Friday, 21 April 2017

‘Plots, true or false, are necessary things’ [John Dryden]

At least in novels, as I am discovering, to my hair-tearing cost. When writing to Prediction prompts forward planning is best avoided and I fear has made me complacent because, 90k words into my current wip, fourth in the series, I’ve come to realise is very necessary indeed.

But in between the wrestling, I’ve enjoyed some stunning reading here, in the company of fellow writers whose words – both post and comment – provide evidence we are engaged on something valuable. There were, as ever, half a dozen which made it to my shortlist, and Perry, for his Exodust, made it to the top, for the lovely language and weightiness behind what was being said..

Words for next week: necessary pucker willow

Entries by midnight Thursday 28th April, 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 you prefer.

34 comments:

  1. Thank you. I am delighted and honoured for my piece to be singled out from so many excellent and enthralling stories.

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    1. My favorite story came out on top this week. Thanks Perry for making me look good.

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  2. Nicely done, Perry. Worthy indeed of the top honours last week.

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  3. An awesome story Perry, a well deserved selection.

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  4. Cripplegate Junction/Part 93-Yarns

    In a secluded room on the Sanitarium's second floor, walls hung with classic illustrations from "Wind In The Willows," a woman worked embroidery silks to create a river bank scene.

    Meticulously choosing her colours and careful not to pucker the canvas with overly-tight stitches, she recalled a time (an undetermined time) when a small child (her child?) sat on her lap as she narrated adventures involving the preposterous Mr. Toad and his woodland cronies.

    She didn't necessarily always remember the name, but thought it might well begin with a "C."

    The needle momentarily faltered.

    Christopher?
    Constance?
    Clive?

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. Another one in top form Patricia. Very enjoyable.

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    2. A beautiful picture of pathos. Thank you.

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    3. Placid wasn't one of the prompts but you used it most well as your theme. As for the prompts, tey just drifted along on the slow current of the story.

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    4. Beautifully evoked scene of tranquillity and just hint of something not quite as it seemed. Lovely.

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  5. Infestation

    The mindless, reanimated stiffs with a hunger for human flesh were getting out of hand. They had to die. Or more precisely, being undead, they had to die again. The math got complicated.

    Groaning, Jose Luella Cruz hoisted the massive pneumatic bolt gun he’d pilfered from his brother’s slaughterhouse and nodded to Willow.

    “Are you sure this is necessary, old man?” she said.

    “Somebody’s gotta do it.”

    “There’s so many of them.”

    “We could just pucker up and kiss our asses goodbye…” he said.

    “I hate zombies.” She took his arm as he approached the first one.

    “Me too, baby.”

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    1. Great build up. I can just visualize Bruce Campbell gearing up for another blood and guts melee.

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    2. Entertaining, a bit of humor and well placed prompts.

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    3. Ugh. Matter-of-fact nastiness evident from the opening sentence. And well-placed prompts.

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  6. Sorry to have been gone for so long. I started a new job and school all at once, and things have been kind of chaotic. But I'm happy to send some fiction your way once again.

    The Price Is the Price

    “Necessary?” he asked. “Is anything really necessary? That willow by the lake, for example. Seems a bit much to me, but there it is.”

    I sighed. Fairies are exhausting.

    “That’s not what I mean,” I explained. “Is there another way to cover the cost?”

    His eyes widened with understanding. “Oh. I see. Too expensive for you?”

    “In a manner of speaking,” I said.

    “Sorry, lass. The price is the price. Pay it or chew cabbage.”

    What could I do? No substitute would work for the spell.

    I closed my eyes and puckered. His lips were cool like the autumn breeze.

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    1. A blend of sharp and sweet, with a lovely hint of grown-up fairy tale.

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    2. It reminded me of a game of Truth or Dare and he got hit with a dare. An enjoyable story.

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  7. Change of focus [232]

    The banging he could hear was the front door; not Aleks trying to release himself from within his laptop. Unplugging it, deeming it necessary, however ludicrous, to keep in touch, Pettinger lurched downstairs.
    DC Moth.
    Immediately, ‘Boss, I –‘ Then Henry read the immensity of emotion in his boss’s willow-green eyes. ‘What’s wrong?’
    ‘Aleks. Aleks is –‘
    Henry’s forehead puckered, intermingling doubt and sympathy. ‘Not ‘Dynasty’, Boss, but almost. The bitch behind Roger Bailiwick is none other than –‘
    Pettinger’s anguished groan silenced him. ‘I don’t give a bollocking shit about Bailiwick! Not when my son’s life is in danger!’

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    1. I haven't followed this bu every episode make me want to. I'm immediately drawn into the excitement even though I'm lost. That's a skill.

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    2. HUNGER

      The falcon couldn’t quite compute the shimmer which flooded previously familiar hunting grounds.

      Even from half a mile up it could feel the wrongness of everything. It had watched the willows lurch earthwards from the isolated cove, as they would in a high wind, yet not straighten.

      This was disconcerting enough, but the spoor which was lacking was beyond the necessary for survival.

      The falcon soared and quartered the scope of its vision. Then it spotted a group of large rodents near the entrance of some sort of cave.

      It stooped, the pucker of concentration nearly imperceptible beneath facial down.

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    3. The cherry on top: willow-green eyes, the rest of the story is rather good to boot.

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    4. Thank you Perry - and I am so pleased to be returning to the falcon's eye view; this even more impressive and immersive than the first.

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  8. Fayre Trade

    Renaissance Festival garb, while unnecessary, was encouraged. The knight inspecting "Wynifred's Whatnots" was a shining example. His gaze moved beyond the jar of willow wands to an item nestled within a crystal pendant jumble.

    "What will you take for the chalice?"

    "Chalice?" queried Wynifred (a/k/a Maggie Turpin). "Oh, the pewter goblet!" Her brow puckered. "Twenty florins?"

    "I have no coin but would barter this." He offered a tarnished copper lamp. "Former property of an Arabian ruler."

    The exchange satisfied both parties and although the lantern was certainly dull, a once over with Brasso wadding would bring it up a treat.

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    1. And are we to see a genie emerge? Great dialogue.

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    2. I think, if the prompts are favourable, I may turn this into a third serialization, assuming I can handle it. There could be many and varied stories worth telling surrounding the wares available from Wynifred's Whatnots. I feel "Cripplegate Junction" may be nearing its conclusion anyway. The original ambience/concept is much changed lately. Just need to figure out how to tie it all together with a nice bow (probably take a few more installments yet). However, I may continue the saga with "Orange Tabby Tales." Marmalade informs me that he still has a lot more to meow about.

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    3. Oh. I should be very sad to see the end of Cripplegate Junction :-(

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  9. Interesting episode with a gravid dry humour.

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  10. For better or worse, Wynifred's name made me think of the movie, Hocus Pocus. This was a much better story, than that movie was. Very good prompt use, a tough of humor and I enjoyed it.

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  11. My first attempt. :) It's the start of something, I hope to continue in a serialization:


    The Apothecary

    by Rie Sheridan Rose


    “Is it really necessary to come to the station?” I sighed. “I’ve a thousand things to do today...”
    “I’m afraid so, ma’am.”
    My brow puckered in a frown. Ever since someone stole my supply of willow bark, the constables had been calling round practically daily asking me to come see if they had found the culprit. It was quite irritating.
    Of course, being the only apothecary in the commonwealth had something to do with it...

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    1. Welcome Rie. This is very nice indeed - smoothly-used prompts and intriguing set-up, I look forward to reading more.

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    2. Very engaging, Rie, I like the world-building of a commonwealth with an apothecary.

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  12. Test match

    Like many men who worship cricket he rhapsodised about the crack of leather on willow and spent much of that summer trying to convert me. It being necessary to attend daily, and stay until the stumps were drawn, he was sensitive enough to keep me sweet by providing hampers of champagne and introducing me to his many friends confident, in spite of their much better looks, their more sparkling conversation, I’d not stray.

    Knowing, in the coolness of the evening, I knew no-one else so deliciously, efficiently capable of applying leather, raising puckered weals on this Willow as did he.

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    1. Very clever title and a refreshing revival of the word "rhapsodized" before bowling right into the dry-humoured puns of kinkiness too bold to be considered a Freudian "slip". But I'm left with the notion of a foot fault with the final paragraph. Should it really be a new sentence/paragraph. Hmmm, maybe Hawk-Eye is required.

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    2. Hah! I agree, maybe not a new paragraph - that only introduced as I posted to give a bit of space. But a new sentence definitely intended. And I claim the omitted 'to' as poetic licence.

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