Dec. 6, 2021

33: Our 250 word NYC midnight flash fiction challenge


Undaunted by our ignominious failure in the previous NYC midnight flash fiction competition, we once again put ourselves through the short story wringer and present our writing for all to see and to praise/laugh at/mock/experience as an epiphanical life changing moment (delete as appropriate). And as well as giving our honest, frank and uncompromising feedback on each other’s 250 word "masterpieces", we also wrap up our NaNoWriMo adventure and review some writing software while we’re at it. 

Find out more about NaNoWriMo here...
https://nanowrimo.org/

Scrivener here...
https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview

And the HG Wells story that Jon blatantly ripped off is here...
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/23218/23218-h/23218-h.htm

Music by Dano songs
Transcript

welcome to the failing writers oh my god they haven't even finished writing the line that's typical isn't it is anybody surprised

so here we are again and uh i believe we've got to start by rounding off our nanowrimo rimo adventure haven't we he said yeah with mine not really bothered what an adventure it was for youtube it kind of was actually yeah yeah it's like a rule i say it was a roller coaster but are there other role courses that just keep going down or do they always have to come back home they tend to go i kind of did go up first didn't i in there yeah put it this way the whole point of the well maybe not the whole point but a bit of the point of doing national novel writing month it was just just to learn something wasn't it to try something different and to learn something yeah um so very true actually yeah it like look at it from that point of view tom do you feel that you've learned anything about your writing i do actually yeah no absolutely actually yeah that probably like i said a couple of episodes ago that um the novel thing probably isn't actually my my bag really and it got me i was thinking today actually you know um what tim craig said about he said the similar kind of thing didn't he that he kind of the novel he sort of dabbled in the novel writing thing but couldn't really get past that first bit yeah and it turned out it's just not his thing yeah so i probably need to uh maybe that's been holding me back all these years of thinking that's what you need to write yeah it's a good point maybe i just need to try some different different things try writing a play or a screenplay or do you mean like yeah yeah you've got to you've gotta find your thing it's funny you say that because uh as where as we'll find out later on in this episode what i've discovered over the last few months is that um flash fiction really isn't my thing writing short stuff but we'll get to that uh later on so dave let's let's start with the hi dave tell us all right well it's not it's kind of a high but it's not really because uh i didn't i didn't finish it i didn't finish i didn't finish a novel absolute loser i didn't hit 50 000 words um i've done 40 000 words

what's that 20 less i know do you know what i i'm quite i'm quite pleased with that um i could have i could have just like thrown an ending on yeah and just you know but i didn't what's the point of rushing off like an arbitrary word you're still enjoying it you went if you enjoyed it if you enjoyed writing yeah absolutely i've really enjoyed getting to the point it's at and i want i think it's god maybe i'm wrong but i think it's quite good i'm quite excited about it and i want to put a good ending on i don't just want to sort of jam a crappy ending on yeah yeah so i think last time we spoke you're on like just over 30 so you've you've added a lot on it's not like yeah and i know i sort of i know kind of what's going to happen but i want to do it in a sort of because it's kind of it's a funny book but i want it to be dramatic it's got to be probably dramatic in the end yeah so i need to build up the sort of tension uh quite a bit um there's some there's some twists and turns and all that sort of stuff but yeah i wanna i wanna do it properly so i feel like i've got a good solid base um and i want to you know actually finish writing a book rather than just i don't think the challenge really was ever because i never thought in a million years that any of us would actually write a whole book in a month yeah i didn't think that was like you were right i was absolutely correct wasn't i you couldn't have been more right i'll tell you what though it's lovely to bask in the glow of your success yeah do you know what i mean i'm getting like a little bit of a writing tan off yeah i think that's pretty cool when you think about it it's brilliant because i don't think you would have done it without the podcast and everything going on during the night yeah so that is actually a that's a genuine podcast win isn't it that is a win because like i said this is an idea that i've had since i was a teenager and i've never written a single word down until we did that first chapter after the episode and then from there everything is just snowballed and it's so different to what it was that like the sort of focus of it is totally different but like as you say tom that you've kind of found that novel writing is not your thing i'm starting to think maybe it is mine i don't it's kind of hidden in plain sight from you wasn't it you've never done it yeah and now you've done two in quick succession yeah yeah i mean i can't claim whether any of them are any good or not but i never thought i would be able to write that many words well i can tell you beardy i have also been reading your first book yeah and it's pretty good isn't it it is i've been really enjoying it i'm only about a third of the way through but yeah i'm cracking on with it which is a good sign i'm not like forcing myself to read it or anything you know what i mean i'm really uh yeah i'm i'm turning the pages and enjoying it so that is good that's a good sign man excellent yeah maybe you have found your thing it's great yeah i have to watch it just out of interest baby that first i'm guessing you haven't probably gone back because you're just writing forward yeah because that's the whole point of nanowrimo but are you does that first chapter that you wrote for the murder mystery episode does it still make sense yes are you going to kind of leave it as it is exactly as it was i haven't changed anything about it wow okay so the characters still make sense with the rest of the book the way it's gone yeah because i i sort of made a point when i wrote that not to describe the killer in any way yeah there was just like a they and there was like a shadow um so yeah it uh hasn't yeah i'm not to change anything it's just kind of sort of gone from there so the only thing you've changed was the ridiculous name of bobby brown that you give to one of you yeah and only because we laughed for about 10 minutes relentlessly mocked you oh yeah that's good only only that constructive support we like to call it constructive support yes that's uh that's one way of putting it isn't it yeah well done so dave you're you're having a great podcast it's just uh tommy and i need to step up now yeah yeah come on lads tommy have you got a plan for writing something are you are you hanging everything on the uh on the sitcom series we're doing yeah i'm actually really chomping at the bit to get started on that now we've got some clear ground um yeah i think i think that'd be really good i think be really interesting all three of us working on it at the same i think i think that will really elevate it and keep us going on it and sharpen it yeah i think there's a it's like a proper it's like a proper project isn't it to to get our teeth yeah yeah but yeah i think i think my my lookout for sort of a you know i don't know a new year's resolution if you want is going to be just to have a little explore of different things rather than like i said i think i maybe have kind of stopped myself from writing stuff because it's not what you should be writing kind of thing but almost you know if you want to and it's that stupid thing we talked about it in the early episodes you know thinking about what you're gonna do when you're on jonathan ross and what have you and it's all kind of in that thing of well a novel can be commercially viable so you could make money and if you're going into that thought you're on the wrong track already you've just got to do what you absolutely what you want to do yeah yeah yeah make sure i can squeeze in i can squeeze in half an hour of writing let's go rather than oh right i'm just trying to scrape some words out you're never going to write a book if you're not excited about it it's true no no exactly it's got to uh it's got to excite you you've got to you've got to not be able to not go it would be a compulsion so as stupid as it sounds i think i've probably realized that yeah yeah well that is what's so you know that's good in it we've learned something we've uh we've progressed in a bit i think what we've done as well unintentionally is probably for our listeners the the swathes of listeners that fall into different categories of competence and uh sort of you know discipline and what have you yeah we've probably covered up most of the base is there apart from properly competent like apart from actually properly good apart from being we've kind of it's some people that have kind of done a decent chunk of it people that have tried and failed and then there's john that just didn't you know the ones that just

