Progress!

…of sorts.

To be fair, I am making progress with my little ol’ story. I may have only just started chapter two, but that’s not due to a lack of material to work with. I know what I’m writing, so there are no worries of me tearing out the pages of my notebook one by one and burning them because of hitting a hard brick wall. I just have priorities… Had priorities. With my exams dead and behind me I don’t have to deal with that BS anymore. Well, at least slow progress was progress nonetheless.

Now that I really have no excuse not to write, I’m hoping the tiny diligent part of my brain will kick some sense into the much larger slacking off part, and we’ll get some writing done. Since I’m using a notebook and pen this time around it’d be much more difficult for me to try and edit as I go along. I find being old fashioned with a pen and paper far more productive, probably because I don’t have to deal with the unreliable scrap that is my laptop. That said, editing is going to be a bitch, rewriting is going to be a bitch, and I imagine I’m going to be spending far more than I’d like on ink. But other than productivity,  I just find it so much more satisfying actually physically writing.

Assuming all my time in the next few months stays free, draft one of book one is without a doubt going to be finished. That really shouldn’t be that much of an accomplishment, but considering my productivity as of late I’ll take it.

Until I finally accomplish that… Although, considering that will probably be a couple of months…

Laurence out.

Inspiration and Influence…tion

As a writer… of sorts, I feel kind of weird having no authors that actually inspire me to, or influence what I write. I mean, sure, somewhere in the far recesses of my mind there are probably a couple of authors who inspired me to start writing, but as for now, I can’t think of a single author who influences my writing in any way.

Guess what this post is going to be about guys… assuming you somehow skipped the title.

So, I’m an aspiring author without any authors who actually inspire me to write. At least, not that I know of. But surely everyone must have something that inspires them to do whatever it is that they do, right? Surely even the most independent of people are influenced in even the most minor of ways, right? Right. And as exceptional as I am, I am no exception.

Music. Well, since I can’t imagine how dull my life would be without music it’s no surprise that it has a very big influence on what I write. So much so that it really is kind of an issue. I can hardly listen to music without my brain trying to work out what kind of situation I can write into my story that would suit the track. It becomes a real fight just to keep my story on topic and not just a mess of randomness. Some of you might say I should just let it be whatever it wants to be, but there is a difference between letting a story be what it wants to be and letting a story go completely off the rails. It does also influence the type of characters I write. One such instance is a particular song by Garbage making me change a previously cis-female into a transsexual female… I’ve realised I have a lot of characters somewhere on the LGBT+ spectrum, so this probably isn’t a story for those uncomfortable with that. But yes… music… very important, yet problematic, influence in what I write.

That little unknown industry that originated in Japan known as anime. Yep. I’m an anime nerd. I mean my WIP is filled with so many tropes evident in anime that it would be pretty obvious to anyone who knew enough about it. So, anime. Those Japanese animations most people misinterpret as childish Japanese cartoons. Bet you didn’t expect this to be inspirational and influential to me, huh? Well, other than what has practically become the poster children for anime in the western world, the standard DBZ and Pokemon, I don’t watch much kids anime. You can get intense drama that I’d consider miles better than most soap operas, romance that can be really touching, comedies that I much prefer to many sitcoms, thrillers and mysteries, action and adventure, anime focused solely on music. Anime, to me, is a factory of inspiration and influential material, because there is just so much, I feel, that I can learn and take from it… Putting aside the fact that there are a lot of tropes I would do well to steer clear of.

Games. It goes without saying that I don’t mean games like Flappy Bird or Doodle Jump (although if someone managed to make a decent novel out of those I’d be pretty impressed). I mean games like Metal Gear Solid with rich, engaging stories and some character development. A little closer to home due to the… well… concept of my series, are games like Infamous or Injustice, with actual superpowered people in morally questionable situations, and they also have some pretty good plots.

