Thursday, May 31, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Orange

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This entry is the word "Orange." Hearing the word, the first thing I thought of was the harvest moon; but then immediately wondered, what's going on under that moon? This is the result. A much happier story than last week's entry!

***

Above them hung the harvest moon, bathing the night in its not-yellow, not-red glory, hanging like the greatest low-lying fruit in an orchard.

Beneath them their blanket rest on the newly cut grasses that filled their lungs with the sweet smell of late summer as a warm breeze from the West flowed over their entwined bodies.

Drawn into him, his warmth beckoning for more, she leaned to his ear and whispered, "I'm pregnant."

In the dim light he held her close and smiled; but she could not see the tears that formed and raced down his cheek.

Two hearts, shared joy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where am I?

It's been a while since I updated my status on my current work-in-progress, MINIMAL, so I thought I'd just give a little status update. Currently, the work is at approximately 53000 words, in 28 chapters. It's not complete by any means, and really, it's still in "pre-alpha" state...not ready for any large level of consumption. As it stands, only a handful of folks get to see the whole thing as it is--so, no, don't ask (yet.) In the future, when the first draft is done, and before I begin the arduous process of editing with a weed-eater, I will put out the call to arms for some "beta readers," as they're called. That's when a few of you fine folks will get your hands on it for real. Until then, it's sort of all up in the air. I'm one of those dudes that works on one thing at a time--no multitasking here--so there isn't another story going on in my writing life at the moment. I want to get MINIMAL done before moving on to the next tale. I'm wacky like that.

For anyone who forgot, here's what the book is about: There's a nutcase who kidnaps people and operates on them--driving toward some insane goal. A police task-force has been deployed to see if they can grab him before he dumps another massacred body on some unsuspecting street or park. Or, to use part of my sort-of query:

The victims were numbered: One, Two, and Four. Three and Five are unknown; and Six was just taken.
See, he numbers his victims, using dog-tags. And that's why the newspapers named him The Count. I can only hope that when massive editing and re-write time comes, the whole thing makes sense and can be whittled down to something tight and perhaps tense. We'll just have to see.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New story idea...take a look...

This idea hit me just a bit ago, I had to write it down. This is all unedited stuff...very rough...but I hope you find it a little bit interesting. Maybe there's something here to work on.

They wanted to bring the world to the brink and they succeeded.

Those bastard terrorists--and nobody knows exactly why they chose this specific method--managed to bring the world to its knees. That long-time goal of the "oppressed" and fanatical had finally been achieved. The prisons were at the maximum already--then this bomb, virus, or whatever the hell you call it hit; and it blew all society to pieces. Soon, there wasn't any place anyone could go to escape the effects. We know it was a terror cell that started the mess because they alone produced credible evidence that they were behind it. Even when all of them were either in military "protective custody" or dead no other explanation could be found. They were truly responsible for the nightmare that would come--and the world was powerless to do anything about it.

The first real negative effects showed themselves early, within decades food shortages, water shortages, living space shortages--everything was in very tight supply, rationing was commonplace; governments, or what was left of the governments, had to step in...with harsher and harsher methods for control. Crime was rampant because people have needs that weren't being met so they took matters into their own hands. Getting caught didn't matter, jail sentences can only be so harsh, and were a drain of resources anyway, which made the government's situation even worse, if that was possible.

Eventually, laws were passed that granted summary execution powers to the police and military. It was thought that would be a deterrent as well as reduce the excess population. But it didn't really matter what you did, or how much you had, or how much the government thought it was in power, or how many they felt needed to be put down like rabid dogs. It could never be enough; the problem was just that big. There were just too many needy people. Every country was flooded with them, and some--foolishly--were still taking in refugees! As if that would make things any easier.

How stupid of them in Washington to think they were still in command when their own populace was suffering en masse. Three hundred and ninety million Americans, the entire population, was infected. Every last person. Each of them from age eleven on up needed everything.

Things were bad before, when it was hard enough to get by in one lifetime just affording food, clothes, maybe a kid or two in tow...

Now imagine the horror of that compounded over dozens of lifetimes.

