Micro-Fiction Challenges – Three

One.

Alone in a box. It sighs with happiness.

Another appears. They glare across the distance, in the darkness beneath the lid.

Two more stretch out, then four. This is getting ridiculous.

One chases them away, but there are more and more and more.

Eight in the darkness, sixteen, thirty-two. Fighting for space. Two tumble free and the box topples over. Funny little furry creatures scatter across a cold metal floor. Sixty-four little Tribbles, trilling with delight. There’s Tribbles in the Loading Dock. Tribbles across the Crew Decks. Pouring out the ventilation and spreading through the ship.

 

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my second response. The prompt was Mitosis & Farce. This was a tricky challenge to nail down, and I’ve been thinking about it since it appeared, knowing it was coming up! I’m happy with how it turned out in the end.

Join me in the challenge! post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of  Apples and the genre of Steam-Punk. Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

 

 

Happy Writing,

Micro-fiction Challenges!

I have really wanted to write some micro fiction put out a call for people to challenge me. This is my response to the first prompt I was given – Dinosaurs & Melodrama.

I couldn’t help where it ended up… once I got started it was, well it was inevitable! (If you know, you know) I hope that you enjoy it. I’ll work on getting one done a day 🙂

Steg grazed lush grass; revelled in the scent of fern, baked yellow dirt and coming rain.  Allosaurus dozed beneath the nearest tree. They were greatest allies and truest friends.  Thunder rumbled.

Steg looked up, content.

‘Good friends, stay truest,’ he smiled.

Allosaurus flexed. She stretched. She grimaced.

‘I’m hungry,’ the sky had darkened.

The herds had moved away.

His heart thumped with uneasy horror.

Allosaurus grinned. A blaze of light set the clouds on fire.

‘Curse you,’ Steg started to run. He tripped, he tumbled.

Allosaurus approached, teeth bared.

‘Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal!’

And then they all exploded.

Do you want to provide a prompt? Just comment with me a word like ‘Vampire’ or ‘Moose’ and a genre. Like Moose – Horror! And I’ll do my best to come up with a story of 100 words or less.

Or do you want to join in the challenge! If you do, then post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of ‘Daffodil’ and the genre of Sci-fi. Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Happy Writing,

Fibi

Burning Embers: The Launch

Burning Embers is now available!

The wait is finally over…

Oh my goodness I’m so excited, and nervous.

For anyone that pre-ordered the e-book it should be currently downloading to your device of choice. For paperback pre-orders these should be in the post and on the way! I really hope that you enjoy Feia’s story and adventure through Arenith and I’m probably going to hide for a few days, until the verdicts come in.

In the meantime, I’m feeling hopeful and am delighted to share the very first review of Burning Embers with you. It made me go Sqeeeeeeeeeeeee for at least an hour when it appeared on Goodreads the other night.

stars“OMG THAT ENDING. I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I found it highly engaging and almost impossible to put down. I enjoyed the originality of the story line, and I found Feia very relatable.”  – Kelsay Calvaruso

I’m just going to take some time to digest this review…and panic about writing the second book in the series. (It seems my panicking is never done!)

Once you’ve ready my little bookbaby, if you have the time then please do remember to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads (or both!) It really does help other people find the book and other’s like it.

So here it is, Burning Embers.

 

Adobe Spark (3)

Amazon UK

Amazon US

I hope that you enjoy it! I’d love to hear from you, or see pictures of my book out there in the world!

I’m also running a giveaway, if you leave a review for Burning Embers and drop me an e-mail at fibijeeves@gmail.com I will enter you into a draw to win a signed paperback copy with limited edition artwork print.

Happy Reading and a wonderful weekend all,

Fibi xxx

Paperback Pre-Order! Woooo!

Second post of the day!

First of all, you might notice that you have been re-directed to FionaJeeves.com! There have been some changes and I’m working hard to update this new site to make it look beautiful.

Secondly – and even more exciting! It is with great delight and excitement that I can tell you that Burning Embers is now available to pre-order in paperback! Yes, that’s right Mum you can pop over to amazon to order the book and hold it in your hands.

Burning Embers  – Amazon

Book!

Please bear in mind that Amazon is currently showing the book as out of stock – this isn’t the case, it’s just on pre-order until the 1st of December.

