Micro-Fiction Challenge: Nine (Ghost Story Snowman)

The girl stopped fiddling with her zipper, stuck half-way. Mittens pressed into the frozen crystals that had gathered into a mound; pat, pat, pat. Her skin was pale, breath turned to ice.

‘It’s getting late,’ I warned. The sky was hooded with clouds.

She worked faster. A spade for an arm, thick rope for a scarf. Snowman smiled back.

Orange light beckoned from the back door.

‘Bye Mommy,’ she raced for the porch and paused to blow a kiss.

He stared from the doorway, a virtual silhouette.

‘She’s not there love,’ he peered into growing darkness, ‘there’s no one there.’

Microfiction Challenge

This was the original Microfiction challenge prompt of Ghost Story, Snowman and the word Virtual that had to be seqwayed in! Although I haven’t progressed further in the NYC Midight Microfiction challenge, I’m proud of the piece I submitted and have enjoyed creating my own writing challenge.

Join me in the challenge! Post your micro-fiction of 100 words or less below. I challenge you to use the prompt of  Snowman and the genre of Ghost Story to see what you come up with . Have fun! I would love to see some responses.

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Wine & Sci-Fi

Zombie & Romance

Horse & Adventure

Train & Travel

Tyrant & Romance

Beat Writers Block – Beat it with a STICK!

Beat Writers Block- Now!

Follow these simple steps to get through that wall of endless misery and doom.

  1. Be Kind – be kind to yourself.
  2. Small achievable goals.
  3. A crappy first draft is great!
  4. No editing
  5. Free exercises for you – from me.

I’m going to explain this all some more, I promise.

This was originally going to be a VLOG – but after a few attempts at filming, well I decided that writing is more my thing that speaking.

Step One: So, lets get back to step one. Be kind. Did you hear that?  BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

I know what it feels to have writers block, or writers procrastination. You wake up, and you’re already carrying around that heavy weight in your chest. There’s already a little voice whispering ‘you didn’t write yesterday…’ or ‘you haven’t hit your word target,’ or even, ‘everything you write is absolute rubbish.’ You know what you have? Writer’s guilt.

Stop it. Stop that right now and take the pressure off of yourself. Especially at the moment when many people are in lockdown, this seems like an incredible opportunity to learn a new language, finish up old projects and pour time and investment into your dreams. For the people for whom this is a reality, that is amazing!

For me, I’m struggling between working from home and childcare. Despite barely leaving my house, I actually have less time and feel more pressured to be getting my WIP finished. More Writer’s Guilt added onto your usual pile.

Let it go. (There’s a whole song about this…)

elsea

Let it go, or you will wake up tomorrow and that nagging feeling will be back.

It’s hard to get into a positive headspace to write if you have to wade through the river of Writer’s Guilt first. We have to get out of this habit. So be kind. So what, you missed a deadline, a day, a week, a year… You won’t meet that 90k target in six months, blah, blah, blah… Let it go. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you like. Acknowledge it and let it go. I didn’t write yesterday or whatever. I WILL write today.

Step Two: Small achievable goals.

You WILL write today. Open up that WIP. Get to the last thing you did, the latest chapter and just write. Write 100 words. That’s it. Just 100 words. Have you done it? Here is the best part.  Save it. Close the computer. Walk away happy – you did it! Now the most important part – REWARD yourself. Go for a walk, have a soda, read a book watch your favourite TV show. Do something that gives you a mental woo and makes you feel good.

You know what you’re doing? You’re training your brain into a positive response when you do your writing. You’ll be amazed at how much easier and better you’ll feel tomorrow when you carve out just a few minutes to write again.

Tomorrow? Open up that WIP. Write 200 words. Save it. Put it away. REWARD!

The day after: Write 300 words, save it, put it away – REWARD!

Repeat until the process becomes easier and you’re able to write freely.

Now here is the final trick – Always end before you run out of steam for the day. If you’ve written 2000 words and you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, then stop before the scene ends and you’ll be excited to get back to it. Most of all, always give yourself that little reward for getting it done.

Step Three: A crappy first draft is great!

NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT.

When you’ve sat down to write your 100, 200, 300+ words and it’s hard, then just remember that it doesn’t matter what you put down on the page. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. It’ll be 100 more words than you had before and that it what matters. You can’t edit a blank page but once you’re WIP is done you can go back and completely rewrite it. Delete that stuff out if you need to. But maybe there will be something worth keeping?

fry

Step Four: Don’t edit as you go.

This will be maximum leech for your momentum. If you realise a huge plot point then write it down. Adjust where your story is heading and write forward. Always write forward. Don’t go back and start tampering with threads and arcs until you’ve got that first draft down – otherwise you’re always going to be buried in the first part of the book.

You’ve got to keep moving forward. One step and one word at a time.

Step Five: Some exercises for you!

I thought I would share some writing exercises that can also help.

Free writing: First of all, free writing is brilliant. If you really, really do not to put the words into your WIP when you’re struggling, then just sit down with pen and paper. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write. Write EVERYTHING that comes into your mind. Even if it’s just ‘I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just going to write and blah, blah this is so ridiculous-’ you get the idea. Just write. Write for ten minutes and then set it aside. It’s a bit like a mental ‘unclogging.’

Microfiction: Now something I’m also really keen on is microfiction. Using 100 words or less to tell a story or construct something lyrical. There’s a whole bunch here on the blog if you want to read. Now I’m not going to tell you that it’s any good – I’m not sure that it is! But it entertains me, and the people who give me the prompts. Melodramatic Dinosaurs, Romantic Zombies, Tyrants and Penguins (romance was a big theme)…So that’s something.

I’m going to be running a #microfictionchallenge if you want to join in. Everyone is welcome! I’ll put up a prompt of a word, and a genre that the story is meant to resemble. You have 100 words or less to construct something around it. I would love to see some responses, or you can even set me a challenge.

My challenge to you, for today would be the word: Television in the genre of Action.

Now go write!

Better yet! Give me the 100 words you get done today! I expect it to be brilliantly random and make very little sense.

baby

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Eight

I love his dark crown. His bright eye turns to the world and searches scorched earth for me. He commands legions and holds dominion over my heart. He gifts to me both orcs and goblins and promised a ring for my hand. What more could I wish from any in the shape of man?

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my sixth response. The prompt was Tyrant & Romance. I saw this one coming from a few days ago, and it’s been giving me some thought. I originally was going to write something about the romance between a different fictional tyrant but had a last minute change of direction.

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

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Wine & Sci-Fi

Zombie & Romance

Horse & Adventure

Train & Travel

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Seven

The little blue train on a wooden track. It rattles across the suspension bridge and through the plastic mountain. No passengers at the station, no freight to collect. Dinosaurs line the junctions and a Mr. Robot guards the shed. Little blue train on an endless adventure. Open books for tunnels and a tin foil lake. Chickens the size of Horses, scattered in its wake.

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my sixth response. The prompt was Train & Travel. This was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be and it’s only 65 words long. However, I feel that if I kept adding then it would lost it’s form.

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

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Wine & Sci-Fi

Zombie & Romance

Horse & Adventure

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Six

We run together. Mountains, valleys, sand and fields. The ground rolls away behind us.

We walk together.  Cautious, we are braver together. Balanced together.

Your heart will always guide us safely home. My legs will always carry us.

I dream of lush green grass and wild flowers.; of sweet smelling hay and fresh cool water.

We rest together.

 

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my sixth response. The prompt was Horse & Adventure. This was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. In the end, I think it came out as more a piece of poetry and it’s only 58 words long. However, I feel that if I kept adding then it would lost it’s form.

And yes, that’s me riding. It was a really special day.

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

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Wine & Sci-Fi

Zombie & Romance

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Five

Grey lips parted to whisper amorous intent. Warm hands slid across mottled skin.

‘Darling…’

‘Yes, love?’

‘You’ve…you’ve come undone.’

There was a pause. A single heartbeat in the darkness.

‘I’m…I’m sorry, this has never-’

‘It’s really common. I’ll just – I’ll just sew you back together.’

‘Thank you.’ A sigh.

‘What’s the matter?’ Lips pressed to the neck.

‘There just isn’t much time.’

‘I know…I’ll get you back to the crypt before sunrise. I promise.’

 

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my fifth response. The prompt was Zombie & Romance. I was really excited to write this piece as I had a clear idea of where it was going, as soon as I saw the prompt. I just hope that I did it justice!

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

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Wine & Sci-Fi

Micro-Fiction Challenges – Four

They were Mars Red and perfectly spherical.

An impatient voice called from the parlor.

‘Nearly!’ she answered. Voice tinny and nervously pitched. Grapes rolled into the hopper.  Her fingers tapped with deft precision on the control panel. The fruit hissed through rapid fermentation. From red to the acidic blue of an ancient five pound note.

She balanced the glass carefully between her hands and set it down on the tablecloth.

From her high-backed armchair, her mistress extended an arm. With only the faintest hum of mechanical whirring the wine was lifted, tasted and set down with a buzz of satisfaction.

Challenges

I  put out a call for people to challenge me and this is my second response. The prompt was Wine & Sci-Fi. I was really excited to write this piece as I had a clear idea of where it was going, as soon as I saw the prompt. I just hope that I did it justice!

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

Previous Prompts

Dinosaurs & Melodrama

Penguins & Romance

Mitosis & Farce

Happy Writing,

Fibi xx

Longbow Archery – Part Two

Following on from my previous post about Longbow Archery 🙂 The next injuries are by no means specific to longbow archery.

String Whip – it’s not life threatening but it does bloody hurt. If you’ve done archery a couple of times, then you’ve done this. What happens is the arm holding the bow, bends in just a little and it’s enough for the string to whip against the inside of your arm when you release the arrow. The injury can stretch from elbow to wrist and anywhere in between. It’s unlikely to draw blood and it will probably stop hurting within an hour or so. However, you are going to develop a beautiful, multi-coloured bruise. Usually in the shape of an extended ellipses.

I’ve been told that due to slight physiological differences that women are more prone to this than men, because their arms bend more naturally at a slightly different angle. There seems to be evidence that can go either way on this. Anyone is capable of getting whipped by the string. However, women also have adjust their stance a little to account for their chest which can lead to a tendency to curve the bow arm.

The easiest way to avoid string whip is to wear a van brace. Usually shortened to just a brace, this is the leather guard that is strapped to my wrist. If you go to any archery club, they will make you wear a brace to stop this injury.

Arrow Damage – when shooting arrows, one of the most dangerous things (other than the other people doing it beside you) can be going to collect the arrows that you’ve flung at the target. One of the main lessons in archery is –never- run towards the target to collect your arrows. If you trip over an arrow, or near the target, there’s a good chance you’re going to fall on an arrow and the nock end (the bit that holds onto the string) can be sharp and pointy. No one wants the wrong end of an arrow in their eye.

Muscle Strain – As with any sport, archers are going to develop certain muscle groups and they’re capable of over extending. Muscles that are going to hurt are the torso, back, neck, shoulders and arms. When drawing a longbow to shoot curved arrows where they go long distance, there’s even more strain from the draw that goes from shoulder down to your feet. That’s because of the large circular motion you’re doing in order to put as much muscle into the draw as possible. You’re not drawing a longbow with just your arms, I would argue that more than with recurve or short bows, the longbow requires the most full-body momentum that you can give it. Inevitably the battle commander will make you draw and hold that draw from a minute or so. If you’ve drawn properly, this should be possible without too much discomfort because the weight and the strength has not come from your arms.

I know there must be a dozen injuries that I’ve missed off, please anyone jump in if you spot something or just have an questions. I’ll try and get a post up in a few days about longbow equipment, body position and shooting.

