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?

Constructive Feedback Request.

Hello

So, as I mentioned in a previous post. https://johnrsermon.com/2015/07/12/andi-didnt-enter-the-competition-after-all/, here is an excerpt from a short story of mine with the working title ‘Do I have parents at all?’ The story is about a man named Henry with a very unique gift who is searching for the meaning of his existence. The full story is 5,000 words long so I’ve decided to break it up into more than two parts. And to see if I should post the rest or possibly go back to the drawing board depending on the reaction to it.

I would appreciate some constructive feedback on this and I would more than happy to do the same for you. Ok. Here it goes then.

Do I have parents at all?

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 actually 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 now 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.

“Why do you get preferential treatment?” What a nice voice. And was that a twinge of flirt I heard? It is a very rare thing that the most beautiful flower in this particular orchid finds her way to me. I 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 after all this time?

*

Thank the lord I actually slept. I thought I never would. Those beers did help I suppose. I need my balcony for some fresh air.

“Where are you?” I say to no one on this crisp October morn. What time is it? I will venture out and get some food. What clothes to wear I wonder? Faded Superman t-shirt, jeans, trainers, done. This café has always been so nice and located on a back street so not many know about it. Though I am sure it will become too popular being in the Northern Quarter so I will probably need to find another personal eatery. It has happened so many times before. Maybe I should have one built myself and keep it running. I have enough money to do so. Or write a book? How can I try and figure out why I exist and what I am meant to do if the First continues to allude me? “Hot chocolate please ma’am.”

“I’ll bring it to your seat.” I have spent my whole life preparing for this quest. The money I have made and saved and the time I have spent learning and developing my skills have lead up to this moment. This point in time. I hope it has all been worth it. Dear lord I am miserable. Where did all my happy thoughts go?

“Get off my bag!!” Where is that coming from? Great. A day light robbery. I should save her I suppose and…wait.

“A up mate, don’t get involved.” Not a chance ‘mate’. And I will not listen to someone who thinks shoes with no socks in October is a suitable choice of footwear. None of his clothes fit they are all hanging off him. Maybe he wants the money for a tighter outfit.

“Sir, give her the bag.” I could attack him now. It is not like I have to worry about a bullet.

“No.” Of course he is resisting.

“Sorry mate.” That noise was deafening. He is running away. What is wrong, my lady? That pain. I remember that pain. My stomach. My…

Constructive Feedback request.

Hello

So, as I mentioned in a previous post. https://johnrsermon.com/2015/07/12/andi-didnt-enter-the-competition-after-all/, here is an excerpt from a short story of mine with the working title ‘Do I have parents at all?’ The story is about a man named Henry with a very unique gift who is searching for the meaning of his existence. The full story is 5,000 words long so I’ve decided to break it up into more than two parts. And to see if I should post the rest or possibly go back to the drawing board depending on the reaction to it.

I would appreciate some constructive feedback on this and I would more than happy to do the same for you. Ok. Here it goes then.

Do I have parents at all?

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 actually 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 now 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.

“Why do you get preferential treatment?” What a nice voice. And was that a twinge of flirt I heard? It is a very rare thing that the most beautiful flower in this particular orchid finds her way to me. I 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 after all this time?

*

Thank the lord I actually slept. I thought I never would. Those beers did help I suppose. I need my balcony for some fresh air.

“Where are you?” I say to no one on this crisp October morn. What time is it? I will venture out and get some food. What clothes to wear I wonder? Faded Superman t-shirt, jeans, trainers, done. This café has always been so nice and located on a back street so not many know about it. Though I am sure it will become too popular being in the Northern Quarter so I will probably need to find another personal eatery. It has happened so many times before. Maybe I should have one built myself and keep it running. I have enough money to do so. Or write a book? How can I try and figure out why I exist and what I am meant to do if the First continues to allude me? “Hot chocolate please ma’am.”

“I’ll bring it to your seat.” I have spent my whole life preparing for this quest. The money I have made and saved and the time I have spent learning and developing my skills have lead up to this moment. This point in time. I hope it has all been worth it. Dear lord I am miserable. Where did all my happy thoughts go?

“Get off my bag!!” Where is that coming from? Great. A day light robbery. I should save her I suppose and…wait.

“A up mate, don’t get involved.” Not a chance ‘mate’. And I will not listen to someone who thinks shoes with no socks in October is a suitable choice of footwear. None of his clothes fit they are all hanging off him. Maybe he wants the money for a tighter outfit.

“Sir, give her the bag.” I could attack him now. It is not like I have to worry about a bullet.

“No.” Of course he is resisting.

“Sorry mate.” That noise was deafening. He is running away. What is wrong, my lady? That pain. I remember that pain. My stomach. My…

Oh life. It’s Bigger.

Hello

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

An excerpt from my story The Searcher’s Want.

Hello

As you may know I’ve been editing my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel The Searcher’s Want throughout November and into early December. I had always planned to share some of the story with you and here some of it is.

I’ve always liked writing action scenes so I’m going to share part of one with you. It has only gone through one edit so keep that in mind if you’d be so kind. The Searcher’s of my novel have been searching and killing demons across the planet for years. And after years and years of the demons having their way the searchers started to slowly take them apart. The demons have now gone from having underground palaces in freedom to having to live in sewers in fear. All this led up to a great battle between a collection of demons, mostly made up of the ripper demons that desired destruction more than any of the other three types of demon, and the searchers looking to stop them. Aaron Watch is our hero along with some searchers close to him Abraham Smith and Breaker Smart. Aaron is still only a few years into being a searcher whilst Abraham is the second oldest of all the searchers and Breaker is second in command to the Searcher General.

Any feedback is welcome as long as it is constructive. Thank You in advance.

“Searchers! Form the line.” The general shouted as the fight was getting into full swing. Each searcher had been called in after research had showed a herd of rippers was approaching Manchester. Aaron and a few others had searched the demons out and led them to an old field on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre. They had managed to stop the rippers from killing anything up to that point.

“Searchers! You have nothing!” the lead ripper growled as his herd stood behind him. They were all twitching and itching for the searchers to bring the fight to them. The general was not the type to fall into a trap easily. The searchers had now formed two lines opposite them in contrast to the randomly placed rippers. The only one of them in any kind of position was their leader.

“This line doesn’t move until I say it moves. Once I give the order, take them all out.” The general ordered. All the searchers cried out in acceptance of this and stood side by side with their great swords up before moving them back behind their shields. The searchers numbered around three hundred from all over the world to the rippers five hundred. They braced themselves and Aaron remembered what he been told some two weeks before. ‘Rippers get annoyed easily and will attack after long’ Abraham had said to him. He stood in front of Aaron on the first row of the line.

“Watch them searchers. They are quick.” The general said. Aaron had been a searcher for six years but had never seen this many rippers on mass. How the local police hadn’t noticed them was beyond him.

The ripper leader was the only one stood still. He was scanning the two lines of searchers and looked to be trying to locate a weak spot. The two lines were tight together and nothing was going to move them apart. Aaron glanced around and saw that some of the searchers around him were complete strangers. The only thing he knew about them was that they had had the same training he had. He stared forward at the rippers the length of a football pitch away.

Suddenly, one ripper broke from the herd and charged at the searcher lines. Wild and completely out of control the ripper was picking up speed and storming towards them. The ripper leader didn’t even flinch. As the ripper drew closer to them Aaron looked to the general who was calm and collected. Then in one swift movement the general launched his great sword at the ripper, piercing its brain through its jaw. The ripper’s body slid toward him and stopped at his feet with the sword handle pointing upwards. The general then calmly removed his sword, cleaned it on the clothes of the dead ripper, and returned to his stance in the line.

The ripper leader lifted his arm and the herd went quiet. He held this for a few seconds before throwing his arm forward towards the searchers. The ripper herd let out a collective raw and charged. Aaron noticed that the ripper leader did not move.

“Why does he stay?” He said. A few people looked to Abraham for the answer as they were thinking the same.

“Because he likes to see how the battle is going before he enters it. When we start winning he’ll disappear. He’s does it all the time but that coward can hide. He can hide well.” Abraham said keeping his eyes forward. “Focus searchers.” He shouted as the lines tightened slightly.

Aaron wasn’t gripped by fear but by a heightened sense of things. He was aware of his feet and arms more so than usual. He gripped his great sword and watched as the rippers came closer.

Thanks for reading.

Bye

Thanking you and moving forward.

Hello all,

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

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

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

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

Bye Bye