Category Archives: Writing

To boldly write what I did not plan to…

On Friday I sat down and intended to do more work on the story I started at an online writers’ group on Wednesday, as mentioned in Writers’ Race. It has been a busy week with regards to writers’ groups this week – two in two days! They were worth it though, as some fun ideas were born as a result.

At Thursday’s group, some story  topics were mooted for upcoming meetings. One of them was ‘The Id’. Visions of  Forbidden Planet popped into my head. (I have not seen that movie in years!).  I didn’t think much of it, as I was now on the waiting list and not likely to be at a meeting where this short story topic would be shared. Well, I was not consciously thinking about it.

Ah, where was I?
On Friday I sat down, intending to do more work on the story I started. It didn’t happen and this is a good thing.  Let me explain.

I had managed  500 (ish) words so far on The Feline Principle which is intended for an upcoming short story competition, due later this month. Though I have a rough plot, I could not get the words to behave. I started writing randomly, in an effort to get the creativity going. I could not stop thinking about the id.

I googled id “the creative, dis-organised, instinctual drive with no moral judgement.” Three words stuck in my imagination: The pleasure principle.  From there, my mind raced. How would someone react if they were only driven by their need to experience pleasure? Why would this happen suddenly to an adult? What would be the consequences?

By mid-morning I had a hand-written first draft of just under 1000 words. By lunchtime I had typed it into Scrivener, resulting in my first rewrite. I then printed it out and did a quick edit, rewriting a few sentences. My proof reader has done the first read through. The next step is to leave it at least a day or two and revisit it for a fresh proof read and the inevitable edits.

But what to do with it? I tried something new in how I wrote this one and, surprisingly, I am reasonably happy with it.
Ah, serendipity is such a wonderful thing!

First Impressions.

On Thursday, I finally mustered up the confidence (and guts) to attend a local writers’ group. I have been intending to do so for most of the year but had always found an excuse.  As my regular readers will know, it took me a while to gather up the courage to finally send short stories to competitions and risk the prospect of rejection or ridicule.

I have taken that hurdle in my stride now but that just involved posting (or emailing) my work off to faceless people who would not comment back if I did not make the grade anyway. This was relatively safe compared to personally fronting up to a group of strangers, and if accepted, to actually read  my work out,  opening myself up to the risk of direct and immediate of rejection and ridicule.

With my husband, as moral support, I fronted up at the meeting room and opened the door. Unfortunately the first words uttered were “sorry, you are not on our list. We have a waiting list. Did you ring?” I almost lost it then and there. I was crushed. (The website did not mention waiting lists, nor having to ring to book – though I had tried to ring for info and no one was home-  and welcomed new members) I felt like an small bug being crushed underfoot. I wanted to slink off and return to my comfy little hovel and remain a hermit for the rest of my life.

Luckily, my saviour sat in their midst. “Visitors! let them in!” With a (I am sure obviously) weak smile, I (and my bodyguard) entered and hid down to the opposite end of the table. Here I found friendly, encouraging fellow writers. It was the day to read short stories  inspired by the month’s set themes. Most were good with one poem being quite entertaining (and not just because it was in a speculative genre!).

I met three or four quite lovely women and there was even an unexpected famililar face! By the completion of the meeting, I had been invited to other groups (one unfortunately too far away) and there is a possibility of starting up a speculative fiction writers’ group in the area.

There is a great deal to be said for first impressions. Luckily, first impressions are not always a true measure of things. Thank you to those lovely people who made me feel welcome. Without you I would have not even entertained the idea of returning to the group – or any other writers’ group.

Writers Race

On Wednesday night, I attended my very first Writing Race, hosted by the Australian Writers’ Marketplace Online (of which I am a member). This is a one-hour, self directed writing session where goals are stated at the beginning of the session.  This was the first time I had managed to join a session, though I have been planning to for some time.

My plan for the night was to get a start on a new short story The Feline Factor. I have 2000 words to finish this one… I think! Nope, it was 1500-3000 words. Bonus!  I had done a little research on superstitions about felines and on differing cultures views on them, which has been bubbling away in the background for almost a week now.  For the night, I was hoping to get a rough plan of the plot and possibly some paragraphs down.

An hour later,  I managed over five hundred words ( after editing about 75 along the way), one fact checking and three gratuitous uses of the thesaurus! A new character decided to walk out of the fog by the second paragraph (inconsiderate!) and the feline remained a little shy for three paragraphs longer than I had originally envisaged.  But I am  now armed with a partial map of the Thames dockside and a duffel bag smelling of fish. 

All in all, it was a useful exercise as I have to get that elusive opening scene out of my head before the rest will flow. I am planning on attending next week’s race as well. Good habits, an’ all that.