Got To Keep Writing

Because any silly little thing can become a great idea

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Puns Are The Problem

Today I did something I have not done in quite some time and that is finish something the same day I started it. Recently I’ve been rummaging around the internet trying to find some writing competitions to enter as I’ve found myself working much better to a brief rather than completely from scratch. Many competitions have specific subjects and criteria, so I thought it would be a good place to start! I’m especially interested in flash fiction and poetry as I think if I can tell a story on a much smaller scale (a hundred words, five hundred words, a page etc) then I’ll be much better at making them on a bigger one.

Today I also spied something on Twitter. A joke made by a friend of mine and I’m going to save you the long, drawn out conversation by surmising it like this:

She loves puns. I hate them.

I quite often try to inject some humour into my writing so I thought this would be a good subject to make my first attempt at writing something quite small. A poem, to be precise (if nothing else to practice before I actually start entering writing competitions). I literally wrote it while on lunch at work, so it’s hardly the most polished but I thought I’d put it up anyway.

So, this intro has gone on too long. Below is Puns Are The Problem. I hope you enjoy.

 

It seems to me we should address
that source of stress
you seem incessant to bless me with
every chance that we meet.
It’s no major crime, but as you can see
I’ve taken the time to express
(via rhyme)
that your simply sublime but challenging sense of humour
is growing on me.
Much like a tumour.

Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all bad,
if anything I’m glad to see you spread laughter.
To brighten the mood come dismay or disaster
and yet I still think there’s more fun to be had.
It’s the puns that you make,
they’re driving me mad.

It seems every time, you’re exceptionally eager
even when your jokes are rather quite meagre
to agitate me, plain and straight.
To leave me in a beleaguered state.
Your puns? They grate,
they bother and break me.
They madden and sadden and aggravate me.
To put it politely,
they drive me doolally.

So I’m down on my knees, and I don’t do this much
but I find puns a problem (you can figure as such).
I beg you, I plead, put an end to the hoax.
Puns are not funny.
They’re barely even jokes.

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Ladies And Gentlemen Short Story: Death Of The Old Ways

It is high time that I posted on here about (so far) the only time that something creative of mine has been judged as good enough to be printed. My good friends that I met through the University of Leeds Comic and Graphic Novel Society, Richard Worth and Jordan Collver, are something of creative types themselves. By that I mean that they’ve only got and made their own independent comic book! It’s absolutely tremendous to see their work and I implore that you check them out at The Water Closet Press.

Rick and Jordan were lovely enough to open up their world of rambunctious Victorian adventurers (titled Ladies and Gentlemen) to other independent writers and artists to spin their own little tales and have them collected into a big bumper book of creative goodness. There’s some lovely work in there along with a short story I wrote about a magician, Hex. It was a great exercise for me. For one, I could take any of the characters that Rick and Jordan had already made and do anything I wanted to them. Not literally, of course, because they could always not print what dastardly deeds they think wouldn’t really fit into the character.

The second reason it was a great experience is that I finally have something tangible. I have a story, printed and bound together, that I can pick up, point to and shove in people’s faces and that feeling is, quite frankly, out of this world. It’s a good feeling to have a ‘best thing I’ve made’, which means I should start going from strength to strength.

Various Writing Around The Web – Mouth London and The Hollywood News

arthur-christmas

As I mentioned in earlier posts, my quest towards writing for a living received a great boost from the website What Culture. From there on out I tried applying for various other website to try and broaden my portfolio (if I could truly call it that) of writing material. I had a very quick run, before some major reshuffling that unfortunately got rid of all voluntary contributors, at Mouth London. They ran a student magazine for the Greater London area and while I didn’t know them for very long, were lovely people. I managed to get two video game reviews for them in the form of:

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
http://www.mouthlondon.com/technology/game-review-ni-no-kuni-wrath-of-the-white-witch/

and Tomb Raider (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
http://www.mouthlondon.com/technology/game-review-tomb-raider/

Following that, in August, I had a great opportunity to start reporting film news for the exceptionally nice people over at The Hollywood News. Every week I could report however much news I had to time for, and they were a real great community of people with lots of passion towards delivering a quality site among the great amount of film sites out there.

All of my articles I wrote for them can be found here though my personal favourites have been posted below. These were the first review chances I ever got for the great documentary of film-maker John Milius and phenomenal How To Survive A Plague. I also managed to channel a bit of the academic within me by exploring the various uses of space in films as Gravity was on the verge on release, and my wonderful opportunity to say what Arthur Christmas means to me as a Christmas film (hence the above image!). Check out the links below!

