How to make plotting your short story fun with Jason L. Blair’s Full Deck Roleplaying: A Scenario

If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll want to read through my last post about Setting and Characters, so this makes some sense. Okay, back to the action:

Since Luchinda dressed for her character, the rest of us decided to dress up too. Woody wasn’t too excited when I handed him a cape and the closest thing I had to a beret.

“Look, honey, I’ll wear one too,” said Luchinda. That worked. Now, the group is all dressed up and ready for the first scenario.

all dressed up and ready to play

 

The Situation

Miss Blue puts on devil horns, “I have a feeling I’ll be playing devil’s advocate,” she says. “Now, where to begin?

“I’m thinking all of you have to meet and start your quest, so let’s say that Mr. Caldwell contacted Dr. Jetland at the university because he believes he has discovered proof of knowledge of an active wormhole and wants her expert opinion. Dr. Jetland brings her Post Doc along to assist and Natalia is at the meeting as Mr. Caldwell’s body guard and to protect the evidence.

“So this first situation is the characters meeting and seeing the first evidence of the conspiracy. What will your goals be?”

“My goal will be to convince the doctors to take me seriously and help me find the wormhole,” says Woody.

“Good. Right. And my goal will be to protect him, protect the evidence and make them do it!” says Luchinda.

“My goal is to examine the evidence objectively and determine if there is any scientific basis for Mr. Caldwell’s discovery,” I say.

“Then what’s my goal?” says Teddy.

“To assist me, of course,” I say.

“I think I should do more than that,” says Teddy, “My goal will be to add some passion for astrophysics and perception to your observations. Maybe not be quite as objective.”

“Fine, sounds good,” I say.

Actions

Miss Blue says we should start on her left and go around the table, so Luchinda looks at her cards and plays the Jack of hearts. Her character Natalia Bash, goes against her nature to give Mr. Caldwell, his research, and theories a rousing introduction while attempting to seduce the new arrivals into joining their cause.

Woody, not having any hearts, plays a 6 of diamonds to introduce Mr. Caldwell’s theory that futurism of the 50’s and 60’s was actually realism from another planet found through a stable wormhole.

I play a 9 of clubs to show that Dr. Jetland doesn’t have time or patience for lofty words, but came to see proof of a stable wormhole. I see Teddy pulling out a 6 of spades. “You would want to see the evidence first, wouldn’t you Dr. Bernstein?” I nudge.

Teddy lays a 7 of clubs adding 3 to my 9.

All attention on Miss Blue

Miss Blue smiles, I was beginning to think I was going to have to create some conflict already, but it looks like Natalia and Ottis will have to beat an 11 of clubs before they can win over the doctors to their cause.

“That’s easy,” says Luchinda. She lays a King of clubs and a six of clubs. “Natalia beats them into submission.”

“I don’t think physically beating them is going to get them to help us,” says Woody.

“Right,” says Luchinda. “I use psychological warfare to bring them to our side, making them think it was their idea.

“Good,” says Woody, placing a four of diamonds on the table. Now that they are listening, I will continue explaining my theory.”

I play an Ace of spades and a seven of spades in alignment with my Wisdom focus to get around Natalia’s psychological tricks and demand to see the pages that Ottis had told me about.

Teddy plays a Jack of hearts attempting to soften my demands and ask more nicely to see the proof.

Luchinda plays a 7 of Clubs, “Natalia still does not trust you. She guards Ottis and the evidence watching you closely, ready for a fight.”

Woody looks around the table with a slight curl to his lips. He plays a Joker. “Ottis never doubted he could convince you. He unlocks his top desk drawer, pulls out a few diary pages and clears his throat to read–”

“Just then, the janitor who had come in and emptied the waste basket pulls a gun on Ottis. ‘I’ll take those,’ he says and runs out the door.” Miss Blue looks pretty proud of herself.

“The cabal,” Teddy says.

“What? I didn’t get to fight him,” says Luchinda.

“Not yet,” says Miss Blue.

“Are you sure we’re playing this right?” I ask.

“Are you having fun?” says Miss Blue.

“Yes,” everyone offers.

“Then what does it matter? Let’s keep going and learn as we go.”

“We still have cards left for this round. It’s my turn, so let’s finish off by deciding if we go after him or make a different plan,” I say.

We all agree.

