Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #14

So I finally decided to write something other than fanfiction.  Yay me.

For those of you new to my site, I (try to) post Writing Prompts each week in the hopes that they will inspire you, in some form or another.  Maybe the image will be relevant to your work, or maybe it will trigger something, or maybe you’ve been suffering from writer’s block and just need to write anything else.  Visit me each Wednesday, or take a look at my Pinterest page for more – there’s loads more.

I write flash fiction pieces.  No planning, not a lot of editing, just whatever comes to mind in less than 200 words, generally, although not this week.  Here are a few I wrote last night, each influenced by other pieces I’m working on.


It had been made clear, fraternization was frowned upon, but we had been drawn to one another just the same. He was wise, beyond his years, and he was gentle, and he had the best intentions. His eyes were boundless pools of kindness, and his smile was hesitant, but sweet. I was being groomed to lead. I was almost always at the forefront of all of the major events, and I was the one to make the big decisions. I was being hardened to do what had to be done, and I was afraid that what he once found good in me might one day be lost.

The day had been overly long, and we stood together seeking solace, reflecting in silence. With no one around to take notice, we took advantage of the opportunity we had been given. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand draw near, ever so subtly his pinky finger reaching out. I slowly reached out to find the comfort I so desperately needed, and allowed my eyes to find his for the first time in days. My heart stopped in that moment, my cheeks warmed, and my body swayed, longing for more than either of us could give…at present.


Arranged marriages rarely allowed any room for sentimentality, but on the rare occasion, true love could be found. They had been fortunate, although upon their first meeting, neither would have believed it possible. He had had this smug look upon his face, and the arrogance in his overall presence had left something to be desired. She had been a right snob, barely dignifying his presence with a response. It was most fortunate in their case that those first impressions did not represent who they truly were.

When the king asked her husband to lead his troops into battle, the honor of such a request had not failed to instill in their family a deep sense of pride, and fear. They were less than a year into their new life, and he had been away for nearly six months. It had been weeks since she had received any word from the front, and when she heard the knock upon the door late that night, the cold fingers of dread wound their way around her heart and held tight.

She found herself short of breath as her shaking hand reached out to receive the letter. She involuntarily shivered as she began to read the words not in her husband’s hand. She took a long, steadying breath, straightened her back, and offered the messenger a warm meal. She was a Lady, after all.

TheDayWeLeftEarthA Letter

C –

Do you remember the day we left Earth? Some days it’s all I can think about. That was the day I lost you. I could never have guessed that a simple trip to look at the stars would have led us to this – where we now live among them. Our sky is so dark in comparison, and the stars’ light is often times so faint. Right now I’m staring out a window and I see colors beyond imagining. I am in awe of it all, and it is all I have ever wanted to see, and yet all I want to do is scream at them in the hopes that you will hear me, somewhere out there.

I’m coming for you. I don’t know how yet, but I am. I’ve found myself on a ship with…well, aliens who are currently discussing what to do with me. They found something in my head, a chip, and I am at their mercy. Oh, how I wish you were here.

You are so strong, so much more than I am, which reassures me that you’ll be all right. So just stay that way. If this crew chooses not to help, I’ll figure something out. I’ll find myself a pilot or barter for passage. All I have to do is find a cantina and a handsome rogue with the heart of gold, right?! Oh, gods…we’re so frakked! Sorry. I’ll figure something out. There has to be some sort of human embassy out here, don’t you think? There has to be someone who is willing to help a lost human or two?

Their voices are drawing near. I should go, for now, but I’ll write to you again soon – I have so much to tell you!

Be safe.  


Don’t forget to share your work if you’ve been inspired!  Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #63

I have a thing for hands.  I’m drawn to them.  They have the ability to offer great kindness or undue harm.  They can offer aid as quickly as to refuse it.  I find it surprising that emotion can be felt (and shown) in the actions hands take, and I appreciate when a filmmaker chooses to focus on them.  Joe Wright, who directed Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, has effectively done this in both films.

For this week’s Writing Prompt, I offer you the following:


A simple gesture, but one full of potential for storytelling.  Are you inspired?

Happy Writing!

*I can absolutely not draw, and the images I share are the property of their respective owners.  I appreciate when I learn who the artist is so that I can give proper credit where it is due.

Quote of the Week

As writers, we live a lot in our heads.  We may be silent, but our minds are always working.  I’m often thinking about a story, or how something I’ve heard or seen may come in useful later on, but recently I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about life.

