Tag: amediting

My Favourite Film and Its Influence on My Writing.

Favourite Film: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Influence: Well, where do I begin?

I don’t remember the exact time I first watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly but I do remember only realising it was over 90 minutes long, which was the time I’d allocated to watch a film before bed. So I had to watch it in two parts. I was loving it but my eyes told me sleep was needed.

When I did watch the rest of it, and then it all at once, I knew I’d found my favourite film. Acting, score, story, direction and all the things in between, in my opinion it is a masterpiece of cinema.

The characters The Good, The Bad and The Ugly all have cool moments and also not so cool moments but throughout you know who they are and what they’re about. None of them steer from Good to Bad to Ugly or any of the variations. Although I like stories where characters grow and change, with this, they are already fully made. You don’t necessarily need to know how they became that way, you accept them for who they are and follow their story.

I am a fan in my own writing of character progression but I am also a fan of supporting characters just being who they are and accompanying the protagonist on their journey. I think when I consider my protagonists I have The Good (Blondie) in mind for his calmness, intelligence, and ruthlessness. I don’t want a cheap knockoff of Blondie in my stories but I think he’s always there in some way, shape, or form.

As for my antagonist(s), The Bad (Angel Eyes) and The Ugly (Tuco) are always floating around in my mind. They both know who they are and don’t apologise for it.

This is one of my starting points when creating a villain for my piece. I consider the villains position and motivation and come to why they are classed as the villain. As I’ve formed their identity I can consider how they go about their day. Usually, this involves a steely determination to get their job/plan/goal complete. Much like Angel Eyes in a sense. He knew how to survive and this gave him determination.

As for Tuco, he got things done in anyway he could. Even sacrificing his own friends and pushing away his family. None of this mattered if it meant him getting what he wanted. I use this within my villains at the start and usually they stay the same. Sometimes they grow but not drastically.

Having analysed my process against my favourite film, I’m pleasantly surprised how much of an influence it has on my writing.

Which leads me to a question and I’d like know your thoughts, Is there a film, favorite or otherwise, that influences your writing?

To Draw and to Write

How many notepads do you have on the go at any one time? And what do you use them for?

Hello,

I hope you’re well.

I have been trying to get into the routine of carrying two notepads with me around the house for general, WIP related notes and for drawing pictures linked to my WIP and everything else.

My wonderful fiancé bought me a notepad with the Van Gogh picture ‘Starry Night’ on the front and back. As it has a strong link to a famous artist, I decided to use this as my drawing notepad. Although I can’t draw, I’m hoping it will spark more ideas in relation to my writing.

I’d taken a few pictures previously during the second lockdown (in the UK) whilst taking my morning walks. These were of my surroundings and I’ve since written stories linked to them. To take this further, I’ve decided to draw the pictures myself and add to them to enhance my story.

A most recent drawing started out as an attempt to draw a street with houses either side. This was to practice my perspective drawing. But, as I got into it, the picture morphed into the town where a western, which I first drafted in July 2017 and have started to re-write as of November 2020, is set. I drew those buildings I knew were part of the town and it led me to add a small church next to the huge barn where the town’s horses reside from time to time.

I wondered ‘Why a church?’

Then, it occurred to me.

At the beginning of my Western, our hero is greeted by a vicar trying to give him a bible. The vicar is enthusiastic but our hero is not religious so he declines the offer. The crestfallen vicar walks away. I’ve decided, all from just a drawing, that the hero, as he becomes more accustomed to the town, starts to go to church to find some calm. He gets to know the vicar as he does so. Through all of this, I have found a more prominent character and one that I will use to delve into the hero’s background and to shine a light on an unsung patron of the town. All this from one drawing. How I love the creative process!

As well as keeping my drawing notepad to hand as often as possible it comes with a friend…the writing notepad!

I began to use this particular notepad to map out my current WIP, which I had partially written on my phone in the mornings, on my way to, from, and during work, as well as at home. I realised I needed to map out the story in its entirety as I was getting confused as to what was going on.

Once I had mapped out what I had already written, I went full steam ahead and mapped out the whole thing. This allowed me to sort out the plot holes I had become aware of as I was writing the story on my phone.

