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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Pick a part that's new

I've been working on an idea for a story. Like most of my ideas, it was a random conversation that began it and it grew in the retelling. By the time I'd mulled it over (see my previous post on procrastination) and discussed it some more over a potentially-fatal mint Aero Krushem (long story) it was fully-formed and wanting to be born. So far, so good.

My difficulty lay in the protagonist- a red-blooded male by the name of Ben. I've written from different perspectives before, but only those I like to think I understand well: hopeful children, stroppy teenagers, spooked school-teachers and dogs, for example. Writing from a dog's perspective came surprisingly easy, actually- should I be worried about that? But how should a 30-something female create a 20-something male's "voice"? I have experience of being 20-something, obviously, but I've never been a man. (Oh dear, I may have opened up a can of worms there- stop sniggering- I assure you, I have never been a man.)
So I did what any good procrastinator would do- I researched. This involved a night down the pub chatting to (rather than up) a typical red-blooded 20-something male. It was an eye-opener. In between watching him leer over a barmaid's cleavage and scratch himself when he thought I wasn't looking, I gleaned a few morsels of insight. I've attempted to put them to good use here. 
This is the potential first scene in a new story called "Stamp". Please let me know what you think- especially any red-blooded males.

Ben pushed his way through the heaving, sweaty crowd and used his elbows to lever himself into a place by the bar. He was uncomfortably close to the blonde girl next to him, her rough extensions scratching against his bare elbow as she swayed and clutched the bar to keep her balance. Horse-hair, probably, he thought.
She laughed at something her friend said and flicked a thick, heavy lock back over her shoulder, catching him in the face. He flinched and tutted. She looked drunk and slobbery; she was probably about thirty seconds away from either spilling her drink or vomiting down herself. He didn’t fancy either of those options. Better to be safe than sorry: he held his breath and leaned towards her, gently nudging her along the bar in order to give himself some room. She slid with little resistance and no one rushed to fill the space.
The club was packed tonight. As he waited to catch the eye of one of the harassed looking barmaids, he craned his neck to look behind him. A sea of faces, flushed and euphoric, spread out across the cheap, sticky carpet and onto the dance floor. Tim was out there somewhere, probably chatting up some bird. Ben peeked again to his right at the blonde girl. She looked about twenty five, but she was dressed as if she thought she was younger. She’d probably fall for Tim’s patter; she looked drunk enough. If Tim didn’t get any luck he’d send him up to the bar for the next round, let him charm her. The girl belched and cackled, rubbing her hand across her face and smearing her lipstick. Ben looked away again and shuddered. Maybe not.
He waved his ten pound note at the barmaids and finally managed to get the attention of the brunette with too much fake tan. She leant forward over the bar, flashing a hint of streaky cleavage that was further spoiled by the heavy Argos-bling around her neck.
“What can I get you, sweetheart?”
“Two bottles of Becks, please,” Ben shouted over the thumping dance music. The barmaid- her name badge read Tanya- smiled flirtatiously and turned away to the chiller cabinet. As she bent down to grab the bottles, he got a nice long look at her backside. He thought she lingered just a second too long like that. Tart. She straightened up and returned, pulling the caps off the bottles and placing them on the bar with a leer.
“Seven pounds eighty, please.”
He handed the note over and she took it, staring just a little too long into his eyes. Ben looked away, uncomfortable. She wasn’t his type. She sauntered to the till and punched some buttons before bringing him his change. She winked, and moved on to the next customer. Ben pocketed the coins and picked up the beers.
Squeezing and shoving past the writhing bodies, he fought his way to the table where he’d left Tim. His friend was alone, bouncing his head to the beat of the music with an almost manic intensity. He nodded to Ben as he sat down.
“Took your time.”
“Seriously, mate; the bar was rammed. Took me ten minutes just to get served. Nearly got molested by some bird who was getting a bit too friendly as well- you know what I mean?”
Tim nodded sagely.
“Yeah, mate.” He continued bouncing, pausing only to take a long drink from his bottle. His eyes scanned the crowded room, searching for vulnerable prey. Tim wasn’t fussy, which was fortunate as pickings were slim tonight, if the mess at the bar was anything to go on. Ben sipped his drink and followed his friend’s gaze.
Bit of a mixed bunch tonight, he thought. There were the usual hipsters parked on a table in the corner, holding court and looking just too damn cool, but next to them was a hen-party: a vision of shocking pink and short skirts. He grinned as they shrieked loudly at their friend, who was dancing on the table, enjoying the look of disgust from the hipsters. Posers.
He shifted in his seat so he had a clearer view of the dance floor. A group of blokes, all obviously off their faces, were attempting to break-dance in the middle of the swarm. They had drawn an amused crowd of barely-legal girls and a couple of bouncers. It wouldn’t be long before they crashed into someone or got chucked out, or both.
He continued letting his gaze roam across the faces until he saw one he liked. Bingo. She was on the edge of the dance floor, away from the drunken break-dancers, dancing alone. She swayed her hips in time to the music, lifting her arms and trailing her hands through her long black hair. Her perfectly-shaped mouth formed enticing shapes as she sang along to the song. Ben swallowed. She was gorgeous.
He glanced quickly at Tim. He was lost in his own little world, bouncing away and knocking his drink back. He hadn’t seen her yet. Ben looked back at the girl. She ran her hand down the side of her body and closed her eyes as if lost in the music. Her skinny jeans clung to her curves like they were sprayed on with paint. Ben made up his mind.
“I’m going to go and dance,” he shouted in Tim’s ear. Tim nodded and grinned, making no effort to move and join him. He was probably too drunk by now.
“Good luck!” he yelled, as Ben drained his drink, stood up and made his way to the dance floor.
The song changed just as he reached the edge: a pounding bass with a sexy hook. Perfect. He shuffled his way over casually to the girl. She had her back to him and, this close, he could see flashes of the perfect creamy skin of her back and shoulders through the moving bodies. He inched closer, not wanting to seem too obvious. He elbowed some of the competition out of the way and eventually managed to manoeuvre himself so he was beside her.
She turned suddenly and stopped dancing. He stopped too, surprised at the electric jolt that ran through him as his eyes met hers. Her eyes were like toffee, honey-brown and sticky: they seemed to draw him in and hold him there. She smiled, revealing small white teeth. Her smile was flawless. She began to move again, inviting him with her eyes to join her.
Their bodies swayed together in perfect synchronicity. She turned so her back was against him and her soft hair brushed against his cheek. It smelt of violets. He ran his hands over her hips and she placed her hands on his, holding him there. He glanced over to Tim and was gratified to see him stood up, staring, with his mouth literally hanging open. Ben grinned back.
The girl turned again so she was facing him. Her perfect mouth opened and she asked him, in a voice so sweet it made his knees weak, what his name was. He swallowed, not sure he could remember.
“Ben,” he managed to say. She smiled and carried on dancing, brushing against him every now and then. He leaned forward, partly so he could smell her hair again.
“What’s your name?”
“Cassie.” She lifted her hands and rested them on his shoulders as the song changed again to some Euro-pop rubbish. “Want to go somewhere quieter? I know a place.”
Ben nodded, too awed to push his luck by speaking. She gestured with her head at Tim.
“Your friend can come too. He’d have more luck there.”
Ben looked over to Tim, who had recovered from his stupor sufficiently to make rude gestures behind Cassie’s back, telling him in no uncertain terms that he considered Ben’s luck to be in.
“Ah, I don’t know that he-”
Cassie placed a polished fingernail on his lips.
“It’ll be fun. It’s a nice place. Nice people.” She took his hand and led him from the dance floor. “Come on.”


