In the Victoria Holt Room (F2K): Lesson 1 Character Introduction

This lesson seems straightforward enough: Let one of your character’s (newly made or established) introduce you, its creator. Even then, I find it one of the most challenging because it has to be written from the POV of the character and your characteristics has to be woven into the piece as seamlessly as possible. This F2K session, I picked Colin to introduce moi because I can’t think of another character in my head that’s been there long enough to do the honours.


Amelia doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions. She thinks resolutions are unforgiving and only encourages people who make them, to break them almost immediately. Instead, she prefers to make Guidelines for the New Year – a roadmap to achieving her goals. For this new year, Amelia’s told all of us – the characters she’s written about and many others that she’s just gotten to know – that she’ll prioritise writing above other endeavours. Writing is her first love and first loves deserve time and attention. Her words, not mine.

And when she also announced that she signed up for another session of F2K, our excitement level went up many notches. This is because, some of us were born here, including me, and we are excited to be back.

Oh, I’m Colin, by the way.

Perhaps some of you may remember me from the last F2K session. I appeared in some of Amelia’s pieces about Jessana and her journey towards finding her identity as a Manang. Ameli decided that Jessana needed a love interest and I was born. The inspiration for me is a real-life Colin, a guy who owns the coffee shop she used to frequent near her office. She used to have a crush on him but not anymore. I know this because it used to be that my scenes with Jessana were ones where I was portrayed as the good guy and I had a scene teaching Jessana to dance. All wonderful scenes. But all of a sudden, I was portrayed as a betraying jerk and there was even a scene where Jessana defeated me in a fight and gloated about it! Me? Lose in a fight! Bah!

Anyway, Amelia was supposed to finish Jessana’s story last year during NaNoWriMo but this didn’t work out. Though she now does freelance work instead of working full time, unexpectedly, freelance work has been eating into her writing time. The thing about Amelia is that she often has a difficult time saying no and this has made her forget her writing.

Every day, she tells herself that tonight she’ll finish a chapter. And every night, she starts writing as much as she can before the pull of her bed becomes too strong to resist. That’s another thing about Amelia, she loves her bed. It’s plush and since some of her stories come to her in her dreams, it’s one of her most favourite places in the world.

Another reason Amelia can’t resist her bed is because she’s decreased her coffee intake. A self-confessed javaholic, she used to consume 4 to 6 cups a day, now it’s down to 1 to 2 cups. Her caffeine-deprived body is not happy but she tunes it out with yoga and meditation. And occasionally running around the park by her house.

Anyway, I’m not sure if you’ll see me this F2K session; Amelia hasn’t quite decided it seems. I really hope so though, I’ve a reputation to repair.

(WC 490)


Visiting the Madeleine L’ Engle Room (F2K): Optional Prompt #1

My 3rd try at this prompt. Interesting outcome.

Picture yourself sitting in a car in a department store parking lot. You’re waiting for your friend, windows rolled down and music playing from the car radio. Suddenly, a man runs past your car, tosses a package on the seat beside you and keeps on running. In 500 words or less, what is in the package and what do you do with it?


You jump at the thud when the package lands on the seat beside you. Your right hand flies to your chest and true enough, your heart is racing.

“Fishsticks!” You exclaim. One of your resolutions is No More Swearing. Or otherwise known as Replace Swear Words with Non-swear Words When There is Occasion to Swear. This is one of those occasions.

Satisfied that your vitals are back to normal, you turn your attention to the nearly heart-attack inducing package.

Brown paper. Twine. No card. The size of a paperback. Curious.

You contemplate ignoring it. Nothing good ever comes from opening a mysterious package. In your experience, anyway. But then again, you’re the one who rips open a gift the moment it’s handed to you, even though it isn’t time to open gifts.

You open the glove apartment, remove a bottle of sanitiser and spray the liquid all over your hands. You drop the bottle onto your lap and rub your hands together, making sure you remember the spaces between your fingers too. You start to return the bottle back to the glove apartment then decide for safe measure to spray the package. You do this until the colour of the brown paper darkens.

