Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

777 Challenge: An Excerpt About Naughty Schoolgirls

Leigh W. Smith of Leigh’s Wordsmithery very kindly tagged me for the 777 challenge back in mid-October (shame-faced at my slowness to respond). Leigh is such a cool writer of most original voice and style. She writes speculative fiction and science fiction, mostly short stories, although she is working on her first novel. Do visit her blog and read some of her awesome creations.

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress. This is all a bit of fun: nobody must feel beholden to take part and they are free to bend the rules if they wish.

SarahWritingI’ve already done a similar challenge (Lucky Sevens) twice before, for my Speculative fiction novel that I’m busy submitting to literary agents and publishers just now. What I found interesting about this earlier exercise was that my 7 lines changed from the first draft to the last. For anyone who’s interested, you will find the two different versions in these posts —  Lucky Seven Time! and The Magnum Opus: Where Did that Year Go?  Also, the title has changed several times, with it ending up as Counting Magpies, partly thanks to my fellow bloggers’ input in a recent poll.

At the moment, my work-in-progress involves editing and formatting one of my older novels, possibly with self-publication in mind. It’s not a path I ever envisaged going down but no harm in exploring all avenues. This particular novel, Desiccation, is set in a posh girls boarding school in the 60s and is a darkly comic science fantasy, which I envisage as being suitable for older teenagers upwards. So here’s my extract, although I can’t guarantee that it will appear exactly on Page 7 by the time I’ve finished my edit.

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The head girl despaired at both the skag and the hog, but she could just about tolerate them as long as they didn’t start quibbling about her extortionate commission; not that she was optimistic about making a fortune with such shoddy specimens in her employ.

The sport-mad Skag Rag looked more like a boy than a girl with her flat chest, muscly limbs, and short-cropped hair, while Sweat Hog resembled a large pink blancmange. She could have made something of her white-blonde hair, but instead chose to wear it in a limp ponytail, adding to her general air of neglect. The plus side of both girls’ unattractiveness was their desperation for male attention of any kind.

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And while I’m on the subject of girls boarding school, I’d like to share a picture of me, aged 8, dressed as a St Trinian’s Girl for a fancy dress competition! St Trinians Girl

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Following that brief interlude, here are the 6 (not 7) people I’m tagging for the 777 Challenge (I hear their feet running off into the distance already!):

Blondeusk of Blondewritemore , who is writing her first novel and was my guest storyteller in August (Note: this tagging is strictly under the proviso that Blondeusk doesn’t take up the challenge until December, after she has surfaced from NaNoWriMo as I’m encouraging her not to read back over any of her novel-in-progress until she has typed THE END).

Sherri of A View From My Summerhouse, who’s writing her memoirs. (And shush, this is secret as Sherri doesn’t know it yet, but I’m shortly going to invite her along as a guest storyteller to my blog).

Dave of Dave Farmer’s Blog, whose fantastic zombie novel The Range is due for publication at the end of this month (watch out for the Publication Day special on my blog). Dave was my guest storyteller in June.

Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate, who is at the submission stage of her poignant novel The skin of a selkie and was my guest storyteller in October.

Ese Klava of Ese’s Voice, who has travelled the world and has written a book titled Butterfly Thy Name.

David Milligan-Croft of There Is No Cavalry, who, like me, doesn’t enjoy the restrictions of genre. I’m not sure where he is with his second novel, Peripheral Vision, re editing, but I’m hopeful he’ll take up the 777 challenge.  The story is about a boy growing up in the 1970s northern England, who descends into crime and whose only chance at redemption is in finding his long-lost childhood sweetheart.

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21 thoughts on “777 Challenge: An Excerpt About Naughty Schoolgirls

  1. I will have to return and check out some of those blogs. Good luck with your editing.

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  2. Oh what a fun challenge this is Sarah, and I have to say, enjoying reading your post so much and then almost dropped my laptop when I discovered your little secret! Well, I am thrilled and thank you so much on both counts, I’m honoured. The 777 challenge is one I’ve not heard of before so I really look forward to taking part as soon as I can. Will check out the other bloggers too, but of course I already know Andrea 🙂 Have a great weekend Sarah, see you soon 🙂
    PS Love the pic, I love the St. Trinian’s stories and very much enjoyed your excerpt 🙂

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  3. Funnily enough St Trinians was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of your post! Very intriguing extract – it leaves me with more questions than answers which is a good thing 🙂

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    • Thanks 🙂 Samantha, the headgirl, is an interesting and complex baddie — so manipulative, controlling, and duplicitous, as you can probably guess from that piece. Glad you were intrigued. This novel is my son’s favourite one. He was still at school when he read the first draft and stayed up all night as he couldn’t put it down, so you can imagine who was falling to sleep over lessons the next day. You know it once got turned down by a publisher who said that nobody would be interested in a novel set in a posh boarding school — then “who” happened, but the one-and-only Harry Potter?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. wow, Sarah- I went to boarding school too!!! I love the excerpt and the whole idea. I will look forward to reading it!!! Yes, St. Trinian’s. Loved Ronald Searle cats!

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    • Did you enjoy boarding school? Being a tomboy and one who liked freedom, I found being incarcerated with a whole load of girls a bit restricting and boring. It’s where I learned to daydream, escape into writing, and get up to naughty tricks, but never as naughty as the girls in my story!

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      • I so wanted to be naughty!! I had the fear of God instilled by strict nuns lol. But some of my friends were- I think the worst thing I did was smoke cigarettes!!! – like you I escaped into daydreams and books!! I love Searles’ wicked looking girls!!

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      • My friend who went to a convent left school at 18 and had her rebellion then — big-time! Those nuns can be very scary and put you on a constant guilt-trip about sin. Oooo, cigarettes, Cybele: a fiery taste of hell, indeed D:

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      • oh Sarah, I think we all rebelled at some point!!! I still haven’t reconciled though Pope Francis is lovely!! There were a couple of lovely nuns that I remember- one left but the other is still in the order. She really encouraged the reading of good literature and loved to discuss Buddhism!! Quite a progressive soul at the time but this was post Vatican II ( I think it was called).

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      • Pope Francis seems very well loved, including by the High Anglicans in the Church of England. The previous pope was not so loved by those same Anglicans.
        Indeed, your lovely nun sounds as if she was most progressive. I think my friend was subject to the stricter and more traditional form of teaching employed by the nuns of pre-Vatican II times! Not sure of the dates for Vatican II, but I’m talking about the end of the 60s.

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  5. Enjoyed this, Sarah. Photo is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: 777 Challenge: An excerpt from The Range | Dave Farmer

  7. Pingback: Memoir Excerpt: 777 Writing Challenge | A View From My Summerhouse

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