#Writober Day 14: Monsters under the microscope.

writober day 14

Now here’s a real monster from The Science Library/Getty Images.

I think if you watch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and compare this guy to the storm-trooper carrying at-ats you’ll see some design similarities.

This four-eyed alien-like face, belonging to the larva of a water-dwelling beetle, can be the last thing a tadpole sees before it’s snapped up and eaten.

But what if it wasn’t microscopic, or what if you were?

#vss very short story

When the giant monsters emerged from the water, they were still in larval form. The survivors didn’t know how to prepare for the change.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Movement and Words

Words In Motion

wiggly squiggly
swirling whirling
higgledy piggledy
turning churning
shaky quaky
twisting resisting
twittery jittery
toeing flowing growing

 

#FlashFicHive

Write a “dialogue only” flash story.

flashfichive day 14

graphic by Anjela Curtis

I really like today’s #FlashFicHive prompt. One of my main tricks for getting words on the page is to put my characters in dialogue. Writing an entire story in dialogue isn’t easy, but I’ve done it before, so it looks like today’s monster, based on the water-dwelling beetle larva, can talk!

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

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#Writober Day 13: A Well In The Woods

A well in the woods

photo by Maria L. Berg 2017

This is one of the wells at Longmire in Mt. Rainier National Park. This well sits directly to the left of the cabin in the woods. The well definitely makes me think of The Ring a great spooky movie for those you doing RIPXII’s Peril on the Screen.

Why is this well in the woods? What’s in the well? Is it lucky or unlucky? Should your character make a wish or run like hell? I #FlashFicHive has anything to say about it (and the fact that it’s Friday the 13th) I’d keep the coin and start running.

#vss very short story

The volcanic minerals kept them young as the forest and mountain aged around them. Their pale faces appeared rarely, deep in the well, reflecting the moonlight.

I’m still looking for players for #pessimisticmoustache. Please join me on twitter.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Art in the wayward mind

Today’s prompts at OctPoWriMo.com paired with my well image made me think of “filling the well” from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: 25th Anniversary Edition
So I grabbed my copy of The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice and found the section called Finding Water. I opened to a random page from that section and copied it. Not finding words I liked, I flipped through until I found a page with the Title The Abyss. I copied that and cut it up to play with the words from the page. Here’s what I came up with:

The Abyss - a cut out word poem using a page from The Artist's Way

Now that was fun!! The poem I cut out worked well with a page in my art book. YAY! I like that the monster looks like he’s smiling up at you from the bottom of a dark well and the colors look like the mineral stains from today’s #Writober inspiration photo. I may want to add some detail like bricks from the well, but for now I don’t want to touch it.

What’s fun about the poem fitting in this section of my art book is I made windows in other pages, so it changes multiple images. Here’s a picture of the open spread and what the monster looks like with the left page folded over:

So much fun. I love how these pages are going to evolve over time. I’m so glad that #OctPoWriMo is working with my art book.

#FlashFicHive

Post “unlucky” lines at a hashtag and quote-RT

flashfichive day 13

graphic by Anjela Curtis

As I mentioned before, @writingevents is a typo. It will take you to the twitter page of Alex and Jude in Bath, England. Mica Scott’s Free Writing Events is @writevent

Today’s hashtag games and themes are:

NEIGHBOR   LOVE/HATE   JINX   EYES

FEELINGS ABT TIME PASSING    5TH LINE ANY PG

friday writing events

micascottikole.com/events/ from @writeevent

I think #FridayKiss might be seeing some unlucky lines from yesterday’s story.

#Writober

Yesterday, I did some wandering about the internet and found some other people doing Writober in different ways.

@NestHaron’s Writober 2017

If you visit #Writober on twitter, you’ll find a graphic of word prompts by @NestHaron who is Zsolt Fazekas from Romania. His bio says he was born in Transylvania. I’m enjoying that some of the people doing #Writober are writing in French. My French is rustier than I thought.

writober2017

Xero Reynolds

Searching my wordpress reader I found Xero Reynolds. He’s writing from Colorado and is attempting the daily writing to create one story like I mentioned in my #Writober update. He shares his stories on his website.

