Feedback Request: A story based on public transport and giant alien worms invading earth.

Hello,

Now, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and usually, they just hit me from out of nowhere. As they always do. One day, an idea for a story came to me on the Tram on my way to work. This involved, for some reason, the Tram, and the Rockworms, which are one of the villains from the seminal Xbox game Gears of War 2. Combining these I found myself formulating an idea involving alien Rockworms invading Earth. Obviously. Not being sure exactly what would happen, I ran with it anyway.

So, the following is the first page of the first draft of the resulting story ‘They did warn us after all.’

If you have the time, I am interested in what your thoughts are on my work in progress. Also, if you want to, I would be happy to provide my thoughts on yours.

They did warn us after all.

“Maria? Are you okay?” Shouted Joseph, inside the mass of rubble and chaos that a rock worm had caused just minutes before. Their former office was slowly crumbling around them he rose to his feet with a shake and a moan. He stood and checked that he had his wallet, phone, and keys without realising they were not of much use anymore. The internet on his phone did not work and he jabbed and pressed until giving up. He heard something rustle not too far away and remembered Maria could be in danger. His fingers caught in the rip at the side of his green hoodie and he cursed under his breath. Numerous small cuts covered both of hands and only now did he notice the dull pain they produced. He took a step forward and what remained of the building swayed underfoot.

“Joseph…I’m here.” Maria said. He turned quickly and felt the floor buckle again. Her pixie cut brown hair was the only thing above the rubble. She struggled and managed to stand up and dust herself off. They both turned see a huge gap in the wall nearby. They both moved towards it but again the structure moved. Joseph held out his hand and counted slowly down from five. Maria took quick breaths to ready herself.

Sprinting over the broken wood and pieces of rock, they jumped out and onto the pile of debris outside. They managed to run down the pile before jumping as far away from the building as possible. The small quake ran through the floor as the building died in front of them.

“How are you feeling? You know…considering.” Joseph said. Maria jumped into his arms and kissed his neck. She pulled away as he winced in pain.

“Sorry. Force of habit.” She said.

“Don’t be sorry Maria, I can be the man you want me to be. That girl from the bar, I was just talking to her.”

“How can you be thinking about that? Look around you. The world is coming to an end and you’re still fixed upon something I told you I wasn’t bothered about.”

“I was only talking to her about the football that day…”

“Just….stop. Be quiet. We need to figure out what to next. Are you okay?” She said. Touching a few of many small cuts on his neck and hands.

“If they were all one cut, they would match that beauty on your neck.” He replied. Moving her shirt collar down slightly. “It looks worse than it is. Not too deep at all.”

“It doesn’t feel that bad. It will make a cool scar.” She said.

“I bet. Maria, I am not that selfish. And I have looked around me. Look at all the rock worms have done. Bloody government, why not just give them a home? They may have been helpful to us as well. I hear some of them are fiercely intelligent.” He said as he surveyed the piles of concrete, brick, glass, plastic and whatever else that made a building forming small mountains across the landscape. The mid-morning bright and clear sky showed Manchester for what it has become. Many buildings were still intact but more were reduced to rubble. No traffic or trains could be heard, which allowed them to listen to their own heartbeats with clarity.

 

 

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Oh life. It’s Bigger.

Hello

How are you all? I’ve left longer than usual between my proper, just about me blog posts due to an assessment I was studying for as part of my day job. I’m glad to say that…I passed! With Merit! Leading up to the day I was going to take the assessment I had been running all manner of scenarios through my head. What if I don’t pass? What if I’m the only one who doesn’t pass? What if my head explodes with all this new found knowledge I have? What if I forget it all and start to cry? And so on and so on. I was amazingly relieved when the computer told me that I had passed. Nice to know all my hard work paid off and is paying off. A button came up asking if I wanted to re take the assessment. Bugger off! I’ve done my part. But now I have to get back to my other thing.

Oh life. It’s bigger. Popped into my head from R.E.M’s losing my religion. Not sure why. It’s probably to do with how I can’t just focus on one thing and I know that I’m happier when I’m focusing on many things in this big life of mine. Or maybe I heard the song on the tram into work. Who knows? But there it is.

