Friday May 23 2014
Hey folks 🙂
Lovely to see you here!
Sometime ago, I took part in the #FlashFriday twitter hashtag event. What would happen with this is that creative writers of all shapes and sizes would write short 1000 word stories and post them for the community to read and feedback on every Friday. Unfortunately, that hashtag has now been subsumed by pornographic imagery, taking the idea of ‘flash’ to a whole different interpretation.
So, I’ve decided to try and relaunch it – whether or not it gets traction is up to the community of course 🙂 so now, here below – I’ll add the first #FictionFriday story I’ve made in a while. It’s very loose at the moment, but if people like it, I might be able to push it in a more effective direction, possibly continuing into different parts – let me know your thoughts in the comments!
(I’m as rusty as an old nail, so don’t be too harsh!)
A new holographic technology, one that truly gave people an immersive experience was just about to hit production, but there is a lot of scepticism out there about this kind of technology.
“People want something different than television, but don’t feel a truly ‘immersive’ experience will do what it says on the tin. This WILL. Our product puts people right in the centre of the action, mentally and almost physically too. Technology has advanced to the stage where we can make truly photo-realistic visuals. So realistic, that we’ve found in our testing that sometimes people would not know they were in the world we created for them. Whilst this is a good thing, it doesn’t make for high brand confidence.”
Grant was addressing a small group of shareholders at the headquarters of Repli-world. “We need something to differentiate our worlds from the ‘real’ world. I’d suggest that maybe we could have white items in the world, something that glows brightly, or just stands out. Make it so that the user can touch them to return to the ‘real’ world.” Grant waited for a moment, “Or if there are other suggestions?”
The advert appeared sometime ago in the local newspaper, she didn’t read those usually, but for some reason this advert stood out on the page, it spoke to her.
“Wanted, hot new talent to define the biggest thing since television. We need new, fresh ideas to bring life to the stale grind of repeated story-lines. We want YOU to help, send us your project no later than one week of this date, and may the future smile warmly on you.”
It wasn’t like the usual adverts she saw, this one was different, it resonated with her. Perhaps, she thought, it was her break. The one she needed to get her writing, her voice out there.
With the project finally completed, after countless hours, takes, retakes, editing and re-editing, a victorious yell leapt from her mouth, “YES!!!!! I finally done it, yaay!”
she had nailed the audio just the way she wanted it, the perfect scene.
Now, all that was left was for her to set up the presentation and get it ready for submission, she was sure this would be it, this would be the key, her key to a prosperous future.
After everything had been done, Heidi didn’t know what to do next. She thought she would need to show it to her friends before she finally took courage enough to sent it in, it mattered to her, to get their reactions to the project.
Yet, she felt she couldn’t let the project go, she knew of course, she knew she had to, but, it was hers and had been hers alone for so long that she wondered if it was even suitable to send to the studio at all.
If it felt so important to her, would it be wise to give so much of her self-worth over to a corporation, with profits its main goal?
She really didn’t know, but then, she had started for a reason. She felt it was true to what she wanted her life to be.
It was a huge risk, she imagined, the biggest she had ever taken. Whether it was that sort of risk or not remained to be seen, but at least to her, it was the only thing in the world important to her at the time. What then, she pondered, if it was successful, what if it took off and people loved it, was she ready for the big-time? or worse, would people actually hate it? would that ruin her?
Again, she wasn’t sure. For too long, she had lived in the mire of self-doubt and uncertainty. But instead of giving up this time, she decided she was going to take the leap… The biggest step she’d ever taken in her life, was afoot…
Later on that night, Heidi arranged to meet her friend, Lucy after dinner. She always liked Lucy, Lucy always told her what she thought in all honesty – never sugar-coating what needed to be said. Although, Heidi for the most part still wondered if she was just trying to delay putting it out.
“It’s great!” Lucy expleted, “I cannot believe how real that feels to me, definitely, put that out – gawd you’d be a fool not to!”