In the middle of November the publishers will send Amazon all the books that have been ordered and Amazon will distribute them as usual. Exciting stuff!

I will also be selling signed copies from my fibijeeves! If you would like a signed copy you’re able to purchase it directly from me. Hooray!

I wonder…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.

Helpless? Maybe more excited and confused. Definitely confused. Decisions are difficult to make.

In the wee hours of this morning I stumbled across a writing competition with an ultimate prize of publication. Hooray! The competition is with Nerdist and runs on the premise of your book being crowdfunded.

Say what? Take two?

Now I thought I was fairly internet savvy but today has been the day I learnt about crowd funded publishing. I have to admit, I’m very excited!

I spent the wee hours researching like a demon and this is what I have found. Inkshares, a US based company. You submit an idea, a draft and if you reach enough pre-orders (1000) they publish you book and it’s released out into the big wide world. It seems to have the benefit of traditional publishing too. Amazing.

In the UK there is Unbound.  A very similar model of funding with UK distribution.  However with Inkshare you retain your rights, with Unbound you don’t. I have to admit, as much as I feel lured by the promise of UK distribution, I feel a bit frightened by the prospect of having to be in a film to promote the crowd funding; eeek!

US…UK…US…UK….

Or do I hold out? This is so tempting because I am SO CLOSE to finishing the manuscript. I feel as though I’ve been celebrating the writing of the; ‘last ten chapters’ for weeks. And I’ve been behaving. I’ve been a good writer, very well behaved and dedicated. Every week I’ve signed of a chapter and plunged forward in the story. It’s so close now, I can almost taste it. I need to will to resist crowd funding for just a couple more months. Then I’ll be sending my manuscript out to agents.

There’s more information comparing the different types of crowd funding here and apparently this place is pretty nifty for long term funding here. I found them very interesting articles. I’m still fighting off the lure. Oooh and another place… Publishizer…  but then do I have to work out how to put it into print as well? Or does Publishizer do that for me? Does anyone know?

Just wondering, dreaming… could I reach 1000 pre-orders? Testing the waters here, would you want my book?

Note: Mum, you can’t just say yes 1000 times.

Extra note: Hana, you can’t either!

Holding onto Hope

Well this is a happy co-incidence. Here is a second post in as many days! I had considered scheduling it for later in the week, or next week, but it is a response to a daily prompt. So here we are.

The prompt for today was:He was not going to allow the cold, wind-driven rain to change his plans.

And this is what I have done with it.

‘He was not going to allow the cold, wind-driven rain to change his plans. As he passed through the gates, the final trace of sunlight dissipated and Burian was left in the uneasy cover of darkness. He trudged over cobbles made slick with mud and splashed, unrelenting, through the pools that gathered. The storm raged over him, but he wouldn’t turn back. He wrapped his arms, tight around the bundle he carried, pulling his close out of the fierce tug of the wind. Icy water trickled into his eyes, past his bushy brows. His hood had long since been thrown back and was useless. Yet he wouldn’t release his bundle to pull it back into place.

With determined strides he left the city and all its half-crumbled towers behind. Blind except to the sloping path and deaf to anything other than the sting of sleet on small ears turned cold sore. It used to be, he thought, without bitterness, that from here you’d see a small town, rising through the darkness and beyond it grass plains, farmed lands and villages that stretched on and on across the flatlands. The city was once a faint burr of sound in background, light rising from a thousand candles as the people readied themselves for the night. But no longer.’

This was quite difficult to write as I tried to adapt a pre-written piece. But then started fresh. I’m pleased with the flow of writing and it might be a piece I return to develop further in time. Perhaps I struggled because I didn’t have a particular story in mind, just an image and a few ideas.

I’d love to see anyone else responses to the prompt.

Happy Writing!

Fi

2015

Well Happy New Year!

It’s another one of those, I’m so sorry I fell off the face of the planet posts. I’ve decided to try and set myself achievable goals with my little corner of the internet and would love to post at least once a week. A Monday seems like a good day, but no doubt I’ll be spurred on by something exciting and inspired to keep posting until one day I don’t…and then it’s so much harder to return to. So here is my mini-mission. Post every Monday. Maybe more. But Monday, Monday will be the day.