So, just this past Friday was the day I took my assessment so I could not wait until the following Tuesday when I was going start writing again. I had received some very useful feedback whilst I was studying about the first half of the first chapter that I posted 04.01.2015 from one Giselle Marks of the Super writers group on Facebook. She very kindly lent me her eyes and made some editing suggestions and, as I have come to value her opinion greatly over the years, I took them on-board. She mentioned that some of the sentences seemed chunky and I understood what she meant when the edits were done and explained. She liked it so I’m quietly confident I’m on the right track. If you’d like to read it yourself, click here https://johnrsermon.com/2015/01/04/feedback-request-an-excerpt-from-my-latest-finished-story/.

As I said, I started righting again this past Tuesday. I’m tackling my own sci-fi story, which has time travel as one of its main story points. I’ve written two pages so far and almost tied myself in knots trying to easily explain how time travel is used in the world the story is based in, which is 2020 Manchester and a UK that has the best train network in the world and daft amounts of profit as a result, and why it is so dangerous, or possibly helpful, to those who populate it. And, it’s not the train network that is also one of the main themes alongside time travel, it’s the creation that made the train network possible.

Ok. I’m off now. Glad to be back to my writing and hopefully you’re glad to be back reading it.

Cheers

Some words written. Some feedback read. And a huge YES to getting back on it!

Hello

 

I did say last time that I would post again on Sunday but, after doing some chores and going for a knee damaging run, I thought I’d leave it until I was feeling better. And now, after a non-knee damaging run and no chores, I’m feeling just fine.

I managed to get my first 500 words written in over a week. It felt good. I was also able to drive my short story along so the next time I add more prose to it, I’ll be close to the end. An end I have pictured in my head. It’s been there ever since I started writing it. The anticipation is something that I used to hate but now, it has become something I actually look forward to. If that makes sense. Anyway, after those 500 words…

Came the feedback I was looking forward to. It’s been a while since I posted anything on a website I knew I would get feedback from. And I’m delighted to say it turned out to be very helpful. One thing I always want from feedback, but am afraid to ask for strangely, is the critic correcting my punctuation and grammar. No matter how much I want to improve, I reckon it’ll just sort of happen one day. It will all sink in. I just want that day to come pretty smeggin quickly. The feedback was very helpful and has been dually noted. I do have another bit of feedback to go over as well which is exciting. Though after a quick glance I don’t think this guy is a fan. But, I want that as well. Maybe I am going wrong somewhere.

Both good and bad, all feedback can be used as long as it has some kind of constructive element to it.

And…YES to getting to back on it. It being writing and reading. I’ve picked back up The Picture of Dorian Gray. And it’s as good as I remembered it was and keeps getting better. Though, Oscar does like to go a bit with his descriptions. Which can be annoying.

Right, that’ll do. Till next time, have a good one.

Cheers

An extract from my novel, The Searcher’s Want.

Hello

As promised I’ve posted some of the first chapter for one of my stories. It has only been through a few edits but I would some feedback on this little part to gage how it is so far. I’m planning on posting the second half of the chapter in the future. So…

The following is the first two and a bit pages of my NaNoWriMo 2012 started novel, The Searcher’s Want. It centre’s around a group of hunters or ‘Searchers’ who hunt down and kill demons across the UK. There are groups like this around the world but this focuses on the UK contingent based in Manchester. There are four different kinds of demon that all possess certain skills for death, destruction, and general chaos. This wasn’t why they were created but they have rebelled and over hundreds of years developed into a real threat to mankind. The searchers, led by their immortal leader the searcher general, find and kill these demons before they can cause any large scale damage.

The demons are responsible for most of the crimes that happen in the UK. The searchers work in secret to stop them. This extract sees our hero, Aaron Watch, in the middle of a search and kill order (mission) for a demon spotted in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Feedback is more than welcome. Note: The extract is 1332 words long.

The Searchers Want.

By John Robert Sermon.

 

                This particular demon had always been good at blending in with its surroundings. It has a well-constructed mask over its head to cover its true form along with stylish gloves to cover the talons. The way it dresses would lead you to think this catcher demon was just some fashionista type with too much money to burn and not enough sense.

No one in this fancy looking bar is paying much attention to it, or him as far as they could see, except maybe for the barman who was making good tips. You would have to look to the far end of the bar to find someone who cared. The searcher is keeping a close eye on his prey. Aaron Watch has a job to do.

