Flash Fiction February Submissions

As you may or may not have noticed, it is no longer February. But never fear! GUCW’s favourite monthly challenge is not all over and done with just yet.

As we get to compiling our anthology we are still in need of flash fiction stories for many of our daily prompts. So if any of you still have some work in the pipeline you have until mid-April to submit your stories for the anthology.

As well of stories we would love submissions of your artwork to accompany any pieces or simply artwork to decorate the anthology. You can use the prompts on the flash fiction page for inspiration but there will be a general “kitsch” feel to the anthology (-think cheesy 90’s pop).

Submit your work to: gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com

Find the prompts here: Flash Fiction February 2k17

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!



**Days/ Prompts that haven’t been written on yet:**

22/02/17

Non-binary, pride,

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24/02/17

Inconceivable, Iridescent,

“You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

 

27/02/17

Negligible,  Damask,  

“This world that we’re a-livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat; You git a thorn with every rose, but ain’t the roses sweet!”- Frank Lebby Stanton

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The Life and Times of Fabio

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You might see this picture floating around GU Creative Writing Society today. Its the prompt today for Flash Fiction February and the banner for our Romance & Erotica Workshop. This is of course because today is Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and romance and this picture oozes sensuality. However this picture is far more than an ode to wine, good hair and adorable kittens, the man in this photo has played an integral role in Creative Writing Society’s special celebration of February the 14th for the last 4 years.

This is Fabio. Often dubbed ‘the original male model’, Fabio came to fame at the age of just 14 when two photographers approached him in a gym and told him he should become a model. Oozing with natural charisma and rippling good looks (not to mention his galloping abs) Fabio set a new standard for the ideal man. It was not long before he was approached by author’s of erotica fiction to feature on the covers of their novels.

That is why Fabio is so important to us, he is the face that launched a thousand fictions. The statuesque prowess and heroic demeanour inspired writers to mould their characters to  fit Fabio’s ample dimensions. This man is an idol, the living embodiment of the narrative muse in action. Without Fabio great epics of romance, fantasy and love would never have come to be. And without Fabio Creative Writing Society would not have such a glittering icon upon which to centre its best-loved workshop.

So if you like good hair and wine (lots and lots of wine) then come along to our Romance & Erotica Workshop but if you like Fabio, then please let him inspire you as he has inspired so many others and write us a story for Fabio. (Send us your work here.)

 

 

Source: Fabio in his own words.

 

 

Images of Fabio on the cover of Erotica Novels:

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Flash Fiction: Now You’re Gone

 

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~ * Source * ~

[This piece was inspired by two workshop prompts: BREAKDOWN and SHARP]

Now You’re Gone

It starts like this: thrum after thrum, the slick build of a Eurodance tempo that seems to shower serotonin on my brain. I always found it heart-breaking, that cute wee detail: I’ve been waiting here by the phone…

It was our favourite song! We shared it with a fondness reserved for the act of splitting an ecstasy tablet; pirouetting our way across the continent, spilling our limbs over a thousand discos in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin. They were even playing this tune in Prague! Being a cultural city doesn’t preclude a penchant for crappy Swedish ~trance lite~ and holy shit did we milk it. The whole summer, Jenny on my shoulders, fist pumping to that tune. So fucking beautiful. Cut me open and I’ll bleed Jagerbombs.

Last stop: Magaluf. End of the trail. Our livers ached and sleep kept dragging us back into absence. On the train, I dreamt of a dark forest where I could drink from a lake of Lucozade. Electrolytes restoring my sanity. I woke up to Jenny pulling on my arm, trying to steal my mp3 player so she could drown out the chants from a carriage of rowdy Geordies.

I’m coming up again in a strip club where girls in wigs are sliding their oiled-up bodies round poles. All those sensuous serpents. Everywhere you look: another girl, a different coloured wig. Jenny finds it hilarious, throws fivers at them as if our precious euro funds were just Monopoly money.

“Show us your vagina!” she shrieks in broken Spanish.

Just when I reach the high point, the DJ cracks out ‘Now You’re Gone’. Jenny is scrabbling for my shoulders but I push her away; this high is entirely mine. I’m deeper in the crowd now and the bass pounds through me like I’m in the belly of a whale.

That’s when it strikes me. That A minor. I never noticed it before, but now it’s an irretrievable spasm of sadness. Cuts me wide open. I’m spilling my guts up, hurling on the dancefloor. Pot noodles shoot from my throat like I’ve been harbouring a nest of worms. Everyone’s shouting and parting, backing away from me. I’m literally owning the dancefloor, triumphant in my puddle of vomit. Now you’re gone……the way that A minor hits you! Belting it out! All this time I thought there was a sharp in there; by god I was wrong!

My brain was wrong. In that moment, seriously wrong.

Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
I realised———-

What is air? Breathing, breathing, a word that means breathing! Are we hitting the breakdown yet, the transcendent solo where he really wrecks those decks? I gasp and a girl shoves me back, the sick still dripping from my teeth. I’m back in that forest. Jenny, help me?

I’m Basshunter. I’ve literally become Basshunter. The sexy Swedish motherfucker, wow. Look how clean and smooth my face is. The stars shout back how cool I am. The dance poles are now trees, taller than lampposts. They’re everywhere. Yep, a fucking forest. What do I do? I’m a Basshunter. What does one do as Basshunter? I guess I should… hunt bass.

Bass is everywhere. Bass is the timbre of the trees breathing, the earth turning, plates shifting. Bass is the sound of bees laughing at wasps dying in saccharine cesspits of jam. Bass is a fish an old man once held up with a knife stuck clean through it. Saltwater, tongue-bitten tears. My mother spitting in her whisky. Jenny with the stereo cranked up in the car. Bass is an instrument banging against my chest. Bass is anchoring the melody, drumming a gong of oil from my heart. Bass is where we end, we start. Jenny? Jenny…?

I end up in the base. They call it a base, but I know it’s a cell. They have taken me; they have based me. Debased me. Everything pounds and it’s so trashy, ecstatic; one day someone will make a PowerPoint out of my misery. Jenny, come back to me? Just one little text? I’ll go crazy…what’s the next line? Now you’re away, without your face…?

[ [ [ Eat it up man, it’s just the bass ] ] ]

/ M. Sledmere (dj misty)

Notes from Workshop 7: Poetry Corner

To ease us into POVEMBER we covered various forms of poetry this week. Here are some of the notes and creations from one of our groups (Maria, James, Heather). If anyone else has stuff to share that they came up with, please email it to gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com — we look forward to reading it! x

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We brainstormed around a colour theme before individually writing haiku. 
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‘Ode to Donald’ featuring a corn candy windmill (Trump hates windmills, and corn candy is obviously quintessentially American). 
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Some scrappy first draft ‘free verse’ – Maria

Notes from Inspiration Week

Hi guys! Hope the revision is going well :)

As you may remember, we had an Inspiration Week a while ago and here are the things people shared – thought I’d upload it so it’s all nice and uploaded for archiving and future inspiration :)

Nina Lindmark Lie

So I’ve had a week of some inspiration-hunting, since I couldn’t exactly pinpoint any particular sources of inspiration I normally have. Basically what I found can be summarised to ‘new impressions’ (a bit dull, but still). My week has consisted of visiting a lot of museums and exhibitions (like the uni’s Ingenious Impressions, The Hunterian and very modern Design exhibit in Edinburgh) the Botanics, and a fair amount of creepy people watching. Especially travelling and visiting busy places like museum I find rather inspiring. Mainly cuz they’re full of creative stuff, and doing new things helps me find ideas, or offers a slightly different scenery from my everyday life. Fingers crossed for some sunny days and more walks around Glasgow.

New favourite film?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xmweTUqjkA

Hayley Rutherford

Eva Ibbotson is one of my inspirations. Her books remind me of my childhood and I think helped shape my current writing style. They are a little creepy and a lot quirky

https://scontent-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/11091588_1574754492766429_1417689944488394954_n.jpg?oh=8c370c842a39b9c307a6799aa39dfa73&oe=55A343E0

Maria Sledmere

My (somewhat random) inspirations…

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber (1979)
My favourite story from Carter’s collection is probably ‘The Lady of the House of Love’. All her tales play with darkness and sexuality and appetite, questioning the boundaries between human and animal. I love the way she plays with fairy stories and animal characters, and she taught me that it’s perfectly okay to use intensely ornate, coruscating prose, if it serves a purpose.

