Time for another Goodbye

Hello all.

It’s the last month for Novel Dreamers. The writers have run out of time last month, and now to just go home. Well, after one last month.

Go vote for those by the way. They’ll be on the Voting Page shortly.

So thanks for another year. This month, just write what you want to. It’s a free for all. Go for it.

Much love,


Does This Really Need An Example?

I can’t show you how to do this. Funny, because each month without fail, I have tried. Obviously I’m the oracle of all of this and as such I should be able to tell you exactly what you need to hear to make you pick up your pen/pencil/crayon/writing tablet/whatever you write with and just put some bastard words on paper. I can’t tell you how to feel about things. You know me, so you’re probably hearing the use of the word “bastard” with my mock Sean Bean impression or with a hint of anger. I just like the word. It wasn’t used in malice or frustration, just like the word and didn’t like the sentence without it.

You don’t need me to tell you any of that either. I don’t have any paperwork saying I’m an educated writer. I have no sales reports saying that people like my writing so much that I can live off it. I’ll be very honest with you, the little payments I have received for my writing has been enough to cover a month of rent in the 15 years of writing I’ve done and that includes Theatre, Music, Prose, and that bloody Table Top Role Play Game that I’ve become “the guy” for. I am a fraud that just got tired of hearing people say “I wish I had time to write” so forced them to sit down once a month and write. And forced is a very broad use of the word. I’m not sat next to you with a gun to your head, and every month you don’t write I don’t get angry because life is busy and hard, I literally just put the request in front of you.

That’s what I do for a lot of life, I’ve noticed. A friend wants to do podcast work, so I write the first episode of an audio play that never gets touched because the idea isn’t needed anymore. Another wants to sing and play in a band, so I draw from the pool of friends with talent and say let’s make a go of this. Sometimes I don’t even need to ask. The group just finds itself and I just happen to be the one who ends up organising it until it gets to the point that I don’t have time to organise a night of people just needing an escape.

So when do I escape? I’ve forgotten how, if I’m honest.

If I boil everything I do in a week down to brass taxes, I spend 25-40 hours at a place I resent for cracking the childhood illusion of that high held dream. I then go home and I sit with this screen in front of me for an hour or two. Throughout nearly all of these hours, I have my headphones in playing someone else’s story into my brain. There’s not enough time to actively sit and read a book so audiobooks and podcasts whilst doing the other things are quite useful. If I am not too busy that week, I’ll sit and absorb a story through video game whilst listening to the headphones. I may not actually put a word to the page all night, but there are ideas brewing and fermenting away to the point that at the end of the week when they’re needed, I can pull from the brain without much issue. I will sit and listen to previous recordings of these events and edit them so others can listen. I talk occasionally with my partner about things because she’s very busy with her week and the last thing you need when you’re busy is some numpty to start talking about their weird fantasy works that have nothing to do with your actual proper writing that’s getting a degree and actually means something. And finally I try to occasionally break with puzzles because there is no stopping, just distracting.

Back to that comment of not being educated properly or paid enough to hold a level of authority in all of this. I think the constant streaming of work gives me some authority.

I won’t lie, I am tired of the constant streaming. I need a break but I don’t know how to. Actually no, that’s not true, I want it to stop feeling like work and go back to feeling like fun.

When I was 17, I applied to go to university after 2 years of studying both Theatre and Music and my music teacher was most upset when I said I was going to study Theatre not Music but my reasoning was sound then and I feel it is sound now and should be applied again. I wanted to avoid going to study Music because the thought of having to spend day in day out playing the guitar with some form of judgement that led to a grade took all the fun of it away. I go home and pick up my guitar and relax for a bit. I can’t do that if I have been playing guitar all day for university, or even reading and writing about it for coursework. And that’s where I feel I’ve gone with all of this.

So where do I go from here? I don’t want to stop my weekly writing task, because I’m quite attached to the work I’ve done so far and I’d like to work out how the story finishes. I’ve also started to work on the next story, should me co-writers agree to such a thing. I’ve worked out where the fun is with that. I struggle to keep a hold of it, but I know where it is if it ever gets too much. Maybe I should take the advise I want to give you for the end of this year of writing. I think it’s a fair enough request, as one final challenge for you that I too will try to give example of for sake of a familiar format.

For the love of all that’s holy, write what you like. And don’t hold yourself to stupid deadlines like some fat guy who literally writes his example piece in 30 minutes on the hand in weekend because he feels the month is too long to write for. That’s his time scale, not yours. If you need a deadline, create one for yourself. It could be a RPG session for the end of a week, it could be a date you want to release a song on your soundcloud, it could simply be that your child wants a story before bed. Don’t stop doing what you love, just work out how to do it in the week so I don’t have to keep running these!

I’ll probably start working on Novel Dreamers Year 3 soon.


Just. No.

So we’ve hit a wall, and it’s all gone to hell in a hand cart. Well, you can read and enjoy your pieces from last month’s Hitting a Wall challenge and vote – shortly – at the voting page.

This month’s challenge? Oh, you’re gonna hate it. I did.

Let’s learn about ourselves, writers. I want you to TAKE THE STYLE OF WRITING YOU HATE AND WRITE A PIECE IN THAT STYLE.

I couldn’t think for a while, then realised I hate pretentious writing, but I already do that, so went for political and stereotypical writing. I get the need for the occasional stereotype, but gods kill me if I have to read pieces where every man is in power because he’s a man and they do that and women belong in a kitchen. THAT’S BORING AND RUINING MY ESCAPISM FROM THE CURRENT REALITY WHERE PEOPLE ACTIVELY BELIEVE THIS AND TORTURE ME WITH IT ALREADY.

Anyway, go write. I need a lie down. This sucked.



Item 13-1-25

Councilman Quentin Mason’s eyes rolled back and his collar rubbed against his recently shaved neck; irritation seemed to be the theme of the day. The morning had been draining, a full two hours of back to back inane cases put forth by the lower classes. He was an older man with fading white whisps that constituted for hair, liver spots on his face, and a verge of flesh that wrinkled worse than his shirt between his chin and his collar line.

How droll, he thought to himself as he looked away from the other council representatives to the window at the edge of the courtroom. The sun was shining and he would have loved nothing more than to sack off the afternoon for a drive out of the city in his convertible and see his secretary in that summer dress again.

“Mr Mason,” the voice called, pulling him back to the present situation.

For Christ’s sake, must I deal with another petulant busy body? Her tits seem less perky than my Doberman. He thought to himself as he turned back to Alison Geralt; the head of the Neighbourhood Watch in her area who seemed to own more sickly coloured pant suits than common sense according to Mason.

“Yes, Miss Geralt…”

“It’s Ms, if you wouldn’t mind.” She interrupted curtly. He sighed and ground his teeth a little further into the next dentist’s holiday he’d be paying for.

Ms Geralt, apologies, I thought we had concluded your last item of the day?” The strain of politeness in his voice seemed to be waning more and more as the heat and the boredom loomed upon him.

“No, Councilman, I have one last item on my agenda.” The woman’s shrill and lisped voice cut through him like a knife.

Agenda? Who the bloody hell do you even think you are? He thought to himself, the rising resentment boiling in him, causing him to sort his collar once more. This is the local council, you daft bint, not the god damned Court of King Solomon.

A strained attempt at a smile crossed his face as he adjusted his perch in his seat. “But of course, Ms Geralt. What would this item be? Curfew on the youth passing through the parks at lunch time?”

