Friday, 24 February 2012

#writechallenge on Twitter

Why would I compete and complete the writing challenges set by @RachaelHarrie in the #writecampaign challenge? Well, that’s easy to answer:

1.) I love seeing how other authors handle the same challenge.

2.) I like the idea of being set a task, because it helps me to focus on my writing.

There is a breath of diversity and a range of styles on offer here in this challenge that fascinates me. There are already +188 pieces of work to choose from and it would be rare for two writers to produce very similar pieces of work.

Some pieces will be scary, others funny, some thought provoking, others follow a theme/genre but it is the poetry that leaves me astounded. For me this choice seems harder to complete for this challenge, because I feel there are more rules to consider here than when I write fiction.

Reading the many entries is time consuming but worth the time spent. Seeing how other writes have framed ideas, captured scenes, developed strong characters in less than 200 words makes it fascinating. And occasionally there will be inspiring lines that linger, lines that you wish you had thought of and written.

Some pieces get read and liked more than others. This is always tough to see as each writer has dedicated time, energy and effort in writing the piece offered and shared through this event.

The element of competing is strong as there are winners who get prizes. But each author gets an opportunity to put their work up against the best and be viewed, rather than judged, accordingly. I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to please all the people all the time so I am grateful when a few very nice people drop by and leave a comment about my writing. It is always gratifying.

The entries are available to be read for the next week or so.

My thanks must go to @RachaelHarrie for her time, energy, drive and determination in running these events: First campaign challenge and the Fourth campaign.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

First campaign challenge: Shadows

Shadows crept across the wall, elongated and strange shapes that played on her mind as Constance briefly came too and focused.

The sky was growing darker now, heralding the night to come. He had not closed the bedroom curtains yet and she could see the dying embers of the orange ball of fire slide away behind the horizon.

Her head ached. Yet she had heard him quite clearly but her mind rebelled as she chose to ignore his words.

‘I’m so sorry love. I hate to be the one to have to tell you…’

No! Impossible. That can’t be right was all she thought.

‘They said it was very quick. She didn’t feel a thing.’ But the look of sadness in his eyes told her more than she ever wanted to know.

Her palms began to sweat, and she let go of the straps and dropped her handbag. A rising tide of bile made her feel physically sick. Slowly she began to sink to her knees, as her body slid down the wall, he had rushed forward to catch her before she fell to the floor as the ringing in her ears grew louder, her vision blurred and everything faded.

My Flash fiction entry for #writecampaign. And I managed to complete it in 200 words.

My thanks to @rachaelharrie for organising this First campaign challenge and the Fourth campaign.

A few more #smallstone entries:

Feb 15th

Leaving the low rumbling roar hang in the air, filling the space with its volume, a jet engine, heard but unseen flies away #smallstone

Feb 16th

Long & low the wind mutters, grows unforgiving, a drawn out miserable moan & whistles as it swirls, spins away, then subsides #smallstone

Feb 17th

Roads awash with rain glisten clean, ditches collect fouled rainwater, excess-water runs off fields as verge side ponds develop #smallstone

Feb 18th

Uncovered a dark sky, clouds neatly folded as heavy grey serge blankets & sun attempts yet fails to break thru this dense shield #smallstone

Feb 19th

A chunk of bread picked up in its beak dwarfs a robin, who sits on a branch breaks off pieces some fall to ground lost not saved #smallstone

Feb 20th

Ditches fill & flood, rainwater has no where to hide, bursts the banks, runs free to form a ford, & temporarily covers tarmac #smallstone

Feb 21st

Muddied waters flow slickly off fields & slew onto roads, a pale brown liquid mud bath runs free before car tyres part the way #smallstone

Feb 22nd

Twigs & branches, macerated & mashed to bits, ripped from their trees lay trampled in neat furrows along the highway #smallstone

I have been distracted from this practice, of writing my #smallstones, this past week or so – and realised that I ought to post them here on my blog. I’ve been busy writing, back in the flow of things, developing plotlines and writing scenes for my other novel.

All very exciting as it’s great to be back writing.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Some more #smallstones to contemplate

I have managed to keep my promise to myself and continued to write more #smallstones well into February...

8th Feb

Lemon yellow roses that bloomed & blossomed before the snowfall seem sad, heads dip, their tips scorched a bronzed curled twist #smallstone

As the sun dips beneath the horizon, a full faced moon rises, shines, basks in the suns reflected glory, turns coral-orange-pink #smallstone

9th Feb

There is nothing so precious as the softness of a newborns skin, as pale and delicate slender fingers grasp & hold on tight #smallstone

Frosted fields glisten, a frozen carpet of diamante lustre, reflected sun light dazzles, illuminates trees hung as glittering candelabra #smallstone

10th Feb

Darkness descends, section by section the expanding clouds knit together then multiply and hide the moon and stars #smallstone

The earth seems to draw closer to the night sky as an amber glow of street lights reduces the distance of this closing night sky #smallstone

Feb 11th

Sheer delight, a pale morning sky floods with lemon yellow stands threaded through with suffused light of salmon pink filaments #smallstone

Smothered in powder soft snow flakes the intricacies of bare branches are enhanced their frail outlines decorated to advantage #smallstone

Feb 12th

Silent sentry’s stand in regimented rows feet firmly planted in snow dressed soil inert photovoltaic panels face/salute an overcast sky #smallstone

Feb 13th

Bedraggled left-overs of snow cling in awkward shapes. Some, rounded softened mounds, others peaked, marooned in a green ocean #smallstone

Feb 14th

Glorious cerise pink flowers of the Camellia bush no longer bloom bitten by frost the wafer thin petals turn tissue paper brown #smallstone

And I continue to attempt to limit the use of the word snow...

