Write-o-meter: 23rd of March

23 Mar

Taking my chances here, but a little bit of exhibitionism never hurt anyone …

Here’s status on my projects on the 23 of March. You can find more information about them on the Write-o-Meter page.

Losalia

Section 666

Tickets to the other side

Venus

Trashgod

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30

23 Mar

30 days have passed. It looked like an interesting, motivating challenge: post for 30 continuous days on my blog and see what happens.

I will admit to partial failure and overall success. I’ve missed two days out of subjective and objective and reasons – that’s the failure bit, with no excuses in the attachment. But I’ve gained something important: a blog I can call my own home on the Internet and actually feel like home there.

So, lessons learnt …
1. This works. Build habits, not steam and guilt.

2. It’s work. It takes times. Do it only if you care enough to do something that is good quality.

3. Connect. Blogging isn’t just about writing, it’s a lot more about reading other good blogs and learning from them.

4. Decide where you want to go.

While the first 3 are self-explanatory, I will dwell on the fourth a bit, because starting up a blog for the long term requires a little bit of forethought if you want to provide good quality material. Pinpointing a raison d’etre for it is also important to keep you going through the 3rd point.

Why?
I run this blog for 3 prosaic reasons:

  • to keep writing
  • to improve my writing
  • to get read as much as possible by people who know their fiction, irrespective whether they are writers or expert readers

Accountability
The best thing this blog can do for me is to keep me accountable. I have to write if I take up the challenge publicly and will continue to do so on a daily basis, unless I need to make an exception for the sake of my health or my relationship with my wonderful wife.

Danger!
The worst thing this blog can do for me is to keep me from writing what I should. I have several writing projects which have stalled a bit since I’ve started and I would like to take the opportunity to lay out a way to use the blog for writing the things that I should on a basis of at least 300 words per day on the average.

So, here goes the write-o-meter. I will dedicate a page on this blog to weekly mapping progress on my projects. I’ve laid out the foundation here, where you can learn more about what I’m working on right now, see my progress and hooray or boo me if I’m hard-working, respectively lazy.

And if you’re at it, leave a comment/idea about how you keep yourself accountable, why it works for you and how do you think it may work for others.

Thanks for the trouble of reading through this. Honestly…

The Bufoon Who Made No One Laugh

22 Mar

Beneath the gilt archways, in luxury’s shadows, snaking between fits of night and day, treads the Bufoon. The ugly wretch knows not its own name, its age or even kin. Born as he was, an exception to the rules which God had thrust upon the world, he is lost to Love.

© Wizards of the Coast

Ageless he is, this Storyteller who may yet live to see the end of Life itself and tell it to those who come to sweep up the filth left in Armageddon’s wake.

Some say he’s sidestepped death and passed straight into nothingness. After all, his flesh is not flesh any more, not the pink, vibrant morsel they call living. His veins weave into sappy tunnels, his brows grow hair and moss together, his skin grows warts and mushroom heads alike in the hidden creases of his skin.

It scalds the eye and churns the stomach to watch this immmortal wretch, but no heart would take notice of the trembling soul underneath the horrific shell. After all, he who no longer fears death should have naught to fear.

Yet he starts at any noise, crawls humbly out of sight and whimpers when called out of the shadows. He thrashes in his sleep and wakes in a drench of sweat, screaming horribly.

It’s perhaps the stories he knows, the truths he has seen about this world that frighten him so. Or maybe just knowing he will live to see just as much wickedness as he already has whisked in his broken cup.

Perhaps not.

Perhaps what he dreads most is the sound of shuffling feet at his door, when the master kindled by his sickening hunger comes to his room at night. Perhaps it’s the blood bath at every moonlit carnival, and the feeling that somehow all his knowledge of the world’s secrets is what drives the splintery spike through their entrails.

Perhaps it’s Life that spooks him so.

His own.

The thing in the dark

20 Mar

“Treachery!” he felt like screaming.

But it would do no good. He was stuck with it and the only thing that kept his fear at bay was the outrage of knowing it was his own mother who had opened the gates of Hell, summoning the horror.

There were just the two of them, crammed together in that crib, now nothing more than a death cage.

The thing stood motionless in the dark corner of the crammed bed, the only distinguishable feature being a rounded brownish speck of plush highlighted by a stray ray of moonlight. Somewhere in the shadows a single eye glistened.

Treachery, indeed, and the cruelest sort – to be discarded by your own mother and fed to the dark masters plotting their schemes in the dark corners of world. She’d even stuck the pacifier in his mouth with a loving smile and given him a kiss.

It was a Judas kiss and the pacifier was there to keep him from screaming.

Fear paralyzed him, or maybe it was the ridiculous outfit, but he had to act. Crawling on all four, he darted with the speed of heart attack, grabbed the thing and threw it over the railing, back into the deepest, darkest pits below.

‘Tried to throw it’ was a better description of what happened.

The thing was not only heavy, but cunning too, using its weight to crush him, smother him under its bulk. It smelled of dust and musty toy boxes and its skin was deceivingly soft until the abrasive fossil of glue holding long-lost buttons would scrape against skin.

The baby felt all the air getting pushed out of his lungs as the thing slammed into him with full force.

They fought in the dark, on the treacherous sheets, until nimbleness triumphed over size and an aptly placed foot on the teddy bear’s chest cast it out of the bed.

He sighed in relief, knowing he had survived another night.

As for his mother, he felt bitter about her betrayal . He’d trusted her blindly, every minute of every day he’d spent in this world after stepping through that tear in the fabric of the multiverse.

The wages of sin will be dire. He’ll get her tomorrow.

Right now, time for some rest. The fight had been exhausting and he bit hard into the pacifier with his toothless gums as he slipped into dreamland.

 

Submission for the Chuck Wendig Weekly Challenge: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/03/18/flash-fiction-challenge-baby-pulp/

Lovefield

20 Mar

Another clip in the promised series of top ten creepy shorts. I really cringed watching this one. Let me know what you felt.

PS: this will actually not work on the blog (thank you, Sony!) but use the link to watch it on  Youtube (along with other interesting shorts from the same director) and remember to drop a comment here if it made an impression on you.

You already have it in you, dear reader

17 Mar

If you’re gonna read a writing book, it might as well be Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

This is not a field guide for entering the writers’ complex world, or an encyclopedia of smart-ass techniques. If there’s a catchphrase that would define it best, my pick would be “you already have it in you, dear reader.”

Let me explain why.

The book is structured in two parts. The first half is pretty much an autobiography, just what the title promises. It’s a story of King’s life and how his writing evolved, based on his experiences. A great way to show that you are what you write and the other way around.

While seeing how King grew from a teenager writing crappy (sort of…) stories to a record-breaking author is inspiring, what really struck me was the second half of the book, concerning technique.

‘But wait, you said this wasn’t a book about technique!’ I hear the crowds roar.

It isn’t. The advice King gives is so basic, so fundamental and simple, I would hardly call it ‘technique’. What makes it so hard-hitting is precisely the simplicity. Writing isn’t supposed to be hard, it is just a matter of putting all your heart and skill into learning how to do it properly. Yes, it may take a long time, but work pays off.

And that’s where the “you already have it in you, dear reader” kicks in: if you’re willing to put in the work, you can do it.

I’ve read this book about 2.5 years ago, so I’ll stop here since I don’t feel I can give it enough credit from memory. This post intends to do just one simple thing – convince you to read it. You should, if only for the most basic writing advice I’ve ever encountered: if you’re a writer (a professional writer that is) you should write 4 hours a day and read 4 hours more.

You see, it’s real work.

Strictly business

16 Mar

Ding!

I’ve always wanted to do that.

Ding!

But it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Ding! Ding! Di …

… finally, the genie moves his ass out the bottle and I’m asking for a room.

“Let me check, sir, we‘re fully booked with the convention, but some may have checked out already.”

He gives me a wink while I stand there and wonder what the hell should I make of it.

“Ah, yes, two rooms have cleared this morning.  I’ll give you 27. Very clean, the cops didn’t even bother to dust the place.”

“Cops?”

“Yes. They have to come, you see. Even if it’s all so official and organized, they have to sign the papers when the guests kick the bucket.”

“Man, what the hell is this place? Hotel California?”

He goes all serious all of a sudden.

“Please, sir, don’t say something like that. We are a very, very serious establishment and wouldn’t have been chosen for five years in a row as hosts of the BlissCon if it weren’t so in the first place.”

“BlissCon?”

“The annual convention of the National Association of Suicidal People.”

I carefully scan the room for hidden cameras. I’ve had the experience before and I know entertainment when I see it.

Only this time, it’s the real thing, conference agenda posted in the hallway and everything:

14:00 – 16:00 – 2Fast, 2Furious: Crash Course into Traffic Suicide

16:00 – 18:00 – Serendipity:  The Art of Getting Caught in the Act

18:00 – 12:00 – Break & pill-tasting cocktail

Curiosity gets the best of me and two hours later I’m in the lobby. There’s a colorful table with shitloads of pills and girls dressed in slutty synthetic leather invite passers-by to sample the wonders of medical progress.

This is when I see her, a complete waste of hotness on a suicidal girl, browsing through pills with a melancholic look on her face, shifting from one stupendous leg to another and biting her lips with the slightly oversized dentition that always hooks me on a girl. I offer to buy her all the drinks she would have in the company of a lost soul and regret it right away.

“I met him in college. We were young and stupid, but he was the only man I would have followed to the end of the world. The way he talked, the way he acted, so decisive, but still warm and kind made me feel …”

She tells me for about half an hour how happy they were and how great the schmuck was. Then, all of a sudden, she takes a long break sipping her Martini. Time for everything to go bad.

“I got pregnant. He wasn’t ready for a child, he wanted to finish college, have a career, have fun with the guys. I wanted the baby so bad I fell out with my parents too, completely. Then, one evening, he went out slamming the door, got drunk and splattered on the tree he’d drove into. I had a nervous breakdown.”

The Martini lets me know it’s not over yet.

“A month later I lost the baby.”

Guilt takes a screaming rollercoaster when she touches my hand, thanking me for listening so sincerely and offering to listen to whatever troubles I have.

“It’s getting late, perhaps we should get some sleep,” I suggest, trying to get out of the guilt trap, but I’m out of luck. Before we know it, I’m in her room to make sure she won’t “do anything regrettable”.

At some point during our lovemaking, I do realize that I’m having an affair with a delicate, fragile woman, but it doesn’t last long. I am lost in her, completely sucked into how much she needs me to comfort, caress and love her and it’s probably the first time in my life that I am making true love, unselfish and loving, so remote from sex that I would still consider myself a virgin if this were my first time.

As I leave the room, she smiles radiantly and whispers in my ear:

“Perhaps there IS hope …”

I’m walking on air for the rest of the night, pacing through my room before I doze off in the armchair. Morning glory hits my windows with fury surpassed only by the banging in the door.

“Police, sir, open up.”

She’s dead, swallowed a jarful of pills. They wanted to let me know since we’d been seen together.

I’m moving through poisonous treacle for the rest of the day, with a bitter taste in my mouth, bitter as the coffee I’m having at the train station when I see her in the crowd, pulling a small luggage with the carelessness of a teenager out for a holiday. Her surprised stare confirms I’m not being delusional.

“You …”

“Yes, me … surpised?” This looks worse than the hidden camera incident and I feel my sarcasm overheating to meltdown levels very fast.

“Somewhat. You should be dead,” she says, an undercurrent of discontent in her voice.

“Because you’re so good at getting people depressed?”

“Please,” she says, straightening her back and pushing the familiar breasts forward, “I’m one of the best.”

“On the payroll of the National Association of Suicidal People?”

She loses her confidence now – no pride in being the best if you’re a bloody mercenary.

“And a couple of pharmaceutical companies …” she adds, getting gloomier.

While I am struck with disbelief, there’s only one thing I feel like saying right now.

“Would you like to have another drink?”

She stares at me with Viagra-blue eyes wide open.

“Are you sure? Doesn’t it bother you? My line of work, I mean …”

“Let’s just say I have a vested interest.”

I take out my business card and hand it to her. It’s all there, printed in golden, crisp letters, with large serif and warm font marketing the support and deep understanding that we sell with our services:

Daniel B.

Sales Manager

BARNARD & SONS UNDERTAKERS

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