Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Tragedy of the Loo

Okay, alright! It’s not the most clever of titles, but it shouldn’t take long for you to see where this is going.

The cramped space between four white walls and a simple door, with scents of lavender and rose, and quite possibly a small window perch for the cat of the house; it’s here in this place that many successes are borne, but a graveyard for a thousand more. Yes, I’m referring to the bathroom and yes, this is positively, unequivocally about writing.

How is it that a room unadorned or sparsely laden can provide the mind nourishment for its endless hunger when all else seems to fail? How many times has the figurative light bulb suddenly flickered on whilst bathing under the rain of the shower head? Too many times to count in my case. My attempts to write comfortably at my desk- which is surrounded by sculptures of dragons and charr, posters of the famous Harry Potter, and drawings of my own design- continually end before they begin. Perhaps it’s a place too cluttered by other ideas and stories and thus fogs my mind from my own creativity. I can only speculate.

Some days I swear the Internet will be my undoing; it’s a thief for attention that steals my precious time and for what? Biased news, rumors, and of course a thousand adorable cat pictures. It’s certainly a contributor to the dilemma I face, but even when my resolve steels to limit my distraction I find other, more demanding obstacles: vicious headaches, studying to be done, and the uncomfortable haze- the kind that is only remedied by sleep.

I will ever wonder how a moment in the loo, no matter the reason, can somehow bring to life worlds and characters not yet explored. The tragedy is- and much like waking from a dream- inspiration, motivation, and detail can die just as easily as they appear once you cross the threshold to leave.

Time is Fleeting

Ready, Set, Done!

As it’s been a while since our last free-write… set a timer for ten minutes. Write without pause (and no edits!) until you’re out of time.

Time is Fleeting

I wanted to challenge myself so when I saw this on the Daily Post I thought it would be a good idea to give it a go. For better or for worse. I really did not put much time into thinking about what I would write about, but almost immediately a thought came to mind and it’s quite fitting given the time limit: Time is fleeting. It’s common concept, only more often said in reference to a singular moment in time. I’ve always liked the idea of “fleeting moments” because they are used mark special significance along a broad timeline. A first kiss, your child’s first step, or a performance of some kind; all exemplify fleeting moments in our lives, our individual timeline. If you were to step back and consider the timeline of existence, then our individual lives would be small fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things. I admit that I have not spent a great deal of time considering this, so the realization is fresh to me as I sit here and write. I feel as if this might sort of tie into the common belief that each life is important and makes a difference in this world, because when you discuss timelines, every little thing counts. It’s the whole idea that if you went back in time to met your mother and father, depending on what you might say it could have major impacts on your own future- that is to say you could keep them from ever having you in the first place. Back to reality… If we are the individual pieces of a very vast timeline, then it would make perfect sense to conclude that we are each as vitally important as anyone else. It isn’t simply moral belief that dictates this theory either. From the moment we are born into this world we touch the lives of those who come to witness our arrival, and from that day on all who pass in or out of our path is affected or influenced by us as we are affected by them. All it takes is a simple smile on a miserable day to lift someones spirit and nudge them down the path of happiness or at least contentedness. An equal but opposite interaction might be a scowl. Influence comes in many forms and from all over, especially in the places we least expect, and though they are but small fleeting  moments, they can have a profound effect on our lives. Or even the whole world. Time is fleeting, and every waking moment is significant.

Virtual Rescue

Prompt: Virtual Rescue – Someone you know gets sucked into a video game of your choice and becomes trapped inside. You must become part of the game and save him/her! But what will you encounter to do so? How will you enter the game?

This prompt idea was particularly fun for me. I did not come up with it but I had gotten a few ideas after watching Sword Art Online for the first time, a week or so prior. I had this grand idea to write about getting trapped inside World of Warcraft, but the amount of detail I was aiming for put me way over the word limit and I decided to change last minute to a simpler game: Asteroids. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like the most interesting of games to get trapped inside and I think my journal-entry-style writing made that perfectly clear. It’s certainly not my best writing, but it was a fun side-trip from what I am used to. Oh and yeah, there’s a few f-bombs in there.

Fucking Asteroids

I’ve done the unimaginable. The revolution of virtual gaming is finally here and it all beings with a classic. It wasn’t Norman’s first choice. He had encouraged me to try the device on World of Warcraft first. “Think of the vast landscapes and the creatures!” I remember replying with a defiant attitude, “Exactly. I don’t think the world is ready for fantastical creatures and dark quests. You remember the brutal wipes in Icecrown Citadel. Can you truly imagine facing the Lich King in the flesh?” He had given me a wry look, and I remember the smile that crept upon my lips as we both relished in the irony of my question. It was too late to go back, because I had already programmed the device to tune in with a few specific games to start. I wasn’t ready to expand to encompass the massive multiplayer games just yet. Maybe I should have listened to Norman; at least in World of Warcraft there was substance to the world, warmth from the sun, an inn to sleep… hell I would even take a job right now. Anything else would be better than this. It began November 3rd of this year in 2025, when I let Norman serve as the very first beta-tester for my virtual gaming device. I watched with uncontainable enthusiasm as he prompted the ship to maneuver fluidly across a demo test monitor. He ran a few rounds, spinning and flying aimlessly across the screen until a stray asteroid caught him off guard and then disappeared behind a red explosion. The last thing I saw was a miniature, avatar of Norman hurtling across the empty black space and into oblivion. He never came back.

Star Date: November 4, 2025

Testing, testing… Is this thing working? *loud jostling echoes from the speakers* There we are, I think that does it. Hello, whoever you are. If you are hearing this I need help. There must have been a malfunction, or possibly a stray code in the programming. Either way… I’ve messed up, and I am stuck here in this virtual plain. I came here to find my husband, but I am afraid I was too late; now he is gone and I am alone, trapped within this insignificant realm of nothingness.

Star Date: November 5, 2025

I have had time to contemplate and perhaps nothingness is harsh. There is something else in this realm besides myself, if you count the ship in which I now reside- and probably the only thing keeping me alive in this world- but the asteroids definitely do not count. Thankfully there was enough coding room to add supplement virtual details such as a captain’s deck and living quarters on the ship. It is like you might imagine the U.S.S. Enterprise to appear on the inside, except it isn’t really. On a side note, I have never been so long without the sun. The dark seems to go on forever, only blemished by the occasional asteroid hurtling through deep space, but it’s serene and beautiful in a way… How do I turn this thing off? *the speakers buzz with static then falls silent*

Star Date: November 7, 2025

I wouldn’t normally panic over a fluke accident, a small mistake- no actually this was a big mistake. I shouldn’t under acknowledge the disaster I’ve found myself in. It is true, I am at a loss. I cannot access the coding from within the game, but the bigger issue is that I cannot seem to disconnect. I spent the past several nights trying to reconfigure the mainframe, all the while playing the game to survive. I am unsure what would happen if the ship were to get hit and explode with the current state of issues in the connection software. I can’t be sure that I will materialize back on the other side- Normal didn’t. I could try-

Star Date: November 10, 2025

*speakers buzz erratically* I took my first hit today. The lower bay was hit with a glancing blow and I’ve had to initiate repairs on the lower level systems. I count myself lucky this time, but there’s something wrong with the rear thrusters. I really don’t want to go out there, but what choice do I have?

Star Date: December 1, 2025

This feels like inception- a game within a game- a total mind-fuck. Today I encountered a close call with two hostile asteroids. The first was small and slow, but precisely on a collision course with my ship. I destroyed the first one quickly; the fragmented remains shattered across the blackened sky in a million pieces that seemed to sparkle with light. I called her Aurora, the little sister. The second took me by surprise and hurtled swiftly like a bird in the wind. When I destroyed the beast it crumbled violently in unpredictable patterns and narrowly missed my vessel. I called him Angore, the older brother.

Star Date: December 25, 2025

After keeping it together this long, I am loathe to admit that I awoke in tears. Nostalgia hit me hard, probably because today had always been a treasured day for me. I lived for Christmas, and there was absolutely nothing magical or festive here in this realm. The worst part, now that I think of it, is that I have no one to share it with and the one person in the whole world I missed most was long gone. I love you, Norman. *there’s a quiet sniffle masked by a static buzz*

Star Date: January 1, 2026

New Years Resolution… I’m going to blow up every fucking asteroid in the world!

