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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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!

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!

Writing Tip Tuesday #7

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Outlining.

It’s not my favorite thing.

I’ve read a number of tips from professional writers that speak highly of the technique and its mastery; some of them writing such detailed outlines that they nearly rival a first draft.

I tend to write a bare bones outline – each act and a variety of incidents I have in mind. I enjoy getting lost in a story and allowing my characters to tell me what’s going to happen next. This may not be to most prudent course of action, especially in a time-crunch sort of situation, but I’m not under those types of constraints and pressures to produce…yet.

On my last screenplay, I chose to try something new – a reverse outline. Well, that’s what I’m calling it.

I don’t know if this is something I learned about along the way (I mean, there are so many things in my head who knows where they’ve all come from at this point), but it made sense to me at the time, and I did find a few holes with this technique, so I thought I’d share.

After my first draft was done, I created an outline based on the written text. I made note of each event, each change of scene, any important detail, and any topic that might need to be addressed further. When I was done, I had an outline that revealed any shortcomings and from there I could fill in those blanks.

From this vantage point I was able to see if events were happening too close together, and if I should incorporate a new scene or two to spread out the action. I found ideas that may have been introduced but lacked follow thru. I discovered conversations between characters that were too long, long winded, or not detailed enough.

It made the rewrite a much smoother process.

Yes, I know. It probably would have made the first draft an easier process as well, but that’s not how I write. A rough draft outline so I know the major beats and where it’s supposed to go is how I work, right now.

Yes, yes, I know I should probably be practicing for the work ahead, but I like to be surprised by the journey.

So what do you think of this trick? How do you prepare to write a draft? Share your tips below!

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! 😉

Writing Prompt #150

One hundred and fifty writing prompts.

Goodness. I feel as if I should celebrate.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I started sharing imagery aka writing prompts as a means of escaping my own writing, to break the routine, to try my hand at different styles, and to spark my imagination. I am embarrassed to admit I have only written 36 so far. Maybe a new goal can be to try to get to 50 by the end of the year?

I call what I write flash fiction. I try to keep them around 200 words with little forethought or editing, just a way to write without censoring myself. If this sounds intriguing, scroll through the images I’ve shared, and give it a try. And then celebrate that you created something new, and please share it.

I look forward to seeing what you create!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

I was going to try to count how many quotes I’ve shared now; take note of which topics of positivity and encouragement I’ve been peddling all these years.

There have been a lot.

I had to stop at some point because I was wasting time instead of writing.

I started the quote section of my blog because for a long time, when I came across a really good one, I would post it on my cork board above my desk. I needed inspiration, often because it wasn’t to be found elsewhere, and figured there were probably others like me, who just needed a word of encouragement to continue on their creative journey.

The quotes I choose are generally related to the way I, myself, am feeling at that particular moment. Maybe I chose one because of something I talked about with someone during the week, and sometimes, like this week’s quote, it is for a particular someone who I know needs to hear it.

The Sis has been struggling for a little while now. Her career path is unique, mentally taxing, and physically tough sometimes. It has both a number of pros and cons, but recently the negatives are starting to far outweigh the benefits. We had a conversation the other night, one in which I told her that I didn’t think she was happy, and that no job is worth that.

Day jobs take up a lot of our time. We sometimes spend more time with coworkers than our own families. So it should at least bring some measure of pleasure with it. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of changing jobs without some risk, there are a number of other factors why people stay, but if you are truly unhappy, it is something to reconsider.

I have been unhappy in most of my jobs. Why? Because none of them were what I actually wanted to do with my life. Now there’s a death bed regret. Luckily, I have someone who is supportive of my dream, and now it’s my chance to return that encouragement.

Hence a quote of the week that hopefully offers that inspiration.

I hope you have someone who supports your dreams; at least one person you want to make proud. The Sis is that for me, and after all these years, she deserves the reward that comes with that dedication. And now it’s her turn to find that dream for herself.

Need a cheerleader in your corner? You know where to find me! 😉