Terror of a Salesman | Writing Warm-up

Just for fun warm-up; isn’t heavily edited. If you want to do your own warm-up, you can use the prompt SALESMAN.

Writing warm-up begins in 3, 2, 1…

Fred, the door-to-door salesman, made a terrible mistake by ringing the doorbell of Mack Orbits. Orbits appeared at the doorway like a specter, a red liquid splattered across his face. The liquid also stained Mack Orbits’s dark clothes.

Fred stepped backwards watching the liquid fall from Orbits’s fingertips.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

“Is there a problem?” asked Mack Orbits. He motioned towards a canvas just inside the home. The painting consisted of wild splatters of red paint. “I was just finishing up.”

Fred sighed in relief; his tense shoulders relaxed. Orbits invited the salesman in for coffee stating he would like to paint him. Fred nodded, entered, and the door slowly creaked closed behind him.

Not much is known about what happened next except that Fred was never seen again, but Mack Orbits’s painting of a terrified door-to-door salesman cowering in the corner became one of his most well known pieces.

The critics all loved the realism of it.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


The adventures continue in the Dogboy Universe

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Hunting for a Story|Review of “The Hunt”

While my review of The Hunt is my opinion (they don’t reflect the views of any person or organization) and I didn’t receive anything in return (except a “Thank you”), Seb Jenkins did request a review.

Fair warning: There may be spoilers.

The Hunt a Wattpad story by SebJenkins and ShaunAllan (and a few surprise authors) takes the reader into a near future world where fox hunting has been banned. In its place, people (that’s right, humans) can volunteer to be the “fox” while hunters aim to kill them. The volunteers, whether they win or not, receive a money prize.

What makes The Hunt different from other collaborations is that the authors switch each chapter with no foreordained story. The two do not discuss plot or anything with each other; each must pick up where the other left off–sort of like those old campfire games.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about this story. I’ve read my fair share of stories written by multiple authors. They can either be very bad or very good. In a lot of cases, even though both writers work on the story, there is usually a “lead” author who after the story is complete edits the story so that it sounds more like one voice.

In the case of The Hunt, the authors have no idea what’ll happen until the chapter is published. I was a bit worried that the story would at worst be a patchwork of confusing tone and plot; or at best, flow like someone learning how to drive a stick shift filled with stop-and-go jerks as the authors flipped writing duties.

So, to be honest, I started reading because I was bored; I had some extra time and nothing else to do. Nothing seemed interesting.

I took a chance on the first chapter and found it promising. Then, came the second chapter. I was pleased to see that the chapters did flow into each other. The tone and voice seemed to match the pervious chapter. And the trend continued.

One problem I came across is that the plot twists are a little too unexpected. Normally, authors will leave clues to a twist well before the actual event. For instance, in a mystery, the author leaves clues to the perpetrator’s identity so that when the reveal happens the reader feels like it made sense. Also, the reader wants to guess at the criminal’s identity so that they can feel like they are part of the story. In the case of The Hunt there isn’t a lead up because the authors themselves don’t know what’ll happen. So when a twist does happen, it can feel like you got sideswiped by a train.

But, sometimes these shocking twists can work to the story’s advantage. If done right, such as the shock characters Marcus and James receive, it can also shock the audience and make them feel part of the story (or even feel like they are the characters). However, it can cause the reader to become confused; such as if someone that seems like a main antagonist (or at least a possibly recurring one) is suddenly dealt with early on, it can make the reader feel as if the story ended. Or they are left feeling unsatisfied. Kind of like if Batman stopped the Joker in the first panel and the rest of the comic was just scenes of Batman polishing the Batmobile.

But, at the moment, the story is unfinished, so it gets a pass on the antagonist issue. Maybe what happens next is the equivalent of Batman stopping Joker then going home to the Batcave to polish the Batmobile only to have the Riddler, Two-Face, and Penguin announce to the world that they will set off a nuclear bomb unless Batman surrenders. You don’t know what’ll happen; and that is the beauty of The Hunt. Anyone can die at any moment; alliances can change; and secrets can be revealed. At any moment, you can step on a bear trap.

To conclude (because this review is getting way too long), if you’re hunting for a story with twists, suspense, and moments that’ll blow your mind because you’re not expecting them…try a Batman comic. No, I’m kidding; though Batman comics are enjoyable. But, they are planned out (and thus can be predictable), unlike The Hunt which offers a read where the unpredictable can and probably will happen.

4.7/5 (as of this moment)

Seb Jenkins and The Hunt

According to Seb Jenkins’ author bio, “Seb Jenkins grew up in Bedfordshire in the UK, and read books religiously from an early age. He showed a strong interest in Horror and Action Young Adult novels such as Darren Shan and Cherub later carved a desire to write his own material, pitched towards his younger teen self.

Fast forward to age 21, Seb is just finishing up his zombie survival series Life After Death, with the third and final instalment now underway. He has also just started his most ambitious Wattpad project yet, The Hunt.”

In Jenkins own words “The Hunt is chilling. Not because it contains monsters or zombies or demons, but because it depicts a situation in the not-so-distant future that you feel could really happen.”

The Hunt asks, “How much is a life worth? Or a death?”

