I swore when I started this blog that I wasn’t going to do writerly posts! However it was my turn to do an activity for my local writers group and this one went so well I wanted to share it with the world or at least the few hundred of you lovelies who read my blog. So as the saying goes the best laid plans of mice and women go by the wayside.
As a writer one of the biggest handicaps can be a fear of failure. Our imaginations are called to boldly go on a life long mission where no man, woman, dog or even alien has ever gone before. We are there to delve into the deep recesses of our minds and pick out the bits of lint that others would discard but we can maybe use to feather our nests – can I get any more clichés into one post? It’s said that a writer needs to write a million words to get good at what they do.
When I am tackling the first draft or I have writers block I find it useful to write a stream of consciousness from the point of view of the characters, but sometimes Anya Kimlin steps in. For the writerly activity on Tuesday everyone in the room did it from their own point of view rather than the characters and it produced anger, introspection and humour.
Here is an example from Black's Nest:
I am John Glass Black. I am forty eight and the son of Ian Erasmus Black. I am a psychiatrist who works at… a clinic somewhere in the middle of nowhere near Umber Bridge where both myself and my dad live. I am bored. So bored. The clinic only deals with pampered souls with first world problems so why do I stay at the job? Well I have a mortgage, three kids and a wife from who I am normally separated… why did we separate… I had a one night stand that produced a fourth child… was there anything special? Why not throw in a demon or two... I also stay at the job because of the stuff that Dr Innes, my boss, likes to keep secret. The stuff that happens below stairs… OK so what happens below stairs hmm… I’m a doctor so it makes sense it will be medical… it has to be exciting and Anya’s been watching MASH lately so battlefield surgery it is… why is it secret? Where is the battle. It has to be something worth keeping secret… I know… fairies, bloody fairies… just fairies? Why not have other species of fairies and what can I do to make them special… they have to be more Torchwood than Tinkerbelle… surgeries smell, battlefields smell… fairies smell of marshmallows but… hmm through in decomposition, rotting roses, compost in that it can’t be too “nice”… leathery wings… those wings… ooh could they be the source of power…
It’s still not finished and needs a final edit but it turned into:
When an intelligent mind is bored out of its box that is when world changing thoughts happen.
Dr John Glass Black ___ (letters after his name)__ sipped his whisky and stared at the screen of his laptop. The reports were three weeks late. Next to him, beetroot and salad cream bled on to a plate from a half-eaten sandwich. He was rapidly becoming a stereotype, a psychiatrist with more issues than his patients and to celebrate the realisation he drained his glass. His head ached and he tried to get excited about PTSD caused by a bout of acne, trauma caused by plastic surgery going wrong and the various addictions of the great, good, noble and basically anyone else with enough cash to be treated at St Dymphna’s.
A beeper on the desk disturbed him from his boredom. He blinked and shook himself. His brain realised what had happened and he sprung into action, standing up and plucking his suit jacket from the back of his chair he left the room without a single thought for the paperwork that was yet again neglected. He put his jacket on as he walked; it was a bespoke tailored affair because when he wore off the peg clothes they looked they were still on hanger.
There is no writing that can’t be rewritten, tweaked or improved upon. LET IT FLOW, BABY!!! it's the first step on the road to literary greatness.
The Kimlin Family