Artists Town – Rewrite DONE #amwriting

Artists Town by Emma Baird

Drum roll – I finished rewriting something this week. Big deal, Ms B, you say, and I don’t blame you.

But regular readers and friends might know I LOATH rewriting. When I finish a book, I go off it very quickly. In the perfect world, it would rewrite itself, magically upload itself on Amazon, Kobo et al., and then, oh I dunno, sell? And sell in enough quantities to make money.

I gave myself a ticking off. Emma, I said, the magic fairies do not come along and do this for you. In came the carrot and stick. Restructure the novel – BOOM; you get a glass of wine. Fail to rewrite for an hour or so. WHACK – you’re not allowed to write anything new. (Writing new stuff is what I love doing.)

The carrot thing, unfortunately, ran out on 1st January as I signed up for one of those Dry January thingies, so that motivated me to rewrite faster.

Rewriting Artists Town kept presenting different issues. I changed my mind numerous times about the order of some chapters. A weird and wonderful crime that took place in the 1990s was my inspiration. When I did more research, I had to change quite a few things.

And then there were the bloody comma splices. My factual writing differs a lot from my creative writing style. It turns out I am forever putting independent clauses in one sentence. I’m not keen on semi-colons, and they shouldn’t be used too frequently anyway. I rewrote a lot of sentences as a result.

I end a lot of sentences with prepositions too*. I took them out where this would improve the prose, but left in a lot of them as otherwise the sentence didn’t sound natural.

But hey, at least I know what comma splices are now!

One rewrite does not a finished novel make. Improvements are still needed. And I have some factual stuff I need to check – police procedures relating to crimes committed in different jurisdictions. But the project is a lot further on that it was two months ago.

Here’s the blurb for the book, which I hope to publish later this year:

Fifteen-year-old Daisy has been dragged along on a family holiday in a small Scottish town against her will. But then, that’s what happens when you suddenly develop a chronic health condition. Your mum and dad take away all your freedom.

Still, the holiday has its compensations. There’s Katrina, resident ‘cool’ girl who decides to take Daisy under her wing. Katrina happens to have a gorgeous, older cousin who looks at Daisy in a certain way. Is this holiday about to change Daisy’s life for the better?

Escaping from London seems to have affected Daisy’s dad. He’s got some madcap schemes in mind, but just where is all the money for this coming from?

Set in 1990, Artists Town is a coming of age tale that explores friendship, first love, learning to be cool and navigating life’s challenges.

 

*See the wonderful Grammar Girl’s article on ending sentences with prepositions. She also does a weekly podcast which manages to make grammar easy to understand AND interesting.

 

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How to Devalue Writers – Part 2

Oh. Sometimes I look for writing jobs on Upwork. Most of the time, it depresses me, so I stick to editing and proofreading jobs. They aren’t well paid either, but tend to be from people who don’t expect the same kind of s**t as this dude… (Bold and italicised text mine.)

“I need someone who is already well-versed in the contemporary romance genre. Someone who writes quickly, ideally $15k/week+ and is open to constructive criticism… You must be creative and an exceptional writer. Not only will you be writing contemporary romance novels, you will also need to stay up to date with the market by reading a minimum of 1 book a month (chosen by me – you’ll likely need to read a book between each one you write).

“…Write detailed book outlines before beginning the book. Come up with unique plots for a great contemporary romance book. Write a full standalone contemporary romance book typically 70k in length – minimum pace of 15k words per week. (Exceptions made for outstanding writers)…

“A bit about me, I’ve been on upwork [sic] for about a year now, and I’ve worked with dozens of freelancers. Once thing I’ve noticed is that people are full of shit when they tell me they’re always on time and are easy to contact. I can sniff those people out relatively easily and I will fire them quickly. I’m not here to babysit, and I will not chase you around. I expect you to respect my time, and in return, I will respect yours. With that being said, I’m extremely fair. [Ya think???] If you can’t make a deadline just let me know in advanced and I will do my best to accommodate you.

“I’m not scary, in fact, I’m actually very nice. If you’re doing your job and are doing it well, we won’t have any problems! I’m looking for someone that I can work with long-term and someone who’s serious about wanting this job…

“Once you are paid for your work, the rights to the book will transfer over to me and I will be the owner of the book. You, the ghostwriter, will not receive royalties or anything beyond the agreed upon price.

Please, please fellow and female writers, NEVER apply for jobs like this.

Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>

A Week in the Life of a Blogger

This week I have been…

Writing about sewing machines, keeping your dog safe when it’s Bonfire Night, the changes to Facebook and how they affect businesses, inheritance and virtual reality’s impact on the sport of bodybuilding. Such is the varied life of a blogger. And sending out invoices while wondering about the viability of writing for a living*.

Over-estimating children’s appetite for sweeties. The very well-behaved guisers who called at our house only wanted one or two sweets. Or maybe my offerings (see above) were rubbish. Anyway, as they have a use-by date sometime in the 2020s (ahem), they’ll last another few Halloweens.

Reflecting on the genius of the Duffer Brothers. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t love Stranger Things? The second series is even better than the first, and I binge watched my way through it this week.

Avoiding Twitter because I was too busy binge-watching Stranger Things to tune in for the Great British Bake Off final, and saved it up for another night instead. Apparently, I needed to avoid Twitter anyway because judge Prue Leith gave the game away 12 hours ahead of the show being aired.

Wishing my great aunt a happy birthday, her 103rd anniversary… Bodes well for my genes, I suppose.

Trying out new recipes. Like most people, I recycle the same old favourites repeatedly. I bought the Sainsbury’s and Good Food magazines for October and tried out the Budget-friendly Pot Roast, Szechwan Chicken Wings, Egg-fried Rice, Steamed Seabass, and Broccoli, Pea and Mint Soup.

Applying for jobs. My conversion rate is about one in ten. I really need to up the number of applications I make (I do ten a week), but I live in fear that one day all ten (or even five) potential clients will come back at once, and need delivery at the same time.

Looking into BookBub as a promotional tool. More promising than Facebook or Amazon ads, apparently, as your audience are purely voracious readers.

Running. I’ve rediscovered a love for pounding the pavements. When you’ve been inside all day, a run in the dark, rainy weather works wonders.

Writing about vampires, friendship and betrayal. Once the paid work is dealt with, I do what I love – creative writing. (And you can read my stories on Wattpad here – https://embed.wattpad.com/follow/SavvyDunn?type=2) One day, one day, perhaps the stars will align, and the creative work will become the paid work, earning me enough money to make a small income. Nothing greedy. If blogging for a living has taught me anything, it’s how to make do with a lot, lot less.

 

 

*Don’t do it, folks!

Rewriting Your Novel – by Caron Allan

Caron Allan Fiction

Claim your free copy of the Criss Cross trilogy here (limited time only).

I love rewriting, writes Caron Allan. There, I’ve said it. I think I could be the only person in the history of the world who actually enjoys rewriting. In fact, I like it a lot more than writing the first draft. I hate that bit. Okay, maybe not hate. I love the thrill of writing the first 50 pages or so, when it’s all fresh and exciting, and it begins to unfold on the page. Love that. But…sooner or later I always hit the first-draft wall. I know it’s because I don’t plot. I’m a pantser, so sue me, I hate to plot. But it makes the initial experience of writing a draft rather an emotional, rivers-deep-mountains-high kind of affair. But…rewriting, oh that is a whole new thing. I LOVE rewriting. You are free from the ‘burden’ of creating and, stepping back from your work, you can begin to polish and tidy.

Don’t revise as you go. I know there are always a few people that system works for, but trust me, it’s not for most people. You get so bogged down in the detail that you never progress. Write the whole book, from beginning to end, always looking forwards, pressing on till you reach ‘The End’. If you can’t remember the names and places mentioned earlier in the story, just do what I do and put a massive X in its place. Or refer to a list of names and places you create as you go along. It’s so much easier to revise a whole book. Like creating a sculpture, you’ve got that solid block to chip away at.

Put Your Book Away

After finishing your first draft, don’t immediately start revisions. Unless you are on the clock and the deadline is almost on you, put the book away for as long as you can. This is the perfect time to write another book. Yes, really. Leave your first draft for at least a few weeks, ideally a few months, or even a year. You will need to approach it next time around with a degree of detachment to get out of writer mode and into rewriter mode.

So you’re ready to start. Read it. Don’t write, don’t type, don’t tweak, fiddle, twiddle or jiggle. Just read the whole story through from beginning to end. You are trying to get an overview. Afterwards, make notes on how you felt about the book. Does the story hang together? Does the plot progress logically (unless an illogical plot is essential to your story)? Do you have that sensation of tripping up as you read—a bit like when you miss a stair and think you’re falling—that’s when there’s a problem, usually a plot problem. Try to pinpoint what it was that made you feel like that. Put a sticky note on the page, or if a computer file, highlight the section, or bookmark it, or make a note in the Track Changes.

If you’re frustrated by not being able to make changes as you spot them, or worried you might forget, again, make notes in the Track Changes feature of Word, or pencil notes in the margin, or use sticky notes if working with a paper copy, just don’t change the body of the book yet. Hopefully after rereading the whole book, you will be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of your draft. You will see what needs to go. If not, give it to a trusted friend or writing pal to read. Ask them to be honest and not just pat you on the back. Rewriting can feel very much like ‘fixing problems’ or putting right things that are wrong, this can be quite demoralising. Don’t get into this mind set. Remember, you’re polishing, refining. Putting flesh on a flexible framework. It’s all good.

POV Consistency

Start tinkering. Start with the easy stuff like consistency of character description and behaviour, check the names and personal details of all characters, check place-names are correct and consistent throughout. Then move on to point of view. With POV, consistency is everything. If you’re writing anything other than an omniscient third person viewpoint, then there will be things your characters cannot know until it is revealed to them. Make sure you’ve nailed that.

Next, check for all those words you overuse. For me, that’s words like So, And and Also. A friend of mine uses Thus in almost every paragraph…it’s really annoying. If you use unusual words to describe something, don’t repeat them more than once as unusual words stick in the reader’s mind and break the spell: the worst possible offence you can commit as a writer of fiction. Make less use of unusual words such as coterie or Schadenfreude, words that stand out from the page. If you use clichés—please don’t—but if you absolutely must, do it just once, don’t repeat them.

Check hyphenation, apostrophe use, adverbs and speech tags. I don’t agree with the ‘don’t use adverbs, they’re evil’ approach, but use them sparingly. (See what I did there?) Keep metaphors and especially similes to a minimum, unless writing poetry, they are also irritating. Don’t use fussy speech tags: he responded, she retorted, etc. Once in a while is fine, but you don’t need to tag every speech, just enough so the reader knows who said what. The word ‘said’, 90% of the time, is the best speech tag there is, it’s invisible.

Tidy your grammar, get rid of typos and unnecessary repetition. Check your tense scenes or action scenes for long, meandering sentences that slow the reader down and take forever to read, or have to be reread to try to figure out the meaning. Check slow, reflective, emotional or romantic scenes for accidentally humorous clangers, or break-neck short sentences that rush the reader too quickly through the text.

Read it again. And again. Tweak as you go, now, but remember some changes will have a knock-on effect and need to be addressed multiple times throughout the book. Now pass the draft to your close friends/beta-readers/book group, for your first round of feedback.

Then—I hate to say it—you need to do it all again. I read somewhere that if you don’t hate your book by the time it is published, you haven’t done enough work on it, and believe me I’ve come so close to hating a couple of my books. Your book is not ready for your editor or proofreader until you are absolutely convinced that it’s perfect. Trust me, it won’t be. But it’ll be pretty close. As an editor, there’s nothing worse than getting a script that is little more than a first draft. It’s like seeing a neglected child. And when you make your first sale, it will feel like it was worth every minute.

Caron Allan

Caron Allan is an Indie author who writes cosy murder mysteries as well as not-so-cosy mysteries. Caron lives in Derbyshire, England, where Mr Darcy came from! Caron is deeply interested in literature and social history, and has a bachelor’s degree in those joint subjects.

By way of a day job, Caron works as an editor and proofreader on a freelance basis.

You can find out more about Caron’s writing on her website:

caronallanfiction.com

Also, Caron is on Facebook and Twitter and would love to hear from you.

https://www.facebook.com/Caron-Allan-476029805792096/

https://twitter.com/caron_allan

Another chapter of something I’m working on at present. It’s set about twenty-five years ago, as you might realise from the smoking reference…

“Do you know when he’s coming?”

Alfie observed her as he asked the question. In a moment of weakness earlier that week, Katrina had told him she’d had a postcard from Mick, and that he was coming to London.

It was the first time she’d ever mentioned a guy, and Alfie had stilled the second his name left her lips. He stopped what he was doing—the ever-necessary sweeping up of chopped-off hair—and looked at her.

“Who’s Mick?”

About to reply, Katrina paused. She recognised the tone. It was the sound of someone asking something they thought was crucial, and Katrina couldn’t stand the thought of anyone knowing too much about her. Her secrets were her own. If she wasn’t prepared to share how she felt about Mick with Daisy, she certainly wasn’t sitting down to a confidential with Alfie.

