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My journey from "The Journey"

Challenge Entry

By Luke FosterPublished 7 months ago 5 min read
My journey from "The Journey"
Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

Approx. 25th June 2021 – I was almost at the end of my paternity leave after the birth of my daughter. Due to short staffing issues, I had to short my prescribed time by a couple of days, so I had only spent about 8 or 9 days with our new baby before the shop called me to it once more. It was little more than an innocent scroll through Facebook when I saw the ad, a face in a gas mask, like a throwback to the music video for My Chemical Romance’s ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. Hmm, a writing challenge. I’ve always been a voracious reader, right from childhood, and I once had designs upon writing a book.

I’ve always seemed to lack a certain impetus when it comes to putting in the work that is required to really succeed, and sometimes it comes back to bite me. In 2006, If anyone is reading now that was also reading my earlier work on Vocal, they’d know my favourite author, David Gemmell, died in 2006, and it had an impact on me, but it wasn’t for another 4 or 5 years that it really dawned on me that if I want more stories then I’d have to write them myself.

So I sit down with a notebook and pen and decide to write a novel. I’d have it done in a month, right? Ha. I wrote two pages in my initial session, and then never touched it again. Three more times in the next ten years I did the exact same thing. It just wasn’t working, I had the stories inside of me, fantasy, sci-fi, even an autobiographical account of the struggles of online dating, but none of them stuck. Maybe I was writing the wrong stories. I definitely had the wrong setup, and one hundred percent the wrong attitude.

When this ad came along, and inspiration struck, I thought I’d give it another go. My wife, then fiancée, was the most encouraging I could hope for. And once again, I find myself sat with notebook and pen. The words flow from my pen, the story appears in my head fully formed. It was fantastic, full inspiration. And I wrote about 1200 words that first day. Then I stopped. I’d taken the next day to spend with my fiancée and my new daughter, but I can’t remember where we went, but after that I just couldn’t motivate myself to sit back at that table and continue. All of a sudden, I was back at work, my partner wasn’t well, and I just didn’t seem to find the time. The contest came and went, I’d made an account on Vocal and observed, I read the top stories and joined a Facebook group of creators, but I just watched, and read. I saw the effect that some creators had on the group, I saw the effects of Tom Bradbury, and felt the group’s pain at his loss.

November 5th 2021 – I don’t know what changed. It’s bonfire night here in the UK, a weird celebration but that’s a story for another day. We haven’t gone out, my little girl is only a few months old, and my partner and I don’t feel up for it. I’m sat in my living room after they have gone to bed and I think I’ll type up what I wrote up until this point. I’ve got quite a lot of time in the evenings back then and I thought it might pass the time. I get most of it done that night and go to sleep. Now here’s the really weird part, the next morning I wake up and the story is the first thing on my mind. Ideas normally slip through my mind pretty quickly. So when this one is still hanging around I start to pay attention. I still haven’t typed up all the things I wrote three months previously, but the ending is taking its place back in my head, the way it did previously. As I talk to my partner, she again seems pleased that I am pursuing something that appears to make me happy.

That night I am back at my keyboard, tapping away. I know exactly where I am going, I just need to figure out how to get there. As I write I find that I’m getting close to exceeding the word limit of 2000. That was for the challenge back in June, but as far as I was aware that was the word limit for the site. Luckily, my story is reaching a conclusion, so I find that I can skip a bit of exposition and it won’t affect the overall story.

The Journey came in at 1956 words when I was finished, but I was pleased to find that cutting out certain aspects, the character doesn’t have a name, for example, and the antagonists have even less information, adds to the tension of the tale. I haven’t used this technique since, but it is still a story that I am happy with, and has by far the most reads of anything I have put on this site that isn’t a challenge winner.

The idea for The Journey came about as I was due to go to a concert a few months after my daughter was born. It’s not that far, from the east coast of Yorkshire over to Manchester, and what is the worst that could happen? The Journey.


About the Creator

Luke Foster

Father. New husband. Wannabe writer.

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  • ramarajan k7 months ago

    Life is bigger novel some interesting events is short story

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