A Bit Of A Catch Up

I am slowly returning to the world of the living. Despite spending the majority of the day either coughing or sneezing my brain is creaking into gear. I’m continuing to write down descriptions of locations using sound, sight, smell, taste and feel.  Since I last updated I’ve written seven locations, 1133 words.

Today’s Word Count 521

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Tea Helps

I’ve been ill with a nasty chest infection. I have been stuck to the sofa. Every time I move my breath becomes short and heaving. At it’s worst I couldn’t take a few steps without having to take my Inhaler. It has been thoroughly exhausting.

However, like any good scribe, I took the opportunity to exploit my aching body for the good of my novel. I now have a brand new first-hand account of a chest infection…lucky me?

 

Todays Wordcount: 122

 

Creating Order From Chaos

It only actually took about and hour and a half to compile a solid plot outline from the numerous scene breakdowns I’ve written over the past year or so.

Feeling happily confident I can get back on with writing now. I’ll extract the good parts of previous drafts, revise and redraft until I’m somewhat content.

 

Today’s wordcount 369

 

Word Count Update

Getting back into the swing of things I’m writing my wordcount for the day. First off I started a draft for next Sunday’s Crafty Sew & So’s blog, all about the upcoming Moneta Party.

Secondly, I started writing a post for Today I Made… all about a failed attempt at a dress. It needs a few pictures and polishing up before I post it, it may well be coming along in the next couple of days.

Today’s Word Count: 424

 

Writing from Experience

I’m  working on sending a submission to Horror Tree under the  headline Ghosts on Drugs. A nasty bout of depression which stole my motivation, which meant I missed the deadline for my novel. The computer is a bit of a scary place now, it’s a place where I fail to write my novel. My laptop is fine. It doesn’t judge me. I’ve not taken a lot of drugs…

I’ve not taken a lot of drugs…actually, that’s not quite right. I have not taken many drugs which were not prescribed . For the past three or four years, I have taken medication every day. 150mg Sertraline in the morning and zopiclone to help me sleep. Eating the right amount of food and recovering some form of mental stability has meant I’ve weaned myself off the zopiclone. Oh and let’s not forget the Symbicort and salbutamol for my Asthma.

The dreaded message came with my latest lot of subscriptions Please make an appointment with GP for medication Review. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it sure as hell hit me like one. Right now I’m avoiding the whole thing until after my driving test.

back to the story, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you’ll be aware that I suffer from depression, anxiety alongside an eating disorder.  For my ghosts on drugs submission, I will enter the mind of a protagonist who is struggling with depression.

Should I be writing things that could be potentially triggering? It’s great to promote understanding  but I know it can also send those suffering from similar conditions into a downward spiral. It feels wrong shying away from such issues. I am not writing in any gratuitous way, simply writing from a point of view of a girl who is depressed. The point of view I know best! One thing I can say is that the first line in my story lays out the premise of my story.

By the time I realized I was off my meds I’d already been dead for a week.

 

Today’s word count: 685

Getting My Writing Mojo Back

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.’
‘Isn’t there?’
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

Day Two in The Mountains

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

27th June 2016, 11.55pm

The problem with describing mountains is, I have very little context. Mountains of this scale should be far in the distance. Looking to my left, from the hotel balcony, a huge craggy mountain stands proud. The flat top looks no higher than a sky scrapper. I’m told it’s 3,000 feet above me. Yesterday we took the cable car to the top of that same mountain, then walked our winding way across and eventually back to Selva.

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Cowbells rang all about the mountains, Two floppy eared cows lay content on a grassy rise, being washed dutifully by their mother. Fir trees line the pale rock, deep green against grey. Pretty purple orchids, daisy’s and innumerable other wildflowers brighten the fields.

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I lost my footing more than once. Steep pathways made all the more trechourous by fine gravel. I lost my footing more than once. Steep pathways made all the more trechourous by fine gravel. Take small footsteps with knees bent and the weight on the balls of your feet. If all else fails zig zag or side step.

