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.

 

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.

 

The Editing Beast.

Hello,

I’m currently in the process of editing a 1,000-word story for my first competition entry of the year. The competition is run by Writers Online (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/open-competitions/writers-competitions-wro-wro-jun17-1000/) and the only requirement is that you do not exceed the word limit. No specific theme. Just a word count.

Now, I have previously tried to enter this competition but came unstuck as writing a story with such a small word count is tricky for me. That is until I read a recent competition winner through Writing Magazine. The story was for a Fantasy competition and was 1,642 words but managed to tell the story very well and kept me hooked till the end. Yes, it is more than 1,000 words, but it is a fine example of using your words well. See for yourself (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/showcase/winner/writers-competitions-wro-wro-nov16-fantasy/dominic-bell-2).

Anyway, this has given me the confidence to try and enter the 1,000-word competition again. I found my original attempt from way back and read it through. Not bad but with a few problems and I didn’t like the end. However, I could see promise in it. So, I changed the ending and completed a re-write. Then, came the next step.

Oh, the edit. The beast that awaits at the end of most stories. The question I find myself asking is, should I feed it or let it starve? I decided to feed the beast and it just keeps wanting more! Every time I go back to my story thinking I am close to finishing it, something else comes up and I edit even more. How much does it need to be fed before it is satisfied and will let me enter the competition?

The_Beast

In my head, this is how it looks. But, it is the Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the so it’s not that bad of a picture to have in my head at the moment. Moving on…

I am happy to continue with the edit, even if it winds me up no end. I have faith in my story. I like it and want to see it through. That is what drives me forward. Regardless of the outcome of the competition (don’t get me wrong, I would like to win) I want this to be the best it can be.

With this story, it has a twist at the end. I have written twists before and have recently watched a few TV programmes and Films with twists to whet my appetite. I am trying to put some red herrings in and some double meanings. Easy a? In my head maybe but in practice, not so much. Making sure each sentence drives the story is essential but 1,000 words do not allow for a lot of driving. Once the story is written and I know how I got on in the competition, I’ll post it on this blog. Or burn it. I’ll make the decision later.

Since the last time I had to edit for a competition, which was for ages ago, I have learned a lot more and I am thankful that my persistence appears to be paying off. Things I left in the first draft, thinking they were gold, made me shudder and have been discarded. Practice does help a lot with this writing game.

Well, back to the edit. I hope you have a nice day and if you are editing, that it goes as well as possible for you.

Bye!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another story, a plan of action, and a question about Editing.

Hello!

 

Since last time I have not really done that much in the way of writing. Which is why I didn’t update my blog last week as I usually would have done. Today however finds me having done enough to warrant a glorious, in my view anyway, blog post.

I have been reading and am 2/3 of the way through The Picture of Dorian Gray. It started to bore me a little when it was going on about what Mr Gray had done in the years since he realised what gift his picture had given him. For instance, for around four pages or possibly more as I’m pretty sure I’ve blanked it out already, it went on about the different kinds of jewels he collected when he turned his hand to such a thing. Now, I can understand explaining what a character has been up to, but in that much detail? I almost found myself wishing I was reading another book. But then, I got to chapter thirteen. With all that over description done with, the story continued. And continued awesomely! I recommend reading it if you haven’t already done do.

Okidoke. To part of the title of this post. I finished the two swordsman, Stuart and The Count, short story for my lead up to/preparation for the sequel to my bugbear caper. As I was writing it I settled on two things. One, that I thoroughly enjoy coming up with stuff as I’m writing. Stuff which could lead to story arcs and things for the sequel that I had not even considered before sitting down to write. And two, a plan of action. I’m going to get my short stories written, I reckon I’ve got at least ten more to do, and then go head on into editing ‘Town of the Mountain.’

Now, every time in the past that I have gone to do this with any of my stories I have always been distracted. I think of another idea for a story, I see something shiny, I get hungry, my legs hurt, I’m checking how my football bet is coming along, to name but a few reasons why I haven’t exactly embraced editing. But it is an essential part of the process so I’m looking forward to going head on into it. I hope to start in August if I can. Or I might just start in August anyway. Who knows?

Along with reading for the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been on my travels. To Anglesey no less. It was great to have some time away with my girlfriend and my family. It all sets up my next holiday very nicely. Me and my girlfriend are going to Rome! For my birthday! I ordered my Europe’s yesterday and pick them up tomorrow. I’m starting to get excited. I’ve heard not one bad thing about the place so far. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype.

Right then, I’ll leave you with a question. Do you have any tips for preparing to and doing the editing thing?

Cheers