Sunday, 26 February 2012

6 SENTENCE SUNDAY - FION IS UP TO HER ANKLES IN SPACESHIP

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY THE MG WAY.

Part of the THE HIGH ROAD's re-write has been to heighten the tension and introduce a stronger element of adventure. 
Owing to a misunderstanding, Ethan's non-verbal communication has dropped Fion in a spot of trouble. 
She was confused when she was left behind with Tyrc and Tetta, Second and Third of the Second Tier. She keeps on the move, a slow and sticky walk, she doesn't have a lot of choice, she is a bit absorbed.
In this 6, Fion is up to her ankles in spaceship.

“We should celebrate the movement of the gift, for energy is the force that cannot be created nor destroyed.”
“Thanks be that the gift enthusiastically gives of the energy which is to be absorbed and renewed throughout the ship. Elastic and eternal is all energy!”
“Visible and invisible.”
Tyrc and Tetta were getting along famously, all of a sudden. I was struggling to avoid being... gifted.

ARE YOU SHARING SENTENCES FROM YOU WIP TODAY?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

CHANGING PLANES - THE URSULA LE GUIN WAY Welcome to Tuesday's Teasers

I love to read around the Tuesday’s Teasers hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Yet, another thing that has slipped in my drive to hit the deadline for the KELPIES COMPETITION.


I'm taking a leaf out of the book I am currently reading - not literally a page - more the fact that time and place can be twisted around if you need it to be some other way.


Hello.


Welcome to Tuesday. 


If you want to play along with TUESDAY'S TEASERS, just flip real time on its head and have some fun

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) sentences from that page.

When you select a sentence, try to make sure the Teaser doesn't stray into Spoiler territory.


If you share the title everyone can track the book down, when the section you have posted has drawn them in and has them desperate to read a whole lot more :D


Vocabulary collected from the back cover:


cynical  hilarious satirical intriguing wit invention superb


This brings a whole new meaning to inter-planetary travel...




CHANGING PLANES armchair travel for the mind

by Ursula le Guin


Illustration by Eric Beddows
This book contains 16 short stories linked by the skill of the characters. 


Apparently, it was Sita Dulip who discovered, when she was stuck in an airport unable to get anywhere, how to change planes. By a twist and slipping bend, she could go anywhere - be anywhere - because she was already... between planes.


Isn't that the most incredible hook?


In the author's note, Ursula says:


"The miseries of air travel... Error, fear and suffering are the mothers of invention."


Invention is Ursula le Guin.


SITA DULIP'S METHOD


page 1


lines 12 to 19 - you get value for money out of 
Ursula le Guin's sentences ;) 


The spelling is as I found it in the book:


On the airplane, everyone is locked into a seat with a belt and can move only during very short periods when they are allowed to stand in line waiting to empty their bladders until, just before they reach the toilet cubicle, a nagging loudspeaker harries them back to belted immobility. In the airport, luggage-laden people rush hither and yon through endless corridors, like souls to each of whom the devil has furnished a different, inaccurate map of the escape route from hell.


ARE YOU ENJOYING A GOOD BOOK?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - HIJACKED?

My Six Sentence Sunday post has been hi-jacked. 

Darrah and Hale are sulking under WORD, FILE, RECENT, I-DON'T-THINK-SO

With the exception of Chapters 23 and 27 - mostly a title and a smile - I have a completed novel, again. This time THE HIGH ROAD is written in alternating 1st person narratives. Complete - or it will be - in 50,000 words. ;)

THE HIGH ROAD
GIRL
CHAPTER 1
BEFORE

Our headlights picked out white lines and the ghostly trees that edged the road. The moon was trying but the shifting clouds kept crowding it out. I couldn't watch the scenery change so when the road twisted up the side of the mountain, I slid around the turns. My stomach ached so I laughed. I rolled and swung my legs over the rail that kept the mattress and me in our place at the top of the van.
“Fion! Calm down.” Mum pushed at the cardboard box of cooking utensils. They’d skidded around too.  “We’re nearly there.”
I flopped onto my back. 
My woven fish were taped to the roof. They were darting from side to side moving like fishes under the sea. Rocking on his side, Elephant's wide, white eyes made him look confused. I sat him up and propped him in the corner of the shelf with strong coconut monkey. Arms folded, Monkey looked enigmatic when I pushed them together and stacked my books behind them.
When we turned the next corner, they both slipped over again. I guessed that was how it was meant to be. They were used to falling over. We’d travelled through India and part of China before we’d driven up the total length of Europe. None of the places we’d driven through had been blurred by speed. My view, from the van with the drippy tap, was that the world was enormous. 



