What would you do?

I was given a progressive story to finish recently. This is what I had to work with:

  • 2 love-struck teachers, John and Angela. They’d been kissing for the first time, in the school break-room, when
  • an explosion had occurred and they’d been knocked to the ground. Angela had been impaled, and John was also much the worse for wear.
  • Enter cleaner, George. He tells them he’s called the ambulance and encourages the two teachers to talk to each other. They declare their undying love (yeh, I added the adjective here because hey! irony!)
  • explosion number 2.

Oh – and finish the story in just 300 words.

So now what? What would YOU do?

If you’re interested in my take on the story, read on below. If not, that’s fine! Have yourself a fantastic week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

*****

Now it was George’s turn to be thrown to the ground. He landed heavily on his vacuum cleaner. John, who’d finally managed to stagger upright, was blasted down again. This time, his temple hit the corner of the lunch table. He’d never rise again.

Angela, disoriented, bleeding profusely from multitudes of cuts, tried to rise but couldn’t. Her legs wouldn’t support her. She could feel her body growing weaker. In her pain, she didn’t notice a man stride into the destroyed room, gas mask covering his head and a thick black coat disguising the rest of his muscular body. He kicked John’s body out of his way.

George, regaining consciousness, groaned loudly. Leaning over, the man hauled him to his feet. “Leave.” George, spluttering, quickly decided this was not a man to trifle with. Eyes wide, he took the stranger’s advice and fled.

Not even bothering to watch, the stranger had calmly sauntered over to Angela’s broken body. He removed his mask, his face flushed with hatred. “I told you,” he spat.

“Henry?” Angela’s whisper held pain and confusion. “What…? Why?”

“When you broke my heart two years ago, you promised me ‘never again’,” he roared, over the wail of approaching sirens.

He grabbed the piece of window frame embedded in her abdomen and twisted it slowly, painfully. “You lied.”

“But…”

“No,” he snarled. “You’d promised. It was easy enough to get the gas contract for this stupid old school. A piece of cake, letting it leak into this break room over the past several weeks. Just waiting for today. For you. And him!” His eyes glittered crazily; her eyes, tear-filled, lost their sheen of life.

The sirens stopped, replaced by screeching tyres on the gravel outside.

Henry, smiling grimly, surveyed his handiwork, then slipped silently out the back door.

Moving right along…

So now the musical’s over, I’ve been head down and getting stuck into the work I’d been (of necessity, mind you!) neglecting. Housework, gardening – oh, and my students’ assignment drafts too, don’t forget! I’ve also had enough head-space to actually ponder the commencement of writing again, would you believe? And I also found 15 minutes in there somewhere, last week, to FlowState… although what came out was embarrassingly pitiful and barely worth keeping, but writing is writing and a skill practiced is a skill improving, I always say. (Well, okay. I made that saying up just now. But it sounds significantly better with the word ‘always’ in it, don’t you think?)

What’s FlowState? You ask. Well, it’s a horrific tool which forces you to write by threatening to remove all your words.

Originally, you could set the timer for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. I preferred that. But with an update a year or so ago, they removed that functionality, leaving users with only a 15 minute option.

And the idea behind it is that you WRITE for 15 minutes. No hesitating, just writing. Adding word after word to the screen. Or else!

If you hesitate for longer than 5 seconds (from memory; I *think* it’s five but I’m too scared to check it and see) the words fade on the screen and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

You’re forced, you see; to write, and write non-stop, until the timer finishes, and the work is saved.

And believe me, you do NOT want to stop at 14 minutes and 55 seconds! I did that before, and lost literally hundreds of words. Yes, I cried. And yes, I also stopped using the app, my own solitary protest, for several months. But returned though, because it’s perfect to get the writing mojo happening (rather than the thinking mojo!) and the threat of losing work is enough to keep the fingers tapping keys 🙂

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

That, and dreaming about publishing. If only Book 7 of my Justine Browning series would write itself!

 

Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #13

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me.

Today, blessing #13.

