Writober Day 17: The Smell Of Death

bokeh skulls appear to rise from leaves

by Maria L. Berg 2017

I will never forget the smell when I returned to New Orleans after the hurricane. It permeated everything. It’s impossible to describe, but it’s a mix of rot, blood, excretion and this sickly-sweet horror that triggers the gag reflex until it is so stuck in your nostrils and pores that you realize it will always be a part of you–The smell of death.

This image makes me think of Little Shop of Horrors (1986) which I paired with the wooden jigsaw puzzle Artifact Puzzles – Garden of Death in the first October Pairings

Is this a killer plant? Is the plant haunted? Or is Death spending a day off tending the garden?

#vss very short story

They knew they had wandered into Death’s garden when a stray step released spores shaped like skulls, moaning on the wind.

#OctPoWriMo

And The Dragon Chose . . .

Though I do not understand the title of today’s challenge, it sounds inspiring and a bit ominous. Today’s challenge is a Dr. Seuss challenge to only use 50 unique words to write the poem. This is based on the bet that led to Green Eggs and Ham. I found an online rhyming dictionary the other day, so I think I’ll start there, choosing words that rhyme with scent and death.

Botrytis Battle

Brown spotted signs of death
And furry gray mold
Botrytis claims his garden
A battle to unfold

Death enters his garden
His step releases spores
In saprophytic appetite
A germ of many wars

Insects carry conidias
Fellow soldiers in arms
Spotted brown colluders
Carry mold that harms

Wounded cuticle weakens
The infection breaches the sheath
Shaking his head sadly
Death grips his snath and swings

Notes on today’s poem:

That was way harder than I thought it would be. The original poem was 74 words and I figured many of those would not be unique, but I was wrong. That took a ton of creative editing, but it was a great challenge.

These poem prompts paired with the #Writober images are helping me come up with some unique writing. This poem was also inspired by an article on cannagardening.com called Botrytis Cinerea: a highly infectious crop killer. Thank you to everyone for the inspiration.

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 17

graphic by Anjela Curtis

Our #Writober image prompts lend to writing horror, sci-fi and fantasy. What other genre could we add to the mix? Today’s image makes me think Gothic Horror like Edgar Allan Poe or H. P. Lovecraft, or we could try Noir Mystery or a Cozy Mystery (the Death’s day off story). It could end up a Comedy or Satire. What genre do you want to explore today?

Happy Reading and Writing!

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#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!

 

#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!

October Pairings (#OctPairs): Halloween Candy and Books

When I was young, one of my favorite things to do on a cool, usually rainy, Fall day was grab a big bag of M&M’s(click on that and check out the weird M&M options on amazon. Coffee and nut, what?), a nice warm blanket and a good book. So for our second installment of October Pairings, I’m going to pair up Halloween candy with great Halloween-ish books.

This should be helpful for any of you still looking for books to read for #RIPXII Peril the First, Second or Third.

cover of Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard ChizmarThe first book I read for the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge was Gwendy’s Button Box Halloween chocolates from Hotel Chocolatby Stephen King and Richard Chizmar.
In the story, the button box gives Gwendy small detailed chocolate animals. I think these chocolates from Hotel Chocolat look like what the button box might spit out for Halloween. But if I were to choose a Halloween candy from my local drugstore, I would go with some special holiday M&Ms let’s see the offerings for this year:

fall mnmfall mnm2fall mnm3fall mnm5Okay, I wish I had nfall mnm4ever seen any of these. I thought I would find a nice bag of regular M&M’s with leaves, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns. These days you can go to  mymms.com and design your own. That’s looking like a good option.

