Research for a WIP

For the first time in my writing, I am doing serious research for a work in progress. I’m writing a short story for a project for my writing group, and I am writing a historical fiction.

Up to now, I have either written fantasy or contemporary. As fantasy is my preferred genre to read, that is what I like to write. Air Fay is set in a fantasy world – so all my rules.

My other WIP is an urban fantasy – so it’s set in modern times with magic, again my rules. And my other two WIP ideas are contemporary, although when I get around to one of these it will need research.

For Air Fay, the only real research that I did was in developing the names. I spent a lot of time – and a big spreadsheet later – coming up with names that are significant to the book.

Back to my short story WIP, I am currently reading a book that was written in the 1970s about the 1800s.

And more fun, I have been exploring the place where my story is set and linking the historical account to the modern buildings.

I’m torn between doing the research to be accurate, and just writing the story and only mentioning the surroundings briefly.

Setting vs plot.

The Ashamed Fern

“Almond milk, please?” she gives her coffee order. 
“Name?” the young barista askes without glancing up. “Freya. F-R-E-Y-A.” 
The barista scrawls a few letters as Freya thinks, that won’t be my name. The barista confirms the price, and Freya waves her phone over the machine.
Freya waits by the collection point. When the cup appears in front of her, she looks at her name with a sigh: F-E-R-N. Well, at least they got the ‘F’ right. 

She walks quickly, balancing her coffee, bag, and umbrella. She pauses in the doorway of her office building’s lobby, perches her coffee on the side while she closes her umbrella. Fishing out her pass, she picks up her coffee and hurries in. She catches a lift as the doors were closing.

“Hey!” said the man in the lift as she steps in. “Fern.”
Freya looked down at the cup in her hand and scowls. 
He laughs. “Happens to us all.”
“Yeah? How do they mess up Sean?”
“One said ‘shame’ once. I dwelled on it for the whole day. I swear I lost a deal because of it.”
Freya smiles. She glances at the floor numbers counting by. 
7
“How’s your deal going?” Sean asks.
“Good, I think. Should hear today.”
10
“Ah, that’s great.”
11
“Hey, do you-,” Sean starts.
PING
“Never mind. Good luck!”
“Thanks! See you.”
They walk off in different directions. 

After the meeting, Freya walks her clients to the lift. 
“Great job, Ms Ward. I look forward to our partnership.”
“Thank you, Mr Lewis. Take care!”

She goes back to her desk and finds a folded note. 

Well done, Fern! 
Dinner tonight? 
From your unashamed admirer

She looks over at his desk — empty. She quickly grabs a piece of paper. 

Dinner — yes!
But first, let’s grab a coffee and get you a better nickname. 
Yours,
Fern

COVID-19 100 words

Daily Reality
By Rosa Carr

Our new reality is the never-ending loop of reliving the same day, but we, as the protagonists, can’t escape. Our mission is survival. Keeping the panic at bay while watching the numbers tick upwards. Separated from things that bring us joy. Trapped inside with people we wouldn’t want to spend 24/7 with. Some are finding new passions. Relationships are tested, but new ways of communication and social interactions are developing. 
There is only silver lining to this nightmare: nature is healing and thriving as humankind diminishes. 
Once we survive this horror, will we change? Will we change the world? Ourselves?

As written for my writing group: original post.

Bird Watching

There’s something mesmerising about watching a bird flying. Imagine the freedom of soaring high above the world. Catching the currents of air and gliding.

Up and over, hard left. There! In the forest, there’s food. Easy pickings.

Wings in. Dive. Swerve. Dive. Level off. Feet out. Land. Red chest puffs out.

There are others here. Left, the chaffinch has claimed the stump.

Right, the coal tit is guarding the suet ball.

Clatter. Up. The squirrel munches on nuts from the human container.

Click. Humans.

Through the lens of a camera, humans view these birds from a hide. They’re not hidden from the birds, but they are far enough away that the birds don’t get disturbed.

Images © Carolina De Vivo

The Holiday Season

Shoes crunch over the white layer on the ground. Shielding eyes as the gust of wind lashes. It will ruin the holiday spirit if we don’t get there in time. Fighting the other families to get there, and grab it. 

“Over here! There’s space here!” comes the cry. 

Looking over, seeing the spot. The perfect spot. Rushing over, dodging people. Drop the bags to claim the spot.

“Get the towels out. I’ll get the umbrella up.”

With well practiced speed, the set up is complete. Everyone sits and enjoys their Christmas picnic on the beach.

“No better way to spend Christmas Day!”

Writing Prompt

Castle Wanderings

From Writers Write Facebook page

Link
https://bit.ly/2lyTcv5?fbclid=IwAR2HrsCKmp_4yifWVrIBZozT2uwA014zhmSV3u5SGD1a7vPhri4joN2rdB8

I look out of the Tower window. A new day dawns. It’s early, the birds have only just woken up and the sun is only just peaking over the horizon. It’s quiet. Peaceful. All I ever wanted for my afterlife.

Alas, that is not what I get.

I take advantage of this time before… Before all hell breaks loose.

That’s what it feels like, every single day.

I don’t understand it.

In my day, a castle was private unless otherwise arranged. Unless the monarch requested someone’s presence, they wouldn’t step foot anywhere near the perimeter.

Now they come in their droves. And queue. And talk. And point.

