Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Insecure Writers, Flash Fiction for Özlem Yikici's Continuing Story and Books from Kait Nolan (it's ROW80 Check In Day!)

You'll have to forgive me. I'm feeling a bit insecure at the moment. I've hit a good stride in my edits for Rome, Rhymes and Risk but, you know, it's easy to hit a stride when you keep leaving blank spots in your wake. [insert scene] and [add more emotion to this] and so on; easy to discard so-called edited pages when you've still got square brackets littering the prose.

On top of that, the blasted alarm clock went off in the middle of such an exciting film/story of a dream this morning. I've been scribbling like mad, trying to get all the pieces down, but I missed the ending, and didn't even get to find out the hero's name - the heroine was just about to call out to him, as a wave took him under, when the furshlugginer alarm jangled me awake.

Even trying to relive the dream in the shower didn't help. What do you mean, I'll have to imagine and write the ending? Oh, right. I'm a writer.

An insecure writer. Thank you, Alex, for the support group!

And if you'd like, you can read my story for Rach's second challenge, vote (she's got Like buttons!), and offer critiques. I need to be more insecure before I can be confident, right?

At the same time, I've got a bit of flash fiction to share with you all!

Özlem Yikici has come up with a wonderful idea: "I want us to write a story together. How? Just like any other Flash Fiction Challenge; but with a slight twist (I can't help myself); we will each write a paragraph (no more than 250 words per entry) to the on-going story (which will start below and continue in the comment section/linky list, I will create a page to collate all the entries). Once we finish this rather exciting online project, I hope to publish our collected works in an eBook - either market it for free or put it on sale for a worthy cause." Another added twist is that Özlem has put up four images for us to draw inspiration from, including the two that I used:

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse

Nightfall Down the Thames, John Atkinsonn Grimshaw

So here're part one, at C. M. Brown's and part two, at Lara Schiffbauer's, of Paper Canvas Tapestries Collaborations, in which our two heroines find themselves in a frightening hallway in the middle of a windstorm, and one has just been attacked by a sunflower. Or so it seems...

Delphina cried out, but the wind snatched her words away. I leapt forward and snatched the petal off her cheek.

"Jasmine, help me," she managed to whisper, and then she began to cough. Another petal fell out into her hand.

"Let's get out of here." I grabbed her hand and pushed forward, into the wind, down the red-carpeted corridor.

The first door to the left had a rose engraved on its handle, which seemed like a good omen. The wind pushed us harder than ever, but I set my shoulder to the door and shoved.

The door opened and we fell through --

--onto a ship.

No one had seen us. We clutched the rail and looked around at the tall masts, the caravels, the fishermen's rickety rowboats that cluttered up the docks. In the distance, I could see the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.

We were still in London, then. Yet the cityscape didn't look anything like the London I knew.

"Jasmine? What's happened?" Delphina gaped up at me, expecting me to have all the answers, as she always did. There was a vivid red line on her cheek where the petal had sliced her skin.

"We're in London. But as to when..."

That's when I saw her: in a boat with a dragon-head prow, floating towards us on the current, long-haired and pale, the Lady of Shalott.

"Help me," the lady called. She raised her arm, shielded her eyes, and her gaze met mine. "Is this Camelot?"

If you'd like to play, please write to Özlem!

And Kait's books? They're all 50% off at Smashwords, in honour of Read an Ebook Week. Happy reading!


Miranda Hardy said...

Good luck with the edits. It's a tedious task.

Suzanne Lilly said...

What a fun project! I'll be following the story as it grows. We did this once in a writing class I took, and everyone loved it. It's one of my favorite memories of a class.

Nadja Notariani said...

Those darned brackets...and red pen markings. Ha! Sorry to laugh, but I make the same little notes in my margins.
'Add more emotion'
'Lengthen scene'
'Cut description - too many adjectives'
'Change to dialogue'
'Richen up word-play here'
The list goes on and on! I'm glad I'm not alone in leaving myself these little 'love-notes'!

Yikici's idea sounds wonderful! Maybe even make it a charity event - donating proceeds to some cause. (Sorry, Purim giving is consuming my brain today) The inspiration images are lovely.

Zan Marie said...

Now if I could ever get done enought to even *need* the brackets.... All I've got now is lists of lists of what I *know* needs added.

Go, Deniz, Go! In my book (ha!), you're way ahead of me.

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Deniz,

From what I have read here, YOU have NOTHING to be insecure about!

You story sucked me right in as your two character got sucked through the door into another dimension.


This is quite the fun challenge. I really enjoyed your excerpt and look forward to reading more.

