Ready, Not Ready

I've not been entering many flash fiction challenges lately (not counting VSS365 as a challenge per se) but have done the odd Microcosms over the last three or four months. I was working on Friday but it was a late start so I wrote a quick story before heading to work and found out the judge chose mine as the top one this morning. So a nice start to the day. Normally the winner would take on the judging the following week, but as I'm doing NaNoWriMo and I'll be curating VSS365 this weekend I've asked to put back my judging duties to another month (which has graciously been accepted - thanks Geoff!).

If you're looking at a <300 word challenge on a Friday then head on over to Microcosms some time (preferably on a Friday).

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I've got #VSS365 sorted now. The first ten words are in the scheduler and good to go. I think I'm largely happy with the words, but hell I dare say there aren't many words we couldn't or wouldn't want to work with (probably words Trump uses). I'll have to see whether I get to change any of the words in the daily tweets. May be best to just keep it simple. After all you're all just wanting to know what the one word is...

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So, I'm ready with regard to VSS but I am far from ready with respect to NaNo. I've sketched out some ideas, but boy there's a lot of question marks about how it will go and a damn load of space to fill. Whilst I've done it once before and completed it I think I am less confident about this attempt due to the existing woolliness. We shall see how it works and whether it will come together over the coming weeks. Good luck to all who are giving it a go.

I have sorted the images for next four bands and singers for #ClassSongOfTheDay which will save some time later in the month and today I've updated the CSOTD2 page with the songs for this week from the mighty slide of Ry Cooder. If you like some fab guitar slide on over and listen to some great tunes.

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The Ghost of a Skeleton of a Plan

Began reading the classic Jules Verne 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' today (my 30th book of the year according to my Goodreads reckoning). It's my lovely Folio copy too. You've got love a folio book, they do a beautiful job. I'll hopefully finish reading it before November and NaNo begins, because more writing time will eat into potential reading time.

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Thinking about losing reading time to help me complete NaNoWriMo is one thing, but this morning I found myself spending over an hour on Twitter retweeting and sending Tweets out on all sorts of matters from Hi-Vis vests to Putin and the Liverpool Echo - and of course VSS365. I mean all sorts. Now with an hour and half that time could be spent on writing and achieve the 1667 words per day - with just that time alone. Cutting my Twitter time in November could be a fantastic.... so of course I am curating #VSS365 aren't I. Just the way it's fallen. I'll be making sure the Tweets go out every day and will keep a little eye on it whilst I'm out and about, but when I'm back home I'm gonna have to be writing, so I may not be able to be quite as hands on as the wonderful Roz has been in October. Apologies in advance, but I'm sure you understand.

Basically if I lose 30 mins of Twittering and 60 mins of watching TV time then that's all the time I'll need if the story flows.

This morning and early afternoon I've been looking at my NaNo story for November, trying to sketch out the skeleton of it a little. It is only a skeleton of a skeleton. In fact more like the ghost of a skeleton and needs a bit more work to allow me to run quickly with it once November arrives. But my aim for today and tomorrow now is to sketch out the three main characters and I think that this in itself will help develop the ideas for the story. I know once I start it'll end up running its own course. But having only a month to write it I need a framework to hang it around. Doesn't mean you do, if you're going for NaNo. But for me, this year, it does.

You'll be able to follow how I'm getting on with NaNo on my blog here (and on Twitter no doubt) and if you fancy giving #VSS365 a go then check out the hashtag on Twitter or if you want you can follow me @zevonesque

Anyway, nows I'm just about ready to head out with my notebook and a pen when I'll sketch out a character and have a beer or two. It's okay the setting will help with the theme. Hoping Liverpool will go top of the league with a win against Cardiff this afternoon. It's one of those rare nights when the Liverpool match is not on the TV; a shocking state of affairs.

Cheers!
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Keeping Up With The Class

Have had an hour or so updating the Class Song Of The Day song list and now have the next 33 songs all selected and raring to go. In addition the bands and singers are all lined up as far as the new year. The next bloody year, people! 2019, my word.

