First Small Steps in the World of Creative Writing

fhth_article-writerMost of you will know my story by now. I love writing. I love words. Therefore to try my hand at creative writing was the obvious next step. Without blowing my own trumpet. Scrub that. I am going to blow my own trumpet. I think the raw ingredients are in me to make a decent fist at this creative writing lark. However, I’m not naive. There is a long, long way to go. First it’s all about getting a good grounding in the basics. The majority of my writing experience is in sports journalism. The world of creative fiction where you are dealing with characters, plots, conversations and the like is new territory. The learning process has begun and the main input will come from three sources:

1. WordPress

Most people who write a blog do so because they like writing things down. As such it follows that there are a lot of budding creative writers on the network. This seems to be the case so far. Early dabbles into the world of flash fiction via the 100 Word Challenge and Friday Fictioneers has reassured me that help is at hand. The advice and guidance of the writing community on WordPress, and other places, is going to be an invaluable learning aid.

2. Reading

Two sorts of reading. First of all continuing to read plenty of fiction, whether it be short stories or novels. Important to see how the professionals do it. Some I will like, some I won’t. However, to study more closely how real authors structure their stories and handle all the elements that they contain will be intriguing. The second sort of reading is learning about the nuts and bolts of the craft. To this end I have purchased a couple of books which will hopefully give me an insight into some solid tips and techniques of creative writing. I will report back in a few weeks with a review of both books. Won’t name them for now!

3. Writing

Last but not least is of course actually doing it. My plan is to enter the flash fiction challenges on WordPress as well as seeking out other challenges elsewhere. For now the 100 word efforts are going to be a great tool to ensure every word counts. A missing comma or quotation mark, an unnecessary word, even a silly spelling mistake stands out a lot more in such a short piece. An excellent exercise to sharpen up your prose. Quite soon I would like to move onto longer stories but one step at a time. In addition to entering challenges I have started to document any time I have an idea. Sometimes I will work on the idea straight away, on other occasions I will leave it as just an idea to revisit.

Well that’s the plan. I will of course keep my blog updated with progress.

Not wasting time I was doing some scribbling last night. I decided to play around with a very simple situation, a man in the street who wants to know the time.  Can’t get much more simple than that. An hour or so later I ended up with this little piece. It has been slotted into my A-Z of ideas under the letter “T” for “Time”:

It was a wet day. Rain was getting everywhere. Rain doesn’t need to get everywhere. Why does it always seem to with me? He should have been here by now. What time is it? Damn. Bloody watch. Do I never put the thing on? She would have made sure I had it on. Quiet! No time for those thoughts now. Concentrate.

I needed to know the time. I wanted to know the time. The person I’m meant to be meeting is a stickler for punctuality. That’s what I was told. One minute late and they’ll be gone. One minute early and they’ll think I’m too keen. I am but they can’t see that. We need to arrive at the same time. I’ll work out how to do that later. For now I need to know the time. What I do know is it’s not time yet otherwise he would have been here by now.

The newspaper shop on the corner looked open. It was early but these places are always open. Could try in there. A quick glance around first. Nope. No town clocks to look at. Nobody around to ask. Suppose that’s why we’re meeting here. No witnesses. Damn, shut up. This isn’t the OK Corral. No gunslingers around. It’s just a meeting. Calm down.

The shop door opened without as much as a squeak. Certainly no bell. Do shops have bells any more? I think too much. Just find out what the damned time is. As I walked in the man behind the counter stopped doing what he was doing.

What was he doing back there? Why do I care? Got to stop wondering about things that aren’t important. Focus. Focus!

“Hello there, I’m meant to be meeting someone and I’ve come out without my watch.So typical. Just when you want to know the time there isn’t a clock to be seen anywhere”. The shopkeeper turned to look at me and just grinned. The face wasn’t familiar but those eyes left me in no doubt. It was him and it seemed I had arrived exactly on time.

Think this is the start of something. Perhaps it’s even the end. Not sure yet. Just thought I’d share. Looking forward to this week’s 100 word challenges on WordPress. The standard is very high and I need all the practice I can get if I’m going to keep up!

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