Now, movies… namely, superhero movies. While there are quite a few good superhero movies out there that I take some pointers from, there are far more God awful ones that inspire me to attempt to do a much better job at writing villains. I realise how arrogant that sounds but that’s just how it is with me. What it usually comes down to is incredibly stupid or incompetent villains or highly convenient plot devices that allow the hero to escape. You could say that’s part of the reason why my main characters, as well as practically all the rest of them, are villains; I get that the point is to show that the good guys always win but I can’t accept that when the way in which they win is just so convoluted. Villains’ motivations or plans are also an issue in many instances. One of the reasons The Joker from The Dark Knight was miles better than Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (in my opinion) is because The Joker was just a madman who wanted to see society break itself down; a refreshing break from the standard “I’m pissed at the hero so to get my revenge I’m going to blow up everything! Mwahahaha!” Alright… I’ll hold back my feelings on the villains in all three of the most recent Batman movies.

I guess taking this into account I could add some books into my inspirations and influences. I’ve read many a book with incompetent villains that just brought down the overall quality of the book for me. You could say, then, that all poor villains in most forms of media inspire me to write villains with some actual competence and multidimensional motivations.

Going along the same lines I guess we could effectively ignore the first couple of paragraphs (gotta love unplanned posts) and I could say that some authors do actually inspire me to write… There are definitely quite a few authors I have in mind who I can’t even begin to fathom on how they became published, let alone bestsellers. I’m positive I’m not the only one who sometimes thinks like this. After all, without being too insulting, with some of the crap that’s out there, one would think that with just a little effort they could write something of equally low quality and become a worldwide bestseller, too. That… wasn’t too insulting, I don’t think. In all seriousness, though, while publishing isn’t even on my radar for the near future, arguably terrible authors still inspire me to write, if for no other reason than simply because if they can become published with their… novels of questionable quality, then I can at the very least write one completely from first draft to final draft. I would mention names, but… no.

That’s that, then. These are my inspirations and influences. Basically, in almost everything I do it all comes back to how I can implement it in my stories. Some may call that obsessive… Right they are.

I’ll probably update you all on the not at exciting and thrilling news of how my writing is coming along, soon. Because who doesn’t want to know, right?

Right.

Until then.

Laurence out.

And So It Begins…

Well, I’ve finally finished my plan. Now I can write something new for the first time since the start of November… Only, when I say I “finished” it…

Basically, my outline is all over the place; at some points it’s pedantically detailed and at others it’s laughably bare. But you know what? Quite frankly, at this point, I just do not care. I’ve spent so long on this plan (so much so, that I should really actually have a more detailed outline) that I just want to write. I’m sure I’m capable of improvising when it comes to it. After all, originally I used to improvise stories like mad. In my first NaNoWriMo I hit a wall, skipped ahead and continued on, having more or less killed of everyone from the first half, bar my time travelling main character, who went back to her own time… So, I think my series is in good hands.

There’s really not much else I can think to say, and to be honest, instead of thinking of some way to make this post longer and not awful, I’d rather go write for the first time in over five months.

So, till my next short, quality update,

Laurence out.

Syndicate – Chapter One

(Blogging… Effort… Lack thereof… So, here’s chapter one of Syndicate, the previous, abandoned version of my current WIP. Strong language follows, so…)

Chapter One: The Catalyst

Erin woke up. That wasn’t the problem. She woke up abruptly, from a sound dreamless sleep of complete, glorious blackness, to completely wired. In bed with her, Khloe’s blinding yellow eyes flew open, staring into Erin’s grey. But, the couple shared the same expression of tired annoyance, with their eyes half closed and their brows pulled down.

“Do you want to kill him, or shall I?” Khloe asked. The little clock on their bedside table read five-thirty-two. Khloe groaned, sounding like a wounded animal, and hid herself further underneath the warmth of their duvet, nuzzling up in Erin’s chest. Any other time and Erin might have called the way a half smile played across Khloe’s small round face cute. But her friend next door was her prime focus right now. Anthony was the prime target.

Ladies.

The thought wasn’t her own, nor did it sound like a thought. It was Anthony’s voice, clear and crisp in her head.

Are you actually looking to die? Erin thought. The number of times she had told him to stay the hell out of her head must have been bordering on the hundreds now. Even with the consequences of slashing him across the face, he still hadn’t learned. She shut her eyes tight, wishing she could just jam a knife through Anthony’s head and be done with him. That would surely stop that damned telepathy of his.

Leach called, Anthony sent to her head. He wants us to do another errand for him.

