Monthly Archives: September 2009

Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh

I watched a documentary the other day about Ian Rankin. He was discussing his writing, Edinburgh and getting rid of his character of Inspector Rebus. I haven’t read any of the Rebus novels, ‘The Flood’ was the first book of his that I have read. The documentary was a tour around Edinburgh and the different places that the character had encountered. The documentary included real cases that had occur ed in Edinburgh alongside brief details of the fictional cases in his books.

The programme mentioned Burke and Hare who were two serial killers who ran a hostel. Their murdered victims were then sold by them by anatomists for dissection. I hadn’t heard of them until recently, there was a programme about them on the other day too. The story is quite macabre and terrible, it conjures up lots of ideas for short stories from various angles.

The programme was interesting even if you are unfamiliar with Rankin, it is worth a watch if it is on again.

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The area

So far the stories that I have been writing have focussed on the area that I live in. I think it might be an idea to go and take my camera out and get some photo’s another day, to build up some images that I can refer back to.

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Daily Distractions

Wrote up another short story yesterday called ‘Head in the clouds’. I keep reading about all these women who write while they have babies sitting on their knees or whilst watching the school assembly. Are the just better at blocking out the rest of the world than me?

At the moment there is a Batman cartoon and I would say that its not ideal but I guess doing something is better than nothing. There was a lady on the OU Shakespeare course that I did who used to do her work while she bathed the children. I never could manage that. I’m going to give it a go though.

Can’t help thinking that once you start a story with cartoons playing in the background that people in the story might start hitting each other over the head with pans or walking up buildings in skin tight lycra. Oh well. I’ve just had a great idea for a story about this cat who really hates this mouse, must start writing it up now.

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I’ve written up ‘the biscuit factory’ story and ‘the fire’. Two down.

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Remembering a family

The father is large and ginger. All the children are ginger apart from the eldest who is blonde. They are unusual because they have 5 brothers, noone else on the street has more than 1 brother or sister. Their mother is really small and dark. She is quiet and petite and scurries around the house. She doesn’t talk much and she doesn’t seem to want me to come round. The father is loud and scary. He never shouts at me but sometimes you hear him shouting at his children. He bellows and his hair stands on end like it is on fire. We don’t go round to their house much because the mother seems to hurry us out again; the father terrifies us even when he is smiling, they never give you any biscuits, at our house we always get biscuits and we have a den (the garage) at our house. We play cowboys and indians and the girl next door is always the hostage. She gets locked in the garage and we go and play on the field. I wonder if we were gone for a long time on our adventures. She would still be waiting in the garage. She is called Jillian but we call her Jilly Bean.

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Flood by Ian Rankin

Just finished this novel. I got it out of the library because I’ve seen him on newsnight but not read anything that he has written before. It was an interesting read, you could tell that the place he was writing about had significance to him. He explains in the introduction how it was based on his hometown and I think that that familiarity with the place and the people really comes through in the novel.

He says he started writing it in January and finished in July which I am always interested to find out about. There are some great descriptions in there such as the people on the bus who he describes as being ‘lost, as hollow as the most brittle sea shells’. I enjoyed the book and I liked the ending too.

I that in the short stories that I have been writing when ou do focus on an event or person from the past it does open up a host of things lurking in your imagination that you almost forgot were there.

He is signing copies of his new book in Waterstones soon.

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Haiku

Glum rain drags the sun
Into a puddle to sit
And reflect on life

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Some time of ones own

Finished reading ‘The Ninth Life of Louis Drax’ by Liz Jenson. Very good! I really enjoyed it, especially the parts from the viewpoint of the boy. The parts about the man with his face in bandage was very good. Although the outcome was hinted at, I guessed some of the twists but not each one.

I think it is clever to use the two view points so that you can use adult language and description. She did this by using the psychologist and the boys point of ivew. Sometimes you started off reading the psychologists and thought it was the boys and then realised.

Louis Drax had a very distinctive voice that she pulled off really well. I think I will try and read more of her stuff.

I have decieded to write more short stories. I am going to also try to use my own experiences and draw on things that have happened in the past to help me with this. I began today and wrote a short story about a girl who makes hoax calls to the firebrigade. This is based on a story about a girl who did do this from the past, not someone I knew particually well but something which was a bit surprising when you heard that she had been doing it.

I have finished it in rough and just need to write it up now. I intend to read a lot more books and have discovered the library and I have been enjoying the few free bits of time that I have got to write now that the children have started school. The baby I’m looking after will only be here for 3 days a week so the other two I intend to make the most of the time to do some writing. It is the only chance and maybe the last chance I’ll have to get some good time to myself. So far so good. One story down. Many more to follow. At least I hope so. I need a few good ones if I am going to apply to do the MA as well. No pressure. Just keep writing.

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