Nothing like a five-year old manuscript

sea-mist

 

I am working on this “draft” (of drafts) again. It says I last worked on it in 2016, the first words go back to 2011, which I find both curious, and almost desperate. The plot is vague, the characters unbelievable, well, not so deep anyway. Yet I find this important, even vital: retracing these steps, pausing on the good bits, not yet editing but planning to.

This project was, at the time, very time consuming. I looked for every opportunity to work on it, despite… a rather busy life. And, now, I really want to turn it into something worth reading, not just by me, but even by others too. There is something in the story I find, again, puzzling. I think it is the geography of the thing, its way to send the characters… maybe where they want to go. Not so random.

Shitty first drafts

“Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

Peedeel's Blog

Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits…

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Reaching #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

twilight

 

“So we are back”, you said in a tone of voice void of emotions. But I knew better: “back” meant we had failed, together, to adapt to a different life, to create the new, to be reborn. Yet this was our home, the naked ground where we belonged. Even the barren trees were part of us, a befitting reminder of the winter of our souls.

“We’ll find a ruin somewhere, do it up, settle down…” I added, hopeful.

“I love those clouds, and then I am here, still, with you!” You replied with a smile, “I thought we should never regret a failure, the important thing, was to have tried.”

“I knew you would understand,” I said, fixing you, as you were reaching for my hand, “Together we are strong, as strong as ever.”

Of a broken box and a small town

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In the past two weeks my writing output (I did not want to say “literary”) was badly affected by the collapse of my old Mac, bought in 2009. This was the tool for my writing before and after a first (disk) failure, back in 2018. I was then lucky enough to find a local expert (in Gesundbrunnen) to fix it, without loss of anything. So its life was extended by about a year. Ha! the anxiety, those precious manuscripts! I have now bitten the bullet, and got a so-called refurbished recent version of the same, so that I can now, for a while, avoid the usual trap of “too old to be updated etc.” Hence new MacOs and new virus protection. Even an updated version of Scrivener. Sigh… The “migration”, although assisted courtesy Apple™, was an experience… It’s all there as far as I have been able to ascertain, so far. I am now full of enthusiasm, and I am even considering a major reconstruction of my first novel, still languishing on the Cloud (more about this for another post).

In the meantime, on a beautiful and cool Sonntag we have discovered another treasure of Brandenburg, the town of Eberswalde. Treasure because of the location (slightly north-east of the city of Bernau by Berlin, and easily accessible with the regional train, well designed for carrying lots of bicycles), along two beautiful canals, the Finowkanal and the main Oder to Havel canal. Superb riding country, much loved by cycling enthusiasts all year round. The Finowkanal is on its length the site of magnificent industrial buildings in ruins, notably a paper mill dating back to the XVIIth century (and still working in 1991 when the vultures came in), and an electricity generation plant. This inspired me to write about it, and seek its history.

Now let’s go back to work!

Image: old paper mill in Eberswalde, source: Technikdenkmal in Eberswalde

Eberswalde bei Wikipedia.de

Destination #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

foggy-morning-019

 

You are now so close: and you know I am waiting.

The certainty to find me, at the end of this road, your destination.

You know, all that time I have been waiting, since the day, that day, when you left.

Many pages I wrote since then. Many books I read. Many cities I travelled to.

Many others I met.

Yet I too was certain: one day you would walk this tree-lined road, to find me.

Alas, much I have changed, as I know you have.

All these years, away, without each other.

And now, the end of the road, our destination.

Clarity #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

clarity

 

Once we walked along this shore, through these dunes, you and I, hand in hand, when the world was young.

Now, our children stand tall and strong, and they and their mates look just like us, as we were.

So you see, dear love, despite all the mistakes, sometime the doubts, we saw through our future with much clarity, as the waves told us we would, once, there, along this shore, long ago.

Castle #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

castle

 

This is your place, your home, far away, inaccessible. The lake is deep, a secret within many secrets. History has passed this castle by, and you, live on. In those dark waters, perhaps, lies a clue. But I will never know.

I cannot see you, except in one of those winter dreams. Silent, how can I be sure you notice me? You watch out, across those clouds, beyond our world, beyond eternity. Only now, only now I have lost you, do I understand who you are.

You, my love, in the castle.

Open #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

thresholds

 

She had received the invitation just two days before. She knew the place, it had a rather dark reputation. But then, one had to chose: the appeal of the dark side, or the fear of the unknown. This was an old house, surrounded by ancient trees. She was not surprised the entrance door was open. There was no sound, no sign of any presence.

The letter had just said the owner would welcome the opportunity to show her the property, as a prospective buyer. So she was. How he – but was it a “he”? – knew that, was a puzzle.

In front of her was a long corridor. Rays of light, it was early summer, pierced through the darkness. Old wood, old walls. The air was cool, a faint smell of decaying roses and beeswax…

When she heard the voice, she knew: it wasn’t a he, “she” was the owner. The witch of her childhood, the shadow of her dreams. The voice was sweet, sweet as poison, coercing her to enter, to walk the long corridor, to meet “her”.

She knew where she was waiting, she’d seen the scene many times in her dreams. The house was open, but there was no return. She had to meet her fate, the fire, the ecstasy, her slavery. As a little girl she had known: there was no escape.

Forgotten #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

forgotten

 

No, we haven’t forgotten: through this gate we walked, you and I, when the wall was new, the grass so green, and the sky so clear. We believed, the future was a wide alley, bordered with roses, your hand in mine, our eyes to the horizon.

Then came the clouds, and the blizzard, metal locusts. I held the shield high, and you were safe. That haven would not be taken. But outside, down in the valley, beyond the wall, the hordes of demons attacked, days after days. We could no longer breath, they scorched the earth, killed everything. The companions and I retreated, and stood by the gate.

There we died, one by one, till the sea of Evil receded. The last one who stood tall, alive, you know. He’s your Lord now, a Saint, in shining armour.

I, haunt these woods, remembering the day, when we crossed the gate.

Choices #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

small-3

 

“This is only an exercise”, he kept repeating to himself. But he knew that the exhaustion was catching up with him. He still had everything: the map, the compass, enough water, and the grains of black pepper. Black pepper… They’d told him that it would keep him going for miles… So he’d walked all night, and the day before, and the day before that. According to the map he’d already gone for nearly seventy miles, through woods, cañons and swamps. And the bag, the awful bag, some forty kilos of spare clothes and gear…

He also knew he would soon have to kill. Anything. To eat. For in front was the valley, and then he would have to go up, to climb. Now was morning, it would take him some twelve hours or more to reach the hills. He would have to rest, just long enough. Perhaps this was when he would get ambushed. No paintball then, no Sir. Just knives.

He thought back, his school friends, the barracks, at the time he thought it would be a good idea, to become a tough guy: he had choices, but, really, he wasn’t made for this.