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

And the edit is done!

Hello

 

After 41 days, the first edit of my humans versus demons yarn is completed. Oh how I smiled when I read the last word. Though I have enjoyed the process, I am glad it’s over. I’m looking forward to a break from writing and I will start back up again, be it either by writing a new story or editing The Searcher’s Want again, next year.

Wait…more edits…NO!!!!!

I knew I would have to edit my story at least ten times before I could maybe possibly send it to a proof reader to go over it. I’ve outlined that I’ll have to edit for; characters, description, locations, dialogue, punctuation, grammar, and probably a whole host of other things I’ll come up with once all those edits are done. But if I can keep each edit to around 40 days, I could have it done quicker than I think. I have to say I did not think I would be able to do it such a short time. I could actually make it shorter, which I now intend to do in the New Year. A few times I did feel like editing more but didn’t want to rush it. I felt it was easier to edit at a calm pace as not to rush the thing. And a few other times I decided to go to sleep instead. Sleep is good.

Anyway, I finished the edit! Here’s a few pictures of what is going on in my head right now as I think about how I’ve finished my first full story edit. Maybe. Bye!

20653-44412 Celebration 1 monkey-human-smile

An extract from my novel, The Searcher’s Want.

Hello

As promised I’ve posted some of the first chapter for one of my stories. It has only been through a few edits but I would some feedback on this little part to gage how it is so far. I’m planning on posting the second half of the chapter in the future. So…

The following is the first two and a bit pages of my NaNoWriMo 2012 started novel, The Searcher’s Want. It centre’s around a group of hunters or ‘Searchers’ who hunt down and kill demons across the UK. There are groups like this around the world but this focuses on the UK contingent based in Manchester. There are four different kinds of demon that all possess certain skills for death, destruction, and general chaos. This wasn’t why they were created but they have rebelled and over hundreds of years developed into a real threat to mankind. The searchers, led by their immortal leader the searcher general, find and kill these demons before they can cause any large scale damage.

The demons are responsible for most of the crimes that happen in the UK. The searchers work in secret to stop them. This extract sees our hero, Aaron Watch, in the middle of a search and kill order (mission) for a demon spotted in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Feedback is more than welcome. Note: The extract is 1332 words long.

The Searchers Want.

By John Robert Sermon.

 

                This particular demon had always been good at blending in with its surroundings. It has a well-constructed mask over its head to cover its true form along with stylish gloves to cover the talons. The way it dresses would lead you to think this catcher demon was just some fashionista type with too much money to burn and not enough sense.

No one in this fancy looking bar is paying much attention to it, or him as far as they could see, except maybe for the barman who was making good tips. You would have to look to the far end of the bar to find someone who cared. The searcher is keeping a close eye on his prey. Aaron Watch has a job to do.

“Can I buy you a drink?” she asked the demon after watching him for quite some time. The bar was busy for a Tuesday night. The ‘Mox’ bar was a place known to be an easy pick up spot for anyone looking for something that didn’t mean anything.

“I would say you can. Whiskey please. On the rocks.” The demon said. They had become very good at sounding charming, sophisticated, and most importantly, attractive.

“Coming right up. Oh barman, service please?” Aaron knew from looking at her that she is prime meat. She’s tall with an ample chest and backside to match. All this was just about held in by a tight, ill-fitting dress which showed it all off. He also spotted how pretty she was and the look in her eye.  The type of girl you met in this bar all looked as if they were destined for something greater but got very lost along the way.

“You shouldn’t stare you know.” A woman said as she leaned in and blocked Aaron’s view. The bar curved round so he could sit at the end of it and watch discreetly. He had always been good at spotting women who fancied the look of him and moving away whilst on a search and kill. Aaron was not a great looking man but he was nice enough and a lot of women thought so too. Every so often he would take advantage of this but not on this night.

“You shouldn’t talk to strangers.” He replied before taking a big gulp of water.

“I could change that for you if you like?” she said leaning in a little more. Aaron hadn’t taken a proper look at her yet as he was trying to keep as much of his eye as possible on the target. The demon was still at the bar and had just started to drink his newly acquired drink.

“And how could you change it?” Aaron asked turning to face her. What struck him first was the look in her eye. It seemed to be of forced desperation which put him on his guard. She wasn’t the best looking woman he’d seen but she did have nice, light brown skin and high cheeks bones. She was another woman who was ample chested and round bummed but in this case it was all in proportion, unlike the catcher’s possible prey. These kinds of women could either be prostitutes or actual women. It was difficult to tell.

“By flirting with you a little bit.” She was an actual woman. She was clean and had bright, searching eyes. He could tell she had not let her soul go so cold.

“You’re a cheeky one aren’t you?” He said with a smile. Aaron had a slightly chiselled jaw and nice teeth. His brown hair touched his ears in a by design scruffy way. She took her time eyeing him up at close range which he liked. If she kept smiling, he was in. If she became serious, she would be polite until she got her drink and then she would make an excuse. He learned this long before becoming a searcher.

“Do you like that?” she purred leaning in a little bit more. Aaron suddenly realised where he’d seen this before. He glanced over at his catcher demon, still entertaining his ample and potential meal, and glanced back at his. She matched his glances.

“That’s Sarah. She had her eye on you as soon you walked in. We’ve both been without men for a while so we figured we’d help each other out. I however, when asked to chat you up for her, decided I wanted you instead. She then spotted the hunch back at the bar and went straight over. He’s cute, but you’re sexy.” Her eyes changed as she finished talking. In truth, he wasn’t really listening. He was making sure his demon was occupied. He couldn’t take the demon out and kill it until it did something. If the demon walked out with Sarah he’d have to follow. This would mean that he would have to walk out with his woman and when all four of them met for the first time, the demon would run having immediately identified that he was a searcher. Searchers can identify demons from a long distance whereas demons can identify searchers from a short distance. It’s something Aaron wanted to avoid. He liked to kill his demons quickly and without them really knowing what had hit them.

“You keep looking over there. What can I do to keep you looking over here?” She said brushing her hands against her chest. Aaron was interested and to find a woman who looked like she did and wasn’t a prostitute wasn’t something that happened every day.

“Could I have your number?” He said hoping to get the number and leave. He would wait outside for the demon and kill it there.

“You can but under one condition. You kiss me in such a way that would make me want to see you again?”

“Kiss you in such a way? You don’t usually come here do you? Or dress so revealingly.” At this her face changed and she noticeably calmed down. He had an inkling she was putting on an act from the start. He glanced over and he could see that the demon was starting to charm Sarah now. It was the start of his move.

“No I don’t. I’m a secretary at a law firm in town. I usually wear suits or just casual jeans and the like. I only came here because Sarah wanted to and she is in the mood for sex.”

“That’s fair enough but you don’t have to dress like this. You could come in wearing your pyjamas and still be the prettiest woman in the room.” A more natural looking smile crossed her face and she leaned back taking something out of her handbag from over her shoulder.

“Here. It’s my business card. Call me and we’ll have a proper date.”

“Yes we will.” He’d been told enough times that he’s a ‘smooth operator’ but never really understood it. She stood up and straightened her long brown hair a little before putting some behind her ear. She walked off towards Sarah and the demon. Aaron looked at the card. Isabella Woodley. Williams Kim & Associates Barristers and Solicitors. “Isabella.” He put the card in his pocket and looked back at the demon. Isabella walked over and put a hand gently on Sarah’s shoulder and whispered into her ear. Sarah nodded and as Isabella turned to walk away spotted something on the demons neck. Aaron knew what it was immediately. Some of its mask was coming away to reveal the purple scaly skin underneath.

“What is that?” Sarah said looking frightened. Isabella looked over at me and frowned. Did she know this was why I was spying on him? Instinctively, Aaron got up and started to walk over to them. The demon turned and spotted Aaron, downed his drink, and quickly walked out of the bar. As Aaron passed them, trying to look casual before a full on pursuit began, Isabella continued to frown as she watched him leave.