Gravity Countdown – Space and the Movies
http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2013/11/04/space-movies/

How To Survive A Plague Review
http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2013/11/06/survive-plague-review/

Milius Review
http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2013/11/17/milius-review/

THN Advent Calender: Arthur Christmas
http://www.thehollywoodnews.com/2013/12/21/thn-advent-calendar-day-20-arthur-christmas/

Leeds Student Newspaper Articles

My (hopefully) long and fruitful journey into the field of writing got a real start when I started to get involved with the Leeds Student newspaper when I was in my third year of university. I absolutely adored my time at Leeds University and it felt great getting something I had written printed for the very first time. Attached to this post is a PDF file containing all of the pieces I did that were published in the issues that went out to students all around campus (though, sadly, the work I did that went up on their website has been removed as per their policy every academic year). There’s a whole bunch of different stuff in there, which I also loved getting the chance to sink my teeth into.

I reviewed a few films, covered the Thought Bubble comic convention (one of my other great loves I discovered at university was comic books), threw in my two cents about the Oscar season and even got my original article ideas published, including my thoughts on spoiler-heavy trailers and the abundance of CG in modern cinema. Click the link and have a browse!

All articles were published in various issues of the Leeds Student newspaper from September 2011 to May 2012.

All Leeds Student Articles

Meeting Place Sketch

This is the first sketch I’m going to send in as part of a call from the BBC Writer’s Room for radio sketches based around different genres. This one is for Thriller/Suspense.

MEETING PLACE

F/X: Phone Rings

John: Hello?

Kidnapper: (D) Mr Reynolds? John Reynolds?

John: Yes?

Kidnapper: (D) We have your wife, she’s safe for now.

John:

Give her back now!

Kidnapper: (D) Easy now. We wouldn’t want any harm to come to her would we?

John: Just tell me what you want.

Kidnapper: (D) One million pounds. Meet us at the disused car lot across town at midnight tonight with the money.

John: Erm.

Kidnapper: (D) What? What is it?

John: Well, I really would like to get my wife back. But, the truth is I have no idea where that is.

Kidnapper: (D) Really? Fine. We’ll be at the southern entrance to Riverside Park. Midnight.

John: Nope. Don’t know that one either.

Kidnapper: (D) Come on. You know, it’s opposite the cinema that shut down when all those people got stabbed.

John: Well I’m not going to come now.

Kidnapper: (D) That was months ago! Well, that was weeks ago!

John: Absolutely not.

Kidnapper: (D) Well, where do you know?

John: Erm, Adams Street. There’s a closed down takeaway there.

Kidnapper: (D) Yeah and a police station. I’m not falling for that one mate.

John: How about the old mecahnic’s then?

Kidnapper: (D) That’ll do. Yeah. Midnight then.

John: Oh right, yes…

Kidnapper: (D) What is it now?

John: Only I’ll need some time to get the money together.

Kidnapper: (D) How long?

John: A couple of days.

Kidnapper: (D) That’s too long.

John: Look, I would get it today but it’s already past 4. I mean it’s not a very good idea ringing up in the middle of the day asking for ludicrous amounts of money when you know the bank’s shut. And it’s Sunday tomorrow.

Kidnapper: (D) Well, you do have a point there.

John: So if you want your money you’re just going to have to wait. Unless you want me to do it online, I’ll need your bank info though.

Kidnapper: (D) God no. I’m not going to just give you my details. You think I’m stupid?

F/X: Phone HANGS UP

 

Worlds Are Like Conkers

So six days between posts isn’t great, but I did write this while at work a couple of days ago and needed to put it down on here.

First, there was a creak. A long, winding, rising creak that shied away from ending. This woke Mark, but he chalked it up to nothing more than a ‘midnight noise’. Directionless but no cause for concern, a noise that the regular hassle and bustle of the day would’ve drowned out and he turned in his bed.

Then another, louder creak, bookended by a bang. This had to be something real, surely. Had Mark left a tiny crack of a window open? We’re the neighbours once again failing to sneak around their house in a vein attempt to not incur Mark’s nighttime wrath again? He rose from his bed in a huff and checked each room from the hallway. Kitchen, check. Living room, check. Bathroom, check. Nothing was wrong and Mark gave up his quest.