Legend of Zelda, Majora’s Mask (2000)
https://www.youtube.com/watch…
This game is so creepy and grotesque and wonderful. The graphics seem a little blotchy now, but it adds to a kind of cardboard, fairytale aesthetic. The whole set-up of the game is basically to do with a moon that’s going to fall and crush a town within three days; three days you have to solve a lot of puzzles and defeat the uncanny mask dude that runs about. Everything is very anthropomorphic and strange, and the dissonant music adds to this. The play between surface, colour and texture is interesting because people often seem oddly flat, and the town feels really claustrophobic. I think it’s inspiring for its aesthetic and narrative, and just the whole weird ambience it creates.

Tom McCarthy, Remainder (2005)
This is a very strange novel. The narrator does not seem so much human as a human reciting what it is to deal with emotion and trauma, in a very machinic sense. It plays with all sorts of conventions and disturbs expectations, and in a way is very Ballardian. It taught me that novels don’t have to be extravagantly ‘postmodern’ to challenge conventions of realism, and also how to play with notions of traditional ‘character’.

Muse, Origin of Symmetry (2001)
Old-school Muse are truly mind-boggling. They still are, but I feel like they have become a little bit kitsch in recent years, with their extravagant symphonies and so on. This album has some crazy lyrics, like:

And my plug in baby
Crucifies my enemies
When I’m tired of giving
Wooah

Yeah, I think you probably have to be on mushrooms to understand that one. There’s a whole kind of shivery vividness to all the guitar on this, especially when it is at its most searing (Hyper Music) or delicate, and also Matt Bellamy’s voice, achingly beautiful on the cover of Feeling Good, dark and melancholy on Citizen Erased and Screenager, and a bit mental on Plug in Baby. I guess I listen to this album when I want something to fire an electric shock in my mind and clear away the excess. I also wish I could enter the weird space that the music creates, or find some way to do that with writing. The video for Plug in Baby is also very unsettling, with lots of tentacles floating about and women being plugged into machines and things. Stuff being turned inside out; abjection.

Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)
You know those books you read when you are about eleven and you can’t stop re-reading them? This was one of them for me. It’s a beautifully written bildungsroman about a young girl in a somewhat dysfunctional family trying to make do in a crumbling castle, while her father descends into alcoholism and her sister marries the wrong man. It’s about falling in love and growing up and appreciating the little things, and being loyal and good to people. I admire it mostly for the emotional eloquence and the way Smith captures the narrator’s voice so well, but also just love how she evokes the whole world of the castle and the family with such poetic detail.

Sylvia Plath, Collected Poems. 
I didn’t really ‘get’ poetry until I read Sylvia Plath. I know it’s a cliche to admit, but it was the first poetry that really spoke to me in some dark and never-understandable way. Sometimes I get bored of it now, but other times I read it again and the freshness of some of her images really strikes me. Read ‘Berck – Plage’ and ‘Sheep in Fog’. I guess its her imagery that I like best, but also she has a way with concision that I could probably learn from.

William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads. (1798)
I love these two because basically they can teach you all you need to know about nature and imagination. Well, sort of. I have a nostalgic relationship with them because it reminds me of first year and trying to sort out how the hell to read and write about poetry. Wordsworth basically invented the way we see and write poetry today; not as an imitation of an ideal form but a crafted ‘expression’ of individual thought and perception. It also makes me appreciate little bits of nature, though in a different way from how Emily Bronte makes me want to go to the countryside and run breathless through fields in the rain.

Louise McCue

This entire film inspired most of my recent writing but especially this opening scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI6GWeWUMxc

Katalina Watt

‘Alice: Madness Returns’ is a video game based on Lewis Carroll’s work. Wonderland is surreal and disturbing, and the game’s soundtrack and artwork are stunning. WARNING: the clip I’ve linked has some violence and gore (albeit animated).
https://youtu.be/RwyoaSA-0wg

Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is a gorgeous collection of short re-imaginings of fairytales with plenty of horror, sexual content and awesome feminism.

‘Nothing Much to Do’ is modern vlog adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ created by a team of pre-dominantly New Zealand young artists.
It’s hilarious and heart-breaking, and I love re-inventions of old narratives using new mediums.
https://youtu.be/iakDRoQg-sM

Ailsa Williamson

I use dictionaries, both online and offline.

