Started editing the novel in quite a dramatic setting

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2jYeK4T
Advertisements

Friday Fictioneers: Imagine a House

bjc3b6rn-6

Imagine a House

In order to will a house into existence one must first eat a hardy breakfast. The exertion of imagining walls that can hold up ceilings will drain you until you are staring at the reflection of a low-toner photocopy version of your face.

Windows are especially tricky. You can close your eyes, make fists and eat lots of fiber, but the idea of imagining into being a surface that can be seen through will cause nosebleeds and whiten your hair.

Stairs, floors are easy. And creating a house out of nothing is easier than assembling flat-pack furniture. So there’s that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

My Ebook, available now on Amazon

Marrying the Animal

Scribophile (and social networking)

In a move to get myself more out there and try to get my writing seen more I have joined the writing community, Scribophile.

Come find me and send some love or write on my scratchpad.

I live at http://www.scribophile.com/authors/sean-fallon/.

You can also find me at http://the-equiatic-bind.tumblr.com/

and https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/12067972-sean-fallon

and http://instagram.com/seanfifallon

Bonus: A picture of me eating cheesecake.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers: Ewes, Me and the Ram.

sheep-and-carWhen my brother was shearing his sheep, I would venture out to the farm to help out by making tea, sandwiches, sexist jokes etc.

When the work was over I would go and look at the sheep in their pen.

‘Bloody idiots,’ I muttered, watching the fluffy morons skittishly scurry away if I got too close to the fence.

Except for one. One of the big rams who stared at me and didn’t move.

We stared into each other’s eyes for a long time.

That was the beginning of a blood feud that would last for the next fifty years.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 7)

Earlier parts of The Dire-Man can be found here: One – Two – Three – Four – Five – Six

Copyright - Renee Heath

A servant of the Dire-Man met me at the door to his hall.

He beckoned me closer. ‘Your son?’ He said with a leer.

‘Where is he?’ I said, my fists tightened at my sides.

He tossed two fingers onto the path in front of me. ‘Here is part of him.’

I ran forward and grabbed his arms. Instead of feeling muscle or bone, my hands squeezed him and he began to melt in my grip. His face moved and ran down his ragged jacket like thick candle wax until he was nothing but a giggling puddle at my feet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: Life After Wartime

Took a break from The Dire-Man for something new.

Copyright - Douglas M. MacIlroy

Dad was never the same after the Atlantis War.

He kept his helmet on at all times, just in case the water level rose again and we were submerged. He only ate fish, every bite being like a little chewy victory, he said.

When Co-President Guppy came on the telly he would throw his hands up in despair, ‘We’re just giving the world away to the fin-backs!’ and my mum would shush him.

‘We’re at peace with them now, George, set a good example for the kids.’

‘You’re a goddamn fish-ist, woman!’ He would say around a mouthful of cod.    

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

 

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 6)

Earlier parts of The Dire-Man can be found here: OneTwoThreeFourFive

Copyright-John Nixon

To reach the house of the Dire-Man I climbed a hill, crossed a stream and eventually entered a forest.

The forest had waited for me. A path revealed itself as I approached.

Gnarled branches rose from the ground like ancient, grabbing fingers. Sound bled from the boughs of the trees. The weeping of my wife as she tried to find a photograph of our child to give to the police and the high-pitched squealing of my son, along with the sound of a knife cutting through flesh and bone.

And a voice reminding me that this was all my fault.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

 

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 5)

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

My son awoke in a cage. His hand roared with dull pain. His head felt clogged up like a blocked pipe. The air smelt like burnt hair and neglect. The floor he lay on was covered in stains and scratches where former occupants of the cage had tried, and failed, to burrow out of their prison.

My son cried for a while and then stood up. His head bumped the top of the cage when he stood up straight.

He put his fingers through the holes in the cage and realised he was missing two fingers on his right hand.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 4)

hay-bales-sandra-c

The hall of the Dire-Man was filled with boundless cries of woe.