My ‘About’ page used to list all the many and varied places I could be found online; and the list finished with the Writing Race I used to attend, almost religiously, every Wednesday evening from 8 til 9pm, over on Facebook. Well, since being blessed with full-time work last January, my attendance at the race has been haphazard, to say the least. And I’ve missed it.

But last night, I found myself sitting in front of my computer at the dining table, finishing paying the last of my bills and lamenting exactly how much interest my mortgage is earning against me, when I realised that it was 8.07pm, Wednesday, and the level of marking-and-reports-looming-over-my-head-stress, was actually manageable… so I logged on to Facebook and joined the race. I think the Race Captain fell off her chair.

I was welcomed in seconds… with fireworks, even!

These fellow writers; it’s wonderful to be in an online support group of them, because they all know what it’s like to write around the day job. To try and steal some minutes here and there to get another chapter written; to edit paragraphs during lunch breaks; to spend valuable minutes (if not quarter hours or half hours… or longer!) of precious ‘writing time’ backtracking and trying to remember exactly where you were up to, and attempting (often in vain, darn it) to recapture the thought processes that *were* firing when last you got interrupted… my fellow writers understand all that.

And I love that there are some people out there who get that. Who understand my passion, and who feel the same way that I do.

Never mind that June 13 is the first race I’ve turned up to in 2018. Never mind that I probably won’t make it back again for weeks, if not months.

They’re there. They’re a blessing to me.

And I love that.

Here’s hoping that you can also find a blessing in your day too, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Swimming, not sinking

2017 has been quite an interesting year so far. I scored my dream job, which started officially mid-January, and have been hard at it since, working long hours and seeing welcome developments in the culture I’m attempting to establish.

I’m loving it. It’s keeping me extremely busy… so busy, I’ve let my writing slide shockingly. Initially, I thought I’d be able to have things sorted by Easter. Nope. Then, I hoped, by the mid-year holidays. Nah – not a chance.

But I can see how unrealistic my initial expectations were, and am no longer bemoaning my lack of time. I’ve laid off the guilt, been kind to myself, and am far happier knowing that I’ll be more comfortable once I’ve seen the full year cycle.

Having said that though, I quite surprised myself last week. Driving home on Thursday, with a remarkable ‘urgent work to complete’ quota of zero, my mind turned again not the long-awaiting WIP, and I realised that there was only housework and cherub-looking after standing between us! It was a lovely moment. 

Acknowledging that the period of sinking-almost-drowning which I’ve been living, is maybe ending. That I’m swimming, and that perhaps my head is managing to stay above water for longer and longer…

I sure am hoping so!

I love how life works in seasons. How there may be seasons of discomfort, of hardship, of pain, but likewise there will also be seasons of joy, of peace, of love.

God is good. I truly believe that.

Have a lovely week, dear Reader!

-KRidwyn

Joy

Desirable

Zealously pursued; seldom attained

A rare temptress is she

 

Hold too tight and she disappears

A fine mist

in the pre-dawn of the

summer

scorcher

 

Hold loosely and she vanishes

beneath worries

Concerns

Frustrations

troubles

 

No, she is fleeting

A vague notion, few of us are cognizant we even have…

 

… until she

has fled

And we remain.

Troubled.

In the dark.

 

With only the memory

of happier times

Just passed…

 

And regretful

at how oblivious we were.

 

—–

This is just a little something I wrote a while back. It felt like it wanted an audience 🙂

Have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

 

Looking forward

I’m looking forward to these school holidays. I haven’t had a break since first accepting this job, back in mid-November. So I’m ready for a break. And it’s a decent one. Two weeks.
I’m looking forward to writing again, more regularly and less haphazardly than I’ve been able to this year. I’m looking forward to gardening, to making a dent in my TBR pile, to spend time with my cherubs and with my husband and walking on the beach, praising my God.

I’m needing this break. Man alive, but I’m ready.

Roll on school holidays!

And have a great day, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

On deadlines

I work quite well to deadlines, I think. Not so much when a task is open-ended. That’s when I have trouble.

That New Year’s resolution: get fit? See, that’s a tricky one. Too open-ended. No specific goal; nothing measurable. “Get to the gym at least four times a week”? Much better. It’s achievable. And maybe I’ll even make that ‘get fit’ resolution.

