Guest Post: Evolution of a Story by Cheryl Headford

Inspiration for stories come from all kinds of places, and sometimes it takes me on some strange journeys. My chains of thought are often…interesting, and it was certainly the case with Project X.

It all started with a train journey to work. On the train, I was pondering a conversation two boys were having about computer hacking and wondered if there was a story in there somewhere. I didn’t think it would be up my street, so I put it on the back burner.

Once off the train, I had to walk through town to get to the office. I was wandering along, window shopping, when I came across a mannequin in a shop window. I don’t often get excited by mannequins, but this one got me. It caught my attention because it was so lifelike. There were three mannequins altogether, two girls and a boy. It was the boy that gripped me.

The mannequin was sitting with one knee up resting its chin on its hand. Behind him was a poster of a boy wearing the same clothes. Both the boy and the mannequin had such sad and distant expressions! I stood and looked at them both for a while, captivated. I can’t even say now what it was that hooked me so much. Whatever it was, it stayed with me as I walked on.

I wondered what might have happened to the boy to make him look so sad and distant. Just about then, I walked past a really old police station and the conversation about hacking came back. As often happens with me, a conversation started inside my head between a boy, who was in trouble for hacking an important computer, and his best friend.

Then the conversation changed to the hacker not being at the police station, but warning his friend that he’d found something on a computer and they were both in danger. By the time I got to work, I had a sketch in my head of two college guys. One was a computer expert and the other wasn’t. The non-hacker got a call from his friend to say he’d hacked into a computer at an institution he was working at and had found a terrible secret. He went on the run, and his friend had to get to him and sort the situation out.

At that point, I had no idea what had been found and no idea what could be done to resolve it.

The next day, I was sitting on the train and heard a group of youngsters talking about someone at their school who was a stuck-up, arrogant bastard. He thought he was something special just because his father was rich. Right there, Morgan Bentley was born.

When I got to work, I opened the computer and typed “Morgan Bentley was a bastard.” That was and is the first line of Project X.

At that point, I had no idea who Morgan Bentley was and how he fit into the picture. I started writing, exploring who Morgan Bentley was through the eyes of someone who hated him. I still had the hacker story in mind, but I didn’t know how Morgan fit into it because he wasn’t the sort of person who would be into hacking.

Morgan and his hater, Matthew, turned out to be law students, which was a bit of a surprise, and Morgan underwent a transformation.

When I was at law school, I was fascinated by a boy who was in a lot of my classes. He had long black hair and more of a rock than a goth vibe. He’d come from Cambridge University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. There were all kinds of rumours as to who he was and how he’d ended up in Pontypridd. Unlike Morgan, he was rather anti-social. I never did get to know much about him.

So, Morgan became an enigmatic, hot, sexy goth guy–exactly my type, and Matthew, was a pretty “normal” college guy who is covering up the fact he’s jealous of–and in love with–Morgan. Neither of them was right for a hacker.

By then, Cory had appeared, and he was perfect. When he got the internship with Morgan’s father’s company, it was a perfect opportunity for hacking. But what could he find?

Cory’s loves were computers and biology, so it would have to be something that combined those. The true meaning of Project X was as much a surprise to me as I hope it will be to my readers.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Evolution of a Story by Cheryl Headford”

How to Overcome Fear as a Writer and Embrace Your Profound Courage – Helping Writers Become Authors

As fears arise–whether little niggles or life-threatening monsters–try these five ideas to help you use, live with, and overcome fear as a writer.

Source: How to Overcome Fear as a Writer and Embrace Your Profound Courage – Helping Writers Become Authors

The Monstrous Feminine: Dark Tales of Dangerous Women

Just in time for Halloween! I’m in this amazing anthology now available on Amazon for Kindle, with print and Audible coming soon. Get yours now, and part of your purchase will go to the Global Fund For Women! Click the graphic for more…

Enter the world of the Monstrous Feminine, where fourteen authors weave a dangerous web of tales for your personal delight and fright. You’ll meet an archaeologist who opens her mouth at the worst possible moment and you’ll discover the protector of all life who decides the fate of humans. Follow four girls into their town at the height of the witching hour and bump into a peculiar woman who rehabilitates misogynists. Beware of a ravenous grandma and pray for the handyman who trespasses into a creepy house. Turn the pages and you’ll unearth the reason a woman seeks comfort in a strange one-night stand, and you’ll stumble upon a doctor and the disastrous epidemic ravaging her city. And family–you can’t pick them or easily kill them, but never mess with a woman when the red moon rises. What happens when certain women are mistreated? Or when experimental drugs are used on women without their consent? When something wild comes knocking at your door and the ground is smothered with a blanket of snow, what will you do? Don’t go floating on the muddy river James to uncover the answers or you just might find you get carried far away!

“The Monstrous Feminine is brilliant, unnerving, and deeply weird!
BRAVA! Highly recommended for everyone who loves superior horror!”
–Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of
V-WARS and GLIMPSE

“In a compendium of ghastly tales that are as brilliant as they are
depraved, Ferguson and Campbell have packed this anthology with
fresh and worthy talents who prove, time and again, that doubting
readers discount the female horror author at their peril.”
–Moaner T. Lawrence, author of Beholden and
Bad Newes from New England

“Maiden, mother, harlot, crone . . . creative power and destructive
savagery . . . from purity to passion, protectiveness to revenge . . .
womanhood is a jewel of many facets, and these fascinating stories
by fierce and fearsome ladies examine both the sparkle and shadow of
their impregnable depths.”
–Christine Morgan, author of Lakehouse Infernal

This Is How to Transform Info Dumps Into Exciting Plot Reveals – Helping Writers Become Authors

Mysteries, clues, and plot twists are great for hooking readers–as long as they aren’t powered by info dumps. Here are 5 principles for creating exciting plot reveals…

Source: This Is How to Transform Info Dumps Into Exciting Plot Reveals – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

Want readers to love your book so much they’ll re-read it? If so, you can start by learning how to evoke reader emotions that both surprise and satisfy.

Source: How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

Want readers to love your book so much they’ll re-read it? If so, you can start by learning how to evoke reader emotions that both surprise and satisfy.

Source: How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Use the Literary Technique of Symbolism to Become a Master Storyteller

How to harness the power of culture, color, and myth to enliven your creative writing.

Source: How to Use the Literary Technique of Symbolism to Become a Master Storyteller

Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 3 Negative Arcs (Part 2 of 2) – Helping Writers Become Authors

Writing a tragedy or dark story? Here’s a beat-by-beat look at the three Negative Arcs–the Disillusionment Arc, the Fall Arc, and the Corruption Arc.

Source: Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 3 Negative Arcs (Part 2 of 2) – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Make Your Plot a Powerful Thematic Metaphor – Helping Writers Become Authors

 

To discover what thematic metaphor your plot is offering from amid its characters’ entertaining adventures, all you have to do is ask the right questions.

Source: How to Make Your Plot a Powerful Thematic Metaphor – Helping Writers Become Authors

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit

Recently, we delved into what makes a great opener for a novel, covering the key elements to include in your first chapter. But just as there are important elements you should aim to include, there are also elements you should strive to avoid. As we discussed previously, your first chapter has the power to make or break your […]

Source: 7 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit