Day 7 – What is your favorite season? Use vivid details and even include memories you have of that season.

Day 7 of Chrys Fey’s 30 Day Writing Challenge –  What is your favourite season? Use vivid details and even include memories you have of that season.

The colours of autumn are the last gasp of the trees before the death of winter. The reds, browns and yellows are beautiful in a way that the greens of spring just aren’t. The green’s beauty is understandable. It represents birth, renewal, the continuance of life. It shows off the life of the tree. By contrast, the reds and browns are representative of the nearing of the end. There is no need for such beauty. Looking at the glory of colours, the riot for the eyes, you would not necessarily believe that the next step for the leaf will be to crunch under someone’s foot.

The best autumn weather is the low sun, the blue sky and the cool dry day. The blue is not the deep blue of a summer sky. It isn’t brazen and it doesn’t suggest heat. It’s a subtle, gentle blue. You know it will be cold but also crisp, also dry. A time for pulling on the layers. Gloved and scarved, you can keep your warmth while walking in the beautiful sunshine.

The definitive noise of autumn is the leaves under the feet. The last thing the leaves give us, after the glorious fire of their colours, is the wondrous crunch and crack when you run through them.

As my birthday is in November, Autumn is associated with a sense of heightened excitement. As a child, the excitement would start in October and not really lessen until Christmas. I still feel a sense of anticipation at the start of the season which gives the weather and the colours a sense of optimism that they wouldn’t otherwise. It is the start of the season of celebration. 

Projects, new and old.

I made the decision not to join NaNoWriMo because it didn’t really fit in with my schedule. I was editing at the start of the month and a new project didn’t seem feasible. Also, I thought that there was no way I’d manage the 50000 words. Editing Choose Yr Future was making me fed up and I thought I might have a break from writing when I’d got to a stage where I was happy to put Choose Yr Future to one side for a few months so that I can come back to it and be a bit objective.

Almost immediately I put it to one side, new ideas started to flow. I wrote a character description for one of the prompts for Chrys Fey’s 30 day writing challenge and then the words just wouldn’t stop. Now I have written 42000 words and wish I had focused myself a bit more to get to the 50000 deadline. Of course, this isn’t the finished thing, by any stretch. A good start has been made.

It hasn’t a name yet. That will come. Sometimes naturally. Choose Yr Future, I had to work at. I knew it had to be something to do with choice as that is an important theme. Long lists of possible names followed. At the minute, getting words on the page is much more pressing.

What I’m most impressed by is the fact I’ve written so much without really trying. I haven’t been able to sit for long hours although I have been grabbing whatever minutes I can to carry on.

Obviously this stage is much more fun than editing and I know that soon – probably at the turn of the year – I will have to return to Choose Yr Future and take it on to the next stage.

Chrys Fey’s 30 day writing challenge – Pick one of your favourite songs and write a piece about it.

Okay, so I’ve skipped ahead a couple of days as I was feeling uninspired and this challenge caught my eye straightaway. I will go back and do the others later when I have some ideas for them. This day 8 of Chrys Fey’s writing challenge. I thought of quite a few possible songs – in fact, I may still write those stories as well. The song I picked is M-Bike by PJ Harvey.

“Why did you do it?” They had asked that straight away. The female cop asked it. No sympathy there. You’d think she would understand. It wasn’t like she was God’s gift. How would she manage to keep a man when Lise hadn’t been able? Lise had a nice figure, good boobs, long legs. The female cop was chunky, to put it politely.

“He looked at her shape, not at mine.” Lise’s voice had been cold. She didn’t care. She wasn’t sorry. She had got what she deserved.Lise had looked down the cliff side at the burning carcass at the bottom and her heart had sung. Served the bastard right. Not giving Lise the attention she deserved. That had to be punished. 

It had started about six months ago. That was when she had arrived. A Sunday night. Lise hadn’t known she was coming. No warning. Lise had arrived at his house and there she was on the drive. Foolishly, Lise hadn’t even realised that she might be a threat. But that was before the spell had been cast. He was mesmerised. Lise was second best. He’d even cancelled seeing her a couple of times. Imagine that if you will. It was unheard of.

Even when they were going out, Lise would arrive and she would be on the drive. Lise would see him look over his shoulder at her as they left. It was mere anger at first, the warm glow that rose to her face. It wasn’t long before it was hot, red rage. She burned with it.

But at first she tried. Perhaps it was a novelty that would wear off. That meant she could be accepting at first. So much so that she even came on a couple of dates with them. Lise allowed it. Foolish. That had showed her to be weak. That he didn’t need to care about her feelings.