Huge hay bales pregnant with adders and great, fat rats lined the walls and heaved and shuddered with the movement of the creatures within.

Sawdust and hay covered the floors where animals and small feral creatures that had once been children writhed and fought in the fetid muck.

On a throne in the center of the room the Dire-Man sat, picking his teeth with a long, yellow fingernail.

Light streamed through the broken walls but the master of the hall cast no shadow.

Because he is the shadow.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 3)

Part one is here, part two is here

Copyright - Björn Rudberg

‘The Dire-Man waits in his house on the hill,’ said the girl with no eyes and sharp teeth.

‘His house is on the beach,’ I said, shaking my head.

‘You’ve been away for a long time,’ said the boy with no eyes and a forked tongue. ‘Things change. People change. We changed because the Dire-Man changed us.’

‘Your boy will change too,’ said the girl, a tear of blood falling from her empty eye socket. ‘If you don’t find him soon.’

I looked up at the dilapidated buildings on the hill, and when I looked back the children were gone.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 2)

Part One is here.

Copyright - Erin Leary

When the police left, and my wife had put the other children back to bed, I set off for the beach. The sun was rising, and the light it cast felt incomplete as I crossed the Barkley Bridge towards the shore.

The stream on my right burbled and purred quietly, as though respecting the fact that it was still early and people were still sleeping.

I stepped off the bridge and saw a boy and a girl, holding hands, their eyes black holes in bloody faces.

They said, ‘When the Dire-Man is done with him, you can have him back.’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Dire-Man (pt 1)

Thought I’d try something a bit different and use a couple of week’s worth of Friday Fictioneers to make a longer story.

The challenge will be molding each picture to the larger narrative, but everyone loves a challenge right?

Okay, disclaimer out of the way, please enjoy the first part of The Dire-Man.

Copyright-Dawn Q. Landau

The Dire-Man (pt 1)

When I was growing up, the house on the beach was where the Dire-Man lived. We never saw him, but our parents and older siblings would tell us that he stole children from their beds on full moons and took them to his red house. The house, three battered red walls and no roof, sat atop a rock on the edge of the surf.

When I returned to my family home years later, I told the stories to my children and soothed their fears and thought nothing of my parental cruelty.

Until my son vanished during the first full moon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: Camp

adamickes-childsbootsAnd on the last night of summer camp we kissed. My heart tumbled like rocks down a hill. I felt like I was twenty stories tall and strong like a herd of elephants.

My hair stood on end and my blood fizzed like it was coca-cola.

I worried that if we stopped I would float away, leaving nothing but the love of my life and a pair of boots waiting for me on the ground.

When camp was over we never saw each other again but now, years later, I still have those boots.

And I still have that kiss.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Riddle of the Doorway

al_forbes

My quest nearly over, I came to a doorway with the head of a statue mounted above it.

‘Halt,’ called the statue.

I drew my sword, ready for whatever trap awaited me.

‘You have done well, traveler, but now you face the Riddle of the Doorway.’

‘Do your worst. I have tamed the Hellbeast of Hoglen, slain the Serpent of Sparta, made love to a woman who looked like a fish. I am not afraid.’

The statue smiled, it’s marble teeth shining, ‘Then answer me this, traveler…Do you think I’m pretty?’

I shrugged, ‘Yes.’

The statue blushed, ‘You may enter.’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: A Major Escape

dismantled-keyboardIf you ever find yourself trapped in a music shop atop a high tower, break the nearest piano.
Grab the keys and see if one of them works in the lock.
If not, grab a guitar and strum a few chords. Tie these together and climb out of the window.
If there are no windows, find a drum kit and see if you can interpret the secret meaning of the cymbals.
Or, if all else fails, maybe you can play a note on the keyboard and hope someone reads it and learns where you are and comes to rescue you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

And congrats Rochelle on one year of Friday Fictioneers.

Here is a picture of some kind of furry critter eating nutella just for you. 🙂 tumblr_mfd5f5G2Tb1r32936o1_400

England Trip

Hello,

We just got back from a trip back to the Motherland (England) where we acquired some reading material, both fun and research based:

Research

Research

Awesome

Awesome

Insane

Insane

We shoved a crazy amount of delicious food into our cavernous maws:

The cake stand that awaited us upon arrival to my parent's house.

The cake stand that awaited us upon arrival to my parent’s house.

Sunday lunch, heavy on the Yorkshire puddings.

Sunday lunch, heavy on the Yorkshire puddings.

Tea shop in Stratford Upon Avon

Tea shop in Stratford Upon Avon

Shakespeare Cookies

Shakespeare Cookies

Mixed grill.

Mixed grill.

Steak and ale pie.

Steak and ale pie.

Mega Scone!

Mega Scone!

Cheese on toast for breakfast

Cheese on toast for breakfast

Ahh, ale

Ahh, ale

And when not eating or buying books we also bought a huge scarf for me:

WP_20131018_001And went to the Everton game (Fiona’s first and she saw the Mighty Blues win as well):

WP_20131019_002

 

All in all a fantastic trip that was over too soon.

The Fifteen Page Plan

Tomorrow morning I will rise at 6am (or 6ish…maybe more like 7am…8.30am, anyway it’ll be early for a Saturday) and start the rewrite.

The idea is to do, what I call, the Fifteen Page Plan. The FPP is that I take the first fifteen pages of my first draft and move them into another document. I then take my beta readers’ copies of the first draft and implement their notes.

WP_20130912_001

My beta readers all took to the task from different angles, so one friend looked for realism, one for redundancy, a couple for grammar (so they had the most work) and a couple for enjoyment. I will take their notes into account when I rewrite the fifteen pages, changing them into first person and trimming and adding where appropriate. Then the next day I’ll do the next fifteen.

Some days will be easy because some parts of the book can stay relatively intact, but some days, especially since I have excised about four characters and merged a few, will be more difficult.

One thing that came up during the Big Reading Circle was an over reliance of dialogue in favour of description. The change from third to first changes this dramatically, because rather than being able to say, for example, James hosed the dirt from the ground it now has to be I hosed the dirt from the ground and then all the senses that come from that. How does the room smell? How hard was the dirt to move? How does it feel that this is your job? And so on and so on. I have, just from a cursory look at the fifteen pages, turned a conversation that was once twelve lines of dialogue into two, saving page space for my protagonist’s feelings and thoughts and all that good stuff.    

The Big Rewrite

Started changing the pronouns today, but while doing it started to re-plot in my head and now, changing it from 1st to 3rd before re-writing feels like a waste of time.

So the schedule has changed. Re-plot first then re-write and the pronoun shift will happen then.

Oh, it feels good to be getting back into the writing – it feels damn good.

After the Beta Reading

moleskineh-1_4Last Friday I had my big reading circle and my friends critiqued my book while I made notes. It was like sitting in a dentist’s chair for three hours, but it was discomfort that was necessary. It helped that my friends were able to offer suggestions and notes that were constructive and that, for the most part, I agreed with.

One change that needs to be implemented is that the whole book needs to be switched from third person to first. This sounds like a huge change and, on paper, it is, but it is something that I had begun to mull over towards the end of writing the book so hearing one of my beta readers say it just confirmed my suspicions. This is now top of my to-do list. I will go page by page through my first draft changing the pronouns before I start making sweeping plot changes. This is at the top of the list because I need to get back into the practice of writing. I took a few months off to let my beta readers read and, aside from a few 100 word stories here and there, I haven’t really been keeping up my writing. A project like this in which I have to work every day will re-fire those dusty writing engines that have lay dormant in my brain for too long.

Second task on the to-do list is to get a complete grammar overhaul. A combination of teaching primary too long and never really having a good grammar teacher has left me with an embarrassing deficit of grammatical knowledge. I need to either invest in a good grammar book (ANY SUGGESTIONS?) or pay one of my friends to teach me grammar rules or both.

There are also sweeping plot changes that need to be incorporated into the book to increase conflict and give the book some much-needed pep. A lot of suggested plot points were thrown my way, some good, some bad, but it was yesterday, while in the shower, that I had an idea of my own that I think will give the book a shot of B12 right in the ass.

I think finally I need to start being a bit braver with my writing. Too many times in this first draft there are hints of emerging drama that I quickly resolve, too fearful to get a bit messy for the sake of the narrative. A problem was that I liked my characters too much to put them in harm’s way and that’s something I need to avoid. I also need to be braver with my descriptive writing. I’m good at writing dialogue but if all I want to do is write dialogue I should be writing plays instead of books. I need to stop shying away from trying to describe things in more detail rather than glossing over them for the sake of a joke or a long rambling conversation.

To keep me honest and to keep a tab on my progress, I will be posting the amount of pages I’ve turned from third to first as I go through the book.

Break’s over, time to get back to work.

Friday Fictioneers: The Cursed Necklace

lvbydawne_3I bought a ruby necklace from the jewelry counter and boarded the train. An hour into the journey the train derailed, killing everyone on board except for myself.

In the hospital the necklace told me that it was ancient and evil and that it had cursed me by making the train crash.

‘But,’ I said, ‘I survived. So you’re more like a good luck charm.’

It was quiet for a long time, the ruby blushing brightly. Eventually, it said, pretty unsurely, that survivor’s guilt would be my curse.

I shrugged and dropped it in the wastebasket on my way out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: The Last Sermon

church_and_tree-claire-fuller

I’m so glad you could join us here today for my last sermon. As you’ve probably read, the Atheists have won. God is dead.

It is with a heavy heart that I give this final address but, hey, it’s not all bad. We had some ups and downs. The Dark Ages were a low point and that pesky Inquisition is a tad embarrassing in hindsight but think of the good religion has done, not in a real, physical sense, but the spiritual good.

Now, as the collection basket goes around, please, be generous, it is my retirement fund after all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Evernote

moleskineh-1_4At the moment I’m planning Book Two while I wait for my beta readers to finish reading and we have our round-table book discussion in a week’s time. A practice I fell out of in recent years was taking a notebook everywhere I went to write down ideas as I had them. Not sure why I stopped doing it. I have a billion notebooks at home and I continue to have ideas but I fell into the trap of thinking I would just remember everything when I got home which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.

Recently, I downloaded Evernote. It is a note making app on which I can make notebooks and fill them with different ideas. The best part of it though is that I have Evernote on my phone, my iPad, my computer at home and I can access it on its website on my computer in work. It’s also on Fiona’s phone and iPad too just in case.

I have a single account that all the devices sync to so if I make a note on my phone it will appear on my iPad and computer too. Because I have my phone with me all the time it means whenever I have an idea it appears everywhere and can copied straight into a word document quickly and easily.

Elmore Leonard’s Rules for Writers

moleskineh-1_4There is an article that was in the Guardian I read a few years ago and I find myself going back to now and then just to hold my hands over the creative spark and breathe a little air on it to fuel it into a raging flame of chapters, characters and plot.

The article (in two parts) has been mentioned on this blog before and it is a long list of tips from writers. Tips for beating writer’s block, for getting started, for avoiding distractions, for writing dialogue, etc, etc.

My favourite aspect of the article is that there is so much advice being offered you can pick and choose the ones that apply to you. One writer may suggest writing early in the morning and another might suggest writing late at night but I like to relax at night so I’ll agree with the early morning writer. One suggests intent, passionate description while another (in this case Elmore Leonard) advises simplicity.  Well, personally description is not my strong suit so I champion Leonard’s wisdom.

Elmore Leonard died yesterday. I have read some of his work and thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember reading a critic write that Leonard doesn’t write a story so much as sidle up next to you in a bar and tell you it. I recently started watching Justified, a TV show based on a short story of his, and have been taken with the colourful dialogue and the lack of cliché when it comes to his characters. His criminals are not evil masterminds but instead idiots or opportunists and in the episodes I’ve watched the cops and criminals have been able to have funny, poignant dialogue exchanges that flow nicely without seeming forced.

The above-mentioned article begins with Elmore Leonard’s top tips for writing and it was only when Fi sent me them this morning (in a separate article) that I realised I had been trying to follow all ten of them without attempting to mix and match. When I first read the bigger article, back when writing was something I read and when people asked me what I wanted to be and I would mumble that I wanted to write a book while not doing anything about it, it must have been these rules that affected me the most and soon after reading it was when I kicked the writing stuff into high gear. After these tips I stopped trying to copy other writers by writing long-winded, pointless, terrible descriptions. I stopped writing redundant things like ‘Who are you?’ I inquired, confused at the identity of the newcomer. I stuck with said and so far, it hasn’t steered me wrong. Below I have copied out the rules that helped me so much in the hope that they help you as well. And go here and here and read some other rules just in case somehow these don’t give you the help you need.

Elmore Leonard’s Rules for Writing

1 Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2 Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”

3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.

5 Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6 Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.

8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.

9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

The 100 Word Novel – Forty: Shot

shotBea kicked at the wooden door but it wouldn’t give. The inside of the hut was illuminated by the rising flames. She screamed for help but heard nothing but the crackling fire.

And then she heard a voice, a lady’s voice giving out commands.

Then more voices and arguing and then the crack of a gunshot.

The door collapsed inwards as someone kicked it in on the other side. Two men hurried into the room, grabbed her and dragged her out into the cold.

The doctor lady stood there, gun in her hand and a dead body at her feet.

Previously on the 100 Word Novel: Introduction to the 100 WORD NOVEL. Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Interlude Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Chapter Twenty-Four Chapter Twenty-Five Chapter Twenty-Six Chapter Twenty-Seven Chapter Twenty-Eight Chapter Twenty-Nine Chapter Thirty Chapter Thirty-One Chapter Thirty-Two Chapter Thirty-Three Chapter Thirty-Four Chapter Thirty-Five Chapter Thirty-Six Chapter Thirty-Seven Chapter Thirty-Eight Chapter Thirty-Nine

Ideas and How to Grow Them

moleskineh-1_4Book One is finished. Still needs some polish and I still need to hear from my readers what works and doesn’t work but from my own read and from the first reviews that have come in it hangs together plot-wise and is an engaging story. If those two things didn’t work then the whole thing would be for nothing.

In a few weeks I’ll begin rewriting and preparing my cover letters and finding agents to contact and then once the first packages have been sent I’ll start writing Book Two.

Now I’ve got ideas, all manner of ideas. Ideas that have been percolating in my brain for years and ideas that are a shimmering haze on the horizon, unformed, vague, that may turn out to be mirages or may be bestsellers.

Something that has happened to me a lot throughout my life when I mention I’m writing a book or want to write a book is people say to me, ‘Oh, I have a great idea for a book’ and then they tell me the idea in a sentence or two and, mostly, they are good ideas but the trick to having a good idea is knowing how to turn a good idea into a good story.

A podcast I listen to (Writing Excuses) discussed plot and story and said that these days good/successful stories seem to be the ones that mix an original idea and a familiar one.

Inception: Familiar – Heist story, original – takes place in dreams.

Breaking Bad: Familiar – Crime show about drug dealers, original – drug dealer is a mild-mannered chemistry teacher.

Harry Potter: Familiar – Kids at school, original – everyone’s magic

For myself I currently have an idea that I’m working on that doesn’t really have a plot. There is a world, characters, a few quirky ideas but at the moment they just sit there on the page not moving forward. I’ve started thinking of plots to match up to it now. Is it a love story? A murder mystery? A heist story? At the beginning of the process I find it’s easier to take an established plot and use those beats to get the ball rolling. Once I start thinking of my idea as a murder mystery for example I may find a better plot unfolding instead. When I was writing Book One it was, at first, a coming of age story (familiar) set during the fictional election battle between Bobby Kennedy and John Wayne (original). As I was planning it I forwarded the established beats of that genre and with each beat I would ask, ‘How can I subvert that? How can I make it familiar but original?’ And sometimes I would leave it as it was and sometimes I would flip it on its head and in the end it was flipping one of the conventions on its head that made the story what it was and got me excited for writing it.

At the moment I’m letting the idea percolate and eventually I’m sure something will click into place (with this idea or a different one) and just like that I’ll have another book to write. It’s exciting. There is a world of characters sitting somewhere in the recesses of my brain just waiting to live and die and love and speak and when they’re ready they’ll introduce themselves and we’ll make something really good together.

Writing = Done, Reading = Done, Editing = Pending

moleskineh-1_4Last night I finished my read-through of my book. Some of my beta readers have finished and some are still trying to get finished before the deadline of the 31st August when we all meet together and discuss the book at length so I can hear some opinions of people who didn’t write the book.

I gave myself six weeks off from the book, letting it sit in a draw where I could leave it and try to forget it as best I could so when I picked up six weeks later it would be as fresh as it could be.

The experience of reading it was interesting since it required me to pretend I was reading it for the first time as a reader not a writer. This was something that proved impossible so I just set about going through line by line making notes about bad jokes, bad characterisation and superfluous words. It took about a week to read the whole thing in this manner and my findings will be discussed with my beta readers but it was satisfying to be able to say that, some changes aside, it hangs together well. There is a plot that can be followed and plot points flow into each other. There is some sketchy characterisation with one character in particular but my red pen made quick work of what needs to go and what needs to stay.

So far the pieces of feedback I have got have been positive and I am hopeful that before the year is over I should have a few copies on their way into the world heading for agents and publishers.

Exciting times.

Friday Fictioneers: They Do Grow on Trees

copyright-roger-bultotCar tree seeds are actually quite small.

They need to be planted in rich, loamy soil where they’ll get direct sunlight. Cultivated properly a car tree will grow quickly and after a few months they will sprout affordable family cars.

The cars must be picked soon after they have ripened though because their weight will pull the tree out of its roots.

The cars can be driven as soon as they are picked and each will have a rich pine throughout.

Once you have picked your car be sure to check for woodpeckers under the seats and behind the radio.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

The 100 Word Novel – Thirty-Nine: Watch

zippo-1_lJoe stood on the walls watching the privates douse the storage hut with gasoline. A huge smile halved his face. ‘Finally,’ he muttered. ‘Something worth watching.’

The privates circled the hut splashing its walls and roof until their cans were empty. They tossed them into the snow and Sergeant Pride removed a Zippo lighter from his pocket.

Over the cold, biting wind Joe strained to hear the screams and shouts coming from within the hut.

Pride lit his lighter and shielded the flame against the wind. Joe saw him say something that he couldn’t hear before he lit the gasoline.

Previously on the 100 Word Novel: Introduction to the 100 WORD NOVEL. Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Interlude Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Chapter Twenty-Four Chapter Twenty-Five Chapter Twenty-Six Chapter Twenty-Seven Chapter Twenty-Eight Chapter Twenty-Nine Chapter Thirty Chapter Thirty-One Chapter Thirty-Two Chapter Thirty-Three Chapter Thirty-Four Chapter Thirty-Five Chapter Thirty-Six Chapter Thirty-Seven Chapter Thirty-Eight