Erin’s eyes flew open as she stared past Khloe at their room door. It was five-thirty in the morning. Five-thirty in the morning and both Erin and Khloe had gone to bed only a few hours earlier. And  now Anthony woke them up because that useless swine had an errand for them?

“I’ll kill him,” Erin mumbled, rolling out of bed. She opened the drawer of her bedside table, pulling out a short, but effective combat knife, and walked through the solid wall of her bedroom, as if it were nothing but air, into Anthony’s room. He was already dressed and was on his laptop, doing one thing or another. He looked up at her and scrambled off of his bed, his laptop falling from his lap and snapping shut, upside-down.

“Erin, wait. This is—” He looked down her body, and then averted his gaze.

She looked down, finding herself in only her underwear. Well, if this was the worst the telepath had seen her as she would have been grateful. But right now, she couldn’t give a damn about how he saw her. As she approached him, she let out a quiet yawn and wiped the tears it made in her eyes. He did well staying right where he was. Resistance never faired well for the man. She cornered his stuttering, jittery self and stabbed him in the knee. Nothing fatal. Nothing Jessie wouldn’t be able to heal. But painful enough for him to clench his teeth, groaning in pain, as if it made him any more of a man for not screaming. He still pathetically writhed around on the floor.

Erin shut her eyes with her head down, a reluctant smile playing across her face. If she could continue to stab the man and get away with it, she so would. Not only would she love the feeling, but she wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. But nothing more needed saying. She walked back through the wall into her own room, crawling back under her duvet with Khloe and swiftly proceeded to holding her close.

“You didn’t kill him, did you?” Khloe asked.

“Not yet,” Erin mumbled, closing her eyes and begging sleep to take her again.

Anthony managed to limp his way to Jessie’s room, all the way on the other side of the headquarters, holding back the groans he wanted to make with each step. He had knocked on her door a couple of times, but on not getting an answer, and the sharp agony in his knee getting more and more painful by the second, he resorted to banging his fist against it. The door eventually opened, revealing a young woman rubbing her eyes with one hand and the other arm leaning against the doorframe. As she stood in the doorway, she didn’t look at her boss with pity or even mild concern. She took in his injury and her frown gave way for a short giddy chuckle. “If I wasn’t here, would you still piss off Erin as much as you do?”

He shook his head. “If you weren’t here she wouldn’t be able to do this all the time.”

She gestured him in. “On the floor.”

Anthony carefully lay himself on Jessie’s floor, gritting his teeth, and pulled the leg of his trousers to past his knee. He winced at the open wound and the trails of blood all down his leg, and immediately turned away, closing his eyes before his stomach could respond to the sight.

Jessie just chuckled quietly at him. “Nice.” She placed her hands over the wound. Initially, it stung sharp and harsh. Anthony took a sharp intake of breath, but shut his eyes tighter. Jessie wasn’t the best healer out there, but she got the job done . . . eventually. After a good half minute of silence, the pain slowly subsided, and when he opened his eyes, the wound slowly but surely began to close and heal.

“What’d you do this time?” Jessie asked.

Anthony took Jessie in as she stared at her hands over his knee. Her hair, usually in a punk rock do from the eighties, was a shoulder-length mess that could only have been achieved right after getting up, natural black on one side and natural white on the other. With her pure white irises, outlined black with the black pupils, if she was in her everyday attire and not her pyjamas, she would look like a walking fad.

“Is there something on my face?” she said, briefly glimpsing up at him before resuming staring at her hands.

“I’m sorry?”

“The staring. Please stop it.”

 “Oh. Sorry.” He glanced around the room, and bit back the urge to ask her how she could live in this twister of clothes all over the place. “I didn’t do anything to Erin,” he said, absentmindedly, as he wondered how someone could let such small room get so messy. Weren’t girls supposed to be neat?

She chuckled a little, again, as the pain had all but disappeared from his knee. “Erin might have a short temper but she doesn’t stab people for no reason.”

Anthony allowed himself a small grin. “Then you don’t know her as well as you think you do.”

“Don’t piss her off. Don’t get hurt.” She stood up straight, hands on her hips and nodded at her handiwork. “There.”

