It’s hollow now. Soulless. Nothing there but bones and headstones.
So many years feeling worthless, but now they are worthless to me. And yet it does not feel like a win.
It is heart-breaking to know of the pain they have caused. Through choice, or through ignorance.
Acting saddened and disgraced that her last wishes were not heard. But you heard them and did nothing. A dying woman’s wishes ignored and pushed aside, just so that you can stand there and say, “I was there.”
A village full of Vultures. She knew what you were, and unfortunately you proved her right.
They could hear the sounds of a busy happy hour as they arrived through the open side door. Scanning around to look for an empty table, the 3 women stood stock still.
“Over there!” Christy shouted above the noise of the bar.
Alex provided a nod of her head and took the lead in heading over to the available table. It was small and round, 4 wooden stools surrounding it. They approached the table and sat down, placing their phones face down as they took their jackets off.
“What we all having?” Alex asked, making eye contact with Christy and Jessica.
“Dirty martini.” With a smirk, Alex replied, “Shaken not stirred?” She was met with one raised eyebrow and a playful smile.
“Vodka coke, please darling.”
“Sure thing.” As Alex turned to walk towards the bar, the music stopped her in her tracks.
The sound of the guitar, rising up from seemingly nowhere, transported everyone into what felt like the deep south. The musicians on stage played their instruments to perfection. The accompanied percussion and accordion added tremendous weight to the experience.
The voice that appeared from the back of the stage caused the bar to fall completely silent.
“Maybe I’m foolish,
Maybe I’m blind..”
The female voice rose up from the depths. The singer walked forwards, microphone in hand. Her blonde hair fell perfectly to brush against her shoulders as she moved.
“I’m only human after all,
Don’t put your blame on me.”
Alex stood completely transfixed. Her brown eyes met green and she swore she felt the earth move. She could feel everything, every goosebump, every beat of her overeager heart.
“Don’t ask my opinion,
Don’t ask me to lie.”
As the beat picked up, Alex looked briefly around at her friends. The were both sat, heads nodding. Jessica had one finger tapping on the table, Christy had her phone up and pointed at the stage.
“Some people got real problems,
Some people out o’ luck,
Some people think I should solve ’em.“
Alex found herself forgetting completely about the drinks she had been on her way to buy. Her feet remained rooted to the floor, her knees buckling when once again sparkling green eyes connected with hers. She sank slowly into the seat below her, not noticing how Christy’s phone had moved to capture her.
“I ain’t no prophet or messiah,
Should go looking somewhere higher.“
That last note drove a shockwave through the crowd. A shared feeling of awe could be felt by everyone present.
I recently found these character interview suggestions. A useful way of getting to develop and getting to know the characters you’re writing. It’s given me some structure to my character planning and has helped me to think more deeply about who it is I want in my story. My characters are now on their way to being well-rounded and quirky, no longer just names on a page.
Name: What do they like about their name: What does their name mean to them:
Background: Birthday: Place of birth: Parents: What was important to the people who raised them? Siblings: Economic status growing up: Ethnic background: Places lived: Current address and phone number: Education: Favourite subject in school: Special training: Jobs: Salary: Travel:
Friends: Who they live with: Who they fight with: Who they spend time with: Who depends on them and why: Who admires them: How do others see them: Who are their enemies:
Dating: Single or married
Overall outlook on life: Religion: Do they like themselves: What would they change about their life: What demons do they have: Are they lying to themselves: Are they an optimist or a pessimist: Are they real or feigned: What is their morality level: What is their confidence level:
Typical day: Physical appearance: Physical build: Posture: Head shape: Eyes: Nose: Mouth: Hair: Skin: Tattoos, piercings, scars: Voice: Clothing: What do people notice first: How would they describe themselves:
Health: Disabilities or handicaps:
Characteristics: Personality type: Strongest character trait: Weakest character trait: How can their strongest trait be a weakness: How much self-control and self-discipline do they have: What makes them angry: What makes them cry: What fears do they have: What people, places, situations do they avoid: What are their talents: What do people like about them:
Interests and favourites: Political views: Collections: Food and drink: Music: Books: Movies: Sport/recreational in school and now: Colour: Childhood daydreams: Current daydreams: Way to spend a weekend: A great gift for them: Pets: Vehicles:
Typical expressions when: Happy: Angry: Frustrated: Sad: Afraid: Most used facial expression:
What annoys them:
How to cheer her up:
Hopes and dreams and how do they see themselves accomplishing these:
Worst thing they’ve done to someone:
Cares about most:
Secrets: If they could do anything, what would it be: They are the kind of person who…: What I love most about them: Why will the reader sympathise with her right away:
How are they ordinary or extraordinary:
How is their situation ordinary or extraordinary:
What is their core need:
What is an anecdote:
K.M. Weiland. (2011). Outlining Your Novel: Map out your way to success. PenForASword Publishing: United States of America
You would think I’d have had enough. All of the assignments, the lectures, the stress. Yet, I have spent all day waiting for 5pm. Not for the rest or the break away from work, but for writing.
The relief of knowing I no longer have restrictions placed on my writing to be academic, to be reflective. I can write to enjoy it, write to unwind. The joy of it, the satisfaction of the words coming together and all of it making sense in the end… I have missed it.
Life has taken over and it has taken ‘writing for pleasure’ away from me. Instead, all I have had is writing to meet the domains, to tick boxes on that ever-growing list of things that University ask of us.
I have missed this. I have missed my laptop, missed choosing the font that I want and not the font that University insists we use. All of the little things that make up the bigger ones.
I have missed the freedom of my own truth, my own words, my own self.
I welcome writing back into my life with open arms.
Every year, on this day I think of the time that I ate so many pancakes I was fit to burst. I remember your amazed faces as I sat and ate my 7th in a row and I remember the joy and excitement that you had about the day itself. I remember and I feel. I miss you and I hate that now all I have is a memory. It isn’t physical, it isn’t here and now, it is then and it is past. And sometimes I hate it.
I have always loved writing, loved words, loved watching films and TV and getting taken away by the people living within them.
The feeling of being engrossed, the feeling of excitement, of butterflies… I love it all.
Tonight, as I sit here with my YouTube playlist automatically playing in the background, a familiar video appears… Bad Girls: Helen Stewart. It is one I admittedly have not seen in quite some time as my Bad Girls obsession came to a natural simmer as I went from teenager to adult.
…and here lies the meaning for such a random post:
The video brought back memories and feelings. The feeling of excitement and of being so enthralled and captured by something that made me feel so alive. How can a TV show do that? It amazes me now. I very rarely get so taken in by a TV show or a film that I’m sitting there glued to the screen. This show, however, always manages to glue me.
Years after the series ended and even more years after fans said goodbye to Helen Stewart, I still wonder what it was that made us Bad Girls fans so loyal.
The show offered me such a strong feeling of meaningfulness and togetherness. Something that I very much needed when I first discovered the show in my adolescence. The struggle of identity and of seeing Helen’s passion and fire for wanting to do the right thing and to get justice for Nikki was something that caused me to feel empowered and wanting to take on the whole world.
The writing, the people, the realness… This show had it all and while things have moved on and changed over the years, this show can still hold its own.
I am not often in awe of things these days, but tonight I had that feeling of butterflies and excitement at seeing characters that I always held so dearly.
In these times of uncertainty, of lockdowns and madness, I hope you all find something to feel alive about. No matter how small or silly.
To be transported back to a time where I felt such love and admiration for the character of Helen Stewart, that she has always stayed with me. Sometimes things have no explanation and sometimes no explanation is needed.