A.J. Walker

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VSS365 Anthology

Since the early days of VSS365 I've been involved in writing from these daily word prompts. It has grown immensely over the years and in the last six months in particular it has become a bit of a juggernaut. 'Back in the day' these wee stories were confined to 140 characters–I ask ya! But now we're back in the realms of flash fiction with up to 280 characters–wow!

Back in November 2018 I hosted it whilst travelling around the distant states of Zevonia and Zevonistan - from the foothills of the Mountains of Ruin and the famous Sprout Festival, along with my mate Benzo Diazapan - and it was very much a fun month.

Despite being a keen as mustard VSSer and evangelic about it I wasn't sure when the news of the anthology came out. I wasn't sure about an entire book featuring tweet length stories and wondered whether anyone would be interested in reading them. But I must say having just finished reading the anthology it hangs together very well indeed and looks great. I found it compelling to see how different the stories or poems were from each single prompt. And it is amazing how beautiful some of them were with so few words to play with. The quality of the stories are fantastic. It is sometimes difficult when reading one after the other to remember what the prompt was when they take you in different directions.

VSS Book1

The work of Mark and the Ambassadors in producing this book has got to be appreciated. They have done a fab job, as it has paid off in spades. It is a book to pop in and out of–Maybe even one for the small room.

I've only got the Kindle version at the moment. But I think I'll have to get myself the paperback.

Follow Mark King on Twitter @Making_Fiction

Buy the book: VSS365 Anthology
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VSS365: The Anthology (Volume 1)

Today is the publication day for the first ever VSS365 anthology. Huzzah! And I've already bought and downloaded the book on to my Paperwhite as I am sure many VSS365ers have.

VSS365Anthology

Congratulations to Mark and the VSS365 Ambassadors for their work in getting this done. It's been turned around in super quick time, especially considering how many people they had to deal with in proofing the pieces. Great to be featured in it, within the bonus section, and there's a nice shout out for the Seedling Challenge too. Thanks.

It's the sixteenth book that I've featured in which is nice. I know that for many of the contributors in this anthology this will be their first time in print. It will no doubt be a great feeling for them and I am sure it will give some new writers the confidence to write more AND put themselves out there for more opportunities. Go get 'em folks! Onwards and upwards.

If you haven't got it yet, click on the book and follow the link to Amazon for your copy. All proceeds to charity (The Book Bus) to give you a bonus warm fuzzy feeling included in the price.
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VSS365 vs Seedling Challenge

It's Easter Sunday and eventually on Saturday I found out I could take the day off. Now as a devout atheist (not sure who Athe was, but I follow him) the main thing is that the day is sunny, Liverpool are live on the telly box later and it gives me time to play some guitar, read AND write. So far I've only achieved 'Second Coffee' and sausage sandwich along with some reading (Peter Pan!).

First up in the writing thing though is the Seedling Challenge of course. So I've got to pick one of these to use as my starting point:

  • Our family had our own Easter tradition. As a thinly veiled threat dad would get his bagpipes out; he'd use them if we didn't let him watch 'Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines'. We'd seen the film so many times. But God, so preferable to the alternative.

  • On their first date Bob had told Lucy he was vegan. Now he looked forward to the hours they were apart when he'd stuff his face with myriad cheeses.
Lucy cursed herself for telling Bob she was vegan. She now had a twice weekly appointment with a KFC bargain bucket.

  • That Lisa is so full of venom and vitriol whenever I can I cross the street to avoid her. I wouldn't feel safe with a Hazmat suit on and a large barge pole. I suspect her tears are pure acid. Don't know how her husband puts up with her. Either he's deaf or on a penance.

  • The lie was a big one, covered at first by a thin veneer of truth. When the truth fell away the lie was laid bare, but it was too late the people who mattered had fallen for it. The lie was now truth and the truth the lie.

  • Dr. Nostrum looked like he'd gone ten rounds. He supped anxiously at a cold coffee.
  • The FBI guys hovered around him.
  • 'Do you know what's wrong with him?'
  • 'There's a void where his brain should be and just a damaged Russian computer board. You need IT not a doctor.'

  • 'Have you seen Amy? She's a real fox.'
'You mean a vixen. Don't they have fleas? Or is that hedgehogs?'
'She's not a real fox.'
'But you just said...'
'I mean she's a wow! A ten out out of ten. Hubba-hubba.'
'Does she even have a tail?'
'She's not a fox. Oh, forget it.'

