It creeps and it crawls throughout my mind. Wanting to be released onto the page.

(I wanted to insert an appropriate picture for my title but google managed to scare the stuffing out of me so I’m going to leave it. And curl up into a ball for a while.)

 

Hello,

Finally, after weeks of tossing and turning over it and not being able to write as much as I’d like due to other things coming up, I’ve finished my horror story!

As I got closer to end my writing speed picked up and then I realised, it’s done. The euphoria that breezes through me every time I finish a story was back.

Obviously, it’s the first draft but I’m happy I’ve finished it and I can now re-jig the whole thing. Change it to add in all the tips I’ve found regarding writing a horror story from my research. Mainly:

Tension – I have managed to build tension towards to end of the story. The build up to the ending definitely has what could possibly be described as tension until a big reveal. I also tried to put tension in throughout the story by having the lights go out in the house my characters are in for their company retreat in the woods. When the lights go out, and while everyone else is screaming or cheering depending on how drunk they are, the main characters hear what could be scratching and groaning coming from outside before the lights come back on.

The Reveal – I found a very useful article regarding this in the November 2014 edition of Writing Magazine by Alex Davis (page 50 if you own it). It talks about different phases.

  • Easy to disbelieve (slightly scary stuff that can be written off easily. Bumps in the night and weird sounds)
  • Hard to disbelieve (making the characters feel uneasy. A sense of being watched, a presence in the room).
  • Hard to deny (Definite sight of something weird, strange, horrible. A voice heard. Evidence to say something is definitely happening)
  • Impossible to deny (The reveal takes place. All the sounds and such come together and whatever the hell it is becomes reality)

 

I have found it very interesting reading up on how to approach writing a horror story. I’ve also found plenty of scary films to watch to give me inspiration. Such as Ringu (1998, Japan), Session 9 (2001, USA), Exhibit A (2007, UK). They’re all on the list. I’m in for one scary few days if I decide to watch them. I’ll end up not posting for much longer than 5 or so weeks.

It’s good to be able to write on my blog again. It has been a while. So, until next time have a good time doing whatever it is you’re doing.

Bye!

 

Two ideas are not better than one.

Hello,

I’m going to break this post down into stuff I’ve done since my last post as I haven’t posted in a while. I have been trying to create a post since my last, which seems like ages ago, and in the small amount of time I’ve had recently. Hope you like it.

This Way That Way Which way to turn
Signpost saying This Way That Way, Which way to turn good concept image for direction.

12/05/2016.

Finally, after weeks of pondering I’ve settled on two ideas for my horror stories. I initially had one idea that I was going to stick with (see https://johnrsermon.com/2016/04/28/the-horror-of-writing-a-horror/ for more information). But, as I started to plan that idea out I also found another idea. This was an idea that had been swimming in my mind for years but had obviously gotten almost drowned in the time it had spent not being outside and on the page. This has now brought to me my current predicament. Which way do I go?

From being so unsure that I doubted whether I should even bother writing a horror story to having two ideas, I can safely say this is not the worst position I ever been in. But it is one that I would like to be out of as soon as possible.

I’ve created my characters for and given them back stories. I also planned out both story ideas so when I get started I should have a better chance of making it work. Hopefully.

13/05/2016 – 21/05/2016

Work. More work. Drinking. More drinking. Running. More running. No writing completed.

22/05/2016

Completed my fourth Manchester 10k run and raised £200 for Cancer Research UK. No writing completed.

23/05/2016

Had a pizza. Watched WWE Extreme Rules 2016. No writing completed.

26/05/2016

Received my 2nd of two grades for the course I’ve been on since last September. Both I needed to pass. The 1st one I did pass (with Merit) and the 2nd…I passed as well (with Merit). Had a pizza. No writing completed.

29/05/2016

Went to the christening of my girlfriend’s niece and nephew. Had a great time. No writing completed.

02/06/2016

Big jump forward. Almost a month in fact. But it finds me with time on my hands and one page of my horror story written! Progress is slow but I hope to increase it in the coming weeks. I have week off work coming up that will become my first ever writing and blogging week. Well, writing at least.

The story I mentioned in the link under 12/05/2016 above is the same one I’ve gone with but I’ve twisted it around slightly. I have my characters and their back stories and I have a twist in mind for one of them to go completely loony bin on everyone and revert back to a Neanderthal state. I’m not sure which of my 6 characters this will happen too but it will be in the scariest manner I can muster. Finally, progress and a direction to go in.

Hope you all have a good week.

Bye!

A story finally finished and two more to write.

Hello,

20160407_181917_resized

What you have just seen is the prelude to one of the greatest fights I have ever seen. Lego Darth Vader vs Lego Cheeky Monkey. Well, the greatest fight I’ve ever seen if I had seen more than this quick snap. Honestly, I can’t remember what happened but the result is that both are now standing at the edge of my desk ready to welcome anyone that comes into the spare room/office. I think it was a draw but I hope the cheeky monkey won.

Anyway, hello again.

Following on from last time, I have been doing a lot of catching up on the Reading, Writing and Discussing front. Here’s how it broke down over the last week:

READING:

I’ve been moving along nicely with God of Vengeance by Giles Kristian (http://gileskristian.com/books/god-of-vengeance/). I have always enjoyed the pace, language, wit and style of Giles Kristian’s prose. This book has kept that going as it tells the story of how the Vikings who are marauding around in Giles Kristian first three books, Raven: Blood Eye, Raven: Sons of Thunder and Raven: Odin’s wolves (http://gileskristian.com/books/) came together and specifically how their Jarl Sigurd became their Jarl. As much as I like movie prequels I enjoy them even more in written form. Remembering an old but good book is always cool when I’m reading a new and good book.

WRITING:

My latest short story has finished! I had started the story before I had to start my revision for my exam and the dam revision got in the way. Though the story was almost finished, the revision-imposed break allowed me to come up with an ending for it. I did not count on taking a break from writing my own stories and instead writing notes would give me a full formed ending. Right there, as I was walking to work, and in the freezing cold no less, which meant typing a note into my phone was annoyingly difficult.

So, the story centers on a young couple who survive an attack by the huge rock worms a la Gears of War 2 (http://gearsofwar.wikia.com/wiki/Riftworm). Now, the worms aren’t as aggressive or mean looking as the ones from Gears of War 2. They are intelligent and just want to find a new place to live after their home planet got exploded. They found Earth and let us know what they wanted. We naturally tried to destroy them so they retaliated. The young couple survives and then find themselves face to face with the chief rock worm. In shock, they try and figure out their next move. This could potentially change the course of mankind. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while but the ending was something I’d hoped to get to as I was writing the story, which is usually the way my endings appear. I have now finished one story and as I turned the pages of my notebook I found two post-it notes with ideas for two more. Two more stories I will write in the not too distant future. Once they have been planned out. Pfft. Notes and more notes.

 

 

DISCUSSING:

My discussions have mostly been around two things with the odd blog post comment thrown in-between: Wrestlemania 32 and my work exam. Even though the exam has been and gone those of us in the office who sat the thing have been going over what we did write and what we did not write and slowly sending each other crazy. I am glad the chatter has gone silent now when it comes to the exam. Though I have thoroughly enjoyed studying for it, I am glad to have a break from it. At least for now. There also was the little matter of Wrestlemania 32 to contend with. I enjoyed the event and the match quality was up there with some of the best Wrestlemania’s I have seen but as for the results? Only liked a few of them. Most of them did not make much sense from a fan who is looking at what the result will do for the progression of the storylines between the wrestlers involved. Hopefully, new stories will be written off the back of them so I can try and forget how, in some cases, the results were meaningless. It has also been nice to talk to my friends who aren’t wrestling fans and try and get them on board. It will happen one day. I will keep trying.

Right, well I’m going to go back and finish my notes for my next story. I hope you all have a good week.

Bye!

 

What is my next step? Which way will I go?

 

fork_road1b

Hello,

Having spent the best part of last month doing the exceptionally useful ‘Blogging 101’ course driven by Michelle W and WordPress.com, I find myself looking at my blog in a different light. I have always liked the direction I have chosen to take my little corner of the universe in but I can see that improvement is needed.

One of the assignments of the course was to create a writing prompt, which I have done and posted on 24 February https://johnrsermon.com/2016/02/24/my-first-attempt-at-awriting-prompt/ and my own response to it as posted on 25 February https://johnrsermon.com/2016/02/25/my-first-writing-prompt-and-my-response/. I enjoyed the whole process and this has started to make me think I should make a regular feature. Do what you love and all that. This led me to think that I could use a monthly or even weekly feature to try and focus my blog as sometimes I struggle for things to write. A writing prompt seems like a good idea but I might try some others first before settling one.

Along with this, other assignments looked at changing the style and content of the blog behind the scenes. This struck a chord as I had not changed anything about my blog up until that point for at least six months. I realised that what I wanted from my blog was for it to be catchy and hopefully grab new reader’s attention. This led to me changing the title from ‘johnrsermon’ to ‘Read.Write.Discuss.Repeat.’ The inspiration for this title was just breaking down what I wanted to do with my blog. I like to read and want to read other authors work. I love to write and talk about the process. And then do it all over again. And being a big wrestling fan I took more inspiration from a quote used on one of WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar’s t-shirt’s ‘Eat.Sleep.Break the Streak’ that in turn came from a FatBoy Slim & Riva Starr song. Google all of the last sentence if you have no idea what I’m jabbering on about.

Further assignments looked at commenting on other people’s work and engaging more with my peer group. This is something that I want to do more of and I’m trying to take as bigger steps as possible to do so. So far, I have gained 10 followers throughout this process alone. It’s such a simple and wise thing to do that it showed me how distracted and lacking in focus I had become with my blog. Here to the future and change for the better!

With all this and more in mind, I have been asking myself, which way will I go?

I don’t know but like having options and regaining my focus!

Have a good week. Bye!

My first attempt at a…Writing Prompt!

