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.

 

 

 

 

 

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A sample of my own writing entitled…Untitled Project.

Hello,

It has been almost ages since I last posted and I have no excuse for it. Work? Life? Whatever. I sit here now annoyed I haven’t posted sooner so here it is. The following is the first page and a bit of the last story I finished. It concerns a charity shop owner taking revenge on those who attacked him and tried to destroy his shop and his livelihood. It is the first draft so apologies for any errors.

This is as yet untitled. My first title idea is ‘Charity Shop Lad’ but this will almost certainly change.

The unfortunately familiar sound of an item smashing against his wooden floor took Joe’s attention away from his and the shop’s finances and other important shop related things all of which he would rather do quickly so he can go to bed. Saturdays are always busy, he thought with a smile.

“Don’t worry about that, mate. It wasn’t worth much anyway.” Joe said.

“I wasn’t going to.” Mumbled the blue hooded man at the door. His friends giggled. Joe turned away and back to his books.

“A? How much for this?” Barked the hooded man. Joe walked around from behind his counter and over to him. From a distance, they looked menacing and almost fear-inducing. Up close, however, they were disappointing.

“The necklace?” Asked Joe. The hooded man grumbled. Joe noticed that his friends admired the necklace very clearly. “I can’t remember.” He lied. “Where’s the tag?”

“There.” Said the hooded man. Why so loud for a necklace?

“Ah. I see it. Fifty pounds. Hmm…seems a bit low. Wait here. I will check my book.”

“Low? The price is the price, mate. No changes.”

“I can change the price as I see fit, Sir. Let me just…”

“No, you don’t, mate.” Said the hooded man.

As Joe turned with the necklace in his hand to walk to back to his counter and his pricing book, the hooded man grabbed his arm. Joe put the necklace in a nearby vase before looking down at the hand gripping his arm.

“Please, Sir. I don’t want any trouble.” Said Joe. The hooded man’s friends had stepped over and now blocked the door.

“Well, you’ve got it, pal.” Said the hood. The man swung with his free right hand but as he did so, Joe kicked him in the shin and twisted the right hand and the arm round sharply. The hooded man screamed as his face hit the floor.

“Now, gentleman. Like I said, I do not want any trouble.” Joe said. He slowly twisted the man’s arm until he heard a small crack. “If I go any further, it may cause him some damage. I don’t want that to happen.”

The friends looked at each other and back at Joe quickly and with sweat forming rapidly on their foreheads. One friend lunged with a poor attempt at a punch which Joe grabbed with his left arm. He twisted the friend’s arm until it matched the hooded man. Joe, with two men’s faces, pushed against the floor and an arm within each hand, looked up at the remaining friend.

“Now, they will hurt for a few days but if they take it easy they should be fine. Maybe they will be okay for work on Monday. What jobs do they do? Do you all work together? Is that where you know each other from?” Joe asked. The remaining friend stared wide-eyed and unable to answer. Joe stood up and dropped the arms he was holding. The remaining friend jumped and ran out of the shop.

“Look, I’m sorry about that. But I did say I didn’t want any trouble.” The men walked out holding their damaged arms. “Just take it easy tomorrow and you should be fine for work.” The men ran out and Joe closed and locked the door. He watched as they were swallowed by the almost pitch-black night. He pulled down the blind over the shop door window and exhaled, putting his hands on his knees. He composed himself and looked around his shop. He savoured the calm and quiet before settling on a vase. He reached inside and held up the necklace.

“How much are you worth then?”

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to, please leave your thoughts and such in the comments section. Thank you.

Bye Bye for now!

Feedback Request: A story based on public transport and giant alien worms invading earth.

Hello,

Now, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and usually, they just hit me from out of nowhere. As they always do. One day, an idea for a story came to me on the Tram on my way to work. This involved, for some reason, the Tram, and the Rockworms, which are one of the villains from the seminal Xbox game Gears of War 2. Combining these I found myself formulating an idea involving alien Rockworms invading Earth. Obviously. Not being sure exactly what would happen, I ran with it anyway.

