Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Creative Writing Course - Stage 2 - Module 3

After Module 2, and the comments from the tutor, I had a good think about the story I'm writing. I have changed how I'm writing it ... almost completely.

Module 3 involved act structure, plot points, climax, the building of tension, and increasing the emotion that the reader feels for character as the story progresses. Great content, following on from last week, because it made me plot out my story in a new format, and from a new point of view.

Here's my assignment:

Hi Pamela. Thanks for your comments last week. I have changed my narrator, and will also be writing from a third person. My main character will also be different. My story will also be condensed in time, slightly, because I don't have a character that lives long enough to tell the whole story (150 years) of the Valley.
[My main character, Harry, is now one of the main suspects in the double murder. He is also the man whom Jim Barclay's (the first murder victim) son goes to live with, and work for, when he grows up.]
Plot point one: Harry finds Jim's house abandoned, and suspects something is wrong. He finds Jim's dog starving and stressed. He then finds the partially decomposed body of Jim that has been unearthed and chewed on by dingos, buried in sand in a shallow grave beside the creek near the house.

Here's the tutor's comments:

To Jacqui
Congratulations, Jacqui, you have passed the first big test of whether you’ll be a good writer! Being ruthless about your story is absolutely essential – you must be prepared to make fundamental changes if you need to. I am impressed that you have done so already! Since you are covering so much time, I think you are wise to move to 3rd person. It gives you much more flexibility.

Re your assignment: finding a body is always a terrific first plot point, and this one works well.

Well done!

Let's hope that I can make it work, now that the tutor thinks I'm on the right track!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Of Love and Shadows

After reading The Kite Runner, I decided to read a book by Isabel Allende who wrote a testimony for The Kite Runner. I chose Of Love and Shadows, for no real reason, since I knew nothing about Isabel Allende. One of my best friends highly recommends Isabel Allende, and went through a phase where she read only this author and read most of her books at least 4 times. She holds Isabel Allende's writing style in high regard.

Of Love and Shadows is a love story, set in a county under a military dictatorship. The characters span all levels of society and wealth. Both main characters, the lovers, become more and more aware of the atrocities of the army and set about bring them to the world's attention. They then have to flee for their lives.

I found that the language was very poetic, though I wonder how much of the original writing is lost in the translation from Spanish to English. The descriptions are certainly very unique, and not how most English speaking writers would think.

However, the pace of this story was very slow. The character development was excessive - some characters were focused on and developed unnecessarily. The paragraphs were too long, making the reading difficult, and making it very difficult to find a place to put the book down. Because the descriptions were so unique, I kept being thrown out of the story, which was very off-putting.

The story takes place in a South American country - it is not clear which one, or whether the county itself is fictional. The woman, Irene, is brought up wealthy and very naive. Her character changes the most, since she discovers both love and shadows. She originally thinks she is in love with her long-time boyfriend, a Captain in the ruling army. After she finds out about some atrocities committed by the army, she starts to think of her fiance in a new light and wonders what he may have done.

Francisco is the third son of a university professor who lost his job when he was proclaimed as an enemy of the county, and blacklisted for his socialist ideals. Francisco is educated abroad, and has a doctorate in psychology, but cannot find work as a psychologist. He becomes a photographer for a woman's magazine where Irene works. He falls in love with Irene straight away.

Irene and Francisco's adventures whilst investigating the army's atrocities brings them closer, and Irene finally realises she loves Francisco.

Many people go missing, and are assumed killed by the government, during this story. Some people realise what the government really is, and some people try to stay oblivious. Some of the relationships are beautiful, and tragic. It is a very touching story, but I think a couple more re-writes could have perfected it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Creative Writing Course - Stage 2 - Module 2

Module 2 of the Creative Writing Course (Stage 2) with the Sydney Writers' Centre was about narration: how close is the main character to the narrator. where is the narrator positioned in the story timeline, and what tense will the narrator use?

The assignment was then to write the opening 200 words to our story, based on the character we had developed in the previous module. Here is my assignment:

by Jacqui
I long for peace. Little do we know during life, what death will hold for us. I am bound, heart and soul, to this Valley. The Valley that initially entranced me, that has been the centre of so much suffering, that has also been the place of some unbridled joy, and where I finally found the meaning of unconditional love. My love could not be returned, because he could not know that I existed. He was born after I had already died, but I knew him completely, and I loved what I knew. When his life was taken, I mourned for him, but also yearned that we could finally meet. His after life was elsewhere, though, and I am destined to remain in the Valley forever. At least with the passage of time, I have found some acceptance. But all stories have a beginning, and that is where I must start.

