Wednesday Write-in #27


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

oedipal  ::  intervention  ::  core  ::  pepper  ::  rouge

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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45 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #27

  1. Bird pepper, chilli pepper, jalapeña, Scotch Bonnet – did you know there is an official scale showing the hotness of peppers? I can tell you first hand that the ‘Bonny’ pepper is right up there amongst the most ferocious.
    My mother was making Caribbean hot sauce one day and I was playing around her feet under the kitchen table. I suppose I was a bit of a Mummy’s Boy, but nothing Oedipal at three years old! I was driving my Dinky cars up and down imaginary roads when one of these bright red rouged beauties fell and rolled towards me. Well, I couldn’t resist. It looked like the biggest cherry I’d ever seen and naturally I took a bite. My mouth was on fire, lips and tongue burning. I spat it out immediately, but too late. The hottest part, the ribs and seeds in the core, had done their damage. My mother gave me cold water and ice cubes to suck, but the burning pain went on and on and my whole mouth stung for days. If she hadn’t been quick enough to stop me rubbing my eyes I would have needed medical attention. It might sound melodramatic but maybe my sight was saved by her timely intervention.
    Obviously I survived to tell the tale, but I could never look at a pepper again. As an adult I shudder as I watch TV chefs chopping chillies by the handful, and I have to admit the only curry for me is an extra mild Korma. And I don’t like menus that have a picture of even one single pepper next to a dish.

    • Oh no! Poor little boy. I wonder if he knows that Mummy probably made it worse by giving him water! I can’t help thinking of all the lovely food he won’t get to eat because he’s been so violently turned off chillis…

      I like the chatty feel to this, the way it’s almost like someone telling a story to a new friend, telling an anecdote down the pub. It does make the pace feel a bit weird, because it doesn’t quite read right for a conversation so I’m not sure what the audience would be. Or is it more like he’s writing his memoirs? I think it’s always useful when writing first person to think about who your narrator is addressing.

      Nice, fun little piece though – it’s made me hungry!

    • I like the anecdotal tone of this and I am sure that everyone can relate to it in some way. It reminds me of when my sister ate my mother’s iron tablts thinking they were smarties! Your description of the peppers does make them delicious looking!

    • Ouch! that poor boy 😦 Thank god he didn’t rub his eyes!
      A great little story of a child’s innocent naivety, I love the way the narrator is addressing us. I feel though that this is more like a start of a longer story. The last sentence leaves me hanging and gives the feeling the story’s incomplete.

  2. Pingback: Wednesday Write-in #27: Red Rouge Kaleidoscope | Pen Tight | Edit Straight

  3. #wednesdaywritein

    Here is my attempt for this week

    Rouge gathered in the dry criss crosses of her cheeks. When she puckered her lips ragged lines concertinaed above them. She continued looking at herself, thinking. So much time had passed. She was so old. No one had successfully been able to hold back the thirty visible signs of ageing. They had tried: toxins had paralysed people into a state of youthfulness but that had gone terribly wrong, and Super Infection chastised those who cheated with the surgeon’s knife. Even the cosmetic companies ceased trying when litigation ruined so many. They had gone back to basics.
    The Government’s campaign- Face It: Longer Lives Mean Older Skin- had been met with protests in the street. The Ministry of Health had their work cut out. Vanity was difficult to cure.The damage done in the third millennium would take another millennium to sort out. Perhaps with age there would come wisdom.

    She pulled at her slack, powdered skin and sighed.

    • Love the descriptions of the wrinkly skin. Very imaginative and an interesting take on societies obsession with vanity. Love the line “Vanity was difficult to cure” especially in the context of third millenium etc. maybe it’s a trait that humans will never be rid of!

    • I love the slogan!
      Proof you can’t have it all 🙂
      I love the idea and the unsuccessful ways to fight against ageing.
      I found some of the sentence structures difficult to read, so had to re-read, but I think that’s just because of formatting.

    • You’ve carried the theme of age and anti-ageing through the piece well. Your subtle choice of diction – ‘visible’ ‘their work cut out’ ‘Face It’ – is a nice reflection of this.

      The piece would benefit from making paragraphs clearer. There’s opportunity to make single sentences such as ‘She was so old’ carry their weight by making them stand alone on the page.

      I agree with other comments that this is a realistic dystopian vision of the future though I’d be inclined to place it in the present. In the case of beauty treatments, the future is already very much here and so are the dodgy results, only we don’t hear about them because vanity is very much in charge.

      Placing your story in the now will give your reader an immediate perspective on your theme and also draw out what could be your stronger ideas: attitudes toward age and ageing.

      The description of your character is grounded in authentic detail which makes the situation she’s facing – pun intended – easy to relate to. However, the character becomes lost in the following details about the cosmetics industry ruining society.

      A character’s action drive the narrative; is having your character looking at herself in the mirror enough to make her muse over the mistakes that have been made? Are these thoughts the end of the story?

      If you found yourself in this situation, would you stop at a defeated sigh?

      There is huge potential in this piece for you and your character to make a decision about the theme, for action to be taken. With a bit of cutting and exploration of motivations, you could open this up and get at the core of your ideas and character.

      • Thanks.You are obviously taking a very methodical approach to feedback. Look forward to reading some of your stories.