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck with your edits! I might get more accomplished, if I did use the brackets to mark scenes instead of trying to fix everything as I go.

Carol Riggs said...

Way neat story! I was definitely sucked in and kept reading. You could make that a full-blown novel (maybe changing the Lady of S to another character...altho maybe not!). I love that Waterhouse painting, sigh. :) The ships one is cool too!

S.P. Bowers said...

Sounds like a doozy of a dream. Good luck remembering all the bits and pieces. Too bad about the ending, sometimes making it up in our waking lives isn't quite the same as dreaming it.

Angela Brown said...

Edits are a darling to some while for others of us, they are a bit of a bane. A necessary one, unforutnately. I'm sure Rome, Rhymes and Risk will be the better once you've completed this tedious part. I know you can do it.

And so sorry about that dream. I'm sure you treated the alarm to a most displeasing frown for its timing :-)

I love that flash fiction piece. Quite enjoyable.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like how you arranged your dialogue along with the action, if that makes any sense. That's something that I struggle with; more often than not I rely more on dialogue than one action. So I like the way you incorporated your descriptions into the conversation.
Oh, and bummer about the dream. I hate when that happens. That usually happens to me when it's a dream that I don't want to wake up from, the kind where I'm starring in my own romantic comedy. :) Lately, though, I've just been dreaming about work.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Very nice bit of flash fiction! Love the punch at the end :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I really like that second picture.

"What do you mean, I'll have to imagine and write the ending? Oh, right. I'm a writer." HA! We're so lazy, wanting our dreams to do the work for us. ; )

J.R. Pearse Nelson said...

Keep those edits coming! I know exactly what you mean, except for me it isn't brackets, it's red text showing me places I need to come back to. But sometimes on the next time through it will be obvious what you need to do there, because of something you added or changed somewhere else. Good luck with the final weeks!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, it's still progress!
At least you remembered your dream. My brain is so fuzzy in the morning most of mine vanish.

Medeia Sharif said...

I hate when I wake up suddenly from an interesting dream.

I want to keep reading about Jasmine and Delphina. Great piece.

Outlander Kitchen said...

Keep writing...and putting it out there for us to enjoy! theresa

Naina Gupta said...

I have been square bracketing my work too, but I am only on the draft stage so I shall forgive myself for that. I am finding it works better for me to write the bits that I do know and can write now and then come back to the bits that have to be there.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks, Miranda!

Glad you're enjoying it, Suzanne :-)

I'm glad I'm not the only one with funny margin notes, Nadja.

Hope you post in the March X, Zan Marie!

Aww, thanks so much, Michael! I hope you join Yikici's story too!

Editing would take me forever if I didn't use square brackets, Cherie.

Thanks so much, Carol! Hope you come play too.

And sometimes writing it down loses the dream flavour, Sara - did you see my March X?

Thanks so much, Angela!

Funny, I had a dream about work last night, Neurotic. For some reason my former French teacher had joined our office...

Thank you, Jamie and Theresa and J. R.!

It depends how I wake up, Alex - usually the alarm dispells the dreams completely...

Thanks Medeia and Theresa!

I write that way, too, Naina - and have to come back to all the missing bits after.

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Great flash fiction piece! I wanted to pop in and say hello from Alex's IWSG list. Welcome to the group!!! Wow, you've got a lot going on with all of your writing! Best of luck to you!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much Candy!

yikici said...

Deniz, firstly I apologise for taking a while to finally read your addition to the story (it's just been a doozey of a month) and secondly I LOVE what you have written. You've brought on a surreal element to the story and I'm extremely curious to what will happen next. It's great -so don't be worrying about your writing -you have nothing to feel insecure about; stay positive and always remember to smile when a low mood surfaces -the smile will shine it away.

yikici said...

Oh, I just remembered, you need to add your story to this linky list:

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh, thanks so much! I'm off to add my link right now!

C.M.Brown said...

Hi Deniz,
Sorry I have taken this long to read your part of the story, but even though I do remember you visiting my blog to let me know you had posted it I somehow misplaced the link and then Yikici had some trouble with her site and I couldn't see you post linked there.

But I think you have done a great job!

I hope another writer pick it up and we find out if the girls get back home!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much C. M.!

I hope someone does take it up, I'd love to see what happens.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  • The Murder Stone (A Rule Against Murder) by Louise Penny
  • Emily's Quest by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily Climbs by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien (expanded edition; reread of some)
  • Married by Midnight by Talli Roland
  • Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  • The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
  • Dead Cold by Louise Penny
  • The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • The Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman:
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here:
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
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