Star Date: February 28, 2026

Aha! I did it, three thousand bombshells! Take that pixels!

Star Date: June 11, 2026- I think?

I’m not sure what day it is. My tallies are all jumbled now and I am running out of wall space in the control room believe it or not. I may have to take down my favorite band posters and that family portrait of- oh wait, I don’t have any.

Star Date: Who the fuck cares?

I guess you could say I’ve given up hope. By now… you know, I’m not even sure. I could speculate all day, but this is exhausting. Enough is enough, you know? Sure you do. I’ve been keeping my eyes on space for several hours now. Not a thing in sight. I think I’m actually sort of bored now. *speaker emits a low rumble* wait a second… what the hell? What is that? Norman! Norman is that really you? You’re- No wait! come back, it’s me! Come back! Nooo!

Star Date: Done here.

Fucking asteroids…

Daily Prompt [One at a Time]

Write something using only single-syllable words? Tough! This is all I’ve got!

A man pulls up to a bar,
Sees’ a cop, a drunk, and a car.
Words were heard, most were slurred, and the drunk threw up like a star. “Aw, man. Look what ya did! My car, you fool! You threw up on my car!”
It took him a sec, but the drunk did turn and point at a sign with big bold words: “Your car” it read.

“Look, see here? My car, it says. You must be as drunk as me!”

I think I did it. Lame story, I know!

World of Magic

Prompt: World of Magic – 568 years have passed since the Dark Lord was felled by the Chosen One. Since those times, the wizarding world has known change. The Ministry- an institution created to govern the world of magic- has fallen. As such, no rules bind the realm of magic. Tell this story. ***Note: This world was created by J.K. Rowling, the same universe where Harry Potter exists except it takes place in the far away future. It’s NOT my world, but the characters are originals from me. It is not an original universe and thus was merely for literary fun and experience. Fan-fiction may seem like a sour word to some writers, but I assure you that it is only as bad as you make it.***

After a good nights sleep, the first of many I’ve had in awhile, I am feeling brave and have decided to share an excerpt of my submission for this particular contest prompt. Perhaps brave isn’t the right word, but at any rate here goes!

The old alley lay abandoned beneath layers of dust and rubble strewn into wide paved streets. Where there had once been flourishing shops, now lingered dismal shells and vague remnants of what used to be. Much of what remained was without magic. Wands, brooms, and tomes were long since collected or pilfered. It began as a movement called Obliteration- the last act of the Ministry before its fall nearly eight years ago- and it was only the beginnings of what had become a failed struggle to reclaim anonymity in a world shared by humans and creatures of magic.

“Fan out! I want every square inch of this place covered. No one’s going home until she’s found.”

The order came from Warden Reynolds, a woman of short stature and even smaller personality. She wore a permanent scowl and dressed in the standard uniform that every warden was issued to wear by mandate- only hers was adorned with black and white cords over her left shoulder and golden pins above her breast. Each pin marked an achievement but the cords signified her infamous prowess and served as a silent warning- Auror slayer.

From behind Frestone’s Furnishing’s front desk, the cramped nook stagnant and suffocating, Ila heard footsteps clambering over potsherds and splintered beams. They approached the antique store with avid energy. Panic coursed through her veins, followed by a wave of nausea. She choked back a moan of discomfort and scrambled across the dusty floor with her little sister close behind.

In her haste, Ila nearly ran nose first into a looming clothes closet. She paused a moment, something about the black-stained cabinet captivating and familiar. Could it be? In the midst of curiosity and lost thought, Frestone’s shop bell jingled suddenly. Ila’s heart skipped. Her mind began to race, a chaotic storm of fear and resolve warring against each other. She knew that the cabinets required nurturing, but the process took weeks and time was not on her side. Ila wasn’t even certain that it was a true vanishing cabinet. They will connect somewhere, somewhere safe, she assured her worried heart. Ila let her gaze fall to glance behind her. Ila could barely mouth a word, live.