I drift down to the castle wall and peer over the rampart at the commoners standing far too close.

I drift along the halls and view them as they view their surroundings.

They poke and prod at all the belongings of royalty. They gawk at the priceless artefacts. All which have a value that exceed their wildest dreams. Them in their cheap clothing, and absurd headwear. Holding flat boxes, and oddly shaped boxes around their necks.

I wish I could poke them back. If I could, I would grab a musket off the wall and force them out. I’d brandish the swords and bar entrance. I’d throw the knives near the appendages and scare them off.

It’s unrelenting. They don’t stop coming. Even if the rain is hammering down, or ice covers the paths.

To think that this is what my ancient and noble house has been reduced to: a circus attraction for the common masses.

Windsor Castle

Passion

Another 100 words for the writing group

Full of dreams of a bright future. Finish school, get a degree, then enter your dream job. Not so fast, you need another degree. But how to pay for more education? Ignore all the jobs you’re still not qualified for, keep looking for anything. Oh there’s a job, the pay is ok and it kind of has some of your interests. Working and saving with the next degree in mind. By the time you’ve completed that next degree, you find out you still need more. By now the job that’s supporting your dreams has destroyed all passion for anything.

Ray

This was a writing group exercise on the prompt “ray”

“Dawn is not long off,” he says, urging me on. Yawns stifle my grumpy response.

“I promise you won’t regret it.” He’s dragging me out the door.

It’s far too early to be this happy, I think, too tired to actually vocalise.

I’m trying to shoot a death stare at him as I’m half lifted into the car. It probably looks more like I’m going back to sleep rather than the death rays I’m hoping for.

He hops in the car and speeds off. Screeching to a halt across the lake in time to see the sun’s rays break the horizon.

Officially published

I am officially a published author, albeit in a book of short stories my writers’ group put together. Still it’s something. I have added two stories to the collection. Both are up here but I’ve changed them since then. Both are set in Windsor, one is about journalists finding a scoop, and the other is set at Halloween.

More details on the book can be found here: http://windsorwriters.co.uk

front-cover

Buy Now

Halloween 2.0

This is a bit after the fact, but it was a task for my writing group. This can also be seen on the group website.

Lost in thought, Ella walked down the road, making her way home. As she passed a house she noticed a black cat sitting in the front garden by the gate. She smiled at it, think how she should get round to getting herself a cat.

About 5 houses away from her own the sky suddenly grew dark. Ella shrugged and pulled out her umbrella with her free hand; this was London after all, you can never be without one. She held it ready but the rain didn’t come.

Ella looked up ahead and saw another black cat sitting by the front gate. She stopped and looked back but couldn’t see the other cat.

Frowning she carried on walking slowly. She got nearer the house with the cat, determined to see if it was the same cat.

Her phone buzzed in her hand and she looked down at it briefly before continuing on. When she looked back up, the cat was gone. Ella stopped again. She looked at the house and to either side, looking in the hedges. Nothing.

As she reached the corner of her property, she saw a shimmer near the gate. Ella caught a glimpse of a man making his way up the path. She sped up to try see who it was, but as she pushed open the gate, there was no one there. Frowning, Ella looked around at her neighbours’ houses, but there was nothing.

She opened her front door and walked through the house balancing the bag of groceries she had. There was a chill in the air. The thermostat must be too low.

Ella balanced her burdens as she adjusted the temperature. Looking out of the corner of her eye, she saw the shape of a person. Turning towards the kitchen there was still nothing. The light kept playing tricks on her mind. She heaved her bags on to the counter and started getting the bowls to put the sweets in for the children.

Standing in the kitchen, a chill descended again. The atmosphere, however, didn’t match the chill. It felt warm and secure. Huh! Ella couldn’t understand it.

Focusing on other matters, she carried on setting out the sweets for the trick-or-treaters. She quite enjoyed this time of year. The change of the season, the costumes, and the pageantry all added up to such a picturesque scene.

The evening passed in the usual fun and games that she took pleasure in every year.

As the streams of children died down, Ella collapsed into her armchair, satisfied. Looking around at her lounge, she considered her house. It was a total surprise when she found it. She had been looking at houses in a completely different area, but somehow she had found her way here. A nagging feeling had followed her around all day until she came to this street. It felt like something had guided her along. The beauty of the houses and the surrounding forest had captured her entirely.

Ella had strolled the street and felt guided along until she came across a house for sale. A board was on a post attached to the gate advertising the real estate agency. She phoned up to enquire and within in months she was the proud owner.

That was six months ago.

Smiling, Ella got up to go to bed but was distracted by the flickering of the lights. She whirled around to look at the lamp but just as suddenly the lights were normal. Slowly, she made her way to the stairs.

With one foot on the first step, Ella heard a whisper.

She looked up into the shimmering, transparent eyes of a man. He had curly hair and was smiling tenderly.

“It’s good to see you and be seen finally. I wish we had actually met as we were meant to.” A whoosh carried across the hallway. Ella gasped at the meaning of his words.

“Goodnight my love. Sleep tight.”

The light dimmed again and two black cats appeared at the man’s feet. See you next year, he echoed.

He gave her one last look and then he and the cats shimmered out of existence. The clock struck midnight. The heat of the house engulfed Ella and she almost couldn’t breathe.

She suddenly felt empty and lost. As if half of her soul had vanished.