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Messages - bailish

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Writing Games & Challenges / Winner! Fiction #131
« on: January 07, 2018, 10:40:51 AM »
We have a winner! Congratulations, Mr. Barry.


The Gap

A bone chilling wind was blowing the fallen snow into towering drifts that made the landscape appear to be on some mysterious planet far away.  Far away was the key.  Anywhere but here. 

That is not how one is supposed to feel at Christmas, but it was the reality that year.  It was the beginning of what our family came to know as “The Gap”. 

I am the eldest child of seven.  Sadly, Child #6 died just as she was born.  I found Mother in the bathroom, unconscious, with a little purple baby beside her.  The aid car arrived, and took Mother and baby away.   

The next year was a blur for our whole family.  Mother never did recover from this tragedy, but it was revealed that we had another sibling on the way.   She was born healthy, and completed “The 6 Pack”.

For every family event we would line up by age, and there was always this gap near the end of the line.  No matter how close we stood, there was always an empty space where a little shining smile should have been. 

The Gap was especially evident the Christmas after our youngest sibling arrived.  Mother had closed herself off in grief, and Father simply threw himself into work.  He was away, training in the Navy, that holiday season. 

Our home was not decorated as it had been in past years, and there was no joy in the rooms or in the hearts of those living in those rooms.  I was ten years old, and was doing my best to keep things together.  I taught myself how to cook, and kept the house reasonably neat.  I learned to forge Mother’s signature on checks to pay bills, and to use similar forged checks to shop at the local store for necessities. 

But, I had no clue how to handle the upcoming holiday.  I didn’t know where the lights and decorations were, so I worried and directed a silent prayer to God.

On Christmas Eve day, our doorbell rang.  We did not have many visitors, so right away that was strange.   I cautiously answered, and there was our neighbor, “Rainy”.  Her name was really Renata, and she was a teenager. 
Oddly enough her parents were also at our door.   

Rainy said they noticed that we did not have a tree. She added that her family was going out of town for the holiday, and asked if we wanted to use their tree so it wouldn’t go to waste.   Astonished, I said OK and welcomed them into the house.   They proceeded to set up a completely decorated tree, and then even brought in several presents.  And just as quickly, they were gone.
My silent prayer was answered!
It was not until after the holidays had passed that I realized that Rainy and her family were Jewish.   

Writing Games & Challenges / Re: Sticky: Flash Fiction #131, --
« on: December 29, 2017, 04:14:15 PM »
One more week to go, folks! There's already one submission, so there will be a winner this time.

Pm your responses to me :   bailish

Review My Work / Re: Beggining of a fantasy epic -553 words
« on: December 29, 2017, 04:10:52 PM »
Just a couple of observations. Hope this helps!

The overall tone draws me in, and I want to read more.

Snow fell gently from the sky, like leaves on Autumn's eve as a man made his way through the darkness. Only the moon hung over the sky to keep him company, but even then, he knew that she did not shine for his sake.

'Leaves on autumn's eve' I don't associate this with gentle. I usually think of a windy day, more violent.

a man -- perhaps something more descriptive would be helpful here

           Her light was feeble for she did not shine out of joy, she only did so out of a old promise she had once made to this man. And even if he had broken his vow, even if he had betrayed the stars she held so dear, even if he had once claimed to love her, she would still shine for her word was absolute. But in the end this meant that she only illuminated the night for herself, to maintain her ego and pride, and not for the man who so desperately needed the light.

she did not shine for his sake.
she only did so out of a old promise she had once made to this man

Sounds contradictory.

The Gallery / Re: So…
« on: December 20, 2017, 10:03:48 AM »
So, yeah, I see what you mean.

The Gallery / Re: Keyboard Cat Walk
« on: December 20, 2017, 10:01:18 AM »
    Keyboard Cat Walk


Is this something like getting a thousand monkeys to type for a thousand years and coming up with the complete works of Shakespeare? 'Cause I don't see it. :-)

Review My Work / Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« on: December 20, 2017, 09:57:44 AM »

Mary Hannings couldn’t swim. At the age of seven she had watched her sister drown at sea and never got over it. 

Doesn't work for me, either. Telling us that she's watching it separates us from the action. I'd suggest rewriting without 'watch'

All the Write Questions / Re: Moral maze
« on: December 19, 2017, 11:06:21 AM »
Every time I read about a character making a decision different from what I would have made, I question myself. Do I make the right decisions? Should I consider changing my decision in such cases in the future?

I wouldn't say those characters are changing the world, but they might change how I fit into the world.

All the Write Questions / Re: Moral maze
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:03:35 AM »
I've heard it said that the best antagonist is the one who differs from the protagonist in only one issue. One of them is on the moral side of the issue and the other is on the immoral side. We as writers introduce ethics by having one side defeat the other. I would assume a writer not taking an ethical position means leaving the ending in the air.

This reminds me of 'No Country For Old Men', the story of a truly despicable evil character and a good guy who becomes threatened when he gets involved. I was so disappointed when I saw the movie where the ending is left incomplete that I read the book to see which one won in the end, but the book did exactly the same ending as the movie.

Writing Games & Challenges / Re: Sticky: Flash Fiction #131, --
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:38:10 AM »
I can tell you from personal experience the deadlines are pushed back because no one submits. It's hard to find a contest that inspires. I gave a longer deadline because the holidays are usually bad for participating. Why don't you prove me wrong and submit? Certainly you have something lying around that can be modified for the holiday season.

Writing Games & Challenges / Re: Sticky: Flash Fiction #131, --
« on: December 09, 2017, 10:54:34 AM »
In the hopes of inspiring submissions, I've put together a few fragments of mine. Feel free to plagiarize borrow these.

On the fence in each other's arms, we exhaled small frozen clouds, experiencing the white hush of the snow-covered ground. I tightened my arm around her shoulder and tilted my chin for a perfect kiss, the world disappearing in that eternal moment.

My car nosed its way through the flurries, the wheels skidding on the hairpin turns. How ironic for the holiday trip home to be so wrought with danger.

The doorbell rang. I rushed downstairs, knowing Mom would be panicking in the kitchen.
"Merry Christmas," the family of four standing outside the door said in unison.
I recognized my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Griffin in spite of their matching Christmas bells sweaters, but my cousins, Charlotte and Knox, had a few years' growth since our last meeting. My smile remained plastered on my face as we all hugged and I ushered them to our living room. Mom and Dad came from different directions to continue the hugs and greetings. As the adults caught up on their gossip, I took Charlotte and Knox upstairs.
Needing to say something appropriate in my position as hostess, I opted for the obvious. "So, you all have matching sweaters."
Charlotte, about my age, grimaced and said, "Yes."
Knox, a few years younger, glared at me. "I doubt the orange outfit for prisoners attracts more attention than these."
"Now, you two," I said. "Holidays are for mothers. You're making her happy to make up for all the problems she's had to correct for you throughout the year."

Writing Games & Challenges / Sticky: Flash Fiction #131, --
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:15:43 PM »
Flash Fiction #131

Write a story that takes place during the holiday season. Any topic, any genre.
You could write, for example, something endearing about the family sitting around the burning hearth. Or someone's desperate attempt to make it home in time for Christmas.

500 words or less

Since this is the holidays and people may want more time off, I'd like to move the deadline to next year, if that's all right.

Due Date: Jan 7, 2018


Pm your responses to me :   bailish

Just click on my name, choose 'send PM'. Put the title of your story, in the subject box and cut and paste your story in the text box.

Review My Work / Re: Running -- 486 words
« on: December 06, 2017, 04:38:02 PM »
Thanks, Lin. I see what you mean.

I missed the voting. Thanks all who voted for me. Ready for the next challenge?

Thanks, Heidi.

Review My Work / Re: Running -- 486 words
« on: December 06, 2017, 11:48:00 AM »
Thanks for your comments, all. You've given me a lot to think about.
I'll need to start over if I want to keep it.

word choices, easy to fix, careless they are there
intrusion of narrator,not sure of this. It all sounds first person to me

Definitely needs a complete rewrite.

Thank, all.

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