Wednesday 20 August 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 28: “Only 108 days ‘til Krampus!”

Well, this is awkward. I normally have something to talk about. Maybe it’s a progress update or a specific subject like last week’s talk about book covers for indie authors. I think my weekly CampNaNo updates have caused me to get into a pattern and now that that event is over it’s a little . . . um.

Too be fair I haven’t got much writing done in the last week. After CampNaNo I felt like a break from the big stuff and wanted to get back to my short stories and book cover designs. Even that seemed to pass me by as the week sort of took over. And if I’m honest I may have gamed a little much over the weekend (wife folds arms in disapproval and nods).

But I did get a nice boost, a little shot in the arm the other day. I was just browsing through my twitter feed liking this and retweeting that when I spotted a tweet from a fellow Flash! Friday-er mentioning a flash fiction competition.

Now, apart from the SFX shorts from a couple of years ago, the Zombie short this year and the regular Friday flash pieces, I’ve not really made an effort with doing stuff with my writing. Sure I have the goal to get something in electronic print before Christmas but I see posts and tweets for competitions all the time. Instead of looking into them a bit more I tend to just skip over them.

Not this time though. I don’t know why I ventured forward but venture I did. The link took me to here and then it was another tiny step to here. Krampus Crackers; colour me intrigued.

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So I started to think that a nice piece of flash fiction, 500-800 words, shouldn’t be too taxing. That’s not to say that flash pieces are easy; I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now and it’s a real challenge fitting a story, a good story, into a confined space. But the word limit on the competition allows an easier edit; less errors to look out for, less characters to control (or be controlled by) and a more narrowed focus.

Yesterday I spent some of the day researching Krampus which is something I’ve not done before. I did a little bit of research on prisons when I rewrote IMPRISONED and incorporated a few facts into the plot but that’s about it. Because I’ve never got past a good first or second draft on my longer pieces it means that going into detail has never come up.

I began by reading a wiki entry about Krampus to learn its history and then found some other sites that had interesting facts about the celebration I had only just discovered. I perused some images while each picture, each fact, moulded the story inside my mind. It almost felt perfect.

I sat down in my work canteen (different to the one I used to write in – we’ve moved buildings!) and started writing. Just as pen edged ever closer to paper, as the ink reached out from the tip to force its dark mark on the page my brain tapped me on the shoulder and said “what if you change this to this?”

“Interesting,” I thought. “I like it.”

So I wrote. I stopped and hated the last third of the first page so I started again. This time I zigged instead of zagged and got through the little bog of poor plotting and carried on. This time I got to the end. Three pages of A4 lined.

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And as sometimes happens (that’s sometimes and not always) I really liked what I wrote. As with CONDOLENCE I’m not bragging that it will win but I’m really happy about where I took the prompt and how it turned out.

Tonight I’m going to type it up and get it printed off before the weekend. I’m going to need those trusty beta readers again (sorry guys, I promised you TATTOO next but this has a deadline of 5th September) and then I’m going to send it off.

No doubt I will dread hitting that send button again when the time comes but it’s something that I’m going to need to get used to. Send entry to competition, send query off to agent, upload eBook.

Wow, look at that. I found something to write about.

See you in seven

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