Clever Elody (A Short Story)

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And they'll even enjoy it, because having it on pages, in print like this, makes it feel like it's someone else's. Like it's And having it in a book It was meant to be a tremendous moment, a lifechanging moment, the moment they kicked the door of professionalism open. But instead Slip the cover off, smell it, definitely smell those pages, ahh, solidness, booky bookness!

But, after all that, just a book. And when they read it, didn't, actually, some of the prose seem a bit clunky? Actually, this is terrible, here it is in a book, and there's nothing transcendent about the experience at all, and really, all they've found here is that they should have done another draft! This doesn't feel like the completion of anything, it feels like - like Like the start.

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The unhappy ones are the authors to watch. Because that endless search for the moment not of publication but of Publication, damn it, will take them far. They don't deserve anything. They will make themselves work for everything. Watch one of them start watching a TV series, start writing spec scripts for it, start doing all the hard work that needs to be done that will, in years, in long, long years, get them onto working for the television series of Doctor Who.


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One of them will get there. But don't imagine it'll make them happy. Editor's note This anthology comprises 25 stories originally entered into a Big Finish competition for new writers in January All 25 authors have, working with the editor, revised their stories since the competition. It is reprinted here, with the 24 runners up, for the sake of completeness. I am usually SENT to my bedroom at night but I had been out playing football all day with my new Kevin Keegan football boots and I was quite tired, so I actually said 'Mum, I'm going to bed,' and she said 'Okay, see you tomorrow,' and I went to my room to read my Roy of the Rovers comic which isn't as good as it used to be since Roy got married which makes it quite boring.

Norman, this sentence is too long. Split it into shorter sentences. I could see him but I could also see through him, like a ghost. He didn't say anything, just stood there staring.

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I was really scared and ran downstairs to get my Mum. She came back up to my room with me but when we got to my bedroom he was gone. My mum went back downstairs and, after a few minutes, the man appeared again. This time I noticed that he looked a bit like my Dad, only Dad wasn't in the house, he was working night shift. I said 'Who are you?

I am what you will become when you grow up, 30 years from now in the year !!!!!! He DID look a bit like my Dad but he was fatter and very scruffy, not at all like men from the future.

He didn't have a spacesuit on or anything like that, just a T-shirt that said Duffy the Vampire or something. Norman, you haven't listened properly to the assignment. You were asked to write about something that actually happened to you during the summer holidays. This is not a creative writing exercise. The man knew about all sorts of things that nobody else knows about, like where I hide my collection of football cards and private things like that, so I started to believe him.

He told me how I could make myself very rich in the future by buying toys and not opening them and putting them in the cupboard and not playing with them. I told him that I didn't think that it sounded like a very good idea but he told me it was. I said to him that I didn't have enough pocket money to buy lots of toys, only enough for my Roy of the Rovers comic and for some football cards and anyway I don't really play with toys much any more because they're for kids.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan review – an elegiac masterpiece

He told me he knew of a way I could get lots of money to buy toys but before he could tell me he started to fade away. That's when I knew he must be from the future, like on Star Trek or something, because they can teleport. Anyway, I was going to run downstairs and tell my mum all about this but then I thought about it and I decided that she probably STILL wouldn't believe me.

So I didn't tell anyone. The next day as I was going to the park to play football as usual! He said he was a doctor and offered me some jelly babies. They looked as if they had been in his pocket for a loooooooong time.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan review – an elegiac masterpiece | Books | The Guardian

I didn't take any because you shouldn't take sweets from strangers and anyway he didn't look like a doctor. He was dressed like a tramp with a big furry coat tied at the waist with a bit of string and his hair was like the haircuts the Beatles used to have, not like a doctor's hair at all. He asked me if anything strange had happened to me recently and if I had seen anything unusual like a ghost.

Now, even though I had seen these things I decided not to tell him because you should never talk to strange men and then he tried to grab my arm so I kicked him on the shin and ran away.

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Norman, you did the right thing. If you ever see this man again you must run away from him and tell your parents or another adult right away.


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When I got to the flat bit of the park where we play football I told my friends about the pretend! Billy Stewart didn't believe me and called me a liar, but the others believed me. We went to find the park keeper, but when he took us back to look for the strange man we couldn't find him. Billy Stewart called me a liar again and I got into a fight with him and I would have beaten him only he tripped me up. I just went home after that. I was a bit scared because I couldn't understand how the doctor who looked like a tramp could have known about the man from the future. I was even more scared when the ghostly man appeared in my room again that evening.

He told me all about the toys I should buy but I didn't really understand because he said the toys were from films and when I said 'I haven't seen that film,' he would say That's 'cos it hasn't been made yet. I told the ghost that he was a liar and that my Nan was not going to die, but he said he was from the future and he knew about these things. He said that after she died my Dad would find the money when he cleaned her house but if I took the money from my Nan's before she died then no one would know. My Nan wouldn't even notice it was missing and I could keep all of it.

I told him that stealing was wrong and to stop coming to my bedroom and telling me these things. The man started to fade away again but, as he was fading, he shouted 'Remember what I said,' but because he was fading it wasn't very loud and my mum didn't hear him. Next morning when I woke up I decided to go to visit my Nan. I was NOT going to steal her money but I thought if I looked at the back of the cupboard in the kitchen and found the jar with the money in it then I would know if he was really from the future or not.

I'm glad you k now that it is wrong to steal Norman but I'm afraid I find this story quite distasteful.


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I'm going to have to send a letter home to your mother! When I got to my Nan's house a very beautiful lady was sitting outside on the step. She was wearing a suit that looked like it was made out of silver foil and she had a friendly smile. My name is Zoe,' she said, and I said 'Hello'.

And then she asked me if I would do anything that would hurt her and I said 'NO'. And then she asked if I would do something that would hurt my Nan even if my Nan didn't know about it and even if no one else knew about it.