Midnight

I once wrote of stars,

to forget them, in love,

as they too once forgot,

and abandoned the sky

leaving the night blind

 

I once thought love a curse,

a beauty shadowed,

a glass heart shattered

and left in pieces

to shine in the morning dew

 

When I no longer looked to the sky,

had forgotten the stars,

and left myself blind,

weary of the darkest hour,

I found you in midnight

 

I found you in the abandoned sky

and eternity of our nights

 

I no longer needed to search the sky

you brought its stars to me on upturned palms

I gave you my heart

that you might hold it amongst them

 

And that we may find eternity

and eternity will be our midnight

Poem

I’m here again, a home so far,

From what I imagined heart to be,

Love to be,

So far from my own self, my sense of joy,

I’m here again,

Where images are,

Where thoughts dwell,

And memories unseen claw out at me

I’m lost in dreams where nightmares wake

And sleeping just for les vivants sake

As hair tumbles down, and nails tear down,

And I stay down,

And I stare down,

At nothingness, at blackness, at a glimpse in to what is not mine,

With eyes closed and lips sewn,

And hands tied,

And heart bound,

I’m here again.

Actors I would stalk until they agreed to a role in my book turn film

Over on Litopia a thread was started asking fellow Litopians which actors they would want to play the roles of their book characters, should the book ever get the green light to become a film. Now, keep in mind we’re pretending there is no budget, no problems with this.

Although there were two characters that I’d already had in mind, the majority I just hadn’t really thought about. As I said over on the forum, I realised from doing this that I know next to nothing about actors, and so I had to spend some time searching through lists on IMDB! As such, this is a pretty A list, uh, list. Anyway, let’s stop writing and let’s start wishful thinking!

Sophie aka Death’s daughter

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Robin (he just needs dark blue eyes)

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Caleb (with dyed blonde hair, because Caleb bleaches his in the first book)

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Mystery mysterious character

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My wife Lena

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Death

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Sitrac (just needs that long hair)

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Farroh (but sallow looking)

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Pestilence

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There are more, but I haven’t yet had chance to find them. When I do, I’ll most likely add them to this post rather than create a new one. One thing that has been a real pain is trying to think of voice actors for my loveable ghattans Gykruk and Tybuld.

Well, this was fun! I’ll most likely do another for Queens Never Die (my NaNoWriMo book, not related to the KDD series). I find it pretty helpful and a good exercise to try and see your characters in real people. I looked through hundreds of people to find these guys and when I saw them (especially with Sophie, Caleb, Robin and Death) I really saw them. Lena and mysterious mystery character are the two that I’ve had in mind for months.

Until next post of one day, one daaaaay,

A

Audio of “Trials”

I think that from now on any flash fiction I write over at Litopia will also be recorded. I’m not the most confident when it comes to recording myself, whether on microphone or camera, but I think reading written work aloud is good for practice! In Trials, I hear myself jumble over a particular sentence, rewording may have prevented this.

If you want to listen, here’s the link. Or embed thing? Embed thing, I think!

After this post, I’ll put the audio in the same post as the flash fiction. I had wanted to do this earlier but I was unsure about how to attach audio to WordPress.

Oh, and next time I’ll also try to speak more slowly!

Until then,

A

Trials

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Onwards, onwards, onwards.

My feet land heavily on the dirt covered path, the trees that line either side of me the only other souls, the barrier between me and the fog.

They have souls, the trees. And branches that swoop down and grasp at your hair if you try to climb them.

I tried once, when I first became lost. I also tried to sneak between them when I thought they wouldn’t notice, when night had fallen and their burgundy leaves turned black. They move closer to each other if you try that, and if you get caught, well, you won’t be trying it again.

It isn’t a secret why I’m here. Okay, I’m not really lost. I just lied because I’m embarrassed. It’s a trial we all have to take. That’s the problem. I was never any good at trials and although I know why I’m here I don’t exactly know what I’m supposed to be looking for. I just know, without a doubt, that I’m alone.

Someone will have already figured it out though. There’ll be a hero back home drinking wine, dancing, doing the usual hero type thing. I suddenly feel pretty stupid for once celebrating what one day would be at my own expense.

