Writing Exercise 2 Contribution

A time travel wuxia urban fantasy for Writing Exercise 2:

time travelDI Carter walked into the charnel house that was inadequately described as the scene of the crime and knew that he’d seen it all before. Unfortunately, this being his first case with the Metaphysical Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police, he also knew that he hadn’t really seen it before. It was a clear case of pre-ja vu; that eerie feeling that one day you’re going to have deja vu about exactly this situation.

The house was known to him, of course, from his time in Serious & Organised. Triad middlemen too clever to get caught, too canny to be snuck up on or entrapped, too cagey to rumbled by the competition. And yet here they were, their brain matter smeared across the walls, their viscera tainting the uncut heroin in washing-up bowls.

‘Alright Harry – what’s the deal?’ Carter asked the jaded crime scene manager from Forensic Operations.

‘Well, it’s a bit early to tell for sure, but it looks like these… gentlemen, were beaten with fists and feet.’

Carter struggled to maintain the surly demeanour that he had decided would be his trademark. ‘They were… beaten up in a fight? A fist fight? With… fists?’

‘And feet, yes. Also probably elbows, knees, at least one solid headbutt…’

‘All of them?!’

‘Yes, probably one guy, judging by the foot prints and scuff marks. And from the positioning of what’s left of the bodies, they never saw it coming.’

‘Harry… There’s eight corpses in this room.’

‘Yup. Welcome to the MID, Carter.’

Eight years later Carter, now a DCI, was back at that same house. Everything had been cleaned down, replastered, repainted and resold. It was now a nice suburban home, for a nice middle-class family that had been sent on a nice vacation for a few days. Carter, now somewhat heavier set, wore a surly expression and weighed a leaden cosh in his hand. In the end, it was just a matter of time.

The air shimmered in front of him and, before it could fully coalesce, he swung his cosh hard at the half-formed shape. With a grunt, a man slumped semi-conscious at his feet; groggy, surprised and covered in the gruesome evidence of a case eight years cold. Calmly Carter cuffed the man, hand and foot and soul, before sitting in on a stool, waiting for his suspect to fully come to.

‘You’re nicked, mate.’

‘For killing Triads? I did you a favour!’

‘No mate, not my beat, I couldn’t give a shit about the murder.’


‘Don’t think I don’t know what you are. You can strike before you were ever there, before anyone even has a chance to react. You can end someone’s life with their own stillbirth by nutting them as a pensioner. You, my son, are a practitioner of Deja Fu, the martial arts of time and space.’

‘So? You can’t prove I killed those Triads and you can’t arrest me for things I haven’t done yet!’

‘I don’t have to. Eric Ling, I’m arresting you for breach of the Control of Metaphysics Act.’

‘There’s no such law!’

‘No,’ said Carter. ‘But there will be. And I don’t reckon time’s on your side any more.’

Writing Exercise 2: The Sub-Genre Mashup

Genre writing isn’t for everyone but, even if it’s only attempted as an exercise, it’s a great stimulator of the imagination. What’s better than genre? Sub-genre. What’s better than sub-genre? Two sub-genres mashed up!

So, this week’s exercise: Have a look at the suggested combination below:

Hit refresh a few times if you want another random combination. Then write 500 words or so of your chosen sub-genre mashup! Good luck and let me know how you get on!

A few notes:

    • Am I missing some interesting sub-genres? Let me know and I’ll add them!
    • Confused by some of the terms? Bamboozled by Wuxia Splatterpunk? Fear not! Either Google them or make them up, let nothing get in the way of your creativity!
    • If you prefer, there’s an Excel version of the sub-genres.
    • Advanced version: How about three sub-genres?


Writing Exercise 1 Contribution

A tongue-in cheek obituary for Writing Exercise 1:

obituaryI’ve never met Stephan, but I’ve been following him on Twitter for some time now. I don’t just read his public updates, but also the things he tweets to other people, so I think I can say I know him quite well.

Stephan was not a good person; not once did he tweet pictures of cute animals, retweet a show of support for a cancer charity or favourite my subtweets. While this may seem circumstantial for such a statement, I think the evidence stands for itself. Perhaps his character was an expression of his low self-esteem; after all he very rarely posted selfies, not even when drunk.

And boy did he drink. Update after update related to alcohol, whether whiskey (which he always insisted on spelling whisky) or beer or wine… It was almost a relief to see him tweet about coffee instead, though I do have a lingering suspicion those coffees may have been ‘Irish’. I hope Stephan was getting some help for his alcoholism.

Stephan did talk about films and books and writing a lot; all solitary activities, further sign of his clearly low self-esteem. He tried to cover up his fragile ego with jokes that tended to swing between the baroque and the incomprehensible. Rarely was anyone amused by these ‘jokes’ except Stephan himself, but it kept him happy and perhaps kept him from any more self-damaging behaviour.

Stephan could be irascible, dry and terse, as if he was trying to keep me and the rest of the world at arm’s length. It’s a shame Stephan is dead; now he’ll never follow me back.

Writing Exercise 1: The Obituary

I’ve always liked doing writing exercises, they can often shake off the cobwebs of discouragement, as well as often delivering new material; tiny seeds of ideas that could germinate into something magnificent.

For this exercise, imagine you have been given the most bittersweet news: On the one hand, you’ll die tomorrow, but on the other, you’ll have time to say goodbye to your loved ones and write your own obituary. Five hundred words by which you’ll be remembered.

But you have a decision to make. Do you:

  • Write a glossy, flattering obituary for national distribution?
  • Pen a personal obituary, for those close to you to remember you by?
  • Scribble a private obituary, a warts-and-all confessional that only you will see?

Why not try all three? Alternatively, try writing your obituary from the point of view of people you know, whether they know you very well or have only ever met you briefly.

Over to you!