Sunday, December 25, 2011

When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney


Merry Christmas to you all. I finished the Christmas story last night at fifteen minutes to Christmas. I successfully completed my challenge!



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve


It's Christmas Eve! Need I say more?

Well, I guess I can. If I get my Christmas Piece online today I will be thrilled and I'm sure all you readers (well, looking at the stats not many are visitors, more just bots from some money-scam site visiting for less than 10 seconds 5 times a day) will be thrilled too.

If I'm successful it means I have been able to write a story in a week. Now, you're all thinking 'liar' you started 2 weeks ago. True... but, apart from the opening paragraph I didn't write anything until last Sunday so it all adds up to make a week.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011



I'm ill. I have a bloody awful cold and a sore throat. This is impacting everything! In college today and yesterday I've been sniffling and sneezing. In my piano lesson I had to keep stopping mid-flow to blow my nose. I've not written since Sunday. My personal Deadline is Saturday. I've only written 488 words. My target is 2500 minimum. I can't even be bothered to write this blog with anything other than simple sentences with 1 clause.

I'm ill.

Matt B

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas is Inspiring

Christmas is Inspiring

‘Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.’

Could be re-written as:

‘Christmas is coming,
The mind is getting fat,
Please put inspiration in your short works.’

Well, I doubt it would win any awards but it’s the best I could do! The point is that Christmas is an inspirational time of the year. We, as writers, should be ready to act upon inspiration whenever it presents itself to us. Sadly, many of us, myself included, often don’t have the time to act upon this inspiration.

However, I believe once a year we should allow ourselves to write free from the constraints of set word counts, planning, and the whole myriad of distractions which stops us acting on impulse and inspiration. This time is, if you haven’t guessed, Christmas. We all love a nice festive read so shouldn’t we all write one?

Last year I wrote a Christmas story in a day at college with the prompt ‘A Candle in the Dark’. It won the short story contest which was very good, but the main thing was that I wrote a good short story for the festive season in a set time with very few distractions. Granted it wasn’t complex; it was a quest story with a drunken Santa and an evil Jack Frost – but, it was fun to write and hopefully fun to read.

So, where does one look for festive inspiration? Christmas tales are always good to look at. Films, books, TV, comics will often have the same set of characters:  Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, Jack Frost, etc…. This base set of characters is fantastic as you don’t have to spend as long crafting the main cast of your story. Whenever I write with a known set of characters I always put a twist on the characters and add a new character to the group. I would advise you do the same.

This year, I have got my inspiration from another place as well. The good old Christmas Carol. Well, not just the good old ones but the good modern ones too. I’m not going to talk about my story this year as I don’t want anybody who plans on reading it to know what’s going to happen, but I will tell you that a lot of Christmas songs have inspired the plot.

To conclude:  Christmas is festive. Christmas is fun. Christmas is inspiring. Christmas is a good time to write. Christmas is great!

 Hope this helps,
Matt B

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Restarted!


Today is the first time, since I wrote the first few paragraphs of my Christmas story 1 week ago, that I have actually put hand-to-keyboard and typed something up. I more than doubled the length of the story in one sitting whilst watching the Comedy Awards on 4OD.

I hope to continue at this rate throughout the week. With the end of term in sight, it is unlikely that I will get any urgent work so I can put a little more time into writing this. Although it will have taken a fortnight to write the actual days will actually add up to a week so in reality if I finish Christmas Eve I will still have written a story in a week ... kinda anyway!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Story Update 2


It seems like I picked a bad week to try to write a story in a week. I have 3 trial exams this week so they have taken priority. Perhaps I should modify my target to a short story in a fortnight. It’s still something new for me and a challenge.

I guess I’ll have to wait for another occasion to arise where I can do my story in a week challenge.

This is also my first blog post with Blogger connected to G+. So hello to any new readers I have from G+!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Story Update


I got a few hundred words down yesterday. Not amazing, but I had to think of a way to start the story. It’s also been a challenge showing that it the story is on Earth, just minus one very important cultural thing. The story isn’t even about culture, it just so happens that I have to do it like this to get to the good bit faster.
I doubt I’ll get more than 500 today as I’m busy in the morning and have work to do for the rest of the day.
I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Story


Today I am going to start work on my Christmas story for 2011. I have an idea based around some famous Christmas songs, I have a middle, and I have an end. However, I am missing the opening. I simply can’t think of a way to start the story. I know the story is going to be good, but who’s going to read a story with a weak opening?

