Short stories…


I AM in the process of preparing to move my files to my new Macbook, once it arrives, but stumbled upon some old prose I prepared for a creative writing class; I never attended more than one session in the end and thus have not found found a style of writing I like. I chose to write an excerpt of a potential fantasy novel, but couldn’t really get in the mood. I have every intention of writing a work of contemporary fantasy at some point in my life, but at the moment I’d rather focus on science writing. Anyway, because I was amused by the rather kitch style of it, and because I could barely remember writing it, I’ve decided to post it.

Creative writing class No. 2

A fresh mountain breeze caught the rich scent of wetted soil, carrying it high into the forest canopy where a child slept. The girl, a small, wiry, and feral slip of a thing had taken refuge under the eaves of the old Oak before the bruised sky delivered its promise of rain. She’d spent the day sitting on the sun-baked, hollow-sounding earth of the hillside below, ignoring the pleas of the over-dry, and now crushed, grass, despite the actions of relentless pin sharp blades poking through the rough material of her clothing. Other thoughts filled the girls mind; thoughts unbidden and unwanted. A rumble had stirred her to reality and she’d climbed up the knarled and forgotten tree to take shelter.

The breeze was warm, despite the lateness of the day; it was early summer and the ground was drying rapidly. Small motes floating on the air gently tickled at the girls face; she sneezed and abruptly fell from her rest atop the branches and hit the matted undergrowth beneath with a resounding thump. Startled birds and animals fled the intrusion, a clattering of hooves, panicked cries and flapping wings. The girl rolled onto her side, attempting to recover her wind whilst trying to remember where she was. She curled up into a sitting position, hugging her knees; the world had returned to her all too suddenly, bringing with it memories of events she’d been running from. Her peaceful haven had once again been taken from her. It was time to move on.

The sun had long since set by the time she’d escaped the mountain forest and descended into the open planes, but the night fell slowly in these lands, the light lingering whilst shadows grew longer and longer until they merged. From her earlier viewpoint she’d imagined that she would have enough time to reach home by nightfall, a trek across fields to a tree bounded river that lead from the mountains to the brackish water of the fens, her home; she was one of the few who could be out at night, capable of resisting the taunts of fell creatures that wrapped themselves in darkness. Still, she always preferred to be in a familiar surrounding come the dusk, in the barrow that her family had claimed several centuries earlier, days she remembered well, despite her youthful appearance.

The first cry of a Haldan Crow signalled that darkness was upon her, it had overtaken her as she walked, too buried in thoughts to notice. Haldan Crows were a minor pest, but insignificant to the girl; she had sufficient talent to ward herself against them. But they heralded greater, darker beings, beings who could challenge her, even someone of her race who were of these lands and as old as any creature roaming the old world. She hurried, and using some of her talent to fashion a shroud from the mist rising above the cooling river, vanished into the night.

Watching from a distance, from beneath the knarled Oak where the small girl had taken rest, a woman stood. She’d watched the child fall from the tree and had been bemused at the sight; a Knowling girl being caught off guard, vulnerable and clumsy; she never thought to see such a thing.

Continue reading “Short stories…”


I used to attend creative writing classes, if anything to attempt to undo the damage wrought by years of technical writing. Technical writing robs you of certain freedoms: to make mistakes as you write, to use active verbs, present tense, embellishing adjectives and superlatives. Technical writing is precise, well crafted, but passive and impersonal. It is utilitarian and functional “nuts and bolts”, to the “heart and minds” of popular prose.

Exercise (warming up the mind and fingers): write anything within 5 minutes (from an old class):

Small vortices caught dust on the desert floor, swirling them into the face of the oncoming Touareg, peppering his face, mapping his sweat with a glittering foundation.

A haze of flies danced in the grains of sand, a mesmerising display of light and dark. The nomad, oblivious to this battle between light and dark, trudged his way along the fading track of his leader, hating every step, but enjoying the thought of sweet water at journey’s end.

Upon his mind, stripped bare by days of relentless heat, was the Bedouin girl he’d seen at the bazaar. Her face a mystery, only her crystal green eyes telling of heretical beauty.

Such thoughts open holes for hope to fill, but if not filled allow despair to flow in hope’s stead. Such thoughts are wasted, when the day is hot and you are robbed of your life energy.