“What? – You really liked it?”
“Yes, Really! it’s amazing! If they don’t want it, they’re not worth it. Trust me, get it out there babe.” Lucy was effusive, it really gave Heidi a huge confidence boost, she felt warm inside.
Later on in the evening, whilst walking home, Heidi reflected on her friends enthusiasm for her project, it wasn’t Like Lucy to be so enthusiastic for anything Heidi wrote, but she felt buoyed by it, so much so, that Heidi had put it in the envelope she’d made earlier and put it in the post-box.
The next day, Lucy could not get Heidi’s story out of her mind, she thought about it all through work and even into the evening. She still felt that sense of engagement she had when she first read it. “Wow,” she mused aloud, “Heidi really outdid herself on this one, I hope she’s successful.”
Upon arrival at the studios, the brightly coloured envelope caught Grant’s attention, it was interesting enough that he had to fish it out from the seemingly ever increasing mountain of brown and white that got larger with every day that passed.
After reviewing the story, Grant was engaged just as much as Lucy had been
“That HAS to go into our system, no two-ways about it! It’s exactly the sort of enchanted story-weaving we’ve been after.” Grant continued,
“This project will rock the world, make things better, might be a bit bumpy at the start, but we’ll make it work. We need it to work, the world counts on us to give them something unique. Something from the heart, that will stir the soul. Too much is rewritten and rehashed, that whatever meaning was present in the original text no longer applies. We need something relevant for the future, something that will make people wake up and think about the future and where they exist within it.”
Saturday May 17 2014
So, it’s no mystery I haven’t written anything here, or anywhere else for a while, and I’m beginning to realise that perhaps that’s not a good place to be. If nothing gets done, nothing will change. Procrastination in it’s purest form. So I’ll tell you a little bit about where I’ve found myself in the last couple of weeks.
Firstly, I wandered back onto Twitter after a long absence, just to see how things were going, and I stumbled upon a tweet by @Etherius, that’s Chris Lester of the Metamor City audio-books you might have heard of, if not, check the website out – he has some brilliant stories on there (check in the archives) at http://www.metamorcity.com . He tweeted that he had backed a kick-starter project called “Storium” (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stlhood/storium-the-online-storytelling-game) and I wanted to check it out.
I am very glad I did, because it may just be the catalyst I need to get my fingers tapping out some stories again! The kickstarter had been funded, but in it’s last hours with some stretch-goals in progress, and I backed it 🙂
Storium is an interactive storytelling game, which, as you might imagine is a game about interactive storytelling. The basic premise is a little bit like Roleplaying, just without the stereotyped notion of teenagers in a darkened room being isolated and insular. It opens up the idea on a worldwide and approachable scale.
In essence, it’s collaborative fictional writing, you have the ‘narrator’ or ‘GM’ if you prefer, who sets up a scene or an idea and describes within this scene a number of ‘challenges’ that the players can complete within the concepts of the scene and the character they wish to play. No dice or encyclopaedic knowledge is required, just you, your imagination and your keyboard – it’s that simple 🙂
Think something along the lines of, “You are in a darkened train car, it’s the middle of the night and cold outside…” within this scene there could be challenges like “Get out of there!” or “Switch the lights back on.” the beauty of this system though, is that you, the player chooses which challenge to accept, and what happens to meet it. The narrator doesn’t have control of this point in the story, they would have to ‘write around’ or adapt their story to suit what the players wanted to happen later on in the story. What you would end up with is an interesting story made up by many minds with many twists and traps on the way.
I guess it would work like a writing from a prompts book or something similar and, if you ask me, it’s gold-dust for budding creative writers out there 🙂
If you are interested, do check them out, there’s more detail on the systems used on their website. https://www.storium.com or read a bit about the project on the kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stlhood/storium-the-online-storytelling-game
Until next time!