Take that #AtoZchallenge, for example. 26 posts in 30 days: that’s do-able. The difficulty was, life = busy = no blogging after Day 16.

New, self-imposed deadline: finish all 26 posts before May 1 in every timezone. See? Do-able (just!) and I did it! (also just…)

It’s sad, really, I know. Self-imposing deadlines just to complete work that I set myself anyway. How much of a slacker am I?!

But I guess it just boils down to the fact that without that extrinsic motivation of ‘THE DEADLINE’, things just don’t get done.

I’ve got two new ones looming, by the way. Finish JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN by May 14, and also finish knitting child #2’s blanket by May 31, ready for winter (the following day LOL).

Wish me luck! [I’m going to need it…]

And have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

CC image courtesy John Morgan on Flickr

… and the new word is: FOCUS

Hello again, dear Reader 🙂

If you’ve visited recently, you’d have noticed that my last 26 posts were alphabetical, in order to meet the requirements of the #AtoZchallenge, where bloggers post daily using sequential letters of the alphabet, every day in April except Sundays.

Well, I failed that challenge in my time zone. I was fine up until ‘p’, but then school holidays finished and work got crazy-busy… and it wasn’t until late last night I realised that today was May 1st. And the challenge deadline was over!

Hence a massive amount of blog posting this morning. Q through to Z, and before April finished worldwide. So I *can* kinda still say that ‘I made it’… but not really.

Oh well.

My new thought is: focus. It’s what I need to do. I gave myself a deadline of Mother’s Day to finish Book 5 in my children’s adventure fantasy series – and I believe that’s less than two weeks away. 13 days, 21 chapters. I can do this…

If I focus!

So it’s back to weekly blogposts, and hopefully this time next Monday I’ll be closer to finishing JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN than I am right now 🙂

See you next week, dear Reader! And have a lovely one until then!

— KRidwyn

W is for ‘wavelet’

I was writing a short story one day a year or so ago, and I needed the word for one of those small waves that washes into shore. You know, the ones that squealing toddlers get lifted over, that little children run backwards from, that bring the flotsam and jetsam of an uncaring world to deposit on the beach?

“Wave” was too big. Too much power for what I wanted. So I made up ‘wavelet’. Or so I thought…

Wasn’t I surprised to find it in my dictionary, the following day!

Wavelet. Noun. A small wave, a ripple.

Exactly what I had wanted! Don’t you just love the English language?

I do.

Have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

PS If you’re interested in the story I was writing, sorry. It was about a woman’s murder at the hands of her drunk ex. It was a pretty intense story. Far too ‘dark’ for this blog. *shrugs shoulders*

U is for ‘unknown’

Jan 1, 2016, saw me decide I needed to ‘practise’ my writing. I realised that I’d never get anywhere if I just started a story, get stuck, get frustrated, start another story, and repeat the same process.

Mentally, I compared this to my chess game. Okay in the opening, wobbly in the middle, and pretty woeful at the ending. I decided practise was in order. Practise of ‘end-game’ stuff; then recourse to the middle, and finish at the beginning.

“Smiling nervously at each, they started walking into an uncertain future.”

So: I worked out the final sentence (above) and worked backwards. Ended up with a 1500 word short Sci-Fi story about two teenagers crash-landing their spaceship onto an unknown planet.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I related this story to the members at Beerwah Writers Group. Inspired, they used my final sentence, and produced their own stories. I joined them, and ended up with a 500 word story about a Greek God who’d been cast out from Mount Olympus. Prophemius, I called him. God of the Future… except his powers were stripped from him, meaning he couldn’t see the future anymore.

I wrestle, regularly, with the fact I can’t see the future. I want to know what will happen before it does, so I can prepare for it. Part of my control-freak-ishness, probably. (Yeh, I know. Not a word.)

But I always come back to the fact that it’s good I don’t know. I’m glad, deep down, that I’m in the same boat as everyone else. That the future – for all of us – is an unknown. I like that. We’re all on the same playing field, as it were.

And there’s so much freedom in that!

Have a lovely day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn