Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The 'Love Hate' & 'Freestyle Writing' Blogging Challenges

This post is all the fault of Sara Snider, who tagged me in two blogging challenges: The Love Hate Challenge and The Freestyle Writing Challenge. So, thanks, Sara, these are my responses :).

Firstly, The Love Hate Challenge. So the rules are:
  • post ten things you love
  • post ten things you hate
  • then tag ten people to do the same.
Well, since there are two challenges here, I'll be tagging at the end of the post, but here goes with my loves and hates.

  1. I love fanfic - it can be anything between sheer brilliance and utter awfulness, but it is always a labour of love by the writer, and that always deserves appreciation.
  2. I love watching people create things, cooking, painting, pretty much any crafts, it makes me content to see something come out of dedicated skill.
  3. I love writing, from daydreaming to polishing the final draft, it has me hooked, and the best thing is that the only limit is my own imagination.
  4. I like scaring myself by watching, or reading a good ghost story (I also write them). For me, they're the best form of horror - spooky, spine-chilling and ethereal.
  5. I love sharing my space with cats washing, they're presence is so relaxing and they never cease to calm me down after a stressful day.
  6. I love vampires - the toothy ones have been an obsession for me since I saw The Lost Boys, reading, watching and writing.
  7. I love my family, 'nuff said!
  8. I love dragons - I have a collection of dragon sculptures at home, my favourite being one of a majestic purple master who is sitting up, his chest out and his wings folded regally behind him. They also make great characters.
  9. I love storms (although I will clarify that, I love the strength in storms, the thrill as lightning flashes across the sky, the dark purple clouds, but only if I'm inside watching the storm outside).
  10. I love dancing. I'm not very good, I've never managed anything really co-ordinated like a foxtrot, but I love jigging around on the dance floor. 

Hates (I've been loose with the definition here, some of these are dislikes, some disdains and some fears):
  1. I loathe daffodils - to me they look plastic, and that overly bright yellow is just way too much for me. I will give little narcissi a break though, they're smaller and more delicate. 
  2. I dislike people who are inconsiderate to others.
  3. I have nothing but disdain for queue jumpers - I am a Brit, we know how to queue, there is a quiet order about it and anyone messing up that order is the lowest of the low, and I will huff and tut with the best of 'em! Besides, you can have the best conversations with complete strangers in a queue.
  4. I hate cheap reality TV, especially Big Brother - what a waste of manipulative psychology.
  5. I loathe clowns, in fact, I'm scared of them, that fake grin makes me nervous.
  6. I loathe driving in big cities. I'm fine on the motorway and in towns that I know my way around, but driving in strange big cities brings me out in a cold sweat. Every junction is different. Drivers in big towns just don't consider those of us who are doing it once in a blue moon.
  7. I hate swings, I can't even watch someone on one in a movie, it makes me feel sick, I will physically shrink into myself if I have to watch. It's because I hurt myself on a swing when I was a kid.
  8. I hate when the weather is too hot. I like sunshine, but when there's no breeze and the air is so warm there is no relief, I get ansty. It doesn't happen very often in the UK, but that means we don't have air con in our houses as a matter of course, so the only relief is to open the windows. Sometimes, not even that helps, though.
  9. I dislike cheaters. They ruin things for the rest of us, upsetting chances, excluding others by giving themselves unfair advantages, and even when there is no immediate perceived loser, there will be consequences for someone eventually.
  10. I am afraid of spiders. I know they are necessary and useful members of the food chain, but all those legs scare the crap out of me.
Freestyle Writing Challenge

Here’s how it goes:
  • Open a new document.
  • Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  • Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
  • Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.
  • Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
  • You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  • At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
  • Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).
The prompt from Sara was: On top of a lonely hill is a lonely house. What’s happening there?

I set my timer for ten minutes, and below is what came out - I was feeling somewhat morbid (I did stop a few seconds early, since it kind of came to an end and I had nothing more to write) No of words = 342. I have to say I found this challenging, to keep the train of thought going for 10 minutes and to carry on down the rabbit hole that was the first instinct of my muse. Interesting though! ;) I have to say, reading it back in the cold light of hindsight, I think this is mostly my brain unconsciously ripping off Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel.


On the lonely hill stands a lonely house. It has stood solitary for many years, its windows clouded with grime, looking down on a ground grown grisled with time. No-one goes there, the path would not allow access even if they wished it, so the damp, dark place stands isolated.

Within those walls, a dance takes place, a macabre thing, a meeting of souls. This dance winds its melancholy way through rooms rich with pleasures. Yet, these pleasures are not for the dancers. The beauty around them, the tapestries, paintings, decorations from far flung places, all disappear in the intensity of the dance. Partners hold each other, their gazes vacant, their eyes fixed into the middle distance. There is not company here, just the drive to whirl, to cavort.

These poor revellers smile, their expressions fixed in the grimaced agony. Their clothes hang limp on their bodies, torn, mouldering rags that once dazzled in the flickering lights. Shoes with silver buckles, now tarnished and with soles so worn they leave a whisper of flicker-flacker on the floor.
This is the dance of the dead. They dance for memory, for the night that their troubles began. When a stranger entered their revels, his face masked, his smile twitching below. He wore red, his hair glossed and his finger tips touched by black paint. They loved him. He showed them the dance, telling them of the wonder, of the power that came to those who had travelled the route before them. He told them of riches, of plenty, of pleasure.

The stranger dressed their poor, provincial house in splendour. One flick of his hand and simple candles had become hall of flickering beauty. And they had willingly stepped up to the dance. Yet, their feet would not stop when they music changed, they could not step to the wall to rest. Man, woman, young and old, all were held in the spell.

The stranger laughed.

Riches were theirs, splendour was theirs. Eternity was theirs. Skip, hop, swirl, dip – over, and over, and over again.


So, that's the two challenges, so now for tagging some folks and I know I haven't got to ten, but I think some of you would enjoy the Freestyle Writing Challenge :):

And for those who want to accept the freestyle writing challenge, my prompt is this:
A flower blooms in a garden, who tends it and why.


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  1. I loved your story! Grim, but kind of beautiful too, in a way. Lovely. :D

    I laughed at your disdain of daffodils. Poor little flowers, they can't help being all yellow like that. ;) I also don't like driving in big cities. Oh, and you'd love it in Sweden with the queuing. Swedes are queue masters. Not terribly chatty, though, so not much conversation happening. ;)

    1. Thank you :) It was really hard just to keep writing, not tweak and change my mind as I went.

      In the UK, we queue well, and we don't always talk a lot, like the Swedes, but something that gets us Brits talking in queues is when things go differently than expected - once, when I was at the cinema, actually to see a National Theatre Live production, there were loads of us milling around looking helpless before the event - the cinema had to actually put in a queue because we needed one, and, of course, once they did, we were all feeling secure and orderly, smiling and chatting and I actually made some friends in that queue, we still nod to each other when we seen each other in Morrisons :).


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