PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Claire Fuller
Vincent looked down the rock strewn hill. “C’mon. This isn’t funny anymore.”
Marcus slipped another tire over Vincent’s head. The stack was up to his chin now.
“I don’t want to do this. Take them off,” Vincent whimpered.
“Too late to back out now.”
“No, it isn’t. Let’s just roll them down the hill.”
“That’s exactly what I plan on doing.” Marcus grinned and tossed the last tire onto the stack.
Vincent screamed and pleaded. When Marcus pulled the top tire off the stack Vincent was crying.
“You should have seen your face!” Marcus laughed and pulled another tire off.
Written for Friday Fictioneers.
I was going to have him stumble and fall down the hill, but that felt too obvious, and not every story has to end with death. Don’t worry. I’m sure Vincent will pay Marcus back for the cruel joke someday. It’s kind of their thing.
Also, if you enjoy my stories don’t forget to check out Wicked Little Things, out December 1st and available for preorder at this very moment.
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First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there on the interwebs.
Now on to the actual post:
Sometimes I have amazing ideas for stories. In my head they’re crystal clear and I can see the finished product. Transferring those thoughts to paper (or computer screen as is usually the case) is often hardest for stories like this. Stories that I see with perfect clarity require the perfect words, which are often difficult to come by. Finding those words can be like pulling the teeth from a rabid wolverine’s mouth, a difficult task to say the least. At least I’m assuming it would be difficult, maybe even impossible. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually attempted to pull a rabid wolverine’s teeth so I can’t say with 100% certainty.
I prefer when a story is hazy in my mind, giving me only bits and pieces of the important parts. I find those kinds of stories flow from my fingertips much smoother than a story I’ve thought out to the smallest detail.
Sometimes I can’t help but over think a story. Sometimes it starts out hazy but then my idiot mind insists on honing it to perfection to the point that my words couldn’t possibly do it the justice it deserves. I don’t like when that happens. I hate it in fact. Too much thought makes it difficult to get the story written on the pages to match exactly with the images in my mind. With a hazy story, only certain parts need to match exactly. The focus can lie on telling the story between those parts rather than searching for the right words the whole way through. Writing with the perfect words is exhausting and not meant for a first draft, but an over thought idea demands that sort of attention.
I like having a general overview of the story to know all the pieces are going to work together, but at the same time let the details work themselves out as I clatter away at the keyboard. They work themselves out much nicer on the fly, for me at least.
You may be different, but for me, over planning stifles my creativity just as much as writer’s block.
Which way do you lean? Do you prefer to plan everything out or learn the details of the story as you go?
I don’t often admit it, but on occasion I find my childhood fears creeping back into my life. In fact, I’ll usually vehemently deny it. I’ll never admit to anyone that this post exists, no matter how many people read it.
The biggest fear I had as a kid was the basement stairs. I absolutely hated the basement stairs. Well, not technically the stairs themselves. It was more the fact that they were open faced and even back then my mind dreamed up some seriously terrifying monsters. I just knew a gnarled, charred hand would reach through between those stairs and grab my leg while going down. Nearly every time I went down those stairs I half expected to tumble down to the cool concrete floor at the bottom after jerking my ankle free from the grasp of whatever the creature of the week living beneath the stairs happened to be.
Going up was no different. The basement light was clear on the other side of the large, open room so it didn’t really penetrate too well into the area beneath the stairs. That only fueled my fear. More often than not, I sprinted up the stairs. On numerous occasions I tripped on the way up and ended up crawling to the top without stopping to check on my bruised shin until the basement door was safely closed behind me.
To make matters worse, my brother used to lock me in the basement. The only way to get out was either for someone to unlock the door from the kitchen side or to go down into the basement and find something to stick into the little hole in my side of the doorknob to pop the lock. I spent a lot of time standing on that landing at the top of the stairs debating on whether to wait or to go down the stairs and find a coat hanger or a nail I could unlock the door with. Usually, I ended up traversing the stairs. There was no telling how long it’d take someone to unlock the door. Obviously, nothing ever happened to me and I never actually saw anything under the stairs, but our fears have a way of being irrational, don’t they?
Occasionally, I still get that familiar tingling in my gut when I’m walking down into my basement. I tell myself there isn’t anything there, but that doesn’t make the feeling go away. I just swallow the lump in my throat and move onward. Always onward, that’s the way of life, isn’t it? Don’t stop to consider what happens if that warning in the back of your mind just happens to be right this time. Just keep moving forward, to hell with the potential consequences.
What were your childhood fears? Do they ever creep back up on you, slap you in the face, and laugh?
I read a post awhile back that got me thinking. If I could remember the URL I’d share it with you, but I can’t, so I won’t. Take my assessment with a grain of salt since you aren’t able to read the article for yourself; it’s possible I was reading too much into it. The point of the post seemed to be that people should expect the blog posts of authors to be rather long and verbose as that shows they are good at their craft. It even hinted that if you consider yourself a writer but your blog posts are short then you aren’t much of a writer.
I’m a bit perplexed by the correlation between blog length and writing ability. To me, length and ability cannot be compared in any way. Take a site like MicroHorror.com for example. A lot of great stories there are quite short, but that doesn’t take away from their power. Another example would be the 100 Horrors anthology that I’m lucky enough to be a part of. Each story is only 100 words and many of those stories are very well written. To add more to them would ruin their very essence. On the other hand, take a lot of self published novels that didn’t get quite as much pre-publishing attention as they probably should have. Nothing against self publishing in general, I’m working on self publishing a piece myself, but many authors don’t take the time to properly edit or format after their work is complete. The result: some very long novels that are rather bland accomplishments.
Blog posts are meant to be a way to get a point across in a timely manner. If you choose the right words then you don’t need to pad it with drivel to make your case. If you waste fifteen minutes of your readers’ time by forcing what should be a short post to fit the format of a long post then they probably won’t be your readers for long. It’s the same principal as a short story. Let the content determine the length, not the other way around.
That’s my take. What do you thoughts on blog post length?