  4. The colour of blood
    As a twelve year old boy there was usually very little I could do to control my thoughts. Once the idea of killing my father entered my brain there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. It expanded; the more I tried not to think about it the more it filled my mind. The idea abhorred me at first, but as it took seed it strangled all the happy memories I had and I knew that it just had to be done.
    I loved my father. Some even said that I was a Daddy’s boy. I was always at his side like a loyal little dog. He took me fishing and hunting and I was happiest in his shed, covered in saw dust, holding some plank of wood that he was sawing. The notion entered my head like a rusted spike that morning when I had walked in on my mother getting dressed. Some psychoanalysts might speculate that the sight of my mother in her underwear might have awakened an oedipal urge in me to usurp the patriarchal figure but it’s not that simple.
    I knew they fought at night when he came home drunk. I’d cover my head to drown out the thuds that peppered the darkness. This was the only time I saw the bruises.
    She stood in front of the mirrored door of her open wardrobe, flicking hangers across the rail, searching. She didn’t see me but I noticed that her entire body was mapped out in overlapping, multi-coloured bruises. The fresh black and purple imprints of his fists sat on top of the more faded yellow and green ones like the pattern of his camouflage jacket he wore when we went hunting or fishing.
    The sight of her mottled skin aroused a primal duty in me which I didn’t fully understand. I was once part of that battered body, it brought me to life and she kept me safe in its core. I had a duty to fulfil. My intervention was as unavoidable as the pain of childbirth had been for her.
    That evening I searched the shed for the rusty old pitchfork that had been replaced by a new one last summer. I left it to one side in preparation. He went to the pub as usual and I pretended to go to bed.
    I listened and waited for the familiar creaks of my mother getting into her bed. When the house was finally silent I retrieved the pitchfork and hung around like a ghost amidst the shadows at the front of the house. As I waited for him, a phrase in a language I didn’t understand wafted incessantly across my mind. “Rouge est la couleur du sang.”
    I vividly remember the sensation of the warmth of his blood on my hands as life poured out of him. He was found the next morning at the front of our house in what appeared to be an unfortunate accident. Nobody ever suspected that he had been murdered by his own flesh and blood.

    • ‘she kept me safe in its core’ is a fantastic line. I like the phrase going round in his head- a sign of madness and that he will go on killing, perhaps?

      • Thanks. The ending is very open ended especially in regards to how sane he might be. He does seem like the type to strike again doesn’t he.

    • I like how the description of the mother’s battered body makes the violence at the end believable. There’s an overall tone of sadness to this piece too, which I think works very well.

    • Daddy certainly deserved what he got. Some hard-working phrases/descriptions; …pepper the darkness…, like a rusted spike…, … flicking hangers.. .
      But I do have a problem with the ending: how did the boy manage to overcome his anger/passion/fear to avoid multiple stabbings with the pitchfork – in which case it wouldn’t appear to be an accident? Or is he a cold-blooded psychopath and despatched daddy with just one thrust and then calmly set up the accident scenario?

      • Thanks for the feedback. To be honest I had a bit of a problem with the ending myself. I had a scene imagined in my head but to avoid it getting too long I sort of brushed past it to get it finished so I could submit it. I was going for the setting it up to look like an accident; the cold-blooded psychopath impaling him with one thrust. I’ll have to revisit this to do the end justice. It’s great to get other people’s impressions so thanks for that.

    • I really like the descriptions of the mother’s body and his relationship to it.
      I’d like to know more about the boy at the end, or even about the murder; how he felt when or after he did it? what did he do? Did he go back to bed and never thought of it again?

    • This is great. Poor mixed up kid. I don’t think he’d kill again, but his mother better be careful to choose a nice man next time! I especially like ‘rusted spike’.

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  6. Really don’t know what to do this week so here’s a quick one with an ending that needs working on:

    Rouge
    “Rouge! That’s one hell of a name for a hoss!”
    The gunslinger squinted at the speaker. “You got a problem with that, hombre?” He spit in the dirt.
    The sheriff took a step backwards, put on a humble face, positioned his hands well away from his two colt 45s nestling in their leather holsters. “No offence meant, stranger; just surprised. Normally around these here parts hosses are called Trigger or Silver or Scout or Tornado or Cisco. Ain’t yet come across a hoss called Rouge. That sure is a good name.”
    The other man looked appeased. “Yeah, well, it didn’t have no moniker before I left Dodge City. It was a quick naming ceremony and I weren’t thinking too straight. But fer sure I couldn’t ride across the desert on a hoss with no name. No sirreee.”
    The sheriff spit in the dirt. “No sirreee. You sure can’t. Waal, welcome to Dry Gulch.”
    “Why thankee, indeed. And sure is good to be out of the rain.”
    And the sheriff looked up at the blue sky and bowed his head. “Thank you Lord for the blue sky and no rain.”
    “Amen,” intoned the gunslinger.

    • I really enjoyed this. I love the hoss’s name! Feels like this could easily be part of a longer piece. I think the sheriff is a shrewd man- he’s dealt with this type before, no doubt.

    • Great use of dialogue to denote accent. Very intriguing, pricked my curiosity about why he wasn’t thinking straight when naming the horse and why the name. HIs defensiveness about the name is also very effective and makes us think that he’s sensitive about the name for a reason or hiding something from the sheriff. This feels like the start of something longer to me too. Well done

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