Category Archives: Uncategorized

Waiting For The Crush

The planet was definitely getting bigger. Slowly, imperceptibly to the naked eye, it was growing. Yesterday it had not been there, and this morning it had only been a small speck. Now it loomed larger than a full moon.

   In the distance, though not all that far away could be heard the sounds of glass breaking, laughter, screams. As the planet got larger society cracked a little more. Josh did not care for that. He’d left the TV behind and been sat gazing at the impending doom for about an hour.

   It was brown, and mottled with various craters. In the top right there was a smudge that could have been a hand waving a sick greeting. Of course, everyone knew what it looked like. The pictures had been all over every channel with the man from NASA crying next to them. But it was better to see it like this. It was real. Seeing it on a screen fictionalised it and made it seem like all the other nonsense. The scientists had seen it on screens and paid it no attention. Now nobody could ignore it.

   There was an almighty crash which dragged Josh’s eyes away from the planet. He frowned. It was amazing how fast everything was breaking down, as if they were all racing the planet to complete Earth’s destruction. It would almost be worth it if the planet somehow missed Earth just to see what would happen, how they would continue, if they could continue. There was another puff of smoke out on the horizon.

   It was definitely getting bigger. He had only taken his eyes off of it for a few moments but he could tell. It was almost rudely big now like a nosey neighbour leaning over a garden fence. It would be an incredible sight before the end, filling the sky. Josh wondered if there would be anyone left to see that. He would of course be dead before then, he had no intention of waiting for the big crush. But for now, he was content to watch, just for a little while longer.

Advertisements

100 Words A Day And Beyond: It Makes Sense!

So it’s been just over a fortnight now since I began the process of editing my story that started out as a challenge to write 100 words a day for a year, so I thought I would post a little update as to how it’s going.

First off: it makes sense! This was genuinely a big fear of mine due to the way I wrote it i.e. write 100 words one day with no idea where it was going and then do the same again and again without really looking back. I was worried that the whole piece would be one big garbled mess with no clear narrative, just a sequence of snippets loosely held together. Thankfully this is not the case! A lot of that I think is more luck than judgement as the story lends itself to being written in this was as it is essentially the story of a group of people going on a journey, never knowing where they are going to go or what they are going to see next. This means I have what I hoped to have: the bones of a story. There’s still a lot that needs to be done. But I have something substantial to build upon.

So far I have been re-reading the story as I have not read any of it since I wrote it. As I go along I’ve been making notes, some about minor changes such as sentence structure or choice of words, others have been pretty major questions about plot and character as I attempt to build the story into even more of a coherent and quality narrative. I’m about a third of the way through and plan on reading it again after this time and to make more notes then. This is because I’ve realised I have managed to forget a lot of the things I wrote. Reading it all through twice will give me a better sense of the order of events and how they impact on the characters, how they affect the flow of the story etc.

One of the big changes I need to make involves characters, namely that I need some. This is the main way in which the way I wrote this story did not help. Essentially because I was more concerned with keeping the story moving and trying to have it make sense I neglected characters. The central character of the man is fine seeing as I intentionally did very little to develop him, preferring to keep him as a mysterious being. But the villagers who he takes with him are essentially just that, “the villagers”. They are all lumped together as his followers and faceless pawns. Every now and then I would briefly bring one to the foreground for plot purposes. But within a day or two I would forget about them and they would be bundled in with the others again. This then clearly needs to change. Like I said, the man is intentionally given little development or back story. But the villagers are who the reader will identify with, they are the ones who will change and develop over the course of the story. They are also a good opportunity as although I stress they are a small group there are several of them so I can develop a diverse range of characters who will be impacted differently by the weird and wonderful events of the story. To deal with this as I go through the story I am also making note of all of the different events that occur. When I finish my first read through I am going to create the villager’s characters, each one individually, and plot them against each of the events to map out how each of these events affects their character and so develop their arcs. This should add a lot more life to the story and make it better for the reader.

