Mittwoch, 16. Oktober 2013

NaNoWriMo is coming....

This year I'm planning on taking part in NaNoWriMo. I've already started the novel. The goal is to finish it in November. I don't know if that's possible as a lot depends on the health of my family and the amount of sleep I get. 

I haven't written anything for the past four days as first my son was ill, then the little one and I just didn't get sleep at nights. So when my son was in day care and the baby slept, I went to bed. 

Still, I hope I'll be able to finish my chick-lit novel. Keep your fingers crossed. 

Plus, I'll probably start a new blog as I'm writing in German most of the time now. I'll keep this one for my English texts and posts though. 

Dienstag, 11. Juni 2013

Life is a bad writer

Events in my life or my friends' lives often happen in a way that if you wrote them down as fiction readers would roll their eyes and go, "Yeah, sure! What are the odds of that happening?!". They would think I'm a bad writer because the timing of usually incidental events is just too constructed. Here are examples of real life events that I can vouch for happened exactly like this. I'll just change the names of people involved.

1 Bad timing

Anne and Sue are best friends, Jack and Fred are mates, too. They are all part of a group of friends. Sue is going out with Jack and Anne is going out with Fred. One day, Anne and Jack are at Sue's house and Anne offers Jack a ride home as she passes his place anyway. They have a minor car accident (her wing mirror is ripped off, nothing bad happens) on the way and she is very upset. Jack comforts her. One thing leads to another...
Some time before Anne has had a row with her boyfriend Fred. He is in the army and only comes home on weekends. They haven't spoken since the row and she is pretty mad at him as he behaved like a jerk. In the meantime he has realized he behaved like a prick and is very sorry. He decides to tell her so.
The morning after the accident, the doorbell goes at Anne's place. She opens. It's Fred with a huge bunch of roses trying to say he is sorry. Anne is very nervous and tries to get him to leave. She says they'll talk later. Just when he's about to leave, he detects a pair of shoes next to the door. 
"Hang on...aren't those Jack's shoes???"
You can all imagine how the story went from there. What a mess!

If I wrote this in a romantic comedy, people would certainly think it is far too contructed. It really happened to Sue, Anne, Jack and Fred. It's a miracle Sue and Anne are still friends to the present day though. ;-)

2 The cheater

Jane is madly in love with her new boyfriend Sean. She's 18 and you know how 18-year-olds in love can be if it's still very fresh. Her friend Carolyn is dating Sean's best friend Tom. Their relationship is also rather new, so they are both still very clingy and don't want to leave their boyfriends for even a weekend. 
Carolyn and Jane both have to leave for a theatre workshop over the weekend. The same weekend there's a party at a mutual friend's place. It's a 90-minute drive or so from the hostel the workshop takes place at. Jane and Carolyn miss their boyfriends sooooo much! Late on Saturday night, Jane and Carolyn suddenly have an idea. Why not get into the car and drive over to surprise their boyfriends who are both at the party?
And they do. Sean has chin-length blond hair, and wears a black leather jacket (biker style) and he has tied Jane's red bandana to it. 
Jane and Carolyn arrive at the party, which takes place in a rural area. Jane gets out of the car and spots, some 150m away a couple walking hand in hand down a footpath into the woods. They stop and kiss and then walk on. She can only see them from behind and catches a glimpse from the side when they turn to kiss. The guy has chin-length blond hair. Jane is shocked...he wears a leather jacket. Okay...could still be anybody...but as he turns she catches a glimpse of her red bandana. 
Jane is heartbroken and cries. Carolyn has to comfort her. They want to get something to drink and enter the house where the party takes place. Sniffling and puffy-eyed Jane bumps into Sean on the way to the bar. "WTF? You here? But I thought you were..." 
Explanation: Sean's friend borrowed his leather jacket. They both have the same hairstyle. 

Put this in a romantic comedy and people will go, "Yeah, sure. What a coincidence!"

3 Life and death

William has lived in fear of a genetic autoimmune disease he was diagnosed with at the age of about 50. He has four children, three sons and a daughter who has always been a bit of a favourite. He lives to see his grandchildren born. Five boys, one girl. His daughter then has a son. The disease that has been mostly dormant until then begins to break out. William is scared of the effects of the disease but is able to celebrate his 80th birthday surrounded by his entire family. His daughter gets pregnant again and this time it's a girl. William is happy. A girl for his little girl. William's daughter has to have a caesarean but the baby girl is healthy. William has become more and more ill but he lives to learn about the arrival of his youngest grandchild. Four days later, he collapses with cerebral haemorrhage and is rushed into hospital. He's in intensive care - in the same hospital that his granddaughter was born at. So daughter, father and grandchild are in the same hospital where eventually William dies just five days after his granddaughter was born at the same hospital. 

This is a story that sounds as if it was written to make a point. Like "don't despair and never lose hope, life goes unexpected ways". It's such a complete cycle and it sounds like something you could find in "Chicken Soup for the Soul" but it happened that way. 

