Permanence.

This is my latest entry into Chuck Wendigs’ Weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. I had to choose a one word title from the list he published and write a story for it. I chose Permanence and this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

 

She watched from behind the glass. Everyday they came to look at her, to sing, chant, leave gifts, plead and pray to her. Everyday; hundreds of faces, hands and mouths.

They started, these faces, hands and mouths, coming to her as children. Over time, though she could not say how long, children became teenagers, then adults and then old and infirm. And then they didn’t come at all.

The room that she looked at from behind the glass became empty. It changed, only in small ways, dust growing on things, paint peeling, glass cracking and stones falling. But it was always changing. The light changed regularly. Sometimes the empty room was filled with golden sunlight that would shine through the floating flecks of dust and she would imagine that the room was filled flocks of fairies flying around her, performing tricks in the air just for her. At other times, the room was dark for long stretches of time, the only light was a pale blue that came from a crack in the ceiling that illuminated a thin line across the floor. Then it was gone. But then the light would come back and so would the dust fairies, but this time of light was growing shorter.

Soon the dark took over completely. She hadn’t been expecting it. There had been a cacophony of noise, and everything shook and broke as if the whole world was falling in on itself. Then there was only darkness. Not even the small knife cut of blue light shone through from the ceiling. There was nothing. And she sat there in the nothing. Staring out from behind the glass into nothing.

Sometimes she slept. At least she thought it was sleep. When she closed her eyes she saw things that she hadn’t seen in a long time. Things from before the glass when she had walked through streets and towns and rooms like the one she now sat in. She remembered the mothers, the lessons they would teach her about the glass and how one day when a thousand years had passed, she would sit behind the glass and the people would come to her, and oh how they would love her. They would come to her and look and sing, and chant, and leave gifts, and plead and pray to her. And she would live forever.

Sometimes when she slept, she saw the time when she was ready to go behind the glass. She would see the knives and the needles. She would feel the flames as they pushed into her veins and she entered another kind of darkness. A darkness so terrible that it was all she could do not to die. Then she opened her eyes again and she was behind the glass and the people were there as the mothers said they would be.

She slept and saw these things again and again but every time she opened her eyes there was still just darkness. She thought that would never see anything else. But then there was something. Something moved in the darkness accompanied by a scraping noise. It went on and on until then there was light. Just a small pinprick at first but then there was more and more until the darkness crumbled away revealing a hole in the wall of the room that had been her prison.

Into this hole of light came two shadows, looming over the glass and they held up small lights of their own. She saw their faces, unlike any she had ever seen before and she rejoiced. The faces spoke, both quickly and at the same time to each other and not to her but about her. Then more faces appeared and more speech was made about her but not to her. The darkness crumbled away to reveal more faces. Not only faces but huge machines. And these new faces, and machines spoke not to her but about her.

Then the room moved. It dropped slightly below her then started moving past her and she realised that it wasn’t the room moving but the glass. It was she who was moving. Then something fell over the glass and it was dark again. She could still hear all the faces and the machines, but she saw only darkness. And she wept.

Then, the new darkness was lifted and she found herself in another room, full of light and all around her were hundreds of people. They were clapping and smiling, raising glasses in her direction. Some of them pointed boxes at her. Boxes with round glass in the middle that flashed blinding light at her so that she was soon seeing coloured circles. They filed past her one by one, peering closely, pressing there faces right up to the glass. Some even tapped it. Some of them even spoke to her but most spoke about her. She didn’t mind. This was better than what the mothers had promised her.

Then after they had filed past her, and drained their glasses which had been refilled several times, they left. The light was dimmed and a silence fall over her. She hoped the people would come again. All that time, alone in the darkness had been unbearable and she couldn’t suffer it again.

She was just drifting off to sleep again, just starting to dream of knives and needles and the mothers again, when something in the room moved. She opened her eyes and there was a new face in front of her. It was old, even older than the faces of those which had been children had grown to be. It was smiling and then it spoke to her and her only.

“My love,” it said. “The time has come. The Mothers said you would live forever and so you shall.”

Then old, frail hands opened the glass. She didn’t even know that it could open. The hands reached inside and she left the room. She never looked from behind the glass again.

Thanks for reading,

Tim

 

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Under Troll Hill – #WorldPoetryDay

As today is World Poetry Day, I thought that I would have a go at a poem. I haven’t really done any poetry since school so it is probably a bit rough around the edges but enjoy anyway!

Under Troll Hill the warriors came,                                                                                                            A wizard, a lord and a the lowliest knave.

To find ancient treasure was their noble quest,                                                                                Only five thousand trolls and one dragon to best.

The Lord gave his orders and stepped to the rear,                                                                             Whilst the knave drew their sword, waiting for trolls to appear.

The wizard he chanted and from his staff spurted flame,                                                             Turning to the trolls,  he bowed and took aim.

‘Leave us in peace’,  the Troll King was heard to declare,                                                              ‘Our Queen is lost and with her the treasure.’

The Lord laughed and mockingly said,                                                                                                ‘For all we care, your queen could be dead.’

The Troll King was angered and with venom replied,                                                                    ‘Filthy humans, it’s time that you died!’

At the once the troll armies rushed forth in rage,                                                                                   So began the greatest battle of our age.

The Wizard’s magic was powerful and strong,                                                                                   Lightning and flame felled trolls in throngs.

‘Knave, use your sword!’ The Lord cried in fear,                                                                               But this battle was too loud for the poor knave to hear.

‘Do not worry,’ the Wizard declared,                                                                                                   ‘For now, my Lord, nearly all Trolls are dead.’

The Wizard stood tall and spread his arm’s wide,                                                                                    To show how thanks to his magic,  nearly five thousand died.

The Lord raised his sword, declaring victory.                                                                                  ‘Knave, go forth, and bring the treasure to me!’

But before the Knave could go anywhere,                                                                                                 A terrifying sound filled up the air.

All at once, the sky filled with shadow,                                                                                                       As the dragon swooped in, long and low.

Flames spat from it nose, filling all with dread,                                                                              ‘Who are these creatures?’ The dread dragon said.

‘Traitors and Murderers,’ The Troll King declared,                                                                           ‘Thanks to these humans, my subjects are dead.’

The dragon roared and filled the air with fire,                                                                                  ‘For your crimes, the consequences are dire.’

The dragon raised its tail and in one second flat,                                                                             Decapitated the wizard, and swallowed his hat.

He moved to the lord, red eye’s aflame,                                                                                             ‘Wait,’ cried the Lord. ‘Why not punish the Knave?’

The dragon he sneered, and then he declared,                                                                                 ‘Knave, show this Lord why your life will be spared.’

The knave then stepped forward, their head hanging down.                                                      And pulled back her hood to reveal her crown.

‘I am the Troll Queen and now I return’,                                                                                            ‘And now for your crimes, you shall now burn.’

‘You see, cowardly Lord, there was never any treasure,’                                                              ‘Dear Dragon, kill him at your leisure.’

The Lord screamed as he was devoured by fire.                                                                                The Dragon blew and blew and the flames rose higher.

‘My Queen,’ The Troll King meekly said,                                                                                            ‘I’m so happy you’re back, but everyone’s dead.’

‘Fear not, Dear King, The Troll Queen replied,                                                                                      And a dazzling light filled up her eyes.

Then all of lightning popped and cracked,                                                                                            And with a few magic words, the Troll Hoard was back.

‘My Queen,’ said the Dragon. ‘I now leave you in peace,’                                                              ‘For on the bones of these interlopers I did happily feast.’

The Troll smiled and patted the Dragon’s head,                                                                                ‘My thanks, Dear Dragon, without you we’d all surely be dead.’

The Dragon jumped and soared into the sky,                                                                                    Flying on the chants of Trolls singing goodbye.

And now dear reader, our story does end,                                                                                        Thank you for reading and being a friend.

The Write Side of Life: Work in Progress Update – Chapter 2

Chapter two is done; handwritten and transcribed, first and second draft done!

homer

I’ve got to say this way of working, handwriting and then transcribing seems to really suit the way I work. I’m not really someone who uses outlines. I tend to write a general set of paragraphs that describe how I want the story to start and finish, and a vague of idea of what happens in the middle.  I am very much a ‘pantser’ and I like to see where the story is going as I write it in a similar way to how someone would read it for the first time.

plot

Therefore this method of writing allows me to slow down a touch and sort my thoughts out. I can reflect on what I’ve just written and think clearly about how the next chapter will progress and link up to the previous one.

