Monday, 2 August 2010

Fast Fiction for #WAG32 - Altered State

The challenge for this week's WAG (Writing Adventure Group) is to either create a character or observe someone who is partaking of a mind-altering substance. The piece can be as long or short as you want, using any form you like. No Rules! Now Write!

Drunk and Pissed Off

Edward stumbled in as I opened the door and landed on his knees. “God looks like it’s been a hard night.” I said as I helped him to his feet.

“Sorry Derek, just need to talk.”

“That’s okay mate, I’ll get the coffee on.”

I guided him to the sofa and went into the kitchen area that took up a corner of my living space. “What you been up to?”

“Bloody women,” he muttered. “Why do they do it?”


Edward put his head in his hands. “Screw her, screw her boss.”

I left the coffee machine to do it’s stuff and sat down opposite him. There was only enough space for a two-seater sofa and easy chair, the rest was taken up with a 42 inch tele and my work table. That dominated the room but, after all, this was my office and my home.

“You can sleep in the bath if you want.”

“Thanks,” he said as the coffee machine gurgled to say “I’m ready”. I grabbed two mugs.



I put the mug on the table in front of him. “What happened?”

He grabbed the mug precariously and I reached forward just in case it went flying. Not that I could have done anything. He took a sip, leaned forward and peered at me over the top of the steaming coffee. “She screwed her boss.”


Monday, 19 July 2010

Let the Book Out Within You

Yesterday I ran a writing workshop in Birmingham. During the day we covered the basics of writing for both entertaining and for information-giving. But for two hours in the afternoon we also talked about the book business and how to get published. I shared my experiences with self publishing, PoD, digital printers and dealing with packagers and Harper Collins.

I had some great feedback from everyone in the group. The same response that I got when I ran it in London a couple of weeks ago.

Must repeat it again soon. I enjoyed it and so did the participants.

Email me if you want to know more.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Remember What Dad Said

This is the first 200 words of a piece I’m writing for the meeting of the Worcester Writers’ Circle next week.

Remember What Dad Said

‘You did what!’

‘I shot the cat.’

Edward took a deep breath to calm himself and said, ‘You better sit down and tell me about it.’

he cheap lino protested loudly as Darren pulled the metal chair away from the desk. The office was messy and he sat down awkwardly, his shoulders hunched and head bowed. He was completely out of place in the clean and crisp uniform that his mother religiously starched on Sundays.


‘I just lost it boss.’

Darren shuffled in his seat and took a folded sheet of paper from his jacket pocket. ‘I’ve put down what happened. Do you want me to read it?’

‘No, give it here.’ Edward replied sharply. And with his arm stretched across the desk he snatched the paper and neatly unfolded it onto his desk. He flattened it with his palms and started to read.

‘Mum said I should put it all down.’

Edward looked up slowly and held his arm out like a stop sign. Darren took the hint and stared out of the window.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Fast Fiction for #WAG29 - Coffee & Scissors

This week's WAG (Writing Adventure Group) is about habits: ours, a characters, or someone I've observed (we're all such stalkers). It can be anything from the unconscious way someone touches their face when they talk, or a deep-in-their-bones addiction. Your piece can be as long or short as you want, using any form you like. No Rules! Now Write!

As a challenge I thought that I'd write in the second person point of view. Not sure if it works, what do you think?

Coffee and Scissors

You'd already got your coffee when Pauline plonked her bag on her usual table and joined the back of the queue. You watched as she fidgeted while she waiting to order her particular brew - a three-shot cappuccino with soya. You took a sip of your own and saw the barista pass her a stack of magazines from the back room.

It was exactly the same last week. She took them to her table and went back to collect her coffee and almond croissant. Glancing at your watch you wrote the time in your notebook and checked what you'd written last Tuesday. The same to a tee; day, time, table, coffee, croissant, magazines and scissors. "Strange," you thought. "But that's what eccentric mystery authors must be like."

You took a deep breath because you needed to go for it before she got stuck in with the scissors. Getting up, you nonchalantly wandered off towards the toilet. But as you passed her table you did a double-take and said, "Pauline Prentice, isn't it?" She looked up and smiled. That's when you knew deep inside that the interview would work out.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

A Piece of Fiction – The Start of Something...

I wrote the this piece of fiction for WAG#22 (Writing Adventure Group). The challenge was to observe a stranger you'd think would make a good main character, and describe their physical features accurately so they come over as real individuals and not cardboard cut-outs.

The Start of Something...

Laura slowly opened and closed her fists and relaxed deeper into the crimson bathwater. She dreamily watched the blood ooze from her right wrist and swim like smoke into the water. She wondered how things had ended up like this.

Ten hours earlier everything was very different.

Her hair was short and her face thin. She recoiled back from the mirror and turned away in disgust. She hated her hair. Black and curly. She looked like an elf. Pointed ears, matching nose and no chin. At least she didn't have to worry about her figure. She looked athletic, which is the polite version of skinny. If anything she could do with a few more curves. But as she went to the gym four times a week and hardly ate, that was unlikely. And then there was the London marathon that she did last week.

