Wednesday Write-in #26


Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

CAKE.shortandsweet runs a write-in every week to writers to practise their skills, and get chatting to each other about their work. Everyone is welcome to join in, and the more people you tell, the more everyone will get out of it.

 

Prompts

bloodbath  ::  sweet and sour  ::  unplanned  ::  soprano  ::  on top

Guidelines

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some brief guidelines:

  • You can use the prompts as inspiration or try to work them into your story somehow. Use as many as you want.
  • When your story is done, post it online (your blog/twitter/in a comment here), tag with #wednesdaywritein and comment with a link so we can read it. You can write as many stories as you like.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you can.

Featured Story

We’ll feature our favourite story on the blog with a review of it and links to the author’s blog/twitter/facebook if relevant.

Posts will generally go up at 12am(ish) on Wednesday – stories are due by 10am Thursday (UK) to be considered for the featured story. You can keep posting your work after this, it just won’t be featured.

The winner will also be eligible to publish on our special CAKE.shortandsweet genre through Ether Books.

Get Involved

Look for us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the write-ins, or click the follow button to get blog updates!

Join our CAKE.writers group on Scribophile, an online community for writers to give and receive constructive criticism.

Read our Previous Issues and check out the Submissions page if you’d like to be a CAKE.author!

 

Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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53 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #26

  1. Pingback: Dzinski – Sour and Sweet « Craig Towsley

  2. A little romance this week:

    Such a feelin’s comin’ over me, There is wonder in most everything I see’ Kate warbled away in a sweet soprano, too high for Karen Carpenter’s lyrics blaring out of the radio but who cared. She was also feeling on top of the world. It was Valentine’s Day tomorrow and Charlie said he’d have a surprise for her.
    She indulged in a brief daydream of the two of them on a deserted beach in the Maldives, or gazing at the sun setting on Ayres Rock or whatever it was called these days, finding a huge diamond solitaire in a glass of champagne… Karen was still singing ‘And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream’. Kate shook herself back to reality with a laugh.
    Charlie was the love of her life but he wasn’t one for big gestures. She’d be pleased if she got a card from him, romantic or otherwise. That was just the way things were although sometimes she wished for a little more spice in their relationship.
    Kate got home from work next day and quickly tidied the living room and put a bottle of red wine on the coffee table before going to change out of her nurse’s uniform. She smiled to herself as she thought about Charlie’s face when she gave him his surprise. The front door opened and Charlie called ‘Surprise!’. ‘Surprise too!’, Kate rushed into living room wearing just a pink bow around her waist to be confronted by Charlie and all their friends carrying bags overflowing with cans of beer and Chinese takeaway food.
    Charlie dropped his bag and cartons of sweet and sour chicken burst open onto the floor and sauce splattered up the wall. Kate whirled around, face scarlet, and sent the bottle of wine flying as she made a dash back to the bedroom. The scene was like something out of an abattoir, or a bloodbath in a B-movie.
    It was a while before Kate sheepishly emerged from the bedroom, fully dressed, to cheers from the party. Someone had done their best to clear up the mess and the rest of the food was being served onto plates.
    Charlie led Kate to a clean chair and knelt on the floor in front of her. ‘Kate, this isn’t exactly how I’d planned this evening, but will you marry me?’ and he handed her a fortune cookie along with the prettiest little diamond ring Kate had ever seen.

    • I like that it begins with Karen Carpenter. Although I only ever listened to her during break ups so it was a readjustment. Why’d Charlie propose with all his mates around? I always find proposing in public strange, because it’s like, what if the person says no in front of everyone. But this is more like that scene in Love Actually, when Colin Firth proposes in the restaurant! Very feel good.

    • Hi Elaine,

      Your first paragraph is ideal in setting up the bones of the story without fuss – everything we need to know is there in a sentence or two. It’s good ground to have, as a reader.

      Your description of Kate and Charlie’s relationship contains the same brevity and you reveal the differences in their character clearly. The paragraph ending with Kate’s thoughts on how spicy things are, and the next could benefit from a stronger link between Kate’s thoughts and her actions to follow. Something simple like that suggests the lack of spice isn’t going to last because can is brewing a plan…

      The humour is is genuine and the situation totally believable. How many of us have been caught out in similar, though not so public, embarrassing situations?

      I think you reveal a beautiful element of character interaction at the end, neatly connected to Kate’s beliefs about Charlie: people have their own versions of everything and sometimes those ideas are radically changed by the smallest gesture.

      It seems obvious but it’s also easy to forget these type of dynamics. You’ve executed the twist beautifully (the simple guy who makes an unexpected grand gesture) which makes for a satisfying and very human happy ending.

      Looking at the actual words in the story, you could tighten up some of the sentences by cutting out words such as ‘just’ (I fall foul of that one) and making sure that every word counts. Sometimes words modify others to the extent that they detract from the power of the sentence itself.

      I follow a rule when I do sentence-level editing: if it comes out and the sentence still stands or is improved, it can stay out.

      An enjoyable, funny and endearing piece of flash. I look forward to reading more.

    • haha this is great 🙂 How embarrassing.
      There are a couple of words I reckon you could cut: ‘also’, in a few places ‘and’ could be replaced with a period.
      Great story though, the whole situation is great 🙂

    • Enjoyed this alot. It’s very funny and believable. I have nothing really to add about editing etc. I like the way you take us on a detour; the mention of a surprise at the beginning makes us expect a proposal or something similar and then the “Surprise” makes us think that’s not where the story is going until he gets down on one knee: very satisfying end which I think poor Kate deserves! I also think you have woven the prompts in seamlessly- well done!

  3. Pingback: Wednesday Write-in #26: Sad Uncle Dale | Pen Tight | Edit Straight

  4. First time I’ve taken part in a Wednesday Write-in.

    Snag

    Running against the wind is the only way he’ll run and so he runs only in bad weather along the shore. Some days he runs on the spot, unable to push through the gusts. He concentrates on the horizon but stares hard at the ground by the time he reaches me.

    Running against the wind is the only excuse I can muster to justify lingering on the spot, or passing so slowly, in front of her house that overlooks the beach. She’s at the window every time with a mug and wrapped in a cardigan, watching the sea.

    When it’s not raining, I’ll put my rubbish in the bin and wave as he passes by.

    When she’s next in her garden, I’ll say hello and offer to put her rubbish out.

    Running against me all the time – who does he think he is? I wrench a bin, emptied just this morning, and sling it at the sod. The plastic drum snags him in the knees, his legs kick out and he hits the ground face down, no longer running.

    George and Jeff sniff their ales in the sun, desperate for a gust if wind. A man and woman stroll along the promenade and enter the garden of a house that backs onto the beach. The disappear inside together.

    Planned it all along, George says. Two bloody years just to get her attention, Jeff says. Could have just knocked on her door, George says. Aye, Jeff says. Go running together now, two o’them. Aye.

    • Really dreamy prose, which I like. And funny with the bin.

      I had to reread in order to pick up the changes in perspective (I count three). One might suggest being more explicit about the moves between suitor and bin-thrower and observers, but I won’t.

      Something tells me this is the effect you were going for.

    • I got kind of worried the girl has had enough of his elaborate plotting to say hello and has attacked him with a bin. And hurt him quite bad ‘no longer running’. Then I noticed it’s the wind attacking him! All is well is lover’s vale. Is George the elaborate runner then? So it’s not a happy ending….aye.

    • Welcome. And looking forward to more from you. I struggled with the story but having read others’ comments I now get it. I’m a bit slow at times. The wind as Cupid – nice.

    • Hello everyone,

      Thank you for all of your comments – they’ve all been taken on board!

      Structurally, I had a pattern of ababcdd to shift from perspectives. I wanted to use the wind not just as a voice but also a thematic tool to demonstrate how quickly things can move and where they can unexpectedly end up.

      I ignored a flash rule in having so many characters present at once, even thought they’re spread over a period of time. I understand how and why this has made Snag a confusing read so it’s something for me to think about and apply to future shorts.

      I’ve never written flash in my life by the way – I’m more inclined toward the novel as my medium so it’s a massive and exciting challenge to write something so complete in a small space.