She opened the cabinet and ushered her little sister inside with tears trailing runnels down her dirt-smeared cheeks. In the midst of unspoken grief shared between the siblings something flew across the room in their direction. The impact sent a shelf of candles flying in all directions. Without hesitation, Ila slammed the cabinet closed and whirled in a blaze of protective fury. She was wandless and unable to direct her counter attack with power or precision, but a broken mirror that lay shattered upon the floor caught her eye. Focused attention levitated shards of glass and sent them hurtling toward her aggressors. It was enough to give her a moments breath before bolts of energy exploded like fireworks throughout the shops interior.

They were subjugators; witches and wizards who supported the muggle cause to control magic- only control meant slaughter or imprisonment.  In some ways, Ila did not blame them. Humans had earned the right to fear magic. It had been 8 years since the fall of the Ministry. Ila had been too young to remember the first years of turmoil; there had been no time to adjust and everyone was caught in the midst. Her parents had fallen like the rest who opposed the change; they refused to give up the life they always wanted for their daughters and paid the price. Since that day, she had witnessed carnage and atrocities too unfathomable for words. There were no more schools. Magic was used freely by young and old alike- carelessly. A score of public figures in the wizarding world took turns rising to assert their own rule, foolishly believing they could turn the power struggle in their favor, but in the end they were just one more reminder of naïve we’d been; a reminder that we could not control our own. Our kind is self-destructing and there is no one to blame but ourselves.

She closed her eyes, wishing for a storm. Still air began to creep across the floorboards in a steady flow, and then rose like a tidal wave, exhausting its strength as a battering force. An invisible tendril snapped like a whip, flinging a wand far out of reach. For the moment it felt as if things were turning in their favor, but just when her confidence began to surface, it was suddenly stripped away. The energy in the room died away and Ila resigned to defeat at the stabbing point of a wand at her throat. Reynolds got the jump on her- manipulative and cunning, witch.

“Game over.”

With the subjugator’s recovered, Ila was surrounded by poised wands. Warden Reynolds squatted down to take Ila’s jaw in her hands. Her grip was unkind as she pulled Ila’s face close to observe her with cold measuring eyes. The moment stretched on until the warden rose, taking a step back to look around. She eyed the clothes closet and just before her eyes drifted away, they narrowed. An unsettling suspicion began to gnaw on her. She looked down at Ila, searching for an answer to the unspoken question. Where did you hide the girl?

“Open the cabinet. Slowly.”

The subjugators did as they were told; a putrid smell emanated from within the furnishing. Warden Reynolds immediately registered a large mass piled beneath folds of a blanket in the centre and stepped in for a closer look. She reached in tentatively to pull back the corner folds. Mangled Flesh and Bones. Reynolds almost visibly balked, almost. She dropped the cloth hastily then moved a short distance across the room, as if simply looking away would rid her of the smell. After a moment she turned to Ila, whose horror had turned her skin pale, and smiled.

Moon Party Submission

Prompt: Moon Party – There is a party taking place on the moon, and everything is “going bananas”.

This was by far my least favorite of the contest prompts, but it still held a merit of potential. We had to include the specific phrases: “Party on the Moon; Everything’s going bananas”, “K, like potassium”, “Hey look, math! … and feta!”. We also had to include one monkey, and one balloon in the story. It was a sort of odd collection of submissions. I wrote an essay-style story from the perspective of a student writing an assignment for school. It depicts one view of educational/social systems, highlighting the life of a victim of abuse. It was not written for a specific instance of injustice, but it’s interpretation (I believe) is loose enough to encompass a wide range of people. Looking back, I now feel that it holds some value- especially after the recent chaos across the nation.

Remember, I wrote this as if you were a teaching reading a students essay. The formatting is a bit off as I intended for the essay itself to be hand-written and for notes or strike-through’s marked in red pen.  An additional, missing portion of this story is the grade Emar received. In the top right corner of the paper there is supposed to an image of a circled “B+” in red ink. After you read through you might wonder why the kid got a high B. Interpret that how you will. Feel free to offer any criticisms of your own. This prompt wasn’t something I felt I did well on, but the overarching theme (discrimination and bullying) is something I am strongly against.

Name:  Emar Daher

Period:  ?

Date: April-something-th

Essay Topic: What do you think of the education system in effect today?