I hope you’re have a great #Writober and finding tons of fun, spooky inspiration for your writing and reading.

#Writober Day 12: Locked Inside

writober day twelve
The human form inside the eye makes me think of Human Centipede for some reason.

Oh so creepy. What if we all live inside one huge being? What if it’s a monstrous humanoid with yellow eyes?

A writing prompt from #MagicMon on Monday further inspired today’s flash fiction by adding a Ouija board to my story.  I like #MagicMon chats because they include writing sprints and prompts.

 

Don’t forget #pessimisticmoustache. I bet there are lots of descriptive isms for that creepy eye.

#vss very short story

What she thought was a warm light at the end of the tunnel, was the concave lens at the end of her world.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Imagination stands in the road
I like the idea of  the anthropomorphism of imagination.Today’s post on OctPoWriMo.com also talks about imaginary friends.

Today’s prompt includes a poetry form called a sestina. It’s long and complicated, but I’m going to give it a try.

a poem by Maria L. Berg called Voices in Yellow

Wow. That was an adventure. I found it challenging, but I like how it fit with my visual prompt and story idea. I recommend giving the sestina a try, if you are up for a challenge.

 

#FlashFicHive

Develop a story inspired by a GIF.

I went over to #FlashFicHive this morning expecting a GIF to write about, but it looks like I get to find my own, so let’s see what inspires over at GIPHY.

I found a few that I think go well with today’s visual prompt.

I hope this inspires some fun #Writober stories.

Happy Writing and Reading!

#Writober Day 8: Hungry Tree In The Military Cemetery

Tree eating military gravestone

photograph by Maria L. Berg 2017

This tree takes me straight to Poltergeist only these gravestones stayed in the cemetery.

Any of the Poltergeist movies would be great for those of you doing the RIPXII Peril on the Screen challenge.

#vss: very short story

He blamed the trees for his losses; roots tripping his men; branches scratching. The trees seek punitive damages beyond the grave.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: How Could I Know

The prompt at OctPoWriMo.com suggests the poetry form called Joseph’s Star. It’s a syllable line rule ( Syllables are 1, 3, 5, 7, 7, 5, 3, and 1) poem like a haiku but it creates a diamond shape and you can repeat the pattern in as many stanzas as needed. I like these poetry form prompts.

How

could I know

a large tree would grow

when the bird dropped the seed cone

while flying over your stone

out of all the dead

and find life

there.

How

did its roots

find food in old boots

of hallowed ground deep with you

do I dare imagine, too

reaching searching first drink

inside the loosened

seems of the

box?

How

could I know

it would cradle you

suck in your essence like food

lift you through its veins of wood

make you one with it

are you a

tree?

 

#FlashFicHive

Develop a story inspired by a word cloud.

FlashFicHivewordcloud

#FlashFicHive Day 8 Word Cloud by Anjela Curtis

I think some of these words will work nicely with today’s prompt. Until now, I hadn’t thought of a nest with eggs in that tree. Or maybe our protagonist finds a bag full of money in a hole in the tree, or under the limb holding the grave stone or . . . Ooh, this is a treasure trove of ideas.

#RIPXII Peril On The Screen

Because my whole face and head have been invaded by the mucous monster, I spent my Saturday in bed feeling sorry for myself. To feel like I accomplished something, I decided to tackle The Peril On The Screen challenge.

Horns – * * * * (Four Stars)

Horns was not what I expected. It was much better. It had elements of dark comedy and a rich mystery wrapped up in religious symbolism and a truly horrible premise. It even had some Stand By Me moments with flashbacks to the main players as childhood friends.

Swiss Army Man -* * (Two Stars)

This movie was a disturbing, fantasy portrayal of necrophilia. Though I liked the imaginative arts and crafts and am impressed by the obsession it took to raise the bar for fart jokes,–That bar has flown to an unimaginable new height–I felt icky and worried for the writer, director and producers when the film ended.

Watching Horns and Swiss Army Man back to back, I was impressed at how Daniel Radcliff brings his characters to “life” (Ha! Ha!), and wondered if, in trying to get away from Harry Potter, he hasn’t made some odd choices.

