Friday, 31 July 2015

Jiggety jig

Back home again and mostly over the jetlag. One week of my  three away was spent with a group of writing friends whereat I wrote a total of twenty prompt-led pieces, limited by time rather than word count – all excellent practice, and very, very enjoyable.
No complaints about the quantity and quality of – and pleasure gained from – this week’s turnout for the Prediction either, both in writing and commenting which is such a strength of this site.
Difficult as ever to choose a winner, but I thought Antonia’s use of the prompts – invariably seamless – hit a new level this week so award her latest Infinity episode first place.  As newcomers, bdcharles and Kai are joint and well-deserved seconds – I very much look forward to reading more of their work.

Next week’s words are  ordinary, crepuscular, violin

Entries by midnight Thursday 6th August, new words and winners posted on Friday 7th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialized fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media best pleases you and, if you like, remind your friends that we are open to new and returning writers.

62 comments:

  1. Congratulations Antonia, BD and Kai. Great stories, Very enjoyable.

    Newbie

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  2. Congratulations Antonia, a deserved win. And thank you bdcharles for sharing second place with me. I'll do my best to keep up the good work.

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  3. thank you so much, Sandra! that episode lifted my evening from a long work session of editing and magazine layout.
    Congratulations, guys!
    Kai, the book How Many Miles to Babylon? is mine - good to see someone reading it. I have relied on this Challenge for some years now to keep the writing up to standard. My novel The Skullface Chronicles, came out of the Challenge as a serial, see where yours goes!

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    1. "How Many Miles to Babylon?" is yours Antonia? Are you also Jennifer Johnston then? I've just ordered it from Amazon, but it gave no impression of being a how to write book, just set in WWI which is always a draw for me..

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    2. I'm a bit more than half way through and I think it has already helped my writing. I'm definitely starting to think more about the people around me on the street. What they're wearing, how they walk and talk, what their story might be.
      I actually bought it, because you recommended it to me when you rejected one of my stories for an anthology. Your criticism was well received and I'm trying to improve. :)

      @Sandra it seems the two books have the same title, but are definitely not the same. No WWI stories in what I'm reading. ;)

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    3. My Jennifer Johnstone version has just arrived and in entering it onto Goodreads, I see there are eight more different versions of the title, none of which I can identify as Antonia's.
      I can certainly vouch for the benefit of Prediction in tightening writing - I've a short illustrated serial published from an earlier story.

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  4. How Many Miles is mine, commissioned by the editor at Horrified Press, actually!
    I'm not Jennifer Johnston, no.

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  5. It was no ordinary evening. Violins were playing in Veronica’s head as they strolled hand in hand for the first time along the silver sands, the rush of the waves gently caressing the shore keeping rhythm. The brim of the Sun dipped below the horizon and the famous crepuscular green flash at that last second before it disappeared was like a sign from above that everything was all right – she was at one with the universe. Yes, it was no ordinary evening. His other hand slipped into his trouser pocket and slowly his fingers wrapped around his trusty switch blade.

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    1. A lovely, calm scene until the chilling final line. Loved your use of repetition as well, with 'no ordinary evening'.

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    2. A sweet setting-up and a jarring of an ending. Superb use of crepuscular.

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    3. Yes, a good use of the word crepuscular and a nice little twist. A calm about to be shattered.

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    4. so sweet, so innocent, so - threatening, good one!

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    5. The sun sets and a "monster" rears its head. Slick.

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  6. Nice work Antonia - and Sandra thanks for the joint silver! :) - bdc

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  7. Congratulations Antonia, a worthy winner. And to BDC and Kai too! Good to see things picking up again.

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  8. Congrats Antonia, bdc & Kai!

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  9. The Lieutenant's Lair [2]

    Five pairs of eyes shifted en masse from a map-tacked table, as Imogen pushed Leo forward with the pistol.

    “Men’s choir practice?” Imogen said, lips quirking as she looked each over with a dismissive eye. “Quite the crepuscular lair, though.”

    Anything but ordinary, the tallest man, with sharp osprey eyes and a wild crest of copper dreads, arched an eyebrow at Leo.

    “Bringing the wife to play?” he said.

    Leo grinned and mimed playing a violin.

    “I doubt you’d enjoy my form of play, Lieutenant Ford,” Imogen said, shoving Leo to his knees. “Now, hand over that map.”

