642 things to write about – Write an alphabetical story.

Writing Prompt – Write a story in which each sentence will start with a different letter of the alphabet e.g. start with A, move on to B and so on.

This was quite good fun. And I know I didn’t get all the way through but I couldn’t think of an X word. If you can come up with a sentence starting with X, please let me know.

At this time in the morning, the sky was still dark. Bryan got up anyway. Carefully, he slid out of the covers. Downstairs others were starting to stir. Excitement started to touch him. Fairly soon, he’d be getting his fill. Grabbing a towel and tying it around his waist, he headed for the communal showers.

Hot water stabbed at his shoulders. In no time at all, he was clean and properly awake. Just as quickly, he toweled himself down. Knocking his knee on the sink, he cursed his haste. Likelihood of bruising, high. Muttering to himself, he hurried back to his bedroom.

Now, he was fully dressed. Opening his door, he saw others heading in the same direction. Perhaps he should have hurried even more. Quickly, he tried to get ahead, to be one of the first. Rationally, he knew that there would be enough for all but his growling belly pushed him on.

Still he couldn’t get to the front of the queue. Too many to push out of the way. Unless someone fainted, he’d be stuck where he was. Very soon, he thought, it’ll be me who faints. What would happen then?

642 things to write about – Write two very different love letters

You are a thirteen year old. Write a love letter to your boyfriend.

OMG, you are so beautiful. Your blond hair is all gold like the sun. Your eyes are blue like the sky. When you smile, my heart flutters round like a butterfly. The other day, when you waited for me outside chemistry for you and I saw you there, all handsome and tall, I thought I was having a heart attack, it was pounding so hard. I was tempted to faint. Jen. Lisa and Caro were so jealous. LOL. If I had died right there, it would have been perfect. 

Yesterday, when you held my hand for the first time, I was in heaven. All I can think about, all the time, is when you kiss me for the first time. I am literally dying for that to happen. I hope it will be tomorrow when we go to the pictures but it doesn’t matter how long it takes because I love you forever. 

You are twenty one years old. Write a letter to your girlfriend.

I’m not sure I should write this down. Is this stupid? Perhaps it will scare you away. Don’t get me wrong, I do like you. I like you a lot. But words on a page are very definite, aren’t they? They can’t be unwritten. Does it seem a bit full on?

I would like to have a future with you. I can see it sometimes, like in the morning when I wake up and you are still sleeping. I know then that I wouldn’t be sorry if this was forever. You look so content and peaceful. There is a calmness in my life now and I know that I like that very much. That’s not too scary, is it? You feel it too, don’t you? God, I hope so.  

An Excellent Gift for a Writer – 642 things to write about.

My favourite gift this year was a book called 642 Things to Write About which is full of writing prompts. I could barely wait for guests to leave before I started to write in it.

As I am always looking for things to write in this blog, I shall share what I write. I’m not going to promise to do it everyday as once I am back at work, that will be impossible but I will try to do it regularly.

Here is the first one:

Write a scene that begins “It was the first time I killed a man.”

It was the first time I had killed a man. But not the last.

It didn’t feel as bad as I might have supposed. The distance was the thing. It was the bullet rather than the knife so I didn’t have to witness it eye to eye, as it were. There was no hot blood oozing over my hands. I saw his body drop though, all heavy like lead. Straight for the floor. Like a giant hand had cut all his strings. The wound was to the head so death was probably instant. If not, it would surely have been quick.

Of course, he was one of the bad guys. That was what the Government said. So his death didn’t really trouble me. No more than shooting a rat might have. Vermin. Better off dead. And of more use. 

Now that the Fuel Wars are over and the Government has retained supreme control, it is hard for the young ones to imagine what it was like. The fear we had then was all-consuming. And then there was the cold. That sneaks up sometimes. I’ll wake in the morning and the toes are outside the quilt and they are like ice and I get transported back there. To huddling together with all the people in your building. To having nothing to sit on, nothing to read, nothing at all because it had all been burned. And the thought, what would happen when everything had been burned. 

That had been my reason for going to fight for the Government rather than the rebels. The Government gave you a thermal uniform. You got gloves, socks and regular meals. All the rebels could give you was a sense of moral superiority and that does not really keep you warm. 

I admit I don’t think often of those who died, whether by my hand or one of my fellow soldiers. I think, instead, of how warm it is now. 

 

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.

The perfect implications of an imperfect world.

The recent edit of Choose Yr Future has seen some chapters disappear, some change and some needing to be written. When I first started writing some of the details of my future world weren’t as clear as they are now so obviously there have been some pretty big changes. For me, this is the one enjoyable thing to come out of editing. Until you read through the whole of your work, you don’t always realise you have been sidetracked. Sometimes the sidetrack becomes the main road. Sometimes you have to find a way back to the path you actually want to follow. But at the end, the destination should be clear.

One of the things that became clear to me was that while I was concerned about gender and sexuality issues, I hadn’t realised that I was writing about class so much. My future society is very much a class based world with no social mobility at all, apart from the lucky ones who get to win talent shows of one type or another. The sort of thing that gives the impression of mobility when in fact the majority of people are stuck with in the same place as they ever were; the same place where their parents were stuck; the same place their children will be stuck.

Of course, a lot of people believe that class divisions no longer matter and that social mobility is easier than it has ever been. And maybe that is true to an extent. After all, in my suburban house, with my job in education, I’d have a nerve to still call myself working class (although there is no doubt that I still do). If I had children, they would be born into a middle class world. But when a recent study showed that elite surnames still dominate in universities such as Oxford and Cambridge and that underlying social status is more strongly inherited than height, there may be not as much cause to celebrate as you might think. Maybe there is more movement in the middle but as soon as you start to move to the extreme of either end, it becomes more and more difficult to move upwards at one end, less and less likely that you will lose your privilege at the other.

As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, I am currently reading Margaret Atwood’s In Other Worlds. She discusses her own dystopian world and also the way that she feels that dystopia and utopia are not really the opposites we take them as but ever present within each other. I hadn’t thought about it before but it makes sense that if you create a perfect world then there must be the implication of an imperfect one and vice versa. What about the perfect world implied in my dystopic one? My future humans are caught up with voting on everything, they have no spare time as the government controls their every waking hour with work, exercise, recreation, and so on. They have health plans that they must keep to, they have roles that are chosen for them. They have a place in which they must stay, a time to get married, a time to have children. So I suppose my ideal world would be one where people were able and allowed to think for themselves, where they were given the freedom to be themselves and where you could actually choose your future.

 

 

 

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.