Whether it’s a tempory high or a sign that this current haze of anxiety and depression is passing, my motivation is back with a vengeance. There are lists upon lists of things I want to write, make and fix.
One terrifying task looming on the horizon is the dreaded driving test. I am straddling the line between avoidance and obsessively worrying.
It’s been nearly a month since I wrote a post for this blog. In that time I have written a little but have mostly spent time planning and honing my skills with sentence structures and narrative arcs.
Back in May, I wrote a piece of Flash Fiction for Winchester Writers’ Prize. I had no luck with the competition but I’m relatively happy with it and decided to share it with you lovely people. The prize offered adjudication for an extra charge. I haven’t done any editing since the adjudication, though i do think the feedback is useful. I’ll include it at the bottom. Let me know what you think.
Court shoes cling with tacky insistence to rotting floorboards. Each breath brings the dank scent of mold. My toe catches on a bottle. It’s chime echoes about the hall a mockery of the music that once played. It comes to jarring halt against a piece of wood, blocking the stairway to the stage. One shaft of light reaches the raised platform. The glass ceiling all but boarded over,
‘What have they done to you?’ I place one gloved hand on the board. A sharp pain stabs my palm. A spot of blood pools about the splinter, staining white gloves.
‘Perfect. Just bloody perfect,’
A scraping noise resounds, I lift my head to see a girl skating towards the stage.
‘Were you talking to y’self? Only mad people talk to themselves’
‘Nonsense.’ I say pulling the splinter free.
‘S’what I heard,’ she shrugs and skates up the plyboard onto the stage.
‘Do your parents know you are here?’ The girl slides back down and circles me on her heels.
‘They split a year ago. Dad’s workin’ and Mum’s moved away,’ she scuffs the floor ‘It’s the only place I got to skate.’
‘It was an ice rink when i was young. Dottie and I would dance by candle light the stars and moon shining down upon us.’ I look up to the boarded ceiling ‘all the magic’s gone now she’s dead.’ I push back the pain in my throat. ‘You don’t want to hear stories from an old lady.’
‘I don’t mind.’
I look her up and down, she seems genuinely curious.
‘If that’s the case I have something to show you. Here help me move this’ the board moved easily with her help. I bend low, my light blue skirt skimming the floor. I pry open a floorboard, my gloves growing messy with sticky dust. The tin box stils, just where Dottie and I left it. I open it, inside lies a photograph and two pairs of leather ice skates.
‘This is Dottie.’ I says pointing to the woman on the left, laughter lines crease her eyes and curls fly forward on a gust of wind. A younger version of myself stares at Dottie, besotted.
‘You miss her’ the girl says, it’s not a question. ‘I miss my mum too, we used to skate here, when it was a roller disco.’ I press the photograph into my pocket and pull out the blades.
‘Watcha doin?’ The girl asks as I prop myself against the wall and pull on a pair of ice skates.
‘Here put these on.’ I toss the other pair to her
‘There’s no ice.’
The boards covering the windows slip away. Crystal clear light refracts onto white ice. The stage fills with ghostly musicians.
‘The magic never left this place after all.’
The girl slips and I skate to her side placing a firm arm under her back.
‘How did you-?’
‘I’m going to teach you how to really skate.’
The University of Winchester Writers’ Festival added a note.
Note: The interaction between the old woman and the girl is moving in parts – I believe the girl is genuinely interested at the end. The piece is unnecessarily confusing however — knowing where they are, that the narrator is an old woman, would improve the immediacy of the story. Be careful of grammatical mistakes — they also make the story difficult to comprehend. But some nice work here.
Today’s Wordcount: 475
p.s Grammar is a super difficult thing for me, dyslexia is a bitch
…am I supposed to keep that a secret?
I have now sent off my Flash Fiction to Writers’ Forum, after changing it to the first person (see yesterday’s post). While I was at it I figured I may as well send the piece off to the Winchester Writers’ Festival Writing Competition. They required a pseudonym. I had a lot of fun thinking of names for myself. I finally settled on Hester Jones. I have somewhat fallen in love with the name Hester. I imagine she is around 5,2″ with lots of freckles, Her hair is mousy brown and it hangs just below her chin. She wears sensible shoes and thick socks. Though she is small she is not meek. I think I will like being Hester Jones.