You untie the string and fold it neatly beside the package on the seat. Then you turn the package over to find the edges of the paper held together with cellophane. You remove each tape carefully, not ripping them. You line up the six pieces of tape beside the twine. Then you gingerly remove the brown paper to reveal its content.

You see the back of a picture frame.

A picture frame?

“What the pickles!” All that carefulness for a fishsticks picture frame? How anti-climactic, you think.

Shoulders slumping forward, you turn it around and instead of a picture; you see the words LOOK BEHIND YOU.

Goosebumps erupt all over your body and you feel the hair at the back of your neck lift. With the frame still in your hand, you slowly rotate your body until you are looking out of the back window of your car.

Your eyes meet a mostly empty parking lot. You search for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing.

A deep breath you didn’t realise you are holding whooshes out of you. Your body starts to relax.

You start to turn back around when out of nowhere your friends and family jump up and surround your car and shout “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

Your eyes widen, your heart beat quadruples and a numbness creeps up your left arm. You are getting a heart attack after all.

(WC 434)

In the Victoria Holt Room (F2K): Optional Prompt #1

Confession: I love the optional writing prompts that fly around during the first week of introductions that I try as many of them as I can. Of course, I have to do the one that’s posted in my classroom and this time it was a picture prompt and to write a story (less than 500 words) from this picture:

Prompt-135Somehow, the story that popped into my head was this:

Strange. It worked before,” Alex murmured, “maybe if I exerted more force.”

Alex pressed his palm harder against the glass and waited for the warm tingling, which usually came before the sparks (and the pungent electrical fire smell) and which preceded the ultra-bright glow emitted from his hand. This sequence of events, he learnt now, would melt any material he placed his hands on

But, nothing happened. The glass remained solid beneath his hand. He snatched his hand away from the glass and glared at it.

“What was I doing wrong? What???” His voice laced with frustration. “Wait…my ring. Maybe it’s the ring. I wasn’t wearing one the last time.”

Alex quickly slipped the silver ring from his finger and pocketed it. “Okay, let’s try this again.”

This time, he started by closing his eyes, took a deep breath and tentatively placed his hand on the glass. He made sure his hand was exactly at the same height as before. And he waited. “Come on, come on! Tingle!

He waited a heartbeat then felt the middle of his palm warm slightly. A small smile played on his lips.  “Ahhh!! Success! Now, I can get out of this blasted place!” Then he waited for the warmth to spread to his fingers.

Again, nothing happened. Had he imagined the burst of heat?

He opened his left eye to see if his hand was glowing which it should be but there was none. His other eye flew open; he fisted his hand and banged it against the glass. Rage coursed through him.

“WHY. WON’T. IT. WORK? WHY???” Each word was punctuated with the banging of his fist on the glass. “I want to get out of here! I want to get OUT!!!”

Two men in white stood outside Alex’s room peering through the window in the door.

“What’s he going on about this time?” asked the taller man who was also the slightly more rotund one.

“Oh, he’s trying to melt the glass,” said the second man, chuckling.

“Melt the glass?”

“Yup. He thinks he can melt anything he touches. You should’ve seen him earlier. He touched the mirror on the wall beside his bed and I guess he thought he melted it because he started jumping up and down shouting that he did it. After that he went to the window and tried the same thing. He’s been trying for several hours.”

“Why do you always get the interesting patients?” asked the taller man, shaking his head.

“Just lucky, I guess,” the shorter man shrugged, “come on, let’s go.”

As the doctors walked further down the corridor, the thumping faded.

(WC 438)

F2K again, YAY!

It’s been a long 6 months since the last F2K session and now I’m in my 3rd round of this amazing writing course. I actually debated whether or not to join because I thought that I should be writing not perpetually joining writing classes. I read through all my posts here about F2K and realised that quite a number of stories that I’m proud of stemmed from writing prompts/ lessons during F2K! And so, I am here again. Eager.

This time I’m in the Victoria Holt room, a new room. Also this time, there are many other Malaysians in the course and I credit this to Cynthia’s and my excellent effort at badgering the others via FB! 😀

The first optional writing prompt is already up and I am already rubbing my hands together with glee.

Victoria Holt AKA Eleanor Hibbert