Hello everybody! I’ve not updated this blog in quite a long time!
In November I was busy with NaNoWriMo which I signed up to at the last minute. National Novel Writing Month is a challenge which takes place every November to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. Here is a summary of how I did!
As you can see, I didn’t quite make it to 50,000 words. I finished the month on 42,858. For my first try though, I’m quite proud with how much I got done! I started off quite slowly but in the last few days of the month my word count shot up. You can see my stats here.
The month was fun but very hard work. I had points where I could barely face the keyboard at all and other points where I couldn’t stop typing. My average word count a day was 1,438 but the number of words per day did fluctuate a lot. With 7,182 words to go I’m sure I’ll finish soon but I’ve taken a little bit of a break for a couple of weeks!
I’ll be trying again next year and am determined to win!
I revisit the harbour every day now. I usually arrive as the sun is setting. The sky is full of reds, pinks and golds, colours which give me hope. It’s been six months since my love set sail, off to explore a new land. The children are getting to the stage where they no longer ask “where’s Daddy?” They’re so young that I worry they will soon forget his face. My skirts billow in the salty wind as I take my seat on the wooden boards. As my children sleep soundly at home I continue my wait, knowing that I’ll never give up hope that he’ll return: my husband, my love, my life.
note: I am currently away at Leeds Festival. Any comments will be answered when I return!
I wake to chattering and giggle as I glance around the cave and notice the empty moonshine bottles on the floor. Last night there was a crazy sense that anything could happen as we cut across the beach and headed for the spot we’d decided to celebrate in after our nerve racking graduation party. I scoop up my clothes and head back to halls where I load all of my possessions into my parent’s car. The thought of real life shatters my happiness as I come to realise that it’s time to become an adult.
This short story was inspired by this week’s Sunday Wordle which you can view here.
Dylan came from a poor family but his life was rich with love. Every year his mother gave him a sunflower seed and he tore himself away from his day to day activities of colouring books and toy trains to plant himself in the garden and nurture his budding project.
My predecessors had disappointed Dylan. He poured his heart and his soul into looking after the tiny shoots but they never grew to as tall as he hoped. Still, every year he sped out with his trough and watering can to try again.
I’d been in my new home for quite a while now, engaged in the constant struggle to grow. Every day Dylan would come and check on me and leave disappointed. I dreaded hearing the phrase his mother would come out with each time “Don’t worry, we’ll try again next year”.
Dylan refused to yield to his mother’s requests to occupy himself with something else and as I saw him close his eyes with sadness again and again, my willpower grew. I pushed and pushed and eventually my spring green shoots came through the top layer of soil and connected with the sun’s warm beam. I felt layers of fertile soil shift as I anchored my roots.
The next day Dylan came into the garden and I saw his heart leap with excitement. His hard work had paid off and as I grew to unprecedented heights I saw his confidence grow with me. I felt blessed that even though Dylan had a huge range of other things he enjoyed doing, his current play thing was a yellow sunflower.
This short story was inspired by this week’s Sunday Wordle which can be found here.
This week I have two lots of Friday Fictioneers for you as I forgot to post Haversham Heights last week. Enjoy!
“This all looks a bit Miss Haversham to me”
I was yet to be convinced that this was where me and my fiance should spend the rest of our lives. The building looked like it had been beautiful in it’s prime before it became covered in dirt and dust.
“You’re kidding nobody my love. You’d love to do this place up. Imagine living in this beautiful house with our newborn”
He put his hand over my slightly swollen stomach and it filled with butterflies. I stubbornly argued but then he showed me the garden… I changed my mind.
I had 20p and one chance. Who would I call? The police would be the obvious choice. I was in deep trouble and the law could help. I’ve heard about the police making things more difficult for people though.
My best friend? He’s been with me thick and thin. He’d surely have some advice? But he’d never let me live this moment down.
I don’t think so.
It was obvious. The one place I could call. Someone who would help me without judging me. Who would hug me and give me hope.
The Sunday Whirl is a new challenge I am taking part in where every week a poem or short piece of prose is written using as many words from the wordle as possible. Here’s my first attempt.
I’d been waiting all month for this nerve wracking moment and I was running late. The full moon was floating above the forest while I hurried to gather the final ingredients and get back to my work. For some reason I never could get the timing right. I rambled through the bleak wilderness, cutting through some bare trees and tripping as my long skirts got caught on the roots. I pulled loose and felt a rip go all the way up the side of my dress. Nothing was going to stop me this time though and I battled on with my blazing torch. My breath was heavy and becoming opaque as it hit the icy air. I stumbled through the clearing and suddenly saw the slab of concrete I’d been looking for. The cauldron was waiting for me as I dumped my heavy bag on the floor. I crushed the beetles and added them to the waiting liquid that was already warm to the touch even though I hadn’t lit any fire. As the liquid began to boil my vision was blurred from the nebulous smoke as I watched it hover over the cauldron. After the syrupy mixture had cooled I dipped in my glass decanter and filled it to the rim, knowing that in 24 hours my troubles would be over. I would be free.
This is the second in a series of posts where I explore the the things that originally inspired me to write and those that keep me writing. In my first post I discussed the power of books. Here I want to talk about growing up surrounded by books.
As a child I always had my nose in a book. I was THAT girl. The one who sat on her own and read books rather than playing. I don’t regret one second of it! I was always fascinated with escaping into imaginary worlds. While other children were playing football I was climbing the faraway tree with Moonface and Saucepan Man. The girls were playing with Barbie dolls and I was travelling to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione. The one character I related to as a child was Matilda. This was a girl who understood the importance of books and fought against anybody who told her they were useless. My kind of character!
The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village. (Roald Dahl – Matilda)
I believe books are so important for child development. From an educational point of view there can be no argument. Books teach children to read and write. However they also teach children how to dream. They remind them never to give up because there is always an adventure to be had. They build on a child’s imagination which is the most useful thing a child could have.
The project I am currently working on is Young Adult fiction. It is one of the most important genres in my opinion. In these novels teenagers learn that they can defeat their obstacles and come out the other end smiling. The characters in young adult novels can inspire and teach young people in ways that adults may not be able to.
This is why I write. I want children and teenagers to be inspired like I was when I was at school. I don’t want the magic of books to ever be forgotten.
I’m running, stumbling through the forest. Bits of tree bark snapping beneath my feet. The autumn wind chilling me to the bone. I’m lost.
There’s a gap in the trees. As the sun caresses my skin I see a building looming large over me. An eerie mixture of a castle from a horror film and the dream like manor from a fairy tale, enticing me in.
Panting for breath, I tentatively strike the front door with my knuckles.
“Hello? Is there anyone there?”
My heart beats faster as a shadow builds against the frosted glass. I am not alone.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly writing challenge where R0chelle Wisoff-Fields gives us a photo and we have to write something creative to go with it that is under 100 words long. This week I had a little help from Steven from In Amongst The Ebb and Flow!
My favourite place.
So many shelves filled with so many stories.
I pass a section where dragons come to life,
Where witches stir cauldrons and aliens invade earth.
Another with gourmet food you can only dream about,
Decadent gateau’s and tureens of steaming soup.
One with epic tales of times past and present,
Where Napoleon and Obama sit shoulder to shoulder.
In this sanctuary all walks of life adjoin as one.
I find a dusty volume on the top shelf and pull it down.
I carefully open the cover, sink slowly into a chair and disappear into a literary paradise.