Little Ideas for Isolation and Distancing

Well. This is a very strange world in which to be writing. It feels like a bad dream, and we’re waiting to wake up. Unfortunately though the current pandemic is real. This is happening. 

Millions of people worldwide are facing social distancing or self-isolation. I’ve got a few ideas of how to make this easier, they’re nothing groundbreaking but at times like these it’s the little things which are adding up.

Little Ideas 

1, Turn on the radio. Especially if you’re someone who lives alone. Even if it’s not in the same room that you’re occupying, it’s comforting to just have some background noise and chatter. Better still, tune into local radio. After a few days listening to national broadcasts, I returned to my local stations this week and immediately felt more connected to the community I live in. It’s wonderful, so tune in and turn it up. Maybe even have a boogie around the kitchen.

2, Schedule online social events. Let’s be honest here; between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve – does anyone know what day it is?! The days start blending together and they get a bit fuzzy. For mental health and general wellbeing, it’s important to try and build some structure into days and weeks, so they don’t start bleeding together. So start scheduling a regular social with friends, family, or both. Start doing this now, so you can build it into part of a routine. 

Staying at home with a toddler, I’ve started doing a daily facetime call with family who are at home. It’s not at a set time, just usually around lunchtime when the Beast is contained/entertained. 

I’m also trying to set up social events twice a week with friends. Some ideas for these are:

Virtual Pub – Drink your own beer! (So much cheaper)

Intelli-gathering – Setting discussion topics for debate

Share a recipe – put your cooking skills on display

Online gaming groups – there are hundreds of apps and websites for this.

Etc etc etc, they don’t need to be fancy – just fun! But do try and put something in for a regular time slot. I’d recommend doing this kind of thing now, because it looks like more and more, Coronavirus is going to cause moderate to long term changes in lifestyle. Also, why wait? I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends next week and having a proper giggle.

3, Regular Exercise and Water!

I know, I know – it’s not the most inspired idea but I’m a person who needs regular reminding to do this! Working from home or just staying in – it’s important to move around and get some exercise. It’s important to stay hydrated too, and if you need the toilet more regularly – then at least it’s close! And from the looks of it, everyone should have plenty of toilet roll.

5, Fri-Yay! 

Working from home, and then not being able to go out for the weekend means that we could loose that Friday feeling. I’m going to try and really make a distinction between the ‘working’ week and a weekend. Usually we watch a Tv series during the evenings. But Friday is going to be Movie night. We’re keeping the alarm on to work regular hours during the week, but for the weekend I’m going to relish the moment of turning it off. With our food delivery this week, I’ve also managed to get us something in that’s a bit fancy for Saturday. 

5,  What’s already available?

This might be a cop-out but have a look at what is available already. There are hundreds of websites releasing teaching material. Maybe this is the perfect time to learn a new language or other skill? Maybe I might just get some writing/editing done after all! But what about physical skills? If you go to a local yoga group, will they be having an online group during your usual slot? Can you join in with other things?

These are, of course, substitutes for face to face communication, but we’re so lucky to have all of this technology available. Let’s make the most of it! 

Just a short post for today, but I’ll try and collate some resources to share with you all.

What are your little ideas to help with those in isolation? What is your go to web page for resources and groups?

Stay safe and well,

Fibi

Tap, tap, tapping away!

These updates are getting embarrassingly few and far between! But I do have some exciting news.

Firstly, my book baby has sold over 100 copies, and I’m really thrilled by this. It’s still selling and I’m still getting lovely lovely reviews coming in which just make my day.

Secondly, Poisoned Well is finished! It’s been done for a while and I have a printed hard-copy ready for the second round of editing. So although I’ve not posted here for a while, things are happening behind the scenes.

Third and final, I’ve started working on a new book. So far it’s just one chapter but a start is a start and I can’t wait to get this project kick-started and off the ground. I currently feeling a little torn as to which direction the story-arc is going to go, so will have to resolve that before it gets much further on. So I’m spending a lot of time daydreaming!

Wish me luck and good luck to you all with your writing endeavors.

Fibi xx