You may believe in what you are doing, you have that resolve and constitution. Though, I think it is safer to say you are simply weak, scared to try and even think. Nothing here will ever be pure whilst you bathe in muddy waters and wipe your feet inside the door.

Hey look, Education! There is math, science, and social exploitation. K is the element Potassium, P is Phosphorous, and C is Carbon, but KPC means keeping parents clueless, which is why at the end of the day, your resources and efforts leave you useless.  No one outside knows why we hide, behind these walls of brick and stone, you are the only ones who know that we’re truly alone.

The rich enjoy their dainty treats… feta, and fine aged wine, while the poor wallow in the broken streets searching for a dime. Just last week I witnessed something worse, my brother’s name cursed as fists and feet buried him deep- almost to the hearse…

Here we’re supposed to be equal, learning at your pace and striving to be worthy of contributing to this free society, yet they don’t respect me anymore than you respect yourself for allowing their indiscretions.  Is it my skin? No, you liberated the blacks. It must be my sin, the hungering mar scarring the tracks.

Freedom is to me, as a balloon is to the monkey- foreign and just beyond reach. I doubt we will ever be that lucky. We live in a world where logic and reason are thrown out the window. Everything is going bananas, I can’t even tell who the monkey is and who understands this. I’d rather exist in a place far away, away from this torment that follows each day. A party on the moon, that’s what I want; just me and my brethren, and no more abuse-riddled taunts.

So fuck your essay, this is a waste of my time. I’d rather be crawling and searching for that dime, because money talks in ways that you can’t. One day I’ll have my party on the moon, but until then I guess I’ll settle for you.

Quick Facts

What sort of things get me in the mood to write?

It’s really random in my case. I can be walking down the street under a gorgeous sunset and suddenly look up in awe. I might marvel at the beauty of the world, or momentarily put myself in the shoes of someone else, onlooking the scene from a distance and BAM- There it is, a new story idea. Other spontaneous glimpses of inspiration have come from people watching at the University. I once sat outside the auditorium for an hour in the dark, listening to a violinist play beautifully from an upstairs balcony. The music reminded me of an opera house I visited many years prior and then suddenly my mind contorted the situation into something grim. I don’t know exactly where zombie apocalypse came into play, but the idea transformed from there and maybe one of these days I’ll finish that story.

What music do I listen to while writing?

Oh heavens, are you even ready for this? Everything. Okay, well not everything but pretty damn close. I can list a few (in no particular order) of my preferred bands, but I assure you they are probably not for everyone.

Florence and the Machine
Chavelle
Tool
Katy Perry (Did I just name Katy Perry and Tool in the same list? Hell yeah I did)
A Perfect Circle
All That Remains
Trivium
Poets of the Fall
Nirvana
Disturbed
Lady Gaga (sometimes)
Volbeat
Lords of the Rings soundtracks
Phantom of the Opera soundtracks
World of Warcraft soundtracks
Eminem

Need I go on?

What are some of my favorite books?

I think I’ve made a list of my top reads once before. I’ll go ahead and name my top three as of right now.

1. Steven Erikson
2. George R.R. Martin
3. Christie Golden

What kills a story for you?

Inconsistency, poor character development, glossing over description, and ignoring realism. Life is not without death, so don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. Peace is not without conflict, so again- don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. It’s okay to not write descriptive intimate scenes, and I actually prefer a story with minimal detail on the logistics of the act and more focus on the connection (the spark) between two individuals.

What interests you in a story?

Nothing draws me into a good book like chaos; those are my favorite kinds of hooks. I love character development and figurative language. In my opinion, the best stories are believable.

Winter Break? Again?

You can always tell when winter or summer break is here; I immediately flock to this blog like a child with a new toy, and for some reason I have an insane amount of motivation to write- about everything.