I’m currently very inspired and fizzy with excitement. Over the Christmas vacation I managed to write the best part of 10,000 new words for my manuscript. Not only are the words down, ordered, typed up and edited, but they’re half-decent too. I feel that I found my balance on the past two weeks. That precarious tipping point between allowing everything to flow, imagination to roam and strange little phrases to trickle onto the page; but tempered with control.

No more for me, (well currently) the mental splurge of patterns; the equivalent of randomly throwing paint at a canvas. But also, no more persistent concern and over thinking. Writing phases for me come and go and I’m currently content. My secret for now is to write with pen on paper. Get it all out. No editing, not really. The internal voice is difficult to silence, but with pen and paper I’m able to hush it. After all, I can go back and re-write the ink. It’s what I’ll be doing tonight. I’ve tackled another fresh chapter and don’t feel satisfied by the first draft. So I’ll read it and start again on a new page from where it stops working for me.

The second stage is the type up in a separate document for the chapter. I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with my new PC and keyboard. I skim through the full manuscript, have a quick tidy up and fall back in with the overall tone. Then it’s a new, exciting chapter. The handwritten page is an excellent guide and sometimes I end up typing it verbatim. Other times I run off and expand by filling in ideas or cut out repeating images. In the end, there’s a shiny new chapter. It’s printed, added to the main manuscript and read by someone else.

I feel very fizzy. All is well. The journey continues.

How do you get your writing mojo together? Do you have any tips?

Wishing everyone a very happy new year and a wonderful festive season!

Edit out the habits: How to Improve Work

There are certainly a few recurring ‘snags’ as it were in the cloth of my carefully constructed words. By editing and work-shopping I’ve been lucky to identify the trends in my work that make it less accessible to the reader. If you have to work hard to read something, then you’re more inclined to give up part-way though. For my rambling thoughts on what puts me off reading a story, there is a post here: Scared of Reading – actually funny story. I started writing this blog post and it originally turned into that one. So I decided to split it into two complete and hopefully coherent articles! Fingers are crossed.

But here are the trends that I learnt to look out for in my work.

  1. Passive verbs passive verbs.

My characters had many limbs that did things for them, but instead I needed to just write, that the characters –did-the-thing- much simpler, much clearer. So for example: Her hand reached out toward the glowing embers. – Passive. What would be better is: She reached toward the glowing embers. – Active. It’s just easier to imagine what the protagonist is doing.

  1. Did uh…did that just happen?

A lot tends to happen to my heroine as she goes about her journey. But I was informed, and then realised that although she reacts physically to the things around her and says things, the reader was being cut out of her thoughts. This was causing a second problem in that my reader felt disconnected from her and therefore my storytelling was less effective. The manuscript I’m working on, was supposed to have a close-third person narration, but too often it was just narration and I wasn’t as close in the third-person as I thought I was. Cue thoughts and responses! It sounds very juvenile but I listed a number of responses such as:

‘She was surprised’, ‘shocked, Sarah turned,’ ‘torn between’, ‘relieved’ etc and then used them as a prompt sheet to include things more in my writing. The result has so far been successful and feedback very positive. Hooray!

  1. Too many wonderful, amazing, blue, sparkling adjectives.

Description is a beautiful thing. However, going through everything with a cut-happy pixie on my shoulder I realised something else that I’d been previously told. I have a tendency to repeat myself. With repetition and a build-up of adjectives, some of the writing was getting lost in itself. Cut, cut, cut! And the work made more impact. I kept the best phrases and descriptions or reworked the ones I really loved and couldn’t bring myself to part with.

  1. For a moment she was a little afraid.

In a final bid to avoid unnecessary repetition in the manuscript I did a ctrl-f word search for a few phrases such as ‘For a moment’ and ‘a little’. I’ll tell you something, I use those tags far too often! I think within 30,000 words I ended up deleting them over 50 times. They didn’t add anything to the story, the plot, the description. They were filler! All they did was water down the writing and stop the protagonist committing to any particular emotion. If she was ‘A little afraid’ why is she just not afraid? If ‘she paused for a moment,’ why doesn’t she just ‘pause.’ Cut!

