More Than A Monument

And now, a randomly generated scene…

Nouns: crack, flower, base, offer, mountain, committee, ray

Adjectives: solid, lively, hideous, maddening, freezing

Verbs: educate, copy, introduce

Adverb: self-assuredly


Eyes on his shaking hands, Finlay slowly, carefully fed the stem of his daffodil into a crack at the base of the wall. At his side, his partner made the offer of a pale rose for their eldest. On the freezing ground between their feet lay a slab of grey stone. Their eldest’s name was cut into its side.

Once he’d tenderly rolled a tear-blotted note into a tiny spear and shoved it true, Finlay knelt. His partner and a young Operation Tower committee member  heaved the stone together and began to strap it to his back. Finlay grunted, angling his body to better distribute the solid weight.

The committee member made her customary offer again. ‘I can make the climb for you, sir. I would lay your stone true. ’

She spoke self-assuredly. Her legs would certainly stay lively longer than Finlay’s once their shoe spikes were digging between the stones high above the halo of flowers and final messages. But again, Finlay refused. While he could do this himself, he would.

‘Very good, sir, but I will climb beside you—please let me know if you require any assistance. We can trade your burden at a way station should you run into trouble.’

Operation Tower committee members often made these climbs for the bereaved. They were educated in the ways of the walls and the parents of slaughtered military men and women were generally too old to scale the still-growing structure. And every day there were more telegrams, more names and more slabs of rock to ferry straight up.

There was only one reason for the stones. One reason for this tower. One reason to even maintain a military force.

One hideous reason, its rank breath choking grieving climbers, short of breath as they imagined it, the mindless, gleeful gleam of its eye as they envisaged that which had violently introduced their children to a petrified death immobilising them so they were left frozen on the face of the tower in despair, clinging to a point higher than the nearest mountain.

Only one thought offered comfort enough to ensure they reached the pinnacle and laid their precious stones: this was far more than a monument. It was those they’d lost who would cage the terror. Once it was finally dropped in there, the tens of thousands it had savaged, leaving nothing to bury, would stretch so high it could never escape.

But two hundred years’ worth of sacrificed soldiers hadn’t left more than a pus-weeping scratch…


Finlay beat away that maddening thought, the stone’s weight dragging down his shoulders as he rose. He tried to listen as his companion committee member demonstrated safe-climbing positions, and copied her as she bent her knees and flexed her tar-dipped fingers. But he couldn’t comprehend her warnings of height and ripping wind and danger. He could only focus on their eldest.

He couldn’t help but think …

No ray of light would touch the beast’s face again, Finlay swore on the tower, tears falling steadily – and they fell unnoticed, though cold air struck his cheeks – as he tarred his fingers and kicked the spike setting on his boots.

Their eldest hadn’t died for nothing.

Finlay’s partner took a soft handkerchief and brushed it against his damp cheeks – they had barely begun to wrinkle. Unable to utter a word, his partner then gently wiped his eyes, clearing them for the journey up.

The winter air went still. The way was clear.

The beast would rot in there.

Their eldest would see to it.

Still Very Little Of The Blogginess

Excepting when I’ve been far away from any computer for an extended period of time, I think this has been the longest time I’ve been so seriously without the blogginess. At least on other writing fronts things are starting to look a bit better.

The other day while riding the bus and walking the rest of the way to work, I planned an entire Treading Twisted Lines story – shall probably be number 6 or 7. I had to stop in the middle of the path and just stand there for 10 minutes or so to record as much as I could on my smaller iDevice.  This story came from wanting to give the Four Free Areas its own dominant fast food chain and the observation that there were a lot more bugs around than usual that morning. I’m liking how it flowed so easily – much more like how I wrote the first three, not like how I’m still struggling with number 4. The day after that, I expanded on the basic idea of another Treading Twisted Lines story – I’m not sure whereabouts it’ll be in the series. Probably not too far away. I should probably write the ones that I actually know, first.

On another note, as this year’s NaNoWriMo approaches – I’m probably not going to participate, with work playing havoc with my writing as it is – I’ve dug out last year’s effort – Pulp Runner, if you remember – and am putting it through a harsh, split-screen, re-type edit. It needs it, unfortunately. I need to re-work the ending and thread more references to it and the villain character (if he can be called that – a rather pathetic villain, really) throughout, not to mention simplify the protagonist’s internal dilemmas. Well, not simplify as such. Just convey them more simply. Or better. Just better.

Will probably have to put the first novel through a similar split-screen, re-type edit, but decided to do Pulp Runner first – it’s much shorter and I’m a coward. Been putting stuff together in bits and pieces for Behind Glass, as well, and a story I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned on the doll thermometer, before. I’ll call it Leonard, here. Originally he was being entirely handwritten as something to keep me occupied at school in Japan when I wasn’t given any work, but I’ve just about decided to shift back to typing and use the rest of his notebook for planning.

Shall aim to write a randomly generated scene in the next week – it’ll be my first free weekend in what probably isn’t forever, but quite feels like it, at the moment.

Most exciting news that I think I forgot to mention in the gloom of upcoming elections and the misery of the aftermath:  I sent inquiry letters re Missing Exhibit to a few literary agents and one of them requested to see the first 30 pages. She’s had them for a few weeks, now. I’m keeping as many phalanges crossed as I can and freaking out every time I check my phone for emails during work, hoping that she asks to see the rest. But I’m feeling pretty good, even if she decides she doesn’t want to represent me 🙂 If I got past the first stage once, I can do it again.

So. There’s a good, long waffle on about not really very much. I’ll try to do better. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog again the way I did in the beginning, though. I could just go on about anything, hopefully in a vaguely interesting fashion. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve grown particularly as a blogger as of yet, unless it’s more lazy. I’ll try to figure out a new posting routine. Soon. Maybe that’ll help.

If anyone has any tips for keeping their blogs going strong when feeling quite swamped, feel free to instruct me in your wise ways 🙂

End of the World Election Day Itinerary

Tomorrow, 7 September 2013, is election day.

I fear there is no way this day shall end in joy.

Nevertheless, I have a full and rewarding day planned to counteract this nationwide pain and its effects on my own small shell and self within (sorry – might be going a bit overboard. But my assessment remains unchanged: there is no one to vote for).

Here is the day’s plan:

Early morning: vote

Morning: attend a seminar on the ever-rising power of YA fiction at the Brisbane Writers Festival

Late Morning: behave like a true loser writer and hang out at some cafe filling in my notebooks and gorging on hot chips and coke

Early afternoon: attend a seminar on how to get an agent in Australia at the Brisbane Writers Festival

Mid afternoon: attend a seminar on the painful yet wondrous process of an author’s book being made into a film at the Brisbane Writers Festival

Late afternoon: meet sister Frannie and obtain pancakes

Evening: attend an election party with sister Frannie and her marvelous Marxist Monday comrades-in-arms

Night: crash as early as possible in light of an all-day choir practice on Sunday

For bonus points: hand out business cards with free coupon codes for The Chosen Voice and Under the Bright Water penciled on the backs (FF46D and WZ84F, respectively, if you haven’t had a look and would like to grab them for free at … I can never stop spruiking …)

Even if it’s not the end of the world, this is probably the end of any good reputation Australia might have had in the world.  It will be the end of true humanity and compassion, the end of hope for true equality and the beginning of what shall no doubt be chronicled and become a bestseller in a not so far off dystopian future under the title Australia – The Selfish Nation.

Hopefully I will have happily settled in the Faroe Islands before things go too far.

Meeting At Midnight: A Romance, 12 Hours of War or Fake Fortune Tellers

Still more good ideas. Getting closer to that burst needed for the next Treading Twisted Lines story.

But, apparently, not quite there yet.

Remember, have a guess which answer’s right before Googling 🙂

And now, let’s play Balderdash…

Category:  Movies

Meeting At Midnight

a) An unlikely tale of romance between a sweet night watchman called Brent Goat and feisty single mother Carol with three imaginative sons who decide she needs a little sugar to match her spice

b) At noon, the tanks rolled into town. At six, the guns stopped firing. At nine, white flags waved. At midnight …

c) Detective Charlie Chan discovers fake fortune tellers while investigating a mystery