Creative Work: Short Story ‘Black Ocean’ by ReBecca Compton

Creative WorksAs deadlines approach for papers and submissions at Kingston University MA program a certain frenetic energy takes hold of us and changes simple words into stories that capture imaginations. This is the right time to take a breather and check out other people’s ideas and realisations.

This week on Words, Pauses, Noises, we have a new author, ReBecca Compton, and her short story ‘Black Ocean’. This first person narrative seeks to explore the hidden, true nature within her characters, as well as every one of us. Come join us for a while as we drift in the waves of discovery.

‘Black Ocean’ by ReBecca Compton

There he was with his friends and that woman, the one who never stopped touching him. Though it didn’t matter what she did, he never truly fell for her.

Not like he would for me.

I heard the clicking of my heels across the wood of the patio as I made my way to the drinks. I wrapped my hand slowly around the cup next to his.

“Hello.” I said it smooth and slow.

He met my eyes last. “I’m-I’m Brian.” He stuck his hand out. I smiled. Touch was key, and now he was asking to do the work for me.

My hand wrapped around his. “I’m Alix.” I ran my fingers down his palm as I released his hand, watched his pupils dilate. “I’m visiting from out of town. Tell me, if there’s one thing I need to see before I leave, what would that be?” I traced my finger along the rim of the glass and sucked off the salt.

“Oh that’s easy.” He pointed away from the party. “You need to see the ocean at dusk.” Continue reading


Review: Ender’s Game: Adaptation from Text to Screen, by Ashley Nicholson

InterviewsThis week on Words, Pauses, Noises, we’re taking  a look at a slightly different type of artistry. Most of what is posted on WPN centres on our own creative endeavours, but there are endless types of creative works. Adaptation for example, takes someone else’s work and translates it to another medium, such as the stage, screen, or a combination arts. This week’s piece features a review of the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s most famous novel Ender’s Game by our very own Ashley Nicholson. There is much to say about turning such a well-loved novel into a film.  The room for error is immense, the balance of pages to screen time is treacherous and the substitution of storytelling for special effects is all too tempting for a big budget filmmaker such as director Gavin Wood. To its readers, Ender’s Game is much more than all of these things.  If you count yourself amongst the legion of fans this book has accumulated, read this review to decide whether or not seeing the film will enhance your love of the story or steal a piece of it forever.

Ender’s Game: Adaptation from Text to Screen

By Ashley Nicholson

While studying in Kingston, there was a course I took that taught us about the intricacies and absurdities of adapting arts into different mediums. Perhaps the most important lesson I took away from Kevin MacNeil’s ‘The Art of Adaptation’ course was that in order to take a book and transcribe it to the screen, you have to remember first and foremost: the screen is visual. An author’s intent is to build a picture for the reader, a richly textured world with characters we can see, hear, and connect with. On the screen, the character is brought to life by facial expressions and dialogue instead of internal monologue. In the text a character frowns, deep in contemplative silence while we, the readers, follow their thoughts. The actor must convey this internal debate physically and through dialogue. So too the director must set the tone using colours, camera angles, and music.

Having said this, we all know that the movie adaptation will never be completely faithful to the story presented within the book. It just can’t happen. Inevitably there are too many subplots or extraneous characters which are all unnecessary details to a visual audience. That’s just the way it has to be in order to fit 150 pages into 120 minutes. Take for example the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It is a story about a child becoming a soldier. It is a messianic tale with a massive political and philosophical debate raging at the heart of it, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The story revolves mainly around super-smart children— and I do mean children, Ender Wiggin is six at the time he is chosen to go to Battle School. Once chosen, these children are taken to a space station and trained to be soldiers and commanders through the use of technology, strategy, and a certain amount of ruthlessness. It’s Lord of the Flies in space, with the children then going on to fight an actual war. Continue reading

Creative Work: Short Story ‘The Last Two People Left On The Night Bus’ by Tomek Dzido

Creative WorksLast week on Words, Pauses, Noises, we introduced Tomek Dzido as the founder of STORGY, an interactive short story platform. This week we’re featuring a story of Tomek’s, ‘The Last Two People On The Night Bus’. Genre fiction, especially short fiction, can be difficult to accomplish. The author must create an entire world within only a few paragraphs or pages, as well as wrap up that world with a satisfying ending. This work both builds and ends its world with a startling clarity that, while brief, is very descriptive and, in a manner of speaking, alive. Get ready for a chilling ride!

‘The Last Two People Left On The Night Bus’

By Tomek Dzido

It’s been three years since my mother ate Bruce. Three years since I heard him whimper and was forced to drive a cleaver deep into the back of her head. I remember watching her fall to the ground and feeling nothing as I buried the blade further into her skull, the inactive brain matter disintegrating and spreading out all over the abandoned pavement. Eventually she stopped moving, by which point it was Bruce’s turn to die, again. As I looked back towards my mum and stood over her ravaged and rotten body, I tried to recall the good times. The mornings in the garden with dad and Jenny, the warm croissants and fresh coffee, the laughter and long summer days, but they were lost to me now. I felt nothing. The only thing I experienced was hunger and exhaustion, and occasionally fear, but even that was rare, especially since there was nothing left to fear. There was no point in being scared. They would get you soon enough. It was only a matter of time. Continue reading

Creative Work: Short Fiction “Statues & Love” by Lauren Weymouth

Creative WorksBrevity in fiction can have the power and intensity of the most elaborate prose (i.e. Nobakov’s Lolita).  Succinct and simple language pervades Sandra Cisneros House on Mango Street. A clear narrative voice and distinct characters piloted David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary to popularity worldwide. In the spirit of compactness the Words, Pauses, Noises team were fortunate enough to share this beautiful, short yet expansive flash-fiction piece by Lauren Weymouth