I’ve had Christmas songs playing as I work for the past week or so now as a source of inspiration. Seriously, it may be hard to believe but the songs ‘Last Christmas’, ‘Lonely Pup’, ‘I Wish it could be Christmas Everyday’ and ‘The Fairy Tale of New York’ have all helped to get the middle of the story sorted in my head.

I’ve also set myself a challenge with this story. Normally it takes between 1 and 2 months to write a short story to ‘upload standard’. I have done stories in a day before, but they needed a lot of editing. This story is going to be written in a week (hopefully). I’ve got the week end and I plan to not have lie ins on my late starts to get stuff written before leaving to college. Obviously AS Levels take priority, but I am really excited about getting writing.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Name Game

Name (n) – A word that you use to identify a person, place or thing.
The names you give to your characters will stick with them right up until the story is finished. By that logic it should be one of the most important things to think about before writing your story. The main characters name will be eternally connected to your piece of fiction and if chosen quickly and without reason, you may well regret picking it.
So, what should you think about when choosing a name?
1. Ease of pronunciation:
Your story is set in a foreign country and you obviously want to make the names as authentic as possible. A reader would probably not be able to read ‘Yudhisthir’ without stopping to work out the pronunciation. If you want an Indian name, perhaps going with something like ‘Gafur’ would be better. My reasoning behind those two names will become clear in my next point, but here they serve the purpose of showing how picking an easy name is better.
2. Etymology of the name:
This is what the name means. Both examples in my above point have some meaning of war behind them. The former name means ‘Firm in Battle’ and the latter name means ‘Invincible’. These names would be perfect for a Hindu warrior. The reader may not look up your name, but for those eager eyed readers it is nice to give them something to find.
3. Length of name:
This is similar to the first point, but more directed to the writer than the reader. Every time your character’s name is used, you have to type it. Which would you rather type: ‘Yashodhan’, or ‘Yash’? They both mean ‘Fame’ but one is nine letters and the other is four.
4. Purpose of Character
This links in nicely to point two and in some ways could’ve come before that point. Your character may be a fun, easy-going, party loving woman. In this case a name like ‘Prudence’ or ‘Camilla’. I’m not saying people with these names can’t have the above traits, but your reader will have stereotypes for those kinds of names. Similarly if you are trying to portray a really ugly character, perhaps names like ‘Brad’, ‘Hank’ and ‘Mr. Depp’ would be the wrong way to go simply because women supposedly find certain famous people with those names good-looking.
Of course, these rules are not set in stone. Breaking convention is fantastic to shock the reader or to add comic effect. For example (here we go!) in The Magician’s Tattoo I gave the eccentric magician a really normal name, Brian. I did so because I thought it would be funny to have this magician who is completely stark-raving-mad have such a normal, human, name. I also picked it because it is one of Dumbledore’s middle names.
But, what about the concept of not naming your character? Is that allowed? Would the reader feel cheated? The answers are yes, yes and no. Not giving the main character a name works really well in first person horror/dark stories. I did it in Positive Thoughts. By not naming the character, every time the reader reads ‘I’ the only person it could mean is them. They become part of the story which exponentially increases tension and suspense.
If you would like to have a look at some ‘normal’, ‘generic’ names, their meanings and also how to create normal names, visit my experiment- The Normal Name Experiment
Hope this helps,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Positive Thoughts

The piece is finished. It has had a major edit since I last posted and is now darker than ever.
Not just a piece for Halloween, any reader of dark short stories can read this anytime of the year. If death is something you have nightmares about, I recommend reading this in the day, not just before bed!

Matt B

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Story


I finished my yearly dark story yesterday at around 9:30 pm. I'm quite pleased with it.

Positive Thoughts, by Matt B

Matt B

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time, Lack of


As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m writing a Halloween story this year. Of all the stories I’ve ever written, this is the toughest, and I’ve written some pretty tough ones. I’ve written whole pieces in 6 hours, a longer short story in 5 days, a co-authored contest piece and I’m writing a novel. This piece I’ve been writing since the 7th and still have a quarter of it left to write.

It’s in the first person (I prefer writing in third). It has a complex tense change in the middle from past to present (present tense is tough), and is an extremely sensitive topic. Well, I say sensitive but I don’t mean it is personally sensitive, I more mean that it a subject that should be approached sensitively.

Being my Halloween story naturally means I’d like it finished for Halloween. Halloween is tomorrow. It’s not going to be finished tonight so that means I have between 1000 and 2000 words to write tomorrow.

Considering I will have around 3 hours worth of writing time that means I will have to average at around 11 words per minute. That may not seem bad, but when you think that I have very little planned and that each and every word must be thought about before being typed and that I am easily distracted, then you can see why that’s quite tough.

Tomorrow I will be posting a link to the story, hopefully in time for your Halloween bedtime read.

Matt B

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Good Day


I honestly cannot put my finger on it, but at college today I was in a really good mood. I'm never really in a bad mood as such, but today I seemed especially happy.

Perhaps it was the refreshing walk to school in the cool morning air that did it. Being the first day back to school meant it was also my first proper walk in a while! I entered the sixth form and wasn't annoyed by the cluster of people who insist on hanging around the doorway (usually this really irritates me), nor was I annoyed when I realised I got there earlier than planned.

My first lesson, Chemistry, was theory as it always is on a Monday. Despite starting a new topic, and therefore requiring a small amount of extra attention to the work than usual, I didn't find the lesson difficult and we got to play with MolyMod - a molecule making kit.

Normally when I've queued for something only to be told I don't have enough money on my card I get annoyed. Today, I wasn't annoyed. Although part of me was disappointed when the card machine didn't spurt out extra £10 notes as it did last time, I was back in the queue to buy my drink rather quickly.

Whilst eating my panini I realised that the extra thick part of my bottom brace, that was added on Thursday, made eating chewy-ish foods more difficult. This didn't annoy or irritate me - I actually found it quite amusing!

I do mentoring on a Monday after Lunch to help a year 11 class in Chemistry. I really enjoy this and have never not liked a lesson I helped in. Today, however, I enjoyed it more than usual. The class were starting a new topic, ions and ionic bonding, and at first they found it rather difficult. Yet, over the space on 1 lesson the understanding was visibly better. Literally the class turned from being relatively bored to being ecstatic over getting questions right and being desperate to get better. Some people were physically cheering with delight as their understanding 'clicked' and  everything suddenly became clear.

Whilst I cannot say that I was the sole reason for this (I wasn't, the other 2 teachers were the main reason), I can honestly say that I did help in this wonderful feat of academic understanding. I believe those people that helped were pleased with my aid and I know for a fact one person had their 'clicking' moment because of what I said.

The final lesson of the day, ICT, takes place between 15:00 and 16:40. It's a long and late lesson which I often could quite easily sleep in. However, due to my elated feeling from the mentoring, the otherwise dull topic of 'Legislation and it's affect of ICT policy and procedure' was that little bit more interesting. I got all the worksheet done in one double lesson, despite the fact is should take 1.5 to 2 double lessons to finish.

All in all, I had a great day at college today. From a good start, to a feeling of accomplishment ending on a relative high (for a Monday).

Matt B

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I’m 17

Good morning to you all.
Today I turn 17 and well, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Have a good day
Matt B

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween Story


Every year (I started last year) I plan to write a piece for Halloween. I’ve already started thinking about this year’s and hope to start writing in a day or so. The problem is I can’t write scary, horrifying, dark, depressing, miserable and spine-shilling stories whilst the weather is so warm, happy, cheerful and completely not scary.

However, once that problem goes I will start writing. So far I have a few basic ideas for 2 characters and a plot. In comparison to last year, this story should be darker, but less gruesome. It will focus on psychological horror and will have implicit violence as opposed to explicit gore. It’s quite worrying how long the thought for this piece has been in my head (nearly 3 months). I mean, it’s not like a comedy piece or a happy-go-lucky story with happy characters. It’s about death and obsession. Honestly, if people could mind-read I think I would be incarcerated for getting excited about writing this.

Of course, I’m not excited about the subject, but about the challenge. With every piece I write, I am trying something new. Last year saw my first horror, and this year will see my first psychological piece. Literally everything I write is an experiment for me. I don’t like being constrained to one style so I am constantly evolving my writing and seeing what does and doesn’t work.

I’ll keep you updated when I start writing.

Matt B

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



Recently, I've been trying out the new social network, Google+. Whilst I have not been able to fully see how much potential this platform has due to the small number of people I actually know using it and my apparent lack of interesting things to 'stream', I have got some preliminary thoughts.

It could be great.

The interface is clean and sleek. Whether this is because of it being new, I don't know; but I like it. The circles idea is fantastic. I can section the people who's stream I follow into these circles and then limit what each can see. So, if my family ever join I can be safe in the knowledge that the discussions I have with my school friends won't be overheard (not that there's anything to be embarrassed about).

To share media is a really straightforward process. Find the media, click the relevant link in the 'stream' box do the relevant steps.

The only thing that's odd is getting use to the new terminology. Rather than follow someone (twitter) you circle them. You don't tweet or post, you stream. You don't like or retweet, you +1 or share.

