Guess Where the Honesty Came From? (Extract from Sitcom!)

The Ramblings of a Rose, post #5:

Post #5 and I think it’s time to show you some of another project I’m working on: a sitcom, currently named: Fairies Live Here. How did this come about? Well… since we covered screenwriting at university, I’ve loved writing screenplays. However, at the time, I was more focused on pursuing my dream of the movie-world being overrun by rom-coms (a guilty pleasure of mine). It was only afterwards, when I thought: You know what? A sitcom would be fun. At the time, I was currently binging my way through The Ranch on Netflix.

It took a little while, but an idea came to me – very much at a time when we were being told to ‘write honestly’. If you know me, then you will see where the inspiration for the characters of the sitcom come from. Yes, I decided to write ‘honestly’. But, if I was going to do so, it was going to be in a Medieval setting. Because… well… why not?

EXTRACT START
(Part of scene two of ‘Fairies Live Here: Pilot’)

EXTRACT END

If you hadn’t guessed already, the premise of the show is, essentially: What would happen if I took my family, dropped them in a Medieval world, and dialled them up to 10? And, there you have it: Fairies Live Here, the Sitcom.

I’ll bring this blog post to an end now – I know, it has been a long one! – and will just ask you, as I always do, leave a comment… explore my website… find me on social media… do as you please. But keep an eye out for the next edition of ‘The Ramblings of a Rose’, where – as I’ve now done with screenplay and fiction – I’ll introduce you to my song-writing too.

Ben x

9 months, my arse

Having returned from The John Radcliffe Hospital after – what was – a rather dramatic, emotional, bonkers 8 days, I had the idea to write down everything that had just happened to Gem and I.

Two weeks later, having started writing ‘9 months, my arse’, I returned to university a little later than first-planned – there, my Creating Writing course leader gave me the brief for my assignments (all exciting stuff!). And… well… one of the units for my third year is called: Writing in the Community.

I already had a rough idea of what the unit would entail. However, meeting with my course leader clarified things. ‘9 months, my arse’ was a possibility – not just for my own work, but for university too. What was to solely be a story from my own point of view, was to become something bigger.

The clue is in the unit title, Writing in the Community.

I walked away with the question: how could I incorporate other people

Within the week, I returned to my course leader with an idea: “If I approached the charity that helped us, wrote the book with a plan to raise money and awareness for them (my initial plan for ‘9 months, my arse’), and featured… not just my own point of view… not just my point of view and that of the charity’s… but my point of view, the charity’s, and friends and family members involved in the story too, would that work for the unit brief?” (It was a long question).

“Yes, I think so.”

Perfect.

Finding Context

The Ramblings of a Rose, post #4:

In both extracts I have shown from my fantasy novel so far, you may have noticed the inverted sections: ‘Genesis and Eden’ (in Ulrich’s extract), and ‘The Admiral’ (in Indigo’s extract). These fragments of world-building occur throughout the book – somewhat inspired by the narrative style of ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak.

When I first showed some of my novel to one of my lecturers, she asked: “Why are they there? Is there any context to them?” And… well… it got me thinking: is there any context to them?

I can confirm that there is.

In previous drafts of the novel, I included a preface, wherein an assumed narrator supposedly addresses the reader. So, I returned to this preface idea and played around with it until I was left with the extract provided below. Give it a read. Afterwards, I’ll tell you a little about the world-build itself and where the idea came from.

EXTRACT START
(The book’s preface: ‘A Simple Setting of the Scene’)

You step inside, away from the daytime hubbub of a busy seaside town. Under the low ceiling, you hunch, thinking: What jest’ built this mole’s den? The small room is lit by a single candle. “Fuck.” The word slips off your tongue rather easily; you cannot help yourself – winter has followed you in.

“Sit,” the stranger in front of you says, “go on. Sit.” He – you think it is a ‘he’ – is cloaked; his face is shadowed. All you have to go on is the nasally voice. He is the one who invited you in.

You do not speak; you simply follow the instruction – there’s a stool opposite the stranger.

And, he is holding something between the two of you. “Look,” the stranger says. It is a ball: golden and perfectly spherical. “What do you see?”

“I’m not stupid,” you say. It’s a ball.

“That’s a bold statement,” he says, “but it isn’t an answer.”

“Seriously?” You are not impressed: Why the fuck have I come here? You turn; your eyes find the door to the outside world. I could be making profits, you think. But the stranger before you still has you intrigued – so you return your attention to him. “It’s a ball. A fucking ball.”

The stranger shakes his head: “Wrong,”he says.

