Writing Prompt #153

I enjoy the unexpectedness that comes from searching for an idea/image and being sideswiped by something else entirely.

I had something else in my head for this week’s writing prompt, but then I found this. The simplicity, the contrast…I like it.

Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

So how are you feeling? Inspired?

I still have a few flash fiction pieces to complete to make the new goal I set for myself, and I’d be delighted if you’d join me in this week’s writing prompt challenge.

Happy Writing!

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Quote of the Week

I’ve been quiet again.

The thing I didn’t want to happen because I have goals to achieve. The thing I refused to allow even a whiff of to pass me by happened anyway.

It stopped me in my tracks.

The nothing. The barren landscape. The void.

I haven’t had the compulsion, let alone the passion, to write a word. For weeks.

Why? No idea. It all just came to a screeching halt.

I was talking to friends at work, musing over the lack of creating, when they said something quite similar to the quote I’m sharing this week. They reminded me of what I had accomplished this year, and that was only what I had told them about, so you can imagine my surprise at finding a quote that so adeptly surmised exactly that situation; something I needed to hear and wanted to share with you.

I have to remember all the quotes I’ve shared, the words of positivity, and not be so hard on myself. It’s only been a short time of inactivity, and I am fully aware of it. *Not like in the past, when months would fly by unnoticed. Not all days are going to be great strides towards our goal days, so we have to remember to be kind to ourselves and take note of the small steps too.

It’s the season of being thankful, so let’s be thankful for any and all progress we’ve made this year.

And anyway, just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of things – plot points, new ideas, story rewrites, and new characters. The mind has been active…it just hasn’t reached my fingertips, yet.

As 2022 draws ever nearer to its inevitable end, celebrate the milestones you achieved this year. Each new day offers us a new opportunity to continue to work towards those goals, so if you’ve found yourself in a similar position to mine, take a deep breath, and try again.

Happy Writing! xx

*Side note: before posting this, I scrolled through my previous posts and it turns out, about two months have flown by. At least. Well, sh*t.

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #27

I recently read an article in which agents, producers, and managers were asked what they were looking for in a new writer. One mentioned that they wouldn’t even consider a writer without at least 100 ideas, in addition to their 2-3 ready scripts. I found that number a bit disconcerting. I figured, well, I’ve shared some 150 writing prompts so far, perhaps I can build my “idea bank” from those…((sigh)). I guess such a statement was meant to scare off those unprepared. They won’t find me lacking.

Awakening

They thought themselves servants of the old gods. They had built their home in the remains of a fallen one as a way to preserve and watch over the sacred ashes. Every year, when the wind shifted and the air turned, they awaited the awakening. They offered sacrifices and held celebrations in the hopes the new god would be tempted. Would be pleased. There were tell tale signs, moments that would harken the coming, but it had been a dozen generations since the last, they had no way of knowing when the time would be right. This year felt different, mist rolled through the town, blanketing everything in a fine sheen so that the lanterns and the moon glowed with a strange, unsettling aura. Then there was the tremor and the sound of the great god shifting in his long slumber. It vibrated in your chest, it tingled up your spine, and in the distance its arms unfurled. The people stopped mid-action to witness the rising, a mixture of fear and wonder, for how could they ever know if their new god would be a benevolent god, or if today was to be their last day?

For the next image I had two ideas, similar enough, and yet each needing to be told.

Museum

Museums are strange places. I was told that once upon a time, they held relics of other worlds. They were places that held knowledge and history, and allowed visitors to travel to distant lands and connect with people long since gone. Or so they would have you believe. This exhibition wasn’t too different from the truth of what museums actually once were. Organizations that paid exorbitant amounts of money to acquire mostly stolen goods from lands plundered for their riches. This place didn’t feel like an art gallery, more like a zoo. The pieces were described as artist renderings of new species encountered on humanity’s exploration of the stars, but then why did they move? Why did I get the sense that their eyes followed me, pleading for aid? There were other stories I had heard of, ones where people protested animals being tested upon for human advancement, setting them free, and I had the feeling, looking upon the strange figure trapped in a box, that I was going to become one of those people.

