Thursday, December 27, 2012

When Snow Falls

When Snow Falls
When Snow Falls  -  Background Image courtesy of SummitCountyVoice, text and snow added by me


Joe shivered as he entered through the doorway. Not only was the morning freezing cold outside, but also his wife waited for him inside. He knew she’d care not that he’d broken the world record of most letters delivered in an hour. He knew this from her posture: sitting upright on her hardback chair meant she was annoyed. Her gaunt face tightened as Joe approached her.
“Good morning,” he said. “It’s Christmas tomorrow.”
She slowly rose from her chair, her heels putting her many inches higher than Joe’s already small being. She looked at her hand, as if contemplating its capabilities. Her long black nails caressed her palm as she flexed her fingers. Joe knew what was coming. His wife’s eyes squinted, signalling she had worked out her hand’s capability and that she was willing to show it off. She smacked it around his face; the nails left stinging scratches that no doubt shone red against his cold skin.
“Do not say that again,” she spat.
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
“Very good. Now, be a good husband and get my breakfast; I am growing hungrier by the minute. You should have been back ten minutes ago.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He hurried off to the kitchen, his feet shuffling along the stone floor she had been so insistent on having. Opening the fridge, he welcomed the cool air on his burning scars. There were no eggs. He felt her moist breath on his neck.
“Why are there no eggs?” She asked.
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
“You insolent man. Why I put up with you as a husband is beyond me! No eggs. Has it escaped your memory that I have eggs for breakfast every fourth Monday of every month? Perhaps that ginger hair of yours blocks intelligence. You are a despicable being.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
She shook her head. “Why are you still here? Why aren’t you buying eggs?”
“I’m sorry ma’am.”
He hadn’t even taken a full step before she spoke again. “Are you forgetting something?”
“I’m sorry ma’am.” He bent down and kissed her feet. Twice on the right, once on the left. She waved a hand signalling he was ‘free’ to go.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inspiration

Last December I wrote about how Christmas is Inspiring. In the article, I covered how to use Christmas to your advantage: using the ready-made character sets and letting yourself loose with a fun, quirky story. This year I’m going to discuss inspiration again, but this time specifically focus on how I generate ideas. This list won’t work for everyone. Some people won’t find the same things inspirational as I do. I will describe my top three techniques to generate ideas. Bear in mind that you will have to take on the role of some unusual characters.

Toilet based inspiration
Image courtesy of Behance.net
Character 1:  The Faux-eco-nutter
Next time you go to the toilet at night, don’t turn the bathroom light on. People around you will think you an eco-nutter, but really you’re not trying to save the environment (I guess that just leaves nutter, then). Whilst you relieve yourself of urine and faeces, let your mind wander. Direct it down paths your characters could take, but then twist it at the last moment. The reason you do this in the dark is that images form in your mind much easier without glaring lights.
This technique is fantastic for generating fantasy fight ideas. If you go in knowing you want a fight, turn the lights off, sit on the bog and let rip (with ideas, of course). If you are anything like me, you will get fight scenes popping into your head a rate of ten a second. If any idea lingers, let it. Toy with it. Remember you are in the dark, nobody will see if you start waving your hands around to manipulate the scene unfolding in front of you.
Once you’ve finished you excretion get up, wipe, and flush. Then whilst washing your hands (still in the dark) you can finalise your concept. Work out who wins, and, equally importantly, who starts the fight. Now, with your bowels emptied and your hands cleansed you may leave the bathroom, no doubt to the concerned eyes of your co-habitants.



Character 2:  The Virtuoso
This one isn’t quite as mad as the first character, but if you get into it, your hands start conducting and well...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is Awkward

Background Image courtesy of prisonplanet - Text added by me
Well, this is awkward.

The world didn't end yesterday--and I was so sure it would. It rained a bit where I live. Granted it rained more on Thursday, but I can assure you there was water falling from the sky yesterday.

Fine, I got it wrong. Congratulations, you can laugh in the face of the fools.

And so can I! Yes, I am laughing at you - the person who doesn't understand satire and genuinely thought I believed the world was going to end. Yeah, that will do as a cover up:  my post on Thursday was 'Satire'.

But, I can assure you above all possible doubt that the world will end on May the 19th 2013 as Ronald Weinland predicted. I know he was wrong on his 2011 and 2012 predictions of this event, but I am sure Jesus Christ will return. I don't know how that will end the world, perhaps he'll bring an army of other mythical beings like dragons and perhaps an alien or two!

Oh, and here's your fish back...

Matt B

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End is Nigh!

The End is Nigh
Background Image courtesy of prisonplanet - Text added by me
Have you built your underground bunker? No? You idiot! Did you not know the world is ending tomorrow?

I suppose the fact that you haven't built a bunker means I won't have to compete with you for food and other resources when I cautiously leave my bunker after the worst is over. Of course, I doubt very much anybody hasn't put serious thought and consideration into their end-of-the-world plans.

Some silly people don't believe the world will end. Those ignorant people are thinking about supposedly more important things like Christmas and the New Year. Why would you be as daft to buy Christmas presents when you should be spending your money on survival kits such as this:

2012 Survival Kit
Survival Kit
Image courtesy of The Die Line
Those of us with the forethought to prepare for this major world event are well aware that their are naysayers who contradict the prospect of an apocalypse tomorrow. But we know more than they do. We know that Nibiru will collide with the Earth and that it is no mere coincidence that the 13th b'ak'tun of the Maya Calendar ends this day. Sure the modern Mayan civilisations still around today say it is just the end of a cycle and that it will start a fresh. But what do they know. It's not like they have unfounded science on their side like we do. We know the end is coming tomorrow and I laugh in the face of those who seriously believe we will see the 22nd.

I can assure you that we do not have some silly prediction that Christ is is returning to Earth to destroy the Antichrist as was predicted on the 27th May 2012, 29th September 2011, 6th April 2000, 1901, 7th August 1847, 31st December 1843, 1700, 1694, 1033, 500, 2, and year 1 . We aren't stupid enough to say an alien will destroy the Earth as was predicted in May 2003 and August 1967. Don't be daft! We have strong evidence from an unknown unreliable source that an asteroid/inter-planetary object will 100% collide with the Earth tomorrow. I don't know what all the idiots who have predicted the world will end further in the future are thinking. It is clearly going to end tomorrow.

If you are one of those who don't believe the world is going to end, then you're going to look like one almighty silly-billy tomorrow as the world crashes down around you and I'm safe in my DIY bunker a few feet underground. Who's going to be the fool then, hey?

If some miracle occurs and Nibiru doesn't collide with us then I guarantee you that Aliens will attack (but not in the silly way previously predicted - these will come with the cover of Nibiru) and/or Yellowstone Park's volcano will erupt and/or the magnetic poles of the Earth will switch (faster than the thousand's of years so called geologists say it'll take) and cause devastation and then the world will blow up or something.

This is likely my last ever blog post as a) I won't have internet connection after the world ends, b) I might be dead if my bunker doesn't hold out, c) the same points as a) and b) only in relation to you, the reader.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Matt B

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm Sorry, ma'am

Long Black Nails
Image Courtesy of Kiss and Makeup
As regular readers of my blog will know, I am writing a Christmas Short Story at the moment. Now that I have solved my paradox with a little help from some friends, I have started writing it.

I wrote 230 words this evening which isn't bad as they are the opening 230 words. Normally I start off with small word counts for the first few days, reach 500 words a day in the middle and then write the last 1000 in a single sitting. With this in mind I should be able to finish before Christmas Eve with time to spare.

Today, I thought it would be nice to share these first 230 raw words with you. Remember they are highly likely to change, and I rarely share work this raw. But, I have decided to share it with you today so you can see my writing method. In these paragraphs I have focused mainly on the evil wife and Joe's submissiveness, but haven't yet got to fully describing his appearance.


Working Title: When Snow Falls

Joe shivered as he entered through the doorway. Not only was the morning freezing cold outside, but also his wife waited for him inside. He knew she’d care not that he’d broken the world record of most letters delivered in an hour. He knew this from her posture: sitting upright on her hardback chair meant she was annoyed. Her gaunt face tightened as Joe approached her.

###

“Good morning,” he said. “It’s Christmas tomorrow.”
She slowly rose from her chair, her heels putting her many heads higher than Joe’s already small being. She looked at her hand, as if contemplating its abilities. Her long black nails caressed her palm as she flexed her fingers. Joe knew what was coming. His wife’s eyes squinted, signalling she had worked out her hand’s ability and that she was willing to show it off. She smacked it around his face; the nails left stinging scratches that no doubt shone red against his cold skin.
“Do not say that again,” she spat.
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
“Very good. Now, be a good husband and get my breakfast; I am growing hungrier by the minute. You should have been back ten minutes ago.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He hurried off to the kitchen, his feet shuffling along the stone floor she had been so insistent on having. Opening the fridge, he welcomed the cool air on his burning scars.

###

Feeling Christmassy yet? I don't think Joe's wife is!

Thanks

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Paradox

As with Science for Writers, the Vocab Builder series is on hold until after my January exams are over. But as I promised I will still be blogging, only not taking 2 hours to write a post!

I still haven't started writing my Christmas Short, hence the face-palm. My problem is although I have the characters, I have one major plot hole. And it's to do with time travel, hence the sci-fi reference.

It reminds me why I haven't written a story with time travel before. There are just too many damn paradoxes to contend with. But, it is a necessity for the character arc and to give the Joe's evil wife her comeuppance.

The issue is how I want time travel to be used in the story. It needs the character to either replace his old self or interact with him. Problem is after he does this the character has no need to travel into the past to interfere with events. I originally thought of shrugging the problem off with this exchange:

"But how can I have changed the past? It makes no sense," he asked.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowman Mafia

Night of the Evil Snowman
Image courtesy of Rate my MS Paint
Science for writers is on hiatus until after my January A Level Exams are over. They take a long time to write and I don't have a long time to write blog posts at the moment.

However, I will be blogging at least twice a week throughout the period. I am hoping to keep you all updated with news and snippets from my Christmas Short story this year. I plan to start writing it on Tuesday and have it finished and uploaded by Christmas Eve. Today I came up with the idea in a burst of weird inspiration. All the characters and main plot lines popped into my head and for a moment I felt like what I can only assume someone on LSD would feel. You'll understand why I felt like that in a moment.

I don't want to give too much plot away, so today I'm just letting you in on the characters that will be making their appearances in the story.

Postman Joe
This guy's an average, boring man who gives in to people way to easily. He will go through the largest character arc in the story.

The Postman's Evil wife
This woman's a bitch! Skinny and gaunt she looks like one of James' mean aunts from RD's James and the Giant Peach. Utterly evil to Joe she makes him do whatever she wants, because she knows he won't say no. I hope I can give her her comeuppance in this piece.

Santa Clause
Well, it's a Christmas story written by me, he has to be in it! Unlike previous years this one's not a drunkard, nor hopelessly stuck in a chimney. In this story Santa will actually be like most people's interpretations of Santa ... only with a few twists.

The Elves
Don't get too attached to these nice beings, I think I may make them get caught in the cross fire.

The Snowman Mafia
May be called the Snow Mafia, depending on how I feel on Tuesday. As you might have guessed these are the main antagonists of the story. These make Evil wife look pleasantly mean. The head of the Mafia, Big Snowy will do everything in his power to stop Joe and Santa from reaching/meeting their goal. I haven't decided if Little Frosty or Skinny Jack (Frost) will make apperences in the Mafia.

So, can you see now why I felt like I was high on LSD? When a postman, Santa, elves and a Mafia made from snow enter your imagination it's hard to feel much else!


Thanks

Monday, December 3, 2012

Top 4 Questions You Never Knew You Wanted to Ask

Welcome to the latest Science for Writers post. Last time we discussed the Nobel Prize winners in Peace and Economic Sciences. In this post I will be doing a quick fire of the top 4 questions you never knew you wanted to ask. The questions are a mix of those you thought too obvious to even contemplate asking and those that just weren't even on your radar.

I have put important words in bold. These words are important in science and I will refer to them throughout the post. It isn't overly important for you to know the exact meaning, so long as you get the gist of what I'm talking about you will be fine following this post.

Writing Links are in italics and these discuss how the science could be used in writing.



Why Does Salt + Water = Pain?

In this video we see a bunch of idiots doing the Salt and Ice Challenge. Before I even go into the science of this I think I should take a moment and say not to try this at home, though I doubt you'll want to after reading the background to this challenge.

Let's think a bit about what they're actually doing here. They pour salt onto their hands, add an ice cube, and squeeze; seems harmless enough. But then they start crying out in pain and laughter. The laughter is likely because they don't want to cry in front of their friends, but the pain ... the pain is definitely real. To give them credit, they lasted longer than some other people on YouTube doing this challenge have.

So, why does squeezing salt and ice cause pain? Well it's to do with the type of reaction happening. In this case it is an endothermic reaction. That means it takes energy in from its surroundings, which in this challenge in the person's warm hand. The salt wants to react with the water in the ice. When it does the ice will melt at a colder temperature. This is why we grit roads with ice in the winter; the ice will melt despite the colder temperature. But doing that means it draws energy from your hand, much more than just normal ice would.

But why does it burn if it's getting colder? Those burns are frostbite. When you do this challenge you give yourself second degree (and sometimes third) frostbite burns that take weeks to heal and can leave a permanent scar.

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