Author has written 14 stories for Horror, Sci-Fi, and General.
How are you? I'm fine, thank you.
By the way, the picture on the left isn't me.
I'm actually a 27 year old supervisor for a major coffee chain whose name begins with 'C' (draw your own conclusions). I now basically write in the brief periods I have when I'm neither working, boozing or sleeping, which is even less time than you might think. Still, I try because I love writing, and I have a very active imagination, which means I'm always coming up with story ideas; the hard part is getting them all down and finding time to write them all.
So, I was looking through various other profiles and noticed that a lot of them have more detailed summaries of their stories, and I saw it as a chance for myself to actually explain what's going through my head with these things that consume my spare time in paragraphs longer than 200 characters, or whatever it is FP restricts you to. To that end:
Rise Of The Dead (in progress)
Well, Rise Of The Dead (ROTD from here on in) is basically a huge, overly-ambitious project that is the main focus of my efforts. Set over a hundred years (so far, I have ideas to extend the timeframe) its a bunch of novels, short stories and one-shots that all offer differing perspectives on a zombie plague across the last one hundred years, from innocent civilians caught up in the disaster, to soldiers tasked to eradicating the threat, and everything in between. The idea for this project is to enable me to write in a variety of styles and work on characterisation and use a convenient framework to tie it all together. Some stuff I concentrate more on than others, but I've got a ton of ideas regarding different styles, from melodrama to action to thriller to plain, all-out horror. Only time will tell if this works, but it's keeping me diverted at least, and the good thing is the scope is almost unlimited, there is literally no genre that I can't shoehorn ROTD into.
Rise Of The Dead : Year One (in progress)
The one that started it all, this is the main story that all other ROTD tales hang off. Basically I never intended for ROTD to spread any further than this, but I came up with so many ideas that wouldn't fit into the grounded reality and the setting that I created here, hence the spin-offs, if you will. Year One is at its heart a relationship melodrama, that happens to take place against the background of a zombie apocalypse. I intended it to be deliberately slow-burn in structure, which is why I've got to forty thousand words and I haven't yet got to the part where most zombie stories start, which is the fall of civilisation. This where my main characters have been established, and where I've put them through the wringer. I really tried to focus on characterisation over action in Year One, zombie attacks are brief, sporadic and more often that not take place out of the main stream of the story.
The basic plot revolves around a bunch of mid-twenties ordinary men and women whose connection is the quiet English pub they frequent, and how the beginnings of the zombie apocalypse affect their previously normal lives. It's pretty heavy on the melodrama and often strays into deep introspection, but as the undead situation continues to intensify things really begin to unravel. I'll admit I'm pretty harsh on my characters, nobody really gets to be happy for very long, and that's deliberate - its the end of the world after all. I confidently predict a final word count of 80000, and this is intended to Part 1, I'm already setting up plot strands for Year Two, which begins after the fall of civilisation.
It's mostly inspired the bleakness of Romero, the reality of World War Z, and the cosy English setting of Shaun Of The Dead
AN: Slowly being updated chapter by chapter. Currently up to and including Chapter 4.
Rise Of The Dead : Last Summer (in progress)
Fairly new this one. I realised fairly early one that my lead characters in Year One were being really battered and bruised as the story upended their lives, so I decided, eventually, to take them back to a time when they were happy and carefree, and not being chased by zombies or cheating on each other. This is the result, basically an account of seven days in the sun on holiday in Ibiza. At first this whole story was supposed to be set in the same summer of the outbreak ie. in Year One, but then I ran into numerous problems, not least why people would go on holiday during the end of the world. The original ending was going to have been our heroes flying home on the last plane off the island as the Spanish air force bombed the hell out of it, but that went out of the window when I decided to shift it back in time a year. So now, I had a setting, but no plot, but luckily the good men of Unit Zebra came to the rescue, and I realised that I could forge a connection between Unit Zebra and the Year One crew much earlier in the timeline, so I created a plot thread that required Blake and his men to be in Ibiza at the same time as our protagonists.
This story is also a chance to be a bit more grown up with my charaters, in terms of sex and drugs and drink, and has more explicit content than Year One, which is hampered by the fact I have to keep it a T rating or nobody will find the blasted thing. Here, my thinking was you wouldn't read it unless you already knew of Year One, so I basically took the brakes off and just let rip.
The idea with Last Summer is to have it about twenty thousand words long by the time I finish.
Rise Of The Dead : Last Man Standing (in progress)
I wrote the first chapter to this, basically a prologue, and then realised that I had probably bitten off more than I can chew. The basic plot synopsis is that one of the lead character's distant relatives was in the British Army at the Batte of the Somme in 1916, and the idea was going to be his unit would reach a German trench that had been overrun by zombies, and the protagonist and his comrades would fight them until only he remained, hence the last man standing. The whole thing was going to be written from a period first person perspective, drawing inspiration from the diaries and letters of ordinary Tommies, but very quickly I realised that this was too epic a tale to be bashed out in a few thousand words or less, which was the original plan, and I so I put it on hold until I have the time to put in some serious research and writing.
I will come back to it, because I have some ideas that have long reaching consequences throughout the whole ROTD universe.
Rise Of The Dead : Unit Zebra (in progress)
The idea for this was to tell the story of Major Blake - a recurring character throughout ROTD and the nearest thing to a villain there is - and his career with the anti-zombie force Unit Zebra. This, in theory, is where I'm going to dump the exposition and back story I'm deliberately leaving out of everywhere else, and also satisfy my big action set piece cravings. It will also give character depth to Major Blake, who at the moment is basically a shadowy figure that pops up every now and then, does something terrible and then vanishes.
Rise Of The Dead : Disco Of The Dead (complete)
This one-shot was my first real attempt to try balls-to-the-wall gory horror; something that was deliberately absent from Year One. It got minor attention then dropped off everyone's radar, which is a shame, because I think it's a good attempt at snaring the Zach Snyder zombie fans, and strips everything down to the bare minimum except for blood and guts.
It can help if you listen to The Rev's Death Of A DJ while you read it; it certainly helped me write it.
Rise Of The Dead : Case Designate Charlie Alpha 4 (complete)
I got bored one night not long after I wrote Disco Of The Dead and inspired by the official excerpts found in Stephen King's The Stand and Carrie I wrote this, the official military report on the bloody events of the above one-shot, written by Major Blake (him again). I can't really tell you what I was thinking, other than I thought it would be interesting to compare the violent and emotive content of DOTD with a very dry, objective version of it. It's short and sweet, and maybe worth a look. If ROTD ever becomes famous, I suspect it'll be for completists only.
Rise Of The Dead : Going Public (complete)
Another one shot bashed out in about three hours. This time, inspired by the US show 'The Walking Dead', I wanted to write a kind of apocalyptic log style tale. This was an exercise in character through dialogue, and also to add to the over-arching mythos of ROTD, since this is hopefully to explain a little plot-hole that has been nagging the hell out of me.
YouTube Nightmare (complete)
One aborted attempt to write a zombie novel. I'm not really sure why I never followed up on it, but it did see the light of day in a modified form as a chapter in Year One.
I'm Not A Morning Person (complete)
Another aborted attempt to start a zombie novel, although I have used the two characters mentioned as the leads in Year One. It originally was going to be a framing device, the story of the apocalypse was supposed to be told in flashbacks. This version of the story died when I decided to do the narration in a more linear fashion.
An attempt at some serious sci-fi, inspired by the three part space opera Exogenesis by Muse and the epic novels of Stephen Baxter. I think this one works quite well, and if I'd spent a bit more time on it - instead of thrashing it out over the course of an evening - then I can see how certain bits need to be pruned and others need to be extended. I have got certain ideas regarding this, but quite frankly its on the back burner behind the ROTD stuff.
From Out Of A Clear Blue Sky (in progress)
This is the first thing I ever posted on FP, and I have been, in one way or another, writing it since 2001. I pulled it down a few years ago due to utter apathy from both me and the reading public, but a review from an old Uni friend of mine encouraged me to repost it, so I have. The genesis of this story isn't even mine, one of my school friends wrote a puff piece that featured a bizarre incident where Prince William(!) visits the protagonist's school, and the prince's bodyguard mistakenly shoots the lead character. That version rapidly died a death, and he succeeded it with 'Rain', which actually appears in edited form as Chapter 5: 'The Last Morning'. Then, not knowing what I was doing, I joined in, and together we wrote about twenty thousand words of stuff that featured the pair of us and all of our friends as main characters, and thats where the bombing part came from. Then my friend dropped out, and for a time I couldn't stop writing, it was such a formative time of my life and I was overflowing with ideas, and so the story grew and grew and eventually got to nearly 100,000 words, written almost entirely out of chronological order and frankly, a complete and total mess.
And then, well, my Dad died in 2002 not long after I left school, and I was basically flattened, and my only way of dealing was writing, writing this. So it got so much darker than my friend had originally designed it to be, and more and more of his stuff fell by the wayside. It still remains in the odd place, but by the time the story goes past the day of the bombing, its almost entirely me in there.
I'll admit its a mess, being written out of order and over such a long period of time there are definite visible joins where time skips or plot holes form, but this is a deeply personal work. My Sixth Form years were the happiest of my life, I honestly was looking at the future like it was rosy, then it all went to Hell, and here I am now, and From Out Of A Clear Blue Sky, in whatever form, is probably the nearest thing I have to a written history of that time. I love Clear Blue Sky, from the pain to the joy, and one day I truly want to finish it. I've got more chapters written, but honestly, it ends abrubtly in 50,000 words time.
The thing is, I have written an ending, I've written three actually. I came up with an awesome ending about halfway through the writing process, and for the longest time its been my job to join up where I got to to the ending, and maybe someday I will.
Fear Of The Dark (complete)
This is a chapter from the above story, but as I mentioned early, much of Clear Blue Sky was written out of order, and this is such a chapter. I can't say too much without giving away the ending of Clear Blue Sky, suffice to say Fear Of The Dark isn't it. All I will say that the chapter was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven', and the title is a direct steal from a song by Iron Maiden. I posted this here on its own because I think it works well as a standalone short - you don't need to know the backstory or what happens next to enjoy it - and because honestly this is some of the best stuff I've ever written and I wanted to share it.
Incidentally, its based on something that really happened to me not long after my dad died. I won't go into detail, but I've never been so scared in my life.
A Girl I Know
A short, fast-paced one-shot which was my entry for The Review Game's November WCC. I wrote it in about the same time it takes to read, beause although I have some good ideas in it, ones I definitely could have expanded on, the word limit of the challenge meant I probably couldn't have done them justice. Other than entering the contest, I also consider it an exercise in effective characterisation.
A Hole In The World
Based on a true story, this is my attempt at some Lovecraftian-style cosmic horror. I haven't really planned much more beyond a basic framework, but I see some promise in this.
For them who want to know about my favourite music and stuff, well read my stories, its nearly all in there.
Check out my site of Fanfiction too http://www.fanfiction.net/~sputnik and my younger self's Fictionpress stories http://www.fictionpress.com/u/694661/. Sputnik Junior stories are mostly crap but I thought it'd be interesting to see how I've progressed as a writer in fifteen years.
I'm fairly active on the Gossip Forum (http://www.fictionpress.com/forum/Gossip_Forum/4244/), which is a good place to get your stuff reviewed and also read some cracking bits of work from other writers, or just shoot the breeze in the chat thread.
Also, you can follow me - if you really feel like it - on Twitter (@sputnikwriter), Facebook (search for Sputnik Fictionpress) and Youtube. I always accept friend requests, because I have no life.
Thats it, folks. Please keep reading and reviewing, and remember, all reviews are returned.
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