Five Sentence Fiction: Taketh

 

My friends, I present to you once again, the fruits of my labour that were only picked right before the deadline and are filled with self-referential inability to come up with some so short over such a long stretch of time. One would think that it would be fairly easy then for me to come up with something that was only five sentences long. Well that would be, like many things in our tiny tiny lives, would be wrong. What can I say, I really like short and punchy sentences? So 100 words in Friday Fictioneers is much harder than 5 sentences in Five Sentence Fiction.

Besides, I (supposedly) kicked my habit of run-on sentences a long time ago.

 

Have fun regardless~

 


 

 

Word of Inspiration: Villainous

Word Count: 180

Genre: Creative Nonfiction (I suppose)

Title: Taketh

 

 

I see you there, over there in the dark corners of my thought processes, where you think I can’t see you. I can see through your lies and your deceptions… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to disregard them, pass by them like a 2/2 Dimir blue-black creature with unblockable (which I think you can create by using the Dimir keyrune… I had better go look that up on Google really quick or it’s going to keep bugging me)- in fact, it probably means I’m just going to be chained to them like a big iron anchor.

Why do iron anchors not fall apart from rust by being underwater for so long (it’s because there’s a notable lack of oxygen, which is necessary for the rusting process, in the ocean)? I’m glad I looked that up, or else it would have just kept bugging me.

Curse you villainous curiosity, you who sits over there in my dark thought process tunnels, you who giveth prose and taketh away simply because I can ask “what if?” at the right or wrong times.

 

 


 

 

Oh, Five Sentence Fiction, if you’re not the step-headed red child of this family of short fiction (Featured Fiction is currently away at college and will not be rejoining us until she has completed her studies), then I don’t know what is. It’s hard to write you in general, hard to write a foreword or afterword and hard to become enthused when I don’t have my PUNCHY LITTLE LINES that I thrive on as a person who couldn’t live without free-indirect style and free-flowing narrative!

But hey, at least the M.N.P. worked out well, huh?

Yes, yes it did.

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 

 

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Miniature Narrative Project: Reflection

 

No intro this time, we get right into the meat of it!

 

 

Enjoy~

 


 

 

Impromptu Table of Contents  

 

 

 

I said I would do this, didn’t I? True, it’s about, oh, going on a month late but better late than never. What is it I’m rambling on about, you may ask? Well, the title of this post may help with that, but if you just dove into this, you spelunker of words, you, then I shall tell you why we are all gathered here today. I am here to reflect on a little something I decided to do called M.N.P., or Miniature Narrative Project. It was a kind of makeup for my failure to do any kind of documenting of my writing over November, i.e. NaNoWriMo. Of course, I was still chunking away on Landfall, which has become virtually a biological process at this point, but I wanted to try something new to spice things up.

The rules that I decided to follow for this project, which spanned the very end of November to the very beginning of January went as follows:

  1. A consistent and persistent narrative must somehow emerge from all of the entries I have made for the Project.
  2. I can only sculpt the story using Friday Fictioneer and Five Sentence Fiction entries.
  3. The exception to rule #2 is that I must end the entire Project with a short story entry with the prompt set forward by Featured Fiction.

Note: Featured Fiction was eventually set aside as the source of inspiration after my own mother gave me a prompt to work with, so I decided to go with that instead.

  1. (This wasn’t so much of a rule as a tradition I wanted to keep doing because it was fun) I must have at least one not-provided fiction included in each minus (minus the final one) to help provide atmosphere and fill out the fictive world.

 

Pretty simple, right?

Yes, actually. Firstly, I’d like to say that the rules I made seemed fairly flexible but also restrictive. I wasn’t locked into any specific genre of style of writing, so I found myself experimenting as I went along, going from a more omniscient third-person style (Entry 1,2, and 3) to a more third-person free-indirect style (Entry 6, 7, and 8). Also, I decided to keep myself strictly within the bounds of Friday Fictioneers and Five Sentence Fiction, meaning the former entries were no more than 100 words and the latter had no more than five complete sentence. Even that wasn’t a particularly huge challenge. Then again, I’ve been working with both of those challenges for several months and it was just a matter of saying more with less. Indeed, the biggest challenge in this entire project was getting all of the little disjointed narrative moments to link up since both challenges were based on either pictures (Friday Fictioneers) or a single word (Five Sentence Fiction).

However, I found that I was able to sculpt something like a narrative fairly well from what I was given and the relatively small amount of space I had to work with. I will make the point though, that even though I don’t wish I had imposed greater restrictions and more guidelines on myself as I did the project (mostly because I’m fairly fond of the finished product), I think if/when I do a project similar to this again, I’m going to make it just a bit harder on myself. But now, let’s look at the narrative structure of the story as a whole.

Entries 1 & 2: Both of the first entries were from Friday Fictioneers and both of them, conveniently and coincidentally supplied me with what I needed to establish some background about the world so I could start sculpting the narrative with something solid beneath it. I think the picture offered in the December 5th (Entry 2) Friday Fictioneers really saved the narrative in the Project, though. Having gone with such a wonky idea for Entry 1, while unsurprising for me, it may not have been the best idea for me pursue something in speculative fiction in such a limited format.

OR, this limited format was the perfect time for me to try something bizarre! Challenge the speculative fiction format! Give it the old one-two until its nose bleeds and loses its molars! Regardless, I think the establishment of the world worked rather well, setting up the wider conflict by Entry 2 with the Page-Burners and book-munchers already being at odds.

Entry 3 followed logically afterwards. It was a bit too short for my liking, but that’s always how it is with Five Sentence Fiction. Still, I thought I had established the whispers of a real plot relatively early-on. Although, here’s a fun fact: I had no idea what the plot was actually going to be when writing Entry 3. I thought there was going to be some kind of giant magical printing press underground that pumped out all of the text that kept the people fed/warm. Instead of opting for the more high-fantasy-esque kind of a plot though, I decided to go with something a bit more human. In a weird kind of way. See below for the stunning conclusion!

Entry 4 marked the continued creep towards the escalation of the plot and also introduced the first picture to be used as a way to supply completely new information and not just elaborating on/illustrating information I already mentioned. And no, I never did look up the pictures I used before writing the entries. They just happily stumbled into my lap when I seemed to need them most. I think Entry 1 would have been much less permanent as a concept to me if I didn’t find that bizarre diagram of a child eating a book.

I think I knew this would happen when I started this Project, but as I continued writing, I found that almost all of my Entries were simply setting up for a larger plot and resolution which I would neatly tie with a bow in the final short-story entry. Entry 5 concerned the yet-unnamed Due and Syl’s efforts to craft a plot to catch the author-killer. Entry 5 and 6 were probably the slowest of all of the Entries, which I feel like is an unfortunate fact of reality for the middle parts of the story to always be the slowest. I think Entry 6 was not only the slowest entry but was also the one that moved the story forward the least. It did help to sculpt the rising action to come though, and the atmosphere that hadn’t been touched in a while since the narrative was really plowing forward for the last few Entries.

However, I felt that Entry 7 was my weakest, possibly because I was trying to sculpt an entire character, his personality, and his motivations with only 100 words. I actually needed to use the added picture in order to get the silly story to work at all. And yet, 7 and 8 had the closest thing to real movement and narrative mobility. This probably came from the fact that all of the Entries were tied together spatially, meaning one comes right after the other. Though, I was a little disappointed to look back and see that Entry 7, which introduced Somn, didn’t really clarify whether or not he had killed Bessmore as well. And yet, at least only Entry 8, which I thought was rather enjoyable for its action and sense of humour, stood in the way between the micro-Entries and the big #9.

Speaking of Entry 9, I thought that everything that had previously been written in the micro-Entries came together quite nicely. All things considered, at least. I honestly fell the most in love with the names more than anything else, them being Due, Syl, Bon, and Somn. They were just so fittingly weird. And they were completely hashed out of nowhere when about halfway through the writing I had no idea what these characters were called. Aside from that though, I went with a rather everyday kind of character interaction that’s typical of my 2-person teams. One’s dry and the other’s snarky. Pretty simple. Then there’s the gentleman villain and the big-eyed innocent person who wants to know more than he/she does. Really, it’s standard fair for me. Do I think this is a bad thing? Not necessarily (especially if I was going to expand on it later and show how developed and diverse they could really be). I would have been more off-put if Entry 9 was an actual ending for the story as a whole. Naturally, after going into the world’s lore and set of troubles too much already, I didn’t think I could actually finish off the story with just one short story.

That being said, I wish I somehow managed a way to make some kind of final impression on the Project. However, writing by the seat of my pants as I was throughout the whole process (Entry 9 in particular), I didn’t know how else to handle the narrative but to leave it open for more details and expansion. Honestly though, I wouldn’t object to coming back to this story someday. No idea what I’ll be doing with it but hey, it’s an open door, right?

So, in general I find that this first Miniature Narrative Project worked rather well. To lay it all out:

Pros:

  1. Fully-sculpted world
  2. Odd and enjoyable characters in Entry 9
  3. Pictures used in the Entries helped to sculpt more of the world and give some funny details here and there
  4. A relatively well-paced story through the micro-Entries
  5. The plot of the micro-Entries used its lack of details to create something close to real atmosphere and suspense

 

Cons:

  1. Incomplete story, ending with cliffhanger/sequel bait
  2. As of Entry 9, the characters seemed to be rather standard-fair for me
  3. I had to rely on some of the pictures used in order to get across information I simply didn’t have space for or wasn’t able to condense efficiently enough

 

And yet, I still think that this kind of pseudo-NaNoWriMo went over nicely. It was a bit chunky here and there but I think the generally bizarre atmosphere and screwball plot congealed rather nicely into a rather tasty jam. Which was then spread on toast and eaten as a nutritious breakfast. I’m totally doing this whole adventure again someday. It was just too much fun not to. And hopefully those who read the last M.N.P. will enough the next one too!

 

 

Arbitrarily-Assigned Grade: B+

 


 

 

To answer a question that may be in your head(s, if you’re a two-headed ogre), I have no idea when I’ll be doing this again. Possibly twice every year, once at the end of the year, meaning the month of December, and in the exact middle of the year, meaning the middle of June to the middle of July. Roughly. I’d rather have a very neat line down the middle but regardless, that’s several months off, meaning I can just shove it onto the shelves in my brain and ignore it for a while. Kind of like this whole reflection post, actually.

But I got it done, darnnit!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 

 

 

Five Sentence Fiction: Memories and Stormclouds

 

This one took me a while, which is weird considering how much “Abandon” stuff seems to really resonate in my work. I love working with history, relics, and the past of a lot of things I write. I can soundly blame my history minor and general fascination with history for that one. Well, I didn’t have time to create a whole world in these super-duper flash fiction parameters, so this is what you get: a window into my own personal history!

I have always wanted to do this, actually- go to my grandparent’s old farmhouse and cut my way inside and see what’s left of it. Incidentally, the rocking chair in my room smells just like the house. It’s never lost that smell after all these years.

This is getting too dangerously close to real-talk. Quick, just get on with it already!

 

Enjoy~

 


Word of Inspiration: Abandon

Word Count: 145

Genre: Realistic Fiction/ Historical Deviation

Title: Memories and Stormclouds

 

 

I snuck in, using a machete I borrowed from a friend to hack away the vines that were being vomited out of the glassless windows. I don’t even know if I would call this house “abandoned”; it was empty, for sure, minus a few stray memories and stormclouds of dust, but it wasn’t just dropped and left. My grandma’s cancer, my grandpa’s limbs that were decaying like iron in water, they pulled them away from the farmhouse with the kitchen that had a window to another room and a dozen cats that didn’t even live there. They were removed from hearth and home by (mis)fortune and now I’m back for the same reason. I put the machete down on the table, quietly enough to not disturb my grandparents as if they were still asleep upstairs, and started looking for something to salvage from this ruin.

 

 

 


 

 

Did you know that there are pictures on the internet of celebrities with prominent facial hair that have smaller versions of themselves Photoshopped underneath their mustaches so that the mustache becomes the tiny person’s hair?

Look it up, it’s delightful. I love when things are delightful. They’re like taste. Not food, just solid taste. Flavoured air. Delight is flavoured air.

Somebody write that door down (Editor’s Note: Revised from: door. Reason for initial wording- unknown) and put it into a book of clever idioms that can be spun to make clever titles out of.

“Welcome to the first day of the rest of your death,” springs to mind.

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

Landfall: Chapter 1 Preview

 

Yes, it’s true! I DO in fact write other things aside from flash fiction and overly-verbose intros and outros to blog posts! Landfall is the book I’m currently writing as a continuation of Garamoush and is the first of three (yes, I will need to update Landfall’s information page on that) “prequel” books that are followed by the three “present day” books, of which Garamoush is the first. In other words, think of the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings/Hobbit trilogies. Except nowhere near as good as those.

Well, maybe the Star Wars prequels. We shall see!

Anyway, as I labour like an ox grinding the millstone, I figure I would start to deposit little grains of chapters here for proof that I’m not just a robot that’s hooked up to an ADHD machine contracted to write overly long blog posts.

Also, it’s cool to see how people are liking the work or what their thoughts are on it. That too.

 

 

Have fun with this bit of Chapter 1~

 


 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

“You said she only had one arm when you found her?” Fredrick asked. He leveled the saw against one of the planks, the iron teeth ready to bite.

“Yes,” William said. He corrected Fredrick’s aim by pointing another inch down the plank.

“And she was missing her left foot?” Fredrick continued. He re-adjusted the saw and started to work into the wood.

William groaned. “Yes. Do you want to know the exact shade of blue her skin was too? Or maybe what her corpse smelt like?”

“Easy, Will,” Fredrick said. He coughed and swatted anyway a thick cloud of sawdust. “I just want to know I’m building this right for her.”

William nodded. Fredrick was right, naturally. But it was hard to keep one’s spirit ups when they were building a coffin.

“You would figure we would have gotten tired of butchering each other after thirteen years,” William said with a sigh.

“The Westerners won’t stop until they’re dancing on all our ashes,” Fredrick said as he stood to wipe sweat from his brow.

And how are we Easterners any different? William thought. He considered saying it aloud but Fredrick looked rather disagreeable with that saw in hand.

“It’s the Southern Strain’s fault that this war is still going on,” said Fredrick.

“Why the South?” William asked. “They haven’t lifted a finger against either side.”

“Exactly,” Fredrick said. “The war wouldn’t have lasted more than a year or two after we closed our silver mines off from the West. That’s how the last war ended.”

“Really? I thought it ended because the bone-biting winter that killed thousands of people after they had their homes burned for three seasons straight.” William bit his lip to hide his smirk. He shouldn’t have been poking the bear of a man as he was but it was simply too much fun sometimes.

Fredrick only grunted. “If the Southern Strain didn’t let itself get occupied and its gold mines seized by the West, this would have been over years ago. A million people would be still be alive today.”

“We occupied parts of the South too,” William said. “After we realized there was more gold to take, we didn’t even give them a ‘good day’ as we trampled in.

“We only did so after they showed that they were no friends of the East,” Fredrick said.

“From what I heard, the South fighting off the West from occupying any further.”

“They’re fighting us too, keeping us from more mines and timber in their heartlands.”

“Maybe we should have just politely asked instead of ransacking their homes.”

“You give them too much credit as people,” Fredrick said.

William clenched his teeth, barely keeping himself from shouting to the high heavens. He breathed out of his nostrils, his anger sounding like a bull as he did. “Just keep sawing,” William sighed. “The Faithful need this by sundown for the service.”

“We’re making good time,” Fredrick said. “It’s barely midday.”

“We’ll be lucky to get this done at all if you keep up your yapping.”

William skirted past the timber and masonry that were gathered in clumps like snow, returning to his chair which sat under the shadow of the building. Spring may have been on its way but there was still a chill in the air. The warehouse was practically finished, set to be completed a week ahead of time, as was William’s norm, yet the site was still littered with enough materials to make building almost half over.

“Are you sure you don’t just want me to do it?” William asked. “Building things is something I’d like to think I’m good at.”

“It’s fine,” grunted Fredrick. “I volunteered to make it.” He paused, setting a new plank on the sawhorse. “I didn’t make you remember it all over again, did I?”

“You did,” William said. It had been a good day in that regard, all things considered. Even as he and Fredrick worked on the coffin for the poor girl, William had thought of her surprisingly little. Maybe it was the work that kept his mind occupied. Even if that work was mostly just criticizing Fredrick’s workmanship. William’s leg flexed. He looked down and almost expected to see the pale-blue corpse brushing up against his leg again, as it had done three days ago as he dangled his legs into the bay’s water. And that was one of his favourite places to sit, too… now it was just a spot of death and startled howling in his mind. “But it’s still fresh in my mind. Just buried. So I’m not remembering anything I’m not already all-too aware of.” William flinched as soon as Fredrick started sawing again. “And it’s not fine,” he added.

Fredrick looked up at him.

William stood up and walked over, keeping an eye on Fredrick’s large frame to serve as an anchor for his eyes. “You’re putting too much force into it. You’re not hacking meat with a cleaver. You’re trying to be precise.”

Fredrick shook his head. He kept his eyes on his work, growing more hunched the longer he went on, sawing through the pinewood until his arms bulged and turned red. William moved over to the pile of planks that Fredrick was slowly building. They were… acceptable. For a man who had never worked with wood before.

