Master Class – Rewired

Last week on Master class, the following was given for a first line of a story.  Click through to add your own piece or read the rest of the submissions!

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. I was on the fast track to any school I wanted – my fastball was clocked at 106 MPH.  A motorcycle accident, two weeks in a coma and three surgeries to straighten my leg out, and I found myself with an awful lot of time doing not much of anything, with no-one around to keep me company.  Turns out, the people who hang around with popular-you aren’t always the ones who stick with you through the tough times.  My extraordinary life plan was as out of reach as the sun. Laid up in hospital with my life in shambles, I wasn’t much in the mood to read my usual sports mags.  Reading was a great escape, though, and I went through the hospital library pretty quickly.  My brother rolled his eyes when I asked him to hit up the public library for me.  But since my accident, he’d hung up his helmet – the star quarterback learned his lesson from the has-been pitcher’s accident – so use of my parents’ van was granted in return for ‘helping your brother out’.  Not one to go above and beyond, he’d swing by the library once a week, check out a shelf of books at random and return the ones I’d read. His lazy library visits did one good thing – they brought me the book that would change my life. Programming Your Life, by Franko Brunne, had an overly cheerful picture of the man himself giving two thumbs up on the cover.  I know what you’re thinking… so this is what hitting rock bottom sounds like. I didn’t even have a laptop, but reading this book, I just had to try it out.  Franko’s shtick was that writing the computer code for things you wanted to come true would “rewire your world”.  It sounds lame, but hey, rock-bottom-jock, here.  I was willing to try anything. His coding wasn’t quite like any programming language I’d already read about.  And, with my brother working his way through the ‘computer’ section of the library, I’d read a lot. My first attempt was to write a code for my brother to bring me a coke.  Easy enough, right?  It could even happen, theoretically, without the code.  If Jon weren’t such a tool. Nada.  He didn’t even come into my room with a coke of his own.  I found where I went wrong – no time requirements – and rewrote it. It was the most refreshing soda ever, and little bro didn’t even know it wasn’t his own idea. I practised on small things.  Jon’d moved into the sci-fi and fantasy shelves, which definitely gave me some ideas. I fixed my leg – a miraculous recovery, my doctors said – but I never did get that sports scholarship.  My leg wasn’t even my biggest accomplishment so far.  Making things that already existed change wasn’t nearly as impressive as what I could create from nothing but a bit of led and lined paper.

This is a photomanipulation type piece of artwork by FictionChick on DeviantArt. Click the image to go to her site and check out more of her work. It’s all wicked, and I love the surreal landscapes she creates. Every one of her pieces looks like it’s got its own story, and, if we’re judging books by their covers, I would totally read them all.


The Physics of Writing


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Do you ever get an idea for something to write, run over to the computer, open a document and …………….  nothing?

Maya Angelou is quoted as saying “You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.”

And that sums it up very well.  I think, though, you have to consider the other side of things.  Not using your creativity – does that make you have less?  Like the speed difference between two people, one who goes out 3 times a week and walks regularly, and one who just decided to get off the couch for the first time in, like 40 McRib sandwiches and a new PVR with 500 hours of recording space.

Or is it like physics – An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by an unbalanced force.  That actually sums it up quite nicely.  In writing, it is much easier to keep writing when you are writing regularly.  The creative juices keep flowing.  But not easily – even on a writing roll, you have to be aware of the unbalanced forces that are leaching the urge to write, the creativity right out of you.  Work, school and family responsibilities, time management, and, for the love of all that is holy, they just added that show to Netflix, and there are seventy thousand episodes!  And once you find yourself at rest, it is a bugger to get back into motion.

There are a lot of things a person can do with their free time that don’t flex your creative muscles.  *Cough* TV *Cough*  And they’re fun!

And don't forget about lazing about in bed - that's pretty fantastic as well

And don’t forget about lazing about in bed – that’s pretty fantastic as well

Not to say that creative writing – blogging, fiction, etc – isn’t fun… but it does require a bit more focus than sprawling on the couch with a bag of chips and a Sudoku while also watching episode after episode of Supernatural.

Add on regular exercise, dog walks, making/eating food, socializing with human beings, face-to-face, and all the other things it’s necessary or at least desirable to do, and you’ve got one big lump of not in motion.  It’s just so much easier to not.

Easier, but so much less satisfying.

So, despite the fact that this took me far, far too long to put into words, I will try to get that ball rolling again, and hope that no external unbalanced forces come up for at least a little while.

Kick Me

The thing about writing is that it really does take practice – even more so when it’s the kind of writing with word limits.  I’m feeling a bit like the tinman, my write brain sitting dormant and rusty for a few months, creaking painfully as I try to get back into the swing of things.

This week on Trifecta, the word is:


1: a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions

2: plural a display of fireworks

3: plural
a : display of temper or intense conflict

b : a spectacular display <the fireworks of autumn leaves>

This is a continuation of the story Which Witch, the rest of which you can find in my Fiction tab.

The photos below are of a piece of paper art by Su Blackwell.  She does book sculptures, as well as installations such as this, and it is hard to believe it’s just made of cut paper.  It’s magical, like the words leapt off the page to show you the story within.

“You don’t WHAT?!

Agata stared, flabbergasted, at the old man seated across the broad mahogany desk, his liver-spotted hands steepled, his wrinkled face calm and solemn.

He raised an eyebrow slightly at her tone of voice, and repeated in a crisp accent, “We do not accept young ladies in this program, madam.”

“You don’t accept witches into your school of witchcraft?” she heard the shrillness of her own voice and winced internally.

“We do not accept ladies into our school of the Arcane Arts.  It is simply too esoteric and complex a field of matter for a woman to benefit from.  We would be glad to consider your admission into our poetry and languages department, however.”

The papers stacked neatly on the desk fluttered.

“Too complex?” she snarled, leaning over the desk as the inkwell rattled.  “You don’t teach magic to women because we’re what? Incapable of performing spells?”

“Not incapable, Madam, simply too flighty and emotional.”  He carefully caught a pen as it rolled across the glossy desk and set it in a stand.  “Not to mention, prone to hysterics.”

Agata threw her hands up in disgust and stormed out, slamming the door behind her.

The old man waited for her steps to fade and rang a bell.  “Bradley,” he said to the nervous young man who answered, “Have someone sent up to tidy my office.  I’ll have a cognac and my pipe in the library today.”

Bradley stared, wide-eyed at the winter-scene in the office.  A thick layer of perfectly formed tiny paper snowflakes coated the entire room, including the head and shoulders of the Headmaster of Arcane Arts.

“W-what happened?” he stammered.

“The young lady was somewhat put-out.”

“Your pens are stuck in the ceiling plaster, Headmaster.”

“Yes, quite a display of fireworks.  For a member of the weaker sex.”  The Headmaster brushed the paper from the shoulders of his dark suit.  “My pipe, Bradley.”

The old man walked out, cane in hand, KICK ME sewn neatly into his suit-back.


Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This week on Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood prompt, we were challenged to:

write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about a time one of your main characters finds himself or herself paying back a debt–financial or otherwise.

This is a bit of a spin-off from the Which Witch storyline.  I liked a temporary character found in Shades too much to just get rid of her, so here she is, resurrected.

This image is by Artoftheoldschool on DeviantArt – you can get to their page by clicking on the cottage.  You’ll notice the cottage isn’t made of gingerbread.  Gingerbreading, also known as stick style, is only captured a little in this particular cottage, but I love the dark feel of it.  It looks like it could be located deep in the dark woods.  If you’re looking for more explanation of gingerbreading/stick style, I suggest google images.  Just ignore the ones made of gingerbread.

“You’ll be repaying me for that meal, surely?”

The siblings’ heads snapped up in surprise, the older girl automatically moving to shelter her brother.  Their faces were smeared with their guilt and gluttony, icing and crumbs and sticky sweet honey.

They quaked in fear, trapped against the gingerbread wall, the old woman blocking their escape.

The sunlight trickling through behind her gleaming through the rough chop of hair that escaped from under her head scarf and cast her face in shadow.

“Please, mistress, have mercy!” the girl quavered, tears welling in her blue eyes.

“Mercy for thieves?”  The woman’s voice was worn and cracked, the harsh caw of her derisive laugh echoing in the stillness.

The forest air was heavy with silence, devoid even of the constant background hum of insects.

“We was hungry,” the boy cried, wet lips sulky.  His ruddy cheeks were plump, the button holes on his shirt stretched tight by his rotund torso.

“Oh was you?” the old woman crouched down, her short-cut pants riding up to reveal grubby knees.  Out of the sun, her smile-creased face was revealed to the children, though her expression was grim and fearsome.

The children shrank back, the girls tears running faster, splotches of red marring her pale cheeks.

“We don’t have any money, Mistress.  Please!”

The woman’s weathered hands closed tightly on each child’s wrist and she hauled them to their feet with ease.

She cackled as she dragged them up the worn steps to the door.

“What use have I for money?”

The door slammed behind them with ominous finality, made more ominous by the old woman’s confidence in releasing her grip.

The boy rattled the knob, but to no avail.

“You’ll just make her angry!” his sister hissed, tugging his wrist.  They moved through the shadowy house, and found their captor humming as she stirred the contents of a steaming cauldron.

Without turning, the woman gestured with her spoon towards the corner of the room.  “Broom, mop and bucket, boy.  I want floors so clean I could eat off them.”

“Gregor.”  He tried to sound fierce.

The woman turned and raised one eyebrow.

“M-my name is G-gregor.  And sweeping is servants’ work.”

“Well, Gregor, I am the Witch Gretal Baer.  Broom.  Mop.  Bucket.”  She smiled wickedly at the way his face drained of colour.  He swept feverishly, as though speed of movement could save him.

The witch turned to the little girl.  “And you?”

The girl managed a wobbly curtsey.  “Hansine, Mistress Baer.”

“You will start by scrubbing the dishes and cleaning the counters.”  The witch turned back to the cauldron but was called away by a nervous throat clearing.

“Are you going to eat us?”  She quailed at the expression on the witches face.  “Only, the townspeople say you eat children.”

The swish of the broom stopped.

The witch Greta Baer smiled her most ferocious.  “If I am known for cooking up children, then why on earth would you eat a pie on my sill?”

Green-faced, the children rushed to their chores with vigor.