You open your mouth to speak, but you are too late.

He continues: “This is the world.”

Fuck me. It is an easy observation you make. This is bonkers.

Yet you remain seated… hopeful.

“What you are looking at right now,” the stranger says, “is your world. Earth, if I am not mistaken?” He offers the ball to you.

You look at it for a moment, then take it. “What’s your point?”

The stranger nods toward your hands… toward the ball. “We call your world the Outerworld… the Surface.”

We…?

With another nod, he continues: “Our world, however…”

You cut him off: “Our world? There’s two…?”

“Give the ball a twist.”

You notice a seam running across the spherical surface. It clicks as you twist. The ball splits in half – it is hollow.

The stranger points to the inside of the ball. “We call our world the Innerworld.” He leans back. “That is where we’re heading, if you care to join us?”

You hesitate.

“This may interest you.” The stranger presents you a book… a journal. “It is a work in progress,” he says.

You make a simple trade: the open world for the journal. The latter is titled: The Story So Far.

You look up to find the stranger has brought forward a smaller book – more of a pocket diary. “You may need this too,” he says.

You take the second book; it reads: An Encyclopaedia of the Innerworld. When you open it, you are greeted with the first of many facts:

A Hollow Earth:
On the outside? It is all human and normality – as you would expect. On the inside? It is quite the opposite.

“Who wrote this?” you ask.

“Look at the back,” the stranger says.

Following instruction, you see a name that you cannot unsee. “How…?”

“What do you say?” he asks, “will you join us?”

“I…” Again, you hesitate. Joining this stranger would mean leaving all you know, you would be risking everything: your work, your home, your friends and family. Yet, you are no different to any other human – for you have a curiosity toward the unknown… toward adventure. And, this stranger is offering you the chance to know and to venture. Plus…

The name. You drop your eyes to the name on the back of the Encyclopaedia once more. How is this so? Looking up at the stranger, you stare into the shadows beneath his hood. There are answers in there; you know it. Thus, you make your decision: “Yes.”

“Good,” the stranger says, “I will notify you when we leave. Until then?” He leans forward and taps the larger of the two books. “Read away.”   

EXTRACT END

So… that is how the book begins. It serves a few purposes, but two crucial ones are to bring context to the fragments of world-building that appear throughout the novel, through An Encyclopaedia of the Innerworld, and to introduce the image of a hollow Earth – the premise of the book’s fantasy world.

Where did this idea of a hollow Earth come from? Well. So many of the elements of the story had appeared in previous ideas I’ve had before – for example, Ulrich Leinheart, his brother, and a number of the events that occur in his point-of-view, or the Malabarista, the ship placed at the heart of Indigo’s story. However, I was torn on how to incorporate them all together. And, a couple of years ago, when on a visit to Harry Potter World, I walked away with one key thought: J.K. Rowling got it right. She had found a way to bridge the gap between ‘the real’ and ‘the fictional’. I wanted to do that too.

I was bouncing ideas around, including the likes of magic and multiple worlds/dimensions/realities/realms – as you can see, I never quite decided on what they would be. Then, during one of the many YouTube rabbit holes, I found myself watching a conspiracy theory video, suggesting that the Earth may be hollow. From here, I found a book called: The Smoky God and Other Inner Earth Mysteries.

I had it! In the above book, it is explained how the two could be connected – how ‘the real’ could meet ‘the fictional’. With it, came the idea of the Innerworld, the Outerworld (also referred to as the Surface), and with them, I was confident I could bring together all of the various fantasy ideas, stories, characters together in one tale. And, I did. Thank f@&#!

If you read blog post #2 (‘From the Blueprint to the Final Draft’), then you may have read the words: ‘P.S. […] Oh… and I finished the first draft of my sitcom too!’ Keep an eye out, because I’ll be revealing a little of this screenplay in blog posts to come.

Until then, as always: leave a comment… explore my website… find me on social media… I’d love to hear if you’ve ever created a fantasy world… or any world! What’s your favourite that’s already been created? Middle Earth is a banger. And a true example as to how to make your world flawless and detailed as possible.

Until next time,

Ben x

Meet the Startled, the Sick, the Sorry: Ulrich Leinheart

The Ramblings of a Rose, post #3

In my previous blog post (‘From the Blueprint to the Final Draft’), I introduced you to Indigo – one of my fantasy novel’s protagonists – for the first time. Since then, my first single, ‘Simple Man’, has gone live on all major platforms! Woo! Go find it on Amazon or Spotify – you’ll find me as ‘Ben Caleb Rose’.

Anyway… back to the novel. Near the end of my previous blog post, I promised that, in blog posts to come, I would introduce you to more of the book’s characters. So, here I am, revealing the second protagonist: Ulrich Leinheart, the ‘strawberry blonde, paleskin human, eighteen years of age’ who, after a night of celebrating victory in a game of ‘spitfire’, wakes up a little startled and… sick. (You’ll meet Marauder, an ‘azureskin orcish woman,’ too).

Beforehand, however, I’ll quickly explain where Ulrich Leinheart came from. Whereas my other protagonist, Indigo, was created for this novel, Ulrich was one of the first fantasy characters I ever created. He featured in a book I started writing in 2013. He featured again in a rewrite later down the line, and again, when I started writing a new idea. And, for the fourth time, he appears. Because of this, it’s hard to really say how I created him. However, it’s easy to say I relate to him much more than my other characters – purely because he’s been around a while. Plus, in the first novel he featured in, he was the same age as I was when writing. And now? He’s a little younger than I am now, but significantly older than he first was.

EXTRACT START
(The start of ‘Chapter Four: Hot Thighs and Red Sails’ – the second chapter in which Ulrich appears)

A warmth on his thighs slowly lured Ulrich back to consciousness; the warmer it got, the closer he got to waking up. It was only when it turned hot… no… scorching, did the swollen-faced paleskin sit up in a screaming mess, launching the box across the room. It banged against the wall. Where it had been resting on his legs, the quilt was burned.

Veil’s arse, what was that? Ulrich looked at the box. Could it be…? The question vanished from his mind as his stomach took control. Oh no. Before he could react, he vomited over the side of the bed. With a groan, he burned at his legs and his throat. Our Judge, forgive me.  

“What are you doing in there, ‘Rich?” Marauder’s voice came from beyond the door. Suddenly, Ulrich realised: this was not his room. The narrow bed, the map of Eden, the sketches of Genesis… the wooden, finger-sized sculpture of a bow-and-arrow… they were not his.

Genesis and Eden:
Genesis is the capital city of the nation, Eden – the birthplace of the Edenese Empire. Upon the Empire’s expansion, the likes of Hagglers’ Bay found itself under its rule.

Oh no, no, no. He threw the bed sheets off him in a panic. OK, OK… I’m naked.

“Ulrich!” Marauder yelped as she opened the door to her room, “cover yourself up, damn it!” She put her hands over her nose. “What… impropriety have you been doing in here? It reeks!” She saw the sick on the floor beside the bed. “May Eden fall.”

“Sorry,” Ulrich said sheepishly, his cheeks rather pink.

“Why’s that there?” Marauder saw the box against the wall, away from the human. “The banging… was that it? Let me guess. You realised how dumb you were to wager reigns for… well… that.” She shook her head. “Whatever that is.”

“I need to get back home, ‘Rauder.” Ulrich was all too aware of the wrath his brother would have waiting for him.

Marauder pointed at the vomit. “Not until you clean that up.”

“Right.” Ulrich nodded. “You got anything?”

“I’ll be back.” She turned but stopped before departing. “You’ll need breakfast before you venture home.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“You won’t be,” Marauder argued, “you’d faint on your way home. And if Merten lost his brother because of me… can you imagine? He’d sell me to a duellist… and use the reigns to pay for the chance to fight me in the Genesian Arena. He’d provide me with a humiliating death in front of the entire capital.”

“He wouldn’t give you the joy of seeing Genesis.”

“You see? You need breakfast. If not for yourself, for me.”

EXTRACT END

Spoiler alert! Ulrich finds himself having breakfast with Marauder. It’s here, where the chapter’s name is completed: ‘Hot Thighs and Red Sails’.

With this blog post, and the previous, I have introduced you to the two protagonists, providing a brief explanation as to where they came from. For the next one, I’ll turn my attention to the world itself.

In the meantime, leave a comment… explore my website… find me on social media… do as you please. But keep an eye out for the next edition of: ‘The Ramblings of a Rose.’

And go check out ‘Simple Man’!

Ben x

From the Blueprint to the Final Draft

(The Ramblings of a Rose: post #2)

So… I announced the beginning of a blog and then… well… didn’t really follow it up with another post. But there is a reason for it. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen posts of a rising word count – taken from my fantasy novel.

Then they stopped.

Why did they stop? Well… I went back and restarted!

Here’s how the whole thing went:

  1. Begin the first draft
  2. Get 35K words in
  3. Realise that the last 15K needs to be rewritten
  4. Rewrite the last 15K
  5. Realise that the entire story has sped through too quickly
  6. Have revelation regarding the entire plot
  7. Rewrite the entire 35K

I am currently on the seventh point.