      Thanks again! I’ll definitely be joing in again for future write-ins.

    • Very interesting use of different perspectives, which I have to confess I didn’t get at first reading, but the more I read it the better I like it. Fun that the wind lost patience with him! I look forward to your next flash.

    • Pretty much the same comments as everyone else – picked up the changes of view easily enough but was confused by George and Jeff’s introduction. On a second/third read I really like it, the happy coincidence of it, and the lighthearted romantic feel. Perhaps you could even write it so the bin seems like chance – and then afterwards tell us what the wind was up to?

      Welcome to the write-in at any rate, hope to see you again next week 😀

  5. Pingback: WWIn: Sea Ghosts | beccaaudra

  6. Pingback: A Love Story | running with bulls

  7. #wednesdaywritein

    Here is my attempt for this week

    This is Eric Collins with the lunchtime News. Breaking news: 3 bodies have been discovered at a house in the Drummond area. Police have not revealed the identities of the victims but local information suggests that the house is home to a couple and their two teenage children.
    Police say that the deaths are suspicious but they are not looking for any other parties at this time.
    The scene is being described as a ‘blood bath’ by local residents.
    Detective Constable Avery, the officer in charge of the police investigation, said that he was unable to confirm any details about the incident at this time. He said residents of the area should remain calm as there was no immediate danger to the public.
    The head teacher of the local secondary school said he had not been given any information regarding the identity of the children but when asked about the Collins family, who lived at the address where the crime took place, he spoke of Imogen being a popular and bright pupil and he hoped she and her family were safe. He was unable to make any comment on her brother as he had left the establishment earlier this year.
    Further updates will be made as news comes in about this tragic situation.

    “Come on, Son, it’s time to take you down to the station,” said Avery.

    Eric Collins the older child of the family was described by neighbours as reclusive. Many spoke of his Virtual existence. ‘He was weird, made you feel uncomfortable,’ one girl who remembered him from her primary class told a reporter.

    “Enough of that now, Son, you can talk down at the station. We’ll get you freshened up and the doctor will examine you.”

    In further developments, at what locals have, now dubbed, The Blood Bath Residence a young male is being escorted to a police van. The crowd has lingered to watch and the weird boy makes them feel uncomfortable.

    “What’s he muttering?” says one resident.
    “Maybe in shock” says another.

    “It might be in your best interest, Son, to remain silent until the doctor sees you,” Avery warns.

    The young man, whose identity still remains a mystery, will now sit quietly in the van. No further updates.

    • Stark unemotional reporting of a terrible domestic event and we always wonder what’s the background when we hear/read them. I’d have liked the non-news report bits in italics to separate them, but maybe I’m a lazy reader. If I’m picky, ‘the weird boy makes them feel uncomfortable’ doesn’t fit with the report style, and in the final sentence ‘will now sit quietly in the van’ doesn’t seem right – he’ll be taken to the police station.

      • Thank you. I was trying to be experimental again! The news reports are the boy himself speaking and the odd phrases you point out are his blow-by-blow accounts. I I can’t seem to get italics when I try posting, but I hoped the inverted commas would be enough around all that wasn’t ‘the report’.

    • I actually really liked that you didn’t differentiate the text – I think that would have made it too obvious in a way. Reading this, I tried to work out why they weren’t different, and then of course it becomes clear that it’s because the same person is speaking the whole thing! Very effective, very well told. I really enjoyed this piece.

    • That’s creepy. At first I was perplexed during that transition when Avery enters the scene, but after I clicked, I thought you’d done it well. I can imagine how people are seeing him, creepy and sad.

