Writing Update: flash fiction, grave robbing, courses, and outlining

Well it’s been a week of horrible news, natural disasters, and much else, but I’d rather not focus on that right now. I’ve always used writing as a kind of outlet to work through – let’s just call it “stuff” – and this week was no different (which also kind of explains the story “A Father’s Kiss”). I have some good news to share as well though, so I hope you’ll keep reading!

Flash fiction: “A Father’s Kiss” and “A Corpse and a Ghost Flower”

A Father’s Kiss”, one of my few non-genre stories, was written for Microcosms last week. Even though it won runner-up, I still feel like it is not one of my strongest stories. I feel as if I am not very good at writing stories that have no elements of fantasy or scifi whatsoever! Perhaps it is just because it is so uncommon for me to write such stories…

“A Corpse and a Grave Flower” is the flash fiction story I am writing for my FutureLearn writing course. You can read draft two here. I am also planning a short story (which my morph into a novella…) in the same world and with the same characters. I had to do research about grave robbing and body snatchers in Victorian times – gory, but definitely interesting.


Writing Courses

I am currently busy with two writing courses; one via Udemy – Ninja Writing – and the one I am doing through FutureLearn. This week I am submitting the third draft of “A Corpse and a Ghost Flower” for critique! The story will also be posted here tomorrow.

Even though the FutureLearn course is aimed at beginners, I still found that I could learn quite a bit and get some good hints from it. I would encourage anyone who wants to work on their fiction writing (or want to start writing, for that matter) to have a look at this course in the future.

I have only just started the Ninja Writing course with Shani Raja, but am already enjoying it thoroughly. In the next writing update I’ll definitely have more to say about it.


Outlining – The Box of Secrets and beyond!

The detailed outline for part five of The Box of Secrets (the current Patreon fiction) is now finished! The part is tentatively called “Softly Say Goodbye” and promises to be a very difficult part to write. Which is why it’s already the thirteenth and I have yet to make a proper start… But, from tonight, I will be back into full swing with BoS again now that “A Corpse and a Ghost Flower” is finished. It’s amazing how you start missing your characters if you don’t write about them for a week or so!

If you’d like to read the first part of The Box of Secrets, you can click here to go to my Patreon page, or here to go to the new The Ruon Chronicles website.

I’m finding that making a macro outline for the story of BoS and then breaking that down and doing the micro outlines part by part is working well for me as it then still feels a bit like pantsing/discovery writing.

Besides outlining BoS, I am also working on yet another short story. Well… actually one I started at the end of last year and abandoned because I couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted to. Now it seems like my brain has finally figured out where I was going wrong (yay!) and am ready to finish the story. I’m planning it to be 2 000 — 2 500 words and it will be in Afrikaans. The English translation will follow later, of course.


Some random good news in a week of sucky news

Well the good news is that the dates for the Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 2018 Conference have been finalised — and it will be held at Mont Fleur in Stellenbosch again! As soon as the call for papers is out I will start working on a topic for a paper. I simply must go next year and give a paper again!


By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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