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The Challenge

“How do you beat jumping off a moving bus?

By jumping onto a moving train.”

This story is actually based on something I actually did when I was about 15 years old. It starts out exactly as it did in real life except that, in real life, the train stopped.

And that’s what got me wondering. Now I’m grown and I can look back on what I did with a bit more maturity, I can imagine what might have happened if things hadn’t gone to plan. In reality, when I was 15, I didn’t give it’s a moment’s thought. The fact that the train slowed and stopped after carrying me the length of the platform to the tune of cheers from my friends just encouraged me and before long it became a bit of a party trick whenever we were drunk and on our way home from a night out. Especially when we were trying to impress any girls we had with us (in that juvenile teenage boy way which always works so well). In fact, I think there was only ever one girl who thought it was anything other than dumb.

I guess this gives a wider picture though. If I (and so many of my friends) could do such stupid and impulsive things without thinking about the consequences, either for ourselves or for others, then is it any wonder that some of us ended up falling into criminality?

You can read the full story here.

Bucktooth

“These days I pull twenty teeth or more for every thousand Easter eggs that get eaten and every single one of them gets sent straight to the Tooth Fairy’s tooth reclamation plant.”

A while back I was set a challenge by the creative writing tutor here. He’s heavily into his surrealism and his comedy and he set me a task to write a piece along those lines. I’m not sure quite how comedic it turned out, but what I came up with was definitely surreal.

The theme he set me was ‘dentists’ and it took a while for me to think of anything to write about that at all, but once I got going, the story seemed to write itself. You can read what I came up with here.

I have to say, I do like a challenge when it comes to writing so if any of you ever want to set one, you can leave it as a comment or send it as a mail and I’ll definitely try to rise to it. What am I letting myself in for?!

The View from Upstairs

“You don’t even exist and you still moan like a bitch if

you’re not getting all the attention.”

Some time ago I put a short story up in my prose section entitled The View, From Upstairs, but since writing that I have also turned it into a screenplay.

It is the first screenplay I’ve ever tried to write and although it isn’t my favourite medium I am quite happy with the finished result.

The story itself came from a writing exercise I did a while back with the creative writing teacher at HMP Frankland. He collected a variety of assorted newspaper headlines in one envelope and a range of pictures in another. Each student had to pick one of each at random and use them as the basis for a story. I picked a picture of a girl with her head in her hands and the newspaper headline “The View From Upstairs”, which I took as my title.

The premise I wanted to work with at first was quite different to what I ended up writing. I wanted to try and write a story from the point of view of the voice in someone’s head, who knows they are just a voice but still has a narrative to offer.

Over the next year I spoke to a few prisoners who suffer from mental health problems and who actually hear voices themselves and the way they spoke about the voices as real people made me change my mind. Suddenly it seemed so much more interesting to write a story that examines what it might be like to find out you don’t exist when you have always thought it was the other one (the real person) who was the voice inside your head. Can a figment of your imagination experience grief?

You can still read my original story and you can now read my adaptation of it into a screenplay too.

Close of Play

“I began to shake uncontrollably as we headed for Sophie ‘s car.”

I first wrote this story as an entry to a competition in a writing magazine. The brief was to write a story in just 250 words which included someone pulling out a gun. Given that I very rarely write anything this short, it was quite a challenge, but I think I’m happy with the result.

The key to stories as short as this is to tell half the story with what you don’t say. What came before, what came after, what information was withheld in between. It all contributes to the overall story and is as important as what is actually said. As always, comments are most welcome. You can read my full story here.

The Jump

The chute should have shot out immediately, but nothing.”

The creative writing tutor here at Wakefield went through a period of setting us a check list of things to write about a while back. Each story had to include all five things on the list and the list would change week on week. The only thing that was on the list each week was expert knowledge which actually isn’t true. You can see that in a few of my stories now. It’s in The Forcefield. It’s in Dumb Luck. And it’s in The Jump too.

With this story I really wanted it to be a simple stream of consciousness, told in real time. I wanted to see if that would draw the reader in and add a sense of emergency.

Why not have a read of it in my Prose section and let me know what you think?

Dumb Luck

This guy’s like the Angel of Death. He’s big time. The End.”

I wrote Dumb Luck as a sort of modern retelling of an old religious story I heard about a man who sees the Angel of Death in Jerusalem and fears he is going to die so he flees all the way to Damascus in an attempt to cheat death. The only problem is, death doesn’t just work by chance. Does he?

You can read my story in my Prose section.

The Forcefield

The wrench collided with the weightless sandwich.”

I rarely try to write comedy. I think it is the most pressured kind of writing to attempt. It can be very easy to fail at it, and when you do fail, it is very obvious that you have. In fact, The Forcefield is the first piece of writing I have ever put out for public consumption which has a deliberate comedic element.

Check it out in my Prose section and let me know how far from the mark you think it falls!