Fields of Grey

(Tentative beginning scene to my current WIP.)

A Midsummer’s Winter                                                                                           

Footsteps in moss. Fog tinged with blood. Claw marks upon long forgotten headstones, recently remembered. The piercing stare of a cat, or a wolf. Loss. Betrayal. All shades of red – especially crimson.

These are a few of my least favourite things.

But no matter. The consequences of placing my trust in the world’s guillotine were far too great for me to become a repeat offender. So long as I stay quiet – for the rest of my life – I should be fine. We all should be fine.

That’s what I tell myself, anyway. It sounds quite good when not thinking too much.

It’s getting cold, now, as cotton balls of snow touch the scorched red of the desert. I know I should go back, but I can’t; at least not until the gunmetal sun reaches the frayed grey edges of the horizon.                                                                                                                -Cleo Phillips 

I Just Dunno… (Writer’s Block)

Hello, internet-dwellers and humans alike. It is I again.

What have you been doing with your life as of late, Cleo? you may ask (or not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) Excellent question! I have;

Watched Castle, watched Masterchef, watched Black Books, watched Supernatural, read Bleak House, read The Turn of the Screw, read Dracula, read the assorted works of Edgar Allan Poe, taken hours to reply to emails, taken hours to reply to text messages, listened to Nickelback, listened to Evanescence, listened to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and I have listened to hours of the equally bizarre and brilliant ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ podcast. We won’t even mention the episodes of Adventure Time and Friends I have managed to waste the majority of my mornings with for the last few weeks. I’ve also become quite familiar with the Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner, thanks to its recurring appearance on the Morning Show. It never loses suction! Its dust filters are out of this world! It can inhale cereal, pool table balls and small children simultaneously without breaking a sweat! I dunno, man…

Yes, dear reader – I, Cleo Phillips, have committed the mortal sin of procrastination. *Cue gasps of shock and horror*

But, to ensure this is not all about me – I’m here to give you a foolproof list of ways to kick writer’s block right where it hurts.

(Because, you know, listen to me. I totally didn’t just give you a list of how lame and utterly unproductive my life currently is in the paragraph above.)


1 – Coffee, coffee, coffee.                                                                                            That’s right – caffeinated products are a godsend for writers (pretty much everyone, really.) I’m serious. It is. Chances are, you are already aware of the brilliance of caffeine – so take this reminder and go grab yourself a coffee/strong tea/energy drink/HIGHLY SUGARY THING/whatever and procrastinate no more! And if you’re not informed, well, congratulations, now you are. I’m honoured to be the one who got to introduce you to the thing-that-tops-sliced-bread-even-Tip-Top. (Which would be coffee.)

I read a quote somewhere, from someone who’s obviously very wise, on the interwebs the other day – can’t remember where, but that’s beside the point. The point basically was alcohol gives you ideas; coffee helps you execute them. Alas, I am under the grand age of 18 and cannot yet consume an amount of alcohol adequate of giving me any ideas at all, but oh well – at least I still have execution!

(That just gave me a plot bunny involving someone’s head getting chopped off… Maybe I have enough brain to overcome lack of beer. Maybe.)


2 – Funerals/weddings/parties/other strange places where weird people gather (like cults. If you’re really brave.)                                                                               Those places are overflowing with ideas – weddings, funerals, parties are guaranteed to have lots of people and people, I’m afraid, are essential to stories – even if you don’t like them a great deal they’re somewhat unavoidable. There are all sorts of flecks of writing gold in there. Great snippets of dialogue; cool scene settings; an array of possible characters; Aunt Alice and Grandma’s Cold War That’s Been Going On For 20 Years and Is Showing No Signs of Stopping Yet (great ideas right there.) Funerals and weddings are where it’s at – even if, unfortunately, that means your not-so-normal distant relatives are also there. I feel your pain, mate,  believe you me – but it’s worth it in writing material.

So, if you’re feeling stuck, don’t turn down the invite to whatever you just got invited to because you ‘have to write,’ even though you know as well as I do you’re going to end up sobbing over a bag of Doritos, on your twenty-second episode of Big Brother, blubbering your woes to your cat even though he’s heard it all before. Accept the freakin’ invite for god’s sakes. Go, and bring a pen and paper, if appropriate. Hell, bring a pen and paper even if it’s not appropriate. There’s a good story in getting shouted out of your own uncle’s funeral because you were too busy scribbling notes to say a speech.

