Do You Write Commentaries On Your Own Work?


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I believe it’s important to reflect back on what you write, to self-criticise. To examine and share the ideas you perhaps had behind a piece of work. It helps to understand if your intentions come across in the writing and if what you wanted to convey reached the reader.

 

I first began writing commentaries on my work at university, mostly because it was part of the creative writing course requirements. Write and reflect. Read and reflect. I found it an invaluable tool, and it forced me to think harder about what I was doing when I wrote.

This is why I keep writing critiques and commentaries of my writing to this day.

This practice also fueled my decision to write both fiction and critique it on my other blog, Fairy Tale Fantastica. I’m by no means a fairy tale expert, so it’s useful to look back at my fairy tale re-inventions and assess what I’m doing when I try to write these short stories, many of which are fairy tale critiques within themselves.

Commenting on my work also helps me see patterns and recurring themes and motifs (or dare I say, ‘habits’) in my writing. For instance, I tend to like subtle endings that drop off quickly. And (obviously) I enjoy blurring the lines between different fairy tale narratives.

To get more of an idea of what I mean, you can check out my commentary piece on The Boy and the Crone (a poem that changes up the Hansel & Gretal tale) or my brief comments on The Boy & the Reflection or The Sweet House.

 *Image courtesy of b5fman at openclipart.org

 

Now Live on Fairy Tale Fantastica: The Sweet House


In the midst of a deep forest, a witch built a house made of bread and cake and sugar.

She knew that children loved sweet things and couldn’t wait for a young girl or boy (or both) to happen upon her sweet home. She lined the windows with candy, covered the steps with gingerbread and even grew flowers that were made of chocolate.

When the house was built, she readied her fire and boiled her water and the next morning, as expected, she woke to see a young girl traipsing through the woods … more

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The Bridge


You crossed the bridge, into dark.

They say it is light there, but I know it’s not. The bridge dangles in two parts, like a snipped string. Today, I’m buying a hammer and nails and rope to make the repairs and bring you back again.

Will you speak to me from the other side of the bridge? Will I hear your voice or will you hear mine?

At its edge, between the hammering of nails, I shout into the void but you are not there. The darkness gushes below and above. It steals away my words and throws them back at me, filling my unending silence.

I loop the rope around rope, around wood and wood, and piece by piece pull up the bridge.

When night falls, I sleep on the planks I have repaired so far and dream of your face in the light.

I wake in the dark and drink the wind and hammer more nails in, tap-tap-tap. I listen for your call, thundering towards me across the void, but I hear nothing.

When the I am halfway done, it begins to rain. The bridge sways and bucks lightly, swinging and groaning. The planks I have repaired stretch out across the chasm, waiting to join hands with you.

The next day, I’m trying to untangle a portion of rope that has become lost around a plank and I drop the hammer. It tumbles and twists away, sinking into the darkness below. I wait, listening for the sound of landing, but there is only stillness.

I sit down and cry. I pound the planks and try to keep going, but without the hammer, it is useless. I look for a rock, but I can’t pry any from the ground. I go back to where I got the first one from, but there are no more.

All I can do now is go down, into the deep chasm, to find it, but I’m afraid that I will never return.

 

Stories Told By the Dead


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Is fiction the one place where the dead can live on?

They live on in our hearts, yes. But in stories they can tell their story; they can speak, be given a voice. Characters can die and come back to life or they can be dead from the beginning. These are not ghost stories, but narratives that live beyond life itself.

One of the key stories that comes to mind when I think about this is, of course, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. I half-enjoyed, half-disliked this story, but everyone knows it is told by Susie Salmon, a young teenage girl who dies at the beginning but continues to narrate the entire story in first person. There’s also If I Stay by Gayle Forman, which I haven’t yet read, and also Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

All of these are young adult novels, with a young female protagonist or character as the dead being, so perhaps that says something about this ghostly narration and the YA trend.

I’m also reminded of another one of my favourites, Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, in which the governess is questionably crazy, but to me seems to be unknowingly a ghost herself. Various films spring to mind, too – such as (*spoiler alert*) The Sixth Sense, The Others and American Beauty, all of which are brilliantly told.

Has anyone out there ever read a novel where the main character is dead or in limbo? And if so, what did you think? Is this story technique cliched or does it have worth?

*Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

 

1960s Summer Holiday


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1960s summer holiday. Marriage failing. But a captivating thing next door. Knocking, waiting. ‘Hello, I’m …’ World-moving smile, a face with stories. ‘Hello.’ A hesitation. ‘Would you like to come in?’ Threshold crossed; soft words and lingering gazes. Later, a kiss. Later, even more. In the mirror, they watch each other, and discover their place in the no-gender world.

(Start with a #sixwordstory; then expand into a #sixtywordstory)

 

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last Darkness Reaches Chapter 10


“The tunnels shudder. From somewhere outside and above, I hear a roar as the ground explodes. Behind us, the vortex blasts through the passageways, sucking them up, sending rock and sand hurling.”

My online sci-fi novel is now up to Chapter 10 … Yay! Am enjoying the writing ride. You can support me and read the story by clicking on the image:

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Or visiting: https://lastdarkness.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/prologue-i-earth/

Thank you and happy reading 🙂