Saturday, 28 November 2015

One Lovely November // award and interview.

“Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 
Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?"

I started my morning with these words of Keats', from the absolutely beautiful poem Ode to a Nightingale. With the rain drumming down on my grey window it can be easy to be melancholy in November, but I've got so much to be thankful for this month. I hope you've all had lovely Novembers, and are ready for 2015's last celebration next month!

Eons ago I received the One Lovely Blog Award from some lovely friends: Marian @ Ivory Clouds; Seana @ The Totally Insane Writer; and Lauren @ Always Me. (At least, I think I got it from Lauren, though so many light years have passed since I couldn't swear it.)

You guys know the drill: seven facts, nominate fifteen others (though I can tell you right now that ain't happening), generally spread love and peace in the blogosphere.

Shall we begin?

[NB: All images are taken from Pinterest. I do not claim ownership of any of these images.]

Telemark, Norway:
Telemark, Norway

You were here | Observando:

1. I've been given an interview at the University of Oxford.

I am ecstatic.

Unlike Cambridge, Oxford only interview about half their applicants. They only take one in five, so the chances of my getting in are slimmer than Victoria Beckham (wow, what a simile ... ), but to get an interview has made me so so happy. Even if I don't get a place, I still know that I was in the top half of candidates!

And I get to go to Oxford, by myself, for four days; missing school, staying in the college, the whole she-bang. It is, I hope, going to be highly enjoyable.

Art by Jenny Keith-Hughes:

Nordicana - Grace Helmer:

Am I nervous about the interview? Yes, of course, but also excited. When else will I get the chance to talk about BOOKS to a hugely clever academic who hopefully loves Fitzgerald/Keats/Shakespeare as much as I do?!

Fitzgerald:

.:


2. This is one of my favourite songs at the moment (I can only find this ballet-ish video, sorry) and on Wednesday, after I'd received my email from Oxford and was too keyed up to sleep, the first line inspired me to make my (first ever!) bucket list. So far it doesn't have one hundred things (I think I'm on fifty-six). They include: get dreads; see Paris; design a tattoo for someone; go to India; fill a proper illustrative journal, rather than just Pinning heaps of them.

 :
 :
how painful is this life //:



Mysteriously Hovering Houses drawing by Angie Hoffmeister / iphigen  http://angieiver.tumblr.com/:

3. I have a massive love for Calvin and Hobbes.


by Bill Watterson // “Calvin: You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.  Hobbes: What mood is that?  Calvin: Last-minute panic.”:
Calvin and Hobbes QUOTE OF THE DAY (DA): The truth is, most of us discover where we are heading when we arrive." -- Calvin/Bill Watterson:

4. Some films I really want to see: Mockingjay Part 2; (new) Cinderella; The Breakfast Club; Submarine.

"Animal Spirits: Swan" Media: Pencil and watercolor on illustration board Size: 8" x 10" inches Year: 2013 Love Union Divination Grace Elegance Purity Beauty Ability to see into the future Dreams ........ This original illustration by artist Patricia Ariel is part of the series of small artworks nam...:


 :

.:

5. I have desperate dreams of excellent red lippie game, but it just never ever works. Basically, I'm terrible at being a girl: walking in heels, make-up-type things, you name it, I am awful.

Katt Frank:


Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy:
Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
6. Contrary to social norms, I refuse to be excited about Christmas until December 1st. So, for the next three days, I will continue to enjoy November for itself!

.:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky:

7. I hate time travel. I don't watch Doctor Who, because it just never makes sense and I hate trying to work it out. My least favourite of the Harry Potters is The Prisoner of Azkaban, because, when you think about it, a lot of the Time Turner stuff is very shaky. I will never, ever, ever write a book that has anything to do with time travel. Ever.

25 beautiful photos that will make you want to visit Madrid, Spain ~ Travel And See The World:
Madrid (a place on my new bucket list, incidentally)

 :
 :

Nominees (obviously not fifteen but yeah)




Valar Morghulis, Valar Dohaeris - Game of Thrones:

 :

I absolutely loved Oxford when I went. The buildings, the streets, the bicycles propped up against just about any corner; abuzz but also relaxed. It was really inspiring to me. I probably had my mouth gaping open the whole time like an idiot. It was beautiful:
Oxford

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

SS #2: Cuckoo Soldiers

It is time for my contribution to this month's Starting Sparks!


