Category Archives: Flash Fiction

FLASH NANO – NaNoWriMo Reaches the Halfway Point

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WOW – Pitstop… NaNoWriMo reaches the half-way point, which I could hardly believe when I logged on to update my word count… YES I have been writing, well catch up writing (but that’s okay, especially with NaNoWriMo).

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As I am following Nancy’s blog prompts and attempting to spend the month writing flash fiction, I am not planning on reaching 50,000 but what I can tell you is with all the catch up writing I have smashed through 10,000 – which I celebrated. I remember from 2013 that once you smash that barrier the word count tends to follow and for a while (despite only adding 100 words or so) the number increases drastically across the 100 boundaries. Until your brain leaks the thought of 20,000 words – you feel good for a while.

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Last week I thought I might have to cheat further by writing poems not prose, but I am enjoying the Flash challenge and am creating stories that wouldn’t have existed. I am also making these challenges work for me a bit and finding time to research and build up my post NaNo resources – you have to have something to get on with straight afterwards. Keep busy.

nano_15_mug_back_detail Week 2 of NaNoWriMo – Flash Nano

Day 7 – was finally written, an interesting futuristic tale that I think has legs and might become a longer work of fiction some day. It surprised me, even after I had the basic concept of a society that needed more focus on rest and health (and let’s face it our world is mad for busy) – there is a great growing entity behind this story that I would like to explore further. I can feel a Christmas Holiday writing project coming on.

Day 8 – my story was fairly short, but again re-reading it I found some magic moments that I may be able to copy and paste into a story at some point in the future. I wrote this story behind the schedule and it made me glad that I had such an interesting day at work.

Wow, Nancy – you made me happy to be at work!?

Day 9 – This was a great prompt and it could have gone anywhere, in fact at one point I thought it might. I have written all the ideas down for future reference. It also inspired me to create an activity for my writing class and the resulting letter has some dark humour in it. It pleases me when I manage to write something funny, a good change from the serious.

Day 10 – was another prompt that nearly flew to thinking outside the box and again I have a stream of ideas to tackle another time. In the end I based this on a miraculously true story and had fun researching meanings for Italian names. I included bright nobility, which sums up the protagonist well, strength and keeper of time. The ending was left open, but I know what happens.

Day 11 – Again I think this story may need more work, I think it would appeal to the YA market, a market I haven’t considered before. Again, there are touches of humour found in the relationship between the father and his daughter.

Day 12 – has left most of with our jaws on the floor and I have only had time to scaffold my effort. Very 80s and worth being part of Flash Nano for this prompt alone.

Day 13 – was one I enjoyed (although it hasn’t helped the Nano count at just 13 words) but it was fun to edit and re-edit. I changed the story idea twice too, I am happy with the final result.

I also played catch up with the Day 6 challenge – the 100 word story. I wanted to write 150 words so I could submit it and I did just that (well 149). I will keep you posted on this one.

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I look forward to the next week of prompts.

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I collected a few more award buttons and have 13 stories and 11,548 words so far

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Nancy Stohlman FLASH NANO

FLASH NANO – 1 week in

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FLASH NANO has been going well, it makes a change for me to write prose and Nancy’s prompts have been inspiring, these tales would never exist without this challenge. I have started to think about how these prompts can be used, rather than just collecting stories that will just gather dust in my hard-drive.NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-Square

 

So here’s what has been happening since Day 2.

Day 3 Monologue.

I created a character who was fighting the setting in of age (we had to write a monologue), this flash had feet and I think I can rework it and use it in the future. The central character not only bears witness to something but suspects she knows the culprit.

Day 4 Fire.

I read an Australian traditional tale about a crocodile and reshaped it into something a little different. The crocodile needed help with his drilling of sticks to make fire and the clever lizard invents fire sticks. It takes a while before the crocodile can make a fire that stays alight and the animal who helps him is one he has never eaten to this day.

It was fun writing this tale and may work well as a story for children.