The next book I’m reading for #RIPXII’s Peril of the group read.

slade house Slade House by David Mitchell is a series of stories related to the house, so I think it calls for a candy assortment. I will pair it with MARS Chocolate Fall Harvest Minis Size Candy Bars Variety Mix 45.8-Ounce Bag or this cute  HERSHEY’S Halloween Hershey's Halloween assortment bowl shaped like a pumpkinAssortment Pumpkin Bowl (50.2-Ounce)

Let’s turn to a classic ghost story, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Written in 1859, Cover of Wilkie Collin's gothic horror novelit is considered to be one of the first mystery novels and also a gothic horror. I absolutely loved reading it and enjoyed what I thought was the modern film adaptation The Lady in White by MGM (Video & DVD) when it came out in 1988. Imdb says the writer based it on an urban legend. An urban legend based on the book from the 1800’s. I say yes.
The 1997 TV movie The Woman in White included one Andrew Lincoln. That’s right! Mr. Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes himself.
After you read the book you may want to watch the movies for RIPXII’s Peril on the Screen.

I like white chocolate, so I would pair it with REESE’S White Peanut Butter Snack Size Ghostsreese's ghosts
If you’re not into white chocolate or looking for a “healthier” treat, how about Yogurt Covered Raisins ?

yogurt-covered-raisins-1-pound-bag-3

Another great candy to enjoy while reading is Lifesavers I especially enjoy Wintogreen and Butter Rum.
What books would make good pairs with those?

I think I’ll pair Butter Rum with Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. One of my very favorite books. I’m thinking the butter on popcorn one might snack on at their mutant freak-show. geek love

I would pair the Wintogreen Lifesavers with Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. This book is on my to read list. Goodreads says “Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.” Sounds like a great pairing with Wintogreen Lifesavers to me.     Snow Crash

This was really fun. I’m enjoying October Pairings. I hope you’ll join me on Twitter at #OctPairs and share your favorite October Pairings.

 

Happy Reading and Snacking!

#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.

#Writober Update

 

 

I wanted to add a few things to the line-up for #Writober. While reading Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell for #RIPXII’s Peril of the group read, I had another idea of how to use the #Writober 2 pinterest board. Each image could be a scene in a continuous story. You might end up outlining your @NaNoWriMo novel.

Just discovered #Writober and feel like you’re too late, or feel like you can’t participate because you don’t have enough time? No worries. I stumbled upon the challenge late last year and wrote most of my stories in one weekend. The only limits to the #Writober challenge are the ones you creatively place upon yourself to get your stories written.

The way I did #Writober last year (and I’m doing it again), was I created an Open Office (Word) document and named it #Writober. I then typed a number for each day/image and for the images I had story ideas for, I wrote a title and notes, or just started the story. That way I could jump around whenever inspiration struck. I’m a non-linear thinker and this works for me. I look forward to hearing how the #Writober challenge works for you.

October Pairings: #OctPairs

I had another idea that I thought would be fun for #Writober: October Pairings. Every Wednesday this month, I’ll be posting about things that combine well, like Halloween candy and scary books, or Halloween movies and hot beverages.

I hope you’ll post your ideas for good October Pairings on twitter with #OctPairs.

 

trick-or-treat-book-blog-hop-banner_5_orig

If you have written a scary book and would like to promote it by giving it away on Halloween, head over to Trick-or-Treat Reads.

If you haven’t written that book yet, but love to read scary stories, don’t forget to Trick-or-Treat for books on Halloween.

Have you planned your costume yet? What are you dressing as this year? In the past, I have had my costumes inspire my stories and my stories inspire my costumes. I hope #Writober inspires you.

Happy Writing and Reading!

Easy Inexpensive Halloween Decorations

These ideas from KellysDIY are so fun, I had to repost. Amazingly simple decorations to get you in the mood for #Writober. I think my Halloween decorating will be a month long process this year.

Halloween is just around the corner….so I found some ideas you can do to dress up your home….scary. Fun and easy to do.. I used felt for everything except for the white eyes and teeth. They’re just card stock. We have a covered porch, so I didn’t need to worry about rain. This was totally […]

via Easy Halloween Decorations — kelleysdiy

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.

Happy Halloween!

happy-halloween

This is the first year Gator McBumpypants and his friends decided to get dressed up for Halloween. You can tell it was all Dee Dee’s idea, but I think Herman’s going to have the most fun.

happy-halloween1

This year’s jack-o-lantern won “Best in Show” and “Most Creative” at the annual pumpkin carving party. I won this adorable Witch’s Brew glass.

Feel free to share these Halloween greetings with friends and family.

I hope you get more treats than tricks.