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.