Day 5 A childhood toy.

I knew instantly which toy I was going to write about and parts of this Flash were based on a real-life experience. The ending took me by surprise (I love it when writing does that) and it works well as a story for a variety of markets.

Day 6 A 100 word story.

This is still to be written (see my TOP TIPS) but I have researched where I may be able to place a short flash and have decided to make it 150 words so I can potentially submit it.

Day 7 Writing about the seventh day, the day of rest.

I still need to tackle this. I haven’t thought about it yet.

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I do not panic about falling behind because these challenges are under 1000 words and the average recommended daily allowance is 1667 words a day for the 50K challenge, which is not something I am trying to achieve this year. I have extended some of the original flashes into short stories and so far have written 8242 words.

So how is Nanowrimo going for you? Do share your updates with us. Here are some tips to keep you in the write frame of mind now that you are a week in.

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  • Forgive yourself if you haven’t written daily, some days are busy. I haven’t managed to write daily, but I do check the prompts daily and scribble some rough outline notes. This means that when I get time to sit and catch up I am not trying to create the story from scratch.
  • Check prompts daily (even if you don’t write)
  • Make some notes of plot/ideas (for another time)
  • Sit down and make up the word count as soon as you possibly can. Even if you haven’t time to finish the whole piece.

 

  • Research – I use google to search keywords and generate ideas, or to make sure there is historical/ factual accuracy in my stories.
  • Purpose – Rather than just writing try to give your NANO writing purpose, research possible markets for submission, mark the best ideas and don’t forget to make note of any ideas that come out of the writing.
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Good luck and keep writing!nano_15_mug_back_detail

 

PS today is the day for Double donations and a double writing challenge. Double up your word count, a great idea if you are doing Nanowrimo because all extra words under your belt count.

It is also the first official Nano write in for my regional group, I attended back in 2013 when doing Nano for the first time. Check out your regional groups, a write in is fun and motivating, not to mention sociable.

 

RELATED LINKS

nanowrimo.org

http://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/

NaNoWriMo: Update on Flash NANO

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nano_15_poster_image_0 This year I am working on writing projects already and know I haven’t time to write 50,000 words, so I was delighted when I discovered Nancy Stohlmn was posting daily prompts for 30 Flash Nano pieces, flash fiction being prose under 1000 words and a genre I have a better time with than short story writing.

As far as NaNo rules go this unplanned approach means I am a pantsher_badge– but being a panster when you’re not planning to reach 50,000 words is fine by me. Plus with Nancy’s prompts I am not a total panster, there is at least a daily starting point.

 

Day 1

Nancy’s first prompt was a hard write for me, it was based on a real-life story (not my own), maybe that was one of the reasons it was difficult, or maybe it was the challenge of setting a story in just one setting. There was no dialogue to move the story forward.

I managed a complete flash fiction of 969 words. One of the character’s talked about was called Nancy and I have only just realised the connection in writing this blogpost.

 

Day 2

This story was much easier to write, maybe because I sat down with a cup of coffee. nano_15_mug_back_detail

I did some micro research to manage the technical vocabulary I needed and this flash actually turned into a short story of 1414 words, which I am not going to worry about. In order to use the flash fiction stories in the future they may have to be extended into short stories.

I have also noted 3 fresh ideas that have spawned from writing the flashes.

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How’s it going for you? Let us know.

NANO: No Time for NaNoWriMo? Try FLASH NANO instead

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I did NaNoWriMo in 2013, the year I started writing again, the year I started blogging. I completed the Spring and Summer Camps as well as the main event. 2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner

This year I thought about dipping my toes in again, but I am working on several poetry projects and know that I don’t have time to complete 50,000 words. Tonight I decided to spend some time browsing my reader as it has been 10 months since I looked at blogs out here. I discovered a post and a challenge that might match my schedule and give me more to work with in the future.1 nb

Nancy Stohlman is posting prompts for flash fiction, which I do have time for. http://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/

Imagination Rain.eps I headed over to http://nanowrimo.org and signed back in. I headed to the Pep Talk page which has a lot of good advice and encouragement for a positive mental attitude, which believe me all NaNo-ers need! See what Gene Luen Yang has to say here

I am unlikely to reach the 50,000 word count by writing incredibly short, short stories but I will hopefully end the month with 30 new pieces and if I can I might mix it up with some poetry too.

