They did warn us after all.

(Extract from a story I recently completed. It is about giant Rock Worms from outer space looking for a new home. And Earth might just be what they are looking for…)

“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 to 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.

 

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.

 

 

Renewed Focus. Getting things moving again.

Hello,

17543131-male-hand-drawing-focus-concept-with-marker-on-transparent-wipe-board-stock-photo

 

So, 2016 was alright. I suppose. Outside of writing, it was very good. No qualms there at all. My writing, however, moved along okay at the beginning but towards the end it faded and at times stopped completely. I didn’t feel like writing or reading at all. Makes me cringe just thinking about it and even more so when I don’t really know why I didn’t want to write. Although my November and December were good and my Christmas and New Year were both awesome, my writing and reading seemed to slow to a miserable crawl and then stop. That crawl has resulted in my last blog post being at the start of December. That’s just awful. 2017 will not end the same way. With that in mind, I’ve started as I mean to go on.

I’m committing to writing around 500 words a day and on any day I can’t write I will read. I’ve so far stuck to my target and I feel a lot better for it. Since my last post, I have finished editing what I had written so far for my Western story. It has been rolling around in my head for years and it feels good to be continuing to write it as opposed to edit/re-reading it to get myself back up to speed.

When I first sat down to write it back in March 2016, I didn’t use any notes and that turned out to be a disaster. With no path to follow, I ended up making my hero a man who hides away from the villain and nothing really planned for anyone. Lame. That quickly changed when my mighty editing pen…no, wait…fingers changed everything and gave my characters meaning and a road to follow. Now, I’m coming close to writing the twist in the tail I’ve known about for years. It’s weird when I think about it. I know the twist but actually getting up to writing it down is more exciting.

Does anyone else feel like that? When you’re about to write a twist do you get more excited about writing it than you did when you initially thought of it? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Or just tell me I’m crazy and move on.

Hmm…what else? No. I think I’ll leave it there.

Have a nice day.

 

 

It creeps and it crawls throughout my mind. Wanting to be released onto the page.

(I wanted to insert an appropriate picture for my title but google managed to scare the stuffing out of me so I’m going to leave it. And curl up into a ball for a while.)

 

Hello,

Finally, after weeks of tossing and turning over it and not being able to write as much as I’d like due to other things coming up, I’ve finished my horror story!

As I got closer to end my writing speed picked up and then I realised, it’s done. The euphoria that breezes through me every time I finish a story was back.

Obviously, it’s the first draft but I’m happy I’ve finished it and I can now re-jig the whole thing. Change it to add in all the tips I’ve found regarding writing a horror story from my research. Mainly:

Tension – I have managed to build tension towards to end of the story. The build up to the ending definitely has what could possibly be described as tension until a big reveal. I also tried to put tension in throughout the story by having the lights go out in the house my characters are in for their company retreat in the woods. When the lights go out, and while everyone else is screaming or cheering depending on how drunk they are, the main characters hear what could be scratching and groaning coming from outside before the lights come back on.

The Reveal – I found a very useful article regarding this in the November 2014 edition of Writing Magazine by Alex Davis (page 50 if you own it). It talks about different phases.

  • Easy to disbelieve (slightly scary stuff that can be written off easily. Bumps in the night and weird sounds)
  • Hard to disbelieve (making the characters feel uneasy. A sense of being watched, a presence in the room).
  • Hard to deny (Definite sight of something weird, strange, horrible. A voice heard. Evidence to say something is definitely happening)
  • Impossible to deny (The reveal takes place. All the sounds and such come together and whatever the hell it is becomes reality)

 

I have found it very interesting reading up on how to approach writing a horror story. I’ve also found plenty of scary films to watch to give me inspiration. Such as Ringu (1998, Japan), Session 9 (2001, USA), Exhibit A (2007, UK). They’re all on the list. I’m in for one scary few days if I decide to watch them. I’ll end up not posting for much longer than 5 or so weeks.

It’s good to be able to write on my blog again. It has been a while. So, until next time have a good time doing whatever it is you’re doing.

Bye!

 

Two ideas are not better than one.

Hello,

I’m going to break this post down into stuff I’ve done since my last post as I haven’t posted in a while. I have been trying to create a post since my last, which seems like ages ago, and in the small amount of time I’ve had recently. Hope you like it.

This Way That Way Which way to turn

Signpost saying This Way That Way, Which way to turn good concept image for direction.

12/05/2016.

Finally, after weeks of pondering I’ve settled on two ideas for my horror stories. I initially had one idea that I was going to stick with (see https://johnrsermon.com/2016/04/28/the-horror-of-writing-a-horror/ for more information). But, as I started to plan that idea out I also found another idea. This was an idea that had been swimming in my mind for years but had obviously gotten almost drowned in the time it had spent not being outside and on the page. This has now brought to me my current predicament. Which way do I go?

From being so unsure that I doubted whether I should even bother writing a horror story to having two ideas, I can safely say this is not the worst position I ever been in. But it is one that I would like to be out of as soon as possible.