Monday, 6 February 2012

#smallstone this week's observations

I promised myself to continue the #smallstone challenge into February - to be mindful and notice. Here’s this weeks observations.

Feb 1st

Outside in the winter darkness, the cold air hangs like forgotten laundry on a washing line waiting to be folded up & taken in #smallstone

Feb 2nd

On this cold & clear night I would drift motionless through the stars out towards the galaxies & beyond to far flung planets #smallstone

Feb 3rd

Trees trunks newly sawn, some twisted & ripped, torn apart by a recent storm are neatly stacked at the side of the road #smallstone

Feb 4th

Roof top tiles glisten coated in a wafer thin crust of frost & bask in early morning sunlight before vanishing into the ether #smallstone

Feb 5th

The windowpane glazed with rainwater, my view outside merges into a curtain of wetness, the world grows blurred, becomes distorted #smallstone

Feb 6th

Hard black asphalt hides softened beneath a layer of pristine white snow a carpet that glistens encrusted with sparkling diamonds #smallstone

Feb 7th

Snow covered fields brighten an overcast day as sheep stand, black socked feet against the pure white surface rooting for food #smallstone

and I tried very hard not to overuse the word: snow!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The trials and tribulations of Banana Cake

What you may ask could possibly be so complicated about Banana Cake?

Absolutely nothing if the truth be told… except:

My house will smell fragrant and perfectly wonderful on a snowy day like today filled with the aroma of freshly baked cakes so that’s just one of the many upsides of banana cake. It’s the best combination I know for me. And I’m a jolly good cake baker even if I do say so myself.

The kitchen will become the warmest, cosiest room in the house, the hub of my universe.

So imagine my surprise, when in Sydney I was offered it for my breakfast, ‘toasted’ served with a side order of Greek yoghurt and luscious mouth watering fresh fruits. Briefly I thought I’d died and landed in heaven it was just what I needed to restore my equilibrium before I set off to explore the city. The simple addition of toasting it breathed new life into this confirmed favourite.

Those three days I walked until my feet realised that complaining was of little point (there was so much to see) and I only got spooked one evening when I realised that the fruit bats were waking up for their night time excursions…that was a weird sensation and boy fruit bats are far longer, and larger than English bats! I ran away.

However there is a significant downside to banana cake too.

I can’t stop at one slice.

My resistance is weak.

To fight the urge to have my cake and eat it is futile.

So I’m going to be kind to myself today and not cook!

No … don’t be daft I’m just kidding. This delicious cake will be baked. The only issue is how fast it will be eaten. Against all my better judgement I will cut the first slice, piping hot, as soon as it is released from the baking tin, served with lashings of butter melting, dribbling, and oozing in to its gentle soft texture.

My idea of heaven.

Then I’ll walk away. But for how long? Its siren call will draw me back to the kitchen and urge me to try a second slice. This time the additional butter will sit, perched like a slice of cheese on its crumbly surface.

**Slaps own hand**

Good food is my downfall. Always has been. And today the handbrake of resistance will be released as I fall over, and slide down this slippery slope of self indulgence, but hey it only snows rarely in the UK!

And if it hadn’t of snowed, then I probably would have gone out and not baked.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

#smallstone update

The January challenge set by @fiona_robyn to be mindful and write about one item/thing/sensation has ended and I have to say it was just what I needed to get my writing focus back, because it had wandered off during December! Life in general got in the way.

So my sincere thanks to Fiona for encouraging me to join the River of Stones project.

As a writer I seem to have too many ideas mulling around in my head for both short stories and my novels that sometimes I can easily loose my focus and become frustrated, as there can be too many priorities to consider.

However, I hope that you, my readers, have enjoyed reading my attempts to paint pictures with words limiting myself to 129 characters, which in itself is a challenge but quickly I discovered cheats & other ways of saying things, twisting words a round and reshaping sentences.

Not all of the #smallstones are grammatically correct but hopefully close enough, not all of them will make perfect sense, as these are my unedited thoughts and by this I mean I’ve broken the rules of grammar and used more than one adjective simply because I enjoy the way a set of words sounds especially when they all begin with the same letter. I am an Alliteration nut!

Therefore I’ve decided to keep my #smallstone practice going throughout February and beyond as well as this I am declaring that I shall make myself submit more short stories during February to more platforms.

I have two short stories drafted that need a polish and these can then be submitted to new platforms. Also a few more ideas are hovering in the wings so I will make time to record them before moving back into writing my novel, which has been knocking on the door (of my mind) to be heard for some time now.

Here are the last of the #smallstones

Jan 30th

The postman delivers a loud urgent rat-a-tat-tat that makes me jump out of my skin, a large parcel won’t go thru' the letterbox #smallstone

On this crisp starry night a moonlit sky displays the velvet blue canopy studded with unrivalled crystals shimming to advantage #smallstone

Jan 31st

I have a pretty floral tea cup & tea pot set that I use but each time I pour the spout piddles tea... all over the work surface! #smallstone

In the silence of a winters night I stare above, brilliant white diamonds dotted across a blue-black firmament filled with stars #smallstone

And yes I got carried away towards the end and wrote more than one a day… and I tried to say the same thing in different ways.