Source: The other path
Source: The other path
Hi everyone. Over on Story Empire today, Mae Clair has a fun post about scribbling, cooking, and writing. Well worth a look …
Hello everyone! Happy Monday. Today, over on Story Empire, Staci Troilo brings us the last in her great seven-part series on the seven basic plots … well worth checking out …
Hello everyone! Today, over on Story Empire, Joan Hall has an hilarious post on the English language … well worth checking out! 🙂
Source: This Crazy English Language
Over on Story Empire today, Craig Boyack has an awesome post on plot tension. Please do hop on over to check out the full article …
Craig with you today. Sometimes I have topics to spare, and sometimes I struggle for one. Since this site is for authors, I need to deliver something that might help you with your own stories. I sp…
Source: Keep the pressure on
Hello everyone. I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and great start to your week.
As you’ll know if you’ve read my Friday Week in Review post, which you can find HERE, I have finally finished my short story called IMPACT. It came in at about 6100 words in the end.
I had intended for it to finish much sooner, but an unexpected–and unplanned for–character popped up from a hole in the ground–literally, lol. His appearance opened up a whole other realm of possibilities, and suddenly, the story went in another direction. It was supposed to end near this scene …
‘Why’d you do it?’
Jake shrugged, unable to answer for a moment. Then he said, ‘It gives me a rush.’
Gill snorted. ‘So, why not climb rocks or jump out of planes or something?’
That one stumped him. ‘I don’t know,’ he said with unusual honesty.
Into the void the long silence left in its wake, Gill said, ‘Oh, well, I don’t suppose it matters now.’
Which killed that conversation.
Eventually, Gill reached for his hand, and he took it, the both of them holding tight to one another. A while later, she snuggled up to him and rested her head against his shoulder. Even though he’d never admit it out loud, Jake welcomed the contact.
Gradually, so slowly that they didn’t notice it at first, the daylight dimmed and the air warmed until, finally, the light at the end of the tunnel snuffed out, and then the electricity failed, plunging them into total darkness. Jake fumbled for his mobile and navigated to the torch app. He saw no point in worrying about draining the battery. In the pale beam, Gill looked ashen.
And then my unexpected visitor turned up quite out of the depths of my imagination (and the depths of London’s underground tunnels). Which took the story in this direction instead of ending where I’d planned …
Just then, a round metal grate moved upward and sideways, tumbling with a clatter and a clang to the pavement by Jake’s side. Gill screeched. Jake jumped. A yellow-hard hat rose from the black depths, head torch shining. It shone right into Jake’s face, blinding him. He covered his eyes with a hand and squinted. The tunnel worker looked at them, bemused. Then the absence of moving traffic and the usual city noise registered. The guy stared at Jake, who said, ‘A huge meteor just struck Earth. You should’ve stayed down there, mate.’ He nodded toward the open manhole.
The man grinned. ‘You’re having a laugh, right?’
In a high-pitched voice, Gill said, ‘He’s telling you the truth. Why else would we be sitting here like a pair of morons?’
Sweat ran down Jake’s brow and dripped from his chin. With his jacket sleeve, he dabbed at his face. Then he looked at the workman, ‘You felt how hot it is?’
The guy’s eyes widened. ‘You’re not winding me up?’
Silent, Jake used his 4G to navigate to a news channel, and then he held out the device to the bloke half in and half out of the hole. How long would the internet and cell service keep working? Jake shook his head and watched the workman. As the guy read, his grin faded. All at once, he wobbled and nearly fell off the rungs. Jake lunged forward and grabbed his arms. The mobile fell to the ground. Panicked, Jake let go of the guy and grabbed for his phone. The screen had cracked, but the device still operated. A yelp reminded him about the workman. ‘Shit.’
The guy had managed to pull himself up and out and now sat with his feet dangling into the access tunnel, glaring at Jake. ‘Thanks, mate.’ Sarcasm laced the words rather than gratitude.
Jake stared. ‘What?’
‘You dropped me for the sake of your bloody phone. Cheers.’
Jake cringed and flushed. ‘Yeah. Sorry. Habit, you know? It cost a fortune.’
By his side, Gill snorted and said, ‘You’re worse than a teenager.’