I’ve created my characters for and given them back stories. I also planned out both story ideas so when I get started I should have a better chance of making it work. Hopefully.

13/05/2016 – 21/05/2016

Work. More work. Drinking. More drinking. Running. More running. No writing completed.

22/05/2016

Completed my fourth Manchester 10k run and raised £200 for Cancer Research UK. No writing completed.

23/05/2016

Had a pizza. Watched WWE Extreme Rules 2016. No writing completed.

26/05/2016

Received my 2nd of two grades for the course I’ve been on since last September. Both I needed to pass. The 1st one I did pass (with Merit) and the 2nd…I passed as well (with Merit). Had a pizza. No writing completed.

29/05/2016

Went to the christening of my girlfriend’s niece and nephew. Had a great time. No writing completed.

02/06/2016

Big jump forward. Almost a month in fact. But it finds me with time on my hands and one page of my horror story written! Progress is slow but I hope to increase it in the coming weeks. I have week off work coming up that will become my first ever writing and blogging week. Well, writing at least.

The story I mentioned in the link under 12/05/2016 above is the same one I’ve gone with but I’ve twisted it around slightly. I have my characters and their back stories and I have a twist in mind for one of them to go completely loony bin on everyone and revert back to a Neanderthal state. I’m not sure which of my 6 characters this will happen too but it will be in the scariest manner I can muster. Finally, progress and a direction to go in.

Hope you all have a good week.

Bye!

The horror of writing a horror.

Hello,

So far, this is the only picture I could find to encapsulate my feelings towards trying to write a horror story that will strike genuine fear into the hearts of those who read it.

20160425_194040

It’s a combination of utter annoyance of not being able to construct a story like I have done previously and the ideas I’ve had that have ranged from ‘might be scary’ to ‘that’s from a film come up with something else’ that’s sending me face palm and wide-eyed.

I have got an idea that I’m going to stick with but the process has not been an easy one. I’m riddled with doubt that I won’t be able to scare anyone just with my words. And scare them in a good way, ‘eyes wide, tension built up, possibly screaming, knife in hand ready to defend themselves’, and not in a bad way ‘What is this smeg I’m reading? Why would John do this to me?! What did I ever do to him?’

The idea is based around a group of office workers on a work retreat/drunken weekend in a cabin in the woods. The cabin is state of the art and is more like a mini mansion in the middle of nowhere with plenty of Wi-Fi. No spooky or creepy looking cabin for this lot. The company my characters work for makes money. The forest surrounding the cabin has its own story about a witch that died and haunts the caves that lie deep within the forests depths.

Not amazingly original but it is my first try. And I believe that if a horror story is to be truly scary it should not be just down to how original the premise is but how it is written and how it can scare the reader.

I want to give my first attempt at horror writing the best chance it has so I’m going to try and plan each part of the story down to the last detail. I have found that building the tension within the story is a good start. But how do I accomplish this? My first thoughts were to plant many different seeds into the reader’s mind so they are unsure who the killer is. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a killer at this point. Probably. Maybe plant some red herrings to hopefully put them off the scent.

I still don’t have a concrete ending so I’m going to focus on getting that set in stone before I begin writing as well. This has all sent me into a bit of a writing tailspin. I haven’t had one of these in years.

So, all this has led me to this question.What tips do you have for someone trying to write their first horror story?

Your hints and tips and thoughts would be appreciated.

Bye!

 

 

My writing week in not so many words and a few pictures.

Hello,

Over the past week, I have been more focused on studying for my exam at the beginning of April than anything else, which has affected my writing output. I’ve said to myself each day that I would come home from work write and finish my latest short story but I haven’t. I’ve come home, exercised, eaten, studied, and then gone to bed. Not the worst cycle I’ve ever been in but it does not include my own writing so it’s close.

I have managed to do a small amount and moved the story along but it is not enough. The story, about the earth being taken over by giant rock worms and a young couple’s efforts to stop them, does move along nicely when I’m writing it but the ‘when I’m writing it’ part is in short supply. I have a chilled out weekend planned so I aim to get more of the story written then. If studying doesn’t stop me that is.

With weekends in mind, off the back of the blogging 101 course I took throughout February I joined a group Bloggers meetup, which has many members who took the same course and want to keep in contact and help each other out. Inside this wonderful group there lies a challenge. The challenge is to include a link to the site to spread the word and carry on the challenge within a post that details something I did over the weekend. Well, firstly here’s the link https://bloggersmeetup.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/weekend-wanderings/. And secondly, last weekend I was in Manchester, UK and I was walking along Market Street in the City Centre when I came upon the most show off-y, egotistical man I have ever seen. The picture below details how full of himself he is. I’m joking, though. It was a pretty impressive site. See for yourself.

20160305_141728_resized

Look at his smiling face. Rubbing his skill and happiness in my face! I am usually happy anyway but not this level happy. He has literally go up to another level.

And here’s another picture I took on my way from work last Friday. Thought it were mildly amusing.

20160303_162323_resized

 

That’s all from me. Hope you all have a good weekend and get everything done that you want to do.

Goodbye!