#Writober Day 31: Happy Halloween!

Tentacles crop on side

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Finding peace. There were a couple of new-to-me forms this OctPoWriMo that I really enjoyed. On this final day and with the theme Finding Peace, I decided to revisit the Clarity Pyramid.

PEACE
at rest
no conflict

uncomplicated
not searching anymore
no need or want while writing

“Stay in the moment and find joy.”

PEACE
no pain
quiet breath

no expectations
left alone to my thoughts
Creating new images

“I imagine a playful world.”

PEACE
cool breeze
bright morning

accepting each bump
physical reaction
is but chemical exchange

“I try to be true to myself.”

As a Halloween treat, here are a couple of my favorite Halloween themed poems I’ve written during past OctPoWriMos:

T.M.I.
The Horned Flying Monkey In The Room

#Writober4

It’s our last day! Did you write a bunch of short, scary stories? I hope so. If not, you have a ton of prompts for when you do want to sit down and write a creepy story. And you still have today to catch up. What could be better than writing some creepy flash while waiting for trick-or-treaters?

As a treat, here’s my creepy contest-winning flash story The Wilson’s Old Place.

The image for Day 31 on the Pinterest board shows a lit jack-o-lantern in a glowing forest.

My take: Though at first this looks like a serene autumn scene, at closer look it is quite sinister. How did this jack-o-lantern get deep in the forest? Who lit it? What is that ominous orange glow in the distance? And why are we here, deep in a dark forest, stumbling upon a lit jack-o-lantern?

Micro-fiction: When I couldn’t run anymore, my breaths burning, my heart pounding so my head would burst, I found myself deep in the forest. I listened and only heard the small brook gurgling. I had escaped. But then I saw the lit jack-lantern and knew that there was no escape.

Writing Process and Tools

I have enjoyed that during the course of the month, through writing these stories, I’ve discovered some new tools to incorporate into my approach to drafting flash.

Emotion: excitement

Creepy verbs: slink, lurk, prowl, skitter, skulk, slither, undulate

Story Cubes Symbols: castle, clock (1:45), apple, cane, magic wand, drama masks, die, magnet, tepee

Woodland creature: cicada

Collective noun: a drunkenship of cobblers, a load of cobblers

Horror trope: Psychokinesis

Oblique Strategies: Decorate, decorate

All of these prompts and exercises are to inspire better writing and I feel like flash is a great way to sharpen our skills. There are many literary magazines that are looking for experimental writing. Flash fiction is a great place to dance along the line between prose poetry and prose, to discover new plot forms and inventive story techniques. Now that you have so many story ideas to explore, play with how you want to tell that story to readers.

If you are interested in submitting your stories to literary magazines, get your free November Daily Planner. Each day features one literary magazine to help you explore and find the best fit for your work.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 10: Touch

soft

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Touch. Today was my first prompt for OctPoWriMo. I hope it inspired. I wrote a post about touch back when I started this blog and did a series on exploring the senses. Here are a couple exercises I created to explore touch, if you’re interested in exploring your senses for this poem:

Exercise 1: Wander though your house and find 3-5 objects with different textures. The objects should have special meaning to you. Put each object in a paper bag or box, so that you can touch it without looking at it, or you could blindfold yourself if you need to. Feel each object. If possible, touch the object with more than just your hands, try your toes or your elbow. Write down everything you think about. Explore texture words, but also emotions and memories. Be as specific as possible.

As with all of our senses, we have to pay attention to the input, or we don’t notice it. If we noticed every bit of sensory information all the time, we wouldn’t be able to think. This is especially true for touch. As long as we are at a comfortable temperature and not in pain, we mostly ignore all of the things we are touching or that are touching us at any one moment. Let’s change that.

Exercise 2: Write down and describe everything you are touching right now. Example: I am touching the keys of my laptop, my small folding table, a cushion, the couch, the table leg, the carpet). What are they touching? Explore those textures. Are any of the things you are touching hot or cold? Do you feel pressure points, or vibration? Does paying attention to the things you are touching change how you interact with them? It made me want to clean my little table and get some tea.

SOFT
silky
cat dander

Neighbor’s roaming pet
Always on my porch chair
His fur a gentle comfort

“A good friend cushions a hard fall.”

HARD
sturdy
unyielding

The cement is cold
Uninviting mornings
I forget my socks again

“Venturing into a new day.”

wood planks

#Writober4

The image for Day 10 on the Pinterest board is a picture of a detailed gargoyle looking down on a city.

My take: I especially like the ribs on this sculpture. It has the horns of a goat, the face of a large cat and the body of a human. I’m jealous of its view.

Micro-fiction: Raissa came up to the roof every lunch break to look over the city like the magnificent gargoyle. She loved to run her fingers over the detailed sculpture to feel its rough divots and scars. She sketched it every day. That was how she was the only one who knew it had an active life when no one was looking.

Writing Process and Tools

Hero’s Journey Plot:

I used Tarot for Beginners: A Practical Guide to Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore to interpret the cards from yesterday’s layout and here’s what I came up with:

A confident, experienced man who listens to his heart and is moved by the heart of others, recently received a material object of greater value to him than is readily perceived. He sees its potential. In his near future, things will not be as they seem.

He sees so many possibilities that he cannot focus until he makes a decision. He is called away from this quandary of possibilities by a need to create, but he is feeling vulnerable and feels he needs refreshment and cleansing after recent trouble. He has put all his passion and belief into something before and that cherished creation was utterly destroyed. However, he realizes that letting that go and learning from his failure can lead to a breakthrough.

He decides to create what he is passionate about, but a bad situation is made worse by a feeling of helplessness. He is tested by a wise advisor and becomes desperate to hold on to his material goods (his creation, his power over his creation).

He comes into conflict with a woman who exposes deceit. She plans to publicly humiliate him and destroy his life’s work. However, he finds that if he stops clinging to his material goods and shares them, they can work together, even find love. But she was only leading him on to get at his creation and now the people she works with are set on destroying him.

He doesn’t give up and comes back with even stronger conviction to do what is right. He realizes he was better off alone, not listening to anyone but himself.

Conclusion: I think it would take a novel to tell that hero’s story, so to answer my own question, I don’t think the entire hero’s journey is the plot form I want for these flash fiction stories. However, a number of these elements did inspire my story. As you might imagine, the conflict with a potential love interest was intriguing, so here’s the plot I came up with:

A scientist who had been discredited and embarrassed in his field, finds the one thing he needs to prove his theory and create something that will change the world. His previous scientific rival hears of his discovery and attempts to steal it, but she sets off a chain of events that leads to catastrophe.

Using the reading I did of the cards, what flash fiction plot would you come up with for our gargoyle?

Creepy verbs: slander, malign, denigrate, slur, smear

Story Cubes Symbols: house, airplane, key, sheep, monster shadow, book, eye, arrows every direction, cane

Woodland creature: owl

Horror trope: mummy

Oblique Strategies: Retrace your steps

 

Happy Reading and Writing!