Has My Writing Changed?

Mindless Ponderings…

By writing far more frequently, especially by following the lingering thread of an ongoing tale. I find that my writing has taken on a voice of it’s own, by casually disregarding possibly everything I ever learned at University about creative writing, by freely allowing influences I adore slipping into my words, the silken literature of Michael Moorcock, the flamboyant style of Lovecraft creep into my typing, because I let them, I don’t agonise over every single word I add to the screen, I am guilty of over using words, I actually deliberately include more than I should… Because I can, I am not policing my tale for any editor, I no longer hold any desire to be published, I write because I love writing, I adore the freedom of expression and the way my silly little tale is taking on a life of its own. It might never grace any printing press, but that’s not the issue, I write to give my characters breath.

Curiously I found an old tale I wrote at the beginning of my creative writing course. At a point in time where I wanted every word to be perfect, I wanted to prove myself as a potential author. I was a very different writer, for I felt restricted by the rules of writing and this need for perfection and it just doesn’t read right, I actually don’t like it, but I’m going to share it with you, because I might just be adding these characters to my story.

 

*Insert evil laughter*

 

Sibling Rivalry

1297 DR: Year of the Singing Skull

Pain registered quickly as he reeled backwards from the sudden swift attack, he put his left leg back a step to balance himself and acting purely on an internal instinct he spun around and kicked back with his leading leg. Striking his brother hard in his ribs with his boot, even before he had recoiled from the unexpected punch to the jaw, which had abruptly ended the argument with violence.

From somewhere behind the stars blurring his vision he heard his third brother chuckling at this discord, this only inflamed his rage even more and he turned to face his youngest sibling, hatred seething in his eyes as he wiped fresh blood from his chin, his lip split and stung. The fog lifted in his mind and he promptly glanced over his shoulder, to where his elder brother had recovered already from the blow to his ribs and regaining his breath.

So far none of them had reached for any of the weapons they carried upon their persons, but the frustration between the three siblings was ignited and after the first blows and it only took a split second to erupt into chaos. Aston tackled his middle brother, Bane, launching towards his mid-drift and tackling him to the floor, Cassius hesitated, but he knew he couldn’t avoid the conflict. He saw an advantage to side with Aston and as the two older men fell to the dust he kicked Bane in this side of his head, it was a cowardly attack, seeing as they wrestled and exchanged punches in the dirt. But Cassius’s action gave Aston the instant he needed to disable Bane with a violent chop with the edge of his hand right into his throat.

Bane gagged and coughed violently retching as Aston regained his footing and stood over him. “I suppose you believe I owe you for your help?” Aston spoke without turning to face Cassius; it wasn’t a question as much as a warning and Cassius felt a cold dread wave through him, aware that his skills could never outmatch Aston. Swallowing hard against the angry lump in his throat, he fought back his fear of his eldest brother. “I want the knife!” He demanded, finding courage in his own words, even though there was a slight tremor to his voice. “You have nothing I want!” Aston snapped back without hesitation, stealing some of the lads’ bravado, “Unlike this ‘Shebali’!” Aston spat to the ground near Bane’s head insulting him with a vile term in their language for ‘outcast’.

Bane fought to push down his rising fear as he struggled to regain his breath and hold onto the edge of consciousness, stunned by the betraying kick to his skull. He was in trouble and he knew it, Aston wanted ‘The Mirror’ and Bane felt as though the fight was fast slipping from him, yet he was unwilling to give up his prize so easily.

“I know where the ‘Sceptre’ is!” Bane tried to shout, but his voice was a broken croak. Though his words were enough to gain the attention of Cassius who raised an eyebrow and turned to regard his fallen sibling, Aston observed the simple change in facial expression and clenched his fists by his side. Cassius failed to notice this action else he would have expected the following attack.

However, Aston was unwilling to be embarrassed, by either his younger brothers and from the few words which had been expressed throughout this most recent violent encounter between the three brothers, he was starting to see a position where he could gain all three items of rare quality and possess them all to gain the strength and power it would take to over throw their father for the ownership of the guild. His mind swiftly followed this line of thought  and almost without thinking he reached around behind his back to where a knife was concealed in a sheath between his shoulder blades, in one fluid motion he launched the deadly blade through the air, aimed directly at the unsuspecting Cassius.