  1. What a fantastic start. I bet Cassie is some kind of evil spirit though!

    £7.80 for a couple of drinks? I'd rather stay at home alone! :-)

    1. Yay! A red-blooded male! Cassie does have a trick up her sleeve...her name is a clue ; ) I reckon you'll figure it out!

      Did I get the tone right? Is that how blokes think? I tried to focus on the visual/physical aspects but not sure if him noticing her skin tone and scent is too soppy for a 20-something on the pull! I'm reliably informed that men go to the bar in packs as it equals a better chance of getting served but that Tim holding the table is ok.

      I appreciate your comments- the male psyche is a mystery to me! Dogs are so much easier to understand...

    2. It sounds about right, but I wouldn't really think it, it's more of an instinct. I'd definitely be repelled by loud drunk girls, false hair, fake tan, cheap bling, too much flesh on show...

      I wouldn't notice the scent, but I'd definitely notice the pale skin, eyes, smile and clingy jeans ;-)

    3. That's awesome-thanks! I'm very into smells, as you might have noticed! Always a reference in my descriptions ; )

  2. Ooooh....is he going to die? She seems like a vampire/succubus type thing. More please!

    1. 'bounces up and down in chair' I'm rubbish at keeping secrets but I'm keeping quiet on this! For now, anyway xxx

    2. Succubus? I like what you're thinking! :-)


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