The Editing Beast.

Hello,

I’m currently in the process of editing a 1,000-word story for my first competition entry of the year. The competition is run by Writers Online (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/open-competitions/writers-competitions-wro-wro-jun17-1000/) and the only requirement is that you do not exceed the word limit. No specific theme. Just a word count.

Now, I have previously tried to enter this competition but came unstuck as writing a story with such a small word count is tricky for me. That is until I read a recent competition winner through Writing Magazine. The story was for a Fantasy competition and was 1,642 words but managed to tell the story very well and kept me hooked till the end. Yes, it is more than 1,000 words, but it is a fine example of using your words well. See for yourself (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/showcase/winner/writers-competitions-wro-wro-nov16-fantasy/dominic-bell-2).

Anyway, this has given me the confidence to try and enter the 1,000-word competition again. I found my original attempt from way back and read it through. Not bad but with a few problems and I didn’t like the end. However, I could see promise in it. So, I changed the ending and completed a re-write. Then, came the next step.

Oh, the edit. The beast that awaits at the end of most stories. The question I find myself asking is, should I feed it or let it starve? I decided to feed the beast and it just keeps wanting more! Every time I go back to my story thinking I am close to finishing it, something else comes up and I edit even more. How much does it need to be fed before it is satisfied and will let me enter the competition?

The_Beast

In my head, this is how it looks. But, it is the Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the so it’s not that bad of a picture to have in my head at the moment. Moving on…

I am happy to continue with the edit, even if it winds me up no end. I have faith in my story. I like it and want to see it through. That is what drives me forward. Regardless of the outcome of the competition (don’t get me wrong, I would like to win) I want this to be the best it can be.

With this story, it has a twist at the end. I have written twists before and have recently watched a few TV programmes and Films with twists to whet my appetite. I am trying to put some red herrings in and some double meanings. Easy a? In my head maybe but in practice, not so much. Making sure each sentence drives the story is essential but 1,000 words do not allow for a lot of driving. Once the story is written and I know how I got on in the competition, I’ll post it on this blog. Or burn it. I’ll make the decision later.

Since the last time I had to edit for a competition, which was for ages ago, I have learned a lot more and I am thankful that my persistence appears to be paying off. Things I left in the first draft, thinking they were gold, made me shudder and have been discarded. Practice does help a lot with this writing game.

Well, back to the edit. I hope you have a nice day and if you are editing, that it goes as well as possible for you.

Bye!

 

A holiday is what this writer needed!

Hello,

I didn’t realise it had been this long since my last post. Oh dear. Though my reason is a just one for not updating my little corner of the universe. I had a wedding to attend in Cyprus. How hard life must be for you? You may ask. Well, it was an amazing place to go to and the wedding was out of this world. I didn’t want to leave.

Although, when I did get back, and after attending another wedding on the same day we landed back home in England, I felt suddenly refreshed when it came to my thoughts about my writing. In truth, I had been feeling quite sluggish recently and that it was a struggle to get myself to write. And to update this blog of mine. But after a holiday, I feel ready to kick on and write, edit, and read whatever. I also found that seeing two couples get married made me think about my life and my goals. It made things a lot clearer and one of those things was getting back to doing what I love, and that is to write, edit, and read whatever!

With my refreshed self I have pushed on and have been writing my western story. I’m moving closer to the pivotal moment for my main character when he has to decide what he wants to do and what kind of man he wants to be. You see, he’s been running from his past for years and has become a seasoned gunslinger. But what is it all for? Should he just go around from town to town righting wrongs? What if he wants to just work all day, get drunk, pass out and wake up and lie in without any bounty on his head or worry over his shoulder to constantly look out for? As I have been writing this post and my western tale I have been trying to work this out. I’ll get there eventually. I’ve got all the action sequences and twists and turns in my head already but I just need a bridge to connect to them. I don’t fancy just running and jumping and hoping for the best. I’ll let you know how I get on of course.

Ok. This has been cool as always but I must get back to it, the voices are yelling at me again to do so. I hope you all have a good week doing whatever you do.

Bye

And…I didn’t enter the competition after all.

Hello

So, it’s been a month or so since my last post. It could and probably should not have taken me this long to post again but here we are. After I posted on 06.06.15, I was getting geared up for a holiday to New York! For any of you who have been there I’m sure you can understand why I would be preoccupied. I went away with my two good friends Paul and Leigh for 10 nights and it was amazing. I’ll blog and brag about it another day. But for now…

The competition I was going to enter, http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/the-bfs-short-story-competition-2015/, was to close for entries on 30.06.15. Now, I was well on my way to finishing the edit for my story when the edit decided to get bigger. And then I told my girlfriend about the story and she brought up two points which I thought I had covered but as it turned out I hadn’t covered them well enough.

