24hrFFC, the stories behind the stories: 05 to 08

Posted: 28 March 2013 in 24hrFFC
Tags: , , , ,

To read the prologue, what when where, setting up why this took place, etc., click here.
To read about stories 01 to 04, click here.

When you left me (Where’d you go? I hope you had a nice trip. Anyway, welcome back.) I was a little behind where I’d planned to be, but seeing as I’d stated 45 minutes late, I was fairly pleased with how much I’d caught up. No worries – we were doing well.

Four and a bit hours in, things were settling down to a kind of routine. Every so often, I could hear Mitch mumbling to himself and others, working out songs in his head. Occasionally, I’m sure I heard a laugh from him, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even aware of it. Or anyone else, really.

Mitch and I were, it has to be said, working in entirely different ways. For a start, I was writing my stories in sequence: writing one, getting it done, and moving on to the next. Mitch, on the other hand, in part due to the circumstances of recording, was writing all of his at the same time, moving from one to another, nailing the lyrics, then working on the “musically thingy bits” as I believe they’re technically known.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a white board and an orange marker pen. By now, I’d gotten into the habit of, once I’d chosen which the next story was going to be, just before I started writing it, scribbling out my choice – the challenger, not the title – and showing it to the webcam, and those viewing. Darren Saunders – our tech wizard – snapped some of these scribblings, and you’ll likely see some of them.

Like, for example…

Story 05
Title: Boy Meets Girl (Again)
word: serendipity
Challenger: Rory Bremner

It’s always interesting when I get a challenge and it’s a classic trope; boy meets girl is such a classic that, of course, it’s beyond parody, which is a pain, since that was my initial thought.

Unfortunately, this meant that if I was going to write something that wasn’t a piss take of the concept, it would have to look at the whole concept from a different angle, especially the tantalising “Again” teaser.

I was very tempted to turn it completely around; show boy anticipating meeting girl again after SO long, after SUCH a long wait… and of course it turns out they’re four years old, and he’s waited all of one whole day to see her again at kindergarden. It just didn’t sit right.

And then, I started thinking about television miniseries, how separated couples always seem to meet again just when it’s convenient for the story to move on… and wondered what if they never met under such circumstances; what if they met under a completely different, entirely coincidental scenario… and their “lives” were both changed and unchanged by the meeting?

What indeed? Find out here. (Story posted at 17:39 pm)

Take a look at when that story was posted – almost twenty-to-six in the evening; I’d caught up massively and that gave me some comfort for the next story. Ah, you know what they say about comfort. Well, what they should say anyway…

Story 06
Title: Hummingbird Harbingers In Hell
word: halcyon
Challenger: Rufus Hound

Sometimes, I approach a challenge with humility and with an open mind as to the various ways a story can go. I’ve even been known to admit on occasion to thinking that I’m incredibly fortunate that my mind allows me to come up with one more story, one more twist, one more fast fiction.

And then there’s the story I wrote for Rufus Hound which taught me again the much needed lesson that there’s no greater guarantee of crashing to earth than running full pelt off a cliff with the arrogance of having once jumped off a stair.

So, take a look at the title Rufus gave me. And the word. See anything jumping out at you? Yep – all the words (well, almost all the words) begin with H. It’s a holiday of H’s. A huge, humungous, horrifyingly…

Yeah – you can see where this is going, right? Some time ago, I wrote a fast fiction entirely in alliteration. It was incredibly satisfying to do. both to be able to tell a story in that format, and have the enormous fun I did in doing so. And for this story, I thought it would be so cool to write a story not only all in alliteration, but entirely using words beginning with the letter ‘H’.

So I confidently typed:

“Help!” he heard her holler! Hurriedly, he hefted himself…

And then I stopped. And grinned, and ignoring the little part of my head that was beginning to scream at me, I continued…

Ten minutes later, I wasn’t grinning. Or even smiling. I was furious at myself for wasting ten minutes on this when I could see the impossibility of 200 words of this… I was struggling to reach 60.

Clara came over, as did others, all of whom I assured I’d knock it on the head and try again.

But I didn’t – I tried some more.

I finally gave up another thirty-five minutes later, having added only another 40 or so words to the tale, for a total of about 100 words. I was furious with myself – I’d wasted an hour on a story I’d known wasn’t going to work after ten minutes.

I stood up, took a walk around the room, and within a minute or so of deciding it was a dead idea, another idea (which must have been knocking at my brain for half an hour or more) took the opportunity to rush in.

I sat down and wrote that story in ten minutes flat. Barely needed a rewrite, and I think it’s one of my favourite stories of the run, especially because of the language used. Although I’m sorry I couldn’t write the earlier story, I’m very, very pleased I got to write this one, and I’m delighted that Rufus enjoyed it so much; the other story would arguably have been a cleverer story. This one is a better one.

You can read it here. (Story posted at 19:15 pm)

The fuckup and stubbornness on my part had cost me; not only in the actual time involved, but I was badly shaken. I was furious with myself, and even more angry because I didn’t know whether I would be able to shake it off and write something genuinely silly, something that played with language, as I desperately wanted to write for my next challenger.

Story 07
Title: These Aren’t My Breasts!
word: tureen
Challenger: Caitlin Moran

Catlain Moran does wonderful things with words; her columns are a pleasure to read and I love how they flow so beautifully from paragraph to paragraph, point to point; she occasionally uses a bludgeon, but is far happier, I’d guess, with a rapier.

As I mentioned yesterday, with a couple of exceptions, I didn’t know what the titles of these stories were going to be. Clara and Mitch, on the other hand did, and the night before the challenge, they both told me that Caitlin Moran’s challenge was without doubt their favourite story title. They were giggling at the mere thought of me reading the title and laughing out loud at my trying to write a story based upon it.

Together with my own concern after the previous story, what happened in fact astonished me.

I laughed when I saw the title and read it out loud… but when I read it, I carried on going

“These Aren’t My Breasts!”, the young man said,
As he strode across the floor.
“They’re strange and pale and much too big
They’re not what I paid for.”

And just like that, I had the story – the whole thing, laid out in my brain, exactly what was going to happen, and even most of the rhymes. In fact, I had too much fun writing this one; took me a long time to edit this one down from the 250 words it stubbornly wanted to be.

I loved writing this story, and I’ll always be grateful to both Caitlin and the story for getting me back on track.

Go on – read the story here. (Story posted at 20:15 pm)

Story 08
Title: Goth To A Flame
word: ululate
Challenger: Lauren Laverne

Lauren Laverne’s work was introduced to me by an alumni of Twelve Days of Fast Fiction, the supremely talented artist Jamie McKelvie. I’d heard of her, of course, but it was Jamie who suggested I listen to her 6Music radio show in the morning, Jamie who told me to seek out some old Kenickie videos, Jamie who got me watching 10 O’Clock Live and Jamie who, bringing this up to date, acted as a middleman for this challenge. So, thanks Jamie, for this as for so much else.

I was absolutely determined to write a tale for Lauren that was about how music matters; I wouldn’t be daft enough to try and write about why music matters – I’m damned if I know the answer to that one.

But I definitely wanted to write this story for Lauren, a tale of what music does do, what it can do, and what it inevitably will do.

I wrote this one for Lauren – I’m delighted that so many other people appear to have enjoyed it.

Read it here. (Story posted at 20:55 pm)

OK, so now I’ve written eight stories; I’m still behind, but thankfully, Lauren’s story was written in half an hour and I was slowly getting back some of the time I’d blown earlier.

More tomorrow…

To read about stories 09 to 12, click here.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s