21st/22nd/23rd September 2018
“I’m going to speak to the union.” a pea turns to its neighbour. “We didn’t sign up for this.”
“Yeah.” the neighbour joins in. “One minute we were photosynthesizing in our pods. Next without warning we were plucked from our bush, stripped from our homes, and tipped into boiling water.”
“Bobbing to the surface,” the first pea shivers, “for a gasp of air.”
“You should count yourselves lucky.” a carrot interrupts. “I was surrounded by snug, warm soil when I was ripped out of the ground, washed, cut up, cooked.” It sighs. “Look at me. How I’ll survive this, I don’t know.”
The peas admire the neat row of stacked orange slices.
“You think you had it bad?” a deep voice booms from a rugged pile of mashed potato. “I was skinned alive, brought to the boil, and then pulverised into this mush.”
“That’s bad.” the others nod.
“Watch out!” the carrot screams as four parallel metals bar descend from above and sweep the peas up into the air.
“Look!” the first pea whispers as they’re tipped into a black tunnel. “There’s a way out beyond this wet, pink rug.”
They roll along furtively and dive down a black mineshaft.
Giles was initially a civil engineer but he changed career in 2013 and he now runs a local shop in a Sussex village. Here he has an excellent opportunity to observe a wide range of people and, in between serving customers, he can plan and write his next project. Giles was also involved in local politics for a number of years and draws on this experience to create the less likeable characters in his stories.
The Great Pharaoh’s Pyramidal Treat
Rameses II was in a reflective mood. The most powerful, the most venerated man-god in the known world, and possessor of all that could be possessed, was bored. He summoned his high priest Atatep. “We desire something cool, get us something cool.”
“Sire”, said Atatep, “you will be the god of cool, such as no god before you.” At that he left Rameses to contemplate his greatness.
The High Priest gave orders for a thousand camels and five hundred of the finest men of Egypt to assemble before the magnificent House of Rameses.
Within two rises of Aten (days) the camel train was ready for its journey. The camels were equipped with goat-skin panniers lined with straw. Ten rises of Aten took it across the shifting ocean of sand, the mighty wilderness, the Sahara. Their destination, the Mountains of Shu (Atlas Mountains), lay but a thousand-camel’s length before them.
The High Priest possessed great wisdom. He had instructed the goat skins to be filled with the white ice to be found on those peaks. After ten rises of Aten the camel train returned. The white ice remained perfectly protected from Aten’s heat.
The white ice was mixed with milk and honey, it was coloured with essence of lotus flower and perfumed with rose water and myrrh. The blend was thereafter fashioned into a pyramidal form, and presented to him upon a dish of burnished gold. The man-god savoured the very first ice cream.
Rameses ordered that, henceforth, his cartouche should carry added hieroglyphs, for ice, milk of goat and honey, thereby symbolising his cool.
David enjoys writing ‘magical realism’ short stories as a new found hobby. He is a retired professional used only to writing client reports, investment e-bulletins and the occasional newspaper article; David is now free to learn new writing skills and to have some fun. ‘Magical realism’ is only the beginning he anticipates, stroking his rabbit’s foot as the long-case clock chimes midnight.
Old stories are the best, as Shakespeare knew.
You cannot copy them directly, of course, but you can re-work, re-version and re-invigorate them.
• re-create a scene from a TV drama
• choose any mass-market novel at random, read the opening, decide what the writer was trying to achieve and improve it
• write your own version of a scene from a fairytale
Source: 365 ways to get you Writing, Jane Cooper, How to Books, 2012
• Authors once acted as story overseers, choosing to withhold or reveal any character’s thoughts, as well as telling readers the truth as they saw it.
In modern fiction, this is usually avoided, because it denies the readers the opportunity to decide for themselves.
So you might two characters who will have different points of view and cannot reveal anything that only the other might know.
Elmore Leonard, one of America’s leading writers of crime thrillers, comments: ‘… I write in scenes and always from the point of a view of a particular character, the one whose view best brings the scene to life … I’m nowhere in sight’.
• In taking a point of view, you will write either:
– in the first person
– in the third person for one or more characters
– less commonly, as ‘you’ or ‘we’
– or more ambitiously is the ‘third person omniscient’, in which the writing moves in and out of different character’s points of view
Take an incident, such as a grannie crashing a car through a supermarket window, then everyone describe it from different points of view.
Source: The five-minute writer, How to Books, 2011 + How to write, The Guardian, 2009