Exhausted & Faber Academy Week 4


Between getting my Ampersand submission to a point where I felt ok about submitting it, having teeth emergencies, family visits, school visits and other deadlines, I can say with some certainty that exhaustion has set in.

I need now to finish writing the flesh of the novel, and in six weeks I head to sunny San Fran. Is it sunny in San Fransisco?

Faber Academy is still going strong. I was sitting there tonight and thinking about what an incredibly hard job it must be to have a roomful of hopeful writers sitting at a table you expecting you to teach them to write. Sally’s doing an amazing job, and I’m finding each week so valuable. Workshopping is good. It’s nice to get a range of feedback, both to get used to receiving a variety of feedback about your work, but also to decide what to take on board and what to disagree with. Since Andy’s visit too, I’ve been writing lists & observations just for ten minutes every day and I’m finding that hugely helpful.

I’m determined to keep up the twice weekly blogging as I feel that I’m finally getting into the swing of it.

This week was about structuring the novel and the ‘inciting incident’. The exercise was slightly different in that we started by writing a sentence about something we do every day. We then had to add the problem, the ‘inciting incident’. Then we spent 20 minutes in dot points outlining where we thought the story was going. So the format for the piece below is scattered, and I found that some of the points I’d written initially changed slightly once I’d figured out where I was heading with it. Having said that, I’m looking forward to turning it into a whole piece. I think it might make a nice early reader.

…Every morning I make a smoothie for breakfast with almond milk, frozen fruit and a banana.

One morning I filled the blender to 250ml with almond milk, I added 3 stawberries and 6 rasberries and a half a frozen banana.

I threw the banana into the blender and pressed ‘on’. The blade jammed. I opened the lid and looked inside. Was that a…?? It was!! A great big horrid, scaly toenail. And worse, it wasn’t a toenail on my banana, my banana (or what I thought was a banana) was actually a toe. Well now it was what was left of a toe.

  • he fishes the toe out of the blender
  • it’s a very big toe
  • who could it belong to?
  • there is a noise, a shudder, then stillness and silence
  • Billy creeps to the window
  • he peels back the curtain
  • he peeks through the window
  • a giant eyeball peeks back
  • Billy peers at the eyeball, the eyeball peers at him
  • “Have you got my toe?” asks the giant
  • Billy gulps
  • He hands out the mangled remains of the toe
  • he waits for the giant to crush him
  • instead the giant starts crying, great big shuddering sobs that make the floor shake and the windows rattle
  • “I’m a B-grade football player” sobs the giant “I’ve got my test for the A league this Saturday. Without my big toe I’ll never kick the winning goal.”
  • Billy stops. He thinks. He brightens. “Well that’s ok” he says “We’ll just have to find you a new one!”
  • They try all sorts of toe substitutes. A Zucchini (squishes when the ball hits it), a carrot (pops the ball with its pointy tip), the remote control to the telly (but that got too distracting when Bugs Bunny kept turning on in the background “my favourite show!” exclaims the giant”), a bar of soap (but that’s too slippery)
  • Finally Billy goes into the kitchen. He starts throwing open cupboards. Into a pan goes flour. In goes salt. In goes blue. Blue? Yes blue. The exact same shade of blue as the giant himself. And finally in goes water.
  • The giant watches
  • Billy reaches in and pulls out a clump of blue dough. He wraps it around a pencil and attaches it to the giant’s toe but wrapping it tight with clingwrap.
  • The giant looks down. “Why, it’s just like my real toe. You’re the nicest little boy I’ve ever met”. He picks Billy up and takes him to the football ground where he kicks the winning goal. He’s in!
  • He turns to give Billy a thumbs up and his thumb falls off. Billy groans and pulls out a roll of gladwrap.

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