However, when I finished the 35K for the second time, I reached the end of, what I’m now going to call, the blueprint.

I know where the story goes, and I know how to get there. It’s simply a case of going back through, editing the current chapters, and dropping some new chapters in along the way. One of these new chapters introduces Indigo, one of the book’s protagonists, earlier on.

Though this novel consists of many characters and ideas I have used before (something I will go into more detail on in another post), Indigo was a new character, made purely for this book. She is an orphan child from Earth, adopted by the captain of the Malabarista – a ship that sails my fantasy world, the Innerworld. Though this novel is targeted at a slightly older audience than a Young Adult Fiction would be, I wanted to keep my protagonists relatively young. Having always been without parents, Indigo is unsure of her age – and if she is, why would the narrator be? Why would my narrator be? This is the reason why, as you’ll see, I use the line: ‘The young woman, several years into womanhood…’ This is different and more noticeable when the second protagonist is introduced with his actual age, 19.

EXTRACT START
(The start of ‘Prologue: Homeward Bound’)

Indigo waited on the quarterdeck, exposed by the cool evening air. Wind caught and played with her dark, knotted ponytail, tangled with an old headscarf. Meanwhile, impatience began to pester her thoughts as she stood outside the door to the quarter gallery: home to the captain’s cabin, the ship’s navigation room, and a small cabin-office for Ruben Chalk – the captain’s personal writer. There was the captain’s private toilettoo – strictly for the captain himself. Nobody – not even his personal writer, or his quartermaster – could use it. Only once had it been used by someone who was not the captain – though that day came long before Indigo joined the Malabarista’s crew. However, she had heard all about it: the day the Admiral’s arse was worthy of the captain’s shitter.

The Admiral:
Crews and ships that sail outside of imperial rule can find brotherhood and sanctuary with the Avant-Garde – a faction of free people created so that those working and living outside of the Innerworld’s various empires can aid one another, in trade and protection. The leader of the Avant-Garde is known as the Admiral.

Behind Indigo, the main deck was empty. The young woman, several years into womanhood, cursed as her belly rumbled. I should be down with them. She thought of her crewmates digging into the cook’s creations.

The quarter gallery door opened.

Ruben Chalk, a gnome several feet in height and a decade older than the woman, appeared. The silver light of night twinkled on his bald, pale scalp. He smiled at the familiar face: “He’s ready for you.” 

About time. Indigo stepped into the gallery. To her right-hand side was her little friend’s cabin-office and the famed private shitter; to her left, was the navigation room. In front of her, at the end of the short corridor, was the captain’s cabin. “Any idea what he wants?”

Ruben, closing the quarter gallery’s door, shrugged apologetically.

Marvellous. She strode along the corridor. “Let’s hope the cook keeps the grub warm for me.”

The gnome half-smiled; they both knew the cook would close the kitchen as soon as possible.

Indigo knocked on the cabin door. “This better be worth it.”

EXTRACT END

I assure you: Indigo finds it is worth it. In the next few blog posts, I’ll introduce you to the characters and their world further – maybe the story itself too. But for now? I shall leave it there and get ‘back to work’, for in the first blog post (‘Mr Interaction, I’m All Yours’) I said: ‘Nobody tells you just how long it takes to write a bloody book!’ They may tell you how it’s hard to make money through writing, or not to worry about the cash because you’re doing something you love and that’s what’s important in life as life is too short and really if you think about it you spend quite a lot of time at work actually so…

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: writing a book? It can take f@&#ing forever.

Until next time,

Ben x

(Feel free to leave a comment – a prompt for a piece of flash fiction perhaps?)


Social Medias:

Instagram: @ben.caleb.rose
https://www.instagram.com/ben.caleb.rose/

Facebook: /ben.caleb.rose
https://www.facebook.com/ben.caleb.rose

YouTube: /benrosemusic
https://www.youtube.com/user/benrosemusic


P.S. An update on everything else:

  • I’ll be opening with a few songs at May’s ‘An Evening of Country’ (Thursday 2nd May, Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar, Boscombe), before handing the night over to an exciting line-up of Bournemouth artists: Matt Griffiths, Mikey Ball, and Amie Knight.
  • I’m nearing the end of my second year in Creative Writing, at Arts University Bournemouth.
  • And… the four recordings I’ve been working on with Mike White are getting closer and closer… and closer.

Oh… and I finished the first draft for the first episode of my sitcom too!