Evelyn had been visited by the monster every night since she was ten years old. For three years she had learned many ways to cope. The first coping mechanism was to keep her eyes closed. Seeing was believing and she did not want to believe in monsters. The second was to remain completely still and to pretend to be asleep, so as not to anger the monster. She had learned that the hard way when it had all begun. She had cried and screamed for her mummy to help her, but found only the monsters fist slammed into her face as a response and her mummy never came. The third way to cope was the most important, and that was to go far, far away in her mind. She would visit great places, faraway lands she had read of in books. She would imagine she was a brave heroine saving a troubled kingdom, or a great adventurer trekking through a mysterious forest. But, deep down part of her always remained with the monster as he fed and devoured her.
I suppose it wasn’t the most probable places for an adventure to begin. Who was I kidding? Stood in the ‘returns’ section of Primark I was in dull, boring, mundane hell. It was a little past eleven in the morning on Saturday, the fifteenth of August. The shop floor was chaos, and all I could see was a long line of disgruntled customers seeking to return items. One such customer was severely testing my frayed patience.
“What da ya mean I can’t get a refund?” The customer was a rather large woman, with unruly red hair and a round face which was growing redder by the second. “I wan’ a fookin’ refund!”
I inhaled sharply and seriously considered battering the bitch across the head with the customer service sign on the counter. Sadly, physically harming the customers was frowned upon by HR and I took another deep breath and forced a smile.
“Madam, when ya purchased the underwear you would ‘ave been told we don’t offer returns on underwear. It also states it on ya receipt.” I gestured with a nod of my head toward the pair of lace knickers and the receipt that were clutched in the customer’s hand. “Also, even if we did, the underwear is stained.” The white lace knickers were not exactly white anymore and I swallowed back bile as I looked at the faded brown residue from the customer’s menstrual period, crispy and dry on the knickers.
“It was like it when I bought it!” The woman slammed the crusty knickers down onto my counter, “Ain’t my mess.”
I lowered my gaze down to the knickers, then slowly up the woman’s body. Her clothes were stained and the groin area of her tracksuit bottoms was showing an ever increasing wet patch, spreading down her thighs. I tried not to breathe in through my nose, but I did and the strong smell of ammonia filled me. I really did not get paid enough to be dealing with shit like that.
“Seriously? You’re leaking piss in front of me you numpty!” I grabbed her filthy knickers and shoved them in her face. The woman was aghast, spluttering and cursing me while huffing and puffing. She wheezed as she slammed her hands down on the desk, her red and blotchy face an inch from mine and I watched the knickers slide down her face. I tried to contain myself. I tried willpower. I failed miserably and in a quick motion slammed my forehead down against the bridge of her nose. Yeah, HR would really not recommend that as a means of ‘successfully handling a troublesome customer’.
Ever since I was six years old and writing sequels to the movies I loved to watch, I have struggled with remaining focused on one idea. Over the past few months I have continued working on Evelyn only to find myself hitting wall after wall of frustration. It was during the past week I found out why I was struggling. I was ignoring another idea. This secondary idea’s main protagonist is as far from Evelyn as I could possibly get. While Evelyn is deeply thoughtful and while bruised and scarred, has endless hope and empathy for people, this new idea, this new character is a brash, lower class young woman who swears like a trooper and has a serious grudge against the world. This was why I was struggling to write Evelyn, she was getting swallowed up by this obnoxious yet wonderfully colorful new character.
The idea came to me the other week, but was not yet formed. All I knew was I had a growing desire to honestly represent Britain’s lower/underclass. All too often I was reading books within the fantasy genre where the female protagonists were beginning to all blend into one. Insert female protagonist, has special gift/power/history and fights against it/doesn’t want it/saves the world while all men and women fall hopelessly in love with her due to her ‘unique’ beauty, yet she thinks she is ugly.
So I would like to introduce you all to Melody Kieth, 22 year old worker at Primark who successfully failed all her exams due to not bothering to turn up. Am I creating a stereotype? No, the above does read like a harsh caricature of a lowerclass/under class individual, but as an author I am able to expand on her life. I am able to make her more than first impressions.
