On Writing, Topic 001 – A Method of Crafting an Effective Story

On Writing (“Francis’s Party”),

Topic 001 – A Method of Crafting an Effective Short Story

Introduction

“On Writing” is a mini-blog, currently in the form of a quick and easy post, within my larger small blog for fiction creation.  It is meant for those who would enjoy discussing ideas such as creative writing, literary devices, and publishing.  If you have any thoughts, commentary, suggestions, or other type of feedback, I will more than welcome your comments. I will research your questions and lessons, and usually approve them for others to learn and benefit from.  Please enjoy what I have to present to you; I welcome inspiration as well as lessons on creating intriguing fiction.  Thank you for your time; again, enjoy.

A Method of Crafting an Effective Short Story

Classical methods of creating a short story are constantly rehashed in what we read.  A short story, by its very definition, is a story of about 2000 words.  With at least 500 words, but not usually over 9000, many a synopsis is good enough for the common reader to enjoy before bedtime.  And who are we trying to impress?  Ourselves.  Our audience.  The more intelligible our audience and the more impressed they are with our work, the more we have to be proud of.

Without having ever written it down, verbatim, I do have my own method of writing down a decent story.  I will share my easiest technique with you, will most probably be part of the crowd that refers to the post before crafting a new story.

First, I think about what actually happens in the story, or what could.  I also compare a good notion with many other ideas; I give them the attention I can to compare these ideas.  I think of journalists, how they document real life – what people pay to know about besides the weather and photos entities such as the Associated Press may compensate for.  What of setting?  What of characters, beings, and occurrences?  Am I thinking of a love story?  What is my reason for the story?  Is it for a competition, a certain genre?  Is it to remember a fond memory of childhood or some factional psychological venting?  Usually, I like a good bedtime-story for any age, unless I want some action more suitable for adult readers.  I seek to edit and revise my stories for quality, as if any one of them were to be submitted to the most ruthless of editors or the most competitive of large-volume competitions.

I will explain my technique, as I design a new story, even if it is not my very next one to author.  Why let the word “series” come into place here?  Because, once we setup some dialogue, a setting, original characters, incidences and a conclusion, we can use the same ideas for new stories over and over.  Once we have a good setting and characters, we can use the same building blocks over and over for many exciting stories.

Let us make a first and original story, though, for now.  We will choose a setting, some main characters, come up with the dialogue as needed, and even begin the story with dialogue, as an audience-catching literary device.  One story I never wrote had to do with Christmas and the name Francis.  It is alluded to in a story in “A Collection of Tales”, my first book.  I find it to be a quick and easy idea to give examples to classically defined devices.  If you read this entire post, it should, at the minimum, be a fun reminder for any storycrafter’s technique.  I was going to leave personification out of this lesson, however the brilliant hues of Christmas lights and little elves in my mind just seemed like too much fun to pass up.  What were we going to endure for this reminder, anyway?  A conversation between two people waiting for a bus ride with a camera?  Two women having tea only to find their waiter faints at their table in the deadest, coldest time of winter?  No, no; we are going with elves and can love each other and our art in the process.

We will not actually start the story, just yet; we will plan it out, however.  I suppose I will go ahead and type it up, too.  We, as I said, will start the story with dialogue.  This involves the two main characters, a victim, an outstanding party, and shadow characters.  In my book, there is a story about a young university student who analyzes water.  It is titled “Forrest Hollow” and includes paranormal experiences in the woods.  Before his travels, the main character reads a short story titled, “Francis’s Party”, because his name happened to be Francis and he came across it.  I had yet to have composed the draft; we will do that within this post.  I am happy to finally post to On Writing; the closest idea I ever had to starting a second blog.  I love the study of literary devices.  This post, alone, should suffice for our collective needs, for now.

“Francis’s Party” is set up to be a form of personification and some form of an approach to horror.  Mostly like a cartoon, it attempts to use reality with characters that are fantastical beings.  Is the idea completely original?  Very close.  It was inspired.  While watching the Cartoon Network on New Years Eve of 1999, I saw the “Millunium” – a ten-hour showing of the most popular Warner Brother’s cartoons during the last 100 years.  I was completely wired and enjoyed every cartoon.  Between the old familiar classics, I saw these two Christmas ornaments speaking.  They were elves who could talk with each other.  One always asked, “You going to Francis’s Party?”  That was close to all that occurred before the next show.  So, we can now manufacture what these two elves were really up too – killing a mouse annually.

That is our premise of the story we are happily crafting.  Once a year on Christmas Eve, two characters with original names carry on their tradition, skillfully.  We will begin the story with one elf  waking the other.  This means we start with dialogue.  Then they seek and attempt to find the mouse.   A large cat creates a confusing situation, or conflict, because the old cat had never been aware of the elves’ wrongdoings, before.  The shadow characters will remain sleeping; the presents have all been wrapped and the night will be dark and late.  A series could easily be made of the story, because it involves an annual event, can re-occur much like a Road-Runner cartoon’s basic plot premise.

Before I type the story, I must include one last important notion.  My way of writing a story is easy.  Choose a good idea.  Try to remember the main characters, what and where things happen, and write out the story.  Make sure things that happen lead up to a main occurrence and then conclude with some form of a summary.  This last part is not always necessary.  A technique, of its own device, is to conclude completely with the main occurrence.  I do not think we will incorporate that device, this time, however.  Once you have written down or typed up the story, go back and revise it for diction and concision.  This involves using carefully selected words for proper meanings while not writing in a verbose or wordy manner.  While typos may cause you to do such a thing anyway, there are two more reasons.  Peruse the first draft for once for typos and again for enjoyment; search for the use of purposely used devices and re-write the sentences as necessary; and re-write sentences for proper style in the world of masterful prose.  Attempt including an emphatic construction somewhere, if at all seemingly possible.

