Strange Lines – Friday Fictioneers

Not Dead!!!

Thought I’d lead with the same thing I make my kids shout after hearing a loud thump from somewhere in the house.

I’ve been away for a long time with various messy life things, so was thrilled to the see the lovely Rochelle still flying the fictioneer flag. Therefore, I decided it was about time I popped in to say hello with my offering for this weeks Friday Fictioneers,

Lovely to see some familiar faces and many new ones. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s work again. It’s been far too long.

If anyone would like to have a go, click the link above. Every week Rochelle picks a photo prompt and all you need to do is write a story, no longer than 100 words, and submit. Don’t forget to click the frog and add your link so everyone can see where you are.

This weeks photo was supplied by Roger Bultot. img_20190807_112118

Happy writing , and hope you enjoy my story.

If you’d like to read any of the other stories from this prompt, find them here.

Strange Lines

Kali stroked the thin white lines.

“What are these strange markings?”

“The old language.” Her sister pointed to the scrawl above her head. “Look, this one says War.”

Kali listened as her sister translated the others. Almost no-one in the New Kingdom understood the old language anymore.

“It’s kind of beautiful – in a primitive way.” Kali picked up a ripe pear and breathed in its syrupy scent.

“Language is constantly evolving. One day people will say the same about code.”

Kali stifled a giggle. “Not a chance, code will always exist.”

Her sister smiled. “I’m sure, once they thought the same about words.”

103 Words

A new sunrise

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Greetings from the great beyond!

Firstly can I apologise for the non-existent posts over the last year or so. My life has taken a dramatic twist and I am still running to keep up with it all.

After many years of crying and stalking publishers on the net, I had my first short story published. More details on that to follow.

I am now a single parent, and as such I am finding new meaning in the word ‘tired’.

I’ve gone from employed to, ‘oh my god is that beans down your shirt, and please not another episode of Paw Patrol’.

And for the most recent, I am embarking on a business idea with my friend and co-writer Heidi Busby Brown. It could be something extraordinary, or send us into a obliterating despair spiral leading to diabetes and drinking in the day.

All in all, it’s working out to be an interesting and fun-filled year so far.

So now I’m finally able to return and take up the mantle that is my blog. I look forward reacquainting myself with you all and hopefully having some fun along the way.

Please watch this space for all the magnificence and absolute (guaranteed) train wrecks to come. Can’t wait to throw myself back into the writing world and feel like me again.

Happy Writing!

 

 

 

The Devil’s Cry

A bit late with this one. It’s official. My children believe that I live to clean, sweets have been re-classed as a breakfast food and communication only comes in the form of hitting each other with a fake, rubber horse head mask…(don’t ask!)

So please find my offering for this weeks Friday Fictioneers. If you’d like to have a go, pop onto Rochelle’s page and take a look at this weeks prompt, write a story in 100 words or less and press the blue frog to add your link. Good Luck!

Thanks to Piya Singh for this week's photo prompt.

 Thanks to Piya Singh for this week’s photo prompt.

Pieces of slate covered the ground like the scales of dragonhide. She pushed one aside. Black shone from amongst the undergrowth. Her eyes filled with tears.

The glass was smooth and still warm. She threw her head back and screamed.

A guttural rumble shook the earth. Pieces of volcanic glass flew upward, melding together, one by one till it hung in all its former glory.

She gazed into the mirror.

‘There you are.’ She smiled sweetly. ‘Just where I left you.’

His eyes widened. ‘How? No, not again.’

She laughed, a cruel, mocking sound. ‘I promised you forever, brother.’

99 words

The Return

It’s been a while, but anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for a sea picture.

So here’s my contribution for Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle. If you fancy having a go, write your story, approx 100 words, to the prompt on Rochelle’s page. Then add your link. If you’d like to read the other stories in this weeks story challenge, click on the blue frog 🙂

WavesPHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Tara shuffled her feet forward. She teetered on the edge of the large granite rock, pockmarked from centuries of saltwater.

Air rushed through her, the type that washes you clean, as if everything she’d done was forgiven in that moment.

Waves fell over each other, rushing, racing, desperate to be the one to consume her.

She stepped in. The icy water sent shockwaves through her body. She shivered.  Her skin turned a silken deep brown and her eyes flashed lilac.

‘Seven years gone, to the sea I return,’ she sang. ‘For the life of a Selkie and the ocean I yearn.’

101 words.

Poetry Challenge #26 – Constanza

If you’d like to have a go at this week’s Poetry Challenge head over to Jane Dougherty Writes and take a look at this week’s prompt, and good luck!

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Maybe Tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow.

We could pick the pieces up,

tell ourselves that we’re enough.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

Our world won’t seem so dark,

or the smiles so far apart.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We could catch ourselves a break.

Convince the crowd we’re not too late.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We will hold our hands up high

and confess, we really tried.

They Said – Friday Fictioneers

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Here’s my contribuion to Friday Fictioneers this week. I hope you enjoy it. If you fancy having a go, click here and head to Rochelle’s page where you will find the prompt for this week. Write something in 100 words or less, and post.