I play a six of diamonds offering that we should let him go and try to discover more clues.

Teddy plays a Queen and a six of spades to align with his wisdom focus to evade any confrontation with the armed man and get Ottis to write down what he remembers from the stolen pages.

Miss Blue pulls a complications card. An Ace of Hearts. An innocent will die. “Can anyone beat that? No? Sorry guys. As you are discussing your next moves, the man with your pages ran into the street and expecting you to follow, took a hostage. When people crowded around, blocking his path, he shot the hostage and slipped through the shocked bystanders.”

Luchinda plays her last card, a six of diamonds. “Great, Natalia should be fighting and she’s thinking. Maybe I think I recognized the man, a fellow mercenary.”

Woody plays an eight of spades to evade the doctors’ questions about why Natalia might know the gunman.

I play a Jack of hearts and Dr. Jetland makes an emotional speech about how it is now vital that we find the wormhole before a killer does.

Teddy plays nine of diamonds while Dr. Bernstein thinks long and hard about leaving his Post Doc and teaching elementary school.

Woody is the only player with a card left. He plays the two of spades. Ottis Caldwell is still hiding something and, though meekly, tries to evade.

End of Round One

Reviewing My Experiment

There it is. One round of play. I was surprised how much there was to think about and experience with only five cards each. Of course that pesky Miss Blue threw some wrenches in the mix. Though the story and the game had only begun, my friends had to go home and my short story has been submitted and reviewed, so I thought I’d do a quick review of the experience.

photography – The set-up was intensive and time-consuming, but fun. Any reason to pull out costumes is good for me. I found the space around my dining room table very limiting for trying to take pictures of all four actors. The windows, even with the drapes and blinds down, backlit the best angle for the full tableau. However, for a first attempt, I thought I got some interesting shots.

writing – Creating friends from my objets d-art, giving them names and backgrounds and then having them create characters was a fun and constructive way to get a story brewing. I had never really worked on meta story writing before and I enjoyed the layers of it. I enjoyed everything about the card suit meanings for set-up and though I only played one round, game-play definitely led to unique ideas, I would not have enjoyed contemplating otherwise.

the game – This is the first time I’ve tried a table top roleplaying game, so I am not the person to compare it to other games. I also doubt we played it exactly as intended and having human friends with their own thoughts, most likely would have made play more lively. However, as a writer using it as a creativity engine, I had great results. I wrote the short story for The Writer’s Games and received positive feedback on the characters and their interactions, so Full Deck Roleplaying is a proven character development tool. I also received positive feedback on my premise and setting, so overall, my intended use was a success.

Thanks for playing along. If you’re feeling stuck or looking to add some fun to your writing process, I recommend giving Full Deck Roleplaying a try.

 

How to make plotting your short story fun with Jason L. Blair’s Full Deck Roleplaying: Setting & Characters

I’ve been talking a lot about poetry lately, but I’m also participating in The Writer’s Games. The challenge to write a short story to a prompt each weekend started two weeks ago. I’ll be getting a new prompt this evening.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have found many fun plotting games and devices over the years:

story plotting is fun

Yesterday, I happened upon a new one. Writer and game designer Jason L. Blair did a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s TerribleMinds introducing his new tabletop RPG (role playing game) Full Deck Roleplaying.

I downloaded the Playtest PDF to see what he was talking about and enjoyed that the game is played with a regular deck of playing cards, so I could play along right away.

As I began to read the instructions, I instantly knew this wasn’t only a game, but my kind of writing tool: simple, fun, and full of beautiful illustrations!

The game rules set up categories for scene and character creation based on the four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds or clubs. I’m excited to get started, so I’m going to start drawing cards to see what I’m working with. I found a brand new, unopened deck of bicycle fire cards in the cupboard, so that’s fun. It took me a while to break them in to shuffle well.

As I read through the game play again, I was inspired to try a real test run of the game. To do that, I needed some friends to play with, so to have some much needed fun today (since my internet has been so slow as to be useless for two days now), I decided to create a photography tableau of friends playing the game and run through a scenario.

ready friends

Here are my friends:

Teddy has lived with me since before I was a Swedish exchange student. He has traveled the world with me and is a great travel companion: We never bicker, probably because he doesn’t mind letting me lead, and we like the same things.

Miss Blue and I met in New Orleans. We met at the hat shop I worked at in the French Quarter. She always liked my designs the best. We went for drinks when I got off of work one day and became fast friends. She can be a bit self-centered and is always borrowing my clothes without asking. I get over it quickly though because she looks good in them and she’s a warm fuzzy in my life.

I met Luchinda in San Antonio. She has a very vibrant, spicy personality. Being so passionate, she can also be quick to anger. She and I have a great time, in small doses.

Woody was introduced to me by my artist friend, E. Spencer Matthews III. Woody’s an old fashioned kind of guy who always looks a bit haunted, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. I think he plans on cheating; just look at his deck of cards. He and Luchinda are a fun couple, very lively, great energy, at least, when they’re not fighting.

I thought Levi might join us. He seemed interested when I was setting up the table, but he doesn’t like my friends. He’s playing kitty in a drum right now. Maybe he’ll join us later. If he does, he can play my character while I take pictures.

Miss Blue has printed out game booklets with the rules and player sheets for everyone and will play as the dealer. When she set out a deck of FLORIDA playing cards as the challenge deck, we all laughed.

“I bet there are some unimaginable challenges in there,” I said.

“I hope there won’t be any gator wrestling,” said Teddy with a little shiver.

“I’m up for any kind of wrestling challenge,” said Luchinda.

Woody stared at the Florida deck with a haunted look. I wondered if he had experienced some Florida challenges he would rather not remember.

Miss Blue starts the game by drawing the setting cards.

the setting

Setting

Time: Jack of Spades = Past

Theme: 7 of diamonds = Sci-Fi

Trope: King of Clubs = Conspiracy

“Well that’s just Roswell,” Luchinda blurts out sounding disappointed.

“Or kinda Stargate,” I say.

“What’s wrong with Roswell?” You loved the museum, if I remember correctly,” Woody says with a sly smile.

Luchinda blushes and giggles.

What do you think, Teddy?” I ask. “What setting do you think the cards tell us to have?”

Teddy takes a sip from his candy cane shot glass and says, “The past doesn’t have to be long ago past. It can be last week or a year ago. What if the conspiracy is Bio-weapons and we are trying to find the horrible labs where they are experimenting with the viruses and stop the pandemic before it happens?”

Everyone, other than Teddy, moans.

Miss Blue pats his paw. “Teddy Dear, we’re playing this to escape the pandemic, pretend it’s not happening for a few hours. Lets try something more fantastical.”

“I know, ” she says, “let’s play that all those ideas in the fifties and sixties of space-age colonies and things were true, but they were built on another planet because what really happened is they discovered a wormhole and found abandoned human futuristic buildings and dwellings. They sold these places to the super-rich and kept it secret. They were so happy and secretive, they didn’t have children and the secret died out. We discovered some clues to how to find and activate the wormhole. What you think?”

“Yeah, and there’s a cabal trying to stop us,” says Teddy.

“Sounds good to me,” says Luchinda. “I’ll wrestle the entire cabal of selfish bad guys so we can live happily ever after. Won’t I honey?” she says to Woody, pushing out her full lower lip.

“I’m in,” says Woody. “What do we do next?”

Miss Blue says, “Now, you each get to draw cards from your own decks to create your characters. Shuffle, if you want, then turn over your top card. That will be your character’s focus.”

Woody's asking Luchinda if she shuffled her cards because she has drawn three Jacks in a row

Character

Focus: Teddy and I both got spades which is Wisdom, makes sense, Woody got a heart which is empathy, not sure about that. I guess it’s a character not him– but Luchinda drew a club which means strength, a little on the nose, so now I’m wondering about Woody.

Motivation: This time I matched with Woody: We are both motivated by honor. I mean, our characters are, I mean, we drew clubs. Teddy got a heart which is Love and Luchinda drew a diamond which is money. Woody couldn’t stifle a chuckle at that. Luchinda knocked his hat off. He left it off. I like his bald head.

Light: We each got a different suit which should be good for game play: I got clubs, Woody diamonds, Luchinda hearts, Teddy spades. So my good is that I’m talented, Woody is Affluent (I don’t think that’s true, but he is secretive), Luchinda is Generous (that made everyone laugh, I mean, she is in spirit) and Teddy is Perceptive which everyone knows is true.

Darkness: As for our dark sides, Woody and I are both obsessed, Luchinda is violent (really, it’s like her character is just her), and Teddy is greedy.

