Short Story: MadWorm

Greetings, my inklings.  It’s been too long!  My health has been poor but my love for writing (and for you lot hasn’t waned in the least).  My short story “MadWorm”, the winner of The Writing Piazza’s first ever writing contest, needed a new home so I’ve brought it here to our Octopus’s garden to share once more.  I hope to have some new material for you soon, until then enjoy Runt and Heavy’s tech savvy adventure below and let me know what you think in the comments.

 

MadWorm
by Robert JV Christensen

Levi was on the driveway unboxing his senior project before letting it come inside.
“Kelly is going to go nuts when she sees you, Mobo,” he whispered to the heaps of plastic and carbon fiber plating scattered around him, “Where’s your head? Ah! There you go, buddy.”
“Honey, your brother is home, aren’t you going to come see him?” their mother called up to Kelly’s window from down in the yard.  An unrepentantly cheerful voice sounded from an open window on the second floor in response.
“I have my routine, Mom!  Heavy can wait.”
Mom set down the magazine she had been reading and rolled her eyes before shouting back, “Don’t call him that, Kelly-”
“It’s okay, Mom.  It’s a term of endearment thing,” Levi said, his hands spilling over with copper wiring, “I think.” Continue reading

Advertisements

Flash Fiction: Mythris and the Stone King

Mythris couldn’t understand how the stone had become their king in the first place, that is until hearing it decree his banishment.  Its voice rumbled forth from somewhere deep inside its craggy surface and there was little room to question its sincerity.

“FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STONES WE DECLARE YE BANISHED!  IF IT IS IN THEE TO RETURN, YE WILL BE CAST INTO THE CHASM!  BEGONE YE TRAITOROUS STONE CUTTER!”

The guardsmen cowered under the blast of its voice but Mythris stood tall and said nothing.  One of his captors gave a hard pull at the chain around his neck, pulling him down to kneel on the stone outcropping that lead to the Royal Boulder.

“Show some respect, eh?  You know It coulda been a lot harder on you,” the guard snarled.

“It’s just a rock,” Mythris hissed under his breath.

Continue reading

Short Story: Verser

Welcome back, my inklings!  Here is the science fiction adventure tale “Verser” which won first place in the Constellation 6 writing contest at the beginning of May.  I hope you enjoy it!

“Verser”
by Robert JV Christensen

Hail’s heart was pounding as he sprinted through the smoldering city streets while fire-arcs, like bolts of lightning, cascaded down around him slashing deep wounds into the ancient steel skyscrapers.  He held a toddler, in his arms as he ran, sheltering him as best as he could.
“Hold on, Harp,” Hail said to him.  The boy, shaking with fear, could only cry.  He winced and shrieked as a loud crash let Hail know that another building was coming down nearby.
Holding Harp tightly, Hail leapt from where he stood up a few stories to the roof of a nearby parking garage.  Casting a hasty glance up at the sky, he saw the sun eclipsed by an enormous flying metal structure.  It was the Iron Fortress of Ageless.
Hail and Ageless were Versers.  Once, there weren’t any Versers.  Life was better then.
The Iron Fortress cast another deadly strike of flame down upon the city and Hail frantically looked for a path of escape. Continue reading

8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 1 of 3

In which the Octopus provides an Introduction and Tips 1 and 2

The mythical first sentence; for your book, it is the phrase that launches one hundred thousand words.  For your reader, it’s almost like your book’s pick up line.  You’re trying to inspire the reader into getting into a serious relationship with your story.  This is about more than just making a good first impression.

The first sentence is sometimes your only chance to snatch up a potential reader’s interest and propel them headlong into your story.  Write a great one and your reader will dive in and not look back.  Write a bad one and, well…take a look at this: Continue reading

Short Story: The Last Voyage of Richard Breen

Hello, my inklings!  This short story is the result of my St. Patty’s day writing prompt.  I highly recommend the exercise, especially randomly rolling up your combination of story elements, since it gave me the chance to practice building a plot and characters according some factors that were out of my hands.  It felt great getting something worth sharing out of what started out sounding like a tall order.  Write like an octopus and squeeze through any gap, my friends!

“The Last Voyage of Richard Breen”

By Robert JV Christensen

Richard Breen was a man of numbers unsuited to life at sea, but never the less there he was.  The wobbly horizon rose and fell from the view of his porthole window like an indecisive painting and the rising sun cast its errant beams about the room whenever it came into view.  Richard held both hands over his eyes and tried to imagine that he was anywhere on solid ground.  Someone wrapped at the door. Continue reading

To Give Them Life, Get to Know Your Characters

People act and react in accordance with a hidden set of rules that are unique to each one of us.  Our own sort of hierarchy of priorities.  Far more complex than a simple set of physical drives that need fulfilling in order of urgency we act emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in addition to the physical.  People can be very hard to figure out but so long as they are of relatively sound mind they can usually be understood if you can get to their core motivations.  Start with yourself.  What did I do today?  Why did I do that instead of something else?  It’s okay for the answers to seem obvious, you are you after all.

We need to craft characters who are just as complex as real people so that even when they surprise and confound us it further reveals their inner motives.  Continue reading

Consistent Motivations Make Fake People Real

https://rjvchristensen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/octopus-reading2.jpg?w=700Readers can be a fickle bunch.  They will believe whatever an author says about the story unless their suspension of disbelief is strained too far.  We have to respect readers because of what they bring to the story even while we’re manipulating their emotions in order to make the story impactful for them.  The writing is really only one half of the endeavor.
We writers need an audience to take our characters and bring them to life in their imaginations.  The reader is willing to take our story and believe it emotionally, if only while they’re reading, unless they hit a snag.  Continue reading