I do love a prompt, it (usually) gets my creativity running. Although sometimes I need to give my creativity a kickstart. More precisely, I like prompts that restrict the form of the resulting work as I enjoy the challenge, the need to conform to the structure but still tell the intended story. FriFic has to be 100 words (and I am always precise on the word count). 5 Sentence Fiction can only be – you’ve guessed it – five sentences.
And for the first time I am trying the microest microfiction there is – Adam‘s Six Word Stories. Adam supplies the themes, we write six (very) short stories. I misread the rules though and wrote one for each theme word rather than choosing one and writing several on that theme, but hopefully Adam, and indeed you Gentle Reader, will forgive me. Right then, enough jabber, here are my six Six Word Stories:
LOVE: She entered wearing white. Perfect Beauty.
EVIL: He knows her chute will fail…
DINNER: Roast THREE hours not TWO? Disaster!
ANIMALS: Don’t make friends, he’s Christmas dinner.
CIRCUS: “Wall Of Death!” Tragically appropriate name.
GRUNGE: News of Kurt. They cry together.
And if you shuffle the words then “Evil Circus Animals Love Grunge Dinner” can be a six-word headline to the six-word newspaper story – Bullets didn’t kill Cobain, tigers did.
Happy friday everyone! And Happy Frific! Thanks as always to Rochelle, the Life President of the FF world. This week she has given us an almost barren landscape of a pic:
but luckily the world of FriFic inspiration is not quite so dry and empty. Behold, 100 words:
It’s said that you see your whole life again at the end, but that’s not true. When one missed foothold became a stumble, a slip, an irreversible sliding descent, I didn’t see My Life So Far. Rather I felt every regret, every happiness, every sadness, every fear return. Emotions clashing with one another, assaulting me in packs.
And then regret for the future I had lost; sadness and fear for my wife and son.
If I was feeling what was to come, maybe this wouldn’t be the end?
I kicked with renewed desperation, swung my axe with greater force.
In other news, a new Fiction Relay is coming soon! If you want to be part of this fun writing challenge, click here to read all about it and sign up!
Matt le Tissier is the best Saints player I’ve ever seen, he scored 209 goals for us and this classic free kick is among my top five:
The set-up is easy. Jim Magilton rolls it back to him – anyone can do that. Le Tiss flicks it up and belts it over the defensive wall – tricky, but you’d probably manage it about 50% of the time. The ball then dips just under the bar into the top corner where no keeper would reach it – THAT is the work of true genius.
I’m reading back my WIP at the moment, and for the first third of the book I was feeling very smug, satisfied that my work was pretty damn good. But as I have gone further – I am almost two thirds of the way in now – that confidence is slipping. I am noticing continuity errors and inconsistencies, which you could say are just technicalities and are easily fixed once they’ve been spotted, but I’m also having bigger, wider doubts. Are the characters’ actions believable? Am I trying to juggle too many subplots and losing sight of the main narrative? Is the characterisation consistent? As I move towards the final third – the exposition and conclusion – will the reader feel the sense of climax? Will they have sympathy for the main character who although not terribly likeable is still a victim of sorts? Are the subplots concluded or are they left hanging? Well, you get the idea…
That’s what read-throughs and re-drafts are for, of course, to find out the book’s weaknesses and address them. As I was writing the thing I knew it was getting more difficult the further I went in, and as I read it back now I can see the quality of the writing has suffered as I approach the end. And maybe this is why there are so many writers who have a drawer full of Chapter Ones.
The set up is easy. Anyone can write a decent Chapter One, anyone can be Jim Magilton. Fewer writers, but still a decent number, can develop the idea and have an vision of how it would be a novel, can flick the ball up and belt it. In virtually every case though, the ball sails embarrassingly into the crowd. Only the most gifted, and who also put in the hours of practice, practice, practice, can bring that novel to life and fulfill that vision, can dip it under the bar for one of the most famous goals of the last twenty years.
I am not Matt Le Tissier, there is only one. I am not PG Wodehouse, I am not Douglas Adams, I am not Cervantes, I am not Martin Amis… they were all unique talents.
But I continue to write, I continue to work at my craft and see where it leads me. You can’t score a goal, even a lucky two yard bounce-off-the-arse without being on the pitch.
Waaaaaaay back in 1977 when disco ruled the world, Giorgio Moroder wrote and produced this for Donna Summer. It has one foot in the world of flares and Night Fever pointy dancing, but the other foot very much stepping on the new and barely-trodden land of electronic music. This track is the first stop on a journey that had brought us the modern age of computerised music and a trillion subgenres of dance and electronica. The looped beats are relentlessly dance-floor-filling and are perfectly matched with the sexy soul of Summer’s vocals. A historic, legendary pairing resulting in a track that was new and exciting then, and still sounds new and exciting today.
I am feeling doubly inspired this week. From the prompt pic Rochelle posted, I have written two FriFics. Here is the pic again:
and here is my second 100 word effort:
I knew James had been reluctant to move, he was always a city dweller. But when we relocated to the country to be nearer my fading mother, he stuck by his promise of For Better Or Worse. “You’ll grow to love it here,” I told him, “Life’s so quiet, so leisurely.” He would nod and smile, but he didn’t seem convinced.
“The village is busy today,” he said this morning as he returned with the shopping, “I had to wait for Alan’s tractor AND Jenny’s car before I could cross.”
Not quite Carmageddon then, more Tractorclysm. He’s a villager now.
To read the FriFic I posted earlier, click on the “Friday Fictioneers – The Hey Man” link in the Recentium on the right –>
It’s a simple deal. Once a week, Rochelle presents us with a prompt pic, and we create 100 words each. Here is the wonderful pic for today:
and these are my 100 words:
I never knew his real name. When I was little, I thought they called him the Hey Man because that’s what he yelled in greeting when he trundled his tractor past us. It was only later I learned that the stacks we sat on when he gave us lifts were Hay and delivering it was his job.
Today it would be illegal for him to smoke while driving. Back then it was unwise for him to smoke what he smoked while doing anything. Especially reversing. Near the boss’s car. Or dating the boss’s daughter.
I wonder where he is now.
Ooooooh look, I’ve written a second FriFic this week! Click here to read it!
My Icelandic self-tuition is bimbling along at a slow pace, but with 6 months to go I’m not worried. I know I have no chance of being fluent but if I can learn a few basics and generally get by then I will be happy. The first time I went to Peru I borrowed a tape from the library (yes, it was that long ago that they leant out tapes!), played it non-stop in the car for a month and flicked through a phrase book. That was all I needed, and I managed not to get poisoned or run over or arrested or anything else bad. Admittedly I was staying with a family I knew in Lima, but on the several occasions I took to the streets of Miraflores on my own, I impressed myself with my cosmopolitan literacy.
Sorry, went off on a tangent. Where was I? Ah yes, Icelandic. I had briefly flirted with the language a few years back, hence I already own a phrase book, teach-yourself book and a dictionary, so I figured I would revisit them in that order. For the last few weeks I have been flicking through the phrases a couple of times a week, getting a feel for the words and the slightly alien-looking alphabet with its accents, joined-together letters and new symbols that spell “th” sounds. I can remember a few phrases now, and I am beginning to recognise words and thus see a little of how the grammar works. Ah, the grammar. There is a lot of it, I remember that from last time. But it seems to follow rules, even if they are numerous, so that should appeal to my ordered and consistent mind.
Last night I browsed the teach-yourself book. I skipped pronunciation, I’ve got that down. Lesson 1 was alot of noun grammar and a few phrases – “here is the house”, “from the city”, that sort of thing. Flick, flick, browse, browse. Lesson 3, more phrases – “down the hill”, “In this place”, “she sat among the trees”, “I shall go south in the autumn and stay with grandmother” – sorry?? WHAT??? This is lesson 3 is it? Wow there isn’t much of a gentle introduction is there? And hang on, what’s this phrase? “the trawlermen have got into contact with their agent in these parts”? Shit, I’m only going for a week, I hadn’t planned on negotiating with trawlermen’s representatives. Unless they mean agents as in spies. That’s something else I hadn’t intended to get involved in, I was thinking more along the lines of whale watching and the Northern Lights.
So this teach yourself thing is a steep learning curve. They didn’t bother with “hello” or “thank you”, just went straight for the complex stuff. Will six months be enough? Or to put it another way, will a week be enough? If I’m kidnapped by agents of the trawlermen that might be taken out of my hands…