yeah so i think hopefully we're talking to our listeners you know on on their level yeah and the full base yeah yeah in the right place so that's that's how i'm going to justify how we've actually gone fair enough fair enough i am i am committed to doing uh dedo raimo though yeah oh december yeah yeah

good month of the year to even try that it really is but you know what i i honestly can't wait to get started i might do it up until christmas

oh i love these guys the failing writers podcast is so great so okay that felt a bit more convincing didn't it

well moving on to one thing that i genuinely think actually helped with uh with writing this i should point out that we through a bit of a blag mostly on john's part it has to be said in fact entirely on john's part managed to get hold of a free swedish

yeah did you not get the massive did was that just for me john i think uh yeah maybe the fact that because i think that's what distracted me a lot of the time to be honest sorry carry on dave i am being silly carry on i didn't get anyone from sweden coming around to my house but what i did get was a free copy of a bit of writing software and i got to use something called scrivener and do you know what it was really really good yeah i think it genuinely helped i am quite cynical about these writing softwares i'm very much of the yeah i can just do on a word processor whatever oh don't make it more complicated yeah but actually there were certain elements of scrivener that i thought god that is just really especially when you're trying to keep the word count and everything and you can put in your daily targets and your overall target and um the way the way it splits it into chapters yeah down the side so you can kind of you can bob back and forward without kind of losing your place yeah it's and it's easy to make changes as you uh as you go along i found with having that little side panel with your chapters like like you've said before yeah you make a change and you go oh crap in order for them to do that i've got a set up someone's got to put jam in that sandwich in chapter two it's so easy to go back to chapter two and make a little change because they're all sort of there at the side but the but the weird thing about it is when because i was quite cynical about using it as well because i thought why why would you you know why do you need some sort of specialist software it's just something else to procrastinate over and the intro to it like when you first download it there's this incredibly long detail the tutorial yeah and it goes on and on and on and i'll be honest i almost just gave up i was like geez i can't be bothered because i was like i'm gonna do this properly yeah yeah and it was just too much um yeah fortunately there was there is a little bit in that intro that says oh if you want to you can just click try it now and and get going and i did that and after that after getting on with it it's really quite easy to use because most of it is just like a word process it's like using yeah didn't it um but yeah just all these extra little bits on it that make it yeah i tell you one of the brilliant things in it especially when you're trying to get you you know you're doing nanowrimo rimo and you're just [ __ ] out words left right and center is the um kind of the auto auto correct on it all right it's got an actual autocorrect feature yeah yeah so you so you're rattling out words it kind of is not really annoying no no it was most daughter correct it works really well actually oh really yeah yeah isn't there a bit in it where you can change your name like every instance of bobby brown definitely like bobby brown i think it automatically changes that john because it knows it's stupid i think with mine it's built into the program it changed every character to bobby brown at one point which was quite off-putting and i can see how uh part of the what you're saying about the tutorial the problem is it's trying to tell you everything that's in it yeah and there's there's ways you can attach information in different formats to it as well you have kind of like a a working notepad and there's a sheet for you can have a sheet for characters and stuff yep and obviously different people write in different ways don't they so they need to it needs to have all that so if you're writing some massive historical fiction piece and you need to have documents to hand it's so much better being able to put them all in one system if you like rather than having 10 tabs open on your web browser and yeah because you can put you can put videos in it and all sorts of little so i could see how it would be massively massively useful for either non-fiction or kind of like fiction that needs a lot of detail put in so i have to say overall from being quite cynical at the start i would i would use it for lots of stuff actually now yeah that's good yeah because i think the criticism it gets mostly is that it's overly