The thing is though, right now, I don’t think that’s what I should be worrying about at all. Because the problem is, I thought I knew something without a doubt. That there isn’t supposed to be anyone else here. I said that, right? So now my question is: who is that?

Flash fiction exercise to write a 300 short inspired by the above picture, posted over at Litopia. It was fun! Gave me a chance to practice first person.

Wordsprint – Writing Rubbish for Twenty Minutes

Wordsprint…Wordsprint… okay, I get it, I’ve done this before. Although it wasn’t for twenty minutes, it was five. yes five. What did I write about then? No, it doesen’t matter. I need to write about something now.

Okay.

Wow. I’m empty. I’m drained. My head is a kettle today that the prick at the office forgot to refill. Aight, okay, let’s run with that.

“You didn’t do what they asked you to though, and you know what that means.”

Mr Francis sat across from Ben with his arms open. He didn’t want to embrace him, he was still seated behind a desk after all. He wanted to show him that he was trying to be honest with him, he was imploring him to understand why he was losing his job. It wasn’t his fault. The people had spoken and enough was enough.

“They asked me to fill the kettle after I had used it, they didn’t say that it would need to come before my work. Is that what you’re telling me now, Sir?” Ben was staying calm. He knew that this wasn’t just about the kettle, it was probably more to do with Mr Francis’ wife bringing him in a cupcake on his birthday. He didn’t even get to eat it. The Chief of the “who left the kettle empty?” brigade had found it on the side and eaten it. That’s okay though, because he’s assisstant to the boss.

Mr Francis stood from his chair, his long slim arms still held out towards Ben. He titled his head to one side and let out an exasperated sigh. “Ben, Ben, Ben,” he said, staring back at the calm brown eyes of his soon to be ex-employee. “We could have made a great man out of you.”

“If it wasn’t for the kettle,” Ben replied. He stood from the leather chair, ignoring its groans as he pushed himself free. “I guess greatness is measured in the units of coffee we consume.”

Mr Francis nodded in reply. A sad nod full of empathy, as though he really was thinking, “Yes, Ben, how much one drinks and speaks about coffee is truly the mark of their success.”

One arm dropped and another stretched out towards him.

Ben took Mr Francis’ hand and almost recoiled in surprise at how cold it was on such a warm day. He shook it confidently. He wasn’t going to be defeated. No. Not by Mr Francis, not by Cupcake the First, and certainly not by a kettle.

Along with the noise of the office, all eyes fell on him as he entered the spacious room with a picture of a palm tree on the wall beside each desk. No one had the nerve to say anything. Not even Jake. Damnit Jake, I didn’t think you were one of them.

His desk drawer clunked open and from inside he pulled out a few papers and pens, a ruler that had come with the stationery set, and a mouldy sandwich. On second thought, and after turning the sandwhich over in his hand, he pushed it back inside the drawer. It could be his own skull and cross bones, a warning to whoever took his place.

The exit to the office was obvious enough, big flashing letters informed any who had forgotten how they got in that it was okay, there was a way out. Ben had started walking towards it with the honest intention of leaving, not saying goodbye, just vanishing. He knew that they were waiting with anticipation for him to leave. They wanted to talk about him, they needed to. It would be their driving force through the day, it would rebuild the bridges of broken friendships and be the kindle to the fire of a new romance. Really, Ben thought, his being fired was doing all of them a favour. The people in the office hadn’t been able to talk comfortably to each other ever since the final episode of Last One Standing Dies Anyway.

He slipped inside the kitchen, smirking with an arrogant pleasure as from behind him someone gasped.
It wasn’t even plugged in. They had made this too easy for him.

His reflection wavered on the clean surface of the kettle and he imagined himself as Aladdin about to take the diamond. No, he was Abu. The minute he removed the kettle the entire office would crumble, they’d slither to the ground and only he would escape on his magic carpet of… This is ridiculous. It’s a kettle and I’m taking it.

