Saturday, 2 November 2013

Prompts and writer's block.

Good morning.

I suffered a bit of writers block this week, while trying to move a thing I've been working on forward.  For the life of me I couldn't decide how to get it where I wanted it to go next.  Every paragraph I came up with scanned as trite and immature.  I finally gave up completely for a couple of days.  Then I had an idea-rather a desperate one, but....I picked up the Tome and begged it for one word.  Just one.  At first it was loathe to cooperate.  It knows its job is to give words to Prediction.  I finally convinced it to give me just one to use on my own.  It worked. The word it gave me inspired a fresh idea and I got my little scribble moving again.

The experience allowed me to see just how useful and challenging, even one word that you don't have to think of yourself, can be.  The Tome earned itself a treat of bacon for helping me understand more fully how prompts work.

And with that said, let us get on with winners and words, shall we?

This weeks winner is RRKovar with Well Laid Plans:  My first thought was "Poor Donal and his garish cow."  Both about to be victims of the machinations of their peers.  The prompts were nicely used, and the story itself left a slightly bad taste in my mouth, which is precisely what good horror is supposed to do.  Well played, my friend.  Thank you.

In second place this week is Antonia Woodville with her continuation of the Captain's story.  I love that you named a ship Foxglove.  This piece is, as usual tightly written and the prompts well used.  I love that we finally got a solid hint as to the possible origin of the shadow people.  Thank you!

The Tome has indicated that it would like to provide words now, as the sun is shining on my work desk and it likes to sit there in the mornings.  So, let us indulge the toothy critter with a scritch along its spine and see what happens.

Provenance
Godforsaken
Answer

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine.

You have until 11:30 PM EST on Thursday, November 7th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, November 8th.

The Gates Are Open my friends.  Take what the Tome has offered and craft your nightmares into reality!



49 comments:

  1. thank you, Colleen! I am really enjoying the Captain's story.
    Congratulations, Rebecca!
    such good words this week, giving the Captain a challenge indeed.
    Look forward to everyone's contributions, they light up the evenings when I am done with all the other tedious work I can't do at work, as we are without computers in the shop - at the moment anyway. And would you believe, pesky customers keep coming in and buying things, what a way to disrupt a quiet afternoon!!! As well as destroying my carefully planned displays...

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  2. Well done Rebecca and Antonia - your weekly entertainment is much appreciated. And this, is part fifty-eight of 'Tao returns from Rhodes', which, thanks to the prompts provided, surprised me by running for some seventeen episodes longer than the 'The Blacksmith's wife'.

    Finale

    ‘There’s your answer,’ growled Gabriel to the quavering priest, ‘The godforsaken shun the law where it decries their deeds. Reject society’s provenance for civilised behaviour. If ever man deserved to die ‘twas him...’
    ‘And the maid?’
    ‘She pulled the trigger! ’Tis rare a weapon kills he who holds it. Rarer still he who ordered it to fire. A blunderbuss is notorious for its unpredictability. They got what they deserved.’
    Drusilla, dry-eyed, stood before them.
    ‘Gabriel speaks truth. I’d not wish my daughter dead, e’en for the damage done to his wife’s womb. God willing, there’s chance of her now breeding.’

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    1. Simply brilliant the way you tied these two together and knit up the ends. I have enjoyed every step of the way.

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    2. "The godforsaken shun the law where it decries their deeds."

      Fantastic line, and I loved the blunderbuss speech too. =)

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    3. Well played, Sandra! I must agree with John "The godforsaken shun the law where it decries their deeds.", is wonderful line! Great use of the prompts. Thank you!

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    4. superb instalment. Everything wrapped up. Congratulations on getting it to run longer than the Blacksmith's Wife too! Have to agree, the prompts are making it easy to write.

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    5. Thank you all for your kind comments. I have the sort of reactive brain that can seize on a prompt and twist it far better than come up with its own ideas, so this place suits me admirably, but the folk who read and comment more than double the pleasure.

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  3. Oh, thank you so much! And congratulations to Antonia. I, too, am enjoying the Captain's journey.

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  5. A change of focus [62]

    Returning south, having securely stowed Jake Cherriman, Vanessa sought to clarify the provenance of the murders.
    ’Hopgood’s parents first, then Sally-Ann...’
    ‘Gunita and Goren..’
    ‘All victims of Raptor, even though he denied it?’
    ‘As was my brother’s steward – I witnessed that – and probably my brother. Not to mention my mother...'
    ‘Oh, John, no!’
    ‘She was insane...’
    ‘That’s no excuse for murder!’
    ‘So what was your excuse for murdering him?’
    ‘He deserved it...’
    ‘Not good in bed?’
    ‘You’re better.’ A brief, remembering smile. Not reciprocated. ‘He’d’ve killed me first.’
    ‘You’re trusting my silence?’
    ‘...Shouldn’t I?’
    ‘Vanessa, I’m not what you need.’