but complicated it is if it's intuitive as well then it sort of doesn't matter does it because you you use the complicated aspect of it and if you don't it's basically i think i think that's the point of it actually is that use it on the surface level that you want to but if you get to a point where you go oh god i wish there was a way of doing x there probably is at its basic level it's basic level it's just a word processor just just like using word when you're actually in there writing and the other thing as well um i've read about this obviously i haven't experienced this but when you're finished what are you doing it's it's been quite good at compiling yeah as well yeah that is and you can do it in lots of different styles too you can um you know there's a sort of modern manuscript or depending if you're sending it to a particular type of agent you can format it in a different way i think you can format it for like kindle and stuff german like yes yeah it helps with a lot of stuff right oh cool yeah that's good yeah it's it's it's very good i genuinely don't think i would have done 40 000 words if i hadn't been using wow well that is a hell of a review john should we ask dave the question see if he's uh got any better got any better oh no don't dave what would you give it out a tent oh god um well i thought it was absolutely brilliant i would heartily recommend it to anyone so about a three three or four yeah no i would def i would give it an eight and a half i would probably agree with that out of ten i thought it was really really good wow chuck in the swedish masseuse and we could be up to nine so the 1.5 that's missing what went wrong were there any downsides it didn't it didn't it doesn't write the book for you no it doesn't give you any ideas you need to get you know some of the ai we did earlier in the series that's what it needs it needs some ai in there so there should be like a big red button on the side going i'm stuck yeah and then i just like just maybe a thousand words for you and then you pick it back up again that would be i believe i could be wrong here but i believe you can there is a version of that ai that does work with scrivener i think oh right well there we go could be wrong could have done me knowing that about a month ago but there we go well that was the review section of the failing writers podcast and uh after this short break we'll be back to talk about some flash fiction writing that we've been doing i don't know i felt the need to go into candidates

we should have some kind of daytime tv advert oh yeah nice good idea oh do you know what we could do in adv4 uh just thinking about it we've sold some books haven't we oh yeah yeah how exciting is that actually so with i think possibly i mean i can't guarantee that we have but i think we might have sold some books for david lucas who pitched his book yeah his 32nd did his 30-second pitch some books have been sold subsequent to us advertising that book yeah i think that counts as we saw i think so yeah no he seemed to think so he sent us a very chipper email didn't he yeah he did he was very pleased i mean you might have just been being nice but you know i will take it yeah yeah we'll take that i think we should take all the glory we can possibly get our hands on yeah well stay tuned listeners so we'll be back very shortly after this quick break introducing book you sell from fwp the ultimate way to turn those troublesome hard to sell collections of words into easy-to-fold non-traceable cash forget awkward querying letters to agents or publishers book you sell does the hard work for you manufactured above minimum standards from thousands of revolutionary microfiber persuasion strands book you sell gets deep into the ears of prospective customers simply record a 30 second voice memo pitch send it to fwp and we'll do the rest say goodbye to sleepless nights unpaid bills and deep-rooted anxiety about not being good enough and say hello to jonathan ross with book you sell from fwp fwp cannot guarantee book sales a good night's sleep or an appearance on jonathan ross graham norton or any other talk show actually writing a book required

so welcome back after that short break and in this part of the show we're going to be looking at some flash fiction that we have written ourselves because gluttons for punishment that we are we entered another competition didn't we we did this time the word count was 250 no it wasn't yes it was this time the word count was 250 words rather than a hundred which i think apart from actually being more words is a lot easier it's about 150 easier than the 100 word challenge yeah but like in terms of everything else about it was pretty much the same format of competition wasn't it as the last nyc exactly so we we all got a genre an action and a word and then we had to write a story in 24 hours that contained all those things in 250 words or less did did you both find it a bit easier than the hundred words i i definitely did yeah i've just you just had a bit more breathing space didn't you you didn't feel like you were taking too much out of it which i think we all kind of felt with the last one that you kind of had to you had to be so brutal to get it down to 100 that you've always felt like you were you're leaving stuff out like there's things that need or want to be in there and you kind of go so it becomes a kind of slightly different challenge doesn't it of kind of condensing stuff so much whereas yeah 250 is just about enough to kind of you can tell a story yeah with a hundred you're not really telling a story are you yeah yeah you're just sort of pitching a little bit of someone's life or something but you're not really kind of there's definitely no little beginning and end so guys how did you uh feel when you got your um genre this time out and what did you get i got horror again yes which i i had sort of mixed feelings about because i'd already done horror and i didn't really want to do horror again yeah it's not your favorite john really is quite like i quite like reading horror but i'm you know and i sort of quite like writing it but i just wanted something different for this challenge i think so i wasn't i wasn't thrilled about that i think it's actually really hard to do in a very short format as well because you've got you've got none of this sort of queasy set up well you've got to you've got to build suspense haven't you and yeah you literally haven't got time absolutely you don't have time so i was kind of like that's a shame but i think john i haven't been too down about it because i i'm i'm pretty sure i will be right insane i don't think you'll get horror in the next round no i think you're probably right i think the chances will be against that i well i i think this is this is kind of my whole issue with the whole flash fiction area is that i i just i don't know that it's hard to get into anything to create that sort of feeling that i like having from something that's a bit longer you know immersing yourself into a story is really hard to do in this i think part of it is we've read more flash fiction doing the podcast haven't we but with our competition and talking to tim craig and looking at stuff he's kind of one with stuff from my view and a lot of the stuff isn't massively genred is it it doesn't necessarily do i mean it's not it's not an ex written in an explicit genre where whereas this is saying this is what this is to sort of yeah yeah explore maybe that's that's a good shout for next time is to not worry too much about the genre just to make sure it loosely fits that that space if you know what i mean rather than because i you know if i get horror i think well i've got to make it scary that's better i suppose that is the entire point of horror isn't it exactly yeah but maybe it does you know i mean that maybe it doesn't need to be like explicitly scary maybe it just needs to be slightly you know make you feel slightly well no i think it probably does but that's for this competition isn't it so i mean this competition gives you a very distinct genre and a lot of a lot of other competitions don't but i think but that's that's the point isn't it like you say john as soon as you see all right i've got a horror you think right i've got i've got 250 words to scare somebody whereas if you're writing a horror book it's not about creating a scare is it it's about creating an atmosphere you know that builds that sort of tension um so having a genre in a short form competition like this you feel like it forces you into certain stereotypes i think but i think the other thing you've got to remember about this competition then one of it's one of its things is that it's a 24-hour job isn't it yeah yeah you haven't got ages jeremy so it's kind of it's forcing into a corner almost for your own benefit and unless you're single and you don't have anything else going on in your life it isn't that easy to fit it in is it you know you i mean you're not i suppose what i'm saying is you're not spending 24 hours on it did you not spend 24. wish we hear yours first john as you've started talking about it uh okay so my obviously my genre was horror my word was crop and my action was breaking a chain made some spooky sound effects

this is called the purple room the easiest 10 grand he'd ever make they'd said but that was in daylight above ground down here in an abandoned bunker ultraviolet lights throwing shadows into alcoves zach wasn't so sure there was one shadow in particular hunched just beyond the low grove of cannabis plants some time ago a scratching noise above the electric hum had made him freeze now he was certain someone or something was squatting there in the corner he dropped his joint and stood he'd been told do not whatever you do touched the crop but he'd needed to calm his nerves and anyway he would know he stepped forward purposefully eyes fixed on the crouched form brushing past the serrated leaves the violet light suddenly fizzed and went out zach fumbled for his phone as he turned his light into the corner a contorted slick grey face caught in the beam zack stumbled backwards tripped his phone hitting the floor he looked back in each intermittent flicker of uv he saw more shadows moving quickly towards him he bolted up the steps futilely feeling for the key to unpadlock the chain that kept people out gone he reached the top casting around in the dark for a metal bar he'd seen on his way in he found it and lunged for the chain in the dark slipping the metal bar through the gap to break it open with his weight the quiet slap of a hundred wet feet echoed in the stairwell behind him so um john yeah were you happy with that uh i wasn't entirely happy with that no and i can talk about probably talk about why i wasn't entirely happy with it do you know what i was gonna i was gonna do is talk about because we we mentioned before we're gonna talk about what the creative journey was if you like for the ideas that we've read and uh the idea was to sort of think about it and and sort of scribble them down or record them and i could give you a joy are you interested you want me to give you a quick sort of where it began yeah let's where did it come from where did that idea cropped the ideas i was thinking was first of all of course the first one i thought of was like a riding crop and being spanked what this banking it was going to be called uh i was thinking uh you know like cornfields the quiet place uh you know children of the corn signs all that kind of stuff but it was a little bit obvious been done to death uh hair being cropped i don't know i had a few ideas for that and then uh breaking the chain i was thinking like a i don't know a dog on a chain a necklace or breaking a sequence someone who's captured and then i was thinking what what sort of weird crops are there and i think it actually might have been katie you said what about weed and uh i made immediately sort of those like secret warehouses yeah lights and the hydroponics and uh i thought that could actually be quite atmospheric you know with that lighting and uh there was a case a few years back where some gang used uh an old uh like underground cave or like a bunker as a weed farm and i thought the idea of the sort of the claustrophobia of being in one of those places might be quite interesting um especially if you combine that with a little little toke on uh some very high grade product yes and uh and that's that kind of got me think i was thinking about this this old uh world war ii bunker in the woods where i used to mess about as a kid um there was like an old creepy storage bunker that you know like urban explorers used to break into occasionally and so i thought i'd set it there bit of local interest and then uh that sort of got the idea going and then i remembered hg wells is the red room have you ever read that um it's a very good sort of spooky short story so i kind of based it on that because obviously it's a purple room because of the lighting and so it's based around that idea so really good short stories but basically a short story about the about uh it's about fear basically it's about how our silly little monkey brains can very easily imagine uh scary things let the darkness creep into our rational minds it's that it's weird because that's what i thought about this because i was i was think because there is it's a lot of stuff striking imagery in it it does conjure up quite sort of scary scenes and i was thinking you know is it or is it the the drugs that's making him see stuff is that you know is that why he's been told not just a fulcrum in the middle isn't it yeah yeah um so but that's that thing of like was there anything in the dark with him was it was it stuff that he was seeing or was it actually there but it's it's difficult because you just don't have the time to really build that question up you know yeah and going back to tom's question like i just by the time i'd written by the time i'd written something that sort of had a bit of horror about it and there was there was some kind of threat i was on like 300 words and all these ideas that i had for the real story in it i just had to strip it all out so it just be it almost just became it just sort of gets got stripped back to this very sort of simple there's something in the room he doesn't know what it is and they start chasing him and it was it's that's what struck me about it knowing knowing you as a writer and knowing your writing it didn't it seemed quite surface yeah in terms of the way you'd written it but it didn't have the usual sort of depth yeah the writing on it just felt a bit of a if i was going to put my yeah to try and try and embody the judges from the uh nyc from our previous video i would probably say um i like the imagery in it but the slap of a hundred wet feet can we get we need to know is the the backstory for these people with the wet feet no that's it exactly we need we need all the back stories why are their feet wet why are the feet wet yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah exactly yeah and initially they were hanging there were ideas about that but then i just had to kind of throw them out and then are there 50 things in there with two feet each or they're just a hundred feet is it just a really wet millipede yeah i mean you mean come on yeah there's a lot of questions but it's true it just kind of it did so it feels like it's building this building and it's like a story that i wanna know something about and then it just ends with some wet feet yeah yeah because you don't have the time to no but i feel i do feel like i miss tricks like looking back on it now because it's really hard it's really hard on the day because you're just like okay i finished it it's 250 words yeah well you do that editing thing don't you where you end up going around and editing circles yeah yeah we're almost taking stuff out changing it changing it again changing again then going that's just like it was at the start but probably not quite as good actually yeah yeah no exactly it's always that question isn't it that this is something you that's particular to something where it's like you only get 24 hours like sometimes you take something out and you you think i think it makes sense but do i think it makes sense because i know what was there before like am i being is it did it objectively make sense and normally you'd go do you know what i'll give it a couple of days and i'll come back and see if it still makes sense but you don't get that opportunity no i think that's really true and it's only like looking back on it now it's just it's not at all scary first of all and secondly i they just seem like obvious things that i've missed just like stupid stuff like it it should have been it should have been in first person yeah if you're gonna like place the reader in the thick of the horror just write it in first person it's just really obvious that and secondly you should never really see the thing that's pursuing you you know yeah it's scary that's the thing is it there was it not is it the light is it you know once once you've got a slick grey face so just that was that was suddenly really obvious like looking back on it but i mean that these are these are minor problems to be honest i think there's a lot more wrong with it uh looking back on it now well i refer you back to my previous point john i don't think you need to worry about getting horror in the next round no exactly exactly no i think that's uh i think it's pretty clear but do read hg wells's red room because it is uh it is brilliant and to be fair it doesn't do a lot more than this in a weird sort of way it's a very very simple story yeah and it is kind of just about there any are there any wet feet there's no wet feet no right okay i'm not going to bother then not going to bother no his his story is a lot cleverer than mine to be fair uh betty well oh yeah okay um so yeah um i the best way to explain how how i sort of felt about doing this because i didn't know whether to record any sort of stuff like we did for the last one and i recorded a few bits and they aren't really any good but the first bit kind of tells you everything you need to know about how i felt on this day so i'll just play you this okay so it's just gone midday on the day of the nyc 250 word micro fiction whatever and i've got to be honest i've got a massive hangover last night was my first night out like proper night out out for i don't know years it seems like and uh and i don't feel very well today um i know tom and john have already got their assignments i'm sitting here trying to log on to i can't even get the computer to work it's doing something i'll soon i will find out what the hell i'm doing but i don't know how the hell am i gonna write a story today i can barely string a sentence together so this is gonna be fun oh mate so yeah that's that's how i felt uh on the day it's all coming back to me now i do remember you uh what's happening

rough that day just an awful awful hangover and this just seemed like a massive imposition on it i was already not going to enjoy very much why why find weird bed is did you i mean presumably you knew that the micro fiction challenge was coming and you didn't clear your diary on the friday i know yeah to accommodate that that is poorly really yeah in retrospect i should have started drinking like when the competition started and just tried to there you go yeah i'd written it in those 24 hours so i wasn't in the best place and as a result it all got a bit dark so i'll tell you what i'll read you the story first so it was uh drama water in a garden and glass okay and it's called the bear patch i squint at the instructions one more time make sure the area is free from weeds is that joke i mean how do you define a weed something undesirable that reproduces quickly yeah that fits make sure the ground is level well i think it is then again it's pitch black out here the ground could be as round as her belly for all i know spread evenly i thought i was yeah i'm busy with work but who wasn't i spent as much time with him as i could if it wasn't enough he should have just said something instead of leaving that glass for me to find then trying to convince me it was mine i don't even wear that shade water deeply and daily well it's not like i'm gonna forget is it i doubt there'll ever be a single day when i don't think about this just tell me how long it'll take six weeks she looked more like she was six months yet he always told me he didn't want kids we won't be having any now will we maybe if i water it for a bit longer it'll grow quicker it is quite an obvious bear patch but if i can just stop anyone visiting for a few weeks maybe they'll never know i mean they'll ask where he is of course she might even come looking for him well if she does there's plenty more seed in the box thank you david thank you for sharing that with us um can i just say before we before we tom's taking on the persona of like some uh late night chat show so it's really weird you're right tom it's late though isn't it we don't normally do sessions of this later we're recording in the evening we don't normally record in the evening so i think i've slipped into maybe we should take this smoking jacket off yeah

yeah anyway um can we just be serious for a second please boys yeah david sorry i thought that was brilliant but that i thought it was i thought it was really really good oh it wasn't expected i thought using the using the structure of the instructions to pull the narrative forward and have those parallels of them and and just letting out these little bits of story almost as if in each each hand of seed cast down there's some more story coming out yeah it was nice that riffing on the instructions really good to introduce the elements of the drama it was nice yeah yeah it's one of those uh well i think tim craig talked about it didn't he's one of those uh it probably has a name um but it's it's like at what point do you get it jobbies isn't it that's sort of where the fun is it's trying to work it out early but it's not it's not for it's not forced teasing you it's not kind of going oh you're gonna work something out in a minute it's just releasing it to you in bits it's kind of drawing you through the story yeah and you're not racing through it you just kind of yeah it's a lovely it's a lovely starting point for a story i think if i was if i was going to be very critical i'd say i think it gave it it gave out a bit early so you think so do you know what i mean the the only reason i say that is because i think it's line five you said then again it's pitch black out here and that this is someone doing their weeds so it's very obvious there's something nefarious going on that's that's the first thing and then the next line is the ground could be as round as her belly for all i know and that instantly like it drew the picture of a like a belly buried underground really clearly in my mind so it's like at that point i knew what was happening on line five oh yeah john's right actually dave i don't like it anymore well yeah but yeah but it's not her it's not her it's buried though it's not that belly that's buried no no i i totally get that i totally get that and it's only it's only later on you know exactly obviously what's happened but the and obviously at that point i thought it was a bloke who'd buried his wife uh but it it instantly gave away the the sort of the overarching ideas yeah i mean a paragraph too early so if i was being if i was being like super critical that's all i'd say i was like hold on to it a bit longer like make it seem like you are just gardening because then the the hit is like oh [ __ ] he's was he buried somewhat right okay i thought it was just about gardening right now i've really gone off this now actually because i had quite a lot of trouble in my back with my back lawn there was a bit where a bush was overhanging and the grass just wouldn't grow underneath it so i've been i've been through it jimmy i thought we were on earth he put seed down he put an entire bloody box down and the kids still run on it the birds come in and it starts growing but then as soon as it gets to winter again it's just gone again i thought that right this oh dave so they've killed someone i told you it was dark didn't i but yeah i would qualify i would qualify what i just said by saying uh judging by the the judging last time i can sort of see why you might have signaled it a bit more than you exactly normally might have done because actually if you hadn't then uh you know there'd be no chance would they they'd be saying well i don't understand it i don't i'm thinking about it dave i would like we we're talking he's doing the story but what is the back story of the box of seed where's it come from where was it bought from what manufacturer is it for what kind of grass seed is it do you mean we need to know more depth more backstory in fact from what john said maybe it should be it should start off i squinted the instructions one more time as i bury the body first line straight in there set out what it is yeah it might go somewhere that has got a very good chance of getting through foreign it's got a lot of flash fiction quality to it everything we've learned about how flash fiction story sits that feels like it sits in the right space yeah i did i did like i liked the structure of it when i sort of stumbled across that because like talking about the origin of it i was basically i was standing in the kitchen staring out the window at the garden just holding my head and thinking oh god watering a garden watering a garden watering a garden i couldn't come up with anything um and i i was thinking that i used to hate going into the garden in our old house just in case i had to speak to a neighbor you know you would just go i want to go out i just want to get the washing in and then you end up chatting for someone for 10 minutes i used to hate that and i thought that's not much of a story so i thought with the opposite of that i first started thinking about someone who was over watering their garden just so they could see a neighbor now they wanted to go out and speak to somebody but then i thought that's not really enough drama and then somehow from there i jumped to oh if you buried a body in the garden you'd have to plant stuff to cover it and then you'd have to water it wouldn't you yeah it just sort of went from there but it was only when i saw because i didn't originally have that the sort of structure with the seed boxes only when i hit that i was like oh actually it gives it a structure you know that makes it into something else yeah yeah but yeah there we go yeah nice dave there's mine tommo what about you tom what did you have well thank you for asking uh well shall i just i'm gonna crack it i can't really remember where my idea came from i don't know we were gonna take notes and think about it so i'm thinking if i read it then maybe i'll remember all right yeah let's do that right my genre was uh fairy tale fairy tale yeah and that's a big favorite of yours isn't it more so than historical that i got last time i quite like the idea of fairy tale it's sort of you think of writers like neil gaiman you know it's almost well what i did think about it was it does give you a lot of breadth doesn't it yeah it kind of allows for just making [ __ ] up and and you kind of go well that's it's just that's the fairy tale but then i kind of thought well at the same time that's quite a lot of pressure to build a second world do you mean like you kind of you've got to create this entire narnia yeah in 250 german that that's where i was kind of going um and i think that's where this kind of advice because some fantasy books are massive yeah notoriously yes so i think this idea perhaps came from the idea of having a foot in both worlds kind of that narnia idea that it was the wardrobe i mean you'd have the two sides um so anyway i'll let me read it and then hopefully i'll be able to make some stuff up about it when i'm finished it's called the ornegan i made that word up all by myself i wondered how you said that the owner the only guy on a gagging that was the other way of saying it yeah right can i read my story now please you two are being very silly today

