First Entry of 2011 - Complete!!!!

The Mslexia entry is finished at last - editing is completed and it was posted today - 4 days before the deadline.  I have been cutting it very fine, but I have had other factors to consider, and at last it has been completed

Tuesday night, I put my foot down and started typing like a woman possessed (hence the title).  I was determined to make sure I met my first competition deadline of the year and was not about to let sleeping issues beat me. 

I'm actually proud of what I wrote, although it was a violent scene that I am not accustomed to writing.  As such I doubted that I was going to do very well with it, certainly as I was feeling unwell.  But I found that I could type out the scene with relative ease.  Could it be that I have secretly been wanting to write about blood and murder?  Or that I've been reading C.J Sansom books too much (which aren't short of a grisly murder or two) and have been influenced by it?  Or maybe I just knew exactly what I wanted and didn't have to struggle to get it on the page.  It could have been one of these reasons, or all of them, or none of them.  All that matters is I managed to write something that resembles a story, and I tested myself with something new.

Whilst I am entering this story (Now called "The Orca's Lesson" if you are interested, after I decided the original title sounded utterly ridiculous) into the Mslexia competition, I think it has already proven worthy of the efforts that I put into it.  Whilst I doubt it's going to be nominated for any awards, it's pointed out some difficulties that I have created in my character Burkins.  I've developed his cheery personality, and gone some way to deciding his exact appearance, but he needs more depth, and this hatred I have given him needs to be tidied up some more.  Things need some more development before I can let my very endearing little character run loose in his own novel.  Some research into shipping terminology may also be useful.  Thanks to my constant re-reading of Benchley's "JAWS" I have a pretty good idea what a cleat and a transom might be.  But I doubt those two words are going to carry me through a full novel.

I would like to thank those people who have offered me support over the past month in reaching my first objective of the year.  This time last week I was about ready to give up, until my fiance turned to me and told me simply: "You can do it."  It convinced me to look back at the wonderful support you have offered me over the last few weeks in the form of views, comments and followers.  It did a lot for my confidence, and now I have actually achieved something I would like to thank you all once again for following me on my Odyssey so far.  This time last year, I would have picked up the Mslexia leaflet and read it thoroughly, thought: "I might have a go at that." and then do absolutely nothing with it.  It's nice to know that the year has gone off to a good start. 

Additional thanks must go to my boss and one of my colleagues for proof-reading my story.  My boss was disappointed when it ended, and asked some interesting questions.  Maybe Burkins has a second fan!

Before I finish off, I would like to comment about the many different countries that my visitors seem to be coming from.  The blog post before last attracted a record number of views, half of which were from France.  That was a complete, but pleasant surprise! :)

As a reward for my completed story entry, I have treated myself to some Kindle books, one of which was Heartstone by C.J Sansom.  The other two were Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Assassins Creed Brotherhood.  For the next few days I'm going to get back on track with my websites before moving on to the Write Space competition entry.

Until the next update!

HC Clarke :)


  1. Congratulations! I hope you do well. Reading other books definitely does help with writing, in particular with genres you aren't too familiar/comfortable with. I hope you enjoy the books you bought! Romance of the Three Kingdoms can get a bit draggy in some parts but so far it's been a good read overall.
    Then again you might have a different experience as there are two popular translations floating around.

  2. Thank you very much. I have heard the saying before that the best writers are great readers.

    I know I will enjoy them. I am very familiar and fond of C.J Sansom's work, especially the Shardlake series, and I enjoyed the last Assassins Creed book that Oliver Bowden wrote. I have already read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms as I have copies of the books (at an expense of nearly £40) but they are large paperbacks and are difficult to carry around. That's why I bought the Kindle version (at £2.96 - it took some time to get over that price difference). The only real trouble I had were the differences in spelling that I encountered (Lu Bu = Lu Pu, Guan Yu = Kuan Yu, Xiahou Dun = Hsiahou Tun, etc) but once I worked out who everyone was I was fine.

    Thanks again,


  3. Well done for getting your entry in, and with time to spare :) You must be very pleased. I'm excited to hear the results of it.
    That's nice of your boss and colleague - it's always good to get different perspectives.
    I've still not got round to the Shardlake series yet, but I'd like to, mainly because of how fondly you talk of them :P You said you started with Revelation - did it work as a standalone, or should I get the others first do you think?
    Nari X

  4. Hi Nari!

    I was very pleased, particularly because I hadn't been well. I'm not sure how well it will do, but we will see in March. Whatever happens I will not give up on Burkins - this is his first public 'outing.'
    My boss-lady has always been supportive of my writing, as has my colleague Shelly. I would like to offer my work to a fellow writer as I have known others to do, but sadly all my writing friends are fanfiction writers, and live abroad.
    The Shardlake series is fantastic! Revelation I think is the best book to start with. Dissolution has an emotionally draining ending, Dark Fire is the most distressing plotline, and I just don't think Sovereign is much to write home about (you may feel differently). Be prepared to become very attached to Shardlake - I have. Once I have read Heartstone I'll be able to comment on it. Revelation is just...fantastic. I've always been a die-hard Pratchett fan, and when I said that in some ways Sansom was a better writer than Pratchett my mum and fiance almost dialled 999 with the shock.
    When you do read them, let me know what you think.

    HC x

  5. Good luck HC, with the competition and well done for being so diligent. You are an inspiration to us all.It sounds to me like you know your character Burkins well enough. You have to know your main characters almost like you've known them all your life.Rule of thumb I apply is my protagonist may be flawed in some way, whether its merely social ineptitude or he may have or be prone to going off the rails in some way. With my antagonist its good to find and exploit some endearing quality. However, its just my rule of thumb and it may be that I break even my own rules from time to time
    Enjoy your Kindle. I got mine in November and have come to regard it as my 'Ipod'. When I'm not writing my second favourite pursuit is reading.

  6. Hello John,

    Thank you very much for such a wonderful comment. I think perhaps you have been excessively generous calling me an "inspiration," but all the same you made me smile.

    Burkins is actually one of my newer characters if I am honest with you, but he has 'settled in' quickly and I am getting to know him very well. His hatred of the orca is so overpowering that he will break the rules that his entire life is run by to attack them. It's a dramatic flaw, but he is an OTT character.
    Funny you should say that. I call my Kindle "The ipod for bookworms" - nice to know that view is shared,

    Thanks again

    HC x

  7. Good luck with the entry HC!

    I came across you blog by following a link from Nari's blog. I am just beginning to realise the benefits of being in a community of writers - even a blogging one.

    I am also a Terry Pratchett fan. The biggest compliment of my writing life was when a novel I entered into a competition for a dare at university was referred to as being "very Pratchett" by the judges!

    I see from an earlier post you are a deviantArt fan as well? Good to know... my husband is one of the web developers that keeps deviantArt running!

  8. Thank you very much Chloe!

    I have certainly enjoyed the benefits of reviving my blog. I'm not going to pretend that the fact I have got something done this year is not slightly due to the encouragements I have received here.

    I've been a Pratchett fan since I was 12, and now as my cousin pointed out he can't write the books quick enough.

    I'm impressed that you received such a compliment, and it speaks volumes for the good taste of the judges. I have been told that my writing tells people I am a Pratchett fan, which makes me smile.

    I have had a Deviantart profile for about 6 years, but it doesn't interest me the way it used to. Maybe I am growing out of fan-works now...

    Your husband is doing an excellent job - I have only ever complained about last year's April Fools 'joke' in Deviantart.

    Thanks for stopping by,

    HC x


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