Here are the comments from the tutor:

To Jacqui
Jacqui, I understand why you have started the story like this – you want to establish a frame story where the storyteller in the ‘story present’ looks back and narrates.  Unless there is also something happening in the story present, however, this is a static approach – we already know what happens, in a sense, so why should we bother to read it?  Ideally, the frame story character will also have a ‘character’s journey’ to follow in the frame story, a journey which will change our (and possibly his/her) perception of what has happened in the past.  Otherwise, the frame becomes a weight on the story, like an overly ornate frame on a picture.

I suspect you will find, as you go further with this story, that while you have needed to write the frame, the reader may not need to read it.  

If you do keep the frame, I wouldn’t give quite so much of the story away in the first paragraph!

The emotions are strong and the ideas complex and interesting, so be prepared to dole them out to the reader – don’t give it all away at the beginning.

I can see exactly the tutor's point. Why bother reading the story? The problem is that I'm writing a story based on real historic events, so the story is already known for any who want to look it up on Wikipedia! My other problem is that I'm not sure who should narrate the story, because no one lives long enough! Perhaps I need to just stick to the third person, take a different approach from what I originally intended, and rewrite the opening.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Kite Runner

Continuing my aim to read widely, and to read good quality books, I finally read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Amazing! This story was so touching. I was sitting on the train, crying, this week whilst reading this book. The characters were brilliant. The pace was excellent. The narration was terrific.

The Kite Runner taught me a lot about Afghanistan. I had not heard much about life prior to the Soviet invasion of the country. I didn't realise that it was quite progressive, and could be quite an advanced country, if it wasn't for the various wars that have ravaged the country for the last thirty years. It also makes me wonder why Afghanistan became a nest for terrorists who hate America. They should hate communists and the Taliban. Maybe there is a lack of education and perspective in the last two generations. Amir's generation certainly saw a better Afghanistan and knew who the real enemy was. However, the man who later helps Amir to get back into Afghanistan does scoff at Amir's view of Afghanistan, saying he never lived in the real Afghanistan, because his father was wealthy.

It is a story of suffering. Every character suffers. Sohrab's suffering is the most poignant, because the book ends with his emotional turmoil. Amir suffered for his own guilt. Hassan probably suffered the most, though. His chance of happiness was taken away so early in his life, he was raped, and later shot in the prime of his life. He was helpless. Sohrab, although he probably saw his parents shot, and was also raped, at least had a chance at life.

The book also explained the relationship between the Pashtuns and the Hazaras, and the Sunni and Shi'as. Previously, I knew there was a division between these sects of Islam, but I was pretty oblivious really. Even with all the news about Iraq, which broadcast more about this division than any broadcasts about Afghanistan ever has.

Baba was a hard man. He was very set in his ways. He couldn't cope once he got to America. He was a hard worker, and always kept his entrepreneurial spirit which was displayed through his market stall. But, like so many first generation immigrants, he struggled with the language and he struggled with the way of life. He relied more on his son, and because he finally saw his son doing well, I think he softened to him and allowed himself to show his love. Finding out that Hassan was Baba's bastard son certainly did change my view of Baba. Hassan was his favourite, whilst they lived in Afghanistan. His heart must have been torn when Hassan left, and he would never have heard of him again.

Amir was not a hateful person. He thought of himself as a coward. He gave into his fear, but ultimately, he wasn't a coward. He was so ashamed of himself that he took it out on the true victim - Hassan. He was angry at himself, and in way, he was punishing himself by refusing himself Hassan's friendship. He continued to hurt Hassan, which made his guilt worse, in a continuing downward spiral.

On the front cover, Isabel Allende is quoted as saying "Unforgettable ... extraordinary. It is so powerful that for a long time after, everything I read seemed bland". I agree, wholeheartedly. The next book I'll read will be by Isabel Allende

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creative Writing Course - Stage 2: Module 1

I started the second Creative Writing Course with Sydney Writers' Centre last week. The first module was focusing on characters. It extended on what was discussed in Stage 1, but took the discussion a couple of steps further.

I learnt about 'flat' and 'round' characters, and the difference between a stereotypical character. Plot-based writing and character-based writing were compared, and I learnt that most novels are a combination of both, and it's the balance between the two that is important. A character must be developed to the point that you know the character intimately. So, when something in the plot happens, the character's reaction comes naturally. The choices that the characters makes should also come naturally. The choices and reactions of a character may not be typical or predictable to the reader, but the writer should know the character enough that what happens is believable.