Cassius’s eyes went wide with shock as he noticed the sudden flash of razor sharp steel, he sidestepped issuing forth a sudden cry in his surprise, the wicked blade drew a deep line across his ribs, he felt the searing pain rip through his torso and reached instinctively to the long gash across his belly, as blood poured freely, wet and warm over his trembling hands.

“ENOUGH!” It was a single direct order, from a voice which demanded respect. Simultaneously all three brothers turned to regard the source of the commandment, all of them aware that their father stood witness to this conflict.

Storm stepped from the shadows, like an oppressive force to be reckoned with, the shadows appeared to cling to the folds of his dark black cloak, giving him the impression that he was half surreal ethereal presence.

The brothers swallowed hard, near in unison. By now, Bane had regained his feet and stood together with Aston and Cassius.

“From what I can gather…” Storm spoke in his native language “…Between you three ‘boys’…” He deliberately emphasised, the word ‘boys’ to knock his sons back into their place “… You have gained possession of ‘The Knife’, ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Sceptre’.  He stepped closer, stroking his chin, amused.

Aston, Bane and Cassius watched their father cautious; Bane still comforted his bruised throat with one hand, his other curled around the hilt of his sword. Cassius blanched, both his hands were slick with blood, holding his streaming wound. Only Aston appeared strong enough to confront their father, should the cause arise.

Yet Storm silenced any conflict with words. He breathed in deeply savoring success, “At least you ‘used’ to own these items!” He smirked exaggerating the past tense. “They’re mine now.” Storm said simply, allowing his sons to finally see the error of their ways, that they had fought and lost not only their items, but also their trust in each other.

From: December 17th 2015

***

 

Anne Harrison 03.03.17

 

On the Cutting Room Floor

… What doesn’t make it beyond notes …

r2kdg1e

r2kdg1e1

… When you change your mind and alter the direction of the plot, sometimes only old notes remain. Maybe I’m actually growing up as a writer?

 

Anne Harrison 21.02.17

Putting Faces to Names

pages-from-brown-book

You’ll need to click the link to see the pictures (ignore the mad scribblings please) but I can not find the images anywhere else currently, though I’m quite sure they’re kicking around somewhere, today they are being illusive…

My sudden burst of writing has left me with a whole host of posts that I need to return to and edit, I’ve been writing quicker than by brain can get all the words from the scene it sees to my fingers on the keys. This has also left me with constant dreams (and daydreams) of following events… Now I can see my characters very clearly in my head, yet I have added no descriptions in my writings – I could – but I always like to imagine what characters look like when I’m reading a book, so it kinda also work the other way around too. Everyone visualizes what they read differently…

… So, why am I sharing a collection of images of models, vampires and goths?

To create a little game… If you were to relate any of my characters to the random images (attached in the above link) … Which character would you connect to which picture?

You don’t need to reply, it’s just for fun… Besides, it gives you all something to read while I’m busy editing silly mistakes and dreadful spelling…

 

Anne Harrison 16.02.17

Question…

Just when does a short story cease to be a short story and morphs into something… erm… longer… and just what is just slightly longer than a short story, but not as long as longer could be… and with ideas rolling on top of ideas, but with no conclusion in mind, how do you stop? Do you stop? Or do you keep writing because you can’t stop writing?  Because your characters demand life, even if you can be mean to them, they haunt your thoughts, your dreams and daydreams alike… you know how they look, how they smell, how their voices sound like… if they dream in black and white…

I’m nearly on post 30, from what began as a singular adventure has evolved into a tale i did not expect… it’s not brilliant,  it’s not supposed to be, each part is written as free writing,  straight from my head to the screen, with minor editing and no plot to speak of, just whatever pops into my mind… I write because I love words, how words can paint an image in another’s thoughts from how you string them together,  to give characters life…

I honestly have no idea where my ‘short story’ will lead me?
My characters haven’t told me yet!

Anne Harrison 11.02.17

Poetry

Something I always HATED… Have you read some?!? Gez!! I thought my brain would explode as I was forced to endure several classes of poetry, baffled by terminology, confused by rhyme and structure, bewildered by stances and verse. I can honestly say that I was lost, deep within a midfield of words… I knew nothing!!

So, being of a masochistic literacy nature, I decided to focus on poetry for my third assignment. I realise I have not shared with you yet, my adventures into assignment writing, essay torture and agonising reviews… But I had said I was not following any order in this blog, so I will skip back to earlier assignment at a future date. Today we are exploring my pathetic attempts at poetry.

It might appear bizarre that I chose to write poetry for an assignment, but I had already challenged myself by writing in a different genre (Romantic Tragedy) for my second assignment, I could quite easily revert to my favorite genre (Fantasy) again, to stay safely in my comfort zone, stick to characters and stories I know so well in my mind. I absolutely hated the Romantic Tragedy, I still cant bring myself to read the fucking thing, but I got a half decent grade for pushing myself into unknown literacy avenues. Yes, I will share this story with you, one day, for shits and giggles.

I’m not even going to share with you my poetry assignment, at the moment, maybe later… What I did want to share with you is a PDF I put together of the entire process of writing the assignment. From my very first draft, including so many notes, scribbles, alterations, editing and pretty pictures. This is the whole development of my work and for some obscure reason I am deliciously proud of this document. I love to see how it transformed and evolved into something magical, along the way I fell in love with poetry, I became passionate about the genre, I absorbed myself in the weird and remarkable and to this day that love still remains.

By forcing myself into a new direction, by challenging myself, pushing my horizons and destroying my writing comfort zone, I created an assignment which was rewarded with a distinction!

For now, I attach the progression and  Development of Portfolio for I believe this exposes to you just how much I fell in love with poetry upon my literacy journey.

Anne Harrison 17.12.15

 

 

Into the Hands of a Stranger

Editing-Marks

It feels alien to take your work and place it into the hands of a stranger to read through, correct edit, rip apart and scribble in red.

You think you can go it alone, you think you have the word power to edit and correct your own work. You think you know best as to what your story needs… Think again! You get word blind, you cant see the scene for the descriptive narrative.

You get to a stage where you just cant get that picture out of your mind and into hieroglyphics onto a page in such a sequence that anyone translating your random ramblings can picture the same scene in their mind.

That’s why people will say, ‘The book was better’ because what they see in their mind (when reading) is different from how the movie maker translated the story.

However, I was foolishly proud of my crap Sci-Fi, I wanted to submit it as an assignment piece, but I was getting so frustrated with my inability to create perfection I decided to approach a real life, proper human editor!

I honestly cant describe my fear and anxiety as I handed over my wordbaby to a total stranger to examine. Though at this point on the course, I really wanted to get published and felt this experience would help me in my future career as a blockbuster top shelf famous author. I’m not quite so delusional now…

The result from a professional, I am prepared to share with you here: Nex … Notes and Edits (with names/email addresses removed to be polite).

How did this change the adventure with Nex and his companions? This too I am prepared to share as a before/after editing experiment, for I have already posted my unedited version earlier today. So this is how it looks once a writer pays attention to all those red scribbling symbols…

Anne Harrison. 03.12.15

 

Beyond the walls of the metropolis, in the waste lands…

The brooding soldier stalked from room to room of the deserted apartment block. His face static his finger easily at rest on a trigger which only required the slightest pressure to extinguish life, Before him leading the way, a woman, clad in a worn combat jumpsuit. Occasionally she would stop…

He held up his hand to halt the progress of the troops who followed in their wake. She paused and focused on a point of the wall by a door.

‘There.’ Her mental voice was picked up through the ear piece only the Commander wore.

Nex trusted his medium without question and upon her directions he opened fire at the wall. His men followed suit, their sonic shots tearing through the plaster and masonry with an eerie silence. Dust erupted into the air as bricks crumbled under the sonic assault. Destroying the partition with ease and exploding the minds of those foolish enough to think they could safely hide within the wall cavity.

Fifteen bodies were pulled out of the cramped hideout, their eyes melted and the dark remains of their liquidised brains running from their ears. The troops collected citizen ID implants from the corpses, as well as anything else they considered of use or value, an added bonus to subsidise their haphazard pay. By dusk they had collected nearly a hundred ID chips and left behind a dead town.

He stood alone, watching the sun set slowly over the ruined buildings, the stench of decay rancid as the shadows started to lengthen. Various scavengers and vermin started to crawl out from their dens to feast on the deceased.

‘Do you enjoy this?’ The medium’s words resounded in his mind, drawing his attention away from the carnage. He turned to regard her.

‘There hasn’t been a single case of the virus in years,’ she added.

Nex glanced back at the destruction and the blood-red sky, then spat on the ground, hoisted his rifle across his shoulders and slowly turned to follow the rest of the mercenaries.

He left the medium’s question unanswered.’

They had made camp by the time he caught up with them, a few miles away from the remains of the town in a cove of skeletal trees on a slight hill rise. A good defendable position. Sentries were already posted and everyone else fell into their roles.

“So Commander you finally decided to join us!”

A tall uniformed half-breed with long dreads greeted him as he finally approached the encampment. He paused to regard the unusual soldier, whose warm smile exposed two hog-like tusks protruding upwards from his bottom jaw.

“Still brooding, Sir?” His question was more of an observation. “The men won’t take orders from an absent leader!” He still smiled though; his words were not said in malice. “Just get your act together or I will have to kick your ass!”

The last comment drew a mild chuckle from the Commander and he finally spoke, ending his own uneasy silence.

“I’d like to see you try Boland!” The half-breed had a point though.

He spat on the ground and gathered his troops together to receive their next orders. The orders came through each day at the same time from Control, giving the soldiers co-ordinates for their location, any buildings to destroy, any primary individual targets, any information to gather, any evidence of the virus…

Today was no different with the exception of a footnote for the Commander’s eyes only. That was curious… He spat on the ground and took himself off, away from his men, to receive the private message. Already Boland was putting plans together for their next wave of destruction and as he walked away his men were consulting location grids for the best route to their target city.

“Yeah? I’m alone, watcha want?” He spoke quietly, abruptly, hardly looking at the screen.

“Dadda?”

His heart froze. He focused on the screen. An image of a child was smiling back at him.

“Letz?”

“Hi Dadda!” she beamed, pig-tails bobbing.

“Letz, are you safe?” Nex dared to ask, his parental instinct overwhelming his soldier’s training, even though the transmission would be monitored.

“Uh-huh!”

The image on the screen suddenly changed to that of a stern mature woman with cropped grey hair and cyber eyes, which glowed violet. Violet – the colour of mental intrusions. He tried to keep his thoughts empty, but the image of his daughter had blinded his mind with rage and panic.

“Relax Commander Sagan, your charming little girl is our guest here at Control.”

Bile rose in his throat, she lied!

“What are your instructions, Ma’am?” He asked, struggling to remain impassive

She smiled – too sweetly. “Your work is commendable, Commander Sagan, your patrol has one of the highest ratings for citizen ID chips retrieved. Control approves of your hard work and…”

“… And what?”

“You are being recalled back to Control after this mission.”

He frowned.

“You will be on your way home this time tomorrow, Commander Sagan.” Her smile was so false.

“Why?”

“Don’t you want to see your daughter?”

He nodded

*End Transmission*

He spat on the ground.

***

The medium stood in his path upon his way back to the main camp. Her violet eyes regarded his stern expression.

“Boland has concerns.” She physically spoke to him.

“I can understand why.” She stepped closer, running her tongue over her lips, her eyes flashing to meet his gaze from under long lashes.

He spat on the ground. “Tairrie, I don’t want to talk about it. Not now, eh?” He forced a smile. “Maybe sometime tomorrow.”

***

Just before dawn, as the mercenaries broke camp and readied themselves for the slaughter ahead, Nex took Tairrie and Boland to one side.

“What weapons do we have?”

Boland regarded the odd question with curiosity. “Mainly sonic rifles, Sir, and a few older weapons that we’ve collected. Let’s see… micro-missile launchers, two-shot capacitor lasers, umm… Blitzkrieg arc-thrower… that’s a beauty! Ah… Now there are flash-bombs, gas jets, flame-throwers, grenade launchers.” He paused, rubbing his chin. “Tri-dart launcher …”

“Yeah, that should do.” Nex smiled.

“Sir?”

“Listen very carefully, Boland, you are my best sniper; I know you can hit a moving target at precisely the correct mark to disable them for collection. I have every trust in your skills and I need you to bring down one man during the fighting today. I need you to take him out the battle, seriously enough to have to call a medi-team, but not fatally. I need this man to be incapacitated for a few days, to get taken away from the team, to Control medi-base.”

Boland frowned. “You know I can do that, Sir; we’ve done so before when capturing targets for Control. But I would usually use a Tazer-grip for such a task, not a tri-dart launcher.” He paused as his Commander’s words sunk in. “You’re not talking about a target, are you, Sir? You want one of our men disabled and made to look like he was hit by a citizen.”

Boland blinked rapidly, a habit he had when thinking things through. Nex just nodded.

“Who?” Tairrie asked curiously.

“Me!”