I was just getting ready to send off my flash fiction when I decided to listened to that nagging voice which told me to recheck the specifications. After finally finding the correct magazine I was very thankful to that voice. I’d completely missed the fact that the piece is supposed to be first person. It shouldn’t be difficult to edit. It will probably work better that way.
Editing will be tomorrow’s task. I was so pleased with myself for getting the flash fiction finished before the due date. If I get it sent off tomorrow I will still be one day early.
I Spent today revising my flash fiction down from 900 to 500. The first 200 words were easy. it began to get a little trickier after that. I think I’m happy with the result. I’m not sure if the story is any good, but my husband liked it so that’s something. My main motivation for submitting a piece of writing every month is not necessarily to get myself published, but form more habits and to lose some of the fear of sending off my work. Though winning a competition would be lovely.
I don’t know if this is something unique to me, but I’m feeling more than a little embarrassed at taking so long to write a piece of flash fiction. I feel like I should just be able to hash out five hundred words and be done with it. five hundred words in a novel is barely a scene, I know I can write that amount in an hour and be relativity happy with it. I have always struggled with endings. I also really enjoy taking my time to get to know a character, dropping small hints and contradictions. With such a short I am having to be so much more concise. I hope the more short stories I write the better my writing will get. I’ve got to cut my flash fiction down from nine hundred. I don’t think that will be too tricky. I’m sure I have waffled on.
Having finished a draft of a story today I’m finding it difficult to get on with my novel. I’m just pretty darn pleased with myself. I want to leave the draft until at least tomorrow, just to give my brain a little space from it.
Today’s Word Count: 671
After the horrors of dentist yesterday I decided to take today off work. I wrote a to do list and had a very productive morning. My writing went pretty well today. I wrote about 350 words of my flash fiction. Considering the total word count is meant to be 500, I will be doing a fair bit of editing. I’ve got a final scene to write, which shouldn’t take too long.
I also managed to write a bit more of my novel. It’s very exciting as my two protagonists have now met. I’ve altered the plot a little in this chapter. This part of my novel feels more like a first draft than a revision. I’m discovering the world from a different point of view.
Today’s Word Count: 806
I have discovered I don’t do well with short deadlines. I need a story to ruminate. The characters have to grow into themselves.
Thankfully due to a typo in Writers’ Forum, I was given an extra month to write my flash fiction. I’ve practically finished it now, just a few tidying up bits.
Today’s Word Count: 210 words
Today is my third wedding anniversary. I’ve had a lovely day and I am writing this as my husband is playing Dark Souls III, his anniversary present. It’s the first day I’ve felt relaxed in a couple of weeks. We played a game of Pandemic Legacy and I had fun organising my brand new sewing box.
I did not put any pressure on myself to write today and as a result I managed to write a couple of hundred words of my Flash Fiction entry. I received my issue of Writers’ Forum today so I can hopefully get on with the next on soon.
Today’s word count: 337
I’m going to give this Flash Fiction Competition another go. I’m not leaving this one to the last minute. This months entry is due on 29th April. I could attempt the one before that, but i don’t do well with pressure.
The theme is Keep it Light and the plot has to be taken from the Fiction Square in this months copy. Roll two dice for characters, two for traits, one for the conflict, one for the location and a final one for an object.
I ended up with a reluctant witch and a foolish skater at an Ice rink. One or both of them have suffered a loss and are in search of a time capsule. I’m looking forward to playing about with a light hearted plot as I tend to lean towards the darker aspects of fiction.
I’ve written out a rough plot. I like my characters, particularly the witch. Fingers crossed I will actually submit this one.
Today’s word count, including the plot is: 270 words
Today has been a pretty good writing day. I was really struggling to write a flash fiction about a person with mental illness under the given specifications Writers’ Forum gave (no internal thoughts, past tense and third person) I gave up on that piece for now. I rethought the brief. The location they give is a hair salon, it didn’t particularly inspire me. Eventually I decided to go for two sisters having their hair done on the morning of a wedding. The photo is my sister helping me get ready on the morning of my wedding.
Feeling very chuffed with myself and the far more satisfying plot I then looked at the deadline. Noon. Tomorrow.
The reason I am attempting to submit a piece of writing each month is to get some motivation, routine and to also stop the idea being so scary. I could finish it tonight, but this would mean disrupting my routine I have tried really hard to maintain. I highly doubt I will be happy with the result.
My solution, write the story in my own damn time and ignore the deadline.
Today’s word count: 597