So I now know that there will be songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s - and even THIS century. Incredible.

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The CSOTD page is looking mighty fine already, but will look even better once the next ten bands are up there too.

I've spotted a few gaps so have some bands ready for next year. Like I say, bloody hell.
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Mr Popular (Temporarily)

With a week to go until I take the temporary reins of VS365 from Roz she kindly sent a Tweet out yesterday and today suggesting the VSSers out there follow yours truly to ensure they don't miss out on any prompts in November. That has led to a ridiculous surge in my popularity on Twitter with about 125 new followers in just over a day! I would be quite overcome if it wasn't that I knew it was just my prompts you were after. But it certainly shows how popular the little hashtag has become out there; from little acorns and all that. Anyways you'll see my #VSS365 #prompt from next week either by following me or just searching for #VS365 and clicking on 'latest'. At the moment I have them scheduled for 06:30 UK time (which will be GMT I suppose after Saturday night's clock change).

I'm sure come December 1st I'll be losing some 125+ followers too. If you do stay then great. Either way it's nice to meet you all. As I've said in previous posts I'm doing NaNoWriMo in November too - just happenstance - so I may fail completely in reading and commenting all your VSS tweets, so apologies in advance for that. Any of you VSS guys and gals doing NaNo too? If so, best of luck to you.

Keep writing and enjoying it.



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Class Songing and Scheduling

Have updated the website with this week's song links for the wonderful John Hiatt. Only seen him once live, down in that there London far too many moons ago. Would like to see him some more.

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And I found that second Twitter scheduling site. I use Buffer for Class Song of the Day and for free you can only schedule a maximum of 10 Tweets; with me needing to schedule 30 Tweets for VSS365 next month I needed to find a second site to do the scheduling - or else I'd have to log in and just do five of each (ie every five days). With going for NaNo this year every bit of time saving and general assistance is a god send. Trying out a little used one. Will see how it does, I won't name and shame it until I know if it works properly and if it does I will sing its praises of course (maybe it'll come in handy for someone else). I've scheduled the first ten words already. So watch Twitter at 06.30am on November 1st to see if it works - and maybe give it a whirl.

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NaNo and VSS365 Double Header

Been doing a little planning for next month's NaNo attempt. Unlike in 2016 when I just used Pages on my MacBook I'll be using Scrivener. It'll be interesting to see how it helps. It certainly should as far as planning and sketching out some ideas and the view for distraction-less working is nice.

This morning I transferred some background info about the settings into the 'Places' folder in Scrivener. So far that is basically some headline words rather than any detail - in fact I haven't put anything in yet about Unique Features, Sights, Sounds etc but the standard sheets in the folder could prove quite useful to consider to help focus on the writing when it comes to November rather than looking things up on the inter web and all that (and the inevitable distractions that will bring).

Talking of distractions I'm hoping it's not bad timing for me being in charge of the words for #VSS365 in November. It may well mean I can't read and reply as much as I would like to all the contributions, which is a bit of a shame. I may also have to find another automatic Twitter timetabling programme as I currently use Buffer to upload the link to my daily song every morning (Class Song of the Day). If I use this then I will have to log in and put the links in every five days instead of ten (you can only schedule 10 messages on a free basis), which will be a bit of a pain. Will see if I can find another free (and easy) way of uploading the message each morning - of course I could go 'Old School' and just type it out each morning when I get up... How old fashioned? But then the messages would potentially go out at rather random times.
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NaYesWriMo 2018

I've decided to give NaNoWriMo a go this year. Hoping I can make enough time to do it It's one of those things where you've got to keep going at it, as 1667 words a day sounds fine but if you miss a couple of days you've got 4800 words to find, so it can suddenly get quite daunting if your not careful.
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I've only tried once before and I found it okay with a relatively straightforward format. It was totally linear and in effect by compartmentalising it I could write it in ten bite sized chunks as if I was writing ten 5000 word short stories. I managed it anyway and 'Fergie Time' exists. I've had a couple of people read it and it largely held together pretty well considering it was written in a month. It does have fundamental issues though - it includes real people in imagined situations, which may have legal issues... Anyway, we'll see I do intend to finish it, even if it only every gets read by a few friends and family. But in the meantime I have NaNoWriMo 2018 to be getting on with.