With all of this, I managed to write 500 words. 500! That was more than I had managed towards any of my WIPs in the last six months combined on my laptop.

This has got me back into the groove of writing, which I had not realised I had fallen out of. I’ve been making plenty of notes, drawing, and thinking about it but not actually doing it outside of my short story course. Now to keep it going.

This leads me to (repeat) a question, how many notepads do you have on the go at any one time? And what do you use them for?

Thanks for reading and have a decent day!

Where to next?

Hope you’re all well.

I am coming to the end of a very productive Short Story Course (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-courses/courses/short-story-course-first-edition/). The course covers various areas, including ‘Shaping Your Characters’, ‘Narration and Dialogue’, ‘Writing Style’ and more. I’ve been paired with a tutor, Lesley Eames (https://lesleyeames.com/), who has been helpful and provided some very useful feedback. Several things she has advised will stay with me for as long as I write.

Amongst those things was something that makes so much sense but has never been advised to me before. That is:

The tag for dialogue is part of the sentence.

More than likely, that sounds standard to most, but it’s new to me. After the dialogue, you put a comma before the ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ part. I’ve never been told that or come across it before in feedback or otherwise. It makes sense, but I find it strange it’s never crossed my path. One of the many benefits I’ve seen from doing a course on the craft of writing. I never want to stop learning things like this.

I’ve made plenty of notes and devoured all the feedback that Lesley has provided me. But she commented just before I started my current and penultimate course unit, ‘The Writer at Work’, which covers the writer actually doing the work. She said:

This will be the penultimate assignment in the current course, but it’s possible to book some extension assignments if you feel it would be helpful to continue to receive feedback on your writing. Alternatively, you might consider the challenge of a new course such as Fiction, which deals with longer stories, or Crime Writing. Another possibility is to submit work under the critiquing scheme.

             This got me thinking, where to next?

             I’ve always wanted to write a story or two using all the experience I’ve gained from working in the banking sector, which is around 18 years now. The ideas have always been there. But, as I enjoy writing Fantasy and Sci-Fi related stories, I didn’t know how to mesh the two together. And I preferred to write Fantasy and Sci-Fi that in no way involved my working life and to keep things separate. I’m not sure why, but I think it may have been a way of keeping my two worlds apart.

But then, an idea emerged.

This came about when I started to write my journal. The idea revolves around the banking industry and magic. I’m still working it out, but I’m enjoying it, and I’ve started to write it each day on my writing note app Evernote. Well, it’s now almost every day, but it’s moving along nicely.

I am making notes on the story as I go, which isn’t the usual way I like to work, but I’ll stick with it now. If you’d like to know more, see my previous post for more details(https://johnrsermon.com/2021/09/25/a-journal-to-start-and-stop/).

             This idea got me thinking about all the other ideas I’ve had and more so the ones I’ve turned into stories of varying lengths. And what to do with those stories in particular. The one part of Writing Life that alludes to me is being published. I won’t lie; seeing my name on a book I’ve created being published on any scale would be a dream come true. But, how do I accomplish this?

             This thought pushed me to sign up for another course, ‘How to Make Money from your Writing’. I’m hoping to learn a lot from this and take a big step in my writing life. 

             With this in mind, what further writing education have you done? Can you recommend any writing courses?  Please comment below. I’m interested to hear from you.  

The Bigger Picture (Part 2)

He woke up as his head flopped down onto his chest. He rubbed his neck as he adjusted in his seat, accidentally kicking the pizza on the floor. The clock said two in the morning, and he checked his phone and multiple messages stared back at him. His phone rang.

‘Hello mate, hey congratulations and all that,’ Robert said as he answered.

‘Thanks, mate. You didn’t answer any of our messages before. You usually respond quickly. I was getting worried. You, okay?’

‘Yeah, mate. Well…’ Robert hesitated as he searched for the right words in the dark. He stood up and walked towards the lines of moonlight that stretched across his carpet before moving closer to the window and staring out through the blinds. ‘That date from Friday didn’t work out.’

‘Ah. No worries, mate. They’ll be more where that came from. What was the reason this time? You know what, who cares—her loss. You’re a good guy. Her loss.’

‘Thanks, mate. And Happy Birthday, by the way. Forgot to tell you last week,’ Robert said, standing up a little straighter.

‘Not a problem. You’ve wished me the best for other years. I don’t think much of turning thirty-five anyway. You did a few months ago, how was it?’

‘Average at best.’

‘See? Anyway, I’m off to bed. I’ve only had one drink mate but, I love you. I’ll speak to you later.’

‘You too, mate. See you later,’ Robert said, putting the phone down. He looked at the dark screen in his hand before looking back out at the moon. He glanced around his front room before throwing his phone onto the settee, closing the blinds, and going to bed. (282 Words – Part 2)

*

The next day he came downstairs and frowned at his phone on the settee. He pocketed it and went into the kitchen.

Later that day, he was working on his laptop when a ringing tone came out of it. He flinched before realising it was a video call. He answered and adjusted his laptop and the camera as he did so.

‘Hello son, how’s Sunday treating you?’

‘I’m good, Dad. Since when did you learn how to use video calling?’

‘Since your brother taught me a few weeks ago. Can you hear me, okay?’

‘I can, Dad. Coming through loud and clear.’

Robert chatted with his father, struggling to know where he should look (at my face? at his face? somewhere in between?) before his Mum joined in. Closely followed by his brother. The conversation settled into a rhythm that brought a small smile to Robert’s face.

‘We should do this every week. What do you think, Rob?’ his brother said.

Robert stuttered. ‘Why? I’m only a few miles away from you all?’

‘So? We don’t get to see you that often anymore.’

‘Sure. Weekly video calls sound good. Or even just conversations via massager would be fine. What do you think, Mum and Dad?’

‘Sounds great. I…,’ said Dad.

‘No. I can never get those things to work,’ interrupted his Mum. Thus began a long conversation about how she thought video calls work against how everyone else knew they did. At times Robert just sat back and smiled. (546 words)

The rest of Robert’s day moved along at a smooth pace. Leaving his phone in his bedroom to charge, he cleaned his flat from top to bottom and did all his washing and ironing to cover the coming week.

Later that evening, he sat down at his dinner table to eat his reheated takeaway. As he got halfway through, he remembered his phone was upstairs. After retrieving it and sitting back down at his table, it buzzed and buzzed for around ten seconds. Several messages greeted him, all referencing a night out from his friends. Robert hovered his thumb over the keyboard and began to type.

“Just us five. Not been on a night out like that in ages,” one message read. Robert hesitated and then continued typing.

“No other halves then?” He sent the message and then quickly started to type a second message, “Because I’m not that bothered if” but did not have time to send it as more messages came through.

“Just us five. Like it was in the beginning?” read another message.

“Really? Okay. Great. I’m looking forward to it. I mean, I look forward to our usual nights out with other halves included,” Robert sent. He smiled as they ignored it, and the buzzing kept on going as a plan began to form.

“Cool. Meet at seven o’clock in the pub on Friday,”

“Looking forward to it,” Robert responded. He went back to his food before his phone buzzed again, and he glanced down mid-bite. Caroline’s name flashed up. He scanned her message, which was made up of several excuses and half compliments, before deleting it and messaging another friend to see if he was free for a call. As his friend replied, he rang him and smiled as he answered. 

12 Daily Habits of High-Achieving Writers

2. Participating in creative activities outside of writing that keep your brain engaged and your heart happy.

12 Daily Habits of High-Achieving Writers

Hello,

Above is another useful post from Novelty Revisions (www.megdowell.com). It details a number of ways you can help yourself and your writing as well as things to consider along the way.

Click the blue link above for the full post.

I hope you find this useful and are having a good day.

Twitter For Nonvultures

by efrussel   I took a Twitter break recently, and it’s gotten me thinking about Twitter. So, a Twitter post. I’m not one of those people who thinks Twitter is absolutely integral to your success as an indie writer. I think there are loads of ways to be successful as an indie writer, and […]

Twitter For Nonvultures

Hello,

The post above is from http://www.ryanlanz.com ‘A Writer’s Life’. A blog I’ve enjoyed for a while and it has loads of writing tips, information, and advice.

The post itself (https://ryanlanz.com/2019/11/12/twitter-for-nonvultures/) is about navigating Twitter for Writers. I’m still trying to get my head around myself but it can be a useful tool and the opportunities to engage with other writers are plentiful.