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    1. What a wonderful episode! Particularly the instant vividness of 'the tallest man, with sharp osprey eyes and a wild crest of copper dreads' - a lesson in characterisation if ever there was one.

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    2. Good use of the prompts and a continuation of the story. Like the description - sharp osprey eyes.

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    3. me too, brilliant description, that.

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  10. The Immortal 2

    A bright flash, followed by a crepuscular glow and there I was, back in the mortal realm. What a pleasure to return, except for the fact that I was lying face down in a dirty alley, a knife still in my back.
    No worries. That would heal up in no time. I pulled the knife out with some difficulty, got up and sauntered out of the alley as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world. Well, in my case it was.
    Violins played a romantic tune in my head as I mentally prepared for my hot date.

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    1. Oh - isn't 'sauntered' the perfect verb here! And what a fascinating character - I long to know what next.

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    2. Definitely a fun, intriguing character and I love his attitude.

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    3. Nice and 'ordinary' ain't 'ordinary'. The knife is intriguing - the heal up in no time seems almost wrong for a knife wound. The hero is some character.

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    4. this hero needs exploring! He has hidden talents, it seems, like this a lot.

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  11. Thumbs up [Threshold 75]

    Blindly attempting defence, the bridge-keeper’s hands reached for my neck, lust fading to crepuscular as death threatened.
    Finger pressure forced a shriek comparable to cat attempting to scrape tunes from a toy violin. Ravenscar’s seizing the bridge-keeper’s wrists forced him to release me; throttling him before he hit the ground.
    Ordinarily I’d’ve pretended a need for comfort, to have him hold me, but sensed danger too close on this occasion. Rightly so: from the darkness, as we silently crossed the bridge, hissed a fusillade of arrows.
    Ravenscar’s grunt of pain as unignorable as the sudden weight of him against me.

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    1. Definitely an action packed scene! Loved your description of the bridge-keeper's shriek, as well as your description of the arrows. Intrigued to see what comes next!

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    2. yes indeed, lots going on, as usual, you cram 500 words into 100 every time!

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    3. Rough and tumble. In so few words I feel pulled every which way. A cat scraping tunes out of a toy provides a sound-filled image, and it doesn't sound pleasant.
      Nicely done.

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  12. So much action in so few words. Well done. I'm intrigued and can't wait to read what follows. I guess I'll have to go through your past posts to understand the whole story.

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    1. Simplest way to read all is to acces it from the tab at the top of my blog: http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/, but it's a bit of a marathon!

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  13. How Many Miles to Babylon? is under my name, Dorothy Davies.

    Antonia Woodville is homage to my medieval hero, Antony Woodville, KG, Lord Scales of Newselles and the Isle of Wight, 2nd Earl Rivers.

    My other online name is Rose Rivers, also from his title. My problem has been there is a Rose Dickens Rivers in the USA who owns a Nissan Pathfinder and I have been bombarded with emails from Nissan advising her to take it in for ts XXX thousand mile service which was overdue... I wrote to Nissan over and over about this and got nowhere. Finally I found a CHAT button and 'talked' to a rep one to one. The emails have stopped! I use that name for my psychic online presence but that postbox is bombarded with spam, 30-50 a day. I can safely delete the lot, as 'she' doesn't exist, none of it is valid mail.

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    1. Aha! I Googled your name AND the title and up it came, on Lulu. Good to know it led Kai here.

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    2. I feel your pain about receiving calls that aren't for you! I'm on some city notification call list for Somerville, Massachusetts (never lived there) and constantly receive voice messages.

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  14. A change of focus [138]

    ‘Teodor’s impotent?’
    ‘Gay, but, Jake thought, persuadable for the sake of an heir –‘
    ‘And no blood relation, so –’
    ‘So by ordinary convention safe to breed but –‘ Vladlina broke off, allowing a violin in the street below to express her hurt.
    Dusk too advanced, the crepuscular glow too faint to illuminate her features, but Pettinger was tugged to pity. ‘Had you been teenage skinny he’d’ve coped but –‘
    ‘But breasts and, and –‘
    ‘Curves, such as you so abundantly possess –‘
    ‘He found off-putting.’ To say nothing of slack skin.
    His sigh guilt-ridden, ‘Just as well I don’t.’

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    1. Really enjoyed this. Well put together and very good dialogue.

