Saturday, September 17, 2016

In A Strange New Room

Four years.  Four years since the last post on here, and, no, Bedlam isn't finished.  It's not that surprising, given the demands life makes of us, that some things will fall by the wayside.  The trick is not to lose them, to remember where they are and pick them up again later.

While Bedlam isn't finished, something else is:  Exercise One.

A collection of seven short ghost stories, some of which may be familiar to those of you who have been following my Scribd page.  Nothing was written especially for Exercise One, but everything was edited and "remastered" for publication.  As the title suggests, it's a technical test for self-publishing and there will be more to come later.

I'll also try and get back into the habit of posting here on a regular basis.  In the mean time, I'll probably try and clear up some of the old projects, too.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Losing Battles, Winning Wars

Well, I only got to sixty-six pages for Script Frenzy this year.  However, the project looks like it will be over one hundred and fifty pages of script in two volumes, at least.
But with over two thirds of this volume written, I am now committed to finishing Bedlam.  Which is just as well, because I’ve really enjoyed it.  Thinking much more visually and considering layout as a narrative tool has been really interesting.
I can slacken off somewhat now, reducing my aim to only a page a day for as long as it takes to get done.  Then it’s a matter of finding an artist.  I have a distinct idea of how I’d like Bedlam to look and, if I find an artist that is interested in the project and has the right style, I can trust the rest to them.
And start the next volume…

Right back at the beginning of April, I did a short interview with Chris Kelworth for his blog.  It’s worth noting that not only has Chris managed to make over two dozen blog posts, but he’s only a page away from “winning” this year, with hours to go.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Radius of Action

After having a fairly rotten cold for two weeks, I’ve not been able to get nearly the page count down I’ve wanted for ScriptFrenzy.

This means that I’m not going to “win” this year.

Which, by extension, means that I’m going out fighting.

I’m sixty-three pages into the script and the die has been cast.  I am going to finish this - most likely in the middle of May- and it has resolved itself into a much clearer project.

What I’m writing now is only going to be volume one of the Knights of Bedlam’s story.  And when that arc is resolved, there is the possibility of looking at what happens with the Knights down the ages.  And a character has appeared who has only so far been lurking in background of notes for other projects and they deserve their own story.

I have the luxury of setting my own deadlines, so nothing is lost on this project.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ice That Melts The Tips

Bedlam is really underway now.  By tomorrow night, I’ll be a third of the way through.  This bank holiday weekend has really placed me ahead of the curve.

There’s a lot that is not going in to this story now.  I’ve been able to maintain the feeling of an ensemble piece, but it’s really the story of one man.  I’m also beginning to wonder how much of what I’ve got planned will fit in one hundred pages.

This volume will probably end in the Holy Land and I’ll continue on with their journey across Europe in another story.  There are two fairly powerful enemies that they (so far) don’t know that they have who can provide the conflict for that.  And we know for a fact that at least one character is still around in modern times…

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Rational Quotient

The first working week of Script Frenzy is now over.  I’m one fifth of the way into the script and one quarter of the way through my allotted time.  This would bother me more if I didn’t have two whole Mondays allocated to the project later in the month.
As it currently stands, I’ve just played the inciting incident, introduced one (possibly two, depending on your point of view) of the antagonists and started fleshing out the characters.  There are two I want to do more work with, but they’re just about to reach prominence.
Now the story is to begin in earnest…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wasting another night on planning my revenge

Eight pages in, and almost one tenth of Bedlam has been written.

I wasn’t feeling especially confident last night as it opens with a big single page introducing the main character and a double page spread which introduces everyone else.  I think I got about three pages done.

However, tonight I hit the earmarked “five-a-day” I’ll need to complete the one hundred pages by the 30th of April.  And with two Bank Holidays and a day off work for my birthday, I’m much happier about being able to finish the whole thing in a month.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Going to Bedlam

After another long lapse, I’m back again.

The second draft of Teratogenesis is finished and I know how much writing and rebuilding I want to do on the third draft.  The short answer is: a lot.  I’m essentially allowing a year per draft at this point, considerably more than the 4 months of editing I first thought, but you keep going until it’s right and time is no longer a factor on this project.

But it is on Bedlam.

I’ve decided to try my hand at Script Frenzy this year.  Essentially, it’s NaNoWriMo but for 100 page scripts.  I’m aiming to get around 5 pages of script written per night, which is immensely optimistic, but this is aimed around only writing on “school nights.”  I can see there being huge weekend writing binges…

It’s actually going to be the script for a graphic novel (which, as a term, provokes a whole different debate) or web comic.  This end of things won’t even start until I’ve got a finished script, though, and may never will (if I can’t find the right artist at the right price).

Bedlam is the story of a knightly order sent to re-establish the Bishopric of Bethlehem in the wake of the Sixth Crusade.  History fans will note that they were not entirely successful.  It’s set in the same continuity as my other writing and will serve as something of a prequel to Teratogenesis and the Madison short stories.  There is a whole cosmology at work behind these which I hardly ever get to use, so Bedlam is an excuse to showcase some of this.

If you want to follow me on Script Frenzy, my profile is here.  Expect a few more blog updates as I suddenly become eager to distract myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It has taken three hundred and seventy-eight days, but I've just completed the second draft of Teratogenesis.

This means I've now got to fill in the missing sections and write the framing story...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grains of sand, falling


Well, it’s Christmas Eve again and, despite the late start, I’m still aiming to get a short ghost story written before midnight.

If you followed this last year, it’s the same deal.  I’ll be drawing Tarot cards and pinning them onto a simple story structure.  It sounds easy…


Card One:  The Knight of Wands (reversed)

This is a fiery and impetuous card, representing a lot of activity but also unreliability.

Of the 36 Dramatic Situations, I’ve paired this to number 30:  Ambition.  This means I’ll have to now select an ambitious protagonist, an object that is to be desired and an antagonist.  This is one of the oldest stories ever told, from Jason and the Argonauts to the “go here, get this” quests that fill computer games.  However, it’s rarely that simple…



Card Two:  The Page of Wands (Reversed)

Another energetic and pro-active card, this represents an effervescent youngster and a surge of activity.  The fire of the wands is also indicative of a selfish charm and ruthlessness of ambition.  A good card for the protagonist of this situation!  However, reversed, it signals hyperactivity and a breakdown in communication.

I’m questioning which perspective to tell the story from now.  I want this card to belong to the ghost and to have them be looking for something, but I also want to keep it in a traditional third person limited, “haunted hero” point of view.

Let’s see what the other cards say…



Card Three:  The Queen of Wands.

Considering that I’ve shuffled this deck of cards twice and it’s remained untouched since last year (when it was shuffled again), it is statistically improbable to draw three of the four court cards for the same suit.  In order.

Like the other two Wand cards, this is an active and self-centred card.  In this case, though, there is a practicality and nurturing element.  But it is the security of wealth and the drive to sustain prosperity, rather than an unconditional love.

From this I’ve decided that the coveted item will be an heirloom of the protagonist’s mother that carries as even more emotional worth than it does financial value.


Card Four:  The Six of Pentacles

Thankfully not the King of Wands, which would’ve left the story somewhat flat.

The Six of Pentacles is yet another covetous card.  Which makes it excellent for our antagonist.  It is an earth card, though, which means that they are interested in our heirloom for its financial value.  It also represents the beginnings of harmony and acting as a benefactor, so the antagonist will eventually soften to the ghost’s goals and become an ally in the resolution of the story.  This is further backed up by the fact that the card is reversed, indicating a lose.


After lunch and an unexpected trip to the shop, the writing begins…


Four hundred and forty two words and I’m still in the first act.  Less than eight and a half hours to go.  Not looking optimistic.


First thousand words done.  So far I’ve been writing with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s soundtracks to The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in the background.  Great music to keep you in a specific place without intruding into your own work.  Apart from the cover of Immigrant Song which is just epic.


First sighting of the ghost comes in at around one and a half thousand words.  I reckon I’m about a third of the way in so far.


Two thousand words in and the second act as begun.  I think it’s time to start ramping up the tension now that the “protagonist” is alone in a haunted house….


Tea has taken far long than expected.  10pm finish not looking so optimistic.  Why, oh why do I give myself these deadlines?


Although I’m about to reach the beginning of the end of the second act, a ten pm finish is still looking unlikely.  We need a lot more of our Page of Wands.

Incidentally, because I’m running out of time, her appearance will be based on an actress.  If anyone can guess who it is, I’ll dedicate the story to you.  Like me, you have until midnight.

Just realised, I’m the only one who can see this so far (maybe a plan for next year?)  So that’s Midnight Monday 26th December, and I’ll update the Scribd copy.


It’s going to be a race against the sand this year.  I’ve just turned into the third act and while midnight still looks possible, getting it formatted and up on Scribd might be a bit optimistic.



I’ve fallen at the final hurdle.  Or rather sentence.  Just as the church bells started to ring, I was in the second to last line.  I’ll finish it up, go to bed and post it some time tomorrow.

Massive disappointment and the lesson learned is:  Christmas is about family, but for one day of the year, could you please leave me alone to write?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let Us Go In...

For once, I've managed to deliver.

Here is 'The Fog Is Rising,' a ghost story for Halloween.  Halloween doesn't actually feature, but it is pretty scary.

The Fog is Rising

I asked for suggestions and I damn near used them all.  I think there was only Owen Wilson and The Sixth Sense that didn't make the cut.

Over the last two weeks, I've got into a nice routine of writing which I intend to stick to and not only are the ideas coming in thick and fast, but they are taking shape as something useful.  I'm also making good progress on the Teratogenesis edit which looks like it will take an even twelve months to finish.

Next year is beginning to look quite macabre, too:  This story may be first in a series based on a common theme, I intend to finish a serial I started several years ago and I might even dust off something I set aside as too dark, something beginning with S...