ness writes about writing

Of smiles, winking water, flesh-eating sows and branded memories month has gone by. I think I’ve finally resigned myself to the simple fact that a year is a short thing, and not as long as it first appears or indeed, ought to be. But still, we can fit plenty of living into it, plenty of love and plenty of laughter (all beginning with ‘l’!) and also, you’ll never guess but … we can squeeze plenty of writing in too. Which doesn’t begin with an l. But then writing uses letters so I suppose it sort of fits.

And despite the often gloomy weather and rain, the sun still peeks through and God is good, always. And also … it is awfully nice to write with the rain pattering against the window. (And if there isn’t any rain to be pattering or storming … have you heard of RainyMood?)

Anyway – below are some bits ‘n’ bobs from March.

– – –

A small smile was attempted, but it ended in a dismal failure; for lips that smile must turn up at the tips and not downwards like a fast sinking rock dropped in a pool of water.

– Unlikely

Staying by the stream I look up at the sky; the sun is low yet, and a soft haze of mist still covers the valley below. I let one hand drift in the stream and hold it just below the surface, feeling the numbing cold trickle between my fingers and watching the sunrays play with the water, causing it to twinkle and wink merrily back at me.

– The Dragons We Hunt

With an unsure glance at Bernice he decided to lay the deer on the table, indoors and out of sight and smell of the scavenging, lolloping pig. Bloody Bernice, they ought to have called her. The Flesh Eating Sow.

– The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

The scene would be forever etched in his memory, branded with all the ferocity of a red-hot iron. The tangled branches of overhanging trees straining over the path, the brown grasses which gave way to the forest, the brightly coloured uniforms of the Captain’s men, the limp body of his brother; awaiting his enemies with all the resistance of a newly born lamb.

– The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

ness writes about writing

Snapshots of a Future Novel

Often I do little planning for a writing project; I set out what needs to happen and then simply plop myself down and write. I’ve never really gotten very far with giving detailed background to characters – the background comes as they are written; as they take a personality.

But, with the help of OneNote, I’ve been experimenting. Planning and plotting. I’ve found simply writing snippets of dialogue helpful.

For instance:

“I’m going to kill him,” announced the woman.

 She was met with disbelieving stares.

 “I am.” she insisted, voice trembling.

 “You couldn’t harm a worm,” said Robyn.

 “I stabbed you didn’t I?”

 It gives more flavour than the dry lines of “character A wants to kill character Z” … but it also gives me questions – why has she stabbed Robyn? Does she consider him a threat? Why does Robyn think her weak? Who are the people giving her ‘disbelieving stares’?

Robyn glared at him.

 “You know,” said Will, “the ballads are wrong about you – they say you are merry.”

 “Nay,” countered Robyn, “they say that my men are merry.”

 “To make up for their leader’s failings, no doubt.”

So I’m writing potential pieces of dialogue which may or may not be included in the actual novel. Yes, it may change – these things often do – but it gives me an idea, a tone. A snippet of a character, a setting, a plot. It tells me that maybe this character needs to be like this or avoid that; that this is an exciting twist or that is simply bonkers.

And as these little snapshots come – erratically, from the beginning, the middle and the end – the ideas flow. And the story grows.

from the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Happy Christmas!