~ * ~

When I was a little girl, my parents took me to an exhibit of an inventor, a scientist, a so-called visionary. I don’t recall the details with such clarity any more, but I do remember the feelings of awe and sadness as I took in the subject of each clear box. It was as if they were frozen in time. And there were so many of them. The boxes had to be stacked and platforms were built so that visitors could encircle the room to get a “good view” of all his creations. I remember hearing whispers. I remember the looks on some of their faces as they took in each form. It wasn’t a triumph, it was a freak show. They were said to be designed for a purpose, but whatever that may have been has long since been forgotten. I was drawn to a particular display, number 217. There was something about its form, its face, and when I saw the flicker of movement, I had to stifle the cry that wished to escape my lips. It was in that moment, when I felt small and powerless that I made a choice. It wasn’t long after that the exhibit was permanently closed. Two-ey, as he likes to be called, and I made sure of it. My age and size allowed me to be “unsuspecting”, and that shortsightedness, along with my new friend’s abilities, allowed us to wreak havoc.

Welcome

Earthlings were still a fairly primitive species. They still had yet to move beyond their own planet, but that didn’t make them any less fascinating. They had had visitors since the beginning, those that periodically checked in on their advancement, offering them a helping hand from time to time, others that wanted to discover why so many had been drawn to them in the first place. Eventually, Earth became a destination, a vacation getaway, a chance to observe the natives, and on ocassion, interact with them. The appearances became so regular that the Earthlings built their society around it. They created places for their visitors to land safely, and buildings that offered a more welcoming, hospitable environment depending on their visitors planet of origin. They fashioned places they called restaurants and pubs that did their best to serve food and drink they hoped their new friends would enjoy. Of course not all interactions were so pleasant, but that didn’t make them any less fascinating.

Epiphany

The rain came down in a torrent. Its sudden appearance and forcefulness caused those strolling about to flee and take cover. The pitter patter was like a song to my wounded soul, and it was nature’s perfect response to my grief. It was as if she were commiserating and understood that I needed the solitude. I walked for some time in the quiet. The mist clung to my skin so much so that I could not tell where my tears ran except when they first fell warm upon my cheek. I clung to my umbrella’s handle like a life line, suddenly realizing that the empty world before me was my new life. For a moment I was paralyzed. I stood in the archway, knuckles white, cheeks tear-stained, and took a shattering breath that left me light-headed. And then it dawned on me. The world before me was my new life. It brought a smile to my lips. It felt unnatural, given the circumstances. Then my foot took a step forward, almost of its own volition. My arms slackened and the umbrella fell to the wayside. I lifted my face up to the sky and let the rain wash me clean. And then, again, as if she understood, the clouds cleared and a ray of light shone down upon me. I could not help but laugh.

Red is for Passion

She still remembered the day she was given her red drape, the color that designated her station and responsibility, and her vow. It was a proud moment to achieve such status at so young an age. For years she did as she had been trained, serving as a handmaiden to the goddess and upholding her sacrifice, a vow of silence, until he arrived. They worked side by side in the temple, barely acknowledging one another, tending to their duties. Slowly, over the course of a year, he drew ever nearer. He was drawn to her silent devotion, her soulful eyes, her gentle touch. It was forbidden, and if they were discovered…The first time their hands brushed against one another, she pulled away, angry. The withering look she gave him from beneath her hood made his cheeks burn in shame, and yet a warmth spread through him. In time, the priestess partnered them together on a number of tasks that allowed them to spend more time together, more opportunities for a casual caress that eventually spoke volumes more of intimacy. One day, when they found themselves alone, he took her by the hand and led her further into the shadow of the forest where for the first time he could look upon her face fully and hear her break her vow.

~ * ~

I’d be delighted to read your creations, if you’ve been inspired by any of the Writing Prompts I’ve posted. And I’ll happily share them here as well.

Happy Writing!

Writing Tip Tuesday #8

I work with someone who wants to create their own video game. He wants to write the story, write the music, design the game, everything.

A worthy endeavor.

A grand endeavor.

We were talking world building, all the facets to consider, and I was reminded of this pin, a checklist, I had come across some time ago. It was the entertainment section that helped me introduce some of my characters in my pilot when I was stuck, and I thought I would share it.

Not all of these topics need to be addressed outright, but having an understanding of how your world operates will naturally make its way into your writing, and exploring these aspects may open up your world even further. You may develop more ideas, which is always a good thing, and will most likely make your world feel more authentic, richer, and layered.

I don’t know who created this list, but I appreciate the time they took to condense it all into one. It helped me, and I hope it helps you, and my new friend.

Have anything to add to the list? Please share below!

Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #152

For this week’s writing prompt, I’m still in sci-fi/space theme mode. Just to forewarn you, I might be for a little while longer yet.

Photo by Edvin Richardson on Pexels.com

As is the usual, I went with the first image that struck me. I had the stirrings of an idea for an episode for my original series, or at least a part of it – the pilot is the thing in need of a rewrite.

So what does this bit of imagery spark in you? Feeling inspired to take on this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge?

I look forward to seeing your creations! Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Note to self:

I had been doing so well, and then I got deterred somehow. I lost my motivation even as I found myself unusually satisfied with what I had been producing. I decided to take some time, recharge my batteries, but I have yet to find my center, my norm.

I’m not sure what happened.

Too often I have found myself in long lulls of not writing. I didn’t feel inspired. I let outside forces influence my productivity. And here I am, all these years later, still waiting, still hoping, falling back into old patterns.

Nope.

I refuse.

If I want to be a professional, I have to show up like one. I, currently, have the luxury of writing what I want, when I want, but that is not always going to be the case. I want to be a working screenwriter, and I have to remember, it’s about discipline.

It’s about routine. And you all know I’m all about routine.

When I sat and worked on the flash fiction pieces for the Writing Prompt Challenge, I felt like myself. It was freeing and satisfying, and it was a reminder that I have a purpose.

I have an external deadline, the move back to California, to get my writing in order. I have goals that still need to be met, and that won’t happen without discipline. I can’t will their completion into existence. I have to put in the work. No more flying by the seat of my pants.

I’ve talked about this before, the showing up, the holding yourself accountable, but also the being kind to yourself. Not all days will be multi-page days, but hopefully, most of them will offer progress, to some degree. Setting time aside to create is a step in the right direction. It’s the discipline to be in that space even if you don’t feel like it, because you know it all comes down to you.

We’re driven by the passion for our art, even when we don’t feel it, it’s always there, deep down (sometimes), so we need to entice it to come out and play just by being there.

So what tips and/or tricks do you have to keep up with the discipline? Share with the community! And Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #26

I made an off-handed comment a couple of weeks ago that maybe one of my goals for the year should be to get to accepted writing prompt #50, which meant I had to write 14 new pieces before year’s end. Since I don’t have anything else on my plate at the moment, here we go!

Maybe this will get me back “in the mood” because it’s been a barren landscape for too long again now.

I’ve taken to writing flash fiction – free writes, done in half an hour or less with little forethought or editing and under 200 words, if possible.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Rebel

Three hundred years after its release, and nearly two hundred years of darkness, and they still wanted to call them lightsabers or tools of the Jedi and the Sith. Star Wars not only became a story passed down from the last generation of the sun, but also a cautionary tale which many of the Elders had adopted as part of the rules of our new society. An unintended side effect the creator could never have accounted for. It had been widely believed that we would eventually move to the stars in an age of flying cars and interstellar travel, but humanity never got that chance. Unexpectedly the sky went dark and the science fiction world of a galaxy far far away became just that, fiction, instead of a hope for the future. Our lightsabers, too, offer us protection by harnessing the light as we make our way toward a new rebellion, for no matter the age nor the environment, there will always be those who wish to create a new empire and those that oppose them.

Photo by Navneet Shanu on Pexels.com

The Lock

We had made it through a series of trials meant to deter us, meant to challenge us or destroy us. Judging by the size of the lock, whatever might lie beyond it must, in all likelihood, be the final step, the grand prize, victory at last. Treasures beyond imagining, fortunes untold, riches and wonders…how could it not? The mehanism presented a particular challenge as it was submerged, in its entirety, under twenty feet of water. We came prepared for every eventuality, but as some of the tests had proven fatal, we had come to the end shorthanded. Hunreds, if not a thousand years underwater should surely offer us some goodwill, one would hope, and one would risk everything to discover. 

Photo by Csongor Kemu00e9ny on Pexels.com

The Saint

When they erected statues of his likeness across the land, telling stories of his heroics in an effort to honor his “good deeds” they failed to mention how many people had been falsely accused and murdered for their supposed crimes. Women were the first to be cast a sideways glance, they always were. Men and their small minds, a deficiency they did their best to overcompensate for with violence, this “saint” among them. A woman in power, a community of women, a woman who still practised the old ways, a woman who could read, a woman with a house cat, a woman with a birth mark, there was no end to the list of potential reasons for her to be found guilty, dragged from her home, questioned without any hope of being found innocent, tortured…they threatened those with inferior intelligence, and their pride would never allow such a slight.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Pexels.com

Stairway to Nowhere

It was a marvel. A place of mystery. A place the hopeless traveled to endlessly in anticipation of the blessings it was believed to bestow upon the faithful. It was a deception. A lie.

The stark contrast of the structure against the blue sky was always awe inspiring. It was the first hint, the blur, like a mirage in the distance that caused the heart to swell. They had finally made it. Their prayers would be answered. Their afflictions healed. If only they believed. If only they were worthy. If only they were willing to continue on just a few steps more.

In their delusion, they would walk on, blind to the danger that awaited them at the top. With so few who had endured, if the stories were to be believed, if they were even true, there was no part of the tale that told of the sacrifice required. The reason the pillars ran red.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Faceless

Seeing faces in everyday objects was commonplace. There was a term for it and everything. What they didn’t talk about was what it meant when you could only see faces in inanimate objects while the faces of loved ones started to disappear. Visual sensory overload was becoming just as commonplace in a world that so heavily relied upon that as a means of communication. Words started to dissolve into shortened versions of themselves, acronyms, and emojis. Whatever might be easiest. Emotion, tone, connection…things of the past. So it was no wonder that eventually those who might be recognizable would start to blur into the background and become faceless. You know what? There’s an emoji for that. 

I just found the line I wrote when I first saw this image: I was one of those people, the ones who always see faces on inanimate objects, so you can imagine my surprise, perhaps horror is a better word to describe the feeling of when I stopped seeing faces on people.

And finally, I found this among my notes. I had the stirrings of an idea a while back, but clearly got interrupted – I didn’t even finish the sentence.

Troubled Water

The legend of the Lady of the Lake is a well known tale. The Arthurian legend is among the most notable which is why so many people, for generations, have sought, and failed, to discover Avalon’s true location. We would not be counted among them. We had been meticulous in our research. We were confident in our findings.

Had only luck been on our side. Had only our confidence been enough to carry us.

Upon traveling to the mystical land, strange things started to happen, accidents, or so they could have been construed. Deep down, I think we all knew…

~ * ~

I hope you’ll join me in the Writing Prompt Challenges! I look forward to seeing your creations! Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #151

On Wednesdays we wear pink, and we also enjoy a new writing prompt!

I’m trying to get my head back in the game to conquer a new rewrite of my sci-fi pilot to get it “show ready”, hence a prompt for this week’s challenge that will hopefully get the idea mill whirling.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I like the upward lighting and the possibilities that such a photo poses. Are you feeling inspired? Want to join me in a little writing prompt challenge?

Whatever you create, I hope you’ll share! Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Nearly a month ago, I started to feel it.

The whisper. The tickle at the back of my mind.

The dreaded creativity cursed fear –

Burnout.

At least that’s what I think it is.

As I neared the completion of the first rewrite on my latest screenplay, I could feel my desire to continue waning. I was enjoying the rewrite, didn’t really have an idea of what I was going to do next, despite the plan I had in place in order to be prepared for the move back to LA, and so here I am. I think I mentioned the “fear” in a post, so perhaps I manifested it. Well, if my mind is capable of that, perhaps it could make some other things happen instead.

Even before I felt a bit aimless…lethargic…bored. Still sort of do.

I haven’t been compelled to do much of anything – not yoga, not gaming, not movie watching – just the bare minimum to get by.

So I’ve taken a break in the hopes I can refocus and find my center.

I’m not 100%, but I can feel myself returning to my normal, slowly. I even had the stirrings of a new idea, so…

Being a writer isn’t for everyone. It is not easy, as some may think. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those without the passion to carry them through the rough patches. It may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. While I want to be encouraging to those who already are writers, because we all get it, I’m not sure how apt I am to encourage someone who may only be “interested” to pursue this path.

Okay, that’s not true. You all know I’ve had multiple encouraging conversations with hopeful writers.

It takes a lot of years to see results. We spend an inordinate amount of time alone, doubting ourselves, our skills, our story, and everything in between. We have to push through writer’s block, being told we should get “real jobs”, having to listen to everyone we meet tell us that they have a “great” story idea, as if we don’t have our own or that we need the help.

We’re told we have to “show up” every day. We have to write when we feel like it and even when we don’t. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we do it every day. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we read. We have to get up extra early to find quiet time, or stay up late for the same reason. There are days when we’re lucky to write a sentence, and others when we go blind staring at the screen because we can’t stop the flow.

There’s panic and dread when we submit our stories. There’s a a little panic when we see a new story hitting the shelves or the screens that resembles ours. There’s a perpetual state of waiting. Waiting for inspiration, waiting for a break, waiting for results…and beyond all that, there’s hope.

There’s hope that our story will resonate with someone. That it will help them in some way. That we’ll see our name on a bookshelf or a tv/movie screen. That people will talk about our characters. That they can’t wait to find out what happens next. That they’ll see subtext we weren’t aware of. Maybe they’ll create fan art or fan fiction. Maybe they’ll ship characters we didn’t imagine together.

It’s the hopes and dreams we have for our work that keep us going, but sometimes we need a break from the pressures we place upon ourselves. We heap quite a bit upon our shoulders, and elsewhere. We can’t half ass our creativity, not if we want it to matter, not only to them but also to us.

There are times to press on, to push through those blocks and walls, and there are others to set yourself to rights. Another thing we writers need to know – the difference between them.

What a wonderful life we lead.

So keep your chin up, and do what you can to move forward. Just do your best, even if that means taking a break. No other path is as persistent as ours. No other creative pursuit, or otherwise, is expected to give 365 days of commitment, so let’s remember to be kind to ourselves.

If you have any tips about staving off burnout or how to get past it, please do share!

Happy Writing! 😉

Quote Monday

I am happy to announce the completion of the first rewrite on my new script. And I have to say, I’m fairly pleased.

There it is again, that feeling. Satisfaction.

The Nordic people are known for a particular approach to their work – it can always be better. This is something I definitely echo.

It took a long time, too long, in fact, to be satisfied with my first screenplay. This new one is number six, so maybe it has something to do with that. It’s not my first rodeo. Big question mark.

It took a little longer than it should have to get through the rewrite. I’m not sure how else to explain it, but I had this feeling that I would be aimless when I was done. Still sort of do.

And that’s where discipline comes in.

I was not motivated to finish the draft. I would be sad to be done with it. And yet I knew it had to be done. It’s not like I don’t have a number of other projects waiting. And so I pressed on.

Some days flowed better than others. Some days I was lucky to rewrite more than one line.

So often I’ve heard, and I’ve probably shared it as well, that we have to show up even when the muse hasn’t. Writing is a practice. We have to do it every day. Blah blah blah.

Surprisingly enough, it’s true.

We (I) really should listen to those who have come before because if we waited for inspiration and motivation, it would probably never happen. To be a writer we have to be diligent. We have to embrace routine. We have to show up, and then we’re there when the muse visits.

Nothing has to be perfect. Nothing ever will be. We can do our best, I mean that’s what rewrites are for, and hope that it resonates with those in a position to make something happen.

So Happy Writing! 😉

Have an accomplishment you’d like to celebrate? Have you chosen discipline over motivation? Let’s cheer one another on!