Short Story Time: Whose Tooth Fairy?

Ladies and Gents! the long awaited short story I spoke about a week or two ago, is finally here.

It is titled Whose Tooth Fairy? It features the beloved (but NOT mythical) tooth fairy, except, with a little twist. 

And
no, it is not like this in any way shape or form…

Hope you all enjoy – leave a comment or do whatever you have to to tell the world you liked it!

 

 

Enjoy:

The hinges creaked as the door opened slowly. She stopped at the sound, then continued. The atmosphere remained as lifeless and still as it had been. With each millimetre the door moved, the more light filtered in. Soon, a soft orange glow flooded the room the way grief consumes a broken heart. A mattress lay in the middle of the room. For something so small it was tall and domineering, taking up most of the floor space. Tiny squares of white hung on the wall, each with different drawings and colours coming alive in the light, despite their extensive exposure to the sun.

The air in the room was chilled, and the hairs on her arm stood up in protest. Brushing along her legs, the way a cat rubs itself against its owner, she could feel the warmth circulating around her as it entered through the door. In the far left corner, pink and purple striped curtains rustled and moved with the elegance and serenity of birds soaring through the sky, gently touching the wall with a delicate mother’s touch. The noise of the outside world seemed vacant and far-off.

It was just her and her daughter.

She stepped into the room. Her feet moulded to the contours of the floorboards. None of them sounded as she glided across the floor. There were no obstacles for her to avoid, for the carpet was empty, save for a few stains of red she remembered well from summer months past.

As she crept, she paused a moment by a large chest of drawers. She ran her fingers along the top, creating two intertwining rivers of cleanliness locked in battle amongst the desert of dust that lay atop it.

She looked at her reflection in the mirror. The artificial light from the hallway accentuated her tight-fitting white top. Behind her, she saw a movement. The body that lay in the bed stirred slightly, the steady rise and fall of their chest suggesting it was nothing more than an uncomfortable itch, or slight ache in the shoulder.

She stared back at herself, then down at the drawer’s surface. A teddy bear, wearing a hair of grey-brown looked into the ceiling. Its fur had lost all signs of life and love; the reflection of light in its eyes confessed a sadness and desire for attention. The name RUPERT was stitched into its stomach. Some of the letters had come loose after years of childish play, leaving few left to be torn out. She placed Rupert back on the wardrobe, this time facing him towards the bed. He was the protector of the room and would make all its inhabitants safe.

Swivelling on the balls of her feet, a warmth enveloped her and hugged her tightly. She started towards the bed for the third time that day, avoiding the princess that dangled from the roof of the playhouse on the floor. The colour of the roof was no longer the vibrant pink and cream it had once been; instead, it was more a unison of beige, with the occasional stroke of skin throughout.

Then, she moved forward three paces and came to a small wicker chair. Her body eased into the already moulded grooves. In its old age, it was as silent as death at accepting her weight.

She stared at the figure underneath the sheets and smiled. Warmth continued to flow through her; she felt it surge with the tyranny and force of a pack of ravenous wolves in the wild.

There it was, resting next to the mahogany lamp she had bought two years ago, a tooth, stained with the colour of blood and decay.

She reached into her pocket, produced a coin that had been reserved for this particular moment, and placed it on the table.

It was then that she saw it. It was then that she gasped as the figure beneath the sheets moved and grimaced at her. It was then that she felt the cold touch of the gun barrel against her forehead.

An unprecedented fear – a fear that only arose with the certainty and acceptance of imminent death – rooted her to the spot. Her skin went as cold as death’s sweet touch; the warmth and goose bumps dissipated before her heart had a chance to reach its next beat. As much as she tried, as much as she wanted to run away and never look back, she couldn’t. It was as though her arms and legs had been tied to the ground by an invisible and impenetrable force.

‘At last,’ the figure said in a child’s excitable whisper. Its owners’ face was barely visible in the low light, save for the hint of yellow in the skin and shaded patches where hair had attempted to grow. At the utterance of their first word, a putrid and inexplicable smell rose through her nostrils, and she contorted her face in response.

‘What have you done with my little girl?’ She asked, finally finding the courage to do so. Her eyes were unable to break free from the man’s deadly and threatening gaze.

‘She’s gone,’ the man said. He pulled the sheets revealing some more of his face and more of that horrible smell.

‘What do you mean, “gone”?’ She asked. Her back was beginning to hurt in the hunched over position. The temperature of her skin had now warmed the barrel of the gun and her palms became moist.

