Time's Eye: FlashFeed & Liverpool Links

A couple of weeks ago I wrote for the Flash Dogs FlashFeed 1.21 the prompt picture (below) proved serendipitous when I later went into the Liverpool Bold Street branch of Oxfam and found the SF novel 'Time's Eye' with a suitably similar sphere on the cover. The book was written by Arthur C Clark and Stephen Baxter. If I hadn't just written for FlashFeed I may have looked past this book. As it happened I didn't.

I've read a few Stephen Baxter books previously including three he wrote with Terry Pratchett ('The Long Earth', 'The Long War' and 'The Long Mars'). I read the first one so long ago (2012) it's not even showing up on my Goodreads. I haven't read Clarke for years, but back when I lived in sepia toned times I loved 'Rendevous with Rama', 'A Fall of Moondust' and '2001',.

I'm two thirds through Time's Eye and I'm loving it - Ghengis Khan is about to go to war with Alexander the Great and some soldiers from the British Raj for the city of Babylon. Of course. I'm certainly glad I took the opportunity to buy the other two books of the trilogy which were in the Oxfam at the time; else I'd no doubt be searching for them forlornly in second hand shops for a while.

TimesEye2 Times Eye

Didn't realise until today that Stephen Baxter is from Liverpool too. Nice that Liverpool has a few links with Pratchett with Josh Kirby, the artist for many of the early Discworld books, coming from Waterloo. Funnily enough one of the few books I've read so far this year was 'The Girl With A Symphony in her Fingers' by Michael Coney; the cover of which was by Josh Kirby (below). Check out some of the artwork from Kirby on the website (click on the Light Fantastic!).

Light Fantastic Girl With The Symphony

NFFD 2018

National Flash Fiction Day 2018 is on June 16th. The closing date for submissions for <100 word pieces is coming up a lot sooner though:

  • it's this Saturday 17th March

So if you fancy the (free) flash competition then dig out some old pieces or write some new ones and get them emailed over to them in the next few days. Click on the banner below to check out all the details.


I wrote three fresh pieces for it and have submitted them today. Two using a couple of my own photos for prompts and one prompt-less!

Coast Yew Tree

Merv P1020862 copy

Real Life in Fiction

I haven't yet decided whether to run with Project Jaipur or Sarah Hughes yet, but I have done a little more thinking about Jaipur. It is (expected) to be a buddy road (well probably rail) movie with beer - okay an epic pub crawl across many miles and days. It would like to grow up to be a comedy, but who knows?

I've already set out the nine chapter headings, which are largely geographically based, and I've the three main characters (and the princely sum of 2769 words down in Scrivener for it).


So it's basically the story about a pub crawl. I should be on firm ground here, right?

I started of thinking I should use real pubs, to almost produce a travelogue that could really be followed. There are several issues with this. For a start I'd need a week or two off to 'research' this which would be costly (if fun) - and the notes each day would get progressively more patchy and scrawly. Of course the way the pub business is things change so fast that by the time the story was finished a couple of the places would probably be closed, have their names changed or at the very least refitted - and the people change all the time - making any focus on real life descriptions pretty pointless.


While as a real ale fan and even more a fan of actual pubs it was quite attractive to make these places real. But in reality it is the story and the characters which matter most. The settings will be important, but they can be totally fictionalised. Should the finished article ever get read by anyone the important thing will be the story not whether the pubs and bars are real places and they could in fact distract the reader if I did a bad job of it.


So whilst I may use some real pubs in my head to set the stories in I'll change the names in all the cases to protect the innocent (and the guilty). This will mean less worrying about getting descriptions 'right' and more focus on getting the story right. When I wrote 'Fergie Time' I had a few real named places in it, but there were a lot less of them than would be in this story and the settings were less important than the narrative.

In summary, with Project Jaipur I have decided that while I will have lots of real venues in mind I'll change all the names. It'll be important to evoke the sense of these venues be they genuine or totally fictitious. Of course there will be plenty of real named places in Jaipur - just not the pubs - let's drink to that.

Over the next week or so I'll be deciding whether to run with Jaipur or Sarah. Looking forward to making the decision and then going with it.


Scriv and NFFD

Not had much chance to get writing in Scrivener yet. Have actually imported the legendary "Fergie Time" into it in case I decide to get back into it at a later date. It was nice and easy to do. So now I have three projects in Scrivener with the decision not yet made on which one to go with. Hoping to make a decision on that over the next week or two; Project Jaipur or Project Sarah Hughes. I think I know which one it will be, but I'll see how a bit more writing on each goes first.

Fergie T - Scrivener
Fergie Time

Have written a first draft of a couple of flash stories for the National Flash Fiction Day competition (theme: Food). Still got a few weeks to iron them out or re-write! Will have to write a few 100 word flashes for it too at some point (closing date is a bit closer - 17th March).


Get Some Writing Done

Not done any writing this week yet, not even a blog update. Ridiculous. Even worse it's not because I've been reading too much - I've only read six books this year. This time last year I'd read thirteen. Motivation has been an issue and a general malaise. I've watched some good TV since the new year (Shetland, Collateral, Endeavour (and some fab Match of the Days thanks to Liverpool)), but that's not the same is it? Worst of all though I've watched some pretty average TV too (Modus anyone?). I'm gonna to get back in to reading instead of TV and get that damn writing habit. First up .. FlashFeed to get on up the FlashDogs ranking (I'm currently a St Bernard don't you know). Woof!


Second up will probably be a story or two for National Flash Fiction Day.

Then I need to get with it and get something going properly on the larger scale; something Scrivener based.

With respect to non-writing skills I got a couple of things I've set myself to learn. With my camera I need to learn to how to use the Time-Lapse function, I always love seeing them things, and I want to make some GIFS just for fun. But first... FlashFeed.

My Goodreads list of Want to Read is getting a little long. Think I may go for the first of the Arthur C Clarke & Stephen Baxter (Time Odyssey Trilogy) books 'Time's Eye' which I bought from Oxfam last week.