I was mulling over something this morning (besides ‘Why didn’t my taxi turn up? I could have set my alarm for 6.30am instead of 4.30am aaaaargh!’) – hang on, lost my thread… Lets start again…
I was mulling over something this morning: should I be baring my all by publishing raw, rough and unready writing on my blog? By ‘my all’ I mean my lack of attention to punctuation, grammer, rhythm, pace, sense etc, and by ‘raw, rough and unready writing’ I mean first drafts. You know, those very first versions you write, where the ideas splurge out your head and you have to get them nailed down on paper (or on iPad) quickly before they flit away. Those first versions that you’ll end up editing down to half their size and turning what’s left upside down and inside out, then buffing it all up to give it a sparkling finish. After you’ve carefully wiped off all the blood, sweat and tears…
Then I thought, ‘Yes, because it’s giving me the push to write, even if it’s something small, even if I’m so tired I can barely see.’
And I thought ‘Yes, because it’s nice and encouraging when you get positive feedback, despite all the bloopers.’
And I thought ‘Yes, because it’s a lovely feeling to know that something you’ve scribbled has made someone chuckle (even if it was just the tiniest chuckle in the world).’
I had a lot of ‘No‘ thoughts too, but decided to blow a big raspberry at them and continue putting my splurgy-rough-stuff on here for you to dip in and out of should you feel the urge.
I’d be interested to hear what other writerly types out there think on this matter… Leave me a comment, or tweet me @rose_appleby…
So then! On to today’s splurgy-rough-next-bit-of-Granny-Battle-and-Ellis. I really need to find a title for this…
Update: Here are links to all previous chapters…
Ellis cupped his hands around the steaming mug on the table in front of him. He’d been a bit wary about accepting a drink from someone who fried odour eaters, but he had to admit to himself it tasted good. Sort of like the best, sweetest cup of tea in the world but with essence of bubblegum and a toffee aftertaste. He took another sip, and looked carefully down at his lap where the small orange dragon was nestled; its eyes were closed, and it was quietly snoring squeakily. Every now and then a pale grey puff of smoke drifted out the corner of its mouth. Ellis had discovered that if he looked at it suddenly without thinking, it looked distinctly furry. But if he concentrated and looked at it a bit more slowly, it was 100% dragon.
‘He likes you,’ said Granny Battle approvingly, taking a noisy slurp from her mug. Whatever she was drinking was producing delicate purple steam.
Ellis felt rather pleased with himself, and gave the dragon a tentative tickle behind its ear. It creaked contentedly. He had a million and one questions he needed answering, and was pretty sure Granny Battle had already heard him thinking them. He picked one at random to vocalise.
‘So why cats?’ he asked.
‘Well, I would have thought that was obvious,’ she replied, blowing on her mug and sending little purple steam-rings across the table.
‘Er, no,’ he replied. Granny gave a little hmph.
‘Oh. Well, it’s the heat.’
‘Heat?’ Ellis looked confused. ‘I don’t get it,’ he said.
‘Well. You sees… it’s…’ Granny scrunched up her nose searching for the right way to explain things. ‘You sees, humans were the best at making themselves warm nests. Or houses or whatever you want to call them. Dragons need as much heat as possible – they hate the cold. They seed the nice warm nests we was making in Way Back When, so tried to muscle in on them.’ She took another noisy slurp from her mug, and smothered a burp. ‘It didn’t work too well at first, ‘cos a spikey, spiney dragon don’t exactly tempt you to welcome it into your home does it? They used to have rather a hard time – I means, think of St. George! So the dragons, see, they worked out how to project this… this… fluffiness,’ she screwed up her mouth as if the word had tasted bad. ‘Anyway, that made them a lot more appealing. People saw them and went, ‘Aw, how cute!’ and started taking them into their nice warm homes. Of course, it was the Egyptian dragons that sussed it first, they were real experts. Took it a bit too far though, if you want my opinion.’
Ellis was silent. He kept getting little bursts of swimmy unrealism. He was sitting at the kitchen table in the bonkers old lady’s – he corrected himself – Granny Battle’s house. They were discussing dragons. Cats were dragons. He’d had his t-shirt singed and half his hair burnt to a frazzle. Now his shirt and hair were back to normal after she’d done something. She cooked odour eaters in a frying pan. He’d trodden in one. She said she was a slooth, and she said that she knew where his dad was.
He clenched his first under the table until he felt his fingernails dig painfully into his palm, just to remind himself that this was real.
Granny Battle continued.
‘Course, they got it made, really. And they make a fortune out of us.’
‘What?’ asked Ellis, ‘Money fortune? How do they do that?!’
‘Weeeeeeeell, just think of all the stuff we buy them!’ Granny said, ‘The food, the silly fluffy toys, daft little baskets, furry things to hang over radiators, collars with sparkles on! You don’t think those things are actually dreamed up and made by us do you?!’ She sniffed, and muttered, ‘Can’t abide fluffiness in any shape or form. Or sparkles. Especially not sparkles.’
Ellis was getting a bit overloaded. He just stared blankly at her. She sighed.
‘Look, dragons need a hoard, right? Forget about all this ‘sleeping on the hoard’ business, that’s rubbish. They have banks, just like us. Always have had. They make – or get made – all that stuff, and we buy it in cartloads.’
‘But – how – I don’t understand!’ Ellis said, feeling as if his brain was about to implode, ‘We don’t buy that stuff from cats! Or dragons! We buy it in shops… and it must have come from a… a… human to get in the shops, surely?! There can’t be a factory somewhere full of cats – dragons – whatever – making stuff for cats, can there?’
‘Not exactly,’ said Granny Battle leaning back in her chair and folding her arms. ‘But sort of.’
There we go! I’m not entirely sure about the cat-dragon-money-making thing – it might prove relevant later, but then again, it might not. I which case it’ll become the victim of The Big Red Pen. Okay, the delete key. But it’ll stay written somewhere, just in case the vague idea becomes relevant in some other story…
Update: Here’s the next chapter…
Chapter 6 – Battle Stations