This one will have only fictitious people and venues (albeit in real cities) so I shouldn't have any of the potential legal considerations this time. I had a couple of options for running with including Project Jaipur and Project Sarah Hughes or even expanding the short story from the recent DeadCades short story into a full length story. In the end I've opted for Project Jaipur now as 'To Hull and Back: A Wobbly Odyssey'. It's set as an epic comic odyssey across seven towns and cities and in some ways can therefore be similarly compartmentalised into effectively 7-10 sections or short stories.

So now I'm in the process of planning the chapters and set pieces and identifying the main characters, though once the story telling gets going next month heaven knows where it will arrive.

Here's to 50,000 words in 30 days. And a fun time.

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Zevonesque Prompt Takeover Extravaganza

It is great to see how popular #VSS365 has become on Twitter and as Roz Levens gets well into the second week of her prompts it is fast approaching my turn; as I have the privilege of picking the prompts for November. So today I've selected my 30 words for the 'Zevonesque Prompt Takeover Extravaganza' and looking at them I think you VSSers should find them all easy and varied enough to come up with some boss stuff. I'm not giving anything away by saying they range from a measly three letters up to a whacking ten letters long. I'm also kinda thinking you'll not require a dictionary or thesaurus for any of them.

Looking forward to seeing what you'll do with them.

In the meantime, enjoy the next two and half weeks of Roz's - whilst I keep an eye on them to check if she has picked any of my words. If she does then I have a few choice ones in reserve.
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A Wee Flash Outing and Some Thinking

As the days grow colder and shorter and the grey cloud blanket envelops the days we must enjoy the rare blue autumn days when they come along. This week that was Wednesday. And now Friday is upon us and the weekend is almost here we are in for rain and wind, or wind and rain, apparently. I suppose it makes you appreciate those moments of low sun beauty all the more, but a fifty-fifty split would be better than 1 day in 7 please.

In the early hours of this morning the wind began to whip up, getting especially loud around 6am, waking me up on my day off. It was bound to happened for I am working Saturday and Sunday and today is therefore my weekend. I normally pick one day of the weekend to have off and try and coincide it with the Liverpool game (which 8 times from 10 is on the tellybox), but this week there is no Premiership. Yes, it is the second worse two word combination in the English language: 'International Break' (the most dreaded being 'Rail Replacement'). The day hasn't got any lighter since 7am this morning yet and the forecast suggests it won't. I'm hoping Saturday and Sunday will be slightly better than this for work. I can but hope.

Today I've done a Microcosms (300 word) challenge, which is the first time for quite a few months I think (though time seems a more fluid concept than usual at the moment).

I am going to try and write every day of the remainder of the year and whilst this is only 300 words it's a start. I've also to consider whether 30 of those remaining days will include doing NaNoWriMo and, if so, which of the ideas to run with. Got about two weeks to decide and get some plans in place. I know I've been watching TV too much lately and an hour or so less of that (if the plans are defined enough) should provide the time required to write the 1667 words a day (or a good proportion of those).
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Freeing those Gigabytes

Tonight I've managed to delete another 1250 photos and I've now got 8GB more free space on my hard drive than I did four weeks ago (from 52.6 to 60.5GB). Can't be bad. I've now gone from 54k photos to just under 47k.

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I need to delete some more, perhaps get it down to 40k photos, which should give me a very healthy additional c.10GB space. Huzzah! Then there's the thorny question of creating and managing some bloody substantial photo albums so I can find stuff when I need it. Maybe, one day.