Aside from the writing side I’ve also started thinking about the marketing side as though it’s a long way off at some point I will be self-publishing this story and so will need all the help I can get. Of course I’ll be using my own social media to try and get the word out but that is rather limited. So far I’m thinking of contacting the local newspaper and my old university as I think that the way in which I wrote this story is unique and would be of interest to other aspiring writers and anyone with an interest in literature. Of course I’m welcome to any suggestions as without the backing of a publisher any exposure I can get is a bonus. Still though that is a long way off.

So that’s about all for now. There’s still a lot of notes to make and reading to be done, characters to be formed, and eventually some writing. I’ve decided to end these updates with a snippet from the story so I leave you with this.

The children felt the breeze before they heard it. It tickled across their skin softly at first, then it picked up enough force to blow away the oppressive silence and they heard it roar, rattling the leaves and branches of the trees. It died as quickly as it came. The children revelled to hear their breathing and the other minute sounds normally unappreciated. Then they heard the singing. It was everywhere, above and below, left and right, from without and within. It was singing not of meaning, but of sound alone, celebrating the beauty of sound. That was its only cause.

In the years after they heard the singing they would never be able to recreate what it sounded like, they would never even be able to remember it correctly. But when they tried to recall it they would always remember the feeling of it, a warm balm coating every aspect of their being. To hear the singing as they walked on made them walk with a renewed confidence, to grow in spirit, and, they realised looking at each other, literally. They returned to their adult forms and the baby wriggled free to walk as a child and then, the man.

He filled out the garments which had been cavernous for the baby and strode in with such purpose and vigour in the direction which the villagers had been walking that they felt vindicated. The song  only grew louder as they followed. Emboldened by the return of their guide and the spiritual salve of the music the villagers jogged after the man. The sunlight grew stronger and they realised the canopy of trees was thinning. Smaller plants grew now on the ground, breaking the monotony that was behind them. They reached the edge of the forest and looked upon a city.

This was the first time the villagers had ever seen a city . They had never before seen such a large impact made on the world by people. The city was entirely built of white rock which made it contrast with the entirely natural and colourful scene around it. It was nestled in a great bowl rimmed on all sides with forest. Waterfalls cascaded here and there, sending rivers and streams to slake the city. Within the high white walls ringing the city were buildings also of white, which grew in stature to the centre where the tallest of all stood.

“This is not the largest city built by man, but it is the most beautiful,” said the man, not quite smiling, but his face had softened showing his admiration for this metropolis. A slight vibration on the wind carried the sound of the city to the villagers. Even from this distance it could be heard and they marvelled at the size of the city. The man dragged himself away from the sight to pull aside an overhanging bush revealing a hidden path which worked its way down to the bottom of the bowl, running back and forth along the cliff.

 

100 Words A Day And Beyond

Ask any writer the hardest part of their job and they’ll tell you its getting the vision in their head onto the page in front of them. Moments of inspiration are rare and not conducive to getting anything finished. Most of the time its a hard slog between your motivation and your imagination. It’s even harder for aspiring writers for whom writing is not yet their occupation, just a dream, something they are doing alongside another job which is paying all the bills. It can be very easy to go days, even weeks at a time, without writing a single word as your dream gets put on the back burner for more pressing matters. To be a writer, successful or not, you need to cultivate a discipline, or else you will never get anything done.

This is something I found out for myself. Days and weeks did  pass with nothing written. Grand ideas and stories existed only in my head. I decided to change this. I came up with an idea I believe to be original. Every day for exactly one year I would write 100 words. To give you a frame of reference this post up to now is 200 words.

The idea was that 100 words was manageable. Even if I only had 5 or 10 minutes in a day where I could find time to write that would be enough to achieve my goal, and at the end of one year that would equal a story that was 36,500 words long. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is 28,944 words long so you can see how a little at a time could add up to a fully fledged story.

As I’ve said, the primary aim of this was to cultivate discipline, to write something every day. To some extent the content of what I was writing didn’t matter, just that I did write it. If by the end of it I had something even slightly coherent and interesting so much the better. The other aim was to challenge my imagination. I set out with no more in my mind than an image of a man, clothed in black, arriving in a village on a stormy night (the subject of the first 100 words). Everything after that I would come up with on the day. So there was also the challenge of making whatever I wrote that day carry on from what had come before, and also allow me to carry on to something new.

Let me tell you some days 100 words seems like a hell of a lot. There were many times when it took me longer than I’d care to mention to write such a tiny amount. There was simply nothing that came to mind. Nonetheless I persevered. On the other hand there were days when 100 words really did seem tiny. Some days the words would come pouring out. But then I would have to stop. 100 words was my limit and I stuck to it.

After around 60-70 days I stopped writing with no idea of where I was going. I realised I had at least one climactic moment I wanted to reach that would be the key message I would try to get across with this story (if you want to know what it was you’ll just have to read it). I soon realised I was going to get to this point with many more days still to go, just after the mid-point of my goal in fact. Rather than being the end this moment was going to be right in the heart of the story. That was alright though I decided. I would make it work, make it fit the narrative, and when I got to that point I would start wrestling with my imagination again and finish the story.

So that’s what I did. I got to this point that I had visualised in my mind and day by day moved passed it, coming up with the story on the fly. It was a lot like laying down tracks in front of a train. Then something great happened at about 200 days in: I knew what the ending was going to be. This was exciting and daunting I knew where I was going which made coming up with the story slightly easier. But I also had to do it in 160 days, 16,000 words.

As some of you who were following my updates on this might be aware I did accomplish this. In 365 days, 36,500 words, I said everything I wanted to say and have a somewhat coherent story. Now the next part of this challenge begins: making it publishable.

A story written like this is clearly going to need a lot of work. First of all its all written in 100 word paragraphs which is terrible structurally. Then there is the fact that I limited myself. There are a lot of parts that need to be expanded on, and then are also parts where I had to force out the words and the quality suffered for it. The story was also almost wholly improvised and so will feel rather disjointed. Now I know what I want from the story it will have to be reviewed with this in mind.

Basically there is a long way to go still for this story. But there is something there. I truly believe that somehow I have come up with a good original story, it just needs a lot of love and attention.

Way down the line when it is finally a completed work the next stage will be publishing. I have decided to self publish using a site called “Createspace” which is a site affiliated with Amazon. Through this I can format my story in an actual book, acquire an ISBN, design a cover, and sell it on Amazon in both printed and digital formats. I don’t have to worry about a publisher deciding if my work is marketable or not, I’ll be able to put it out there and let my story speak for itself. This won’t leave me J.K. Rowling in money (perhaps my favourite pun that I have ever come up with). But each copy sold will be a profit to me financially and more important it will get me a little closer to my dream of making my living from writing. At the very least it will expose me to a wider audience and really all I can ask and want is that people will read my stories. It’s going to be a lot of work but being able to hold a book I have written in my hands and to know that anyone in the world can read it will be all the reward I could ever want.

So now I need to get on with doing it. I’ll post updates and thoughts on writing this as I go on here and maybe the odd snippet from the edited version but otherwise if you want to read it you’ll have to buy it when it’s published. I’ll be leaving the original on here free to view. If you want to see how the edited version is going I’ll send it to you privately but I will ask that you give constructive criticism on it. Anyway watch this space and check out the original version here: https://storiesbyadam.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/100-words-a-day/

Joan

She woke up early that morning as ever. The sun was rising quickly, gently warming the Kentish countryside. She breakfasted quickly and set out to go to work, no time to waste.

She jumped on her bicycle. She thought of how her brothers had taught her to ride a few summers ago, tying her feet to the peddles, and smiled remembering the truck drivers face has he had braked to avoid hitting her when she had fallen down. The bluebells were blooming amongst the trees either side of her. Soon she emerged from the trees and then she came to the hop fields where she began the day’s work picking the hops.

She was with her own army of girls that had been left behind. All the men had gone away to war. She did not know it yet but her future husband was preparing to go to Normandy, only a few short miles away. Her and the other girls did not mind though, they were proud to do their part and to keep the country moving along.

It was thirsty work as the sun got higher in the sky. For a moment, the sunlight flickered causing her and the other girls to look up. That’s when they heard the planes. They crisscrossed the sky, their engines whirring and the sound of bullets rattling away. They stopped to watch the dog fight, unable to make out which side was which.

She would think of those pilot’s years later as she herself soared over the Kentish countryside in a glider, though her thoughts were distracted when the pilot’s wooden arm came unstuck, a problem she was sure those other pilots never encountered. How ridiculous that story would have seemed to the girl as she went back to picking the hops.

The Life and Times of Donald Trump’s Bowel Movement

I started out life as a burger. He ate me with a knife and fork. God damn it. I don’t deserve this.

I began to make my descent into the gloom, twisting and writhing my way through hateful, vapid passages. How many burgers do Americans eat every year? I could have lived a normal life but instead I’m doomed to passed through this torturous wreck. Sure, many will suffer a lot more, many of them because of this obscenity I am a part of. But still, this feels like a very unique hell.

Eventually I found myself at long last being digested. This horrible journey would shortly be at an end. I tried to remain as whole as I could, begrudging every morsel that would be used to fuel him. During my journey, I had heard much from him, and well, let’s just say it takes a piece of shit to know a piece of shit.

Let me tell you, my people are surprisingly proud. We understand what society thinks of us. But we know we are a necessary part of the world. That being said as I made my way towards leaving my host I felt every bit as disgusting as society thought me.

I am very close to the exit. I am beginning to see glimpses of light. Finally, this is going to be over. Hopefully I’ll find a way to move on. Hang on. I recognise this place. I’ve been here before. Oh, for god sake I’m coming out completely the wrong way!

Tracks

The old man had watched eagerly as the tracks came closer and closer to his village. Many of his friends were far more pessimistic about their imminent arrival. “They’ll just bring criminals and city people. They’ll destroy our land,” was a common reason they gave. But the old man did not believe that, and besides, he was far more concerned with where those tracks could take him.

Finally, the tracks came through the village and they kept going on further. Soon after the trains came. The old man met many strange and wonderful people. They told him tales of the city and even other countries. They brought with them contraptions that astounded him. One man showed him one that he claimed could capture images. The old man could not believe it until he was shown a picture of the great river that flowed through the city with hazy buildings along its banks.

The old man had to wait a while before he could afford to pay for a ticket but at long last he had saved enough money and he immediately was on his way. His mind still could not comprehend the machinery that could move such huge objects as the trains carriages with apparent ease so fast. But that did not matter as his body could experience it and find it exhilarating.

In what seemed like an incredibly short period of time the tracks brought him into the great city. It dwarfed him and made him feel very small, but it swelled his heart to see such great wonders. His favourite sight was at the station where he saw there were dozens of other tracks which headed in all different directions. The old man was excited that he would have to buy many more tickets still.

And The Rain Came Tumbling Down

The rain was still tumbling down. Having been cooped up for so long, and with so little else of note occurring naturally the conversation turned to other torrential rainstorms.

“I think the worse I ever saw was that storm two years ago. Nearly washed the shed at the end of the garden away,” one said.

“Never! What about the one six years ago. The whole street was flooded for days,” another replied.

“You’re both wrong. I remember as a child storms that lasted weeks,” piped up an old man.

They were all in agreement though as they watched the water rise up passed the window, hundreds of feet above the city: this was by far the worst storm any of them had ever seen.