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The Writers Circle / Writer Podcast as Excellent Writing Resource
« on: September 20, 2016, 06:33:07 PM »
If you have a chance in your day like I do where you can't sit down and physically read a book or write, but have access to audio (like as you drive back and forth to work, for example), here's a great way to pass the time and learn at the same time. I found this a few days ago and haven't been able to put it down since. I think I've probably spent 10 hours in the last 2 days listening. Some days I have quite a bit of time at my day job where I can listen while I work.

There's a lot of really great information shared that I haven't ever heard before, things you don't find in your everyday writing online resource. I've had quite a few lightbulb moments in the past two days because of it and even got my head wrapped around a few things concerning my novel that I wasn't able to see before.

Here's the link:

The podcast includes a panel of authors including Brandon Sanderson (the guy who finished the Wheel of Time), Mary Ronbinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells.

I highly recommend checking it out.

What good is learning the definition of a word if you cannot use the word in a sentence?

Word of the Day Rules:

Instead of supplying the word's definition, the person must use the word in a sentence. Related words are allowed. Like say, if the word decisive was given, then the person may use decisiveness in a sentence.

So each entry should look like this:

Old Word: Abhorrent

Seeing Boomquifa bend over and touch her toes was utterly abhorrent.

New Word: Collywobbles

The Writers Circle / Depressing News on Winds of Winter
« on: April 26, 2016, 05:53:03 PM »
NO SPOILERS, I promise.

I believe there are a few Game of Thrones fans around here.

So, are you going to watch Season 6 or not??

The Coffee Shop / Worst Writer Awards
« on: April 22, 2016, 05:08:16 PM »

Not what I thought it was going to be, but ...

It blows my mind that any writer would want to dedicate (waste) so much time writing crap. Intentionally.

But so long as they're having fun, then what the hell. To each his own.

I need help. I'm usually pretty good at finding information, but for some reason I'm having a hard time finding the answer to this, so maybe I'm not using the right key words in the search engine. It's something I've researched and googled but still haven't come up with a definitive answer. And every time I'm around someone who could possibly answer this question, I always forget to ask, so I figured while it was on my mind, I'd ask you guys.

In the mid-Seventies, how did police communicate, particularly in the southern United States? From what I've read I'm fairly certain radios were primarily used, but what type of radio? Were they fixed objects (for lack of a better word) in the patrol vehicles, or would they have had access to a radio that could be clipped on a belt? What type of radios? Or were they using built-in telephones. I know I sound like an idiot, but I'm taking that risk here. Anybody know anything about this??

I'm going to continue rewording my searches to try and find an answer, but in the meantime I sure would appreciate any help. Thanks!

All the Write Questions / Another POV Question
« on: April 06, 2016, 04:38:05 PM »
I didn't want to hijack Annmarie's thread, so I'm starting one of my own.

It's something I've been struggling with myself, but I didn't think to ask the community until I saw Annmarie's question, so here goes:

I'm still working on that Damascus novel, as some of you might remember, in between other projects. Yes, I'm actually that slow.  :) There's actually three point of views that I'm looking at doing. 1 in first person (Ruth Shepherd, the MC). 2 in third person (Flora Hayes & either the missing child—I posted a section some time ago in this POV—or the antagonist, haven't made up my mind).  And one of the point of views is actually going to go back over thirty years to help set up the plot and everything else that is to come later, as far as established motive and background for Flora Hayes and the main plot. Flora's POV would be all set up, basically, tying everything together, if that makes sense.

I've found that I really need to incorporate other POV's to tell the story like it needs to be told. I'm also a huge fan of stories written from multiple point of views, the problem is, I really want to write, and feel comfortable doing so, these other point of views from third person instead of first. How do you feel about switching third and first within a novel? Of course the sections would be split in different chapters, and I've even thought of labeling the chapters with the characters' names to prevent confusion. Are there any books that you've read that switched between first and third, and succeeded in your opinion? I believe it's fairly uncommon, and I haven't found a lot of good information out there about it, as far as the general view and how people feel about it. Just curious as to everyone's thoughts and appreciate any suggestions.

The winner of Short Story Challenge #35 is ...

