Through the wall

I’ve made it through the wall (see my previous post). The reasons for this are as follows.

1. I had the most amazing pizza ever from Alalbero – go there.

2. Before Faber I sat in the park (with no internet connection and therefore no facebook distractions) and wrote a new scene for the book. I am now happily 1500 words past the last block. Hopefully it’s another 10,000 or so before I hit another one. I really just want to get it all out there so I can get the damn thing edited.

3. Faber – it really is lovely.

Tonight’s theme was setting. I love setting, it can be so evocative and, as Sally rightly put it can almost be another character in pieces. A good setting grounds us in a story. We can connect with a character, but it’s not until we are given a road map that we really feel like we’re inside it, like we can choose which path to take through it. We talked about how setting can tell us so much about a character depending on what we are shown or what they choose to notice. I thought about the things I notice, and the things that make a place come to life for me.

Tonight’s exercise was a little bit different. Sally brought in a selection of paintings that she’d photocopied and stuck onto bits of blue paper. (I mention that the paper was blue because in an article a friend just sent through I read that blue generally inspires more creativity) We each chose a painting and wrote an opening paragraph triggered by our piece.

*interestingly, when we went around the circle to read our pieces aloud, one of the women worried that she didn’t get the brief – saying that she had started a piece but not really included setting. Her piece was extremely evocative though and gave a real sense of setting in that the other indicators – language, tone and imagery instantly gave a feel for the  setting that would be home to this type of story. It served as a brilliant example of a more subconscious setting.

My piece was based on the painting above (I wish I knew who it was by because it’s beautiful, but I don’t) I feel like I’d like to play with it quite a bit more, bit I have some ideas about where I would like it to go.


The last thing she remembered was his face, pale and white as it drifted away encased in wood. It had always been Zhed’s wish to be buried in a boat. This was not to be though. Bel’s mother couldn’t afford it, and anyway had never had time for his ‘flights of fancy’. Bel had done what she could to make his funeral one that Zhed would have been proud of. At night, only hours before it was due to start she had snuck in with James, each of them carrying armfuls of plastic bags. They walked down one side of the pews, next to the cold stone wall, barefoot and to the opening behind the altar where the simple garden opened out to the night sky. The water had been green and slimy, but Bel had turned on the tap and carried bucket-loads of water to the pond before she and James turned to the bags, picked them up and emptied out the waves of goldfish. The fish swam around each other, fighting for space, turning the muddy green waters a tumultuous cascading rush of orange. It reminded Bel of Zhed, slipping in and out of the water, splashing and playing, back before he went silent.

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