So let’s get started!

Good luck to everyone making NaNo part of their November.

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PUBLISHED

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It was August when I sent my last batch of submissions out, since then I spent my time working on one or two larger projects and some commissions. Most of the work which I sent out has since been rejected.

On the 7th November I received an email (that is how busy I am, it has taken days to acknowledge this on the blog), from an editor accepting my work.

Paragram accepted my poem ‘Picasso of Dance’, about Martha Graham for publication in an up and coming print anthology  of Poetry and Flash Fiction, ‘REMEMBER’, which will be available to buy from Amazon and other on-line stores.

Very excited and grateful for this opportunity.

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June Review

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 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.

 

Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.

 

Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

 

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe 20-29th June 2014

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WLF speakeasy

I have loved being part of this year’s WorcsLitFest, having so many events and opportunities on my very own doorstep has been wonderful.

I didn’t plan it very well – as I also took on a full week of work – and missed many daytime/ teatime events I could have otherwise attended. There’s always 2015. I also missed the last 3 days of the festival due to performing in Birmingham and celebrating birthdays.

My highlights were being asked to guest spot for the Decadent Divas (something I was unfortunately not able to do as it clashed with Dave’s Woodstock Party) and performing at Jonny Fluffypunk’s event! wlf jfp2

There was a packed programme of 33 events and performances – look at the glorious programme here;

https://worcslitfest.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/1-litfest-programme-20143.pdf

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I went to the launch event – a fun packed event concluding with the new Poet Laureate being chosen, congratulations to Fergus McGonigal our new ambassador for poetry and Claire Walker, who came 2nd and Suz Winspear who came 3rd.

Prizes for the young writer competition and flash fiction were also announced.

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The next event was just 30 minutes later in Malvern, on the hills. I was asked to take part in this and would have loved to, but had Writing West Midlands job the next day. I hope I can take part in the magic next year.

Midnight Moonlight Solstice Walk – celebrate the solstice, walking on the Old Hills with poetry and stories on the way.

Ruth Stacey held a Native American Myths workshop that I would have loved to attend – but due to hotfooting over towns for Writing West Midlands job I couldn’t have made it.

I also missed the Authors’ Fair at the Guildhall, the Romantic Novelists’ Panel and wlf cat-weatherill-2-lowres by Cat Weatherill.

 

On Sunday I was part of the Pop Up Bus Tour, a fun event! Including performances on the bus and in the park. wlf pop

The EP – Emergency Poet was parked up at the Hive. It was great to see Deborah Alma and James Sheard again and this was the first time I had seen her emergency ambulance and had a consultation, great fun. Deborah does many festivals and Lit events and is well worth looking up and going to see!

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Then I hotfooted it over to Birmingham to take part in Poets with Passion at the Sahara Restaurant. Missing the Beatfreeks performing at the workshop, I do see a lot of Beat poetry performed in Birmingham, so may well have seen it before.

On Monday I worked and had forgotten I was going out at all… fortunately I remembered and went to see Man Up Jonny Fluffypunk.jfp Jonny is a stand up poet and one of my favourite discoveries in this world of performance poetry I have immersed myself into. I have seen him perform twice as a headliner but his one man show is not to be missed! I am not going to say more about it because it is unbelievable and you need to catch it for yourselves if you ever get the chance! Amazing. wlfjfp5 I didn’t know before I got there that there had been a shout out for performers as they were trying to create an interval in an interval-less show. I did have a poem on my phone, a poem that was on my set list for SpeakEasy on Thursday, but this opportunity was too good to miss and it was one that Fergus McGonigal, Adrian Mealings and I took up!

wlfjfp3wlfjfp1 I performed my Adjectives poem, written for Mouth and Music, it went down well and Jonny loved it – until the beret line and a slight ad lib on my part! It was a great feeling and thanks to WLF Crew and Jonny for letting us have some of the stage time!

