Thrown to The Blue, Writing Exercises

Capitalisation of Honorifics and Names is the Bane of my Editing Life

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What has this edit and my proof-reader shown me? That I am inconsistent in my capitalisation of honorifics and names. Oh my word! As soon as my proof-reader started pointing them out, she just couldn’t stop. I mean, seriously, I’m totally crap and inconsistent to the point of frustration.  Titles such as King, Your Majesty, and the more common ‘Father’ (in terms of referring to an actual person by that name), are just a few of my pit falls. This is how I picture my proof-reader’s reaction every time she has to correct me on this issue:

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What makes this edit even more exasperating is that my novel is full of honorifics with one of my main protags coming from royalty. Oh well, at least I am now aware of my annoying tendencies, right? Ha!

Do you have any annoying writing habits/ pit falls? What is your biggest editing peeve?


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

GIF sourced from GIPHY.COM

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Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #9 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

“As soon as I admit that someone is my friend they end up dead. So, for all intents and purposes, I don’t like you.”

“No! You don’t get to push me away.”

“And you don’t get to die because of me.”

She throws me aside, but I grip her forearm, forcing her back to face me. “It won’t be because of you, it’ll be for you… always for you.”

I know that look. It’s the look she had her on her face when she kissed me all those months ago. She can try and push the memory from her mind, but it’s the only real thing I remember of the last year. It’s only there for a second before her eyes shadow over and she coughs away her emotion.

“Okay, I can accept that you don’t like me, but look me in the eyes and tell me that you don’t love me,” I say. She looks to her feet. “Tell me, Erin! Tell me and I will walk away. You’ll never have to see me again.” Still she is quiet. Stepping closer to her, I make her meet my eye. “If you say it, you better mean it, because I will walk away if that’s what you want.”

Her breathing is ragged and her chest heaves in air. “Do you love me?” she asks.

“Don’t reflect the question. Why the hell would I have followed you blindly into this madness if I didn’t love you? I’ve been shot, burnt, buried alive, and she asks me if I love her,” I say, a smile pulling at the edge of my mouth.

She scoffs now. “I thought you were just a bit of an idiot.”

“Yeah, that too.”

She steps away, hands me a gun, and marches on. “Well, if you’re coming, you better get your ass moving.”

“Hey! You can’t leave it like that. Tell me you don’t love me, Erin.”

“You said that if I say it, I better mean it.” She glances back over her shoulder and smiles.

It’s not the declaration of love I was hoping for, but it’ll do for now.

 


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

 

 

Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #8 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

They said that I was insane and that I never had a sister. They even went as far as to edit her out of my photographs. I know they did because they missed one- the one I keep in my locket.

They hold us in some kind of secure facility with hundreds of others. We aren’t treated badly, but we aren’t free either. Words such as cure, hope, and future are continuously brandished about, as if words can persuade us to cooperate. If you take away a person’s freedom, you take away their basic human right. Once that’s gone, then it’s a one way street- we’re prisoners and they’re our captors. Cure, hope, and future, feel very very far away.

Every day I ask for Georgina. Every day they say the same thing- ‘she is a figmant of your imagination. An imaginary friend you created as a way to get through the fifteen months you spent on the outside without another soul to talk to.’ Georgina is real. She is not my friend. She is my older sister, and they know more than they’re letting on. Why are these people trying to make me believe I’m crazy?

Jenson, the big boss, enters in his full military get-up; combat clothes, black shiny boots, and cap. He glances around us all like we’re nothing more than rats in his elaborate test, and then he waves his hand to beckon someone into our tent. A teenage boy, similar in age to me, steps into the tent. His hair looks filthy, he has cuts on his knuckles, and his eyes are sunken.

“Tent 98, this is your newest occupant- Harry Mave.” Jenson pushes Harry further into the tent, before leaving without so much as a goodbye.

Harry grips his rucksack to his chest and glances around all of our faces. This isn’t the friendliest tent, and the majority of the occupants are middle aged and have an adversion to kids and teenagers. Finally, after eyeing every inch of him, I call him over to me. The bunk above mine is empty, and hell, it’ll be nice to have someone my age to talk to.

“I’m Nell,” I say, holding out my hand. He looks at it, but doesn’t shake it. “You can have the top bunk.”

“I’m not staying,” he mumbles. “Where are the showers?”

I came in with the same fighting spirit, but that was quickly sucked out of me. “The shower tent is directly behind here. If you have anything of value take it with you.”

Gregory, our resident kleptomaniac growls at me. I just glare back, inviting him to say something. Go on, you scummy thief, so I can make a scene and search your collection for my shoelaces and hair scrunchie.

“I’d stay away from ‘Crazy Baby’ if you want to fit in here,” Gregory warns Harry. The tent gave me that nickname because of Georgina. “Sees things. Hears voices. Fucking nutjob.”

I give Gregory the bird in response. Harry grunts in acknowledgement and heads straight out of the tent. Not missing a beat, I follow him.

“This place is a fortress. You won’t get out,” I call after him. Harry doesn’t even turn back. “I should know. I tried…and tried…and tried.”

“I have people on the outside who need me. Staying here isn’t an option.”

“If they left people behind when they picked you up, it’s because they are infected.”

Now, he spins to face me, anger written all over his face. “Bullshit! My sister was not infected, and they still left her behind. We’re here because we have something they need.”

My heart pangs at the mention of his sister. “What do we have?” I ask.

He shrugs. “Something… I don’t know. Something so important that they tell me that Hannah isn’t real. They’re trying to make me think I’m crazy.”

“They said it to you too?” I grasp my locket, stepping away instinctively.

An arm encloses around my shoulders. “Nell, are you pestering the new boy?” asks Jenson. “Harry, you were placed in the wrong tent- clerical error. Bring your stuff and I’ll take you to Tent 23. It’s the other side of the camp.”

“Away from me you mean?” I ask Jenson. His eyes bore into my soul. “Harry, she’s real. Hannah’s real.” Jenson lifts me from my feet, but I fight with every ounce of my being. “She’s real, Harry. Don’t let them make you forget! Never forget!”

Jenson’s hand encloses over my mouth. “You see why her tent call her ‘Crazy Baby’?” He half laughs, squeezing the air out of my lungs as I kick and wiggle against his torso. “Stop this, Nell. Have you been taking your meds?” More military staff race over, helping Jenson to restrain me. I’m pinned to the floor and injected in the neck with a sedative. Instantly, my body feels heavy.

As Harry is escorted away, he looks over his shoulder at me. “Don’t forget,” I mouth before my eyes close.

***

Someone shakes me awake. My mouth is dry, and my limbs feel stuffed with lead weights. From the musky, body odour stench, I know I’m back in my tent. Gregory snores in the bunk beside mine, and someone farts.

“Nell, wake up,” whispers Harry. I jump fully awake in shock. He covers my mouth with his hand and shakes his head. “Stay quiet.”

I can’t move; the sedation hasn’t fully worn off yet. Harry stuffs my few belongings into my tatty rucksack and swings it onto his shoulder with his own. Then, taking me under the thighs and arms, he lifts me.

The air outside is bitterly cold, and it brings me to my senses a little. Harry skims around the side of the tent, coming to a stop behind our shower tent, and lowers me onto the damp ground. It is a dark night without moonlight, and my eyes have to adjust to see his face in front of mine.

“How?” I ask.

“I’m good at what I do.” He pulls me to sitting, and brushes my tangled hair out of my face. “They call you ‘Crazy Baby’ because Jenson has made you look crazy?”

I nod. “And they’ll do the same to you if you’re not careful.”

“How can I be sure that you’re not just crazy?”

“Why’d you come and steal me from my bed if you thought I was making it up?”

He rolls his eyes. “I need something, Nell. Before I risk my life to get us both out of here, you need to give me something to believe in.”

Pulling my pendant from under my t-shirt, I hold it in my clenched fist. “They edited her out of my photographs. They didn’t just destroy them. I suppose that would make it look like they had something to hide. This way, they can make it look like I just made her up. I didn’t make her up, Harry.”

“Who?”

Taking off my necklace, I hold it out to him. “Everyone thinks this is a pendant, but it’s a locket. They never thought to check it.” Harry feels around for the minute clasp, and opens the delicate locket. He shines his torch over the small picture inside of me and Georgina. “That’s my sister. Her name is–”

“Georgina,” he interrupts. My heart skips a beat. “You are the one I’m here for. Can you walk? We have to get to the back fence by 3am.”

“Wait? What? You know my sister?”

He smiles at me. “You could say that. Georgie is my boss- the leader of the resistance- and we’re getting you out of here.”

“What about your sister? Hannah?”

Harry takes my face in his hands. “I’m an only child. I needed to make sure you were who I thought you were. This is all for you, Helena.” My breath catches in my throat at his use of my full name; a name not even Jenson knows. “Georgie says, ‘sorry she took so long.'”

 


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

 

Picture Prompts, Writing Exercises

Fortnightly Picture Prompts

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Over on my Instagram account, I have posted an inspiring picture that I took on my rambles around Cornwall. I plan on posting a picture every fortnight that inspires me in some way, and invite you to have a pop at writing a sentence or paragraph to accompany it. You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

If you do not have an Instagram account, but would like to join in, you can post your sentence/ paragraph in the comments, and I will feature them in the next Picture Prompt post right here on my blog with links back to you.

So, let’s see this picture, KJ:

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Here is my paragraph inspired by the picture:

‘The map says nothing about a lane or road in this part of the woods. The lock is new, but the fencing looks as if it has been here for some time. The wet mud preserves boot prints; someone has walked up there, but there are no boot prints to show that they have come back out.’


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #7 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

“When I said come bearing gifts it was code for weapons. I can’t believe you brought cheesecake.”

Manny simply stares at me. “Uh, sorry, Boss. I thought it was your birthday or something.”

“Why would I celebrate my birthday with you bunch of reprobates? Put it in the bin.”

He looks to the dessert like I’ve just asked him to kill his cat. “But it’s banoffee–”

“Put the fucking cheesecake in the fucking bin, or so help me God, I will put so many bullets in you that you’ll look like fucking cheese!” Slamming my gun on the table, the room recoils from my outburst. Manny drops the pudding into the bin, and I unclench my hands and brush my hair back out of my face.

Why do these useless assholes make life hard for themselves- for me. It’s not like I don’t pay them well. It’s just a pity that the people easiest to control, and have do your dirty work, are usually a sandwich sort of a picnic. If I wanted to be a babysitter, I’d not have killed that hooker and let her keep the baby.

“Please tell me you’ve got something for me,” I say to Gaz. Gaz is the self-appointed crew leader, and I suppose he is the brightest of a very dim bunch. He swings a black bin bag onto my desk and opens the top just a little. Wilkes’ severed head peers up at me, and I close the bag once more. “Good. What did you do with the rest of him?”

“Propped up in his office chair like you wanted.”

I slouch back into my chair. “And the note?”

“I personally hand delivered it an hour ago.”

That makes me feel good- really good. This is my city and anyone who thinks otherwise must be shown their place. “If Wilkes Jr wants Daddy’s head, then he signs over his shares to Gyroni Corp. If he doesn’t, then I underestimated the Daddy’s boy.”

Gaz takes the black bag from my desk. “Right. So, what’s with the weapons, Boss?”

“I’m glad you asked. There is a little situation I need handled. Do you think you’re up for it?” Gaz nods. “I want you to storm Harry May’s house.”

“The politician?” Gaz asks. The men shift awkwardly.

“The very same. He’s got a security team of seven ex-marines, coded doors, and a panic room.” I slap a piece of A4 on the desk in front of Gaz. “Here are the codes you’ll need to get into the house. Harry must stay alive, kill the wife, and abduct his sixteen year old daughter. I will pay one mill for this job.” The thought of all those zeroes seems to lighten the mood a little. “The girl remains untouched. I mean it- not a hair on her head or a dick in her panties! After all, we’re not animals.”

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

 

 

Writing Exercises

Another One!

After I finished my ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, I felt a little stuck for writing exercise inspiration. I am still doing my ’10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes’ posts, but as the title says, it only lasts for 10 weeks and I am coming to the end of these posts. So, there was only one option, right? To buy another naming book and start another writing exercise using new names.

My new name book has such a different variety of names to my old book, so it was definitely worth the buy. The layout of this book is a little different to the old one too. There are separate girl and boy name sections and this gave me an idea for a unique spin to these writing exercises. Rather than pick the one name each week, I shall pick two (one from each section) and have to use them both in the one exercise. It’ll be fun to have the characters interact with each other.

The first exercise will be posted in two weeks, when my current writing exercise posts are finished. So, keep your eyes peeled for my ‘It Takes Two’ posts.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIF sourced from Giphy.com

Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #6 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

“There are a number of things to remember: don’t make eye contact, do not accept any food or liquid, and if she scratches her ear she is planning to kill you.”

“Scratching ear- dead. Got it,” I reply, pacing from the length of the room. “I don’t see why I can’t take my gun? If she is going to be loaded up and surrounded by her men, then surely it makes sense that I’d have something… anything?”

“You cannot be seen as a threat,” Jackson says, injecting the tracker into my scalp. “Naivety may just keep you alive long enough to say what needs to be said. Your best bet is to act ignorant, okay? As far as she is concerned, you’re just some guy we’ve found to be our messenger. If Vicka knows you’re Frankie’s son, then she won’t give you time to kiss your ass goodbye.”

The confidence I once felt at having been chosen to face Vicka is quickly replaced by doubt. I wasn’t chosen because I was up for the job, a good fighter, a decent negotiator. I was chosen because I looked innocent enough to encourage Vicka to at least hear what I have to say before she guts me. That’s all The Sphere needs- Vicka to listen. After that, I’m expendable, legendary father or no.

“Have you rehearsed the script?” Jackson asks, hands firm on my shoulders, so I can’t look anywhere save his face. I nod, although, I think the script is awful; penned like a begging child rather than a request for help. Vicka won’t take to our begging. She may be many things, but from what I know of her, she doesn’t give out mercy or charity. It’s weird to think that we’re on the same side… kind of.

“If I recite that script, then I’m dead and The Sphere would have lost any potential help from Vicka. Have you read it? It sucks ass.” Jackson eyes me sternly. “Don’t look at me like that. You know it as well as I do, but you’re just too chicken shit to say anything to the Boss Man.”

Jackson looks taken aback. “The script is short and too the point. It gives you chance to say what needs to be said.”

“Before she kills me.”

“If you do this right, then you’ll be fine.”

I laugh in his face. “She will kill me if I’m begging on his behalf, Jackson. You don’t have to worry. Run and tell the Boss Man that I’ll deliver his little speech for the good of The Sphere, but you can also tell him that I HAVE NOT died for him. I have died for the innocent back home. I have died for my Dad.”

“You won’t die, Dex.”

“Like you care.”

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman