Happy Halloween/Samhain Blessings!

From my #WIP, which has the working title of Portia… this is straight out of my head onto the laptop, so it’s as raw as it gets!

The low cliffs are layered like Liquorice Allsorts. Liam’s stumbling over terrain which is literally rocks and boulders, slipping on seaweed in his chequered espadrilles in pursuit of Richard.

            “Liam! Just leave it!” I scream from what feels like miles away. I can’t be more than a few metres behind him, but I can barely keep upright. I’ve never seen a beach like this in my life.

            Liam’s been on about coming here, ever since he started uni. Everyone knows that you can sometimes find fossils in Lyme Regis, and possibly along the Jurassic Coast – we’ve been to Lyme loads, and if we’re at a south coast beach it’s always Orcombe Point – but like I say, he didn’t know about Kilve until he went to uni. And then there was never time when he came back in the holidays because he was always working; I mean, like, always working. In the olden days, if you went to uni, the government gave you a student grant and a loan that hardly anyone ever paid back, but now you have a choice between not going, getting into massive debt, or working your fucking bollocks off. Liam chose the latter. He’s finished his first degree at Liverpool now, but he’ll be starting a Masters in Manchester in October. Palaeontology. He’ll discover a new dinosaur, I know he will. Unearthing the past is his passion. But when he asked me to come to Kilve with him today, I thought he was going to propose to me – put a diamond ring inside an ammonite and let me ‘find’ it, or something – not get me to secretly record a showdown with him and his Uncle Richard on my phone!

I don’t even know how he knew Richard would be here today. We never talked about him. I only knew about him when Liam’s grandad got dementia and we had to go and clear his house out so he could go into a home. We found these old photos. Some were of his mum, Kayleigh, who got murdered by some psycho. Some were of Richard, and I said, “Wow, Liam! Who’s that? You’re the bloody spit of him!” He told me, then showed me ones of his mum, and I said he looked like his Uncle Richard except he had his mum’s eyes, and he’d said I’d made him sound like some fucked-up Harry Potter. He’d told me to abracadabra fuck off! He’d looked at me with a vitriol that’d scared me. It was the only time I’d seen him like that, and it was the last time we mentioned his uncle.

And now he’s chasing him down on a beach full of fossils. My instinct is to call the police, but I don’t want to get him into trouble, and nothing more than words has happened, anyway.

“Liam!” I shout again.

This time he turns and stops. “Go back to the fucking car, Portia!”

Richard is a fair distance in front of him, now. He’s been here before – he’s using a bit of branch from the woods to steady himself. Liam starts off again, but stumbles and crashes onto his knees. “Fuck!” He scrambles to his feet, grabs a large stone and hurls it at Richard. It skims his uncle’s heels and shatters on a long, grey platform of rock. Richard spins round, laughing soullessly, his face harsh with triumph. It looks like he’s going to spit at Liam, but his eyes fall to the rock, and he suddenly softens and drops into a crouch. He picks up one of the fragments of the stone Liam threw and examines it as he stands. In the hiatus, I pick my way, half walking, half climbing, to Liam, and grab his hand. Liam is as cold and still as the sloping shelf of rock we’re standing on.

“Liam?” I whisper. It might be that I’ve just noticed the wind off the sea, but I’m suddenly very cold.

“It’s an ammonite.”

“What?”

“There’s an ammonite imprint on that stone I threw.”

“So?”

“It’s been here for millions of years, and I’ve just thrown it like it’s nothing.”

Richard is picking up other bits of the stone now, turning them over and over in his hands. He seems oblivious to us.

“So?”

“Richard just got tenure. In the palaeontology department.”

As if he’s heard his nephew’s mumble, Richard stares right at us. He’s livid. He cocks his head to one side and pierces us with his gaze.

“Liam?” My hand scrabbles for his.

Richard picks up a boulder like it’s a pebble. He’s stronger than he looks. Without taking his eyes from Liam’s, he walks towards us, oblivious to the sever landscape.

            “You stupid little prick.”

            Richard is so close to us now, that I can smell the alcohol on his breath, the sweat that’s soaked through his t-shirt. Liam and I can’t move. I can’t look at Liam, because I am so scared of Richard, but I know he’s paralysed, like me.

            “Your mum was a good shag,” Richard tells Liam, his head still on one side – he looks psychopathic – “even when she wasn’t up for it. Now you finally get to meet her.”

            He smashes the rock into the side of Liam’s head.

Writer’s WIP Questionnaire – 2

  1. In the past two weeks, I have felt mostly happy about the progress of my WIP.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Comment: I’m really excited to say that, yes, I am! I had the idea of a kind of spin-off to what I’m calling The Glasshouse Series – a new set of novels set in the present day, with Kayleigh’s son, Liam, now in his mid-twenties – a month or so ago, and having visited Kilve beach the other day, the story is flowing out of me!

  • In the past two weeks, I have mostly managed to balance my writing life with the rest of my life.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Comment: Hmm, I find this a struggle, but then I think many writers do. Considering I spent a week on a writers’ retreat and am now doing lots of live events, I can only score 2! I do a lot of work in the hours after my little boy has fallen asleep and before I do, and for a morning person that’s hard – I try to find a balance! I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family – thanks, guys!

  • In the past two weeks, I have made drastic changes to my WIP.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Comment: Although my #WIP is very new, I have changed the narrative perspective from Liam’s to that of his girlfriend. Also, my intention was to write this series in the third person, but it just doesn’t come naturally to me and the story was losing impact, so it’s first person again!

  • In the past two weeks, I have mostly suffered from ‘writer’s block’.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Comment: Nope – I have never been more prolific!

  • In the past two weeks, I have focussed on one project.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Comment: Nope – see above! I am currently writing a children’s book, a short story, and two novels – one being Liam’s story, the other loosely based on real events in the 1980s. I’ve submitted my third novel, and another short story, and am expecting the edits back on it any time now. I’m also doing live events over the next couple of weeks, so I’m preparing for those; then there’s the usual promoting of my published novels… It’s hectic, but I love it! #writerslife

On Kilve Beach, North Devon.

Published by morwennablackwood

When Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends. The story was about a frog. It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back. Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries. She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon. She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of. Morwenna is the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us, and Glasshouse, published by #darkstroke. She has just submitted her third novel, Underrated, and the fourth is in progress. When she is not writing, Morwenna works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea. She often thinks about that frog.

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