Thursday Oct 20 2011
A short while ago, I reported on my Twitter feed that I had been bludgeoned into joining the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short, it is a 50,000 novel challenge in November where the idea is to "Write First, Ask Questions Later" in order to get the creative juices flowing at full-pelt so to speak. Initially I was sceptical that such a challenge would be doable for me and, in fact, I’d only signed up on the website to find out more – but as it turned out, the act of signing up actually made me a participant.
I was orginally planning to just ignore the fact that I’m a participant this time around and just look around anyway, but the idea itself actually seeded in my mind. There was that story I was thinking of writing for the #FlashFriday event, and I really started to think about actually trying NaNo out. Oddly enough the thought is like a virus, floating around, multiplying at an exponential rate before it evolved for me into a full-blown obsession!
So the idea started bobbing about with the NaNo virus and itself mutated into something tangible. It even got to the stage that my fingers were itching to put the first words to paper(they still do 🙂 ) but I’m holding out for the onset of the NaNo virus 😉 thankfully, it is just a week away and I’ve managed to find some wings for my idea and even got down an outline, a plan and possibly a plot, that is, in my head. But I need to actually sit the fudge down and start bringing it to life.
Which leads me down the garden-path to the concept of NaNo write-ins, a regional breakdown of NaNo participants that would usually meet during November for their regular write-ins. Another viral idea!
So I’ve now joined the regional writing group for Edinburgh, in Scotland for those that don’t know and I’m looking forward to meeting the others from the region to see and hear what their thoughts are.
Wednesday Sep 21 2011
Okay world, time to start kicking the proverbial into gear, its been too long since I found any inspiration from anywhere, so I need to start simply to start typing and see where it leads. I’ve actually formulated a couple of interesting ideas for some new Flash Friday stuff – but damned if it’ll be difficult getting into the flow again, enough of the excuses though – get going.
I hate to spoil my ideas, but needless to say the thoughts going around are of the very abstract and quite frankly weird approach to the individual character and their world.
I’ve not put the proverbial pen to paper in so long, in a way it feels somewhat freeing to do it again, I think what I need is another dose of the Novel PI 😉
so what am I going to do (write) now…? 😉
Laters for anyone watching – I don’t think there will be many at this point though, the blog has been dead too long…
Sunday Apr 04 2010
The other day I joined up to Facebook. Yes yes, save your guffaws and retributions….
I did it because one of my collegues found my long-forgotten profile and decided to add me, so when I browsed onto the page hoping to decide about closing the account completely. But when I looked at this colleague’s page, it seemed that a few of my outside-of-work contacts were also using it, so I figured I’d give it a try and started to beef out the profile a bit.
On the surface – it looks like the usual bland social networks you have around the web these days, but the thing that gob smacked me was the sheer scale of it, how many people I knew were actually using it.
Doing some browsing around some friends from work’s profiles I see links and sub-links to people that I had though long since vanished from my life, usually old colleagues from years back but the sheer number of them is staggering. I guess after five years working at a place kinda gets you hooked up into its long shelf-life. An after image if you like, I’m still convinced that the magnitude of the absence of my work-home for so many years is still to sink in. It’s been four days now since I left the office for the last time and I’m beginning to realise its meaning for me.
Why so many days before reflecting on it?
Well, I’ve been busy, I had an interview on the very next day for a new job, a result of my blind applications of the night before. Tonight, though, I’ve been browsing around Facebook again and its giving twitter a new run for its money. Where twitter is generally anonymous, Facebook seems to have more of a life its own, nameless profile pages give way to an insight into real peoples lives and goings on and it leads to cool recollection and reflection, about the people I’ve came to know and have known through work, it feels kind of sad in a way, but I’m sure I’ll find a place for it in the dusty bookshelf of my life to date.
So a Facebook convert?
I don’t really know how to answer that question right now 🙂 I’ll give it some time to see what happens. Let me know your comments on Facebook or Twitter and why you use one or the other – I’d be interested to know what you think.