He slid back into his bedroom, hoping to regain some sleep. Suddenly a crash, beckoning the room to shake and Mark bounced from his mattress as soon as he made contact with it. Lights flickered, pictures fell and a voice could barely be heard over the racket enveloping Mark, who was now cowering by his bed with his face pointed at the ground and his hands shielding his head.
“What?” he cried out.
“-, going on?” Said a familiar woman’s voice.
“Debbie?”
“Are you alright?”
It was at this moment that, as peculiar as your bedroom suddenly deciding to collapse down on you is, Mark experienced an even more peculiar thing. He had the thought, the words formed and he heard “I’m alright, just try to stay calm” but Mark did not actually speak them.
“What’s happening?”
Again, Mark heard the intended “I don’t now, just stay here” but he was not the source. It was as if the room had shook his voice out of him and it was now reassuring Debbie without any of the regular physical presence that one has when comforting someone that, despite knowing nothing of the situation unfolding, things will be fine.

Eventually the shaking stopped. Mark opened his eyes and looked at the walls. They were fine. He flipped over and saw the ceiling. Also fine. Slowly he got up, regained composure and asked “Debbie are you alright?”

There was no reply. Then Mark realised there shouldn’t be. Not that he was expecting Debbie to have ran away in fear or been crushed by the seemingly falling room, but Mark suddenly remembered that, despite his best intentions and hopes, Debbie had not slept at his place this night. She had gotten a taxi back home and would see him tomorrow. This fact raised two very difficult questions when Mark turned around to see who occupied his bed. The first being who is this person who looks, talks and acts like, but, by the generally reliable laws of physics, could not be Debbie? The second being why was there an identical copy of Mark sitting in bed next to here?

Before anyone could collect themselves, a knock at the door. The three of them darted looks between themselves and the door, no one moving.

“You now, I don’t actually have to wait but I believe this is the polite thing to do.” Said a slightly agitated voice through the door. The Mark from the floor walked over and opened it. There stood a man in a black suit and tie who immediately walked into the bedroom. Debbie almost spoke, but was cut off by the man’s hand raising at the first syllable. He surveyed the room a little, inspecting it and then stood between the seated and standing Marks.

“Alright, nothing too bad. I mean, considering. Could’ve been really messy but we kind of lucked out. I’m gong to guess you’re the odd one out here as you’re not in bed?” Said the man, gesturing towards the standing Mark, who didn’t know where to begin an answer.

“It’s alright, I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Neither of you actually. We rather hoped that no-one would have to know but when a level 5 shift happens someone’s going to have to spill the beans aren’t they?” Chuckled the man, swapping his gaze between the bewildered couple and the supposed ‘odd one out’.

“Right well, better get this going. Debbie, Mark and well, Mark. There’s been a sort of accident.”
“I think we can see that” blurted out Debbie, finally.
“Yes, well, bullet to your head you’d probably say that was an earthquake, right? But what earthquake only affects the bedroom of a eighth story flat? Exactly, none of the ones I’ve seen either. So, what actually happened is that two worlds have collided. Namely yours” started the man, pointing at Debbie before spinning round at point at the standing Mark and finishing with “and yours”.

This left everyone concerned in an even more bewildered state before the man in the suit had another realisation. “Of course, right, you don’t even know how the worlds work. Permit me to explain. Worlds are like tennis balls”. The man then produced two tennis balls from his inside suit pocket, which strangely caught the people in the room as of guard as when the room seemed as though it would collapse. The man bounced one of the balls of the ground then snapped “No, that’s not it. That’s not it at all. Ah! Yes. Got it.” The man placed the balls back into his pocket and from the same one produced two conkers tied on seperate strings.

“Worlds are like conkers,” began the man, giving one to Debbie and the other to the standing Mark, “you have yours, Debbie. And Mark, here’s yours.”
“What about me?” Questioned the seated Mark.
“I’ll get to that,” said the man in a slightly concerned tone while dragging the standing Mark next to the bed, “so, yes, you both have your worlds. These worlds are yours, you see them through your eyes, you do what you want and so on. And what’s happened is that Debbie’s world has smashed,” the man explained, as he guided Debbie’s conker into Mark’s, “into yours, Mark. And by the looks of this room Debbie’s won.” The man smiled a smile of a job well done.

The standing Mark finally managed a few words out in what felt like hours, or perhaps it was just the lesson-like delivery from the man.
“So my world is…” Mark faltered, only to be conversationally saved by the man.
“Destroyed, yes. Terribly sorry about that.”