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    2. Always tight, intriguing dialogue. Love how it gives flesh to the characters and scene.

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    3. superb dialogue here, carrying the story ever onward. 138 episodes and counting...

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    4. Abundant curves combined with slack skin is an odd image that I agree, at this moment anyway, is quite off-putting. Yet, I feel the need to learn more.

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  15. Extraordinary

    ‘I’m no ordinary cat, I’m a crepuscular cat.’
    ‘What?’ asked Alice as she viewed the big Cheshire animal perched precariously in the tree. ‘Doesn’t cre…crepuscular mean covered in barnacles and such?’
    ‘No, you ignorant girl, it means indistinct in my case. See.’ The cat slowly faded away to the faint strains of a violin until just a grin remained.

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    1. Thought I'd have a bit of fun with this?

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    2. Fun indeed, Michael. Like the cat, I found crepuscular didn't mean what I thought it did!

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    3. Humorous and fun! Loved Alice's suggested meaning of the word. I had to look it up too. :)

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    4. one of your clever short pieces, Michael, loved it.

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    5. In barely 60 words you managed to use all the prompts and set up a fine little scene with a sense of familiarity and uniqueness combined. Bravo!

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    6. Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

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    7. Many thanks. I felt a little bit of a cheat using the Alice in Wonderland analogy but that's the way it came out.

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  16. Thought I'd have some fun with one more entry. :)

    Invite Me In
    Putting fingertips to temples, as mated violins tangled and surged in her headphones, Bett pursed amaranthine lips, and let her body sway with the music.

    Blue-eyed Moira, blinking fitfully in the florescent light like a crepuscular bat, gasped and jerked her head. “He’s here,” she said, exaggerating the words, as Bett slid the headphones off her ears.

    “Vlad?” Bett breathed. A chill walked fingers down her spine, and Bett shivered, as a tall, lean man, with a rather ordinary face, rapped his knuckles against the window.

    “Hello again,” he said, fangs glistening as he smiled. “Invite me in.”

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    1. oh yes, and if she does... you leave it wide open to our imaginations! Brilliant.

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    2. Love the 'mated violins' and 'crepuscular bat'.

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    3. Ooh I like this one! For some reason, though you didn't mention them I saw this in red, white and black - almost like a scene from Sin City, but in a decidedly different genre.

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  17. Infinity 108.
    The Almighty knows I hate this crepuscular light, can’t be seeing clear enough to decide whether the horizon is edging closer or not. In ordinary light this here cap’n has no problems. There be this strange wind a-blowing, playing the rigging like some Hellbound violin, the sound be putting my teeth on edge. And the Creature be demanding its portion. So, grog all round and those who are nearest the hold get tumbled in and disappear. Tis too easy, that it is. Question to ask is: do I care? Answer, no. The Infinity be more important than them.

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    1. Once again, you've written this as though you ordered up the prompts for yourself - an excellent episode.

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    2. I agree, the prompts are always woven so seamlessly into your writing! Really loved 'playing the rigging like some Hellbound violin'.

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    3. Wow, this is so atmospheric - dark (piratey, of course), but wind and wave swept, as if much punishment were being promised from offstage as it were. The Infinity mentioned at the end kicks it up a notch.

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  18. THE LONGEST NIGHT
    Crepuscular light through dimity curtains, cast lined shadows to the far corner of the room. On an ordinary day Smutz would be playing in the yard with his grandchildren, but on the seventh anniversary of his wife's passing, he found himself beleaguered still by the sonorous memory of her last words, "You're a good man William. I won't be seeing you again, not here nor wherever it is I'm going." Like the piercing wail of a badly played violin, it pained him to live on, not knowing what she was confessing.

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    1. Oops, forgot the time change. It's not yet midnight here.

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    2. Welcome Michael! and since you were here when I got up (early) to judge, your novel-weight entry gets included. Superb opening sentence.

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    3. Really superb writing. The title was perfect, and I loved his wife's last words, as well as the last sentence. It was beautiful and haunting.

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    4. And thank you for commenting Michael; - such an important part of what makes this site so pleasurable to participate in.

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  19. Some of you may remember my Hawk trilogy at the flea market where where I quoted a Greek song called 'Son of the Hawk'. Unfortunately the lyricist, Kostas Virvos, died last night at the age of 87. Life's funny like that sometimes.

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    1. 'Tis indeed Ferg - sorry to hear that.

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