I want to share a few stories or at least excerpts from the writing contest I was part of; a few submissions I was more proud of than others and some I did poorly on with the feedback I received from my peers. I will post them individually with the prompt theme at the header. Currently, the contest is on a sort of hiatus because we’re all getting really busy. Hopefully it can resume once things settle down. If not, or regardless, I would like to invite any who might be interested. We do have a website on shivtr, although the site is designed for gaming guilds it still provides a forum for direct contact and makes replying easier than emails. Right now it’s not in contest mode. I’m using it to post random prompt ideas and it’s open for sharing original works for peer review. One of the things we encourage most is discussing likes and dislikes, sharing criticisms and also reasoning for why we wrote something the way we did. Sometimes our writing can make sense to us, but not to others. I cannot speak for everyone, but exchanging critiques has helped me identify some of my faults in writing; its a really great tool. Until we get more active members it’s share at your leisure (prompt ideas or actual stories) and those of us that log in occasionally can read and share feedback! You can contact me here for a link to the site. Content is member-only and cannot be viewed externally. Also, the application is as simple as a name (most of us use gamer-tags) and a simple “why are you here?”.

In other news, I have discovered a fascinating interest in reading about the lives of others. I was never really drawn to non-fiction or history in grade school, but as of late the human perspective is especially intriguing and I find myself delving into stories of the lives of people from all over the world. It’s a wash of culture, spirit, love, tragedy, and longing- truly compelling and I find myself in awe of all that I do not know. I think they call this revelation, but whatever it is I love it.

Prompt Ideas

As promised, a short list of prompt ideas, in no particular order, from the writing contest I was part of. For those reading about this for the first time, I was part of a writing contest among close friends. Each week or so we would have the winner of the previous contest determine a new prompt for the group along with deadline and any restrictions including page/word limits, tense, and other restrictions. We learned that heavy restrictions are a creative way to encourage diversity in our writing styles, but it also limited us greatly in some situations. I will present the prompts we’ve written for without restriction and I hope at least one of them is an inspiration to anyone who might read this!

Fantasy – You are a mythical creature. Mortal humans have breached your world for the first time, and their reactions to your kind and others of your world are wildly varying from disgust and fear, to awe or even curiosity. How have they come to be here, and what is your experience upon meeting them for the first time?

Sleepless – You can’t sleep. What’s keeping you up at night?

Horror Story – This can be creepy, scary, disturbing, or a combination.

I did not write for this prompt because horror stories are not really my thing. When I think scary, I think graphically and realistically and I did not feel any sort of inspiration or attraction to a story in likeness to that. Others might be scared of the dark, or clowns, but I simply don’t find those stories particularly scary.

Power Child – It appears that upon turning (choose an age) you develop superpower. Explain how it has, will, or is changing your life. Good or evil. Common or one of a kind. Write this story.

We suggested to avoid cliches and for this one. My brothers prompt was my favorite because he used a historical event in American history and chose an ability in likeness to teleportation. The story was moving, well-rounded, and open for more! I wrote a sort of Goosebumps style story where there were alternative endings and the reader was able to choose which major actions the character makes to change the outcome of the story. I went a little crazy with this one and tried to create a very elaborate mind-game out of it. Aside from the page limit hampering my ability to flesh out details and rising action, I also took it a bit far and it probably came off a little on the mental side of things…

Unfinished Business – Write a story about unfinished business. This can be any number of things, from filling a quota at work, illegal business, to personal relations.

World of Magic – 568 years have passed since the Dark Lord was felled by the Chosen One. Since those times, the wizarding world has known change. The Ministry- an institution created to govern the world of magic- has fallen. As such, no rules bind the realm of magic. Tell this story. ***Note: This world was created by J.K. Rowling, the same universe where Harry Potter exists, except it takes place in the far away future. It is not an original universe and thus was merely for literary fun and experience. Fan-fiction may seem like a sour word to some writers, but I assure you that it is only as bad as you make it.***

I may share an excerpt I wrote for this prompt in the future because I really enjoyed writing characters in this world and received a lot of positive feedback from it. This prompt was a learning experience for me because I think I realized that setting establishment is so so important and probably something I lacked in earlier submissions.