Edinburgh-based, Floris Books, 2012 Kelpies Prize

I am still aiming to enter this annual competition. 

The Kelpies Prize is open to children's novels with a strong, engaging narrative set wholly or mainly in Scotland with some relevance to children of today. Aimed at readers between eight and twelve, the manuscripts need to be between 40,000 and 70,000 words and in English.  
The judges' preference is not for animal stories or novels with a strong romantic theme. 
I hope they have a deep and abiding love of Earth based contemporary science fiction.

ANYONE GOT A LIFE? 
I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO GET TO THE SHOP TO PICK UP MY NEW READING GLASSES. IT IS ALL A MATTER OF PRIORITIES, IF THEY WERE HOLDING ONTO NEW SHOES - OR A NAVY SATCHEL - I'D HAVE MADE IT TO TOWN. BUT, NO...I'M REVISING AND EDITING. HOW ARE YOU FILLING YOUR TIME?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

UNLIKEABLE?

OK, it's official, I'm boring. I've done very little except re-write THE HIGH ROAD, recently. 
Sir has had little to say this week as we are on Half Term holiday. :D
In 1st Person, I'm finding I need to make each character even more distinctly individual.
To help with the process, I went through the manuscript and changed the colour of each chapter to match the POV. It is helping me keep my new 1st person narrative voices distinctive. 
THE HIGH ROAD follows Fion's struggle to be morally strong and protect the boy who saved her life. Implicit is Ethan's journey from self-absorption to a understanding of why she didn't betray him in a heart beat.

THE OTHER
CHAPTER 2
I SEE YOU

Creeping along the dimly-lit corridor, my bare feet made less noise than the open-backed hospital gown. I resented the small and slight body: agility was no replacement for physical presence. At least, this size disguised my strength. That would give me an advantage, if it came to a fight.
The window in the corridor reflected back my image. I watched as my lip curled back and the line of my nose creased. From the full brows, straight nose, high cheekbones, to the square end of my chin, I’d been designed to impress. Engineered after studying images collected in early missions, I needed the graze on my cheek and the bruise on my jaw. This face and small physique might be useful if I needed to persuade people to help me but my stomach churned at the thought that their help would be offered because they felt sorry for me. I was underdeveloped. Most people would think twice before hitting me. That probably would not include other boys of this… my age. Other boys would probably hate me. I’d been active only one day and already groups of girls collected outside my hospital ward. Their gathering was easier to ignore than their giggling.
The Intensive Care Unit, on the top floor of the hospital, was divided into eight separate rooms. Everywhere, I could hear whispering and slow beeping. The door handle rattled, I froze and held my breath. It wouldn’t make me invisible but it made me feel better about being caught. Light steps. Soft soled shoes. Nurse. I activated the systems producing powerful pheromones.
“Ethan? You are not supposed to be out of bed. Let alone up here.”
Peering from under my long, dark fringe of hair, I found useful information on her name tag, her smile and the steady beat of her heart. Flicking back the hair, I looked directly at her. I observed the pupils dilate as her brain flooded with odourless scents I released from glands in the skin. “Tell me about the girl.”
Dazed. Face relaxed and eyes vacant, the nurse kept her hand on my shoulder as she walked me to the window of the last ICU room.
I considered removing her hand, but her temperature acted as an additional source of information. “Nurse Robertson, who is she?”
“No one knows, for sure, for we found nothing useful. No papers to identify the other people in the van.”
“Has she said anything?”
“Not a thing.” She said. But she frowned. Her pupils became responsive to the light from the window.
Time was limited, I increased the potency levels. “Please? What is her condition? Has there been a change?”
Eyes wide, her voice strained but she answered. “There’s been no change since the ambulance brought you both in.”
“Will she come around?”
When a dribble of saliva made its way down the nurse’s chin, I reduced the potency of the pheromones. I had over estimated the amount of persuasion it would take to encourage her to tell me what I needed to hear. I waited for her to be able to focus on more than the sensations.

Donna Hole has kindly offered to read and offer thoughts. I'm going to need Hermionie's time turner if I'm going to get this ready in time!