Now, I know that you’re probably thinking at this stage, ‘Slow your roll, Kid. You’re only two chapters in‘ but I have to say, I’ve never felt this comfortable and confident going into my third chapter before so something must be working, right? right? Guys? Hellooooo……

We’ll see if this positive energy keeps up as the work continues so stay tuned. As for how chapter two went? Well, pretty good I think. There wasn’t many speed bumps which is something I was nervous about. There was a lot of exposition that needed to go into this chapter as one of the main characters is set on his mission but I think I got it all in there without any info-dumping, and ‘hopefully’ I’ve also managed to keep it compelling. Who knows? Maybe when I read it back for editing, I’ll feel differently but for now, all is good in the hood.

So, it’s onward and upwards to chapter three which I am currently in the thick of as we speak. This one may be trickier as I’m changing character focus for this chapter but we shall see. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s finished but until then…

porky

Thanks for reading,

Tim

p.s.

Did you notice a few piccies in this post? Hopefully it will make my ramblings a bit more interesting.

The Write Side of Life: Work In Progress Update – Chapter 1

So, in my last post which you can read here, I talked about how I was working on a new project. I thought that what might be cool is if I did a chapter by chapter update of my progress on this new project. It should give you an idea of my writing process and also, let you come my journey to, hopefully, becoming a fully published author with a novel on book shop shelves and everything!

I described what the new story is in the last post but if you’re thinking that’s TL;DR, then here it is again:

Star-blade (working title) tells the story of a crew of scavengers working aboard their ship, The Fury, scratching out a living by selling junk they find on wrecks of old starships. When they come across a mysterious old derelict that could finally be their big score, they unwittingly unleash an evil that spreads across the galaxy. Years, later in a bid to make amends, the crew of the Fury, undertake a mission to deliver a weapon that could destroy this evil force and end years of war. However, there are other parties that want the weapon, some for revenge, some to rule and they will stop at nothing to get it.

There you have it. I won’t be going too much into plot details in these updates other wise, you won’t ever read the finished thing and nobody likes spoilers!.

So, how have I gotten on? Pretty well actually. Another repeat from the last post is that I’m trying to write the first draft by hand. There’s a few reasons for this. The first is that I tend to write quicker this way. My typing skills aren’t amazing and I find I have to stop and think every now and again and then find my place on the keyboard again. With a pen, the work just tends to flow more. If I stop to think of a word or how a sentence or paragraph will progress, my pen stops right where it needs to be.

Secondly, I’m actually getting twice the work done. The approach that I’ve adopted is to transcribe each chapter into word, after I have finished writing it by hand and before I start writing the next chapter. When I do the transcription, I make revisions to what I’ve written by hand and  voila! My second draft is also being created. Lovely.

The other reason I’ve decided to hand write is so that I have something more tangible, than just typing onto a screen. Even if Star-blade never sees the light of publishing day, at least I will still have a physical book in one form or another. Also, in my day job, I work with computers all day so it’s nice to be producing something and not staring at a screen the whole time that I’m doing so.

Anyway, writing the first chapter seems to have gone pretty well. I actually finished transcribing it last week and I’m currently pressing on with Chapter 2. I’m really happy with how Chapter 1 looks as well. It sets up a few varied characters, and gets them into trouble straight away so you get a sense of the wringer they’ll be put through. Don’t worry, most of them will get a happy(ish) ending, possibly….

One thing I’ve noticed with this chapter is that it’s much longer than my story openings usually are. I’m not sure why that is. It could be down to the fact there are quite a few characters and I tried to give them all an equal voice. It might be that I’ve possibly over described some of the action but it’s no biggy as I intend to fix that in the next edit. For now though, it’s onward and upwards with Chapter 2. I’ll let you know how that went soon.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

The Write Side of Life: A New Project & A New Approach.

In my last post I talked briefly about a new story I was working on and how I was going to try and document how it goes, chapter by chapter. Well, here we go.

The new story that I’m working on is one that I’ve had floating around my head for years. It’s one that I always imagined writing as a novel and after trying it out as a short story, a previous attempt at a novel and even at one time a seriously misguided attempt at a graphic novel – don’t worry the pages of that monstrosity have long been destroyed – but finally after gaining some more experience of writing and life, I think that I’ve finally cracked how to make it work.

You see, I’ve always believed in the old adage that if you’re a writer, you should write the story you want to read, if you’re a film maker (which I’m not), then you should make the film you want to watch and so on and so fore. The problem is that there isn’t just one story that I want to read, they’re are hundreds; sci-fi ones, fantasy ones and action and adventure ones.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, when I was trying to work out what I was going to write next, I came across the story I mentioned before as well as some similar stories that were in various states of disrepair. Looking through various notes, outlines and drafts, I figured out that why not write all the stories I want to read. With some jiggery-pokery and intense head scratching, I fleshed out the main characters to make a crew who you will hopefully want to follow on an action packed adventure across a war-torn galaxy and develop a back story and legend that combines my favourite space opera and fantasy elements into hopefully an exciting universe for this crew to inhabit and it all started to come together as a coherent, workable plot.

Just as I was working on this outline, I came across this video:

In it fantasy author Jon Skovron shows how he writes his first drafts in fountain pen. I won’t go into his process here, watch the video it’s well worth it, but I can tell you it inspired me to try a new approach to my writing.

So, I went and got a shiny new Moleskine notepad and a left handed fountain pen (for your information it’s a Lamy Safari pen and it’s lovely to write with) and I got scribbling. I found this method, writing my first draft out in pen, is really working for me. I finished my first chapter last week and transcribed into it Word in a few hours, making corrections to the first draft as I went. By doing this chapter by chapter, I’ve found I’m simultaneously writing my first and second drafts, with corrections and ammendments thus making me work much quicker and completeinn one round of edits as I go, result!

So, the first chapter is done and I’ve started with the second. I’ll update you on that when it’s transcribed. I’ll also post a more detailed post about the first chapter later this week. In the meantime, here’s a short blurb on what the new story is:

Starblade (working title) tells the story of a crew of scavengers working aboard their ship, The Fury, scratching out a living by selling junk they find on wrecks of old starships. When they come across a mysterious old derelict that could finally be their big score, they unwittingly unleash an evil that spreads across the galaxy. Years, later in a bid to make amends, the crew of the Fury, undertake a mission to deliver a weapon that could destroy this evil force and end years of war. However, there are other parties that want the weapon, some for revenge, some to rule and they will stop at nothing to get it.

How does that sound? Like something you would want to read, let me know in the comments below or tweet or facebook me.

I look forward to hearing what you think. Also let me know how you approach new projects, be they writing, film making, art, anything.

Also be sure to check out the books of Jon Skovron. They’re pretty damn good.

Once again, thanks for reading!

Tim

 

The Write Side of Life: What’s in A Name?

So, when writing fiction, your characters are going to need names right? Of course they are, not only does it give you the single most essential piece info on who they are but they are also pretty damn useful for distinguishing who is doing what in your story.

With that mind and also thinking about the fact that you, dear reader and I both have names,  and that we call other people by their names; you would think it would be pretty damn easy to come up with some decent names for my characters, right?

WRONG!!!

You see, the big thing for me when thinking trying to come up with a character name (and I’m sure this is true for other authors out there) is that the name I craft have some meaning behind it. Sure, I could just buy the ‘ Penguin’s Big Book of Futuristic/ Fantastical Baby Names’ (BTW I’m pretty sure that ain’t a real book and I just made it up. Any prospective parents out there, don’t go trawling Amazon for it. Just pick ’em from Game of Thrones instead!) but then I would just be assigning my characters arbitrary names. Sure they may read well and roll off the tongue but, for me at least, a character name should be so much than that.

If done well a good character name can give so much more information about who that character is. You can use regional names to give a clue as to where your character is from, or their lineage; You can use historical names to again give the character some lineage but also as a clue to what type of person they are; Certain names carry very obvious meanings to them which you can use to speak volumes about your character. If you are writing particular kinds of Sci-fi and Fantasy you can go off the rails and make-up crazy sounding names that can, if done well, add to the world building of that story.

And this is where I tend to struggle. Einstein once defined stupidity as the act of repeating the same action over and over again but expecting different results each time. And that is what coming up with names can sometimes be like for me. As I predominately write Sci-fi and Fantasy stories, I do have the luxury of being able to make up completely new names but this is also where the problems arise. I, like Einstein’s stupid person,  come up with a name, think it’s great, write it down and immediately think ‘Man, that sucks’: Then lather, rinse, repeat until I’m ready to throw my computer out of the window.

