Friday, 22 July 2016

The Joy of Writing

Later today I’m off to Alabama to spend a week with some of the very first on-line writing friends I made, whose encouragement and writing contributed enormously to the development of mine. I have scheduled next week’s words at the usual BST time and shall aim to post, comment and choose a Prediction winner as soon as I am able.

This week, two winners: Patricia’s ‘Attention to detail’ and Bill’s ‘The bigger they are...’  Both have a precision which totally delighted me. Tony’s ‘Softness came from Starlight’ would have been a third but try as I might I could only see the place where ‘minute’ had been edited out – far too easy to do!

Words for the coming week are: archer lid whinny

Entries by midnight Thursday 28th July, new words and winners posted on Friday 29th

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. Serialised 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.

64 comments:

  1. After the dog bit [Threshold 124]

    And then the faithless bitch transferred allegiance to Ravenscar!

    Releasing, at his command, Vetch’s purple-studded throat she backed away with scarcely a whinny of protest. Ravenscar, sensing mine before I’d chance to lower my eyelids, noted without comment my fleeting, frustrated hate.
    Cathra – named for a legendary archer – came to nudge me again, topaz-grey warning she intended to come first with him.
    Vetch, reduced to gargle-voiced fourth, ‘Get out! Cross the bridge for free!’
    I, wet-blind and speechless, turned for the door.
    Ravenscar: ‘Not without documentation for her father’s legacy –‘
    Vetch pointed to a hitherto unseen cupboard, ‘In there.’

    [Confession: I had a sneak preview yesterday]

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    1. oh oh, more shenanigans... good episode, Sandra!

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    2. Oo that's gotta hurt, Cathra on the side of Ravenscar, a nice little twist.

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    3. The sting of shifting allegiance can be felt strongly here! Loved the phrase 'topaz-grey warning'.

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    4. I'm with Zaiure on the beauty of a "topaz-grey warning." This was an excellent episode with some undercurrents to think about. But then you always do that so well.

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    5. Quite the swirl of action and emotions and I'm not entirely sure what else, especially what's in the cupboard...

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  2. A Little Less Conversation

    His sign? Sagittarius the Archer. His arrows? Words that pierced the heart, degraded the spirit. Though intelligent and well-versed, she couldn't talk to him. Her "incessant chatter" got on his last nerve. She wasn't sure why she stayed.

    Contrary to belief, the end could come with a bang AND a whimper. She'd expected more. A show of bravado at least instead of the pathetic whinnying for forgiveness.

    She stuffed him, bones cracking like eggshells, into an oil drum, welding the cover with a blow torch.

    "There you go, darling" she said. "As requested, I finally put a lid on it!"

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    1. This one I sincerely wish I'd written myself. The querulous opening, hinting at subservience, followed by the totally delicious "stuffed him, bones cracking like eggshells, into an oil drum, welding the cover with a blow torch" was superb, "There you go, darling" the icing on the cake.

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    2. Ha! me too! What an image, stuffing him in the oil drum and all!

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    3. "Bones Cracking like Eggshells" you officially have my skin a crawling. A brilliant piece.

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    4. Brilliant, tension-filled piece with a shiver-inducing but fitting ending. Sandra picked up all my favorite phrases. :)

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    5. One wonders what to do with a barrel-o-broken-lover.

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  3. Wow. Sharing top honours with Bill this week is certainly something to crow about. I honestly didn't expect that little entry to amount to much of anything. I love how challenging the writers here make it for everyone.

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  4. Congratulations to Patricia and Bill fine pieces both. Also to Anthony.

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  5. Little Martyn 1665

    Whinny Wagstaff (Elsa's landlady) had an eye keener than any archer, and certainly wouldn't keep a lid on this situation. Luckily she was away in Chesterfield overnight, long enough to dispose of the Reverend’s body and clean up.

    His head slumped further into the fire, the smell of roasting meat now pervading the house.

    “Oo want’s the parsons nose?” Sagworth quipped

    “Lovely, chicken!” exclaimed a voice descending the stairs.
    Fat Amos (Whinny’s other Lodger) leapt the stairs in lusty hunger, straight onto Elsa’s lunging knife.
    A twist. A turn, then death. Now their Single worriment, became two.

    “Sard!”

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    1. And yet more deaths! As well as a wonderfully descriptive "wonderment" and lusty hunger.

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    2. definitely a great piece this time, blood guts and food all combined in one startling episode!

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    3. Trouble abounds in this piece! Really liked the phrase 'leapt the stairs in lusty hunger, straight onto Elsa's lunging knife'.

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    4. Wow. That was swift-moving and utterly engrossing. Love the reference to a "parson's nose." Now how inspired was that? I adore that you used "Whinny" as a name. I could say you excelled expectations with this installment, but then I could say the same for each one, so I won't...oh wait, I just did!

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    5. Hmm, tastes like chicken? Nasty stuff, there, and well put together.

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  6. Congrats Patricia and Bill!

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  7. congrats, Patricia and Bill, enjoy your break, Sandra, the Captain will have something for you during the week...

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  8. Safe journey, Sandra, you little globe-trotter you!

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  9. Dinner al fresco

    When Robin of Loxley offered, “Come join my band of civil disobedients,” I thought, “Indeed!”
    I expected to be met by raised tankards and a whinny of “He’s a jolly good fellow.” Instead, I was made to cross a creek blindfolded on a knotty log, endure archery trials and, finally, shoot and drag a stag back to camp.
    Hours later, wafting toward me was a delicious smell of cooking meat. I followed the scent to a lidless cauldron of rich venison stew – unattended.
    “They wanted stag; I’ll give them stag. Dragging a cauldron can’t be harder than dragging a beast.”

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    1. I love the idea of initiation ceremonies and fitness tests for Robin Hood's merry band, and taking opportunity of a venison stew shows an especially devious skill.

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    2. A brilliant switch line at the end there. Not only rounding of the tale with elegance, but also providing greater insight into the mindset and personality of the protagonist. I doff my hat.

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    3. I enjoyed this unique look at an initiate into Robin Hood's band, and the clever final line.

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    4. got interrupted last night so didn't get back to leave my comments. Here goes...

      really enjoyed this read, saying lots in so few words as always, cleverly written.

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    5. I always have a fondness for tales that incorporate historical or fictional characters. This was no exception. Nice use of the first person too. Gave it a very authentic feel. Dare we hope this is just the beginning?

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  10. Change of focus [190]

    Another toothcomb search of Edith Edgewater’s home, fruitless as the first. She had to be the connection; what was needed was indisputable proof.

    Watching, from the half-landing, the SOCOs dispiritedly descend the stairs DC Moth’s attention was caught by the whinny of a pale grey horse grazing in the field beyond Edith’s back garden. Its stable formed part of the back fence.

    Edith’s claim the coffin-shaped wooden box found within held only long-unused archery equipment quickly proved a lie. The lid dust-free and, on raising, revealed sufficient evidence of stalking with malicious intent to convince the most cynical of juries.

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    1. Edith caught bang to rights, it will be an interesting turn of fate to get her off the hook this time .

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    2. Excellent scene of a fruitless search turned successful by a random occurrence. Loved how the horse's whinny caught their attention.

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    3. another clever instalment - the use of the coffin box for archery was a brilliant way to use the prompt!

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    4. Excellent use of the prompts. I would go so far as to say seamless. Don't know if it was intended or not, but I loved that the horse was grey: Death rides a pale horse. As Antonia mentioned, use of the coffin box for archery was a brilliant touch.

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  11. Kursaal (Episode Thirty) -- "Keaton Harrier"

    Keaton Harrier, an alluring creature with heavy-lidded eyes and exotic appearance, captivated as many patrons with her mystique as her prowess with the raptors. She gave demonstrations daily at the South Meadow. Her bird of choice, a Falcon named Gawain. soared straight and true as any archer's arrow.

    Her favourite avian, however, a Hill Mynah known as Kaleo, was a quintessential mimic: everything from the whinny of Eli Cornelius' ponies to Daisy's demanding woofs.

    Perfectly imitating the voice of Maximillian Corviday, Kaleo could often be heard privately debating physical transmutation possibilities with his beloved mistress.

    Kaleo was a percipient bird.


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. Ah, yes, those 'physical transmutation possibilities' - they get me every time. You've added sound to the visuals here - good stuff.

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    2. I am so in awe each week at the characters you produce. This week the name Maximillian Corviday re-emerges and took me back to the week I arrived back to prediction, and the first episode of Kursaal, The simple reference of his name brings a robust dimension to an already very strong series.

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    3. I am continuously astonished and intrigued by all of your Kursaal characters, and I especially love this piece and the vocal bird! Loved the line about Kaleo debating physical transmutation.

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    4. a reminder to us to remember animals and birds are a lot smarter than we give them credit for... good one, this, very interesting, a lot of depth to the character.

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  12. Cripplegate Junction/Part 55-Touch Wood

    "Have you seen Dobbin, Miss Violet?" asked Christopher.

    The hobby-horse was Christopher's prized possession but the shrill "neighing" and "whinnying" that accompanied its playtime gave Violet a splitting headache.

    The waitress sighed. She had just put the lid on a freshly-brewed pot of tea and "The Archers" Omnibus would begin any minute.

    "Here," she said, handing over three lumps of sugar. "Dobbin will probably come out of hiding for these."

    "Thank you," said the boy, slamming shut the Canteen door.

    "Barwick Green" began to play on the wireless.

    "♫....Tum-tee-tum-tee-tum-tee-tum....♫"

    With luck, Christopher wouldn't go anywhere near the kindling box.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. Superb use of the prompts - 'The Archers' never crossed my mind, and I do like how Violet is developing.

