Fly me to the moon or Mordor.

Not Mordor, St Michael’s Mount Marazion. Cornwall.

Location. It’s not just a place, it’s a character.

As a child did you have that special place where you hid out in a thunder storm? Or a place you returned to at every opportunity for adventure?

I did. Back in my hometown there is a man-made lake, with a wooden bridge that takes you over from one to the other.

Southport Marine Lake and the Victorian Venetian bridge.

It wasn’t the bridge but what I called the islands. Back in the late 70’s/ early 80’s these where overgrown with bushes and shrubs, that had natural hollow dens inside them. Perfect for the young girl seeking an adventure with her trusty bearded collie.

I convinced myself there were mine, collecting the rare piece of litter that had the audacity to spoil the landscape, hiding from adults and families in the summer, like some lost runaway, with a book under my arm.

I don’t have my own private island (maybe one day!) but the importance of that location is till with me.

We were partners in crime. It held my secrets. It was a huge part of my life every opportunity I had.

When writing location in your stories you need to add the relevance to the main characters., what is it and why are we here.

Make your place feel real, dynamic thinks of the great fiction canon’s, from Wuthering Heights and the moody moors reflecting that of Heathcliffe. The moors set the tone throughout.

The landscape of Modor and the Shire are at odds with each other as they should be because each one involves a different part of the hero’s journey.

Your characters need to react to their location, inhale their surroundings, watch how it challenges them and sense when it’s safe and able to protect them. Location is personal.

Like with every part of your story, flip it! Make it unique!

Not only will your setting change over distance but the same one will change over time.

Has the place you grew up in remained the same? I know mine hasn’t, parts that were important to me have disappeared become shops and fast-food restaurants.

Southport sea bathing lake then.
Southport now.

Research an area, notice the changes and think how has this affected your character? What stories do they have to tell. Has it changed their opinions, their outlook?

Most importantly see the landscape through their eyes.

It doesn’t matter if your place is real or totally made-up. The attention to detail needs to be there. Take a page from Tolkien, and draw out a map for your setting. Add important features or prominent places.

For the August challenge Day Two, think of a place that holds a special meaning to you. Write it down in great detail. Now do the same with your story location, through the eyes of your character.

Whether it’s the moon or Mordor make it memorable.

For more tips on writing go to The Coffeehouse Writer.

The Writer’s Garden.

Have you ever wondered why you seem to be so busy yet you have nothing to show for all your hyperactivity?

Even a child will stop to smell the flowers.

As a writer, it’s easy to get way-laid with inspiration, this is what I believe is the REAL writers block. Not a lack of ideas but too many you loose focus. Each one bringing its own excitement and reason for going down that path.

By taking a minute to evaluate and ‘smell the roses’ see what you have accomplished so far, then stand back and look at the whole garden. You didn’t plant everything in a day, you focused on one area then moved on the next.

The same needs to happen with your writing projects.

Focus on one at a time. Set your goals to complete the project, then treat yourself.

You deserve it!

Then start on the next area, you can still go back and tend (edit and revise) your garden later.

Like all successful gardens it’s about the preparation work, and making sure you take the time to enjoy you achievements once finished.

This way you have a year round garden to enjoy, with completed projects blooming!

Finally, don’t forget gardeners look after themselves too, so take a leaf (sorry!) from their book, enjoy the process of writing, then sit back and relax.

Ps. If you want to remain focused trying sniffing fresh rosemary or rosemary oil, it works wonders!

For more information about 1-1 mentoring and goal setting email : feedback@thecoffeehousewriter.com

Redefining that Sinking Feeling

Image result for get out

 

Get Out.   Dir. Jordan Peel (2017)

Multiple award-winning film, Get Out is marketed as a horror. Immediately I felt like I knew this film. It had the ring of a 70’s B movie, you knew what was coming, the tone was set.

A black man walking a quiet suburban street in the dark of night, distracted on his phone, looking lost. A classic white sports car kerb creeps alongside him, forcing the man to change directions, the car radio is blasting out ‘run rabbit run’. A signal the game is on.

From there it changed and got confusing, it was light-hearted, romantic, a banter existed with his buddy. This section of the film felt like you should be hearing canned laughter and a sign reading ‘filmed in front of a live audience’. Then you twig, this is a satirical take on the expected horror genre, from then on everything that happens falls firmly into this routine of satire.