The collaboration between Jenkins and other Wattpad writer, ShaunAllan, (with surprise guest writers) takes place in the near future where “there’s a brand new reality TV show. Played on every television screen across the planet, live streamed and binge watched, is The Hunt.”

Jenkins’ description of the story continues to state:

“In a world gripped by poverty and over population, The Hunt disguises its predatory nature as choice. You can choose. Volunteer. You could be rich! Have a new start away from the despair of your life!

Or you could die.

Hunting takes on a whole new meaning, and it’s all for the cheering masses.

Dare you take part?”

So with the story sounding interesting, it was time to “hunt down” some answers.

Why did you start writing?

I started writing because I really just wanted to create stories that I wanted to read. You can spend hours and hours searching online or in book stores for the perfect story for you, but it’s much more rewarding to just set out and write it yourself. From the beginning I have always written for me, if other people ended up enjoying it along the way, that’s great, but first and foremost it is for my own enjoyment. I think that’s where the best writing comes from, when you’re having fun with it.

How long have you been writing?

I was quite late to the game of actually writing my own content. Obviously, I was really into books as a kid growing up, and I always had a good imagination, but it never occurred to me to write my own stuff. As I was finishing my last couple of years at school, I started to jot down odd ideas for stories, characters, and plot twists, and after a year or so, I found myself with a detailed plan for Life After Death. It was at that point I decided to give writing a real go.

What type of genre do you write?

I usually stick around the horror/thriller genre, just because I feel that it’s where I get the most enjoyment, and it’s what I’ve had the most experience reading and watching growing up as a kid. I find writing tense, creepy, chilling scenes far more enjoyable than your standard coffee shop conversation.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Who’s your favorite author(s)?

I love horror, adventure and thrillers, so naturally Stephen King springs to mind, along with Mary Shelley. My favourite book of all time though has to be Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. I always try to take aspects of Graham’s writing into account when writing my own books.

Have you been published, such as self-published or through a publishing house? If so, where can people find your books?

I have self-published my first book Life After Death, and although it is going through an editing process, it can be found on Amazon, or on Wattpad for free.

So about The Hunt, where did the inspiration come from?

The inspiration for The Hunt comes from a few places. I suppose subconciously there are shoutouts to Hunger Games, The Purge and The Handmaid’s Tale in this new book, in regards to the topic matter. But the main inspiration came from reading an article on the fox-hunting ban, which got me thinking, “How utterly terrifying would it be to replace the fox with a human in that scenario, how would we like to be hunted?” I then started to think about the future, and whether it could ever be allowed to happen, and The Hunt was born.

How did you and Shaun meet? Did you know each other before starting The Hunt?

I had worked with Shaun on a few bits and pieces for the Fright Ambassador profile on Wattpad, but we had not talked in any great lengths. I had however read some of Shaun’s work, and I was very keen to work on something together from our first conversation. Once I’d worked the details out in my head, I pitched it to Shaun, and we came up with this cool new format. We would each take it in turns to write a chapter, never discussing the plot or future chapters. We then decided to crank up the carnage by inviting a load of guest writers into the mix too.

What kind of experiences have you gained from doing a back and forth collaboration?

So far, it’s been extremely fun. Every writer is different, they think differently, they develop stories differently, and they write differently. You might end a chapter with the full intentions that the story should be taken one way, and then the next writer takes it in the complete opposite direction. It’s a complete whirlwind, and so far, it has unearthed so many new ideas and plot points that I simply wouldn’t have come up with on my own.

What is your process for completing a chapter?

Planning, writing, editing. With this kind of format, you kind of have to pick your ideas and just run with them. All long-term structuring goes out the window when you don’t know what the next author might write! All you can do is plan your personal chapter, and execute it as well as possible.

Do you have a set word count or deadline you give each other?

We have basic flexible time slots to keep things ticking, but apart from that there isn’t any great pressure. The author is free to write what he or she feels the chapter deserves, which usually hovers between 1k-3k.

Do you have a plan for where the story goes or are you completely winging it?

I can have all the plans I want, by the time my next go comes around, everything has gone out the window five times over. Wing it!

Do you talk over characters or plot with each other?

We don’t talk about any future plot points, because it really just keeps it interesting that way. It’s more off the cuff, like improv, sometimes just going with the flow can turn up some amazing results.

Do you have a set number of chapters planned or are you just writing it until it is finished?

Honestly, there is no set number. I feel that we are all good enough writers to be able to know when to start winding up to a big ending, and when to finish the story completely.

Are there plans to publish it, such as self-publish or through a publishing company?

No plans as of yet, but let’s see how well it does on Wattpad!

What advice do you have for others wishing to do a similar collaboration?

Just do it, don’t think too much about it. Once you bog yourself down with all the intricate details and planning, you lose a sense of the fun and community with your fellow writers. As a group we’ve been having great fun just winging it and seeing what happens.

Is there anyone you wish to thank or acknowledge?

I would like to thank all of my readers for the amazing support and feedback you give me. Without it, I would have stopped writing long ago. I would also like to thank all of the talented writers involved with The Hunt, Shaun for helping me organise/write it, and all of our guest authors.

Anything else you wish to add?

Feel free to message me on social media or Wattpad if you have any questions, or just want to say hey 🙂

Thank you for your time, Seb.

Seb Jenkins can be found on Wattpad, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or at his new website.

*Image provided by Seb Jenkins*