Anthony stood and swung his leg back and forth from the joint of his knee, testing out her handiwork. He smiled faintly at the young healer. “Thank you.”

“No probs.” She smiled back, brushing her fingers lightly on his shoulder on her way back to her bed. “Now get out,” she said, crawling back in and covering herself from head to toe.

“I’m sorry?”

“I don’t know about you, but normal people don’t wake up before six a.m. Get out, please.”

He left it at that, and left her room.

Returning to his own room, he changed into his uniform, tight and uncomfortable as the black and green leather jumpsuit was. Leach had called, saying that a new clan had made a headquarters on his clan’s territory. And even though territory was a dead and buried concept, he had no immediate plans of getting on Leach’s bad side. He had asked Syphon, Anthony’s clan, to take care of it. If he had asked Khloe or Erin, he could have guessed that they wouldn’t have bothered. No doubt it would greatly annoy Erin. But this was Leach, and though the vast numbers of his clan in general may not have been as up to scratch as the few members of Syphon, Anthony just could not see the point in pointlessly arguing with someone like him.

As he left his room, and started down the corridor, he sighed and stopped halfway down it. “Can I help you, Erin? I thought you wanted to sleep.”

Running his hands through his head of blonde curls, he turned to face his co-leader as she stood in her robe with her arms crossed. A few seconds rummaging around in her head was all it took to validate the obvious.

“You pathetic piece of shit,” she said to him with a shake of her head, and began stalking towards him.

“Erin—”

“You pathetic piece of shit,” she said once more, enunciating it far more than before. “What has he got you doing this time?”

“Erin—”

“Why should we even bother calling you a Syphon leader? You do so much for Nexus you might as well fuck off and join them.”

“And a very good morning to you, too,” he said, as she stood right in his face. Well . . . up to his shoulders. From high school till now she had always been a malicious, little, black-haired devil. It didn’t bother him then, but now . . .

“Tell me, because I really want to know; how does it feel being Leach’s bitch?”

Anthony showed nothing on his features and turned his back to her. He wasn’t going to start an argument. There was no point. But as he made to leave her there, she took a hold of his arm, spun him around and pushed him against the door of an empty room with a mild pain shooting up his back.

She leaned in close, a glare sharp on her lightly freckled, yet seemingly poreless face, and as embarrassing as it was to admit, even if he tried he wouldn’t be able to get her off him.

“I’m going to spell this out slowly and clearly of you, Anty, dearie.”

“Erin—”

“You sure like saying my name, don’t you?” Try as he might not to, a small blush found it’s way onto his cheeks, but she thankfully ignored it. “We are one of the top clans in the whole of England. Number one in this fucking city.” London’s not exactly known for their top notch villains, though, Erin, Anthony read in her thoughts, though she kept that in her head. “We don’t need you pissing our reputation away by being Leach’s whipping boy. Okay?”

“We’re allies. Am I meant to just ignore his requests?” As his voice broke at the end, of course, she grinned, short-lived as it was. He refused to let her get to him.

“No. You’re right.” She let him go, but he stayed tensed. “You are right. Go. Wipe Leach’s fucking arse. Go suck him off. And while you’re at it, you might as well find your own damn balls.”

He knew it was sarcasm, but he still made to leave. He didn’t even take one step before Erin held him by the shoulders again and pushed him against the wall.

“Are you seriously that stupid?”

“Erin—”

“What?” she snapped back. Harsh and vicious.

“You’re being unreasonable.” She didn’t respond, but her brows pulled down more. “Besides, you can’t . . .” He swallowed and averted his gaze. She narrowed her eyes, and Anthony could feel his heart beating faster. “You can’t tell me what to do.” He mentally kicked himself. He sounded like a child. More childish than Taylor, even. And that was quite the feat.

A sound of slight mirth escaped from her, and she let him go. She lightly slapped him twice. Just a light tap. She might as well have said, ‘Aw, bless.’ It would have been just as condescending.

“You are quite the joker.”

“Erin—”

“Again with my name! Stop it! It’s freakin’ creepy!” She stepped back from him and made her way back to her own room. “You do anything stupid,” she called back as she punched in the code for her door, “and I’ll make you regret it.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said, as he made his way back down the corridor. No doubt it wouldn’t be anything Jessie couldn’t heal.