So now we get to state three things about our character’s first impression and name them.

Final Details

We chat for a while then Miss Blue gets our attention and says, “Okay, so tell us the name of your character and three things we would notice upon first impression. Woody, why don’t you start.

Woody loosens his tie slightly and says, “His name is Ottis Caldwell, he’s an art historian who is also an activist. His cause is human equality and thinks everyone should have access to space travel, not just the super-rich. Three things that people notice about him right away, are the stains and paints on him because he is always cleaning art or making art. He often smells of turpentine. And he drives a fancy sports car that seems incongruous with his beliefs and activities, but belonged to his father and he tends to it obsessively.”

Everyone  claps, “Maria, tell us about your character,” Miss Blue says.

I look at my notes and feel nervous for some reason. “Dr. Estelle Jetland is a professor of Physics at the Florida Institute of Technology and often consults and works with NASA. She is fascinated with wormholes. She often seems like she’s not listening when you talk to her, but her eyes shine and her whole body appears to vibrate when she gets excited by an idea. People are often surprised that a physics professor has such a beautiful singing voice and can play so many instruments. When she becomes interested in something, she will obsessively research it until she has read everything there is to find on the subject. Teddy is her post doc assistant.

Teddy clears his throat. “Uh, yes. My character is an astrophysicist named Dr. Björn Bernstein. He is doing his post doc with Dr. Jetland at Florida Tech. People don’t really notice him because he always has his head in his work, but what they do notice is he’s quiet, but when he does speak–”

“Boring,” Luchinda interrupts. “I’m a bad ass mercenary named Natalia Bash. First off, I’m gorgeous, tall and lean, but second, every bit of me is muscle. Third, I’m gruff, and confident and nobody messes with me. Right. Where’s my leather jacket? There. Now, let’s play!”

choosing our characters

Excavating the Mind Round 2 Day 3: Framing my observations with word association

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Rattle scheduleToday’s Enrichment and Time Eraser

This morning I got an email from Rattle magazine telling me about the videos they are creating on youtube. I enjoyed listening to Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer who posts a poem every day on her website A Hundred Falling Veils. Not only is she a poet with twelve published books and a new book coming out in the next few weeks, she is also a linguist who gave a TED talk called The Art of Changing Metaphors.

“Don’t think of an elephant!” Now you’re thinking about an elephant. Her ideas on framing inspired me to explore a frame for today’s observations.

Yesterday, Trish Hopkinson wrote a post that caught my eye about word association tools. I decided to try out Visuwords with my frame for today’s observations, inspired by my first look out the window “Wet.” Once I figured out that double clicking on a word expanded the associations, and I could move the clusters around, I had a lot of fun. Here’s what I came up with for the word “wet”:

Wet word association visuwords

 

Armed with inspiration, a frame, and some great words, I headed out to observe my world.

Day 3 notes and observations

To my right, blue sky peeks through. To my left, dark clouds roil.

I enjoy how one lovely camellia, far from its bush, punctuates the pavement.

The drips create a metronome.

Notes:

  • a sky half full or empty?
  • surfaces shine with a wet gloss
  • the gloss enhances textures
  • the air is full of rhythmic drips
  • tapping time with invisible dancers
  • or microscopic dancers within the droplets
  • wet makes the world reflective

There you have it, the third day of the second round of pictures and observations

Happy Reading and Writing!

#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 Day 30: Who am I?

last year's costume.jpg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Who am I?

An artist in creation

creator of tales
alchemist of thoughts and words
vivid life afire

#Writober4

The image for Day 30 on the Pinterest board is a painting I did on my friends’ house. It shows three creepy little boys. The theme of their party was strange brood.

My take: These triplets are definitely up to no goods. Are they demon babies? Were they born evil or were they possessed or cursed after birth?

Micro-fiction: At first she thought one of them had fallen and skinned his knee, but when she got close to see if she could help she saw it had been a trap to lure her in.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: amazement

Creepy verbs: distress, harass, pain, strain, stress, trouble, grieve

Story Cubes Symbols: light bulb, building, fountain, crescent moon, volcano, postcard, fish, scarab, cane

Woodland creature: bat -cauldron of bats, a cloud of bats, a colony of bats, a hanger of bats

Collective noun: a bank of circuits

Horror trope: cockroaches

Oblique Strategies: disconnect from desire

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 29: Lightness of Being

eagle in the light close up

photo by Maria L. Berg                     The eagles were out playing in the wind this morning, providing the perfect illustration for today’s theme.

