A Man, A Woman, and A Clown

For no real reason, I’m going to share the results of another writing exercise I did a while back. The prompt was the same as the title of this post, and we had fifteen minutes to write.

Feel free to have a go yourself before reading on and seeing what I did with it.

I think that’s the fun thing about doing writing exercises based on basic writing prompts: seeing what different people turn that prompt into. And, if you could wipe your memory (or exercise great restraint and avoid copying yourself), how different would your little story be if you did the exercise again next week? Month? Year? Decade?

From a basic prompt, what comes about can be influenced not only by your overall life experiences, but also where your head is at in that very moment. What TV show did you watch that might inspire you? What book have you been reading? What were you discussing with workmates over lunch? All these seemingly incidental things can influence your creative output, especially when it is “just” an exercise and isn’t constrained by story rules established for a longer piece.

So… fifteen minutes. A Man, A Woman, and A Clown… what did you come up with?

Read more…

Sharing for sharing’s sake

I have a blog. That blog desires to be updated.

I’m also a mum. My brain is regularly drained to completely empty by the time I get a minute to go anywhere near a computer. Especially when you spend somewhere close to an hour reading a book especially designed to make children sleepy while your 1-year-old cries at you… So, you give up and let him cry for ten minutes. Go in, lie him down, let him cry for ten minutes more, and go in and lie him down and wait the two minutes it takes for him to finally fall asleep… Much faster than an hour of reading. Of course, I would prefer it if I could read my child to sleep, but he’s just not a fan of his cot. And I can’t leave him sleeping in the car over night. And he can’t sleep in my bed until I’m ready to be there, too (no safety sides). It’s just one of those “battles” I’m not winning at the moment.

On the bright side, Mr6 generally settles to sleep really easily, and sleeps deeply.

Anyway, enough about that. I thought I would type up a wee story I wrote in June 2014 during a writing meeting I attended (and Chaired). For this exercise, we had four images from which to choose as inspiration, and 30 minutes to write. No, I cannot recall the image that inspired the following, but so be it… you’ll survive! (Yes, you will!)

Here goes…

Dinner was to be on the table at five thirty.

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The Next Big Thing!

Or, to quote many a Brisco County Jr episode “The coming thing”… Yep, I think I’ve just set up a mission in the back of my mind to rebuild interest in that early ’90s show (not that I expect a remake… it wouldn’t be the same without Bruce Campbell, and John Pyper Ferguson… I love Pete). And if you don’t know what tangents I am disappearing off to there, I suggest you go learn! It’s worth a few giggles.

Right, on with the show… I mean post.

Do you want to play a game? No, this isn’t some weird ‘Saw’ horror malarky, but a game of ‘blog tag’ that’s circulating at the moment. I was tagged by Sammy HK Smith, who writes in a variety of genres. She would describe her current project, ‘Anna’, as Speculative Literary fiction, but I’ll let her explain that to you!

The blog tag game involves answering questions about your current work in progress.

What is the working title of your book?

I honestly don’t have one. I suck at titles. All I’ve got to work with at the moment is that it’s the sequel to Healer’s Touch and I have it in mind to call it Warrior’s… something, or Soldier’s… something. You get where I’m going. I’m still pondering.

What genre does your book fall under?

Well, first and foremost, I would say Fantasy. But I think it deserves a subgenre. Now, this is either going to be Steampunk, or Weird West, depending on what I settle on. When I say Steampunk, I think most people think Victorian England, whereas I think Victorian Western US States. Or even Victorian New Zealand (which I think combines the two, because we had fresh settlers from the British Isles, but we were very much taming a frontier at the time).

Give a brief synopsis of your book.

Well, without giving too much away, this book continues on where Healer’s Touch left off.

Read more…

Research: So much fun & so overwhelming

I’m trying to research some history in order to write a decent short story for a “competition” (although, I’ve decided I don’t care if I win – I’m leaving it too late to do my best – but I must make an effort to enter).

I had this plan to do an Alternative History/Steampunk story, and thought it would be really fun to apply Steampunk to something other than Victorian England or the Wild West. How well I’ll do, I really don’t know. I’m planning to have a go at the alt. history, anyway.

The original prompt I started working on this story for (the new goal doesn’t have a theme or prompt – it’s Open) included dragons, so that had me thinking China. So, after a little research, I discovered the story of Li Zicheng – quite interesting, by all accounts. And, if you have the time, this video probably has the best information about his time in “power” (however you define it). I’m quite keen to watch the next part, now. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

A.D.1644 Part 2 Transient Rule of Li Zicheng

5 Common Writing Hazards

Hey fellow writers, check this out 5 Common Writing Hazards.  Handy stuff.

And now to go completely off topic… thought I’d take the time to share my experience of Boxing Day morning.

I own a miniature horse who, unfortunately, has to live elsewhere. I try to get there as often as possible, it’s just a touch tricky with a small non-walking child. Anyhoo, I do insist on keeping up with basic foot care (for everything else, he does live on a property where the property-owners also live, so he survives okay). So, yesterday that was my task – hoof-filing.

Topaz, the other mini I look after for part of my paddock rent, was the easiest to find, so I did his feet & a good grooming first.  He’s older & pretty well behaved, so all was well. To get to Chino (my mini) I had a choice…  I could go back to the closed gate I had come through, followed by another  closed gate.   Or, I could cross the paddock I was in and loop up through the open gate between the paddocks.  All I had to do was cross a wet patch where water from two or three springs flow down the paddock.  I wear boots when I work with the horses, so all good. Open gate won.

& the result?

Spring 1 Deb 0

I headed across the paddock, assessed the wet patch to find the driest-looking part and put my foot down… & down.  Luckily my jeans bunched over the top of my boots, keeping my foot dry, cos I was in it up to a little below my knee. My left foot didn’t go quite as deep, but its boot, too, was well stuck.

First step:  throw all my gear onto some dryish ground.

Step two: Pull left boot free, as it was the closest to somewhat firm ground.  This required gripping the top of the boot with my fingers, since there was no way it was coming with my foot of its own accord.

Step three: With left hand offering some balance on the soft, soaking ground, & right hand under water & pulling boot, I managed to, eventually, pull my foot  (boot still attached!) free & clamber onto dryer ground.

Phew!

I even managed to keep my temper in check.  I was pretty peeved through the whole process (esp as the property-owner watched the whole process. But there wasn’t anything he could do to help, anyway –  I think it was just embarrassment temper).  My jean leg was soaked through with mud, but so be it. Nothing a washing machine can’t take care of.  But, I did still have four hooves to file, & a disagreeable horse on the other end of them, albeit small.  Ah, such is life.  A couple of scraped knuckles later, (I forgot my gloves the rasp is SHARP)  & a bruise on my thigh from Chino getting away on me once, I returned to motherhood – the land of dirty nappies & food everywhere.  Joy.

Well, if nothing else, I hope this gives someone a chuckle.

OK, you lot, go learn writing stuff…

Last day…

Last day, nearly eight pages down. My own cold has settled in my head, I fully sympathize with my character… although, I didn’t burden him with the sneezing or the runny nose – he doesn’t have anywhere to keep tissues or a hanky, so I decided for a little mercy. Baby J sleeps – hopefully for another hour. Hubby sleeps… hopefully as long as Baby J does – I need the thinking space. Sun is shining… wish I was out in it, but my 7 year old laptop is not as portable as a laptop should be… oh Slate PC, why aren’t you in the country, and why can’t I afford you, even if you were? Woe is me.

Still… eight pages down. It’s Sunday morning. Nearly lunch time, but who’s counting? Dog is sleeping. Cats are sleeping. Wonder what Chino (mini horse) is doing?

I was up till 2am last night. Wasn’t my intention, but I agreed to babysit. Yes, I should probably have done it on my own and taken my laptop and have finished this challenge… But, I’ve never been good with other people’s kids, and having a friend there made the imposed late night more bearable. I think I would have been very grumpy indeed if it had been me alone.

Let’s chuck on some music to lighten the mood and get this done. Winamp, what have you got for me?

This, by the looks of it.

The gauntlet has landed…

So, you may know that CanaryTheFirst has challenged me to write 10 (double-spaced) pages of a story (presumably short) in three days.

By standard theory, as read yesterday, one page is 250 words, so 10 pages is 2500 words. Doable, I thought. Turns out that Time New Roman 12pt on A4 (the standard here in NZ) is more like 330 words, so I’m probably looking at 3300… Still doable, I guess. I bit tricky when the 1 year old is transitioning to one sleep a day (means I get grumpy when he doesn’t want to sleep when I expect him to… it’ll be better next week when I learn not to expect that writing time). Never mind. I have nearly completed 2 pages. I still have a little time before my brain completely shuts off for the night (actually, that’s debatable, it may have already done so), so let’s see what I can churn out.

In the meantime, this is what I happen to be listening to right now:

Well, alright, in reality, I’m already on to the next song… but, if you’re really curious, check out my last.fm “currently playing”.

OK, enough procrastinating… time to write.