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    1. The brief smile, not reciprocated, is such a concise and neat way of turning the mood. You always have a knack for reduction whilst losing none of the meaning/ feeling. It makes the prose sparse, but punchy and fast moving. (Ideal for tiny pieces, you might say. ;) )

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    2. Another fine piece, Sandra! It never ceases to amaze me how you consistently manage to turn in not one, but two, brilliant pieces of work, almost every week. I can't thank you enough!

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    3. me too! I struggle to find one, and you do it twice, in style!
      This is a very nice piece indeed. I go with John on that line about the brief smile, it says so much.

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    4. Add me to the chorus of the amazed. You turn the prompts to intrigue so smoothly. I also loved the 'remembering smile' line. There's one I wish I'd written.

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  6. (alpha)

    The living dead thing lurched upwards. It jerked itself to standing, clouded eyes never leaving Adam.

    "Uh... welcome to Earth." It hadn't actually proven itself malevolent, technically the meteor had killed the man it had been. "Why are you here?"

    Its answer came in the form of a vicious swipe, surprisingly swift but clumsy, easily dodged. The corpse lunged at him again, shrieking.

    He flew a short distance upwards, out of reach. It seemed to be growing more coordinated with every second. What godforsaken place had spawned this monstrosity?

    He could worry about its provenance later. It crouched, and leapt.

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    1. That 'technically' tweaks more awareness of Adam's thinking, and the whole scene is so clear. The use of provenance is superb, and what a cliffhanger!

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    2. again we have to wait for the next instalment... a serious cliff hanger there, John!

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    3. I really like the way the creature is adapting to its new home, both the planet and the not-dead body. The tension is excellent and the action only heightens it.

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    4. "The corpse lunged at him again, shrieking." That right there? Creepy as hell to me. In my world, reanimated corpses do not shriek. They might moan and gasp a bit, but they...do...not...shriek. Thanks for the nightmare. Was kind of awesome. As to the rest. Bloody good work. Nice use of the prompts and good action. Thank you.

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  7. This came to me while I was noodling on other things. Thought I'd throw it up here.

    Sorry, No More Curtain Calls.

    November 6, 2013

    I put the fan back in the window this morning. It’s 60 degrees outside, and beautifully sunny. There’s a soft scent of winter in the warm air, nonetheless. It reminds me that the dark and quiet is approaching and I hope to rest soon.

    I’ve spent too much time looking for the provenance of my existence, trying to figure out why I’m a monster. It doesn’t matter. I think I have the answer now-the way of fixing it.

    At the Winter solstice, I’ll make an end of it…again.

    Please, God. Don’t let me come back this time?

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    1. I love that this makes me question, does he/she call themselves a monster because they keep coming back, or for some other, darker, reason? Do they lose a little more humanity each time they return, becoming more of a monster? And the worse they become, the more they can't live with their actions.

      (or maybe I'm over thinking it... ;) )

      A harsh life either way. You can feel the pain in that last line.

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    2. John, you're not over thinking it at all. Those were exactly the sorts of questions I wanted going through people's heads when they read it. I'm so proud to know I got it right! Thank you!

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    3. I sympathise with the welcoming of the dark in which to hide, and am saddened by the solitariness of this final question.

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    4. this is sadness personified. It is also the essence of the book I am writing at the moment, Entwined Lives, on reincarnation. Thanks for a startling insight, albeit fiction - or is it?

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    5. There's a delicate balance between the enjoyment of small pleasures and the torment of an existence that seems wrong. Like John, I found more questions than answers in this piece, which feels right.

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    6. Antonia, I actually spend rather a lot of my time considering the various ways we might reincarnate. And why. The story is fiction, based on several things I believe about reincarnation.

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  8. (rise)

    Olivia was relieved that none of them had thought to ask after her provenance; they were all too busy scavenging. She saw Ruth raise a lump hammer, and recognised the target.

    "Wait."

    Ruth raised her eyebrows, challenging, "What?"

    "Sorry. I didn't, I just thought, would that not be worth more in one piece?"

    The other girl snorted, "The crab? S'already in more than one piece, case you didn't notice."

    "No, the logic box," Olivia answered, pointing at the steel casing Ruth had been about to break open.

    Ruth stared at her.

    George coughed. "You know how these godforsaken things work?"

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    1. Ah ... Olivia is about to prove her worth, become more integrated. Hope Ruth can cope with that, but I suspect George will act as mediator. If he wants to.
      What strong characters you create!