Friday Dec 25 2009
The dance hall was vibrant, lots of people littered the floors appeared to be smiling and enjoying themselves. As the music played, the melody was only interrupted by the occasional clatter and clang of glasses being brought together in toasts for everything from World peace to the Birthday Girl, it was her 30th birthday. She was wearing a vibrant red dress that flowed like liquid with every move she made. She was hauntingly beautiful with long, streaked blonde hair decorated by a sparkling array of jewellery.
Then, slowly, the DJ started fading out the current music, proclaiming “and now for something very special for the lady of the evening…..This is for you…” the song began fading up as the singer started… “Lady In Red…” the dance floor slowly emptied for all but a few couples.
She sat, patiently waiting for her husband to take her hand, but he did not…
Now really what would I do in this situation? I’m stuck on the words again and, you know that happens a lot. I’ve been sat here for ages trying to get the right thing to include into the story but it just wasn’t working out.
Well, what did you expect? I’m a newbie writer, its not so easy to just hammer down a story just like that you know, you have to be in the right mood. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to procrastinate, but we’ll never really know until we have a word with ourselves, will we?
Psychologically speaking I guess an author has to grow new Neuro connections in their brain to be able to just flow words out at the drop of a hat, to give their characters life and feeling. After all, a character needs life you know – they are people too. To stick them on a page with no basis or context as to what they are doing or why is in itself a recipe for disaster, or if you’re lucky – a few!
Then again who’s to say the characters have to be people? what would happen for example, if lots of frogs littered the floors appearing to smile and enjoy themselves…. well it certainly would change the dynamic a bit wouldn’t it?
Well, to be honest, it doesn’t help with the husband intervening all the time does it, I swear I keep having to delay and replan for my writing time and that really sucks for any new writing. I’d love to set up a writing sanctuary, away from the chaos – but then if I did that, he’d think I was abandoning him. Oh, what to do, what to do?
Hrm, lets take a walk and see what’s happening, you never know when inspiration will strike – so notepad in hand and a pen at my side, I decided to step out into the hustle and bustle of the Saturday markets. It was very busy at this time of the year, many people shopping for food or whatnot for the festivities. It’s been snowing you know, quite heavily, you could barely see the ground for the varying hues of white and brown, mixed up to form some sort of sporadic camouflage colours.
Comically, I just watched someone fall flat on their face at their door – haha, right – I’ll add that to my notebook, you never know when one of the main characters will be in snow you know, I’ll leave the birthday girl alone for now, I’m not done with her yet!
A very cold breeze was blowing, the kind that went straight to your bones at the slightest breath, still, at least it was fresh – not like that horrid stuffy kind you got in the summer, yes, I think winter is a nice time of year, many people wouldn’t but – meh, who’s to bother with that!
It was a cold Christmas Eve for sure, but still, the energy flowing between the people was intense, almost electrical, you could almost hear the crackle in the air if you have such an imagination. But, certainly it felt warmer in the market. Some might say that was because of the number of people milling around the stalls, others might say the force of energy does that. There’s no way to know for sure really, I try to keep an open mind on such matters.
Still, I find inspiration somewhat elusive, maybe I’m not meant to be inspired today. Continuing my trek through the market and cold, it wasn’t far before the atmosphere dwindled and diluted before a similarly desolate atmosphere melted in, the streets away from the market are dark, creepy and lonely. I felt my heart speeding up, the response to fight or flight welling up inside me like the dwindling embers of a roaring fire slowly growing to grasp at the clutches of flame all over again.
My breath erupted in a spout of water vapour, almost like the very air was being stolen from my body before I was finished with it. I pulled my jacket tighter to myself and kept walking, I had no idea where I was going – I just went. This wasn’t unusual for me, but tonight seemed so much more foreboding than usual. As I turned the corner I heard the loudest shriek from a woman, further down the road and my embers BURNED, I was terrified. What would I do? run, hide, help?, try to help – my mind was frozen, just like my fingers. I had came to a halt at a corner, so far I wasn’t seen by either of the two people, one woman, one man – it looked like she was running, or trying to, all I had to do was yell – it would distract the man long enough that she might get a head start. But if I did that, I would be next on the firing line, I had to yell and hide very quickly, there was some rubbish bins nearby where I could crouch and hide.
Well what else could be done? I certainly wasn’t leaving her to her fate, oh no – so I leaned around the corner and yelled: “HEY! WHO IS THAT!?!!?” The man paused, looking back before turning and, seeing me on the corner, he gave chase. I jumped between those bins for everything that is dear to me. If anyone, not just me, saw him, he would be in trouble of course and that was bad news for anyone that did. Thankfully, the woman got away – I hope she is safe. My heart was thumping so hard and fast now, I was almost afraid he’d hear it. By the way he was hovering on the corner, in fact, I was sure he could. But eventually, he grunted “Arrgghh” a very deep, angry and aggressive grunt at that. I dared not move, at least, not just yet anyway. After some minutes, I didn’t know how many – it was lots, my fingers were all pins and needles, I decided to venture back into the world.
But goodness it WAS cold, it was time for me to head home. I didn’t get the story I was looking for of course – but then, these things rarely go to plan. I’ll need to get back to the Red Lady at her birthday party sometime, but not before I get some food and give the husband a cuddle.
Merry Christmas peoples!
Thursday Oct 15 2009
Just a word of warning here folks, I’m from the UK as such I describe here the ‘boot’ and ‘bonnet’ of a car, these translate as "Trunk" and "Hood" in American English.
"Hello, you’ve reached the AA breakdown line – can I take your account number please?""Yes, its 65432198."
"Thank you, and you are the account holder?"
"Thank you, for security please confirm the car registration and account address please…"
"YU56 CPJ, 42 Grant drive, Ipswitch"
"Okay, how can we help you today?"
"Well, my car has broken down on the highway – I have a flat and the engine wont start."
"Oh, right okay…. we’ll get someone out to you in around 30mins, is that okay?"
"Yes, thank you."
I could see the orange lights a mile away, whether they were for me or not I didn’t know, still it was about the right time for them.
Yup, sure enough it was.
The van pulled in just behind my car lights flashing away. I hoped against hope that I wouldn’t be too late to work.
"Hello there, I take it you were the one that called?"
"Cool, I have your registration mark here – but can I have your membership card too? Just to do the checks."
"It’s been somewhat a double-trouble day! not only did I get a flat, my engine stopped as well, just as I pulled over!"
"Hehe, no worries – we’ll soon have you up and running again…"
"Best we start with the flat, huh? Is the boot open?"
"Yes, just go ahead, it’s open." I said, smiling.
I stepped out, "Do you need a hand?"
"Oh, no that’s okay, I can manage."
"So what happened when the car stopped?"
"Um, when I pulled over the engine kinda shuddered and died – I tried starting it up a few times, but didn’t manage to get it going."
"Ah, right, sounds like you might have a little fuel problem in there, I’ll take a look once I finish with the tyre."
"Right, I hope you can manage, I’ll need to be at work soon…"
"We’ll do our best for you! You’d best call ahead and let them know, don’t worry though – if I can’t get the car started I can take you along, where do you work?"
"Just along the road, about 10miles or so."
"Right, that wont be a problem. There, all done – now lets have a look at your engine shall we?"
"Oh, yeah, sure."
I leaned over and fumbled around to find the catch to open the bonnet before I made the call to the office.
"There you go, that’s your tyre done."
"Do you mind getting around to the passenger side? I need to try the ignition."
"Oh, sure." I said, quickly evacuating the seat. She leaned in the drivers door and tried the ignition, it spluttered and failed just as it did with me. After opening the bonnet she leaned in to the engine compartment.
