Search Results for: Our Francis Ghoul

Our Francis. A Ghoul’s Tale.

I’ve found that mowing the lawn provokes story ideas.  This story particular jumped out of lawn-mowing as our lawn tends to fall foul of the occasional puff ball.  If you mow over them, spores cloud up and spread everywhere over the lawn.  Expect millions more puffballs in a fortnight.  So the usual routine is to halt the mower in front of the fungus and pluck it out by hand.  A disgusting affair that usually leaves your fingers looking like you’re an avid cigarette smoker.

In conjunction with this my airways are susceptible to being allergic to everything especially freshly cut grass.  So when I mow the lawn, I wipe my face and itch and snort and carry on etc etc.  Having plucked a few puffballs from the ground just makes me all the more uncomfortable and soon the story writing ideas start to tap me on the shoulder, “huh….what was that?
“What if…and then he….and it could….ewww”
Yeah….cool, I’m writing that story!!

This is also my tip of the hat to the ongoing Lovecraftian theme of late, too.  To me this seems like a story I would have liked to have had him write.  Another motivation was from me having little or no knowledge of Ghouls.  Now for those of you that do know something about them don’t panic…there is a part 2 and maybe 3 to this story of our Francis.

Hope you like this one…I do.

Short Story Series – Francis Gibson.

ghoulstailthumbWhat this guy again?  The man who spawned, ‘A Plague of Ladybirds’.

Back in April of 2010, I wrote the original version of this story.  You can read it here.  I love this guy, his troubles and the setting.  Whilst, at the time, I hadn’t decided on the story being set in my hometown village, I used fractured parts of the location.  Eventually, APOL was set in what became known as Greysham; a village geographically identical to the one from my childhood.

Additionally, ‘A Butcher’s Tale’ was devoted to being the sequel to ‘Our Frances: A Ghoul’s Tale’.  A chapter where Francis grows and becomes a permanent fixture in what I hope will be the Greysham Mythos.  So, in the four years since I wrote the original, I believe I’ve come a long way.  I hope this is evident in the two, very different, versions of the story.  There was also a lovely nostalgic feeling to returning to the human version of Francis.  In this regard, I was able to load him up with emotions and motivations that continue in the novel.

I feel like I relate to this guy on those days when I feel removed from another person’s emotional situation.  Sometimes empathy bridges the distance from the core of that hurt.  On other days, I find myself puzzled when I feel nothing.  Should I feel nothing?  Intellectualising a situation can save one from all the world’s hurts, but I tell myself that I’m dead inside when it happens.  Francis feels this way about his whole life…right up until after his wife’s funeral.

He gets a helping hand of course, the spores.  I’ll have to check how much I wrote about the original, but this was an idea I got whilst mowing my lawn with a runny nose.  Occasionally, we’ll get puff balls breaking through the lawn.  I have to carefully pluck them out.  This can leave me with brown, nicotine umber fingers.  I’m paranoid about touching my face afterwards.  …a twist of speculation gives us Francis.

A stupid format I used for this rewrite is Kubler-Ross’s stages of acceptance: DABDA.  The story is broken into phases of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Denial and Acceptance.  The only difference being, Francis refuses to accept that his wife is gone.  The drug induced parts lean on thoughts of mindfulness.  As he reawakens from his social slumber, he experiences a fascination with all things.  In a longer form of the story, he may explore this further and try to encourage Henry to join him.

As I continue to be rejected by local ‘formal’ editors/mentors/assessors, my mind is moving towards another book.  I have considered melding this series of back stories with chapters from APOL.  The result would be novel sized renditions of each APOL chapter.  I could expand on Henry, Poppy and Charles.  I could break up, what is a fast paced roller coaster ride, into more leisurely novels…of weirdness.  It could mean I have the outline of seven to eight books ready to go; a good decades work, at least.  I would love to do a Harriet Ribbons novel!

The Rusty Blade

Abandoned-PlaceIt hasn’t all been time off.  The ‘Driftwood’ short story has moved forward, but not to completion.

A Plague of Ladybirds is in an expensive manuscript assessment at this time.  The rusty guillotine blade hangs poised over its current format.  I can’t see any way to avoid dismantling the case by case format and rewriting the whole book as a novel.  So much of this feels like a shame, a sell out, yet necessary.  If I had a book that publishers recognised, I would only have to fight the weird fiction stigma.  My hope is that the feedback will be thorough and honest…most of all I want to level up.  I need the tools and input that will take the book on to it’s next – improved – incarnation.

There are many refreshing realisations in this upheaval.  I am, however, afraid of the work involved.

At this stage of the year, I am writing less.  I am exercising less.  I am a little depressed and regular day-today work is killing me.  I’m burnt out.
In the past, a regime of strict ‘writing nights’ have saved me from all of the malaise.  Hopefully, at the end of May, when the assessment is returned I can use writing to cure me of my ills and refocus all of this anxious energy.

In a largely futile attempt, I have also enterred the latest version of ‘Our Francis.  A Ghoul’s Tale’ into the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Competition for 2014.  It cost me $20 to be able to type that sentence…and that may be all the value I get for it.