Ashley and I are hosting this link-up. Whether you're a writer already, or someone who's not written much but have an interest in doing more, this is for you! We post a prompt each month, and you respond with whatever you like. A short story, a scene, a poem, a letter. Anything at all. We're just trying to spark you off! This is the November prompt:

Inline image 1

Some of you had issues viewing this image last time, so if you still can't see it now, it says: They forgot to pretend to be human.

You still have a week to link up! Click here for the original post.

~***~

This story turned out a lot darker than I expected, and it has more political undertones than I'd normally post on this blog. The themes are a bit complicated -- I don't know that I fully understand them myself -- and I'd love to hear feedback from you guys. It's true that I'm touching on some difficult current issues, but of course I think that, in writing, examining reality is one of the most important things.

~***~

Cuckoo Soldiers

You are monsters. Learn to embrace it.

J257 leant back in his chair, catching K139’s eye. He yawned. In reply she rolled her eyes. The teacher was pacing back and forth, her shoes clicking on the steel floor. She had that look in her red eyes: of fervour, of devotion to the Cause. J257 stifled another yawn. Devotion to the Cause evaded him. He was tired, and bored.

It’s the way you’re programmed, the teacher said. It’s designed, in your DNA. Human scientists call it the selfish gene, among their race. You shouldn’t fight it. It’s who you are.

She spun, scarlet eyes fixing on a girl in the front row. R58. What is a cuckoo?

R58 had dead eyes. A cuckoo is a bird found in northern climes of the Earth, she recited.

And what is its characteristic?

The female lays her eggs in another bird’s nest. When the baby cuckoos grow, they push the other birds out and kill them.

And, K139, why does this happen?

Only J257 noticed the catch in his friend’s voice when she said, It’s Nature’s way.

Exactly. The teacher was smiling, the look in her eyes dancing with something that, on Earth, could have been called demonic. You are cuckoos, for planet Earth. Our planet has served us well, but now it is too small to meet our needs. You are the cuckoo soldiers. You will infiltrate Earth, and then you will take over. You are stronger than the humans, and more intelligent. You deserve this. You deserve their world. They have abused it. You will use it. And why will you use it?

For the Cause, the class chanted.

Very good, the teacher said. Taking Earth is part of the Cause.

She removed her console from her belt. In a moment, she said, I am going to activate the next stage of your training. We have learnt about life on Earth, its history and its politics. Now your individual studies begin. I am sending you all a name, your human name. It begins with your letter, to help you remember. Her red eyes glowed. Cuckoo soldiers, she said. Be ready.

She keyed a button on her console, and around the room the uniform beep of a new message sang in its metallic voice. J257 pulled his console onto the desk and opened the file. It contained one word: Jared. He thought about how it would sound. His new name.

~***~

Earth, at first, was bewildering.

Jared was afraid. He feared the noise on the street, of people shouting into their mobiles, black sputtering cars roaring from corner to corner. The crush of bodies on the badly run, airless trains or in the shopping centres. The astounding array of things there were. He had grown up in uniform, the same black overalls everybody wore. Here you could buy clothes of every colour and style and pattern, and on the street the humans strutted past in bizarre outfits that made him stare. He’d been shouted at, once, by a group of a woman in dizzyingly high heels.

What are you looking at! they’d shrieked. Jared had turned away with no answer.

The scope and spectrum of people astonished him. Culture was a word he’d had to learn; different languages, different mindsets, different heritage. He could not believe the choice of food from every street vendor, or the myriad of languages he heard as he walked down the street. He could speak English, Spanish, Mandarin and Farsi, but the humans had an endless, oscillating stream of new tongues.
    
There were other things, even harder to understand. They had learnt, at school, about hate crime and segregation, the slave trade in America and the race riots in Harlem, and the teacher had told them to be prepared for human bigotry. You have black skin, she said, and you might find people who are cruel or rude to you because of it. That is called discrimination. D314, why do humans discriminate?

D314, whose name was now Dominic, had said in his toneless voice: Humans discriminate against people different to them.

In the classroom, Jared had nodded along, his intellect logging the detail. He had not been prepared for a group of young men to spit at him in the street.

