Tag Archives: creative writing

1st draft vs 2nd draft

I would like to know as a reader which of the two opening paragraphs below makes you want to read more?

1.            The explosion could be heard for miles and the scent of smoke from the fading buildings tainted the air for days afterwards.  Maud, a nine year old little girl was found in the nearby cemetery, huddled by the cemetery wall shortly after it happened, she was discovered to be the daughter of the local priest, Father O’Hara and his wife Mildred O’Hara, they were killed in the blast and half the church had gone too. 

2.            Smoke and dust filled the air and sirens deafened all around.  Her eyes filled with tears as she saw her home being bombed by the unknown attackers of her city; a little girl no younger than nine was holding onto her ears with her eyes closed crouching by a tombstone in the local cemetery nearby.  It was an awful sight; it was an awful noise, much more awful for a little girl like Maud.  After a while somebody found her crouching there all alone.  They asked her name, they asked where she lived but all she could do was cry and point at the pile of smoking rubble that was her home.

This is based on the novel I was writing for NaNoWriMo, the first paragraph is the absolute first draft of this story, and the second paragraph is the revised second draft.

Would you keep either of the paragraphs or revise again?

A little information here, I never completed NaNoWriMo or this novel, the story is on hold until after Christmas.  I managed to write approximately 37,000 words towards this and I didn’t consider it to be a half way point. 

 

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Spectral Vampire

I tiptoed through the shadows, stalking him and he didn’t know I was there. Light-footed, my steps traced the line of his footsteps down the darkened pathway towards the car-park; gently I called to him, nothing more than a whisper in the breeze of the night and he turned towards me, he didn’t see me at first, but then, just like a cat, I stealthily approached him and made my excuses to ask for directions to keep his guard down.
He came to me and leaned towards me, nodding at the map in my hands and pointing helpfully, but all I was interested in was clenching my thirst and hunger and grabbing at him around his neck and pulling him close to me. After I was sure he was in my grasp I did so and dropping the map that was in my hands I bit into his neck for the warm sweet juices that flowed within. I barely drank away half of his life until we were disturbed by something brash, violent and fast, coming out from the car-park at us with beams of painful light. The old jeep of my enemy Neil Porter swerved up behind my victim and ran out towards me, I instantly tried to flee the scene but he had a new weapon, something I wasn’t aware he had – a crossbow and it hit into me through the back and into my heart and before I knew it I was standing next to my broken shell, seeing it bleeding to death alongside my victim and my enemy cleaning up both the mess he made and the mess I made.
I was confused at first; watching him packing the bodies away into the back of his jeep, washing the blood on the car-park floor and praying for our souls.
I don’t know where I went after that, I don’t know if spirits sleep, I just went and came back again, nothing filling the gaps; this went on for a long time, each time I would arrive at the scene I last left, each time I would arrive as hungry as the night before and each time I would vanish into the ether of the unknown again and again and again.
I would like to tell you about the first night that I came back.
I came back to the car-park, confused at the new night, wondering where I went and how I got here again. Why here? That question never got answered. I walked through the car-park and across the pedestrian crossing and into the park, I sat on a bench for a while, collecting my thoughts. A few people walked passed me, but no one seemed to be able to see me, someone nearly sat on me that’s how I know. When this happened I felt a deep loss, a sense I had lost my self somehow, I knew I wasn’t whole anymore, I saw that yesterday, but I had hoped that death would have been kinder to me somehow.
My hunger grew to an unbearable level, standing up from the bench I walked further into the park and had hoped to go through to the gates at the other end of the park that lead me to the town’s most night friendly amenities, but I was stopped by some peculiar young girl, twenty something, sniffing the air, smiling and dancing like she was chasing butterflies and coming straight towards me. Right into the jaws of death, so it seemed.
Confused I watched her with both bafflement and caution as she laughed and spoke out loud to herself “Oh the lovely smell” and reaching up into the air trying to catch something invisible even to me! The hunger in me made me retch; I tried to ignore it, because I was dead right? Dead people don’t need to eat do they? So why have I got this hunger? Is this my eternal punishment? Am I in Hell? But the pain got too much; I took a chance that perhaps I can still feed in my spectral form? So, as her head was stretched up looking high around her I put my arm around her waist and lunged into her throat but I couldn’t feed on her blood, her body writhed in agony in my grasp, screaming, but her blood wasn’t soothing my hunger. I held her whilst she screamed, cried and bleed to death. Then I knew, I saw her life leave her and as I sniffed for her suffering, I breathed a little of her into myself and my hunger lessened. Her spirit was too fast for me to catch once I realised what it was that I now needed. How beautiful the feeling of peace was, when I breathed in her soul.
Shortly after a man came into the park and saw the girl lying in a pool of blood, he ran to her to see if she was OK and tried to raise an alarm, but I went to him and my scent side-tracked him from his alarm call as he stopped in mid-sentence and started to sniff the air dreamily around himself. I placed my hand over his nose and mouth and whispered comforting things to him whilst I suffocated him to death. He didn’t see me, he only felt and heard me. He died within minutes of oxygen deprivation and I kissed his life out of him and felt in paradise.
That’s when I knew that vampires don’t find peace. That’s when I knew that being a vampire I am truly eternal and that’s when I knew that nothing can be explained simply.

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Vlad Dracula III

Since the 2nd January I have been slowly reading a history book with a fine comb called “Dracula, Prince of many faces; his life and his times”. I am reading this because I have never sat down at length and read an autobiography of the real legendary hero of Romania outside of short documentaries, articles and mentions in other history books.
So, because a lot of the things I knew about Vlad Dracula before I read this book seem to come from so many other sources, I feel that they are perhaps more accurate than this book. I know you probably think I am wrong to state that because the person who wrote the book was a historian, though I dispute it nonetheless; on the ground that according to my research the Florescu family were well known to be enemies of the Dracula’s and this book was no less written by Radu Florescu, possibly a descendant from those enemies.
I found the historian to be a sympathiser of the Turks and the Ottoman empire despite his apparent heritage; he also doesn’t view Dracula in the same light as other historians and other sources that I have read and he seems to have altered certain facts of major events within his life to make Dracula come across as an unstable tyrant who was unpopular from the start; quite the contrary to the fact. OK, I grant you it is tyrannical to go around killing people in the manner that he did, but by and large he is a much loved hero in Romanian culture, not something a lot of tyrants can proclaim.
So, it makes me wonder, if a lot of Romanians hold Dracula up in a favourable light, whether or not Dracula was as bad as this historian claims he was?
Obviously taking his executions into account they were evil and sadistic, but then again the same could be said for a lot of other cultures in the world at those times. He especially learned his techniques in every manner from the decade or so he was held prisoner and educated by the Turks themselves, so, he is as he was nurtured and the Turks certainly did nurture him ultimately for their own gain. They wanted money, horses, food and a certain amount of young boys integrated into the Ottoman empire to form part of their expanding armies as a sort of security against any Wallachian response and allowed Dracula to govern Wallachia for them, something of which didn’t last long once Vlad Dracula established himself back on his home soil; Dracula rightfully denied the payment and tried to juggle diplomacy between the Turks and the Hungarians for a long time, though eventually it was decided that the Turks were taking too much advantage of their supposed alliance and Dracula dealt with them promptly and harshly as would any other good ruler of the times.
The attack on German immigrants however, is a new thing that I’ve learned about him from this book. Because it is the first I have heard of these events, I cannot dispute it as a legitimate fact.
Many of the things I have learned about Vlad Dracula have made me feel in awe of his cleverness in these very tricky treaties and wars. He was very canny and wasn’t easily duped.
His reactions against the Turks taking possession of his land was by poisoning everything valuable such as wells and damaging his own crops and livestock; he also built dams to mire the edges of the Danube to protect his people from the canon fire from the Turks and then ensuring that his own people moved to safer places away from the invaders leading up to the famous “night of attack” was a very admirable feat, and showed how benevolent he was towards his people despite claims from German sources; He was also incredibly lucky, as six years before this event he was in a war where only 8000 Romanian peasants armed with only pitchforks and scythes, ousted 24000 Turkish professional troops, how he mustered that I have no idea, but to me it shows me how great he actually was, I am very taken by the history of this great and unappreciated man!
I am not taking for granted that things within this book are fact – due to the other sources I’ve learned from. I cannot vouch for whom or where those other sources came from, but I do know one of them was about the legend of Dracula in both media, fiction and fact in one of Jonathan Ross’s specials where a baroness spoke of how great a hero Vlad Dracula actually was and how rightfully offended she was of various inaccuracies and the fact that this great man was turned into a successful horror story.
Some of the events in Draculas life seems more altered in this book than from the other sources too, for example, the incident where he killed a man’s wife and replaced her – from other sources it was said that she didn’t iron his clothes properly and that he was a soldier in Dracula’s army, this book claims he was a normal peasant and his wife got the length of the shirt wrong – so there are some questions about who is right or not.
I have no formal qualifications in anything of which I am saying, but I have read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries over the years about this great prince; I am also an amateur genealogist. I like reading books about wars and royal classes from the 11th to the 17th century and all over the world not just limited to Europe. I read and study these independently to assist me to write such things accurately in any fiction I write, I write a lot containing feudalism generally in many of my fantasy works.
I also educate myself on all kinds of superstitions around the world and so-called heathen beliefs, to again, make my worlds seem more real. I have studied the social sciences to help me further, though I gave up my undergraduate qualification when I found my illness and having a toddler very difficult to juggle with university studies.
By and large I try hard to learn about all things cultural and I think if you are making worlds that aren’t based on Earth or are based on an earlier time on Earth, you need to do the same thing too, otherwise everything will seem unreal to the reader.

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Cold Sands (introduction)

Windy, grey and cold was the weather that day, the cold wet sand beneath Rebecca’s bare feet felt oddly comforting to her. Trying to warm herself in vain with folded arms rubbing her shoulders, standing in nothing but a renaissance style under-dress, she watched the horizon intently as though focusing on something approaching, but there was nothing and nor was she really expecting there to be.
She could hear them coming behind her – her family and her maidservant, calling out to her to get inside and put some clothes on, as she might catch her death of cold; but she looked on and the nearer they got, the further towards the sea she walked as though hypnotized by some demonic siren.
Intrigued to find out what happens next? Like this post and if I get 10 likes by the 20th November I will make a story for you.
Thank you, enjoy!

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I wonder why the hate dies

I fell into the pit of lies

I was too naïve to see through your clever guise

Though I trusted you then, before my major fall, I know what you really want from me

The person you think a fool

But now I’m wise to your vicious game and I shan’t treat you quite the same

Because I will not fall again, and really you know why

Verily that’s why I sigh, at your vain attempts to lead me on again, your attempts have been nine or ten and then you finally give up and leave and I cry

But I often wonder why?

I am released from your endless lies, the relief is abundant, but I –

struggle to realise now you’re gone even though you did me wrong, the hate for you dies

And I often wonder why?

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Tornado Mind

My life is like a tornado

It’s been turned upside down, inside out and it’s spinning round and round

Like my mind, it’s unstable, insecure and unsound

Nothing can quite help it – nothing can calm it down

I’m just whizzing around doing nothing, someone make it stop, and someone hold me down

I skip from this to that, my mind’s just going to rot

I skit from thing to thing and most things I’ve forgot

I dance from one thought to the next; I’m trying to catch my thoughts with broken nets

But get this – I can’t slow it down, most things I’ve forgotten before I can write them down

My thoughts move too fast for me, it’s like they’re scared of me, they flee

And I just sit wondering… what the fuck just happened to me?

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The Wolf’s Rose

The night is chilled and the air is icy

Winter nips at your cheeks and nose

Wandering far into the forest, you are lost my little Rose

Simplicity doesn’t exist where complexity plays

A daring youth like you amaze me in all ways

Hark! Hear the sound of the midnight wolves

Playing a melody to attract lost fools

You follow their tune, blissfully ignorant of the dangers they bestow

And onwards you follow, and onwards you go

Through the nocturnal world you flounder

From tree to tree you flow

Further into the orchestra, into something you don’t know

Into the jaws of hunger

Into the mists of time

Into the raging beasts that are ready to dine

And now you’re here, cold in my arms

A little Rose you’ve been

And I have plucked you from the world and you’ll never again be seen

Not by mortal eyes no how and you’ll stay forever with me

No mortal shall hear your cries when you beg me for release

And now you’ve joined the shadow world

A place that’s made from fear

And you will sup upon mortal babes and breed with me more fear

And nothing shall stop your pain, when you can’t kill anymore

You’ll always give into the hunger and eat their flesh that’s raw

And I’ll be here for you always

My precious little one

To remind you of who it was, that hid you from the sun

Oh my little Rose, look at what you’ve become!

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Mummy, you’re not a salad!

Listening to children can inspire more writing as they say the funniest and strangest things.

My son Henry is only five years old, yet he inspires me every time he talks to me. Yesterday I was having trouble getting Henry out of my bedroom in the morning whilst I got myself dressed, I chucked him out of my bedroom no less than six times, before he started to initiate a game with me; the game – he was Mr. Wolf and I was Miss Piggy and he was going to blow the bedroom door down and eat me up. I told Henry “It’s too early and I am not dressed yet”, to which he replied – “Mummy you’re not a salad, wolves don’t eat salad they eat little piggy’s”, which I must admit took me aback.

So always take advantage of communicating with children whenever you can, because they will inspire you, particularly for comedy and fantasy.

 

 

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2.5 hours sleep

Having only 2.5 hours sleep last night, I am quite surprised at how my brain is on top form this morning; something that’s been a struggle for over eighteen months now.   I scored 821 points in online scrabble and I’ve written over one thousand words before noon that’s going to be published on my blog, this is a record for me as I tend to linger over one thousand words in a whole day that’s usually utter rubbish and will never be published anywhere.

The post I wrote for my blog will be published on the 8th August so keep an eye out for it as there is something in this post that will be the main theme for that day.

That is…

As a writer I procrastinate profusely because I am overloaded with more ideas that actually knuckling down to work. I get an average of two novel or short story ideas a day and I have over seven large files containing just ideas, some of these ideas have been with me since I was ten years old and they are so vast (as in an epic series) that I can’t actually believe that anyone would actually want to publish all that drivel without severely abridging my work (insert pained expression here).

One of the main reasons why I have been afraid of professional success has been that an editor will come along and say to me; “cut this out and this and this and this” and I will be standing there agape and aghast that they dare think that they are gods of my worlds! Demons of apocalypse, back away from my creations you heinous, cruel, heartless reapers of my poor innocent imaginary friends, BACK AWAY NOW! (Holds up baseball bat in defence of my many worlds). Oh, OK, maybe I can kill a few darlings as Stephen King would suggest in his book “On Writing”, but it will be painful and they will be mourned by no one else except for me. Damn being a writer is depressing.

Anyway, focusing back onto this subject – I’ve tried to force myself to concentrate on one main story for the last few years and you know what? I don’t think my brain can work that way. I think I need to have many stories on the go at once, I know when I used to be like that I was more productive as a whole and I was told by a college lecturer (of GCSE English Literature) that if I want to be a writer I should focus on one story at a time or else I will become confused and so will my readers. Actually thinking back I think this is bullshit because as a writer I do more than just write my work, I actually read my own work too and edit to the best of my ability – so what utter tosh.

Since 2002 I’ve been working on a fantasy comedy based around some drunk leprechauns, I have the beginning, middle and end, but I have got bored with it seven chapters on because of computer faults deleting most of it with corrupt files etc., after four occasions where this happens and you have no hard copies you get a little disheartened with the story and start to wonder if the story is bad luck, don’t you? Well I do.

Anyway, between writing the leprechaun comedy, I’ve been writing snippets for an epic vampire series – something I’ve been working on since I was ten years old, god I love vampires.

The vampire stories will never be neglected, they are always added to at least once a week, even if it’s just a sentence, they will never be forgotten, because to me, they are my family and I will defend these stories the most if I ever feel brave enough to trust them with a publisher.

Over the years, before I started to concentrate on just one or two, I had started two dystopian stories, a comedy about a female wrestler, a comic about a cat, a comic about a sex crazed astronaut nun, a comic about dominant women invading a planet for mates, a crazy millionaire woman who kills herself after committing murder, a novel about a plague survivor, cowboy vampires, and a console addict sucked into a computer world – to name but a few.

Some of those ideas I gave up because I found similar books or movies during the writing of them by accident and was concerned of plagiarism, but having original ideas is difficult – so therefore I may start some of them up again and do them anyway soon.

No matter what genre I write, I don’t think I can help but have some humour in my stories – I would not be at all surprised if I eventually get coined as a crossover author for horror, fantasy and comedy.

I am starting a horror novel today, based on the advice of my husband and the fact that I am enthusiastic about it and it’s fresh in my mind – so, here I go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Punctuation and grammar pedants

I have not socialised with other writer’s offline and not too much with them online either; the reason for this is unclear, I do try hard to socialise particularly in the Facebook writer’s clubs but they seldom reply to me direct unless offering criticism to my lack of punctuation or grammar.

I have often reminded members of these clubs that I have had very little education, due to being home-schooled and I have never gone into higher education and that most of what I know is self-taught; it is for these reasons that I lack confidence in creative writing, particularly when it comes to publishing anything on my blog. I have been told by many people that publishing things on my blog can be detrimental to my future of becoming a published writer because blogs are often considered too personalised and once published in an online media, it is considered published anyway.

When I have been active on these groups, I have never actively criticised another person’s work unless to praise their efforts, I seldom post any of my own work because of fear of plagiarism and it being noted as being published online. Perhaps this is the reason behind having so few writing friends?

Because the majority of those who talk to me about my writing concentrate a lot on my grammar and punctuation, I have become self-conscious of my writing, enough to start reading books such as “Eats, shoots and leaves” by Lynne Truss, “Improve your punctuation and grammar” by Marion Field and to try online punctuation and grammar games. I have been so affected by the criticism of the polishing of my work that I have even considered spending out more than I can afford for software called Grammarly, which I may have to put on hold for a while.

Despite trying to educate myself more on writing professionally I really don’t think it’s sinking in. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about it because if I was to approach a publisher they’ll have editors to help me in this matter, but for some reason or another it is a big issue for people within the writing communities online.

A friend of mine (who is a lecturer for Leeds University) feels that there isn’t too much of a problem with my punctuation, though some of it does need brushing up – but they feel that my critics are pedantic beyond need, as writers groups are generally there for socialising and for fun, not shooting down other members lack of abilities.

My blog may become quieter for a short phase because I am trying to brush up on these inconsistencies.

 

 

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