Showing posts from 2008

The longer piece

All the thinking is done. We have practiced rhetoric, we have written to Campbell's twelve stages, we have looked at ancient story structures, we have tried dialogue, setting, time and character; now is the moment of truth. It is a strange experience, what was once an outpouring, a stream of consciousness, the tapping of the unconscious river, becomes far more reflective. Do the words do the job that Aristotle observed the words of the greats of the ancient world did? It is the ordinary world; 30 pages, about 12,000 words no more than the first of the twelve. What is there to say about the ordinary world? How can the reader become engaged? It is fascinating as well as challenging.

Adult fiction idea

Let us suppose a man married with a small child has lost his job with the fallout from credit crunch. He was a highflyer in the city. He is being tempted. The first temptation is from a mater at The Financial Services Authority; so poacher turned gamekeeper. His wife encourages him, back to something with a moral streak, but also steady income wise. The other temptation is from Eve. She left the bank before the fallout, to go it alone. She could sell snow to Eskimos. What she needs is a creative mind to come up with the post crunch ideas. She might be offering our man more than just work.

Yet more change or is it fine tuning?

With Agent Victoria flagging historical fiction and children's writing, I just wonder whether there is space to combine them? Would an historical novel aimed at 9-11 be helpful to them in their encounters with history? Elizabethan England I have studied in some depth in my Humanities Degree and so it could be a good subject. I will research further.


I keep vacillating over the direction I should follow. One pointer might be to identify strengths. One is that I seem to be able to create identifiable old people; but another is that I can create rather unpleasant secondary characters. My slight concern is whether I can place these in a children's story?

Grandpa and Anthony

Possibly for a picture book or a read aloud book, there is the story of the boy and his two toy plastic motorbike men, Grandpa and Anthony. These two get up to all manner of adventure, but the boy is not at all sure whether or not they are actually alive. Hints are left and he wonders. His mother is certain that they are only toys, but she is a single mum who is far too busy looking after him and his grandpa, the old gentleman. As to the old gentleman, he is quite distant and it may well be that he knows more that he lets on.

More about William, Doris

There is something deeply empathetic about the relationship of young and old. Doris is a former teacher who maintains a keen interest in the school and helps with literacy. Her short term memory is starting to go and William, whom she helped with his reading, now in year six takes it upon himself to help her. They discover that they have in common imagined friends who were their companions when they were aged 6 or 7. Could it possibly be that these companions are real?

The course so far

As an aside to the William preparation, I wanted to reflect on where we have got to so far.
The first week represented for me a first serious attempt to grasp the ideas of story and plot; this will continue and deepen next week and until Christmas.
The work on rhetoric is enabling me to organise my thoughts on paper much more effectively. It is learning through one's mistakes! The history of language leading into sentence structure and word roots and selection is a whole new world and fascinating, but also useful as writing becomes more of a conscious process. The usefulness of the work on grammar and punctuation is evidence of an ill spent childhood.
The work on differentiating kernel and satellite events helps the process of story. The analysis of fairytale will, I suspect, link into myth. The exercise in genre is valuable in exploring the range of one's voice. Work on pov is yet another discipline to tighten up our writing.
The sessions on business writing and script writing we…

William has changed

The experience of five weeks or so on the Professional Writing MA has inevitably had an affect. This has shown itself in the probable death of the old William and the possible creation of a new character in a book aimed at the 9-11 market.
William is in his final year at primary school. He is bright and, like so many, is not finding himself stretched, and this gives scope for other things. A new girl arrived at school this term and William has noticed how she appears each day at school: tired (you can see grey bags under her eyes), her teeth are dreadful and clothes seldom changed or clean. She is funny though and there seems to be an empathy between her and William - nothing more. A very strange argument is raging among the other children. Someone has brought into school a life size stuffed doll and have asked the children to write stories about him. The awkward aspect of this is that some of the younger ones have come to believe that he is real; that he has a story of things that act…

William the builder

He came from the slums of Leicester and developed a passion for building. He wanted people to live in decent surroundings. He was a follower of Wakely. He worked his way up through the trades to the point that he was designing houses. He make take the plunge to become an architect (see what the barriers were) Either way he builds beautiful houses. The first bombing raids of the war destroyed some. Was he more concerned about the occupants or the house? Eventually to leaves his profitable business and joins the RAF as air crew. He is shot down in France which is where he meets Brigitte.

William's story - further thoughts

There would seem to be merit in placing William in the places that did well in the 1930s. This could be the motor industry given where he lives (Leicester) or textiles, but what about building? There is something about 1930s architecture that is self confident and stretching and this sits side by side what now looks steady house building but then provided quite literally a life saver to many overcrowded towns. he will be faced by a dilemma when war time comes. There is plenty of building to be done but also a war to be fought. Can his vanity tempt him to become aircrew?

But I was happy in my short story

You know what he did? Well, smart arse writer wants to spread his wings and decides that I am the one to lead the charge, so to speak. I told him I was perfectly happy as I was, one or two nice little transactions, discreet, keep your head down. But no, off to France and some little French number. I have to confess that tempted me, being something of a ladies man. The real problem was this business of being involved in the war. I has it sussed you see, I was to be a conscy, join the home guard and keep the businesses ticking over. His idea was that I was to be air crew lost over France.