Friday Fictioneers : Down the muddied gullies of the Thames

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy


 

They called her Polly-Mynah on acount of her own given name and the bird that needled her shoulder.

Down the muddied gullies of the Thames, neath crumbled eaves and untrusting eyes, one body needs another to keep watch or a body won’t last too long. That’s what Polly-Mynah had. Yes, the body in question had an oily black head, a beak gold as a sovereign and eyes sharp as frost, but he watched for Polly, keen as any madhouse copper.

Even when the creature died she kept his name, like a pining widow twines to her marriage vows.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers, the best prompt in town. See here to read the other tales and to share one of your own.

On seeing today’s pic, I was minded of a novel idea I haven’t yet found the time to write, about a young girl and her pet bird and their adventures along the fetid, treacherous streets of the capital and the unconventional friend they make their.

 

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69 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Down the muddied gullies of the Thames

    1. Thanks Iain – it’s one of the ideas that has never quite gone away from the back of my head and when that happens I eventually write the story. I’ll spread the owrd if it happens one day 🙂

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  1. Oh, wow, your description is just so vivid. And that conclusion, “Even when the creature died she kept his name, like a pining widow twines to her marriage vows.” That’s very powerful. Lovely writing, Lynn!

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    1. Thanks so much, Penny. It was hard to convey in so few words my idea that the two of them are so close they’re almost inseparable, hence my emphasis on the name. Glad you think it worked and thanks so much for the feedback 🙂

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      1. Maybe so, Chris. It could have been what was bubbling under the surface when I picked the name. I liked the sound of the two together, is the truth, the thought that mynah sounds like minor too as Polly is indeed a ‘minor’ in the story, a girl of around 12 who wears boy’s clothing and is about as poor a person as the city could produce, living as she does on the streets. Minor in every way. Except of course, she is very important too. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. Thanks James. Yes, a sad end, but they’ll have lots of adventures together first 🙂 No intentional word play, though as Chris points out in his comment below, perhaps I was thinking of Polly parrot. Not sure. I thought the double name sounded good, that was the main thing. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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    1. Ah, thank you Alicia! Bodes well for when I eventually write it all up, which I’m sure I will. Together they make a very unusual new friend in the back streets of London, but that will have to be revealed another time I think. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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      1. So, so true. Other writing, work, chores, family … moving house … if all of that just vanished, we might just find the time to finish all of the promising projects racing round our heads 🙂

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  2. This was some writing, Lynn. Simply captivating. The name Polly usually takes me to ‘that’ Nirvana song. I’m with the others here in wanting to read more of this pair.

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    1. Thank you Varad. Yes, that Polly, fortunately is very different from this, though I do love that song, disturbing though it is. Thank you for the kind comment 🙂

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    1. Glad you think so Russell. I have rough idea of where their story might go. It’s dark – very dark – but Polly will emerge just about in one piece I think 🙂

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  3. Interesting novel idea, Lynn. Hm, NaNoWriMo is around the corner, why don’t you just whip that novel right up? (hahaha) I’m allowed to laugh because my inner writer is currently winning an argument against my outer work self about whether we should take time off work to do NaNo and “just whip up” a new novel.

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    1. That’s exciting, Joy – you going to go for it? Do you have an idea all set up and ready to write? Sadly, little chance of that happening here. I still need to work through a rewrite of a first draft of the latest WIP before Polly gets the attention she deserves. Next year maybe. Do let me know your progress if you decide to go for NaNo though 🙂

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      1. Still debating. I’m doing a lot of prep work on this new novel though, so it might actually happen. My main worry is that if I put my Corwallen novel aside for too long, I’ll never get back to it. And the last thing I need is a pile of unfinished novels haunting me!

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      2. I know what you mean – I have a crime novel and a middle grade book at first draft stage, a YA novel at surely-it’s-almost-ready-now stage and then the WIP, still at first draft. All promising ideas, I think, just need the time and motivation to polish them. Oh, and I gues I have to count The Devil of Moravia too –
        although published on the blog, another first draft. Good luck with the latest venture if you go ahead with it. Eyes down for a busy, bust November 🙂

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      3. That’s a lot of back burners you have going at the same time, for all those novels in progress! I see you have the additional challenge of deciding which genre to start out with. I keep hearing that if you do manage to publish, the agent and publisher want to see more of the *same type* of book in the future. So going from a middle grade book to a crime novel might be a hard sell, because you presumably found an audience for your first book, but you’ll have to start over with a new audience for the second. Although I also heard, at this recent writers conference, that if your first book didn’t sell hugely, the fact that you switched genres might actually help. Is there one genre you feel most drawn to?

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      4. I know, I’m dreadful, aren’t I? I’m frustrated by the idea of having to stick to one genre of writing. I read across many genres, so why can’t I write across them too? I think overall, I’m most drawn to what I’m writing at the moment, an adult urban fantasy story, though the way it’s gone it could be an urban fantasy/investigative/crime solving strand of stories, so I could cover a couple of bases with that! As you’ve probably gathered most of my ideas come with a heavy side order of some kind of fantasy. A writing mentor I had a while back wrote historical/romantic/supernatural YA and now writes crime – very successfully -under a different name so a change can be made. This is why I’ve held back from pushing that YA book too hard – do I want to be a YA author and if I start out being published as one, will I be allowed to shift into another genre? Frustrating, isn’t it?

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      5. I agree, its frustrating. Mine are all fantasy, but really run the gamut of the type of fantasy and the audience. I also run into the expectation that if you have one book that works, you’re “supposed” to write more books with the same protagonist. Of course, almost none of my stories will work for that. I really do worry that someone who likes one of my books will be disappointed that they don’t get more of the same in another one. But that won’t stop me from writing what I want to. 🙂

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      6. It is tough. How can you possibly sustain your interest through a novel if you aren’t interest, whether that appeals to a wider public or not … We can only keep our fingers crossed! I can see my current WIP spanning a series – plent of potential I think. If people want to read it of course 🙂

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  4. I really enjoyed the very last sentence of this, it had a lovely lyricism about it, that really clinched the heart of the piece. On my degree we used to call that the ‘kernel’ of a poem – if you edited everything else away, the truth that was left was the kernel.

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