Jul 19th

Plotting panic

By Squidge

I've got to a point in my current WIP that needs a bit of thought about how the next bit's plotted. Many of you know I'm more of a pantser than a plotter, so this is pretty routine for me. Plotting doesn't come easily, but I usually manage to fill in a plot hole and make it work. Eventually.

Not this time.

I know exactly what happens in my story. I know which character is going to (unwittingly) betray the others. I know which character is masquerading as someone else and I know which character is going to realise that and go the rescue. 

But can I make it WORK? Can I heck as like.

I have drawn a flow chart of action, trying to sort it out. I've tried post it notes too, but the different strands refuse to link into a coherent whole, and it is, quite frankly, getting to me. I took myself off for a walk. Did the washing and the ironing. Even had a snooze this afternoon, but I simply cannot make this plotline come together.

Am I making it too difficult for myself? Do I need to simplify it? How? What will I lose from the overall story arc if I make it too easy for the MC? 

I can feel The Fear that I'm going to fail sitting on my shoulder and whispering 'what's the point in trying to write any more til you've sorted this out?' and I want to tell it to BOG OFF! But then I look at my scribblings and crossings out and feel like giving up.


Maybe I just need to ignore this bit for now. Move on, write the bits that are coming easily and then try to stitch them all together afterwards. You never know, I might have thought of a way through while I'm writing them.

Either that, or I'll have pulled all my hair out in frustration. 

Actually, just reading this through before pressing 'post' and I realised - I've been here before. 'I know exactly what happens in my story.' I'm too much in the driving seat and not in my character's head enough to make it HER story. Maybe it's not me that needs to work things through, but my MC? Hmmmm....

Jul 5th

Beach Crap

By Mat

Beach Crap

by brightonsauce

Give it a polish later on x/ end fix is ‘winding me up.’

I pursued simple duties at the shoreline –

–  and collected a condom from the sand, and a soft turd laid anonymously on the beach steps.  How we never catch them at it, is our mantra..in the business.  I curled  these evacuees, these victims – together in my fist like in some very progressive partnership, in hand – and I returned to the office –  after visiting our dustbins.  I think I did, I’ll have to check our CCTV… [no GOOD, no, edit]

When two lads bundled into that office.

‘There he is,’ they said, ‘that’s the bastard.’

They wanted to fight me, or to stab me – due to some slur I never even made…or considered – ever.

Our scene unfolded with shouting, jabbering, jabbing, and accusation.  I stood from the wheelie-chair, I talked them down from their rage,

‘Gentlemen…’ I said..

to the two men bouncing in their tracksuits.

So, a respect was shared. And over.

But for a moment in that stand-off it nearly did ‘kick-off,’ mightily. There mightily have been blood on our walls.

To my shame, for one brief instant, the thought–

‘I’ll kill you both before you kill me,’

did pass through my mind – but not for long, your honours.

And I did not mention that passing thought/that spike of hell – in my mind – in my official report on the hotmail.

Conclusion – they did not kill me, I did not kill them, neither.

Still, I, for one, remain an arsehole forever.  As I said to the 20 stone deckchair attendant, our Roly Polaroid

‘Always run…in these situations.’

He said nothing to my advice.  He only stared, and he swallowed.

But,  back in the previous scene.  Was the ruffian carrying a knife?  Why keep your hand in the pocket?  Why, walk out and swiftly return to my office?  Were you unfolding your blade?  [my, how this imagination spins..]

Meanwhile, I shook hands with the other fellow, his compatriot.  Eye to eye, I did it, chaps, and defused the apocalypse, obviously.

After the ‘yobbos’ – somebody’s word, no – criminals, no – they were young guys – after they left I harboured horrible adrenaline, and sadness.    I’ll have to watch out for the tracksuit man – catching my bus home – my god, like adolescence, like my 1983 revisited.

The next day I drank coffee early in the morning with the sunlight on my cheek,


a bright, happy morning, as an old gentleman strolled into the office without his spectacles.  I, of course as a public servant read the tide times for him.  And he was, I sensed,  lonely, and he hadn’t expressed a while, and people do need to share, and they should, and he said:

‘You know, mate…

…on July 17th, 2006, I was walking down this very beach down there.

…That’s the moment when my dog foamed at the mouth, and we both looked skyward, and literally fifty feet over our heads an enormous flying saucer hovvered, all silent and powerful.

…I told Julie at the book-makers, she said that was probably the third space ship she’d heard about in the last five years.  So, what do you think, pal?’ he said.

There has, you see, been plenty of action – going on-down – in my lifestyle.

Self-consciousness about being a ‘cockney’ in the North of England has now mainly disappeared.  I am step by step stealing father’s Yorkshire dialect, the one that  emerged on the motorway rides toward Bridlington.  It is a lovely job, keeping a beautiful place beautiful –  and I make a grand display with the turds – like theatre – [not Brid, apols], and talking to the oldies on their strolls, I love them also, very much.

And also the problem with a horrible story, that one back there – is that you share it, and repeat your boreface to colleagues – and really one should bite one’s tongue off, and spit it out.  Now, you understand my confusion?  But I do have a good friend on the bouncy castles [pertinent].  And, as is never the way with these things, he’s some kind of professor-intellectual, a cricket man.  We trade stories.

His story

The fairground inspector was on his way – any moment now, and the horses were polished, and spinning, the castle inflated, the teacups empty.  And the gate closed.  So, when a middle-aged civilian-man arrived at this gate with his infant in tow, and said –

‘Can we have a ride, please?’

He said, ‘You’ll have to wait for one hour, I have the inspector on his way…’

The chap replied – ‘What kind of jobsworth fucker are you? I am going to smash your face in…and what about my little kiddy riding teacups?  You prick, and molester and I hope you die screaming in flames,’ and so on…

Our chap was most taken aback.  Even so, a year later on, this fairground man felt emboldened enough to visit a distant pub, and he ordered a round of drinks.

The barman placed the five pints on the counter.

‘You can have these ones on me, sir,’ he said.


‘You don’t recognise me, do you? .. I was the fool with his child.

… I want to say to you, now – how dreadfully sorry I shall always remain for my behaviour of a year ago – and how I worry about that day – on every other single day, on every other morning.  Can I do for you, one thing, anything at all ever, please? Tell me now, sir…yours, in  my apology, and with my most sincerest of respects…’

‘Thank you,’ said the fairground man.  He chewed his cheek in a  great rumination, and said….’five packets of your salt and vinegar crisps,’ he said, ‘and two pickled eggs.’

(and) All the best


Jul 3rd

National Anthem

By Dolly

I wouldn't say I've been glued to the telly recently, but I have been watching some of the games taking place, and been caught up in the oddity of national anthems. I'm not all that familiar with languages, I have enough problems with English. All the same, some of them do sound weird, even though I know which country its from. The most familiar are the French and German, but I've never heard the Croatian and Japanese anthems before and was completely thrown by them, probably by the language and their understanding of music, although everyone seem to join in the fun.

The English for their part seemed belt it out with gusto, well some of them did, and I wondered if people at home hummed tum-te-tummed along with it, or sang it out loud. There might be of course, others, with patriotic fervour coursing through their veins, who would leap to their feet in front of the telly and sing it louder than anyone else while saluting.

There was a time, back in the good old days of one telly channel when the presenters wore dinner jackets and dickey bows, or if you were female, an evening gown, when they played the national anthem and the end of the day's viewing, which usually occurred around nine thirty or ten at the weekend. Honest!

This also occurred in cinemas at the end of the last showing, and you were supposed stand as a mark of respect and not move until the anthem had finished. Some people though, would stand up near the end of the film, walk backwards up the aisle, and time it so they reached the exit just as the film finished and the anthem began and could make a quick getaway! Honest!

I did wonder if the queen ever sang silently along with while it was being sung to her, and whether she altered the words slightly, along the lines of: 'God save our gracious me, long live our noble me, God save our me, send me victorious happy and glorious

god save our me!'


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