She bent to the floor with the dustpan and brush. “He’s this old friend from back home. Nowheresville, remember?”

When she had started at Chevelure Chic last year, Alfie had cosied up to her straight away. The salon was miles apart from Dulcie’s, the hairdressers where she’d started her apprenticeship at the age of sixteen. There weren’t pensioners’ specials for a start, where little old ladies could come in and get their hair washed and set for less than the price of one of the glossy magazines that littered the low-slung coffee tables of Chevelure Chic’s waiting room.

No, this salon catered for what Daisy called “famouses”, the rich, the great and the good of London came here to be pampered and flattered. It had taken Katrina one or two tries to get the flattering bit right, but a few terse words from Chevelure Chic’s owner had done the trick. Nowadays, she simpered with the rest of them.

Alfie, one of only two young male apprentices, waited for her outside the salon after her first day.

“Want a fag?” He held out a packet of Marlborough Lights.

Katrina wrinkled her nose up. “No. I only smoke menthols.” She hadn’t expected him to produce those too, but he did so.

“Where are you from, love?” Alfie was a Londoner through and through. She thought his accent ugly, too harsh for someone so young. He was about her age, she guessed, and slight, another contradiction to the voice.

Like everyone who worked in the salon, he took advantage of the freebies on offer, and his hair was incredible—thick, dark and shaved in at the sides, with the top of it artfully curled and hanging forward on his face.

His hair was the best-looking bit of him. The rest Katrina didn’t care for, not when the vision of perfect maleness she held in her head was tall, blonde and blue-eyed.

“A wee place in Scotland. You’ll no’ have heard of it.” She lit the cigarette and held it to her mouth. Moving on was something Katrina was experienced at. The best way to get through it was to keep talk of where you’d come from before to a minimum.

“I might have done.”

“You won’t,” she said flatly. The denial was a waste of time anyway. When she came in the next day, he smiled at her triumphantly.

“Kirkcudbright! I bribed Michelle to let me check your records to see where you’d worked before.”

He pronounced it the way all English people did. Kirk-cud-bright.

She poked her tongue out. “It’s Cur-coo-bree, smart arse. And up yours.”

“Want to go for a drink after work?”
“No.”

Nevertheless, she did go out with him a week later. In the company of the other young hairdressers, admittedly, but out. After a while, she began to like his company. He was sarcastic, and he did a great impression of the boss, Rick Javeson. Alfie didn’t push her either, seemingly content to have her to talk to, the two of them bitching about their boss and colleagues.

“I dunno when he’s coming,” she said now. Katrina and Alfie stood outside, in the narrow alleyway that ran by the side of the premises, taking a fag break. It was now a regular routine where one of them smoked a Marlborough Light, and the other a Menthol. Rick didn’t allow smoking in the salon, although his richest clients could do it while they waited for their highlights to take.

“You should meet him.” Again, she was careful, making sure she didn’t sound excited. Allowing Alfie this contact with her past life was a biggie, and the hand behind her back crossed its fingers he would say no.

“Alright then,” Alfie said, blowing out a stream of smoke into the frosty air. “Someone needs to show the country bumpkin the big smoke.”

“He’s not a country bumpkin,” Katrina said. “Not anymore. He’s been working in Edinburgh for months. He’s used to big cities.”

Alfie rolled his eyes, dropping the butt of his cigarette to the ground and grinding it out with his heel. “I went there a couple of years ago. It’s tiny.”

She argued with him about that. She couldn’t contradict the tininess of Edinburgh as he kept coming up with facts, the size of London’s population compared to Scotland’s capital, and where the seat of the UK’s power lay. But it wasn’t all about size, was it? At that, she faced him and deliberately looked him up and down. Alfie was self-conscious about his height.

“Cow,” he said, and walked off. Another feature of their relationship was trading insults that sometimes went too far. She’d make him a cup of coffee (black, three sugars) in the afternoon, and they’d be friends again by closing time.

Later, as she made her way back to the Walkers house via the noisy, crowded Tube and the pavements that you shared with hundreds of others, Katrina allowed herself one of the daydreams that had appeared in her head ever since the postcard had arrived.

In this particular one, Mick told her the telly thing was an excuse. He’d come to London, he told her seriously, watching her as carefully as Alfie had watched her earlier.

Will you marry me, Katrina? I now know that you are the –

She stopped the thought. It might only be a daydream, but even thinking that way seemed stupid; the kind of thing Daisy would probably do. “I’m no’ Daisy,” she said it out loud, and those around her in the Tube carriage drew back in alarm. Speaking to yourself was a well-known nutter alert, the horror being that the self-speaker might then address you.

She got out at Highgate, surging out of the station with the thousands of other people. There was the beggar who always tried to catch her eye. This time, she smiled at him and dug in her bag for the loose change that always fell out of her purse.

“God bless ye, ye wee sweetheart!”

Aye, of course, he was drunk. And yes, he had to be Scottish.

To her surprise, she spotted Daisy, waving frantically at the top of Archway Road. Her mouth was open and her eyes round. She waved both hands and then held both fingers out, pointing at the spaces next to her.

Katrina blinked, her eyes closing and opening as if to confirm what was in front of her. On one side, Daisy’s dad. On the other, Mick.

©Emma Baird 2017

The Girl Who Swapped

Coming Soon – The Girl Who Swapped

The Girl Who Swapped

Bespoke book cover art example from coverness.com

As you might have gathered from the title, I have a book that I’m about to inflict on the public and hope that they like it. The book is called The Girl Who Swapped (a shameless attempt to capitalise on the popularity of ‘Girl’ in book and film titles), and here’s the blurb for it…

What do you do when you find yourself in a strange body and a different life?

Lottie and Charlotte are not having a good morning. They’ve woken up in unfamiliar beds. Not to mention, unfamiliar bodies. What is going on?

At least Lottie’s boyfriend, Josh, is by her side. If only Lottie didn’t have this nagging feeling that something important happened last night, but she blew it…

Charlotte feels terrible. She’s woken up with a hangover of gargantuan proportions. And where the hell are her husband and children?

The two heroines must work out what is going on. Along the way, there will be tempting encounters, full-on flirtations, Hollywood stars, riotous parties, blackmail and far too much champagne.

Come along and enjoy the adventure!

My keywords are summer reads, Sophie Kinsella, holiday reading, life switches, chick lit, Bridget Jones and Shopaholic – hopefully that gives you a rough idea of what the contents are like.

Fingers crossed the public could, y’know, think it’s worth buying. Having done that, they might enjoy it enough to consider penning a quick review for it.

Sufficient numbers of them buying it might mean I make a profit – oh, heavenly day if they do. In my head, I’ve spent that profit already on face cream, Prosecco and premium cat food, donating some of my yet-to-be-realised profit to charity to feel better about my shallow spending. I idled away half an hour* working out how many copies I’d need to sell to put me in the black. It’s roughly six hundred copies. Well-established authors will scoff at this, but it seems like an insurmountable number to me.

Are there many writers who enjoy self-promotion? I hate it, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s all very well writing, but if you don’t tell people about it, how are they going to know? So, if you WOULD like to buy it, it’s now available on Amazon for pre-order, here (US) and here (UK).

Thank you!

 

 

*Maybe it was closer to an hour. I’m s**t at maths.

Wakey, wakey Sleeping Beauty…

Another chapter from a book I’m working on at the moment. It does contain adult content and swear words, so please don’t read on if you don’t like that kind of thing…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesmemorables/16524725715Kippy resurfaced slowly, his awakening senses taking account of what he could see, hear, touch, smell and feel.

He wasn’t in his own bed, the single mattress in his room in the student halls. This bed was far more luxurious, twice the size and covered in clean sheets, for a start. The room was large-ish too, spacious enough to hold not only a bed and wardrobe, but a sofa, a desk and chair, and an exercise bike draped with clothes. The view from the bay window told him he was in a flat some three or four storeys up. The sun was high enough in the sky for it not to be early morning.

His mouth felt furry, his tongue sticking too closely to its insides, and his head ached. Next to him on the cabinet beside the bed was a glass of water. It wasn’t very cold, but refreshing nonetheless.

The door to the room opened slowly, a face peering cautiously around it.

“You’re awake then, Sleeping Beauty?”

The face was joined by its body, the man letting himself into the room and closing the door gently. To his dismay, Kippy didn’t recognise him. He’d have guessed the guy to be in his late twenties, perhaps even his early thirties. He was sporty looking, wiry and muscular arms under a black tee shirt and powerful quads encased in Lycra shorts. Also very much on view was the outline of his genitals.

He heard his cousin Katrina, her mocking wee voice singing in his head: “God almighty, that would poke your eye oot wouldn’t it?” and he stifled a smile at the thought of it.

The man sat down on the bed, plonking himself down on Kippy side. Kippy had to force himself not to pull away.

