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

  • A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Ox-Tales anthology
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Mzungu Boy by Meja Mwangi
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • How to Write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina (essay)
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert Gertrude Bell (compiled by Georgina Howell)
  • Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  • Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A River Town by Thomas Keneally
  • Free Fall by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • New Europe by Michael Palin
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie (possibly a reread)
  • Husli the Dwarf
  • Winter Birds
  • Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (reread)
  • Wish I Might by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • A Walk in the Countryside A B C (National Trust and Nosy Crow Books)
  • My First Touch and Trace 1 2 3
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
  • A Secret Vice by J. R. R. Tolkien (edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins)
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Narrow Corner by Somerset Maugham
  • Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham
  • Le gout d'Istanbul (anthology) (skimmed)
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • Blue Nowruz by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • secret beta read!
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • The Mewlips by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Just for This Moment by Kait Nolan
  • To Err is Human -- To Float, Divine by Woody Allen (short story)
  • the collected works of Beatrix Potter (Folio Society edition, over 30 books)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) (only half read)
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • Millions of Cats by W Gag
  • Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
  • Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
  • Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • The Creatures of Number 37 by John Watts
  • The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (reread)
  • A Mother's Confession by Amanda Palmer (lyrics and liner notes)
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, in A Tolkien Compass
  • Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • For my Wife, Navid by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • An Evening in Tavrobel by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • The Lonely Isle by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem)
  • Ancrene Riwle, preface, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley (poem)
  • Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Young Magicians edited by Lin Carter (anthology; includes two poems by J. R. R. Tolkien and all of rumble rumble rumble rumble drum belaboured by C. S. Lewis, referred to in The Last Battle)
  • Black and White Ogre Country by Hilary Tolkien
  • The Devil's Coach Horses by J. R. R. Tolkien (essay)
  • Guido's Gondola by Renee Riva and Steve Bjorkman
  • Save Our Public Universities by Marilynne Robinson (essay in Harper's Magazine)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
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