  • 'I'm wanna be a villain when I grow up. Take what I want, when I want. If I get caught I get given bed & board and don't have to do the washing up. It's a win-win.'
'I'm gonna be a policeman and lock you up, motherfucker!'
The kids had been watching Law & Order again. #VSS365

Now which one will I go for?

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Cracking One Out - VSS365

The #VSS365 bandwagon rolls on and on subsuming all in its wake. Or something like that.

Those that get it get addicted to it. Those that don't scratch their heads and wonder at it all. And others… well there will always be others - and they can keep to themselves. It was nice this week to find that, in addiction to the barman from one of the pubs I frequent (@GoseSocialist) at the Sanctuary, one of the customers who has heard us talking about #VSS365 has gone in feet first this week and is already loving it (@BeefyNets). The small bite size chunks and ease of cracking one out - as it were - makes it quick and simple for anyone anytime. Let's face it unless you're in an area with no signal there's a possibility of doing it every day, if you are so inclined (and it won't make you go blind, promise).


VSS365FD1

This week Mark King, the original VSSer and nuzzle loving FlashDog, announced the idea of a VSS Anthology - nay not an idea for it is a fully formed thing. There IS to be an anthology and you could be in it. You'll need to be writing your VSS365 on any day in June through to July 7 for a chance to get in. Check out Mark's blog for full details about it, which has all the nuances, including who will be the helpful Ambassadors (with or without Ferrero Rocher). Click on Mark's lovely @FlashDog / #VSS365 logo above to read all about it.

It's a neat idea and certainly demonstrates how much the innocent looking hashtag has gone from its humble beginnings. Kudos, Mark for the original idea and for running with this along with the Ambassadors and supporters. Also, if you haven't read Mark's 'Metropolitan Dreams' I can thoroughly recommend it.

#VSS365
#KeepWriting
#AmWriting

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Poems - after a fashion

For Monique's last day hosting #VSS365 today she only had to go and mention poetry. Flip. Not dabbled in that in a long time. It's made me root out a few anyway and post them under the 'Writings' section.

  • Schrodinger's Poem
  • Super Sunday
  • Night Football
  • New Year Audit

None of them involve love or clouds, but there's some beer and football. Of course.

First up is
'Schrodinger's Poem' it could be the best thing ever written. Ever. By anyone. Honest. And second is 'Super Sunday' apt with the Liverpool v Spurs game later. After that is 'Night Football' because it goes well with Super Sunday and finally there is 'New Year Audit' because Sal remembered it and I didn't.

And if you don't like any of them blame Monique for making me unleash them again!



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The VSS Six

Last week's words from Grand Master Unk were:

  • close
  • convict
  • deliberate
  • desert
  • object
  • bougie
  • rando

And I wrote for six of the seven (missing the rando one). The six VSSs are below.

It's time to close the door on my past. I poured my heart into this and you just kept handing it back. You're nothing to me now. Though you'll always be close. I know you like roses so maybe there's some poetic justice that I'll be using you as fertiliser.

Convict #00001 asked if he could wear a different coloured jumpsuit as the orange clashed with his skin. The board pointed out that after a couple of days his Good Genes spray tan would wear off.

Bob sat in his spare room he called The Office and deliberated his next moves. He hadn't been sure whether Carly had deliberately crashed into his car the other week. But now with overnight graffiti daubed across his front door it was clear: this was war.

'It's not nice to realise that you're just a missed heart beat away from death.'
'Don't you dare, Jimmy. You're not going to desert me in my hour of need. And be warned it will always be my hour of need.'
'Sorry. It's just been one of those days.'
'Well, get over it.


'I object to being objectified. You treat me like a blow up doll.'
'I hate to break it to you but you are a blow up doll. And you are the voice in my head.'
'Really, so why would I be moaning?'
'I'm after semi realism.'
'Fair enough. Well I'm after more than a semi.'

First there were the conversations; stocks, pensions, schools and Caribbean cruises. Then there were the cucamelons in the 'name that veg' salad and the ridiculous range of flavoured gins. I'd gone over to the dark side with my boogie nights replaced by bougie nights.



Now I've just got to pick the one to use for the seedling challenge.
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The VSS Seven

The VSS prompts this week were in order: parents; stick; London; pantomime; bliss; read; bow. Pretty open for story ideas then. These were my seven:

The children were separated from their parents, who stood outside in fear. Forced into the toy emporium with their contactless credit cards it was an epic free for all. Two children were packed off that night never to be seen again. Probably in a Lego grave right now.

'Dad, I'm scared.'
'I know, son. It's terrifying, but
stick with me and we'll get out of here.'
'Promise?'
'Of course. I should never have brought you here. Deep breath, keep close to the wall and follow me.'
Eventually they made it out of the Trafford Centre alive.


Five days before Brexit and London was a mess. The press had stoked the fear factor up to 11 and half the shops were shut and boarded up; the shelves bare. I looked down on the crazy town comforted by the walls of tinned baked beans behind me. I'd live. With open windows.

'Thank fuck he's gone.'
'Aye, a dick.'
'Thinks he's the big I am. More like a big knob. Not in a good way. A big flaccid knob.'
'Gordon.'
'Of course. Who else?'
'No, I mean Gordon... he's behind you.'
'No he isn't.'
'Oh yes he is.'
'Shit, my life's a fuckin'
pantomime.'

The week by the Borneo jungle was beautiful. The food impeccable. Wild boar with the rice from the fields outside; picking the shot out of the meat. The pineapples; otherworldly. Lights off at 8pm with the generator. Reading by torchlight. No WiFi. No signal. Bliss.

I read yesterday that there was an App that could your read your mind. I dismissed it as nonsense until last night I took a delivery of chicken pakoras, chicken jalfrezi and garlic naan BEFORE I'd rung my order through. Spooky shit!

Mildred and Milicent the magnificent moo cows, spooked by Beau the bow legged beagle, shivered and slithered, hither and thither, till sensationally skating the ice 'cross the river.


Now I've just got to decide which one to use as the base for a Seedling Challenge story. Decisions, decisions.


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Revisting Angry Hourglass

It was Open Mic No.6 at the Sanctuary for me last night. There were a couple of guitar issues during the evening (starting with a complete lack of one for a while) but I managed to perform three songs. I didn't use the mic either - so I'm not sure what the event night should have been called.

Played three songs I've done before:

  • 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' - Green on Red
  • 'Somewhere Down the Road' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'Hotel California' - Eagles

Like last time there were two new (and very experienced) guitarists who came along and did their stuff; word seems to be spreading. Enjoyed it as ever.

OpenMic6

Matt Holland started the night of reading some of his stories and when the second guitar issue occurred I went up to read a couple of my flash stories. Not having my Kindle with me I had to find something online so I headed to Angry Hourglass to look for some of my stories. It took me a while but I found a few and chose two of my 'winning' stories (although on the drop down for winners there is no A.J. Walker for some reason).

Not sure how many times I won on the challenge (think maybe it was four or five times), but I still remember the first time I did win - I'd had it as a writing goal that particular year to win AH at least once - I was so made up when it finally happened.

The two stories I read yesterday were the apt
'Taking Names' (April 2015) and the less apt but fun 'Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)' (December 2016).

I was intending to upload some old flash on this site under the new 'Writings' section so this seems an appropriate time to put some up. They are both 360 word stories which show what you could do with respect to flash if you are contemplating getting involved with the Seedling Challenge this - or any other - week.
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SC365: First Ups

After the bolt from the blue at the weekend I put out the idea of writing a flash story based on one of the #VSS365 stories from the previous week. A simple idea. Don't know why I haven't thought of it before.

It got some positive vibes on that there Twitter which made me feel all warm and maybe a bit gooey too. And so far there are four stories up there on the #SC365 Challenge No. 1 page. Huzzah! I'll take that. There may be some teething problems with people submitting their stories or comments. And I hope to get to the bottom of that one way or another. I have tried to make it so that you can comment without creating a Disqus account. I'm not yet sure if that is working. One of the advantages of creating an account is that you would get an email (if you want to) informing you when people make any comments on your story etc. Though I understand that you may not want to sign up for yet another company - this internet thing is massive isn't it?

Seedling

Many thanks for the first three writers up there, namely and/or twitter handles:

@aurumsella : 'Evil'
@lexikonical : 'Miss Nicoletta and the Mysterious Mech-Dinosaur'
@michellenadasi Michelle Nadasi : 'Untitled'
@zevonesque A.J. Walker (that be me!) : 'What's A Beach?'

Anyway, like I said, as there are no winners with the weekly challenge in its current form there is no need for a time limit so feel free to add a story as and when using last week's prompts. Or just drop in and have a read of what these guys have done with it - and clap them on their collective backs.

