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Writer's Corner - May 2008


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I have no skill at writing whatsoever but I thought I'd try and start something of the top of my head. Any good?

Paramount surrounds overlooks a vale of green, strewn rocks from the ages, higher still to the edge of a precipice. Silence, broken by a single sound, the soft scrape of a hand gripping nefariously on a its edge, drawing itself upwards and breaking the silence. A body emerges from the edge, a long flow of fair hair down the muscular features of an exhausted male, the pelt of a white wolf adorns his shoulders its gaping jaw still hangs from its back. A sheath of hardened leather holding a solitary blade that spans the length of his spine, plain simple carvings a sun facing off to a retreating moon.

He draws a deep breath before collapsing forwards the last of his strength pulling himself clear from the fall. Wrist lowering to his belt, taking hold of a wrapped leather bottle he takes a swig of the bitter contents coughing and spluttering at the foul alcohol contained within. The remnants of a long night at the last inn a strange reminder of happier yet peaceful times he turns to sit over the precipices edge, his eyes taking in the full view of what lays before him.

A once war torn valley, ancient ruins peers through glimpses of auburn, perhaps a once mighty civilisation, stone lost to the ages of time. Nothing of which concerns the climber his sapphire eyes piercing the dark forest trying to find a sign of something, anything yet silence only fills his surrounds. Taking a moment to catch his breath he gazes upward at the cliff towering overhead knowing his goal is some distance. Our weary traveller seems close to collapse yet still he knows he must carry on the sense of vengeance seems a lofty goal, the blade carried on his back seemingly the only part of him with substance these days.

A raven circles high overhead watching for the opportunity of an easy meal. The traveller watches for a moment his mind wandering back to a time of darkness, the beginning of his journey the start of his sorry tale at least. Slowly rising from his perch, thick, heavy set leather boots catch a handful of loose rock, kicking several stones over the edge his arms raised above his head as he stretches.

A sunny day with a view of ancient beauty all is lost on the traveller his mind recalls distant days, teeth grind as he swears a simple name “Loreth”.

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mercanari - Liked it. Well written, poignant and stayed true to the word of the month.

Vic Viper - Oohh very Banksesque, reminded me a little of one of the early chapters in Use of Weapons. Good stuff.

Jolly - Heh, only twigged near the end what was going on. As always your writing is very entertaining.

Emir - Far from a sorry attempt, some good interesting prose there, Particularly liked "All fingers point to the glistening ochre culprit" nice images.

hombre hompson - Dark, sorrowful. Well written (as usual) and moving.

MankeyMan - I do so love time-travel. Very good, I wonder whether he was trying to get away with the murder, rather than hope it not happen?

Broken Thumbs - Excellent first contribution, you've left me wondering for where he'd managed to get the key?

Concrete Donkey - Astral Projection tabs, cool when do we get them? And where are they not banned? :(

Campfire Burning - More out-of-body experiences... perhaps we've tapped into the true meaning of freedom. Good stuff as always Campfire.

Lofarius - Nice imagery and good build up. Felt like it belonged in a wider story rather than a standalone tale. Good though.

As always it is very difficult to decide who should get the final vote.

But my vote this month goes to Broken Thumbs.

PS perhaps we should have a top three? Then score 'em 5, 3, 1 or something?

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My late entry, just running through the others now. More of a blog than anything but -shrug- , wanted to write something.

Five ways to win freedom.

It's a simple action he takes, exiting under the golden arches. He lifts his cap and ruffles his hair free from the tightly fastened one size fits all cap. If it's not on securely he'd end up frying his hat and as far as he knew, employee hat isn't on the menu. Driven by financial imprisonment, he'd joined McDonald's corporation and learned to grill, toast and take money fairly quickly. Most people learned how to perform essential Mctasks quickly and to less or more of the expected standard depending on the manager on duty. But until the cap came off, where was he to find freedom? In a supremely regulated and almost automated process with every action prescripted and having been performed an eternity of times before? There were of course the daily punctuations of gay jokes, mum jokes and petty infighting, but these were just the jailer's keys jangling past. What he needed was full scale prison break, walls falling and letting the inmates loose. This wasn't mentioned in the customer service hand book.

The next day he made a bid for freedom through the small blonde girl on the front, who through some bizarrely playground antics. The engines of a newly born fascination taking off inside, whirred through possible scenarios and making excuses to cross into the enemy lines, from the kitchen into the front counter where she dutifully stood guard. There's a stumbling awkwardness as the conversation goes like a first time driver in fits and starts. Then there's a giggle or a shared common ground, a sparkler lit in kids' hands excitement. Then there's the familiar bing and there's something to be cooked, so he scurries back into the kitchen, but pleased to have left on a high note. And when he does go back into the kitchen, he doesn't fail to notice that time has passed now, he won some freedom there, a little bit of time captured back from the corporation.

The day after it's customer time. Maybe there's some freedom to be found in the joyful conversation of the general fast food eating public. Standing at the drive-thru gives you occasional windows when the people handing out the food haven't quite managed to keep speed with what can only be described as his electric money till skills. For the most part there are paunches, barely constrained by seatbelts. Disgusting lumps of cancerous over indulgence. And the clock oh how it ticks in those times. The till cloc

k showing every second of every minute of imprisonment. Then there's a bite of something promising. A fire alarm of potential interest. A bunch of over testosteroned wide boys have pulled up and are abusing his name tag. “John's a gay name”

“No it's not, it's biblical”

“What's biblical?” Round one to till boy. “From the bible”

“Still gay init?”

“Actually no, it's fucking awesome”

“Oi you swear again I'll tell your manager”

“Go on then”

And then there's the defiant sauce giving. “Can we have some sauce?” One sauce is handed out. “Can we have some more?” One more sauce is handed out. “Can we have some more?” One more sauce is handed out. Then the cars shunt forwards, he looks back at the clock and finds that minutes rather than the usual seconds have gone past. Not as successful at freedom finding as first time flirting but he'll take what he can get.

Day three is look forward to and plan the one day a week he has off. He spends the day making schedules in his head and thinking of what might happen. He could come back to work afterwards and finally got the “threesome” achievement, in real life. More likely is he'll have got a few 360 achievment and a dull ache from five-aside but we're not there yet and with all this potential energy, anything could happen. But every minute spent thinking about minutes that aren't here yet makes the seconds drag for longer. He's just jealous of the future him, out there having all that fun, looking back wistfully on the in work him and thinking how glad he is that that times gone. If anything, glances at the clock reveal a slowing of time, now he's been moved to isolation, scratching at a door that lets no light in and doesn't open. Hoping for the weekend is given to failure.

Day four is to busy himself. Although constantly on cooking duty, usually inbetween those times he'd idle and half heartedly wipe surfaces clean from the last wipe which cleaned them. This time he took to getting right into the corners where clothes hadn't ventured for days. Crumbs hidden and nooks and crannies were his nemesis, Indiana Jones style cleaning, cracking whips at bacterial natives. Then boxes were stocked, freezers filled and floors swept over and over again. Like someone in freezing fending off hypothermia, he kept moving. At one stage he gets to train some new kids, he even makes a joke. "Nick, stop MACCING around." There are tired nervous smiles, but not his, he isn't tired. Lids are kept on salads, protocols followed and the kitchen kept to military grade standards. He applies fresh diligence to cooking, aiming to produce the picture perfect representations of food placed tantalizingly above customers' heads. He even helps the front staff do their job, frying chips, stacking them in containers and reloading the machine. Some staff might have interpreted this as a UN peace mission, trying to bridge the void between front and kitchen staff, but it isn't. It's another bid for freedom, a chasing away of minimum wage hours. And it works, to a degree. Mcdonald's got more for their £5.50 an hour today but the time disappeared, this was day release.

Day five is resignment to the fact that time and freedom can only be edged in the eight hour day and never eaten up. He tries to come to terms with it in a zen way. Think it through. On a universal scale, these hours are miniscule moments. Time is passing, at a constant rate one way or the other other. You do your job and time passes. You're doing it because you've had your fun and now it's time to pay the price, you've had your freedom, you shouldn't be surprised that there came a time when it had to be paid back. Everybody needs to sleep. Nothing comes for free. He tells himself all this and waits till he can take his cap off again and feel the breeze and hand ruffle of freedom.

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For me it's hombre by a country mile.

haha Danster very nice twist and good dialoue.

mercenarri - didn't really click with this one, I think it would have benefitted from a few more details in terms of what he is referring to

and a little less emphasis on social theory , maybe a bit more human. Some odd/nice turns of phrase, "a convenient bite" is lovely.

Great stuff Vic Viper, a very neat fantasy world that (though I don't read much fantasy) seemed pretty original and the

dark humour driving it is great. So far so favourite!

#

Jolly - Good use of the word, but the initial "it's cramp" was hard to get over. It did seem a little confused though,

like he doesn't seem to have it quite in his head whether he wants to stay or not, and I'm not sure that ambvialence is on purpose.

Emir - Short but a good read, nice and honest, I think the attempt at humour with the exclamation mark is tbh rubbish and

disturbs the feel of the piece. But I really liked the idea of wires trapping you in the cosy chair.

Hombre hompson: "stood outside the village newsagents at five in the morning, savouring the silence." really brought a genuine smile to my face.

"Despite convincing himself that he’s convinced himself otherwise" again, lovely. Absolutely beautiful story. I think I know who's getting my vote.

Pretty good mankey man, solidly written and good contained story.

Broken thumbs, great subtle ending and again, workign really well as a short.

Donkey - there's some real lapses in the writing that just confuses sense, it's a good idea but I think it could do with a few edits.

Campfire burning: slowly sad.

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I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all the entries this month. Particular favourites were Danster's, Jolly's, Hombre's and MankeyMan.

My vote goes to Jolly's entry because it was a wonderful idea, well written and pretty much sums up everyones first taste of freedom.

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After a slow start some great entries. Bit more time this month so some feedback. Not sure how good I am at this, so don't take it too seriously.

Danster - Great dialog as always, a brave style that paid off. Good control over how the details of the story slowly emerged.

Mercanari - I found it started a little awkardly, but it turned out to be strangely satisfying.

Vic Viper - Also got a Banks Sci-fi vibe from this. Brilliant stuff. Loved how contrasting the snippets of text were.

Jolly - Great idea as always, and extremely well written. Emotional ending, partly because it's such an emotional subject matter. Nearly my vote winner.

Emir - I've struggled with this a bit. Read it a couple of times and am thinking it might be brilliance. Can't really describe my thoughts.

MankeyMan - Good story. I wasn't sure about the motives of the character, but maybe that made it all the better.

Broken Thumbs - Loved it. Tight style of writing and real tension.

Concrete Donkey - Great idea. Maybe not as well written as some of your other stuff, makes me wonder if it was a bit rushed?

Campfire Burning - Horribly haunting. Laughed at chicken-fried-chicken. Descriptions are brilliant as always.

Lofarius - A nice snapshot from something bigger. A bit clumsy in places, but as a first attempt it's a great start.

Johnj - Great example of how freedom can be found in the smallest of things and in the most mundane of places. Glad you decided to post it.

So my vote? Special mentions to Jolly, Vic Viper, Campfire, Danster and Johnj, but despite potentially scuppering my chances of winning, it has to go to Broken Thumbs. Simply the best entry in a very strong month.

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Danster – Still envious on your conversational skills in story telling. Great little piece.

Mercenarri – An nice read, well written but I didn’t quite the story as a whole.

Vic Viper – Really enjoyed. It flowed nicely and had genuine interest in the characters.

Jolly – Always a joy to read your stories. You caught my imagination with the opening section, trying to imagine if he was on a ship or something. Brilliant ending, didn’t see it coming yet fits perfectly.

Emir – Short but well told.

Hombre – brilliantly described, very vivid. Always feel very intimidated by your writing.

Mankyman – nice concept well told.

Broken Thumbs – Quality writing, hope you become a regular. Like the ending.

Campfire – was beginning to wonder the point of it all up until he died. Then I found myself amazed at the concept.

My vote this month goes to Hombre, though Broken Thumbs and Campfire were close runners up.

My story was rushed this month, coming up with the concept and story way to late to do it justice and wrote it within half an hour with only cursiory revisions. The totalitarian future came across way to strong compared to what I had in mind and probably the first story I regretted posting on the boards. Hope to find time to edit and polish this at a later date.

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A few notes on my May entry:

About half the story is autobiographical. I hadn't been on holiday for fifteen-plus years, I did go to America and stay on Long Beach Island for the two weeks before I came back and wrote for Writer's Corner, I proposed to my girlfriend while I was there and she said yes, we did go to Cracker Barrel and I did have chicken-fried chicken while she had the steak (chicken-fried steak, that is. What a country!). Up until the death about the only thing that didn't happen was me buying a Valomilk, which they DO sell at Cracker Barrel but which I didn't learn about until I bought and read Candyfreak by Steve Almond, by which time it was far too late to go back and get one. In the middle of our adventure through the backwaters of Delaware I realised how much I was enjoying myself, despite my fiancée's calls to her uncle pleading for directions. I enjoyed her company. I liked getting lost with her for hours on end. At one point we stumbled upon one of the few remaining drive-in cinemas, and almost abandoned the trip to Virginia in favour of a double bill of Indy 4 and Prince Caspian. That's when the idea for the story came to me.

While she really didn't like what I'd done to our holiday memoirs (what with 'me' dying and all) I think the story is the most romantic thing I've ever written. I loved the idea of people living for a short period of time and then dying, only to rise some years down the line. I love the idea of aliens living in our society even more - it's one of my pet themes (blame Alien Nation) - but whether the main character is alien in the extra-terrestrial sense or just from a section of humanity who have a strange relationship with death, well, that's for you to decide. I think the woman giving her life up so she can live - if only briefly - with her beloved is such a beautiful, romantic, poignant idea, I'm seriously surprised I came up with it. And I really like that there's little indication as to how long this has been going on, that, despite her family still being alive, you don't know how many years it's taken for the two to reach this stage in their relationship in such small spurts of time.

It might be the memories of my recent holiday giving me a feelgood glow, but all-in-all I think it's the best thing I've written since my very first Writer's Corner entry.

EDIT

I forgot to mention the main reason why it's so romantic (in my eyes): They use up so much of their time together just cruising through Delaware, avoiding the main road. Even the Simpsons made fun of Delaware. But, like driving with my lady, it doesn't matter what they're doing so long as they're together. Together is enough.

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My story was rushed this month, coming up with the concept and story way to late to do it justice and wrote it within half an hour with only cursiory revisions. The totalitarian future came across way to strong compared to what I had in mind and probably the first story I regretted posting on the boards. Hope to find time to edit and polish this at a later date.

I liked it, you definately should have posted it. It'd be a good idea to work on it more cos it's such a solid idea you've had there.

My vote goes to Johnjwaters. Liked the chav encounter in the middle bit, and the whole sauce thing. That happen in real life?

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Thanks for putting in the effort to leave feedback, guys. Greatly appreciated. I have tried as best I could to leave some of my own in the dwindling hours. Apologies if it's messy. I've had a few.

Danster – As mentioned, you have a knack for strong conversational pieces. Lovely idea, too.

Mercenarri – Nice read. I couldn't really find a connection with the characters, but that's more my fault... I will go back to it tomorrow for another read.

Vic Viper – Enjoyed this one rather a lot. Engaging characters and the pungent Soul-grease accumulations part = awesome.

Jolly – Like others, I never saw the ending coming. Good one.

Hombre – Great piece to read. Very enjoyable. I could picture the country setting easily having walked waaaay too many steep country lanes than I care to remember. And I know a chappy of a ripe old age who treks the lanes each morning. I

thought of him when reading it. I know it sounds mean, but the probability is high.

Mankyman – I liked the idea behind this story. Another one to come back to, I think.

Broken Thumbs – Absolutely loved the ending. It left me with a large grin.

Concrete Donkey - Another interesting concept, this one. Very cool.

Campfire Burning– The biographical angle I found compelling. Nice idea to mix it up like that.

Lorfarius - Felt like it could've come from a bigger piece. Nice read all the same.

johnjwaters - Totally agree with everything Chase has said. So glad you posted that entry in the final hours of this thread. Better late than never. It turned out to be a strong favourite for me. The idea of chasing away time is a practice I have mastered in my own life (both in and out of work). Freedom is indeed the small things as well as the big.

So, I'd say my absolute favourites were Danster, Viper and john. johnjwaters wins it for me this month.

Looking forward to another one now. And I fully intend to go easy on the !'s next month, john. :D

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Much as I appreciate the vote chase, I don't think you can, cus I was late, you too emir, sorry :D I don't know,w e need the thread starter in here to decide. Sadly it did happen in real life :/

Yeah I thought on campfire's I was initially reading a blog.

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I did go to America and stay on Long Beach Island for the two weeks before I came back and wrote for Writer's Corner, I proposed to my girlfriend while I was there and she said yes,

Congratulations! :D

I hope you didn't give her a chicken-fried-engagement ring.... :)

Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

Oh and JohnJ, I liked it alot, reminiscent of all the crappy jobs I've ever done. Thanks for posting it.

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Much as I appreciate the vote chase, I don't think you can, cus I was late, you too emir, sorry :o I don't know,w e need the thread starter in here to decide.

Aye, I was unsure but thought I'd throw my vote down in hope. Hurry up Narc! If Narc's a meanie then I'll change my vote, and only then. I know he's a sweetie though.

sadpanda at the IRL situation. I can fully relate. Shitty job is shitty.

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my vote goes to Hombre. (i've missed the deadline, but it doesn't matter, pretty sure he's got majority of votes anyway)

Danster - creepy stuff, stays with you. Good dialogue, really built up a sense of character with just dialogue, thats not easy to do.

Mercenari - would love to know if that was real, it seemed a really personal piece of writing.

Vic Viper - enigmatic sci-fi, sharp and suave. you've got an off-kilter style of writing, its ice cool, really classy stuff.

Jolly - the lines 'i'm free. i'm frightened' really hit home emotionally. Its like the piece was there to set those two lines up.

Emir - tight and poetic. i'll be stealing the line 'low afternoon sun is heavy on my back' at some point. Very nice.

Monkeyman - Freedom from regret. Its a good idea, with or without time travel, you can't get free of regret.

Concrete Donkey - nice observations of old age, used the concept of freedom in different ways. nice ideas.

Campfire Burning - Loved the change of pace, the casual mention of death. As if it was as important as a barbecue.

Lofarius - you can write, the style and the imagery are all there. Just need a story to focus you.

Johnjwaters - Mctasks! lovely. Also liked the line 'jealous of the future him'. Really imaginative use of the concept of freedom, its exactly how i think at work, finding little moments of it wherever possible. Really smart piece of writing.

Hombre's - Freedom of birdsong, wanting to be free from the noise of the city, the nostalgic air of it all, the way it loops round, reusing and reversing the same concepts. Just a wonderful progression of ideas. And sounded really personal and truthful, too.

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Mercenari - would love to know if that was real, it seemed a really personal piece of writing.

The situation was real; I helped an old man up a little hill with his broken down buggy, and once we got talking I bought him a coffee at a little cafe. We sat outside and talked about being old and young, but nothing too deep. The dialogue in the story above was the fiction, but its awesome that someone can notice such things :lol:

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Lofarius - you can write, the style and the imagery are all there. Just need a story to focus you.

Cheers :lol: I've always wanted to do some sort of writing just never been sure how to start. I wanted to see if I could manage to spin a quick yarn about a landscape with someone passing through, part of a bigger story if you will.

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I notice I didn’t reveiew the two latecomers when doing my voting so here it is.

Lorfarius – found it hard to follow when I first read it but that’s because I was tired and had just caught up reading everybody’s entries. Reading it fresh, its good but as others have said it feels more of a part of a story rather than a complete one. Hope you participate in further threads

JohnJWaters – Liked yours a lot and a reminder that I need to be looking for a new job. That jealous of my future self rang so true, though I need to step up my game if he’s ever going to exist.

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I think I'd have liked it better with the original dialogue! The dialogue there seems like yuo're trying to lend something gravitas when maybe it already has it?

Yeah I think you're right, I should have stayed true to what happened. Cheers for the comments!

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