Once I've used it more, I will post more here, but in the mean time you can join G+ and circle me here:

Matt Bird on G+


Matt B

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Crinklebottom Short–Result


The results of the CSFS Short Story Contest came in a couple of days ago and I am a little disappointed to announce The Crinklebottom Short didn’t place in the top 3. The winners were really good pieces and perhaps my story was a little ‘out-there’ for the judges taste. I knew full well when I wrote the piece that there was a very high chance of the judges not being the target audience. I did however get awarded an ‘awardicon’ from the group leader, which to me is nearly as good as winning.

Matt B

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Crinklebottom Short


The Crinklebottom Short is complete. The judging for the CSFS Short Story Contest isn't over yet, so I have no idea how I've done. I'm against 7 or 8 other stories, but I think mine is the most unique (that's what I had in mind when writing it). There are 2 places for you to read it.

You can read it here: The Crinklebottom Short on WDC

Matt B

Monday, August 29, 2011

Contemporary Fantasy

Definition: The story must contain magical/fantastical elements within the real world, but these magical/fantastical elements must remain unknown to the majority of the world’s population. (Paraphrased from: Fantasy Book Review)

Often, people consider Contemporary Fantasy the same as Urban Fantasy. Urban Fantasy requires that the story take place in a city; Contemporary can take place anywhere on the real Earth.

The Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl series’ are both examples of the Contemporary sub-genre, since both are set in the real world with fantastical elements added in.

This article isn’t just to tell you what the Contemporary sub-genre is; I hope to help you with writing it. In order to do this, I will be using my experience in the genre. I have written a few short stories and am writing a novel in this sub-genre, and have tried many different ways of using it.

The first thing you need to decide is what fantastical element you are going to introduce to the world. As a rule of thumb, you should introduce no more than 5, preferably no more than 3. The reason for this is that you need your reader to believe it is happening in reality on Earth they know.

You could add, as I did in The Greater Grater, fantasy creatures (element 1) and a hidden fantasy world accessible only by a select few (element 2). The creatures gave the story a definite fantasy feel and by adding the hidden world I stretched the reader’s imagination as to what reality can hold to its limit. I also pushed the definition of Contemporary to its absolute limits; having a hidden world perhaps doesn’t strictly count as Earth. Though the characters and entrance were on Earth, so it still can count as Contemporary.

A more subtle fantasy element could be angels. Angels can define the culture in your story through their association with religion. Angels don’t have to be good; you could, as I did in Trick or Treat, make them evil. The fantasy element goes deeper when the angels affect your main character directly. If the chosen element changes the protagonist, then you are showing the reader how the element affects reality.

Of course, the most-known element for you to add is magic, which I have used in most of my work including The Magician’s Tattoo. Now, I’m not blowing my own trumpet, but I think the magical system I have is unique. Excess magic is urinated out or converted into grey hair. The magic is stored in ear wax, and if this is eaten by another it is transferred to them. All of this occurs in a world where ‘magic doesn’t exist’. Normal people like you or me don’t see this magic – this is because the magicians have measures in place and humans are just plain ignorant. A line that I plan to write for one of my characters goes something like this:
“The majority of humans are ignorant and unobservant. If they saw bright purple lights consistently fly past, they would say it was a charity event; if they saw a person disappear, they would say they never saw a person there at all; if a whole car changed colour, they would think someone’s a really fast painter. That is why we can hide in plain sight.”
Remember, magic has been done to death over hundreds of years of literature. Before using magic, stop and think whether what you have in your head is creative and unique. If it isn’t, you have three options:

1. Don’t use magic
2. Make your system unique
3. Keep the system, but use it uniquely.

Of course, common systems can still work, but you need to be sure that your story has other unique elements to make up for it.

The key lesson in this article is that Contemporary is a wide sub-genre and there are almost limitless things you can do with it. The only reason it isn’t unlimited is because physics dictates there are not enough particles in the universe to allow limitless options!

The article can also be found here:  Contemporary Fantasy on WDC

Matt B

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GCSE Results

I collected my GCSE results at 10am today. I was rather nervous before hand but I am pleased that I now know what they are.
The result in bold is the result for the subject. The results beneath it is the breakdown.

ICT – A*

I did a yr 10 exam retake and got an A*
In my yr 11 exam I got an A*
In my coursework I got an A*

Double Science – A*, A*

(You get two results for normal double science)

I got an A* in all exam modules
I got 1 A* in 1 coursework module and 1 A in another CW module

Electronics – B

C in yr 10 exam
B in yr 10 CW
B in yr 11 exam
A in yr 11 CW

Mathematics – A*

A*s in all exams

RE – A, A*

(You get 2 grades – 1 in yr 10 and 1 in yr 11)

A in yr 10 exam
A* in yr 11 exam

Business – A*

A* in all exams
A* in controlled assessment

English Language (Yr 10) – A

A in all coursework bar 2
A* in 2 coursework pieces including creative writing
A in exam

English Literature (Yr 11) – A*

A* in all coursework bar 1 or 2
A in the 1 or 2 non A* coursework pieces
A* in Exam (On Of Mice and Men, An Inspector Calls, and an unseen poem)

French – B

Speaking – C
Writing – B
Reading – A
Listening – B

I am very pleased with these results. 7 A*s, 2 As and 2 Bs.
I will be taking Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and ICT for my AS Levels; I hope to continue all 4 into A2 (Final year of A Levels).
The aim is to take medicine at university.

Matt B

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Away with the Fairies–A Comedy Drama


I come with another link to some great work by a friend of mine. Last time it was a a cover of Mad World by Will, this time it is a fantastic comedy drama by my friend Jack.

I will warn you that it had very strong language from the start and is not for younger readers.

The main character, Alex, finds his life breaking down around him and, in this episode, goes to a friend for help.

I am sure anyone who studied Of Mice and Men in English will enjoy Scene 9 and really emphasise with Alex.

If you’re a member of WDC, I urge you to give him a review. He’s new to the site and I hope that he’ll want to stay on the site.

Matt B

Friday, August 19, 2011

London Visit

On Tuesday I left for a 2 day visit to London to take in 2 musicals:  The Phantom of the Opera, and its sequel, Love Never Dies. We stayed in The Royal Trafalgar, which was positioned perfectly. Both Her Majesty’s Theatre and The Adelphi Theatre were walking distance, as were Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.
m & m men in m&m world, London
After finding the Hotel and settling in, we headed off to Regent Street to find stores such as Hamleys and Apple (that store was amazing!). After spending a few hours looking around we headed back to the hotel. Of course, you can’t go to London without getting a little lost. By a happy coincidence we found the M and M world. 4 floors of m&m products. Seriously, it was huge and one of the most surreal shops I have been in.
At around 6.45 we headed off to Her Majesty’s Theatre for Phantom. Although the theatre was small, it fitted the musical perfectly – being about a theatre. The story was amazing, the singing was fantastic, the music was brilliant, the effects and makeup were spell bounding, the whole thing was stupendously great!
Buckingham Palace, London
The next day we went to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. It was really good.
We also went to Trafalgar Square and went to see Big Ben (well, the clock that houses the bell, Big Ben – Thank QI for that factoid!). London is really actually quite a pleasant place, and not anywhere near as stressful as some make it out to be.
At 1.30 we headed off to the Adelphi Theatre for the matinee performance of Love Never Dies.
Although very different from Phantom, and set 10 years later, the musical was, again, amazing. With a few rock pieces and an absolutely wonderful 10 year old singer playing Gustave, the whole show was a thrill to watch. The effects were astonishing and I still can’t work out how some of them were done. The ending was stunning and almost (almost:  as in it didn’t, but nearly did) brought a tear to my eye.
Sadly, Love Never Dies received little acclaim and is ending on the 27th of August. I seriously can’t see how any one wouldn’t love the show, but it seems I’m a minority there, and so it seems is the whole of the Adelphi Theatre when they gave it a standing ovation.
All in all I had a superb couple of days in London.

Matt B

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mad World


As my last 2 posts were about the riots in London and the UK in general and , I thought I'd post some good stuff.

My friend, Will Clare, sings and this latest song he's posted is very good. OK, so the lyrics are a tad depressing but his voice is good.

What it does showcase though is that teenagers are not the thugs and yobs that the rioting showed us as. I can assure you he did not loot his mic from poundstore (Leicester rioters were kinda stupid - of all the shops in Leicester they could loot they chose poundstore!) and his computer was legitimately purchased.

If you're interested in the lyrics you can find them here:

Matt B

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

UK Rioters


Each and everyone of the UK rioters are hated by me. As if it wasn't bad enough having riots in London they spread like wildfire into other cities, including my city, Leicester.

The riots have no logic. Why the hell would they want to destroy their own town? The logic lacks - if they're rioting for economic reasons then why are they are causing millions of pounds in damages? If they're rioting because no ones employing them then why destroy business that could and why would an employer employ them now? If they're doing it for fun then why are they destroying places of entertainment like restaurants and theatres? It's just stupid.