After a nice day in the sun today I even managed to take a couple of photos for #DailyDeliveryPhoto Just need to put them up on Twitter now.

Oh, and I've also lined up another 7 days worth of #ClassSongOfTheDay for next week with some fab classic songs (well 1980s).

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Giant's Farewell

I was off on Friday so took the chance to go hunting for Xolo and the young boy Giants in Liverpool's 2018 Giant Spectacular: Dream.

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These humongous marionettes are something else. It's difficult to describe how good they are if you haven't seen them for yourself (a bit like trying to describe what Glastonbury Festival is like to someone who's only ever been to V or Reading). The point is they are incredible and the who shebang that goes with it makes it seem more than the sum of its parts. Liverpool is lucky enough to have had three visits now from these wacky French guys and of course we had La Princesse (the amazing spider) too.

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Last time they were here was the summer and a ridiculous hot opening day, which meant that they ended up running very late. This time the weather was cool, grey and overcast and so the running was not delayed at all. My tardy arrival meant that I got there with a requirement to play catch up and I did over toward the Anglican cathedral. At that point I only caught the rear end of Xolo bouncing up the road and then waiting for the young boy who was travelling up in an open car. He only started walking again further up the road on the way to Prince's Park. After that it was breakfast, reading and writing and a couple of beers before catching them back on the way down.

In the afternoon I caught up with them on Duke Street. I stood on a bit of street furniture for a better view and this time caught Xolo and the lad. Xolo at one point running past before going to investigate a group of people sat atop a container. The controllers of these marionettes do a brilliant job of animating the character out of them. It does really do the movements you'd expect of a dog (giant or otherwise). Once more the boy was sat in the back of a car, but just after he passed me he was hooked up on the following contraption to begin the walk down the lower half of Duke Street.

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The crowds were enthralled and I met and chatted with people who'd travelled from all over the UK to see them. The hotels and restaurants must have had a boss weekend.

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Yesterday I was working (and had a horror of a day). The pictures of the crowds on the Strand looked incredible, but have made me have second thoughts about going down to see them this time - I'll never get a spot like I did last time they were here and in any case I'd have to pop away pretty early to get to a pub to watch the Man City match. So unless I have a last minute change of heart (or the company does and they return) then on Friday I saw the last of these wonderful creations. Incredible art and entertainment for the young and old. Thanks to all involved for this year and all the previous ones. Wonderful.

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Class Song Of The Day

Class Song of the Day has been moving amazingly smoothly from one week to another in Year 2. Since Dylan and the Stones in July I've continued with a mix of big bands and a few lesser known ones and a few singer songwriters, namely;

  • Broken Family Band
  • REM
  • U2
  • Neil Young
  • Bright Eyes
  • Iron & Wine
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Queen
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Cracker
  • David Bowie

I've got the weekly bands lined up now as far as Christmas. Yes, that bloody holiday thing. There is apparently an almost never ending supply of my favourite bands. Of course next year that may well be tested, if I continue into year 3.

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Reading the Giants

Today I was given an extra day off i.e. there was no route for me. That is not a good thing as that means no dosh for today. Apparently training someone tomorrow so should be an easy-ish day. Hope so as I want to get back for the Liverpool match if possible. Still the day off today has meant I could finish the book I was reading, which was my first Robert Rankin: 'Armageddon: The Musical.' An enjoyable orchestrated televised armageddon romp dodah.

I've now got two books on my Kindle to read. Namely: 'DeadCades' and a beta-read of a fellow Flash Dog. Really looking forward to getting stuck into DeadCades but first up I need to finish the beta-read so that I can pass my comments on in a timely fashion. Hoping to get that sorted by the weekend, as the weekend may be a little short of reading time as I'll no doubt be chasing the last visit to Liverpool of the Giants - which apparently may well be the last visit of the Giants to anywhere. Loved following them around the city last time.

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Next week the city is going to be packed and buzzing with it once more. Though I'll no doubt miss the very end as it'll coincide with a certain Man City v Liverpool match.

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