The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Smooth as a baby's bottom and some fiction - what a life...

I wanted to pass along a bit of an update on the fiction workshop. It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve talked about it and I have a couple of interesting pieces to pass along but before I get into that I think I should follow up on my last post.

I had forgotten that shaving with a safety razor is not like shaving with a double or triple blade system. Needless to say the first attempt left me raw and bloodied and wondering about my decision to go retro with the safety razor…and then I remembered…

As a teenager my dad took me aside when I had the requisite amount of scruff on my face and told me, “I’ve put this off as long as possible because once you start you’ll have to keep it up for the rest of your life. It’s time for you to learn how to shave.” He had this god-awful lemon-lime canned shaving cream – probably Gillette but I couldn’t swear to it – and he showed my how to apply a even layer. Next he showed me how to slide a fresh blade out of the Wilkinson Sword ten pack of blades. He taught me how to open the safety razor, place the blade and tighten the top. Then he showed me how to scrape a brutally sharp strip of metal across my chin and cheek and throat. As I recall, that experience left me raw and bloodied as well.

I had forgotten that to shave with a safety razor is an exercise in finesse. Slow and steady wins this particular race and I’m happy to report that four or five shaves in and I’m no longer hacking my face apart.

On to the workshop –

Two weeks ago we were given a situation from which to build a scene. The premise was as follows:

In point form, construct the series of events that leads to the following scene – include a short characterization of the protagonist and the “inciting incident” that has “…radically upset the balance of forces in the protagonist’s life.”

…she gets up in the middle of the night and cuts off her long braid. She dyes the rest of her blonde hair dark brown, puts on one of her husband’s business suits and turns all the lights in the house off.

OR

She turns all the lights on.

I ended up with a lengthy story of which I am quite pleased. After a bit of polishing I will be sending it out into the world to look for a home so it’s not available in the fiction notebook but last week’s effort is.

Last week was a lot of fun. The exercise came from a premise that if you can’t write jacket copy or a book review for the novel you’re working on then you probably lack enough focus to tell the story effectively. Each of us drew an adjective and a noun at random from separate envelopes. Those two words became the title of an imaginary book for which we needed to write a book review. My title was The Impetuous Shepherd. The book review can be found over at the Fiction Notebook or can be downloaded by clicking here.

There’s some other stuff going on but it’s growing late. I’ll fill you in on the next post.

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