Tag Archives: Narrative

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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Today’s prompt is to describe finding a tattoo on your body unexpectedly.

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I found this prompt inspiring and can see it developing further. I hope you like my short story.

I trudged to the bathroom, peering through half closed eyes avoiding the bright sunlight streaming through the windows. In my drunken state, I had forgotten to close the curtains. My head thudded in time to my footsteps. My body ached – what had we done last night?

Turning the faucet, I braves a glance at myself in the mirror. Black smudges of mascara gave me the look of a panda. What a state!

Pulling back the shower curtain across the tub, I stepped in and let the hot water refresh me, slowly revitalizing my body and mind. With a large amount of shower gel on my hands, I began washing. Ouch! My left shoulder smarted as I rubbed with the flannel.

I looked at my arm to see a multi-colored tattoo. What the hell? When did that happen? Oh my God, how drunk was I?

I inspected the new ink, a sword across a shield embossed with a bear’s head, it jaws open, teeth bared;. As I gazed at the image a memory emerged. The tavern at the lake had been crowded and my friends and I had joined in with the locals as they relayed stories of a local legend. A massive bear larger than life, who took pet animals in the dead of night. One hunter among the group showed us a huge scare across his back, the result of an encounter.

I ran out of time here for the prompt but can see the story continuing.

Now it is your turn. Have fun. Happy writing.

Author Interview M.J. Preston


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MJ Preston

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

That depends. In the beginning of a project I am most definitely energized and that is because the story is yet to be told. By the end of a project, after the editing multiple drafts, the process is mentally exhausting. Luckily, I have a very short memory and repeat this process again and again. 

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Distraction. When I write, all social media and the internet are shut down, except for bringing up a browser to reference something pertaining to the piece I am working on.

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3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

MJ Preston is as close to a pseudonym as I ever got.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Too many authors to name really. A short list would be Gregory L. Norris, B.E. Scully, F. Paul Wilson, Kevin M. Sullivan, Joseph Boyden. Reading their work certainly helps. I am often in awe at their creativity.

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5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My latest novel, which is in pre-publication has no connection to my other works, but often I will revisit characters and link them to other works.

6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

That’s a tough one. Let me get back to you.

7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I believe it was around 1983. I wrote my first letter to the editor of my home town paper. The subject was regarding employers who pay their employees poorly. At that time, I was working for $4.00 per hour in a local carwash. The response to that letter blew me away. There was no email or internet back then, so people put pen to paper and mailed in their responses. That impressed me. Even those who disagreed with my opinion impressed on me that words were a way of invoking discussion and sometimes debate.

8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I’d have to say, Robert R. McCammon’s vampire novel, THEY THIRST. A great book, set in the 70’s and fun read.

9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Easy answer. The raven. I have always had love for these dark creatures. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of them. Written stories and a novel that included them and I am always taken back by their intelligence.

10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I don’t discuss unpublished work.

11. What does literary success look like to you?

Readers. Plenty of readers. I don’t care much about awards or being the darling of critics. I just want more readers.

 

 

12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is certainly part of the process. It varies by project. In most cases, the research begins and continues during the project.

13. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I don’t know really. Again, it varies. Could be 20 hours, could be 30, depending on my schedule. Let’s just say I write as much as I can and as long as my muse is available.

14. How do you select the names of your characters?

Usually, it’s random thought, but once that’s exhausted the internet provides a well of opportunity.

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15. What was your hardest scene to write?

I have written about the murder of children. Not an easy task. You have to know where your line is and whether or not you’ve crossed it.

16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I guess I would be categorized as a horror/thriller writer, but I often ponder writing a book that is completely away from that genre. I sometimes write small pieces or opinion pieces that are of a more serious nature. Balance doesn’t really come in to. If somebody asked about me it would probably be, “That M.J. Preston is a horror writer.” ―but I consider myself a writer.

17. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction since the 70’s, with a hiatus from about 1986 to 1998. During that period, I wrote articles for newspapers while serving in the Canadian military. So, technically, I’ve always wrote, but my love of fiction took a short vacation.

18. What inspires you?

Reading the work of others inspires me.  

19. How do you find or make time to write?

If you want to be a writer you just make time. That’s what I do, anyway.

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20. What projects are you working on at the present?

I said I don’t discuss unfinished work, so I’ll avoid specifics. I will say that there is a new book on the horizon pre-publication as well as another in the works.

21.    22. What do your plans for future projects include?

Warmer climates? 😊

Share a link to your author website.

Folks can visit my author website: http://mjpreston.net

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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Your prompt today is: If you could live to see an event in the future, what would that event be?

This is what came to my mind.

Projecting my thoughts to think of a future event, brought to mind seeing my great, great grandchildren’s children. Where they might live, what they enjoy, who they marry and of course what their world would look like.

Would there be flying cars, and technological and robotic advances beyond our current thinking? Would the world still be lush and green or a wasteland? Indeed will it be a happy healthy place for them to live?

I hope my journey into the future makes me happy and that my heritage lives on with love and freedom. Would that I could see future generations making a difference to their world.

Seeing children with a genetic familiarity in blue yes and dark hair. Maybe even a writer or two – now that would be a legacy to be proud of.

What future event comes to your mind? Why not share it in the comments?

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Writing Prompt Wednesday


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old library

Your inspiration today is this fascinating picture. An old abandoned library. I wrote this response some time ago.

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The huge facade of a building emerges among the trees, as we trek our way westward, hopefully toward the rumored survivor town. With the light fading, our small group welcomes the opportunity of proper shelter instead of the tattered tents we have been using for the last four months. Greg, Tom and Jacob lead us into the dappled shade of the building; we stand in awe at the sight that meets us, the remains of an old library with huge floor to ceiling shelves covered in books, dust and debris. The interior has a surreal quality with trees growing within the library walls and bursting skyward through the roof.

Discarding our back packs and bed rolls, we all start to explore the interior before the light completely disappears. Some books totally disintegrate upon first touch but others are sturdier, these we put aside but the remains of crumbly pages are piled together to start a fire, then topped with pieces of several broken chairs. Constructing our tents into canopies along the rear wall with the fire in front, we enjoy the warmth, whilst waiting for the rabbit meat to cook. We all enjoy a deep slumber within the security of the brick building, no sudden noises or movements startling us awake into fear of the unknown, within the blackness of the forest.

As the sun rises its light runs across the floor from the roof opening toward our enclave, rousing us. Gradually, one by one, we stretch and shake away the heaviness of a luxurious sleep and begin to look around the book clad walls. Another fire is started to curb the morning chill and heat water for a weak brew, whilst Greg and Tom go hunting. Carefully testing the staircases Alice and I climb to the upper walkways looking for treasure’s within the shelves, only to find more crumbling books and a few scampering bugs.

We both wish we could stay here within the security of these walls instead of continuing our trek toward an unknown future.

Have fun with this prompt. Please share your response in the comments.

Wednesday Writing Prompt


Apologies – I forgot to schedule this post.

The prompt today is ‘ a glimpse out of a window’. What do you see?

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Here’s my effort.

It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct makes her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the centre of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk, puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and reveled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

Why not share yours in the comments?