Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Rain, rain rain! Wonderful rain falling from the sky from when I got up, right through the morning and late into the afternoon. I noticed the first fall of leaves from the trees, too. On my way to work, after disembarking the bus on York Place, at the bottom of Dublin Street is a resident's garden ringed by a metal fence. It's full of trees and all the golden brown leaves have fallen onto the cobbles already. Autumn is here.

Only a couple of weeks ago there was glorious sunshine and the streets were filled with people. Now with the festivals over, the streets are back to normal and the skies are crying at the end of the party. Soon the falling tears will top, and be replaced by a calm chill, clear skies and full moons.

Took care of a lot of outstanding editorial work for The Scruffy Dog Review this evening; readings, acceptances, rejections etc.

Came up with some ideas for a few stories. Since I started doing DE's exercises at The Scruffy Dog Review Blog, I have begun to see stories everywhere, in places I never would have thought of, and in themes I would never have imagined.

I always had a healthy cut-outs folder from newspapers and magazines, but now the range and type of stories has widened. I'm on several mailing lists that I never early read that much other than the odd article. I've discovered though, some of them can be jam-packed full of story ideas if I just open my mind to the possibilities that they offer. Today in one mailing alone, I pulled out enough ideas for six new short stories.

Ran through the stories I've written so far this week and edited as I went. Tried to make them as tight as possible and ensure that they make sense, keep a grip of the reader, and finish well.

The next exercise as to write a story about the third article I cut out, a bartender who received a $10k tip for a $26 meal in the States somewhere. I turned it on its head and made it about an Australian waitress who lives with her moody Edinburgh-born boyfriend.

She gets a first tip of £100, and he isn't too impressed. When she gets the tip for £10k, he flips and attacks the guy, accusing them both of all sorts of things in his weird, male-weighted macho mind. I had to transplant a character from one of the earlier stories as a wee challenge, so I picked DI Lennox, who nicks the boyfriend for assaulting the man in a cafe. It's called, Only a Bagel, and it came in at just under 1700 words.

Next thing I have to do - as well as editing all these new stories - is to take the remaining three articles and combine them ALL into a single story of no more than 5000 words. Not as easy as it sounds. The three articles I have to work with are:

* Road sweepers in Tranent not picking up litter in revolt against litter louts
* Pope's holy-roller mobile auctioned for £37k
* Support mounting for an independent film agency in Scotland

I'm thinking film shoot in Tranent, funded by the sale of the Pope mobile that was used when the Pope visited Scotland in 1982, and ruined by striking binmen. Something like that.

I've spent so much time doing these exercises - which have been invaluable and very productive - I've let other things on my GDR slip a bit. It's already the middle of September and while my output has been excellent, there are things I need to take a look at urgently.

Top things to do over tomorrow and the weekend:

* Type up and edit Wide Awake
* Work on synopsis for NaNoWriMo project
* Write more poetry
* Design new standard leaflet/poster for Fringe Fantastic
* Make more submissions
* Write next exercise as described above.

Got to keep focussed!
Colin 9:06 am


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