Tag Archives: amwriting

Trolling – Flash Fiction

Paul punishes his keyboard. He hammers the keys, as though this manifest hate might translate into binary. His yellowing teeth grind like marbles in a bag; his brow pulled taut, head pounding. How is the world so blind?

His face can’t contain his anger – it strains and twists and flexes, a nightmare of sinewed spleen. Pop!… A trickle seeps from one nostril, pitter-patters on the desk. He blinks blood-shot eyes, blistered and blurred through pink-tinged tears.

He doesn’t notice when his fingers start to bleed, worn away with hate on antisocial media, staining the letters red and muddy brown. He doesn’t stop to ease the pain when flesh gives way to bone, and thump, thump, thump becomes click, click, clack.

Why won’t they listen? Paul guffaws in disbelief. Hate spits from his lips onto the screen, glistening red, blue and green.

How are they so blind?

—————–

Submitted to a Flash Fiction competition – 150 words, taking the themes of man versus society and obsession as inspiration.

Finding time to write – a new train of thought

As a writer, I’m constantly searching for moments in the day to actually write. It’s not easy; I’ve got a full-time job, I’m organising a wedding, I’ve got this bloody blog thing to write – there’s not enough time to go round!

For instance, I realised just this morning that since completing my plot outline, I’ve written one measly chapter. One! In a week! I have 88 to complete, which means at this glacial pace, the second draft won’t be complete until APRIL 2017.

This is clearly not good enough.

But wait, watch what happens when you cram more work in:

Two chapters a week – Finished by June 2016

Three chapters a week – Finished by February 2016

One a day – Finished by November 2015

One AN HOUR – Finished by THIS SATURDAY.

You see? At that rate I could be a bestseller by this time next week!

Continue reading Finding time to write – a new train of thought

Breakthrough! – ye draft bastard

I’ve finally finished my plot outline! – No easy feat when you’ve been rambling into your computer for a decade, hoping a structured novel will spill out of your head like a Homeric poem, and all that came out was a meandering stream of consciousness that more resembled Lost than Paradise Lost.

The biggest step was breaking everything up into chapters. Previously, I didn’t know if I wanted the novel to be structured chronologically or to shift back and forth according to narrative perspective, so I just left everything in one document per character.

I have no idea why I didn’t change this earlier: it makes the process so much more palatable – as a writer and for the reader.

I mean that sincerely: use chapters, always.

Continue reading Breakthrough! – ye draft bastard

The Lucan Widower – Flash Fiction

Submitted to a Flash Fiction competition – 260 words, taking the theme of guilt, conflict between two men and the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as inspiration.

—————–

When I arrived at the station, Deputy Bosworth handed me a letter, scrawled in blotches from a blunted quill, as though roughly plucked from some hapless pheasant and dunked hastily in ink.

Its contents read thusly:

Inspector Harding,

Damn your insolent contumely. I’ll have satisfaction, sir; and from you, no less. Call on me by noon, lest I take the matter into my own hands.

Fair warning,
Lord Lucan

“What is his grievance?” I queried, knowing full well.

Through barely obfuscated contempt, Bosworth ejaculated: “Though no aspersions have been cast, he maintains his innocence regarding Lady Lucan’s regrettable suicide, and is belligerent to any fellow he encounters. He insists the constabulary considers him guilty and whispers scandal to the townsfolk.”

I had yet to remove my overcoat; nor would I, as I turned and left for Lucan Manor.

After a lengthy drive, I arrived at the antiquated country home to find the tempestuous incumbent in a state of mad, drunken befuddlement, belching rebukes at a gaggle of geese.

The hills engulfed his clamour with silence. He was alone.

Lucan noticed me: “Harding! You filth-dribbling scoundrel! I know what you’re up to. Lies and skullduggery!” Spit speckled his beard like dew.

“You’re right Lucan – rumours were spread.” My eyes began to well. “But lies aside, you are culpable.”

An obstinate tear escaped me. “You drove her to it, Lucan… My pretty chicken.”

“I knew it,” he growled.

I drew my truncheon, felt its weight. “’Lord Lucan… vanished.’ – whatever will people think?”

I tried, but failed, to smile. “A guilty conscience, perhaps.”

Dining Out – Flash Fiction

My heart flitters, as though a moth flutters inside. Christ, was that a heart attack? Need to breathe – stay calm. Was that normal? I feel fine, but that wasn’t normal – was it normal?

Can’t eat. Can’t hold my fork! Just breathe through your nose.

Apologise to Sarah.

Well, go on! Do it!

“I’m…”

Jesus, you sound like you’re having a stroke! Stop scaring her! Pull yourself together – keep breathing!

Fingers are clamping up – body’s tingling. Pins and needles all over. My mind’s a tornado. Got to keep calm.

I’m fine.

“James? Are you ok?”

I’m losing it – I’m losing it.

Every man has agency, except the everyman

Brushing the sexist terminology aside for a moment, I want to talk about the everyman.

If you’re writing a science fiction or fantasy novel, your protagonist might be an ordinary person who finds themselves in an extraordinary world.

We make these characters to articulate the oddity of the situation, to show how peculiar it is through the eyes of the bewildered.

The problem is, characterisation and agency tend to fall to the wayside. Take for instance Alice or Dorothy, of Wonderland and Oz fame. Tell me some of their character traits… What kind of personality do they have?

It’s tough, right?

Continue reading Every man has agency, except the everyman

Rise – Flash Fiction

Submitted to a Flash Fiction friendly. 100 words, taking the phrase “secret invention” and the image above as inspiration.

—————–

I awake to a clamour of glass smashing against stone. Hurried footsteps recede to silence, as rusty hinges squeal goodbyes. My head pounds as I open my eyes. Outside, an unseen torrent rumbles, amplifying the pain in my brain.

Sitting up, slowly, the smell of decay raises visions of illness – a blood-spattered bedpan haunts my periphery.

I survived?

I raise a grubby, skeletal hand to my temple, and notice my clothes thick with mud. My skin is cold, like a corpse. The pain in my head squirms – I pluck a soft, wriggling creature from my ear.

It’s alive.