Check out behindthename.com and also ideagenerator.com. both are pretty cool.

Offline- I own the dictionary of mythology, dictionary of phrase and fable and a dictionary of quotations. All pretty cool just for browsing.

Tauras Šalna

Here we go then.

The idea of writing for children about science came to me rather recently.
“The Pleasure of Finding Things Out” by Richard Feynman.
It’s a biography about an amazing 20th century physicist. There was a chapter where he talked about his childhood, when his father used to explain all sorts of things through telling stories. That was the moment when I thought “well, if it worked for one person and he ended up getting a Nobel prize in Physics, maybe I could many other people in a similar way?”. 

Terry Pratchett’s series about Tiffany Aching (4 books) showed me the importance of dialogue. His fantasy world also provoked quite a lot of thoughts and ideas. That’s what books do to you – you start living in an imaginary world of Nac Mac Feegles, witches and other sorts of creatures.

There is this Lithuanian author Vytautas V. Landsbergis. He wrote a book called “Rudnosiukio istorijos” (direct translation: Brown Noses’s Stories). The book is about a creature called Rudnosiukas which lives in an imaginary world. In a sense the world represented the social, economical and political situation of Lithuania. It’s hard to explain, but when reading I actually saw a lot of cultural cues which in a sense showed how everything changed during 25 years of independence. It’s full of optimism, funny and absurd situations, pure foolishness (the main character was always represented as foolish [in a good way]), irony, satire and so on. The writing style was rather similar to mine, but a lot better. And you know when there are books you wished to have written first? This is definitely that one for me.

Other times I find inspiration through studying physics, watching science related videos, taking a walk and just asking question “why”. It’s an amazing feeling when you ask, what it seems, an easy questions, but in the end it’s really complicated and you have to spend some time to find the answer.

And I’ll end this with a video, food for thought.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36GT2zI8lVA

New Board & Inspiration Week

Dear all,

I am very pleased to announce that last night we elected our new board for the year 2015-2016. Votes were triple-counted and pretty close, so it was all very exciting. Here are the results:

President: Rachel Norris

Vice: Hayley Rutherford

Secretary: Ailsa Williamson

These are all members who have contributed a lot to the society through their presence at workshops and their submissions to the blog, so I am really pleased to be leaving GU Creative Writing in their hands!

As well as a book swap (I was chuffed to get Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love), we talked over some feedback ‘going forward’ into next year. Here are some general things that came up:

  • There was an interest in bringing back ‘feedback sessions’ in workshops, where people can read our snippets of their own work and discuss it in the group. I think this could work well if done properly; we were thinking about people posting their page up online a few days before so people can read it and come to the workshop with ideas.
  • Have a ten minute free-write in most workshops to give the opportunity to always come away with something productive!
  • Showing people the blog in the first workshop so they can see how we work!
  • Having ‘fun’ or more collaborative workshops such as Cut-Up Poetry and Map-Making earlier on to encourage new members to get involved as a group.
  • More socials and trips!
  • A workshop specifically on poetry in general, not just haiku (I’d love to see more poetry!).
  • A workshop focused on creative writing with a distinctly Scottish flavour.
  • Science Fiction workshop and more genre stuff in general.
  • Perhaps getting in ‘specialist’ speakers.
  • A writing for radio workshop? Also there was interest in screen and script writing.
  • A possible workshop on the world of publishing and self-publishing.

I hope you are as excited about these ideas as I am; I think they will be really helpful for our future sessions! We know that not all of you have completed the feedback survey yet, so we’d really appreciate if you took 5 minutes to answer ten quick questions! CLICK HERE

The other thing I wanted to talk about is INSPIRATION WEEK (beginning 30th March). I feel like since it’s the end of the academic year it would be a nice moment to talk about our literary inspirations. These could be things we have read or films or plays we have seen that have somehow inspired our writing. Anything from The Simpsons to The Odyssey. I think it would be good to share your inspirations (Youtube clips allowed!) for everyone to see so I thought we could all list 5-10 of our inspirations and email them to gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com so I can share them on the blog next week. How about it? :)

Don’t forget Flash Fiction February submissions remain open till the end of April, so if you want to be in the anthology, get them in soon!