Writing Prompt

Hello,

I’m currently doing a ‘Blogging 101’ course, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Each day since 8th February I’ve been given a task to do that is designed to help to improve my blog (hopefully) and expand my audience (such as, following a certain amount of blogs I’m interested in, engaging more with the blogs I follow) and personal knowledge of what I can do with my blog behind the scenes (adding widgets and changing themes). Though this all probably sounds simple enough to do I have been neglecting my blog recently so it has helped me out immensely.

The latest assignment is too create a writing prompt. Now, I’ve answered many a prompt before but never actually created one. If it sounds too easy then I’ll make up a harder one next time. It is my first go after all. Alright, here it goes…

One lazy Sunday afternoon, with the sun trying to push its way through your carefully closed curtains, your favourite mythical creature crashes through the window and pleads with you to help them with a quest. Because, naturally, you are the only one who can help. So,

Which mythical creature is it?

Why that particular creature?

And, what is the quest?

Thank you in advance for those of you who take part. Go nuts with it and see what happens.

Hope to read your responses soon.

Getting back to blogging basics. Let me (re)introduce myself.

Hello,

Back in 2012, March 7th to be exact, I published my first ever blog post. This went as follows:

Well, I’ve took the plunge and created my own blog. Its use is to either:

  1. Read other writers blogs and stories and maybe have them do the same for me.
  2. Rant about stuff.

But which do i do first?

Short and sweet and to the point. Well, two points. Point 2 hasn’t happened that much as I don’t tend to rant that often. However, point 1 still rings true today. I want to read other authors blogs and stories. I want to do this to try and take in all kinds of styles and genres that may help me when I come to do my own writing.

Then, there’s the maybe.

I like the word maybe. When used correctly it can invoke intrigue and suspense. Or at least, I hope it can. But, when I used it in my first blog post ‘maybe have them do the same for me’, it was used incorrectly. In fact, it should not have been used at all. Now, I very much want other authors and non-authors alike to read my stories and blog posts so I can converse with them and learn and grow when it comes to my writing. Happily, I have made that clear since March 2012 and I speak to authors regularly but not as often as I’d like. But I would like to increase the amount of people I speak to.

So, I decided to take a ‘Blogging 101’ course to try and improve my chances and move my blog forward. The course’s first assignment is to introduce myself. As you can see, I’ve already done that but I would like to do this again. If you let me. And…

Good evening,

My name is John Robert Sermon and I’m from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK. I have been writing on and off since 2001. With more emphasis on the off. But since 2009, I started to write more and more until March 2012 when I started this blog. Since then, I have written 21 stories (3 novels and 18 short ones) and this number is growing. I would like to use this blog to share those stories and the process I go through when I write them. I would also like to read other blogs and stories and interact with other authors.

I would like this blog to help me to improve my writing and to talk to some like-minded people.

There you have it. Happy re-meet you again. Now, back to the writing.

Bye!

 

 

The joys of my own writing. For now, anyway.

Hello,

For the past month or so I’ve been working on two things:

    NANoWriMo 2015

    Course work.

 

Both have now been completed. Well, the course has been completed for now. One assignment down and one exam to go (In April). I have enjoyed working on the assignment and I’ve learned a lot along the way but working in front of a computer all day and then coming home to…working in front of a computer is tiring and makes me hate my laptop.

This also made me absent from my blog. A thing that has eaten away at me during all the coursework that left me with a bad back and not wanting to be in front of my laptop. Oh, my laptop, I never thought I would hate the sight of you but the last few days I have. Sorry laptop (you’d think I’d have a name for him by now)

Anyway, all the time away has let me think about what I want to do with my 2016 writing wise. The first thing I thought about was finishing my NaNoWriMo story. But then I remembered that even after 50,000 words, I only around 1/3 through that story. And I need to make a lot of notes to make the story work and bring all the elements together. I worked mostly from memory with some notes but seeing how big the story will be, I might give a timeline or storyboard a try. What do you think?

What method works well when planning a large, and possibly epic, style story?

This story has been growing for years so I want it to work. But then I read the following quote:

Ray-Bradbury-quote

And I got to thinking. I want to enter more competitions in 2016 and to increase my following across my Blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds. These are my two initial goals for 2016. I’m aiming to push myself towards this by writing a short story each week. For as many weeks as I am able. Or can be bothered too if I’m honest. I do have ideas enough to write short stories with so I’m hoping that the first few will spark all the others. I’ll probably end up writing stories about people I see out and about. I’ll have to make sure to not look too creepy if I end up people watching for story ideas.

It’s good to get back into the blog writing groove. I look forward to 2016 and more of the same.

Thank you for your time.

Bye!

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?

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 114 year old immortal man living in modern day Manchester, England 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. ‘Fergie’ was unsure in its current form if he would buy it.

This got me thinking about how important the first line of a story is and also how important the first page can be as well. If I was looking to buy a book I would read the first page and look at the synopsis before deciding to buy it so I asked myself, is the first page of my story eye catching enough to be bought?

I have to be honest and say I don’t think it is. It could be better. And using ‘Fergie’s’ and other’s feedback I hope to make it good enough. With this in mind…

What do you think? Here is the first page only 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?