He was learning, now. He had the perfect London accent, the group of friends at school, the test results not too good or too bad. School had been unbelievable at first, so wildly different to that on the planet before: the noise and the crush and the vigour of it. But he understood it, now, and nobody blinked when he told them, Hi, I’m Jared, we moved here for my dad’s job.

In the evenings he and K139, who was called Katie, would sit up testing each other on films and bands and TV shows. Top Beatles hits, Katie would say, go, and in her room they’d dance to Hey Jude, laughing. But there were undercurrents, too, far darker than Jared’s surface world, things he learnt that sickened and disquieted him. The ugly parts are your fuel, the teacher had said. Take what the humans have already done, and use it against them. It’s for the Cause. These were the words that left a bitter taste in Jared’s mouth, but he stepped blindly along, obedient. Each week he would load his console – stowed beneath his bed – and read the instructions sent from his planet. He never quite understood what he was doing when he followed the links to shadowy internet corners, or keyed in names and numbers. You won’t see the fullness of the Cause until it’s over, they had said. Jared hoped he could believe them.
           
~***~

Each month more arrived on the discreet spaceships, landing in unwatched areas of desert or woodland. On the street Jared would see them, the cuckoo soldiers, and it would have been easy to catch their eye, exchange some signal or secret gesture, but he didn’t. They were all so good at blending in, now. Sometimes Jared scrutinised his face in the mirror, but only then did he notice that it was not quite human: cheekbones flatter and sharper than beneath human skin, teeth more pointed. There were, of course, his red eyes, when he let them out from behind brown contact lenses. But nobody else would notice, if they didn’t know.

It took years to build the momentum.

Jared and Katie lived their human lives in a cycle of half-forgotten days and lost nights. More cuckoos were bred all the time, arriving in cities around the world. The Cause rolled on, and they logged each week the happenings of the globe. Jared lived in a state of detachment, somehow; his real life was a shadowy thing, one image superimposed onto another, without a clear direction. The old planet sent him messages, for the Cause, and he carried out their instructions in a half-brainless trance. The figures and faceless names meant nothing to him. Perhaps it was the air on Earth, subtly different to his old home, altering his lungs and his brain. Whatever. He performed his tasks with no conviction that this was reality.

He and Katie drifted. Once she had been his best friend, a very real person in a synthetic world of steel corridors and black uniforms. But now the balance of truth had shifted, and Jared’s feelings had floated from him, vanishing into shadows. Sometimes a bright spot of reality would shake this trance: a red leaf falling to the pavement, a sunset, a snatch of Beatles music carried from a shop door. But it was all fleeting. He felt next to nothing.

The numbers of cuckoo soldiers were swelling, but Jared still felt like a stranger. You are monsters, they’d said, yet he had no bloodlust and no ambition, only a vague drifting detachment, a conviction that had fled years ago. Jared suspected he did not believe in the Cause, but the truth was he didn’t know what the Cause really meant.

Meanwhile the Earth rolled on, ripe for the picking, and with half-hearted disgust Jared watched the news each night. Murders filled the screen, killings grotesque in their creativity, and like a scientist observing bacteria he watched corruption spreading its black veins from city to city. Principles vanished, if they’d ever existed. The idea of morality was filtering away, and with it every structure crumbled and truth caved in on itself. One day, in a rare moment of clarity, Jared threw his console into the Thames; the messages on its screen meant nothing now. Then he slipped back into monochrome, an utterly passive cog in a vast machine. Death was hand in hand with birth, as wars destroyed the planet. Refugees fled from land to land, through the flames of their mother country, only to find locked borders. Publics of other nations turned them away, not realising that they condemned themselves to the same eventual fate. The earth had no water to drink, and fire raced across it, in metaphor and fact. The cuckoo soldiers were rising, but they were not needed to bring humanity to its knees. By itself, it was doing very well. Eventually, the cuckoos forgot to pretend to be human, because there was no longer any point, or any difference.

~***~

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Language and Fantasy // Welcome to Ink, Inc.

Language is really very interesting.

This is hardly a shock statement from the girl who just spent two hours writing her novel and reads like there's no tomorrow. I love language: every facet of it, the fluid meanings of any given word, the way in which black and white text can conjure up a picture as vividly as if it were there in front of you. I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that it's stunningly powerful. 

Plot, character, setting, theme aside; language can utterly shape the tone of a book. Think of The Lord of the Rings: every word rings with ancient kings and elvish halls, fellowship and golden trees and mighty quests. Or take The Raven Boys: that beautiful balance between liquid prose and sharp, contemporary humour.

