Posts Tagged ‘writing prompts’

Pinionpost Gets Resourceful

In Writing on February 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm

A picture of a dictionary viewed with a lens o...

It’s been a pretty long time coming, but I’ve finally started building out the Writer’s Resource section of the site. It’s in the early stages, but hopefully you’ll find a few useful things there.

What might those useful things be, you ask? Let me tell you!

  • Links to writing exercises, prompts and my favorite weekly challenges
  • Dictionaries, thesauri and guides for grammar and usage
  • Links to online collaboration tools
  • Resources to help you in both traditional and self publishing
  • And quite a bit more… Read the rest of this entry »
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WWP Week 2: Famadihana

In Fiction on October 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

Last week, the Wednesday WikiPrompt was an article on Madagascar, and before I get to my story I’d like to thank Sean Fallon for being the first to join in with my fledgling prompt! You can read his (strange, funny, great) story here.

For my own part, I tried to dive into a specific piece of the article, a reburial ritual it mentioned. I’d love your comments and criticism on this (there are a few specific problems I have with the story, but I’ll wait to see if you can pick out the spots I feel are weakest).

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Famadihana reburial ceremony, Madagascar

Famadihana

The wrappings were undone and the body lay bare, the flesh blackened and sloughing from the bones. A hellish stink hung stagnant in the heavy air.

“My God, Philip, what are they doing?” Sir Daniel asked. He had clapped a minted kerchief over his nose and mouth, but the stench was overpowering.

“The natives call it famadihana, sir,” Philip replied. “They think it honors the dead.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Wednesday Wiki-Prompt

In Writing on October 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Wikipedia

People who read this website know I often write stories in response to weekly writing prompts like Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers, Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction and the Trifecta Writing Challenge (more accurately, people who read this site are often reading it because they, too, participate in these very same prompts).

Well, in the last couple of weeks, while working on my stories for these prompts, I’ve found myself turning more frequently to a new source of inspiration: Wikipedia. Something about the process of learning something new – call it flash research – gets my creativity going and I end up really enjoying the pieces that come out of it.

My stories Pietro Barbino and Przypadek, and yesterday’s The Battle of Bicocca all had roots in quick Wikipedia research, and this got me thinking – why not use Wikipedia to start a brand new writing prompt?

Are You Up For (Another) Challenge?

So I’d like to propose an idea to you, my readers and fellow writers: how about a new weekly writing challenge where we take the day’s featured Wikipedia article and write a short story off of it?

Say Say Say (1983, Paul McCartney & Michael Ja...

These sad clowns will be even sadder if you’re not into this idea… just Say Say Saying

I’m going to start doing it anyway, based on whatever article is featured each Wednesday. Today it’s an article on “Say Say Say” – a song written and performed by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

There will only be a few rules. First, the stories should be 500 words or fewer. Second, they should be done by the following Wednesday. And third – there is no third!

So what do you think? Will you join me? Do you even have time in your schedule to fit in another writing prompt? It might be slow to build at first, but I think a weekly prompt that involves a little bit of research could be useful (and knowing some of the Fictioneers and FSF-ers, I’m already really interested to see what you might do with this week’s prompt).

Let me know below – I’d love to have you on board!

Five Sentence Fiction: Story Time

In Fiction on August 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Caleb set down his drink and gave the negro a hard, searching look; in the silence, the sounds of the night seemed to swell outside the window, pressing in on the cabin.

“I ain’t saying I’m ungrateful for the offer, doc, or for what you’ve done for me here, but you’ve gotta look at this thing realistically: a negro and a cripple against an army?  What exactly would your plan be?”

“First I’d educate you on my name, so you can stop calling me negro,” the negro said sharply, but he smiled just the same, “and then I’d tell you how I come to find myself in this place, at which time I suspect my plan will be clear enough.”

Caleb sat up in the bed and propped his pillow at the small of his back, never once taking his eyes from the doctor: “Well go on then,” he said at last, “I ain’t going nowhere.”

***

The Story So Far…Five Sentences at a Time

Chapter 1

The fog crept across the plain, wispy and wavering like a line of ghostly scavengers stooping low to inspect the dead. Caleb felt the dew it had deposited on his eyelids – cold, liquid coins — and awoke, sorely disappointed to find that he was still alive.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Hatchery

In Fiction on August 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Friday is upon us again, and here I am Fictioneering – with what I’d consider one of my creepier attempts.

The photo comes courtesy of Lura Helms, but the prompt, as always, comes from Madison Woods. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

The Hatchery

Snap.

A fissure opened in the stump and Cole stepped closer. The trees had died months ago, but somehow they’d kept growing – not up, but out, tumid trunks swelling in the blackened soil.

Snap.

Now the forest was full of pregnant trees, thick boles hung with knots, limbs splayed.

SNAP.

The fissure grew wide, and a long leg, bone white and ragged, reached from the darkness, groping for purchase on the swollen stump. The dead leaves rattled as a fat body turned beneath, scraping  inside the trunk before thrusting another leg into the light.

Cole stepped back.

Snap, snap, snap.

All across the forest, the spiders were hatching their shells.


***

You know the drill: Leave your comments and criticism (and, hopefully, links to your stories) in the section below, and click on the little blue guy for even more great stories! For more of my stories, check out my fiction section.