The current idea for the title of this novel is called Cuckoo. Melody is a changeling baby, and through a series of events discovers this and is transported to the Fairy realm in order to claim her throne from the human doppelganger that sits upon it. Her general view point of the whole adventure is apathy and that she really does not a shit. She’s not academically intelligent, and by that I mean she did not finish school or study at college level. However she is street smart, very intuitive and intelligent in her own right. I am, as an author and a human being an advocate for not judging a person on their academic achievements.
An idea of some of her colorful language is as follows:
“Look luv, if ya don’t get your stinky maggot breath out me face, I’m gonna kick you so hard your piss flaps will swell into balls!”
“This is some fucked up Harry potter shite.”
“I ain’t wearing no princess fluffy frilly pink crap.”
So, this is why Evelyn is currently on hold. I have Melody in my head. It’s very loud.
I have done very little writing over the past couple of weeks. I thought having my new laptop would push me into over eager excitement when it came to Evelyn & The Shadowman. It has not. I have been reading allot and after reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’, my brain has just caved in. Then I read my good friend, https://chelecooke.wordpress.com/ ‘Teeth’ along side some rp posts by some other friends and am just feeling rather useless. I am not sure I am good enough. Make no mistake, writing is hard and I always knew that and yet, currently the fun has gone. Is that normal? I know I should just start typing and get the rest of Evelyn & The Shadowman down on paper, but I have so many ideas and so many worries nothing is working.
In October I start my second year of university with the Open University, the October module is Creative writing and I had a dream last night in which my writing was given a fail by my university lecturer. This has certainly dampened my mood and I sit here, coffee in hand finding solace in tumblr. The Idea’s are there, the character’s are there but part of me misses being the ten year old girl who wrote, without worry of being criticized.
I am struggling with writing first, editing later. Part of me has always been a perfectionist, a planner, with mild OCD’s when it come’s to my daily life and how I approach things. I am finding it very hard to just write, and not fix errors when I see them, it physically pains me. But there is always a voice, in the back of my head, muddled between the hundreds of character voices, whispering now and again, “You can do better.”
I am my own worst critiquing nightmare. Should I give Evelyn a break and work on something else? Or is that me trying to justify giving up. Writing is hard, but does it being hard mean it should stop being fun?
Evelyn looked up at the archangel. She did not feel safe. No, she felt afraid. Very afraid.
“Am I dead?” She asked.
The archangel slowly tilted his head and examined her, “Not yet. You linger, between.”
“Between what?” She tried to move, but found her legs tightly gripped by a foggy substance. All she could see around her was mist, not the type of mist you get early in the morning. This was more like a blanket, being slowly shook free of dust.
“Life. Death. Everything else.” He began to smile and Evelyn watched as his lips curled up slightly, “You are a curious little thing.”
I did a solid hour of writing today! I have written more previously, but got a important scene down and out of my head, which brought instant relief to the tense muscles that had formed in my shoulders. As I have said before I write backwards. I write the introduction part of the plot, then the ending and then work backwards. I had been suffering self doubt, but zooming out and seeing what I had accomplished while wrangling a child, a university degree and running a home brought a great sense of pride in my accomplishment.
I will celebrate with a coffee and catching up on some reading.
A snippet from the first chapter of Evelyn and The Shadowman. This is the first draft, which for me is all about telling myself the story before editing it for the reader.
She could not move. No matter how she tried, even her bare feet could not wiggle a single toe. She was frozen beneath the immense power of the shadow man, sinking further against the mattress as he pushed her down. She felt his shadowing cold hands snake up her body and was sure they had long talons for nails. Then, his breath her he cold cheek and she clenched her jaw, biting the inside of her cheek to still her fearful moan. There are no such things as monsters. There are no such things, no such things…
His tongue snaked out and she felt its wetness upon her cheek, and through tightly closed eyes tears began to spill until suddenly-
“You’d best be in bed you little shit! Don’t want that teacher telling me you gone and fallen asleep in class again!”
As soon as her mothers slurred and billowing voice carried up the stairs, the weight vanished from on top of her. She heard the soft creek of her bedroom door open and close before the air cleared and she opened her eyes,
“I’m in bed!” She managed to call out, fighting back the growing lump in her throat as she wiped away her tears. Her mother did not answer, nor come up the stairs to check and she heard footsteps below return to the kitchen . Now, alone once more in her bedroom, Evelyn frantically scanned around her stark room and pulled the threadbare blankets to beneath her chin. The Shadow Man was gone. For now.