Friday Funday

So today has been a good one. I’ve finished and sent a short story (1000 words) called Fire Angels off to FireSide magazine. I’m also about 300 pages through my Sherlock Holmes long fiction, and most of the way through The Hound of The Baskervilles. Overcoming an illness and a stubborn bit of writing with Arthur Conan Doyle’s prose thrown in is a wonderful way to spend a Friday.

 

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Thursday Thoughts.

So today was spent mostly in the company of Sherlock Holmes as he solved the mystery of The Sign of The Four, and now into the Hound of the Baskervilles. When moments seem a little disastrous and difficult, it’s wonderful to have such a valued friend by your side. I don’t know where i’d be without writing such as this.

 

What sort of Wednesday do you call this?

So today was rather grey, filled with poorly people (In our house anyway), and spent mostly under blankets. It wasn’t all bad though with the help of Not the Nine o Clock News, Vic and Bob, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I finished A Study in Scarlet, and i’m on the last 20 pages of The Sign of the Four, which managed rather wonderfully to lift my spirits. I really love watching Sherlock work through the eyes of Watson, each story unfolding new facets and sides of the world’s greatest detective.

The philosophy, crime drama, and over all beautifully written prose put Sir Arthur Conan Doyle above the rest, the fact his work is as exciting today well over a hundred years later is testament to that. If you haven’t read any of his works and you love Sherlock or just want something fun to read, go out and find him, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Tuesday That Didn’t Happen.

So Tuesday didn’t happen, which isn’t necessarily true, it just didn’t happen in any kind of professional way. The sun was out yesterday, and as I couldn’t really concentrate on anything I decided it would be a great idea to follow Holly and her mum out to the garden centre for a spot of foliage and cake.

Everything was going fine, until I realised that everything was getting colder, I still couldn’t concentrate, and everything was getting rather horrid. The day was thrown away, and I receded into A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with some pizza. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

 

Shopping, Snacks, and Sherlock.

So it was a long day yesterday, full of cake, walks, and lot’s of laughs. Today i’m tired, a little out of it, and then something wonderful happened when we were out shopping. Meandering around the local charity shops, partly to do a little good, mainly because of the bargains, when I came across the complete Sherlock Holmes Long stories for only 99p! Suddenly the day is renewed.

Today i’m going to be working on a short short story (1000 words) for publication in Fireside magazine. I have a few very short stories, but I think a story I wrote last year called Fire Angels will win over the rest.

The story focuses on the statues dotted around the cities, and the strange things they see, and the worse things they do. It began as a thought while Holly and I sat in the cafe opposite the London road Fire Station in Manchester. I remember thinking that somewhere in those terracotta statues was a story, and I also remember how hard it was when I tried to get the words to flow.

Here’s to a bright and brilliant day. Happy Monday everyone.

 

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Sunday Story

So today seen as it’s all about change, gifts, and strangeness (Bunnies laying chocolate eggs?) so I thought i’d talk about my short story “Fair Trade”. It’s a story about love, and the lengths people go to try and keep it. It’s also about strange stores that sell products to help you forget about all of the painful parts of life. There’s mention of body washes that help wash people out of your life, pencil shaped soaps that help clean and clear away all memory of teachers, bullies and ignorant parents. It slowly slips from a sympathetic post-breakup, and quickly enters something dark.

Here’s a little piece.

“I’m looking for something for my girlfriend, well actually she’s my ex girlfriend.’

‘That’s too bad,’ said Jennii with two eyes with a sympathetic tilt of her head. It reminded me of a dog that’s just been shown a card trick, but I decided not to point it out.

‘Would you like to purchase a present for your ex-partner, or perhaps yourself?’

‘Why would I buy a present for myself? I don’t really use any of this stuff.’

‘We have an excellent range of removal products to help you move on with your life.’

‘Look, I don’t think a makeover is going to cheer me up.’

‘Are you sure?’ said Jennii with two eyes snatching up a small tube from the table beside her. ‘This is a first kiss lip scrub.’

‘It’s really nice, but I don’t wear makeup you see.’

‘You don’t have to wear it for long. You just slide the applicator across your lips, and the product will remove that troublesome first kiss,’ she said miming the the action across her mouth.

‘I don’t get it? Is that its slogan or something?’ I asked.

‘No. It literally scrubs away that first kiss,’ said Jennii with two eyes casually. ‘You see the first kiss is the concrete proof that someone is actually interested, everything leading up to that moment can seem stressful and arduous, but once your lips meet in that magnetic moment a little piece of the universe becomes that bit brighter.’

‘And why would you want to get rid of that?’ I asked wondering whether she was pulling my leg or I had somehow managed to get the one mad member of staff.

‘To some of our pessimistic customers the first kiss is viewed as the beginning of the end, and once the relationship has run its course they wish they had never tried in the first place. This lip scrub takes away that first kiss. You will find some feelings still linger, which is to be expected, but it would only manifest itself in the instant chemistry we share with all surface encounters.”