I’ve been working on my WIP a lot recently, a story about a man plagued by strange dreams and how he overcomes them, and have been neglecting my blog.

So, I decided to re-blog a selection of posts I have found really useful. This is the first and hopefully you will find this as helpful as I did.

The Hunt: Part 3.

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/27/the-hunt-part-1/

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/30/the-hunt-part-2/

The hunters scaled the car wall and onto the road. Their target moved at high speed down the middle as cars calmly drove to the sides. Sam and John smiled as they received cheers from the crowd. The lizard screeched back at them before jumping down from the road and into trees nearby losing the helicopters in the process. The hunters warned off the people with their cameras on the ground from following them as they kept chase.

“You talk to me about putting the public in danger? Oh, my days! Your aim is all over the place, and you fire bullets like they’re going out of fashion.” Said Sam.

“I’m firing the bullets to keep the target in my sights. It keeps feigning to go up a tree, and I keep stopping it. Unlike you and your archaic bow and arrow. Your arrows aren’t even sticking into the trees.” Replied John. Sam elbow barged John out of the way and smiled as he fell to the ground. John glared at Sam as he ran off. The lizard had now climbed a nearby tree and was moving quickly between the branches to stop Sam from getting a clear shot. Sam withdrew an arrow, but before he was able to fire, John speared him in the back with his shoulder and knocked the arrow out of his hand. Sam rose quickly and flew at John with carefully placed punches and kicks, which John was able to parry, but when he tried to retaliate each attack did not land and was pushed away. Each hunter was equal to the other, and as they fought, the lizard slowed down and stopped still in his tree and watched for a while. It slowly descended and continued to watch from the forest floor with its head twitching in different directions before stopping still again and calmly watching the fighting hunters.

“You really are predictable.” Said John as he kicked at Sam’s head only to miss as Sam spun on the ground and tried to land his kick, which John swiped away with a stiff forearm.

“How can you say that? The same person trained us. That makes no sense.” Sam said as he pushed John away and jumped into the air to try and land a punch from above. He missed as John took two steps backwards. “You are basically a blonde version of me.”

“You wish. You’re a brunette version of me.” John said. “And I didn’t say anything.”

“Don’t you lie to me.” Sam said.

“He’s not lying.” Said a smooth voice from next to them. They stopped fighting and watched open-mouthed as the lizard morphed into a twelve-foot-tall man-lizard and stood on its back legs.

“Did you know they could do that?” Said Sam.

“No. Not at all.” Said John.

The man-lizard grabbed both men by the back of their heads and smashed them together. He recoiled and squinted as the crunching sound filled the trees and scattered some nearby birds. He then grabbed Sam’s hands and closed his eyes. Two huge black and green limbs changed into human arms and hands matching Sam’s. He carefully grabbed Sam’s bow and an arrow and fired one through John’s eye. He then took John’s hands and waited for the change to happen again. Once complete, he grabbed one of John’s guns and shot Sam through an eye. He placed the relevant weapons in Sam and John’s hands before looking carefully in John’s bag. The man-lizard found John’s spare bullets before searching Sam and locating all of his remaining arrows.

“Thanks for the chase and the fun, gentleman. And for the ammunition.” He said nodding in appreciation to the prizes he had just collected. With both eyes closed, he changed back into a lizard and disappeared into the night.

The Hunt: Part 2.

https://johnrsermon.com/2020/01/27/the-hunt-part-1/

The lizard’s arms and legs flailed up and down as it struggled to run away, knocking people into the road and to the ground as it tried to flee. Cars screeched around it and ploughed into signposts and buildings and people. John bounded over the vehicles and quickly helped as many people as he could. He bounced across the vehicle roofs with some people cheering him on as he did so. John stopped for a moment and removed and launched a dagger. He punched the air and gestured to the growing crowd as the blade grazed the side and split some of the scaly skin from the lizard’s tail. The lizard threw up its head and howled as it kept moving.

“Stop showing off. It’s making its way to the tunnel. You know it can escape to the sewers that way, right?” Said Sam as he finished moving down the building and jumped onto the pavement.

