Plotlines, Outlines, Godplay
I wrote this opening with the grand plan of developing the story through the manic mechanism of NaNoWriMo. But as I’ve come to expect every single year, I start out fizzy and end up flat. I don’t see these characters living beyond the few lines I’ve put down here. Enjoy, as you can, their brief mortality.
I submitted this short story for Short Story Day Africa 2014. This year's theme was Terra Incognita. Though I do read in the genre, writing speculative fiction is indeed unknown ground for me. My story didn't make the longlist so I thought I would share it with you here.
The writing life is rough. Gritty as sandpaper against the skin of all four of your cheeks. Some people talk of bleeding onto pages, they’re not […]
She sways and spins, her position held by hips as broad as a baobab. The feather-duster in her hand sheds ostrich plumes. They rain down hope on the woman kneeling before her. Mama Eve raises feet clad in green plastic mock-crocs. She stamps on a heap of cowrie shells, filling the room with brittle crackling.
We were introduced to the Black Box writing technique by supervisors Silke Heiss and Paul Mason in an MA seminar that dealt with conceiving the bones and sinews of a story.
Elements are chosen randomly from five categories; character, situation/incident, place/setting, time and theme.
These selections are then used to develop the framework upon which the narrative hangs.
It was 3 AM and I was digging a hole in the desert.
Christa stood next to me.
In the torch light, she was a fidgety monster patting a bundle in her arms.
“Is it done yet Tess?”
Her voice was gritty in the smooth silence.
“Almost there hun, you just hang on.”
She went back to poking at the swaddle and cooing in delirium.
“Uh-huh, I’m so sorry baby, I’m so sorry. Momma’s gonna try and make this better you hear? I’ll be better next time. I’m so sorry.”
I’ve been here three times before; digging holes for Christa in the desert.
You could call me a good friend.
Dependable. Complicit. Fucking insane.