Friday’s Screech


Did I ever tell you that I don’t plan these things (blog posts, that is)? I just start my day by doing some form of writing, and this is a good way to do something, warm the brain up, and on something that isn’t part of the current big-issue project. Completely off-topic to the rest of the day. I read what’s on the Daily Post and JUMP right in (if it fits – and I have to say, there’s always a way to make one word fit into something I write about).

No thinking, no procrastinating, no plan, no structure – just one of the ‘my moments’ rants or discussions or thoughts; sometimes a short story or an idea for a short, or a simple piece that puts my heart on the line (like the anniversaries of certain events – I’m sure everyone has some of those). And my animals.

Sometimes I put words in their actions or looks or interactions. They are a study of character (yes, they are – our pets are very good at adapting to see our needs). It can be quite funny to anyone who visits to hear the conversations that go in so many directions but come from only one (and sometimes two) mouths. I don’t necessarily speak for them, just say the words I think their expression represents. Much like I do to characters in a story – I am not them, yet I say the words that best represent what they want said, done, or felt.

The other thing about these Daily Post things is that I write a minimum of 400 words. Why? Well, anything less doesn’t get picked up by the spideys that pick through the jungle of words – they only see lumps of GT 400 words, anything else is considered ‘filling ‘ and gets passed over (don’t take it for gospel – no research on this matter, but I believe it to be factual. Like most ‘facts’ spouted by anyone, you should always check it out yourself, just in case. I mean, I trust me, but should you?)

Filling is not the stuff I want out there to represent my words – I want (even if it is fluffy content) to be ‘real’ to the spidey bots, real to the people who want to read words and stories and little bitty moments. This is my moment in the sun (well, the words anyway – and that is what I use to represent myself as well) and I want to both be fully out there and naked in what I put up, and protected and warm and cosy by the people I associate with. I want power and passion and participation.

So I write, tell stories, create novels and books, and share whatever thoughts come into my head. I jumped right into this, decided to get it done. Write five books a year for five years and warm up my writing day by putting up a blog of at least 400 words at least three times a week.

That’s my strategy, my warm-up, the start to my working day. And that’s why you get it raw, with occasional errors, mistakes and unthought-through concepts. Raw.

The Black Stump


I’m sure the Daily Post word today (stump) will bring out all the Australian closet bushies, so here’s mine:

Miles and miles and miles – not a tree or shrub taller than a jack-wrangler, not a shady spot that wasn’t overrun with ‘roos, not a single colour that wasn’t Desert. Stuck out here, in the middle of nowhere, not just one flat tyre, but three – melted on the hot rocks and black sand, most likely – and no comms.

Black zone, no coverage; black mood, stupid to come here in the first place; black Stump? What the hell? Surely that’s just a myth. There it was, jutted up from a lower than flatscape depression, black as myrtle ink, black as a recent bushfire victim. The Black Stump.

Well, at least now he could tell them where he was – if he ever walked far enough to get reception – at The Black Stump. In his early years as a wanderer through the bush, he’d always thought it was a good name for a pub – and it was, but someone else had done it. Later, he realised it was locals poking fun at the weekend pretenders, and the directions they gave were as useless as the proverbial tracks in the shifting desert sands.

Now he was here, and the stump was so black, so distinctive, so alluring – he had to touch it, or get close enough to see what type of tree it had once been. He stepped up close – the trunk as big as a River Red (not possible, out here), little nodules pimpled up to the lip of the break-point – where was the rest of the tree?

Nowhere, not a branch or twig or root scattered anywhere. He scraped his fingernail over the black – yes, fresh! Recent fire, or storm or lightning or . . . The taint of wood-ash filtered through the dry desert air – fresh. Not a single smell until now. All the desert smells were the same – dry, dusty, debilitating; smells that sucked life. Not this – a black burn that lived in the distinctiveness of that smell – sharp, acrid, biting. It was something. Real.

The Black Stump. The myth of the Black Stump. The story told by the old farts at the pubs in the middle of nowhere.

“By the time you find it, you’ll know you’re at the end of the road.”

That’s what they said, regardless of what the name of the town was, or . . .

The end of the road. The Black Stump. He took a step – now he was here, he just had to go Beyond the Black Stump, otherwise . . .


Copyright CS Dunn 2016


Character Interview (M)

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A minor character, someone who wasn’t supposed to play a big part in the story – that’s what I thought, but she (M, we’ll call her here) had her own ideas. So I have to recharge her role, and went back to her profile for an interview, which follows:

M – character profile/interview, Sat 10 Sept 2016.

Why don’t you like him (B)?

