Catching up and looking forward (NaNoWriMo is coming!)

Hello,

It’s been a while. And the reason is that I’ve been catching up on reading and mentally trying to prepare for NaNoWriMo.

As I have mentioned before, I’m a monthly subscriber to the seminal magazine ‘Writing Magazine’. If you haven’t heard of this publication it is full of useful articles, tips, hints, and everything in between for writers of all levels. I enjoy reading this magazine but lately I have found myself falling behind. Way behind. I discovered, about three months ago, that I had a pile of magazines to read. Now, whenever I read one of these I always pick up something I can use for my writing or something that I could use in future. With this in mind, along with many scratch marks on my forehead wondering how I’ve let myself get into such a position, I have read and read and read. I’m almost up to date now and have picked up even more useful writing tips. But as I have been reading I have felt a gremlin on my shoulder. A nasty, annoyed and slightly vengeful one that has creepy crawled around me for a while.

But you see, this gremlin wasn’t always a gremlin.

This gremlin, known as ‘Chip’, was once a wonderful sprite to me that stood tall and was helpful and wise. For two years, I used this NaNoWriMo sprite to complete the challenge for two years running (2012 and 2013). But last year I took it for granted. And I did a month of editing instead. Though the editing was very helpful the sprite, now hunched and dripping with anger fuelled slime, was not happy at being unused. For the last year, it has been running around trying to get my attention. And now it has.

The sprite is getting back to its previous wonderful form as I start to prep for NaNoWriMo 2015 and I’ve settled on a story I want to write. It’s a story that I’ve been dwelling on for years. Almost a decade. And I’ve never put it down on paper. Why? I’ve no idea. I have all the details I need and notes required. So now is the time. I’ve done my stretches, signed back up on the official site (www.nanowrimo.org) and everything is falling into place.

NaNoWriMo 2015…Here. I. Come!

An interesting question following some very useful feedback.

Hello

I recently decided to put my short story ‘Do I have parents at all?’ which is about a 115 year old immortal man living in modern day Manchester trying to find his true calling, onto the writing feedback website www.critquecircle.com. The idea of this wonderful piece of the internet is that you have to critique other authors work to gain credits. These credits can then be used to buy a place for your story to be critiqued on their website. It’s a simple idea that has given me a lot of useful feedback over the years and has allowed me to read some brilliant prose as well. And my latest venture into the critique circle world has carried on this trend.

A reviewer by the name of ‘Fergie’ (Who is Scottish and is a Brilliant name for obvious Manchester United related reasons) decided to read my little tale and provide feedback. Amongst the many things he provided was a closing comment about how he was unsure whether or not he would buy my story if it came to his attention on a book shop shelf.

This got me thinking about how important the first line of a story is but also how important the first page can be. I would read the first page and look at the synopsis before deciding to buy a book so I asked myself, is the first page of my story eye catching enough to persuade someone to read the rest? With this in mind…

What do you think? Here is the first page of my short story and all I want to know is would you buy the rest of my story after reading it? Either way I would really appreciate your feedback. Thank you in advance if you decide to read and comment on it. If not, have a good week in whatever it is you end up doing. Bye!

I have walked the Earth for one hundred and fifteen years but the questions still remain. Where is the First? We should have some kind of connection should we not? Why am I here? Do I have parents at all?

Waking up on the ground of a forest is as much as I can ever remember about my birth. Which is more than anybody else I am sure. That first year is fragmented but there is enough to piece together the story. My story. The story of my birth or my…come now brain, let us do this dance again it may help this time around.

I am born into existence and I grow, develop, and so on until eventually I am found by that rich family and raised for a while until I age too fast and spend the rest of my first year between families. Next comes another year living with various well-meaning poor families who all end up abandoning me but, with reluctant thanks to the rich, I am prepared. By this point, I am the equivalent of a ten year old boy and I find an orphanage and live there for a year through threats and the bending the owner’s superstitious beliefs.

And so, after three actual years upon the Earth and I look fifteen. Each year equals five years until I am thirty, and then I stop growing. I just stop. But why? I travel, I learn, I earn, I frighten, as the anger builds within me and I continue to ask myself why? But remember Henry, take the best parts from life and forget the rest. You promised to stop doing this to yourself! Distraction. It is an overcast Saturday night and I will use it to take my mind off things. Manchester is the best place I know. The streets and buildings are drenched in history. I love how new and at the same time old the whole place looks and feels. The night is starting to get into full swing with people everywhere and I find myself walking inside a bar I do not recall the name of and I do not care to check. I just wish I had a friend I could share this with though I made my peace with that years ago. I will live, I always do.

“Same again?” I forget his name.

“Yes please. Thank you.” I wish these two drunken men would move from the bar. You have your drinks so why are you still here? It is time for the old nudge and move technique. I am glad I committed to the gym all those years ago.

“Hey Handsome, why do you get preferential treatment?” Handsome? Wait…I know that look. She is just after a drink. Women. I have given up trying to work them out. Some say handsome, some say ugly. I do remember one young lady telling me that my light stubble and blue eyes complimented my slightly square jaw and that I must keep my hair short and messy as tall men do not suit long hair. Of all the things I have heard why do I remember what women say about me the most? “Hey, are you okay?”

“Yes. Sorry I got distracted. My girlfriend should be here any moment.” And she is gone. I must stay focused. I cannot fall behind on my schedule. I am sure the First is in Manchester. But how can I be sure? How is it possible that I have not found him, or her, after all of this time?