It had been on one of those dates that Lise had realised exactly how smitten he was. She was recounting her day, playing it for laughs, pausing so he could supply the requisite chuckles. Only they didn’t come. Lise realised that he was staring out of the window. Staring at her, out there on the pavement. Longing for the moment when he could be on her back again. His eyes were filled with it: need. That had been how he looked at Lise at first.

Later that evening, when they made love in his bedroom, Lise imagined that he was still thinking about her, her streamlined shape, her chrome curves and about the way it felt when she was between his legs. She had dug her nails into his shoulders until he yelped.

Plans for murder started then. Lise watched them carefully, thinking about opportunity, about vulnerability. When did he leave her alone, when was he out, where did he keep the keys to the garage and so on until a plan began to form.

It was the middle of the night. It seemed apt. She’d pulled him in to kiss her, earlier that day, swiped the keys from his pocket while he was sticking his tongue down her throat. Now she crept up to the garage, let herself in. She had wondered if she would been able to do it, once she was there but the sight of her gleaming in the moonlight, it brought unbearable hatred. It had to be done.

Quietly, she began to roll her out of the garage. It’s okay, Lise whispered, I’m a friend, remember. She moved slowly and was far heavier than Lise had reckoned but she didn’t have far to go.

Lise wasn’t sure how long it took to get her there but she knew she was panicked by the thought of spying eyes. There was no hiding what she was doing. It would be clear that there was something wrong. Still, they would understand when Lise told them. The usurper had to go.

When she stood at the cliff edge, Lise revved her engines up. That’s the last time I’ll have to listen to that, she thought as she gave one final push. Away it went, over the edge. Lise smiled for what felt like the first time in ages.
“I fucking hate his motor bike,” she screamed as the machine bounced down the hill.

 

Chrys Fey’s Writing Challenge Day 5 – Write about a dream or nightmare that you’ve had.

Write about a dream or nightmare that you’ve had. Turn it into a short-short story – Day 5 of Chrys Fey’s 30 Day writing challenge.

I have a recurring dream / nightmare when I’m at a new school (which as I am a supply teacher, happens quite often) and I can’t find the classroom I am supposed to be in. This story is based on that.

How did I end up here? Outside? I don’t remember a door. I’m sure I didn’t go through a door. Ahead of me is only green field. I don’t recognise the view. In my head, I have a vision of the room where I should be, paper flying, noise levels rising as the kids realise there is no teacher. 

As I turn around in panic, I see the school buildings. Running towards them, my heart is pounding. They don’t seem to get any closer. And I am going as fast as I can. My legs are starting to hurt. My breath is coming short and fast. Why won’t the buildings get any closer. 

Suddenly I am inside. Now where is the map they gave me? I begin to pat my pockets. Calmly at first then when it does not appear, frantically, going through pockets again and again. The corridors peel off in different directions. Pick a corridor, any corridor. I shoot off to the left. 

Science. Turn left again. Maths. Right this time. Art. Running again. I pass classrooms for every subject. Food Technology. Drama. R.S. Does this school even have an English department.

And then suddenly, I see it. At the end of this corridor. In large golden letters. The word I have been searching for. English. My classroom must be along here. I look at the doors, 12, 13, 14, yes, 15. This is the one. 

Inside and the class quieten down expectantly. I stare at them in silent alarm. It is then I realise that I have left the work for them to do in the staff room. 

 

30 day writing challenge – Day 4 Create a character off the top of your head and write a short history about him/her.

Day 4 of http://writewithfey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/chrys-feys-30-day-writing-challenge.html –  Create a character off the top of your head and write a short history about him/her. Looking at this, it is more like the opening scene including the character rather than a biography but here it is anyway.

Matt Murphy was assessing himself in the mirror. He was in a suit which was becoming less unusual but still seemed a little strange. He tugged briefly at his tie. it was his first proper day at Hilltop High  – yesterday had been teachers only – and he was trying to decide exactly which thing it was that the kids would find the most hilarious. He was tall – 6ft 1 – and extremely skinny so it could be that. Or his unruly hair. Or his tendency towards camp exaggeration. Or his broad scouse accent in the middle of South Yorkshire. Or…

He made himself stop. Probably it would be some, as yet, unrealised fault. He thought of the text that had just come and which had prompted the self-assessment. It was from Steph, a teacher already for some ten years. She had tried to talk him out of it. Do something better, she had said. He hadn’t listened. The text had said Good Luck in the lion’s den. Very fucking funny. 

He was thirty three years old. Too old to be starting a career. Not even a new career. The first one. Unless working in a pub counted as a career which he doubted. Maybe that would work in his favour. The fact that he looked older, was starting to go a little grey.

