Monthly Archives: November 2012

300 words of… The Weight of Reason

And here we are finally at my biggest project to date. This I submitted for my first competition in many years. It is a 12,000 word behemoth of a futuristic crime thriller set on an ocean city. Trant is a Private Detective sucked into some weird goings-on when somebody starts to pick off the city engineers.

I’m particularly proud of this effort, not just for size and not just because it is my largest and most intense piece, nor because I feel it meshes well for a genre I rarely read and had no interest in writing (crime), but because it is the first attempt I made at social commentary sci fi. Continue reading

300 words of… A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

A serial killer recounts his story to an Anglican Minister. He wants to confess why he did them and reveals that it was all part of a divine plan. The Minister has heard it all before but is this man a crazed killer or is he telling the truth?

A quick edit on this one because it is mostly dialogue. I designed it that way and I think it works quite well Continue reading

300 words of… Tartarus

The horror story that gave me so much pleasure to re-write last week now presented in a more horrifying and disturbing tone now unshackled by the rules of Elfwood. I made several changes to the story, not least of all between the relationships of the characters. Lucy, being the whiny one, only went on the trip because she has a crush on Ian… and that now gives her reason to be there in the first place when she is clearly hating it. I have toned her down so she is not quite so irritating.

I really wanted to go all out with this one, to make it a good old-fashioned ghost story with a science fiction flavour. Here is a spine chilling sample. Continue reading

300 words of… Dawn

This was the story that gave me such a headache editing it a few weeks ago. It is a short and simple tale about a medical procedure but I felt it was so written in a way that I found editing it quite difficult. I came close to scrapping what I already had and starting from scratch.

I think that would have been too much effort for little in the way of results. Still, anybody who has read the original will find that though the plot hasn’t changed, how it is written is significantly different. Work like this really serves to remind me how much I have improved as a writer. Continue reading

300 words of… Evil Begets Evil

Sister Marcella, poor young thing, is isolated within the convent. She has medical problems that means she cannot fulfill her duties as a nun with the rest of the community. What’s more, one of the senior women does not trust her and seems to have it in for her. Marcella though, is not all she appears to be.

Most of the changes on this one came toward the end where I fleshed out the attack on the covent. Due to Elfwood rules (the website it first appeared) stating that all fiction had to be for a family audience, I have now been able to make the final two sections far more shocking. The conversation between Isobel and Bernadine didn’t feel quite right so I’ve clarified a few issues too. Continue reading

Angel’s Mass edited

I knew it wouldn’t take me long but I didn’t expect to be done with it in just over an hour (most other stories have taken a few hours each day over the course of a few days). I knew I was happy with this because I spent so much time on it when I completed it two years ago. I made no changes to the actual story and only a handful of changes to the text. This was for flow; a couple of the sentences didn’t sound right and I change it so it read easier. There was some repetition and I took out sentences that I felt had just reiterated what I had already just said. This is now approximately 50-100 words shorter than the original edit, which is nothing.
Continue reading

300 words of… A New Age Exodus

This is a favourite of mine and for those of us who have a lust to see and do new things, we would feel deeply for Kirsten’s predicament. The only life she knows is the valley. She cares for her crippled father and young sister. All she wants is to get out of the valley and see the rest of the world – but the rest of the world is a parched wasteland. No matter, Kirsten wants to see it anyway. She believes that there is more beyond than destruction and she intends to find it… but what she finds horrifies her.

I’ve altered the character of Kirsten slightly. In the original version I felt she had come across as a little bit of a stroppy madam. Here, I have toned her down a bit and made her far more sympathetic.
Continue reading

300 words of… Herrenvolk 2

The sequel to the story from yesterday’s sample, it is set way after WWII. In the near future, the UN has uncovered the plans of the Herrenvolk project and have located the top secret lab and storage facility. They send in a small team to destroy it and any living samples they find.

The section below is one of the most radically changed parts of the story. I wasn’t happy with the first grand entrance. It was flat and a little soulless so I’ve tried to add a sense of awe to their first sight of these clones and the chambers that are keeping them alive.
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300 words of… Herrenvolk

I said I was considering doing this, and I’ve finally decided that it is a good idea. Over the next week or so I’m going to post a snippet from each of the stories going into my ebook. This will be the new edited version, not the original versions that appeared on Elfwood. I hope you enjoy reading the tantalising segments as much as I enjoyed editing and fine tuning the writing.

I won’t be putting snippets up of Angel’s Mass or The Weight of Reason as they can still be read in their entirety on Red Room (see links).

First up is Herrenvolk. Set in Nazi Germany, it is about a British spy who is being chased by the GESTAPO when a mysterious benefactor comes to his rescue. This one is especially different as I have lengthened the conversation in the car and enhanced the final scene. I feel it is now more atmospheric and more authentically WWII feeling. Continue reading

Library funding – here’s a good idea

Novelist Jeanette Winterson has called on the government to charge Amazon, Starbucks and Google unpaid tax in order to fund libraries.

I don’t tend to like getting all political on this blog, but the long economic downturn has made a lot of people question the role of large corporations in society and how much unfettered power they were given or permitted to take. Tax avoidance is just one of those political hot potatoes. Continue reading