Here are some questions to ask once you are done with your first draft and are ready to re-write it with competent intention.  Where is your climax?  What happened, series of events wise, to lead to it?  What can you include around a fourth of the way into the story for foreshadowing?  What devices are important to you, anyway, and will it change the story for the better or worse to include classic methods such as the utilization of symbols?  If you have great symbols and reasons for using them and the time to do it well, do it.  That is my advice.  Symbols are great for teachers and people wanting to tell a story having little to do with what an unsuspecting reader may actually infer.  If the reader identifies proper use of symbols without reading commentary of the author on the work, more power to the reader.  I will type our story, and we can discuss some devices able to be used in other stories, afterwards, analyze what we will with our fun Christmas horror cartoon prose narrative.  We can always learn together by your posting comments to this post; please, do.  Remember, classic rules and techniques are great to know; they are not necessary always.  Such is the art-form of a short story, to begin with.  If we do not get back with your commentary, try again every two weeks or so.  We do value commentary.

Francis’s Party

“You going to Francis’s party?” asked Frince, as the four-inch tall Christmas ornament elf shook his partner in crime, (1) Mince a little.  “Am I alive?”  asked Mince, as he jumped to his feet.  Silver, gold, blue, green and red glitter shimmered from the cracks of light seeping into their ornament box as it fell from the small fellow waking.

It was Christmas Eve, once again.  It was duty time.  Historically, in this house, Frince and Mince came to life on the 24th of December, at midnight.  The woman of the house and her husband (2) always erected a Christmas tree and decorated it with ornaments and lights of varied hue to shine in the late dark cold night.  The woman, three years in a row, now, decided to go with a “theme” for the tree.  While stunning to those who saw these Christmas trees, the older ornaments of nostalgic tradition were usually mostly left in their decorative, glittered and dusty, ornament box.  This year she titled her Christmas tree’s theme “The Ice of Winter”, and their tree was adorned with mostly store-bought silver ornaments and blue and dark-blue lights and metallic silver stringed strands.

Frince and Mince made their way to see the tree; both found it to be baffling.  “Back to business.”  “Due course.”  They scurried to the shadows of a near sofa, and discussed hunting options.  The two elves were connected magically.  It was unnecessary for them to speak aloud, many times, because they shared natural extrasensory perception.  They could hear each other think loud and clear.  This kept them safe from their one known danger other than living and walking-while-awake humans, their big fat lazy old cat (3).

Their duty? To find the mouse, Streak.  They caught Streak, one year, eating cookies left out for Santa, and the cat caught and ate the mouse right in front of the elves.  How did the elves see him again?  Streak came back into physical form three days later, as the elves lay down to rest for another 362 days.  They only come to life once a year.  Why were they on a hunt for Streak?  For one, to prevent confusion.  If Streak was to eat more cookies, it could upset the woman.  If the cat was to eat the mouse, it could mean another costly (4) trip to the vet.  As the mouse was sure to come to life anyway for most of the year, the elves commonly only lived three magical days, themselves.  So, it was up to them to find this mouse, and that is what they sought to do.

“I seen him.”  “No you did not, you are still waking.”  “We will see.”  Mince thought he saw the mouse streak around a corner to his normal creviceway hideout in the corner of a back room.  The two elves, sure the humans were asleep, ran to the opening in the corner.  The mouse was, as guessed, nowhere to be found.  “If not be him here, as you were accurate, why not frequent the cookies?”  “I want this to be quick and easy, this year.  I think your idea is supreme.”

The two elves traversed the normal shadows of the house to finally find a plate of cookies on a small book-table with a moodlamp lit on dim.  “That is not a Christmas tree.” “You are correct, Mr. Natural Eggnog.  It is still stunning, though.”  The two elves shared a short-lived moment together appreciating the aesthetic value of the green and red sugar cookies and white and brown fudge cubes on the large crystal platter with shimmering golden trim.

Then, as if they were not even visible, as if no small cookie crumb could be thrown to them from the short table, Streak climbed unknowingly onto the high-class platter.  Frince and Mince both saw the small mouse and made their way to the table.  The tiny creature was exceptionally fast and would be nearly impossible to catch if the two elves were to mess this chance up.  They positioned themselves behind a large mug of warm milk (5), as Streak was sure to extract one good crushed nut from a large chunk of fudge and scurry to some place of safety as soon as possible.

Frince noticed that the small scoundrel was not even paying attention.  The mouse removed a large chunk of a walnut, and Frince motioned to Mince.  Mince leaped a good four steps from the mouse and was on him, had him behind the ears by the neck.  The tiny creature might have actually got away, however Frince was just behind Mince and hoisted the mouse into the air by his short hind legs.  “We have him!” thought Frince, almost loud enough to wake the woman.  “That we do” thought Mince, quietly enough to near the man into a supposed year-long length of slumber.

The happy elves held onto the small mouse and bounced and danced to the fire.  A small faggot was only burned on one end.  Mince held the mouse to the log and Frince went and found a small thread of sorts to tie the mouse down.  Upon his return, he and Mince tied down the mouse, and Mince drew his “long-sword” – the four-inch tall elves’ ritualistic version of a Katana.  Frince almost fell asleep – it was almost too easy, this year.

Just then, however, both elves saw the cat (6).  The old, overweight feline monster was creeping up to them, one paw per inch, one noiseless step at a time.  He was spotted, able to pounce, howbeit, at any time.  Mince near shaded himself a new hue of white and glanced to Frince for some attempt of request for authority.  Frince looked to the cat, calculated their possible escape, and said “Take him.”  Mince quickly came down upon the small mouse, decapitating him (7), and the cat leaped into the air.