From the start I had high expectations of this film, that was collecting awards like Rose Armitage had been collecting black boyfriends. Until you realise the true tone throughout, then you will be the one having that sinking feeling of wasting your time. When the light-bulb moment arrives sit back, ‘Get Out’ of your expectations and enjoy!

2nd Draft

Over the last few weeks, I have been editing my 1st draft of my short film, COVET. It had been difficult to incorporate the changes I needed.  I took a few days off, worked on a romcom piece I’m currently researching and writing called CAKE.

Boy was it worth it, as well as having this (in my eyes) amazing romcom falling together, it has given me a fresh breath to tackle the editing and rewrite.

Covert 2nd Draft.

Int. Lindsey’s bedroom – morning

LINDSEY, 18, is getting herself ready for college, checking her industrial tool-box sized make-up before putting the finishing touches to her own make-up, in her stage style mirror. She is constantly texting,her BFF KATY, also 18 about meeting up, Katy Perry is playing on her phone. Loud.

Lindsey

(singing)California gurls

We’re unforgettable

Daisy dukes

Bikinis on top

Sun-kissed skin

So hot

We’ll melt your Popsicle

INT. LOUNGE  – MORNING

Mum bangs on the ceiling with a walking stick.

MUM

shut the fuck up with that noise

INT. LINDSEY’S BEDROOM – MORNING

LINDSEY

      yeah whatevs

Lindsey puts her headphones in her ear and phone, checks herself in mirror, collecting her bags she gives a look at her posters.

LINDSEY

(quietly to herself) One day, Katy, One day, I’ll have  what you do.

She checks her room, it’s tidy. Lindsey closes her bedroom day, takes a deep breath and goes down the stairs into the lounge.

INt. lounge  – morning

Lindsey climbs over the mess, pushing piles of laundry to one side so she can put her make-up box down.

LINDSEY

(muttering) bloody house stinks

MUM

ya, got sumat to say hun? ya could always get of ya fat arse and give us a fucking ‘and!

LINDSEY

Ain’t my fuckin’ mess is it?

DAD

oi! don’t you be speaking to yer mam like that, an’ why do ye’ ave to wear so much shite on yer face? eh?

LINDSEY

Seriously? you gonna complain about my face.

Lindsey shakes her head in dismay and storms into the kitchen.

Int. Kitchen – morning

Lindsey puts the grill on and gets the sausages out of the fridge, dancing across back to put them under the grill. One headphone hanging loose she is still listening to her pop idol, dancing around gathering what she needs to make a sausage butty.

She starts to tidy up the kitchen while waiting then gives up when she realises how bad it is.

DAD(shouts from lounge)

put kettle on Linds.

Lindsey glances at the kettle, makes herself a drink, then empties the rest of the hot water away.

She finishes making her butty, and goes into the lounge with her travel mug of coffee and butty.

INT. LOUNGE  – MORNING

Back in the lounge and LINDSEY’S PARENTS are sitting on the sofa watching breakfast tv, they argue with each other over the news.

DAD

Can ya believe this? eh? so called celebrity wages! that’s not a wage

MUM

what would you know what a wage is?

DAD

I bloody well used to get one on docks.

MUM

for sitting in a ffn chair all day

DAD

more than you bleedin’ ‘av ever done.

MUM

I had ‘er dint I? (pointing to Lindsey)that were enuf.

DAD

where’s my brew?

LINDSEY

in the kitchen where d’ya think?!

DAD

you’re an ungrateful little bitch, maybe it’s time we kick ya out an’ let ya fend for yerself

MUM

(laughs) yeh like that would ‘appen.

LINDSEY

omg! i look after myself now, dint see you gettin’ my breakfast eh? call yourself parents? thats a fucking joke…

MUM

you’re more than big enough to get your own food.

Mum nods towards Lindsey hinting at her weight, while puffing on a cigarette.

DAD

(laughing) ha! ya good one, eh Linds, you not gonna starve ar ya.

LINDSEY

maybe there will be a program about parenting you can watch

She looks over to the tv, the breakfast show is on.

MUM

fuck off, told ya don’t be speaking to me like that, you’ll be bloody grounded.

LINDSEY

yeah whateva!(muttering)just do one!

Lindsey grabs her bag and her make-up box, as her parents continue with the name calling, and makes her way to the front door, breakfast in hand.

ext. Lindsey’s house to bus stop – morning

Lindsey opens the door as her phone beeps, she drops her bag to check out the message.

Phone screen-

Congrats Lindsey! Really g8 audition,Cant w8 2 c u in the house 2moro. The Our House Team.xxx

LINDSEY

Woooh! Yess!!! ohmigod!!

Lindsey sticks her head back in the house and shouts to her parents.

LINDSEY

Im outta here tomorrow, so you can stick your fucking house and grounding shit.

She slams the front door shut, picks up her things walks down the overgrown path and walks the short distance to Katy’s house.

KATY’s House

Katy’s house is an ex-council property, its well maintained with hanging baskets out front, and a cutsie welcoming sign hanging above the front door. Lindsey knocks, and waits. Katy’s Mum, ElAINE, early 50’s opens the door.

ELAINE

Lindsey! hello dear, have you had breakfast? come on in.

LINDSEY

morning Mrs Crompton, I’m okay ta, sorry, thanks. Is Katy ready?

ELAINE

nearly, go on through to the kitchen

Lindsey goes through to the kitchen, Katy’s home is tidy clean and her parents are what you expect parents to be.  Katy is sat at the dining table with her dad, finishing a cup of tea and toast. Lindsey leans on the worktop. She nods toward the front door to Katy.

KATY

give me a min. Daaaad…

Katy’s dad

yes princess?

Katy gives him her best smile, head tilted

KATY

any chance you lend me some money please, I err need to get this textbook for college.

KATY’S DAD

Sure princess, how much? £20 be enough?

KATY

(looking at Lindsey smiling, winks) Yeah thanks Dad, that’s great.

Lindsey rolls her eyes, knowing full well this is for Katy’s smokes. Katy takes the money, kisses her dad bye, hugs her mum, grabs her bags from next to the front door and shoves Lindsey out before her.. They walk to the us stop.

EXT. katy’s House to Bus stop – day

KATY

whats up with your RBF today? ‘rents again?

LINDSEY

what else. But fuck ’em! I’m in! I got in!

KATY

What?! really when? omg thats so fuckin’ ace!​ We are gonna have so much fun. Paaaarrtty!

LINDSEY

I know! have you heard anything yet?

KATY

(checking her phone) nothing yet,sure it will be soon. yeah?

They join the queue at the bus stop, Katy changes the subject, showing physical boredom with it.

KATY

so what ya got today?

LINDSEY

test on eyebrows (wiggling hers)

The girls laugh, the bus arrives and they finish their conversation sitting

int-  On the bus – day

KATY

think you got that one covered, I’ve got a resit in head massage, I mean how can you go wrong swear that ole bag had it in for me

LINDSEY

think it might have been you din’t notice she had a wig on? (laughs)

KATY

omg that was scary! I mean it was so real, till it started to slip!

LINDSEY

well when we are famous we wont have to worry about things like that, someone else will doing our hair who is not a student.

KATY

sooo glad I don’t have to let them touch my hair now (flicks her hair out)

Katy’s phone beeps a message. The girls look at each other.

LINDSEY

C’mom quick!!whats up?

KATY

(reading from her phone)We thought u were g8 but not a fit with the other house mates this year’ You got in an’ we hang out! joke!

LINDSEY

well i’ll have to win for both of us now,then won’t I.

KATY

yeah, so you’re gonna need a game plan now i’m not to there to help you.

LINDSEY

seriously, I got it covered. I won’t let this change us

KATY

Don’t be get soft on me,no way you gettin’ rid of me tho’. so plan?

LINDSEY

maybe i’ll get my v-card swiped.

KATY

(shock then pride on her face) that’s my girl! I can be your PR girl on the outside, OMG this will be amazing!

 Lindsey catches the headline on a passegers newspaper, saying her pop idol has a stalker and received death threats.

EXT. Reality show house  -night

LINDSEY has just pulled up with KATY in a limo and is ready to enter the house, she has to give interviews first. katy stands next to her. Camera lights flashing, media crew are all facing a temporary mini stage.

LINDSEY

Just wanna say thanks to my mate Katy, for supporting me tonight, even though she dint get in ‘erself. This is gonna be awesome, an’ make me an’ Katy someones when I win.

The crowd cheer her on as the rest of the house mates say Hi to the media. Lindsey hugs Katy, crying and goes inside.

KATY gives an interview once LINDSEY has gone

Reporter

Katy, do you know how Lindsey intends to win?

KATY

Yeah, of course I do, I’m ‘er best mate. She is gonna pop her cherry (laughing)

ext.Reality Show house – night

Lindsey is playing table tennis outside with a young male, DECLAN,19, they are laughing and flirting.

V.O.

it’s day 6 in the house, and Lindsey is getting cozy with Declan, will she tell him what we already know?

Declan and Lindsey get cozy in her bedroom after lights out. All that is hear is muffled giggling.

INT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT

Katy is out clubbing with friends

KATY

yeah, Lindsey’s like me sister. We’ve grown up together. well when I was there at the house, I told the papers, what she was doing. It was my idea, totally.

barman arrives with a tray of drinks

KATY

wooh! party! yeah great more free drinks. To Lindsey!

EXT. REALITY SHOW HOUSE  -DAY

Lindsey leaves the house with Declan as joint winner. The MEDIA go wild to speak with LINDSEY after her special performance in the house.

REPORTER

Lindsey! how did Declan take the news of you publicly wanting to lose your virginity to win?​

Lindsey looks over to Declan, he drops her hand and walks away visibly shaken and upset.

REPORTER

Does Declan leaving Lindsey, mean he didn’t know about this?

Its now Lindsey’s turn to look shaken

LINDSEY

sorry, I… I err  no he didn’t, (she stuttered then sees Katy, egging her on) (more confidently) But hey, where’s the fun in that eh? (laughs)

Her new AGENT takes her to one side. Katy Perry Part of Me playing in the background.

AGENT

well done Lindsey, we have got lots for you to do, lots of offers for interviews on the table, and they are all paying.

LINDSEY

Fantastic!

Lindsey hugs her agent, and waves Katy over while winking at nice guys in the crowd.

Int. nightclub – night

LINDSEY is dancing with KATY, a few hangers on are with them it’s obvious the friendship with Katy is not as strong. Katy goes to the Bar on her own.

KATY

hiya, can I have a couple of those orange and yellow cocktails we had before, it’s for Lindsey, you know? just won Our House?

INT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT

Another night out. LINDSEY is partying with her friends from the house included DECLAN who forgave her. KATY is not invited.

INT. Restaurant – night 7.50pm

Katy arrives early at a posh restaurant to meet Lindsey for Katy’s birthday.

KATY

hi yeah a table for two booked under Lindsey Terry.

front of house

right this way. would you like a drink while you wait?

KATY

Please, can I have a (she looks around the room, of mostly older couples) a large red wine please.

FRONT OF HOUSE

certainly.

FOH leaves Katy. She brings back a glass of wine , which Katy sips. KATY is still sat in the restaurant waiting twenty minutes have passed, Lindsey is not answering he phone. Looking out the window she notices a crowd going into the nightclub.KATY then notices LINDSEY is with the crowd

INT. RESTAURANT – NIGHT – 8.08PM

KATY picks up a knife from the table and put it in her handbag.she waves over a waiter.

Katy

(angry) Can I pay for this please?

The waiter nods, and takes payment, Katy calmly leaves the restaurant.

EXt. Street – NIGHT

KATY walked calmly to the nightclub and joined the short queue, her handbag clutched tightly to her side.

KATY(to the bouncer)

Hey, I’m with Lindsey, we were here together the other night?

He nods, and lifts the rope for her to get in.

INT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT 8.25pm

KATY sees LINDSEY across the dancefloor,ironically Katy Perry Chained to the Rhythm is playing. Katy see’s Lindsey and approaches her. She taps LINDSEY on the shoulder. LINDSEY turns, sees KATY and is shocked.

LINDSEY

err Katy, Hi, I err tried to call, did you get my messages?

KATY

No, arh, don’t worry.

 KATY goes in to hug her and stabs her with the knife in the back.

INT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT 8.25PM

The nearby crowd scream when they see blood and the knife. LINDSEY finally understands what is happening. KATY takes a step back as the doormen arrive on the scene.

Leaving-

So we had to write an opening about two people leaving each other…

So we had to write an opening about two people leaving each other. Immediately I thought like most people would, of a relationship ending. But then I thought, what if the leaving was only temporary, who would hurt the most? I came up with this…

INT. KITCHEN- TABLE -MORNING

A young girl, MACY, 6,  sits at the dining table, her head in her hands, elbows resting on the table, while her legs swing faster and faster as her dad talks to her. The radio is on in the background.

PETE

I have to go to work

MACY

but I don’t want you to!

Her father PETE, bends down at the table, sitting on his heels, he moves her cereal bowl away, and copies her actions, head in his hand, elbows on the table.

PETE

darling, I really don’t want to travel either

 

Macy doesn’t move, she refuses to look at him

Pete sticks out his tongue at her. She moves her head to face the other way, but peeks through her fingers at him.

Pete pulls a funny face, Macy lets a small giggle escape, then pulls herself tighter. Pete is not giving up, he checks his watch then catch’s a tune on the radio.

He starts to dance around the kitchen table, arms wafting in the air, he scoops the mop up in his arms continuing to dance with his new mop partner. He dips and waltzes on, he keeps watching his daughter for a reaction.

Still not ‘watching’ she moves around the table, peering through her fingers. Her legs swing slower.

Pete starts to jive, then dancing like Beyonce her reaches for Macy’s hand.

She pulls it away, but drops her hands now to watch him. A smile sneaking up on her face. Her legs have stopped swinging.

Pete puts the mop down, spins like Michael Jackson, and goes in for her chair. Struggling he picks up Macy still in the chair, and lifts in on to the table.

She is now giggling at him.

PETE

ouch!

he rubs his back, this makes her laugh out.

Pete stands up straight, he holds his hand out for her again

PETE

My princess Macy, would you care to dance?

 

Macy giggles, her eyes already dancing, accepts his hand.

 

MACY

Yes, silly daddy

 

She jumps off the table into his arms as he whirls her around the kitchen table. He pretends to trip over the mop, and apologises to ‘her’. Father and daughter continue their waltz.

After the song has finished Pete puts Macy down standing, and kneels in front of her.

PETE

I know you don’t like it princess, but it’s only two nights this time

 

Macy nods.

MACY

I know daddy, it’s just I miss you when you’re gone

 

PETE

how about next time, you come with me, and we can dance on the beach?

 

Macy nods again, tears and snot falling, she wipes them all away with her sleeve.

Pete gives her a hug, she wipes more snot and tears on his shoulder

 PETE

c’mon, then let’s get you ready for school then

Holding hands they leave together.

Brainstorming!

I had to include this video from the Imagination Movers, as well it fits, it used to be a favourite in our home when my kids were smaller.

As a woman of a certain age, who has spent a fair bit being a single parent and working jobs that fit around school, I have an eclectic CV, that includes geriatric care, nursery teacher (both very similar), publican, business consultant, archaeologist and retail assistant and bouncer plus so many more.

I have studied tourism, history, International peace-keeping,  science, literature  archaeology, forensics and writing all at higher levels. My interests are as vast and varied as the British Library index list.

I have traveled and moved throughout the UK, lived and shared my life with so many different people that I have notebooks full of tit-bits of character traits, dialogue, location descriptions, and general ideas.

For me, ideas come from being a participant in life, not just an observer, of which I also do, but also from joining in, taking part. Method-writing if you like. While to start with these experiences were not all intentional writing fodder, that is indeed what they have become. My diaries, news cuttings and memories, to Facebook and other social media accounts, from riding an early morning bus filled with a mix of school kids, commuters and oaps getting to the shops early. As I embrace writing, I always have at least my phone with me to record observations and overhearing, if not a notepad and pen.

This illustrious scribbling may not always makes sense but that’s the point. These are ideas, the first step in a chain reaction. Who cares if they are used or not, but at least they are being generated and kept for that possible future time when they shout loud enough for attention.

On a side note, I have found ideas also come from copious amount of coffee and red  wine, the latter sometimes incomprehensible but all the same still worth jotting down.

In the words of Shelly…

Adieu! take care of yourself; and, I entreat you, write!