Thursday, 22 May 2014

Week 4 - smashed

Hi Guys

Another quick update - have already smashed Week 4 of online writing course and still 3 days left.  Very chuffed especially as the short story I wrote got good reviews - got my creative juices flowing now.  So tomorrow for most of day will be working on my novel Wormhole Effect and seeing where I am with that and to get on with that!

Lets Roll


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Futurelearn course week 3 and 4

Hi guys

Quick update and short story to share - one of tasks to write a brief short story whereby it be reviewed by fellow futurelearn students.  I also reviewed their stories which were very good.  Me being me I went the sci fi route inspired by Starship Troopers and defo what I want to write in future.

The short story below I wrote up in 10 Minutes and the reviews to it very good which has given me confidence in my writing - maybe it is for me after all.  So below is the story which I am seriously thinking of making into a full novel sometime soon - and the reviews for it - enjoy. x neil

The heat from the two suns was unbearable to Cal especially as he was under heavy battle armour. Sweat poured down his face and he lifted his visor to get what little fresh air there was. The harsh, warm sand blew up in his face and eyes. Cal sat down on the nearest rock to wipe his eyes and contemplated his situation. It wasn't good. The battle with the enemy was going very wrong. Thousands of troops had been slaughted by the Ventra.
The Ventra were eight foot tall lobster looking aliens with protective hard bone on the outside. The lasers given to the troops weren't much use unless you hit one in there face or bottom of their back.
Cal sighed as he cleared his eyes and his sight returned to normal. He replaced his visor and looked around. Alone. His troop had gone ahead and left him struggling behind. They had more to worry about than him. The Ventra were closing in on them and they needed to escape. Cal took a sip from his almost empty bottle and started his march on. His only hope was to catch up to his troop.
After forty minutes he could see his troop on a ridge on the distance. Save at last. They would be waiting for an evacuation ship to take them to base. Cal smiled as he hurried his pace. He would get to see his friends again. But no family. They had been slaughtered by a Ventra invasion on the base a galaxy away. Cal thought they were like locusts and needed exterminating, somehow.
A noise behind him startled his thoughts of his young wife. The Ventra! They were yards behind him. He let off a few laser rounds and sprinted as fast as he could towards the ridge. He could now see the evacuation ship picking his fellow troops up. Panic welled up in him from the pit of his stomach. He was going to be left behind!
He shouted at his troop to get their attention not knowing if they had heard him. Looking behind him he had made good distance between himself and the Ventra. The were slow and heavy because of the boned exo-skeleton.
He closed in on the ship at the top of the hill, shouting as he did. He had to scramble up the hill fast to get to he ship. As he did a sharp burning pain hit his leg. Not enough to go through the armour but enough to hurt like hell. Another shot hit him at the back of his helmet which knocked him forward into the rock. Cal vision blurred and went dark.
"Cal, Cal, you awake?" came a voice as from a distance. 
It was Zena looking over him. As Cal's vision cleared he thought she look like an angel. He smiled back her and looked around the ship. he had made it.


  • Barbara's review

    Submitted by

    Barbara White

    How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?
    The character was clear and interesting concentrating on the immeadiacy of his situation combined with his back story.
    What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?
    I liked the way the suspense was built. Was he going to make it? Yes!
    What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?
    I liked the description of the world he was in. Personally I am not a battle lover but I think it was well done.
  • Jonathan's review

    Submitted by

    Jonathan Green

    How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?
    I really liked that fact that you first depicted a soldier in battle armour and then slowly revealed that underneath all that, he was just a normal person struggling with the heat and scared for his life. The contrast of my initial assumptions with what was really there surprised me and made me interested in his plight. This was no superficial action hero, but a real person. This made you interested in him.
    What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?
    You wanted to know why they were there and where they were going. The fact that there were obstacles in his path to safety; not only the aliens but the heat and lack of water with the heavy body armour, made you tense and worried if he would make it. I was definitely anxious for him to make it to the mothership.
    What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?
    It was easy to read, and nicely flowing. I am not a sci-fi fan, but even so I enjoyed reading it. It made me concerned for him. I think knowing that he was a straggler and that his troops hadn't waited for him was a nice touch to get the reader to feel for him and want to support him. If I had to pick something negative I would have to say that, although it was well written, there wasn't anything that stood out as being totally original. I guess it is hard to achieve this in such a small text, but I think to get hooked even more, to want to read the whole book to the end, I would need something far out, something amazing I'd never seen before. A unique description of the aliens or perhaps the mothership, or maybe something about the guy or the situation that he is in that really makes him stand out. Maybe he is on that planet for some bizzare reason, or the fight is due to some weird and wonderful event. (Oh and beware of typos Their/there and save/safe ;-) )

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Writing Course Week 3

Hi Guys

Just another quick update.  Well after last week have just about caught up on course although had to miss a story out - naughty me - but would have been further behind .
My Laptop is now working alright for now - touch wood - so full steam ahead.

Wish me luck guys.

Neil x

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Internet/Laptop Problems

Hi Guys

Have been having internet problems and laptop problems - unable to get on internet through usual Google Chrome so having to go on via Firefox - tried downloading it again to no avail!

Because of this well behind on my writing course - sob!

Will keep you all updated with any news


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Similar Ideas!

Hi guys

Just another quick blog in between my writing course.

As you know as readers/writers there are only so many stories that can be told - usually stories about redemption, love, self discovery.  Obviously these same stories are told slightly different from different points of view and to the individual authors abilitys.
It's like guitar chords - there only so many and most songs sound the same as same chords used - looking at you Oasis - lol.

Anyway last night was flicking through channels and noticed a film on Pick channel about people going to another dimension - thought have a look see if similar to my novel in progress Wormhole Effect - and to my disbelief there were a few elements very similar like the machine used to take people into a different dimension - luckily that's where the similarity ended as it was a cheap budget film and they only went to the woods - I mean one planet based in woods with one creature that was abit like future predators in Primeval.

All the same it was a shock although it wasn't very good - like I said set in a wood with a couple of dodgy CGI monsters and no characterisation or decent dialogue - phew.

It was called Ferocious Planet - 2011 - starring Joe Flanagan - Major Shepherd in Stargate Atlantis - type cast as an army major - if you would have turned onto it you could have been mistaken it was Stargate Atlantis - lol - hope he moves onto better projects as good actor.
Also involved was John Ryhs Davies - another dimension hopper who used to be the Professor in the quite good Sliders t.v series - although he got killed early on - bit like his Sliders character!

Anyway rant over - just saying it frightening it is that you can be writing something you believe original then something comes along more or less same!


Neil x

Writing Course - Week 2

Hi guys

Well today have started week 2 of the free writing course I'm on although a couple of days behind - grr - Come Dine with Me and Jez Kyle to blame and my laziness.
Anyway going full steam ahead now - here's a snippett of what I've been doing.
We were asked to write 2 paragraphs - one a writers best place suited to write and the other most non suited.  It's really my ideal places - if had them - lol - enjoy

Home - Most suited 
I look up at the screen and smile at my days work in front of me as I stretch in my comfy desk chair. I look around my home office - a quite small place but big enough for desk, chair, computer and files as well as a small photocopy. Looking out of the window to the left over the hills and vales of Yorkshire I smile contented.
Pub - Ill Suited 
As I sit in the pub laptop open my mind clinging to the sentances I'm trying to write. Only its starting to get busy now and the rowdy noise in the background is growing. Glasses clinking, people talking and shouting, the sport on the flat screen televisions. its no good the allure of a pint is too much. I put my laptop away and get my forth pint - bliss