Bluebirds.

It’s no secret that I’m curious about birds. There have been many posts about them, from picture books I’ve bought, observations I’ve noted and short stories I’ve drafted.

I have a current, more specific obsession with the Bluebird and I’ve recently started doodling ( this is because I’ve cancelled my cable TV, which is a story for another time).  The doodles are a bit scattered in style, just like my thoughts are at the moment.

Bertie Bluebird belongs to the mashup of Mariana and the Lady of Shalott.

Bertie Bluebird- the drawing that started it all off!
Bertie Bluebird- the drawing that started it all off!

 

Sketching the Blue Bird #1
Sketching the Bluebird #1

 

Sketching the Blue Bird #2
Sketching the Bluebird #2

 

The Boss (unfinished)
The Boss (unfinished)

The Boss (above) and Larry are both based upon the story I wrote about the Wolf, but there are also some similarities to my ideas about Frank. Frank, however is a seagull. So I still have a way to go with my ideas but, they are beginning to form and hopefully there will be a story or two in the end.

Larry the lackey
Larry ‘the lackey’ Bluebird
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Gendered Sentences- Do I Sound Like a Man?

Image from Disney/Pixar
Image from Disney/Pixar

I recently started writing a short story with a split narrative. I decided that I’d differentiate the characters voice by their sentence structures, this seems to be working. I’m still typing away and working on the story, but after reworking what I had already , I think the concept of gender by sentences is working.  But, I’m a girl, so how do I know if my male characters stream of consciousness is authentic?

Here is a small section of the story so far, please read it and if you have any suggestions please let know. Feedback is welcome.

Extract:

You didn’t see me when I walked in to the bar. You had your back to me, your hair falling down it. That’s what I remember, your hair.  I walked in with Blake; we wanted a few quiet drinks to celebrate making it through another week.  I couldn’t take my eyes off you.

****

You told me that you noticed me the minute you walked in; apparently it was my hair that caught your eye. I didn’t notice you until you walked past me because I had my back to the bar and I couldn’t see everyone coming in. That was unusual for me, I usually liked to people watch and play, ‘guess the nationality’; as soon as I saw you I had you picked as American. It was the plaid. Fiona and I had an in-depth discussion about the word plaid, we even googled it and then got caught up in yet another discussion about cultural differences and stereotypes.

****

The bar area was crowded; Blake suggested that we move away. I had spied a table right across from you and your friend. It was the only free space left so it wasn’t difficult to get Blake to follow me. I tried to act all cool, I even walked past you to try to catch your eye. Blake thought I was seeing if there were any free spaces further on. There weren’t.

****

Fiona needed to go to the bathroom so I stayed to guard the table, I usually hate it when I’m left but this time I wasn’t too fussed because I had my back to the main area of the bar. I hate feeling like I’m some kind of target; the minute I’m left alone I seem to become a magnet for the ultra slick and greased up.  Fiona leaving, gave me the chance to check you out. You seemed so sure of yourself.  When you caught me looking at you I didn’t know what to do, but it didn’t matter because you smiled. “Hey, looks like we’ve both been abandoned by our friends” you said as you moved over to my table, “May I keep you company?”

 

 

 

Gender by Sentences

I recently started writing a split narrative, something I’ve only ever done once before. It’s challenging, but I’m enjoying writing from two perspectives. The thing I’m finding the most difficult is making sure that the voices sound different, I’m writing from a female and male perspective. I want to try to avoid any clichés, I’m trying to make this piece as honest and real as I can.

I gave my (incomplete) draft to a friend to read because I wasn’t sure I was separating the voices enough- it needs to sound like my characters, not me. Once she’d read it, she started asking me lots of questions- what’s going to happen? how will the female voice react? what happens to the friend? how will the male voice respond? I couldn’t answer any of her questions- I don’t know, all I do know is that boy meets girl….where it goes from there, I guess I’ll find out.

Once we had established that I didn’t know where this story would end we spoke about the differences between men and women and how to convey it through prose. We decided it would come down to sentence structure. He would talk in short, direct sentences. She would talk in complex sentences weaving a couple of threads together. I’m currently revising my (incomplete) draft to include these ideas, and I like it so far.

I realise that you actually can’t confine a gender to a sentence type, there is a tapestry of differences, but when it comes to prose…gender by sentences may by the way to go.

Bouquet of Pencils
A bouquet for any gender ?

Creative Buddies (Part2?)

I am a grownup, well I’m supposed to be a grownup.

I have blogged before about my creative buddies, but for some reason I can’t find the post- there is a possibility that I dreamt it, it’s happened before. So, I believe that I may or may not have blogged about them before. Who knows? Apparently I don’t!

Word munchers

Anyway, here are the Word Munchers. They sit on the ledge of my whiteboard waiting for me to brainstorm my ideas. What do they do once I have my ideas up there? They try to eat them…It’s a bit like that classic line- Miss, my dog ate my homework! Only this time, it’s a case of- I could have sworn I finished that story…why would I leave that sentence incomplete? (maybe they ate the post I am claiming to have written…)

You have to be careful of the Word Munchers, whilst they’re usually perfectly harmless, if you don’t feed them at least twice a day they get hungry. When they get hungry, they get grumpy; when they get grumpy they steal words.  This is where the Whimple-scrumptious words come in, if I make up new words they can have them instead- it makes them confused.

It’s Adventure Time!

Just recently a friend of mine told me about “Adventure Time”, a show on Cartoon Network.  I will admit that whilst curious, I was also a little dubious, what grown man would recommend a show on a kids channel? As I type that, I realise just how hypocritical it sounds seeing as my world revolves around my “friends” who tend to live in my imagination…who am I to judge?

Adventure Time adventure time with finn and jake 33906309 1024 768

Being naturally curious, I eagerly waited to watch my first ever episode, “Slumber Party Panic“.  It very quickly became clear that this was not really a cartoon designed for children, but for adults ( or at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I now have all upcoming episodes set to record) I loved it, just as my friend knew I would. It’s slightly quirky and a little bit funny- just the way I like it!

After watching my first episode I went straight to Google to find out more about this bizarre show. It’s about a human boy, Finn and his dog, Jake. The very fact that they live in the Land of Ooo, makes it perfect! There are so many fantastic characters, Princess Bubblegum, Lady Rainicorn, Flame Princess to name a few. So far, I think my favourite character is Jake the dog, this is based on my research of the show and looking at the popular quotes, however I’m still new to this show and could possibly change my mind once I’ve met all the characters.

Adventure Time
Adventure Time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love off beat things and this has certainly got my attention, and is working its magic on me….I’m already thinking about two new little characters that are just waiting for their story to be told. There is at least one photo of these characters on my blog, they have always just been figures, I have never thought of them as characters until now. But, suddenly, I’m looking at them differently, you have  to watch them- they’re a little bit sneaky.  I’ll be writing about them soon, they’ve started jumping off the page, so when I can catch them…

In the meantime, “watch and learn as I master….Reality” or rather, go and watch another episode of my new favourite show with my friends…

From left to right: Eugene, Me, Winnie, Amber.
From left to right: Eugene, Me, Winnie, Amber.

Or, maybe I should rejoin society…

Mildred. How on earth do you create character?

Earlier this week I went out to dinner with one of my close friends. After the usual catch-up she asked me about my blog and what was happening with my writing.  She asked, ‘ Where do your ideas come from?’  This got me thinking.

Where do my ideas come from?

I realized that a lot of them come from the interactions I have with my students. I always think of ways to be creative when I’m teaching and I’m always coming up with examples to show them. I find that I’m sometimes at my best when I’m standing at my whiteboard armed with a marker.

One short project we did a year or two ago was looking at the effect of personification and anthropomorphism. The task, quite simply was to choose an object and give it life. They had to create a character and write a short description.

I chose a hat. Her name is Mildred.

Once they had decided on their character I got the class to write a short description, here is the description I wrote as an example:

Mildred had been discarded a few years ago.  Much to her disgust, she now sat in the back of an old shop, high up on a shelf. Her once, pretty feathers and shiny ribbon were now coated in a film of dust and cobwebs.  Mildred, who used to attend Royal Ascot now looked a little tired and disheveled. She was desperate to leave the dark corners of the shop and go back out, once again into high society.  All she had to do was get herself noticed.

Having written a short description I started to think about setting and beginning to create a story. I came up with the following draft:

Along the old cobbled road, on the left hand side stood Mr. Bobbins, a shop filled with items that were once loved by their owner.  The shop was small but had a rather large window looking out on to the street.

In the shop, on the left-hand side at the very, very back in the dark corner up on the dusty top shelf lived Mildred. She had lived here for years and was desperate to leave.

She was, in her hey day a glamorous hat with the most extravagant feathers gathered in a beautiful blue ribbon.   Now though she looked old and dusty and her feathers had started to wilt.  For someone who cared so much about her appearance, this was very difficult to deal with.

Mr. Bobbin arrived as usual at the same time he always did on a Monday, wearing the same waist coat and carrying the same umbrella.  As he opened the door the sound of the bell rang out. Mildred immediately sat a little bit taller, the day was about to begin. Today felt very different to every other day, Mildred felt excited and she didn’t know why.

English: Clovelly's cobbles I've never been so...
The old cobbled road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, my question to you is, how do you create character? What inspires you?

 

The Next Project: Frank.

Frank.

Who is Frank?

Frank is the ‘Godfather’ of the pier.

He is almost at the end of his rein, feeling threatened by Tony “Big Beak” Gull. Frank trains the younger gulls to rule over the boardwalk, keeping the humans always on their guard. But, Frank is getting old, he can not keep up with the young ones anymore, whilst trying train Joey, he makes a fatal error of judgment. Frank might seem mean and powerful but he is actually kind hearted, although he doesn’t want anyone to know. This becomes obvious when he meets Rosie…

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