Good morning, listeners! In today’s show, we’ll have old favourites like the Flash! Friday flash fiction contest, and a slight frisson of the loopiness that usually marks our Friday, but there’s also a teeny bit of news.
Are you ready?
(Audience gasping with anticipation)
Are you sure?
Well, all right then! Here we go. Hold onto your neighbour, everybody, because…
Yesterday, I managed to finish draft 1 of ‘Emmeline and the Ice-God’!
Yes, yes, thank you. Thank you so much!
(Sustained applause, cheering, stamping of feet, &c.)
Yeah, yeah, all right. So I’ll quit it with the playacting now. But – in all genuine seriousness – I am very, very glad to be the proud owner of a completed manuscript of the story of Emmeline this fine morning. It’s slightly awkward that I managed to finish it on the same day as I blogged about how it seemed to be going on… and on… and on, but I just got overtaken by a spirit of urgency yesterday, and I worked right through, all day long. I wrote over 6,000 words, and I brought that story to heel.
This means my brain’s slightly fried today, of course. I’m quite sure nobody will even notice, though.
I’m almost afraid to share the final wordcount, lest I cause some of you to have nervous and/or bilious attacks, but I guess I’ll take that chance. It came in, all told, at 93,500-something words – which, before you start pointing it out – I know is far too long. My brain’s been abuzz with ideas for pruning the beast ever since I placed the final full stop, and I’m pretty sure there’s an entire chapter near the beginning that can be entirely cut out. I’m pretty sure I can bring it down to around 80,000, or as close as possible to that figure. Like every first draft, there’s plenty of excess to trim.
Even though writing ‘Emmeline’ was no picnic, particularly in the last few weeks, I am so glad I did it. I’m glad I got a burst of inspiration that day in late October, and that a little girl with a know-it-all nose and a shock of curly hair decided to stroll into my head and demand that her story be told. I’m glad I got to accompany her on the adventure of a lifetime, and that I got to meet her friend Thing, who – if I’m being honest – I want to adopt as my very own. I’m sure if I’d gone with the idea I was supposed to use for my NaNoWriMo project, that it would have worked, too – but it probably wouldn’t have been as much of an exhilarating joyride.
I’m also very glad that I can say the following sentence: ‘In the last year – since January 2013, when I put aside ‘Tider’ Mark I forever – I have written three books.’ Three.
There’s a lifetime’s dream fulfilled, right there. Even if no other eye roams across a word I put on paper, I know that I have written, and that’s good enough for me. That’s not to say I won’t fight tooth and nail to have ‘Emmeline’ published, by hook or by crook, but that’s a fight for another day. My first job is to make the story as good as it can possibly be, and I’ll worry about the rest of it later.
And now – on to our other Friday feature. I’ve been getting into the habit of posting my entry for the Flash! Friday contest here on my own blog, for a few reasons: one, because I’d like to get some feedback on my flash fiction, and two, because it forces me to get my act together and produce a piece of writing. So, today’s no exception.
This week’s prompt image was as follows:
We had to include a tiger, or a turtle – not just the word, this week, but the actual thing itself.
So. I made this.
The Tiger’s Mark
‘You’ll know ‘im by the tiger on ‘is jacket,’ Jez had said. ‘Idiot’s never without it.’ So I’d followed the flash of gold all the way up to the Whirligig, the tiger’s jewelled eyes starin’ me down with every step.
‘We’ll see who’s smilin’ in a minute, mate,’ I winked at it.
He jogged up to the viewing platform, me a shadow in his wake. The tiger seemed to nod, almost knowingly, as he went; I checked my blade, sweatin’ hard.
‘Get the job done, fool,’ I muttered.
I glanced at the CCTV camera; nearin’ the blackspot now. I picked up the pace.
Suddenly, he turned, flingin’ the jacket off. He was covered in long, thin scars, shinin’ silver. His mouth gaped wide, and I smelled it – hot, meaty breath. I heard the low rumble. I saw the yellow eyes like trapped suns, and the gold-black fur.
I never had a chance.
Screw you, Jez, I thought, as he pounced.