Walking the streets early in the morning in his uniform was never an issue. It was certainly smarter the driving in a metal death trap that any random freak could destroy, if they had the right ability. Though, if someone was planning an attack on him, Anthony would see it coming a mile away. It would take a special kind of fool to think that they could get the jump on a telepath. It would take an even bigger fool to walk the streets of a villain-run city. Even if the streets were filled, which at the moment, they weren’t, he wouldn’t be that worried.

The address Leach had given him for the intruding clan was quite a few blocks away from Syphon headquarters. Anthony had known a new clan were converting an old school into a headquarters. It just hadn’t interested him enough to look further into it. All he knew was that they were a fairly new clan called Vitality that had somehow managed to slip under everyone’s radars for so long. He turned on to the road, and it was easy to see that the building right at the end of the dead-end road was the headquarters for Vitality.

It was maybe a three-hundred yard road, and he already knew he had been spotted. A bird perched atop a hanging stone gargoyle on the front of the building had spotted him. Except Anthony was in its head, and it wasn’t a bird. It had been a long time since he had come across a shapeshifter.

As he approached the headquarters, he still couldn’t see the bird clearly, but getting into the mind of the shapeshifter, he knew it some sort of large owl. A smart choice of bird for a lookout. Nevertheless, as much as he could appreciate that tiny act of competence, taking them out was the first thing on his agenda. Getting scolded by Erin was the second. Still in the head of the bird, he listened as the bird-man thought about changing into an eagle, and watched as the far away shape changed and vaguely grew in size. It cried out loudly. An alarm, no doubt.

Anthony pulled out his revolvers, but didn’t quicken his pace. If he was going to get torn to pieces by Erin when he got back, he might as well have fun with this now. Maybe one-hundred feet away now, and in unbelievably quick time from the bird’s alarm, two other members of the clan ran out, and in their own uniform. He had to give them credit. For a new clan, they seemed to be on top of things. Their headquarters wasn’t too shabby, either. But as he neared the clan and the most recent arrivals, he stopped dead in his tracks.

The new arrivals did the same as they took in the sight of Anthony. Neither party could believe it to be true. He willed his legs to move forward. The two new arrivals couldn’t be who he thought they were. Still, as he neared them, there was no mistaking it.

He holstered his guns again and approached Damon and Jon LeRoux.

“Uh . . .” was all that came out of Anthony’s mouth. Damon with his headband, holding back that long blue hair of his, and his turquoise eyes to match. This was Damon LeRoux. “Um . . .” This was new. Anthony rarely came up speechless. But if this was who Leach wanted gone from his territory, then Anthony couldn’t have made a better choice in coming.

Jon looked Anthony up and down. And just like him, even after all the years since high school, he was just as expressionless as ever. “Anthony Raine.” Jon gave him another once over. “In Syphon attire. I never would have guessed.”

He wanted to respond to that, but Damon was the one who took his attention. Damon was the one who had some serious explaining to do. Damon was the one, as much as he knew Erin would hate to admit it, they couldn’t harm. “Damon,” Anthony said as Damon averted his gaze. He knew what Anthony was thinking. How could he not?

“I know,” Damon said when Anthony didn’t look away from him. Both him and Jon sounded so different from all those years ago. Naturally they would, but it was still a strange sound to him. “I know.”

Anthony opened his mouth, and waited for his mind to catch up with something to say. “If you weren’t Taylor’s father . . .” Damon noticeably winced as Anthony said his daughter’s name. If he wasn’t Taylor’s father, if his old friend, Jon, wasn’t in this clan too, Anthony would just let Leach take out this clan and be done with it. But that was not the case. He looked between the two men and sighed through his nose. “If you’d be so kind to invite me in, I think we need to catch up.” It wasn’t said with the friendly tone of meeting a close friend from high school. He couldn’t keep his gaze off of Damon. He couldn’t even imagine how pissed off Erin would get at the mere sight of him.

“Come then,” Jon said, and turned back, walking back towards his headquarters.

Both Anthony and Damon stayed behind. “Could you . . . stop staring . . . please?”