The two or three other councilmen, similar in age and appearance to Mason, stifled chuckles and continued to stare through morose eyes at the young lady in front of them.

“No, Sir, it is a far more serious matter than your ribbing. The district of Hecton-on-Sea would like to file it’s independence from the City and, indeed, the country.”

The stifling stopped and the four men sat on the board roared with laughter for a few minutes or so. Alison stood, stern and resolute. As the laughter subsided, Mason – wiping tears from his eyes – saw that she was deadly serious.

“Young lady, this country is on the verge of taking back it’s own independence and, indeed, it’s dignity. Why would the local district of Hecton-on-Sea not want to join the rest of the country in such a momentous occasion?”

The other councilmen jeered with approval.

“You see, Councilmen, we don’t agree wholeheartedly with the higher powers that there would be much dignity regained in such an action. As a matter of fact, as a district of the country where the average household income is dwarfed by the population of the area, we’d very much note that our dignity would be struggling to keep up with those more well off than ourselves.”

The laughing slowly started to build again but was quickly abaited. Mason leaned forward and steepled his fingers in front of his face. This was a stong move, he thought to himself, she can see your authority and overall superiority in this stance.

“Now now, my dear. No need to get so worked up. We all know that you ‘remainers’,” he did the air quotations then quickly returned to steepled dominion, “would like nothing more for the righteous masses to stop saying such hurtful things and go back to our Guardians and whinging about the old days, but here’s the thing! It’s better this way!”

Another round of jeered acknowledgement, and another round of her piercing stare.

“Better for whom, councilman?”

For Christ Almighty, he strained in his head.

“For your generation and those to come, my dear. When you get to hand your piny down to your daughter, you’ll be able to tell her that the country has returned to an Empire and we are ruling once more.”

“Or that some old men who couldn’t bare the thought of dying without leaving the next generation in tatters wanted one last ride?”

The clucking of the councilmen irritated Mason further.

“Young lady, we do whatever is best for our city, which therefore is best for the country. You honestly think that I would allow the fringe minority of Hecton-on-Sea to affect the progress of the rest of that district?”

A slam as the file in her hand hit the desk in front of her.

“Here are the signatures of 90% of the public in that district agreeing with the request.”

“You can’t seriously be asking for such a thing? We’ve given you so much!” His shock giving him away.

“Like what, councilman?” Her eyes like flaming arrow heads.

“The parks…”

“Overrun with rodents and drug addicts.”

“The leisure Centre…”

“A cesspool and known paedophile haunt.”

He flustered once more, “You’ve been given the right to air your opinion, you left wing tyrant, what else do you want?! What else can we give you that could possibly wave a hand to? We’re lead by democracy!”

She straightened herself and cleared her throat, knowing full well that her requests upset the Conservative stronghold that was the Council of her area was like a grain of sound in a clam’s mouth. She leaned low and close to the microphone, recording the meeting and breathed…

“For The Many, not The Few.”





I hated writing this. Have fun.

Close to the Wire

Well this has been the first month I’ve genuinely struggled with the example piece and getting this out on time! Maybe it’s time we took Steve out to pasture? Look at the rabbits? If you’d be so kind…

The twists are over and the the shouting has quieted. You’ll be able to go vote for your favourite pieces at the Voting Page shortly.

Until then, it’s May’s Writing Challenge time. The theme for this month is Hitting a Wall. I’ve had writer’s block all weekend, and this is the best I could do to write something! So bring it writers, what happens when you can’t think of anything till sunday evening of the hand in weekend? Not that any of you lot do that 😉

Tatty Bye!



Panting with exhaustion, his throat hoarse, knowing full well he’ll be paying for this in an hour if he doesn’t change his game, he stands drenched in sweat. His head lightly pounding as his heart kept tempo with his nerves. He could hear several voices in his mind, a cacophony of support and abuse that drowned out the crowd before him now the guitar hung quiet. 

Come on, big guy, the familiar paternal voice called. 

We’re just getting started, the gruff, slightly Cornish voice chuckled. 

You’re failing, moron, his own voice seemed to cut through. 

He shakes his head and snatches a glance at the band. All seem to be slightly battered by the ferocity of the show so far; he’s been pulling out the stops tonight, as if trying to prove something. 


He rakes the plectrum over the strings and lets out a resilient D chord which rings out beautifully across the room and the dropped D sixth string calms his very soul. The audience seems to take note of the new sound, their incessant chatter over the music all night was expected but he knew that majority of them were just waiting for the next number. He strikes the chord again and the ladies rise in a two-part harmony. 


Are you gonna take me home tonight? 

Oh, down beside that red firelight. 

Are you gonna let it all hang out? 

Fat bottom girls, you make the rocking world go round. 


Punctuating the vocals with the relevant chords, a calm starts to wash over him. That calm is quickly invaded by the rising sense of anticipation as the last line echoes across the room, the audience now held in the band’s grasp. Slamming his finger onto the fifth fret and running down to the open before swinging the D chord, the thick thwack of the bass drum accenting the beat, he lets the bars go on and winks at the crowd as a filthy grin spreads across his face. Finally, he belts out the first line. His voice is aged beyond its years, it sounds like it’s smoked forty a day for centuries though he’s never taken the drag. An excited whoop punctures the silence of the crowd and his grin gets wider. He closes his eyes as he does whenever singing and feels the confidence welling up to continue now he can’t see. 

Imperceptible to the audience, he is shaking. Every line starts with the slightest shudder of fear but is immediately overpowered by the raunchy bravado that growls like a V8 muscle car. He knows that people love this. He knows that people envy him. He gives off the air that this band is the best fucking band you’ve never heard of and I am the compere that will keep you wanting more all damn night. He is aware of the skills that he has, and he is aware that others in his field are a lot more chauvinistic with that level of skill. Yet he will actively wingman his fellow band members before ever pointing the spot light on himself.  

The final chorus has the entire band hollering and getting into it. The audience are just as loud without the need of amplification. It’s a moment of sheer extasy. He cannot see them, but he can definitely hear them, and he can feel the overwhelming energies following through the room as people enjoy themselves and enjoy the band. 

A few songs later and his voice is raspy and low whilst talking. His fingers ache from the work. He would like nothing more than to stick the coke dispenser in his mouth, press feed, and guzzle for a solid few minutes. But the crowd has requests and a yearning for more, and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to keep playing as well. Looking to his number two, she grins back at him and gives the cocked eyebrow that challenges him; “tired already?”. Those voices are back in his head once again. 

Springsteen next, everyone loves a Springsteen track, the paternal voice offers. 

Stop showing off and play that bloody guitar, boy! The Cornish voice laughs. 

You’re getting too old for this, his own voice snaps. 

And suddenly it shatters. 

That wall he has been pushing against all evening. 

That panic and worry. 

That need to make sure people are seeing the others and not him. 

That curiosity about how his friend did it so well. 

It’s all right there. Easy to see. 


“Right you lot,” he growls menacingly as he turns on the band grinning. “Simple chord progression; G, E minor, A minor, D. Follow me in the bridge but you’re looking B flat, G minor, C minor, F. D on the second.” 


The G chord rings out, strong and true. 


The drop to the E minor feels so natural. A trill on the F# to lead you. 


The A minor jumping up a little bit not too far to leave you guessing. And then he shouts in his hero’s way… 

“1. 2. 3. 4.” 

And he leads the band through a number they’ve never practised, the audience through a performance that would suggest otherwise, the performance into second gear. This isn’t about playing the songs they’ve prepared to a regiment anymore. Now they’re looking to have fun and challenge one another, not just pushing against the challenges they feel within themselves. 

“I wanna hear you on this one!” He shouts before the chorus. The audience responds in kind. 

 And the night roars on.

And he roars with delight.

And he isn’t self deprecating, or shy, or under-confident, or any of those pigeon holes people would place him.

And for a split second, he is at peace.

April Feels, Bro

So we’re at the Spring Time, Midway, crazy part of Novel Dreamers!

If you’ve been paying attention, or if you’d like to find them all in one place, you’ll know that all the March pieces are in and ready to vote on at the Voting Page.

As for my writers, they’re about to go and do some fun writing on the following theme:


Yes, dear writers, I want you to plot twist like M. Knight Shyamalan! Because April 1st, y’all!

As an added bit of fun, not only will I be voting for my top three at the hand in next month, but the best three plot twists (in my opinion) will be receiving 3, 2, and 1 votes accordingly.

Anywho. I got 6 plays, 2 novels, and 3 Dungeons and Dragons Campaigns to write.



The Highwayman’s Trick

Let me ask you this.

If I held a gun to your head, would you even care what the options I were giving you are? I mean, if I placed the barrel of a pistol on your temple and started along the lines of “No pressure, but given the option, would you say you’re a leg or a breast man?”, how far into the sentence would your attention drift from my velvet voice and down to the terrible trickling that is currently running down your leg?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to be holding a gun to your head. I am unfortunately in no such position to do so. I don’t think I’d do that anyway, it’s not in my horoscope or personality type; whatever those are. It would probably be the nature of my companion that I share this cell with…

Sorry, that wasn’t vey helpful. Picture the scene; an Elizabethan prison cell with torches on the walls and hay on the floor. Two men sit in opposite corners of the room, scowling at one another. One is dressed in a heavy duster coat, tricorn hat, tough trousers, riding boots, and a lot of scarfs and fabrics with pockets; he is not me. I am the second man in the room, wearing a simple shirt, waistcoat, trousers, and shoes. Oh, and a potato sack over my head. I know this for three reasons:

1-      The inside of the bag smells heavily of potatoes.

2-      The outside of the bag is printed with a very Irish sounding family name, along with the statement “and sons, Quality Potatoes.”

3-      I have a very strong feeling of de ja vu and I’m sure it was a potato sack the last time too.

The reason we are sat on either side of the cell is because of the conversation we just had, that lead to a fight, that lead to me miraculously landing a punch on him – in the mouth – and him going off in a strop. I didn’t push the fight any further because I didn’t actually expect to land the punch. Right, sorry. Why did we fight? Well this is how the conversation went:

Setting: the cell I’ve been talking about. Characters: The Highwayman – Stan, and The Narrator or me – James. Context: James has just been thrown into the cell by a rather gropey guard and isn’t too happy as he’s just been found guilty for a crime he did not commit. The rest will be explained post-haste.

Stan:                      Any last words, scum?

James’ breathing speeds up, and he starts to fidget.

Stan:                      Well?

James:                  I, erm, I never done it, sir!

Stan:                      (Laughing) Never done it, boy? I haven’t heard that one before!

James:                  Honest, sir. I was set up, it were that damn highwayman. He stopped I on the Thunder Road. I knew there was something strange about him the moment he hesitated. Talked a while, he did, then left. Didn’t even rob me, sir. Must have planted it as we were in dialogue.

Stan:                      Don’t try to fool me, boy! I knows your type. You try speaking up and suddenly you think the airs and graces will save you. Well it ain’t happening!

Stan comes over and kicks James in the back of the knee, causing him to drop to his knees. Stan places a noose around James’ neck and steps back. Stan pretends to talk to another person over his shoulder

Stan:                      Here, Steven. Reckon this one will piss himself?

He stands grinning at James for a moment, then realises there is no reply and starts looking over his shoulder. He walks over to the door as he calls.

Stan:                      Steven? Steven? Steven!

He rushes back to James’ shoulder

Stan:                      Must be getting the scythe ready

James:                  (Panicking) What the hell does he need a scythe for if you’re gonna hang me?!

Stan:                      (Laughing) Oh boy! My sweet sweet (hesitates) what’s your name?

James:                  What does that matter? Surely it’ll make your job harder knowing my name?

Stan pauses on this a second

Stan:                      How so?

James:                  Well you know what they say. If you have to put down a calf, it’s easier if your little girl hasn’t started referring to it as Daisy

Stan:                      Never heard that one, you trying to save your skin again?

He grabs the noose and yanks it about. James screams and then whimpers

James:                  No! NO! I promise, sir! I just mean that it’s harder to kill something you have an emotional attachment to?!

Stan:                      Alright, alright, quit your mewling. Now, your name?

James:                  James Cobbs, sir

Stan:                      Stop with the bloody sir, Cobbs! Now, the reason our Steven is off getting the scythe is a very simple one. After we’ve hung you, we gotta put you into these barrels to send you off to the physicians at the local university. Problem is that the campus is made of four different schools, you see. Well you don’t, what with that (refers to the bag), but you get my point. Anyway, the four doctors are interested in different parts of you and they likes the parts fresh. So as soon as you start dancing the invisible waltz, we’ll be cutting you ZIIP (gestures over James’ neck and his shoulders and thighs) into the segments. Head. Body. Limbs.


James:                  But that’s only three. What’s the fourth?

Stan starts to laugh, he comes round the back of James and places his hands on his shoulders, massaging him slowly.

Stan:                      Oh, my boy, my sweet innocent Cobbs. There’s a specialist subject that all men are slightly too concerned with to think of about it until it’s endangered.

James:                  And what is that?

Stan:                      Your cock, Cobbs. Your John Thomas. Your prick, man!

Stan grabs down and James let’s out a sob, Stan falls back laughing

James:                  God, man! Have you no sympathy for a man before the gates of heaven?

Stan:                      Ah, Cobbs. You’re neither at the gates of heaven or the tavern backdoor to hell. Why not sit and drink with me a while?

Stan goes over to him and undoes his binding, James gives no fight as Stan helps him to his feet.

Stan:                      Now, let’s get a look at you!

Stan removes the bag from James’ head. James takes a moment to regain sight and then their faces drop as they recognise one another.

Both:                     YOU!


Yes, dear friend. The very highwayman that had got me into this cell is here with me. And we have been here for many years. Over the hour we shall squabble, fight, laugh, and cry. By the end of the hour, the sounds of the gallows crowd will build up overhead and we will become scared and somewhat anxious. Stan will explain that he’s never been good at robbing people but really liked the highwayman outfit, and I shall find that I am one of his few victims. We will both come to learn that the worst thing you can give a highwayman is your time, as he then seems to step out of the cell and leaves me to die. And the lights drop, as if through some arcane means, and I fear my end is near.

I think back to the brief moments that Stan accosted me on the roadside, before leaving my cart untouched. I remember the stone in pit of my stomach as I reached London’s outskirts and the guards come to check the contents of my wagon. I remember the brief elation when the guards finally step away, happy but not pushing any further.

And then the sound of metal against stone.

I turn to see the box scatter across the floor as the door of the wagon shuts, and an ‘obviously not my necklace’ falls out of the little jewellery box.

And as the pounding of the boots down the corridor come to meet me, I start to grin.

The audience that have gathered for my execution are confused; as is the hangman.

As the noose passes over my head I whisper, “check the cart again.”

They have no idea I’m ahead of the whole thing.

The guard who checks my carriage whilst I dance on the air finds the quartered body of James Cobbs.

And I flit back to my home. Leaving the body to disintegrate in front of a crowd of god-fearing humans…

I do love theatrics.

Music be the Fruit of Writing

And it’s March.

This year is flying by. Please stop.

Right now, the gang are all exhausted from their Faith pieces, which will be available for voting shortly on the Voting Page. I hope you enjoyed reading them because we’re now going into the void of weird stuff.

The theme is a very simple one this month, so I shan’t keep you all. This month I want the writers to GO TO YOUR MUSIC PLAYER OF CHOICE, PRESS SHUFFLE, AND USE THE FIRST SONG AS YOUR STIMULUS.

If you could share the song with the piece, that’d be most appreciated 😉


Have fun, treacles!

Dreaming Again

Inspired by I’m Dreaming Again by Thunder

The two of them sat in the recording room with paper everywhere. There was a palpable atmosphere to the room, and it was not just the humid, lack of air-con heat that seemed to be settling in for the long haul. Each piece of paper had scrawling of lyrics, chords, scribbling over said writing, corrections, vetoes, and back tracking.

“It’s useless,” the woman said, her voice slightly hoarse from lack of hydration. “They’re written the way they were for a reason. You don’t fix something if it isn’t broken.”

The man sighed and rubbed the palm of his fretting hand, starting to ache from the amount of complex chordings the songs required. The two of them looked battered. She was a slim thing, with short brownish blonde hair, green eyes, and a smile that made you worry what she was concocting. He stood about a foot taller, and probably nearly a foot wider, with messy greying brown hair, and bags under his eyes that looked like the cause of his slight stoop.

“Great input as always.” She huffed and started tidying the papers into more organised mounds of mess.

“I don’t know why you want to change the way we play them anyway?” He offered as he stretched out in the chair. “The songs were good enough how they were, surely? I mean the record company seemed to like them.”

“Yeah, but it’s write a new album’s worth of songs or rework the old stuff in new ways and keep people waiting for that previously mentioned album. Which would you prefer?” She placed the pile on the piano and sat at it. Clicking her knuckles, she started to hammer out the beginning riff to Empty City. It was a crowd pleaser from the moment it hit the shelves, but that’s the problem with writing a great song; people want it every show. It had started to lose it’s feel, and although he did his best to make it different – changing up the way his playing or his solos – it always felt like flogging a dead horse by the end of the tour. That had been the reason she had suggested reworking some of the songs in the first place.

If we redo some of the ones that are losing their flame, and throw in some lesser played tracks, people will lap it up, she had said to the Label Rep at the monthly update meeting.

“I’m happy to write some new songs!” He chimed in, knocking her from her day dream and also the held chord ringing out through the room. “I’ve been trying to suggest new stuff since you mentioned a new album. The term ‘new’ really resonated with me, yunno?” The sarcastic quip on the end blended with the B Diminished chord to cause a need to pace. Up she got and walked over to the whiteboard on the wall, grabbed the marker and started making notes.

Miracle Man is bang on, as is Bigger Than Both of Us

“And I think Girl’s Going Out of Her Head will be well received. It’s completely off the wall compared to the other two.”

“So that’s three, we were looking at the acoustic version of Blown Away…” she trailed off mid sentence as a thought struck her. “We could always do Dreaming?”

His face dropped and he looked like she had just told him that he’d been fired.

“We both agreed we’d not play that again…” he said with a stern voice; juxtaposed against his usual carefree and sarky norm.

“People are going to be expecting the big numbers!” She shouted, tired of the pussyfooting.

“Then we’ll do a version of Low Life and She’s So Fine! What about Loser?”

“Oh, if we’re not doing Dreaming, we’re definitely not doing fucking Loser!”

The two of them stood staring daggers at one another, the heat of the room seemed to have gone up a degree or two. As per usual, he broke first.

“You left me, remember?”

She threw her hands up in desperation. “How could I forget?! Mr Never Forget’s A Fucking Thing! Shall we go completely on the nose and do Love Walked In but change it to Love Walked Out?!”

“Fuck me,” he retorted. “I’m glad you saved that one for now, because the five star reviews wouldn’t be enough. Step aside, Shakespeare!” He put the guitar down and waltzed over to the piano, starting to play the the opening of Love Walked In and started to wail in a strangled cat fashion:

“So tired of waiting, I walked an empty land,

I was looking for something to help me understand,

Cos bad luck kept turning my dreams into sand.

I didn’t want pity, I’d had my share, my friends,

I wanted somebody more special than the rest,

I was aching inside, like I was approaching the end.

Just about that moment, the timing was so right,

She appeared like a vision, sent down to my life,

I thought I was dreaming when I saw you that night

But then Love Walked Out of my door,

That familiar feeling, I’d had once before.

Love Walked Out of my door, and it felt so beige.

Like a long lost love freed from a cage,

Making you whole again.”

She stood with her arms crossed, watching him mock her words so easily. The marker pen dropped to the floor, pulling him from the clowning around and, opening his eyes, saw she was gone. He sighed, and the breath deflated him on several levels. She had left before. Always when he needed her the most.

“I’m not ready to play it again,” he called out to the room at large. The heat of the room started to drop and he looked around, hoping she’d appear once again. “You know that song goes both ways now.”

Waiting for some sort of response, he got nothing but silence in return. Taking another deep breath, he stepped over to the guitar, dropped it down to a Drop D tuning and started to busk those opening chords; his eyes started to water just at the thought. Not knowing how to get the verse to work, he jumped to a simply strummed version of the chorus:

“When I feel the touch of your hand, but there’s no one around,

I know that I’m dreaming

When I wake up to find it’s only me and the night,

I know that I’m dreaming again.”

He let the last chord ring out and his voice trail out. A knock at the door woke him from his own day dream. A slick haired man with headset poked his head around the door.

“Erm, sorry to interrupt, Sir. Warm up act is done, we’re ready to go when you are.” The disembodied head said before disappearing back out.

The guitarist cleared his throat and stood, guitar in hand. Stepping out into the corridor the green room and wandering towards the stage door, the magazine blew off the piano in the green room onto the floor. The front page a simple copy of the poster that hung on the walls outside the theatre, but covered with the headline: ACOUSTIC DUO RETURN AS SOLO ACT ON THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF LEAD SINGER.

George Michael Fan Fiction Incoming

Good morning, Novel Dreamers!

Welcome back to another exciting month of writing. You should be seeing the wonderful LOVE pieces that the guys have been writing over January, just in time for Valentines Day next week, being shared about now! Why not go vote for your favourite(s)? Click here

With that being all tied up, we better start looking at February’s writing challenge! I’m asking our cracking writers to write about FAITH this month. They can write about religion, they can write about belief, they can write about Faith Hill if they really like! Whatever they come up with, however, shall hopefully come from some meaning or interpretation of that word. Or at least, I hope they do. It’s alright, I’ll just keep…

Yeah I’ll see myself out.

Below is this month’s example piece. Enjoy.


Come Join the Murder

It was a cold and dreary Thursday in the midst of an equally cold and dreary April. Gale force winds blew in northwesterly, and no sense of central heating or designer outfits could keep the weather from creeping into your bones. But this had not perturbed him; he had a job to do, and he’d be damned before he let his father hold his failure against him. Pushing through the trees and growth, he could hear the stream babbling somewhere ahead of him. He stopped for a moment, clouds puffing from his mouth like some volcano, not too sure if it were going to erupt or not. He took out his pocket watch and checked the time: 03:42pm.

This was meant to be an easy trek, you old bastard, he thought to himself. He started back up and found the weir just as a distant church bell struck four. It was all but lost on him as time seemed to be standing still in the middle of the woods.

“You never told me how you wanted this doing, old man!” he called out to the heavens. His face stung as the weather tried to freeze the tears welling up in his eyes already. The scene was picturesque. He knew it would be as it had been the picture hanging in the living room since he were a boy. His father constantly reminding him, in a semi-drunk state, that that’s where he wanted his ashes scattering when he were gone. He grimaced and looked at the slippery stones just breaking the water and remembered the once or twice the old man had informed him it were quite a dangerous thing to attempt; but this was his father’s last wish.

He dropped onto a log that sat on the bank, placing the metallic tub very carefully to his left, and pulled a small hip-flask from his inner pocket. He let the liquid slosh around a bit inside and turned to look at the urn holding his father.

“Three generations of miserable old cunts, hey?” raising the hip-flask. He immediately berated himself mentally for speaking ill of his grandfather, the original owner of the hip-flask in his hand. He opened it and took a sip. The warmth spread across his chest and throat instantly as the 18 year old Glenfiddich took hold of his entire being for but a moment. Knowing his father would heavily disapprove, he poured a dram over the bark in front of the urn. “You’re not allowed to drink and I’m only allowed 2 units, remember?” he scoffed, taking another pull.

A bark woke him from his daydream as a St Bernard came lolloping out of the brush and directly towards him and a bear of a man stepped out the hole in the trees seconds later. Leaning heavy on a walking stick with an ornate pair of ravens on perch at the top of it, the man was greying blonde with a scraggly beard and eye patch.

“Down, Chronos,” called the older man after his hound before turning to the younger. “Pardon him, he likes making friends and interrupting thoughts.”

The younger chuckled before gesturing to the log beside him. “Well if it’s friends you’re needing, I could do with the company this afternoon.” He turned to the dog, “That’s a very impressive name you have there,” he said as he reached out to pet the big bugger, only to be slobbered over rather enthusiastically.

“Oh he’s an impressive dog,” the blonde man said as he sat. The two shared a handshake and a drink before he spoke again. “The name’s Wednesday. What’s your’s, friend?”

The younger man barked a laugh and drank again, knowing full well he should have stopped two mouthfuls ago. “Oh this is happening is it?” Wednesday gave a half apologetic smile but said nothing. “My name is unimportant, sir.”

“Your father and his father might disagree with you there, boy” growled Wednesday, gesturing to the two metal containers.

“A fair point. Then you can call me Archer,” he said as he offered the hip-flask once more. “Could you take this from me for a moment, I’m not really allowed to drink and I think seeing a long dead God might be a warning I’ve already pushed the line to its limit.”

It was Wednesday’s turn to bark with laughter, joined after by both Archer and Chronos. After a few minutes, the laughter died and the two wiped their faces.

“You were never one for keeping your thoughts to yourself, lad.” came a third voice from behind them that caused Archer’s blood to freeze better than the weather ever had chance to. He turned to see his father stood, ginger-grey had closely cut and beard surprisingly tidy for someone who always screwed up the process of trimming it. He wore that same outfit that Archer thought of immediately when trying to think of his dad. He came and moved the urn out of the way and sat, looking over the stream ahead of them. “Trust you to actually do it, you stubborn git.”

The three sat in silence.

“Dad, we’ve never been religious. You had me baptised and you took me to church a couple of times as a kid but neither of us ever believed in God.” Archer offered out, trying to make sense of it all. “And yes, since I’d had the faculty to comprehend it, I have believed in the tales of Norse Mythology, but not as a devout believer. So why are we sat here with Wednesday?” He realised what he was saying after the fact and added, “No offence, of course.” Wednesday waved it aside and offered an answer before Dad could.

“Whatever faith, religion, colour, or creed, the idiom linked with death remains the same: Meet your Maker. For some, they we realise the full character of their parent. For others, they are welcomed by an angel through pearly gates. For all of humanity’s warring over it, there is but one God; they all just see him/her/they in a different light.”

Archer scoffed, “how very Tumblr safe of you, Wednesday.”

They sat in silence once more. Archer dropped his head into his hands and sobbed.

“You’re not real, are you? Either of you?” He said, finally raising his head. But no one was there. Just a cold metal container, and a hip-flask flung against the log opposite.

He steadied himself, collected the hip-flask, and then the urn. Rounding his shoulders, he stepped onto the bank and then onto the stepping stones leading across the weir. His hands shook in the cold, but also with the fear and reverence of the situation, as he hit the midway point and stopped. Carefully he turned the container lid and paused, trying to think of what his father would have wanted. It came to him in an instant, and through tearful eyes and a laugh at how stupid and cheesy the whole thing felt, he started to sing.

There’s a blackbird perched outside my window,

I hear him calling, I hear him sing.

He burns me with his eyes of gold to embers,

He sees all my sins, He reads my soul…



N.B.  My father is alive and as well as the grumpy old git can be. This is fictional, based off conversations we’ve had. Please do not read into this.


New year; Who dis?

Hello, lovely ones!

It’s new year, and the gang are throwing in their Second Chance pieces, now available to vote for at the Voting Page

This month, as the hand in will be the beginning of February, let’s revolt against Van Halen and actually talk about Love. Yes, this month’s theme is going to be Love, and what a lot of fun we’re going to have looking at the dark brood that I call my writers this year.

So, short and sweet as I’ve been trying to write everything this weekend, please find this month’s Example piece below:





Sitting like a grubby jewel on the expansive cliff face known as The Sword Coast, Waterdeep could be argued to Faerun’s New York City. Deep in the hustle and bustle of the manically packed streets of hawkers and hookers, shoppers and shops, stands the less than famous than some of its competitors tavern; The Sunken Shoe. As the metaphorical camera of narrative starts to get slightly travel sick, we take one last swoop into The Sunken Shoe to reveal a grubby interior, sides caked in dust, so are some of the patrons. Behind the bar, a Drow (an Elven race that prefer darkness to light; think Goth kids) cleans the solitary surviving glass owned by the bar as the customers now have to drink out of the cheaper and more durable wooden tankards. Anyway, ignore Thomas, we’re not interested in him. Moving along the bar towards the booths near the end of the room, we find the two patrons that aren’t sleeping sat in one of the booths and deep in their cups. A white scaled male Dragonborn (Humanoid-Dragon person. The result of if a dragon and a human got their Marvin Gaye on…) wearing thick armour, speckled with bullet wounds and holes, and a Dwarven man with short brown mohawk and beard running down into singed ends, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans sit swaying slowing in the seats. The shorter of the two lifts a finger and aims at one of the three dragons he can see sitting across from him:

“Balthazar, I have a question,” his thick Scottish accent straining against the alcohol and thought process that are waging war in his mind. “What is love?”

The Dragonborn sat stoically for a moment, either dazed from his drink or trying to look like he were in deep thought, before belching loudly; a cloud of frosty air wafting from his nostrils.


The two sat in silence for a moment before the dwarf burst into raucous laughter. Balthazar’s smile slowly crawled across his lips like a night worker slowly slipping into a morning’s embrace.

“Snowball, your wit is as sharp as your sword,” the Dwarven drinker chuckled, calming himself back to the conversation. “But seriously, what is it like? How do you know?”

Balthazar cleared his throat and leaned forward, his face growing serious and the closest to sober it had looked in years.

“Grimnir, in your luxury you have not had to experience it, and I suggest you keep it that way. I only half joke when I say it is painful, for it really is.”

“I wouldn’t call it luxury,” Grimnir protested. Balthazar waved him off with a smirk.

“You know what I mean.” He pauses for thought before continuing. “I once loved a woman, she was big and boisterous, stronger than an ox. We flirted a little, before we were separated and I promised to bring her War Hammer back to her. Months I searched for a way to return, and finally found myself in the way as she tried to save the world. We spent several nights together, and she confided in me when I thought I were mere distraction. And then she left; suddenly and without warning. I was informed she had gone to another plane of existence, so I waited. I was killed in battle, and revived, and still I waited. When she finally returned after nine years, so did my happiness. But, as you are well aware, we are not designed for happiness. So when I finally tried to prove my worth to her, show her that I was strong enough to stay, she beat me to a pulp and left me for fear that she’d kill me if she didn’t.”

The two sat in silence again. Grimnir cleared his throat.

“I’m sorry to hear of your loss in my absence, old friend” Grimnir said with a sense of searching for the right words, “but that is just one story in a book full of many different endings.”

Balthazar barked a laugh. “That’s easy for you to say, as a man who has been around long enough to see a few chapters written. How have you, a man who has experienced centuries, never felt love?”

Grimnir shifted awkwardly in his seat. “You know that my line of work means that I have little in the way of feelings other than anger, resentment, and many other bad things. I think I’m starting to understand a new feeling.” He chuckles as he catches Balthazar raising an eyebrow sarcastically. “I have been exploring this generation’s heroes and have stumbled upon a fun group known as Marblesong. They are kooky and very headstrong, but they seem to be in a bad way as of late. They have a Halfling with them, a wonderfully energetic and cute thing, and I have been informed from my Betters has a lot of potential.”

“Has the old dog fallen for a young pup?” Balthazar clucked mockingly. Grimnir grinned and threw the dregs of his cup at the Dragon.

“No, you big softie, I just… I care for this one. I haven’t cared for much in a long time; present company excluded of course. I just want to make sure this one survives more than the other two, and that bothers me. I am not one for picking a fight that I can’t handle, but we went against a bloody Fire God the other day and I spent the entire time worrying about her safety above my own and the others. It is not right.”

Once again, the two returned to staring at the bottoms of their cups in silence; both wanting to say something but not too sure how to word it. Finally, Balthazar offered a refrain.

“Friend, you have been gone so long, it seems you have forgotten how to live. Love comes in many forms: Sexual, casual; platonic; careful. So many versions of love exist in this world that it kind of has its own magic. To show emotions that might elevate your vulnerability doesn’t mean to question the very foundation of your being. For once, allow this to be a moment of growth for you. Your care for this girl is obviously not lustful love, but that of a kindred spirit. Lovers are just friends who worked out the next step; it doesn’t mean you love them any less if you stay as just friends.”

As if narrative sensed a need for more, the door exploded open as a hyperactive Halfling girl with short brown hair, seaweed green eyes, and a permanent grin bounded into the bar; followed shortly by a dour looking Half-Elf with ginger hair and golden scales lining his features, and a tanned Elven woman with auburn hair, streaked with mistletoe, and somewhat dazed expression on her face.

“Right,” Grimnir said, slamming his hands on the table. “Gang seems to be back up to things. Better go play meatshield for glass cannons. You remember how to get hold of me, should your stubbornness slip?”

Balthazar nodded. The two stood and then embraced, before parting ways once again, to find out what fate had in store for them this time around…


It’s beginning to look a lot like December…

Well it’s been a hell of a month. Over the next day or two, we’ll be shouting about the wonderful pieces the gang have written for November’s Time challenge. If you’ve already read them, head on over to the Voting Page and vote for your favourites!

With that being said, it’s time for Steve to avoid Christmas as it’s better than simply playing Whamaggedon. So as these pieces are being handed in by the 31st of December, let’s talk Resolutions. This month, the writers are challenged to write on the subject of Second Chances. Not managed to do that thing you promised yourself last year? Well this year’s resolution will be easy to think of. For bonus points, because I’m a pain in the ass music nerd, if you can mention Halley’s Comet in some way, I’ll give you a bonus vote on your December piece; but don’t let that lead you from what you want to write…

Don’t worry, the 2000’s Alternative/Hard Rock fans are loving it.

So, Merry Crimbles from all of us here this year and I’ll be sharing a Christmas story somewhere in the month for bonus content. And now for the example piece…


“I’m telling you, it’s tonight! I know it!” Ellen said excitedly to Sophie as they sat next to one another on the bench in their back garden. The trees lining the perimeter of the yard were tall enough to keep the neighbours from prying, and the couple had taken this advantage to create their own secluded getaway; just on the doorstep.

“I know, sweet. I know,” Sophie sighed as she leaned in and rested her head on Ellen’s shoulder. “Every 74-77 years.”

“That’s like an entire lifetime just to briefly glance across the Earth.” Ellen’s voiced brimmed with fascination and awe. She had always been like this, it’s one of the reasons Sophie had fallen for her; once Ellen was invested in something, she was invested 1000%. This had been a problem in Ellen’s youth, as the goth phase meant her flowing brunette hair was tarnished with obsidian black hair dye and her brown eyes stencilled with thick eye liner. She had returned to her natural beauty many years ago, and Sophie was so glad for it. Being the blonde haired blue eyed girlfriend of a goth chick had meant a lot of standing out because you accidentally wore a dark green with your navy blue jeans.

“It’s the poster child of second chances.” Sophie lightly chuckled and turned to kiss Ellen but stopped short as she saw that her face had dropped. “Ellen, you okay?”

“Why would you go and say that now?” Ellen’s voice had lost its warmth, reminding Sophie it was mid-autumn coming into winter.

“Ellie… I didn’t mean anything by it,” Sophie smiled and her eyes softened, trying to convince her that it wasn’t a barbed comment. “I thought we were passed this?” The two sat in an awkward silence for a moment before Ellen turned back to the sky and took a sip of her thermos. Sophie, in yet another contrast, looked down to the floor and nervously started rubbing her hand up and down her forearm.

The two had recently had their 18 year anniversary, also the 15 year anniversary of their wedding; Ellen had been most impressed with herself landing the wedding day on the anniversary of them getting together. The two had got surprises for one another, had a reservation at the restaurant they went to every year, had even got dressed up for the whole shebang to remind one another that they had more than just work clothes and pyjamas. As they sat beaming at one another, they fell into their usual conversations they followed when dining; some current affairs mixed with some silly nothings to keep from getting serious. It was one of these silly nothings that caused the rift that had appeared. Sophie had accidentally taken the silly conversation too far and Ellen had given her the usual light telling off, before trying to bring it back to the normal conversation; Sophie tried to brush off the comment but this one seemed to hurt. So it was all but an outburst when Sophie blurted out:

“Can I ask you a serious question for once?” Her hand slowly moving to the other so she had control of her twitch.

“Of course, Soph, what you thinking?” Ellen said with a smile.

“Am I good enough for you?” Sophie asked slightly louder than she intended. Ellen sat in shock, so Sophie took the opening. “It’s just that more recently than not, you’re telling me off for the things that you said you love about me. You’ve grown more distant when I try to show you affection. The other day I made the mistake of telling you I had missed you after the shittiest day…”

“Sophie, language!” Ellen averted her eyes, trying to sink into the chair.

“Oh, grow up, Ellen, we’ve both sworn hundreds of times. I didn’t realise I had to pass a certain amount of time before I’m allowed to miss you. Have you ever thought that maybe I just needed the comfort I find in you after dealing with Tom’s shit yet again? And yes, that’s still a thing. I go to work everyday worrying what I’m going to have to deal with both in and out of work. If it isn’t his bullshit flirting, it’s your accusations that I’m going to leave you for him, and both of you seem to forget I’m a fucking lesbian! What is going on, Ellen? What have I done to deserve this slow Japanese torture method of your persecution?”

A silence fell over the entire restaurant. People awkwardly leant into their tables trying to eat still without disturbing or drawing attention of the volcanic eruption on table 14. Ellen cleared her throat, steadied her breathing, and levelled her eyes on Sophie.

“I have cancer, Soph. I have been trying to work out how to tell you for weeks. I just didn’t know how to tell you that I may have to break a promise I made.” And she stood up, and left…

Back on the garden bench, Sophie took a deep breath, picked up her stupid grin she wore when she was trying to fix things, and turned back to Ellen.

“You know that you’re pretty hot when you’re frowning, right?”

Silence, but for a moment, then like an old Transit Van with something stuck in the exhaust, her laughter rose into the cool night air; Sophie’s laughter twinned it shortly after.

“It’s not easy, being silly when your body is trying to kill you,” Ellen chuckled breathily as the laughter subsided. She took her handkerchief and coughed into it violently.

“I know, baby, you have no idea how hard it is trying to kill you when you’re already dying,” Sophie said with a wink. “I can’t keep paying the Russian down the round for plutonium.”

“Wow, your gallows humour is in full swing once more.”

Sophie looked at Ellen, taking a moment to replay what she just said in her head. The beaming smile coming across Ellen’s face allowing her to see the warmth returning to her face and voice once more. The two embraced and kissed, before both looking up to see Halley’s Comet soar through the night sky. Ellen coughed gently once more before getting up to head back inside. Sophie took her hand and they took the longest stroll they could back to the house.

“I guess I can die happy now,” Ellen said with a heavy breath. Sophie turned, the look of panic in her face flashed before she tried her hardest to hide it; Ellen smiled softly. “I got to share a once in a life time experience with my best friend. If there’s nothing else left for me, looking at you will remind me how good it was.”

“Felt a little anti-climactic, if I’m honest,” Sophie laughed nervously.

“Oh Soph, we’ve only been together 18 years, the climax is yet to come…”

And with that, they went home.

A Construct of Human Perception…

Well that’s month one down and by Jove, have they knocked it out the park this time! Given a few hours to play with the voting page, you’ll be able to vote for your favourites and talk about your enemies and whatever arty people do…

Onto this month’s writing challenge! I was discussing with a dear confident that there’s not enough time to do things and how time waits for no man, before eagerly waiting for time to pass so I could go for a weekend away with the lovely one, at some point I started looking into the idea of a class for DnD that plays with time.


The writers have one simple yet large stimulus for this month’s writing challenge. Time. Discuss it, slag it off, let it wile away whilst you think of an idea. Whatever you do, just don’t run out of it!

As always, your example piece.


Time After Time

She closed her eyes, took him by the hand, and they walked away forever.

The final words felt like an eternity as she typed the ending sentence of the novel and closed the document. Glancing at the violently red digital clock slicing through the darkness on the edge of her desk, she could see it was 04:32am and that she had broken another promise. She closed the laptop and padded gently to the kitchen to grab a glass of milk before ascending the creaky staircase to the bedroom where she could already hear him in deep sleep; the broken promise didn’t feel so bad knowing that she would have to kick him to stop the snoring…

The Writer gently pushed the door open, though forgot about the small dog and it’s ability to find the most inconvenient of sleeping spaces and the silence was broken by a sharp yelp as the poor Westie was awoken from his dream of finding the biggest bone a dog had ever seen; but that’s a story for another time.

“Barchimedes, sic ‘em.” The bass heavy half asleep voice gently called from the other side of the room. The pint sized patrolman jumped up from behind the door and excitedly slalomed between The Writer’s legs as she tried not to stand on him. The Musician, no longer testing the patience of the sleeping world, sat up rubbing his eyes.

They were an unexpected pairing. She was slim and beautiful, with an air of grace to her that covered her immaturity only briefly. He was rounded and clumsy but had a heart that meant well, though covered with a half pretence of menace. Barchimedes was just adorable.

“Did you finish it?” He asked in the darkness. She didn’t need the light to see the half sloping grin on his face as he looked her way, it was there every time; without fail.

“You’re meant to be asleep,” she chided, though with a smile backlit by the hallway lamp so he didn’t panic.

“I was, until some nefarious ne’er-do-well tried to break in and steal the family heirlooms.” He lay back down and waited for her to join him, waiting for the sarky comment.

3 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 1…

“They’re not family heirlooms until they’re past down, y’eedjit.” She seemingly glided across the room and slid under the duvet and remembered on of the reasons she kept him around; the furnace heat was luxurious in comparison to the autumn chill in the study. And so she slept…

Their fingers intertwined, like the teeth of two cogs running side by side in the old pocket watch.

The Musician sat on the end of the bed, Barchimedes sat vigilantly by his side with as pride as a short Westie Terrier could. The only noise in the room, other than the gentle thrum of the heating was the tick of pocket watch he held in his hand.

“She’ll be in a minute, boy. Stop fretting, it’s going to be okay. We’ve prepared for this. Will you straighten your tie! Oh I know you’re a dog, quit reminding me.”

The door latch echoed up the stairwell and the two took their positions.

“You in?” She called from downstairs.

“We’re upstairs! Got a surprise for you.” He called back, brushing his shirt and hair into some sort of tamed affair.

A few seconds pasted and the bedroom door opened. She stood in her usual work clothes, the ones she liked herself in but wouldn’t say she looked anything special by, yet the smile on his face and the bouncy dog at his side contradicted the thought entirely. He held out the pocket watch and dropped to one knee.

“So erm, want to run away with me and never look back?”

She could see in his face he was trying his upmost hardest to pull off the John Belushi puppy dog eyes. She saw the flowers surrounding the walls, all whites and yellows; her favourite colour. She could see the ring missing in his hand…

“Aren’t you meant to offer a girl a ring?” She said, placing her hand on her hip and looking mock offended.

“Okay, hear me out before you turn and leave,” the puppy dog eyes had widened to fox in the headlights. “A ring is great and all, and you can hand that down to your kids when they’re older…”

“Oh we’re having kids now?” The foot gently starting to tap in mock frustration.

“Just shut up and listen will you? You can give a ring to your kids when they’re older but then you’ve got to stop wearing it or be dead so they get it afterwards. It’s all a little complicated so I spent some time thinking about it and this is what I got.”

He clicked open the pocket watch to reveal the inscription ‘With every second, the heart grows fonder’ had been engraved on the inside of the door and the ornate golden numbers around the face had actually been painstakingly forged to look like her handwriting. Sat on the middle of the timepiece, thin and beautiful, sat a silver ring with blue gem.

“So I’ll ask again, will you run away with me and never look back?”

Time stood still, allowing the two to pass as welcome friends.

The final words felt like an eternity as she listened to the doctor before he closed the document. Glancing at the violently red digital clock slicing through the darkness on the edge of his bed, she could see it was 04:32am and that he had broken another promise. She closed her eyes and listened to the doctor padding gently to the kitchen to grab a glass of milk for her before ascending the clinical staircase to the waiting room where she could already hear him explaining to the now grown up kids that their father had passed. The broken promise didn’t feel so bad knowing that he had spent his last moments with her and her alone.

She closed her eyes, took him by the hand, and they walked away forever.

And so it begins…

Welcome to Novel Dreamers 2: Electric Bookaloo!

So what’s going on? Let’s just remind ourselves. The writers that have signed up to this year’s season (thank you Shaun!) will be getting the stimulus of this month from this very post. They will then have 4 weeks to go and write up to 1500 words with that stimulus and then upload the work onto this blog. We’ll read them, we’ll vote who we like, and then we rinse and repeat. Simples, right?

So what’s the stimulus for this month? Well I’m borrowing the first month of last season’s Novel Dreamers to challenge our writers and to give you, dear reader, a feel of what the writers are about. The writing stimulus for this month: Character Continuation. The writers may take a favourite character(s) of their choosing, and continue their story. It can be a fictional, real life, book, film, game, music, or anything else character. All they have to do is pick up the story where the writer left off. And it doesn’t have to be the complete endgame of that character. Really want to take Frodo on a wild goose chase elsewhere in Mordor? Pick up from somewhere in The Fellowship of the Ring rather than at the end of Return of the King.

The reason I’ve picked this one again is the choice of a character can tell a lot about a writer sometimes. Will the comic writer break routine and shock us? Will we be pleasantly surprised by the dark turn that befalls a sweet and innocent field mouse? Who knows? I guess we’ll have to see in a month’s time…

So before you go and scream to the world how excited you are about this being back, I offer you my example piece for this month.

Enjoy 🙂

Momento Mori

The hammer slid back into the uncocked position with a silent proficiency that came from compulsively detailed cleaning. The bullet that should have been produced with the action never left the chamber, as the chamber was purposely empty. The barrel of the .357 Smith and Wesson Magnum sat in the mouth of the man; his body language read that of a man completely in control and at peace. There was no nervous trembling, there were no brief tears caused by fear of death or anger; there was just a serene calm. He took the gun from his mouth, cocked it once more, and turned it on the man sat on the other side of the table.

The room was bare. A single light fitting hanging above the solitary table at which the duo were sat; no light shade. There were a few Polaroid’s pinned to the wall, along side newspaper clippings. The two men were almost bipolar in their appearances. The first of the two looked to be in his late 50s, though he had an air of a man who had lived more than one lifetime and they hadn’t been kind to him. His physique was that of a man who had worked in physical labour all his life; broad shouldered, barrel chest, and arms like tree trunks. The latter of the two was tied to the chair he sat in and looked like he had gone through several lifetimes in the last hour or so. He was scrawny, a five o’clock shadow glistening with sweat that permeated his black hair and white shirt.

“I’ve already told you, man, I know fuck all. You’re wasting your time, man!” The sweaty one pleaded. His voice thick with both Irish accent and fear. The other man showed no sign of listening. He brought the barrel up to the Mick’s forehead, the muscles and bones of his arm creaking with the effort, and held it there for a moment.

“Then there is no more use to your existence.” The voice was gravelled and deep, like a driveway soaked in whiskey and cigar abuse. The trigger snap was accented by the click of a knuckle that had been broken too many times, a loud cracking noise as the bullet ricocheted off the Irishman’s skull then the wall, and the bloodstain pattern analyst that visited this site in the future had a small pang of acknowledgement. His head lolled back with the force and his pupils followed shortly after.

Another dead end… creeped the voice in the back of the old man’s mind.

“I am not in the mood for your chiding.”

The man stood and walked over to the paper clippings and photos on the wall; every part of his body ached with age and abuse. The headlines of the paper clippings were all similar in their message, calling out for someone to stop the renegade that had been raining blood down over the city for three decades, but the one that hit right to the heart of the matter was the New York Bulletin that simply read:


Frank grimaced as he looked over the mess of slander and libel. He had spent the best part of his life waging a one man war against the corrupt and broken parts of Hell’s Kitchen and doing things the police could not and still he was the bad guy.

That’s not entirely true, old friend… came the voice in the back of his head, once more.

Frank pulled one of the pages of the wall – a page from a comic depicting him as some daring do good – and stared at it in disgust.

“I am either a bad guy or an anti-hero. This is all because of you” he growled out to the room at large; there was no one else there.

You invited me in, old man. YOU DID THIS… the voice came through like a cold burn in his skull.

He had been a young man in Vietnam, just trying to survive. The voice promised his survival and he let it take over, but never really gained control back after that point. Since then, Frank Castle had lost his family, killed up to 2500 men, all corrupt, and been labelled by the press as The Punisher. He had had shows created about him, comics making him some psychotic man in black and with the trademark momento mori emblazoned across shirts, mugs, pencil cases, and all kinds of memorabilia. In actual fact, he was just a man. Several teeth missing, more scar tissue than actual flesh, he was not the dark and indestructible figure the public imagined.

He looked down to the gun in his hand once more. He knew he had loaded two bullets at random into the six chambered cylinder and for a brief moment he had hoped for the bullet to have been in the previous chamber. Without pause or second thought he brought the gun up to his temple, cocked it, and released the trigger.


He stood there for a moment, not really knowing how to respond to the event. He had never attempted suicide; he’d always been too busy with the next target. Now The Punisher was the next target. He wasn’t sure how that worked anymore. In some of the media created around him, The Punisher was Frank Castle’s pseudonym; they were one and the same. In other works, the silky voice in the back of his head was The Punisher; some unknown entity that somehow found Frank in Valley Forge and had noticed a pitch blackness in his soul that had been sustaining it ever since.

How upsetting that they’ll never know you’re just a schizophrenic who puts too much faith in the voice in his head… This time the voice sounded genuinely pleased and full of mirth.

“Either way I must stop this. The damage has outweighed the good I have done every time. Explosions, destruction of buildings, bloodbaths in public areas. I am a tyrant, not a role model.”

Some people need a bad person for a good role model…

“I am not letting you control this,” Frank growled through gritted teeth. He cocked the gun once more and pulled the trigger.


He noticed a gentle rustle in the back of his mind.

Now now, let’s not be too hasty. There’s still Fisk. Or Tombstone. Oh, we should definitely finish Tombstone before you bite the bullet… The voice sounded like it was trying everything to not sound pleading.

Frank threw the page of the comic to one side and pulled a picture from the top of the cluster of a woman holding a baby, her gingham dress being used as a hiding place for the little girl that seemed to be the spit of the woman she stood next to.

“I’m still sorry, Maria. For all the pain I caused you. For all the bullshit and the lies. Maybe now your name can be remembered for more than just a bloodlust.”

He cocked the gun again.

50/50 now, chap. Really want to go out like this?…