Research and Developement

It is now June 30th. My creative writing class is long finished, I am writing almost daily now (I say almost due to a temperamental toddler, and an ever increasing bump!) and I have submitted a supernatural themed story to a competition with the added option of critiquing my work. Exciting and nerve wracking to say the least.
My planned novel is sitting at approximately 4,000 words.

4,000 words.

And I am a little disappointed.From what I understand, 80,000-100,000 words is average for a novel. If I keep at this pace it will never write itself. So my challenge now is to write eight or nine hundred words A DAY. I have my plot outline, my character sheets, my names…there are a few holes in the research that I am trying to fill by contacting several university professors and underwater archaeologists (this was criticised somewhat by people on a writing forum, saying I have to write what I know. Well it’s a horror story, I can’t write what I know there since I don’t know any supernatural creatures).

The research has led me to some amazing information, lots of fact gathering and has resulted in me education myself in the process of developing the story in a fluid, natural way. If I have to write what I know, then I will know the ins and outs of diving and preservation of underwater artefacts before I complete this section. Fortunately,my nautical Indiana Jones is happy to chat. Unfortunately, I have not heard from him since last week…first hurdle to overcome…

I hope that with the goal set and broken down into realistic pieces, that I can finish this before years end as I originally said I would.

What I have found also is that a lot of writers don’t seem to like to describe characters in depth, opting to offer pieces of information within the narrative as opposed to having a paragraph setting up their appearance, or personality quirks. Many of the books I have read (good and bad) have always offered some sort of description of the MC (main character/s) and so I don’t feel the need to deviate from that idea. Although I think I will struggle to have my characters really interest my reader as it is an area I lack confidence in.

All in all though, I think this is starting to come together and I am really pleased with what I have written so far, hopefully in another 90,000 words we can all feel the same way.

Victor/Victim

Her lips opened up to his.

The tiny facets of her resistance shattered. He held her in place with arms like a vice. What tiny amount of guilt he felt melted away when he felt her melting into him.

If they found out it would be over for him. His methods of persuasion weren’t exactly kind. He had inundated her with calls and messages. And when he’d skinned that little yappy dog of hers…she’d been frightened.

But he’d won –

His victory drained.

The blood poured from the knife wound in his stomach.

He stepped back.

She grinned.

A Literary Devil

This was written for a flash fiction competition whose deadline I missed. I was limited to 400 words and had to include a naïve war hero, a racist salesperson, an ancient spellbook and take place in a bedroom. I’d never done flash fiction before so it was a challenge but I think with practise I can start to nail the themes a bit better. This is a first attempt and I’m quite pleased considering the constraints!

FLASH FICTION

A Literary Devil
 © 2015 Caroline Raggett

“This book will change your life Charles” the saleswoman pushed it across the dresser until it touched Charles’s hand.

He stared at its ancient, yellowed pages held together with leather. It appealed to him. The book had an energy that seemed to thrum in the leafs like a heartbeat. The saleswoman also had an energy Charles couldn’t ignore. Now she stood in his tiny rented bedroom.

“Charles, I know you want more than this. How many stripes did you earn? You’ve come back home to be treated like a nobody. With your medals and bravery you deserve to have something to show for it”

The saleswoman was completely relaxed, her tailored suit filled out all the right places, some more generously than others Charles thought as his eyes quickly darted down to her chest for the tenth time. She smiled wickedly, perfect glossy lips framing perfect white teeth.

“The company I work for is always recruiting. You could repay us much later. As long as you sign a piece of paper saying you’re happy to exchange work – as and when required – for this book, then it’s yours”.

She stepped in closer, her hand on his wrist now. Her scent was intoxicating; she spoke so low and soft that Charles could barely register her words

“Take the book Charles, it’s only a little labour in exchange for altering your entire life” The pen was in his hand, the paper beneath the nib. Her lips found his and suddenly her tongue of fire was in his mouth, branding him.

Charles fainted.

The Saleswoman stood over him, the grin widening as her face turned red. She shrunk; her tailored suit disappeared revealing red skin and an arrowed tail slithering like a snake. Her cloven feet stepped out of expensive Jimmy Choos that promptly disappeared.

Yes, her company would have you, as long as you were a good soul. A good, white soul preferably. There was nothing more delicious than a decent Caucasian war hero.

She picked up the signed piece of paper and turned to leave, only to see the building supervisor standing at the opened door. His black skin paled at the sight of the demon.

She snapped her fingers. He screamed as he was engulfed in white hot flame, incinerating him into grey ash.

Then giggling like a child caught killing an ant with a spyglass, she vanished.

The Academic

Prior to starting this blog, I enrolled in a creative writing evening class at Strathclyde University. This was to help keep me motivated, teach me some new techniques and build my confidence enough to share my writing.

That first instance of reading out what I wrote in the class, even just in front of 10-14 people was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I was proud to have a chance to finally share what I was doing and I wasn’t paranoid or terrified – I was like a toddler being praised for the first time and it lit me up from the inside.

The last workshop (June 3rd 2015) was the submission of our final piece of work. A 1200 word work of fiction, that was to be read out by the class members who did not read out their first submitted assignment.

This time was different. This time, I was nervous. I couldn’t focus and all I wanted was to read it out and get it over with, but it was without the innocent joy the other little snippets of stories brought. This was a big deal, I had worked so hard on this, I was immensely proud – so proud, I shared it with several people and not just one. The thought of reading it out and being judged harshly terrified me.

So the time came.I thankfully was the second person to read. And I read out loud, quicker than usual, stuttering and stumbling. And when I finished,the tutor asked the class for feedback.

The room was stony silent.

For like, 30 seconds. The longest 30 seconds of my life and then…everyone was complimentary. I was told how unique the story was, how interesting. Asked where the idea came from, where the language came from. And I got to explain some of it, but they GOT the idea, and the tutor understood the focus of the piece and the mythology.

The final feedback from my tutor was twofold – more gore and consider lengthening it to a novel.

MADE MY FUCKING YEAR.