‘Statues & Love’

By Lauren Weymouth 

There was too much liquid love thrusting against my skin – pecking at the follicles, begging to escape. I wanted someone to drain it out of me like sucking cranberry juice through a straw until there is nothing but ice. No liquid lies between the crevices, just a cluster of cold, soulless solidity, like a statue. I wished I were a statue because statues don’t feel any pain. Hercules stands headless in Athens, Rhodes, Lefkada, Parga – he doesn’t feel a thing. Soldiers that died in a battle for our country stand in the British Museum without their manhood -the one body part that empowers them more than any other. Where is their hurt? They feel no shame, or embarrassment or ache. Do we have to fight a war to deserve such gratitude? What if this is the war of my life? What if this struggle, this kind of fight causes my death? The pride used to gush through my body, entwined in my liquid love, like my hair with yours on our pillow. If I were a statue – a statue for us – I’d want to be placed next to our lake. Everything was beautiful there, each leaf, stone, the protruding weed -showed some kind of existence. Everything was beautiful because I was in love. Love has that kind of ability; it makes us look at things as though we’ve never seen a more perfect version of that leaf, stone or weed. If I stood there now, statuesque with all my blood gone, I’d watch over the lake. I’d wait for you to come and take a picture beside me and hope that the leaves had fallen and the stones had been washed away, just so you could see how damaged beautiful things are without you. I’d place myself where we parked our bikes and loved one another beside the tree. I’d have shown you how much life there was against that tree at one point. How much blood seeped down my thighs leaving nothing but a tingle of desperation in my toes.

If you are struggling with Writer’s Block or need to expand or revamp a segment in your novel or short story try your hand at flash-fiction. Give stream-of-consciousness a go and free write. Playing with words may just lead you to your own creative genius and brighten your writing. Take a look at Miranda July’s wacky, innovative Oranges for a fresh take on form. And for some examples of experimental poetry, Emily Berry‘s Dear Boy is a gravitating first collection – a must read. Words, Pauses, Noises will return next week with another round of creative joy. Until next time!

Creative Work: Short Fiction “The White Lady and the Sea” by Vera Brenner

Today we have for you a new work from another of our talented CWMA students, Vera Brenner. We have MA students from a multitude of countries, which helps our creative community to expand to every corner of the world. We hope you enjoy this taste of our multicultural experience!

The White Lady and the SeaCreative Works

by Vera Brenner

The white lady from England returned three times a year to live her private adventure
with him for two weeks.

When they met seven years earlier, he thought she was his way out. She would
marry him and take him home with her. After a year he started to ask her.

‘Next time, maybe,’ she said.

He wandered along the beach. The sand under his bare feet was cold and mixed
with pieces of glass and plastic garbage. It smelled of faeces, dead fish and rotten
seaweed. Here, he and the other young man were waiting for the one white lady that
would free them from poverty. Free them from Mozambique. Free them from Africa.
Europe – it seemed like paradise to every single one of them.

Most lived on the beach, in shelters made from cardboard, in old boats, some
lived in caves. She’d bought a small apartment where the two of them lived when she
was in town. When she wasn’t, he rented the apartment and himself to other tourists on an hourly basis. Some stayed longer. But most ladies now preferred the fresher versions of himself: the young black seducers with their unused, muscular bodies in tank tops. His family back in the village would starve if he didn’t make it to Europe soon.

They had medicine there, for free he heard. A week earlier he’d discovered the first
lesion on his head. It was still covered by his hair, but when the signs became more
apparent, he wouldn’t get any white lady to sleep with him for money anymore.
He stared at the sea, which to the white ladies seemed to be some picturesque
sight. A red wooden plank with some washed out blue lettering appeared for an instant on the top of a wave, before it crashed down and shattered on the rocks.

He had to try again. He bought her favourite flower, a water lily and changed
into his nicest dark blue collared shirt that made him look more European. He entered the apartment and put on the dominant grin that she loved so much. She was sitting on the balcony in a saclike, white linen dress, reading one of those love stories she always carried around.

‘Marry me,’ he said.

‘Yes.’ She looked up and smiled. ‘Let’s have a romantic ceremony on the beach.
Next year in summer.’

To read more of Vera’s work, visit her website here. FollowWords, Pauses, Noises for email updates, or follow  on Twitter for updates and other fun things.

Creative Work: Short Fiction “I Will Build An Ark part 1” by Alasdair Neil Horabin

Today on Words, Pauses, Noises, we have for you the first part of a two-part short story, written by Neil Horabin, written to commemorate the 2011 London Riots.

I Will Build An Ark – part 1


By Alasdair Neil Horabin

It never really gets dark within the M25. You don’t even get to see any stars on the clearest nights; the glow of street lighting forms a perfect umbra.

As the afternoon progressed Michael followed events on the pub TV: fighting in North London, looting and police lines. He wasn’t sure when the news readers started spreading the violence again, when the violence became rioting.

Finally, the sirens called him outside, Clapham was beginning its own revelry. People everywhere, shouting and laughing, shop fronts beaten in, the hustle of late night ‘shopping’. He recognised some of the looters, they nodded acknowledgement to him beneath their hoods, he nodded back.

Then the police marched in from way up the road. The locals turned towards the police line at the other end. More anger, and the throwing begins: anything small enough to chuck starts raining at one of the police lines. More broken windows, smashed in doors, escape routes being found.

Up towards the Junction the trains are passing oblivious to the wailing shop alarms, the growing panic and fear, escalating aggression. Michael takes out his mobile to video the scene but it’s hammered out of his hand and he’s shoved into street railings, badly winded. A rich Barbadian accent asks him if he’s alright from behind a boxed forty-inch TV.

His carer kicks the damaged mobile back, ‘Ya betta getta new’un quick bafor they all go, man.’

Continue reading