Archive for the ‘Writings’ Category

Returning in Circles

February 11, 2012

To tell the truth, sheepish hesitation slunk through my finger in the second before I clicked into the ‘New Post’ box. I’ve returned here so many times from so many departures that I might as well be going in circles. I’d like to think, however, that they may be increasingly tighter, more practiced loops – like an eight year-old getting better at using a spirograph – and while I’m not sure that’s much to shout about, I should just embrace the wayward path of my blogging orbit and stop making excuses for myself.

So; hello again, most fine of readers. First up, I should mention that writing about videogame stories came to a halt when I actually found gainful employment working in the IT department at Aviva, something which has turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I would ever have imagined, with the added bonus of paying somewhat better and more reliably than writing articles for small gaming sites. I have a suspicion some might also refer to this as ‘growing up and acting sensibly’.

As a result, writing has once again been elbowed out of its cosy corner in my life and I find myself, in quiet moments, faced with mental images of wide, doleful eyes asking ‘What are you going to do with me?

When pondering this question, I come to the same conclusion that, over a few years of writing things largely for my own amusement, I’ve never really done much at all with the fictional side of my writing.

There are two exceptions to this:

The first is a poem about the 2004 Tsunami, which can be found HERE. It was one of the first poems I ever wrote, at a time when I was thinking a lot about the power and nature of the waves, and received the honour of having it included in a group of poems and stories written by and for people who had been involved with the tragedy. I was in France when the gathering it was part of took place, but the poem was read aloud there by my girlfriend of the time – who I cannot imagine doing anything other than knock it out of the park – and I have always felt a real sense of resonance in remembering that my writing was out there amongst people, intertwined with their experiences and feelings. It feels like the words mattered.

The second exception, when compared to the first, is… Well; go past the end of the scale and continue on to other side of the observable universe. It’s somewhere around there. ‘There’s Plenty of Room in my Heart’ is the grisly, comedic, zombie-horror romance poem that I wrote for Rigor Amortis. When I finished writing it, I had the sensation that for the first time I had ‘hit something special’; that the abilities I had been honing for years had actually come together and formed the sum of their parts. It got published, I made a mighty $8, and received the following review from Barnes & Noble:

‘One of the most memorable selections in Rigor Amortis is unarguably Alex Masterson’s poem “There’s Plenty of Room in My Heart.” It’s simultaneously gruesome, playful and romantic – and just a brilliant piece… Masterson’s poem by itself is worth the price of this anthology alone.’

Where to go from here? In fitting with the cyclical theme of this post, I intend on returning back to almost two years in the past – the period in my life where my fiction writing was at its most prominent (read: when I was an unemployed bum) – to pick up the fragments of everything I started, and actually get them finished. The fact that this era can be found a mere one page back on this blog speaks volumes, and I won’t make any promises on the regularity of updates here, but rest assured – I’m back in business, and this time things are getting published.

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Blog Meets Blog

June 25, 2011

Hello!

I think’s it’s fair to say that my scribblings here over the last year have been haphazard at best. To be honest, I’ve recently found myself wanting to try something with a bit more focus. So to that (not particularly lofty, I’ll admit) end, I’m starting a new blog..

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*gasp*

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However! That’s not to say this corner of the Writing Kingdom will be completely abandoned – DM will continue to be the mind-mirror of my life, writing, dreams and delusions, however sporadic those reflections might come. Also, I’ve by no means given up on writing ridiculous stories. The new blog simply has a slightly different, more focussed direction.

As for what that direction is, if you were to consult your blogging compass and give it a spin, you’d find the needle pointing towards storytelling and narrative in videogames. I think that’s somewhere inbetween North-North-East and Behind You.

After brainstorming title ideas for at least ten minutes, I’ve decided to call it

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which is almost as satisfyingly vague and pretentious a title as ‘Digital Metaphor’, so I think it’ll serve nicely 😉

There’s also an only-a-little-bit-nefarious secondary goal for this upstart of a blog, which is that I’m throwing all my efforts into becoming a videogames journalist. Once again, I have something tangible to work towards, and as such, Persuasion Check will also provide a good way to start flinging my writing around the internet in a games-related capacity, and act as good writing practice in the process.

I’ll be opening up the lightning conductors and cranking the switch on Monday, so if you fancy taking a trip over and letting me know what you think, it would be appreciated!

The url is http://persuasioncheck.wordpress.com/

Well, I think all that’s left for me to do is wish you safe travels across the Great Hyperlink Ocean, and see you on the untouched shores of a new blogging land!

Good News, Everyone!

August 2, 2010

I have my first actually-in-a-book-made-of-paper-got-paid-for-it-‘n’-all-publication!

It’s not Nocturn. No, the world isn’t quite ready for that one just yet 😉 But my journey to the lofty heights of writerdom is underway and, like most things in life, it starts with a bit of zombie erotica.

Hold up – what?

Okay, let’s backtrack a little. A few weeks back I mentioned that I’d come up with what I thought was the best piece of poetic writing I’ve ever done. Well, turns out a few other people think it’s not all that bad either, and so the piece has made its way into Rigor Amortis, an anthology of zombie sex, horror, and for my part at least, wry comedy. ‘There’s Plenty of Room in my Heart’ (such is the title)  tugs – hungrily – at the old heartstrings, and ponders whether love can conquer the occasional over-enthusiastic love-bite and the odd bit of exposed viscera. ‘Tis a charming tale!

More details as and when the date of publication approaches, but there we have it – no longer just a writer, but an author. How about that, eh? 😀

A Sliver of my Scribblings So Far…

July 20, 2010

The arias of archangels arc through the air as I am “assisted” into the amphitheatre. Their anticipation appals me, my arrival announced with apish amusement, ablaze in affected affluence. Alongside the angelic anthems, their applause is an absolute aural agony.

Abominations, all.

Behold – the buzzing breaks, albeit briefly, into a breathless babble as a bolt of brightness bursts into being, far above. It bears downwards, becoming bigger and bolder in the blazing sky and I blanch, barely believing that the bastard would bridge the barrens of Babel to be beholden to my embarrassment… but lo – in a beat – he is before me, and he burns with bitterness and bile.

My betrayal is brought to light, and with a bellow that blasts me backwards, he broadcasts that I am to be beaten, until both body and brain are broken. This is, unbelievably, better than the barbarity I would brook from the brutes on the balconies above, so I bow. I will bear the first blow. But before it begins, he bends down beside me.

Baptism by blood, he breathes.

–   CRACK  –

I crumple. On cue, a cacophonous crowing cascades into the courtyard and the collisions continue, coming without cease as carefully, quietly, my consciousness creeps away, consumed by cavernous… crawling…

Dark.

An Aria of Alliteration

July 17, 2010

This week, amongst property adventures and employment explorations I’ve mostly been writing a new short piece of fiction, naturally in complete odds with the writing goals set out in my last entry. It’s a bit gimmicky really, but basically the story is made up of paragraphs using words beginning only with the same letter of the alphabet,  going from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ (which, oddly, hasn’t been the hardest part to nail down). Almost.

I say ‘almost’, because without ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘a’, and other incidental words, even Tolkien or Lovecraft in their wordiest of writing fevers would have had trouble pasting a coherent sentence together. Believe me I tried it, but after much humming and lip-chewing  decided to forgo my first idea for a piece of writing that’s actually – hopefully – interesting to read, rather than just a pile of words that start the same way. I’m not using any thesauruses (or thesauri? The debate rages within us all, I’m sure), so it’s a masochistically enjoyable process, as I’m having to scrape the very bottom of my vocabulary knowledge with each new section. It’s a test of how capable I am, and all said and done, this thing is probably a psychological response to the fact that, lacking employment, I have no other outlet in which to prove to myself that I’m not completely useless. So this is how I’m doing it.

As for the story; it started off as the fairly mundane tale of a man looking for his kidnapped friend, but – and don’t ask me how – quickly turned into a much more… theological, supernatural tale of power and misjudged malice. Basically, more of the fun stuff 😉

So…

July 8, 2010

Sofas safely and successfully sequestered in storage, my stay in Leicester has ceased, and the city sinks slowly beneath the skyline as I set sail (so to speak) to sunny York…

A quick update on what I’m doing with my writing at the moment, in the spare time that I’ve got –  my immediate aim is to finish off the three short stories that I have kicking around in various stages of completion:

Hamlet… In Purgatory – Is the closest to completion. Now on its third draft, I want to add a bit more narrative and tune up the characters a little, and then it’ll be done.

Chocalypse – Next up; the sugar-coated destruction of mankind. What I have at the moment is a bunch of scenes running from the beginning to the end of the story which need tying together. I also need to write a few paragraphs to give the feel that the world really is coming to a sticky end.

The Director’s Vampire – My third story, first of all, probably needs a better title. It has three chapters written and finished, and I want to find a way to wrap the story up over another three chapters or so.

When these are out of the way, the path to Nocturn will be clear and I’ll throw myself into the city of blood and stone once again, going through editing and rewrites, and tying things together more thoroughly in the story. I honestly can’t wait. It’s been too, too long.

Much Mochage

June 28, 2010

Free wifi cafés are wonderful places. Let us take a moment to appreciate their gracious offer of potentially limitless internet access (so long as you sip your iced mocha really, really slowly).

I think I wrote my best piece of poetic writing ever yesterday, while on the train to Leicester (successfully managing to get the connecting train from Derby, natch).  The tale of a forbidden love between one man and his zombie sweetheart, entitled ‘There’s Plenty of Room in my Heart’ (in reference to the Dawn of the Dead line, “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth”), it’s a deadly serious piece…

Other than that, a T-shirt that I’d ordered online arrived, which was good… However, over the  duration of the day I had to fend off two people who wanted to buy it off me, and one who wanted to do a straight shirt-swap, right in the middle of the train. Hands off!

For those curious, the T-shirt says this:

*Chuckles*

Anyhow, this is the beginning of my last week here in Leicester, and it feels very strange. After six years, the time to move on seems to be approaching with all the serene patience of a speeding freight train, so I’d better stop writing, drain the 1cm of mocha I’ve been carefully maintaining for the last half-hour, and start packing!

Hm, lots of train-centric things seem to happen to me. Wow. To paraphrase Kim Pine, right now, if my life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch my life in the face.

One Night in Derby – Part 2

June 20, 2010
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I wandered lonely as a cloud, along the Derby streets
As if I’d fallen from the sky, shaken free by techno beats
(If you will remember, I had left the warmth of Fusion,
With three hours still to go before the night reached its conclusion…)
 
 ————————-
 
Salvation came in the shape of a bar which was named the Flaming Fox
Referring, I supposed, to the barmaid, whose smile could have melted rocks
I settled myself at the edge of the room, and got out my notebook
Figuring I would do some work, make the most of my bad luck
 
But it wasn’t long before I was approached by one of the in-house bouncers
Who’d seen me writing in a book, and had come looking for some answers
“Are you an inspector or something?” He asked me, to my surprise
“No,” I responded, then instantly thought of many better replies
 
About ten minutes later, it was the barmaid who ambled over
And we chatted nonsense for a while, me glad that I was sober
She went away for a few minutes more, and then, upon returning
She turned my head and kissed me, leaving my cheeks fairly burning
 
“Keep up the good work,” she said with a grin, and slinked back to the bar
While I smiled like a lunatic – best moment of the night by far!
‘On par with Zeppelin Dude at the least’, I thought, and began to wonder
If any other strangeness would emerge from out of the thunder
 
Lo and behold, the night indeed had one more thing in store
Blasts of cold wind filled the room, and a midget walked through the door
He wandered round the room a bit, and passed me once or twice
So on his third pass I said “Hello”, trying to be nice
 
He said hello back and so I made polite conversation
Feeling rather sorry for his slight air of desperation
However this backfired when he asked me “So… wanna come back to mine?”
I managed to say, with contained shock, that I’d have to decline
 
After that he turned away and left without a word
Just as the dreaded call ‘It’s closing time!’ was heard
Thusly did I head out again into the Derby night
And trudged back to the station, which was a very gloomy sight
 
The only passenger was I, on a train so quiet and dead
That never so eager have I been, to see my single bed
And when finally I did get home, at around half-past seven
The cloudy grey of Leicester dawn looked like the plains of heaven
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—————–
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So that, then, is the story, of what happened on that night
Of shocks and laughs and oddities, and the occasional fright
But should I ever find myself once more stranded in that hell?
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I think I’ll do the sensible thing, and find a good hotel.

One Night in Derby – Part 1

June 17, 2010

A few entries back, I mentioned that there was a tale-in-waiting which deserved to have an entry dedicated to it. As it turns out, it needs more like two, so here’s part one of that story, dragged out of the dungeons of my memory, 100% true. To set the scene: I was travelling back to Leicester from York by train in horrendous weather, and arrived at the station of a small, grimy town called Derby, where I was to change trains to continue my journey…

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It was a dark and stormy night; I think you know the kind
I watched my connecting train depart… while I’d been left behind
And the story of what happened next I wrote out for you all
But the tale came out so long it would’ve filled the entire wall
So here instead are the events, rewritten in poetry form,
Of what can happen stranded in Derby, in the middle of a storm
Oh, and just one crucial point – to add to my bad luck –
My phone battery had up ‘n died (Yeah I know; I suck 😉 )
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———-
Time: 9:00 pm

At nine o clock I missed my train, the connection had been late
The next one? Half-past five AM; so now, I’m thinking ‘Great...”
Then I saw a pub nearby, and headed towards the lights
To be told: “Closing early, love. Sorry, it’s one of those nights!
You’d best head into town by foot – it’s only half an hour.”
Which was fine, ‘til five minutes in, the sky began to shower
So watch me leg it down Main Street, while folk in taxis gloat
(I’ll leave it up to you to guess, whether I had brought a coat.)
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10:00 pm
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Thankfully I soon found a bar, sporting a sign which said:
“SUNDAY NIGHT IS BAND NIGHT, SO COME IN AND ROCK YOUR HEAD!”
“Band night eh, that doesn’t sound bad,” I thought, with optimism
Then discovered that ignorance is bliss, faced with Nu Metal rhythm.
However there was entertainment to find, in braving these aural assaults
By talking snobbily with some guy, about each band’s musical faults.
He’d been a friend of Robert Plant; so I ensured that we shook hands
While he reminisced about Zeppelin – “So much better than these shitty bands…”
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12:00 am
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That place closed around midnight, so time for some more bar-hopping
But now I had to hurry it up, with the temperature rapidly dropping
And it seemed that a club called ‘Fusion’ was the only available place
So I lingered in its doorway, spine shaking along with the bass.
I was just minding my own business there, when one of the bouncers asked
If I was coming in or not, and I had to convince him fast;
I didn’t have much money left by now, and less desire to spend it here
So I explained myself and pointed out that the weather was quite severe
The doorman laughed at this and then, after talking to his mate,
Suggested I help out on the door – “Beats freezing, at any rate!”
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2:00 am
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So I became a Fusion bouncer – well, at least for a while
Until the nightclub had to close, and I continued on my trial.
Through rain and wind and metal and bass, so far I had survived
I could only hope to hold my ground, until the train arrived.
But there were strange things waiting to happen in the intermittant time
And they my friends, will be the subject, of the next entry’s rhyme…
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November 22, 2009

Part I – [link]