On WDC I have created what's known as an In and Out for people to post suitable punishments and their own opinion on the UK riots. I am allowing imaginative responses.

I don't know if you need an account, but it is free and a great site so I'd recommend doing so anyway.


Matt B

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Rioting


The rioting in London has disgusted me. Despite being 16, I have only utter disapointment and hatred towards others of similar age to me who have been involved in the rioting. Peoples' homes and livelihoods have been selfishly destroyed. Each and everyone of the rioters are imbeciles who deserved to be locked up and the key thrown away.

The images on the news are the most shocking I have ever seen for something like this. Those who claim to be rioting with reason are wrong. There is never a just cause for such destructive behaviour. I would post images and videos to enhance my point, but I find them to awful to watch and would not want to force you to see them.

The employment crisis is the same for the majority of people, and yet I don't see the majority of people rioting. All I can see is a large number of yobs and prats destroying not only business and homes, but the reputation of young people - of which we were slowly increasing.

I do not understand how anybody could view this rioting as right. Those in the riots are there to cause as much disruption as possible and to gain as much looted product as they can.

I can only hope that if this post is read by any of the rioters that they understand I feel they have no place in civilised society and should be punished severely.

I have had to hold back my language for this post as I am so utterly dismayed by the havoc the rioters have wreaked.

Below is a link to a brilliant poem by a friend of mine about the London Riots:

Words, Scribbles and Passion: Londiniensis Flagrans: "Just a short 1st Draft of a poem. It's not great, but I felt there is little else I can do but write about the disheartening events taking p..."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm back!

I am back from my relaxing holiday in Palma Nova, Mallorca (Spain). With the exception of one morning the weather was hot and the suncream annoying. Lazing by the pool stupidly hoping to get the tan that never comes reading a good comedy crime or one of the New Scientist magazines I took with me or just sleeping. It was bliss.

Then I decide to cool down by going for a swim in the pool sometimes lying on the far too small semi-deflated inflatable. After a splash around I return to the sun lounger and dry off with very little help from my towel. Again I lose myself in Humpty Dumpty murder case willing Jack Spratt to succeeed.

After I realise I'm melting I go to out cool room on the second floor of the hotel. I throw myself onto the bed and rest until lunch. At lunch I enter the air conditioned dining room and am confronted with an all you can eat buffet (the holiday was all inclusive). After finding a food stuff I like I eat it with ravish. I rise and collect seconds (sometimes even thirds) and eat that too. I rise again and find the puddings. For some reason in Spain there is always some kind of blamanche/table cream/set thing that I always love. After my fourth lot of pudding I realise that they're clearing the lunch stuff away.

I return to the sun lounger and rest/read for a while. At some point I'll go into the pool or maybe go to the room for some escape from the unforgiving sun. Dinner goes much the same as luch, but with nicer food and higher quantities.

I either return to the sun or retreat to the room where I stay until the entertainment.

The entertainment was... varied. Yes, varied is a good way to put it. Some nights it was shockingly bad and other shockingly amazing.

As a family we would go for evening walks along the beach which were pleasent and cool - with the nightime breeze being a god-send in comparison to the unrelenting sun of earlier.

So most days played out like that and I loved being able to relax. On one day we had a game of min/crazy golf. My golfing skills are reasonable and I got a hole in one on a par 3, so I was very pleased despite not winning overall.

On two of the days we went to the beach. The beach had pedalos with slides available and so we hired one for an hour on both days and pedalled out to sea (within the sectioned area, ofcourse). After we reached a reasonable depth I started the sliding. It was really fun. I mean it was the best bit of the holiday for me. I'm a confident swimmer, but have never gone much further than where I can stand in the sea so sliding in and going under was a bit of a shock. The sea was cool, but not cold which made it even better. I can't really explain in to you as it was just sliding and jumping from a boat with pedals, but it was fun.

Also I am glad to take the hotel band off after wearing it non-stop for a week!

Matt B

Wednesday, July 27, 2011



I know that at first this topic may seem dry, but it is important. Ink costs a lot. Now, many studies have been done looking into which printer costs the least to run whilst having a good quality. A lot of the time Kodak comes to the top.

I tried a Kodak printer once, I was drawn in by the low ink costs and 'supreme printing quality'. What I found was that the printer wouldn't connect to my computer. It was annoying but fixable. It turns out the supplied cable was broken and that even if the cable was working it would not work in a USB extender. Fair enough. I have loads of USB cables around my room so I could use one of those. I rearranged my USBs so I could plug it in direct and I was off.

Well, the print quality would've been better if I'd written the document my self with wax crayons. It looked bitty and awful. I checked the ink levels and it said they were half full. Why didn't they supply me with full ink. After running the print head cleaner program supplied with the printer I tried again. The quality had improved slightly but the colours were washed out. Most of the ink had gone by now. Essentially that told me that half an ink cartridge can do the following things:  Produce two terrible prints and run a print head clean. Needless to say I returned the printer.

The replacement, a HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-one printer. I have had it for a while now and have made the following prints since connecting to the network:

4787 prints on plain paper (a mix of documents and full colour images)


85 Photo prints (A4 and 10x15s)

and I have used the following cartridges in the printers lifetime:
9 Black
6 Yellow
6 Cyan
7 Magenta
7 Photo Black

Remember that the prints only got counted since connecting to the network. Add about 500 plain paper prints and 20 photo prints for realistic figures.

OK so the photo ink gets used up very quickly. But the others are pretty decent. The best thing is that from Amazon you can get a full set of XL print cartridges for about £50 which is a very good deal. The print quality is very good and the printer itself looks quite stylish. The scanner is very high quality. I scanned a magazine in at a mid DPi and could zoom right in with pixelisation making it unreadable.

So, if you want a good printer get a HP printer. They're great!

Matt B

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Crinklebottom Short

I thought I'd post with you all the opening paragraphs of my new contest piece which is being co-authored by two of my WDC friends. The opening section describes the main character and is (many) flaws.

Mr. Crinklebottom has a fat arse. Seriously it is huge. Even as a child, his behind was twice the size of every other kid his age. As a matter of fact, Mr. Crinklebottom's buttocks are so large his clothes must be specially tailored. His parents couldn't afford to purchase him tailored trousers, to cover his fat arse; they'd simply make him wear a burlap sack originally containing potatoes bought at the local market. The sack, tied around his waistline, hung like a burlap skirt down to the young Crinklebottom's swollen knees—doing little to create popularity with his peers.

Despite being fat arsed he still had room for more imperfections. If there’s a hole he’ll inevitably fall into it. If it’s a narrow hole the fire brigade will inevitably be called. Not from a friend, but from a construction worker who needs to use the hole. This ‘hole-magnetism’ as his parents used to call it has been with him his whole life. His psychiatrist, paid for by his dad, theorises that it’s because he was dropped, accidentally, in a hole by the midwife when he was first born.

To be fair to Mr. Crinklebottom, he is a very jolly chap. Despite the lack of friends or a loving family he is still very happy. He has a job at the nearby chair manufacturing plant and gets royalties from the saying ‘move your fat arse’. This isn’t because he’s optimistic, it’s because he’s rather stupid. Or, as his parents would say at dinner parties ‘academically challenged’.

It's got a different tone than I normally write with. I felt, along with my co-authors, that the slap in the face style works quite well. The style changes slightly when the main story starts; it's in a style which looks at what Crinklebottom is thinking in the third person. This allows the reader to get closer to the character whilst still being able to laugh at the sheer stupidity of the character.
There are a few types of co-authoring. The type we're using is that there is a lead author (me) and the co-authors read over what the leader writes and gives suggestions. The co-authors also provide vital support when the lead author is stuck and they also give plot ideas. Originally the opening paragraphs said 'Mr. Crinklebottom sucks.' But my co-authors suggested getting closer to the chacracter gave me a the first paragraph which I then altered and ran with.

Matt B

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Magician's Tattoo - Snippet from chapter 4


I know my previous snippet was from chapter 1, but I thought I'd give you a section where the comedy is so ouvert it's almost childish! In the word of Miranda's mum from Miranda "Such fun, such fun!"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Magician's Tattoo - Old Version


I know alot of my readers are from WDC and know me from the CSFS. This post, however is for those who don't know me from the CSFS. Below is the opening section from my novella in progress, 'The Magician's Tattoo'.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It feels so good!


I don't think, unless you're in GCSEs/A Levels, that you can know how good this feels!

All my GCSE exams are over, and all I have to do is going to a few A2 ICT classes because I opted to do the fast track ICT course (finish everything a year early). Ashame I don't have the full extended holliday, but it's not like we'll be doing much in those lessons anyway.

Matt B

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit is about the pathway humanity has strayed away from and how to get society to become successful again. Being a sequel to The Traveller's Gift, the main character is David Ponder. Armed with the seven decisions he learnt many years ago, he is the one to lead a summit which is to answer the question.

David meets many famous historical figures, who are all travellers, and they help in the working out of the answer. Whilst figuring out the answer, the famous figures explain about their lives and this is often relevant to the question and the answer they propose.

It takes a number of attempts before they get the right answer and even when they do they break a few rules of the summit to do so. Without giving the answer away, all I can say is this:  I too believe the answer to be correct.

On the whole, the story built up tension as they came close to an answer and then fell to a rather sombre mood every time the answer was incorrect.

The characters stories were very interesting and I learnt a lot of history in reading this book. It was pleasing to see that Andrews introduced little known history to the book making it a more interesting read.

The ending was very exciting to read, such that I read three and a half chapters in one sitting, compared to my usual one chapter per sitting.

The characters were well laid out, though I thought, bar the introductions, they all seemed very similar. There were a few comic exchanges between characters and a few quirks pertaining to some characters, but I couldn't help but get a bit bored of a couple of them.

Now, I'm not religious so I wasn't reading this with the aim to change my religious perspective or anything like that. The book may have been Christian, but the Christian aspects of the book could be removed and a similar story be left standing. However, the religious aspects of the book were done well and this book is in no way a book about faith.

The overall message was inspiring and all but one of the answers they thought of, I agreed with. As the ending was faster paced than the rest the final message was all the more powerful as their working faster ties in with the answer.

Overall, I thought the book very good, though it did dip a bit in the middle. I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to think morally when reading a book. If you're the kind of person who doesn't want to change, then don't read it.

I recieved a free copy of this book from and the opinions expressed are my own and are in no way related to

4 Stars

Saturday, June 11, 2011

3 More Exams to Go!


As the title suggests, I've only 3 more exams left.

GCSE Science Exam (OCR)
GCSE Electronics Exam (OCR)

If you want to see examples of these exams go to

Matt B

Thursday, June 2, 2011

BookSneeze book has arrived

Finally The Final Summit has arrived. Now, I'm not religious but I think this book is. It'll be interesting to see whether the morals stand without requiring a religious background to them. Of course, I will not let my beliefs, or lack thereof, effect my review but it will undoubtedly effect how I read the book and what I take from it. This is the first 'morals novel' I've ever read so it should be interesting and hopefully eyeopening.

Matt B

I review for BookSneeze®

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Number 23

I watched The Number 23 today on my computer. An amazing film, epic story and fantastic acting. Check it out at amazon here: Amazon- The Number 23. Don't watch if you're the kind of person who is easily influenced by film, otherwise you'l end up seeing 23 everywhere you look!

Matt B

Friday, May 27, 2011

Breaking Up


Today is the start of my halfterm 'break'- that's code for a time for me to do revision!
As part of CSFS on there has been a dragon raid going no. Essentially what this means is this: Review as many people as you can between the 23 and 27 May. Now, I've done what seems to be about an average number of reviews for a raid, but for me it's a hell of a lot! I've done 14 reviews since the 23rd. They've all been quite detailed reviews mainly of poetry. It's amazing the quality of writing there is on the site!
Still waiting for The Final Summit from BookSneeze. Might stick with an E-Book next time!

Matt B

UPDATE: In the end I did 18 reviews and won the prize draw- I get to Lead CSFS for a week starting Monday

Monday, May 23, 2011

English Exam


I've got a big english GCSE exam tomorrow at 9 am. It's on Of Mice and Men, An Inspector calls and an unseen poem. At 2hr 30min long, it's the longest exam I have. Good news though, is that once I've finished the exam I no longer have to go to the english class! I will be able to read the books I want and write more once all my exams are over.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Writing dot community


Just thought I'd post about WDC, or A great site for all those who write and for those who just want something to read. With a comprehensive reviewing and rewards system; a simple interface; email capabilities; simple uploading process; and many levels of member ship ranging from free all the way up to premium options, WDC really is the place to be if you're a writer. Better still, if you write fantasy or sci-fi -like me- then you can join one of the ,most active groups on the site, the coffee shop for the fantasy society, or CSFS to its friends. Since joining, I've written 5 articles, 2 short stories, 2 poems, and 3.5 chapters of a novella. Adding to that the edits I've done of those plus the two original items I had before joining, and add to that 65 forum posts and 116 reviews given, I think that I've done a fair bit since joining. I've also recieved nearly 100 reviews from a variety of members. The quality on the site in amazing and I've yet to find a problem other than I spend way too much time on it!
Visit my port at

ps The linking system doesn't seem to work, so you'll have to copy and paste the address!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Post, Frst Blog, First Word is 'Hi'


This is my first post, on my first blog. Depending on how things go, it could be my last. Wait, that could be read in different ways. It could be my last if I find a better blogging service, or get bored.
Well, I'm not sure how to finish a post off so here it goes.



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