‘She is gone, I’m afraid nothing will bring her back,’ the man replied. His voice became clearer and deeper.

‘Gone where?’

‘I cannot tell you.’

‘What are you doing in my house?’ She asked. She brought her voice down to a whisper, too afraid to raise it any further. The background noise of the television in another room filtered in and distracted her. ‘You shouldn’t be here.’

‘No!’ The man said pressing the gun deeper into her skull, ‘it is you that should not be here, in my house.’

‘You are mistaken, we moved in ten years ago. We have lived here ever since,’ she said.

‘You lie.’

‘How did you get in, and what have you done with my daughter?’

‘I have always been here. Waiting and waiting, waiting for you to arrive.’

‘Why?’

‘You owe me. After all of these years of waiting, I have finally found you. And now I have come to take back what is mine,’ he said baring his teeth. A hole in the top of his mouth stood prominently in his grin.

‘You are mistaken. I owe you nothing,’ she said. The pain in her back worsened and she crouched down to her knees. The carpet creased under her bodyweight.

‘You are more stupid than I thought. Do you not remember? That time you never picked up my tooth?’ He asked, lowering the gun back down to her forehead. They were at eye level. The weight of the weapon grew as the burdening weight of his revenge increased.

She said nothing. Her expression displayed the absence of acknowledgement.

‘I was nine. In this very house. My tooth had fallen out when I was playing on the swing outside after I hit my mouth on the ground. It was my final little boy tooth, and now I had only my big boy teeth left. I ran to mummy and daddy. They told me the tooth fairy would come and collect it – that you’d come and collect it – but I already knew this. You’d already done it so many more times before. So I did what I usually did and left it next to my head on the table, and waited,’ he paused, licked his lips and continued. ‘I didn’t sleep that night. I never really did when I knew you were coming. I always pretended. You always walked in while I had my eyes open but you didn’t know it, and mummy and daddy always said that you wouldn’t come if I wasn’t a good boy and stayed awake. But you did, and not once did you realise. But this time was different. You never came. And that night I waited and waited. But still, you never came,’ he paused again, this time his hands shook as he felt the potent combination of adrenaline and anger course through him faster than his blood, ‘the day after I told mummy and daddy. “Oh, she must have been extra busy that night, maybe she’ll come tonight,” my mummy said. You remind me of her a lot, my mummy. But you didn’t turn up that night either, nor the night after that, nor the night after that. And that was the last tooth I ever lost.

‘Until now. Until right now. Until this one here. And I have never forgiven you for forgetting. How could you do it? I adored you. I loved you. I admired you. Drawings I made of you hung on my wall, and this is how you repay me? Well, now, it is time for revenge.’

He picked up the tooth, his hands swallowing it whole, and extended his arm to her. Tiny interlocking rivers of dirt ran through the grooves of his skin and collected in his nail beds.

She glanced down at the tooth.

‘I am not the tooth fairy. This is not your house. What did you do with my little girl?’

‘Have you ever heard of Russian roulette?’ He asked.

Her pupils dilated and her steady stream of exhalation stopped brushing against his skin.

‘Yes,’ she said. Suddenly, her eyes darted toward the dominant source of light and salvation.

‘There is only one bullet in this gun. It is in the first chamber. If you run, I shoot, you die. My mummy and daddy always told me to never gamble. Does this count?’

‘Yes. They would be very disappointed in you.’

‘No they wouldn’t. They’d want me to get my revenge. Mummy and daddy always told me to get my revenge.’

‘This is not revenge. This is psychotic.’

‘I’m not crazy!’ He shouted, his voice becoming high pitched and hoarse. ‘Mummy and daddy got me tested when I was younger!’ he said, and cocked the gun, ‘Enough, you are stalling for time. You have no other choice but to play the game with me.’

‘What are the rules?’

‘Spin. Cock. Point. Pull. Simple as that. We only get one go each. If you live then I will wait until the next time a tooth breaks free from my gums to see how well your luck serves you. That does, of course, depend on how long it takes the guilt to consume you.’

‘What guilt?’ She asked.

‘Do you accept?’

‘What guilt?’

‘Do you accept?’

‘What if I refuse?’

‘Then bye-bye, tooth fairy.’

She paused a moment. He could see a sheen of light reflect off her forehead. In that moment she looked old. Old with the age of stress and a heavy burden that had lain over her shoulders for some years.