“You’re alright with this?” Fredrick said between grunts and wiping of sweat. “Using your building materials?”

William shrugged. He looked up at the stone warehouse. Rectangular. Two levels. Perfectly symmetrical. Built to last to the end of the world. Yes, definitely, his own handiwork. Overall, not much more wood was needed. All it needed was a freight window up top. “The warehouse can spare it,” he said. “It’s just wood.”

“Wood’s expensive,” Fredrick said. He spat a short curse as the teeth in the saw stalled deep in the wood. “With the war and all.”

“My employer ordered too much anyway,” William said, sitting down again. “He won’t miss it. He won’t even know where it went.” William tried to remember his name but quickly gave up. He wrote it down somewhere, he was sure. It’s not like it mattered- the man, who was from way up in the Sun District, had filled out all the right paperwork, paid his weight (which was substantial) in silver, and seemed content to wait until his warehouse was done. Just because he ordered too much lumber didn’t mean any of it had to be wasted.

Fredrick looked up at William, his short brown hair clinging to his forehead. He clenched his jaw and gave William a curt nod. It was his unique way of saying, ‘thank you.’

Whatever’s left would probably be a good source of firewood, William thought. And this spring is going to be a cold one. The piles of scrapped pale pine wood made neat mounds in his eyes. And wood is expensive. For a little while at least, William wouldn’t have to choose between getting a full meal at night and staying warm.

William shivered. The last of the winter chill was just starting to leave Harbiton and the shadow of the warehouse left him feeling chilled. Still, he didn’t want to move. It was quiet there, under the protective shade of the building. Even Harbiton’s tens of thousands which formed its mighty voice couldn’t reach so far into the Soaked District. All of the noise stayed on the higher tiers, in the taverns and inns which were noisily stuffed with sailors and natives. Down there by the jetties and docks, only the waves were the loudest thing in William’s ear.

There were no conceits in stone, no sideways glances nor snark in wooden beams and tiled ceilings. A building never cared about what kind of man was looking at it because they never looked back. They never sneered or laughed or made up jabs at a man’s weaknesses.

Buildings never called him “Cross-Eyed William” or “Cloudy-Eyes.”

 

 


 

 

That’s it! That’s all you get! Go home! Or, if you’re already home, stay home! It’s really friggin’ cold out right now.

That’s all I’m going to be uploading of Landfall for right now, partially because I don’t want to spoil things and partially because I write so much and so often that the editing process often gets shoved into the background. It’s entirely possible that there’s some kind of obvious errors lurking in the above passage but I didn’t see any pop out at me. Plus, I handed all of Chapter 1 as part of my final portfolio for senior writing seminar last semester so it had better not have any errors in it!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers: Bad Omen

 

I was challenged on the Friday Fictioneers page to “think outside the box.” So I attempted to do so. Looks like in this case, “thinking outside the box” is just me looking at one tiny detail way in the back and expecting to make a full flash-fiction story out of it. It isn’t the worst thing ever, though. In fact, I kind of got reminded of a Friday Fictioneers from a little bit ago. Like the car being talked about in this story later on evolves into the Heartfelt Ambition Machine of Commander Scoop.

Humble beginnings!

 

Have fun~

 


 

 

 

Image Copyright: Claire Fuller

Image Copyright: Claire Fuller

 

Title: Bad Omen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100

 

 

The Michelen Man’s eyes were rolling. His hand was up like a blade about to fall.

“This is a bad omen…” I said. The disaster made up of car parts thundered underneath my seat. “Are you sure this thing is… even legal to use in the same sentence as ‘safe’?”

“What are you talking about?” Brett said. “We got this baby right from the vehicle testing station.”

“It had a graveyard of mufflers and tires in front of it… Omens.”

“Oh cram it, Lily,” he said, shifting the disaster into “unintentional suicide” gear. The hulk roared in excitement to obey.

 

 

 


 

 

I think it’s funny that looking at my oldest Friday Fictioneers and comparing it to the ones nowadays, my levels of dialogue seem to have heavily shifted towards the “dialogue and almost nothing else” side of the spectrum. Not like I mind, I really like using lots of dialogue because it opens up lots of ways to think about a scene or interaction, especially when so little is given for context and backstory.

Every time I go on one of these reflection tangents, I always think I should go and start writing for more of my Reflection pieces… but school and novel-ing and Pokemon like to get in the way… I’ll do it over December, I swear!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.