1300 or so yesterday, this time without needing a prompt or any other external inspiration. At least beyond the subconscious level.
I’m much happier with yesterday’s work, so happy in fact that I’m going to hold off posting it until I’ve written another couple of chapters because I detect a longer story coming.
What this hammers home for me though, is that once you start writing – even something that’s rushed and you’re not that happy with – it does lead to more writing. The process of writing really is about putting one word in front of another.
Which brings me to another issue – if you start writing a story you think has real potential and could work nicely as a serial, how many chapters do you get down before posting publicly? Posting the first before you’ve written the second would probably be a mistake, what if you never write another word of that story? But you crave some sort of feedback, you want to get it out there before you lose momentum…
hmm… *scratches chin*