Monday, 25 October 2010

Flash fiction competition and updates

Lots of updates here, so sorry for dotting around all over the place.

First, I found an interesting competition for flash fiction while I was browing the web this week. The 30 word story contest is being run by SmokeLong Quarterly to celebrate it's 30th issue, and runs throughout November. There's no entry fee, you can submit up to three entries, and the prize is publication in a special 30th edition of the magazine.
It says: "
This is what we'll be looking for in the stories submitted for our contest - very short gems that are sparse, yet evocative."

The creative writing course is going really well and the first assignment is due in this week. If you want to try out what we have to do, you have to do a 200-300 word freewrite on one of a choice of subjects and then use that as the basis for a 750 word piece of fiction. I'm not going to post up the topics here just in case it's not allowed by the university, but last year's themes have included a search; learning to swim; a scrapyard; hearing a piano; and a bunch of keys.

The final very quick update is that I've now managed to keep my streak on going for 39 days, and at 30 I became an 'albatross'. Lucky me. I get a phoenix if I can keep it up for 100 days.

Yes, it may just be a very small little image, but it's amazing what an incentive it can be!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Last Sin Eater - update

NaNoWriMo doesn't start for another couple of weeks, but I'm already stocking up ideas and research for my story. I've been looking into the practice of sin eating, trying to find out what the reaction of the Victorian church would be to the sin eaters, and if it doesn't absolutely chuck it down with rain this weekend I'm planning to visit Richard Munslow's grave to take some pictures and get as many solid facts about him and his family as possible.

In the meantime I've been browsing through the NaNo forums looking at other people's story ideas, and I came across a very talented participant called Teri King, who goes by the user name songbird0530, who offered to make covers for other users' potential novels.

After I gave her my quick synopsis she came up with this beautiful design for my story. I have to say it's nothing like I would have imagined myslf, but it's absolutely perfect.

It includes the farm, representing Richard's occupation, a grave to signify death, and the phrase "and for thy peace I pawn my own soul" from the sin eater's prayer. I love the way it's a very empty scene as well, with the grave just lurking in the foreground, giving it a strangely uneasy feel.

Teri's own story sounds very interesting and it's the sort of story I'd buy to take on holiday with me to read on the beach. Her story is called 'Learn to Love Again' and is about a cowgirl torn between two men.

Her blog is here and I'll be watching to see if she puts up any snippets of her story.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Song Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 – A song that you can dance to

I heard Wham's I'm your Man on the radio this morning and it brought back good memories of school discos when I was about six or seven. You know the kind of thing, when you got Agadoo playing and you did all the actions, and it didn't matter that it really didn't make sense (why did we 'push pineapple shake a tree'?), then everyone did the Hockey Cokey, and sung along with Startrekking. Then of course, all the cool boys would show off their breakdancing skills while the girls all gathered around to admire them. Boys take heed - girls like a guy who can dance!

And so today's writing prompt will be 'the school disco', with all its bright colours, 80s hair and silly songs.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Creative writing - OU course first impressions

So I started my Open University creative writing course last week and so far I'm really enjoying it and finding it interesting and very useful. The course book, commonly referred to as the 'Big Red Book' or BRB by students, is packed full of tips and tricks to improve the amount and quality of the writing you do, and includes lots of exercises to stretch you out of your comfort zone.

One of the things I haven't found much success with yet is the morning pages, which is basically what it sounds like - you write three pages of whatever comes into your head before you do anything else each morning. I'm having problems with this partly because I have problems getting out of bed in time usually anyway, and partly because my brain doesn't seem to want to work that early in the morning.

However, the freewriting from prompts has been brilliant, bringing up a few little ideas that might turn into something more later.

To combine the two (for the most part) I've been doing my daily pages on, which was born out of the idea of morning pages. So far I'm on a 21-day writing streak. That, apparently, means I'm a flamingo. In nine more days I'll be an albatross, but I really want to push for the 100-day-streak phoenix...