Some Kind of Monster. This monster lives.

Hello,

I take inspiration from many things. Usually, it’s during my day job (The odd comment I ‘accidentally’ overhear mostly) or when I’m out running. But mainly it comes from when I’m watching movies. I’ve always enjoyed watching sci-fi and western movies with the occasional monster movie in-between. Like everyone who enjoys films, I have watched plenty of the awesome as well as plenty of the abysmal. But I keep watching them. Even bad movies inspire me with how not to do something.

Like I said, having watched my fair share of monster movies (such as Godzilla, Clash of the Titans, Attack on Titan, and many others) I have always wanted to write a monster story of my own. But, for whatever reason, I have put it off. Until now.

Most recently, I have been focusing on a short story for a competition. I managed to get it finished before the deadline. That story is about two hunters, more concerned with getting plaudits than actually doing their job efficiently, and the giant lizard they are pursuing. When I clicked ‘submit’ and then wondered what to work on next, that lizard started to slither its way through my thoughts. But that lizard kept growing and went from twelve feet long by six feet wide (In the short story) and got a lot bigger. MUCH bigger.

UC5Ms46

Guess what influenced my story. You’ll never get it.

Anyway, in most of my other stories, I have included demons and dragons but never have I ever written a story with a big monster at its centre. I have my idea, and I’ve started to write. The beast is mid-rampage through Manchester City Centre, and I have one man who wants to get up close and see and another who is too close and has no idea what to do. I have started to write, and the story is moving along well enough. Each man is learning, and each is getting closer to the monster and who they are. However, I am beginning to wonder, should I work on the history of the monster first before starting to write a story about it? As in, should I create a full profile of the monster before I continue?

I know the origin of the monster, and I think I’m going to link it to other attacks from different countries. Or possibly keep it contained to the United Kingdom.

All this leads me to my question, have you written a monster-centric story, and how did you go about preparing for it?

Thank you and have a good day.

 

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.”

Out to dinner.

The restaurant around them hummed with conversation. The dark reds and blacks on the walls and the table cloths gave the restaurant a brooding feel. So much so that anyone who made a slight nose or spoke at a higher volume drew glances from their fellow patrons. Richard finished his meal and calmly placed the knife and fork on either side of the plate. He fought the overwhelming urge to lean back and grab his belly.

“Rude.” Said Rachael to his left. Her curly hair was almost in her food as she looked from his plate to his face a few times before exhaling loudly.

“What exactly is rude about me?” He asked. Rachael looked up quickly and her eyes widened.

“Well, …it’s not general restaurant etiquette to finish before everyone else.”

“That isn’t a rule of dining out. Or dining in. Or dining anywhere! And if it is, it’s ridiculous.” He replied. Rachael looked opposite to the woman sat to his right and back to her plate. The woman kept eating but paused before putting her fork down.

“Apologise.” Martha said. Richard exhaled and closed his eyes as his shoulders slumped slightly. He surveyed her ginger head as she continued to eat.

“My dear Martha. The apple of my eye. Do you remember that long conversation we had some six months ago? I want the exact opposite.”

Martha’s fork clangs down onto her plate and the sound lifts some heads from those close by. Her mouth drops slightly open.

“Can I ask you something, Donna?” He says to the girl opposite. Her short, silver hair shoots up from her plate. She nods.

“Throughout your long and I can only assume agonising relationship, has Rachael ever said that anybody was being rude for finishing their food before the others?”

Donna contemplates this and ignores Rachael’s glare.

“Yes. Plenty of times.” She replies in a small voice.

“Do you agree with her when she has done this?” Martha nudged him with her foot under the table. He moved his seat back slightly and crossed his legs so she could not repeat the action.

“No.” She replies instantly. “There is nothing in any etiquette manual or article that I have come across that says it is wrong to finish early.” A small smile crosses her lips. “And that is one of the many things that has annoyed me about being her girlfriend.”

Donna looks at Rachael and she looks down at her plate to avoid her eyes.

Richard takes out some money from his wallet and counts it a few times before placing three notes in the middle of the table. Donna begins to do the same but underneath the table. He leans back and groans with satisfaction while stretching his long arms towards the floor. He turns to look at Martha who crosses her arms. He blinks slowly taking a deep breath.