Everyone has different version of these phrases that they fall back on. My nemesis as I’ve started to refer to them. They’re things I don’t even remember writing! Maybe I don’t, maybe they just appear… That must be it. Those and spelling/grammar errors.

It may be worth going through any work under editing and seeing if you can find one or two and then doing a word search to find out just how many times they sneak in, pesky little things. I definitely go through additional phases of ‘word of the day’ that will sneak in over and again in a chapter if I took a shine to a certain sound when the chapter was in construction. Thank goodness for editing!

The best thing about recognising (the latest) failing of you work, is that when you go on to write new things, you are aware of them and so you make them less often. This does open up the path to making shiny new mistakes, but I like to believe that by slowly eliminating bad habits and trends I’m improving every time I do a thorough edit.

I’m sure there is even evidence to support this as whenever I write I feel it’s better than what I was able to write 6 months ago. I still need to edit the draft, but the process is less painful. I know what I’m looking for, what needs to be edited for clarity what is actually my style. Maybe I still use too many adjectives- but that is because I like long and rambling description. That is a choice, it’s not just the adjectives sneaking in a little.

What are the writing habits you have learnt to look out for? Let me know 🙂

Fibi xx

Scared of Reading?

As a writer I believe it is important that the words are clear and the meaning, vision of what I am saying is easy for the reader to picture. I’m not saying I would like to spoon feed plot because it is also important that ye old brain-cogs get a work out sometimes as well, and if you have to work and remember and think about the story, then you do get more from it.

But in terms of making the writing clear, for me I’m likely to turn away if the writing is too much like hard work and I think the same applies to a storyline that starts to seriously disappoint or concern me. I have to admit that I’ve become a terrible reader and so scared about the emotional impact of what I’m reading that I really have to take a mental run up to books. Luckily in all of this I have discovered Robin Hobb, and she is amazing.

What am I afraid of reading? Well, as an aspiring writer I’m terrified of finding my book already published. The story I’ve been slaving over, written by someone else (better) and in the bookshops. This has turned into something of a recurring nightmare.

Secondly, I worry too much about the characters. There has to be a happy ending for me to enjoy reading the book. I have to feel confident that the author will provide me with a sense of resolution. The first book I really put down half-way through the Juliet Marriliers Blade of Fortriu. I was so invested in the narrative that when it reached a mid-way point, and it would not be possible for resolution to be complete, I had to put it down. It took me over a year to re-gather my courage and return to the story and I couldn’t start at the beginning in case it was too much! (Such a reading wimp!)

But although this sense of ‘happy ever after’ is I demand from a story I’m not convinced if I would necessarily agree from a theoretical stand point. Shouldn’t ‘Happy ever after’ also be complicated, realistic, aspirational? Should I be a more emotionally mature and complex person and encourage that in my reader? I’m not promising anything.

Thirdly, a sure way to put me off a story is to falsely advertise.

I LOVED Trudi Canavans The Black Magicians Trilogy. I bought all three books because they were on offer and devoured them in two days back in 2005. I was therefore delighted when the first of the Age of Five was published and acquired it as a pre-order hardback. For the first chapter I was enchanted, enthralled and delighted that I would get to read the story of this amazing girl growing up to be a member of the white and the trials and challenges that would entail. Then the second chapter happened. Did anyone else feel utterly cheated? She was grown up. This was not the story of the girl growing into a woman. It may be petty by I felt so frustrated by the 360 of expected narrative that after struggling through the first third of the text, I put it down and haven’t picked it up again. I do plan to revisit it and hopefully connect with a series that I appreciate is loved by so many, but it’s at the bottom of my ‘to-read’ pile. I don’t forgive betrayal easily. Sorry book.

Finally, I tend not to read spooky stories, horror, crime or ‘true-life’ I know this narrows my field of literature and good writing but I realised a few years ago that my imagination doesn’t need help coming up with dream or nightmare material. I am usually very invested in what I’m reading and if I read for too long, I emerge a bit google-eyed and hazy on what is real and what is still the narrative replaying. When I read it is not so much imagining characters, it is experiencing their stories in 3d. It is amazing to go on so many adventures, but I certainly don’t want to provide my imagination with concrete horror to explore in my sleep! *shudder*

What would put you off a story? Should it have a happy ever after?