I enjoyed this prompt as it was obvious fodder for a fantasy piece, my preferred genre. The biggest issue I had with this is wondering which of the concepts that it brought to mind I should run with, and I’m currently tempted to go back and knock at least one more piece out based on it.
I eventually went with a concept inspired by Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series of books. I’ve not read the books yet (sorry Andrzej, they’re on my list) but have played the two videogames based on them and tried to evoke the same feel in this piece. I also tried not to add any humour, something I did in a few of the other stories that weren’t necessarily supposed to be funny; strangely I found writing straight harder than allowing myself the freedom to slip in gags.
This was suggested by my friend and old housemate Adam. Thanks for the enjoyable prompt!
EDIT: I have been trying not to go back and tinker with these but someone pointed out a pretty annoying flaw in the original so a small amount of patch-work has been done to the piece below.
“A swirl of dark essence rippled around her arm as she completed the incantation sending a blast of power across the void between them as the final word of the spell left her blue lips.”
I tried something a little different for this prompt and, to be honest, I don’t think it really worked. It seemed like a good idea in my head but as it came out onto paper it became less fun and more rather childish hard work than I’d imagined. I did channel some real-life feeling into it though, so thank you to my partner for always squeezing the toothpaste right in the middle and giving me the fuel to get to the end of this.
Mum, don’t read this one! I have used a naughty word a few times. Well, 76 times, to be precise.
Suggested by my friend Richard:
”Upon seeing it, she immediately felt a sense of rage the likes of which the world had never known. The blood boiled in her veins, her eye twitched. He had once again, left his wet towel on the floor”
Prompt four comes from my friend Gersom:
“The police never suspected that a middle aged mum like Sandra was actually an axe wielding beserker.”
In which I continue to willfully misinterpret my prompts. This was suggested by my friend Laurie. Laurie, I’m sorry.
“The dead had risen.”
The second Facebook prompt is from my friend Trevor. I’ve built a little homework for you all into this piece; it was requested that the heroine knew five styles of hand-to-hand combat and I mention five different martial arts moves – can you work out which styles they’re all from?
“Lady McDanger was a super spy. She was trained in 5 types of hand to hand combat and could disguise herself to look like anyone. Even herself (which no one knew what she looked like because she was so good at spying). Also she had Ebola.”
I was planning on spending some time this weekend writing a flash piece or two just to try to get back into the swing of things. I managed to waste Saturday rediscovering, breaking into and updating this blog then today, after a few false starts, was forced to face the fact I couldn’t think of anything much to write. Rather than continue to sit and stare at a blank page I put a post up on Facebook asking my friends to come up with some single-sentence prompts for me to work from, preferably to the theme of “dangerous women” as it was what I was what I was trying to work with at the time, then went out, expecting one or two replies when I returned.
Boy was I in for a surprise. When I got back I had a pile of responses waiting for me to choose from. Rather than making it easy for myself and picking a single entry from the list I think I could work with I’ve decided to have a crack at each of them to force myself outside of my comfort zone a little. I’ll be working through them in order and putting them up here as I go.
The first prompt was from my friend Andy. I doubt I took it where he was expecting, but here goes…
“Catherine, what do you expect when I have the pyjamas I was wearing, the garden rake I was holding and a mysterious grey smoke has told us we’re not in Kansas any more?”
The piece below is the result of some experimentation with the pacing of my work.
A lot of my older pieces are very descriptive, I tend to get carried away trying to get a lot of detail about a scene down on paper when a lot of it isn’t necessary to the audience’s understanding of what’s going on and I frequently get feedback that this causes the pace of the piece to drag. A picture paints a thousand words, so I suppose this is an outcome of my latent desire to be a landscape and character artist – something I’ve not pursued since I was around 16 after realising I was about as good at drawing as I was at flying.
Before starting the piece below I thought about what I’d been reading recently that moved at a very fast pace. Focusing on the Tales of the Ketty Jay series by Chris Wooding I went back to look at the level of description vs dialogue and action that made up the book, and made an effort to shift the tone of this piece away from the description-heavy style that I normally use and more towards Chris’s style. I deliberately didn’t push it to his extreme, the snippet I had in mind didn’t contain enough action to get away with his frugal use of description, but it was certainly a different experience to write whilst watching the descriptive word-count.
I should say a little about Six Cities. People paying attention may have noticed the tag appended to a number of older posts here without there being much explanation as to what it is. In my head I have two settings bouncing around and swapping ideas between them. Neither has a proper name, but as “Project Two” took over more and more time in my imagination and started spilling out onto paper I thought it needed some form of identity. I doubt it’ll stick in the long run, but for now everything written in the second of my two settings will have this tag. I hope one day to get “Project One” out to the world a little more, but “Project Two” has done the mental equivalent of stealing it’s lunch money and taken a lot of it’s good ideas so there’s more work to be done to get that one ready for prime-time.
This piece was originally written in late November 2014, over a long weekend at my partner’s parents house away from my normal distractions.