Throwback Thursday: Destruction

*A weekly post revisiting some of the previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

Another piece from my series of ‘Character Conversations’. This one is more of a monologue or rant. I’m not great with portraying accents in writing. I can hear the voice in my head, but am not sure how to put it phonetically on the page … any tricks writers out there? Have you ever written dialogue for a character with an ‘accent’? How do you do it successfully?

“Well, I wanna be famous, yeah. A Star, like.
I wanna be like one of them WAGs on TV. Like that one … shit wot’s ‘er name?
You know the one. With the ‘air and the nails and the … ooooh yeah … I love them nails with the diaman’es and patterns. My auntie did my nails with leopard prints once. It was well good.
Where woz I?
Oh yeah, like, I want people to know my name. When I walk down the street I want them to shout, Krystal! Oy, Krystal (I’ll be changing my name to Krystal once I get famous see? I’ll only ‘ave one name like Madonna and Cher and that guy who sang that song about the rain bein’ purple).
An’ yeah I’m gonna shop in all the wicked shops like Gucci an’ Burberry an’ wherever Cheryl Cole shops coz she’s got well good style!
She grew up on an estate near where I live see? It’s rough, yeah, but she’s livin’ proof that anyone from anywhere can go out there and get famous and rich an’ drink champayne out of fancy glasses an’ go on yachts and lay in the sun and get brown in sexy bikinis and ‘ave everyone worship ya. It’s gonna to be brilliant.
What do you mean what’s my talent?
I’m an actress an’ a singer. I woz in a play when I was still in school an’ my mum came and my nan, an’ they said I had It yeah? Like I woz on the X-Facta. I am the X-Facta. I’m gonna go on an audition an’ get through an’ the rest will be history. Like that Cher Lloyd chick.
She gets tons of free stuff. Like blackberries an’ earrings an’
When I get all my free stuff, I’m gonna get a big ole house to put it in. With like sixteen bathrooms an’ I’m gonna get a personal trainer an’ a dog an’ carry it around in a bag all day when the paps are chasin’ me, takin’ pics of me doin’ ma thing. I’ll ‘ave these big ole sunglasses to stop their flashes blindin’ me when I’m on my way to do photo shoots an’ talkin’ to the One Show peeps.
What do ya mean what if I don’t get through, of course I’m gonna get through! I’m gonna win man! Have you not ben listening to me?
I’m a legend.
I’m amazing.
An’ if, an’ this is a big IF, they woz to say no, I’d do like another reality show like maybe uhhh The Only Way is Essex, them’s lot are regular folk. They do nuffin’ ‘cept drink an’ party an’ I do a lot of that. Girl’s gotta keep it real ya kno’?
Easy as that.
So, yeah, I’m gonna be famous.
Sorry, what woz the question?”


*originally published: 10 August 2011


Writer Wednesday: Flash Fiction Writing Prompt

*This is a weekly writing challenge hosted by fellow writer/bloggers Nicole, Carrie, Tena and Leanne. Each week you are given one photograph and 5 words to include in an original flash fiction story. The story can be no longer than 500 words*

This week’s photograph:



The words will be highlighted in bold throughout the story.

“‘Til Death Us Do Part”

He left out a VOWEL. Typical. I knew that cheap engraver had no idea what he was doing. He could barely speak a word of coherent English let alone spell. In hindsight, I should have paid a bit more and gone to someone a little more reputable, a jeweller perhaps, like the one who engraved our wedding rings all those years ago. Do you remember him? What a funny caricature of a man he was, like a character lifted out of a Charles Dickens novel – unnaturally thin with hands irreparably gnarled by arthritis. He was about 80 years old at the time, and told us how he had spent most of his life acting as a STOOL pigeon for Scotland Yard. He was completely batty, but he did beautiful work, and the etching on my band is still as clear as it was forty years ago.

‘Til Death Us Do Part.