(Except, if you end up going with a cult, maybe don’t bring the pen and paper. I dunno exactly how those things work, but you could end up with malicious and vengeful leaders nailgunning a bullseye to your face. You have been warned.)

‘But I haven’t been invited to a wedding/funeral/party/cult,’ you may say. Who cares – ever heard of gatecrashing? I’m about to give you a helpful life tip here, so listen (read?) closely.

Ever heard of the story of the bloke who turned up to the shops in overalls, walked right in, put a fridge on his wheelie and left with it in broad daylight? Well, you have now. Obviously, he wasn’t meant to take that fridge – a.k.a he nicked it. But he looked confident and like he was meant to be there, by casually strolling in and just taking it. And who would question him, anyway? You’d look like an idiot for asking a maintenance man if he’s really supposed to be taking that away. More than likely, he’s going to give you a withering look and tell you to go away (except probably with more profanities. He’s a maintenance man, after all.)

The point is, if you look confident and give out plenty of withering looks, you’ll most likely never be questioned for anything again in your life. Which is why you can gatecrash your event – just walk in and introduce yourself as Aunt Sally or Uncle Bob and look shocked at anyone who seems to not recognise you. (How could you? Why, I’ve known you since before you were in control of your own bladder! Show some respect, young man!) More than likely, you’ll get at least a few people pretending they know who you are (which will give you a good laugh, along with plentiful plot bunnies.)


3 – Dude, just write!                                                                                                          This is getting way too long already (I’m a writer; I’m wordy. Forgive me) so I’m just cutting to the chase of my third and final point – get some words on that page, son.

Just write some words! Doesn’t matter what words. Invent a scene in your head and don’t think; just write. Pick a random song and write a chapter based off that. Go to a dictionary site and pick the word of the day as your inspiration word. Google some cool names, invent a random charrie, and just go with it. Write fanfiction of the last book you read. Make a shopping list. Make an after-apocalypse shopping list (baked beans, bottled water and the biggest revolver they’ve got!) It doesn’t matter. The point is the words. Write some.

Off to follow my own advice, (or watch Supernatural again… for shame, Cleo, for shame.)

-Cleo Phillips


Yeah, I know, I know – this has absolutely nothing to do with writing. But who cares?


That is all.                                                                                                                                 -Cleo Phillips

Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)

Yeah, I pinched that title off of Nickelback. I mean ELTON JOHN. I’m sorry, it’s not my fault Nickelback’s cover is clearly superior…

I just lost a lot of viewers, didn’t I?

For those of you who are still here (yay for you, you can see the light!) this post’s topic is, as you’ve probably figured, about physical fighting – not just on Saturday, either, although that seems a pretty good day for it. I reckon Monday’d be even better, but anyway. Fighting. Fist fights. Gun fights. Knife fights. Bar fights between drunks who’ve yet to actually land a hit on each other. Whatever.

(In literature, that is. You got that, didn’t you? Come on, I’m not that violent, surely…)

How does one go about writing a fighting scene without it becoming incredibly boring? (John sent a fist at Bob. Bob ducked and roundhouse kicked John in the face. John lost a few teeth but managed to grab Bob in a headlock. Bob struggled free and headbutted John, succeeding in knocking them both unconscious (finally, thank god). The end.)

Did you fall asleep? I’m concerned for your mental health if you didn’t at least skim that.

Anyway; how does one go about writing a good fight scene, whether it be a shoot-up between mafia mobsters, or just a back alley fist sandwich for the poker cheaters? How do you keep it interesting, fast paced, without getting too clinical about every movement? I’ve wondered for a while, but I’ve only written a handful of fight scenes, so maybe it gets easier with practise… It’s kind of hard to provide the same visual without the cinematic experience of seeing it on the telly – same as any other writing, though, I suppose. You have to paint the picture with words and ram it into reader’s minds so they can’t help but see it.

Laters,                                                                                                                                      -Cleo Phillips

P.S: Which is better?


I think we both know the answer to that…

Black Market Heart (Poem)

I sold my heart on the black market

I took my soul with a mark on it

Price dropped down, last minute sale

To anyone willing to buy


Spread my wings and learn to fly

Better try, before I die

Build it better with a stained glass pane

You know your breaths are ceaseless


Place a bid on a black market heart

Lace a lie for a shiny new soul

Drive away to a brand new life

Pay full price to be immortalised


If forever’s what you want, I have the answer

If forever’s what you need I’m willing to bleed

There’s a price, of course,  there always is

You can put a price on light


Place a bid on a black market heart

Lace a lie for a shiny new soul

Drive away to a brand new life

Pay full price to be immortalised


I don’t want my second-hand soul

Anyone willing to buy?

I’m haggling off my black market heart

Passed down from the graves.                                                                                                -Cleo Phillips

Castle & Killers

Part one; I believe I’ve found a new favourite show. Namely, Castle. It’s a crime/drama, which isn’t normally the sort of thing I watch, but I have to say this one is quite brilliant. Got my attention immediately with the first episode, which centered around a ‘copycat killer’ who imitated the murders in  the main character, Castle’s, novels (see? I told you this would stay writing focused!)

For starters that’s just a fantastic idea, and for two, I understand why Castle wanted to stick around and find out why they did it – your story’s killings being acted out by a real-life villain. You’d feel somewhat responsible for giving them food for thought. Castle seemed to take it as a bit of a compliment - however, it makes me kind of nervous to write a possibly popular murder novel in the first place. Y’know, don’t want to give my avid readers with sociopathic tendencies… inspiration. But then again, you do have people like Steven King and James Patterson who’ve come up with some pretty brilliant ways of offing people, and neither of them have been ‘copied,’ so it’s pretty safe to say I wouldn’t be either. I blame it on fear of being sued. Everyone’s so uptight about copyright these days…

* * *

Moving on, and if you didn’t like the above ramble look away now cause it ain’t getting better from here – part two. Killers.  Or, to find a niche, seemingly motiveless serial killers. They’re so freaking fascinating, the weirdos…

And before I say any more – yes, Castle and murderers are connected outside of a show and in this blog post. Maybe only in my strange, hyper brain, but they are. And this is my blog, and what I say goes. So there.

Seeing as my word goes and it was my word earlier to stick to writing stuff, I better obey – so I’m steering this from TV show/real life killers and onto fictional ones. A.k.a the villains of stories, or at least the villain’s henchmen. What motivates them? Do they even need motives in the first place? Is it possible to write authentic murders without having first hand experience in it – you know, the old ‘write what you know?’ And, most importantly; how can we, writers who most likely aren’t in fact ourselves serial killers, portray them in a way that does justice to the way the mind of a real-life psychopath works?

Just curious, because I’ve never written anything with a focus on a real cold blooded killer, and it seems like a hurdle that would be fun to tackle one day. It’s been done a lot, I know –  but I wonder how closely to the actual thing. What makes for good, publishable reading isn’t always dead accurate. (Get it? Dead? Haha! Okay, I’ll shut up now…)

Suggesting you check under your bed tonight,                                                                        -Cleo Phillips

Ice Heart (Poem)

Ice heart, sun eyes

Dancing the night away

Beneath golden stars

Keep my fears at bay

I know, I forget to say

‘How are you?’


Feed me poison, drizzle me regret

Take my turns, lie on a safe bet

You know you’re the best I could get

And that’s why

Stake your claim, drift in shame

Forever wandering

A droplet of death on a silver rose petal

Bring Death to his knees

Feed me poison, drizzle me regret

Take my turns, lie on a safe bet

You know you’re all I could get

I know why


Dance away, sun eyes, live for the dawn

Ice heart, take part

Mourn stolen blood

It’s not mine

-Cleo Phillips


This is my blog. Can you believe it? Not like it’s on WordPress or anything…

Anyway, I’m Cleo, and this is the place where I put my stuff. Apologies for the redundancy; I’m trying to concur with social niceties at least a tad, even though it’s a huge waste of both your and my time. But that’s beside the sharp end of the stick – a.k.a the point.

This is mainly a dumping ground for my scribblings, samples of stories, poems, drabbles, et cetera. I may post other things as well, but the majority of it will be writing geared, or at least writing related.

So, now you know what you’re in for. Adiós. :)                                                                        -Cleo Phillips