I got tagged. I thought I’d got away with it, but no. I’m talking about this “#Lucky7” business that’s been doing the rounds on Twitter. I saw it going on and was mildly interested to see what other writers were doing with it, but I admit that I couldn’t really see the point of the exercise.
And just when I thought it had all gone away, someone got me. Gaaah! It meant I had to dig out a work-in-progress, go to either Pg 7 or Pg 77, count down seven lines and then post the next seven lines on my blog. (Well – either that, or be a complete killjoy).
It did make me think about where it had come from in the first place. It’s a good job I’m not easily spooked, because I can’t seem to escape the number seven at the moment. I happen to be doing a writing residency at Newcastle’s Seven Stories centre for the children’s book – which is celebrating its seventh birthday this summer. Part of the Write Around the Toon residency involves devising a site-specific creative writing exercise which anyone can then try. I’ve come up with an exercise based around the seven basic plots for any story. It involves choosing seven different elements around characters, setting, props, actions, plot twists and then adding seven hints to improve the writing.
We like the number seven, don’t we? We empower it with magic and it features in all kinds of myths and fairytales. It pops up all the time in classical literature and it has special features in maths, physics and astronomy.
Even my favourite soap, the esteemed Coronation Street, has a seven-based plotline at the moment: local bad boy Terry Duckworth wants to open a lap-dancing club called Seventh Heaven, and this being The Street, it’s his use of the number seven instead of the ‘V’ in his leaflets that’s really upset everyone.
All of which musing is not getting the job done, I suppose. So here are seven lines from my WIP for Young Adults, Halloween (which won the national Writers’ Advice Centre Beginnings and Endings competition in 2010, but is in the process of a major revision).
© I wrap my arms around myself and shiver. I really don’t want to be here anymore.
“Is that OK, Anna?” the Scarecrow asks. “How do you feel about that?”
I look at her. “Doesn’t matter what I feel. You’re going to do it anyway.”
Scarecrow puts her head on one side and I know I’m being given the sympathy face. “OK, well, if there’s any little detail you haven’t told us. What were you wearing, tell me that?”
“She knows,” I say, pointing at Sandra. “She took all the clothes I was wearing and I never got them back.”
Now then. I think at this point I am supposed to have some revelation about the writing. Everyone else did, so... (cough)... I will let you know when it happens. Or if anyone reading this has any observations about the extract, then I’d love to hear them!