“How are you feeling?” the man asked.

“Rough as a badger’s arse.”

No-one could possibly know what a badger’s arse felt like, but the saying had been enthusiastically taken up by students everywhere of late. Kippy, a mature student compared to everyone else, felt he had to stay on top of modern slang in case he stood out.

“Not surprised,” the man said. “I’m John, by the way, in case you’d forgotten.”

He had a nice face. His nose was too long and crooked, and his eyes too close together for him to be handsome, but there was kindness in the way he looked at Kippy.

“I got you this,” he held out a bottle of Lucozade. Now that was ice-cold, and the sweet fizziness of it made Kippy feel one hundred percent better. He drank the whole bottle down in three big gulps and laid back on the propped-up pillows.

“Did we…eh…do anything last night?” Kippy was still in that pristine white tee shirt Lillian had insisted on last night and his Calvin Klein boxers, so any night-time derring-do seemed unlikely.

The Lucozade gave him confidence, though. Maybe last night he’d fully embraced gayness and was no longer a homo virgin. It would be a relief to be rid of it, the burden of not knowing what to do, and at the same time coping with the lustful imaginings that ran rampant through his body, and overwhelmed him at times.

John’s elbows were on his thighs, his hands clasped together and his backside touching Kippy’s legs, which were covered by the duvet. What did you do in these situations, Kippy wondered. Did he put out a hand and touch the back of the man sitting on the bed?

John turned his head sideways, so he was looking at Kippy. He had dark brown eyes, almost black in colour—eyes that would be a challenge to paint.

“No. You were too drunk. If I’d done anything, I would have felt like a rapist.” He smiled as he said it, a soft, sweet smile that took the sting out of the too-drunk sentence.

“You’re only just out, aren’t you?” Again, it was said kindly, but the question felt like an accusation. Kippy sat up, mustered all his courage and placed a hand on the back of John’s head, pulling it to his. He pressed his lips on John’s, noticing at once how different the mouth felt to the last one he’d kissed, a firmer, harder, rougher feel.

John closed his eyes, and moaned softly, the lips opening slightly. Kippy couldn’t stop now. The pent-up and frustrated desire that had dogged him all through his pre-pubescent years and into his adolescence, the want that he’d always tried to ignore fired up through his torso into his head, his mouth and his tongue, the tongue that now pushed itself into John’s mouth, tasting coffee, toast, bacon and more.

The heady rush of want had made its way back down his torso, and he felt himself stiffen. Eyes closed, he patted the bed around him, trying to find John’s hand. He must, must, must place that hand on his cock, and have it encircle the hardness of him, work its way up and down the shaft until he–

John pulled away. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-one. Well over the age of consent.”

Some years ago, he’d asked Daisy that same question. He’d been stalling then, using her youthfulness as an excuse not to do anymore to her. John stood up, running a hand through hair that was lightly flecked with grey at the temples. He blinked several times, glancing out of the window.

This might be the same excuse.

Or it might not. Evidence of his body’s approval for what he and Kippy had just been doing was apparent, the front of those Lycra shorts straining to contain him. Kippy’s own body quivered in response.

“I’m more than fifteen years older than you. You’re a student, you’re young, you’re just out. I don’t think we want the same thing.”

Fuck knew where the bravery was coming from this morning, but Kippy recognised ethics when he heard them. Here was a man trying to talk himself out of something Kippy now wanted more than he’d ever wanted anything in all his life. More than he’d ever wanted to go to art school, maybe even more than he’d wanted…

Well, now was not the right time to be thinking about HIM.

Danny had said last night that he was pretty, aye?

He closed his eyes and took the tee shirt off, stretching his arms to the ceiling slowly as he did so, making sure John got an eyeful of naked chest. Kippy had always been lean, ribby-looking in his teenage years. Slight physical changes had taken place in the last six months or so. He was still slim, but now the pecs, shoulders and biceps were padded so that you could see the muscles under the tight stretch of skin. There was even—finally—a neat smattering of hair starting an inch or so below the clavicle and covering him to just below the nipples.

He opened his eyes. John hadn’t moved, his cheeks puffing up as he blew out air and a heartfelt sigh.

“Oh, God…”

Who knew Kippy had it in him? He pushed aside the duvet, and lay on his side, one hand supporting his head, and the biggest, brightest smile on his face.

“C’mon then. I wannae know what’s it’s all about.”

 

*Photo thanks to J@YGS on flickr. Shared through Creative Commons.