Tuesday, 5 February 2013

7-Line Challenge & Next Big Thing

Today, I find myself in an odd position. Usually, I would have a word, and talk about what it means, or some other topic closely related to said word. But for today’s post, rather than a word, I am given a number, and I will barely mention it at all . . .
The Word of the Day is ‘SEVEN’.

Seven /’sevən/ n. 1. A cardinal number, six plus one (6 + 1). 2. The symbol for this number, as "7" or "VII". ♦det. 3. Amounting to seven in number: seven apples.pron. 4. Seven people or things: Seven came to the party.

So, why am I talking about the number seven? Well, because I have been CHALLENGED! That's right, by Meredith R. Pritchard! [tag-back!] another champion, having already completed this task, has called me out with the "7-LINE CHALLENGE". It's a communal 'blog-hop' for writers who have blogs. A blogosphere-wide look-in to see if writers are worth the words they spit.
And I have I accepted this challenge. 
The rules are deceptively simple:


You get one of the latest stories that you are currently writing, or have recently completed. You open this text and turn to page seven, or seventy-seven, as you see fit. You select seven consecutive sentences, and put them in your next blog post. Then you link back to your challenger, to let them know you have completed the task assigned you.

If you finish the task, it is then up to you to call out up to seven more writers, and Challenge them as well.

Well, let's do this thing! This is one of the stories in my 'In Progress' folder, called 'Dead Graham'. But this is not just any story. This is the big one. My magnum opus. I look forward to publishing it one day, but until then you will have to suffice with this sneak peek of seven lines from the seventh page:

Dead Graham
However, Graham recalled stories from his youth, of devilish beasties so hideous that they feared to see their true form in the daylight, so they skulked around at night time. Graham’s youth was more than a lifetime behind him, but those beasts were more like him now than anything he knew. He was a creature of the darkness.
A monster.
Graham wandered towards the temple, hoping that perhaps a place so large would have somewhere for him to hide from the citizens of this town during the day. But as he wandered on his own, with almost no hope left in his old corpse, he had but one pressing question on his mind which would not leave him . . .
      Why am I alive?
Ah hah! Take that Meredith! Yes, that is indeed what I’m working on when I’m not doing blog posts, working on other stories, procrastinating, web-surfing, watching television, sleeping, eating, reading or wasting time.

But wait! the job's not done. I've completed the challenge, so now it's time to gloat, and find more victims! Hmm . . .
These people I chose exclusively because I have read and loved their work, and I suggest you hunt down these budding, young up-and-coming writers/bloggers who I call out with this challenge. As an incentive for them to write, I will only link to their blog posts after they write their piece, so stay tuned for those links!


+ Chhavi Kapur
@blog: Inkslinger Gypsy

+ David Defrayne
@blog: The Dreaming Suburb

+ Gord McLeod
@blog: Fiction Improbable

+ Hannah Wilson
@blog: Cluttered Shelving

+ John Christopher
@blog: Man of Opposition

+ Jon Jefferson
@blog: Misadventures in Strange Places

I expect to hear back from you all soon . . .

But we're not done, oh no . . . because I just can’t resist talking about my writing! When talking about stories one hasn’t written yet, we are floating in septic waters indeed. I find it bad taste to talk about my unwritten work, since I am essentially talking about something that does not yet exist.
But today, you’ll get an exclusive preview of what 'Dead Graham' means to me. Because I am also part of this thing, this other 'blog-hop' thing, known as the "NEXT BIG THING". It's another look-in for those future best-sellers, and a bit of fun for the blogging community. here's how it works:


Writers are given ten questions about their "next big thing", their next story they are working on. They must answer truthfully, and do a blog post about these questions and answers. And again, they must tag back whoever invited them.

Sound simple enough? Any questions before we begin?

  "What's a blog hop?"
- Some kind of pseudo-wiki interconnecting web of intrigue linking a whole heap of creative blogs together.
  "Is it lazy to put the 7 Line Challenge entry as well as the  Next Big Thing entry in the one blog-post?"
- Yeah, Probably. 
But I'm doing it anyway, because I'll be talking about the same story, so why split it?

  "What does this have to do with the number seven?"
- Question 7 is about characters, and since I've been planning this since 2005, I have more than 60 characters [20 crucial ones], so I am only going to talk about seven of them. I know it's a bit of a stretch; but shut up, it's my blog!
  "What's the meaning of life?"
- . . .

Okay! enough of that. Let's get to the questions. Thanks again to Meredith R. Pritchard for giving me these questions. For this I'll be, again, talking about 'Dead Graham', because that's the main story I am working on. And this will be the last you hear of it before it's published, so listen closely. Okay, here we go.:

01. What is the working title of your next book?
- "Dead Graham: The Unspoken King"
Always is and always has been that. The only other thing to tell you is No, Graham is not the titular 'Unspoken King'. The subtitle is for the villain, and exists because this is the first book in the Dead Graham series.

02. Where did the idea come from for the book?
- When I was younger, I loved writing stories. But after a while, I got bored, because everything was so 'perfect'. Because I was young and thought "Hey, this is fantasy, I'll just make everything as awesome as I can!". But in the end, it made it boring. All the characters were awesome, the problems were solved in seconds, nobody ever did anything wrong!
Everyone was just too 'beautiful'. So I decided to make something 'Not Beautiful'. I came up with a character as ugly as I could make it. Old, dead, rotten, mad and in constant pain. Something no one would aspire to be. That is the basis of the character, Graham. And the beginning of the story.

03. What genre does your book fall under?
- Fantasy. What else can I say?
Oh, but I tried to acknowledge every mythology (that I could find), so you could call it "Fantasy Kitchen Sink".

04. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
- A knight, long dead, comes back from the grave and in order to find those who cursed him this way, he must also uncover the Meaning of Death.

05. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
- I want to get a proper agency. This book is worth the time, money and effort. And I think it's good enough to get accepted and published by its own merit.

06. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
- Uh, err . . . I haven't 'actually' finished it yet. It's gonna take a while. Like, at least another year before it's anything close to readable. I am kind of busy these days . . .

07. If your book was made into a film, which actors would you cast as your characters?
- I have already thought of this and, unfortunately, by the time this is published and chosen by a studio and ready to film, the actors I want may not be the right age (or alive).
And I don't really get to choose the cast anyway.
But if it was a film today, and I could pick anyone?

Graham Thrittlestone: Ralph Fiennes
With make-up, he'd make a good corpse and a good Graham. Keep him bald, and some 'green-screen' painted on in places so we can add in the CG bones and rotten skin. Also, I'd direct him to 'harsh' up his voice. It's too smooth, and I'd want it gruff.
Joseph "Messy Joe" Craveson: David Tennant
He does a good madman. Hell, he could use his actual Scottish accent if he wants. But we'd have to CG in a lot of the deep cuts in his face to remove his lips and eyelid. Yes, I can see it now "I always 'try' to be nice . . . "
Vuai Hauntsman: Lance Reddick
He looks the part, and acts very well. And everyone can do a French accent, surely he can. Call wardrobe and ask for a leather jacket and a nice hat, a really big one.
Amala Adscesia: Elle Fanning
With make-up, she could be an albino, red contacts a must. Then get Props to make a light lock and chain around her neck that still looks heavy. [Sorry Dakota, you're just too old].
Dameon "Half-Face" Fisher: Ian McKellen
Scottish accent, a trilby and I guess I'll need a really good make-up team, because he too needs some pale face, fake teeth and a 'dead fish-eye' contact lens on the right side of his face.

Capt. William Martimus: Idris Elba
As a Ghost Pirate Captain, I guess he'll be doing all his work on a green screen, to make him transparent. But he'll need dreadlocks amd lots of 'pirate' props. I'd be interested to see how that thick, deep voice of his sounds with a Jamaican accent.
Evile, "The Unspoken King":
Tobin Bell
I had this guy in mind when making the character. Just give him a shredded, black robe to wear and he's good to go, really. Okay, maybe some cool 'veiny' makeup, and sharpened teeth. Did I forget to mention? I love movie make-up!

08. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
- I wouldn't. I don't like comparing books, because they each tell their own story. If you mean "What other books are similar?" Well, every other Fantasy story has similar elements if you're talking generally. But when you get specific, none really compare. However, if I was forced to pick a book to compare, I would compare it to "Mogworld" by Benjamin 'Yahtzee' Croshaw.There are quite a few parallels. We're both Australian(ish), living in the same city believe it or not. Both books feature somewhat crazy "Verby Name" characters appearing in both books (see Slippery John/Messy Joe). Also, both books have a main character that is dead [For the record, I haven't even finished reading the book yet. So, it has had no influence on my story whatsoever].

But they are also different. For one thing, Graham is not suicidal. And for another, Mogworld has a much more comedic bent to it. So I guess you could call Dead Graham the "Grim & Gritty" version of Mogworld, if you feel the need to boil everything down into it's simplest incarnation.So, while juxtaposing the two would make for a good School Writing assignment, overall they are very, very different.

09. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
- Uh, me? . . . I came up with this story myself, and I alone decided I wanted to write it.
Sure, I'd want to thank my writing buddy, X.H. (name removed for privacy reasons), who inspires me and helps me understand reading, writing, stories, fiction and character for every one of my stories.
But to be honest, the hard yards were done by me, and I write it because I wanted to. 
Why would I write a story for someone else? Hell, I wouldn't want to read a story written by someone who wasn't personally invested in it, never mind write one.

10. What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?
- Did I mention wizards, werewolves, vampires, the undead, trolls, ghosts, demons and monster hunters all come into play?
There's love and war; mystery and drama; action and suspense.
Oh, and Messy Joe is not only a very important character, but also completely bat-shit insane.
Trust me, you really want to read this book.

Okay, well that's a wrap people. All this is what you can expect when I finally finish writing this beast, so
 I hope you enjoyed it. Until then, I want to thank Meredith R. Pritchard again. She's the one who tagged me in for both of these blog-hops, and her blog Secret Life of a Townie is worth looking into if you love zombies, books or life in general. I've linked in this post three times now, and she is totally awesome, so if you haven't at least checked out her blog by now, I am shocked and appalled! Seriously go check it out, NOW!


  1. OMG! You just took this to a different level, and it is AWESOME!
    Thanks for the tag-backs, truly original! I'm so glad you participated, (I like your work too!)
    Now my post looks lame...

    1. Thanks! Don't be so harsh, though. I liked your post. The only reason I wrote so much is because I wanted to keep my word count up . . .

  2. This makes a great post. If I was walking in a book store, 'Dead Graham' would surely be a book that I'd pick. Hoping that happens soon. Good wishes.. :)

  3. It seems to me like this blog-hop died with me, since my branches died out. Some of these people I can't even find anymore . . . like they never even existed.
    I hope my next dalliance into the wider blogosphere works better!


Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions & comment . . .
I would love to read your words.