I took Tuesday off from events, although there were plenty of things I wanted to see, I knew with wok as well energy was needed to survive the week.

On Wednesday I went to the Festival Special of 42 with Lou Morgan. It was a great night and I enjoyed putting my set together, the newly written 52 poem about Martha Graham, The Picasso of Dance, went down very well and had lots of feedback.

WLF 42 It was a cracking night and Lou’s Q & A session was very interesting. I regret not having the time to mingle and chat afterwards, I was so tired and knew I wouldn’t be home until gone 11.

On Thursday after working I frantically re-jigged the set list for my 6 minute slot and filled the Adjective gap with Moustaches. speakeasy Festival Special was just that a special night! Some amazing open mic-ers and guest performances and also 2 headliners, who blew everyone out of the water!

Scott Tyrrell was new to me, a Northern Poet full of comic wit (who left Worcester for Glastonbury this year!) His material was heart felt and chuckle full – mostly about Fatherhood, my favourite poem involves a book review for Where the Wild Things Are. Great stuff.

Emma Purhouse I discovered back at the beginning of my poetry odyssey! She is amazing, funny, poignant and highly observant of life around her. I hadn’t seen her perform for a while and was looking forward to it. We had a little moment to chat too, which was lovely and she encouraged me to enter Offa’s Press Submission – which I was already beavering away on – as if full week of work and LitFest wasn’t enough – I was also trying to compile a manuscript to send to Offa. I was delighted when Emma encouraged me to do it, confirming that my material was a match, lets hope Offa feel the same about my submission!

Her set was amazing, loved it! WLF sp

This was my final WLF event as I was performing in Birmingham on the Friday, partying over the weekend, I missed some cracking bits at the end – including Double whammy Slammy – Poetry and Flash – Congratulations to Brenda Read-Brown for winning the poetry prize, the 4th Slam Poet Champ of WLF.

 

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Well done WLF!

 

 

 

My Writing Life: News

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Yesterday I had no internet connection! This is an offline post I wrote:

Mr G and I went out on Sunday, for treats and garden/house shopping, after a lovely morning together, (on the last free Sunday I have for about 5 weeks) I popped onto the blog to leave a few posts… low and behold, the phone lines were down in my town… last time I remember this was after a storm many years ago… cannot believe it in the 21st Century, but there you go no internet.

I have decided to write all my posts offline ready to post and go out with Mr G for a lovely Steak meal and forget all about the world I could access… where some very important news was waiting for me in my inbox!

I am very excited about all the wonderful things happening to me right now in the world of writing.

Firstly, at the end of May I applied to Naked Lungs to take part in a pop up poetry event at the next Birmingham Literature Festival this year in October. It is a paid gig too! WOWZERS! Typically they have been inundated with creatives applying to be part of this half hour event, so we have been invited to meet/interview with them to discuss our proposals. blf logo

Unfortunately, it was a day I was working full time, I emailed with possible solutions to this problem, then late last week the agency rang and my days got changed about into 2 half days, freeing up potential time on Monday and Tuesday, I now need to decide which slot will be better for me, traffic-wise I guess Tuesday morning is the better option, just hope I can get to work on time! (I received confirmation today my interview is Tuesday morning.)

It is exciting and I hope it provides an opportunity.

Secondly, it is the 4th Worcester LitFest & Fringe starting at the end of this week and I am happy to announce my involvement.

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I have been asked to take part in the Pop Up Poets event on Sunday 22nd, it looks great fun.

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I am also one of eight performers who will take to the stage at 42, have to get some dark poetry ready for that set. I think my recent poem about Martha Graham, written for the 52 project may be a suitable starting point. Maybe I will dust the Zombie poem off for another outing.