With all this in mind I decided not to enter the competition after all.

I did not come to this decision lightly. I knew that if I entered a story I wasn’t happy with it would have annoyed me for a daft amount of time. I will instead complete the edit and post the story in two parts on this blog and maybe www.critiquecircle.com for some more feedback. If you would like a summary of the story, please go to the following link https://johnrsermon.com/2015/06/06/finally-one-of-my-plans-is-working/ and seek out the third paragraph of that post and a summary shall be yours!

When I got back from New York! I allowed myself a few days to recover before I started writing again. When I did start again I decided to just work on my newest short story. Now, I considered starting back on the edit but the story had been rolling around in my head every time I tried to go to sleep while I was on holiday in New York! So, when I got back I wanted to try and take a full break from that so I can continue the edit with a fresh(ish) pair of eyes later on. I’ve kept up with the coming home from work and writing deal and the short story is swimming along nicely. Although, I have introduced eight more characters but I’m building the story so all is in hand. Hopefully. I will start back on my edit next week and look to change from edit to writing. Writing to editing. Week after week. And see where it takes me.

Ok. That’s me for now. I hope you all have a good week of writing and whatever else you decide to do.

Bye

Finally, one of my plans is working!

Hello

Last time out I said that I was going to write and/or edit as soon as I got home from work whilst my work brain was still on so I made sure write and/or something every day. So far it looks to have been a success. On the editing front anyway.

I’m currently in the throes of editing my story for the http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/the-bfs-short-story-competition-2015/, which is due to close for entries on 30.06.15. Now, I had already written my story and have slowly but surely over the last three been editing it into something I am close to being proud of and close to entering into the aforementioned competition. This editing has been done in small doses, maybe two or three pages at a time, but it is working. As for the other story I am writing, I’m going to put that on pause until after this one is all done and dusted and entered.

So, to the story at hand. To sum it up, it centres on an immortal man who has been roaming the earth, learning and earning as he goes, and is now searching for the meaning of his existence. Surely an immortal man cannot just come into being and wander around aimlessly? Well, that is really what he has been doing and his frustration has been given plenty of time to grow. In fact it has grown to the extent that he will break his one, self-imposed law, to try and finally find what he is looking for. But when he does find it, will it turn out to be all he has ever wanted?

Currently I’m a bit in limbo about that question. I could give him everything he wants but should it be that easy? I’m thinking it shouldn’t be so straight and clean. I am close to answering this question though. I might just flip a coin. Both endings I have in mind are as good as each other but I am a little bit biased towards one. But along with that I another little thing I have to get ironed out.

Due to my immortal man having walked the earth for 114 years he has become polite and well spoken. This means I have decided that he cannot use I’m when he should use I am. And all of the other contractions that people use in everyday life. Do you know how frustrating it is to think that you’ve gotten rid of all the I’m’s only to find there are about five more you’ve missed when you edit it again? And every edit seems to bring up more! Easy now. Calm yourself.

Well, I have successfully wound myself up. I’m going to get…I am going to get back to the edit.

Goodbye

The run is done and a plan is made!

Good day to you all!

Following on from my post circa 07.05.15 (https://johnrsermon.com/2015/05/07/the-training-and-the-writing-combined/) I completed the Manchester 10k run in 49.09! I was just hoping to do it in less than 54 minutes, which would beat my time from the previous year. So I was overwhelmed, wait that’s a bit much, what else can I say? Well happy! That’ll do. With my time of 49.09. Although it does mean I’ll want to beat it next year. Can’t wait till next year now and the target I want to beat. Three cheers for targets! How I love/hate them so! For a few more details and a few pictures go to https://johnrsermon.com/2015/05/13/my-week-in-pictures-well-some-of-it-anyway/.

Okay. I have made a plan, which I have kept to so far, to do some writing or editing as soon as I get home while my work head is still on. This has worked wonders in the past and it’s seen my productivity increase and my overall mood rise. See, this way, when it gets to the evening and I’m relaxing and don’t really feel like writing, I’ll know and can smile about having written or edited when I got home.

The amount I write or edit has depended on what part of the story I’m editing or am about to write. I have completed the second edit for my story to enter into the http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/the-bfs-short-story-competition-2015/ short story competition. It is well on its way to being enterable (is that a word? I doubt it but the squiggly line hasn’t appeared underneath so I’m fine with it). I have also moved along my western yarn. Last time out our hero had just stood up to someone who the rest of the town would dare not stand up to. This has led the villain of the piece to confront him. Our hero has realised that this is the turning point in his stay in the latest town he has wandered into. Will he stay or will he go? Only time will tell.

I have mentioned before but I do pretty much have this story mapped out in my head but I’m now not sure if our hero will in fact be our hero. Could he live with himself he just left and doomed the town to further punishment on top of the punishment they are already having to deal with? I don’t know. I’m considering that he just might and this western of mine may jump to a different town. Initially I was unsure about writing a story without any real notes or preparation being made. Now however, I’m starting to think I might write all my stories this way.

Well, as always, thank you for reading and have a good week.

Bye

The Training and the Writing combined.

Hello again,

My training for the Manchester 10k run on Sunday 10th May (https://www.greatrun.org/great-manchester-run) is going very well. I’m quietly confident I can improve on my time from last year of 54mins. I also have the added incentive that if I don’t beat my friend then I have buy him a trophy. I think this has made me run just that little bit faster considering I know how he can pull these things out of the bag. I don’t think he’s done a lot of running recently but I bet his best run ever will be on Sunday. Here’s hoping my training will pay off.

Along with my training, I’ve been moving along with my writing and editing.

I’ve taken up walking to work to help pay for a holiday to New York, which is at the end of June. This ends up leaving me, after walking to and from work at a total of 100 minutes, with the overwhelming sense of ‘can’t be arsed’ mode when I get home. I’m moving myself, albeit at a slow pace, away from this and have been editing and writing whilst tired. I was worried that my tiredness would make me write and/or edit below my own standard and I’d have to do it all over again. Meaning I’ve wasted my time. But my editing is coming along well. I’ve got till the end of June but I’m hoping to get it done by the end of May and get my story entered into the http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/the-bfs-short-story-competition-2015/.

My current story that I’m writing has also been moving along nicely and I’ve written my first action scene. Now, you must understand that as I huge fan of westerns I am almost always dreaming up of shoot outs and action sequences based in that genre. But somehow, when I came to write my first ever shoot out, it’s was something completely new. Something I have never thought of before. And something I am now quite proud of. I have always thought the way a cowboy would introduce himself in a film or book would be in his first shoot out. Showing the world, or in this case the small town, exactly what he is made of when it came down to defending himself. In my hero’s first gun fight he’s defending the honour of a horse and in turn standing up for the whole town, who have wanted to do such a thing for years. A henchman to the main villain, named Bronco, is scaring a horse by shooting at its legs. Cue our hero to save the day by showing him exactly how good of a shot he is. This is first act that will set up the rest of the story. I’m looking to push the pace faster and faster from here and build up to an almighty showdown involving everyone who is able to fire a gun in the town. I may even include the women. It could turn into the western equivalent of a Royal Rumble or a Battle Royal. Or possibly Battle Royale? I’m not sure. But as always I’ll keep you informed.

Right, all this talk of progress is making me hungry. To write and eat. So…

Good bye!

Just a little progress and schedule to keep.

Hello

So, I have continued to edit my short story for the latest competition I’m entering and have yet to use the notes I have found or relocated (as mentioned in https://johnrsermon.com/2015/04/09/from-the-lost-to-found/) This is solely down to my new found like of writing my stories without many or indeed any notes. Although, it is slightly comforting to know that I do have notes available if they are required. You know, when I start to cry because instead of editing my story I end up rewriting to whole thing, not knowing what the main points of the story are of the top of my head, and missing the deadline!

I do not however, have this problem with my latest story.

Again, as mentioned in my last original post linked above, I have started to write a Western without any notes to start off with. I’ve had this story swimming around in my head for years and it’s pretty much fully formed. And as Westerns are my favourite genre of film I thought, why not now to get it all down in story form? I’ve moved this story along slightly and have now started to focus on the villains of the piece. I have decided, as I write this post, that this story is only going to be taking place over the course of two weeks (probably, maybe) and I’m enjoying having that time scale to mind. I only usually have a time scale as I go along and it can vary throughout. This time I’m hoping I stick to it.

But I need to get in a routine. I’m not making much in the way of progress.

I have signed up to take part in my third successive Manchester 10k run. A run which takes place 10th May and my running pack with my number and such has just arrived. I haven’t run 10k in ages and I haven’t really got that much time to work my way up to it. Yesterday I ran 8.5k and it took me 50 minutes. I’m hoping to do the Manchester 10k in 53 minutes so I’ve got some way to go. I’m feeling good about it though, but I’m not liking how it’s affecting my writing. I think this is more down to my own attitude as opposed to my running. I have been more tired, tireder, tired more, tiredish? But this should not push me away from writing. I might even write down a schedule and stick to it.

With that in mind, I’m going to make my first attempt at it. Or not, depends how tirederised I am.

Thanks for reading. Bye