There are a lot more events like that, some even more impossible to use but if I wrote them down here, it would be too obvious who's who even if I changed the names and I could get friends into trouble. 
I would refrain from using these events in any of my stories even though life wrote them simply because using them would make people think I'm a seriously bad writer. Perhaps they will think so anyway but then it's my own fault and not life's. 

Donnerstag, 9. Februar 2012

The joys of using a medieval bathroom

When I read my Indie Ink Challenge and this week's prompt on Story Dam I had to think of my WIP, a children's book where through mysterious circumstances a boy from our time ends up in a medieval romance. I'm writing it in German so I had to translate the excerpt. Find the challenges/prompts at the bottom of this post: 

As it would turn out not only getting dressed was a lot more difficult than Barnabas had expected.

As always before taking a trip he desperately “needed to go”. It was the excitement.

He was sure there would be no real toilet. More like a wooden outhouse with a carved heart in the door like they used to have on Great-Aunt Martha’s farm. Of course books never provided that kind of essential information. None of his heroes had ever needed a loo.

He was a bit surprised when Sir Cuthbert didn’t point him towards the courtyard but upstairs. Well, perhaps they did have indoor bathrooms after all.

The narrow wooden door could hardly be missed as a horrible smell let you know unmistakably what had to be concealed behind it. Barnabas retched and held his nose. But things got worse.

The toilet was something like a balcony. A balcony with the floor missing. Barnabas would have loved to just turn and leave but he really needed a bathroom badly so he didn’t have much of a choice. Shaking with fear Barnabas clung to the wooden beams while doing his business and tried not to think about the drop below.

What he wouldn’t have given for a big fat roll of super soft four-ply toilet paper. Truth be told he’d even have been happy with the sandpapery recycling tissue they had at school.

Barnabas sighed and reached for the basket filled with big linden leaves. He definitely needed to find a way home as soon as possible.

Home – where there was a real toilet you could flush and toilet paper, where mum would make him some hot chocolate and he could snuggle up in bad. In this world he would not survive longer than a week! How on earth was he supposed to cope in this world where even simple things like getting dressed were awfully complicated. Why only had he agreed to come along on a quest with the knight? He thought it would be better to run away while he still could. But where to? He didn’t even have the slightest idea where he was. So there was probably not much else to do but stick with Sir Cuthbert. After all, so far the knight was the only person here he knew.

Dam Burst: In the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, write a piece in which your character gets whisked away to an alternate reality. Obviously be creative, but think outside the box: this can be a fictional piece or you can use a crazy dream that involved you. The weirder the better—remember, you aren’t in Kansas anymore!

Satu Gustafson:

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, trencher challenged me with "Write about an outsider looking in. It can be depressing shoegazer fiction or an upbeat fish out of water story. Whatever!" and I challenged SAM with "Write something (600 words max) in which your character experiences something like a déjà vu. "

Rejected on IndieInk because it's not a new text. Kind of a philosophical question  whether a new translation of an old piece is something new or not...anyway, sorry about that. Maybe next time. 

Sonntag, 5. Februar 2012

Thin at last

She was glad to see everyone again at her High School reunion. Everybody - even Josh Parker who had always bullied her for being a fatty – complimented her on her tremendous weight loss.
“I’m glad I’ll be remembered for my vibrant personality and the really important achievements in my life,“ she thought bitterly while the cancer was eating away at her insides. 

This was for the Trifextra Weekend Challenge:
For this week's challenge, we are asking you to give us a complete story in three sentences

Donnerstag, 2. Februar 2012

The early Byrd

This was originally a language learning crime story (with vocabulary and exercises) I wrote and it was more than twice as long. I think a lot of its charm got lost cutting it down to 600 words but it quite nicely fit the Story Dam prompt, so I thought I'd share it. I left out the very end to leave it open who the perp was so you can guess in the comments. I'll reveal who it was in the comments later and add a spoiler alert. :D

The early Byrd

“There you go, Inspector,” Miss Fitz handed Inspector Byrd the cup.
“Thank you, dear,” he smiled. Since his retirement, he often visited his neighbour who never tired of his police stories. “What do you say about the post office on Fulton being closed. Isn’t it an outrage?”
Miss Fitz looked surprised. “I hadn’t heard.”
“It was in the papers,” Inspector Byrd said.
 “I haven’t been getting my paper. Wouldn’t you know, it gets stolen right from my letterbox!”
A spark of criminological enthusiasm animated the Inspector.
“Are you quite sure? It would have to be someone in the house! Would you kindly get me a pen and paper? We need to draw up a list of suspects.”
“How exciting,” chimed Miss Fitz.
“Let’s see. Eight parties in the building. Not counting us, that’s six suspects. Starting at the top: Mr Slacker, student.”
“He looks just the type, doesn’t he?” Miss Fitz cut in. “Long hair…and an earring!”
“We need motive, Miss Fitz. Mr Slacker may well have one. Students are always a little short of funds. Mr Khan I think we can rule out.”
“Why is that?” Miss Fitz looked puzzled.
“He’s a newsagent. Kind of odd for him to steal a paper, don’t you think?”
“Why, of course! You are so very clever, dear Inspector.”
He blushed.
“Across the landing from me,” he continued, “there’s Mrs Stenton, single mother.”
“You can strike her out.” Miss Fitz looked smug. “She gets her own.”
 “Which leaves us with the Eldridges and Mr Tyson on the first floor,” the Inspector said, “When does the paper usually arrive?”
“Round about six,” said Miss Fitz.
“That would also rule out Mr Tyson the greengrocer,” the Inspector mused. “He leaves at the crack of dawn.”
“That leaves Mr Sloan, the caretaker,” Miss Fitz concluded.
The Inspector looked up. “If we aren’t mistaken, our count of suspects is down to three.”