Recently, I've been thinking specifically about language in fantasy. 

Let's talk about A Song of Ice and Fire.




A Song of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin's epic series, is high fantasy at its absolute highest. He draws richly on age-old fantasy tropes: a wintry kingdom where the throne is steeped in blood, full of quests and dragons and beautiful queens, redolent with images of the Wars of the Roses, or Ancient Rome. I don't watch Game of Thrones (the TV series) but I understand that the characters have English accents; Martin is cultivating an idea of monarchist medieval Britain, a culture which he's appropriated because America has no such history. He uses archaic terms to underline his point: parley", mayhaps", leal", thee". This is, doubtless, the tone he's going for; old England, a time that is lost.

As such, I always want to get my red pen out and scream across the page when an Americanism creeps in.

Gotten", to give one of quite a few examples, happens annoyingly often. I'm sure this is not intentional on Martin's part, but as an American writer with (presumably) an American editor, there are things that are going to slip through the net of his normally very well-crafted medieval-England" tone. These are things I've no doubt he'd change if he could. (They do not, of course, stop ASOIAF from being like my favourite thing ever. But still.)

On the other hand, there's Throne of Glass.


I read Throne of Glass in April, and Crown of Midnight in September. This series, by Sarah J Maas, is probably the biggest YA high fantasy series out there at the moment. It presents a high fantasy world falling, broadly, into classic tropes: a huge continent, a scary king, magic and intrigue and lots of weapons. In one way, Maas, too, is adopting the “medieval England" tone; one example, in particular, is her constant use of the word “behold", as in, “Celaena beheld herself in the mirror." This is a “high fantasy" tone if ever I saw one.

There are also blatantly modern terms and Americanisms.

“Celaena tried to keep her tone sassy."

Chaol shrugged. 'Some people go a little stir-crazy being cooped up inside all winter.'"

My first reaction was to cluck like a disgruntled chicken. “Americanisms!" I tut. “How irritating! Totally detracts from the high fantasy feeling!"

I've been thinking, though, and that is the question: does it?

At first, reading Throne of Glass, I assumed that Maas, like Martin, was using accidental modern terms. But by the time we got to Crown of Midnight and Chaol's use of the term “stir-crazy", I started to think that it might not be accidental at all.

It's an interesting question: with what accent does Maas imagine her characters speak? Is she subscribing to that same old high-fantasy-England cliche? Or is she consciously creating an American fantasy world, as has very seldom been done before? Celaena has got a lot more of the all-American heroine about her, in my opinion, than some medieval English maid. Perhaps Maas is leading the charge of modernisms in high fantasy: an interesting fusion of tropes and diverted expectations.

I'd love to hear your opinion on this topic! Is Chaol's stir-craziness a mistake, or is Maas pioneering a new movement? Do you also get annoyed by the Americanisms in ASOIAF? Let us chat.

Oh, and also, have you noticed that I've renamed and redesigned my blog??

Basically, I'd been thinking for a while that the name Emily Etc., though once lovely and perfect (to me), had become outdated. I'd moved on. I liked it once, but I no longer felt it matched the tone of my blog. I wanted something to reflect, more fully, the fact that I'm a book and writing blogger.

Thus, Ink, Inc. was born.

I've not changed my url (and I'm not going to, ever again, because it's too much work), but I do have a new blog button, so if you're wonderful enough to display it somewhere on your site, a little upgrade to the new button (on my lefthand sidebar) would be much appreciated. 

I hope you like the new name/look! I'm having a bit of a font nightmare, in that some of my old posts just will not switch from purple Georgia, but I think we're just going to have to live with that. 

Aside from this exciting redesign, I have one piece of news, which is that my good friend Joanna has finally converted to my bloggy pressuring and made her own blog! It's called Starlight on the Western Seas, and you should 100% take a look because she is 100% fab.

Have a lovely evening!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Author in a Bucket

I LIIIIVE!!!*

*Points for getting this reference. It's an easy reference, but still, I'm benevolent, so points.


Anyway, I've currently got multiple things to be happy about.

I sat my ELAT!

Wow, well done!" you exclaim. What's an ELAT?!" 

Basically, if you applying to Oxford (which I am), you have to sit a test beforehand. ELAT = English Literature Admissions Test. I am so so glad it's over.