There are changes that need to be made, and I can’t sit idly by and hope that magically somehow things will be set right.  As a fantasy writer, I know I secretly hope to have an outside force grant me that deus ex machina that, perfectly timed, will solve my problems, but…yeeaah.

I saw this quote today, and it speaks volumes.


No matter what struggles you are facing, whether personal or professional, or all of the above, you will persevere!  Keep your head up, do what makes you happy (or find it), and continue to reach for the stars!

Wishing you all the very best!

10 Films That Surprised Me In the Last 10 Years

After my post about the unfortunate Crimson Peak, I started thinking about the movies I have seen and loved.  They had to be out there, right?!  I’m kidding, of course.  I can easily list a number of films I’ve seen in the last few years that I thought were brilliantly done.

Oddly enough, in my email the following day there was a message from StumbleUpon, a site I haven’t visited in quite a while, about The 30 Best Films of the Decade (this list discusses films from 2000-2009).  I decided to utilize this list as a spring board to create my own “10 best in the last 10”.

This was a difficult task.  There really have been some wonderful films in the last 10 years, a great many of them that I still have yet to see are on a virtual running list, so this list is about the films that truly surprised me and left a lasting impression from a variety of genres; those I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw them.

In order of their release date, I present to you the following:

W&GdvdWallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – I adore this animated film.  The characters make their full length feature debut in this wonderful tale about a man and his dog trying to save the annual giant vegetable competition from a destructive beast with a taste for veg.  The thing I discovered about Wallace and Gromit, and why I love it, is the subtle humor and the dark side of their stories.  Almost more for adults because of the humor, kids can definitely still enjoy the movie because they won’t understand half the jokes anyway, just like Pixar films.  This one takes multiple viewings to catch all the little nuances and cleverly placed verbal and visual cues, and then you’ll find yourself like The Sis and I, quoting it fairly regularly in your daily life.

PansLabyrinthPan’s Labyrinth (2006) – The Sis had not seen this film prior to Halloween, but after watching Crimson Peak, and being disappointed, I encouraged her to watch this beautiful, moving, and surprising adult fairytale by Guillermo del Toro.  This import was nominated for dozens and dozens of awards, and one viewing will give you the insight as to why.  Set in the 40s during a rebellion against the fascist government in Spain, a young girl with a wonderful imagination takes a journey to discover who she really is.  I like to mix reality and fantasy in my own writing and I think that’s why this film struck me – it does exactly that, perfectly.

VforVendettaV for Vendetta (2006) – I knew nothing of this film upon seeing it, and I’m not sure who introduced me to it, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  I like the idea of alternate universes, and the idea of “what if” in regards to history.  England is in a police state following Germany’s win in WWII, and V, voiced by Hugo Weaving, is considered a terrorist for his actions that would lead the people to freedom from their government.  Along his journey he saves a young woman (Natalie Portman) and discovers an ally to his cause.  One of my favorite aspects of this film is that we never see V’s face.  He wears the Guy Fawkes mask the entire time, and although you think that would lead the audience to disconnect, it’s more symbolic that he could be any of us.

Lars&RealGirlLars and the Real Girl (2007) – I turned this film on out of curiosity and discovered a truly moving film.  Ryan Gosling plays Lars, a man who is sort of detached.  He doesn’t like to be touched, and desperate to find a connection, orders himself a girlfriend – a full size doll.  Despite his family’s protest, that he’s crazy, a doctor encourages them and the whole town to embrace his delusion, and his girlfriend becomes an active member of society.  It sounds strange, but it’s a wonderful story about family and how easy it is to write someone off rather than try to help them.  As adults it’s easy to become self-involved, we constantly worry what others might think, and sometimes we want the easy way out of a situation, but this film shows us otherwise.

LetTheRightOneInLet the Right One In (2008) – I had already read the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist before seeing the film, a rarity, so I knew the story going in, but the film still surprised me.  This Swedish film about the bond of friendship is an interesting take on the vampire genre.  Oskar is a shy boy, bullied at school, who befriends his new, odd neighbor, Eli.  Oskar comes off as a bit of a goof, but he’s a 12 year old boy, so, you know, it’s expected, and Eli is wary of him, but also intrigued.  Eli is compelling to watch, and going against Hollywood standards of “beauty”, there is something so interesting about her.  The story builds like a romance, so much so that sometimes you forget you’re watching, what is technically, a horror movie.  An American remake was filmed within 2 years and it wasn’t nearly as memorable.  Give the original a watch.

