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Flash Fiction: “A Castle of Souls”

June 2, 2014 Leave a comment

My feet pad silently on floors of unforgiving stone, the tread of each step having worn smooth a circuit around the small room. I have long since stopped searching the walls with arms outstretched, seeking an opening, some small crevice with which to cling to in this claustrophobic darkness. Sadly, I find nothing. The clammy walls pitter-patter with rivulets of dampness, the air thick and suffocating.

One more step. Then another. The number of my footfalls have been lost to the ages. I reach out wasted fingers to brush the passing wall, nails dig into the divets packed tight with mortar. On and on hunting, searching, seeking out an end to that monotony of wet stone. Trace them up, trace them down. Nothing. Nothing.

Am I back at the beginning again? Was there ever a beginning?

I pause. I can’t breathe.

Confined within these walls my body continues it’s relentless search. In this abyss, my soul seeks out its unrequited salvation. Freedom comes only at the gentle touch of cold, wet stone on flesh, again and again.

One more step. Then another. The number of my footfalls have been lost to the ages.

(Word Count: 194)

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Flash Fiction – “The Little Death”

May 21, 2014 5 comments

“Sleep, those little slices of death – how I loathe them.” – Edgar Allen Poe

Time seemed to stand still. No one can see your desperation in the dark, when sleep never comes. Being locked in here, not in this building, or in this room, but in this mind… it’s a wonder I’m still alive. The snoring beside me breaks the silence, as does giggling from the hallway and the faint sounds of the oldies station on the radio. You would think this late they’d have turned that crap off, listening to Elvis again is enough to make a person want to slit their wrists. Ok, well, again.

I must have counted the ceiling tiles a hundred times. The number doesn’t matter, I’m sure I’ll forget and start all over again. Rolling over I glance out the room’s only window lit by a single glaring orange street light. They can’t see me, the passing cars, the wandering drug dealer or the random prostitute. Oh no. Couldn’t afford the nice place across uptown, I had to end up here.

It’s been six days since I’ve slept. Even longer since I last dreamed. Dreams don’t have a place here, behind these walls. They won’t let me go home until I sleep, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. I can’t relive what happens in the darkness behind my eyelids. Nobody needs to see the things that I see. The night brings the unspeakable, the undefinable, the unknowable, clawing at the inside of my skull, screaming to get out. Digging at my skin to find some kind of release, to tear away what traps this evil inside me, all I found was blood and tears. That’s how I ended up here.

They won’t let me go home until I sleep, but nothing they try will overcome my will to survive. What waits in the night can’t get me, as long as I don’t close my eyes. They don’t understand, and how could they, ignorance being bliss and all? If they could see the things I see, they would break out their scalpels and slice their lives away as well.

I’m not afraid of dying, it would be a welcome release from what lurks beyond mere human perception. True terror isn’t death. What you can’t see is far more terrifying than anything that you can. I can hear them, scratching and scrambling behind my eyes, and I know that one day they’ll find an exit, a way to crawl out from behind flesh and bone. Death of the body is nothing. Consumption of the soul, of everything that makes us human – now that is true horror.

The first rays of dawn cut a dagger across the far wall, and I’ve survived another night. They’ll bring me another chemical cocktail in the hopes of bringing the little death, but it won’t work. I have to be stronger than the pills. Stronger than the voices. My strength will keep me from that oblivion that waits for me when the lights go out.

It’s been seven days since I’ve slept. Even longer since I last dreamed. Dreams don’t have a place here, behind these walls. All that exists for me here is my own extinction, when the night comes that sleep takes me, and drags my soul to hell.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

(555 words)

Writing: An Update

May 15, 2014 Leave a comment

“With the wooden floor’s first creaky footfall, Maggie knew she shouldn’t be here.”

And thus opens our story.

I guess, since I’m about 2,300 words into my story, this makes me a writer now (despite my previous post of desperation).  Progress is progress I suppose.

With two scenes under my belt, and I still haven’t introduced my antagonist yet.  Eek.  I’m finding coming up with an introduction scene for my antagonist to be difficult.  I think the introduction of the antagonist will be brief, and probably fit in somewhere between the two scenes I’ve already written.

I’m glad I’m finally at the point where I actually start writing, and not just researching.  I’ve tried to come up with some kind of outline, but was told by others that I didn’t really need one.  I have a loose series of events at play in my noodle, I just have to get them down on paper and figure out the details.