Both elves (8) jumped away from the slain mouse to escape the deadly cat.  The cat caught Frince (9), Mince stayed within dangerous reach, moving.  Soon to bite the head off the magical little elf, the cat looked to Mince to see if there was any last reason for not pursuing his natural wishes.  Mince had to think quick, his sword would do him no good; he remembered the warm buttermilk by the cookies.  Mince aimed his sword in that direction and the cat knew there was warm milk over there.  The large fluffy animal lifted his paw off the terrified elf and strolled toward the buttermilk.  Halfway to the moodlamp, the cat lay on his side and slept.  The two elves were exhausted, too, and sat for a moment (10).

Their annual deed was done (11).  They walked to the Christmas tree and watched the fading lights glow bright blue and dim to darkness repeatedly, decided to turn in.  They made their way up the stairway-latter to their ornate ornament (12) box to conclude the Christmas night.  As Frince was closing their lid for slumber, he noticed a large, shiny black boot (13) make the chimney floor’s ashes cloud into its surrounding air.

So our story’s first draft is complete, and, without a single revision, we can discuss what I like to deem “natural device.”  This is when we can consider the use of device as it occurs within the story without too much actual intention.  I have included dialogue in color to show which elf is speaking or thinking, an idea I received from a fellow blogger with no current blog, maybe (Nonsense-and-Shenanigans on Word Press).

At any rate, I used numbers in parenthesis to denote the attempted use of literary device.  I will include those; define some classic terms; include some words from Wikipedia; and we can engage into what commentary is possible for this mini-blog and a story that I have waited months and months to draft, “Francis’s Party”.

Numbered Device Reference Notes

(1) foreshadowing – the two elves may be up to a treacherous act of some sort with the inclusion of the word “criminal.”

(2) shadow-characters – the intentional use of therciary characters; they exist and do not speak.

(3) character, semi-personification – we intentionally introduce the third of five chars, the cat is nearly personified, does make a decision later in the story.

(4) reference-connection device – “costly” indicates some connection to familial economic reality, a dangerous tool to use in fiction.

(5) symbol – the milk symbolizes life for the cat, freedom for the elf, later on in the story; the idea that beings must do something to gain or consume something to exist can be loosely inferred in symbolic consideration.

(6) conflict and dilemma – the cat represents an antagonistic danger to the objective of the elves, as well as the well-being of the elves.  Everything was fine; at this point, they are in danger.

(7) climax – the climax of the story is when Streak is slain.

(8) narrative hook – we, as readers, are encouraged to continue reading, because action in “up in the air.”  We want to see what happens to the elves; for one small moment, the cat is in the air, and we do not know if the elves will be captured or eaten or both.

(9) protagonistic dilemma – one of the main character’s well-being is put into question, causing us to care for him.

(10) falling action – action is slowed as the characters are no longer in danger and the story’s conclusion is on the way.

(11) comprehensive denouement – a story’s summary of events, how the dilemmas of the characters are resolved, and their resolutions are explained during the story’s falling action is a story’s denouement.  Not explaining much at this point, we at least know the two protagonists had a goal and found their success.

(12) (consonantal) alliteration – useful as poetic device, it is a favorite of mine in the rhythmic world of prose.

(13) symbolic conclusion – we know, indirectly, who is coming down the chimney.  The conclusion leaves us to wonder if the elves heed to a conscious consideration of being good or bad, whether Santa can find them living or not.  It would be largely up to the reader.  One way or the other, it is fun to include a the visual image of a known and favored character without too much of a direct statement.  What, on Earth, would he think of his missing cookie crumb walnut chunk?

 Common Literary Device Terms for use in Short Stories

 plot – the main scheme, plan or story-line of a story, play, or other composition

climax – a decisive moment during ongoing action in a story when plot changes; the most intense point in a story

setting – the surroundings or environment of where action takes place in a story, often briefly described

character development – description of main characteristics of a character, further explanations of a character’s persona, endurance shaping

personification – act of making something human-like that was not, i.e. a talking rock, tree, or animal

summary – explanation of basic incidences in a story, usually towards the end

denouement – post-climax explanation of what happened to the characters, normally including a story’s resolution during its falling action

conflict – opposing force of normal/natural action, many times, when a character is forced to choose

decision – a character’s time of choice or when they are presented with being forced to choose

character – person to be described in a story, being what the story is about

antagonist – main char’s opposing char in a story; adversary

rising action –  events that lead to the climax

falling action/resolution – events occurring after the epiphany (climax) of a story

protagonist – main character in a story

dialogue – speech between characters in a story

scene – realm to be described that characters interact in

transition – literary device that changes from one sequence of events to another, usually by alluding to the change of incidences before they begin to happen

narrative hook – device used by writers to keep readers involved with an ongoing story

description – presenting details about a character, object, event, or scene

symbol – object, word, or concept within a story that represents a secondary idea

visualization – descriptions that can let us, the audience, visualize scene, setting, objects, or occurrences

clandestine visualization – device used to allow an audience to see a character, scene, object, or concept without describing said item/items in words/verbatim

[

The following information was extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_story –

More Short Story Terms:

exposition – the introduction of setting, situation and main characters

complication – the event that introduces the conflict

crisis – the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action

climax – the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action

resolution – the point when the conflict is resolved

in medias res – when short stories have an exposition beginning in the middle of the action

]

Thank you for enjoying these literary reminders and ideas; remember, I patiently await your every comment. This first draft of “Francis’s Party” was 1173 words long; the entire post currently contains, 3598 words.  🙂

A Book Review for Ann Simpson’s, The Genealogist’s Guests

A Book Review for Ann Simpson’s, The Genealogist’s Guests

          Ghosts are known to come out at midnight; Ann Simpson’s favorite time of the day is 4 AM.  I recently read the first book of her three part series titled, “The Genealogist’s Guests”.  It is an exciting construction full of nonstop action.  When one sees a movie, the climax usually captures our attention with a finale of occurrences.  I felt as though the entire book was like the finale portion of a classic film: not a bad thing. Continue reading

An Adventure of Anh

An Adventure of Anh

One time there was a female named Anabeth Garza.  She was nearing thirty-five; she was pondering her life, considering death.  She walked late in the night to a closed fairground.  So dark was the night, so quit in its loneliness, the moon lit her way, albeit.

As she found her way to the monkey-sized puppet in a box, she noticed a small orange bulb in the lower back of the “vending mechanism” to still be on.  “Anh” inspected the back of the large box, noticed it was not plugged in.  “The machine must have stored energy from a busy night,” Anh thought to herself, “That or it is magical.”

She reached into her pockets thinking she just may, by some crazed off-chance, have a coin.  She did not.  She looked below the machine and found one.  She deposited the coin in the machine and the small monkey spun around in a glowing light.  The monkey was well-dressed, as if ready for dancing on a stage.  It looked directly to Anh and said, “No one is looking.  What is your tentative wish?”

“‘Tentative’,” Anh thought to herself.  This was sure to be some form of hard-to-appreciate fun adventure.  “I want to be 12,” was the only thing she could think to say.  She said it before the monkey’s glow disseminated, and warped immediately to small school in Southern Mexico.

“This is a run-down heap,” she thought to herself, as she was surrounded by Mexican students in a classroom with a chalkboard and a clock on the wall.  “They have  a clock,” she noticed.  “Es ocho,” said the teacher, starting class at 8.  Anh only spoke English, though she may have known a few words from the Spanish language.

The day was sure to be an adventure.  Anh noticed that the other students mostly kept to themselves or distracted each other; she could stay mostly quite and say only  a few words like “Si” and “No.”  Lunch came and they all ate beans and rice with milk.  Anh was surprised that the small meal hit the spot.  Recess came.

During recess, Anh played on the swings with another young girl she sat next to and was close to from class.  They were swinging and not saying much.  Anh noticed, across the playground, a larger, heavy-set boy was taunting a boy and a girl.  Anh instinctively went over to see why.  The boy did not have much of a reason, appeared to Anh to be being mean for no real cause.

Anh tapped the boy on the shoulders and he turned to her as if he knew all about it.  “Leave them be or I will beat the breaks off of you,” said Anh.  The larger boy pushed Anh and she fell to the ground.  Her friend begun to run from the swings to where Anh was to try to stop her.  “Anh!” she cried, “Do not do it!”  Anh stood without brushing off her nice outfit, leaped into the blow she delivered to the bully, landing the blow with the lower part of her palm.  She made contact to his brow directly between his eyes, hearing his skull crack.

Anh landed on her feet, ready to see what the big boy was going to do, as he fell to the ground crying with blackened eyes.  Anh’s friend caught up with her and Anh apologized by saying, “Lo-ciento.”  Her “amiga” was disappointed, though somehow understood.  Their instructor found them and Anh endured meeting the principle of the small Mexican school.  He was bilingual, said that she should have informed the instructor and to conduct her actions differently next time.

Anh agreed, hoping the bully learned his lesson.  She warped back to the puppet in time to see light condense from its immense brightness to a small glowing orange bulb.  The monkey looked as though it went to sleep.  “Wow,” thought Anh, and she carried on.

Specs of Time

Specs of Time

She sat on her porch watching birds and the wind blow the trees.  They swayed to and fro in the early morning, the spring breeze was nice.  Amy awaited the arrival of her grandmother; her wait surely would not take too much time.  At the age of ten, she was always interested in various curiosities.  Of course she had “grown-up” things on her mind; she was dressed and headed for church.  Her new white shoes shined like porcelain; Amy’s Sunday dress was pale in hues and fitting for spring.  She was thinking of the afterlife.  Amy considered the every sermon she heard, each Sunday.

“What are we all, anyway?” thought Amy, “And what will we be if we make it to heaven?”  She thought and pondered for some time, almost fell asleep.  Suddenly a little brown finch dove from its normal flight in the wind and landed on the railing in front of her.  The finch seemed to look right at Amy and then to the porch’s wooden planks.  There was a small bug there.  The bird acknowledged Amy and flew down, snatching up the bug and flying away.

“Surely the small bird could think,” thought Amy, “It looked right at me.  I imagine most other forms of life can, too.”  She thought about it a while longer and decided.  For one, her grandmother was taking forever, and two, we must all be mere specs in time, able to come and go as any form of life as some form of a gift.  We live; we die; and we most probably can be anything or anyone, depending on certain circumstances.

Amy continued to wait, there with her small Bible.  Eventually, her grandmother drove up.  The huge black car probably weighed 8 tons.   It pulled up and Amy got inside.  “Good morning, grandma.”  “Good morning young girl; buckle up properly.  Did you remember to bring your Bible?”  “Yes ma’am.”  Amy secured herself snugly with her seat-belt, and they drove off to church.  Amy’s parents attended a different congregation.  Amy had been to church with them, before, yet she sometimes went with her grandmother, too.

The day was sunny and bright, the breeze gentle and nice.  Amy’s grandmother drove down the dirty old farm road, and Amy took in the scenery as they traveled.  The vast pastures were mostly the same every time Amy got to see them.  Some of them had cows.  One was used for farming wheat, and others were fenced yet not necessarily maintained too often for farming.  This Sunday would certainly be one that Amy would remember for years and years.

A Narrative for Mr. Wise

A Narrative for Mr. Wise (inspired from here)

Dear Grandpa,

          Hi; Ned here.  How are you? I am fine.  I wanted to share the most inspiring thing I observed last week.  As you know, I journal.  In my journal, when mom lets me take walks, I draw sketches of scenery and write descriptions, poetry, and plot ideas.  The other day I was about two blocks from the park and found a large rock, bigger than me, under a tree.

I sat up on the rock thinking I would surely endure something; things happen in nature.  I was guessing I may see a bird fly by; I may have to endure conversation; or maybe traffic would proceed as normal and nothing too exciting would really occur.  Do you want to know what happened?  I got to speak to a police officer.  I was not in trouble; I saw him speaking with a woman across the way and he came and checked on me before he carried on.

“Was that nice lady okay?” I asked him.  I tried to sound intelligent.  I said, “I imagine you guys get called out for the elderly all of the time due to this excruciating heat index commonly over 110° f.”  I was ready to mogate (walk away) if he said it was not okay for me to be on my lovely rock.  Other people had sat there – it was polished.

“The nice old woman across the street is Ms. Feathers,” said the kind officer.

“She has lived there for forty years.  Her children all have jobs out-of-town and her husband died three weeks ago.  She is three months behind on her rent, has been living with no electricity for seven weeks.  It was sad to hear; she knows my grandmother who is ten years older than her and lives in an assisted living facility.  I was called to escort the nice lady to the street due to an eviction notification.  I paid her landlord, and I plan to move Ms. Feathers into where my mother lives if she cannot find work.  She will be able to, though.  I spoke with her.  She did not know about the government programs available for seniors; a buddy of mine can hire her for part-time work at McDonald’s.  I think she can do it; it is not too far from here and she should be fine.  I do not mind helping her out; my grandmother will be happy with me for it.”

“That is very nice of you, sir,” I said.  “I think there is a place in heaven for people like you that can give others a second chance.”  The man said, “I am a blessed man.  I enjoy my job.  Be good when you grow up.”  He then carried on, said he was back to his beat.  I imagine he patrols a few blocks on foot during the evenings.  He saw me with my writing pad.  It was nice of him to explain the story of the lady.  Her house was rather inspiring, too.  I sketched it.  It reminded me of large plantation houses mentioned in history books in the south before the civil war.  Her house has four large columns out front and an old swing; I am sure we can find someone to help her pay and live there, too.  We can ask around for her at her church, maybe.  There is always a way to help others.

I hope she can keep her house.  The government programs added together with something to do for work should at least buy her the time to find something somewhere, even if she has to move.  I was bold; I went and met her.  I asked her if she would like to be a my pen pal, let her know I write as a hobby.  She shared her current address with me, and I found the Classified Ads section of her newspaper for her.  She looked through it and said she may give  a few of the numbers a call, however McDonald’s would probably be a more sound route.  She attends the Presbyterian church on 9th and Rivers St.  Maybe we can go there to check on her, sometime.  I do not think mom would mind.  Do you think there would be any reason not to go?

At any rate, I am glad the old lady did not add to the homeless population.  I hope she does well, that the community gives her some options, somehow.  I know where the soup kitchen is downtown; mom, at times, dislikes it when I go see those people.  At least I eat my vegetables when I do.  I hope all is well with you; I look forward to hearing from you.  I included a brief poem for you and Grandma Wise:

A Noontime Raven,

by Ned

Oh black raven

how are you there?

The sun is up above;

no moon?

The heat is on your back.

Death here soon?

Fly, raven! Fly!

You, too, can

continue to try.

I hope you enjoyed the poem.  I, like many, am a huge E. A. Poe fan.  Ravens usually symbolize death, somehow; I wanted to visualize one during the brightest part of the day to see where it would take me.  I suppose it led to the idea of keeping on.  I can be dedicated to trying to do my best at what I can.  I wrote this letter to you listening to a disco mix.  Well, I am going to do my schoolwork, now; I look forward to seeing you!

Love always,

Ned

A Letter to Mr. Wise

Dear Grand-Pa Wise,

How are you?  I am well.  I wanted to write you a letter; I am grounded.  The kids at school were making fun of my hair, so I put paste on Sally McFarkle’s long brown hair.  Her friend laughed, so I got in trouble.  I apologized to Sally, still got sent to the office.  Hence, no chess today.  I am supposed to be cleaning my room, right now.  I cleaned it a while ago.

I wanted to write you, however I did not know what to say.  You always answer my questions; for that I am grateful.  I am working on my book, “The Golden Dragon”.  I write about three pages a day before I go to bed.  I would much rather read; I read to write better.  I am describing an adventure of a man sent to slay a terrible man-eating dragon that does not even accept payment for nonviolence.

At any rate, what did I come up with for inspiration?  Was it a photo?  No, it was not a photo… it was page 29 of my spelling dictionary from the Oxford press.  I was going to write you a poem: “About a Beach,”  The wind blew, the woman knew, and the man saw no dead fishes.  “Beach” was the first word I saw.

Another word was more inspirational, however.  Have you ever heard of the word, “Bedeck?”  I had not.  What do you think it means?  Here is a hint; I will use it in a sentence.  The mother of the young prodigy decided to bedeck her Christmas tree.  Here is another one.  The wife from India was bedecked with gold and sapphires.  Here is one last sentence; I think you may have already guessed the meaning of bedeck.  How was the 4th place Olympic Finnish swimmer bedecked?  His team gave him a green honorable mention ribbon.

You may have guessed it, bedeck  means to adorn.  Well, I must conclude this letter.  I am going to do some reading.  I missed seeing you today.  I look forward to our next lesson in chess.  I love you grand-pa; please, tell grand-ma I said, “Hello.”

Love always,

Ned

Something I Would Not Mind

Something I Would Not Mind

“Anything is possible,” said Mick Harmon, Analysts Specialist of Invecor, a brokerage firm I recently accepted a job offer from. “So I could take this object, bring it back here, and it would be mine?” I asked. “As long as you do not mind being in the movie and wearing a nice suit,” said Mick.

“I love to dress up,” I said, “How will the filming crews keep up with me?” “There will be four of them. You will leave one to get to the next one. We are going to time you; overly wealthy investors are going to be racing against your time in other vehicles. Your trip will be from New York, New York to Orlando in Florida. Once in Orlando, your mission will be complete and you can go anywhere you choose in your object.”

“That is so awesome,” I said. I shook Mick’s hand; accepted the folder full of documents I was to bring to New York, in person; and made my way to the bus stop. I was well on my way to New York; I would be driving South in the newest Bugatti made. It was on.

Bugatti photos

The Return of Ned and His Grandfather

The Return of Ned and His Grandfather

“I am happy about our new writing assignment,” said Ned, “It has to do with voice; it covers the three main aspects of what an author can use with the narration of a written story.” “Interesting,” said Ned’s Grandfather, Mr. Clark.

Ned was a ten-year-old boy playing chess with his grandfather on a Saturday. His mother let him go to the park and play chess with his grandfather for reasons like good behavior and high grades. If Ned got into trouble or fell behind with his homework, he would not get to see Mr. Clark.

Ned was happy to be playing chess. Win or lose, he was there to learn. He usually only lost if he looked over something, or if Mr. Clark could spoil his plans. Ned read books on playing chess as a seven-year-old; he was well on his way to becoming a master of sorts, one day.

“Did you get the big box of books I gave to your mother?” asked Mr. Clark. “Yes,” said Ned, “She wanted to throw them out. I had to beg and plead for it. I mowed the yard to keep it, had to hide one of the books for a short while in case it was ‘restricted’ from my reading. She said it was from the Swanks. Did they move?” “No,” said Mr. Clark, “Dr. Swank and his wife were cleaning out a bunch of stuff. He let me have over fifty of his books from college. His wife was going to throw them out.”  “I really appreciate it, Grand-pa,” said Ned. Mr. Clark knew how into reading and writing Ned really was. It was Ned’s “art-hobby,” kept him out of trouble from time to time.

Ned and Mr. Clark exchanged a few preliminary pieces to get the game going; Ned tried to set up a flanking sneak attack with a bishop, a pawn, a horse, and a way-to-early-yet-still-very-powerful back-up queen. He did not know if his grandfather saw his efforts. He was also trying to pay good attention to any scheme Mr. Clark may have been working on.

“So what is so special about this writing assignment?” asked Ned’s grandfather. “I like the park, here. The story is set in a park. It is supposed to utilize three forms of voice: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person.” “The story is supposed to have three people?” asked his grandfather. “No sir,” said Ned. Ned knew not to get frustrated with others. He had trouble, sometimes, explaining what was on his mind.  Ned said,

“What the assignment has to do with is voice. As the author, if I describe a story with characters, setting, and dialogue, I usually use 3rd person omniscient. The author of a 3rd person story can know everything; it is the easiest method for myself and many others. If I write the story directed to you, say, in the form of a letter, I think that would be the more rare 2nd person. 2nd person voice utilizes the word ‘you’ to start sentences instead of ‘I’.  2nd person is used for childrens’ songs and hip-hop music, sometimes. If I tell the story with a character and it is a narrative of with the character’s own descriptions, that is 1st person. For the assignment, we use all three techniques and a park.”

“What are your ideas, so far?” asked Mr. Clark. “Well, I am thinking I may do a small story about a little girl who chases her ball into a busy street, only to be saved by a passing blind man,” said Ned. “How about this…” said Mr. Clark,

“The two crows up on that branch over there have been watching the shiny green beetle organizing tiny mud balls under that orange maple leaf for some time, now. Each bird sees the beetle. Those are the blackbirds with the shining blue and yellow spots on their wings – maybe they can talk, maybe they cannot, according to humans. Those are known as “Blue Minas”- common, yet wild. They can probably communicate, somehow, telling each other in their minds what they may or may not do to the tasty metallic object working below. The beetle either knows or does not know about the two hungry birds up on the branch. He cannot decide for his future, much. If he was to scurry off, the minas would be forced to pursue him. They watch and decide; the beetle may be a piece of art to them. If I were to say ‘Do things to that beetle,’ the minas would swoop down and attack the beetle, leaving him different than he was before… Do things to that beetle!”

The two beautiful mina birds with yellow and blue spots on their wings dove seven feet from their branch to the beetle. “I got him,” said one, while placing its foot on top of the shining green beetle, gently, “You do your thing and I will do mine.” “I have never been through more,” thought the beetle. The silent mina took a good look and aim towards the beetle, pecked a large hole in the creature removing half of his torso. The grasping mina removed a beetle leg with his beak and ate it. The birds flew away. The beetle crawled off to a safer, more hidden area.

Ned saw all of those things happen. He was not paying too much attention to the chess game. He saw a opportunity to put stress on Mr. Clark’s king with a rook/castle. Ned moved the rook, and Mr. Clark moved his queen to protect an attacking bishop. “Checkmate,” said Mr. Clark. He won this time. “What do you think about all of that?” asked Mr. Clark. “Good game,” said Ned, shaking his grandfather’s hand. I could certainly use “The Attack of the Minas” as a story, especially since both birds and the beetle can talk and think. That was crazy seeing those birds attack that beetle.” “Your mother is pulling up,” said Mr. Clark. “See you next week,” said Ned, giving his grandfather a hug, “I love you bunches!”

Mr. Clark put away the chess set. Ned left with his mother. The metallic green beetle lived for two years.

wiki on voice

An Artifact

An Artifact

“This class blows,” said Henry.  “Everything blows according to you – blondes blow but you do not dislike them, do you?” replied Ron.  “No, I do not dislike blondes,” admitted Henry.  He was the more intelligent of the two; Ron thought he had to try to know. He was forced to put forth at least a minimal amount of effort, where Henry sometimes did not even begin to need to. Henry, at times, took his various gifts of intelligence for granted. It was no big deal; it was his way of knowing more with less stress.

The class they happened to be early for was an Archaeology class. It was two weeks before spring break on a Friday; their instructor was from India. His hobby was training for half marathons. The professor arrived (finally), and all entered the class room. Professor Rauckbon said:

“For these few weeks I have been giving you various assignments on research and study. We have been the travelers of a digging study program, found small items for documentation and study. I am thinking today will be a more fun and a less arduous approach. I am thinking… today is movie day. It is a day for showing and telling, a surprise fun and easy day for us all. Why did you not know about this showing and telling? Because I am the one doing the showing, as well as the one doing the telling. So sit back and enjoy what we can do with one of our school’s newest projector mechanisms.”

The professor happily turned the lights off with a remote and operated the projector with yet another remote.  He was originally born in India and spoke over seven languages.  His video was an impressive collection of films documenting historical sites in India, both famous and rare.  He displayed archaeological sites rarely mentioned to mainstream media, including a secret grave site for old religious leaders from thousands of years ago.  His interesting story involved a handcrafted artifact.

The artifact was a sacred object of very old Indian religion.  During those times, in that specific region, religion and the afterlife involved mostly the respect of items considered to be holy or magical.  Only a blessed item could be used to cause intentional re-incarnation.  Before known documented history, the region went to war with a neighboring community.  An approximate two to three thousand men on each opposing side engaged in a bloody war.  The death toll of the war numbered in the thousands.  The sole leader of the region containing the burial site was said to have used the artifact in war to take the life of multiple enemies in one current situation, while reviving his deadliest war heroes.

What made the story interesting to the professor was the idea of modern progress and the notion of the artifact’s “new” location.  A very large house of worship had been constructed during modern times; it contained a secret underground structure with catacombs, tombs, and protected structures for hiding national items sacred for historical or religious reasons or both.  Common thieves had robbed the grave site in modern times; the government of India recovered these items and hid them under the more secure modern temple.  Due to economic expansion, a large skyscraper was built on top of the old burial site.

Hard to explain for the professor, he related that, Geologically, the site was an excellent place for the eighty story building because of the prehistoric bedrock below it.  A highly secret, rare organization could still, in theory, access the actual grave site of the war heroes of long ago beneath the skyscraper.  The office building was an approximate 400 yards in perimeter before including any surrounding structures.  It was very big.

The professor went into detail in regards to the magically religious artifact.  It was a small white monkey, hand carved and polished from the tusk of a ceremoniously fattened elephant’s tusk.  It was clothed in melted and cooled 24-carrot decorative gold.  The artifact’s brow sported an uncut diamond; its eyes were identical rubies.  The rubies were said to glow in various ways, showing powers, dangers, and or actions performed through the item.  It was a surprise to the professor that the artifact was used in a war over territory.  He thought the war would have been over the magical artifact, instead.  It was said to have gained its eternal powers via a dark Indian priest – he died too give the precious little monkey its magical powers.

By this time, 80% of the class had fallen asleep, completely.  Ron and Henry were both paying attention, intently, however.  They would be sure to discuss the knew knowledge of an old Indian artifact after class.  They were not the only students paying attention.  Two students in the back row wrote down the names of certain cities; they exchanged looks.  These two guys were not up to anything phenomenaly wonderful, that was for sure.

The class adjourned.  “Those guys were up to something,” said Henry.  “Of course they were,” said Ron, “What on Earth could it have been?”  “They want that artifact,” said Henry.  “I doubt they can get it,” said Ron, “It would be well worth their time, in this lifetime, to try, though.  The item would have to be of great worth.  I would guess that there is the chance that it is actually spiritually enhanced or magical.”  “It would not surprise me,” said Henry, thinking.  “What is on your mind?” asked Ron.  “Spring break,” said Henry, “I bet if they try to go to India, it will be then.”  “India?” asked Ron.  “They are after that monkey,” said Henry, “I am sure of it.”

Days went by and Henry and Ron continued to do well in school.  The artifact was on their minds; they saw and overheard the two other Archaeology students planning their spring break trip to go to India in the front study area of their school’s largest library.  The two students planning had no suspicion of Ron and Henry’s thought.  Ron and Henry followed the two other students to a travel agency that evening; they purchased tickets to fly to India as the other two students had.

Mexico…” said Henry.  “I agree,” said Ron, “India will be much more fun than a repeat trip to the infamous Cancun.  I cannot wait.  I am bringing my new digital camera for picture taking.  I cannot wait to see what my fellow bloggers post in consideration of my attempts with the photography of distant lands.”  Ron and Henry would fly on the same airplane, land in a big city in India, stay in the most inexpensive resort hotel there, and track/follow the two students attempting to partake in crime.  That was their plan.

Ron and Henry thought their plan to be a long-shot.  The other two classmates were definitely going to try to take the artifact.  Whether they could even acquire it was more than half of the problem, the rest was stopping them or helping authorities in India catch the terrible college students during spring break.

