“What I’m always trying to do with every book is to recreate the effect of the stories we heard as children in front of campfires and fireplaces – the ghost stories that engaged us.”
Yesterday was having one of those days of rejection and dismay. In a moment of frustration I went hunting for somewhere to dump a drabble or two that had been lingering unwanted in the notebook. Anyway during my hunt I stumbled across Drablr that seems to be a relatively new online presence allowing writers to self-publish drabbles.
As Drablr describes itself:
“Drablr is a real-time self-publishing platform connecting readers and authors.”
So I chucked a drabble online entitled The Protester, doubting that I had accomplished anything other than virtually repressing my inner demons.
Anyway today I receive a tweet from Spec-Fic ‘Verse who’ve decided to feature The Protester within their daily story section. Maybe these folk from Drablr really are connected!
Life sometimes is very odd.
Another week, another 33 words demanded by the lovely folk at Trifecta. Anyway the prompt took an unusual turn this week, instead of the usual photo prompt or beginning sentence we have to devise a tale that ends with the following:
That wasn’t what I meant.
The hushed crowd awaited history. In the distance the apple rocked with his heartbeat. A breath, the play of taut string between fingers, feather against skin.
Focus William, focus.
That wasn’t what I meant.
So Friday night was spent mainly running around a football pitch in a monsoon, a post match beer and then home for a glass of wine with the better half. It then suddenly dawned on me that I had forgotten to check Flash! Friday‘s blog for the weekly prompt. So under the influence I shambled online intending to write down the first thing that hit me with the prompt. I recall typing something, hitting submit, and then heading off to bed.
Consider it my Hemingway moment. Well the write drunk part anyway, I kinda omitted the edit sober part of the system.
So I’m sure you’ll appreciate my surprise/delight at being accorded the Runner Up spot. Made up for the hangover that I spent Saturday with.
Anyway the photo prompt was this:
And the tale that came into being is below, hope you enjoy.
The sycamore pod that Art threw from his pick-up flatbed spun lazily in the air. Mirroring the hypnotic descent of the parachutists dropping out of the sky. Art lay back, watching the skydivers attempting to defy gravity, sipping away at his bottle of whiskey, toasting each one in turn.
He was glad to see them. Harbinger Point, a remote locale, of dead trees and panoramic views had been Lara’s favourite place. They had even begun their courting here, back in the day when people used such words. If she was here now she’d be demanding to parachute, yet there had been obstacles to most of her dreams, be it money, time or Art himself.
Yet here he was, without her, two weeks since she had passed. Art took another slug of whiskey, this time with a handful of pills. He retched, holding it in, forcing another cocktail down.
Before long he was free falling back to her.
Parachutist @ Ft Lewis. Public domain photo.
“There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!”
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.”
So another week and another post in Flash! Friday. Sadly this week I just couldn’t find the motivation/inspiration that normally tumbles when confronted with a photo prompt and the tale I finally submitted shows that in my opinion. Such is life eh? Anyway the normal rules were there, 150 word count, include the theme/notion of patience and away you go. Congratulations to the finalists.
You can find my tale below the far more interesting prompt that was the photo taken by Damien du Tout
Sisyphus & The Minotaur
I awaken to find myself in the belly of a labyrinth forged from derelict rooms consumed by sand. A bellow rings out, echoing off decomposing walls, yet I’m already wading through the treacherous dunes, towards the next room.
Today I escape.
My heart is pounding, fear binding my clothing to my skin. Reality transformed into motion, stooping, clawing, wading, fighting to exist. Every grain marking a second of guilt, a sentence I have had to learn to accept.
A rage fueled cry, the sound of wood splintering, he’s gaining.
I push onwards, scrabbling at yellow grains that deviously give way, clawing through room after room. Never looking back, no need, just focus on reaching the exit.
Another door screams out, this one close behind me. I wade on, fat tears rolling down my cheeks as urine soaks my crotch.
Then a horn gores my stomach, pain like fire, falling into darkness.
I awaken to find myself in the belly ….
I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you.