“Really? I did not know that. Thank you so much, big Sam, for pointing out the most obvious thing known to any hunter worth anything at all.” John said as he continued and jumped on top of a recently crashed car. The lizard moved fast now, hitting its stride between people and vehicles and towards the tunnel.

Both hunters pushed their way through the panicked or mesmerised crowd and made sure to thank those who actively moved out of their way. The helicopters above followed them with spotlights. Cameras big and small followed them on the ground. Some more heroic passers-by tried to slow their target down but were dealt with efficiently by a powerful lizard limb. The tunnel approached, and Sam stopped on top of a post box. John looked back and groaned through his teeth. Sam took off his coat and aimed his arrow carefully.

A Land Rover coming through the tunnel suddenly started to swerve as the driver let the fear overcome him as the giant lizard hissed closer. Sam aimed and fired an arrow into one of the car wheels that burst and the car jolted and flipped over in front of the tunnel entrance. The crash caused several other vehicles to crash, and in no time, they began to pile up and block the tunnel.

“Dam, you Sam. Don’t put the public in danger like that.” Said John as he watched the lizard scale the cars and scurry up and onto the road running over the top of the tunnel.

“It stopped the demon going through the tunnel did it not?” Sam shouted back. He put his bow away and grabbed his coat before joining John again on the chase.

The hunters scaled the car wall and onto the road. Their target moved at high speed down the middle as cars calmly drove to the sides. Sam and John smiled as they received cheers from the crowd. The lizard screeched back at them before jumping down from the road and into trees nearby losing the helicopters in the process. The hunters warned off the people with their cameras on the ground from following them as they kept chase.

Getting into the Habit: Writing in the Morning.

Do you write in the morning and if so, how long and how are you finding it?
For many years I have wrestled with the idea of writing in the morning. I’ve read many articles from authors who get up early (3 am or 4 am) and write before the rest of the house wakes up. I considered trying this and pondered that, as it is me and my fiancé only in the house, that when the house wakes up it won’t be that loud and she won’t disrupt my writing anyway.

But at 3 am? Really?

I contemplated trying this for a trial period but realised quickly that sleep is awesome. And that getting a good night’s sleep helps me to be refreshed and more open to solid, useful ideas instead of the weird ones I get when I’m overtired. Although, maybe I should start writing those weird ones down in future? Were they weird? I can’t remember. Anyway, I endeavoured to get out of bed slightly earlier than usual (my alarm goes off at 6.45am and I snooze till 7.15 usually) and write something before I go to work (my bus is at 7.43 or 7.53 depending on how organised I am. Or 08.03 when all hell breaks loose)
This endeavour has been working so far. A bit. I rarely get up earlier than 7.15 but I am managing to get a small amount of writing done each morning. I’ve been doing this now for about 5 weeks and it has been a great habit to get into. Even though I don’t write a lot in the mornings, average 300 words, it has helped me to push along with my current WIP and it is almost finished. About another week and I should be done. Hopefully.
Getting into the habit has also allowed me to read more regularly. I read on the way to work anyway but I don’t give myself as much time as I should to read my ‘at home’ book.

Having written something in the morning I can now read in the evening knowing that I have if in only in a small way, moved my WIP along. It also allows me to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ (I only started watching it when it is finished. I’m up to season 4 now. Some people at work are jealous. I’m not sad about it.) knowing that my WIP is moving along.
I know it’s not a new concept or something revolutionary but pushing myself to change my daily routine has helped. Here’s hoping it can help me in the future.

The Meeting

Hello,

This story was meant to be my entry into a recently closed competition. A combination of fear and lack of planning found me missing the deadline. Nevermind.

So, here is the latest draft. It concerns a man who is going to meet his new girlfriend’s parents for the first time. And when I say new, she is almost brand new, and he is not sure if he should go through with it or wait a bit longer.

Is she looking at me? Darren thought as he waited at the bar. His hands began to shake as he straightened his shirt and watched her approach.

“You dancing?” she said.

He shook his head.

“Fair enough. Would you like a drink?” She said with a smile. They talked for a while and bought each other drinks before exchanging numbers.

“What’s your name?” Darren said.

“Lucy.” She kissed him on the cheek and his stomach jumped as he watched her leave the bar.

