Lessons in Writing


I have finally gotten around to writing my first novel called The Matilda.  Writing a novel has been one of those things that I have wanted to do since I was a wee kid.

Now, to be honest, I have written plenty of stories throughout my life.  I even wrote a probably the longest thing I had ever written prior to this book back when I was 12.  I worked hard at it and was incredibly proud of it.  My grandfather was one of the first to read it and he laughed and laughed.  I don’t think I had ever seen him laugh so hard before in my life.

Now he wasn’t laughing because of spelling mistakes, grammar or any of the other things that I would have expected.  No, he laughed because of how it was written.  He got an entirely different meaning from the words than what I had intended.  I was a bit heart broken in response.

It was quite the learning lesson.  I bucked up and went back to reread it with what he had told me on the top of my mind.  And where I had thought I had written the greatest adventure story, I found to my dismay that I had written quite the brutal and strange comedy.

But, you know what?  I actually enjoyed my story that much more.  With a simple change in how to interpret the wording, I had two stories for the price of writing one.  I reread it many years later and it was a weak tale, adventure or comedy wise, but the lesson stayed with me.  Sadly, this story was lost to time.

Understanding these nuances helped immensely in my writing of scripts for short films and short fiction.  And it continued to help me in writing my very first full length novel, The Matilda.

I’ll talk more about that journey in later posts.


Sights Unseen


photogen_3212Had the shutters been closed, he might never have seen what it.  He cowered back into the corner and tripped over the lamp.  Why had he looked, he admonished himself. What had made him do it?  He could have kept watching television and remained blissfully ignorant but curiosity had gotten the better of him.

“Curse my foolishness!” he cried.

But there was  no one there to listen.  He had successfully extricated himself from society and had come to enjoy the silence.  There was no differing of opinion, no one pushing him to be a better person.  Best of all, he wasn’t responsible for anything outside of himself.

It had gotten to a point that he no longer knew day from night or even which day it was.  Never mind the week or the month.  He wasn’t entirely sure he knew what year it was.  But he had gone to the window and looked out.  And what had been seen could not be unseen.

“God I hate parades.”

(image courtesy of Photogen.com)

Sub Roar


The apocalypse had finally come.  The surface of the planet was now ruled by the rotting zombie horde and there seemed to be no hope of rescue for those still struggling to live above.

But under the water, the story was completely different.  Submarines continued to circle the earth in their hermetically sealed containers.

The crews of these boats remained unaffected by the virus.

But not so for the creatures beneath the waves…

“Sir!  Whale sighted off starboard bow!” the radar technician shouted.

The Captain looked up, “Is there sign of sluffing?”

“Decomposition is in process, Captain.”


“One thousand meters.”

The Captain turned to his crew, “Helm to starboard!  Weapons Officer!  When in range, launch tubes one and two.  Straddle that beast!”

‘Sir, yes sir’ echoed loudly in the COC.  The dull thump of the tubes firing came shortly after.

“We have a hit, sir.  Two hits!” exclaimed the radar technician in excitement.

“Good work men.  Good work.” the Captain responded.

Yes, the surface was lost but not the world beneath the waves.  It may take a very long time, but by God they would win!

Closet Space


“Too tight.” she whispered.  “I can’t breathe.  I can’t see!  Too tight!”  Her labored breathing echoed in the tiny room.

She looked wildly about.  Nothing was clear under the dingy bulb that swung loosely on its chain overhead.  Her movements caused the shirts and jackets overhead to catch in her hair.  Spasms of pain shot down her back.

“Too tight!”

She scrabbled and tore at the skin of her face and it split like ribbons under her sharp finger nails.  Her blood soaked the collar of her filthy blouse as her breathing became ragged.

“Finally free.”  The words dribbled from the corner of her mouth as her final breath rattled from her chest.

The locks clicked open on the tiny closet and the man in the mask looked down at her sodden body.  He cursed her, “Damn it. Now I need a new one.”



You are the one who opens the car door.  You are the one who waits patiently… your face reflected in the mirror.

You exist in the nightmares of every cyclist as they see that reflection right before they slam into that car door.

Your sardonic grin is the last thing they see before the pavement blocks their view.  Your exhaust is all they smell as they lay there in the street.

Activation of wetware in progress…

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Welcome everyone to jongraylang.com, the website of the fiction writer, ukulele playing fencer, Jon Gray Lang. A.K.A. yours truly.

This is the next step in my adventure in writing. This is the blog that I will use to document my travels through this adventure.

I’ll be leaving bread crumbs made from the short stories that populate my mind, my thoughts on the writing experience, news about my work as I strive forward.

I am sure that along the way, there will be missteps in formatting, writing and other things with no name and I apologize now for these inevitabilities.

I am sure that I will share bits about my journeys through music, madness and mayhem.

Now back to making this thing work, A.K.A. me.