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.

 

 

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?

Writing blindness. Is it a thing?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get feedback for my immortal around Manchester (England) story ‘Do I have parents at all’? I have had varying degrees of success with this. But the success I’ve had has been very useful.

This success has come in the form of some very useful pieces of feedback that have opened my eyes to something that, if I wasn’t so biased towards how good I thought my story was to notice it, was staring me in the face; A different ending to my story. Each piece of feedback had the same theme that the ending wasn’t believable or that the reader needed more information to believe it. On each occasion, I pondered if what I was being told was just the reader not reading clearly enough or if the current ending to my story was too far-fetched.

Turns out, it was the latter.

Reading through my story’s end again, which has my hero become one of 21 supreme overlords of the world, made me realise that no amount of explanation could make my ending realistic enough. But thankfully another ending came to mind almost immediately. I have since re-written the ending that suits my lead character a lot more. Turns out he wasn’t cut out for world domination. Not many people are I suppose.

This all got me thinking about all the other story’s I have written and whether their endings are correct. I admit it’s hard not to be blinded by how apparently great the first ending that I have come up is, is that writing blindness?, but I think it’s something I’ll have to get over. I am now a lot happier with the new ending I have come up with and may test it out on people in future. I continued to think that at no point have I questioned any of my endings accept for a time travel story I wrote a few months ago. I’ve mostly just taken them as being what’s best for the story. I have a lot of endings to look back over and possibly change. Though I might just write alternate endings for all of them, regardless of how I feel about the first one, and then take it from there.

With all this in mind, I ask you this, do you write one ending for your story’s or do you have several in mind before or after you’ve written them?

Have a good week. Bye!

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?

If one road fails, try another.

Hello

The last couple of times out I have requested feedback from you fine people on an excerpt from one of my short stories ‘Do I have parents at all?’ Now, I have only received a few pieces of feedback and they were very helpful and has helped me along. Even though I haven’t received anything more I’m not feeling too disheartened. I’ll just have to take a different road in order to get the feedback I may or may not need.

So, I’ve started back writing my western yarn about a travelling cowboy looking for a new home. It’s moving along nicely and the characters and story lines are taking shape. Up to now our hero, Benedict, has begun to settle into his new surroundings but is still worried that it all might change at any moment like has done so many times in the past. Will my western hero catch a break finally? With a love interest and a new father figure in the picture it might just happen. Though he does have to contend with a clearly jealous wannabe cowboy who has manipulated himself into owning most of the town. And it doesn’t help that our hero has already, within a day of his arrival into town, shot and injured one of the villains, Geoffrey’s, main henchmen. I have the story pretty much mapped out in my head but I’m conscious of making sure said story is not just set pieces and is an actual story.

This is something I started writing without using notes and it was a little bit daunting but I now have some good notes to help me along. I‘m filling in the blanks and now have town and supporting character names, descriptions and potential side stories that I could use. Research is also helping me attempt to get the finer points of the story, which so far is what they would eat and wear, correct. Writing down all of this needed stuff is made all the harder when I have the main set pieces of the story playing in my head. And with all the characters screaming ‘Get on with it!’ I respond, though they don’t listen, I’m trying but these things take time. But never out loud. Not yet anyway.

Those voices are screaming again so I’m going to get back to the writing. I hope you all have a good and productive writing and/or non-writing week.

Bye

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…