“Can I buy you a drink?” she asked the demon after watching him for quite some time. The bar was busy for a Tuesday night. The ‘Mox’ bar was a place known to be an easy pick up spot for anyone looking for something that didn’t mean anything.

“I would say you can. Whiskey please. On the rocks.” The demon said. They had become very good at sounding charming, sophisticated, and most importantly, attractive.

“Coming right up. Oh barman, service please?” Aaron knew from looking at her that she is prime meat. She’s tall with an ample chest and backside to match. All this was just about held in by a tight, ill-fitting dress which showed it all off. He also spotted how pretty she was and the look in her eye.  The type of girl you met in this bar all looked as if they were destined for something greater but got very lost along the way.

“You shouldn’t stare you know.” A woman said as she leaned in and blocked Aaron’s view. The bar curved round so he could sit at the end of it and watch discreetly. He had always been good at spotting women who fancied the look of him and moving away whilst on a search and kill. Aaron was not a great looking man but he was nice enough and a lot of women thought so too. Every so often he would take advantage of this but not on this night.

“You shouldn’t talk to strangers.” He replied before taking a big gulp of water.

“I could change that for you if you like?” she said leaning in a little more. Aaron hadn’t taken a proper look at her yet as he was trying to keep as much of his eye as possible on the target. The demon was still at the bar and had just started to drink his newly acquired drink.

“And how could you change it?” Aaron asked turning to face her. What struck him first was the look in her eye. It seemed to be of forced desperation which put him on his guard. She wasn’t the best looking woman he’d seen but she did have nice, light brown skin and high cheeks bones. She was another woman who was ample chested and round bummed but in this case it was all in proportion, unlike the catcher’s possible prey. These kinds of women could either be prostitutes or actual women. It was difficult to tell.

“By flirting with you a little bit.” She was an actual woman. She was clean and had bright, searching eyes. He could tell she had not let her soul go so cold.

“You’re a cheeky one aren’t you?” He said with a smile. Aaron had a slightly chiselled jaw and nice teeth. His brown hair touched his ears in a by design scruffy way. She took her time eyeing him up at close range which he liked. If she kept smiling, he was in. If she became serious, she would be polite until she got her drink and then she would make an excuse. He learned this long before becoming a searcher.

“Do you like that?” she purred leaning in a little bit more. Aaron suddenly realised where he’d seen this before. He glanced over at his catcher demon, still entertaining his ample and potential meal, and glanced back at his. She matched his glances.

“That’s Sarah. She had her eye on you as soon you walked in. We’ve both been without men for a while so we figured we’d help each other out. I however, when asked to chat you up for her, decided I wanted you instead. She then spotted the hunch back at the bar and went straight over. He’s cute, but you’re sexy.” Her eyes changed as she finished talking. In truth, he wasn’t really listening. He was making sure his demon was occupied. He couldn’t take the demon out and kill it until it did something. If the demon walked out with Sarah he’d have to follow. This would mean that he would have to walk out with his woman and when all four of them met for the first time, the demon would run having immediately identified that he was a searcher. Searchers can identify demons from a long distance whereas demons can identify searchers from a short distance. It’s something Aaron wanted to avoid. He liked to kill his demons quickly and without them really knowing what had hit them.

“You keep looking over there. What can I do to keep you looking over here?” She said brushing her hands against her chest. Aaron was interested and to find a woman who looked like she did and wasn’t a prostitute wasn’t something that happened every day.

“Could I have your number?” He said hoping to get the number and leave. He would wait outside for the demon and kill it there.

“You can but under one condition. You kiss me in such a way that would make me want to see you again?”

“Kiss you in such a way? You don’t usually come here do you? Or dress so revealingly.” At this her face changed and she noticeably calmed down. He had an inkling she was putting on an act from the start. He glanced over and he could see that the demon was starting to charm Sarah now. It was the start of his move.

“No I don’t. I’m a secretary at a law firm in town. I usually wear suits or just casual jeans and the like. I only came here because Sarah wanted to and she is in the mood for sex.”

“That’s fair enough but you don’t have to dress like this. You could come in wearing your pyjamas and still be the prettiest woman in the room.” A more natural looking smile crossed her face and she leaned back taking something out of her handbag from over her shoulder.

“Here. It’s my business card. Call me and we’ll have a proper date.”

“Yes we will.” He’d been told enough times that he’s a ‘smooth operator’ but never really understood it. She stood up and straightened her long brown hair a little before putting some behind her ear. She walked off towards Sarah and the demon. Aaron looked at the card. Isabella Woodley. Williams Kim & Associates Barristers and Solicitors. “Isabella.” He put the card in his pocket and looked back at the demon. Isabella walked over and put a hand gently on Sarah’s shoulder and whispered into her ear. Sarah nodded and as Isabella turned to walk away spotted something on the demons neck. Aaron knew what it was immediately. Some of its mask was coming away to reveal the purple scaly skin underneath.

“What is that?” Sarah said looking frightened. Isabella looked over at me and frowned. Did she know this was why I was spying on him? Instinctively, Aaron got up and started to walk over to them. The demon turned and spotted Aaron, downed his drink, and quickly walked out of the bar. As Aaron passed them, trying to look casual before a full on pursuit began, Isabella continued to frown as she watched him leave.

Editing, Writing, A Cold, Oh My!

 

Hello

Following on from my last post, I edited the first few pages of the first chapter of my vision-of-the-future story, The End Solution.

One of the pieces of helpful feedback I received from my last post was to try to picture the street that the start of the chapter takes place on. I walk up and down said street every day and have done so for the past ten months, so this should have been a no brainer and something I should’ve considered. Captain Hindsight, I know your pain. Anyway, I pictured it and made some changes and immediately thought it read a lot better. I’m a little bit biased (Surprised?) but it was easier and smoother to read compared to what was there before it. I closed my eyes to picture the street and it didn’t take long for me to write enough of a description to hopefully set the scene and put the reader in the story alongside the characters. Or floating above them or walking just behind them at least.

I also changed what I thought was needed to put the story out of the passive and into the active voice. Again the story was smoother to read and was a lot more gripping. Actually putting the reader into the action instead of telling them about it like it happened a few minutes ago. As in, if you had changed from your work shoes to your boots to go home before the end of work instead of at the end of it, you would have seen it. Anyway, all in all I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so I may post the edited version on here at some point.

I continued to write the rest of The End Solution after doing this and I reckon I’m about five to ten chapters from the end of it. Although, I don’t know which of three possible, up to now, endings I’m going to use. But, like with all the other long stories I’ve written, the ending will come to me all of a sudden and I won’t be able to stop writing. I do enjoy that part.

Right then, thank you for reading and I’m going to get back to it. Oh, and the cold part of the title refers to a cold I picked up, after a small bout of food poisoning, that slightly ruined my week. It’s gone now though. I’m beginning to think giving up beer for thirty days was a bad idea. My body seems to be telling me so.

Good Pie

Thanking you and moving forward.

Hello all,

My last post concerned the first page of the novel I’ve started to write, and will pick up again soon until it’s finished, from NaNoWriMo 2013. I asked for constructive feedback and received it quickly and efficiently. It will always amaze me how in some cases complete strangers can be extremely helpful. In this and in life in general. Anyway…

I would like to thank, in no particular order, Quinne Darkover (awesome name) who sent me, in a separate attachment, in the margin feedback on my story sample. It was very helpful and when I go to edit my story I will refer to your comments thoroughly. Sean Cleary, who is always helpful with feedback and straight to the point which is what I prefer for this type of thing, Lori Fetters Lopez ( @fetterslopez ) who gave me a very good insight as per usual. She also mentioned about passive voice use which has shaped my edit massively. Always reliable. Prof Godel Fishbreath (another good name) who gave me some food for thought regarding my starting paragraph. And my good friend and new follower to this blog, Leigh Yeats ( http://iseethingstwice.wordpress.com/ ), who advised me well and showed me some good reference material and feedback regarding passive voice use. Thank you to you all.

So, from all of this I have gone over the page and made some adjustments. Most of them were making it read in the active voice and not the passive where applicable. I always seem to have trouble with this. I know what the difference is between active and passive voice but I always seem to forget about it at the crucial time. When I’m writing! It is very annoying but that’s why I asked for feedback. Otherwise I would be walking around thinking I had the voices in the bag.

Okidoke, I’m going to leave you now. Going to go and continue reading Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is shaping up to be epic. I’ll be looking at my story again tomorrow so I’ll let you know how that goes. Hopefully I won’t go nuts and decide to change the whole thing. From what the feedback so far has told me, it’s pretty solid. And I agree.

Bye Bye