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

Writing Prompt: Holy Pirate Leprechauns, Octopus! It’s Irish Folklore in A Random Genre!

Octopus vs.Pirate Leprechaun

Hello there my Inklings!  Are you having a great Tuesday the 17th?  I hope so.

Since it happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d try prompting myself with a traditional Irish folklore monster in a style and setting that I wouldn’t normally expect to find them.  Feel free to try it for yourself.  I chose to randomly roll up a combination using the dice roller at random.org (https://www.random.org/dice/).  For traditionalists, I have included the possibility of a Fantasy story set in the Dark Ages featuring a folklore creature.

Even if you decide not to write something, I highly recommend the folklore info links below for some Irish themed St. Patty’s day reading. 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

Setting the Scene, Mood lighting for your story

Beach

It was one January morning, very early—a pinching, frosty morning—the cove all grey with hoar-frost, the ripple lapping softly on the stones, the sun still low and only touching the hilltops and shining far to seaward.” ~Stevenson, Robert Louis. “Chapter II Black Dog Appears and Disappears.” Treasure Island.

Just like that the scene is set.  The bitter cold, the ghostly coloration of the landscape and dim light described here in Stevenson’s classic tale of adventure have set an emotional tenor of uneasiness and foreboding that will spark with dark fire once it strikes against the devious characterization of Black Dog shortly after in the chapter.

This is a literary technique where writer’s use emotional symbolism often drawn from nature (i.e. light and shadow, the weather, etc.) to impart emotional connotations to the scene(s) that follow.  Sometimes called setting the mood, it is important to consider what the scene is doing for the emotional setting as well as the physical setting.  Continue reading