Now, if your still reading, you may be wondering how I get any writing done. Well I do actually come up with names, eventually. Here’s how I do it:

Research

If I’m wanting to use an existing name, the first thing I do is Google it. I check out where the name originally came from and what meanings it has attached to it. This way I can make sure that it fits to how I want to portray that character and not contradict with who they are. It’s also a useful thing to do if you are using regional names. For example, you don’t want to assign a name to your Chinese character only to find out it’s a Japanese name.

Say It Loud

This may sound crazy but it’s true. I do this both with existing names and names that I’m making up. If the name sounds right when spoken, if it just rolls off the tongue, then the chances are it will look good written down too. Also, if the name sounds good it will be memorable, and everyone wants their characters to be memorable, don’t they?

Alliteration

Again, it may sound crazy but it is true. Try playing around with some alliteration when naming your characters. It can be a fun exercise and you might end up with something that stands out. Think of some the great characters Marvel have come up with who have alliterative names; Reed Richards, Victor Von Doom, Pepper Potts, Jessica Jones, Stephen Strange. I could go on but I won’t.

So there you have it, that’s why names are important to me and also how I come up with them.  The reason I have written this is because I’m currently banging my head against a wall trying to come up with a main character name for my current project. It may sound like a bit of a first world problem, and it probably is but hey we all need to vent.

If you’re having similar troubles, or have name suggestions that I can steal you think might inspire me, let me know in the comments below or through the usual social media gubbins.

Thanks for reading.

The Write Side of Life: The Whys, Whats, Wheres and Whens

Having checked out my site stats for this blog recently, it occurs to me that I might get a bigger readership if I actually post regularly.  So, in light of this rather obvious epiphany, I’m bringing back my ‘Write Side Of Life’ title. I set this up with a view to regularly talking about my writing process and maybe giving out some hints and tips along the way. Im going to attempt to do a post under this  title every week. It might not be the most amazing thing ever published to the net but hopefully you’ll find something interesting along the way.

To kick things off, I thought I’d talk about a few questions that everyone who writes will get asked at sometime in their life, be they a rank amateur such as myself or a bestselling novelist, adored the world over; why, where, when and what do you write?

Let’s tackle these in reverse order shall we? That means ‘When do I write? The simple answer is whenever I can. Not being a full time writer who does this as a day job, means that I have to fit my writing around my actual paying the bills job and my responsibilities at home. I write whenever I have some spare time; be that when at home with nothing to do, if I get to work early, lunch breaks and like this post is being written, on the train going to and from work. Which leads quite nicely into:

Where do I write? Basically, wherever I can. My laptop at home, my work computer and even my mobile phone, which is where this post is currently being composed (that’s my excuse if there any grammatical or spelling errors *winks*). I still go to good old pen and paper which I always carry with me so really, I guess the real to where do I write is everywhere.

So, now we know when and where I write, you’re probably now wondering What do I write?
As you’ve possibly already gathered, if you’re a regular here or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I mainly (attempt) to write Sci-fi and Fantasy stories. They are, for want of a better phrase, my bread and butter; my go to genres. And it isn’t just in my writing. They’re the main genre of the books I read, the films I watch and the t-shirts I wear. I do, however, try to not confine myself to these genres, as maybe obvious from the short stories already posted on this blog. I think for creativity’s sake that it is always good to step outside your comfort zone. For example, the writing competition I am currently working on an an entry for, is for crime thrillers. I ve never written one of these before so am relishing the challenge, although my entry does have an SF element to it but I believe its always good to bend genres if you can.

This brings us to probably the hardest of these questions to answer and that’s why I saved it until last: Why do I write? There’s probably about a million answers that I could give to this; over active imagination, boredom, dream job of being a full time author but really the simple, most straightforward and honest answer I can give is because I have to. It’s hard to explain but in my head ( and I guess this also ties into having an over active imagination) I feel like there is all these stories, or ideas for stories, all boiling away, bustling and fighting each other for space and sometimes it feels like if I don’t get these stories out they might actually drive me insane! I know, rhat probably sounds crazy too but I can’t really think of a better way to describe it. I’m sure other writers and creatives probably feel something similar but they could most likely express it more eloquently than I (I’m good with fiction but talking about myself is a mess).

So there you have it, the why, whats, whens and wheres of my writing life. It might not be the most insightful thing you read today but hopefully it was a little bit interesting and that you now know me a little better.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Special Delivery: Another Short Story from Ages Ago.

So I mentioned yesterday about the short stories I had dug out from a competition I had participated in a few years ago. Yesterday was one based on a suggested title, today’s one had to feature three suggested objects: a snowflake, a digital camera and an envelope. It’s since become part of a bigger story which I may or may not post here someday. Anyway, this is what I came up with:

Special Delivery

He just sat there; eyes closed, embracing the darkness and the silence. He slowly opened his eyes and checked his watch, two thirty am, and still nothing. His joints were aching and his back had stiffened up hours ago. The file of papers on his lap felt like a dead weight, his legs going numb underneath. He sighed, rotated his neck to try and loosen up, looked back down at the file and opened it up.

He had taken the photo three days previously. She was beautiful, a petite redhead with curves in all the right places. She had the kind of smile that instantly made you feel good, the genuine kind that comes from somewhere deep inside. A genuine smile that showed that here was somebody who really cared.

“What could’ve she have ever done to deserve this” He asked himself out loud. “What on earth, could a woman like that ever do to deserve someone like me, coming into her life?” 

He sighed again and picked up the digital camera from the passenger seat. The light from the LCD was harsh and intrusive in the dark cabin of his old car; it took a moment for his eyes to adjust. He scrolled through the other photo’s he had taken of her. He was intoxicated by her. The way she walked, the way she sat, even the way that she searched the corner of her lip for stray crumbs with the tip of her tongue when she ate a sandwich. He cursed out loud and threw the camera back on the seat.
Why him? Why this way? Sure he had done this kind of job, thousands of times to thousands of different people, but it was different this time. The rest of them, they had deserved it. They were the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth. Junkies, gangbangers or pimps, people nobody would miss.

This was different though. She wasn’t any of those things. She was just a nurse. She was in the business of helping people, not hurting them. But she had made one little mistake and now it was going to cost her everything.

Then there was the message. His employer was insistent that the first thing he did, when he met her, was give her that message. It was a really nasty one too. One that would make sure she knew why he was there and who had sent him. It wasn’t necessary, it was just there to hurt and it was going to hurt a lot. He was going to do it though. He had to; it was just too much money to pass up, wasn’t it? At that moment he was shook from his reverie by the sound of an approaching car. It was her. It was time.

As she got out of her car, he reached into the glove box and took out the package containing the message. He also took the revolver that was lying underneath it. He got out of the car and hurried across the street, reaching her just as she unlocked the door. He tapped her on the shoulder and said her name out loud for the first time.

“Alison” The word sounded cold and strange on his lips, it seemed to him like she turned round in slow motion. She looked up at him with a vague look of recognition in her eyes.
“This is for you” he said coldly and handed her the package.
Her hands shook as she took it from him. She already knows what it is he thought to himself and he had to stifle his heavy breath from becoming a gasp.

She opened the end of the package and shook the contents out into her other hand. As the small snowflake decoration fell into her palm she let out a gasp of her own, but it was a gasp of terror, not anticipation.
She slowly moved her head up to look at him again, as her eyes met his all she could see were his cold empty pupils staring back. And that’s when she started screaming.

There you go. As ever, let me know what you think through the usual channels. Thanks for reading.

Til next time…

The Write Side of Life: Happy New Year and I’m Baccckkk!!!

Some of you may remember that back in early 2014, I re-launched this blog and also launched my attempt at an on-line novel, Isis. If you follow me on twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably remember me spamming up the airwaves with this stuff. In March I then decided to take a break from writing the on-line novel for reasons such as work, wedding planning and writing for a couple of competitions taking priority of my time. There is a more detailed reasoning in an earlier blog.

 

I fully intended to come back and carry on Isis. In fact, in the time between then and now, I have written several more chapters. It has always been my intention to finish it, and I will. Unfortunately for those of you who were following it (I know that wasn’t many but thank you all the same), and also for myself, it seems that Isis is on indefinite hold. Let me try to explain why.

 

In-between last March and your reading of this, a few things have happened in the world, and in my life. The first would be that I got married. Planning a wedding, getting married, enjoying the party, enjoying the honeymoon and last but by no means least, enjoying being married takes up a lot of time; time that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy as much if I was feeling the pressure of having to make sure that I stuck to my, albeit self-imposed, deadlines. Also, in that time, I have ideas for other stories and other writing projects have reared their heads and I am very easily distracted.

 

Another thing that has happened to me personally in this time is, almost as a bi-product of working on Isis, that I have become more determined than ever to write a book for print publication. As with pretty much all aspiring authors, it is my lifelong dream to get an agent and get published. With that in mind, I have been handing most of my writing time to that particular project and aiming for 2015 to be the year that I least get a manuscript submitted.

 

As for what happened in the world, well unless you live under a rock, you’ll know all about the terrorist organisation called, dahn-dahn- daaannnnn, Isis. That’s right folks as I was writing about a terrorist attack by clones from a planet called (that’s right, you guessed it) Isis, a terrorist group called Isis were carrying out horrific attacks in the name of religion. As my story sees many of the attackers from Isis using the ‘R’ word, I felt there were just far too many parallels being drawn that I felt way to uncomfortable. So until the situation with IS is sorted, or I can figure out a way to change the story but remain true to my original idea, I feel it is best to draw a line under it for the meantime.

 

As I’ve said above however, that doesn’t mean I’m not writing and as we are in the new year, I felt this site needed a ‘re-re-launch’ and this is what this is. Part of my writerly New Year resolutions is to heavily build up this site into something of meaning and quality. So, in the coming year expect lots of short stories, writing tips and advice and hopefully an invite to read my debut novel (fingers crossed).

 

Whilst on the subject, if you have any New Year resolutions to do with writing, I’d love hear them.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Tim.

The Write Side of Life: Sorting Out Priorities

Welcome to my occasional feature, The Write Side of Life. From time to time, I’ll be using this column to talk about my writing, the progress I’m making with various ‘works in progress‘, lessons I’ve learned and writing tips I’ve picked up along the way that you may find useful for yourself.

For this first instalment I want to talk about priorities. When completing any type of writing, be it a novel, short story or some kind of essay or article, I adamantly believe that you need to sort out what’s most important to your writing. For some people that maybe the story and where it’s going. For others it might be sorting out which character needs most developing. It can vary from writer to writer.

For me, this week anyway, the priority that needed sorting has been which of my works in progress to be concentrating on. I currently have two ongoing projects. One is a novel that I am writing to submit to publishers and agents in the hopes of getting a book deal. The other has been Isis, the ongoing story I have been posting on this very site and then bugging you all about on Twitter and Facebook.

When I started writing Isis, I already had an outline of the story planned out and basic outlines for each chapter as well as detailed plans for each of the point of view characters and how they would fit into the narrative. The idea was to write and post a chapter every two weeks. The idea behind this was to give myself time to write the chapter, proofread it and then step away from it before giving it another couple edits and posting it. It also means that people have time to catch up on previous chapters.

As I am sadly not a full time writer, I do have a day job which takes up the majority of my week and means I only really get evenings and weekends to write. The fortnight gap between chapters not only meant that I could take time on each chapter but that I could also divide my precious writing time between Isis and the aforementioned novel. For the last few weeks this has been my system and it seemed to be working.

This week however, a rather large fly has dropped his arse, well and truly in the ointment. Now this isn’t your regular fly, the oily black, filth ridden, pox spreading kind that can ruin a jam sandwich in the blink of an eye, it’s actually an excitable bumbly cartoon fly who has arrived with news of a short story competition. The prize is publication in  one of my favourite magazines so I’d be a fool not to enter.

Nevertheless, this competition does put my system on the Fritz. Instead of being able to just split my time in half for each project, I now have to fit in a third and as my writing time is quite limited, it means I have to sort out my priorities.

Now, I know at this point, it probably looks like I’m whining about a first world problem but I assure you, dear reader, I’m not. I’mm not upset or distressed about having another writing project. I love writing that’s the point. I’m genuinely excited about the competition and really want to win. Not only because it’s one of my favourite magazines, but also because it will get my work out to a much larger audience. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?

So in light of the above, and with the deadline for the competition looming in April, I have decided to put Isis on hiatus for now. I know that there has only been a prologue and two chapters so far but I really want to concentrate on this competition and write the best entry I can. I also want to make sure that Isis becomes the best it can be so for now the priority will be the competition.

I’d love to know what kind of similar challenges, if any, to those I write about here that you face. So drop me a line in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.

‘Til next time…