My Writing Month – April 2017

The Haunted Pen - Two Minutes to Midnight

As I mentioned in my March update, I was about to start a new piece of flash fiction entitled “Two Minutes to Midnight.” I’m happy to announce that it’s finished and can be read on the website HERE.

The original influence for the story came from a “The Twilight Zone” episode called “You Drive.” The show was about a nervous and distracted man whose mind is not on his driving. As a result, he slams his 1956 Ford Fairlane into a young boy delivering newspapers on a bicycle, injuring him seriously enough that the boy dies. The man stops, but instead of offering aid, hurries away from the scene.

A short time later, the car takes on a mind of its own and rebels against its owner. When he goes near the car the horn goes off, it flashes its lights, attempts to start on its own, drops its bumper, tries to close its hood on him and repeats the radio newsflash of the boy’s death. Then, while the man’s wife is driving the car, it drives to the scene of the accident and stalls.

The man begins walking to work so the car isn’t seen by police, but the Fairlane drives out of its garage on its own and chases the man down the street in a rainstorm. It looks like the car is going to run him down but it stops inches short and the passenger door opens. The man gets in and the car drives him to the police station, where he walks in and confesses.

My original intention was to write an up-to-date version of that show with my own version of proceedings, but that changed when I saw a writing prompt online that produced a new idea for the story ending. I’m very pleased with the end result and “Two Minutes to Midnight” has received some very encouraging comments on The Haunted Pen website.

At some point in the future, I’ll revisit “You Drive” and write my version. I like the idea of the car going “Christine” on its owner’s ass and have a couple of different endings I could use.

My next writing project will be another flash fiction piece (around 1,500 words). I’m at the research stage and the story is slowly coming together in my head. The writing process will begin very soon. Stay tuned!

New Books
In recent weeks, I’ve added to my book collection with several very successful raids on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

New additions to the “to be read” pile include:

The Zozo Phenomenon – Darren Evans
The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren – Gerald Brittle
IT – Stephen King
The Fireman – Joe Hill
The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy

Looks like my early summer reading months are nicely taken care of.

2017 Writing Goals – Update

Read More

During April, I committed more time to writing than reading, but that being said, I did manage to add two more titles to my read books list.

90 Days to Your Novel – Sarah Domet
Many authors claim to write their novels in a matter of weeks, so what’s the secret sauce they use to achieve these lofty goals?

It’s this book – THE no-excuses guide to getting serious about writing a novel. Throughout the book, the author coaches and humors the reader into staying the course. This book is your push, your deadline, and your spark to finally, without excuses, and in three short months, nail that first draft of your novel.

Within the pages, you’ll find:

• Instruction that distils the elements of the novel – from crafting your outline to developing characters and plots
• Strategies for gaining support from family and friends
• Insights about writing and writers to reduce the inevitable moments of doubt
• A schedule to keep you writing, focused, creative and working

I think this is a great book for anyone who’s always wanted to write a novel (me) and finally decided to start (once I get “the big idea”).

The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler
I spoke at length about this book in my March review, but when it comes to Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe novels, there’s The Long Goodbye and then there’s everything else Chandler wrote. Is there anything else to say?

Reading Now

The Haunted Pen - Paula MunierThe Writer’s Guide to Beginnings – Paula Munier
This book offers terrific advice for writers. It covers not just how to create a great opening chapter, but also idea generation, self-care, professionalism, etc. I’m two-thirds of the way through and love this book. I believe it’s an inspiring, essential addition to any writer’s bookshelf.

Social Media
At the start of 2017, I stated that my aim was to double my Facebook and Twitter followers during the course of the year. On January 1st, The Haunted Pen’s Facebook page had 268 followers, while the Twitter page had 1,250.

As of April 30th; The Haunted Pen now has

• 409 (+141) Facebook followers – RESULT!
• 1,312 (+62) Twitter followers – Can do (much) better…

365 Challenge
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a member of the “365 Writing Challenge” Facebook user group. I set myself a daily target of 250 words.

Here are my numbers so far:

• January – 25,085 words @ 809 daily average – RESULT!
• February – 33,797 words @ 1,207 daily average – RESULT!
• March – 39,283 words @ 1,267 daily average – RESULT!
• April – 45,316 words @ 1,510 daily average – RESULT!

I’m proud to say that over 120 days, I’ve written 143,481 words at an average of 1,196 words a day – RESULT!

Using my target goal of 250 words a day as a guide, I should have written 30,000 words after 120 days. My four-month total is 143,481 (+113,481) – RESULT!

Another benefit from my increased output is that I’ve already achieved my quarterly, half-yearly, three quarterly and yearly word-count goal, meaning I’ve been awarded more badges – RESULT!

The Huanted Pen - 365 Challenge

Blog Posts
For 2017, it’s been my aim to post/write at least one new blog post every week. When this monthly roundup goes live (May 8th), it will be my 23rd post of the year, so I’m ahead of the game – RESULT!

I’ll be updating my progress by posting monthly reviews. Please check in and see what I’m working on, keep tabs on my writing goals and anything else I fancy talking about! Don’t be shy – please feel free to leave a comment.

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