So, the following is the first page of the first draft of the resulting story ‘They did warn us after all.’

If you have the time, I am interested in what your thoughts are on my work in progress. Also, if you want to, I would be happy to provide my thoughts on yours.

They did warn us after all.

“Maria? Are you okay?” Shouted Joseph, inside the mass of rubble and chaos that a rock worm had caused just minutes before. Their former office was slowly crumbling around them he rose to his feet with a shake and a moan. He stood and checked that he had his wallet, phone, and keys without realising they were not of much use anymore. The internet on his phone did not work and he jabbed and pressed until giving up. He heard something rustle not too far away and remembered Maria could be in danger. His fingers caught in the rip at the side of his green hoodie and he cursed under his breath. Numerous small cuts covered both of hands and only now did he notice the dull pain they produced. He took a step forward and what remained of the building swayed underfoot.

“Joseph…I’m here.” Maria said. He turned quickly and felt the floor buckle again. Her pixie cut brown hair was the only thing above the rubble. She struggled and managed to stand up and dust herself off. They both turned see a huge gap in the wall nearby. They both moved towards it but again the structure moved. Joseph held out his hand and counted slowly down from five. Maria took quick breaths to ready herself.

Sprinting over the broken wood and pieces of rock, they jumped out and onto the pile of debris outside. They managed to run down the pile before jumping as far away from the building as possible. The small quake ran through the floor as the building died in front of them.

“How are you feeling? You know…considering.” Joseph said. Maria jumped into his arms and kissed his neck. She pulled away as he winced in pain.

“Sorry. Force of habit.” She said.

“Don’t be sorry Maria, I can be the man you want me to be. That girl from the bar, I was just talking to her.”

“How can you be thinking about that? Look around you. The world is coming to an end and you’re still fixed upon something I told you I wasn’t bothered about.”

“I was only talking to her about the football that day…”

“Just….stop. Be quiet. We need to figure out what to next. Are you okay?” She said. Touching a few of many small cuts on his neck and hands.

“If they were all one cut, they would match that beauty on your neck.” He replied. Moving her shirt collar down slightly. “It looks worse than it is. Not too deep at all.”

“It doesn’t feel that bad. It will make a cool scar.” She said.

“I bet. Maria, I am not that selfish. And I have looked around me. Look at all the rock worms have done. Bloody government, why not just give them a home? They may have been helpful to us as well. I hear some of them are fiercely intelligent.” He said as he surveyed the piles of concrete, brick, glass, plastic and whatever else that made a building forming small mountains across the landscape. The mid-morning bright and clear sky showed Manchester for what it has become. Many buildings were still intact but more were reduced to rubble. No traffic or trains could be heard, which allowed them to listen to their own heartbeats with clarity.

 

 

To the edit! Second drafts abound.

blank sheet in a typewriter

 

Hello,

Since last time, I have received some hints and tips regarding the planning and execution of a romantic tale. Giselle Marks, author (most recently the Fencing Master’s Daughter. See the link for more details https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fencing-Masters-Daughter-Giselle-Marks/dp/1492815276/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8) and all round lovely person, provided useful guidance, which I will be looking to use when I tackle the second draft of that story. I’m planning to review my romance after leaving it for a few weeks to stew.

Speaking of second drafts, I’ve managed to start to edit two other short stories. The edits have been fairly successful so far but I still have plenty to do. I have managed to pull up some more questions about each piece of writing. Particularly, what is the theme of my story? Have I conveyed this theme well enough? Have I managed to help each character grow and develop throughout? What are the challenges? What are my characters goals? Why did I even write the thing in the first place?

Now, I know most of the answers to these questions but in some cases, particularly regarding theme and growth of characters, I have found that I need to add more detail. Thankfully I do not think I need to add too much but I know more is needed. For instance, with my story about an immortal man in Manchester trying to find his reason for being, I have focused on this but only realised at the end of the story that the other two main characters in the story, a would-be love interest and another immortal who wants more than to just help our hero find his place in the world, do not have much in the way of growth. I have described them but not provided them with any depth.

I have also found in the other story, concerning the end of the world and those who wish to take over it (giant worms) and those who wish to survive it (a recently broken up young couple) that two out of the three main characters have enough character growth. At least it’s more than the other story, right? Anyway, I again now know what to change, or at least where to begin changing, when I continue my second drafts. I always used to look at second drafts as a thing to sort out grammar and punctuation but I know now that is a separate edit altogether. The second draft is a big and powerful thing.

I have had help along the way as well. I’m currently reading Stephen King: On Writing (A Memoir of the Craft). He goes into sweet detail about how he thinks the second draft should go and it has been very useful. I have not been approaching my second drafts with the mindset and that’s where I’ve been going wrong I think. Though, that probably does not fully explain why none of my previous competition entries over the years have failed. Or maybe it could? Three cheers for progress. I just wish it had come sooner.

Okay. I’m going to go back to it. Have a good week.

Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

To be rude or not to be rude?

Hello

Over the past week or so I’ve only done any writing on one day. I know it’s not very much but I found myself either busy, hung-over or doing chores. I probably could’ve done more writing in-between but I’ll make up for it over the next week. Don’t you worry.

Within the writing I actually managed to do, I found myself with the task of writing an ‘after sex’ scene. I had contemplated writing an actual sex scene but I prefer to let the reader imagine what went on between the sheets. Although on second thought I’m not so sure.

This scene was from my vampire myth story and concerned the main female character and one of the chief male support characters. Amanda and Peter are having an affair behind their friend Marks, and other chief male support character, back. They all work at the same Admin Company and were all friends with the lead male character of the story, Bruce. Bruce knew about the affair but kept it a secret as he was close with Amanda. Now that he has become the End Solution and the United Kingdom’s only recognised vampire (of sorts), Amanda has chosen to try and find him to make sure he is ok. Mark is willing to help her But Peter is not. Even with all this Amanda continues to see Peter. I think you know enough now.

It starts inside a room of the hotel they usually use. Both are discussing Bruce and their particular views on the subject. This is mostly to enhance Amanda’s need to find him and to show that Peter is against it. It’s all about character building people! Anyway, throughout the scene they are naked as I don’t think two people, who only really have sex and barely don’t do anything together when Mark isn’t there, would be too bothered about walking around in such a way.

Now I’m getting to the title of this here post and the end of it.

I was considering re-writing the scene with a bit more happening as they are naked. But I don’t think this is in keeping with the tone of the whole story so far. However, it could act as I a bit of a twist in the tone that could set up the same kind of twist in tone sporadically throughout the book for impact. So, my question is this…

Do you think it’s a good idea to be explicit, shocking, drastic et al in stories just for effect or should it always be in line with the tone of the story?

Your feedback would be awesome.

Bye

 

Hello feedback my old friend. How I cherish thee.

Hello

After posting a short story I’ve been working on for a bit in my last post I received plenty of feedback. This was all quite helpful and very much needed. After going back over the story with the feedback in mind I could see where the story needed to be improved. Thank you to all those who commented on it. I’ll be reviewing and editing said story soon and I’ll probably post it back up for more comments.

I haven’t had any of my stories critiqued in a while so this was all very refreshing. I received some good comments about the story as a whole. Lori Fetters Lopez gave some very valued feedback indeed. Thank you Lori. I also received some good, honest and straight to the point comments about my grammar and use of commas from a few editors that frequent the Facebook writing groups I’m part of. David Neely, Sean Cleary and Roy C. Booth thank you for time and words.

If I could give any advice about being a writer it would be to embrace all kinds of feedback and take all the good parts from it. If you find yourself on the receiving end of someone’s rant about your story just so they can use a whole host of long and not needed words then just laugh at it and pick out the bits you can actually use.

Right, I’m going to get back to it. And if there are any grammatical errors in this post, either let me know or leave me to find them later.

Cheers