Wednesday, 21 May 2014

New Story Snip! ROW80 and Nature Photos

Catching up!

Slowly, but surely. I'm still working my way through A to Z Challenge posters and commenters, but I did catch up on all the blogs I was due to visit as part of my minion duties!

Here are a few of the new bloggers I met:

I've also moved a little further on one of my ROW80 goals, which is to participate in the May exercise on the writers' forum.

Here's a brief description of the exercise:
"The Power of Place.

How does a writer go from a generic "dark and stormy night" to creating a world that is so real, so tangible and vibrant that readers and characters alike live in it?

This power of place goes beyond simple world-building such as sketching maps of towns or creating blueprints of buildings. It goes beyond a mention of the weather, or the mountains, or the sunset reflected in a lover's eyes. Those are all good, but it gets better.

Setting is more than just a backdrop for plot and character. It’s another tool in the writer's toolbox that works hard at multitasking."
For more of the description, as well as the guidelines, come visit us on the Forum!

Today I managed to type up the scene I'll be submitting for the exercise, a brief snip from Larksong, my NaNo story from last year.

This story takes place the summer before World War I and features two characters who think they know what hardship is. By the end of the summer they've learned that not only are they stronger than they believed, but just how much they'll need that strength in the months to come. And, of course, it's a romance!

I've shared a brief snip featuring Larksong's Alice and George before, and now here's the scene from the May exercise (the bird reference is to one of the pets in her Nanny's menagerie):
Alice woke in the half light of morning needing the chamber pot. She felt for it under the bed, eyes half lidded, still snatching at a dream of Nanny B that had left behind a pervading sweetness, though already the details were beyond recall. 
Dawn had come and gone outside, though it was early yet. Early morning chill fogged the edges of her window. Far out on the lake an intrepid soul was fishing off the Mary Louise. George. 
There was no mistaking that stubborn outline, quite apart from the leg in its cast, propped on the gunwale at an angle that jarred the idyll of the misty morning lake. 
It was the work of a moment to shove the pot aside, exchange night rail for frock and slippers, and -- somehow remembering her woollen shawl at least -- tread softly down the stairs. 
Turning the key in noiseless increments, she slipped through a crack of doorway and, once out of doors, flew like Oscar the budgie down the lawn and through the tree belt.
Once on the dock she trod softly, lest George catch her at unawares and discover how eager she'd been to join him. She halted at the end, slippers soaked in dew from her mad dash, and watched.
It would not do to disturb the clear unrippled surface of the lake, nor the surrounding firs that gazed solemnly at their reflections. The sun had not yet broken through the morning haze. All was glassy and rough-edged, like a creature startled in a den it had not meant to be found in. A lone loon called to the east. 

George floated in the midst of the scene, ram rod straight, though no one was about to take notice of his posture.

Yet as his boat spun a lazy circle above an unseen current, she glimpsed his set jaw and the thin line of his mouth; he was hurting, and clenching his teeth against it. 

As the boat completed its turn, he saw her, and was apparently as reluctant as she'd been to disturb the raw morning, for he gave no sign or greeting.
Or was it that he did not want company, least of all hers?
She should have kept the peaceful sight of him from her window to herself, and not come down to uncover or disturb his tryst with pain.

Meanwhile, more photos!

lakeside morning

a pot of chocolate mousse! (couldn't fix the sidewaysness)

lakeside morning panorama

this niche reminds me of an Ent house

another United Nations peacock!

advancing on a statue...

one stone, the other feathers; two statues -- or so it seems...

another lakeside morning

amazing rainbow after a recent rain shower

if I could have run out and jumped on that pot, would there have been a pot of gold on it?

tried to get a shot of the full arc; hope you can see it!

Which stories are you working on?
Do you have a snip or favourite line to share?


M Pax said...

Beautiful photos. The Rainbow is so pretty. :D

I consider setting another character and an important one.

Carol Riggs said...

I love that statue!! and the one where the peacock is nestled in beside the wingtip is even more awesome. Great juxtaposition. Great idea juxtaposition too, stone vs actual feathers.

I liked this excerpt--such a great MOOD. Very nice. :)

Ryan King said...

Looks like you're making pretty good progress on catching up. Love the "Ent" picture. It does conjure up ideas!

Denise Covey said...

Great photos Deniz. You inspire me to post more on my blog, but because I'm posting on Pinterest and Instagram I tend to forget to post pics on my blog. Love the snippet of story.
Yes, setting. I just got my manuscript back from an editor. One of the things she complimented me on was my lush settings. Ha ha.


Neurotic Workaholic said...

Great excerpt! It's very detailed. I need to work on setting too; I read over some scenes I wrote and realized it was like a bunch of talking heads, because I didn't include enough details about the background.

Beth Camp said...

The excerpt shows a lovely attention to setting and ends with such mystery. I really want to know why George is hurting! And more about Alice and George. How often have we wanted to run down to the lake in such a romantic moment, forgetting all, and yet to be drawn up short. An intriguing excerpt. I did like the photos as well, especially that enigmatic peacock.

Donna B. McNicol said...

Great post...and GORGEOUS photos! I haven't looked around your site yet to figure out where you are. I'm in Ecuador...guess I should pepper in a few more photos of living here.

D.B. McNicol
Romance & Mystery...writing my life

LuAnn Braley said...

I enjoyed your description of the setting. It was an integral part of the story, without being interminable. A well-achieved balance.

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Oh! I love the way you used setting here. especially the jarring notes that speak of tension and risk. The angle of George's leg, his clenched jaw, his tryst with pain. I may pop in at the Forum for June...May's a little booked up.

My recent favorite setting line, from my Enterprise fan fiction:

"He looks out again at that chaotic field, and thinks about a complicated woman."

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - you're always so busy with your writing and learning .. and then letting us know about Geneva with the pics.

The weather - those heavy showers and storms and I'm sure if I looked I'd see a rainbow somewhere! Wonderful you were able to capture the whole arc ...

Cheers and all the best - Hilary

Jack said...

AMAZING snippet!!!!!!!!!!! It left me wanting more, and I love it when that happens 8-D

Kelly Steel said...

Lovely photos and great post.

Medeia Sharif said...

Beautiful pics.

I always like to read about what you're writing.

Amy Jarecki said...

Lovely excerpt and pictures :-)

klahanie said...

Hi Deniz,

That's awesome you met all those fellow alphabet challenge folks. You certainly seem very busy.

Very interesting read. However, I have no idea what "ROW80" means.

The photos are superb. The rainbow symbolic of your Switzerland adventure.

My stories are not actually being written by me. Thank heavens for a superstar dog to do that for me. She tells me that we should get in touch with our inner child as she has done with her inner puppy.

Gary :)

Sheena Simpson said...

Lovely writing as always from you. And the pics are inspiring. Love, love, love, love the statue.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much everyone. Very happy you enjoyed the snip!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • 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
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 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***
  • 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
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
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  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
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  • also in 2009 at
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  • also in 2008 at
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