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Writing prompt challenge #2

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quick side note: For those who thought I should add names, I am horrible at coming up with names. I've written entire short stories (as in several pages of story) without using names because it is so hard for me to come up with ones I like and that fit. So for this challenge, since I'm trying to do these quickly and with little thought, I'm purposely leaving names out. I could spend a week trying to come up with adequate names and still not be satisfied, so it just isn't conducive to what I'm attempting. Don't worry, when I write longer stories or in any novel I attempt I will be using names and full descriptions.

Prompt #2 is from IUHRYTR: Number 118 is where it happened.

"Whoa crap!" He screamed as something huge flew at his face, only to be stopped by the windshield. Slamming on the brakes and white-knuckling the steering wheel, tires skidded and a scream pierced the night air. Somehow he was able to maintain control of the small car and ease it over to the side of the road. He took a few minutes to catch his breath then turned on the overhead light. As he looked at the cracks in the glass, he realized his throat was suddenly scratchy. "I totally just screamed like a girl," he said to himself with a short chuckle. But who could blame him? At least his pants weren't wet!

Reaching over to grab a flashlight, he wondered if it would be safe to get out and get a good look at the damage. Why not? This stretch of road is empty at 3 am and whatever the animal was is probably long gone. After releasing his seat belt and with a quick check behind him, he tried the door handle just to find that there was more damage than he thought; the door is stuck shut. Climbing over the console, he is able to get out the passenger door. Though as his feet hit gravel his eyes catch something in the distance.

"What is that," he wondered out loud as he squinted through the single remaining headlight beam. His flashlight sweeps over, catching the form of a dead turkey on the side of the road. Now he knows what he hit, but there's still something else lurking out there, watching him. Odd noises begin to rise from the stillness, surrounding him. As the sound raises in intensity, he scrambles back into the car. Digging for his cell phone, he wonders if anyone will believe there are monsters out here.

"Hi, I just got into an accident and could use some assistance. I'm on highway 21, mile marker..." He thinks for a moment as he peers through the dark again, just catching the green sign in the distance. "I think that's mile marker 118 just ahead of me. I hit a turkey and my car has front end damage." Pausing as the dispatcher enters the information and requests police assistance, he realizes that creepy sound is even louder. "Hurry please. There's something else out here and I think it's coming this way."

As he hangs up, a whole flock of birds dive bombs at his car, causing him to jump in the seat and cuss. "Are you serious?" Several of the birds lie dead on the hood of the car, their necks broken from slamming so hard at his shield. As the side window breaks, he screams again.

Ten minutes later red and blue lights show in the distance. As the officers approach, they see the lonely car on the side of the road and park behind it. "I'm telling you, this stretch of highway is haunted." They get out of the car and walk slowly, surveying the scene. "Just like last week, it happened just before he got to mile marker 118. I'll bet there's no one inside."



This one took about 20 minutes, but that's because I was distracted by my stupid neighbor (music/tv turned up at 2 am? Seriously?) and paused to call the cops. So it took a few minutes to get back on focus. A quick read to clean it up (I somehow changed verb tense for a few sentences) and here you go.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EVWINGS 8/27/2012 11:15AM

    I agree about needing to use names when you have two of the same gender, i use a baby name site and check for meanings of the names to match them with the character. SometimesI'll even do back story to find out which fits the best.

Oncemore great writing. i love the build in the suspense.

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READE2MOVE2012 8/27/2012 1:55AM

  You got talent. enjoy reading your creative works

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JOYCECAIN 8/26/2012 6:43PM

    You are really good at this.

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MOM2ACAT 8/25/2012 3:38PM

    emoticon

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KIMI_SILVA 8/25/2012 11:22AM

    You ROCK!

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DRAGONCHILDE 8/25/2012 10:33AM

    Creepy turkeys! Love it. :)

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IUHRYTR 8/25/2012 7:17AM

    Thank you for using my prompt. When this was assigned in a short story writing class what came my mind was a big city neighborhood of older houses, small front yards and "Number 118 is where it happened." Then I detailed the house, how it had been in the family for three generations and how no one would have expected what had happened there, etc. Interesting how different minds come up with different versions from the same prompt.

As for my suggestion of using names in the last piece, that was meant just for that one and any others where two men or two women are involved. Without reference to Tom or Julia, it is difficult and confusing sometimes. Ex.: The two men walked into the store. "What do you think?" he asked. "I like it." Was that the same person talking or two different people? They don't need last names and not every character needs a name.

These first two stories you shared with us have been engaging and creative. Looking forward to #3. emoticon -- Lou

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Writing prompt challenge #1

Friday, August 24, 2012

Prompt #1 is from IAMLOVEDBYYOU: Bright white light greets her as she finally exits...

He pushes back the curtain, slowly taking in the sight of her sleeping form. It shouldn't be this way. She was always the one taking care of others, but now machines and doctors are taking care of her. Still, no matter how long it takes, he won't give up on her.

The doctor enters. "The scans appear normal, so hopefully the coma will only last a few days. Can you tell us if she's ever had a concussion before? That would affect her prognosis."

"No, not as far as I know." He walks closer to his girlfriend, hesitantly reaching his hand out to her cheek. "As long as I've known her she's always been healthy."

"Then hopefully she will be fine soon." The doctor checks the monitors for a moment, noting a few thoughts on her chart before heading towards the door. "Feel free to spend some time with her. Talk to her, touch her, and sit with her, because she will know you're here."

He bends down and kisses his beloved on the forehead. "Please, I can't do this alone." Reaching back, he pulls a stool up to the side of the bed and sits. One hand is running through her hair while the other is stroking her arm gently. It's not long before he succumbs to the sleepless night and stress.

Yet, as small shards of sunlight slice through the silence, she begins to stir. Her entire body is stiff and foreign. Jumbled memories poke the backs of her eyes, trying to make her remember where she was. She tries to draw a deep breath, but is hindered by something in her mouth, or in her throat. Her hand brushes something as she pulls it to her face, gently touching hoses and bandages. As her heart rate jumps from the realization of her condition, a hollow voice penetrates her thoughts.

"Sweetheart, wake up. You're in the hospital. You were in an accident, but you'll be okay." She feels a hand pulling hers away from her face as the voice gets louder. "Nurse! Nurse!"

Feet fill the room, followed by more hollow voices. There's a flurry of activity around her, calling for her attention. As the sun bursts free of the horizon, the doctor pulls out his penlight. Bright white light greets her as she finally exits her coma.




Okay, I took a little over 15 minutes for this one, with about 5 minutes of revisions (grammar, logic, etc). Since the story came to me with the prompt as the ending, I couldn't stop at 5 minutes and leave it hanging.

Thanks for all the ideas! It'll take me awhile to get through them. I hope you like this first one. Feedback is totally appreciated!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EVWINGS 8/24/2012 11:29PM

    You have done a good job. I hope you'll continue and post more of the prompts with your writing. It would have been nice to have named the three characters.

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JAMER123 8/24/2012 11:09PM

    emoticon emoticon You have done a great job!! Keep it going!

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MOM2ACAT 8/24/2012 3:33PM

    emoticon

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JOYCECAIN 8/24/2012 3:32PM

    It is different, but it is good..You do have talent for this sort of thing. Keep up good work. Sending sparkmail.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/24/2012 8:15AM

    Nice job.

Keep it up!

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PRUPLEBEAR 8/24/2012 6:01AM

    very good!

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IUHRYTR 8/24/2012 4:05AM

    "Then hopefully she will be fine soon." The doctor checks the monitors for a moment, noting a few thoughts on her chart before heading towards the door. "Feel free to spend some time with her. Talk to her, touch her, and sit with her, because she will know you're here."

He bends down and kisses his beloved on the forehead. "Please, I can't do this alone." Reaching back, he pulls a stool up to the side of the bed and sits. ...
*******
I liked it, thinking at first it was going to be about a play when the curtain pulled back and the bright light. It would have been nice to name the characters. That would have personalized it a bit more and eliminated the brief confusion I had with the above two paragraphs. At first I thought the doctor bent down... until I read further into the second paragraph above.
*******
Keep up the good effort! -- Lou

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Please provide writing prompts for my challenge

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I've gotten so many wonderful responses to what I wrote from the writing prompts at the writing seminar that I thought I'd start a challenge for myself. I'd like my sparkfriends to help me out with this challenge. I need to get my brain back into writing form (or at least closer to it), and prompt challenges can help with that. So here's what I need from you:

Respond to this blog with a writing prompt. This means a short, 1 or 2 phrases or sentences, idea that doesn't have depth, but can be expanded. (See the prompts in my last blog for examples.) You can post several if you'd like, but I can't guarantee I'll get to them all if I get a lot of them.

My challenge will be to take your prompts, one at a time, and write something from them. I'll take a short time to think then about 5 minutes to write my thoughts. Whenever possible, I'll respond to at least 1/day, maybe more. (Of course, this will be fluid because my health issues often make it hard to function some days and doctor appointments take up a lot of time.) I will do my best to remember to thank the person who gave the prompt.

I look forward to your prompts and I hope I can meet this challenge!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMI_SILVA 8/25/2012 11:43AM

    How FUN!

1. Here's where it all began

2. The book was heavy in my hand

3. This is where it has to end

You are such a talented and imaginative writer. I'm am thoroughly impressed!

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JOYCECAIN 8/24/2012 11:18PM

    OK, let's see.

1. He came out of nowhere and stood in frront of her.

2. The train came into the station, and slowly came to a halt.

3. The dog stood on the porch, staring into the night, his fur standing up on his back.

Have fun. You have plenty of choices from your sparkfriends. Wishing you well.

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MOM2ACAT 8/23/2012 4:13PM

    I finally made the decision.

Winter came early that year.

I remember that day like it happened yesterday.

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EVWINGS 8/23/2012 8:57AM

    What a fantastic idea!

Here are two for you.


The air was damp and thick with the smell of rotting vegetation........

This winter seemed quite harsh.....

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ABBYSHARPE 8/23/2012 8:35AM

    How fun, Sheri! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

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PRUPLEBEAR 8/23/2012 5:29AM

    1. The children were lost
2. It was a dark and stormy night (had to do it Sorry)
3. My wife left me and took my dog!




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IUHRYTR 8/23/2012 5:18AM

    In a short story writing class we would always begin by taking the instructor's prompt of the day and writing for 20 minutes on it, then read what we wrote to the class. I still use what comes to mind to get me in the writing mode when I'm having trouble starting. Here are some from the class. Here's to your challenge emoticon!

1. It was a cool autumn day.
2. Number 118 is where it happened.
3. I didn't set out to kill anyone that day; it just happened.
4. Even the birds were quiet.
5. It was time. (This is one I used to start my mystery novel.)
6. She was bored.
7. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
8. Children played in the park and squirrels played in the trees while I played...

Have fun! -- Lou

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IAMLOVEDBYYOU 8/22/2012 10:35PM

    Let's see... Here are a few. Choose your favorite.

I never want to see him again...

Bright white light greets her as she finally exits...

Today is the day...


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Went to a writing seminar today and getting an eval for SSD

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today I went to a local library for a 1 hour seminar about writing and getting published. I was there a half hour early because I took disability transportation, so I was by far the first one there. I got to talk to the author who hosted it at length, as well as talk with her husband and 2 small boys a little. She had some good information, though much was a reiteration of what I've been hearing from the writer's sparkteam I'm on. Still, I was glad I went. I did feel a little out of place because there were a lot of moms there with their kids, many knew each other and/or the author, and the author writes books for middle school kids and teens.

At the end of the session, she gave us a piece of paper with some prompts. Basically it's 4 simple sentences/phrases with suggestions about how to make them better, or add pizzazz. Most wrote just a few simple additions, but I like to go all-out. I couldn't finish the first one by the time they moved on to the 2nd, so I skipped the 2nd and moved to the 3rd. We ran out of time for the 4th. Here's what I wrote for the 1st prompt: "I wake up. It looks cold outside."
I wrote: "A chill pulses through my skin, snapping my attention into reality. As much as I don't want to exit my cocoon, I notice the open window and toss back the thick blanket's heavy weight to race the frost lines on the glass. I push on the frame, hoping the ice that's formed won't prevent me from separating myself from the dense overnight snowfall."
Here's the 3rd prompt: "She runs faster and faster."
I wrote: "Her head snaps back at the sound. Fear paralyzes her feet, but her legs heed the warning. With a deep breath, muscles explode and hurl her forward. She can't listen to the screams, but she can't hear anything else. Even her thumping heartbeat can't over-power the terrible screetch. Only when she's slammed the door shut behind her does she realize her bare feet are raw and bleeding, and her lungs are gasping for air."

She had people reading aloud what they wrote so I decided to read my response to the 3rd prompt. I could tell no one was ready for it, as I heard "wow" and "oh my word" and "that's great" from a few people, including the author. Obviously there's a reason why I plan to write adult fiction! haha It came out a little dark, but the 2nd prompt was "At night, a hungry creature appears on my back deck." I know that added a little to what I wrote because others were reading their responses (including little boys with scary, magical creatures) to that while I skipped ahead. That way I got about 5 minutes to handwrite what I wrote, instead of about 3 minutes.

If only I could focus on writing for awhile instead of dealing with all this medical junk and disability red tape. Speaking of, I got another piece of paperwork from social security disability today. It isn't anything difficult. They're sending me for an evaluation of depression at the end of the month. I'm the first to admit that I have depression - considering what I'm going through if I didn't there would be something definitely wrong! So I'm not sure if they're sending me to find if I have depression causing worsening of my other conditions (or faking them?), or if they want another reason why I can't work. I didn't talk about any mental health conditions in the paperwork I did before, excluding when they asked if I had any. I've literally worked through panic attacks. One day I held one off, though I literally sweated through my underwear, bra, slacks, and shirt, until I could leave for my hour lunch. I drove home, had the panic attack while showering, put on new clothes, got back to work on time without anyone realizing I was in different clothes or what happened. I mean, who does that? I've fought through ridiculous things, but I can't do it anymore. Of course, the panic attacks stay away as long as the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds are kept out of me, but I still have plenty of days where I sink back into the depression to where I can barely function enough to go to the bathroom. So I don't know how I should be approaching this evaluation. I'm not going to lie, but I'm concerned about the depth of the evaluation. I have a hard time with people poking around in my head when I don't trust them, so I'm also worried that I won't feel safe enough to force myself to be graphically honest.

Tomorrow starts my first day of PT for my neck to try to combat this constant migraine. I think it's a waste of time, but it's better to prove it than to say it. I also picked up the prescription of nasal spray DHE, just to find out it has 10mg of caffeine per dose! Caffeine not only causes migraines but it also causes panic attacks, heart palipatations, and can cause bleeding because it dilates the blood vessels. Sure, that helps get the DHE in quicker, but I'm terrified of what it's going to do to my other conditions! I currently have about 10 open sores on my foot from the chilblains because the blood vessels in my foot keep bursting and leaking, causing blisters that I have to keep popping so I can walk. If this dilates my veins even more, it could mean real trouble! I'm not going to be trying it soon, but I'm not really sure when I should be trying it. The whole reason the doctor in Milwaukee wanted me on IV DHE was to break the status migranosus, or constant and continuous migraine that is affecting far more than my head. But the local neurologist is ignoring the recommendation. Whatever. Not like she sent me all the way to Milwaukee for a 2nd opinion for a reason, right? (Yes, that's major sarcasm!)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYCECAIN 8/24/2012 11:21PM

    You are really good at writing. You should keep up the work, and try to get published. Love

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KIMI_SILVA 8/22/2012 11:18AM

    You are a WONDERFUL writer! You really have what it takes, and as another poster said, I too wanted to keep reading.
I know what you are going through with a stupid doctor to deal with. GAH! I have Myasthenia Gravis and in 2008 I had spent 2 months in the hospital totally paralyzed. The neurologist said it was all in my head because I take meds for depression. What a quack! She wouldn't even look at the labwork I had brought to her. Well . . . I wish you well dear. I truly hope you are able to get better and find a doctor who will treat you properly.

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DRAGONCHILDE 8/22/2012 10:39AM

    Oh man, I feel you on the disability thing. My husband is going through the process himself, we just had our hearing Monday.

Always great to meet another writer. :)

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 8/18/2012 12:09AM

    I loved reading your writing responses to the prompts.

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CREECE1 8/17/2012 11:42PM

    You write in a fantastic way. I could never come up with that kind of imagination. The evaluation might be lengthy but you should do fine. They are trying to see if your mental state is cause for being on disability. You will have written work as well as verbal. But nothing you can't handle.
emoticon and emoticonin your writings.

Comment edited on: 8/17/2012 11:43:20 PM

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MOM2ACAT 8/17/2012 4:07PM

    I like your writing prompts! Those are great, you truly do have a talent for writing.

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ABBYSHARPE 8/17/2012 9:56AM

    That was fabulous! I am so bad at writing prompts when there's pressure. And reading aloud in a room full of strangers - you've got a lot of chutzpah!

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PRUPLEBEAR 8/17/2012 5:56AM

    Very cool! Great job!

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JESSICAMARIE12 8/17/2012 12:42AM

    You have an amazing talent for writing!! You sucked me in with just those few lines, and I wanted to keep reading!! I'm big into thrillers, paranomal, fanatsy books right now, and I felt like I was fixing to dive head first into one!!!

As far as the SSD, they can be completely dumb sometimes with everything they make some people jump through, but for others they can just slide on through with no real disability!! My mom's cousin is one of those, and it drives me crazy!! My grandma is the former, she can't work because of her carpal tunnel, and knee replacement, but they won't approve her SSD...they won't even give her a handicap sticker for her car!!! It'll all work out in time, just be patient, and it'll happen!!!

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EVWINGS 8/17/2012 12:00AM

    Your writing is terrific! I love mysteries and thrillers and you have what some of those authors do. I'm really happy that your attitude seems to improved. Keep hope about your PT!!

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JAMER123 8/16/2012 11:30PM

    You really do well with writing!! I read a lot of fiction that is suspense mysteries and what you posted sounds like the books I read. Good job!!

I will be thinking of you when you go to your eval. I hope all turns out to be of benefit to you!.Wishing you the best!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon for sharing!!

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Woah, randomly came across a possible diagnosis...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I don't want to get any hopes up, but I just came across another condition for my doctors to consider. I have such a wide range of conditions that don't seem to fit together well, though the last genetics doctor I saw believes there's some 'umbrella' condition that links most of it together. There's a possibility what I just found could be part of the answer.

I'm not going to explain how I came across it or why it seems to fit (not unless a doctor gets on board and diagnoses it) because it's complicated and not a condition most will have heard of anyways. Plus it's another one of those 'scary' conditions that are incurable (though this is often treatable) and gets worse over time. Though it does answer several of the questions that are sticking out that the doctors can't figure out.

The problem is I have NO IDEA what doctor would be involved in researching this diagnosis. It's 11 pm and I don't want to spend all morning tomorrow calling a half dozen doctors' offices to ask questions, so I just left a voicemail for my neuro's nurse (in Milwaukee) to ask her advice about where to start with this. Of course, I could be totally wrong and I'm not getting my hopes up, but it's worth a consideration!

No one get your hopes up, but I wouldn't mind some good thoughts sent my way!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMI_SILVA 8/22/2012 11:47AM

    I'm sending LOTS of good thoughts your way.

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DRAGONCHILDE 8/22/2012 10:40AM

    Where's doctor house when you need him? My husband's condition is like that. SO MUCH is wrong, there's no way to know what's causing it. I suspect potentially parkinson's or MS (both run in his family) but getting doctors to research anything on state insurance is tough, and now we incomed out of the medicaid program, so we're need to get him on disability for insurance.

We hope.

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JAMER123 8/15/2012 11:10PM

    Keep us posted on what happens. Hops all is going to work out for you!!

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MOM2ACAT 8/15/2012 4:04PM

    You are an inspiration, not giving up and showing us how we can be an advocate for ourselves to get things done about health conditions.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 8/15/2012 7:10AM

    Keep us posted on what you find out.




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EVWINGS 8/15/2012 1:12AM

    If this turns out to be the correct cause of your issues, I'll be dancing the happy dance for you!

emoticon

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