He’s a wuss! I mean, really, what do you expect? I been so many places, met so many people, done so much for my people – and what’s he done? De Liddle Boy Dun Nuttin, bin no where, got no people left at all.

Is that a good enough reason? Because he’s young and inexperienced?

No, that’s not what I mean – he’s one of those who say only what’s expected, and then that’s it! Nothing actually happens! Just say the right words, and that’s all – no work required, no further thought or effort necessary.

I don’t understand that. What does it have to do with B?

I don’t like him. He’s a punk, and a cage-rattler, and he made trouble for us – and he broke my magic! Is that enough?

No, not really. He’s part of your team, isn’t he?

How can a dead person be part of the team? Especially ’cause he’s dead through lack of care and consideration for his surroundings and the people in it – you know, us! He died, yes, that’s sad, but he nearly took all of us with him. We nearly lost this thing before it got started, and why? ‘Cos he couldn’t . . . well, you know.

Tell me about the magic.

What? Did I say that? Not supposed to. No one supposed to know about that. If I lose that, I’m not a person of the People anymore, not a member of the elders or the lorists or the singers. Don’t tell anyone I said that, for crying out loud! Besides, I didn’t say . . . yes, I did – he broke my magic. Well, he did. I had the protection up – the best I could do – and what happened? Snapped at the edges, at the centre, at the points of begin and end – and that thing got in and got him – because he broke it and I was protecting him.

And her?

Yeah, and her as well – even if she don’t know nothing about this sort of stuff. It was supposed to protect her, too. She’s here – I don’t know why she’s here, she’s not one of us – but if she was here, she was part of the protection, so yes, I had the protection over her as well.

Why did it work for her and not for him?

Are you a person of magic?


Then you don’t need to know. To be a holder of the lore of magic, you get trained. If you’re not trained, you can’t be told any of it, not for any reason. It’s danger to you, and death to the person who flaps the lips. Get it?

Is there any other reason for the anger?

We can’t win, you know. We can’t win. That was the best I could do, and I’m the strongest in that magic – not just here, but in the world – and it broke like a piece of rotten fruit. I felt it, the way it cracked and shattered and burst – and the same thing happened inside me. You don’t think magic can be broken and not have consequences?

I’m sorry, I should have realised the pain it would cause.

Yep, you should’ve. It hurt, all right. In any normal mortal person, it would’ve killed the caller. Good thing I’m not the normal mortal person, isn’t it?

But you are, aren’t you? Normal, mortal, magic-dreamer?

Yeah, and don’t you forget it. And, smarty, I’m a secondary character, not a minor one. Okay. I go now.


Now I can go back to work knowing how she feels about what I did to her, and why she wouldn’t stand still for it.

copyright CS Dunn 2016 (from The Third Moment character interviews).





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A shiver – it’s that time again! The WIP has become a Title. Finit. Done. Over.  It’s hard though; there are always ways it could be ‘finessed’ or touched up or improved. A bit like an artist who has to decide to put the brush down, let it dry, and move away. Onto the next project.

And that’s what I’m doing – onto the next project.

The Third Moment. In my head, right now, I don’t remember any of it . That’s a good thing. When the first draft was written, it was based on a rough outline and minor levels of understanding of character motivation and plot points. Now, when I open it up for re-reading, it will be ‘new’ and fresh, and those weak points will glare at me – force me to make choices to go one way or another, or to delete whole sections or arcs or characters. Doing it like that works for me, because I don’t mind ‘undressing’ the story pieces and laying out the bones and skin and muscle and menace. I don’t mind taking one MSS and turning it into a completely different ‘way’ to tell it. (That’s what happened with Unknown Sins, but that’s over now [deep sigh – another relationship over].)

I wonder what will happen when I open this one up, when I breathe in the ‘newness’ of it, the fresh perspective of a character who had to wait for me to catch up with her again. Another shiver, the anticipation, the tremor of delight that widens the eyes, that lets a little indrawn gasp in through the parted lips – it’s a sensual thing. I can feel it, the slide of commencement, a new relationship, a new beginning with someone met through a glance across the crowded room. We almost met, we touched briefly, and now – we begin the courtship, the dance of a relationship that will burn the two of us (maybe more than two, but at the moment, it’s a duet) until we either tan and glow, burn and blister, or pull apart for distance from the panic of that closeness.

And it begins!


No. I want to wait just one more day, to feel the tingle in my fingers and toes, in my belly and on my scalp – I want to anticipate the reunion, when we will both be bared to the instant of creation, the spark of lust and longing, the glitter of sunlight on flashing eyes that look at only me! The pulse races, the skin flushes – I love this.


And now I have to think up a cover for her*.