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Ben's Blog

one year ago

I wouldn't actually classify this as a blog, I just enjoyed the alliteration. Think of this more as an infrequent spew of words about how my writing is going. I made a 'motivational thread' here eons ago, but I couldn't be bothered to go trawling through the forums looking for it, and it clearly didn't work as intended, so here we are.

I've got a bunch of writing projects I've started on over the years, but I never manage to bring them to fruition. It's a problem I've noticed in myself. I'm great at starting things, not so good at finishing them. Write a few pages, rewrite those pages, get distracted and then realise months have gone by and I've not touched it. Get inspiration for another project. Repeat.

Does anyone here have any tips on how they deal with this problem? I can't imagine I'm the only person here who struggles with motivation when it comes to writing.

There are a bunch of 'projects' I started with the intention of publishing on here. I've decided to try and actually complete them all over the next few months, just to prove to myself that I can do it before attempting an actual book I've got plans for. I will be posting updates on my progress here, and any feedback will be very welcome. I'm a glutton for positive feedback, but constructive criticism would be great too.

1. Welcome to Earth

This is the first one I'm going to try and finish. This is relatively short compared to the others, and had a bit more planning already done with it, so seemed like a logical place to start. A very brief rundown of the plot: You're an alcoholic living with an angry talking dwarf elephant. An alien crash lands in your back garden, and you have to deal with the fallout that comes with it.

2. Return to Castle Conundrum

Castle Conundrum was the one story I actually published on here, and I'm still proud to say even won a competition. But being rushed out in a few days it was a lot shorter than I would have liked it to be, and there was a lot more I would have liked to have done with it. Not sure yet if this is going to be a sequel, prequel, equal or just plane old rewrite.

3. Port Paradise

"Port Paradise, the legendary city of pirates. It is here that you were born and raised, and here that you now seek your fame and fortune. Will you become a legendary pirate lord? Or just another corpse in a back alley, like so many before?"

This was the very first idea I came up with after joining cys way back in 2014. I was 16 at the time, so the bits of it I can still find are ridiculously cringe worthy. But I still think its a fun concept and have some interesting ideas in mind for it, so I'm looking forward to writing this.

4. Generic Fantasy Dungeon RPG

A tongue in cheek take on shitty fantasy RPGs, this was originally just intended to be a play around with the site to see what I could and couldn't do with variables and items and the like. Nothing much was ever made of this past the basic concept, so I am tempted to just scrap it completely.

5. Dark Crusade

Based upon tonnes of world building I've been doing over the years for what will eventually someday become a series of novels, this was my intended entry for the Epic fantasy contest last summer. It quickly became a sprawling mess and, coinciding with me starting a new job and new relationship at around the same time, its no surprise I hadn't gotten very far with it by the time the competition deadline came around. It's still an enormous beast of a story, so this one may take me a while.

Welcome to Earth: Opening scene

one year ago

Just to start off, here is the first thousand words of Welcome to Earth.

 

The ringing phone pierces through the fog of alcohol that’s misting up your mind and drags you kicking and screaming out of your sleep. Without the protection of unconsciousness your head instantly starts pounding, your throat begins to lather itself up with sandpaper and every muscle in your body competes over which aches the most.

Deciding to open your eyes, you quickly realise that your decision-making process isn’t very good. The blinding light of a gloomy room stabs into your vampirically sensitive eyes. Screwing your lids shut, you let out a little groan of pain.

The phone carries on ringing relentlessly.

Letting out a little sigh, you swing your feet over the edge of the bed and, trying not to trip over the small elephant sleeping on your floor, stumble across the room to where you dropped your mobile last night. You look at it curiously. A phone number has been painted on the back in purple, next to a small sticker of a banana.

You try to figure out exactly what happened last night, but it’s all lost in a mist of drunkenness.

You’re snapped out of your reverie by the sudden silence of the phone stopping ringing. You glare at it angrily, before returning to your bed, stepping gingerly over the snoring pachyderm.

Just as your head hits the pillow, the phone starts ringing again. You pick it up. “Stop ringing!” you yell at it, before putting it back down again.

It doesn’t listen, and carries on with its relentless racket. You lie there for a moment longer before giving in and answering the phone. “What?”

“Dude, CIA activity is off the charts!”

“Fuck off Terrance.” You’ve heard Terry’s conspiracy theories a million times already. It’s enough to send you to sleep, not that you need much encouragement for that at this moment in time.

“No man I’m serious, do you have any idea how many men in suits and sunglasses I’ve seen walk outside my window this morning? Three! I’ve consulted my notebook, and there’s only meant to be one on Saturdays, and he doesn’t normally walk past my house until five past eight.  This is clearly suspicious activity.”

You blink slowly. “Are you telling me its not even eight o’clock yet?”

“No, its three minutes past now.”

“Goodbye Terry.”

“Wait, please just hear me out man. I know you don’t understand just how dangerous the government can be, but they’re clearly up to something at the moment. You need to open your eyes dude.”

You do as he says, not even remembering closing them. You’re clearly much too hungover to be dealing with this. “The CIA aren’t even our shitting government Terry. We’re not American. Even if we were, why the fuck would they be interested in a stoner like you?”

“Do you really think countries keep their secret services to themselves? You’re even more naïve than I thought.” He barks out an annoying fake laugh. “Besides, they’re not interested in me, they’re interested in the spaceship that landed in your garden last night.”

The line goes silent for a moment as you process what he said. “You might need to repeat that.”

“Don’t you remember? You’d just finished vomiting on the church down the end of the street when it came flying out from a cloud and crashed behind your house. You said I was just imagining things because I’d taken a shit tonne of MD, but Hanno saw it too, ask him.”

“You probably were imagining things, you do way too many drugs Terry. And I don’t trust Hanno, he’s fucking nuts. There’s no such thing as spaceships dude.”

“Just go check your back garden, I bet you there will be a smoking spaceship wreck out there. I’ve got to go, I can see a woman with a pram out my window reading a newspaper. Something fishy is clearly going on here.” The line goes dead.

Not wasting any time with getting back to sleep, you shut your eyes. Terry and his spaceship can wait a little longer, you think.

“What was that about me being nuts?”

Your eyes snap open. With a groan, you force yourself up into a sitting position. It doesn’t look like you’re getting back to sleep this morning. The elephant is looking at you expectantly. “Apparently you saw a spaceship last night.”

“I did. It crashed into the garden. Why does that make me nuts?” Hanno glares at you angrily.

“Well it would hardly be the first time you convinced yourself you saw something stupid. Remember that time you were at the grocery store and thought you saw a zombie in the vegetable aisle?”

“Its not my fault if people go around covered in blood and torn clothes.”

“She’d just escaped a rapist! She’d managed to get away and hide in the store, and then you tried to bash her head in with a shopping basket.”

Hanno harrumphs at you and looks at the floor sheepishly.

“Look, you’re not going to get offended at me for calling you nuts, are you?” With a horrendous hangover and a supposed CIA insurgency going on, an angry elephant would be enough to make this day a living nightmare for you.

“Don’t worry,” says Hanno, much to your relief. “Us elephants are famously thick skinned. But let me remind you, we never forget. If I ever hear you call me nuts again I will stick my tusk so far up your arse you’ll choke on it.”

You’re not too worried about his threat. As famed as an elephant’s mind may be, Hanno had the memory of an amnesiac with Alzheimer’s. Besides, you’ve known Hanno for years. He’s threatened to impale you with his tusks multiple times, and its yet to happen.

 

Ben's Blog

one year ago
Tips to deal with that problem? Well, I will tell you that you're not alone. I've got at least 7 stories in various stages of completion here on this site alone.

What I have often found, and this may not be the case with you, is that in a way you're afraid of finishing. That's not meant as a slam or insult or anything. With my stories, sometimes the story is so much fun that I don't want it to end -- NOT finishing writing it means it gets to go on forever in my mind! Sometimes the story is something that I'm not sure is "ready" (whatever that means). I think I'm afraid to finish it and publish it because I just know "everyone" is going to hate it. And certainly there are some stories where I'm not sure it was supposed to go -- I know it's not done, but I don't know what's to come next. Those are truly in the "stuck" stage (dammit, what DOES happen with Temil if you don't shoot him?). Also, I do find it very easy to start a new story with new ideas.

So hey, maybe something of the above applies to you and maybe if you just are willing to let the story go, then you can get one done!

Hope this helps!