It is also recommended that we not write from life. We shouldn't base a character completely on someone we know. This is because we can never know someone completely, and the character will either end up lacking something, or you will end up offending someone by making something up that is not true to your muse.

Our assignment was to do our own character development, and then shorten that to a synopsis. Here's mine:

by Jacqui
James ("Jim") Barclay is my murder victim.
He is 48 years old. He is the second son of Scottish immigrants, born in 1869 in country Victoria. He is intelligent, but not educated. He feels that he can't live up to his father's expectations. He left home at 17 years of age. He went gold mining. He wasn't successful, so he became a farm labourer. He followed the various gold rushes around the country, but always fell back on droving and shearing. At the age of 41, he married a 19 year old. She was 7 months pregnant when they married. She died 7 months after giving birth. Jim couldn't look after his own son, so he sent his son away to live with his sister in Vermont, Melbourne.
Jim is over six feet tall. He is handsome. Dark hair and dark brown eyes. He wears a thick moustache. He is elegantly groomed, always coming into society in his best three-piece suit and hat. He was always dressed in a suit whilst working.
Jim isolates himself. He is a blokes' bloke, but since his failure as a son, the death of his wife, and his failure as a father he thinks the best thing for everyone is to take himself far away. He gets lonely. He is shy and introverted. It takes him a while to open up to people. However, whenever he is in society, people gravitate to him because of his good looks. He is polite and good humoured. He is engaging in conversation, and witty. The ladies love him, but he doesn't seek their attention and doesn't take advantage of it. He prefers animals. He is great with animals, he can anticipate what they need and he has a calming effect on them.
He wants to be with his son. He wants to pass all his knowledge onto his son. He wants to earn enough money so that his son can have everything. He wants to be a provider. But he knows that his son is better off being cared for by others, with other children around. His son is too young, and needs too much attention which Jim knows he cannot provide. So he makes himself as busy as possible, stretches himself thin over his commitments, gives himself precious little time to think about his son or how lonely he really is.

Here's what the tutor said about my response:

To Jacqui
I very much like the amount of thought and detail you have brought to this character.  I would like just a little more – in particular, where Jim is working and what he is doing (his ‘commitments’) at the time of the story.   Is this a story set in the Diamantina, or in Victoria?  Does he ever visit his son?

I am having trouble imagining him in his three-piece suit shearing a sheep.  (I’m not saying shearers didn’t wear suits – but usually they took off the jacket and the collar at the very least while they were working.  And a shearer in a suit would stand out amongst the crowd; how did the other men take to him?  Was he competent as well as good looking?)

I think you also need a bit more to explain the gap between Jim the shy introvert, and Jim the witty debonair social man.  They can certainly be the same person, but it’s harder to write and portray.

Jim is a potentially tragic figure, and if he is indeed murdered then he becomes even more tragic.  He is very engaging, so the reader should care a great deal when he is killed.

I’m hoping it’s the son who is trying to find out what happened to him!

It's a bit difficult, because I'm basing my character off a historical figure. So I have ideas about him from pictures that I have seen, but the tutor has raised some interesting points.

I'm finally starting to feel like my writing is improving, because the tutor has been questioning me and opening my eyes to things I haven't considered before.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Of Mice and Men

I read 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck last week. I whizzed through it in a couple of days, because it is a short story. Despite its length, it has some of the best characters that I have read. It is powerful. The pace is perfect. The dialogue doesn't take away from the story. It doesn't need anything more.
   George is the small intelligent man, the protector. He has a huge heart, but doesn't want other men to see his heart as weakness. He loves Lennie and takes care of him. He feels obligated to do this, but he is not bitter for it. Years ago, he used to make jokes at Lennie's expense, to try to get other men to like him. But now he just protects him. George ends up shooting Lennie to protect him, in a way. He puts him down, like an animal that has done the wrong thing. Like a pet that he loves, that he doesn't want to see suffer any more pain. I can't imagine making such a choice. My husband asked me recent, "What would it take you to kill?" I couldn't answer then. But now, I think that I could only kill to protect someone else.