I finished Hamlet!

It was fab. I mean, really.

I saw Rebecca!

At the theatre, in Glasgow. It was a great play. I'm always wary of any and all adaptations of my favourite books, but it was A++.

I'm off school today!

Because I'm super ill ... not. (But sshh, don't tell them.) I'm having a Rest Day. After ELAT, theatre, fireworks last night (happy Guy Fawkes Night, everybody), I was absolutely drained. I slept for eleven hours last night. Today, I have tidied. It has been glorious. 

I'm going away for the weekend!

Huzzah!

MY BOOK HAS A TITLE!

To tell you all the very honest truth, it's had this title since the summer. But I've been avoiding telling it to anyone or writing it down, because I didn't want to commit. I wanted to be sure.

Now I am sure.

The City and the Trees.


Now that we are all dancing the dance of life, I reach the point of this post. (Ha, you all thought it didn't have one. But it does.)

Ashley @ [insert title here] has tagged me for the Authorly Bucket List!
(Now, perhaps, you understand my weird title. The idea of a bucket list" has always amused me. Like, what a weird expression.)

The tag goes thus: list 3-7 things you're bad at as a writer, and 3-7 you'd like to try.

The Bad

1. I'm going to be super eloquent!"

So, you know that I am obsessed with F Scott Fitzgerald and aspire to be him. Likewise Maggie Stiefvater and Donna Tartt. These are not plain" writers; they are poetic. They are a lyrical. I am a poet. I like metaphors. I like interesting word choice.

Unfortunately, I am good at taking this too far.The green fire of a faraway ocean blazed in her stricken eyes, full of blackened hopes and blighted dreams, ripped away by lying hands to be drowned in the cruel crust of the arid earth ..." <-- THIS IS THE KIND OF SENTENCE I WRITE. Note how every noun has an adjective. I mean, I'm exaggerating ... but only slightly!

Also, pay attention to how the metaphors don't really make sense. The green fire of a faraway ocean?" That doesn't mean anything.

2. Characters?

In my last post, I talked about the new book I'm accidentally planning. Unfortunately, I've realised that I have, like, four basic character skeletons. So Teresa and Felicity (go back one post to read about them) are basically Corrie and Aurelle. 

I have another idea that I'm planning, with FMCs Aithne and Leo. Aithne is Corrie, Leo is Mel. So in terms of FMCs, we have:

#1 The introverted soulful one. Corrie, Teresa, Aithne.

#2 The bubbly excitable one. Mel, Leo.

#3 The shallow pretty one. Aurelle, Felicity. 

And that's only the girls! Oops ...

3. Apparently, dialogue!

I never felt like I had a particular problem with dialogue, but every story of ever I hand in to my English teacher says things like tidy up the dialogue. Work on the dialogue". I just don't know how.

4. Worldbuilding

I've got better! I promise! But when I started The City and the Trees (and can I just say it's so beautiful to type that rather than untitled WIP" ... gah!), I did like, zero worldbuilding. Maps? Nah. Currency? Don't bother. Religion? Just ignore it until you've been writing the thing for eighteen months!
I'm sure this is why the book took such a stupidly long time. I've learnt my lesson, though. Next time I do fantasy, I'm doing the worldbuilding beforehand. 

(It is really good fun redrafting TCATT (gaahhh it has a name!) and adding all this stuff in from the beginning. I'm enjoying it immensely.)

My Wishes

1. The Ruskins!

That is the family from the aforementioned Teresa-and-Felicity-book, and I am so so so excited to write their book.

2. Aithne, Leo and Kit!

And Kit. The third member of the trio. This is my fantasy idea, as I mentioned above. Basically, a princess (Leonora, known as Leo) goes missing/is kidnapped/something, and the king puts a reward (and her hand in marriage, I think) on getting her back safely. Extremely poor orphan Aithne is seventeen and taking care of her five younger siblings. She has an older brother, Hector. She decides to dress up as a boy and go looking for Leonora. She teams up with Kit (who I think has mild Aspergers), also looking for the princess, and they go questing together.

That's all I know, except that it's a cool steampunk world loosely based on 1920s Britain. (Basically, a fantasy Great Gatsby ... didn't I say I was obsessed with Fitzgerald?) I always think it's weird that fantasy worlds have no mod-cons or even electricity etc. In Aithne's world, electricity is just filtering down to the poorest in society. Telegrams have just been invented. 

Also, there are two moons.

3. A book about art.

Recently I posted a review of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It is a book centring around The Goldfinch by Fabritius (a painting), and I think that's the coolest thing of ever. I really want a book about art and paintings.

4. A book about literature.

I'm pretty certain this is the Ruskin book. Mr Ruskin (as yet unnamed) is an academic. His mother (Daphne, the matriarchal grandmother) was a Shakespearean actress. Teresa is studying English. Felicity loves the Romantic poets. Basically, I'm going to quote Hamlet and Coleridge a lot.

(That's my problem with fantasy. You can talk about books and art (and I do, I've built a lot of culture for Ivaria), but it's not the same as when the books/art are actually real, and your readers have read/seen them. Personally I love reading about characters' favourite books. Sometimes they are my favourite books, too. It's all very exciting.)

5. Metafiction

According to Wikipedia, metafiction is a literary device used to self-consciously and systematically draw attention to a work's status as an artifact." This means fiction that's aware it's fiction. For example, there's a play by Luigi Pirandello called Six Characters in Search of an Author, wherein the characters know they are characters. Or, in the novel Lanark by Alasdair Gray, there's a whole section where the MC turns round and starts speaking to the author

I do a tiny bit of this in The City and the Trees

These joys of my new life run side by side with the mundane and the lonely, so that sadness and bliss intertwine and leave me with no notion of how to feel. Perhaps I am a character in a play, with a thousand lines to share but no fellow-players, and no audience.

The irony being that Corrie is a character. She is also a writer -- snippets from her WIP novel are distributed throughout the narrative -- and sometimes she complains about how her characters won't do what she tells them ... which is also ironic, because she is my character and frequently doesn't do what I tell her. This is sort of an in-joke between me and the reader -- look at Corrie, not realising that she is actually a character in someone else's book" -- but I suppose it is also an in-joke between the reader and Corrie -- look at Emily, she can't control me!"

Which leads me to the question: what if I am a character in someone else's book?

These are the things I think about before I go to sleep, guys.

So, I've got no clue how my metafictional novel will manifest itself, but whatever, I want it to happen.

6. More diversity!

You have heard many times (and no doubt will hear many more times) how I started The City and the Trees: I signed up for NaNo with eleven days to go, and it was pantsing from then forward. I like pantsing -- I am a pantser at heart -- but it did mean I just jumped in without considering things like diversity.

My four MCs are all white and none of them have any disabilites/illnesses. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I really can't be bothered with books that put in diversity just for the sake of it, and for me, my MCs are realistic; Ivarian culture is based on 17th/18th century Britain/France, so pretty much everybody is white, and as for illness etc, that's just not something any of my MCs are dealing with. And that's OK! I wouldn't change it! But I do think there should be, for example, more mental illness in fantasy.

I suppose the diversity in TCATT comes from class struggle -- the MCs range from working to middle class -- and the conflicts between urban and rural life (like, the city and the trees, geddit?), as well as questions about democracy, the monarchy, and gender equality. But I would like to go for more racial diversity in future books, and have a think about mental illness in fantasy.

~***~

I'm not going to tag anyone, because I'm lazy because Ashley already tagged my writerly pals when she tagged me, but if you are a writer, please tell me one thing you suck at (we're here to help each other, right?) and one thing you want to try!

Have a lovely weekend.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Starting Sparks: November

Hello and happy November!

Did any of you do anything fun for Halloween? I'm writing this on Thursday (the 29th) so right now all I can tell you is that I am dressing up as Egon Schiele. 

As it's the first of the month, it is time for ...

... drumroll ...


I have to say, the response last month wasn't overwhelming, but we're giving it time!

If you've not heard about this yet: every month, Ashley and I post a prompt, and you write absolutely whatever you want in response. It could be a short story, or it could be a poem or a scene using characters you already have, or a fragment from something. Last month, I wrote a fragment from a thought-child novel of mine. Do whatever you like! The whole point is to inspire you, and to help each other by reading each other's work.

The November prompt is:

Inline image 1
Personally, I'm pretty excited about this one.

I hope you have a lovely November -- are you doing NaNo?! Tell me all about it! -- and we'd love love love to see you linking up!


Emily x