 

 

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Lightness of being.

Playing in the morning light

Heady
The burden gone
No expectation, judgement
No pain

Ready
For the next adventure
Open to suggestion, surprises
No shame

Unsteady
The tethers loosened
Ground shifting, tilting
No blame

Eddy
Swirling in light
Vibrating energy, electric
Not tame

Excitement
In a moment of discovery
Defies gravity’s hold

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 11 on the Pinterest board is a watercolor painting by Indonesian artist Dinan Hadyan. It shows two people with multiple animal masks around their necks.

My take: I imagine these masks having the power to turn the wearer into the animals they represent, or at least pass on an aspect of that animal when the mask is on.

Micro-fiction: After the fire, Suho and Woojin sneaked past the crime-scene tape and sifted through the rubble by the light of their headlamps. Suho found the masks unscathed under a pile of broken sheet-rock. The depictions of the different animal heads were so realistic, he thought they might bite. Woojin grabbed the fox mask from Suho’s hand and put it on. He transformed into a small, red fox and scurried away. Suho collected all of the masks and hung them around his neck. His mind raced with possibilities.

Writing Process and Tools

Let’s look at one more Celtic Cross Plot  for our creepy flash fiction:

  1. The hanged man  2. Seven of coins 3. The Devil 4. Queen of coins   5.Knight of swords 6. The Lovers 7. The Sun 8. The Hierophant 9. Eight of cups 10. Nine of wands

Emotion: Conflicted

Creepy verbs: condemn, doom, frame, judge, reprehend

Story Cubes Symbols: cell phone, airplane, parachuting, tree, light bulb, fountain, magnet, scarab, bridge

Woodland creature: wolf – a herd of wolves, a pack of wolves, a rout of wolves

Collective noun: a mob of wombats, a wisdom of wombats

Horror trope: power-outage

Oblique Strategies: Go slowly all the way round the outside

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 28: Mending the broken places

first ghost

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Mending the broken places. The suggested form, Pantoum, looks interesting.

Mending is only temporary

Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole
Reunite them with needle and thread
The fabric can never again be whole
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead

Reunite them with needle and thread
When left too long the gap needs a patch
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match

When left too long the gap needs a patch
Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime

Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
The fabric can never again be whole
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime
Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole

#Writober4

The image for Day 28 on the Pinterest board shows a ghost I helped make for my friends’ party in New Orleans.

My take: I love how the perspective of the photo makes the ghost look taller than the buildings. How frightening would it be if a specter with glowing red eyes rose up out of your back yard and grew to gigantic heights?

Micro-fiction: Petra knew she had no business messing with Voodoo, but the lady at the shop in the quarter had said burying the gris gris in the garden would change her luck. Her luck had been so bad lately, she had assumed that meant for the better. Cowering under the glare of the red glowing eyes of the rising, giant specter, she knew better than to assume when messing with Voodoo.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Conflicted

Creepy verbs: sluice

Story Cubes Symbols: clock (1:45), padlock, apple, arrow up, pyramid, magic wand, drama masks, key, magnifying glass

Woodland creature: snake

Collective noun: a flourish of blossoms

Horror trope: witches/warlocks

Oblique Strategies: Would anybody want it?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 27: How did I get here?

Getting here

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is How did I get here? Today was my last prompt for this OctPoWriMo and I wanted to try a new form, so I chose Ottava Rima.

Today’s theme had me pulling out my old philosophy books: Neitzche’s Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, and Does the Center Hold?: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.I’m excited to see where this poem takes me.

Getting Here

In a vision of the ideal future
a clear view of an unattainable dream
I couldn’t imagine a complete fracture
or my path veering to such an extreme
I will need to retrain my embouchure
to make a sound that is not sobs or screams
Everything ripped by a force not a choice
The desire didn’t show the cost was my voice

(Note: The framing of the rhyme scheme and syllables helped me narrow my scope approaching this vast topic. Sometimes putting rules and limits on your work can have exciting results.)

#Writober4

The image for Day 27 on the Pinterest board shows a human form backed into a corner.