“I hope you find someone exactly like you and someone that possesses a forehead befitting of your thumb. And Donna, good luck and all the best in everything that you do.” He said glancing at Rachael. Donna smiles broadly and slips the money she has counted into the shoulder of her dress and finishes her meal.

Rachael slumps into her seat. He stands up and grabs his glass and downs what remains of its contents before leaving the table. He stops, turns, and retrieves the money he just counted and puts it into the inside pocket of his suit.

“You’re not going to pay for your part of the bill?” Martha asks looking up at him. Richard feels his hands shaking in his pocket.

“For two years, I have paid for every drink we have had whenever we have gone on a night or day out. With the only two exceptions being both my birthdays, which I had to convince you to do. And you stormed out of both of those parties. Consider this paying your debt.”

“How…dare you? You…enjoyed doing that for…me. Didn’t you?” Martha said. Richard looks into her eyes and the moment seems to last forever.

“…really?” Richard said. Martha looked for help where there was none before slumping back into her seat and wiping a tear from her eye.

Richard places one hand on her shoulder. She squeezed it before he leaves the table and the restaurant.

“Goodbye.” Martha whispers as Richard kisses her on the top of her head.

“Hold on.” Said Donna. She stands and grabs her bag to leave.

“Donna? Where are you going?” Rachel said as if to an insubordinate child.

“Away. From you. Finally.” Donna said rolling her eyes. Rachael looked back at the table and then to Martha.

“It’s still fairly early, fancy getting responsibly drunk?” asked Richard.

“Definitely.” Said Donna.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s see what happens.

Hello,

So, after leaving my NaNoWriMo story to stew for over one month, I decided a few weeks ago it was time to finish it. I felt like I needed a break and concentrated on finishing reading my book, Ray Bradbury ‘A Sound of Thunder’. I finished it. It was awesome. So now to finish my WIP.

I wondered whether I should edit some of my WIP before finishing it off. I got over that idea quickly. I have never done that in the past so why now? I instead tried to start without looking back over the last few pages I had written. Big mistake. I wasn’t completely aware of what was going on. Was I at the end of the last battle scene? At the beginning? Almost at the end? Not quite close? What did I need to do? Where did I need to go?

My story notes covered me up until NaNoWriMo finished. So, I went back over the last pages and got my head straight before writing a 7-point plan to follow and lead me to the end of my story. I have really enjoyed writing this story and I’m equally enjoying it coming to the end.

And…Success!

mission complete red round grunge stamp on white

I have finished writing my NaNoWriMo WIP! It does, however, put me on the path of knowing I have to write similar stories for the main characters of another WIP it is linked to (at least 5 more 50,000 words+ stories) but I’ll leave that for future me to deal with. Which leads me to…

I haven’t entered a writing competition in ages. I really want to push forward to enter more competitions and put more focus on trying to get published in some shape or form. I also want to get back to the whole art of entering a competition. Writing the story, editing the story, checking its in line with the competition requirements, editing again, changing the story because I don’t like it, and then changing it back to what it once was on the day before the deadline. And getting a pizza afterwards to celebrate.

But this entry I think will mean a bit more. I’m not sure what has stopped me from entering competitions over the past year or so but 2019 is the year to get back on track. Enter the competition. Let’s see what happens. Post my writing on this blog and on other forums. Let’s see what happens. Try to get published in a real way. Let’s just see what happens.

All the best with your writing.

Goodbye!

 

How Evernote helped me win NaNoWriMo 2018.

Hello again,

Across the four years I’ve completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I’ve always started with the same questions running around my head:

  • Will I be able to write 50,000 words?
  • How do I break up 50,000 words over a month? (It’s 1,667 words per day. I always forget)
  • What plans do I have for November?
  • Nights out? (Well, the day after the night out when the hangover makes me forget all words and typing ability) Nights in?
  • Any guests coming?
  • What am I going to write?
  • Do I have an idea I can use or do I have to come up with something new before November? (This particular question usually comes a few days before the start of November. Every. Single. Time)

 

As I pondered these question’s I realised it mostly comes down to the time I have to complete the task. 30 days. And what hours within those days do I actually have available? When I looked at my previous years, I would write when I got home and on weekends. But I would do none during the day when I was at work. So many hours of not writing. This year, I decided to use that time. But how could I use it? Writing on a notepad? Maybe. Wait…

My phone! An app! But which one?

Evernote! https://evernote.com/

I’ve had the app for years but only really used it for taking down ideas. As the app syncs to the website I knew I could write on it and then transfer this to my manuscript when I got home. I could use my commute to and from work to write towards my daily word count.

Sounds so simple that it annoys me I never came to this conclusion before. With this in mind, I was able to write almost the whole of the daily word count before I got home from work. I could then write more at home at my leisure making the 50,000-word target more manageable. Previous years have found me having to block out full Saturdays or Sundays or both to catch up when I fell behind the target. I hated this aspect of the process. My back would kill me and I wouldn’t be able to do other things I wanted to do at the weekend. Wow…that sounds whiny.

Anyway, Evernote allowed me to catch up on my word count when I fell behind. It also helped me to keep the pressure off when I was behind as I could catch up during the day and not have to spend all evening and night writing.

In conclusion, Evernote was very useful for NaNoWriMo. If you’ve already come to this conclusion, fair enough. If not, I hope it helps in future. Making use of all the writing hours of November will be my motto going forward for NaNoWriMo. Amongst other things.

Hope you are having a nice week so far and have a nice time with what’s left of it.

Goodbye!

Another break. Another return.

Would you look at that? Its been too long (12th August was my last post) and I again have no reason for it. This seems to be a bit of trend with me nowadays. So, lets see if I can break this down and find out why I haven’t posted in a while.

Most days I hear by blog crying and having a go at me. Why aren’t updating me? What did I do? I hate you! No wait, no I don’t hate you. You created me. My blogging existence was only possible because of you. I love you!!

And so on.

My last post was the first few pages of my last finished story. I posted this to get some feedback, which I did and it was very useful. Then, I remember wanting to wait a while (a few weeks) to see if any more feedback would come. Alas, none did.

Then, I wanted to post but I decided too…. too…write another story! That’s it! It’s all coming back to me now.

I decided to write a story and focus on this alone. The story is actually a side story to go along with my main WIP that I started to write 3 years ago. I’ve been thinking about and have wanted to complete my main WIP since I started writing oh so many more years ago. The side story concerns Steven (The hero of my main WIP) who has been chosen to be one of a select few who must guard and protect all the realms (Earth being one of them) from each other when needed. Reluctantly, he was recruited and trained by the previous protectors who had grown very old and weary and could not continue to do their jobs. In total, there are 6 main protectors who have been recruited. They must recruit others to help defend the realms alongside them. However, the new protectors have to contend with old, bitter ones who wish to cause chaos…

Dun Dun Dunnnn!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cphNpqKpKc4

So far, I have written 55,992 words of my main WIP. I only realised when I started to write it that 50,000 is only a small part of the story. A really small part. With this in mind, I have decided to write side stories that will accompany the main story or potentially will be mixed into the main WIP in due course.

My thinking behind this is to write a novella or maybe novel-length stories for each of my main 6 protagonists. Each story will take each one on an adventure away from the others and see how they get on and have their characters grow. The first side story involving Steven has him thrown into a medieval type realm and an adventure with a Princess. Strangely enough, I have had not the ending of this story in my head but rather the moment they see each other again 6 months after their adventure finishes. This plays out in my head every time a particular song, Katherine Jenkins version of Hallelujah, comes on my MP3 player. It always goes the same way but before I can write that, I need to write the story that sets it up.

I used NaNoWriMo 2018 to write most of and ultimately move along with this side story. As a result, I am almost finished having reached the 50,000 target and in total, I have written 55,992 so far. I am taking a break at the moment for Christmas to concentrate on my reading but will get back to it soon. But not before posting on this poor neglected blog of mine.

As I have now successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the 4th time I will endeavour to use it to kick start my writing again and in particular my blogging activity. Here’s hoping I stick to it. Or I will see in 3 months or so.

Have a good day! And here is a quote that I have only recently found and really like.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson.