Thursday 15 March 2012


KM Weiland
Sir says: 

You are a writer and you probably think you know what kind of writer you are.

How do find out the writer you don't know you are?



Write in 1st and 3rd person and try writing in the past and present tense


1 Write a story with one character
2 Write a story with more than one character
3 Write a story with more than one plot
4 Write a story with more than one time zone
5 Analyse short stories and  examine the way the writer created characters, developed the plot and created dialogue


Finding CC crying behind the gym during school prom was unexpected.
A door slammed. I stashed my bottle – stowed it behind a bin. I looked for an exit.
I heard all the drama: CC found her Brad deep in anyone’s Ginny. There was chaos followed by replaced clothes.
In her character assassination, CC blasted them with two-barrel insults. After that I hadn’t expected the sobs.
My intentions were good-enough when I put my hand on her satin-covered shoulder.
CC screamed.
There was a chasm between my act and her interpretation. “CC! Sorry. It’s me… Reid.”
Precision-perfect, CC kicked me.



Fast-like-a-thought the Arch Angel appeared, without so much as a whoosh or warning. He did have an awfully big smile though. He always likes to think he is in-the-know. “Francis, I’ve got a message,” he said, “and you’ve got a job.”
“MICHAEL!” Sneaky B-uzzard. If I wasn’t dead already, I would be now. “Did you have to swoop out of the dark? Don’t you got a flamin’ sword parked somewhere back home?”
He shook his head.
Surely, that must have been a lie of commission – omission – some sort of not exactly telling the truth? Michael is well-known for his fiery accessories.
“You’re wanted, Francis. Don’t keep the Great Man waiting. Move! Quick as you can.” He paused. He took the time to grin with moon-like reflected radiance. “Go on. Move. I’ll settle for moderately slow… at the moment.”

I'm new. My skill with the feathery wingspan is not so great but I gets a move on. Flying ain’t my thing: it ain’t fast, and it ain’t pretty, but I get there. I find flapping exhausting. I’m shattered. Tiredness plays havoc with my attention span.
As usual, JC is surrounded by angels and acolytes and chubby little cherubs and syruppy what-nots. I’m last there. In this kind of situation, I’m prone to panic. But I’m also necessary, it seems. Things happened too fast. I’m still catching my breath when JC, all world-weary and worn down by inhumane humanity, is watching what is going on far below.
In the bowels of a club, on the seedier side of Shanghai, there is action in progress. The scene ain’t pretty: some innocent who stood up to wrong person is cut down. An innocent. With a volcanic rumble JC roars, “Get me Sovin Yung for the soul!”
I wait for one of the other AAAs to spread wings and take flight.
No one moves.
They stare at me.
Right. He meant me.
Fair enough, he could have been asking me to reap the soul of the murderous leader of the Tong who'd just sliced the head off some defenceless soul. He could have been like: Go! Deliver Holy Justice! Bring the evil doer to his just deserts in the Hothouse of Horrors. Make sure he pays for his time on Earth poorly spent and deservedly over. But that kind of detail is lost on me.The command got through. 
“Go and get… etc.”
I heard and I went.
Finding wasn’t going to be easy, there’s no call for the hard stuff in heaven.
With my 30’ wingspan, I descend – fast and furious – to my old stomping ground. I arrow in on this place I know between the Deli and Paddy’s Bar, 1st and 37th Street. The store has been there since Noah went to woodwork classes. It’s a bit shoddy to look at but it sells a mean chardonnay and a pretty passable Meursault.
Friction played havoc with my sneak visit. Arriving in a blaze of glory, I barter heavenly indulgences for a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
I also halt the traffic, increase attendance at mass, mosque and synagogue, that night alone, by 3,000%. And that was before the video went viral.
It was just a little misunderstanding.
I don’t know if the Big Man was all that surprised but the resulting Peace on Earth was more than I expected when I went to fetch a little Sauvignon for the soul.

(I've been tinkering with this one since the start of the course)


Rain soaked visitors combined with the carefully controlled temperature until the atmosphere inside the shopping arcade reached humid sub-tropical. As the smell of hot socks and damp coats rose, the shoppers wilted. After a day of window-shopping and with bags full of guilt, the younger women raced their buggies back to their cars: it was time for the school run and they were determined to be first out of the car park. Kevin destroyed the evidence of his little customers as he wiped the window clean of their sticky fingerprints. Circling his arm, he waved the lot of them good bye.

The security alarm bleeped as soon as Kevin had made coffee in the small office, outback. He hurried from the rear of the shop. Hiking up his trousers, he patted his pockets and smoothed down his shirt. He took one look at the Velcro shoes and swollen ankles, and he figured this customer wouldn’t be staying long. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, please,” the elderly lady said. She glanced around, a little distracted. “Could you tell me where I should sit?”
Wrong again. Kevin hurried forward. He’d been so sure this one would take one look around and head back out. “Right. Seat. Wherever.” Despite her expensive coat and diamond earrings, she smelled like the urinal at the football ground. She’d probably be offended if he sanitised his hands. She wasn’t the first, and she wouldn’t be the last customer that made him wish he could wash his hands after touching her. He could almost see the microbes waving at him. Kevin put his hands in his pockets and turned the small bottle of anti-bacterial gel over and over, out of sight.
The small figure coughed.
With disgust and his need to increase the daily takings balanced evenly, Kevin rushed to get started and get her out and on her way. He put his arms wide. He pointed and moved. “That way.”
Kevin nearly stepped on her. She still hadn't moved. That cough hadn't been to clear her throat. He didn't have much experience of dealing with people of the granny-persuasion but even he could spot the moment when waves of bristling unhappiness began to emanate from her. Heat warmed his cheeks. “What?”
“I. Don’t. Call. This. Service,” she said. “Please escort me to my chair properly, young man.”
With his eyebrows raised so high his forehead hurt, Kevin pointed to the red seat a few paces away. He waited. 
Slow and regal, she passed him with her ice-blue eye shadow, string of large pearls and the two skirts she had layered on. The cloud of perfume didn't mask the other odours that trailed along behind her.
Kevin wondered if he should clean his hands before he started, as an extra precaution.
Settling herself on the seat, the elderly lady placed both feet flat before she crossed her hands and placed them on her lap. “Now, young man, I would like to order coffee. I…” she halted and frowned then carried on with a slight smile playing at the corner of her mouth, “I like coffee in the new style. I’d like a Cappuccino, please.”
“Re-ally?” stuttered Kevin. I didn’t see that coming. He looked over his shoulder and wondered if he should call the boss down, for support. The old lady wasn’t frowning, but she had begun to stare. He could see a glare coming on. “Mam, I don’t think we have any of that.”
“I know times are hard but I’m not a big fan of chicory. I will settle for a pot of tea but I must have a jug of hot water: I don’t like my tea too strong.”
“Me neither,” said Kevin. “Only… that isn’t something we normally – I’m going to ask my Manager if he could pop down.”
“You need your Manager to make a cup of tea? What do they teach you young people, these days?”
The elderly customer sat straight backed on the low, red plush stool and stared around her. Her smile wrinkled around her eyes.
Kevin didn’t move. He held his breath. Her confusion and anger was drifting away as her features relaxed. Something close to a spell was taking place inside her.
“Everything looks so different,” she said. Slowly, the kind of smile that spreads with memories, layered with pleasure blossomed in her pink cheeks. It twinkled in her eyes. “I remember when the waitresses here wore black dresses and starched, pin-tucked, smart white aprons.”
“About that,” Kevin began. He watched as her eyes focussed. He saw her lip wobble. “I’m sorry but…”
Looking around at the shelves, her smile dimmed.  “Where are the cakes? Why did you put shoes on the shelves, today?”
She sat up straighter, and she pulled her shoulders back, as she stared around the shop. She blinked. Frowned. Her expression slipped. Angry confidence, frayed around the edges of her eyes until it crumbled into fear. “Oh.”
Hesitantly, Kevin raised his hand. He couldn’t touch her. It was nothing to do with germs, and he didn’t believe she might bite, but he was afraid for her. How hard would it be to make a cup of tea and find a custard cream?  “I’m sorry. This isn’t a café. It’s a branch of Schuh. A shoe shop.”  
Levering his six foot frame lower, Kevin stooped to her level but he couldn’t make himself meet her damp eyes as he whispered, “I don’t know about any café but I’ve been sizing up feet and fitting shoes here for… more than two years.”
A tear collected in the corner of her eye and ran down to her cheek until it was diverted away by the creases in her paper thin skin. “Where am I?”
Confused by a situation that hadn’t been covered in the Employee’s Manual, Kevin shuffled away. He headed for the phone on the counter. His flat palms were raised like he was ready to defend himself from her imminent attack.
He’d nearly made it to the phone when the security alarm warned that the door was opening. Could life get more complicated? Kevin glanced over. A smartly dressed woman squeezed through the door, arms full of bulging bags from all the right shops. Great. What was he going to say about the fruit bat?
Dropping the bags on the welcome mat, the woman leaped over her shopping and threw herself towards the l-shaped bench. Stunned by her speed, Kevin couldn’t stop her. What was happening to the quiet end of the day? He straightened up, imagined he was in a calm place. He found his best sales-voice while he prepared for the train wreck.
“You disappeared.” Breathless, and nearly sobbing the shopper didn’t sit, she squatted beside the old lady. “I couldn’t think where else to look, Mum. I hoped I’d find you here, where your favourite café was. Are you alright?”
Red-faced, the old lady rubbed at her cheek with a twisted hanky. “I’ll be fine in a few moments,” Her thin fingers fluttered over the hand that rested on her knee. She pushed it away and straightened her skirts. “No. You mustn’t. Who did you say you were, again?”


Right now, with the deadline looming, I have an MG idea with multiple plots. I know my characters, and I've worked out how their lives could collide. Now I have to find a vehicle that isn't clapped out and clichéd... that and a theme.

I should experiment with an idea of a non-paranormal nature for my next piece of work.


1 comment:

  1. These sound like great exercises! And I love your examples. So good to have something practical to help answer this very important question. ha ha! :)