Inspector Byrd was roused by the alarm. He scrambled out of bed. Carefully he crept out onto the landing and snuck down the dark stairs. Hiding behind the cellar door he looked out into the hallway.
After what seemed like an eternity, the light went on and steps could be heard coming down. Mr Tyson, the greengrocer, the Inspector thought.
He smiled smugly. It was indeed Mr Tyson leaving for work.
A while later, the paper arrived. Now was the time to be alert. The Inspector grew more and more impatient when suddenly the light snapped on again. He caught his breath peering out from behind the door. Steps overhead. Top floor.
“Mr Khan or Mr Slacker.” The steps hurried down the last flight of stairs; energetic, taking two steps at a time.
“Mr Slacker.” The Inspector was certain.
Indeed, the student’s untidy mop of hair appeared. There! He reached for the paper, pulled it out of the letterbox and cast a glance at the front page. Inspector Byrd was just about to jump out, when the young man neatly folded the paper and put it back.
The house went dark again.
A door creaked on the ground floor. Perhaps Mr Sloan. But…the Inspector looked positively puzzled. How odd - the wrong direction. He waited for the light to come on again. Nothing. Instead, the patter of feet. Bare feet. Now this was peculiar.

Squinting, the Inspector could make out a white form moving down the hall.
Pat, pat, pat.
Most definitely the sound of naked feet on the stone floor. The figure moved to the letterboxes. A scraping noise and the silent rustling of paper.
Pat, pat, pat. Moving closer. But that was…impossible!

Dienstag, 31. Januar 2012

Buttermilk and spit

Trying to kill two birds with one stone tonight as I worked with the Trifecta prompt and my IndieInk challenge. Here's what came out:

Image: Dark Angels Tarot by Luca Russo. Lo Scarabeo (c) 2010

Buttermilk and spit

Christen slipped out of bed and crossed the room avoiding the clatter of clothes, empty bottles, tissue paper and torn condom wrappers – landmarks of a seriously good time. A sideways glance at the alarm clock revealed it was around noon, too bloody early to be wondering who the naked bloke in her bed was and definitely too bloody early to be thinking any further.
The fluorescent tube above the bathroom mirror flickered to life. The woman staring back at her was still the image of the girl who had arrived here three years ago with a backpack full of wild dreams and a few crumpled bank notes in the back pocket of her jeans. Matured perhaps with the faint traces of the partying and her ongoing colombian love affair. Nothing in the world to make you feel so fucking brilliant plus it helped keep your weight down. She’d have to take it down a notch or two though before her looks went. Her only claim to fame and livelihood.
She smiled at the pale, slightly undernourished face which gave her this sullen somewhat unearthly appearance. Like buttermilk and spit, nan used to say.
“You need some colour!”, picking up the lava red lipstick she traced her lips on the glass. “There you go.” She grimaced at the red smear.

She’d better fix herself some coffee and get whatshisface out on the street before Paolo had a chance to show up. After all he did pay her rent. No rush though. At this time of day on a Sunday he’d probably be sitting down to lunch with his wife feigning an interest in fundraisers, interior decoration and society gossip.

She didn’t spend too much time worrying about how long she could maintain this lifestyle, not yet anyway. Brings you closer to God.
“Do your best to keep the old geezer good and pissed off at you”, she said to her mirror image. “Then at least you know you have his attention”.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kurt challenged me with ""God's hatred is better than his indifference." -Chuck Palahniuk." and I challenged Michael with ""He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." - Samuel Johnson"

Trifecta Challenge this week:

image noun \ˈi-mij\

: a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing;especially : an imitation in solid form : statue
a : the optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror) or an electronic device
b : a visual representation of something: as (1) : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material (2) : a picture produced on an electronic display (as a television or computer screen)
a : exact likeness : semblance

b : a person strikingly like another person

a : a tangible or visible representation : incarnation
b archaic : an illusory form : apparition

I really had to laugh. When I entered a bit of this post at the "I write like..." thingy and this is what it came up with (it's only funny when you read the IndieInk challenge I got). 

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Freitag, 27. Januar 2012


He picked her like a ripe cherry. Nipping at her skin, rolling her around on his tongue. Then his teeth crushed her, he swallowed the delicious juices and carelessly spit out the pit.

Response to the weekend challenge on Trifecta: Write a love story in 33 words.