If you would like to read more stories for this week’s prompt, cick on the blue frog 🙂

Thank you to Emmy L Gant for this week’s photo.

PHOTO PROMPT - © Emmy L Gant

They Said

‘Leave it in the bin,’ they said. ‘You know, the one on the roof, near the old market hall. No Police.’

Kirsty dropped the crumpled Sainsbury’s bag. It made a dull thud as it hit the metal.

She glanced around her once more. Greasy-looking rooftops shimmered in the late afternoon sun and the spire of St Jude’s pierced the sky like a needle. Other than that, nothing.

She pulled her coat tight and made for the stairs.

As long as the money was there, they’d give him back.

She’d followed their instructions exactly.

And now they had no reason not to, right?

102 words

Decisions – Friday Fictioneers

 

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, and here is my contribution.

If you fancy having a go, pop onto Rochelle’s page and take a look at the photo prompt. Write your story in 100 words or less and don’t forget to post your link with the blue frog. Good luck and Happy Writing!

PHOTO PROMPT - © Sandra Crook

Thank you to Sandra Cook for this weeks superb photo.

Decisions

The old woman turned the dial. Opalescent sand poured into the bottom of the glass.

‘I hope they make the right decision,’ said  a deep voice. Gorran stepped out of a break in the hedges.

The woman recoiled.

‘As long as you leave ’em be, they’ll be fine,’ she said, edging her way towards the hour glass. But he was too quick.

Gorran lifted his hands and the sand turned black.

‘You can’t do that,’ she said. ‘You’re not supposed to interfere.’

‘Looks like another bad day,’ he chuckled.

Somewhere in the distance, a scream pierced the silence.

98 words

 

Don’t Do That! – Five for Friday

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I’m running so late today.

It’s been a frantic week as we’ve had builders working on the house.

‘The noisy one’, was sent home from school with chronic earache and ‘The bitey one’, is teething and as a result, extra bitey. He has also become a fan of early wake up calls, the most recent being 3am.

So I apologise as this may well become Five for Saturday which really doesn’t have the same ring to it, but at least my intentions were good and my caffeine levels high  🙂

I’m currently knee-deep in editing my novel and really enjoying it, even if I am lacking a little in time and focus.

I began reading my draft I’d completed in November during NaNoWriMo. This brought me to the horrible conclusion that I’m a terrible writer and should probably take up woodworm breeding as I seem to have little talent for anything else.

Therefore, I decided I would make this week’s Five for Friday about,

5 Things to avoid when Writing a Novel.

1. He grinned, he shrugged, he smiled…

Apparently I seem to write first drafts full of these. Everyone is shrugging, grinning and smiling at each other so much that it’s a wonder they haven’t all been committed. All that’s missing is a little maniacal laughter a maybe a shopping trolley full of tins.

Don’t do it. It’s not clever. It’s repetitive and lazy writing. Instead hit yourself on the head with your keyboard twice and go lie down with a damp flannel over your face.

2. She decided to run as he would probably kill her. 

Okay, this one’s a little clunky, but you get the idea. I see this a lot and it’s just bad, bad, bad.

NEVER warn the reader what’s going to happen before it happens. It’s annoying and WILL result in me flinging the book across the room, or, if it’s my kindle, trying to close the page down, miss, and end up hitting the screen repeatedly like some kind of zombie typist.

3. Really, very, suddenly…etc,

…and a number of other weasel words.

If you ‘d like to see a list, that’s by no means exhaustive, take a look under ‘Writer’s Resources’ on my page.

My first drafts are littered with these and I pull out every single one unless they are absolutely necessary. Especially ‘Suddenly’. This word should be tied to a chair and left watching re-runs of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, until it’s very sorry.

4. Bad formatting. 

I have read so many kindle books where the words stop abruptly and begin again half way down the page, or they have large random spaces between words like the book suddenly forgot what it was talking about.

Go through your book again and again. Re-check when you add it onto kindle and then bore all your friends to death by making them check it too. It’s worth it.

5. I don’t know/I think you should/Why is that?

I hate wooden dialogue.

There’s nothing worse than wading through a page long conversation between Data from Star Trek and The Terminator, or worse, a book full of characters that ALL sound the same.

I have a wonderful acting friend who helps me with mine. She runs through it over the phone or highlights potentially hazardous wording via email and returns it to me, accompanied with a recent entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, to teach me a lesson.

Either way, read through all your dialogue out loud. Get a friend to read any opposing parts and it will become clear where needs work.

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That’s it for today. It’s now 1am and officially Saturday.

Thank you so much for reading, and good luck to anyone else on the long road to Editville.

Have a great day and Happy Writing!

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – A day in the Life

It’s been a while.

This will be my last post of 2015. I hope everyone’s had a fabulous Christmas and gearing up for an even better New Year.

If you’d like to join in the latest Friday Fictioneers run by the lovely Rochelle, please find the latest photo prompt and rules here. Just write to 100 words then stop!

Add your link to the blue frog when you’re done.

Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2016!

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Image courtesy of Jean L. Hays

A Day in the Life

Sunlight shines through the stained glass window. I study the list of names, tracing my finger over the first.

It disappears.

A form appears in the chair opposite me.

‘It’s a little disorientating at first,’ I say.

He spins round, scanning left and right. ‘Where am I?’  Panic stings his eyes.

‘I’d like to collect everyone personally, but with population numbers this is more…convenient.’ I smile, touching his head.

His mind fills with his final moments.

I hand him a note, two words – ‘Rebirth or Serve’, written on it.

‘Choose,’ I say.

He points and disappears.

I move onto the next name.

102 words

Five for Friday – Interview with Pleasant Street

Welcome to Five for Friday!

I’ve decided it’s time for a regular spot on my blog. So every Friday (or at least every other Friday) I will write a post.  It can be anything from 5 tips to sell your novel or 5 reasons you should eat as much cake as you can.

So to kick off my new spot I am beginning with an Interview from the lovely Pleasant Street. You can find her blog here – In My Parlour – which I love. Full of beautiful poetry and fantastic prose, take a look if you get chance, you won’t regret it.

Pleasant Street is undertaking NaNoWriMo for the third time and as you probably know, I am joining for the first time. So I asked her some questions on her experiences to help newbies like me get acquainted.

So here we go:

  1. Had you ever completed a novel before joining NaNoWriMo?

No I hadn’t.

In fact I never wrote anything longer than a poem prior to NaNoWriMo, not even a short story. I don’t think I considered it. I’ve written poetry since childhood. Much of my reading consisted of biographies and history. I usually missed the popular novels, opting to read classics.

The great thing about the classics is that many of them give you a good model for what a great novel is. I think the first year I tried it, 2013, it was more of a lark. It was a gimmick online that others were doing and it sounded fun.

Could I really do it? I had to try!

  1. Did you decide on a process before you started, i.e. a certain word count per day/write at the same time every day? Or did you develop this as you went along?

No way, I had no idea of any process at all. I had a title and a basic idea.

In 2012, I started NaNo but never even got half way. I lost that manuscript, so I started over in ’13 with the basic concept. I mean I had a goal, the goal that NaNo puts out- 50k words in 30 days, which amounts to 1667 words/day. But the writing just came naturally and organically. I had no plan other than keep the coffee pot full and write my ass off.

  1. You say that you’ve done NaNo a couple of times before. What are your reasons for coming back this year?

I’ve come back because even though now I’m writing every day, it offers an incentive to finish. There is a great feeling at the end finishing with your buddies, and of course, your own good feeling of accomplishment.

Speaking of buddies, I do visit the forums some and sometimes participate in discussions, especially the ones that involve sharing snippets of our work and getting/ giving feedback. This is enormously helpful, getting that kind of response, good or bad.

Also the folks at NaNoWriMo have v-logs on youtube, sometimes with a live feed and interaction with us, asking questions, etc. A big part of NaNo for some people are the word sprints, you can find these on twitter at @NaNoWriMo. Someone sets a time and everyone writes until the time is up and says how many words they wrote. This can be fun and exhilarating. It can also help you not to give up.

  1. Is there anything that didn’t work for you, being on such a tight schedule?

That’s a good question.  I’d say reaching back to the last question, though the social aspect of it is fun, I find too much social interaction is distracting.  If I interact with others on a daily basis, it is before I start writing, maybe a stroll through one of the discussions, reading and offering replies. Occasionally I’ll join in a word sprint on Twitter. I think the interaction is great but if I get too involved socially I don’t write as much and I lose my train of thought where I am going in the story.

  1. Finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone taking on NaNo for the first time?

This is a good one. My advice is this- ignore the constant criticism of NaNo and the people that want to drag it down. They have their reasons and they will tell you that it isn’t good for writing a good completed novel; it is too fast with no editing, etc.

They have some good points but even NaNo doesn’t claim that the manuscript you have after 30 days is going to be a finished novel. But you will have a first draft. Without the second-guessing and constant editing, your creativity really flows. Oh, there will be typos and you’ll want to delete some of the crap, but I find it very satisfying once a year to write like mad and form a first draft this way.

Do talk to others and see how they run it. Do they write an outline? Do they write by the seat of their pants and let the story unfold? But ultimately you should run it how it works for you, and you’ll pretty much know in the first week if it is working. Don’t worry about the naysayers. It is 30 days of your life and you’ll have 50,000+ words that did not exist before, which I think is an astounding feeling. I love that accomplishment.

Thank you so much to Pleasant Street for giving up her time to answer my questions.

I’ve found them very helpful, especially the information about the social aspect, which I knew very little about. And I have to admit, I’ve heard a lot of negative things said too and I was starting to worry whether I’d made the right decision, so it was good to put my mind at rest about these issues.

To anyone looking at joining NaNo this year, I hope you  find this post helpful and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe we’ll see each other in the forums at some point.

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Writing!

If anyone would like more information on NaNoWriMo, visit their website here.