It all happened on, of all days, August 13, 2021, which the old calendars tell us, is a Friday. Friday the Thirteenth, a cursed day if ever there was one, took on a new tone of horror. The first reports were in L.A., where the very aged seemed to stop being on the brink of passing. It didn't take long for the "Fountain of Youth," as it was first called, to be considered a blessing; but that was also the curse. Meanwhile, people were doing what people always do: they were having children, and that was the biggest problem of all.

Quickly...whatever it was...it spread. Nowhere was untouched, and nobody was immune: if you were past puberty, you simply stopped aging.

That doesn't sound bad in-and-of itself, but because people wouldn't control themselves--they kept on having children--and the children themselves started having kids of their own when they reached puberty, the population of the earth quickly doubled. Then it doubled again. The religions of the world were partly to blame: their long-standing policies, however divinely inspired, against birth control methods brought the already stretched resources of the world to the point where it all simply collapsed.

On my block alone there are fifty kids, all just past puberty, who are now just as old as I was when it all started. I was fifty when I got infected. They're all that age now, just in younger bodies. They'll be that age forever, just like me.

Physically, I'm fifty years old. I was born in 1971, and the calendar on my one-room apartment wall tells me that today is Tuesday, April 1, 2200. My chronological age is two-hundred and twenty nine. It's also a special day: happy birthday to me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Silence

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This entry is all about the word "Silence." I chose to be a little more...odd...this time, going with something somewhat poetic. Does it work? You tell me. But the idea is both mother and son are now made silent--both for different reasons--but both linked all the same.

* * *

Made to suffer: a wounded heart taken from a wordless mother.

Inside the mind Hell exists; her inner pain was matched with rage.

Giving up her last full tears as they fell to wet the soil.

Deep underground his coffin lay -- the boy never passed his vestal age.

His battled frame saw no more pain; hers would know no end of turmoil.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Five sentence fiction -- Foggy

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This entry is all about the word "Foggy."

* * *

All around me, the off-gray ether swirled as the heat of my body disrupted its gossamer filaments--I could see nothing.

With unimpaired hearing, I could sense the stag had stopped rooting in the grass: the danger sense they have is keen.

Silently, I bring my bow to the ready, string pulled tight to cheek; and with breath held, I pause.

Only the beating of our twin hearts could be heard across the meadow.

Loosed and let fly; the peace is distrubed by a lone gutteral noise of my fatally wounded prey.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Adjectives and Adverbs

When I hear someone say "don't use adjectives or adverbs in your writing," the first thing I want to do is reach for a gun to shoot them. Their advice, for what it is, is, in my opinion, a bunch of BS. Inevitably, they will point to the same lame articles that all repeat the same things: don't do it. Ok, here's an idea...take your dictionary, pick one, Websters, OED, whichever you have on your shelf... Now, grab a sharpie and black-out all the adjectives or adverbs. When you're done, guess what you have? A boring language filled with no descriptions at all. You can vaguely describe something, but not with terms which would make a normal person truly paint the picture in their mind.

Look at this:

He had a steak.
Or,
He had a steak, cooked medium well, seared to perfection.
Which is better? Technically, the first according to all the "expert sources" that would be counted on. But I tell you, and I bet you agree, the second is a far more generous helping and paints a scene far better. That's what writing is all about. So the next time someone tells you the old "don't use adverbs or adjectives" in writing...go ahead and reach for your gun. I do. They deserve it.

Question: multiple projects at once?

A question for my author-type friends... My usual M.O. is to work exclusively on one project at a time, but I know of many authors that have several irons going in the fire at once. How many of you have multiple stories going at once, or are you like me, a one-at-a-time person?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Five sentence fiction -- Sombrero

Having seen this before, yet never done it, this is my first "official" entry into Lillie McFerrin's contest-of-sorts. The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
At least, that's how she puts it. At any rate, below is my entry, and I hope it stimulates some thoughts on the process of writing of your own. Enjoy!

* * *

Tattered and torn from the gunfight, the light of the high-noon sun poked through his stereotypical Latin chapeau, leaving reverse leopard-spots on his face and neck.

His breathing was labored as he hid behind the low-cut wall, six-shooter held in a trembling hand; reloading was taking far too long.

On the other side, not far away, two men were approaching: his makeshift hideout had been betrayed.

The top of his hat poked up above the brick and mortar, "We can see you, Delgado!"

A firefight would soon ensue, and the only victor would be the vultures that circled--high-riding the thermals blown from the mouth of Hell itself.