My take: This image, though a simple human form, is super creepy to me. It makes me think of other dimensions, time not working correctly, not being able to trust my senses. The bare mattress makes me think of torture and abuse. This could be a possession story, a Hell-Raiser type story, something psychological-torturey. It can also fit with the OctPoWriMo theme. How did the character get here?

Micro-fiction: Carl followed Jasper into the abandoned building and up the creaking stairs. He trusted Jasper, but had a sick feeling in his stomach. Jasper led him down a hall of peeling paint. He thought he heard faint scratching in the walls. He felt it on his skin and shivered. They entered a room at the end of the hall. It was empty except for a gray, stained, bare mattress on the floor. Jasper stripped off his clothes and crawled onto the mattress, pressing his squatting form into the corner of the room. Carl was embarrassed, but couldn’t look away. Then it happened. He started jerking, moving so quickly he became a blur. Carl couldn’t see the features of his face anymore. It was as if the moment and the room were bending, shimmering and waving and then . . . he was gone.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Remorse

Creepy verbs: defame, discredit, disgrace, scandalize, scorch

Story Cubes Symbols: world, long shadow, pyramid, arrow (left), padlock, fish, tepee, bridge, clock (10:30)

Woodland creature: bob-cat

Collective Noun: a glorifying of liars

Horror trope: cults

Oblique Strategies: Be dirty

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 26: What has been unspoken

what lies beneath

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is What has been unspoken. The suggested form is Joseph’s Star.

Sitting with anger

ire
vexation
exasperation
the attempt to negate me
animosity
resentment
gall

huff
conniption
disapprobation
bubbling below the surface
infuriating
impatient
stew

sweat
physical
labor will release
a flashlight beam in the dark
let the light shine through
sleep on it
gone

#Writober4

The image for Day 26 on the Pinterest board shows an array of human forms. This Daniel Richter painting has all the creepies: a cloaked figure, a naked person squatting, vultures, a caramel figure covered in candy, a clown.

My take: This looks like a moment after a Halloween party when a group of people are beginning to make some very bad decisions.

Micro-fiction: “Hanna, thanks for giving Tad your cape, but I didn’t realize you didn’t have anything on under it. It’s raining. You’re going to catch your death. What are you doing? You can’t pop a squat right there. I think I saw a port-o-let. . . .Too late I guess. I’m not ready for this to be over. What do you say? Cemetery? We could break into a mausoleum, see if any spirits are about. Or, Chuck’s clown here is looking pretty homicidal. We could go to the woods and scare people heading home. A cemetery with woods? Perfect. Let’s go!”

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Eagerness

Creepy verbs: punish, incarcerate, oppress, exile, blacklist, whip, scorn, brand

Story Cubes Symbols: fire, tent, tree, fish, flashlight, turtle, house, arrow (right), magic wand

Woodland creature: porcupine – a family of porcupines, a prickle of porcupines

Collective noun: a quiver of cobras

Horror trope: slasher

Oblique Strategies: Always give yourself credit for having more than personality

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 25: At the heart of it

Turns out at the heart of it I found ghosts and love 🙂

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is White. The suggested form is Musette.

Blank page

vacant
with potential
wakens

nothing
glaring light blinds
reeling

bleached bare
marks to be made
a flare

Note: I found this poem form more challenging than expected. I like it and think I’ll try some more musettes.

#Writober4

The image for Day 25 on the Pinterest board shows a red, glowing orb structure hanging in a swamp. Someone has traveled far to get to it.

My take: My first thought of this image was that the thing in the swamp had to be alien, but today I’m thinking that it’s more of a mutation, the swamp’s heart.

Micro-fiction: The throbbing became deafening and as I watched in awe the mound lifted from the swamp as if the cypress were a unified body drawing up their roots. There, before me, was a huge heart that glowed red with each beat. I felt that this was an ancient truth that only now wanted to be known.

Writing Process and Tools

How to Write Flash Fiction from Wiki How

Emotion: shame

Creepy verbs: malign, befoul, bespatter, vilify, villainize, revile

Story Cubes Symbols: rook/castle, die (dice), all directions, arrow, cell phone, lamb, fountain, worried smile, book

Woodland creature: skunk

Collective noun: a raffle of turkeys, a rafter of turkeys

Horror trope: werewolf

Oblique Strategies: Is there something missing?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!