The Cabin In The Woods – * * * * (Four Stars)

When I watched this movie before, I may have only caught part of it, or been distracted because, though I knew the plot and remembered the monsters in their cubes, I did not remember that the cast included the likes of Thor, Jamie from Zoo: Season 1 and the Alien huntress herself- Sigourney Weaver.

This movie is so fun. It is a lesson to writers that any trope, no matter how over used, can be seen in a new and create way.

What are you planning for #Writober?

#Writober – a writing and reading extravaganza leading to Halloween

September is flying by too quickly. I haven’t even posted my giant Summer reading review yet, but it’s already time to start looking toward October. October is a great time for writing, especially creepy fantasy and horror challenges. I’ve decided to use J.S. Nagy’s challenge name from last year #Writober to describe the whole month, because of all of the fun writing and reading challenges I’ve found to enjoy. I hope you’ll join me for a spooktacularly productive #Writober.

The Pinterest Board #Writober 2

Last year, I happened upon a great writing challenge called #Writober. The organizer, J.S. Nagy a.k.a @BrassGoblin, created a pinterest board and challenged himself to write a 101 word story inspired by one picture each day. He asked other writers to join him and read each other’s stories on Wattpad. Though I did not post my stories, I did read the other stories. I didn’t end up writing a story for each image and I collected some images of my own, but the stories inspired by the challenge were fun. One of them was even published!

This year, I got excited to add some of my own images to the #Writober board, so I contacted J.S. Nagy to see if he had started planning #Writober for this year. Sadly, for me, not him, he is headed to Japan and does not have time for it this year. So I have taken on #Writober 2 and hope you will join me. Here’s the #Writober 2 pinterest board. I have numbered each image in its description and hope you find inspiration for each day in the array of images I collected.

You don’t have to use the images to inspire daily 101 word stories as @BrassGoblin suggested. Last year, I used the images as inspiration for flash fiction of any length under 1,000 words. I also used them to inspire tweet length #microstories (#vss – very short story). This year, I plan to add poetry, a twitter flash fiction group, a reading challenge and #pessimisticmoustache to the mix.

Poetry

I took a CalArts poetry workshop online through coursera.org last month and got a lot out of it. I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to continue writing poetry with a daily poetry writing challenge. This will be the 6th year of #OctPoWriMo  poetry challenge. They have a poetry prompt for inspiration on the website every day. I wonder how my #Writober 2 images will interact with their inspirational prompts. Could be interesting. I’ll be posting my poems here on Experience Writing.

#FlashFicHive

FlashFicHive

This is a group challenge that comes up every two months. I’m glad it corresponds with #Writober. I’m hoping they will doubly inspire me to write flash fiction every day.

R.I.P. – Readers Imbibing Peril

This is the twelfth year of  Readers Imbibing Peril #RIPXII. This reading challenge has lots of different perils to choose from. It began the 1st of September, but I arrived late to the party and plan to participate for October. I’m planning to be in a lot of peril, including:

In peril the first:

The four books I want to read are:
What the Dead Know: A Novel – Thriller
Small Town: A Novel (Block, Lawrence) – Mystery
Gwendy’s Button Box – Horror
and a surprise that I’ll tell you about in about a week. I’ll be reviewing a book that isn’t released yet.

In peril of the short story:

I recommend looking for stories to read and linking your stories to #Writober.

There are also great stories at:

The Evening Theatre, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Sick Lit Mag, Five on The Fifth, Fictional Pairings, and many, many more great online literary magazines.

Peril on the screen:

For this peril, I thought I would watch Horns based on the Joe Hill novel and that made me think of Swiss Army Man which I also haven’t seen.

And Peril of the group read:

I already have my copy of Slade House by David Mitchell

#PessimisticMoustache

I created a creative description game based on a great line from Agatha Christie. Author Diana Rose Wilson and I play it sporadically on twitter. We post pictures and GIFs and challenge ourselves to come up with an ism to describe a feature. For #Movember it’s full of mustaches, and December was full of creepy Santas, but for #Writober, I’m thinking of using the images from the pinterest board. Here are the rules of play with links to lists of isms. I hope you’ll head over to Twitter and join us. Last year we had a lot of fun through November and December as well.

Enjoy #Writober!

So there you have it. A selection of fun writing and reading events I plan to enjoy this October. From experience, I know life will get in the way, and some days, I might just run out of time, but my #Writober is all about inspiration and creation, so I hope you’ll join me in any way that works for you. Please check back here at Experience Writing for my daily poems and flash fiction ideas and I hope you like the #Writober 2 pinterest board. I look forward to hearing about how you will be spending #Writober.

Another First: McKenzie’s New Boyfriend

bokeh photography experiment with a wide angle attachment on a zoom lens

Galactic Unions                                                                                                    photo by Maria L. Berg

McKenzie’s New Boyfriend is my second story published by Fictional Pairings. They paired my story with a song called Recover by Second Still. I’m listening to it while I write this. It feels perfect for my story–spacey road trip–and on Second Still’s site it says the album was released on my birthday this year (coincidence?).

This is another first in my writer’s journey because this is the first time I have published twice in the same magazine.

When building a publication history, why the same magazine?

When I first submitted to Fictional Pairings, I had two stories that I thought might work. I chose the shorter and more obviously sci-fi because I thought it was a best fit. The moment I received my acceptance letter from Fictional Pairings for BAM-AG Home, I shot off an email saying that I thought I had another piece that would be a good fit. I asked if they might be interested and how long I should wait before submitting again.

Why did I do this? Because I love the musical pairings with flash fiction. It is a great fit for me and I think it will grow. It also shows a growing readership that your first piece was so good that the magazine wanted another.

Like I said in New #LitMag+, finding the right place for your stories can feel elusive, so once you find a good match, I recommend submitting more than one best fit.

Happy #WorldTheaterDay

abandon-theatreToday, on World Theater Day, I am excited to announce that the short story I sent to The Evening Theatre will be published as part of their debut performance tonight 10pm Eastern/ 7pm Pacific. As I mentioned in my previous post New #LitMag +, the magazine is set up as a theater performance and my story “When To Report A Co-Worker” is the Jester’s comic interlude. My story is introduced by The Evening Theatre as “a tremendously misdirecting comedic piece.” I like that.

I hope you will join me in celebrating World Theater Day with a collection of the dark and macabre- and sci-fi comedy- at opening night of The Evening Theatre!

 

 

New #LitMag+

fictional pairings

Tomorrow on Fictional Pairings  enjoy the music they pair to “Your New BAM-AG Home”

Almost every writer dreams of getting published. Most likely, that dream is the scene that comes after (and does not include) the effort involved in reading and researching hundreds of literary magazines, writing queries and perfecting submissions, only to receive rejection after rejection after rejection.

Finding the right place for your stories can feel elusive, but there is hope. New online magazines are cropping up and you can find them if you search diligently.

I recently happened upon some interesting online magazines that are right up my alley. Why do I call them #LitMag+ ? Because they offer something extra.

Fictional Pairings

As a musician as well as a writer, I am very excited about Fictional Pairings, an online magazine that pairs music from bandcamp.com with fiction and poetry.

My very short sci-fi story “Your New BAM-AG Home” is coming out tomorrow at Fictional Pairings. Please give it a read and enjoy the other stories and poetry with their musical pairings. I can’t wait to hear what they think my story sounds like.

The Evening Theatre

This magazine of the dark and macabre, premiering this month, will be setting up its issues like a theatrical performance with an opening act, a comedic interlude, a headliner, etc. I really like the premise and can’t wait for the firs issue.

Twistedsisterlitmag

For those of us that find our writing leaning to the dark and twisted, it can be hard to find a fit for our stories. Twisted Sister proudly lists their contributors on their Freaks and Wierdos page. I hope to join the ranks soon.

Speculative 66

This online magazine presents a fun challenge: to write a story in exactly 66 words. I feel inspired to give it a try. I enjoyed many of the stories in the current issue.

Have you been exploring new magazines to submit to and have some to add to my list? Please share in the comments. You can also add your finds on twitter #amsubmitting

Hope to see your work in the world of #LitMag+

Writing Prompt Contest Winner: Maria L. Berg

One of my flash stories won a contest! Head over to wakingwriter.com to see everything else on Bernadeta’s great site. And like my story there as well 🙂

Waking Writer

Premise: A family moves into an old Victorian house in a sleepy town where everybody knows everybody. The house has been vacant for the last five years, and nobody knows why the previous family left so suddenly. 
Prompt: Write a 500-word story, but write it from the perspective of the house, not the family.

She drips coffee on the counter and the floor not noticing the stains to be as she floats, almost dances, on a sunbeam to the boxes gathered in the living room. The children quarrel upstairs, but she hums as she lifts belonging after belonging, contemplating its perfect abode, then finding its home.

The neighbor arrives with a gift basket and peeks inside saying, “You’ve done a great job with the space.” She doesn’t mean it. She doesn’t mention her friends, The Wilsons, who had lived in the house until that day, five years…

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Radio Inspire Me: A Fun, New (to me) Writing Exercise

My excitement with Future Learn’s Fiction Course continues. One of the exercises from week two is to turn on the radio and come up with a story or beginning of a story (500 words) based on what you hear. I was skeptical but determined to try, so I set my radio to AM and slowly moved the dial until I heard a voice. The first thing I heard was not only give the rooms of your house warmth, style, and comfort. I quickly changed the tuner to noise, so I didn’t hear anything else. The voice made me think of a door-to-door salesman and I imagined some odd things for him to be selling. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to try a couple more. By the time I developed my idea, all of my radio segments fit right in (they are in italics) and I wrote an idea for a Sci-Fi Flash Fiction story. Enjoy!

dsc02686.jpg

 

Horace Bentley-Jaguar IV felt a bit woozy as he adjusted to the three-dimensionally rendered environment. Wiggling his toes felt real, but they wiggled inside shoes made from animal hide buffed to a glaring shine, the kind “wealthy” people had worn on earth during the times of excessive greed and poverty before the original Moon Colonies. He held a colorful beverage with small white and green spheres skewered by a tiny stick floating in the liquid. Wanting the full experience, he brought the glass to his lips. He felt a sharp tingle on his tongue, then a slight burn in his throat, but he didn’t taste or smell anything. Good try, he thought.

With his first immersed step, a warm, confident voice said, “Welcome to your new BAM-AG Home and the best decision you will ever make.” The voice reminded Horace of a strange history lesson he had once seen as a boy. A man in stiff, off-white polyester (a frightening chemical concoction that was banned on the Moon) with large green and blue horizontal and vertical stripes from shoulder to pant hem had arrived at a woman’s door and used a similar voice in an attempt to convince her that she wanted to exchange his pieces of thick, hairy floor covering for pieces of paper.

The voice of the retro-plaid coercer continued, “BAM-AG appreciates that you love your current BAM-AG Home, but with the overcrowding of the Moon Colonies, violent asphyxiation fatalities have surpassed reports of gun violence and oxygen combustion combined. That is a 600% increase over the last six years. If this trend continues, the Moon will be as unlivable as the Earth in only ten short years. But you already know that, don’t you?”

Horace nodded his head enthusiastically, pushing the gyroscopic centering mechanism of the rendering to its limits.

“Lucky for you, the same visionary company that developed The Moon Colonies understood the market and had the ability to teach me their understanding, so I can share it with you. When you purchase a BAM-AG Home you are getting the best that The Conglomerate of Corporate Super-Powers can offer. In other words, your investment is backed by the leaders you trust.”

Horace admired The Logos of The Great Leaders tastefully rendered along the mantel.

“The mind-blowing Future Tech Sensors covering every surface of your home, respond to your physical and emotional needs before you even know them yourself. The intuitive controls not only give the rooms of your house warmth, style and comfort, but also provide you with complete security: regulating oxygen levels to reduce combustion; controlling perimeter armaments in case of threat; and delivering holographic companionship and entertainment.”

The inspiring tones of The BAM-AG March began to play behind the voice bringing a tingle from Horace’s temples to the top of his scalp.

Today is the day that you need to remember those lost–not only those on Earth, but the increasing losses here on the Moon—and plan for your family’s future. Don’t wait! Act today and your BAM-AG Home will be ready when your grandchildren arrive on Mars.”