they say when the time comes your life flashes before you both of mine are right now the caramel ford cortina with its hot sticky seats clinging to my bare legs sandy lukewarm holidays by the sea buster a loyal puppy now long gone every detail so bright crisp and alive now i glimpse what my heart aches to see the elvish castle at thiamedes before it was raised by the orcs from the north the memories of magic just cast lacing the air like rich heavy firework smoke i tried to catch the smell my weak lungs falter the machines keeping me alive sympathetically changed their rhythm my mind allows me the only memory shared across both worlds that sparking arc of fiery blue otherworldly light which lured me in 12 years old fearless and desperate for adventure adventure didn't even begin to describe it i was the ornagan the chosen one i lived the richest life it was 60 years until i reluctantly returned to this world yet not a split second had passed i was 12 again but with a mind filled with a hero's lifetime a mind i made the mistake of sharing and one deemed unsound the nurse brings in flowers with a long lost unmistakable scent with an effort on par with my legendary scaling of the balgathian heights i turn my head thick velvety scarlet petals enveloping long striking purple stamens eriskeen fire drops only grown by the banks of the throne guard so i mean basically we could tell from that i just thought if i put loads of like otherworldly lord of the rings type words in it's gonna sound fantastic i really i see i really like the um the sort of the split world thing the kind it's like a never-ending story sort of thing where you're not really ironic isn't it dave in 250 words yes they just call it the ending story ending quickly story yeah but yeah that i'd you know you're never really sure is this happening is he in a different world is he really here is he reading it with that with this one i couldn't decide if this person had been struck by lightning and was having lies flashing before their eyes or if they were on a psych ward having ect because they were crazy and it felt like they were living a different life and that i from the other sort of flash fiction stuff that level of ambiguity i thought was quite a sort of good thing i guess that was kind of the point yeah but i might have been no i think i think in my mind the idea was that this guy's in his final moments in a hospital in birmingham or whatever and he's having these his two lives of flashing before him of his normal in our world life that he had and his narnia type life that he had in the yeah in a moment as well when he was 12 yeah yeah and and then it's all and then obviously the the twist at the end is that in this hospital in rotherham birmingham wherever normal place someone has has delivered flowers that are from the other king fire drops

i love this tommy i thought this was great thank you i loved one of my favorite well there are lots of favorite bits i'm going to talk about my favorite bits but i loved how how quickly it hooked you doing better than i expected carry on john no it hooked me in straight away i loved because he's good just the word because he's really good that line uh they say when the time comes your life flashes before you both of mine are right now that's just such a great opening line yeah is it good isn't it yeah yeah both of mine is like what uh and just that lovely contrast between the sort of mundane nostalgic memories of these car seats and the dogs and and then the castles and the magic come in afterwards uh i thought it was really lovely i quite enjoyed about that bit was that kind of 70s 80s time you know when we were yeah it just absolutely dropped me yeah yeah to that world but then like you said just to kind of switch to the the fantasy world but then that hint that the fantasy world was the one he really loved that do you mean that was his yeah yeah the other great thing is when you're 12 years old you do have well a lot of 12 year olds have very vivid imaginations so the lovely thing is that it's sort of weirdly possible that this kid has imagined an entire lifetime of it yeah and he has just been deemed mentally ill and he's yeah like an institution yeah so there's so many different ways to look at it i love that i love that he could just be mad yeah he could just be you know just have a really good imagination or he could have actually you know gone off into this uh insane world and had all these adventures hey do you know i've just thought of something really interesting to tell you about the creation of this yeah so i wrote this and i wasn't happy with it oh yeah really wasn't happy with it it just didn't work this version no something like it not massively different from it but it just wasn't just didn't have the twist at the end was really clumsy and i couldn't be asked because i've been working on it for a few hours and jim i've done a decent amount of time on it and it just wasn't quite coming together um and i think i just went and watched tv you went away and came back and then it was about midnight and i was well ready for bed and i thought you know what i can't leave that and so i popped back in and spent an hour rearranging it well tommy can i tell you now you're going through to the next round and if you're not then it's an actual outrage if you're not then we don't know anything about the judging process of this competition yeah tommy i've got i've got more um i've got more praise for you you want more praise john john it's only 250 words long let's just actually no go on