Anyway, one more thanks for being a great wee group during my time as President!

Lots of love

Maria

Release of Fantasy Novel

Dear all,
We have just received an email from Alex Jackson regarding the exciting release of his new fantasy novel, Malkonar. Since I know many of you have a penchant for dragons and fantasy, I have attached his plot synopsis and link to Amazon for anyone that’s interested. Alex has kindly offered to come in to speak to us about the writing and publishing process, which I think would be a great opportunity. Hopefully we will be able to arrange something for the end of May after exams or perhaps in September in the new term. Anyway, here you go:
Set in Northumberland, Malkonar provides a traditional fantasy story with a modern, dark twist.
Synopsis:
Peter Vaughan’s first mistake was to answer the phone and let a malicious voice known only as Malkonar demand he return a seemingly harmless stone to its former home.

His second mistake was to turn him down.

Before he knows it Peter is in a race to uncover Malkonar’s true identity as his pursuit of the stone descends into violence. The truth is worse than anything he could imagine: Malkonar is not a person, but a species. Dragon-like creatures with the power to possess and even consume the minds of others. His only hope of survival hinges on the knowledge of Septimus, a young malkonar he rescued from certain death, but there’s one small problem: he can’t speak English.

More information can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00UGB2WKE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Group Micro-Narrative: The Singstar Sleepover

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by Lousie, Nina, Harry, Nelly and Alyssa.

My sweaty fingers gripped the microphone.

The darkness in front of me is full of whispers.

A vase on the fireplace smashed to the floor, knocked over by some unseen hand.

“Be careful, my mum is never going to let me have a Singstar sleepover again if we make a mess!”

I cried, squinting my eyes and hoping to see.

I can’t believe my friends are making me sing this abomination of a song infront of everyone.

They think it’s a bit weird to have a Singstar sleepover as a forty-year old man, but they’re humouring me because I just emerged from my 27-year coma and still thinks of myself as a child.

I constantly crave ice cream and sweets and I wake up every morning ready to go to school but the mirror doesn’t reflect my mind.

I wanted to invite the kids from my local primary school as they are more my age but the local authorities would not let me.

So instead I ended up with a group of middle.aged men who decided to spice up the singstar sleepover with several cans of beer, which of course I am not allowed to drink, which means I am the only sober one in the group.

Everyone is finally at the point where they’re not really paying attention to me anymore. I’ve been waiting to bring in the Big Guns all night. Luckily my mum kept her phone number all this time.

 

 

750 words…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I found having daily prompts for Flash Fiction Feb really helpful for getting into the habit of daily writing. Now that the month’s over, I’ve returned to an old trick for churning out the ‘daily page’. 750words.com is a great, simple concept, where basically everyday you write a minimum of 750words and the site records your progress and rewards you with badges for fulfilling targets. The cool thing about it is that it also analyses your writing using some kind of metatag-type software, which is a reward in itself as it can be interesting to see what ‘mood’ your writing betrays (to a computer at least!). Anyway, give it a go!

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Secrets & Scandals: Theresa Mac

Announcement time!
Earlier this week we got 2 promotional copies of Theresa Mac’s newly published book of short stories. The books will available for people to read at the meeting and after – if you’d like to borrow one of them to read at home just let us know. They look really exciting and I highly recommend giving them a read!

Blurb from the back:
From the minds of the criminally insane and through the eyes of the victims, Secrets and Scandals takes us on a disturbingly captivating journey of some of the most appalling crimes. Murder, rape, theft and deceit are played out in several short stories written to give you the insight that most of us could never imagine. Unsuspecting victims become prey to these assumingly ordinary people in what can only be described as hedonism by the assailant.

ScandalsSecrets

Theresa Mac is a retired teacher. Throughout her life, she has maintained a keen interest in human behaviour and studied psychology for a short time. Her interest in writing began after writing short stories for her daughter, which are now published. She had a happy childhood in Glasgow and developed an interest in antiquities, art and characters after frequent visits to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which was near her home. She began her working life as a secretary, eventually leading to a career teaching business studies to students with varied backgrounds, which she enjoyed, increasing her interest in human behaviour and inspiring her to write these stories.

Nina x