She applied a slight coat of very pale lipstick and the silver earrings that were shaped like French beans. She'd chosen them because they showed off her thin face and highlighted her striking scarf. Black with thousands of silver sequins made it look like an alligator skin. The whole effect went well with her short black leather jacket and indigo skinny jeans. She stepped into her black ankle boots, the ones with the macho straps over the insteps, and stood back to admire herself.

Yes. Now she was ready for whatever the world threw at her.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Flash Fiction piece about a woman's revenge

Sweet Revenge

She struck him three times and took a step back. Stunned he looked down at the blood weeping from his chest and stomach. The squelch when she removed the knife had shocked them both and a second or two later he slumped to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

She dropped the knife and it bounced on the stone floor with a clink and a clunk. She looked down at him in disgust and placed her right foot on his chest. The sole of her red shoe slid in his blood and she pushed her stiletto heel deep into his wound. His mouth opened, a gurgling noise rose from deep in his throat and his head lopped to one side. He was gone.

She grinned and whispered, 'My turn you bastard.'

It hadn't always been like that. Once she had doted on him and had become bewitched by his charm. But that was a couple of years ago and it had turned to hate after six months. She vowed never to trust a man ever again. If only he hadn't seduced her mother.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Flash Fiction – Hidden Assets

I wrote the this piece of flash fiction for WAG#19 (the Writing Adventure Group). The challenge was to pick someone out of a crowd and describe what (you imagine) is in their pockets (Unless you want to be brave and ask them!) Give us both meaning and physical details, and don’t forget to let yourself be surprised.

Hidden Assets

Sharon slowly ran her hands down her thighs to smooth the tight dress and automatically wiggled her body in response. She took a step back and checked herself in the mirror, she smiled when she saw how the silk clung to her hips and over the cheeks of her bottom. Perfect. Everyone would see that she wore nothing underneath. The DI had been right, they wouldn't bother to frisk her looking like this.

She'd got up late this morning as it was going to be a long night. She'd hardly eaten and had spent most of the time psyching herself up for the assignment. She glanced at the diamante watch on her right wrist and took a slow deep breath to calm herself. It was only ten minutes before the car arrived so she went to the bathroom for the final time.

Harry watched her through the half-opened door as she reached down the top of her dress with her left hand. He saw the look of relief on her face when she found it was still perched safely beneath her right breast. She pulled at the single shoulder strap and checked the mirror again before she said, “Hope this is working guys. You getting me okay?”

Monday, 19 April 2010

Flash Fiction for #WAG18 - A Familiar Friend

I've restarted with The Writers' Adventure Group after a long break. This week's challenge is... Look around your workspace, favourite chair, back yard, etc, and notice the objects around you. Choose one that is so familiar that you no longer notice it, even though it’s right next to you. Describe it as though you’re seeing it for the first time and particularly any feelings you have about it, past or present. Would you miss it if it was gone? No rules! Just write!

I never did believe in sticking exactly to rules so this is my entry.

A Familiar Friend

Jamie stared at the bottle with sad eyes. It was almost empty and sat on their dining table in front of him. Although it was burgundy-shaped the contents had travelled much further. The orange label had one or two dribbles of red wine where he'd been careless with the drips. One of them had lengthened the 'L' in Malbec and dissected the label in half. It was organically-grown Fairtrade from the Co-op round the corner.

Slowly he reached out and picked it up. Tilting his head he squinted at the small print at the foot of the label. Produced in Argentina, bottled in Manchester. Thirteen and a half percent NBV from the cellars of La Riojana. He poured the last few drops into his empty glass and plucked her picture from the table. As he held it up his eyes drooped, his face dropped and he sat for a few seconds far away in his thoughts. He let the photo slide though his fingers and reached for his glass. He sank the last few dregs before he slumped forward onto the table in tears.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Another Book Commission

Two weeks ago I got a commission to write another book and contribute three chapters to yet another. Both will be published in August 2010 for the BBC.

So I have 32,000 words to finish by 12 April. Phew. But I delivered the first three chapters yesteday and hope to send the next three early next week. In the swing of it now. Managing to write for a three hours every morning, about 2,000 words. Then researching and editing in the afternoon.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Story Starters or 20-word Openers

I recently discovered a chat room on Twitter where people suggest the opening 20-odd words for a story - story starters. So now I often try and do some as a warm-up before I write my 250 words each day. Here are a few of them.
  • They sat down together. Brian wiped his palms on his grubby jeans and looked up. "Catherine," he said without any emotion. #storystarters

  • The tight dress showed all her bulges - you could't call them curves. She stifled a yawn and scanned the coffee shop as he... #storystarters

  • Henry was reaching down for another CD so he didnt see the traffic stopped ahead. But he did look up in time to scream. #storystarters

  • Louise mouthed the headline with a terrified expression. "Sadistic rapist freed after mistrial." #storystarters

  • His arm was down her back, his hand on her slim waist. She sat contented. They were both in their 70s and still in love. #storystarters

  • He nodded and his eyes had that bleary look. Soon his chin fell onto his tie and the light glistened off his shiny head. #storystarters

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

My 250 Words a Day Challenge

I've had a bad bout of writer's block over the last couple of months, but it's now starting to clear.

So I've set myself a challenge - to write over 250 words a day for six days every week. And when I've achieved that I'll go for 500 a day.

A good start today as I've done over 350!