Friday Fictioneers — Beyond the Veil

Genre: Tragedy
Word Count: 100

BEYOND THE VEIL

Alice’s bridal veil hangs at the window, curtaining her off from the world.

Beneath a silvery moon her seducer had sung of love and sent her heart sailing over the rooftops, along with her brain.

If only clouds and rain had sheeted the moon in gloom that night, Alice would’ve hung on to her brain and her panties.

If only she’d worn a straitjacket for her hen night, she could have settled for mediocrity.

If only her fiancé had sent her heart sailing over the rooftops as her seducer had done.

Forever after, “if only” will be her daily mantra.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright (c) Gah Learner

My Latest Meet-up With Fellow Blogger, Sherri Matthews

Last week I had one of my regular meet-ups with my dear friend Sherri Matthews, who blogs at A View From My Summerhouse. As many of you know, Sherri and I both live in the south of England, but 150 miles apart from each other; however, I’m very fortunate that her two grown-up sons live in my neck of the woods and she visits them as often as she can.

To my delight, apart from our usual pub lunch, this time I was able to share one of my favourite walks with her — Cuckmere Valley and Estuary — the beauty of which I’ve celebrated many times in haiku and tanka verse.

My first get-together with Sherri was back in June 2015, when we met for lunch and discovered that we could do more talking in a few hours than some people do in a week! Not only was Sherri the warm, caring, and sincere person I expected her to be, but I found she shared my quirky humour and eccentricity, too. So how could we end up as anything other than good friends?

Of course we have writing in common also, and I think she’d agree that we support and encourage each other through the highs and lows of completing our projects. Sherri is working on the final draft of her memoir Stranger in a White Dress and, by now, most of my followers know that I write offbeat novels.

Sherri twice contributed to my monthly guest storyteller slot that I ran for a little over three years. On both occasions, she managed to delight readers with some flash-fictionalised seasonal memoir  — ‘Chocolate Umbrella’ and ‘A Blue Coat for Christmas’.

I look forward to my next meet-up with Sherri, when I plan to share another of my favourite walks by the sea, which includes the site of archeological interest mentioned earlier this week in my tanka poem about a crow.

Has anyone else a story to tell about real-life friendships they’ve made through blogging?

Friday Fictioneers — Dressed Trout

Genre: Dark humour
Word count: 100

DRESSED TROUT

“You, madam, have fatally overstepped the mark.”

“Leb be bout!”

Silly old trout. Dose of y’ own medicine. Enter the zone of a faceless nobody without a voice, hands tied by The System. …Except now you’re at the mercy of My System. “Madam, you called me ‘boy’ again today and shouted at me in front of the customers. My job is to stack the freezers, not spend hours helping you choose wine so all my ice cream melts.”

“Bolice! Boy’s a bycho.”

“Too right, I’m a psycho. Now an officially jobless one with infinite time on his hands for torture.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright (c) Liz Young

Snowy Monday Morning #Haiku191 & #Novel-in-Progress Excerpt

alongside snowfall
chalk acquires a creaminess
hitherto unseen

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I’ve decided to take about a fortnight’s sabbatical to complete the first draft of Twicers,  the futuristic satire I started writing during National Novel Writing Month, 2017.

In January, for Friday Fictioneers, I posted a 100-word excerpt from the viewpoint of my main protagonist, Japeth. Today, you are to meet Blip, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and works as a computer and robot maintenance engineer at the Duffers’ Centre, a futuristic take on the Job Centre.

THE EXCERPT (260 words)

Overtime felt good because it meant starting work after closing time. No people. Just robots and a row of dispensing machines stocked with salt and vinegar crisps and cherry red energy drinks that she would raid when spring arrived.

It was February, with plump snowflakes tumbling through the twilight. The building inside was neither hot nor cold, but warmer than the temperature outside. The toughened glass windows had security blinds. Tonight, a few disgruntled duffers had gathered outside, looking as if they wanted to throw something harder than snowballs at the window, not that it was yet minus one degree Celsius and cold enough to make a decent one.

Blip hurried into the Centre, her graphite earmuffs over the hood of her hoodie and under the hood of her graphite parka. She saw the duffers without meeting any of them in the eye. Not that she was afraid of them. Simply, she wasn’t in the mood for conversation. But then she was never in the mood for conversation. On the rare occasions she had to pretend interest in what someone else was saying, it was agony, unless they were talking about animals, alternative energy, astronomy, chess, or computers, but only if they knew their subject and weren’t spouting bullshit.

She knew ‘bullshit’ was a silly word, as humans did not literally spew bull’s faeces out of their mouths; however, it was an excusable addition to her vocabulary as it had a hard-hitting sound to it and she couldn’t think of a more concise way of describing such idiocy.

The Pantser’s Antipenultimate Panic #Novel Writing

You would have thought by now I’d have learned the pitfalls that go with being a seat-of-your pants writer. Yes, it’s exciting. Yes, it’s living dangerously. And yes, every time I reach the final third of my novel I come unstuck.

This time it’s worse than usual. Instead of writing at my usual steady pace that sees a first draft completed in six to nine months, I slammed out 50,000 words in one month during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and then only had time to write 6,000 words in December, so I literally lost the plot.

Yesterday, I wrote three pages of dialogue between two people that did little to advance the plot. I may or may not have picked up on some threads earlier in the novel, but mostly I was waffling in the dark.

On reflection, the cause of this waffling is clear: that I can’t remember what I said earlier in the novel, or what clues I laid down. When a writer reaches the stage of to-ing and fro-ing every few sentences via the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl][F], it’s akin to playing yo-yo and hoping the string doesn’t snap.

The moment of reckoning has arrived. I cannot proceed in a southerly direction, when I keep on having to retrace my steps north. If I carry on like that, I will end up tearing out my hair and casting my novel into the trash bin. But I neither want to tear out my hair nor cast my novel in the trash bin, as I’m rather fond of both items.

Thus, my only option is to stop writing and return to “Go”, even if go is situated at the North Pole. This does not involve any kind of rewrite or detailed proofreading, but a straight read through to remind me what I have written in the first two-thirds of my novel. As I’m doing this, I will write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis to save me having to do so at the end.

What am I looking for?

  • Clues
  • Revelations
  • Contradictions
  • Pacing/waffle
  • Direction
  • The story arc

And to end on a positive, what do I love the most about the novel that makes it worth saving?

  • The characters
  • The wry humour
  • The quirkiness
  • The story’s overall premise
  • The setting
  • The novel’s title

See you all when I get back from the North Pole. Only joking 😉