Again, Jake apologised. ‘You’re right. I am married to this thing.’ Sheepish, he turned it off and slid it into his coat pocket. The light from the helmet gave enough illumination for now.
Then an idea occurred to him. He looked at the workman. ‘Did it feel cooler down there?’
The guy nodded.
Jake said, ‘Do you think it’s worth us going into the tunnels?’
‘Um, yeah, it might be.’ He gave it some more thought. ‘Yeah, yeah. I reckon. But we’ll need food and stuff. The heat pulse will last for hours. And then it will get cold. Freezing, in fact.’
Dumbfounded, Jake stared at the bloke. ‘How’d you know all that?’
The workman shrugged. ‘That stuff fascinates me.’
Jake grinned. ‘Well, it’ll come in handy now.’
I always love it when characters take over the story in this way, which is why I’m a pantser rather than a planner. I have made outlines and plans before, but somehow, my stories always end up taking their own direction. Does this happen to you? Do you prefer to plan or go with the flow or a bit of both?
That’s it from me for now. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on Friday for my next week in review and writing links.
© Harmony Kent 2018
Hello everyone, over on Story Empire, author Staci Troilo has the sixth in a seven part post all about the seven basic plots. Well worth checking out …
Source: Basic Plots: Rags to Riches
Hi everyone, mixed news this morning. Many of you will have heard about the fires in Athens, Greece that started yesterday. Nicholas Rossis has an update on his blog … while he is safe, many have lost their homes and their lives …
Source: About the Recent Fire
I had a bit of a giggle just now while writing, and had to share it with you all.
The importance of that tiny little mark called an apostrophe …
When you want who’re, you better make sure you don’t get whore! Lol
It kinda changes the whole sentence!
Have a good rest of your week, all, and I’ll see you on Friday 🙂
Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday. I hope you all had a good weekend and your week is going well so far. As promised on Friday’s post, which you can find HERE, today I’m giving a sneak peek from my WIP THE SWITCH. This is from the prologue and is completely unedited as yet. I’d love to know what you think … does it set the mood?
Old Nellie startled awake in the most unpleasant way. Not that nice slow awakening from drowsy to gradual alertness, but the kind that happens all in one go. The sort that leaves you in no doubt that you are not alone in your dark room.
The shadows moved.
The air temperature plummeted.
Nellie’s breath smoked in the frosty air.
It can’t be yet, she told herself, heart hammering. It’s too soon. Twister season is months off. Despite this, she couldn’t deny the evidence of her eyes, old and rheumy as they were. A dull ache settled in the middle of her chest and radiated outward, down her left arm. Terror held Nellie in its icy grip.
All she could think of at that moment was her niece, far distant in the UK. She ought to have taken her out of the will. The poor girl didn’t need dragging into this. Aware of her impending death, Nellie clung to the thin hope—already fraying around the edges—that Jody would simply sell the property and keep the money. What reason would the girl have to move all the way out here to Montana? A youngster such as she wouldn’t want to live out in the middle of nowhere like this.
From the corner, dark eyes blinked, and a laugh sounded. The old woman gathered what strength she could and yelled, ‘Be gone! Your time has not come. Leave us in peace.’
A voice filled with gravel rumbled through her mind, causing a rock slide in her brain, ‘I’ve grown stronger. This time, I have no need to wait so long.’
The awful words echoed in her skull, the last thing she heard as a devastating hemorrhagic stroke flooded her brain and cut off the oxygen supply. Agony filled the last of her awareness when her weak heart joined in the assault and attacked her.
Cold, cruel laughter boomed around the building, even as death came to claim his latest victim.
© Harmony Kent 2018
Hi everyone. Today over on Story Empire, author Mae Clair gives us some tips and tricks for any of us who have done or might do book signing events ….
Source: Book Signings and Author Swag
Check out Staci Troilo’s final book in the Medci Protectorate series! I enjoyed books 1 and 2 and need to get round to reading book 3 before number 4 releases 🙂 …
Bittersweet. That’s the only way I can describe it. I’m proud to have completed the final installment of the Medici Protectorate series, but I love this world so much, I’m sorry t…
Over on Story Empire today, Joan Hall has a great post for us on writing what we want to write …
Source: Write What You Want
Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday 🙂 Over on Story Empire today, author P. H. Solomon gives us a lovely post all about criticism and feedback on our books. Well worth a read …
Source: See the Forest & the Trees
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and that this finds you well. As promised on my Friday post, which you can find HERE, I am posting one of my short stories based on prompts from my Storymatic set. The prompts were:
After initially wondering what I could come up with for the fourth prompt, the writing flowed readily, and I had great fun. In the end, I used both meanings of ‘Vet’ and included both a war veteran and an animal veterinarian. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below … especially for that darned parrot!
