Monthly Archives: February 2015

Friday fiction – Faith

This was posted from afar and in a hurry, taking advantage of the dubious wifi in the lobby of a Mexican beach resort on an evening where my husband put Sebastian to bed. Non-writers will probably wonder why I’d use me-time on the prompt; writers will hopefully understand!  The photo comes from Dawn Q Landau.

railroaded

Faith

Perhaps you think I might just as well follow an invisible God or my morning horoscopes. Rusty’s paths veer between stubbornly predictable and desperately irrational with a flick of his tail or a twitch of his nose; we can be following an abandoned railway one minute, pushing through a hedgerow the next.

But I have followed men, I’ve followed their Gods and their traditions, their mores and their whims, and men have rewarded my trust with lies and fickle hearts. Now, though I sometimes walk in front, I follow a dog and he follows his nose, and our mutual faith is unshakeable.

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Friday Fiction – Sparks Fly

A brief intro this week – I think I may have mistaken the picture (courtesy of long-term fictioneer, fascinating writer and kind critiquer, Marie Gail Stratford) when viewing it on the small screen of the phone, but as Rochelle says, it’s what you see not what you look at. Enjoy! I welcome your feedback.

crystals

Sparks Fly

In the early days, sparks flew – when they touched, even when he smiled – and she knew it was love. As the years went on, different sparks kindled a different temper – muddy boots on the carpet and that bulb in the bathroom he never changed.

Then an old flame flared out of the darkness and the fire blazed in her heart once more, but she couldn’t help feeling this was a fire that would burn and scar. So she turned from its brightness and whispered gentle breaths on the fading embers of marriage, praying sparks would burst again from the hearth.

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Friday Fiction – The Newcomer

The Fictioneers have made the press again, and happily so, the Daily Post – proof not only that Madison had a fantastic idea and carried it through well as our founder, but that Rochelle’s leadership continues to take us from strength to strength. I’m proud to be part of such a great and supportive group of writers.

Rochelle has given us one of her own pictures this week, and what jumped out first was not the criss-cross porch or the roman-style columns, but the green grass and tree beyond. We’ve just returned from a weekend at Blue Mountain ski resort, to a Toronto still in deep-freeze, and green has always been a colour that soothes my soul. I may have to stare at the picture a little longer, take in some virtual Vitamin D and pray for spring. But in the meantime, a story – one that I hope is, if not clear, then explicitly unclear. I welcome your feedback – good or bad.

balcony

 

The Newcomer

They watched it going up from behind twitching curtains or open stares. Everyone had an opinion, none of them good.

But it rose as surely as the sun, and when it was finished – when the builders had gone and the surrounding ground turned from dirty mud to lush lawn – they flocked to the door carrying flowers and fruit, greeting the new neighbour with smiles and good wishes.

He, for his part, returned the smiles, accepted the gifts and called everybody “friend”. And so, with a wink, and the turning of a blind eye, he might have appeared welcome.

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Friday Fiction – This Crazy Dream

OK, keep hold of your seats, I have managed to avoid families this week! Slightly later than normal to the Friday Fiction party, but here at last. As ever, I welcome your comments and critique, and thank you for taking to the time to read my stories. Our inspiration picture comes from Melanie Greenwood. All rights to it our hers; the writing is my own.

garden-maze

This Crazy Dream

“I had this crazy dream last night,” Marcie said, trying not to watch the door. “There was a maze.”

“Uh-huh,” said Laura.

“And this goat said the winner of the maze would have whatever their heart desired.” Marcie relived the moment, swirling in fantasy, where Laura had pushed her into the mud and sprinted among the hedges.

“Who won?” asked Laura, hardly listening.

He walked in: Laura’s boyfriend, Steve. Marcie’s heart pounded as she relived another scene: he found her, lost among the topiary, and held her close, his lips on hers.

“Well, you reached the middle first,” Marcie whispered.

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Into The Unknown (aka No Sex Please, I’m British)

Writing what you know only gets you so far, and unless you’re writing a memoir, that’s not very far at all. All fiction involves, by definition, making stuff up: getting into the heads and lives of people who are not quite like yourself and then translating what you find onto the page.

Some writers love research. They are never happier than in the library, interviewing and shadowing other people, and generally immersing themselves in the lives they want to write about, and that’s great for them. It’s not for me; I find research slow and laborious; I find myself struggling to remember everything I’ve learned, and struggling to convert it into useful story. This is one of the reasons I tend to write reasonably close to home; realistic fiction instead of the epic fantasy or historical worlds of some of my friends and idols.

But whether you write close to home or years and light-years away, there are always details about which we need to know a little more. One of the subjects that can be a small but important element of that, is relationships and sex. However wild and crazy one’s youth (and my parents read this, so let’s just agree “not and not”), when one has been straight-forwardly married for a while, one’s memory and experience of such things tends to be limited.

And whilst one can get information vicariously, through friends and books, sex tends to be a subject people don’t like to talk about in anything but the broadest terms, and relationships tend to be presented with a gloss too. But good fiction often requires variety and realism – even if we stay away from explicit Shades of Grey / Harlequin / Mills and Boon -type writing, we may need to conjure happy and unhappy relationships, cheating or exploitation, fantasies and arguments. We need to demonstrate not just what happened, but how it felt and impacted the characters afterwards.

A friend recently told me about the Casual Sex Project. Before you fret, don’t worry, it doesn’t require participation. This is a website where real people, anonymously post real experiences of sex outside a romantic relationship. It’s eye-opening, occasionally eye-popping, and very graphic, so not for those of a prudish or sensitive disposition (and not for your work laptop / internet connection).

If you’re looking to write, even allude to, a character’s sexual experience that’s beyond your own – it’s an interesting resource. And much less cringe-worthy than asking your Facebook friends if they would help you describe what it feels like to have an affair / screw the teacher / sleep with your best friend’s boyfriend while she’s asleep in the same bed / whatever.

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