“That’s new.” He said.

*

Over the next six days, they met three times and texted nonstop. Every morning he woke up more alert than the last as he eagerly checked his phone.

Exactly a week later they met again on Saturday for drinks. He suggested the same bar and the quickness of her accepting text confused and excited him. After an hour he was really enjoying the night, he went to the bar and when he came back two women were sat opposite Lucy.

“This is Keeley and Lindsey.” Lucy introduced. Darren smiled and greeted them warmly. Shortly after, the two friends went to the bar.

“Don’t be angry. They’re my sisters. If you like me, you have to like them.” Lucy said. Darren noted the subtle sharp tone in her voice.

“Okay.” He said. They kissed and resumed their night out.

*

“Every time I asked them something, they dodged the question. It was weird.” Darren said as he sat down. His mate went to the bar and brought over the drinks.

“You’re over thinking it, mate. You’ve done this so many times before.”

“But Ed, they barely spoke and only did so when Lucy was there. Without her, they were pretty much just glued to their phones.”

“Just relax mate. She’s nice, right?”

“Yeah, she’s really pretty and has a great smile. I get along with her really well.”

“Your eyes just lit up.” Ed said and patted him on the shoulder. Darren looked across the pub at a couple kissing and sharing a private moment. They looked about his age and the blonde woman reminded him of Lucy and the man’s short brown hair acted like a mirror for him. He smiled and drank his beer.

*

“Will you meet my parents on Friday?” Lucy said as they held hands and walked through the park the following Monday evening. Darren looked up a tree and around the park a few times before answering.

“Okay. But, isn’t it a bit…soon?” He said. Her grip tightened on his hand.

“You can’t put a time on true love.” She replied. His stomach jumped again as she kissed him.

*

“True love?” Ed Said as they rested after their Thursday evening run.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that in real life.” Darren said. They laughed as Darren unmuted his phone and raised his eyebrows as he registered the number of texts and missed calls.

“Is that what true love looks like?” Ed said.

“Maybe.” Darren replied. He smiled as he read the messages of encouragement about his run and their upcoming meeting with her parents.

Darren spent all of Friday thinking about the meeting. That dinner time much like the others during the week he visited different shops looking for a new outfit but never bought anything. He finished work and registered that it was Friday evening. We meet tonight then. His palms became sweaty as did the back of his neck as he looked through his wardrobe. He sat on the edge of his bed and stared back and forth between his wardrobe and his phone. He flinched as a text came through.

“My parents just wanted to confirm that you were still coming tonight and are REALLY looking forward to it. What takeaway you would like? I vote for pizza. Can’t Wait! xxx”

Then, Darren’s stomach jumped.

“Sorry Lucy, I don’t think I can make it tonight. You know that food my boss brought in today as a thank you for all our hard work? It’s been doing backflips in my gut and I’ve been to the toilet more times than I would like. Could it be moved to next week? Sorry again.” He paused before hitting send. He exhaled and instantly relaxed. Later, as he got in bed, he kept checking his phone.

*

Darren awoke with his phone still in his hand. He turned it off and lay in bed until midday. She’s angry with me. He got up and then settled into his settee and turned on the TV. After a few hours of watching nothing in particular, he remembered to switch his WiFi on. As soon as he did, a few messages came through from Ed and they all mentioned Lucy and the news. He checked his news app and immediately sat up straight.

“Are you joking?!” Darren said loudly. He slowly scrolled through the article about a huge police arrest made in the early hours of the morning. “That’s Lucy’s house!” His phone rang and Ed’s face came up on the screen.

“Darren! Are you alright, mate? I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning.”

“Yes, mate. I didn’t go to meet her parents. Got cold feet. Faked food poisoning. I’ve just read an article about it. The police received a tip-off from one of the guests at her parents’ house that a man and woman were going to be killed as part of some ritual. Apparently, the ‘sacrifice’ of the new girlfriend and boyfriend of the leaders of the ‘The Greater Good’ group was to appease their god. Lucy was a leader!” Darren could hear his heart thump faster in his ears as he spoke.

“Will you be okay?” Ed said.

“I’ll be fine. I just need…a minute.” Darren said and ended the call. He sat back and exhaled. “That was a close call.”