It just seemed like an awful waste of money. You didn’t leave me very much, Harold, so I am inclined to blame you for this mess. As a result of your bad investments, you will forever be known as Harold Pincr. No ‘E’. I suppose it doesn’t matter really. They will demolish this park one DAY and replace it with yet more high-rise buildings, the ones that resemble the futuristic SPACESHIPs from those Science Fiction films you used to take me to see at the Drive Inn. That place is gone now too. They stripped it down and turned it into extra parking for the Traduna Mall.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and say ‘Hello’ and tell you that the plaque looks good, despite the missing vowel. I know you must be very busy up there catching up with all your old friends and your mother, although I am inclined to believe she wound up in slightly warmer climes. Vile woman. If you see our dear Gracie, give her a pat on the head for me and tell her that I miss her every day, especially now as I sit here watching the autumn leaves gently fall from the trees. It’s CALM here today, and cold. Do you remember what cold feels like? Do you miss it? Do you remember our long walks to this very bench?How we would let Gracie off her lead and watch as she scampered through the forest, sniffing the damp ground, and shovelling slugs with her snout? Do you remember how we used to sit for hours side by side listening to the hum of the motor way, waiting for the cancer to kill you?

It is getting late, and I better make my way home. I am cooking your favourite tea tonight. Pilchards on toast. I am not sure why, but I had a hankering for them today. So long, my dear Harold Pincr. No ‘E’. I hope to see you again soon. 

 *word count: 483


Novel Thoughts Entry 1: What to do after Inspiration Strikes

When does inspiration strike you?

I am a recreational runner and try to get to the gym a couple of times a week. When I first started running a few years ago, I used to rely on my iPod to get me through my 40-minute gym sessions, but about a year ago it broke and I was forced to run in silence until I got around to ordering a new one. 

I have run without music ever since. It took some getting used to at first, but now I can’t imagine running with anything other than the thoughts in my head. It is often during these runs, that I find inspiration. Somewhere between the heavy breathing and desperate kilometre/time calculations I rattle off in an almost obsessive way – sometimes, I will get the niggle of an idea for a story. These ideas usually stem from one of the many imaginary conversations I like to have with myself on a daily basis (other people do that too, right?). This little nugget of inspiration will grow as I continue to pound the treadmill. It will follow me through my cross-training cool down and my stretches, and out into the cold, cool West Hampstead evening air. 

But, by the time I get home, the surge and excitement has left me and I am left with this tiny seed – the promise of something special – and I have no idea what to do with it. 

What do you do after Inspiration strikes?

I have always written in sporadic bursts. I have never planned or researched an idea thoroughly (perhaps this is why I have been unsuccessful in every single one of my novel writing attempts in the past), and am never sure what the next step should be. How do I plant the seed and get it to grow? 

I found this sweet little infographic during a very quick Web search, and it has given me a little hint of where to go with my most recent idea:


It’s a bit simplistic, but I think has given me a good starting point. 

Fellow writers out there – any tips on how to get writing? 

*Infographic via: http://www.writingrevolution.com/infographic-start-writing-your-novel/ 


Throwback Thursday: 150 Words Jealousy

*A weekly post revisiting some of the previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

Inside I am ugly. Gnarled with suspicion every time I look at you. Looking at them, Looking at you.

You tell me you love me, but your words are like vapour, dissolving in the impenetrable air around me. I am numb to your pathetic explanations.
“She’s just a friend.”
“We work together.”
“You’re paranoid.”

A woman always knows.

You cannot love me because I am ugly on the outside you see? The rot of my mistrust has aged my skin, emptied my eyes. I am not like those pretty, young whores.

I never was.

Cold with inevitability I log on to your emails, your facebook. I read your text messages while you are in the loo. Searching, Watching. Waiting for you to slip up, make a mistake so I can catch you. I will ensnare you like a fly, coil my insecurities around you until you suffocate.
And leave me.

*Originally published 25 July 2011


On Reading and Nook Book of the Month: AM Homes May We Be Forgiven

Over the past couple of years, I have become a notoriously bad reader. I battle to make find time to sit down and read a good book. I have become a product of the ‘one click’ Y2K generation – too easily distracted by technology and I find myself wiling away any ‘free time’ I have simultaneously surfing TV channels and skulking social media platforms in a repetitive, mind-numbing fuzz.

Reading takes discipline and commitment. It is about eliminating all distractions (physical and psychological) and immersing oneself in another world. I struggle with being able to shut off the external and internal distractions, and somewhere along the way I lost the focus needed to be able to read well, but I am working on it.

As Stephen King says: “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

And so, in an attempt to encourage myself to read more – I am starting a Nook Book segment on the new blog (a few months ago, my boyfriend bought me a Barnes & Noble Nook E-Reader in an attempt to get me back into reading, and I am absolutely in love with it. Everything I read, I read on my wee Nook).

This month’s novel (that took me about 4 months to finish – I want to blame summer, but basically, I just blame myself) is:



May We Be Forgiven


AM Homes


Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013


Harry Silver is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper.They have been uneasy rivals since childhood.Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.


“How can I tell anyone that there has always lived within me a rusty sense of disgust-a dull, brackish water that I suspect is my soul?” – Harry Silver


Throwback Thursday: Goodbye

*A weekly post revisiting some of the previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

Continuing on from my short – lived blog series ‘character conversations’ – here is the second piece of dialogue-only fiction I wrote.


“You’re late.”
“I had quite a busy day, in case you didn’t see.”
“I saw.”
“Well what?”
“Aren’t you going to congratulate me?”
“Please forgive my impertinence, oh Lord and Master.”
“There’s no need to be sarcastic. I’ve had a difficult day full of difficult people. And you are the one thing in my life that is not supposed to be difficult.”
“So, is there enough room in that tub for one more?”
“I was just thinking about getting out actually. I’ve been in here for a while. Just lying here, waiting for you to walk through the door. Like the not-difficult person I am.”
“What’s wrong with you tonight?”
“You do know what tonight is don’t you?”
“Of course I know. That’s why I don’t want you to ruin it by …”
“By what? By having feelings? By being a typical woman after all? Forgive me, Paul, but like it or not I am not just a cold, calculating whore. Underneath all the fun and games and the sneaking around there is a woman who watched the man she loves being ripped away from her today. And you know what? It fucking sucks!”
“I know it sucks, Love. I do. And believe me when they were announcing the outcome, all I could think of was how each win was a loss for you and me. But, you understand why this has to end don’t you?”
“Don’t patronise me, Paul. I have a Masters degree in Psychology. I know why it has to end. I just don’t want it to.”
“Me neither. Come here.”
“I am going to miss you holding me like this.”
“You know what? Let’s not do this whole ‘I’m going to miss this-and-that thing. Let’s just make the next few hours a happy memory. One we can re-visit every so often.”
“When you are stuck playing happy families with your wife, and I get so jealous I could spit.”
“And when you find yourself a good, decent man who I am going to want to have murdered.”
“That won’t happen.”
“Sure it will. Eventually.”
“I’m going to wait for you. It’s only four years.”
“I couldn’t promise anything after four years, you know. I don’t know how long this could go on for. And even after it ends I will still be watched.”
“Just promise me tonight, even if it’s a lie, that we will be like this again in four years time? I need to have something to hope for, Paul. Four years from now, you and me, together again, for the rest of our lives. Promise me. Please.”
“I promise.”
“Okay, no more tears tonight. Grab the bubble bath and get that delicious body of yours into this tub.”
“You know I love you right?”
“I know. Oh and in case I forget to say so later on … Congratulations
Mr Prime Minister.”

*Originally published 28 June 2011


Throwback Thursday: Empty Words

*A weekly post revisiting some of the previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

This piece was the first of a short series I ran on my blog titled ‘character conversations’ – the challenge was to write a small story consisting only of dialogue – no description, no characterisation, no place setting, and no context.

What do you think? Can a dialogue-only story be successful? Can it create enough colour and texture to draw you in? Can you imagine these people? Their lives? Can you buy into their story? Do you know them? Do you care about them?