“Could you give Taylor a childhood where she has a father?” Damon looked to the floor, and Anthony started to follow Jon. “No? Then I suggest against requesting anything of me.”

As Anthony passed the gate, he could read all the scenarios Damon was playing over in his head about how things would go should he see Erin again. None resulted in him being beaten to a bloody pulp.

“Optimistic jackass,” Anthony mumbled, entering Vitality headquarters.

Syndicate – Prologue

Taylor Ashley sank her knife into just another nobody villain. No matter how many times she did it, she loved the feeling. Nothing compared to it. Carbon steel in squidgy flesh. Watching the life drain from his face, Taylor could no longer suppress the chuckle building up in her own chest. As she pulled the knife out and let him fall to the floor with a thud, she felt tingles all over her body. Oh, how she loved killing!

A final bang from a revolver echoed loud and proud in the now almost lifeless hall. Taylor turned in time to face her friend as she holstered her revolver and watched her own victim fall.

“Well,” Melissa said, “time for bed, I think.” Melissa walked over and linked her arms into Taylor’s, ignoring the frowning it spurred in her and glancing around the hall at all the dead bodies lying over pews, lying on the floor, lying on top of other dead bodies. This wasn’t a battle. It was a slaughter. “This wasn’t nearly as much fun as I imagined it would be.”

“You expected some random clan, fucked up enough to think attacking one of our members was a good idea, to be a challenge?” Taylor shook her head at her naive companion. But still. Melissa was right. Looking outside the windows, it was starting to get light outside and her eyes were starting to get heavy.

In an instant their bland surroundings, the comfort of being around her lifeless victims, all disappeared as she teleported the two of them onto their corridor in their own clan headquarters. If it wasn’t for the unnecessary number of unnecessary sconces illuminating all the way down the corridor, Taylor imagined it would be pretty difficult for Melissa to see. Not that seeing in the dark would ever be a problem for Taylor. It was just a little taste of her mother’s ability. Inherited.

To say that their headquarters was oversized for the number of members they had would be an understatement. On this corridor the only rooms that were occupied were Melissa’s and Taylor’s, opposite from one another.

As they reached the middle of the corridor, and their rooms, Melissa unlinked their arms and kissed her on her cheek. “Goodnight.” She turned and began inputting the four-figure code for her door, while Taylor frowned and vigorously rubbed at her cheek.

“It’s things like that that makes Jess and Kerri think we’re a thing.”

Melissa’s door opened, the green metal sliding upwards, and she leaned in the doorway, smiling back at her best friend. “It’s reactions like that that will make me continue.” She turned on her heel, and walked inside as the door slid back down and closed. “Goodnight, sweetie,” she called through the door.

“Goodnight, cutie,” Taylor called back. As Melissa’s giggle travelled through the door, Taylor’s smile stayed with her as she teleported into her own room. She couldn’t even remember the last time she went to bed at night instead of the morning. Nevertheless, she changed out of her uniform into sweatpants and surrounded herself in the comfort of her mattress and duvet. She slept like a baby, with wonderful dreams of taking on entire clans on her own, and cutting vigilantes to pieces.

Things Are Going Well…

…is something I would one day love to say on this blog.

Let’s update, shall we? First thing’s first: no, I am not even thinking about attempting Camp NaNoWriMo. One, I don’t have nearly enough free time for it, and two, as much as I would love to do it, I see little point in doing it when I know the end result will be something I will not be able to salvage due to a lack of planning. Perhaps I’ll do it in July if I finish this plan by then. I can’t imagine it will take me three more months to finish, but hey, we’re dealing with me here.

Speaking of which (Nice segue, me!) my planning is kind of going well… That is to say, it’s going well by my standards… That is to say, I’m nearly at the point where I begin outlining. Gather round ladies and gents! It’s time for another post in which I ramble on about the annoyance that is planning! You’d think that since I’ve been planning this thing since the dawn of time, I’d have at least started outlining it. Yeah, well, there’s a reason I’ve changed the tagline of this blog from ramblings, dronings and all that stuff of a teenage writer to ramblings and such of an unproductive writer. You know… other than me not being a teenager anymore.