Five Sentence Fiction: Freedom

In Fiction on August 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

“I’m your enemy– why would you ever want to help me?”

“Death is my first enemy, Confederate – with injustice a close second, on account of my humanity; that puts you at a distant third, and figurin’ on what I heard in the street – before your Colonel tried to cut you in half, that is – you’re no more a friend to the Southern cause than I am.”

The negro poured two tumblers of a copper-clear drink as he spoke, stoppered the bottle and handed a glass to his patient.

“I’m no traitor,” Caleb urged, taking the smoky-sweet bourbon nonetheless, “and the Colonel’s cause ain’t the Southern cause; the Southern cause is freedom.”

“If four million in chains is freedom to you, then could be you’re my enemy after all.”

***

The Story So Far…Five Sentences at a Time

Chapter 1

The fog crept across the plain, wispy and wavering like a line of ghostly scavengers stooping low to inspect the dead. Caleb felt the dew it had deposited on his eyelids – cold, liquid coins — and awoke, sorely disappointed to find that he was still alive.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Reunion

In Fiction on August 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

It’s Friday, and ’round these parts Friday means Fictioneering to the tune of Madison Woods’ photo prompts. This week the photo comes from Susan Wenzel and for once I was at a loss for ideas, but I mulled it over and did some free writing and eventually came up with this week’s offering. Enjoy!

The Reunion

“You get stronger every year,” Glenn told the clams as he dug. When he found them he pinched their shells with his callused fingers, and sometimes they ended up in his bucket but more often than not they pulled hard and disappeared beneath the sand.

He sat up and inspected his haul: three dozen gray-white shells — some cracked, others already ajar with their feet hanging out — but a good many would be fit for eating, and his sons had always loved to watch them popping open in the pit.

That was forty years ago, he reminded himself, suddenly anxious. How will it be now?

Slowly he made his way toward the rocky shore, black and sharp in the grey distance, his offering clutched tightly to his chest.


***

Click the blue dude for links to the other stories of the week, and, as always, feel free to help me out with some constructive criticism (I like to think of it as crowd-sourced editing).

For your browsing pleasure, you can also find links to my other fiction right here.

Five Sentence Fiction: The Healer

In Fiction on August 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Caleb stared long at the mangled limb, the wrappings nearly black with dried blood; he could feel his pulse throbbing there, thrashing inside the stub like an animal fit to burst from its cage.

“You did this… you took my hand… you – you had no right.”

“The flesh was dying,” the negro said, too calm for Caleb’s liking, “necrotic, as they say, like a crop without irrigation; did I have a right to save your life?”

Caleb fell back in the bed and squeezed his eyes shut, no longer caring to see, no longer caring to live, but then the negro spoke.

“I am a doctor, Confederate, not a soldier, so maybe I don’t understand,” he sighed, “but seems to me you can learn to kill a man with your left hand as well as with your right, if that’s what’s troubling you.”

***

The Story So Far…Five Sentences at a Time

Chapter 1

The fog crept across the plain, wispy and wavering like a line of ghostly scavengers stooping low to inspect the dead. Caleb felt the dew it had deposited on his eyelids – cold, liquid coins — and awoke, sorely disappointed to find that he was still alive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sugartooth

In Fiction on July 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

For this week’s Friday Fictioneers post (care of Madison Woods) I thought I’d try something from a longer piece I’ve been thinking about for a while. This isn’t an excerpt, because nothing longer has been written yet — but it’s a look at one of the characters you’d meet along the way.

I’m definitely interested in constructive criticism this week so lay it on me.

Sugartooth

Anselmo stood at the basin scrubbing his hands long after they were clean. The mud was gone from the creases, leaving hard, sun-leathered skin. He’d served Mister Zucaro for forty years, but not once had he felt used, not until the arrival of the mainlander – this Callum Gallagher.

Anselmo was no man’s tool, but the money … his wife had insisted, Mister Gallagher’s offer was too good, and now he had to do this thing. He’d looked at these fields of green-prickled sugarcane for forty years, worked in this house and served this man for forty years, and now he had to watch it all burn.

And somehow his hands were clean…



***

The link for the other stories is right up there — check them out and post your links in the comments below!

Some other 100-word stories:

Five Sentence Fiction: Loss Remembered

In Fiction on July 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

“Who are you,” Caleb asked, “an escaped slave? Why are you holding me here?”

“I didn’t escape and I ain’t no slave,” the man said quietly, turning from the mirror, “and I ain’t holding you so much as you’re holding me: I shoulda been well north by now, but when I come to find you in the shape you was in…”

The man’s gaze drifted slowly to Caleb’s side, and suddenly Caleb remembered what had happened – the sharp bite of Colonel Grammar’s sword and the hard crack of the dusty ground, wetted by scarlet blood. He struggled to sit up, to see what the man could see, but pain blazed across his chest and down his arm…down his arm, but not all the way down… not to the wrist and not to the hand.

“It’s gone, Confederate,” the man said, almost sadly.

***

The Story So Far…Five Sentences at a Time

Chapter 1

The fog crept across the plain, wispy and wavering like a line of ghostly scavengers stooping low to inspect the dead. Caleb felt the dew it had deposited on his eyelids – cold, liquid coins — and awoke, sorely disappointed to find that he was still alive.

Read the rest of this entry »