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

Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

 

 

in which I contemplate the joy that is Beerwah Writers’ Group

Back before I was working full time, I joined my local writers’ group. It was fantastic, the fortnightly face-to-face interaction with people who shared my passion for word-smithing.

But the constraints of my current day job meant that I haven’t been able to attend a meeting since January of 2017 – and even though some meetings fell on school holidays, at no point was there a meeting I could attend, due to family commitments, being away, or meeting cancellations.

That is, until the meeting just gone. Friday 13th. I walked in, surprising many people, and it was as if I’d never left. It was fantastic!

I love that idea – that I could be part of a supportive group of writers who, in spite of my 18 month absence, are just as continually supportive of me and my writing as ever before 🙂

I look forward to the next time a meeting aligns with a school holiday – because such a wonderful group of people are a joy to be with.

Here’s wishing a close support network for you too this week, dear Reader!
– KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #27

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.

And now, blessing #27: the books Mum ordered for my birthday – which arrived in time for her to bring when she came to stay on Monday just gone 🙂

I’m partway through WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers – laughing my way through, more accurately. It’s a great read, and I’m learning about the writing craft at the same time, so a twofer and I like that 🙂

And what with the holidays officially starting this afternoon, and my (meant to be) being on minimal movement in an upright position… having a second brand new book to look forward to is a wonderful thing!

Here’s wishing you a blessed day too, 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

#AtoZchallenge Day 26 – my most fun ‘Z’ tongue-twister

And we made it! All 26 letters of the alphabet tongue-twisted! Because this here is the last one…

Zealous zithers slither zestfully to the zenith.

Again, it was my own ‘take’ on other similar tongue-twisters out there. I hope you like it?

And now that this month’s craziness of blogging almost daily is over with, I’m planning on returning to my regular scheduled program of every Monday morning, 9am my time… at least, until the #blogJune craziness starts up in earnest!

Have a great week, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

#AtoZchallenge Day 25 – my most fun ‘Y’ tongue-twister

Almost there! These last few have seemed harder than the first several though. I wonder if that’s to do with my creativity running stale, or now I’m back at work I’m more time-poor? Anyway, here ’tis:

Local yokel yodels youthful jokes

It’s a bit of a spin on other ‘y’ tongue-twisters out there, but I’d like to think I added some uniqueness to it…

And have a great day, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

[The #AtoZchallenge is a daily blogging challenge which has been running for quite a few years now, with hundreds of participants worldwide. Blogging happens each day in April except Sundays, and on each letter of the alphabet, starting at A and finishing with Z.]

#AtoZchallenge Day 24 – my most fun ‘X’ tongue-twister

So this is one of my own…

Guess quick! Who wrecked Trixie’s esky?

Yes, so there weren’t as any ‘x’s in there as I’d have liked, but I was aiming for a play on the ‘x’ sound, mixed with the ‘ess’, ‘eck’, ‘ick’ and ‘esk’. Not sure I’ve pulled it off, but I’m not unhappy with it…

And have a great day, dear Reader!

–KRidwyn

[The #AtoZchallenge is a daily blogging challenge which has been running for quite a few years now, with hundreds of participants worldwide. Blogging happens each day in April except Sundays, and on each letter of the alphabet, starting at A and finishing with Z.]

#AtoZchallenge Day 23 – my most fun ‘W’ tongue-twister

I found several variations on my favourite tongue-twister here, but the one I deem the ‘most fun’ would have to be…

 I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch.

Courtesy Sweetrhymes (they’re a pretty good resource, when you look into it!)

And tune in tomorrow for ‘x’!

Have a great day, dear Reader 🙂

— KRidwyn