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    2. A troubled and tangled tear from me for the loss of Christopher's prized hobby horse. Followed by a pang of guilt for all the toy's that my daughters have owned, that have met the fate of bin or charity shop, only to be asked for the next day.
      You always paint such vivid worlds that although of the fantastic also have an anchor in our world too. Bravo.

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    3. A familiar, honest scene and effortless use of this week's prompts. Loved Violet's offer of sugar cubes for the boy's imagination in finding his toy.

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    4. I hadn't thought of The Archers, either... my mother was a serious fan back when. Liked this, poor kid, poor toy!

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  13. Infinity 15y
    The best plans go wrong, every time. We were heading for an island when a clipper hove into sight. Not any old clipper, Archer’s, him that is my mortal enemy. For the time being I havta keep a lid on the thing in the hold and call up a whinny to blow Archer out of the water. For thems as don’t know, this here cap’n has a few tricks up his sleeve, calling up the weather be one of them – if conditions be right. If I can get me a whinny – what others call a waterspout… goodbye Archer.

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    1. There's a magical side to our captain. Just when you think you know a character, they shift in a different direction. Great use of the prompts and an exciting turn of events for the captain.

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    2. Intrigued by the Captain's ability to call up the weather! Definitely a useful skill to have when sailing the seas. Can he control it once released, I wonder?

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    3. "a whinny – what others call a waterspout" - wonderfully inventive of the Captain - well done.

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    4. This came with an intriguing twist. Will we get a battle scene next time around? Or do we simply assume that Archer has already been dealt with? "Whinny" being compared to a waterspout was ingenious. It's such an apt visual.

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  14. Finally continuing my last entry. :)

    Insult to Injury [2]

    Lara was immediately enthralled by Arshad’s heated gaze, her lids drooping drunkenly as he stalked towards the bar. Mouth thinning, Olivare made a terse sound in her throat, a multi-toned whinny, that snapped Lara upright. The woman blinked in confusion, hand reaching uncertainly for the Davorsha dagger on her hip, as Arshad seated himself.

    “Don’t serve many of your kind at the Lady’s Thorn,” Olivare said, pouring a generous portion of dark Tandack wine into a clean glass.

    “I’d expected to find my Blooded Archer in a brothel, not tending a bar.”

    Lara’s dagger slammed between Arshad’s fingers. “Apologize!”

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    1. Oh - that final line , having set the scene so vividly. Such lovely use of words.

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    2. Lovely to see you back, Zaiure. I've missed your inventiveness. This was a wonderful piece. Love these characters.

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  15. oh yes, skilfully done, this one! will there be an apology or just an excess of that dark Tandack wine which sounds great...

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    1. It was definitely worth the wait. A great build up tension to the cliff hangar ending demanding us to hope for more soon.

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  16. Mutually assured indifference

    You shot me down like an archer with withering words of precision
    no insult was spared peppered with your whinny of derision.
    You tore down the facade of the person I hoped you'd be.
    Laughed in my face without any second thought of me.

    I came to bury the hatchet, but instead I'm closing the lid,
    On a coffin containing our friendship, and putting it somewhere well hid.
    My time is just not worth wasting, fretting on how you behave,
    So I'm going back to areal life, and you can go back to your cave.

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    1. Perfectly captured torment of broken friendship.

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    2. I'm just going to nod in admiration. I think I truly have run out of words to express this poetic talent you have in abundance.

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  17. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #35
    The Rules: Fun, Safe, Quiet, Not Annoying


    “The Knights have somehow obtained archers,” Vivian whinnied.
    Rosebud was quite surprised. Previously the Knights merely demanded a decorative window box and allowed travelers to pass.
    “Are you saying that I now must obtain a decorative window box and shield myself, you, AND Natasha from ARCHERS and still travel through the Knights’ impassible forest?”
    “Yes! Come on Rosebud, it’ll be fun!”
    “Somehow I don’t believe you-NO, you can’t open that lid!-Vivian, go sit next to Natasha like a good little pegasus.”

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    1. Cute piece. For some reason, I was reminded of Monty Python's "Holy Grail" and the Knights who Say Ni. As unique as always.

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    2. What great fun your writing is each week. I'm much reminded of the fantasy quest movies. A delight.

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  18. Wow, thank you, Sandra! Once again I'm almost late posting and have neglected commenting, but I promise to try harder on both...

    Not as Cupid as she looks

    "Who is this Archer guy? Never heard of him."

    Bud looked at me funny, and chuckled a little. He always laughed like a horse's whinny, but it wasn't a good idea to mention that. "Dats not a name, dats a hobby. Also, it's a dame, Sally Porter."

    And the pieces fell into place - she used a bow and arrow to start the fire, the evidence burned up along with the house. I could put a lid on this case, except for one thing - she had a perfect alibi. She was with me all last night.

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    1. Wow, Bill - brilliantly conceived and brilliantly written with an even higher-impact kick than usual.

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    2. Stunning piece. Perfectly conceived and executed. That last line was a total killer.

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    3. Not just clever, but a very clever dilemma and a very witty delivery. Outstanding.

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