Keep Writing and Enjoying It!

#KeepWriting


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VSS365: Little Seedlings

The words from Sal for this week's #VSS365 have been:

  • teach
  • drive
  • grass
  • push
  • spread
  • lean
  • beach

I managed to remember each day and write one VSS for each of them:

TEACH

‘Teach me how to love, gorgeous.’
‘You’re too old. Everybody knows you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
‘Who you calling old?’
‘You’re not questioning the dog bit then?’
‘Nah, you’ve got me bang to rights there fella. Woof!’

DRIVE

I need to drive the blues away.
I need to find a way to stay.
With you beside me every day.
I’d be faithful come what may.
You make my heart go bumpetty bump.
And give my trousers this embarrassing lump.
Come on baby, fancy a jump?

GRASS

The grazes on her elbows would heal eventually, probably before she got the grass stains from the knees of her jeans. Still, it had been a wicked afternoon with Ben. She smiled as she remembered seeing the curtains twitching next door. Mr Spencer must have got an eyeful.

PUSH

The men looked at the screens in front of them.
‘It’s such an easy game this.’
‘We’re just talking about tiny percentages. A little push here a brash headline there.’
‘We’ll change a few minds. Just a few, it’s all we need.’
The Russians embraced the info war with gusto.

SPREAD

Kev came home early to find his beloved Samantha spread across the sofa wearing nothing but a smile. His mate Dan came out of the kitchen with strawberries, chocolate sauce and cream and all Kev could think was that the pair of them were using the last of the strawbs.

LEAN

The Lean Mean Menace Machine. that’s what they called Eddie back in college. At one point it looked like he’d make it in football. He was like the Refrigerator but thinner. Should see him now. Not mean really, but definitely a menace and very lean. Bloody meth head.

BEACH

'Dad, why does mum call Deb from next door a beach?'
'What?'
'Well she's not sandy or stoney, or near the sea. So I don't get it.'
'I don't know, son.'
'Perhaps you can lie on her. If you've got a towel. Is that it?'
'Go and watch cartoons. I need to talk with your mum.'

________________________________________________________

A right mix of ideas from the one word at the top of the page each day.

An Idea

It takes me back to the one day I had doing a creative writing course a few years ago in a classroom in Liverpool. In that the tutor asked us to write a colour (I think) at the top of one page in our book and another on the facing page. Then we were asked to write five sentences that each colour made us think about on the following page. Then we had ten complete sentences representing all sorts of ideas. After that we were asked to choose one of the ten sentences to write a flash story on.

It was amazing the stories that came out that day from all the writers; which could be traced back to one word at the top of a page in a notebook. Sound familiar? Each day that's what we VSSers are doing. But we stop at the 280 characters. How many of us are taking them to the next level? From a sentence or two to a flash or short story? Anyway, here's my idea... how about looking at your VSSs you've produced during the week and choosing one to write a story about. Let's say up to 365 words (a nice circularity there and a similar length to the great stories that used to come out from Angry Hourglass back in the day).

Anyone up for it? I've created a page for it. Let's see where it may lead.

The Seedling Challenge



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Prompting the Prompts

It seems a wee bit sad to me to have finished the month of November as it means I've now finished doing the prompts for #VSS365. It really has been fun.

If you look back at the initial prompts I presented them with fewer words of my own and largely with the 'from Planet Zevon' introduction. This morphed more into stories of the fabled quiet and distant States of Zevonia and Zevonistan. I quite enjoyed the idea of these as the month went on - I've never mentioned sprouts so much (and, yes, I like them). The States certainly weren't on the horizon when I first chose the words or started writing the scheduled Tweets out.

I hope you've enjoyed getting involved and that my rambling Tweets didn't wind you up too much.

VSS365 ALL

I'm not sure how many of you guessed, if any, but ALL the prompts were beer related with them either from pub names in Liverpool and its environs, local breweries, or were names of varieties of hops. So the full list of prompts for November with their - none Planet Zevon/Zevonia/Zevonistan - origins, is as follows:

VARIETIES OF HOPS:

AURORA
CALYPSO
CASCADE
CRYSTAL
ENDEAVOR
LIBERTY



PUBS (LIVERPOOL AND ENVIRONS)

TAP and BOTTLES
The DISPENSARY
Baltic FLEET
SANCTUARY Bar
The FLY in the Loaf
Hard Times and MISERY
PEN Factory
TRAP and HATCH
GLOBE
Caernarfon CASTLE
The CAVERN
The HOLE in the Wall
CRAFT (could be a Brewery too)
The CROWN
LION
TAVERN
PILGRIM


LOCAL BREWERIES:

NEPTUNE
CHAPTER
PEERLESS
ORGANIC

TOP ROPE

Come on! It was predictable.

I Know Things copy
Good luck to @TheWritingKind and to you all.Cheers!
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VSS365 Stint: The End Is Nigh

It's almost four weeks since I took the role of VSS365 prompter on and it has been fun. The words, the stories, the sagas, the one liners and so so many people out there getting involved. I must say big thanks to @Voimaoy for trusting me to do it and to @RozLevens for handing it over to me with such aplomb. And talking of handing it over just make sure you're following Camilla @TheWritingKind in good time for December so that you do not miss the prompts. I'm not sure what time she'll be putting them out there, I just picked a random time myself!



It surprises me sometimes when people say that they can't find the prompt easily, but I suppose not every one uses Twitter quite as much as some of us (i.e. especially me). But my suggestion for anyone who doesn't want to follow a new prompter each month the easiest way to find each day's prompt is simply to search Twitter. It's not rocket science and I don't want to teach grandmothers to suck eggs or whatever. But just in case you're not used to Twitter or any general searching methods just do this:

Search: #VSS365 #prompt

VSS365-A

It automatically lists in terms of some sort of wrangled algorithm (aren't they all) and may come up with top answers equating to previous days or weeks prompts, so once you have that list in front of you just select Latest and hey presto you should have it. Just bear in mind that there are some people (not many but you do see it) who put #VSS365 along with random #words which have nothing to do with the community. Go figure. But if you see more than a couple of Tweets relating to the same word on the same day then that should be the day's prompt. Simples.

vss365-B

With regard to the prompting scheduler I have been using twittimer.com it's basic and not quite as user friendly as Buffer but I needed a second scheduler for this monthly stint. It worked every day without any messing about so I can certainly recommend it if you want to schedule up to ten tweets at a time and perhaps need a second scheduler like I did.

Anyhoo enough of that, there's only three more prompts for me to go after today's word: Tap. Wonder what the last one will be?

______

Remember, follow @TheWritingKind to get December's prompts without having to search for them.
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Updating

Several aims today included getting the scheduling of #VSS365 and #ClassSongOfTheDay up to date and updating the Class Song page with this week's links (Talking Heads).

I also have the aim of writing over 3000 words for NaNoWriMo. At the end of today the par word count is 31,667 and at the start I was only at 25,081 so I need a decent amount to close the gap a little. It's got to the point now where a par daily count is around 2000 words, which sounds fine, but when you think of a missed day adding that to the fewer remaining days it all adds up quite quickly.

Well first things first was VSS365 and I've updated the Twitter Scheduler to bang in the next words. It being the 19th and the scheduler having a maximum of ten then it takes it up to the penultimate day of the month. So tomorrow I can schedule my very last VSS prompt tweet. Ahhh! How sad. It's been great fun so far anyway and have been loving all the stories, though I have been able to read them all. There's so many. It's been good to meet so many new people on Twitter through it to. Top flashers.

Talking Heads

I then updated the Class Song scheduler with the remaining songs from Talking Heads and next week's band (which will remain nameless until next Monday but it's one of my fave from uni days) and sorted the Class Song page links. Huzzah! Click on the link to get listening.

On top of that I have written 2500 words for NaNo. Want to write another 1000 or so to dig into the total just a little bit. It's hard work and I think it may be about fifty fifty if I get to the end at the moment. Onwards and upwards and all that.

#KeepWriting

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My Muse Zevonia

It's past half way through November and my residency at VSS365 Towers. So it may be time to introduce you to the Occasionally Free Peoples Republic of Zevonia, I know not many of you know of it, so I've sourced a wee map of the state. It's an interesting place and rarely visited, in fact it's less connected to the outside world than North Korea. That's probably why you don't know much about it. You may see a few familiar place names and sights on the map because, yes, i's where I've sourced the words for VSS this month.

Zevonia sketch

I do have a second map (including the poorer relation Zevonistan) but I can't put that up as it would give away the remaining words for the month. And you wouldn't want that would you.