Stay tuned for the next challenge. It's all yours, Lydz. Congratulations!!! Fun story, BTW.  :) :) :)

I want to thank everyone who participated in this challenge, voters and writers included. A nice collection of entertaining stories from MWC veterans and newbies alike. And thank you for putting up with my bizarre advertising campaign.  ;D

The Coffee Shop / I got a problem.
« on: March 21, 2016, 04:38:16 PM »
I asked for more votes and I got them, so I appreciate that, but we went from a two-way tie, to a three way tie. We're going to need a few more votes, please. Thanks  :)

Review My Work / Come and see how it's done!
« on: March 20, 2016, 09:28:32 AM »
Please show support for MWC members and stop in and vote. They're all really good stories, so you won't leave disappointed, I promise.

The Coffee Shop / Tiebreaker! Need your votes, please!
« on: March 20, 2016, 09:27:24 AM »
If you haven't already, please support your fellow prose writers and stop in and vote. This is a really close race and we're running out of time.

Review My Work / It's awful quiet around here ...
« on: March 13, 2016, 02:39:18 PM »
While you guys are awaiting your next victim, how about dropping by to cast your vote:

The Coffee Shop / Please take a few minutes out of your day to ...
« on: March 13, 2016, 10:44:15 AM »
Cast your vote for Short Story Challenge #35. It's an impressive collection, if I do say so myself.  :)

Don't forget to vote for your two favorite stories!!!! Please read all of the stories before casting your vote.

Who entertained you the most?

Which two stories did you like best?

#1 Something's Behind Me!

A chitinous scrabbling, something like the clicking of toenails or claws. I whipped my head around; could see nothing. It was as dark as the inside of a cow here at the sea end of the floating pier. Overcast, no moon. The scrabble moved slowly.

The waves were high, raising the pier floats three feet and dropping them as they passed under. That was scary enough. Now there was something on the pier behind me. Something that didn't sound like my girlfriend. She had short toenails. And had better sense than to go onto a heaving pier in the dark. So: something else.

I pictured a scuttling giant crab, some mutation with claws large enough to pinch my head off. Or some unknown sea creature, squid-like, with tentacles and hooks. Maybe it was the beak that was scrabbling. Goddam.

The Bay was open to the Gulf at the Western end. It allowed quite a bit of wave action. It smelled like briny swamp, a mix of salt water and marsh grass. I was out nearly a hundred yards. Maybe I could jump overboard and swim back. But I would have to stay by the pier to keep from losing my direction. Whatever is was could see me and get me.

There it was again! Argh! I am meat! I wished I had brought a flashlight. But if I had one and it revealed some slithering unspeakable, I might die of a heart attack.

I just wanted a simple adventure: leave my bayfront vacation cottage and walk to the end of the small floating pier they had for the guests. And do it at night while the Bay was choppy. Man stuff, something to brag about. Now I wished I hadn't.

I was now turned all the way around, facing back toward the shore. The sounds continued. And I still saw nothing but pure black. I could barely see the pier decking three feet in front of me. That means the thing could get that close before I would see it.

“Who's there?” I squeaked. Tried again, more manly: “Who's there, I said,” in a louder shout. No response. Now it knew for sure I was here if it hadn't before. I inventoried my weapons. I had a 6-inch filet knife and sheath. The blade was sharp but thin and flexible to slide along the backbone of fishes. Not much use in a knife fight with a giant crab. I had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Maybe I could set the thing on fire. But it would be wet or have a hard shell.

The heaving deck of the pier wasn't helping. I had to maintain my balance as it rose and fell, not always evenly. And the sound. As the air-filled floats rose, the pier deck plates separated and then clanged back together when it fell. A constant background of clanking metal that didn't drown out the scrabbling but somehow intensified it. Smelly, dark, noisy, unknown sounds. Yow!

My watch with its glow-in-the-dark numbers showed that I had been out here fifteen minutes. Time to do something. I pulled my filet knife and started walking back. Not being brave, just making something happen to end this petrifying fear. I could hear the sounds getting closer as I moved. I was walking down the edge of the pier, just far enough in to keep my balance when the plates rose and fell. I wanted to be able to jump overboard right now if something appeared out of the dark.

I took a few more steps, slow, real slow. Out of the dark flew a giant crab! No, it was a blue crab shell. It was empty, and made a chitinous rattle. Immediately behind it was Andrew, the Cat. He caught it and batted it, sending it scuttling and bouncing further along the pier. Then Andrew forgot his crab and came to rub around my legs, rumbling his motor. He wanted food, I think. I was as happy to see him as any cat I ever met.

I picked him up and with a gleeful step, started back to the shore end. And I heard the scrabble behind me. I bolted and ran like the wind. Andrew's fur was sleeked back by the speed. Up and down over the humping deck until I leaped through the pier gate and slammed it behind me. Locked it.

I would not be bragging about this adventure to the boys.

#2 The Fear Inside

Things were different after Will’s father died. Two months had passed but it could have been two decades for all that had changed. And then again it felt like yesterday. Everyone said he was adjusting well but that was far from the truth.

His mother was trying to help. Her sympathy only made things worse. He tried not to share too much with her. She was strong, but she didn’t deserve to have his problems on top of it all. His sister was a safer bet. Now they watched films late into the night on her laptop. It gave them something to talk about. Other than the obvious.

It was their way of managing he supposed. His councillor said losing a loved one was like losing a tooth. Trying to cope was figuring out how to chew on the other side.

“Get up.” His sister called from the corridor. He was lying on the shabby pink sofa in her room.

“What’s the time?” he shouted back.

“You know what time it is.”

He groaned and heaved his body off the sofa. He was in his boxers and a two day old t-shirt. He shrugged on jeans only to realise all the clean t-shirts he owned were in his bedroom.

By the time he arrived he was late.

Sean didn’t mention this. He just pushed Will even harder. Sean acted like he had a grudge against the whole world, for some wrong they’d done him. He didn’t know why but he didn’t quite blame him either.

 “What’re we doing today then?” Will asked when they took a break. He’d never been eager to get on with a lesson. Most of them involved physical discomfort or insults hurled at him or usually both at the same time.

“We’re going to take a different approach.” He said. “I checked out with your mother and told her you’d be back late.”

It was hard to believe that his mother approved of this. His sister had definitely convinced her, probably said it was some kind of alternative psychological rehabilitation.

“Wait downstairs.” He said. The house was comfortable but empty. A few minutes later he trotted down the stairs with a large gym bag.

Then they got into his BMW. It didn’t feel right being in a car with him. Will could tell he hadn’t been drinking today. He couldn’t smell a trace of alcohol. That made him more suspicious though. Sean always smelt of the stuff.

When they pulled over in the park heart sank. This place was flooded with memories. Buying ice creams with his sister, trekking in the woods, playing hide and seek and getting a piggy back off his father when he got too tired to walk.

“What are you waiting for?” He asked looking at Will with something that was nearly concern. The one thing he liked about the man was that he never showed Will pity. Why decide to care now?

“Sorry,” he blinked.

“I’m sorry for what I’m about to do.”

“Are you going to murder me now?” Will joked. His mentor didn’t smile. And for a second he wondered if he was. But there were kids hanging around, and couples walking with pushchairs and dogs, and it was a Sunday.

Sean didn’t murder him. But in a way he did.

He took a water bottle out of his gym bag and tossed it to Will. The hike was difficult. Almost every tree and footpath brought back a new memory, triggering a new twang of nostalgia. He took a sip of water.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

“I know this place like the back of my hand. I might know a few shortcuts.”

“We’re not taking any shortcuts. We don’t need to.”

He did see where they were going, a thin concrete statue jutting twenty metres out of a clearing of wild grass. They called it the needle.

Sean dumped his bag on the floor and unzipped the monstrosity. He came out with climbing equipment, ropes, a harness and carabiners. He recognised all this from one of their holidays at an activity camp. Archery had been his favourite activity by far.

Not this.

“No,” he said. Could this man read his mind? “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m not…” his stomach lurched.

“I’m not asking you nicely.” He reeled out a length of rope. “I’m your trainer, which means you have to do what I say.”

Will didn’t mind heights. He just didn’t like cruising down one with only a flimsy rope for safety and an overly enthusiastic instructor easing him down. In this case he didn’t even have the latter.

“How are you going to get that rope up there?” Will asked.

“I’m going to climb.”

He jumped onto the base of the needle, clung on like a deranged koala bear and then shuffled upwards. Sometimes Will forgot how crazy his mentor was. He took a swig of water.

It was lukewarm and didn’t taste as good as before either but his mouth was raw and dry. He finished off the bottle. He hoped he didn’t need to pee halfway. He hoped Sean would attach the rope securely.

But what he really wanted was for his mentor to fall down first so he didn’t have to make the climb himself. To his disappointment and relief his mentor managed to attach it to the top and then slide down as gracefully as a cat.

“Is that secure?”


“I’m not breaking my neck because you’re mad.”

“Look, can you see up there? There’s a hook and I’ve attached the rope to the hook and I’ve wrapped it around five times and tied it with a special knot. And if that fails and you do fall then I’ll catch you. It’s not a big drop anyway.”

“Perhaps not for you.” he looked Sean up and down, all six foot of him. “You’re like an elf. I’m just a hobbit.”

“Hobbits are resilient.”

He wasn’t even attached to the rope and he was starting to experience dizziness. Sean strapped him into the harness. And then he dragged himself up the near vertical façade.

The further he ascended the worse the dizziness got. It was impossible not to look down. The needle was so thin all around him was down. He expected it to snap at any moment.

“This is safe right?” he called down to Sean.

“I’ve done this so many times, or at least I’ve seen people do it. It’s fine. Don’t swing too much.”

His words didn’t comfort Will in the least. Something damp plopped on his forehead.

“There aren’t pigeons up here?”

“No, it’s raining.”

Shit. He knew Sean wouldn’t let him come down. He was stupid enough to look right at the man. He was so small. And the point was so close. He wobbled.

“Don’t fall.” His mentor shouted.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“I want to come down.” He said. But he was too far up. He stayed up there, barely metres away from the top, gently swaying, not moving.

I only want the best for you. His eyes flickered open. Sean hadn’t said anything. The rain drowned out everything else. He was light-headed, giddy, delirious…

What was going on?

Why do you have to make things difficult for yourself?

“Dad,” he said, and then louder: “Dad?”

“You’re not dead yet. Keep going. You’re almost there.” Sean’s voice called.

Water ran down his face in furious rivulets, pooling in every crevice, soaking into his clothes and tiny droplets clinging to his thick eyelashes blurring his sight.

He was running. He didn’t realise how far he had gone until he was halfway down. And by then he was so close to the ground it didn’t matter.

“Well done.” Sean smacked him on the back and then fumbled with the harness. He took too long. By the time he was out Will was itching with rage. No words came out. So he punched him.

“What was that for?” Sean said sounding more irritated than hurt.

“You spiked my drink.” His voice was a blur now, his words thick and slurred. “What did you do to me?”

He didn’t wait for an answer. He stumbled into the forest. He needed to get out. Get away from him.

The ground under his feet crunched and squelched. Instead of mud and leaves he was stepping on blood and bones. The more he tried to evade the mess the more blood and gore he waded through. A face was there as he remembered with hair the colour of ice and eyes that could freeze your soul. However there were no eyes. They had been replaced by mutilated sockets, bloody holes punctuated into the skull.

The mouth moved.

“Murderer, murder,” He repeated. His voice was the screech of a raven.

“You provoked me.” He sounded pathetic.

Then the corpses were sucked into the ground apart from one. This one was alive. “Dad,”

“I’m so cold.”

A black stain swelled across his shirt like an ink blot. “Hold my hand.”

He took it. It was stone-cold. “I’m here, it’s okay.”

“Why couldn’t you protect them?”

“I—I can. I can protect them. It’s what I’m training to do.”

“No, you’re the betrayer. You let your weakness get in the way of everything.”


“You disgust me.”

No. His father wouldn’t say that. This wasn’t his father.

“You’re not real.” He said.

The man dissolved into ash. Will was jolted into reality. The knees of his jeans were drenched in mud where he knelt. He was shivering violently and hyperventilating. He might have been soaked to the bone but he felt surprisingly light.

His head shot around at a crunch. Sean strode across the coppice.

“Are you okay?” His mentor asked.

“What do you think?” Eventually he turned up from the rotting foliage to face Sean.

“What can we gather from this practical experience?”

“Not to trust you.”

Sean grinned. Will did not return it.

“There’s more than one kind of fear.” Sean said. “There’s fear of things and then there’s fear of ourselves. It’s all in here.” He pointed to his head. “You just need to figure out what it is. Your greatest fear, and then we can fight it.”

“Was that necessary?”

He held out a hand. “You might think my methods are harsh but I will burn out the longing and hatred inside of you.”

Will knew he didn’t have a choice anymore. He stretched out and took Sean’s hand using it to thrust him out of the mud.

The Coffee Shop / A Friendly Reminder
« on: March 11, 2016, 02:46:38 PM »
Don't forget to submit your short story for Challenge #35!! PM me your entry no later than Midnight (EST) tomorrow (Saturday).


Review My Work / A Friendly Reminder
« on: March 11, 2016, 02:44:28 PM »
Don't forget to submit your stories for Short Story Challenge #35. They are due March 12 at Midnight (Eastern Standard Time).    :) :) :) :)

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