   Slim is a kindred spirit with George. He has earned respect in a different way, so doesn't have to hide himself as much as George does. But he sees who George is almost straight away. He also sees what Lennie is, and the understands the real reason why George looks after Lennie. He understands that George didn't shoot Lennie in self-defence, but as an act of kindness.
   Curley's wife cannot be blamed for Lennie's death. She couldn't have known how Lennie would react. She was playing with him, with a slightly cruelty. She was also lonely, and used her sexuality to get attention because she didn't know any other way. If she hadn't screamed, she may have survived. If she was smart enough to realise that Lennie wasn't trying to hurt her, and calmed him down, she may have survived.
   Carlson is a stupid man that reacts emotionally, and tries to please whomever he sees as the alpha male in the situation. He is not sensitive, and has no insight into other people.
   The title refers to the small men, and the real men. It divides men between those who are thugs, and those who are protectors of others. It divides men by their behaviour.
   I think George did the right thing. He could have walked away, and not lead the men to Lennie. Lennie would have starved, or sought George out which would have been dangerous for George. He could have let the men catch Lennie, hoping that they would listen to Slim and hand him over to the police. Lennie would have been hung or sent to the electric chair, but his death would have been humane compared to the death that Curley would have dealt. It was unlikely, though, since Curley and Carlson both had bloodlust. George did the best thing in a horrible circumstance.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Once Upon A Time

To become a professional writer, I need to make sure my writing is good, if not great. Well, we all know that practice makes perfect.
   The latest exercise I assigned to myself was again from the book Now Write! The exercise is entitled "Once Upon A Time" and was suggested to the editor by Elizabeth Graver. The exercise uses the classic fairy tale, "Little Red Riding Hood," as a springboard for exploring how experimenting with time in fiction can help you explore your characters in more depth. There a four short exercises within this exercise, each of which should only take about 10 minutes. Elizabeth Graver starts each exercise, and then we need to take over the story from where the ellipses end.

1. First person, Subjective Time:

   "What great teeth you have, Grandmother!"
   "The better to eat you with, my dear," shouted the wolf, and with one bound, he sprang out of bed and would have gobbled me right up, had not I been to quick. I ran screaming out of the cottage, and as I ran, all my fears ran close behind me. I saw ... the mill, its stone foundations like a fortress. If I could just make it inside, I knew I would be safe.
   My lungs burned, and I didn't realise until later that I had screamed the whole way to the mill.
   At first, the hot breath of the wolf was blowing on the back of my neck. His paws were thudding on the ground right behind me, it seemed. I can't remember the precise moment when the wolf wasn't chasing me anymore, but by the time I reached the shade cast by the mill, the wolf was gone.
   It was in the shadow of the mill, with my hand reaching out to touch the blue stones, that I finally stopped running and turned around.
   A small crowd had gathered around what looked like the wolf on the ground. But part of its snout and its ears were separated and lying a few feet away. The people were all looking from the wolf to a man who was leaning on an axe handle. Despite everyone congratulating him, the man was watching me.

2. Future Time:

   Little Red Riding Hood was very much frightened but not hurt. Karl took her home to her mother, and after that day she was not allowed to go through the woods alone. What she could not know then, but would learn may years later, after she had a daughter of her own, was that ... wolves were not the only predators to fear. 
   Riding Hood had moved to the city with her husband, and lived in a cottage that was identical to all the other cottages in the street. None of the neighbours spoke to each other, and Riding Hood's daughter was kept in doors to keep her safe. If she went outside, there were many bad things that could happen; being hit by a car, falling out of a tree, bitten by a snake, or even kidnapped by a stranger.
   Riding Hood often wondered if moving back to the village near the woods would give her daughter more freedom, a more relaxed way of life. But there were more opportunities in the city - the best schools, the best piano teachers, the best hockey coach - so they stayed.

3. Animal Time:

Little Red Riding Hood lingered on in the wood, gathering posies for her old grandmother, who could not get out and see the spring flowers grow. At last, tired with her play, she set off to reach her grandmother's cottage. While the girl played, the wolf shambled off through the forest. His legs felt ... energised and springy. His stomach growled with anticipation.
   Once Little Red Riding Hood was out of sight, he took off at a run, stretching his legs and letting the wind whip his lolling tongue against hist cheek.
   As he approached the mill from the woods, he saw immediately the little cottage where the old lady lived. Despite the carefully tended flowers surrounding the little house, the wolf could pick up the musty scent of the elderly on the breeze.
   He paused just inside the tree line, cautious of open spaces and large groups of humans.
   But his hunger exceeded any fear that he felt, so he padded out of the dappled light into the sun. Quickly crossing the open gravel space to reach the white picket fence surrounding the little house, the wolf then raised himself precariously onto his hind legs to knock on the painted green door.

4. The Grandmother's Time, or Time Collapsing:

   "Pull the bobbin and the latch will lift up," called out the grandmother. And the wolf pulled the bobbin, lifted the latch, and entered the cottage. Now the grandmother had lived for ninety years and had seen a great many things. What happened to her next threw her back upon her past, flung her far into the future, and froze her solidly in place, all at precisely the same time. She ... felt like she was in a dream, when your movements are painfully slow, and the danger was racing towards you.
   She thought of the day she had met her husband, and the blue of his smiling eyes. She thought of the eight children that they had raised together, the laughter and joy, and the struggle it had been to feed them all. She felt the happiness that had enveloped her each time one of her children married, and left the cottage to make their own way in the world. She remembered the birth of each of her grandchildren, and also the death of her husband.
   The thought of death jolted her - not her own, but of Little Red Riding Hood's death whom she now knew was on her way to this very house.
   All she could think of to do was try to cause as much damage to the wolf as she should, to give Little Red Riding Hood a chance to escape. She grabbed her knitting needles, and held one in each hand, facing the wolf with resolve.

This was a fun exercise, and could have taken my many directions. For the next five weeks, I will be doing the second creative writing course with the Sydney Writers' Centre, so I will have their assignments to complete. I will post those, instead of doing my own exercises.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Secret Life of Bees

I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. It is a very endearing and touching story. But, having done the creative writing course, I am now much more aware of technique.

The pace of the story is too fast in the beginning, and gets bogged down in the middle. The story is very simply written. There is some lovely imagery, but in other places the language is too simple. I can see that the writer may have tried to keep it simple, since the main character is a teenage girl. However, the narrator is the girl looking back, so she's probably an adult and it need not have been so simple.

Lily is such a lonely child, with no friends, no mother, and a distant and cruel father. She has latched on to the memory of her mother, and her emotions are embattled. She is guilty because she thinks she killed her mother. She longs for her mother's love, because she feels so unloved and unloveable.

I believe her father's version of her mother's death. The gun accidentally discharged. I don't think that he took the gun off her and killed her mother. Although, I think he was relieved that she died. My opinion of Lily's father, T-Ray, changed at the end of the book, after we get a glimpse of the emotion he's holding back. He's so angry at Lily's mother for not loving him, for leaving him. He's turned bitter and angry at the world because of it. To begin with, he just seemed mean. By the end, you know that he wasn't always that way. I don't think he was abusive towards Lily's mother, I think Lily's mother developed depression and T-Ray was oblivious, or didn't know what to do. Men like to be able to fix things - maybe he felt like a failure because he couldn't make Lily's mother happy.

The book is also about race. I don't know much about the southern states of the USA and their racial issues, except what I've seen in movies and read in books. I don't understand the hatred and the segregation. I find it shocking. I like that Lily is so accepting of the Negros, although she also has her beliefs challenged because she didn't think they could be intelligent. I like that the Negros are equally as accepting of Lily, although they didn't have to be, and potentially could have been hurt by having Lily stay in their house. I love that Lily falls in love with Zach, who is black. She finally saw, through him, that their differences were only skin deep. They had even had a lot of the same experiences, because Lily had been bullied and persecuted by her peers.

The sisters have a beautiful relationship, and I think these characters make the novel. August is my favourite of the sisters. She is the person holding that family together. She is so calm. She is smart. She is obviously captivating, particularly with their unique religion, but she is still realistic about Black Madonna. She doesn't think that the statue is the be-all-and-end-all, but that Madonna is everywhere. The spirituality is lovely, and August combined her passion for honey and bees into her spirituality. She lives it everyday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Now Write!

Whilst I'm in between courses, I am trying to keep up with short writing assignments. I bought a book called "Now Write", which is full of fiction writing exercises. Here's the exercise that I flicked open to:

Wedding Cake Assignment: an author called Debra Spark had heard of another writer's (George Garrett) experiment. He had chosen "the wedding cake in the middle of the road" as an image that is unlikely, but needed explanation. The assignments were turned into an anthology. Debra now has her own students brainstorm for puzzling images and then vote for a favourite for them to write about. She suggested the following images as exercises in "Now Write": the fish falling from the sky; or a lawn sign that reads "Wife Wanted, Inquire Within".

I decided to write on neither of the images that Debra Spark suggested, but when back and wrote on the wedding cake in the middle of the road. Here it is:

The main street of Lockingbarr is wide, with shady verandahs stretching out over the dusty footpath. The two blocks over which the shops march side by side are divided by a bridge spanning Frog's Hollow. The townsfolk all have their favourite end of town - the older residents and those who have lived their whole lives in Lockingbarr prefer the end south of the bridge, and those new to town preferred the north.
   A breeze blew some dry leaves down the quiet street, but there was no other movement. Two cars were parked along the curb north of the bridge, their shadows extending far down the road in the early morning light. A bell jingled and a young woman stepped outside, pushing aside plastic streamers. She was followed out by a thin, short man who battled with the streamers that swung back at him.
   The young woman took two long strides on her dainty heels, her skirt swinging around her calves as she pivoted around to face the short man.
   "Thank God that's organised," the woman said briskly. The man nodded, causing some strands of fair hair to flick forward. "I'll tell Mum to cancel her order with Gaffney's Bakery down the south end. There's no way we're having that fusty fruit cake for our wedding."
   The man had stopped abruptly, but now hurried to catch up as the woman pivoted again and strode off towards one of the nearby cars.
   Inside the bakery, Amy was still trying to recover from her consultation. She stood with her hands extended in front of her across the shoulder-high cabinet full of pastries and slices. She chin rested on her chest and her whole body quivered.
   Her business partner emerged from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her white apron. "You ok, love?"
   Amy raised her head and straightened up. "Guess who that was?" Amy didn't wait for Rachel to reply. "Megan Wright. Ordering a wedding cake."
   Rachel's mouth fell open, and she moved over to the cabinet beside her friend. "Did she recognise you?"
   "Of course not!" Amy snorted. It had been nearly fifteen years since Amy had been terrorised by Megan Wright in Lockingbarr Primary School. Amy had been a chubby child, to say the least. She had escaped Megan when they had gone to different high schools, and then Amy had left town to get her business degree. She'd met Rachel at university and they'd been inseparable ever since. Recently, Amy had convinced Rachel to move to Lockingbarr and open this bakery up the north end of town.
   "What are you going to do?" Rachel asked.
   "I'll make the friggin' cake! Double chocolate mud. Three square tiers. White icing. Red roses," Amy reeled off the directions she'd been given.
   "Fine," Rachel shrugged. "You should have told her to piss off. But, anyway. When does she need it?"
   "Two weeks."
   "Jeez she's leaving it a bit late."
   "Her mother had ordered a cake from Gaffney's, down the other end of town." Amy gazed across her counter. She shook her head. "She hasn't changed at all."
   "Lucky guy!" Rachel's sarcasm was like a mist that lingered after she had returned to the kitchen.

Amy rotated the cake slowly, tweaking a rose here and there, turning her head from side to side. Megan Wright was due to collect the cake in an hour, to take it to the function centre before she went to Tiffany's Salon to get her hair done.
   Rachel had wanted to push the cake to the back of the fridge the night before and put a box of lamingtons on top. To hell with the cake - there's nothing Megan could have done about it, anyway. But Amy couldn't wreck her creation on purpose.
   But as she continued to rotate the cake, making tiny adjustments, some of the terror and helplessness crept back into her. She remembered her bruised scalp and trying to cover bald patches where her hair had been yanked out. She remembered being sneered at and pushed aside. She remembered getting surrounded and pinched all over. Most of all, she remembered being the terror of being chased and always knowing that she wasn't fast enough to get away. All at the hands of Megan Wright.
   An hour later, when Megan was driving north across the bridge, she could see something sitting in the middle of the road. She couldn't make out what it was. It was about level with the bakery, so she was slowing the car down when she realised it was a cake. White, three-tiered, with red roses. Her cake!
   She stopped the car in the middle of the road, gripping and wringing the steering wheel as she peered through the window, unable to fully comprehend ...
   Eventually, she shook herself and threw the door open. She stomped up to the cake - was it ok? Someone was going to pay for this!
   The cake would have been beautiful, if it wasn't for the ants trailing over it, and the bees eating the sugar icing.
   Megan swept the cake up and stalked towards the bakery, ignoring the cars trying to negotiate hers, still sitting where she had left it, with the door open.
   Amy stood in the window, watching. Megan wasn't distraught, that was clear, and this annoyed her. As Megan approached, Amy slowed turned the lock over in the door, and displayed the "closed" sign in the window. She know Megan had seen her, and heard her call out, but Amy slowly turned away and walked behind her display cabinet, into the kitchen.
   The cake hit the window with a squwelshing thud.

Please workshop my piece, and give me some feedback.