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The SpeakEasy Worcs LitFest special was originally invited guests only, I was one of the poets asked to do a 6 minute set. I am looking forward to both of these events and the headline acts.

I am busily involved in other open mic events and workshop/ performances right up until the end of June. Living the dream… 8 months in!

There are even more exciting events taking place in July.

I am performing on stage with The Poetry Army – Brainfruit, in my hometown and also hope to attend the pre-show workshop if Writing West Midlands can find cover for the Worcester group.  poetryarmy

I am attending the Born Free Anthology Book Launch, reading my poems from the book, along with others at various venues in Birmingham, starting with The Ort, where I was hoping to perform with Tim Scarborough again but he has other commitments for the rest of the Summer on Fridays and can’t manage it. I am performing a solo set instead. born free

Tim and I hadn’t actually seen each other for weeks as we were both performing individually for the last Mouth and Music. Where he performed an incredible set of poetry written about his late wife, poems I was honoured to help him edit. Not that they needed much work. We decided mm that we will collaborate for the next Mouth and Music on the theme of Summer. I look forward to squeezing some rehearsal time in!

I am going back to Acton Scott Farm to take part in a celebratory afternoon of Jean Atkin’s residency, including reading some ASF poetry from the workshop day. acton Where I also hope to finally buy my copy of DIP by Andrew Fusek Peters.

I am going to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where Jo Bell is the resident poet for the annual Literature Festival, she has organised a 52 picnic, where there will be so many of us hoping to perform we will be selected from a raffle to perform our 52 poems.

I have been so busy this year that I haven’t always managed to write my weekly poem in time to submit it to the 52 group, I have however, tried to catch up, I still have a few missing weeks and I really miss reading other people’s poetry because you learn so much, I hope to catch up with it this summer. Morning-Sun-mit

AND excitedly I share news that came after this was written and will have a post of its own. I got published!

 

Friday Fictioneers – The Perfect Place

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It has been ages since I had a chance to write for any online/blog writing challenges, I am looking forward to trying to manage my 100 words this week for FF – Friday Fictioneers.

Join in and check out the challenge at Rochelle’s blog. Click the icon friday-fictioneers don’t forget to read the RULES.

 

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast

 

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Copyright –Jennifer Pendergast scalpel

They leant the bikes against the wall where the others were.

“It’s the perfect place to film.”

“We’ll struggle getting the equipment up, there’s no room for the van.”

“We don’t need it, we’d cycle again.” Adele sighed.

Stephen always picked holes in her ideas, no matter how good they were.

“I’ll phone them.” she said, finding the perfect excuse to turn away.

Stephen made a quick sketch.

 

“They won’t do it. They say it’s haunted.”

“What rubbish!”

The pair got back on their bikes, Stephen glanced up and saw the windows were open. He knew he’d drawn them shut.

Drummonds 42 – Elves, Pixies, Witches and Warlocks

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I wrote a piece especially for 42 this month, it was a bit of a rush because I spent the morning dealing with car insurance and the afternoon washing my car (caked in mud from River Cottage) before its MOT. 42

I tried to stick to the theme, wrote a very short fairy poem and then after researching got side-tracked by folklore. I became engrossed in discovering new knowledge of stories, traditions and superstition.

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I started by trying to write a poem, it turned into prose and ended up a narrative poem. I was unsure about performing it as it is the first draft, but feedback was positive and it was an enjoyable experience.

I had a great night – quite a few poets turned their hands to prose and there were people who haven’t been for a while – it was good to see a mixed crowd and a bigger audience.

Then at the end of the night I was told that Sue Thompson (who was at Andrew Owens’s book launch) had posted her final artwork online, I couldn’t wait to check it out, I was sitting at her table so was lucky enough to see some preliminary sketches. They are great – look out for them on a new post.

The next 42 is a Worcester LitFest special and I am happy to have one of the eight floor spots. WLF&F logo concepts