“I finally got the kids to sleep.”
“Yeah. You want some dinner? I just ate fish fingers with the kids, but I could make you a sandwich?”
“Nah, I’m good. Had some chips at the pub.”
“You were at the pub?”
“With the guys?”
“How are they doing?”
“They’re alright. Dave and Sylvia are splitting up. He’s pretty cut up about it.”
“That’s awful. I must ring Sylvia in the morning. Do you know what happened?”
“Everything. Or nothing. Don’t know really.”
“Oh. What a shame. They were such a nice couple.”
“I guess.”
“At least there weren’t any children involved.”
“Well, I’m pretty knackered so I might have an early night.”
“Do you want to come up?”
“After the highlights.”
“You don’t want to be here do you, Tony?”
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“That’s not the same as wanting to be here.”
“Not now, Shirl. I’m a little pissed and not in the mood for this tonight.”
“I guess I just want you to know that I didn’t choose this life either.”
“But, if I had to be stuck in this life with anyone, I would want it to be you. We will get through this. I know we will. Because in spite of everything, I love you.
Do you love me, Tony? Do you?

*First published June 2011


Throwback Thursday: Soap and Cigarettes

*A weekly post revisiting some of my previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*


When I reach for you, you flinch. When I kiss you, you don’t kiss me back. You look at me with repulsion when I try and hold your hand. So, I walk around all day, waiting – waiting for you to touch me, to pull me in to you. And when you do you are ferocious, your arms too tight around my waist, your nose tangled in my hair, your lips too hot and wet against mine.

Intimacy is always on your terms.

But, at night when we lie in bed – your back curled away from me – and I hear your snores, you are mine. I shuffle to your side of the bed, and I put my arm around your bare shoulders, pulling myself up against your sleeping body. I bury my face into your hot, smooth neck. You do not move.

I love your smell.

Imperial Soap and cigarettes.


*Originally published 7 June 2011


Throwback Thursday: You Have a Nice Day

*A weekly post revisiting some of my previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

“I loved him.” A shrug. A hollow smile.
“You didn’t know him.”
“I did towards the end. We talked a lot. He talked.”
“What did he talk about?”
“His wife, mostly. His kids. How he missed them. He begged me to let him see them. Just one last time.”
“Why him?”
Another shrug, a drag from the cigarette in her left hand. “He noticed me.”
“When I was working at the garage. He came in every morning to buy a coffee and the paper. £2,50. Every morning. He would smile at me and say ‘You have a nice day’. Nobody else did that.”
“Do you think what you did was right?”
“No. I knew it was wrong. But, I couldn’t help myself. I had to have him. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I loved him.”
The heavy metal door opens, a security guard enters, nods, “Time is up.”


Fear and Writing

pic via weheartit

pic via weheartit

Writing is like laying yourself bare naked on cold concrete for everyone to look at, a controversial exhibit on display in a museum. It is like slicing yourself down the middle and peeling back your skin to reveal the workings of your body for everyone to judge.

When I was younger I used to write about everything, and the darker the world I created, the better. I loved to tell harrowing stories, fearlessly diving down into the disturbing world of my imagination and pulling out scenes and images I knew nothing about in the real world.

I didn’t care what people thought of my work. I didn’t care what they thought of me.

But, with age has come this crippling self-consciousness that permeates my writing like a parasite. I am afraid of what people will think of me after reading what I write. I am afraid of being too honest, revealing too much in case they see me for what I am. I cover myself with layers to protect myself from the serpent eyes of those around me.

Don’t look at me.

What is it that I am afraid they will see?

I am afraid they will see how much I feel. The intensity of my thoughts and emotions that crash through me, that threaten to drown me some days. There is an ugliness in the world that I can’t help but see. There is so much gnarled pain and hurt, and the sound of it is almost deafening.

I am afraid to look at it.

I am afraid to listen to it.

I am afraid to write about it.

In case it overwhelms and consumes me.

I am afraid to feel. Writing is like picking at the scab on the surface of your emotions, that hard layer you form to protect the raw flesh underneath from exposure to the outside world. To write well, you need to reveal that sore tenderness, and I am petrified of the hurt that comes with that. I am afraid the feelings will overwhelm me and I will bleed out.

I am afraid of myself.