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    2. and then we have John turning in two strong pieces every week... love this episode, it says everything in such a short span of words. Somehow it feels longer than the allocated 100.

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    3. Seems like Olivia is skating on a dangerous edge. She could prove useful, but there will be questions she may not wish to answer. I can't wait to find out what she does next!

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    4. I am just enthralled with this story. Have been from the beginning and this chapter simply planted the hook a bit deeper. I want to read this as a novel! Olivia is a fantastic character and her new "friends" are an interesting bunch. I definitely want to know more about them. Thank you!

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  9. grats Rebecca, Antonia :D

    continuing...

    Key To The Door (4)
    -----------------------------


    Sharah replaced the envelope. "I've still no reason why I'm here, though. I might not've answered that letter-"

    "Oh my, I was so caught up... well, here goes: my Great-Grandfather had many clients, Lady Foxglove being just one. Legal provenance of his manuscripts passed to me: stroke last year. Since then...it's taken that long to get his cases sorted. Filing-system's exclusively chronological: no cross-referencing or case-numbers anywhere. Took us till last week to realise there was a will, and a house-"

    "There's a house?"

    "Some godsforsaken pile in the Chevins. That's why the hardhats: any excuse to stop by..."

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    1. definitely! wanting to know more, please.

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    2. Time travel is a tricky business, and I like how twisted this already is. The addition of a linear filing system only adds to the intrigue. I am excited to see what's in the house.

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    3. Interesting stuff, here! Intricate and twisty indeed! I can't wait for more. Nice use of the prompts. Thank you!

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  10. Even Dead Witches Are Dicks

    I’d thought I had the provenance of the whole mess figured. The vodun had made it clear that Seth had to be the one to bind that soul into the jar she wanted so badly.

    I’d thought he was the one with the important job, chosen for his godforsaken magic. I’d been so wrong. Now I knew the answer .

    Her instructions had been given in the hope of keeping him busy enough that he wouldn’t have to watch me kill his “mother.”

    “You unmitigated bitch. Thank you.

    I drew my knife and moved forward, praying Seth would forgive me.

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    1. Brilliant title, and what a tangled situation, superbly writ. Love the opening sentence and 'unmitigated' is great.

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    2. oh good one (again). Good use of prompts, really good use there, and another cliff hanger ending.

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    3. Man, I thought Seth had it rough! I think when this is over, we ought to send our boys on a much-needed vacation. Following this installment has been tough. Well done, sister.

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  11. Infinity 30
    Tonight I am not easy in my mind. I be concerned at the provenance of the curio that came aboard, what if it were not from the Somalis, what if it were from some tribe that did black magic and all? Is that the answer to the shadow people? Some tribe from some godforsaken island where they eat one another and do all manner of ungodly things. What is the matter with me this here night? But the curio bothers me. So does the look I get from one of the crew. I know not what he thinks of me.

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    1. Ah, another interesting twist! Is the curio turning the crewman against him? Or have his paranoia and the shadow people combined to make him doubt an innocent man? I look forward to finding out!

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    2. Heh...I knew that thing was gonna be trouble. The Captain's musings always lead me to more questions. Like RR, I'm wondering at the purpose of the curio. Is it turning the crewman against him, or...is it actually affecting the Captain in some way. I'm also wondering if perhaps the shadow people aren't the subtle authors of it's appearance. I too, look forward to finding out.

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  12. I always see this Captain as slightly smaller than average, a crease between his eyes and an almost permanent expression of concern. But at the same time commanding respect and, where necessary, fear. So I've no doubt he'll deal efficiently with the worrying crewman better than the curio, and look forward to episode 31.

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  13. Art Imitating Life

    The carpet smelled of death and roses, carnage, carnations...and dog – provenance of the creature above me. Stomach empty, I could add nothing to the mélange.

    I choked back the spell to animate the beautiful vessel, fulfill my filial vassalage. False life was not the answer.

    Nate lunged, knife ready to destroy the creation of a godforsaken magician. I couldn’t protest, but part of me died – same as when I first heard her torn to pieces.

    Crawling, I reached the jar, anointed it. The soul flared, wrapping tight around the seal. Falling back, blinded, I swear I heard my mother laughing.

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    1. And I swear I sat here struggling to breathe, never mind comment, at this. [swallows, and again] Rebecca, there's not a wasted word here, and not a singe sentence that stands above the rest; all are sky high.

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    2. Yer killin' me here. I think you're gonna do one thing, and you turn around and do something else entirely. Definitely keeping me on my toes here. And I agree. We are sending the boys on a long vacation when this is over. They, and we, will need it, I think.

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  14. And I fell asleep and forgot to close the gates. Consider it done. Winners and words by 11:30 tonight,my loves!

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