DOES IT MATTER IF THE CHARACTER YOU INTRODUCE IS BASICALLY UNLIKEABLE?

Monday, 13 February 2012

SIR SAYS - THIRD PERSON? REALLY?

Image from Scotland.org

I'm posting while the dinner is in the oven - on a timer ;)

Between visits to Mum who is recovering from her 14 day stay in hospital with heart problems and my Babe writing her car off on a motorway (she and all other road users walked - or drove - on unscathed) I've been a little too busy to blog. Soz ;)

Welcome! Some new followers arrived while I was having my haitus - I'm suffering with guilt to top off my regular feelings of anxiety ;)

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day - it is also our wedding anniversary. See that piece of forward planning? I like to think of it as building success into the process: How often do you think my other half has forgotten our wedding anniversary? See? He is a natural-made romantic ;) 

Sir says:
Third person limited is limiting.
Why did you think it was best form for this novel? The one you're writing using two contrasting POV?
Have you considered re-writing the novel in 1st Person?

AAARRGH!!! I need this ready to enter in the KELPIES COMPETITION by 29th February.


THE HIGH ROAD
CHAPTER 1
BEFORE

When the road skirting the edge of the loch twisted up the side of the mountain, I leaned and slid around every turn. I swung my legs over the rail that kept my mattress on the shelf in the top of the van. Hysterical, I couldn't stop laughing. Maybe it wasn’t that funny but we were nearly there and sliding around on my bunk bed seemed like the funniest thing I’d found to do in ages.
“Fion!” Mum turned in her seat. She pushed at the cardboard box of cooking utensils. They’d skidded around too.
Great-Grandpa was still alive. That was stunning. Our family was small. We were three and that seemed plenty to me. The newspaper photograph told us we were three with an ancient number four. Duck – my Dad – had driven us up the world following the overland route. We’d travelled through India, then turned east and went through China before we drove the total length of Europe. Slowly. Travelling in a van filled with half of everything we owned, the journey was never going to be fast. During our weeks of travelling, I found the world was enormous, and all the same: endless days of nature and groups of people huddled together.
Every minute brought us closer.
Duck concentrated on the road and the idiot in the sports car who kept trying to overtake. According to the Homecoming Plan, Mum was down to drive most  evenings. Duck wanted to drive the final stretch – the last few miles from Dunblane to the house his Grandpa had grown-up in. We’d no idea how the old man was going to react. We were going there to find out.
We were almost there.


I'm working to a deadline. Work!
And missing my Bloggy friends and Twitter. WORK!
Gone already.
ARE YOU WORKING HARD TO MEET YOUR DEADLINES?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

THE HIGH ROAD NEEDS A BETA

I've been re-writing the middle of my MG novel - THE HIGH ROAD - adding in the missing Second Plot Point.


For the structure of the story to flow smoothly from Fion/Thursday to Ethan, the chapters need to alternate. I missed a trick in Chapter 10 ;) While Ethan is in school his guilt could be ratcheted tighter: all I need, apart from the whole chapter are a few small details and spot of hair dye. 

I am entering THE HIGH ROAD for the KELPIES PRIZE - and I've only got another 10 days to get the manuscript polished up, printed and posted. Aargh!


THE HIGH ROAD

CHAPTER 1
BEFORE


In the top of the van that had been home for months, Fion hooked her legs over the bunk bed’s safety rail. Laughing, she leaned and slid when they went around every turn in the road.
“Fion!” Mum turned in her seat. She pushed at the cardboard box of cooking utensils. They'd skidded around too.
The road that slipped around the edge of the loch had been climbing a slow and twisty route up the side of the mountain. Dad drove the final stretch, concentrating on the road and the idiot in the sports car who kept trying to overtake.
Around the next bend on the steep hill, suddenly, everything changed. A little further up the road, before the next ridge, a smouldering petrol tanker lay like a victim across the road. The mountain towered, a wall of rock on one side. Down a steep drop and through the trees, the moonlit water was like a thick silver slick. There was nowhere they could go. “We’re going to crash.”
Mum gasped, “Break, Duck! Break now!”
“Daddy?” Fion pushed herself forward, ready to drop to the floor.
“No. Fion, don’t move!” Looking back, his control slipped. The van veered and wobbled.
“Let me.” Her Mum reached over, put her hand beside his on the steering wheel.
Dad nodded. “Brace yourself, Fi.” He dipped his head so he could see her in his rear-view mirror. “Keep your head down!”
With the cold wall digging into her back, Fion pressed her forehead against her knees. He didn’t say I love you. Good. He doesn’t think we’re going to die. She crossed her fingers and wished. 