TropicThunderTropic Thunder (2008) – You may find this a surprising add to the list, but I think it’s an underrated comedy about the Hollywood system.  Ben Stiller directed the film, and there are a few versions available strangely, but despite not loving all of Stiller’s films, this one is hilarious.  I’m not kidding.  Stiller plays the typical action star who has had a string of flops, including a turn in a serious role as a man with a mental disorder who has been cast as the lead of a Vietnam War epic based on a novel.  His costars are Jack Black, a crude comedy actor, Robert Downey Jr., a multiple Academy Award winning actor who really gets into his roles, and Brandon T. Jackson, a rapper who wants to break into acting.  They end up having to become actual soldiers as the location where they’re shooting is an actual war zone.  There are homages to other war films, the jokes are funny to those who know about Hollywood, and the casting choices, I thought, were spot on.  One of my favorite parts of the film is the fake trailers at the beginning of the film.

District9District 9 (2009) – As you know, I like sci-fi.  I’m currently writing a space odyssey.  So believe me when I say, this movie completely took me by surprise.  This is not an invasion film like so many other alien movies, it’s about what happens when they seek refuge.  They become second class citizens, relegated to internment camps, where their well-being is not a concern, but learning more about their technology is.  They are not cute, friendly looking aliens, they are hard, bug-like creatures which makes empathizing with them an even greater challenge, and one director Blomkamp achieves.  This story could be looked at as a metaphor, but let’s keep it simple.  This story takes place through the eyes of a government worker who contracts an illness upon visiting one of the districts, and learns first hand how cruel and brutal the humans are and have been to their refugees.  There have been rumors of a sequel for years, and after watching this film, you’ll definitely want one.

FantasticMrFoxFantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – This is the first of two Wes Anderson films on my list.  I didn’t plan it, I swear.  The Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on the book by Roald Dahl, one of my favorite writers, and is the perfect story for Anderson’s signature style.  Using stop motion animation, this is the story of Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) who is doing his best to fight his true nature for the sake of his family.  Eventually he can’t fight it any longer, and his stealing starts a war with three local farmers.  First off, the film is beautiful.  Then there’s that subtle humor and dark side again that I so enjoy.  You don’t have to have children to watch this or Wallace and Gromit, and you don’t have to be embarrassed that you liked them, just remember that animated films can be smart and fun.

IngloriousBasterdsInglorious Basterds (2009) – By far, my absolute favorite Tarantino film, and one of my favorite movies in long time.  Following that same “what if” idea that I like, Tarantino proposes a fantasy about ending WWII by killing Hitler and his closest advisors.  This film introduced us to a wonderful villain, and the actor who played him, Christoph Waltz, that I think scared more people with his cool demeanor, and random bursts of excitement, than any horror movie villain.  I tried to stay away from the big-budget Hollywood movies for this list, and as I think Tarantino is still more of an independent director, I think I can get away by adding this one.  His signature brutality is still prevalent (and how could it not be in a war movie?!), as is his penchant for killing off everyone, but you still leave the film satisfied.

GrandBudapestHotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – I appreciate Wes Anderson’s sense of humor, but that wasn’t always the case.  It had taken a few years of cultivating my own dry sense of humor to appreciate his work more fully.  Sometimes his stories take a strange turn, but that was not the case here, and that is why I was so pleased with Grand Budapest.  As The Sis is a big fan of Ralph Fiennes, we were going to see this movie regardless, but what we discovered was a beautiful film with a wonderful, surprising story – it is no wonder why this is considered his best work.  Keeping in line with his signature style and set in the 30s, a grand (pink) hotel serves as the backdrop for a mystery involving Fiennes’ character, Gustave H., the hotel’s concierge, who provides his clients world class service.  Along with his protégé, Zero, the lobby boy, they embark on a unique adventure.  This film garnered Anderson a slew of nominations, including best film, and it is because of his quirky characters and interesting story that you will understand why.

So there you have it.  When I first started putting together my list, I was at nearly 30 movies that I considered truly wonderful in the last 10 years, so as you can see, this was really taxing to decide on just 10 (and by no means is this list complete).

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you agree with my list?  What movies have you loved these past 10 years?

A Discrepant Writer Reviews: Crimson Peak

CrimsonPeakIn the spirit of Halloween, The Sis and I decided to spend an evening enjoying, what I hoped would be a wonderful and spooky tale by Guillermo del Toro, with the always lovely Tom Hiddleston.  Those two creating a period piece – I’m in!

((sigh))  Oh, Crimson Peak.  Yep, you guessed it.  It was not all I hoped it would be.

*I will do my best to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because as you know, I am usually behind, so by the time I get to a review, I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen it anyway.

I had been looking forward to this film for months.  Del Toro has an interesting vision in all his work, so I expected a great deal more from him.  I like the phrase “left wanting” and that is the exact phrase to describe my feelings.  The storyline was predictable, and as I sat in the movie theater, I felt sort of bored.

I couldn’t believe it either.

Here’s a quick synopsis: Young rich girl, Edith (MiaWasikowska) marries mysterious poor noble, Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and moves into his haunted mansion with his strange sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain).

That’s the best I can do without giving too much away.  The film is classified as a gothic romance which is true.  It’s a mystery in a haunted grand estate that has fallen into shambles, but the plot is a thinly veiled nod to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  Even one of Jane Eyre’s best pieces of dialogue between Mr. Rochester and Jane has been slightly altered and injected into the film.  In both stories it’s a beautiful moment of the man declaring his feelings, that the string that binds their hearts together may be able to stretch across an ocean should they be parted, but it is also a bit manipulative on his part to force a declaration from the younger, naive woman.

For me, as a gothic romance, there should be an element of longing.  Stories such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and even Dracula have a strong longing between characters.  There are a number of obstacles such as social rank, separation, marriage, and even death to create this sense of longing, and that was missing in Crimson Peak.

CPinteriorWhat it did do, spot on, in fact, was the visual aesthetic.  The amazing house, which is the true star of the film, is situated on this desolate spot of land above a red clay quarry.  The clay bleeds into the earth above, hence the title.  A hole in the ceiling allows for leaves (from absent trees) and snow to drift in which creates a wonderful cinematic image, and the costumes are beautiful, even if sometimes I felt they were time period inappropriate.  *Side note, Tom Hiddleston was born to wear a suit, no matter the year.

What it is not is a horror film.  I’m pretty sure I remember Stephen King commenting on how scary it was, but it’s not.  At all.  And this is coming from a scaredy cat.  I don’t like horror movies in general, so I was predisposed to being scared by this film and then wasn’t.  A little heart palpitation now and again is good for you, or so I’ve heard, so I was looking forward to hiding behind my hands.  I didn’t.

I felt the movie took too long to set up the story.  There was too much backstory of Edith wanting to be a writer and frivolous side pieces that took away from the rest of the story.  This made me feel that some of the story was left undeveloped, and left other story ideas confusing instead of what they were hoping would be thought of as mysterious.  And then there was the plot twist.  You could see it coming from a mile away, and that’s why I think I was bored.  I knew what was coming long before it ever got there.


I know I had high standards for this film (because it was one I actually wanted to see by artists I know do great work), and that’s in part because I’ve been disappointed quite a bit recently, and I expected more from this team.  I can’t recall a movie I’ve loved in a long time, and that saddens me.  I want to be a part of this industry, and I feel less inclined to go to the movies each year.  Well, I suppose that means I’ll just have to dig deeper and write something that’ll blow their socks off!

Well, those are my thoughts.  If you saw Crimson Peak, what did you think?

The Dragon Age Obsession Saga Continues…Part 4

InquistionPosterAs I’ve now finished a second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I felt it was time to wrap up this series of posts.  Here are posts one, two, and three which are in regards to starting the game and importing a history, character creation, and dialogue and romance options with companions to bring you up to speed.  I am unable to discuss any of the DLCs because after the first one was released, Bioware decided not to release any others on the XBox 360, so I haven’t purchased any of them.

The anger I have about the gaming industry’s ploys to wrangle more money out of their gamers is real.  I was not ready to fork out $400 for a new gaming console, but if I want to know the rest of the story, that is exactly what I’ll have to do, and because you all know I’m passionate about this story, I’m going to do it…very, very soon.  ARGH!  As this post is not a rant on that, I’ll save that for fuel for another day.

This post is about the grand scale of the story of the world of Dragon Age.  Inquisition is part three and a culmination of the events in the previous two games where story lines and characters come together.

Origins-WardenShieldIn Origins, game one, your protagonist is from one of six “origin” stories (2 human story lines, 2 elf, and 2 dwarf)  in which each avenue ends with you becoming a Grey Warden, an old order of warriors chosen to fight a specific evil known as darkspawn and their archdemon, an old god twisted by their tainted blood.  They live underground and are rather hideous, similar to Tolkien’s orcs.  The presence of an archdemon is a time referred to as a Blight and when the Grey Wardens are needed most, as they are the only real solution to ending a Blight.  In this first game, there are a number of obstacles to overcome while you try to unite the country against the impending threat, and there is treachery around every corner as the Wardens are declared traitors after an initial battle against the darkspawn.

There are a number of characters who you meet in game one that will progress forward through each game, some of them taking on major roles in Inquisition.  Same can be said of characters from game two.  Fun fact: if you’re game one character is a human mage, you will be related to the protagonist in game two.

DA2In game two, you are a human whose family has escaped the Blight and traveled across the sea in search of a safe haven.  The entire game takes place in and around the city of Kirkwall.  Although many people didn’t care for this game, especially in comparison to Origins – you could only play as a human, there was a lot of repetition in the floor plans, and the primary single location of the city as the backdrop – this is where game three is setup; the conflict between the mages and the Templars.  Without giving too much away, one of your allies takes drastic action that incites a war between the mages, who are considered dangerous and are required to live in prison-like societies called Circles, and their captors/overseers, the Templars.

Fun fact: there is a Dragon Age 2 DLC that introduces you to a powerful darkspawn named Corypheus.  It was Hawke’s father, a mage, and the Grey Wardens who imprisoned him.

DAIGame three begins 10 years after the events of game one.  Your protagonist is found as the sole survivor of a terrible, cataclysmic tragedy where a resolution to the Mage-Templar War was supposed to transpire.  A conclave was called at the Temple of Sacred Ashes in Haven, a village you will have discovered in game one.  With no memories of what happened and a strange mark upon your hand, you are considered responsible for a number of the current problems, including a giant hole in the sky; a Breach in the veil, the line between reality and the spirit world, is the source of a demon invasion.  An old form of justice, an inquisition, is formed to solve the many problems that the world now faces.

Everything you’ve learned from the past two games will pay off as you make your way through Inquisition.  The things you know about the Wardens are relevant.  A relic you found in game two has resurfaced with a vengeance.  You will see old, familiar faces (Hello, Flemeth) and meet interesting, new ones (Well, hellooo Solas).  The world of Dragon Age is vast and all encompassing, and you will discover how well it’s constructed.  I instantly became devoted to the series because it combined things I love such as fantasy, medieval times, old world orders, magic, dragons, romance, and adventure, and then went above and beyond to make it a fully fleshed out universe.

As I’ve tried to end each of these posts with some relevance to writing, you will find, if you choose to play, how key world building is and character development.  It’s key to think multiple steps ahead, whether you’re writing a single story or a series.  How do people know one another?  This may reflect in how supposed strangers speak to one another upon meeting – there may be a history there.  What is their religious affiliation?  How do they feel about the history of their people?  Their government?  What consequences do their actions have later?  This is a good one to consider, especially in a serial.  Actions taken by a character may have unforeseen consequences that may be fun to explore later.  Think of the domino effect.

Consider epic tales like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.  I would count Dragon Age among them.  There is so much more going on than the happenings of one person, and you get to live it first hand, well, vicariously through your character.  Your decisions have bearing on the world around you and shape it.  You become a leader in each game; you build loyalty and friendships or enemies.  You get to save the world, and maybe the boy too.  ;)

Aren’t these a few of the reasons we write?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts as much as I’ve enjoyed talking about it.  I could do so much more.  I’m continuing my fanfiction shortly, so if you’re not inclined to play, you can follow along the journey of my Origin character as she tries to save the world and the boy.  I will continue to post them here, as well as on Wattpad and Archive of Our Own (which I just realized needs to be updated).

Have a great weekend and Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #61

I was quite under the weather yesterday and was unable to post anything, let alone get off the couch.  I have refocused my attention on writing the pilot (I still have so much to do, and I like it again!), and thought for this week’s writing prompt I would find something relevant.

I happen to really like the idea of this:


Are you inspired?  I’m thinking about using this as a prompt for one of the letters my characters write to each other, so I will accept this week’s challenge.

Don’t forget to share your creations from any of the writing prompts you’ve seen here.  I look forward to them!

Happy Writing!

Quote(ish) Monday

I pinned this tip recently and I like the idea behind it.  Often times I trust my intuition, that first impulse, but sometimes, the pull in two different directions is equal and deciding between them proves difficult.

Coin Flip

I’m not sure why I feel this should almost have a disclaimer, but as this blog is for writers, in general, I intended this quote to benefit your work, not major life decisions, although, it would probably work in that regard as well. ;)

Are you struggling with a story idea, a character storyline, or an ending?  Flip a coin and let me know how it works.

Have a wonderful week everyone!