Saturday Scribblings

So today I finished a fun little short story called Copy Cat, which is set in a school playground. It’s a story about children, but it’s definitely not a children’s story. I love playing around with child logic, especially when you’re living in a 3000 word horror story. I did play around with the idea of making it a children’s story and opting for a happy ending, but I couldn’t help myself, which is when I shoved it over to adult fiction.

The story came from several directions, mingling ideas such as monster rules, what makes us who we are, and then blending it all together in a school yard environment. It’s great to play with memories of childhood, which were for me, difficult, scary, and potentially dangerous. I think we forget how hard school-life is as we age, and i’m not surprised to have written a horror story set in school.

This has been a very active week, mostly spent editing old stories so I can get them ready for publication. This is the part of writing that I know very little about, so it’s great trying to tackle new problems, while working on stuff that I love.

Tomorrow i’m going out to go on nice walks, eat some lovely food, and pretend to be an adult (After eating chocolate eggs of course). It’s shaping up to be a brilliant day, and I look forward to sharing it with you all.

So many stories, so many words.

So today I broke the 100k mark with my short stories, which I am very proud of, mainly because I didn’t really expect to write so many stories. I started with a novel, writing the first draft over two months, and as I obsessed over it last year I would write the occasional short story to break the monotony.

Lately i’ve been polishing some of my short stories for publication and i’m happy to see five pieces sent off to different magazines (Four short stories, and one non-fiction). It’s been a lot of fun sifting through my old work, noticing a distinct rise in my ability now as a writer, while still loving certain bits of each of the stories.

Coming back to work that you love with a better skillset is like trying to shape something beautiful out of quartz. You’re hopefully going to get to stage where you know it’s as good as it can be. If you’re particularly skilled or lucky, then people will like it, but mostly it gets put away while you work on something new.

The beauty of coming back with new ideas and tools is that you can continue to shape the piece, without losing the structure or shape, you’re just embellishing. Today I edited  a short story I wrote last year called Giving Up, which is kind of a bitter love letter to God written by the Devil. I had received a lot of positive feedback from writers, so it surprised me to just look at it and know how to get it just right, while still loving the fact i’d written what is essentially a strange viewpoint of something most of us go through (Heartbreak).

I love seeing things getting that little bit better, and having 400 pages worth of short stories in varying degrees of completion and quality show just how much work has gone into that year and half’s worth of work. I’ve gone from not really liking short stories, to relishing the chance to sit down and create a pocket-sized story to play about with, whether it’s: Personal, world, or even dimensionally different than everything else.

 

Thursday Thoughts

So over the past few days i’ve been editing some of my stories, and sending them off for hopeful publication in various magazines. All of the stories have something in common in that they’re about people, there’s something fantastical in each of them but there’s an air of humanity to keep it in check.

Fair Trade and The Woman Who Could Make Anything are both two of my recent stories that kind of explore the same idea of interest from two different directions. Both are centred around love and choice, but where The Woman Who Could Make Anything goes from a dark place to somewhere nice, Fair Trade goes in the opposite direction.

I loved writing both stories, each with their own style, and funny little quirks. I particularly loved The Woman Who Could Make Anything because my partner Holly was the influence for the story, and I liked writing the second draft and finding that it had grown an extra fifteen hundred words.

Today I worked on a short story called Freelance which explored the perils of freelance work, and mixed it up with the hedge knights known as freelancers. The story I ended up with was one with a battered and bruised knight who had done all these wonderful things but nobody knew who he was.

I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about writing today, still feeling a little fragile, but there’s something about going over your work and seeing it get better having such a cathartic effect on you. It’s great to see my writing taking shape, moving away from just ideas, and starting to make sense in a very strange way.

 

Where was Wednesday?

So Wednesday was a strange day. I spent most of it with a headache, exhausted, and generally unwell, so that’s why I didn’t post anything yesterday. It’s a shame that I didn’t because up until that point I was doing really well with putting a post each day for five weeks straight, which means i’ve broken the the trend, which is ok.

I started this blog at the start of the year, mainly as a bit of encouragement to keep me going while I work my way through anything and everything that takes my fancy. I love that since starting this blog i’ve found ideas that I don’t think i’d have come across if i’d have stuck to just the freelance and fiction.

I am proud to say that I completely underestimated the power of a blog, not only as a tool to keep me writing something every day, but to keep writing so I have something to share each and every day. I love the fact I have proof that i’m not just wasting my time from day to day, and that each post seems to contain some sort of positive moment.

I am glad to see that each month attracts new people, more interest, and it’s all about my writing, thoughts, and ideas on how to go about doing your own thing. I had no idea that i’d actually look forward to writing posts, even if they are really small because i’m tired.

Thank you all for taking the time out of life just to read the silly little ideas that slip from my head and out through my fingers. It’s kept me dedicated. It makes things a little less lonely, and I am grateful for each and every one of you.