Standing beside the car on the passenger side, I could see the goodly shape of her bosom as she was tweaking the wires and lifting the various mechanical bits and pieces – now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best with cars but seriously, women don’t usually fit the bill as auto engineers, do they? Heck, usually the ones that are Engineers are usually the type that are ‘butch’ or those you think must be gay or simply not interested in their appearance. But I tell you this lady had the lot, she was lovely. Granted, the overalls she wore almost hung on her, but really, you could see the catlike curves even through the loose overalls. Oh, don’t get me wrong she was strong, she fitted the tyre didn’t she? She was actually quite bulky but not like in an overweight way, well its kinda hard to explain if you didn’t see her.
"Aha! I found the problem…"
"You did? oh, great – what is it?"
"Well, it seems your fuel pipe there…" she said, pointing out a small white pipe " has a crack in it, and since you were slowing down – so did the fuel, which gave you a little air bubble – so your fuel wasn’t getting to the injectors."
"Oh, right – can you fix it?"
"Yup, just need to get a little cover for the crack then all we need to do is pump out the air and you should be on your way."
"That’s great news." I said through a smile I could barely hide, this woman had everything – the great looks, the magic touch, even the playful nature that’s the hallmark of all great women. I had to ask her, I had to speak to her , my heart was pounding.
"heeeh, its unusual for a lady to be doing this kind of thing isn’t it?" I said, as she looked up, she smiled (wow, great smile too) and rolled her eyes, "Yeah, like I haven’t heard THAT before!"
"Ahem, well, yes I guess….. " I could barely find the courage to bleat the words, but I had to, and quickly "You are an incredible woman."
"Haha! Nice try bub, but thank you anyway."
As she was looking at me, I could see it on her face, those deep hazel eyes, she was trying to read me. Trying to get a clue as to what kind of a weirdo I really was, I felt like one – a grade-A werido nutjob. I felt my face burn. I knew it was a shade of crimson red that wouldn’t look out of place on a kids balloon.
She paused for a second, switching her gaze between me and the car before she started fumbling with the engine once more and, for a few long moments there was silence as she was fiddling with the pipe and some sort of semi-circle plastic tubing she had pulled out of her toolbox, it had a coloured side, probably some sort of papery cover on the adhesive. A few long moments later her head rose from the compartment,
"There we go, let’s give that a shot."
She went to the drivers side again and turned the ignition and the engine roared to life once more.
"Right, that’s you all ready to go… now I’ll just get the papers for you to sign then I’ll let you get on to your work." I got the impression that she was hiding behind our professionalism, hey, can you blame her?
I felt like a complete idiot. Seriously, its not something you do, is it?
but god, she is something like I’ve never seen before. Taking a deep breath I tried to compose myself, there was no point to try and speak to her again – not on this blue moon anyway. She came back from her van with the papers in hand,
"Here you go, just sign here and here."
"Thanks." I added, trying to cut things short and make a sharp exit.
Signed papers in hand, she smiled at me (god what a smile), gave me my copy of the documents and left for her van.
In a few moments, the van was gone. I don’t know if I felt relieved or disappointed, I knew I’d probably never see her again – that Automobile Angel…
I took a seat back in the drivers side, ready to head to work – man, I’d be lucky to keep my job now, I did tell them I’d be late but I was already on shaky ground at that point. So, just before I headed off to my fate, I opened up the paper to check what she’d written about the problems…
"1. Put the spare tyre on the wheel, old tyre in boot.
2. Checked engine fault, fuel pipe crack responsible, added protective cover to affect temporary repair. Driver is advised to seek a permanent repair."
Then my signature and below that, in the space below:
"Hey, I’m probably going to regret this, heck you did come of a little weird to me but at the same time, there was something interesting about you. If you want to get to know me better, this is my number – don’t get any ideas though if you pull anything screwy I can block your number quick as anything. Elle"