Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

#FridayFictioneers – 16/6/17 – Holiday Romance

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Dale for the photo. The below isn’t as polished as I’d like, but editing has not come easily.

 

© Dale Rogerson

Holiday Romance

(Genre: speculative fiction; 100-words)

She came from the ocean, slipped through the shadows. In breath-stealing humidity, flesh clammy, she tasted of salt. Lips full, muscles strong, limbs sinewy, we twisted in beach and surf. She was the best night of my life. We will never repeat, I can never forget.

I travel every coastline, drink Peroni, eat calamari, stare at the moon, just as I did that night. I imagine I catch the scent of her sea-filled hair, feel the air shift around her curvaceous form. I search, am disappointed, search again. The memory is not enough. Desire, and surely madness, drives me on.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

June 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Slow progress – #amwriting

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Any writing progress is satisfying at the moment as work chops and changes and makes planning difficult. Writing on two fronts, as the mood takes me, I am focussing on the short stories I am writing to the prompts of a friend’s pictures and my has-been-going-on-forever novel.

The short story I wrote during a train journey in March, about a dancer turned boxer, has finally been re-read and lots of holes found. There is a story, but I have yet to work out how much background needs to be included and how much can be left to the reader’s imagination. There is a lot more work to be done, but the story has been looked at again so it is fresh and hopefully the hole-filling will be completed soon.

Chapters 1-3 of the novel have been re-read, scribbled over, the changes typed in, and the chapters read once again, slowly and aloud. I know I’ve said this before, but I think they are ready to go. Moving Chapter 4 to the position of Chapter 3 has made the start of the story less repetitive, given voice to a new character, and maybe even introduced a small hook. On my list of jobs to do, I have to compile a writing CV for one agent – it will be short – and then, after another read through, I think chapters 1-3 will be ready to send into the world again. So that’s next week’s job, assuming the work that currently pays my wages doesn’t want me to provide cover on the days I plan to write.

 

Priorities for the next fortnight: write a writing CV; submit novel to agents; continue reading novel from chapter 4 to make sure changes follow through and there are no typos!

Ongoing projects successfully met: chapters 1-3 of novel had been read, edited, and are ready to go; a short story has been edited and work to be done identified. (I need to count the small things!)

Ongoing projects partially met: I am crocheting a scarf and have completed five repetitions of an 8-row pattern – only 32-repetitions to go before the thing is finished.

Fails: I have done no Italian or piano practise.

Written by Sarah Ann

June 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Oh those poor agents – #amwriting, #amediting

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I am not sure what I was on in March when I thought that my has-been-going-on-forever book was publishable as it was. Perhaps I made too much use of my friend’s Nespresso machine and excess caffeine caused delusions. On the advice of my new writing friend Lou, who said the book was almost there but not quite, I have been re-reading and re-editing. Chapters 1-3 haven’t been covered in so much scribble since a major re-write two years ago. And when I found a typo in Chapter 2, I wanted to jump up and down and pull my hair out. A train pulls away, not ‘as the trained pulled away.’ How did I miss it? As I paced my friend’s kitchen, coffee in hand reading aloud, how did I not stumble over this mistake? I don’t know, but I did, and it makes me unhappy to know I sent out a manuscript that wasn’t just not perfect but also contained errors.

I have worked on Chapter 3 today, which was previously chapter 4, and found yet another mistake – a we instead of a with, as in ‘take a walk we me.’ Again, how is it only now I am seeing it? I want to boil my head for my stupidity/ poor eyesight. Instead I will plod on. It has taken me three weeks to get this far (p. 21), slotting in reading and editing between appointments, typing in changes while hubby watches TV. I just hope I can keep the same mood and frame of mind until I reach the end of p. 212, as the changes need to be uniform and the feel of the book consistent.

As for the eight agents I submitted to in April, one replied the book was a near miss for her, three others said, no thanks in the current market, and after the passage of time, I imagine I will not be hearing from the remaining four. I will be working on my re-submission next week.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

June 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 2/6/17 – Retrospective

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

On seeing this week’s photo I knew immediately what I was going to write about, as the below stems from something that happened to a close friend. Unfortunately, work and travel have meant it’s taken me a while to get it down.

With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Karuna for the photo.

 

© Karuna

Retrospective

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

I thought I’d outsmarted him.

Forty years on, I can’t remember why he did it.

I can feel my impotence, anger, sadness at watching my young life’s possessions go up in smoke. I stood rooted, fists clenched, chest tight, tears falling. In my head I asked why over and over, but said nothing. Father had explained the misdemeanour that caused my toys’ destruction. My psyche forgets.

Digging the foundations for a new extension, we unearthed the precious things I’d buried to keep from him. The past flooded back to taint the future.

But I will not let him win again.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

June 2, 2017 at 7:10 pm

OMG I almost won something – #amwriting

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I emailed some writer friends recently to ask:

why is it the things you spend months nurturing and send into the world with hope come back rejected, whereas the things you knock up quickly and send out just because you’ve finished make it? Serendipity? Sod’s law? They couldn’t answer.

I ask because a deadline I met in March just to prove I could has proved fruitful. A panel of judges read my story and placed me as runner-up in a short story competition, and you can read it here.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 31, 2017 at 11:08 am

Learning Keeps You Young, or Busy – #amwriting

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I have realised this week that I am better at practical learning than book learning.

Readers of my Friday Fictioneer posts might know I recently started tap dancing. I didn’t dance as a child – I was too fat and my parents didn’t have the money to pay for lessons however much I pleaded to go to ballet classes with my best friend. Eighteen months ago I started Bollywood dancing and learnt that for year. It was lovely to move elegantly and learn more about Asian film music, but the classes ended.

I have always hankered to learn to tap, probably because of the noise and my imagining that it was easy to stamp around. It isn’t, and I am having to practise between lessons to keep up. I am a complete beginner compared to the others who are re-learning or have at least a term behind them. I am improving, but don’t imagine I will ever be fast enough. I have also taught myself basic crochet stitches and am about to attempt my first piece of clothing, albeit a relatively simple scarf.

However, my online Italian course, which I started last June, is languishing uncompleted. And I have pulled out of the writing MOOC I signed up to complete over the next 6-weeks because I don’t have the time to do it justice. The University of Iowa have run a number of writing MOOCs and I participated in How Writers Write Fiction 2014 and 2015, as well as How Writers Write Poetry 2014. They are professional and stretching courses, but post new classes on a Thursday and I am unable to keep up now work has become busier.

At tap, I have peers in front of whom I don’t wish to fail. With crochet I have physical evidence of my progress. However, with Italian there’s no one to practise with, and I’ve enough of my own writing to get on with without committing to more. So whether I’m better at the practical, or the things I enjoy most, is open to question.

How do people learn without peers, teachers, or projects to keep them on track?

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 26/5/17 – Regret

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

This story wrote itself, I was not in control once nature’s tendrils started wandering, and I have found it difficult to edit so I know there has to be something wrong with it – let me know what it is!

Thank you to Rochelle as ever, and to J Hardy Carroll for the prompt.

© J Hardy Carroll

Regret

(Genre: humour; 100-words)

Nature has started to re-assert herself. Green shoots twist and ease their way into gaps in the brickwork. In time, she will devour the eyesore and passersby will see only a mound of vegetation. Few will remember the mighty folly that once stood here; none will be able to imagine its grandeur from its remains.

I will visit on every anniversary of the conflagration until I can no longer walk the hills.

To lose such a monument under my custodianship is shaming.

And if ever the grandchildren come to stay again, I will be searching their knicker elastic for matches.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm

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