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

  • Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • 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***
  • Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Untitled by Claire G (poem)
  • Possum Magic by... (read by Claire)
  • The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  • Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman
  • "Birds of Passage" by Peter McArthur (poem)
  • Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
  • "Fear"by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (short piece) (already added this?)
  • Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • Jamadu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Fox's Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Tolkien's Gedling by __ and Andrew Morton
  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
  • Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Going Back by T. L. Watson
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
  • Emily's House
  • The Hockey Song
  • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
  • A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
  • Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
  • Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
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