Again I should begin by issuing my apologies to anyone who has undergone the writing exercises before this one is also blatantly stolen from the originals.
This is about ideas.
One common subject for discussion here is writer’s block and how to overcome it. The answers always say “Keep Writing” but if you can’t think of anything to write then how can you? That is where we come in…
Sit yourself down at your computer/typewriter/piece of paper and put some music on. Take the first couple of lines of a song and use them to create a mental picture. Imagine they are a summary, we want to see the piece that they are a summary of. It doesn’t have to be complete, it doesn’t have any specific guidelines except that it should be roughly (give or take 10%) 500 words. When you have done it post it up with an exact word count and the title/lines of the song you used for inspiration.
Edited to add - Critiquing of any post is open to anyone who also submits.
June 22nd, 2005, 08:42 AM
I'm running. On the run, on the move, fleeing, however you want to describe it, that's me, right now, right here.
I'm in an Internet cafe in Spokane, Washington and I left my damn coat on the Greyhound. It's probably headed for New York or Boston as I write this, only to get picked up by some idiot, who fancies himself as Blade in my black leather trench coat. Good luck to them, I don't need it anymore anyway.
I can't even taste the coffee; my tongue is numb. I must look like a psychopath... red eyes bulging out of my head, hair spiky and greasy from my trip and I just wish my nose would stop bleeding. It was nice of Jack to lay on the ladies last night... even nicer to throw in the coke but my body won't forgive me for it and I have business to attend to.
I'm trying to clear my head but its as messed up as this situation I find myself in. Outside, it's raining hard and it's grey and nasty the other side of this window; almost as if God has adjusted the weather to suit my mood... and the business I am here to take care of.
I like Washington. Here they have 24 hour cafes, hence me getting a caffeine fix at 6:00am, and remaining nice and dry despite the rain and the fact my coat had parted ways with me.
I should have headed stright to Detroit, I know that but I hate people getting one up on me. Call it ego or stupidity, I don't care. I've learned to live with the way I am, I've got to do what I've got to do and right now, here in Washington... that means ripping the heart out of Joe Delano; and if I can... making sure he knows it's me who's flicked out his miserable, double-crossing, no-good life... the pr*ck!
The trouble is, my gun is in my coat. It's a good gun too, plenty of notches on that cannon. I look around my table and I've got few choices. I decide on the fork... the spoon could get messy. I look over at the waitress and as she pours someone a fresh cup, I slip the fork into my trouser pocket. I keep looking at her as I complete the theft and she looks up... I smile and she heads over.
"More coffee, hon?" she says.
"No thanks sweetheart... you sell cigarettes?"
She points over to the counter and I smile and throw five bucks onto the table. I love Washington and you know what... as of this afternoon, Washington is going to f****n love me too. I'm going to remove a cancer from the place and then without thinking twice, I'm heading to Detroit to do more of the same.
Song: Jolene (Ray Lamontagne)
Lyrics: Cocaine flame in my bloodstream, lost my coat when I hit Spokane, bought a hard pack of cigarettes in the early morning rain.
June 22nd, 2005, 11:44 AM
A fist, pounding on glass, the sound booming. Someone is pounding on a glass wall in front of me and yelling something but it’s so hard to hear. I draw breath, dimly aware of the cold fluid filling my lungs and yet I can still breathe. It had frightened me before…
…the voices in my head clamor, demanding my attention. So many voices, so many things to do. Calculations fill my head, bits of conversation all around me, droning on….
Movement again. Two people arguing and waving at me…. Voices calling me back…. Numbers flash in front of me, line after line and it’s my voice as part of the rest, chanting numbers into the darkness….
Breaking glass and pressure that had been a part of me for so long falling away while the voices in my head scream shrilly as I sag limply, held in something. A hand slaps me but there’s still fluid in my lungs and there’s no more air… I can feel the liquid in the back of my throat but only a little spills out and my lungs are so heavy and there’s no more air….
..and suddenly I’m free, gravity pulling me to the ground and I convulse, spewing liquid from my lungs in sudden silence onto the cold tile floor. I manage to gasp and a little air gets inside me, I can breathe…!
“Is she ok?”
“I don’t know,” someone snaps, “I’ve never ripped anyone out of something like that before!”
Things are being pulled off of me, out of me – and then someone rolls me over onto my back, staring up at a blurry light. A shadowy figure leans over me as I cough and shiver.
“What’s wrong? Is she dying?”
“She’s cold! You do your job and let me do mine, alright?”
“Samantha? Can you understand me?” Fingers pry open my eyelids and I stare back at the blurry face leaning over me. “We’re here to rescue you – do you understand?”
My left cheek stings hotly again. “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” he says again, loudly. I manage to nod, drawing my arms across my chest. Hand sit me up, then wrap me in something dry and warm before hoisting up and over a shoulder, giving me a strange view of the floor.
“Do you think you should carry her like that…”
“We don’t have time for this! She’ll survive. We won’t if we don’t get going!”
Song: Bring Me to Life, Evanescence.
Lyrics:how can you see into my eyes like open doors
leading you down into my core
where i've become so numb without a soul my spirit sleeping somewhere cold
June 22nd, 2005, 03:05 PM
Second person, not a POV I use often
You do it mentally every day, walk on the broken glass. It is how you survive. You keep on walking no matter what the pain. If you give into that pain you are done for. There is no one to save you from the wreckage now. They are gone; smothered by the falling shards.
Watch the sun come up from your smeared, cracked window. It shimmers through the haze of the smog trying so hard to reach the surface, but it doesn’t. Like you it is cut off at the knees before the clock on the wall hits eight.
Count the steps away from the window, how many slivers under your feet in those few paces to your cigarettes on the table. How many enter your hand as you reach out shaking for the packet. The effort of lighting up one slender white stick leaves you gasping for air, air the smoke will try to deny you, but hell the bitter-sweet haze will stop the shaking. The second drag is not at bad as the first, just the beginning of the welcome release from the self-denial you force on yourself to placate your body's need for a few hours in sweat-limed sheets.
With the third pull the glass under your feet has softened; it is bearable for now. You can cope. You stub out the cigarette in the dregs of your coffee. Stuff the cigarettes and lighter into your pocket and head across the glass to the door and the world outside.
You don’t smile at your fellows as they too trundle out of their cages and wait with you by the lift. Smiling would mean the glass fragments had reached your heart, that you had stopped fighting the pain and allowed the world to win.
You step forward into the glass lift running down the side of the tower of metal and concrete you call home. The others follow you and you are pressed into the corner of the lift, eyes drawn to the darkening clouds as the vehicle you are in slides down molten, silver smooth. You press your head to the glass. Cold, smooth, unfeeling, uncaring like the hive where you walk on the glass.
But you care, that’s why you walk on the broken glass.
Song; Walking on broken glass by Annie Lennox.
I'm living in an empty room
With all the windows smashed.
That it feels like I am walking on broken glass.
And if you try to cut me down
You know that I might bleed.
June 22nd, 2005, 05:34 PM
He typed a code into a panel on the wall and the doors slid open.
“This is something special,” he smiled at me, his teeth didn’t fit. He held his stick out as a barrier to stop me going straight in, “I want you to promise me that this will stay secret, this isn’t to be in the book,” I was confused for a moment, but then I remembered that I’d told him I was writing a book about the twentieth century. I’d known he wouldn’t let me in if I’d told him I simply like to look at other murderers. To stare into their eyes and wonder if they felt the same way I did? I wasn’t in the same league as these guys though.
“Sure thing Mr Peterson, this one is off the record,” I took the old fashioned recorder form my pocket and made a show of switching it off. I left the video implant running though.
For a moment he didn’t move, then he nodded and let the stick drop. Considering how frail he was I had trouble keeping up. The corridor wound to the left and opened into a darkened room. He reached out and took my arm in his hand.
“Can you feel them?”
I nodded, I thought it was what he wanted.
“Let there be light,” said the old man, and there was light. He turned to me “An indulgence of mine, you know the reference of course?”
“Of course,” I smiled. I had no idea what he was talking about and I didn’t care. Ahead of me were the things I was here to see. Lying on stone slabs surrounded by circles of light were the bodies of two men. On a small pedastal at the foot on one of the biers was a metallic spike. Could that possibly be what it looked like?
“I found them both when I was much younger, in the early days of the great war a lot of things vanished. I did well, they cost me less than the price of a meal,” he shook his head, “They’ve been here ever since. But here, look at this. He picked the icepick from its resting place and handed it to me. I imagined I could still see traces of blood, but the recording didn’t show any later.
“Is this the one that killed him?”
He nodded, “Look at them both, so peaceful. Between them they were responsible for countless deaths. I still think they had good intentions, but then perhaps not…”
I just stood and stared. Trotsky was nothing special, I wouldn’t have recognised him if I’d seen him in the street but the other face was unforgettable. For a moment I couldn’t move, I just stared into the face of Lenin, he looked happy.
No more Heroes - The Stranglers
Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky? He got an ice pick that made his ears burn. Whatever happened to dear old Lenin?
Words - 468
June 23rd, 2005, 12:51 AM
She was shaking. From fear or from anger she didn't know, but her whole body felt like it was being jolted by an earthquake. This is it, she told herself. Do it. NOW! Slowly she felt her foot slide foward. There. One step. Her other foot felt like it was made of lead. God, please let me out of here! It was not blasphomy; it was a true prayer. Somehow the other foot moved ahead of the other. You're doing it, she thought. You're going to do it. You HAVE to. Forcing her trembling knees to comply she shifted again. Another step. The backpack felt heavy on her slender shoulderes. She fought the urge to sob. It was not fair that she had to make this terrible chioce, but only something drastic could save her now. MOVE! Another step. Slowly, ever so slowly, she walked away. It got easier with distance, each step bought her freedom. Soon she was able to walk at a normal pace; a languishing pace, or even a lathargic one, but nobody would see the weight she bared in her heart and on her shoulders. Nothing suspicious, she assured herself. Just keep going. Like you're out for a stroll. She almost laughed. There was nothing physically odd about her appearence, but a mere glance at her haunted eyes told you something was not right. MOVE! It was not an easy getaway. The house was situated in a coldesack at the bottom of a steep hill, and the only way out was up. By the time she made it to the top of the hill her knees were sore from the strain. You're doing it! she told herself over and over again. She kept walking, avoiding the main road so nobody would notice her. She took a winding side street, one she had never been on. The street ascended higher and higher, with more bends and curves than a slinky, but it didn't matter. Or did it? A flood of panic filled her. She had no idea where she was going, no idea what she would do or how she would eat or where to sleep. The thought of escaping was all that consumed her mind for so long, the effort to scrape together enough courage to leave had been all-consuming. Only now was it clear she had no PLAN. Oh God, what have I done? Her first instinct was to run back down the hill and pretend she had never left, but she knew in a matter of hours she would regret that. I have to be strong, I have to do this or I'll never get out. She caught her reflection in a nearby puddle formed from a wayward sprinkler. It shocked her. I look...so strong. Like a person whose dreams are finally going to come true. She hitched her shoulder to bare the weight of her backpack. I'm free now. Everything will be all right. Just keep going . One more step...
Words: About 600-700
Lyrics: (My translation from Ayumi Hamasaki's We Wish): All the things you so strongly desire will now be yours: those things you believe in, those things you wish for...
Oringinal lyrics: Tsuyoku, tsuyoku, negau koto de, subete ha hajimatte ikunda. Shinjiru koto sore ga onegai, sono mono sa...
June 23rd, 2005, 04:39 AM
There she sat, at the edge of the flat roof, feet dangling into the night. Oblvivious of his approach she flowed through her improvised tunes. Another flash doused the world in a dull orange, her Sax a golden glow, refusing the silver reflection of the moon. The tune wove unbroken. She showed no sign of acknowledging the flash.
He came to a halt beside her, staring down onto the streets. Dirty patches of snow were fleeing the rising heat. If you stared long enough at them, would you actually see the melting? Was it quick enough?
He turned sideways and watched Lucy play. She was wearing black silk trousers, with the matching jacket, a white shirt underneath, and the crimson tie with the dark blue butterflies he couldn't make out in the semi-dark. On top of her head sat that bowler which looked ridiculous on her, but which she loved for a reason she wouldn't tell. Her eyes closed, she played on, as always locked into a world of her own.
Suddenly, the sax shrieked a random sequence of high-pitched chaos and toneless sound of gushing breath. Stan started and stumbled to the side, too close to the edge. Arms swaying, he regained balance, but his heart retained a multi-bongo rhythm. Stan's breath came in rapid, intense bursts, as he looked to see what happened to Lucy.
Her hands were clutching her sax to her chest and she was shaking, no, shivering, vibrating.
"It doesn't work. I can't unload..." Her voice an urgent whisper.
Stan took a step towards her, took a cautious glance downwards, closed his eyes and focussed on Lucy. He reached out to touch her shoulder. It shrugged away, and Stan's fingers snapped back, as if he'd touched a hot stove.
"Don't," she said. "You're going to die, and Tammy from 23, and Josh from... all... any... inside me and won't get out... too much..." She started to lean forward, inch by inch, her sax pushing into her belly.
Stan's eyes went wide, and his mouth opened, as realisation dawned. He lunged, swerved, and grabbed her, as they both tumbled backwards. In shock, she'd released the sax. It tumbled over the edge and down through the night. Lucy didn't seem to notice. She struggled in his clasp, but Stan held on.
"You don't understand," she said. "It's got to stop. It's got to STOP!" Her body writhed and shook in his arms. Stan's meagre strength began to fade. "Death. Inside and out. Too much. It's got to stop. You're all going to die."
"Not now," Stan whispered.
"You'll DIE. Can't stand... Doomed...." Her voice began to settle down, and she ceased her struggling. But an uncontrolled trembling took over. "We'll all die," she said.
"That's not news," Stan whispered softly by her ear, as his arms relaxed.
And then she kicked.
"Christ!" he cursed, as his grip tightened again.
And as they rolled across the roof, another flash bathed the scene in orange, brighter than the last one, and, therefore, closer.
Song: T.Rex: "Teen Riot Structure"
"As devastation mounted
My wardrobe almost burnt
And teens held hands on shifting sands
I wonder what they learned."
June 24th, 2005, 05:13 AM
Juzzza - I love the feel of this piece, the first person perspective draws you in beautifully from the start. There are a couple of typos/grammar corrections (stright instead of straight and its instead of it's) that need doing but other than that I can't really fault it. I guess it would benefit form a judicious trim but there's very little that wouldn't. He actually considers the spoon???? Nicely on target with the word count too.
Expendable - Nice, a strangely intriguing piece, I'd like to know what background you had in your head as you wrote it. There is a little repetition (pounding twice in the first twelve words) and I think I've finally found someone who uses ... more than me... Overall a little short of the word limit but close enough for me not to complain too much.
Holbrook - A very odd perspective but it really works. It created a lot of mental pictures for me, made me think, which was I guess the idea. As with us all a few minor grammar issues (give into rather than give in to), my only real complaint would be that it fell very short of the word count.
Me - God I'm good... I'll leave the serious critique for someone else and come back to do the others later. Keep it coming guys, there is some great stuff here.
June 24th, 2005, 06:18 AM
ah but you see, if you read the intro again you will see that it is my character typing the story at an Internet cafe, so those typos are intentional and in-character... *cough*.
June 24th, 2005, 06:26 AM
Ah yes, right, in which case it is perfect in every way.