War and Peace
The explosion lifted the Humvee three feet into the air. The smouldering rubber tyres disintegrated upon re-impact with the ground. The vehicle hit a rock on its now-bare wheel rims and rolled. The final bounce ruptured the fuel line, and diesel poured onto the dust-and-dirt road. Flames and smoke billowed. Sounds of despair and mortal pain abounded—moans, cries, and incoherent screams.
Becca had stood in the gun turret, on watch. She’d missed the IED. Had not seen the artfully arranged shrubbery and disturbed dirt. The nature of the crash saved her life. As the Humvee rose into the air on the initial updraft of the blast, the concussive lurch threw her from the vehicle and deposited her some six feet away, lying on rough dwarf shrubs. While prickly and uncomfortable, the sparse vegetation did cushion her landing somewhat. Had she not gotten thrown, the insurgents now approaching the burning wreck would have gunned her down—point-blank execution. Her squad-mates never stood a chance.
Quietly, Becca wriggled inch by inch until her body rolled off the back of the bush, leaving her on its far side, out of sight—for now. Excruciating pain ripped through her whole torso. Stunned and afraid, she wondered what kind of luck shone on her right then … good or bad? Would she survive and make it home intact? Would they capture and torture her before beheading her during a live internet feed? Would she die of her injuries? Would they find her and shoot her dead, as they had with her buddies?
The automatic-weapons fire ceased. Silence descended, eerie in its abruptness. Nature, it seemed, refused to lend any credence to such a horrific scene by adorning it with sounds or any other overt signs of life. And then a babble of excited, exultant shouts erupted, splintering the brief limbo. Becca understood neither Pashto nor Dari but could comprehend the men’s celebration and congratulations. No different to any other man on the planet giving himself a pat on the back.
Tearless, voiceless, Becca cried for her lost comrades, waiting for discovery. Her back hurt, and her legs didn’t seem to want to move properly. While the dwarf shrub had cushioned her landing, it had also overextended her spine. Pulled? Broken? Torn? With her teeth gritted against the expected agony, she inched over the dirt until she lay half-under the bush. The vegetation didn’t have enough girth to offer full coverage. She craned her neck and scanned her immediate surroundings. Hungry flames devoured the skeletal remains of the Humvee. With any luck, the blaze would mask the fact of a missing crew member. The bastards knew precisely how many personnel manned which vehicles on these sorties. For the first time since early childhood, she closed her eyes and prayed, biting her bottom lip.
Nighttime came. The insurgents didn’t. After an hour or so, they had grown bored and slouched away in ones and twos until Becca lay beneath the bush, quite alone. The pain in her spine no longer bothered her. Nothing did. Consciousness greyed to black and back until, finally, she closed her eyes and didn’t re-open them. In the distance, a whump-whump-whump noise grew as it neared the ambush site.
Little Ellie stared into the open coffin, not understanding. Aunty Vanessa had told her what dead meant, but still, she stood there waiting for her nanna to open her eyes. Everybody knew that you couldn’t really sleep forever and ever and ever. That was just in fairy tales. And even then, a handsome prince came and kissed you and woke you up again. But Nanna hadn’t woken up yet. And she kept ignoring Ellie, no matter how much she cried and pleaded. In unconscious mimicry of her mother—currently a world away—she bit her bottom lip. In the end, though, youth showed, and she swapped to sucking her thumb. If Nanna never woke up, like they all said, then who would look after her now? Aunty Vanessa seemed nice enough, if a bit grumpy, but Ellie had never met her until today.
The sunny warmth of the morning gave way to rain and chill. And all the grown-ups kept telling her off: ‘Be quiet, child.’ … ‘You’re in the way.’ … ‘Nanna’s dead. You know that. Now, stop being so silly.’ … And, at last, awfully, finally, Aunty Vanessa looked down at her, all stern-faced and rigid angles, and not giving way at all. ‘Haven’t you packed your bag yet? Come on. It’s time to go. And I won’t take any tantrums from you.’