‘Okay,’ she said, swallowing hard. ‘I accept.’

He smiled and said, ‘ladies first. Mummy and daddy always taught me to be a gentleman.’

He handed her the weapon. She opened the chamber, span it and flicked it to the side. It was a satisfying click for both sets of ears.

She pushed her hair behind her ears and pointed the gun at her temple. It lay perfectly still rested against her skull.

Then, holding her breath, suspending in a moment of bountiful emotion, she pulled the trigger.

Publishing My Novel: The Beginning of the Process

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RAINCHECK.

Okay, so I’ve just realised that I’ve been talking about publishing my first novel, yet I’ve not actually shared any details with you about it. This is partly down to me wanting to keep you hanging around and joining me on my journey, and the other reason for this is because I simply haven’t. Through no fault other than my own, I’ve been scared (for want of a more amelioratory word), and have wanted to withhold the information from you, because in the back of my mind, I’m thinking what if it doesn’t work? what if I don’t succeed in my task? what if no one likes it, or they’re not here in the first place to like it?

But now, something has changed. I can’t say what – because I don’t know – but something within me has decided it would be a good idea to get my behind into action.

So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know:

  • as of March 2017, I have begun the editing process of my manuscript, The Next Destination (bare in mind the title of which may change, but so far I’m enjoying it)
  • It will be a thriller novel, and in my honest (and naturally bias) opinion, it will be exciting stuff!
  • whilst I am editing this manuscript, I am also trying to finish another manuscript: a fantasy novel that currently sits at 120,000 words. So trying to juggle them both is taxing but once I have started something I need to see it through to the end, and I can’t bare to put this one down because I’m enjoying writing it so much and wouldn’t want to sacrifice the momentum I have going
  • at the moment, I am in search of an editor for The Next Destination and this is so I can have them ready to go once I’ve finished my revisions, to get the full thing rolled out as quickly as possible.
  • A part of this requires a large sum of money! Money which, being a university student, is something I’m not well caught up in. As such, I have created a Kickstarter project in order to raise funds to find, and pay for, an editor. In return, you will receive a copy of the book and a smaller, short story that I plan to release in the year as well. You can find the campaign here.
  • with any luck, I will have the book processed and published within the year!
  • in the meantime, if you wanted to follow me on le Twitter then you can do so here. Tweets are all my own and are mildly entertaining, if not a pain.

My fingers are crossed that all goes to plan, and I hope that you’ll join me every step of the way.

Thanks for your support!

 

Welcome to my website!

Hello! and welcome to my website jackprobynbooks.com.

Firstly, a thank you is in order. Thank you for taking the time to stumble on this quite figuratively tiny website amongst the millions that are out there.

Secondly, congratulations! Here you may have stumbled upon the greatest reading you may ever encounter (of course, that is subject to opinion) in the small time that we have on this earth, and so here you will be able to sample pieces of work, receive updates on things I’m creating, and then maybe lots more!

But first you’ll have to be patient – this whole website and writing malarkey isn’t as simple as first conceived!

P.S. Here’s an image of my logo. What are the thoughts?

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What I Do When I’m Not Writing…

Contrary to popular belief – that belief being in my own head – I do not spend all of my free time writing. Instead, I spend most of my time writing. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. When I’m not reading I’m either speaking to my girlfriend and spending time with my family. When I’m not doing any of those things I indulge in many other things – which will all be detailed below… patience!

I think it is a good thing to often take breaks from words and partake in something that doesn’t require too much thinking. Something that you can just do for twenty minutes, an hour, two hours – any length of time you want to spend doing it.

And so, in my spare time, here’s what I do: sudoku. I’m a big sudoku fiend and love them. I like to think I’m pretty good at them too. I once bought four puzzle books of them for a long train journey and used them all within about two months (bearing in mind there were roughly 300 puzzles per book). I’ve always enjoyed numbers as well as words, because I studied both maths and english at A level which, I’m told, is pretty uncommon.

Aside from this, I like to do dot-to-dot (still number related, I know). Here are a few examples of some I’ve done:

 For Christmas 2017 I was given a Star Wars dot-to-dot and here is an example of one of the drawings. The mighty AT-AT being brought down by the Snowspeeder.

 These came in a newspaper. As you can see there are colours, which make the process even more enjoyable!

But, the best thing I like to do, is Lego. I mean, who doesn’t love Lego? Ever since I was a child I used to play with it. For years I hadn’t built one, until Christmas 2016 when I received this little one. Look how awesome it is!

So there you have it, the things I like to get up to!

What do you like to do when you’re not lost in the worlds words ave created for you?

My Fantasy Novel 

Perhaps this could be a weekly update on the progress of the first draft for my Fantasy Novel. But then again, what could I actually achieve in a week that would leave you wanting to know what happens each time I post? I’m not sure. But I suppose for the time being I could trial it and see what happens. 

But to bring you up to speed, the first draft of the manuscript sits at 125,000 words, and I fear it could be even longer! In fact, I think I might be approaching the 180,000 number for this one – the most words I would have written for any of the first drafts I’ve done.

“Why is it so long, Jack?” I hear you ask. Well, imaginary voice, for me, fantasy fiction is long, and is meant to be loooooonnggg. So much so, in fact, that every is left overturned. In the first draft I want to cover EVERYTHING, and truly capture all of the scenes and moments that appear in my head in vivid detail. Fantasy should be about readers indulging themselves in the novel’s world, and what better way to do that than giving them so much content they become the character, on their long and arduous (in the case of my novel) journey. 

Everyone loves a long book, don’t they? So long as it is filled with delightful content, twists, shocks, horrors – all of the above! 

And that’s what I hope to accomplish with this novel. It would be way in the future that it’s released, purely because it is just SO long, and of course, there may be other things that get in the way of it. But alas, it is a long story, and thus requires a long length of time to make it perfect.

At present, I do not wish to disclose the premise of the story, because I like to keep y’all guessing, but perhaps it may contain the following;

Fluorescent Tigers being strangled by children.

Or my personal favourite:


The dreamworks guy who looks like he’s a load of acid and isn’t feeling too great. 

Writing and Word Counts: are you burning out or not even catching fire?

 

How and Where I Write (1)
Word Count is one of those things that should be adhered to, but not so religiously you lose sleep over it. Writing is supposed to be enjoyable – not feel like a chore!

 

Today’s post is about how much writing you should be doing in a day, and how much can be too much, and the problem with doing too much and too little! (much)

Now, some caveats for this post before we begin: this is all determined by your personal experiences. Today’s world of 9-6 jobs, commuting, family, friends, socialising – all of it! – means that we are continuously running out of time for ourselves or to become better writers and indeed readers. You may have a full-time job with mouths to feed at home, or there might be a new TV series that you want to watch and so you put it before anything else (this, however, is a poor excuse not to be doing any writing), and so you simply find you don’t have enough time to seriously get down and churn some words out.

But the problem is, you have to make time; yours is precious and so you should be making the most of it. My philosophy in life is to do what you want, and if you’re not happy then change. Easier said than done, I’m aware, but it’s the little stylistic changes you can make in your day-to-day that make it more enjoyable.

In terms of writing, then, it is important to make the time because you want to be writing, you want to do something you enjoy, and you’re good at it, so bloody well make the time! All I ask, is that so long as at the end of the day you are satisfied that you have created enough of your story, or filled in some plot holes, developed some characters, extended the plots, or edited some more of your manuscript – so long as you have done any of these things, then you have had a successful day. Even if you have only an hour to spare or half an hour to spare, then getting those words down on a page is enough. Like Stephen King said, if you write 300 words a day for a year, then you’ll have yourself a novel. But if you are serious about becoming an author, then 300 is not enough. Once you begin writing in the short space of time you have, then the proverbial creative juices might just start flowing and you will find you don’t want to watch the next episode of Sherlock or Game of Thrones because you’re so indulged in your work that you won’t care about any(one)thing else! Plus, giving yourself a short amount of time and putting yourself under some sort of pressure will make you more productive – at least, that’s what my lecturer told me once…maybe he was just trying to get me to come up with the answer to his question to hurry the process along.

I think a perfect example of this in action is the gym. You go there for an hour (maybe less, maybe more depending, but the premise still stays the same), and in the time that you are there you are focused and make the most of the workout, or on the other hand, you leave after feeling as though you haven’t done enough. The same can be said for writing, if you use the time effectively (no matter how little it may be), then you will feel more satisfied with what you have done.

This leads me on to my next point, how much is enough? As a rule, I generally like to stick to 1,500-2,000 words a day, sometimes giving myself the weekend to reduce this amount to about 1,000, maybe less, or maybe even taking weekends off, depending on how well the week has gone with respect to other aspects of my writing. But anything under that, then I feel like I haven’t done enough, and that I haven’t used my time efficiently. Now, perhaps 2,000 words may sound like a lot to you, but that is fine, and in some ways it is – in context, keeping to a rate of 2,000 words a day would mean that a decent length novel of 80,000-90,000 words (this is also dependant on the genre in which you write, but as rule) would be completed in as little as two months. This is a good pace to maintain considering 90,000 words is a hefty amount and is quite an achievement, even for the most prolific of authors.

But there is an issue that comes with this: how much is too much? How high can a daily word count goal be? In essence, anything over 4,000 is too much, because the quality of your work will significantly reduce and you will put unnecessary stress on yourself to complete that word count (which will, in turn, hinder the decency of your prose, as well). It would just be a vicious cycle!

Think of it as little baby steps; begin with <1,000 words and then once you have mastered your technique and ability to maintain the same level of prose, then increase and increase until you have a comfortable word count threshold that you are able to hit almost every day, that way your quality will stay the same and you won’t have any unnecessary pressures on yourself, allowing you to focus on other things in your day, and in your life. Your future manuscript will thank you for it!

As I mentioned in my blog post on why writing competitions are a great thing to do, I said I would post the short stories/excerpts that I submitted. The blog post can be found here.

 

Today, I wanted to talk about a great challenge I stumbled upon on Twitter. Christopher Fielden’s website offers loads of competitions and challenges that you can submit content to and it will be published. As simple as that!

 

The one I found was the ‘sensory writing challenge’ – check it out here: Chris’ Crazy Challenges. The premise of the challenge is to write a maximum of 175 words of prose, referring to as many of the five senses as you can. It only took less than hour, with the biggest struggle sticking to the 175 word limit. I believe I met that limit exactly. In my opinion, a short word limit is perfect in developing a writer’s skills because it teaches you to be more concise in your writing.

Anyway…

Enough of me rambling, here’s my piece. Enjoy!

The Room

It was dark. Too dark. He didn’t know how he got here. But when he woke, the only light that filled the room was the heavy blanket of harsh, fluorescent white that encompassed his mind.

It was painful. Too painful. His skull throbbed with the repetitive beat of his racing heart. Thud thud. Thud thud. Thud thud.

It was cold. Too cold. A delicate wintry breeze swam over the curves and contours of his body. Half his skin rose in protest as the air hugged him tightly, with his nipples leading the attack.

Why was he half naked?

He didn’t know. Where was he?

He didn’t know.

He struggled to open his eyes, ignoring the pain that ensued. A solitary candle, placed on a large, uneven stone, flickered and danced carelessly in the air. It was aromaless, save for the acrid smell of corrosive chemical and decaying flesh.

The rest of the room was empty except for tiny rivulets of water weaving down the walls.

Fear grappled him. A figure of death advanced.

 

Writing Competitions: Why YOU Should Be Doing Them.

Writing Competitions

As part of my writing career, I believe it’s a good idea to smaller bits of writing, for competitions and publication and so on. The benefits of this are twofold; the first being that it is great fun, it offers you a chance to explore your creativity and potentially develop the ideas you have into something longer in the future; the second is that it is an excellent way to get your name and work published!

Let’s explore the two reasons in more detail (and only ever so slightly more):

How can writing competitions/publications/contests develop you as a writer? Well, firstly it gets those old creative juices flowing. If you’ve been experiencing a particular lull in your main writing activities and haven’t been able to get out of it, then writing something new, short and exciting can be beneficial. However, I would recommend that it should indeed be very short, taking up just enough time to allow you to forget about your current project. Otherwise, you might start something completely new without having finished what you were previously doing! In addition, writing for competitions gives you a chance to do something completely out of your comfort zone, allowing you to become a well-rounded, better author for it! Even if you are partaking in ‘one word prompts’ that you can find on the internet almost anywhere, whereby you have to write a post or short story based on a word as random as “Desk”. They force you to think outside the box and force you to be creative with your ideas which, as an author, can be a blessing in disguise sometimes!
How can competitions benefit you as a writer? Competitions can benefit you if you both looking at traditional publishing or self-publishing. If you are lucky enough to in fact win a competition and get your name in print in an anthology or similar, then you are already one step ahead of many others. And it’s cost you nothing to do it! Although it is worth mentioning that some competitions do have an entry fee, but it is usually smittens, and a worthwhile investment in the grander scheme of things. Putting the money reward aside, it proves that you are indeed good enough to get your book published in any route you choose to do it. It just takes hard work and dedication. Not only this, it also drastically improves your credibility. Imagine, for a second you’re a reader scrolling on amazon in search of a new romance book, or a psychological thriller, or a historical horror novel, and you stumble across a small time author that has no credentials or reviews or anything – you’d probably turn a blind eye, wouldn’t you? Well, this can in some ways be down to the author’s lack of marketing management, but it is also because you do not feel like you are ready to trust this author with your money in return for some words that may or may not be good. Now, if you chuck in ‘Award Winning Author’ onto the author’s page or their novel’s first page then you are more inclined to want to read it. The possibilities are almost endless!

It’s elementary, my dear Watson.

So, from here on in, I will be posting small excerpts/full posts that I have put forward in competitions.

Enjoy! And if there are any competitions you know of then post them in the comments section so that everyone can see and have a go!

Summer!

For some unknown reason, I stumbled upon an image of an exotic country, and it inspired me to write this post.

Here is the image for all those impatient few!denys-nevozhai-185489.jpg

I mean, wow. Look at it! It’s so blue and green – and most importantly, it looks warm. Somehow, (and I’m not quite sure where the time has gone) it is March, and already the temperature is on the increase. Although, this being the United Kingdom you can expect sporadic flurries of snow and intervals of gale force winds. But that is beside the point, for the point I am trying to make is that the summertime is wonderful, isn’t it? Everyone instantly feels a hundred times better as soon as they wake up to rays of sunshine beating down on them in their bedroom, or when it is longer a massive pain to dress in tens of layers every morning before you leave the house.

Summer is truly magical.

In more ways than one.

For me, later in the year is when I would aspire to publish my novel. It would have to be a tight turnaround, but nothing is impossible. Submitting to impatience and sacrificing quality would be detrimental to the future success of my first ever publication – and that is something that I don’t want!

So why am I telling you this? Well, firstly because I saw that stunning image and it reminded me of the happy times that come attached to summer. Secondly, the image inspired me to write this. Thirdly, the image is somewhat related to my future plans. And fourthly, the picture above, I believe, is so powerful that it has the possibility to invoke inspiration upon anyone.

For example, imagine a story where a crazy murderer storms the island and one man and his wife are left to defend themselves.

Or, imagine a woman falls in love with a man, only for her to realise that the man isn’t real, but a figment of her imagination. What if the island isn’t real, either?

Plot twists galore.

Inspiration then, can come from something as small as a picture. You just have to allow yourself to see the potential it holds, and let your creativity run free with it.

After seeing this, did you get any inspiration from the image? If so, what was it?

 

When did I know I wanted to become an author?

(Here’s an image of how I didn’t look when I was younger. Plus this image wrongly depicts my attitude to writing, but you get the gist!)
When did I know I wanted to become an author? Well, as cliché as it is (and it is indeed a massive one!), it started when I was a child. I forget how old I was, but the main source of inspiration, besides from my family and network of friends and teachers, was Harry Potter. For me those novels offered an exciting chance to escape into this fictional world where – quite literally – magical things would happen. They were fresh and inspiring, and so, I began to think about writing my own stories.

When I got home from school on the week day I would grab my Harry Potter notepad and a pen and begin writing alternative versions of some of the novels. I’d use the same characters and maintain the same premise of the storyline, but adding in my own few extras. Then it developed from there: I bought more notebooks and wrote more stories. My friend and I would sometimes write together using a small James Bond notebook at lunchtime (it’s funny, the little details the brain can remember), and then I would develop it once I got home – without his prying eyes and awful suggestions.

My creativity didn’t stop there, oh no. As part of our school English programme we were asked to team up in pairs and write some poetry. Then, one poem from the school would be selected to appear in an anthology of other poems. And, lo and behold, the poem I submitted with my friend was selected and published in an anthology.

What inspired me the most about this was the finished product. Holding the anthology in my hands once it was all finalised and printed. The actual notion that I had done something of worth and been recognised for it and the pride that came with it, was unprecedented. Perhaps you could call it an egotistical/vanity thing, but I think it is more than that. It shows that anyone can do anything, and the rewards that come from putting in the hard work and effort are worth it.

But! It wasn’t all book deal after book deal for ten year-old me (as much I wish it was!), no. As I began to grow older and as I grew up with the digital age, my attentions quickly changed from books to games consoles and the television. Once I was old enough to understand what they were, my mind became warped by them and I forgot the power of words. In fact, I think the only times I ever read were when I was on holiday and there was nothing else to do, and as part of the English school curriculum – probably not what you were expecting to hear!

As the years progressed through secondary school, some of our tasks in English were to in fact write stories. Here, my inspiration came flooding back to me and my desire to write joined with it. But again, it was the same thing as before, and as I was getting towards the end of my secondary education, the influx of socialising and the fact none of my friends saw reading and writing as “cool”, I soon stopped and didn’t pick up pen to paper for a few years.

What changed then? I hear you ask. Well, the answer in one word: university. When it came to looking at what I wanted to do with my life, I had always decided I wanted to be a lawyer, but my only motivations for this was the rather generous paycheck at the end of it. And then I thought, what is the point in doing something I’m going to be spending most of my day doing, stressing out, not enjoying, just so I can earn lots (enough) money? I didn’t. So then I thought long and hard about what I really wanted to do, and what I enjoyed doing – because we should all do something we enjoy in life. And if you need a twenty year old to tell you that then it is up to you whether you wish to listen to it or not!

I then changed my mind and applied for a creative writing course at the University of Surrey, and was accepted (Whoop! Whoop!). And then from then onwards I have discovered my love for writing again. Having to create 2,000 word short stories was what I wanted to be doing – and I was, so it all worked out well enough in the end.

What next then? Well, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it. Of course, the dream is to publish and become recognised for my work. But so far: baby steps. Baby steps is what I need to take in order to succeed, and that is what I am doing. We all start off somewhere and here is where I am. And what’s the harm in dreaming big? Only the successful people do. 

So, if I’m pursuing my dreams, what are yours, and what are YOU doing to achieve them?

(Here’s an image of an author celebrating something. I don’t know what, but people find humour in all different sorts of things.)


How I write. Where I write. When I write.

How and Where I Write

Currently, I am writing this using my laptop, but that is because I am home and using my laptop for other things. But, while I am commuting to London as part of my placement programme at University, I use my phone to write. I use an app called Scrivener on both platforms, and in those three hours (an hour and a half each way), that is when I get the majority of my work done. Sometimes, if I am still feeling productive and even remotely creative at the end of the day then I will also finish off a few hundred words, or the final part of a chapter, using my laptop.

Our lives have become so technologically absorbed that no matter where you look, someone will have a phone in their hand, a kindle, an iPad, laptop, or all of the above – and, on the rare occasion, you may stumble upon someone reading a paperback, but more likely than not, they will have earphones in connecting them to a technological device. The point I am trying to make here is that we are all so familiar with texting and using our phones or our blackberrys for emails that we use them more than computers, and so, in my opinion, using my phone to write is the fastest and most efficient use of my writing time.

I can typically do about 1,500-2,000 words in the space of that three-hour commute. The same is easily plausible for you. Of course, some days it could be more, some days it could be less, depending on your personal circumstances, how you’re feeling on that day, or if you have something else that requires your attention.

But the additional beauty of writing on my phone is that I can practically do it anymore I want; in the bathroom, at the dinner table, at my desk, during a lunch break, in a library, on a bus. The same could be said for an idea that might pop into my head or an idea for a blog post. Instant accessibility is the key to my writing productivity. It saves me a lot of hassle as well: imagine having to carry a laptop around with you everywhere and having to lumber it out of its case every time you just wanted to note a few sentences down, or few pieces of dialogue – there would be anarchy!

If this isn’t reason enough to agree that phones are an amazing platform from which to write, then perhaps this may convince you. Our phones are blessed with the use of autocorrect. A lot of time is saved when a phone autocorrects. Rather than having to manually go through and adjust the typos I have made, it does them automatically for me, meaning I am able to churn out more words in one go, and not have to worry about it later, so that I am able to edit the book and produce it much quicker. Autocorrect, however, does come with a few drawbacks, of course. For instance, if you are writing a fantasy novel, and have names such as ‘Roedaro’, it will take a while for the software to realise this is a new word you have created and can be quite a nuisance – especially if you are in the swing of things, much like I am now!

And so, to cap off, using my mobile phone is when I am most productive, closely followed by my laptop. I seldom write longhand, because after ten minutes or so my wrist starts to ache and I grow restless.

How do you write? When are your best times for productivity? I’d love to hear from you!