A to Z Challenge; Adrian “Ade” Johnston. #AtoZchallenge

“Ade knew this to be true though. After all his generation were obviously the first to actually be sixteen…ever.”

As a challenge to a writer, the A to Z presents an interesting twist. Short and sweet, very unlike my writing style. Right or wrong, if there is such a thing here, I’ve decided to explore my four unpublished manuscripts and the material supporting them.

Out of these will come excerpts, creatures, and characters. Introductions to elements of my works in progress through back story and “interviews.”

First up is one of my personal favourites, Adrian Johnston, or Ade for short.

Ade first appears in The Bequest and forms one half of a partnership with another favourite, Rowena the Goth.


Adrian “Ade” Johnston was a bright kid that mixed with the wrong ones after his parents took their eye off the ball. Easy to do moving from toddler through to adolescence. Those days are cute. Maybe not at the time but, looking back, Pamela and Carl figured those were the times before “Get out of my bubble” and “What do you know?” appeared. The realisation that every new teen cracks open, older folk were always old and don’t know the minds of teenagers. How could they? They’re old.

Ade knew this to be true though. After all his generation were obviously the first to actually be sixteen…ever. Thirty seemed past it, unreachable, never going to happen. Folk older than that were just wrong. They were the ones running the world and screwing it up. They should all be put in homes until they get too old to have a say. Might be folk would just get along fine then. Only grandparents knew stuff. Well they had when he was a kid. Tales of the war, real stuff from history that even the Internet knew about. Gramps had been in it. Really in your face, up to the eyeballs, proper in it. He had medals too, and that way of avoiding details which, to an empathic minded child, says “Hey, you really were weren’t you?” As opposed to the hyperbolic crap most of his current mates said. Teens for you though. They all did it and they all knew they did it and that was just fine.




Extract from “Letters of The Amanuensis – A Chronology of Events – Ade” Heavily edited to avoid revealing matters best kept secret.


Ade, why so bitter at the World?

“Money was never love really. I didn’t get it until upper school and Gramps died. He was love and my parents tried to buy it. Looking back I was always on my own, even as a child. Sitting their surrounded by toys, nobody to talk to. Excitement turning to dust as each year passed. Reality crept up slowly at first and then cascaded into depression.”

What changed? I gather there was a keystone moment when it could all have gone very wrong.

“A girl.”

Care to elaborate?



“The one who came to me at school. She cared enough to ask about stuff. Rowena the Goth was how we all saw her. Weird outside school, untouchable, always looking aloof and intimidating with her friends.”

I see, and was she?


Intimidating and aloof.

“Damn no, bit of a front really. That black and purple with silver bangles and stuff was all a front. Dress how you feel kinda thing. She asked the right questions too, because she knows how it feels. Row is probably the most intelligent person I know.”

And did you believe in, shall we say, spirits, ghosts and the supernatural at that point?

“Hell no. I had more than enough demons haunting me inside to consider anything like that existed in the real world.”

And now?



The Amanuensis frowned at this point, a gnarled finger, dripping with age, circling the next part of the Letters. Metaphysical interviews held deep in the sub-conscious were always a tricky art. On his desk rested tomes and parchments listed under “The Bequest.” Illuminated in the flickering light offered by two candles that burned indefinitely.

B was next. Dragons were unpredictable at the best of times, but The Black was something else. Not living and not dead. This made it dangerous.


“If you ever need to talk Adrian..”she left it unfinished. Not that a sentiment like that needed terminating. It is what it is. An offer of friendship, maybe more.

The school bell ended lunch. They walked back holding hands until they neared the main buildings where they separated. Not cool to be seen with a girl during school. That’s a tease job waiting to happen. Sixth form acceptable, but a year too early.

Sod the world, he thought, that’s crap too, like the lock up ages.

He reached back, took her wrist and slid his fingers back into place. Rowena smiled and schoolwork went out the window.


A is for Ade and Amanuensis. The former is the character, the latter is something else. All I see is the desk and shadows cast about him. Two candles that never grow small, and always he is looking at the secrets he wants me to write.

In future, I may exclude my voice and use only those of the manuscripts and the scribe.

I trust this might be an acceptable format for the A to Z challenge. If not then feel free to offer up your thoughts in the comments section and thank you for enduring this inaugural attempt.







48 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge; Adrian “Ade” Johnston. #AtoZchallenge

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  1. Nice choice of excerpt great post. I am a web novelist and having a post like this someday will be awesome. Keep up the good work! One day I hope to be good enough to have my work The Red Lands on a post like this.

    1. Too kind indeed! I spent the whole A to Z exploring my writing and manuscripts along with the Scribe or Amanuensis. Now we are on the letter W and he has evolved into a new character wanting a tale of his own.

      I was a bit dubious about doing the A to Z, but it’s given some great insight into my writing that might not have appeared otherwise (to me that is). I’m sure you will be able to come up with something similar for your work too. I’ve been blogging about two years now and only started because I was writing. Stick with it and you’ll be surprised what comes out in posts!

      Thanks again for the kind comment and for taking the time to read this.

      1. No problem, I like browsing around on wordpress to get insights and opinions from the more experienced writers. Thank you for the moral support! And keep writing!

        1. I do exactly the same. Have you seen the ISWG group? Lots of writers and authors hosting posts on the first Wednesday of every month to give support and thoughts on writing. It stands for the Insecure Writers Group. I did one on Feedback last time. There’s quite a few knocking about too. I find it really helpful networking with writers and authors. Gives different perspectives and we all toss in support whenever possible. I’m going to have a look at some of your chapters too. Time wasn’t good for that today alas!

          1. Thank you for that information. I want to get the first part of my novel published, helpful criticism is always welcome, especially to beat out those grammatical problems. ISWG, I’ll give it a check next month. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you, the concept was muddled at first, but once inside the Amanuensis things started to form a concept. So many of my notes and material lie gathering dust, I thought this might be a good way to get into them again.

      Oh, I did leave a comment on Ahoy too. I noticed it didn’t appear or indicate moderation. Can you check if it went to spam? If it’s not there I’ll try again nd let you know I have in case somethings afoot.

        1. I thought it might have disappeared there. Often when a comment gets sent and nothing appears it’s a good sign. I always try and let the blogger know somehow. Hopefully now it’s approved future ones won’t suffer the same.

          Several people have said it’s a unique way of approaching the challenge too. That was why I was nervous of it’s reception. Not sure it’s easy to just randomly drop into.

          Really nice to connect via it too!

            1. Sorry, not clear enough. I meant a good sign to me indicating there’s a problem that I should enquire about. Not a good thing a problems there!

              Very true too. We are all unique, which is a good thing in itself….just imagine if we weren’t…#writingprompt 🤔

              1. Ohhh lol

                I mean if we weren’t, i am sure i’d scream everytime i saw someone because they’d be exactly like me.. thinking the same.. woah it is like someone reading your mind.. #mindflip

                1. Probably make conversation dull too. You’d already know the answer to every question you ever asked! And if not the answer then the response back saying so. Imaging going to a bar, nobody saying anything and drinks already poured before you got to the bar. Dating would be a bit weird too…. #understatement

                  1. Eek yaa it would be so bad . There would be absolutely no creativity, I mean we all think the same so we’d obviously end up creating the same movies, same stories, same songs. Yeah dating would be weird but it wouldn’t be so bad in a way such that you know exactly what a person whats.. so you really can’t pretend to not know when questioned .. good thing? bad thing…? #bizarre

  2. I like the format that you have decided to use Gary. Ade is a great way to kick off the A-Zand I look forward to meeting more of your characters 🙂

    1. Thanks Judy, it just appeared as a character out of nowhere when I started with Ade. I’m actually warming to this Scribe now. A few letters are going to be tricky blighters though 🤔

        1. Lol, hints are already there with the candles flickering. A certain antagonist already knows what the Scribe is up to 😳

  3. Maybe you’ll get all those manuscripts finished. Sounds like some quality work. Hope you’ll credit A to Z if you get one of these published later 🙂

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out (A)

    1. Three are full first drafts and one is ready. Just got stuck in a rut and figured I need some inspiration and thought this might be an interesting way to revsit things.

      One day Arlee….one day 😊

      Thanks for the comment and will reciprocate shortly

  4. What a great way to take up this challenge! I loved this format, it’s so novel, never came across anyone doing for AtoZ 😁 But that’s the best part! There are no hard and fast rules. The only rule is one alphabet each day. Love how you made sure not to spill the beans, hehe. Great use of your old manuscript. You are going to ace the challenge! I can already see it 😎 Waiting for the next character

    1. Thanks! I wasn’t sure at first, but I’m warming to it at the moment. It’s helping me refresh things. Lot of letters though, to find things in my manuscripts to do….that might get problematic later 🤔

    1. It may well do yet! Day one and a shed load left to tinker with. Just hope somewhere in them I can cover all the letters! Many thanks for dropping in again.

        1. I feel the hard part was getting up and running. Until yesterday I was struggling to decide on an angle. That said I only signed up on Saturday. Loving this finding new blogs aspect too. Some great writers out there including you!

    1. Thanks Ellen. I’m hoping our Scribe gets better as he settles into this new role. I may even use this character in a book lol

    1. Thanks Iain, was a spur of the moment thing joining on Saturday! Never tried this one before. Hope you enjoy them.

  5. This is so awesome Gary I’m speechless. Love this, it is so original. I particularly loved these two sentences: Not cool to be seen with a girl during school. That’s a tease job waiting to happen. Made me laugh!

    1. Thanks Marje. I toyed over and over with how to do this. I have a slush pile of material and wanted to dip into it to catch up on things and get writing more. This is helping me remember work from all over. Glad you liked Ade. He’s one of my favourites, although his girlfriend is right up there too lol

    1. How many? I thought it was just “A” lol. I’m hoping this gets smoother as my narrator finds his feet…as it were. I think I’ve just created another character in him!

      Happy Easter too x

    1. Thanks Ritu, this was possibly the hardest as the concept was just starting to form. I think the Scribe is now taking shape as a chronicler. It may not be everyone’s taste, but for me it’s forcing me to go through my work and get that mojo going lol

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