My Writing

A Knock on the door

I wrote this in response to a prompt over at Terribleminds.com. It’s a bit rough, but I hope you enjoy

Shake-Up

The knock echoed through the stale rooms. It travelled over piles of half eaten takeaways, dislodging stacks of newspapers and rumbling through hallways that were unused to sound. It was a single, heavy knock, coming from the front door.

Under discarded clothes and dirty sheets, a pair of eyes opened and blinked. They sped around the piles of rubbish. Good. Everything was undisturbed. The system was still in place. The eyes looked around again, unsure if they had imagined the booming knock. A gloved hand clawed at a piece of soiled fabric and pulled it over the eyes. The house fell back to silence once more.

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Feeding my writing through a digital shredder

About a year ago, I got frustrated with my writing and decided to mess around with my first drafts and discarded attempts at stories. They had been languishing on my hard drive for years. I wasn’t publishing them and they weren’t being seen by anyone. To be honest, most of the stories just weren’t very good.

So I destroyed them. Well, no, not quite. I fed them one by one through a digital shredder, like this. It works using Markov chains to generate words. Surprisingly, this creates new phrases. It makes no sense, but more than you might imagine.

This is an example of the sort of text you get:

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‘Show Your Work!’ Six weeks in

‘Show Your Work!’ Six weeks in

I mentioned in a previous post how I was inspired to share more of my writing byShow Your Work! by Austin Kleon. This little book has been surprisingly helpful in sharing work, but also producing it. Six weeks into following some of the principles, I thought I would expand on how it has helped me.

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The Work Never Stops

After I published my first book of short stories, Amber Stars, I took a week off writing. I enjoyed the achievement of actually finishing a project and publishing a book. So I kicked back, read some books, browsed the web a lot and created absolutely nothing.

Then after a week of slacking off, I started waking up at six again. I deleted unnecessary apps, stopped wasting time on websites and got back to work. I started writing again. Austin Kleon’s Share Your Work! helped me refocus on what I want to do. It gave me a kick up the arse to start writing again, and to share my process some more.
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Newspaper Blackout Poems

Newspaper Blackout Poems

In the past month, I’ve been messing around with a strange form of ‘writing’ called blackout poems. I was inspired by Austin Kleon, who helped popularise the form. Since then, hundreds of people have ran with it, creating new and different poetry using existing texts.

It’s a really interesting format that has a lot of potential. You take a newspaper article, pick some words and scribble out the rest. Weird phrases and snippets of almost poetry emerge. It reminds me of William Burrough’s cut up technique, where he would re-arrange his sentences at random. The resulting poems are reliant on the underlying article but there are infinite combinations. It’s more visual than a poem but not quite an image either.
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Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood

“The path itself was narrow and wound in and out among the trunks. Soon the light at the gate was like a little bright hole far behind, and the quiet was so deep that their feet seemed to thump along while all the trees leaned over them and listened.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien describing Mirkwood in The Hobbit

A few weeks ago, I went to the Forest of Dean for a weekend. It was bliss, staying in a shepherds’ hut away from the city and in the middle of nature. The isolation was relaxing and peaceful.

Whilst there, I had the pleasure of going to Puzzlewood,  a unique forest just outside Coleford. It was like walking onto a set. The whole wood, with its picturesque paths over and under the many embankments, was like a fantasy  version of a forest. It was no surprise to learn it was supposedly the inspiration for Middle Earth, as well as where Merlin and Star Wars: The Force Awakens were filmed.
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