A Macabre Writing Challenge

On my Writer’s HQ course that I’m currently doing, there is a recurring theme of “just get writing”.   So I revisited my lovely Writing Challenge app which does exactly the same thing, and here’s what came out this time.  

It’s slightly macabre – I wonder what is going on in my head sometimes! I suppose this is what happens when you switch off the planning and switch on the writing.

***  

He returned to the cemetery to finish what he started. It wasn’t a pleasant job but he had begun and you should finish what you began. He flew in with his cape flapping in the wind. He landed with a gentle whoosh as his cape billowed out around him like a black jellyfish.

“I don’t want to leave it like this, I must make it right,” he muttered to himself as he gathered himself together. He looked around the cemetery to hunt out what he needed. Graveyards held no fear for him. He rather feared the living more than the dead! There was no magic about him – he may look like a magician, but he was all about the hard work rather than swishing a wand and making it all disappear. The burial had been a work of art! A headstone, flowers, candles, fireworks – the lot. But the magic was gone. They had buried the wrong thing.

He peered into the chapel to make sure the chaplain had gone to bed, grabbed his shovel from the coal shed and headed over to Persephone’s headstone. He jumped over the fence which had been erected to protect her and knelt down in the wet grass. He felt around the headstone and to the right was a soft mound of earth. His beloved Persephone would remain safe and sound but he needed her accomplice, and she had been buried with Persephone.

“You have changed my love,” he crooned. “What did we do to you?” He brushed the earth from her small round face and blew over her in a figure of eight. “What did we do to you?” As the breath revived her and she took her first breath in two days all he could think was that she looked so tired. 

***

Writer’s HQ Course

It’s time for another course and this time I have chosen to do the 14 day free course from Writer’s HQ.  I told you that I was on a budget!  I am on Day 4 and I am loving this…It’s basically a course which makes you get off your bum and do some writing everyday to promote getting into a good writing habit.  I think I’ve had one day off over the weekend when friends were calling me to the pub but I figured that was ok.  I think you get 30 days to access the course.  

The videos all are engaging and presented by very normal people so far – hurrah.  They’re friendly and engaging and best of all they have been getting me to write!  Not huge amounts as I have a full time job and a very time consuming 2 year old.  But I have written for 4 days in the last 5 days – that’s better than I did before!

Tonight the task was to think about what you’re writing and sketch out ideas for 20 minutes.  I tend to use Evernote to write my thoughts and random trains of thought down, so I picked an idea that I came up with ages ago about a smuggling story and started free writing ideas down.  It’s going to be a children’s story based in a smuggling village somewhere in England. Year to be researched.  Children are not allowed to be included in the smuggling gang but they are perfect for it! They’re quick, they know best hiding places and can fit in very small places – think of the Secret Seven with a camp somewhere hidden. There are dangers though that they could get caught by the Watchmen or their parents!  Working title – The Night Horses.  Inspiration from “The Smuggler’s Song” by Rudyard Kipling. 

Writer's HQ course - a smuggling story

Writer’s HQ course – a smuggling story

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again – and they’ll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm – don’t you ask no more!
If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house – whistles after dark –
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie –
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood –
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie –
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by.

Rudyard Kipling

 It’s a work in progress 🙂

Beginning a Novel – Barafundle Bay

“Let’s start at the very beginning…”

I thought I was starting at the beginning but it hasn’t worked out that way at all.  After my first burst of inspiration for beginning a novel came in Venice, my next came on a trip to Pembrokeshire and a walk at a glorious beach called Barafundle Bay.  Continue reading

The Boy and his Bass

The boy and his bass 

I wrote this after a gig – it struck me that musicians have a special relationship with their instruments.

He held her in a loving embrace.  She was taller than him by a good few inches and leant back into his shoulder nestling into his neck.  They curled elegantly around each other.  He tweaked and played with her, stroked her neck, slapped her side.  The crowd were transfixed.  They felt like they had stumbled upon an intimate moment.  The rest of the musicians were oblivious – they each had their own love affairs going on.   The beat picked up and the slapping continued.  The audience roared its approval.

Musicians and their instruments

Musicians and their instruments

As the set carried on the music rocked and rolled and rocked again to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.  The boy leant in close to his double bass in the slow numbers and murmured into her neck and flung her out with a spin when the beat quickened.

The finale saw a majestic pirouette then as quickly as the boy had been to stroke and caress his bass, he let her go and lay her down on the sticky pub floor. 

The boy’s girlfriend came up to help clear up.  She held the double bass’s cover up to throw over its’ head.  The boy took it from her hands, kissed his girl on the cheek and said, “I’ll do that,” and lovingly tucked his bass away. 

His girl stepped aside and just stared at them.  Her eyes gleamed in the stage lights.  As the boy zipped up the bass’s case his girlfriend glared.  She felt jealousy bubbling up inside her.

The boy put his arms around her and whispered in her ear.  “Thanks for coming tonight.”  She smiled and de-clenched a fraction – there were some things she could do which his double bass couldn’t.  Her smile froze.  He let go of her and picked up his bass to carry in both arms. 

She frowned again. The three of them left together.

Continue reading

The Skeleton Danced at Midnight

The Skeleton Danced at Midnight

This is another writing challenge which I started for the Daily Post and has ended up being a slightly spooky image of a fairground.  I have always found fairgrounds and circuses to be rather odd and intriguing places. 
 
The challenge was to use five nouns from the following list:  The lake. The night. The crickets. The ravine. The attic. The basement. The trapdoor. The baby. The crowd. The night train. The fog horn. The scythe. The carnival. The carousel. The dwarf. The mirror maze. The skeleton.  
 

The skeleton danced at midnight with the melody of the carousel reverberating through his hollow bones.  He yearned to touch the carnival animals again and jest with the dwarves.  His life of skin and flesh had been full of colour, light and music and how had he loved it!

Skeleton Danced at Midnight

Skeleton Danced at Midnight

The crowds spun through the circus screaming with laughter and candy-floss induced mania.  It was a sugar-spun world.  The fat lady solemnly ate her way through fifteen courses; the bearded lady combed her hair and the iron man lifted trucks to practice his art.  Animals preened in their cages and the big top shone like a beacon in the night sky.

The carousel had been his creation with the pretty horses with their painted tails flying.  How he loved their graceful motion.  Up and down and round and round.  They never stopped their flight until that fateful day when he lost his footing and fell under the painted horses’ hooves.  He lost his flesh to the carousel but honoured it with his bones.