no it reminded me tommy that because sometimes you know you're you're a big ideas man i think of you as a big ideas man yeah but you it this just reminded me that you can write with real finesse as well there's a lovely light touch in it and it is you know there's there's lovely descriptions in it i love the magic light the the sparking arc of fiery blue or the worldly light and the what's the other one the um just the lacing the air like rich heavy fireworks smoke you could smell it it was great it seemed like a longer story than 250 yeah i don't mean that it was a dragon told me it was dragging but it just it left you with the feeling that you'd been on a little bit of an adventure and i think that's that just but without quite knowing the answer at the end and i think that's that that's yeah exactly i think that's what we've learned about flash fiction i think so yeah absolutely yeah it feels like a snapshot from a much bigger story it won't it leaves you wanting more like you you want to know more about what is his adventures were is it real did he actually go there i i that's the thing though i think that's what we've learned about what makes good flash fiction but that's the exact opposite of what the judges seem to be looking for in this competition it's also the exact opposite of what i actually did for my classification when john gets put through for me

oh that would be so sweet but in all honesty yeah i mean dave's not chipped him with anything nice to say about mine i said i did you know i almost did the star is quite complimentary i'd rather take your guy's feedback than uh than getting through to the next round with some uh generic feedback yeah yeah it means more it does does it also if you get through tommy you've got to write another one yeah yeah that's true but maybe you found your thing hey man i don't know well yeah you know it's finished isn't it so that's one better than the novel exactly and you might you might be ready for the next one when uh yeah yeah well that's about a week's time isn't it yeah it's funny though because we i think we've we said something like this about it the the 100 words one was that the good ones you don't realize that it's limited words and i think this is one like tom you've got like three different scenes in this you know i mean you've got you've got the sort of the holiday with the ford cortina you've got the elvish castles and you've got this hospital with a nurse in it you've got all three of that happening in 250 words it's a hell of a lot and it doesn't feel it doesn't feel like you've jammed it all in you know yeah yeah there you go see that was complimentary wasn't it that was that was lovely i think i think dave's trying to say that you've over complicated it i think that's what dave's saying the nurse needs more backstory doesn't she is that what you say yeah she does where does the nurse come from who is she why is she bringing the flowers has she been to the banks of the executive i'll tell you why she's bringing the flowers the action i had to get was delivering flowers there we go but you know what good tale yeah that was good yeah i enjoyed that but it was quite nice having a we've had quite because we've been busy on the podcast as you may have noticed dear listener that was quite a while that feels like quite a while ago it really doesn't it was back in october

so it's quite nice coming back to it actually interesting i've only just recovered from that yeah so it feels like a long time well i'll tell you what boys nothing else we have done some more writing exactly and every little bit of writing that we do we learn something else exactly the whole point of starting this all those months ago was to get us writing and that's exactly what we've done god damn i'm just getting i'm just getting the really [ __ ] words out you know what i mean before i start writing this amazing we have we have been forced to write stuff this year which has been a good thing but there's not much of the year left it's true is there there's not much of it to go quite scary and we've got a lot to squeeze in what what's um what's coming up next week well next week we've got bafta award-winning sally wainwright on the show proper real basketball yeah very exciting though isn't it that's a big big name big name guests yeah and she was brilliant was lovely i don't know why i expected but she was just so honest and real

and this just and there's also there's a you'll you'll find this out next week but there's just remember that really dramatic moment right in the middle of the interview it was just whoa i don't know anyone else who could have handled the situation yeah you tune in next week you won't want to miss it believe me and then we are going to um we're coming up to we've decided it's going to be the end of the failing writers podcast at the end of the year um yeah it's been such a busy year we've squeezed so much in so it's going to be the end of season one yeah before we come back for season two we're gonna have a little

um so after sally next week after sally wayne right we have got um we're going to do a christmas special we're going to have a pantomime oh no a few other surprises in there and then um to finish off the year we have come up with a fantastic idea of um getting as many people back on that we've interviewed over the course of our first season of the podcast and we're gonna have a quick catch up with loads of people it's gonna be like a big podcast mini interview christmas party yeah like those big new year's eve specials where they just get a load of celebrity guests on yeah and they and they only get like a one joke yeah and then they and then they all get drunk oh brilliant yeah let's do this something like that a retrospective an end-of-the-year schedule you made that sound really funny yeah i'm i'm going i'm definitely coming along for that one well we'd better get on and get in touch with all these guests and get them back anyway for the party so um yeah yep we should probably just say goodbye and say to people please make sure you tune in next week because the sally wayne wright interview is is not to be missed tom i think i think at this point you need to um just take us out in your smoke you put your smoking jacket back on yeah and uh and bring proceedings to a close yeah okay nothing i think that's a good idea it's probably the only way we're going to get any kind of decent ending on this yeah

well dear listener that ends another failing writers podcast and we thank you very much for sticking with us for listening not just to this episode but to all the other episodes before as well so we will bid you farewell good evening good morning good night and we will see you next time oh yeah no you guys have the last word

hello hello where has everybody gone