  8. Pingback: Yes, Dear | Rebecca Dudley – Collected Stories

  9. Here’s what the prompts inspired me to write.

    Soprano

    “And how long have you been planning this party?
    “A while now. Let me see, I sent the invitations in January. I was planning it before then. I had to make sure everything was ready.”
    “Like what?”
    “Well there was the dinner party of course but I wanted to entertain our guests. I’m only a novice so I had to make sure that my first public performance was polished to perfection. I had to have all those extra singing lessons. Cost me a small fortune.”
    “How long have you been singing?”
    “Well I always loved it. My mother told me I had a special voice. I can hit all the high notes, not everyone can do that.”
    The detective scribbled notes sporadically into a notebook. He stopped writing, realising that this information was irrelevant to the scene behind him. He watched the woman suspiciously. There was a slash of someone else’s blood across her face and her skirt was torn but she didn’t even have a scratch on her. He searched her face for signs of guilt; it’s always in the small detail. He let her ramble on expecting her to implicate herself sooner or later. They usually get nervous and let something slip. This woman seems oblivious to the fact that fingers will naturally point in her direction. He wondered how she could be so calm at the scene of such a massacre. He wrote down the words “possibly delusional” before tuning back into her monologue.
    “The Pope used to have some of the boy singers castrated just before they reached puberty just so their voices didn’t break and they could continue to hit the high notes. Back then women were banned from singing in churches. What’s this they call them? The Castrati; that’s it. They thought that the higher the notes you hit the closer to God you get. To sing soprano is to sing like an angel.”
    That was enough for him. He wasn’t getting anything to go on and could no longer entertain this woman’s stupid stories. He needed to get to the bottom of this. He decided to change tack and go down the more direct route.
    “And what about the bloodbath behind me here was that unplanned?” He kept his tone even, hoping it was possible to trick the woman into a confession. She was so loquacious that she might just let something slip.
    “I actually didn’t see what happened so I don’t know.”
    “What were you doing when this happened?”
    “I was singing, soaring away, lost in the purity of heaven.”
    “And when did you realise?” He wondered if in fact she had realised what had happened yet.
    “When I finished singing it took me a while to remember that my feet were still touching the ground. With the echo of my voice still resounding and my eyes still closed I waited for a rapturous applause but there was only silence, stone cold dead silence.”
    “Ok enough about the singing. Who was at the party?”
    He knew well who was there. He could see their slashed macabre bodies slumped in their places at the table.
    With the intention of identifying each corpse individually, she pointed towards her husband at the head of the table. Her body started spluttering and shuddering as a gush of violent sobs erupted. What had just happened was starting to seep in, like the fresh blood that dripped onto her cream Persian carpet. The wall had been sprayed in a chaotic spurts and splashes of blood.
    As her brain began to process, it all became too much. She collapsed and was taken to hospital to be treated for shock.
    The scene was sealed off and examined. Evidence gathered included a video camera and a phone found in one of the dead guest’s hand. Both of them captured the event as it happened.
    As soon as they got back to the office he started to examine the footage.
    She began singing opera. He knew nothing about music but he knew if his wife was watching this she’d say she was a bit pitchy. To him it was shrill and irritating so he turned the volume down. He felt sorry for those people that had died. The last thing they heard was the screech of her voice like fingernails being dragged along a blackboard.
    As she silently opened and closed her mouth, the woman was lit by the opulence and sparkle of the room around her. The detective paused the video and examined the room. He wanted to see how it had looked before the incident. Everything was white or glass. The large glass table was decorated with tall vases of flowers and lit from above by a teardrop crystal chandelier. Silver shiny cutlery reflected light back upon to the faces of the guests and the crystal goblets diffused it. The walls of the room were lined with glass fronted display cabinets on top of which matching glass sculptures were symmetrically placed.
    It all happened in a nanosecond. He freeze framed it and scrutinised every inch of the screen to put all the pieces back together.
    When the chandelier showered the guests with splinters they raised their heads, leaving their necks exposed. The man sitting beside the singer’s husband died when his head was cleaved open by a slice of the display cabinet, her husband got a dagger of it in the throat. He couldn’t see the source of the third person’s deathblow; the view was obscured by exploding wineglasses.
    He rewound and paused it again to verify but was mesmerised by the cloud of glass that hung suspended in the air. His attention was trapped in the tiny space between the sweet and sour, the beauty and horror.
    He replayed the scene where it all shattered. He watched carefully as the singer closed her eyes, threw her head back and opened her lungs. Sharp shards seemed to dance and dangle before becoming violent missiles as the last note was reached.
    That was it the crescendo, the crash, the end.

  10. Pingback: Story :: Redhead « a slice of imagination

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