Many things went as planned.  The two questionable young men flew to India.  So did Ron and Henry, with information on the other two students from the travel agency.  All four rested through one night, Ron and Henry woke up before dawn to see a mind blowing sunrise.  They found and followed the other two.  The two questionable individuals had attained secret information on the modern religious structure.  They assaulted and bound two guards, entered a door with an electronic key/pass-card.  Once in the catacombs, the two had  a small amount of time to find the stone storage structure which contained the ivory monkey.

The two bad-guys had attained a map; they found a large stone box.  They used a nearby pry-tool to open the box; it contained a few skulls of old war heroes, some ancient religious texts, some old jewelry, and an artifact or two.  One of these small items was a little bottle used to preserve a dead-person’s blood sample for religious reasons.  This item frightened one of the thieves, the other one shook him by the shoulder so they could get the monkey and go.  The scared one took the monkey and put it in his small backpack; they ran to escape.

It would not be easy for the two criminals to escape.  They did so, however.  They were chased by government officials and religious leaders.  They made it to a popular part of the large city and were somewhat safe from the authorities there.  They did not escape Ron and Henry, though.  The criminals went to a large shopping mall to safely plan a nonchalant route back to their hotel.  They planned to fly back to the states and sell the artifact for as much as possible.

Ron and Henry found the two in the shopping mall.  The mall was near the criminals’ hotel.  Henry snuck up behind the student with the backpack and opened it.  Ron reached in and grabbed the monkey; they walked away.  The criminals noticed the open backpack.  Where was the artifact? They did not know.  The criminals were in shambles, and they were surrounded by authorities and arrested on counts of violence and improper entry.  No one knew where the artifact was other than Henry and Ron.

The two intelligible college students considered themselves to be the good guys.  They flew back to the states with the spiritual item; they would know what was best for the artifact.  Ron and Henry got the item back to the states safely.  They gazed upon it in Henry’s living room.  He split his rent with four other students.  His housemates thought the monkey was cool; Henry kept it on a mantle.

Summer came and Henry’s housemates had all gone back to where they were from for work-related purposes.  Ron, like Henry, stayed in college over the summer to take more courses.  They had time in the evenings for study.  One night, the artifact came up in conversation.  “It has been sitting on your mantle there for weeks like a 5$ dust collector,” said Ron.  “I have not thought much about it,” said Henry, looking at the monkey.  Its gold was impressive; its eyes were mysterious.  Henry stood and beheld the artifact.  He sat it on a small table in the center of the room.

Ron gazed upon the item, as did Henry.  “I think we can talk with it,” said Ron.  “How?” asked Henry.  “I will try a way,” said Ron.  He gently pet the top of the ivory artifact’s head, and its eyes began to glow.  Henry and Ron both immediately sat back in their seat on a sofa.  They were not too scared.  The two students were rather curious instead.  A spirit floated up out of the monkey.  It was a female elephant.  “Who are you?” asked the elephant.  Henry was speechless.  Ron never really knew what he was talking about, anyway.  He said, “I am Ron, and this is Henry.  We are amazed with your history – we know little about you.”  The nice elephant blushed, slightly, and said, “I have helped many a man in war.  I have helped many a woman in love.  My powers are rare and desired.  I can fulfill untold desires.”  Henry still did not really think he was experiencing anything real.

“We are more interested in what you want,” said Ron after thinking hard and fast with his attention focused on the female elephant spirit.  He figured she would disappear if he lost concentration.  It had happened before with other spiritual conversations.  “If you must know,” replied the elephant, “I want to return to my original tomb.  I was there to protect an old warrior from spiritual malevolency.  I want to go there until certain resolutions from this side are resolved permanently.”  “Then what will you do?” asked Ron.  Henry was still gazing upon the elephant in awe.  “I am not so sure,” said the elephant, “I am not very selfish, resolutions of these sorts can take a great deal of time.  At least we have made progress over there.”

“Amazing,” said Henry.  “You talk after all,” said the elephant, “Thank you for protecting me.”  She was beginning to return to the monkey.  “Wait!” said Ron, “What is your name?”  “Imalia,” whispered the elephant, and she faded away.

“Well that does it,” said Ron, “We have to bring that back to the site under the big skyscraper.”  “Maybe I should just keep it,” said Henry.  “For what?” asked Ron, “The terrible war you have to wake up for in the morning?  Cannot quite re-incarnate your soldiers without a bashful elephant spirit?”  Henry was trying not to laugh.  “What is so funny?” asked Ron.  “Nice belt” said Henry, “Was that on sale?”  Ron looked down to find that he had put on his girlfriend’s belt by accident, earlier.  It was pink with little sparkling plastic gym-stones.  “Very funny,” said Ron, “Mine now, ha ha.”

“We do not have the money to go to India, again,” said Henry, we already had to borrow to get there the first time.”  “What if we borrow again?” suggested Ron, “When we graduate, we can borrow even more.  We will call it ‘Grad School’.”  “Very funny,” said Henry.  “I guess we can figure something out,” said Henry, “We will have to formulate a plan for a trip before fall classes begin.  Well will bring this magical elephant-monkey back to where it wants to be.  We will visit a prehistoric tomb.”  “Awesome,” said Ron, “I cannot wait to take more photos for blogging.”

The two planned it all out and made the trip to the giant skyscraper.  It was their turn, this time, to have to bound a guard.  They put a t-shirt over his head to keep him from being able to see them.  They returned the artifact to its proper location and escaped unscathed.  Once back in the United States, they finished their graduate studies and went to work for large corporate entities.  Ron saved a photo of the artifact being placed beside the old warrior’s bones in India, showed the photo to his old Archaeology professor with a self deleting file.  The professor was amazed.  He could only guess as to whether the photo was actually what it highly resembled.

daily prompt, antique antics