The protests that followed him to the exit only pushed him further. He could hear people rushing around the office, talking loudly, and the door of Mr Francis’ room squealing as someone raced inside to do just the same thing.
By the time Mr Francis reached him, it was too late. He was already in the elevator, the doors were already closing, and no, Mr Francis, no. I will not hold them open for you, not this time.

Ben left the building pleased. He may have lost his job but he had not been defeated. He had won and was even taking home a trophy.

He was almost at his car when he heard a familiar voice.

“You can’t take the kettle, mate.”

Ben turned to find Thick Barry looking down at him, a small plastic stick held between his eerily large fingers. He pushed it to his mouth, inhaled, and then became a train. He was a large man, named for his size and not his mentality. Okay, that was a lie. He was childlike, and right now he looked at Ben with large, confused and hurt eyes.

“We need it,” he mumbled, blinking slowly as though he were holding back a stray tear.

The wind had been moderate but in that moment it turned and swept the hair up on Ben’s neck, wrapped around his face bringing the smoke from the vaper with it to momentarily conceal.

As the bubblegum scented smoke began to disappear Ben stepped out from its shroud and placed his hand on one of Thick Barry’s shoulders.

“No, Barry,” he said softly. “No, Barry, you do not.”

Barry watched in awe as Ben placed the kettle in the passenger’s seat of his car, and then with one last smile, took his own place as the driver.

“Goodbye, Barry,” he said as he crawled his car past him.

The sun was still high in the sky and with his new kettle beside him Ben waved goodbye to the grey walls of the office block.

And I’m going to stop writing this here before I start making the kettle speak and say thank you to Ben in a gruff voice because all the over-filling was causing him to develop some kettle type disorder or another.

I guess this was fun. It’s nice to just write and not really think about where you’re going at all. Kind of like that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scene. Let’s post that, too.

Kinda Late to the PitMad Party

A couple of weeks ago Twitter became this weird place where authors threw out tweets to pitch their books to agents. If you haven’t heard of it before it is called #PitMad and was started by Brenda Drake.

My experience with the event wasn’t a successful one, but I still learned something from it because, let me tell you, pitching your book in 140 characters isn’t easy. Especially, if like me, you’re writing a multi-stranded novel that follows more than one story, with more than one character goal. But, it made me think about what the core of my story is. Once all the world building has been stripped away; the grandeur of the characters and what they represent, what images they evoke from their names alone; once the action and the emotion is forgotten what is the story about and are the stakes strong enough. It is partly down to PitMad that I realized in my queries to agents I hadn’t been getting to the stakes; I hadn’t shown them in their most basic form. If X does not achieve Y then all Z will break loose! I focused on the world and on the characters, and not what was important to those characters.

I’m not saying this is why I’m not having any success, heck I’ve only just started querying, but I’m always trying to think of ways to better my query. For one, other than during PitMad, I’ve not yet tried querying from Robin’s side of the story, and given that Sophie is Death’s daughter (the usual side I query from) and the whole grim reaper thing is kinda done to death (haw haw), maybe a fresher perspective will catch someone’s eye rather than something possibly considered stale. Bah, I don’t know!

I’m hoping my new (shorter) word count has made the book sharper. I’m down from 113,000 to 89,000. This number might still change! Given that I’ve chopped out full chapters, I might post them up on here.

Thankfully, there is another PitMad coming up in the next couple of months, it actually happens four times a year. I’m hoping to already have someone’s attention by then, but if not I’ll be joining the ranks again! Admittedly, my heart wasn’t in it this time round and I wasn’t able to post as often as is recommended. It was the same day as my axolotl’s operation and my thoughts were with Hoshi. He pulled through the operation (somehow!) but then sadly died a few hours later. I’ll by writing a post just for him, but I’ll post a picture of him here anyway. Such a handsome little guy he was!

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Oh! And here are a couple of links I found useful while preparing for PitMad.

Brenda Drakes website: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/

Ava Jae writes a lot about PitMad and also helped some people develop their pitches: http://avajae.blogspot.co.uk/

If you took part in PitMad then let me know how it went for you. I know some of my friends over at Litopia had a successful experience so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try!

-A