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

27th June 2016, 5.27pm

The spa here is devine. Laying on a chair after the steam bath, I am a roman goddess, with nothing but a towel to cover me. I shower in a spray of mint scented mist, then warm my feet on  stones bathed in  fiery hot water.

Today we walked the fifteen stations of the cross, a pathway lined with eairy wooden carvings of the ressurection. The ruins of a castle clung to the mountainside, the rock eating away at the old imposter.

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After around half an hour of walking we came across the valley. Fine trickles of water fall from hills into a shallow stream, transparent save for white crests atop stones. the tiny streams run steeply, branches causing dams and diveritng their pathways. Long grass is pale and pressed by the waters breaking thier banks.  A small chapel stands a little distance from the waters, waxen frescos and bold, perhaps garish, statues adorn the brick building, tucked safely behind crisscrossed bars.

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Earlier we walked through a meadow of wildflowers. Barabra knew most of them, and those she didn’t we soon looked up in her little flower book. The meadow stretches far ahead, stopping in a steep valley to let the stream pass. The mountains rise behind the fields in stark contrasts to the delicate flowers.

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At this moment, i am in the hotel room, legs propped up on the desk, wearing my denim dress. I change outfits about three times a day. Breakfast, casual wear, then into walking clothes (B. just got brought me a new shirt to keep the sun off my neck). After walking it’s time for tea and cake at the hotel from 3.00. Then, strip off the sweaty clothes and sink into a bath, or take a trip to the spa as I did today.  After that it’s only right to dress for dinner at 7.15. Five courses and a nice glass if wine. It’s getting late now. I need to pack my bag, we’re moving rooms tomorrow, it’s away from the road at the back. The staff here are delightful.

Today I wrote: 800 words

A Bit of Observational Writing

Writing up my notes from Italy brought me straight back there. My father in law is already looking at booking for next year. I can’t wait. Here’s the first day of notes from Italy.

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

 26th January 2016, 11.00 am

Rain pours down in sheets.We’re sitting in the hotel bar, maps strewn across the table amongst cups of tea and coffee. Lightening flashes, followed quickly by thunder. Two families wait near the door. One with a girl no more than six,  dressed in a bright red poncho trimmed with checks of black and white. They’ve just left, undeterred by the downfall…wait they’re back. It was a short-lived enterprise.

The other family have a little girl named Sophia. She looks around three and is less than impressed at the fact she is not allowed outside. Wide eyed she stares out at the rain as though she’s missing out on some great adventure…ok, she has been given a set of keys now and seems much happier. Ah the first family are off again

Ah the first family are off again, I hope they last longer this time.

The bar is softly lit, huge lamps with gold and blue stands, spotlights and delicate crystal chandeliers adorn the dark wooden ceiling. I am drinking from a pretty floral cup,green tea with a slice of lemon. The others have uniform white coffee cups with tiny gold wrapped coffee chocolates.

Sophia is trotting about happily now, circling her mother around a huge woodburning stove. There’s an oak bench attached, adorned with a dark turquoise cushion with gold triangles. the downstairs is all the same theme, the curtains, the upholstery, the table clothes and the lamps.

I’m in my room. The rain persists but less urgently now. Folk walk back and forth, hoods up and heads down. The mountains are half hidden behind clouds. fir trees stand to attention, soaking up the moister. Time for a rest, wrapped up in a soft white blanket.

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Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

 26th January 2016, 4.10 pm

Back in the hotel room after a fantastic walk. We saw the little girl, sans poncho, having a picnic with her family at the top of the mountains. Absolutely exhauted. will describe the walk when I have energy.

 

Today’s word count: 973 (561 for my other blog, and the rest for this one – it totally counts for typing up bits!)

Yesterday’s word count: 185 (I wrote the bare bones of a scene set in the mountains)