Halloween Shorts – Friday Edition

For the Halloween weekend, the ever-lovely Sennydreadful asked for some stories to include on her ‘blog in celebration of the spooky season.  I said that I would chip in, on the proviso that I be allowed to write a Halloween story about butts.

Yes, I am that immature, and yes, there are a lot of butts in the story.  A lot.  You can read the story, and sate your desire to read more about butts at her ‘blog.

As a tie-in to here, I thought I’d do a second story, just for the hell of it.  It’s very short – a little over 1000 words – and deals with one of my favourite mythical terrors: the water-horse.  You can download it as a PDF or RTF here:


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Hope you enjoy it, and have a fun Halloween weekend!

New short story – “Temps d’escrime”.

So I was thinking a bit about manly fiction today, as you might have been able to tell from my last post.  Something that popped into my head was the topic of common tropes throughout various subsets of books aimed at men, in particular historical, militaristic fiction in the Bernard Cornwell mould.

While I was thinking of that, I started typing and ended up with the following little piece.  It’s not strictly a short story; more like a scene from something larger or a standalone vignette than anything else, and it doesn’t really fit with anything I’m actually working on at the moment so I thought I’d stick it up here for a laugh. I get roughly 3 downloads of my stories in an actual month, even less these days, which tells me I should really not worry too much about adding more content to the page, but nevertheless when I finished writing it was the only place I could think of for it.

[download id=”22″]

And here’s a link to the Stories page, where there’s a fractionally larger amount of information about the story if you want it.

Short story.

Since it’s been a big weekend of talking about writing and fiction and all the rest, I thought it about high time I actually update some of the content on the site, which is why I have added an extra short story to (unsurprisingly) the Short Stories page.

It’s called Koenigsvolk.  At a little under 5000 words, I think I wrote it for a competition – the more I think about it the more I reckon it was meant for the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook competition theme of union.  Anyway, it didn’t shortlist or win or anything so I thought it would be nice to bring it up out of the graveyard that is my windows.old directory (my hard drive semi-died a while ago, that was a fun day of reinstalling) and share it with the world.

I hope you enjoy it.

Short story.

I was feeling kind of bad about not updating this site with any new writing, so I hammered out a little story this afternoon and stuck it up for shits and giggles.  It’s not going to win any awards for content or style, but it’s nice to just sit and batter a cheesy little story out.  I set myself a word count of around 2k, and managed to stay within 10% of the limit so that’s better than my usual epic fail where I end up cutting half of the stuff I’ve written for the sake of brevity.

Also I’ve never tried writing in the style of an interview (and it kind of shows) so I guess that’s an interesting aside.

You can find the story here for download as a .pdf file.

EDIT: on a side note, in the current larger work I’ve been doing, I use the description “Dupin in dumpling’s clothing”.  I’m enormously fond of it…and hence the bust of Poe in the download above.

Chapter 8.

I’ve been a little busy/distracted of late, so things have been progressing slowly on the writing front.  Amends will be made, hopefully.  In the meantime, here’s the slightly dire attempt at building some characterisation in Belar’s retinue before they reach House Balthar and everyone starts clashing.  It weighs in at just over 3k words, and is probably overly long for what it is, but hopefully it will work.  Eventually.

Chapter 9 might have to be split in two.  Just to warn you.

Work in progress page is, as ever, here.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is up now at the Work In Progress page.  I was going to post it yesterday but I had far more important things to do, such as set up Lips for the Xbox and rack up some points singing Depeche Mode.

Looking at the downloads I still have at least 3 regular readers: nice to know I haven’t scared any of them off yet…

Chapter 7 goes a bit off to one side, basically introducing a 3rd faction into play very briefly, as I want to use the characters later on and just plonking them on the table in the 3rd act seems a little gauche.  Also Belar has to pack up his valise and get ready for a trip, and that’s just boring to write about.

Working on chapter 10 and we finally get back to some drama.  About time, too.

Chapter 6

Is now online and you can access it as normal via the Work In Progress page.

I’ve been kind of quiet about how the writing is going.  I had a bit of a stall going from 19-21k and have struggled through it.  it’s not the best work ever but it closes some gaps between where I was and where I’m going, and I’ve had some cracking thoughts for where it’s going to go…so bear with me is what I’m saying, I guess.

I’m thinking that once I hit the 50k word point what I might do is go back and re-read the whole thing and not edit it but flag up points that I feel could be improved or switch a couple of things around.  All reader comment is, as ever, appreciated.

In the real world, the windscreen wipers on the car appear to be screwed.  They were sticking heavily due to gunk falling from the trees that line the car park, and that sticking seems to have damaged the arm or the motor to the extent that they move very little and stick halfway across.  Very annoying.  I went out with a bucket of soapy water and scrubbed the windscreen and blades to see if it would help, but it hasn’t, so a trip to the garage is on the cards.

Little by little, the Polo seems to be falling to bits.  every time I get it fixed, something else pops up.  It’s like playing whack-a-mole except every time you whack a mole your bank balance goes down.

Easter weekend!

Or, at least, it was.  Lisa and I chose to spend the time celebrating the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ by playing some Rock Band on the Xbox.  Sorry, Xbox 360.  Important distinction, apparently.  We decided to take a tentative step upwards to the dizzying heights of Medium difficulty, since our band has capped at 276,000 fans and it won’t give us any more.  Also Lisa gets 100% consistently on Easy guitar, which is sickening when I try my hardest and get 99% on drums.

I space out too much on drums, though.  I start to think about things, like whether or not the drums are too loud and our neighbours can hear me drumming, and then I hear a door swing shut somewhere in the building and I start listening for a knock at the door and preparing myself for that conversation and suddenly I’m off the beat.

Anyway. I should put the rest of Chapter five up, shouldn’t I? I mean, I’m up to at least 4 readers now so I’d be doing them a disservice otherwise!

Word-count wise I managed to get up to 20k+ but then decided that a large portion of it was crap and heaved it, so we’re back down to 19.5 k halfway through Chapter 9.  It was one of those difficult moments when you realise the characters are all behaving oddly because you, as writer, know what’s going to happen.  Since this isn’t fanfiction or an episode of Doctor Who, I had to take an axe to it.

Chapter 5, part 2 coming soon. is now available to download.

Reversing the serious/comedy trend.

I’ve changed it to comedy/serious today.

Ben Goldacre, writer of the Bad Science column and ‘blog,was unable to publish a chapter of his book because, at the time, he was being sued by the chapter’s subject, Matthias Rath.  As will become clear, Rath didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to the libel case he brought against Dr Goldacre, and the Guardian, and it was subsquently dropped.

On the Bad Science ‘blog, Ben has made the missing chapter available to read and distribute for free, under the terms of a Creative Commons licence.  I can’t recommend reading it enough – it’s a brilliant demonstration of the abuses that can happen at the border of science and culture.

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Chapter 5

It’s been about a week now, and I’m well into Chapter 7 so it was about time I posted something new.  Granted I only have two readers following the story so far (not counting Lisa, who gets dragged out of her chair to read things every 2k words or so) but a token amount of consistency should be expected on my part nonetheless – the point is, after all, to get me sitting down and writing.

The first half of Chapter 5 is up at the Work In Progress page.  Having left House Balthar behind for the moment, we have an abrupt shift to new characters.  Can anyone else smell a protagonist? It’s extremely rough around the edges – there’s a bit of world-building to come in Part 2 that could possibly do with a shuffle round into part 1 to make it less confusing, but I’ll make decisions on that when I get round to redrafting.  At the moment things are just being slapped down as fast as they come, and the structure is, as a result, pretty rough.