Virtual Rescue – Someone you know gets sucked into a video game of your choice and becomes trapped inside. You must become part of the game and save him/her! But what will you encounter to do so? How will you enter the game? ***This prompt idea was particularly fun for me. I did not come up with it but I had gotten a few ideas after watching Sword Art Online for the first time, a week or so prior. I had this grand idea to write about getting trapped inside World of Warcraft, but the amount of detail I was aiming for put me way over the word limit and I decided to change last minute to a simpler game: Asteroids. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like the most interesting of games to get trapped inside and I think my journal-entry-style writing made that perfectly clear. It’s certainly not my best writing, but it was a fun side-trip from what I am used to.***

Beauty – Use figurative language and detailed descriptions to illustrate beauty or something beautiful.

A really pleasant prompt that sent me out of my way to learn new vocabulary and write scenes depicting something otherworldly.

It’s History – Rewrite a story from history with an interesting twist.

The example given for this prompt was: Anne Frank actually killed the nazi’s that found her and escaped.”

Senseless – Write a story about anything, but you have lost one of your five senses.

Although my writing quality for this submission was severely lacking, I really enjoyed this prompt. The concept of losing one of the five senses was inspiring to me because a loss like that would create a myriad of obstacles and thus providing a strong basis for building character development. I think if I had a chance to rewrite this I would probably change the plot to give the story a more simple focus, and this time ignore the word limit because it prevented me from fleshing out the protagonist.

Moon Party – There is a party taking place on the moon, and everything is “going bananas”.

This was by far my least favorite of the prompts, but still held a merit of potential. Overall, I would say that my writing quality was hampered because the restrictions were too disabling for my creative mind. We had to include the specific phrases: “Part on the Moon; Everything’s going bananas”, “K, like potassium”, “Hey look, math! … and feta!”. We also had to include one monkey, and one balloon in the story. It was an odd collection of submissions anywhere from a God teaching Russian-speaking monkeys (at least I think it was Russian?)…something, to the story of a band, an essay for class, and a children’s story. I think of all the submissions, the children’s story was my favorite. I wrote the essay-style story from the perspective of a student writing an assignment for school. It depicts one view of educational/social systems, highlighting the life of a victim of abuse. It was not written for a specific instance of injustice, but it’s interpretation (I believe) is loose enough to encompass a wide range of people. Looking back now I feel that it holds some value- especially after all of the recent chaos.

Deathclock – Write a story in a world where every person on earth knows the exact date they will die, and that date never fails. However, there is an exception. You.

I absolutely loved this prompt; it was one of my favorites by far and I think several others can agree that this was a pretty cool concept and gave us a lot of inspiration. My submission was about a girl who

Triple Perspective – Write stories from three witnesses (of different perspectives) of a single illegal or paranormal activity.

I did not write for this one due to time constraints with my classes, but the submissions I read were pretty interesting.

Serial Killer – You are a notorious serial killer in your prime. You’ve never been caught, but you’re getting a little bored. You want to retire, but before you do so you want to have one last spree.

The submissions for this prompt were interesting to read because each story was wildly different in terms of character. One of the submissions was from the perspective of a mad man- truly insane in every sense of the word. Of course, that’s the mentality you’d expect from a serial killer, but the varying degrees of insanity were compelling because it illustrated the complexity of the human mind. Each submission conveyed the manner in which we perceived the mind of a serial killer which was, to my mind, a sort of unique experience.

Medieval – Something unnatural in the forest.

This was the first prompt we wrote for. It was very open with little restriction, but it had to take place in a medieval setting and revolved around something unnatural in the forest. There were stories about dragons, hallucinogenic herbs, a multi-perspective narrative of family feuds and betrayal, as well as an exceptional poetic prose telling the tale of Peter Defeator and Blu of the Lou (you might see where this is going). Suffice it to say that none of us were expecting a poetic tale for a first-time entry, delivered as eloquently as a bard which was especially fitting for the chosen theme, and yes- he earned the first win of the contest.

When Inspiration Strikes…

When inspiration strikes, but it is not for the story you’ve been working on- the story you really want to finish… A few years ago I might have wallowed over it and questioned my next course of action until I ruined it, but my older self knows that you cannot let opportunity slip by or the idea might end up as one of those scrap piles at the bottom of your file bin or amalgamation of paper balls in the trash bin. You simply cannot leave the story to die. No, I will not let this great fount of inspiration go so easily, and I will use it to its fullest potential. One way or another, I will produce a literary work worth reading. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.