At this point, I know I’m over planning. Anyone who sees my notebook could easily see that. But in my opinion, it’s better to overdo something than under-do it… for the most part. In my eyes, that can only really be a good thing. I mean, I’m at the point where I’m writing the personalities and backstories of the important and semi-important characters who actually have some decent backstory behind them, and for one of them I already know I want to write up their backstory as a prequel of sorts. I already have the damn characters for it in my head!  Now, I know I’m treading dangerous ground here. Hell, I’m already thinking of the next series and prequels while my current WIP is yet to even reach it’s first draft; of course I know I can’t plan forever, but even with my insane unproductivity, I just cannot imagine it will take me much longer to finish.

What else? Um… Ah, I’ve started reading my second book of the year, despite my goal on Goodreads set 60, but who cares about realistic goals? Once I do get in the rhythm of reading though, I can breeze through them fairly quickly. Anything else? Hmm… Oh, since I do actually like posting my stories online, despite me having nothing to really show at the moment I’m probably going to post the prologue of Syndicate up here, that previous manifestation of my current work in progress, so… expect to be bitterly disappointed with it. (:

Till next time…

Well, I’ll be back in a few minutes, so… Yeah…

Opening A Novel

I… I don’t think I really need to say that this isn’t about how to physically open a book with your hands… But to anyone who is looking for advice on how to do so, I’m sorry to disappoint. So, I was reading through a few openings of stories on the internet and I just had to make this post. You can thank the large amount of poor openings out there for the existence of what is sure to be yet another post of killer advice.

Chapter one. How the hell do you start it? This is essentially what this is going to be about. I’m sure I’m going to mention some points that came up in my prologue post, and I’m sure I’m going to mention points that some of you will think is just plain common sense, but that doesn’t stop them from occurring, so with nothing further to add, let’s just get right down to it.

Firstly, let’s get exposition out of the way. Both as a point and a feature of story openings. I would hope that we all know that it’s a poor idea to introduce your reader to your story by drowning them in a large wall of text about the world that they would not yet have any reason to care about. It’s such a basic point that I don’t think I even need to say more on it.

Going straight in with the action. The other end of the extreme. Sure, on paper… well, theoretically it sounds great starting a story with a high-octane car chase or an all out fight between two opposing parties, but it shares the same problem as just drowning the reader in exposition. Who are these people and why should I care about them? If you could apply a decent amount of context then it could become a pretty good way to open a story. Between this and exposition, if you were to pick one side I would say action is clearly the way to go, but of course a good balance between them is clearly better.

“Hi, my name’s John Smith and if you were to learn one thing from me, it’s to never subject your story to the grossness that is this opening.” Good god… This might just be a personal issue of mine, but in a first person story where the protagonist introduces themselves in the first line in any way such as my perfect example, it is a sure fire way to get me to put that book down and save my money. Find any other way to introduce your character and their name. Anything other than something so cheap as this.

Which brings me onto my next point. Now… keeping information from the reader is great and all, but there are some things that a reader does kind of need to know. There reaches a point when being mysterious becomes being ridiculous. There’s only so long you can go on referring to your POV character as “The man”, or “The woman”. For the love of God we need names! This is one thing that you should give to your reader as soon as possible without it coming across as… well… stupid, like the example in the previous point. It may not seem important but it can be frustrating reading about a character when you don’t even know their name.

Mundane conversations or actions. It goes without saying that your opening shouldn’t bore your reader, so why would they want to read about boring situations, like waking up or having breakfast? You don’t have to start the story at the start of the day when next to nothing of interest happens.

Finally–and while this isn’t exclusive to openings it’s still one that I read in far too many of them–the main character looking at themselves in the mirror and describing themselves in unnecessary, creepy, narcissistic detail. I mean really… Have you ever looked in a mirror and commented on every single feature you could see? Am I the only one who doesn’t do this? I would imagine not, so I would imagine a lot more people also find this way of describing characters (to use what is fast becoming my favourite word on this blog) ridiculous.

Thus ends another post for another week. Another week in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with weekly content. So, I may be back next week, and if I am you can be sure that it is legitimately going to be awful.

Until next week… (Don’t look forward to it)

Laurence out.