The first sixteen words for November have been:

Aurora Bottles Calypso Cascade
Castle Cavern Chapter Craft
Crown Crystal Dispensary Endeavour
Fleet Globe Hatch Hole


Wonder what the next two weeks will bring from Zevonia (and maybe even Zevonistan)? Well I'm not wondering; I know.

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Half Way to Comatose

It's halfway through November tomorrow which means in theory I should be at around 25k words by close of play tomorrow. It's not going to happen. But I'm over 20k at any rate. The story is still very much stuttering along at the moment. It ain't gonna be a quick one to revisit once it's finished for sure - if it ever is finished. We'll see if I hit some kind of eureka moment.

It also means I'll be halfway through the hosting and posting of the VSS365 words. It's been a lark. The scheduling has been working fine, which is a bonus. It's great to see how many people are straight on it as soon as it goes out. Great work people.

On top of that I still haven't had chance to strum my guitar anymore. Been considering a few songs to practice in case I go and play another open mic night in the coming month(s). I must get some more practice in soon.

Anyways, whether you're doing NaNo or VSS365 or just ploughing your own furrow just keep writing folks!
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One Busy Week

A busy week last with all sorts going on. VSS365 has been going well. The scheduling site I use has continued to successfully upload all the Tweets at the right time... happy days. And so many people getting involved, it is great. Yesterday a few people suggested I should have been writing my own VSS365 rather than just setting the words free and so I wrote a quick ten to catch up with the rest of the guys and gals. I promised I'd write for all of them now.

VSS365

At the same time I have been doing NaNoWriMo and up until Saturday have been right on track. Yesterday I wrote nothing though and don't think I'll get any - or at least not much - done today, so I will end up being some 3200 words down. Eek! Some catching up to do.

Meanwhile on Saturday and Sunday my #ClassSongOfTheDay tweets weren't sent out on time. Shock and horror guys! A handy reminder was sent to me from my listener in chief and I had to send them both out yesterday. Today I have scheduled the next ten days on Buffer, so there won't be another gap for at least that time at any rate.

Forgetful

Last Thursday I played guitar (and sang) in front of some people in a Liverpool pub - The Sanctuary - which was the first time I've sung in front of anyone publicly since 1997. There maybe some video evidence of it somewhere apparently, but I am yet to see it. That may well be a blessing. In the meantime I am contemplating doing it again but picking another song or two to do. Made a couple of CD playlists to see what may be easiest to work on: should time to work on playing guitar suddenly appear.
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All the Cs

After my first seven days of curating the words for VSS365 I must say I have been mightily impressed with all the storytellers out there and the amount of engagement. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am - even though I'm not writing any myself. The six words so far for anyone who has not been following it have been:

aurora
bottles
calypso
cascade
castle
cavern
chapter


It's almost like they are in alphabetic order. Weird that. But it can't be another C-word tomorrow can it? Or can it? In fact could it be even be 'can'? Well it could be...but then again that wouldn't be alphabetic. Assuming it's going to be all month.

Haha. Maybe I should run a book on it.

Search for #VSS365 or follow my Twitter account @zevonesque to see the future words for the remainder of November (they are being tweeted out at 6am GMT). In the month of December the new word dessiminator will be coming from @TheWritingKind
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Very Short Blog #VSB

November has arrived which has meant two things today. One: I took over the responsibility of selecting and scheduling the words for this month's VSS365. As I've said previously I looked at getting a second (free) scheduler to send out the tweets given I use one already for Class Song Of The Day (Buffer) and didn't want to half my quota for scheduling those. I scheduled this morning's Tweet for 06:30 (GMT) with a different scheduler and waited to see if it was working. As I lay in bed I began to hear buzz after buzz of the phone by my bad and knew that it must have worked.

Huzzah! If it works for the rest of the month I may even tell you which one I've been using. But so far so good.

Considered today that given that it is a daily tweet - which is like almost 24 hours usually - it made sense to schedule the future tweets at a round number rather than half past. So from tomorrow onwards it will go out at 06:00. It was great to see so many people get involved again today and I hope that I can see you all through the month to come.

It is great that the scheduler is working and the next ten days are scheduled and can be basically left to run itself.

And the second thing? NaNoWriMo has begun. Not written anything yet after a longish day at work, but going to put some words down later tonight. Right now I'd be happy with three figures and just a start.
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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).

vss365-2

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.

CentreOfEarth

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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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.

JOHN HIATT2

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.

VSS365
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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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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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