It had been a long road to here. If he failed at this, there was little chance of starting all over again. He wasn’t going to fail though, was he? He realised it would be difficult at first but he imagined that by the end of the term he’d be winning. If he could imagine it, it could happen. That was how it went, wasn’t it?

He didn’t particularly want to remember his own teenage years. He had left home before he was sixteen due to issues with his stepfather. School hadn’t been the easiest of places either. He had just stopped going. GCSEs seemed a minor thing to sacrifice when you were fighting for your life every day. The rest of that year had been spent on whichever floor would have him. He’d got a job at a bar and worked every shift he could. Eventually he had saved enough to get a flat. Then it had been night-school: GCSEs, A-Levels. Working every single second. He hadn’t imagined being a teacher. Just that he wouldn’t always be working in a bar, pulling pints for idiots. No way. 

That was when he had come to Sheffield. University had to be part-time so he could also work. English Literature. Not useful but enjoyable.Then an MA. Then teacher training. All the way up to this present moment.

He wanted it to be over. The first moment. It was like being at the bottom of a steep hill. he couldn’t see what the summit was like from this angle. He needed to be starting to climb. He picked up his briefcase and made for the door. He promptly fell over the corner of the bed. Silently he cursed his clumsiness. That was another possible source of amusement. 

“You look fine. You’ll be fine.” Matt turned towards the bed, towards the voice. He smiled. Mikey had never suffered a moment of nerves in his life. Matt supposed if he looked like that, he wouldn’t be nervous either. He was full of confidence on Matt’s behalf. He had no doubt that Matt would be fine. 

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” In fact, it had been his intention to sneak out quietly. He didn’t want to give Mikey the chance to make a fuss. He was nervous enough already. He didn’t think he could take any of Mikey’s pep-talks at this time in the morning. “I have to go.” He added, hurriedly giving Mikey a kiss on the cheek and then darting out of the door. Miraculously he didn’t collide with any more of the furniture.  

Chris Fey’s 30 day writing challenge Day 3 – if you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go.

Day three of Chrys Fey’s 30 day writing challenge. This wasn’t an easy challenge for me. My writing tends to be quite internal- relating to thoughts and feelings – rather than description of external things. Even when I write third person, it tends to be from a character’s viewpoint so I don’t often write straight description but here goes….
I picked somewhere cold because the heat doesn’t really attract me. Even though the description isn’t particularly pleasant, I would really like to visit somewhere really cold.

The air was sharp, lethal almost. It managed to hurt, as if it were solid somehow. The effect on the body was instant. Eyes streaming and nostrils twitching, trying to retract. Ribs ached. If there were any fingers foolish enough not to ensconced in gloves, they were quickly attacked with vigour by the wind until they were red and numb, not to mention completely useless to their owner.
From the cliffs to the sea, there was a thick blanket of snow as yet untrodden. White so pure and clear that it hurt to look at it. Even with sunglasses, the glare was still painful. The light bounced back from the snow with a determination to blind. It was difficult to spot where the sea began from a distance.
The crunch of the snow under the first feet was the real start of winter. The innocence of the snow broken again by human feet. The foot slid through the deep snow so that it was more a foot hole than a foot print. The foot needed to be pulled out before the next one could be attempted. Progress to the water’s edge was slow. The trail of footprints stands out in the unblemished scene like a scar across the landscape. As if the snow was wounded.
At the water’s edge, the silence suddenly becomes apparent. If this was a summer’s day, there would be the waves lapping and the gulls shrieking but today, it is quiet. There is the occasional howl of wind and the odd creak as the ice stretches itself. Inhuman noises that suggested emptiness, cold, death even.

Day 2 – 30 day writing challenge – Pick a book at random and use the opening line

Day 2 - from Chrys Fey's 30 day writing challenge. 
Open a book at random and pick a line. Use that line as the
beginning of your piece and continue writing from where it 
leaves off. Pen the first thoughts that come to mind and don’t
revise it.

(The opening line is from Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood.)

Her parents thought she was becoming too wrapped up in these 
things and tried to give her dancing lessons to make her more
sociable. 
More sociable? In what way would being in a room full of sweaty
girls make her more likely to speak to any of them. Probably some
sort of leotard would be required. She had no desire to have flesh
on display. The more flesh on display, the more tongue tied. That
was an obvious correlation.
She didn't really understand why they were so concerned. She would
speak to them if she thought it was worth it but it clearly wasn't.
None of them were as interesting as the people in the books she read. 
None of them came close to the people she could imagine. They must
exist somewhere other than in her head. Well, even if they didn't 
she liked creating a world where they did.