It’s strange writing for a blog that doesn’t even exist yet. I haven’t even completely decided on the name, nor do I have the website to host it on. But, baby steps are significant, and since I’ve bought the domain (FloorFiftyFour.co.uk), I might as well get into a routine of a monthly blog post. And I have plenty to talk about at the moment, after all.
My aims for the year are pretty simple - website up and running, two novellas published (one free, one paid). That paid novella is quickly spiralling into a novel, but I suppose if I want to write then there are worse problems than writing too much… I’m 25 thousand words into those stories now, and still thoroughly excited by both. It’s always a good sign when you can pick up old work and not have to wrinkle your nose at the smell. But to be actually excited by - and enjoy reading - things I wrote a month ago either means I’m onto a winner, or my taste sucks donkey balls. Fingers crossed, eh?
One way of checking this for myself comes in the form of a fun little writing prompt I’ve been doing on and off for a while - #vss365. Very short story is a daily writing prompt inspired by a single word, which then becomes a twitter post. With only 280 characters to play with, it can be a challenge to actually say anything worth saying. At the time of writing, my most popular is this:
As Maude looked at the black scribbles, she couldn’t help but wonder who was leaving these #cryptic messages on her fridge. There was even one of her fridge!
‘Mum, don’t forget to eat at 1 o’clock.’
Did she have a child? She couldn’t remember.
I went through a stage of doing these every day. They were fun, and got the words flowing. Plus it was a productive way to wake up as I tucked into cereal before work, compared with scrolling through one app feed or another. But the problem with writing these about random content is they’re essentially meaningless. Some might touch on interesting themes, but the vast majority are just empty words. There’s nothing wrong with that - I’ve literally been doing it for years - but by chance, I did one after months of inactivity the other day with a word that sparked an idea.
Just the day before, I’d done a quick edit and decided my vampire needed more description early on. He was wearing reactive lenses now (to negate his light sensitivity), and I wanted some way of saying ‘the dude wears glasses’ without explicitly writing:
He was wearing glasses.
Because that is about as dry as a dust sandwich without any butter. So instead, I went for something along the lines of ‘he peered through tinted glasses that magnified his frantic eyes’. Not saying that sentence is perfect or anything, just that the word ‘frantic’ was fresh in my mind. So, being lazy and sleepy (Stay up until 4am and watch the superbowl Ryan, it’ll be fun Ryan), I went for the lazy and sleepy option of pretty much posting an extract from my story. Slap on a VSS365 hashtag, and aren’t I so productive. Applause? So kind.
Enter my brother.
Brothers can often be simplified to ‘the X one’ or ‘the Y one’, but it wouldn’t really be simplifying things to say that my brother is ‘the clever one’. And I say that as an Engineer. He correctly assumed I was using characters from this latest project and suggested using a hashtag to link them together. #Floor54 was born.
Instead of flailing around randomly, I can now focus these prompts around my new project. Use characters, stories and concepts along with the one word prompt. Instead of doing these once a month, without any real purpose, I can now do them daily. And who knows, maybe Floor Fifty-Four will actually get its first fan. Before the book is out. Or the website is up. Or the blog has a name.
Maybe it’s time to fix one of those right now.
I hereby call this blog - Beneath the Floor.