I have written a Prologue but I want it to come after Chapter 1 - What do you think?

In the interests of national security, the Scottish Government requests the support of MI 8, and the Special-ops: Extra-Terrestrial division, in dealing with this security threat. Please see the report attached below.

Classified report CE3/2012-23/15 –18.

We can confirm there has been an increase in the number of UFO sightings. Images recorded by members of the public; the radar data collected by the All Scotland Aviation Authority and the electro-magnetic evidence provided by the RAF have been studied. Our analysis confirms the sightings show UFOs of two different types.

AMBER ALERT: Possible UFO contact – Unidentified Flying Object

Last Friday, a mushroom shaped craft made several passes over Glen Shiel and the Kintail mountains. Experts confirmed the height and trajectory changed as it moved inland. It is believed the craft was preparing to land. To confirm this, we have requested additional information from the observatories in The Trossachs National Park area.

AMBER ALERT: Possible BIO contact

Our tests have shown that elements unknown on this planet were identified amongst the metals collected at Loch Lubnaig. 
Initial reports suggested that only three motor vehicles crashed on the road above the loch. Doctors treating the survivor, a female, approximately twelve years-old, have raised concerns about her internal structure. She has a total reversal of her organs including the heart. This condition would be an extremely rare birth defect. 
We believe it is unlikely this occurred naturally and could be the result of bio-engineering by an extra-terrestrial life form. 
Although more scientific study may be necessary to confirm our suspicions, this could be our first opportunity to contain, observe and examine a Being of Indeterminate Origin.

The probability that these events are linked is great. The timing of the UFO’s flight path and the crash were almost identical.

Dr August Black
Senior Scientist
Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Unit (UAPU)


REPLY:
MI 8
Millbank House
LONDON

ACTIVATION STATUS CONFIRMED
Special Services branch, S:ET, has been deployed.    

H.


If you have time to read the novel, I would love to hear some thoughts.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

SIR SAYS - EMOTIONS ARE NEVER CLICHED

SOURCE: Psych-your-mind Blogspot

My second piece of homework didn't get done.


Considering a range of suitable excuses, I was thinking of leading with "the monster ate it." He looked like one of these faces ;)

My excuse, it wasn't exactly true. 


I was thinking about this quote from Dr Seuss:


"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."


Reality got in the way of writing the CW short story... Reality got in the way of polishing up the short story I've already written in my notebook. The reality of writing, finishing a final and significant re-write, polishing up the query letter and sending off 4 submissions! 


Just to prove I haven't been slacking, I sent my submission to Sir!


I'm writing and loving it.


If the purpose of the Creative Writing course was to remind me that I love writing it's doing a brilliant job.



SIR SAYS:

  • identify and eliminate emotions words
  • describe emotions using specific and "concrete" terms
  • avoid clich├ęs - look for an original (and specific to your character and the setting of your novel) way to describe an emotion
  • describe all aspects of the physical sensations of emotions 

SIR SAYS NEVER USE:

  • her heart melted
  • she felt like breaking down when she read her results
  • she felt like her hear was being torn from her chest
IN A BRAINY AND INTELLECTUAL MOMENT, SIR SAYS:

  • Emotion words are abstract nouns - they are not solid and they cannot be seen.
  • There are narrow definitions for each emotion but they have broad meanings and associations. 
  • To describe an emotion you need to tap into what the emotion means to you and to your MC.



Garrick knew he'd been imprisoned in the cellar for almost a month but as his sleep pattern was irregular and he was often hungry he hadn't been able to keep track of the exact number of days. His fingers were bleeding again, and he hadn't found a brick anywhere around the barred window that he could prise out of line. He leaned his head against the wall and waited until the throbbing in his fingertips subsided so he could start to push around the bricks again.

PROFOUND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

PEOPLE, AND CHARACTERS TOO, OFTEN USE ONE EMOTION TO MASK ANOTHER - WRITERS NEED TO LET THE HIDDEN EMOTION BLEED THROUGH