You never know what you’ll unearth in a search for an exercise book.
My room alternates between pristine and bombshell. (Pristine whe I spend more time in Cait’s room than my own, and bombshell at the moment because I have loose sheet music everywhere and I’ve been sick recently so I don’t have the heart to pick them up.) This alternating in states of cleanliness results in a regular inability to find anything.
That includes exercise books. Why exactly am I so desperate for lined paper? Well. I’m writing for a short story/novella contest. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want you to enter and make it harder for me to win. I’m just kidding the link’s right here.
I tend to sit somewhere between Long Winded and No Winded in my writing. You see, I have trouble raking in good word counts, but then, once I get started…! My books are getting steadily thicker… who knows. Maybe I’ll write something novel-length one day. The maximum word count for this competition is 20,000. That sounds like a lot, but trust me when I tell you it is not. To keep myself from surpasing the maximum, I am going to write by hand, because nothing squashes long windedness quite like writer’s cramp.
And could I find an exercise book anywhere? Noooo. Classic. What I did find, however, is interesting. Firstly, cute pink diaries with those locks on them that you can pick with a paperclip/pin. There is nothing so weird as reading your deep dark secrets from five years ago. I should throw those out before Cait finds them and uses them for blackmail. Secondly, I found a bunch of tattered and grease-stained (don’t ask) exercise books filled with my early attempts at writing.
Here are some woeful snippets and my running-commentary as I reread them now. (Written in bold.)
Title: Nichole (sounds like a romance, don’t you think? It wasn’t.)
Nichole’s breath was hevey. (Great spelling, there.) Heat scorched her face. Nicki held the paddle holding a lofve of bread into the fire. (I think I got confused with the pizza ovens on the esplanade and general bread baking. Also, lofve?) Her sister Alice was cutting out ginger breadmen.
“Nichole,” Mum said, needing bread, (First she’s Nichole, then Nicki, now Nichole again. Make up my mind. And she needed that bread so badly…) “you don’t need to stand so close to the fire!”
Bing! the timer rang. Nicki pulled the hevey (not improving) paddle out of the fire oven.
“My cookies are ready to bake,” said Alice. (Cookies? What country am I from, anyway?)
Already you can see, I sucked at openings. And concepts of time. They’re baking bread in a wood fire, and they have a timer. Not even an hour glass. A timer. That bings.
Title: Don’t Read Unless I Say So (My, someone was self-conscious about the love triangle I accidentally set up, waaay before I knew there was such a thing as a love triangle.)
(This one is my attempt at a pirate story. I’ve skipped the first part for boredom’s sake. Klaas is swimming off the deck of his own private ship (If I remember correctly, he’s fifteen or something and stinkin’ rich and a captain of some convoy or other. Realism, right?)
Klaas rose in time to her the plantive cry of a settler girl the ship was transporting (transporting? What is she? A convict?)
“Oh, the water looks so nice,” she sighed. “How I’d love to swim.” (How is he hearing her sigh from the water when she’s way up on the deck?)
“Then do,” Klaas cried up to her.
“I couldn’t,” she gasped, apparently horrified. (No. I don’t say.) “Tisn’t ladylike.”
Klaas, trying to make a good impression, and doing the exact opposite, replied, “Blow being ‘ladylike.’ Come in anyway.”
“How dreadful,” She scorned (Is that even the term I was after? I think she’d be more appalled by his absolute insensitivity and lack of propriety.) “Besides, I can’t even swim.”
“I’ll teach you,” Klaas insisted.
“Oh, how perfectly horrid,” She wailed. (In case you’re wondering, she’s Dutch not English. Go figure.) “I’m afraid I shall be deeply humiliated if I listen to any more of your foul talk.”
Good endeavors over, Klaas called back, “Foul talk indeed! If you listen to some of these sailors talk your pretty hair would frizz and stick on end!” (Ohhh, dear. That scene was so unrealistic, it made me feel better about the things I question in my writing now. And to think I was horribly proud of it when I wrote it… I thought it was my hilarious humour coming out.)
Title: None Avaliable Because This is a Few Scraps of Pencil-written Sheets That I Look at with a Congenial Smile on my Face
(Fantasy–biiig castle. Squires and Knights, puppet king, blah-blah, creepy medieval science laboratory, mad scientist and his apprentice who is going to be wonderfully powerful oneday, as a High Knight of said puppet king.)
“Do you actually like it here, Dimitri,” she (Sian) asked. “It gives me the shivers. What’s this red damp stuff on this bench?”
“That’s Calliphonium,” Dimitri replied (and you’d never know I made up all my scientific stuff), “and yes, I love it here.”
“Cally-phony-hum,” Larnie muttered. “That makes so much sense.” (Larnie was always my favourite. The comic relief, you know. Sarcasm. Smiley-faces.)
“So why exactly did you send for me, and where is Erenstani?” Sian asked (Erenstani being said mad scientist) , peering sideways at a glass tank of little bobbing organisms in green fluid (not cliche at all.)
“He’s in the next room, building the frame for a coligraphical monstrementure,” he answered. (Skipping ahead because this is wearing as thin as the acient papyrus it was written on… Dimitri has just disclosed to these two prying girls that he plans to give up previously mentioned wonderful power in order to be a previously mentioned mad scientist.)
“What?” Larnie shrieked. “You’d give up that kind of position to be a person who studys polly-moggy-woggy-cally-menture and makes things. It’s insane.”
Thank you, Larnie. That’s my opinon exactly.
So, my conclusion to all this is (drumroll)… next time you’re banging your head saying, “My writing is so lousy, a flea could have written this…” dig out those old, Noah’s Ark doccuments of the things you tried to write two or six years ago. Laugh. Trust me. You have come far.
Mime is reflecting that she has to put all those exercise books back again, in some form of order (aka, not her bed) so that next time the landlady comes for inspection (aka, Mum), she will pass and not be put on community serice (aka, cleaning her desk) to compensate. She’s also reading Splintered. And enjoying it.