Uncle Willie seemed like a nice man, though, and he snuck Ellie a sweetie when she promised to be a good girl and do as ‘Aunty V’ asked. What she wanted most in all the world, though, was a cuddle. Nanna used to snuggle in and feel all squidgy and nice. Later on, when Aunty Vanessa hugged her goodnight, Ellie felt bones poking out in the wrong places, and it didn’t feel nice one little bit. If Nanna had to have such a long rest, then why couldn’t Mummy come home and look after her?
That night, Ellie cried herself to sleep. The next night, even as her tears dried on her pillow, she wet the bed. Aunty V was not pleased. While the bony woman had washed Ellie in a shallow bath, scolding her the whole time, Uncle Willie had grouched from the landing, ‘Don’t tell her off so. She didn’t wet the bed on purpose, you know.’ Later, dried and in a fresh nightie, she had lain in bed sobbing her little heart out, and Uncle Willie had come in and cuddled her to sleep, telling her she was a good girl and not to pay Aunty V any notice.
As the days drifted into weeks, and the summer nights shortened and cooled, Ellie grew wan and pale and thin. The once-vibrant girl grew listless and lethargic. Then the summer holidays drew to a close, and the prospect of starting at a new school loomed. Ellie wanted to go to her old school. In her first year, she had made lots and lots of friends. It wasn’t fair. But mean old Aunty V said it was too far to drive to her old school, and so she had to go to this new one. Ellie didn’t believe her when she said that Ellie would make lots of new friends at Whitebridge as well. And when Ellie sulked and wouldn’t eat her dinner, Aunty V told her, impatiently, ‘You’re a big girl now, and you have to act like it. What would all the girls think if they knew how a six-year-old was behaving. You’d be the laughing stock.’
From beneath lowered lids, Ellie snuck a glance at Uncle Willie, who shook his head and sighed but held his peace. No help there. That happened a lot now. Ellie hung her head, bottom lip stuck out in a pout, and pushed away her plate. Aunty V lost her temper. ‘You spoilt little brat. Eat that up right now, or you’ll go to bed hungry.’
Ellie screamed, ‘I hate you!’, shoved her plate over the edge of the table—where it clattered to the carpet and spilled spaghetti Bolognese all over—and stormed from the dining room, stamping her feet all the way up the stairs. At her bedroom, she slammed the door closed behind her and threw herself onto the bed. ‘I wish I was dead,’ she sobbed into her Frozen Disney pillow.
Four days later, school started. Ellie ignored Aunty V all the way there. And when her Aunty bent for a kiss goodbye, Ellie turned her back on her and stomped away. All day, she felt miserable, and when one of the bigger girls pulled her ponytail, and Ellie got in trouble for smacking her on the chin, she locked herself in a toilet cubicle and refused to come out. In the end, the headmistress had to get the caretaker to come and ‘jimmy’ the lock. Ellie didn’t know what Jimmy from her class had to do with anything. But, anyway, she got in a lot of trouble after they ‘jimmied’ the lock and dragged her out.
Aunty V shouted at her all the way home, and when they got back, she made Ellie sit on the naughty step. When Uncle Willie got in from his work at the veterinary surgery a couple of hours later, he gave Ellie a look of sadness and went in to talk with the mean old cow. Ellie tried to listen in on the muffled conversation but couldn’t make out much, except things like, ‘It’ll do her a world of good.’ And then, in a raised voice, Aunty V yelling, ‘I’ll not have that filthy beast in my house!’
A little while after that, Uncle Willie came out into the hallway. He gave Ellie a wink and went out to the car. Intrigued, Ellie sat up straight and wiped the tears from her cheeks and chin, sniffling up the snot dangling from her nose. Not satisfied with that, she swiped the rest off with the back of her hand. Uncle Willie came back in, holding something big in both hands, and a pink knitted blanket covered it. From within, a soft squawk sounded. With a screech, Ellie jumped to her feet. ‘You bought me a puppy!’
Uncle Willie shook his head but said, ‘Nearly right. Take a look.’
Nervous, hardly daring to peek, she pulled back the blanket. Confused, but her heart swelling with love for the fluffy baby-thing inside, she looked up at her Uncle. ‘What is it?’
He beamed down at her, and pride puffed out his chest. ‘It’s a parrot. It’s only a baby just now, but she’ll grow big real quick. We can train her, together—you and me—if you’d like.’
Too full to speak, with her heart in her throat, she nodded up and down frantically, until Uncle Willie laughed and caught hold of her chin. ‘Careful, or you’ll nod your head right off your shoulders.’
Ellie giggled. Happy for the first time in forever. ‘Can I keep her?’
‘Yes, sweetheart. She’s all yours.’
Flushed with pleasure, she reached a finger through the bars. The baby parrot craned its neck forward, and Ellie stroked its beak and head. ‘What about her Mummy?’
Uncle Willie frowned. ‘She’s all alone. One of our customers found her abandoned and brought her to us.’
Ellie sucked on her thumb, deep in thought. ‘What’s she called?’
Uncle Willie knelt by her side, so that his head reached her level, ‘Well, what would you like to call her?’
‘I can choose?’
Uncle Willie nodded, and his eyes glistened wetly. While she thought about it, he cleared his throat and then blew his nose into his hankie. Her Uncle could be so gross sometimes, but she loved him all the same. At last, she declared, ‘I’ll call her Olaf, like the snowman!’
Uncle Willie chuckled and nodded. From the kitchen doorway behind them, Aunty V scoffed, ‘That’s a boy’s name.’
Uncle Willie surprised them all then when he said, ‘Hush now, V. It doesn’t do any harm. I think it’s a good name.’ Then, to Ellie, he said, ‘Olaf it is, then. Now, we need to find a place for her in your room, and I can teach you how to look after her—how to keep her clean and feed her.’
‘And love her,’ Ellie whispered, hugging the birdcage.
Uncle Willie cleared his throat some more. ‘Somehow, I don’t think I need to tell you how to do that.’
Olaf the lady parrot didn’t like Aunty V and bit her every chance she got. Before long, she perched on Ellie’s shoulder anytime she was home. She liked it up there. And if Aunty V got too close, Olaf would flap her wings and squawk loudly. Over the next few months, Olaf learned to talk. At first only one word, ‘Hello,’ over and over again, which drove Aunty V mad, so the parrot did it more and more. Then she learned to say, ‘Go away!’, and that became her knew refrain.
Once Ellie heard Olaf speak, the girl talked to her all the time and shared her secrets. They became best friends. One day, after a particularly acrimonious row with Aunty V, Ellie yelled, ‘It’s not my fault you never wanted children!’
Shocked, Aunty V put her hand to her mouth. ‘Wherever did you hear that, child?’
Ellie mumbled, ‘Olaf told me.’
Aunty V shook her head. ‘Nonsense. Overheard it from somewhere, more like.’
Aunty V walked away. Later, when Ellie told Uncle Willie, he just smiled at her and said, ‘Is that so?’
As time went on, Ellie mentioning things she shouldn’t know about became the norm, and for the most part, the adults ignored it. Until the day Ellie announced, ‘Mummy’s coming home!’
Becca took the prognosis in stride—well, not quite, not from her wheelchair, but the main thing was she could go home. At long, long last, she could see her little girl. How much she had missed her. And then had come the awful news of her mum’s sudden death. She hadn’t found that out until about three months afterward because she had still been in a coma. Becca had only awoken a few weeks ago, and they had fed her the bad news in dribs and drabs so as to avoid overwhelming her. And then her bloody sister had decided that it would upset Ellie too much to speak to her mummy on the phone when they wouldn’t see one another for months yet. Accurate enough, for Becca had a lot of rehab and further treatment to endure, but she still hated her sister for doing that to her and Ellie. Her appeal to the doctors and her next in command fell on deaf ears. ‘Best not rock the boat,’ they all said, in their infinite male wisdom. And though Becca raged inwardly, she could do little about it.
And so, she endured the rehab. Endured the pain. Endured the failures—far more numerous than the successes, it seemed. And bided her time. One abiding memory kept her going throughout her ordeals—kissing Ellie goodnight and snuggling in for a bedtime story. As well as memories of the smell of her freshly washed hair and soft, creamy skin. Of course, Ellie would have grown so much bigger by now. And they would have to get to know one another all over again. Before the IED attack, she’d been on tour for a year with her next leave just around the corner. And then she’d died, twice, and ended up in a coma. Would Ellie ever forgive Becca for her absence? For abandoning her after Nanna died? Would she ever understand?
The big day arrived. The sun shone down as if in celebration too. And even Anty V smiled on occasion. Uncle Willie picked up Ellie and swung her around and around until she squealed and begged him to stop. Then, laughing and dizzy, she threw her arms around him and gave him the biggest, bestest hug. ‘I love you!’ she told him, face upturned toward him.
Uncle Willie knelt and pulled her in for a cuddle. ‘I love you too, pumpkin.’
Just then, a minibus pulled up to the kerb. Ellie went very still. All of a sudden, she didn’t know what to do. When Olaf had told her that Mummy would come home soon, she had felt so excited and deliriously happy, but now she felt scared. And when the woman appeared from the back of the bus in a wheelchair, Ellie didn’t recognise her. Uncle Willie rested a hand on her shoulder and said, ‘It’s okay. Just come and say hello. I’ll hold your hand.’
Perched on her shoulder, Olaf squawked out, ‘Becca, Becca, Becca!’ and made Ellie jump.
Stiff and clumsy—not knowing what to do with her legs—she stumbled over to her mother, clutching Uncle Willie’s big hand. He would know what to do. For a long moment, Becca and Ellie gazed at one another. The love and longing shone from the woman’s eyes, and Ellie felt compelled to lean in and hug her. Olaf flew up into the air and then settled on Uncle Willie’s car, watching it all unfold. Once enveloped in Becca’s arms, Ellie recognised how Mummy felt and smelt and sounded. All at once, she let go of Uncle Willie altogether and threw herself at Mummy. Then she burst into tears.
‘Shush now, baby girl. Mummy’s home. It’s going to be okay. I’m so sorry, sweetie. I’ve been away too long. I missed you.’
Through her sniffles, Ellie said, ‘I missed you too.’
‘I love you so much,’ Mummy said.
Ellie hugged her tighter, ‘I love you too.’ And she meant it, even though she did feel angry and hurt at the same time. She would talk to Olaf about it later on—the parrot always knew what to say and how to help. She reminded Ellie of her nanna.
Then Ellie pulled back from Mummy. ‘Don’t go away again.’
Mummy looked sad. ‘I won’t.’
Ellie grew stern. ‘Promise?’
Mummy smiled and held out her little finger, ‘Pinky promise.’
Ellie looped her finger with Mummy’s, and they shook on it.
And though a long and arduous road lay ahead, for the moment, happiness buoyed them, lifting their hearts high.
©Harmony Kent 2018
I hope you enjoyed this bit of fun fiction. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello everyone! Today, over on Story Empire, Craig Boyack has an interesting and fun post on naming things …
Source: Problems naming things
Hello everyone! Happy Monday. Today, author Staci Troilo brings you a great post on plotting. Check it out over on Story Empire …
Source: Basic Plots: Quest
Hello everyone! Well, it’s that time of the week again. Over here in the UK, we’ve had a heatwave, and it’s been lovely to have some rare sun. Last weekend, we couldn’t have asked for better weather for going out on the Polruan pilot boat and scattering my fiance’s father’s ashes. His whole life was at sea, firstly as a submariner, and latterly as a boat pilot at the local harbour. And the boat we went out on happened to be the last boat he’d piloted before his retirement. What a great send off. Sunday saw more family hellos and farewells and more great weather. On Monday, I saw a physiotherapist about this pesky back issue, and she wants me to have an x-ray of my hip, as she identified a problem there … oh, the joys of ageing, lols. On the positive side, it is getting looked into, and my back pain is much less this week, although I’m still having to be very careful. As promised in the comments on last week’s Week in Review, I posted the 1500 word story I came up with from my first time playing with Storymatic. If you missed that, you can find it HERE. Mid-week, I drew another four cards, and those prompts are:
Oh, have I had some fun with these! My story from the prompts comes in at a little under 2500 words 🙂
On a funny note, life certainly can be stranger than fiction. The other night, I queued a whole boxset series to download. It should have been 30 in all (10 X 3 series). One missed, and we had 29. When I went to find the errant episode and re-queued it, guess what its title was? …. A Glitch in the System!!! lols. You couldn’t plan it better.
That’s it from me for now. Have a fantastic weekend everyone 🙂
How To: From Word to Book by little ole moi … all about the hidden formatting in MS Word and how to work with that to best format your book.
When You Hit a Brick Wall by Joan Hall
Television and the Craft of Writing Fiction by All of us on Story Empire!
Author Inspiration and Week in Review from Staci Troilo … Why we write and useful writing resource links
The Week in Review from Joan Hall … vacation memories and writing links
The Senses and Sexual Tension from Romance University
How to Punctuate a Book Title from Just Publishing Advice
How to Write a Book and Stay Focused from Just Publishing Advice
Occupation Thesaurus from Writers Helping Writers … some great resources on here.
Dive Deep into Dialogue from Writers in the Storm
One Word Separates us from Psychopaths by Sue Coletta
Wax On Wax Off from Writers Helping Writers … areas to polish in your manuscript
An Addict’s Take on Writing Contests by Tracy Brody on Writers in the Storm
E-Commerce Blogging by Skubana from Nicholas Rossis
What do you do when you hit a brick wall? Check out what author Joan Hall has to say over on Story Empire today! 🙂
Source: When You Hit a Brick Wall
As promised to some of my blogging friends on my post on Friday, which you can find HERE, here is my 1500 word short fiction, based on four cards drawn from my Storymatic set:
The cards were …
From these, I came up with ‘The Missing Link’ …
The Missing Link
Barry was an ordinary guy with an ordinary life. And, as with many students, he seemed permanently strapped for cash. The only thing that made him stand out from the crowd was his tenacity. Once he committed to a thing, he went at it like a dog to a bone, or the stink around a noxious fart. His interest lingered long after most people’s initial motivation had waned.
When John first suggested them signing up as guinea pigs to earn a bit extra dosh, Barry had felt reluctant. However, like a tic, the idea had wormed its way under his skin and infected him. And now, two days later, he had quite warmed to the prospect.
And so it was that they found themselves at the Shaw Medical Research Centre on a dreary, misty Saturday in June. Despite the insipient damp, the warm air felt heavy and cloying. The freshness of the centre’s air conditioning brought frank relief within seconds of passing through its doors.
Belying the building’s chill and stark clinical milieu, the staff couldn’t have been warmer or more accommodating. Until things began to go awry, that is. Panicked, his friend John demanded that they let him leave. At this point, it became all too apparent that the idea of being a volunteer now proved quite the misnomer. Unwitting test subject offered a much greater degree of accuracy.
Amidst the contagious fear and protestations, Barry—in character—knuckled down, determined to see the thing through to its final conclusion. He had, after all, made a commitment in return for promised remuneration.
The doctor who’d administered the drugs had split them into two groups—one to receive a placebo and the other to get a dose of the real thing. The purpose was to commence human trials on a new wonder pill that, purportedly, vanished fat. In defiance of the vast array of frauds on the market, this tablet really made your excess weight disappear.
What the doctor hadn’t mentioned was that the dosage for human consumption came down to little more than a guessing game—educated guessing, but still—based on how the test rats had reacted and the difference in body mass between Roland Rodent and the erstwhile volunteer.
Initially, nobody noticed when number 23 disappeared from his bunk in the far corner. Only when they failed to link his cries of alarm and dismay to a visible person did they follow their ears instead.
Barry had laughed along with the rest, thinking it a neat trick and fantasizing about all the ways a guy might use this freak side effect to his benefit. Then John had tried to touch the guy. At that point they came to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. He had not only disappeared from the visual realm, but also from the physical dimension. Within a minute, even his voice had faded to nothing. What did that mean? Was he alive or dead?
Then number 16 from the bunk next to Barry and John held up arms no longer there, his eyes wide and appalled. Then the staff had rushed in and removed the unfortunate fellow.
The low hum of confusion soon grew to a din of alarm and outrage. Then John tried the door. Locked. And no emergency exit presented itself to the frantic searches of the occupants.
Eventually, Dr Pearson returned, looking simultaneously drawn and energised. In light of the current catastrophe, he had coerced the overseer to open the sealed documents, which identified which group had received the actual drug. Then he told all the placebo recipients that they could go home. John, part of group A, jumped to his feet and rushed for the door with nary a glance for poor old Barry, who sat with the remains of doomed group B.
Though nervous and apprehensive, Barry didn’t spare any energy for regret or thoughts of trying to escape. His natural curiosity and perseverance dictated that he needed to see how things worked out. He did, however, give a little of his focus to his chagrin at how easily and readily his friend had abandoned him and left him to his fate.
After a while, he too faded to invisibility but didn’t cease to exist. His consciousness persisted, along with his sharp wits and keen observational sense. When the doctor came in to check on him, the medic didn’t realise the last of his subjects remained. Barry used that to his advantage and snuck out of the test room at the doc’s heels.
Unwittingly, Pearson led him to a conference room, currently a debriefing area. The facility employees—those in the know—appeared shocked and upset. All but the doctor and a man in military uniform, who displayed only excitement for the potential of such a drug if they could tweak it to stop the recipients from expiring at the critical point of invisibility.
Enthralled, Barry sat and listened to the arguments and theories thrown back and forth. And then one of the female assistants screamed and pointed. Right at him. Or, rather, at his now visible midsection. Dr Pearson leapt to his feet and fled from the room.
A few minutes passed with people talking at once and an awed babble while more bits of Barry reappeared. Then the doc returned and bade everyone follow him. He took them to a long tiled corridor with doors leading off on either side, every six feet or so. A glimpse through the glass panel of one such portal revealed number 16 sitting on his bed, now hearty and whole.
As the group walked past a branch corridor with just a single door at its far end, Barry heard cries for help and demands to be let out. Chief amongst those voices, he recognised John’s deep baritone—now raised in indignation and anger. So much for ‘free to go’.
Barry, of course, quickly agreed to receive another—higher—dose when asked. How could he refuse such an opportunity? Somewhat redundantly, the doctor offered him big money. And even though he would have done it for free, he managed to haggle an extra twenty thousand. All in all, he felt quite pleased with himself.
During his second stint of playing the invisible man, he discovered the ability to move through walls and any manner of solid objects. His wanderings took him to a lab, deep underground. Animated voices drew him closer.
A man in white scrubs pointed to an emaciated and sad-looking rat. ‘There’s the missing link! It’s not about mass at all.’
Movement at the back of the room caught his attention—Dr Pearson and the military guy. The doc rubbed his chin, ‘Explain, please.’
The scientist said, ‘We assumed that the dosage needed to increase to achieve the same result on a larger body.’
Pearson nodded. ‘Go on.’
The scientist chewed his bottom lip. ‘It’s not about mass but about potency.’ Then he launched into a lot of medical speak that went over Barry’s head. The upshot was that they found another group B subject and got him to agree to a much smaller dose of IB10—a minute amount, in fact.
After three hours, his clothes hung limp from his once chubby frame, and he had to cinch his belt down to the furthest hole to keep his pants from slipping over his hips. His before and after body weight showed an impossible loss of 45 pounds.
Meanwhile, Barry’s extra dosage kept him out of sight for a full forty-eight hours. His biggest problem came when he grew hungry. Not until he rematerialized could he ingest or even pick up food, or drink liquid for that matter.
Over the ensuing week, army and government types replaced the civilian medical and support staff. They hypnotised all but Barry and number 16—who had agreed to work with them further after signing non-disclosures—and ‘suggested’ that the volunteers had experienced acute hallucinations in reaction to the drugs they’d received. They also convinced the placebo group that they had, mistakenly, received the test drug also.
With everyone compliant, they allowed them to leave the facility at long last. Number 16—a lad called Jack—didn’t stay much longer. They soon had all they needed from him regarding the weight-loss nature of the trial. Again, they hypnotised him to ensure his silence. Barry proved far more useful to them, especially when he divulged the bit about moving through solid objects.
Having seen the fate of his fellow test subjects when they’d outgrown their usefulness, Barry planned ahead and took full advantage of his invisible freedoms, gleaning as much information and data as he could. And then he disappeared.
©Harmony Kent 2018
I hope you enjoyed this bit of fun fiction. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello everyone! Happy Monday. Today, you’ll find me over on Story Empire, talking about how to format your Word document to best convert your manuscript into a book for print and ebook. Well worth a look …
Source: How To: From Word to Book
Join me and 5 authors over on Story Empire, where we explore the world of fiction