Class starts Monday, so I’ll have to split my time between school work, house work and writing, but I think I’ll keep up with this.  I have four “beta” readers who are helping me along, and I thank them for their contributions.

For now, I think I’ll get back to considering how to introduce my antagonist.  Ta!

Frustration – “I’m no writer”

May 14, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m only taking two courses this semester, science and an exit course.  With the rest of my time this summer, I was hoping to write.  I’ve had an idea for a story rolling around in my head for years, and nothing ever came from it.  I tried writing it for NaNoWriMo, and failed.

I’ve spent the last two weeks building up background story, characters, metaphysics, history…  but not writing.

I’ve tried to come up with an outline and come up with… squat.

I’m a fairly organized person.  I like having everything planned out before I start something.  But this… everyone keeps telling me “Just write..” “It’ll plan itself…” but I’m sorry, that’s just not how I work.  I’m struggling to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B in this story and coming up with nothing.  Am I just not cut out for this?

I originally set out to just write a short story, but with the vast quantity of source material I have to work with, it’s turning out to be a much larger project than I anticipated, and it’s getting pretty damned overwhelming.

I’ve been reading books, watching videos, trying to learn how other others do it.  I have pages of notes, suggestions on how I can accomplish this.  None of it is helping…

 

…maybe I’m just not a writer?

Writing Fiction: Jim Butcher

May 12, 2014 Leave a comment

I just spent about five hours watching Jim Butcher of Dresden Files fame talking about how to write novels. I’m going to collect here what I’ve taken as notes from his videos, and I’ll post the videos below.

On the Protagonist:

  • Traits” – pieces of a character that are inherent to that character only – primary characteristics.
  • Tags” – words (or props) that get associated with that character only.
  • They should have exaggerated “traits” (like Harry’s height, or his smart-ass attitude)
  • They should be absolutely set on achieving their goal, are motivated and will not be stopped by anything!
  • Characteristic Entry Action” – Show them being who they are

On the Antagonist:

  • The villain doesn’t think he’s the villain, he thinks he’s the hero of his own story.

Diaglogue:

  • Stick to 5 words or less.  That’s how people really speak.

There are two parts to a story:

  • Stimulus
  • Response

Scenes get across to the reader what is actually happening.

Put together a worksheet with four sections:

  1. POV – Point of View – This is whoever has the most to lose.
  2. Goal – What is being actively pursued in that scene (survive, etc.), and the whys are apparent.
  3. Conflict – Someone is getting in the way of the goal.  This is not adversity – this is personal.
  4. Setback/Disaster – Scene question – will the antagonist succeed?
    YES.  (BORING!)
    YES, BUT….  (Consequences)
    NO.  (Completely shut down)
    NO, AND FURTHERMORE…!!! (Shut down and adds more plot complicatoins – deeper and deeper trouble!)

Make sure that your villain doesn’t understand that he’s the villain – he gets more “YES’s” and “YES, BUT…’s”.

Start your story in the first meaningful action of the protagonist.

Red Herring – used when you’ve written something, then discovered a “cooler” way to do things.

On Manipulating People’s Emotions:

  1. First reaction to an event: Emotional (Emotion)
  2. Second reaction to an event: The brain kicks in (Logic)
  3. Third reaction to an event: Reason and Review (Reason)
  4. Fourth reaction to an event: What’s going to happen next/Looking towards the future (Anticipation)
  5. Final phase: Choice – the most important part!
  6. This all leads to a new goal.

Story Questions:  A two sentence breakdown of your story – this is your story summary.

  1. WHEN (*something happens to disrupt the status quo*) THEN (*your proganonist*) SETS OUT TO (accomplish the goal).
  2. BUT, WILL THEY SUCCEED WHEN (*the antagonist*)  GETS IN HIS WAY AND TRIES TO STOP HIM?

EVERYTHING in your story needs to be driving towards your story question – that ONE question/answer.  Careful not to go off track!

The Question is at the beginning of your story.

The Answer is at the end.

You cannot have a protagonist who wallows in self-pity.

 

That’s it!  Those are all my notes from the videos, they’re kind of long, but I’ll post them below.  Enjoy, and happy writing!

 

 

 

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