Tag Archives: Narrative

Writing Prompt Wednesday


Today’s prompt gives you a For Sale sign as the inspiration.

sale

Here is my response – For Sale Signs

 The two houses faced each other dissimilar in architecture and coloured siding but both sporting for sale signs. At first glance, it could be thought a coincidence that both households were moving but the facades held a hidden turmoil. Heartbreak was sealed within.

As with all beginnings, it had started in all innocence and the future repercussions unimagined. An invitation to a barbecue from the new neighbours as a way to introduce themselves to the neighbourhood was quickly accepted. Frank knew Jocelyn would be quick to investigate the new homeowners furniture and decor, she just loved being nosy.  With a bottle in hand and a small bouquet of flowers, they rung the doorbell and waited. A call from the back yard summoned them to walk around the house. Jocelyn let out a sigh. Frank knew she was just dying to see inside.

“Well hello neighbours. My name is Adele and when he emerges from the kitchen you can meet my husband, Jeremy.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Adele, this is my wife Jocelyn, and I’m Frank. We bought wine and these are for you.”

As Adele looked into Frank’s eyes and took the flowers, he felt a tingle in his hand and his heart beat a little faster. She was exquisite. His gaze was broken when a hand landed on his shoulder.

“Hello, I’m Jeremy, glad you could come over.”

“Thank you for inviting us, Jeremy. I know I’ve just arrived but may I use your bathroom?”

Frank glanced at Jocelyn, exasperated at her guile. He watched as they both entered the kitchen door then looked back at Adele. She was watching him intently, a slight flush to her cheeks. And that is how it began. An affair that consumed the two of them for the rest of the summer.

Jeremy’s frequent business trips initially allowed Frank to visit Adele without suspicion. Jocelyn was too self absorbed to notice at first until one night she happened to run across to tell Frank a pipe had burst and found him and Adele in an embrace. Jocelyn’s screaming and ranting continued for days and nights. She threatened, cajoled and pleaded all in a vain attempt to make Frank love her again. Adele remained hidden in her home after Jeremy had accosted Frank in the driveway and punched him so hard it had broken his nose. The police were called and Jeremy left with them. Frank obviously did not press charges under the circumstances. Jeremy arrived a day later and with two suitcases thrown into the trunk squealed his tires as he left.

Frank left at his usual time then backtracked when he saw Jocelyn leave for her dental appointment. Parking in his own driveway, he walked across the road and gently tapped on Adele’s front door. Her beautiful face appeared at the window. The door opened slowly and Frank walked in. They talked for hours, expressing their love and planning their escape.

Now the for sale signs face each other across the road the only symbols of the true meaning of their existence.

Please join in and write your own story or poem inspired by a For Sale sign. Leave it in the comments below.

 

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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I am sharing the word prompt we enjoyed at my writer’s meeting last night.

Use these words in a short story or poem: tower, rotten, bribe, diamond.

Here is my 15 minute response.

“Rotten Tommy, he’s stolen my potatoes again! I’ll get him back, you see if I don’t.”

Lucy nodded, turning her mouth downward to show Rodney, she was sympathic. In reality she knew Rodney had probably lost all the sacks of potatoes in a game of poker and was covering up.

“We’ll have to grow more. We have time this season, Rod.”

“There you go being all positive again, Lucy.”

She turned away at Rodney’s unkind words. She would go as hungry as him without money for food. The door slammed behind her.

“Good riddance!” She mumbled under her breath. Outside the window she saw the imposing towers of the castle. She daydreamed of one day being carried off by the Prince and showered with diamonds away from Rodney and the hovel they called home. He was supposed to look after her, his younger sister but she always seemed to be the one to solve the problems.

“Psst!”

Lucy turned quickly at the sound. Freddy was crouched under the window.

“What are you doing there?”

“I have some potatoes for you.”

“And where did they come from, Freddy?”

“Best not know but for a quick kiss, I will let you have the whole sack.”

“Oh will you? Maybe I’ll tell Rodney your plan and he can beat it out of you.”

“Oh, come on, Lucy, one little kiss for a sack of potatoes isn’t much of a bribe is it?”

“Did you steal them from Rodney or Tommy?”

“Does it matter?”

“I suppose not. Come here then and put the sack under this bench then you shall have your one kiss and no more.”

Freddy smiled, threw the sack over his shoulder and hurried in the door. Lucy poised her cheek outward for his kiss and as quickly pulled away.

“I could get you more food for more than a kiss, Lucy.”

“I think that’s enough, Freddy, now off with you.”

Freddy’s shoulders slumped but he left knowing Lucy might be beautiful but also very strong willed.

“Another day, Lucy.”

“Take care, Freddy, if Tommy finds out he’ll be less than pleased to lose a whole sack of potatoes.”

Once Freddy left Lucy pushed the sack further back under the bench with her feet to make sure it was well hidden. Now they would be able to eat for a week or two.

sack

Why don’t you have a go at this prompt. Share your response in the comments.

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


Hello All,

I’m back from vacation and getting back into the swing of things gradually. For today’s prompt please use this image.

humphrey

This is my response – enjoy!

There was Humphrey, big, bold and yellow. Weren’t shadows supposed to be black or at least grey? Martin only knew the brightness of the object before him from as long as his memory allowed. As a small child, Martin played for hours with his yellow playmate, making his parents happy that he could entertain himself so well at such an early age. They boasted about his ability until that fateful day.

“Your first day at school, Martin. Are you excited?”

“Yes, very. Humphrey and me will have such fun there.”

“Now, Martin, that’s enough of this Humphrey nonsense. Big boys don’t have invisible playmates, we’ve told you that before.”

“Yes, son you have to be a big boy at school. You want to fit in with all the other children don’t you?”

Martin looked from mother to father to Humphrey in bewilderment. Why wasn’t Humphrey allowed to go to school with him? When Martin protested that Humphrey was real, his parents got mad and forbid him from mentioning his invisible friend again. Tears flowing down his cheeks, Martin ran to his room shouting back as he went that Humphrey wasn’t invisible at all. In fact he was bright yellow and his parents must be blind if they couldn’t see him. Martin didn’t get supper that evening.

Now Martin sat on a park bench unable to steady his emotions. He had needed to walk away from Cheryl and Tommy for a few moments. Humphrey had been his dark secret for decades. A constant companion through school and college but never shared with anyone not even Cheryl. They had courted and married without Cheryl ever knowing she was part of a trio.

“Daddy, are you alright? Did I do something bad?”

Tommy’s little face shone up at Martin, an innocent five year old, who saw the world as a fascinating place.

“No, Tommy, you didn’t do anything bad. It’s just that no one else has ever seen Humphrey. I was shocked when you asked him to play with us.”

A shadow fell over father and son. Martin looked up at Cheryl unsure how she would react. He sighed with relief when he saw her smiling.

“Now your secret is out maybe you can be a more relaxed person, Martin. What do you think?”

“I love you both more than ever before. Come on Humphrey we need to make sandcastles.”

Have fun.

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.

Acadia

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.

Equinox

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.

Highwayman

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