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!

My first attempt at a…Writing Prompt!

Writing Prompt

Hello,

I’m currently doing a ‘Blogging 101’ course, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Each day since 8th February I’ve been given a task to do that is designed to help to improve my blog (hopefully) and expand my audience (such as, following a certain amount of blogs I’m interested in, engaging more with the blogs I follow) and personal knowledge of what I can do with my blog behind the scenes (adding widgets and changing themes). Though this all probably sounds simple enough to do I have been neglecting my blog recently so it has helped me out immensely.

The latest assignment is too create a writing prompt. Now, I’ve answered many a prompt before but never actually created one. If it sounds too easy then I’ll make up a harder one next time. It is my first go after all. Alright, here it goes…

One lazy Sunday afternoon, with the sun trying to push its way through your carefully closed curtains, your favourite mythical creature crashes through the window and pleads with you to help them with a quest. Because, naturally, you are the only one who can help. So,

Which mythical creature is it?

Why that particular creature?

And, what is the quest?

Thank you in advance for those of you who take part. Go nuts with it and see what happens.

Hope to read your responses soon.

Getting back to blogging basics. Let me (re)introduce myself.

Hello,

Back in 2012, March 7th to be exact, I published my first ever blog post. This went as follows:

Well, I’ve took the plunge and created my own blog. Its use is to either:

  1. Read other writers blogs and stories and maybe have them do the same for me.
  2. Rant about stuff.

But which do i do first?

Short and sweet and to the point. Well, two points. Point 2 hasn’t happened that much as I don’t tend to rant that often. However, point 1 still rings true today. I want to read other authors blogs and stories. I want to do this to try and take in all kinds of styles and genres that may help me when I come to do my own writing.

Then, there’s the maybe.

I like the word maybe. When used correctly it can invoke intrigue and suspense. Or at least, I hope it can. But, when I used it in my first blog post ‘maybe have them do the same for me’, it was used incorrectly. In fact, it should not have been used at all. Now, I very much want other authors and non-authors alike to read my stories and blog posts so I can converse with them and learn and grow when it comes to my writing. Happily, I have made that clear since March 2012 and I speak to authors regularly but not as often as I’d like. But I would like to increase the amount of people I speak to.

So, I decided to take a ‘Blogging 101’ course to try and improve my chances and move my blog forward. The course’s first assignment is to introduce myself. As you can see, I’ve already done that but I would like to do this again. If you let me. And…

Good evening,

My name is John Robert Sermon and I’m from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK. I have been writing on and off since 2001. With more emphasis on the off. But since 2009, I started to write more and more until March 2012 when I started this blog. Since then, I have written 21 stories (3 novels and 18 short ones) and this number is growing. I would like to use this blog to share those stories and the process I go through when I write them. I would also like to read other blogs and stories and interact with other authors.

I would like this blog to help me to improve my writing and to talk to some like-minded people.

There you have it. Happy re-meet you again. Now, back to the writing.

Bye!

 

 

The Magic of the Blank Page.

Hello,

 

After being quite worried that I wouldn’t be able to find an idea for my first short story of 2016, I decided to just stare at a blank page. Will I get inspiration? Will I go blind? Will I learn to hate the non-colour of ‘white’?

None of the above. It just so happens that the blank page helped me to come up with my idea. I have tried to go into the exact science of it all but I’m not smart enough and I don’t like it when my brain hurts so I’m settling on this.

The blank page is made of magic.

I can only assume the blank page has always had magical powers. Probably stemming from when it was first created whoever knows when. It somehow has the muscle to either make you start writing a story or mess with your head to the point where a simple white page could drive you insane.

I glared at the mass of white in front of me and the story sprung to mind. Just like that. No problem. My story revolves around the hero Daniel who decides to leave for work ten minutes earlier than usual. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Well, I used that question as a challenge and it has propelled my story. ‘How can ten minutes make such a difference?’ Has already pushed Daniel to sleep with the neighbor, feel sorry for her ‘boyfriend’ (or, at least, that’s what he thinks he is), call in sick for work and to help an old man with his shopping. And all within the first two hours of his waking day. I’m going to build the stories up throughout his day but my sci-fi & fantasy writing nature is screaming for me to make this become a world-saving thing. Or not. Or do I just keep it to Daniel’s world and not involve anyone else?

safety_decisions

Or do I go a completely new direction? One I’ve never written before?

All in all, it’s a pretty cool set of solutions to consider to a few problems I’m having with my story. This time, last week I was afraid I would not be able to write anything brand new.  Now, I’m close to finishing it. Well, a bit closer. I’m not sure what my word count should be.

Before I get back to my story, I would like to thank the many members of the wonderful and very useful writers group ‘Kboards Fantasy Author’s Group’ through Facebook. Those who replied to my question have provided some valuable feedback and ideas. Thank You.

Bye!

The joys of my own writing. For now, anyway.

Hello,

For the past month or so I’ve been working on two things:

    NANoWriMo 2015

    Course work.

 

Both have now been completed. Well, the course has been completed for now. One assignment down and one exam to go (In April). I have enjoyed working on the assignment and I’ve learned a lot along the way but working in front of a computer all day and then coming home to…working in front of a computer is tiring and makes me hate my laptop.

This also made me absent from my blog. A thing that has eaten away at me during all the coursework that left me with a bad back and not wanting to be in front of my laptop. Oh, my laptop, I never thought I would hate the sight of you but the last few days I have. Sorry laptop (you’d think I’d have a name for him by now)

Anyway, all the time away has let me think about what I want to do with my 2016 writing wise. The first thing I thought about was finishing my NaNoWriMo story. But then I remembered that even after 50,000 words, I only around 1/3 through that story. And I need to make a lot of notes to make the story work and bring all the elements together. I worked mostly from memory with some notes but seeing how big the story will be, I might give a timeline or storyboard a try. What do you think?

What method works well when planning a large, and possibly epic, style story?

This story has been growing for years so I want it to work. But then I read the following quote:

Ray-Bradbury-quote

And I got to thinking. I want to enter more competitions in 2016 and to increase my following across my Blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds. These are my two initial goals for 2016. I’m aiming to push myself towards this by writing a short story each week. For as many weeks as I am able. Or can be bothered too if I’m honest. I do have ideas enough to write short stories with so I’m hoping that the first few will spark all the others. I’ll probably end up writing stories about people I see out and about. I’ll have to make sure to not look too creepy if I end up people watching for story ideas.

It’s good to get back into the blog writing groove. I look forward to 2016 and more of the same.

Thank you for your time.

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?

November never ends.

Hello

 

Alas November 2014 is done and dusted. Farewell to you. You are one of my favourite months. You make me become more focused on my writing than any other month could dream of. Over the past two years I’ve completed two NaNoWriMo’s and done my own editing challenge in the month of November. But though the calendar has moved on and tells me it’s December, I feel like you’re still around.

That’s because you chuffin are. Aren’t you?

I gave myself the task of editing my NaNoWriMo 2012 story The Searchers Want, a tale of demons and those who search and kill them to protect the earth they all live on, and initially I was well on course to complete the edit in one month. I was sticking to my plan. I was doing well. But now I find myself with two more chapters to edit but no more November left to edit them in. How did this happen?

Well, I know how it happened. Life and illness hindered my progress. Though I am very pleased to have edited around 70,000 words in a month. I can’t complain really. I’ll have the rest of the edit done by the end of 2014 at least. Then, I’ll start all over again in 2015 after a short break of probably a week. This plan reminded me of how good writing breaks can be. I have always felt fresh and invigorated when I start to write again after taking a complete break. One of the blogs I follow, a lovely blog by the name of http://rlsharpe.wordpress.com/, recently posted about taking a break (http://rlsharpe.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/writing-tip-wednesday-taking-writing-breaks/) and I am now ready for a break of my own. Once this edit is done, I’ll break and then get back to it. I’m hoping to start research into time travel theories for my attempt at a sci-fi story based on the same. I’m fully prepared for it to frazzle my mind. Wish me luck.

Right. Back to the edit. Bye!