Wednesday Write-in #53

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Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

The Write-in has now been going for one whole incredible year. We’d just like to say a big BIG thank you to everyone who has taken part, written, read and shared alongside us for the last year. This has been a joy to run, and we’re looking forward to another productive year!

Prompts

tide  ::  short-sighted  ::  reflective  ::  apocalypse  ::  gloom

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 if you like, and comment with a link so we can read it.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you have time for (but we won’t shout at you if you don’t).
  • If you want to write a poem, a script, or something completely different, feel free.

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, a free 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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77 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #53

    • Heyho 🙂 Oh I loved this one :3 It had such nice phrases ( like a “twist of lipstick, a twirl of sequinned dress” and “world was stripy, as if viewed through prison bars”) and the very accurate details made it very much like a movie. Poor Jamie 😦

  1. Sandra peered myopically at the shelves of detergent. Surf, Bold, Tide, which should she choose? As she reflected on the merits of the various brands there was a crash then a roaring sound and the ground seemed to shudder as if the horses of the apocalypse were charging down the supermarket aisles. A dark haze descended, then a larger-than-life figure shimmered through the gloom, scattering white powder like snow. A huge silver finger pointed at the boxes and a booming voice thundered ‘Tide’.
    ‘Hello. Madam,’ someone was shaking her shoulder. ‘Are you alright?’
    ‘What happened?’ Sandra murmured faintly.
    ‘It’s OK, don’t worry. It was just Darth Vader. He likes to make sure shoppers choose Tide because he’s in the box; escaped from the Cheerios two weeks’ ago. It’s lucky you were alone today; when there’re a lot of them it’s murder.
    ‘We keep telling the marketing people we can’t cope with these promotions, but they never listen. We’ll probably have to put up with plastic dragons next time, or something worse. You should’ve been here when we had the special offer on the …’
    But he was talking to himself. Sandra had dropped her basket in the middle of the shop and fled.

  2. At the End of the World

    During my training at the Academy they made us believe that Time Travelling is easy and fun and you gotta earn a lot of money. Maybe it was so in the first five years but now that I got appointed to be a Lieutenant, the missions are getting harder and no fun at all.

    I am standing on a heap of grey dust, a gold-sanded beach in bygone happy times, and looking at the slow breathing of the ocean, a giant licking its wounds. The water shimmers in the purple of bruised skin and it is swollen from the rubbish we were pouring into it. Yes, it is our Earth a few centuries in the future and not as far off as you would hope.

    First, I didn’t understand why I have to come to this terrible place… terrible time. Usually my task is to fetch something lost or fix something broken… to DO something. Now I just have to stand here and look; I was told to come here and bear witness. I inhale deeply from my oxygen mask. The light of the setting sun dyes the atmosphere into violent purple and a fantastic shade of pink. It is painfully beautiful… and poisonous. A skeleton-white crab climbs on my feet and I shake it off with disgust.

    The mission is slowly starting to make sense. My commissioners hoped that if I told you this, something would change, that you would do something to stop the end of the world. The fools! How could it change? It is already here, happening right in front of my eyes. But aren’t we all fools, humans? Give us a ray of hope and we will cling to it even with our last breath. I hope my message will reach some of you out there… I did what I could. I have to go now, somebody has to teach the cavemen how to make fire.

    • I really liked this too. Loved the fact that it has a purpose or a message – very well structured! Great descriptions of the future of Earth which is the narrator’s purpose after all – she was obviously appointed Lieutenant for her literary talent. I especially loved your use of purple: very evocative. I enjoyed reading!

    • Beautiful descriptions with a dark message. Would we could turn back the clock and treat our planet more kindly, but I will cling to a ray of hope. Lovely.

  3. Hi, I have managed to get a few words together this week. This one is maybe a bit weird, but hopefully it comes across alright. Look forward to reading everyone’s work.

    The Taken

    PHASE 1:

    Perceived damage to society: minor.

    Infection Status: Celebrity contained.

    Side effects (low level at this stage): tawdry newspapers, mindless magazines, talk talk talking television.

    Conclusion: reflective thought is diminished in a minority of the population.

    No action necessary at this time.

    PHASE 2:

    Perceived damage to society: moderate.

    Infection Status: Celebrity spreading. New variant detected (Real World Celebrity).
    Reason: Real World Television thought responsible for shift.

    Side effects (high level): mindless newspapers; magazines talk, talk, talking to/ with/about Real World Celebrities; blah, blah, blahing television (this is not an exhaustive list).

    Conclusion: reflective thought is diminished in 40% of the population.

    Action taken: more severe cases are asked to sign privacy contracts. (This proves unsuccessful, with many of the infected resorting to Privacy Suicide).

    PHASE 3:

    Perceived damage to society: catastrophic.

    Infection Status: Pandemic.
    Reason: Social Networking considered responsible for this sudden turn.

    Side Effects: BLAH. What I had for breakfast. BLAH. This is how to apply eye-liner. BLAH. I broke up with my boyfriend. BLAH. I have written a children’s book.BLAH.
    NB. Side effects are categorised as unmanageable at this stage.

    Conclusion: 90% are lost. CELEBRITY FAR MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN FIRST ANTICIPATED.

    Action taken: boredom clinics set up for survivors. (Low attendance, The Untaken are staying indoors to avoid those who stalk the streets in pursuit of an audience.)

    PHASE 4:
    ACTION: Those still capable of reflective thought are advised to get themselves to their local libraries, by whatever means necessary, where they will be provided with sustenance.

      • Thanks for that, Patrick. Yeah, before they shut down or the only books they contain are written by celebs!

      • Thanks, SJ. I appreciate that. I know, libraries are sanctuaries for many. It’s so sad they are not being maintained.

    • Really interesting and thought-provoking. The ‘I have written a children’s book’ made my blood run cold, as I suspect several of us here might be doing that! (I know I am!) I love the amazing, original ‘report’ structure.

      • Thank you. Yeah, me too! I try my hand at picture books. But I was having a bit of a rant really about celebrities writing picture books etc. I read early on how that actually makes it really tough for anyone just starting out in children’s writing (but I still continue! )

    • This rings so true. I would be happy to hide in a library and help man the barricades against the celeb **** books getting in.

    • This is great. A very clever structure- the report style gives it an objectivity and provides a chilling cautionary message about the emptiness of celebrity culture. I think I’ll be heading to the library to seek sustenance !

      • Thanks. I wanted it to be like a sort of zombie invasion/ infection type thing. Great you liked the report style. I think I’ll take a wee walk to the library myself!

      • Yes- great! I did get that sense that this was a report written after a population had been brainwashed by celebrity culture zombie-type invasion. You did a great job if creating that apocalyptic/zombie atmosphere in the sentence “The Untaken are staying indoors to avoid those who stalk the streets in pursuit of an audience” – great stuff! Well done.

    • I really liked your imagery, especially when Sam doesn’t have his glasses on. He has a fantastic world of imagination. 🙂

    • My kind of story! I loved this. As a short-sighted person I completely identified with Sam, and as a lover of children’s books and stories I was completely drawn in to your imagery and imagination! Well done, indeed. 🙂

    • This is a fantastic story. I loved it. I have an interest in children’s books,too, and I think you have a bit of a gem here.

    • Lovely work. Great descriptions, which I could identify with, being short-sighted myself. I liked the way you achieved the balance between child-like thinking and language. It seemed spot-on to me – simple but not condescending.

    • You have given us the fabulous up-side to myopia, especially for a child. Sadly we adults only see the frustration of a blur and not the magic. Lovely story.

    • Another great piece. I’m afraid I don’t know Elmore Leonard’s work, but I’m confident you made a good job of spoofing it! It’s also an interesting thought that must affect us all as writers – characters developing a life of their own!
      ‘Link thingy’ – mine started to work when I deleted the ” from back and front of the web address.

    • A very clever homage to EL written with a nice tone. As I didn’t know about him the ending was an interesting surprise. I like your characters coming to life stories (was it Marjory?). (A couple little proofing points: the ‘good citizens of the town’ sentence I think is missed a ‘when’, and ‘the dust slowly settled’ has an extra ‘my’.)

  4. Pingback: Weekly Wednesday Write-In | Tessa Sheppard

    • ‘Finished mine’ it was supposed to say. Lol I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. Lot’s of creative pieces. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    • Loved this story. I take it she was Lorelei the water spirit luring men to their deaths? And I agree, the final para showed the coldness of the media. I was a bit confused about them meeting in a building because at the beginning I thought the ledge he was climbing onto was part of a cliff next to water and their tryst would be in the open air. Poor guy.

      • Thanks for your comments! I think of ‘short-sighted plan’ as a plan you don’t think through, that you haven’t thought of everything. In this case Robbie had a plan to get to get to his girlfriend, so he immediately left to save her, only he didn’t think of bringing a rope or emergency supplies, for example.

  5. Hi everyone!
    Delighted to see Cake still going strong one year on with a few new participants. Great stuff! looking forward to reading. Here’s mine.

    That Dress in the Window
    I flicked through rails pretending to be awed by ornate detail. The nice lady was on the phone and I was too nervous to approach the other woman. I’d met her before, she wasn’t so nice. I missed Suzie at my elbow for moral support. I didn’t bring her along because I’d had enough of her doom and gloom.
    The younger lady put down the phone. I deliberately eavesdropped on the conversation.
    “That was the lady due in for her first fitting at 1 tomorrow. She cancelled.”
    “Usual excuses I suppose. Feeling bloated, afraid the measurements won’t be accurate and it won’t fit properly on the day.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Oh they all do that. That’s why we have to order them so far ahead, to allow time for all that. Did she make another appointment?”
    “Yes for next Wednesday.”
    “Make sure to squeeze good and tight when you’re doing that fitting. Yes she may have lost weight but any softness beneath her flesh will melt away before the final fitting. It always does.”
    Suzie’s words were beginning to swim around my head. “…the beginning of the end, the apocalypse of your youth. You’ll forget all about me…death of our friendship.” Suzie’s short-sighted nature prevented her from seeing past how things affected her. She was afraid of being left behind. I’d have to make sure to fix that.
    In fairness to her, we had traipsed around every shop in the city, sixteen in total, and it was hard to tell if she was being negative or honest. “Too fluffy, too frilly, too frumpy, too lacy, too slinky…” She was right. I had tried so many that I wondered if what I was looking for even existed.
    That was until today when I saw the dress in the window.
    The older lady must have noticed me listening.
    “Can I help you?” She looked me up and down, keeping her nose in the air.
    “I want to try on the dress in the window please.”
    Like I’d expected, the frail little creature pursed her lips in disgust in response to my audacity. This was the first shop me and Suzie had come to. When confronted with the old lady’s rudeness we didn’t bother making an appointment. Instead we declared it impossible to deal with such an abrasive person and laughed about how scary it would have been to have her poking and prodding at you with pins.
    Of course that was all before I had tried on every other dress in the entire city. Things were different now. That dress wasn’t in the window then.
    The tides had turned. I was newly immune to the seduction of glamorous dressing rooms and cooing and gushing assistants. I knew what I wanted, that dress in the window. I was prepared for this.
    “Well you can’t just come in here and try what you like you’ll have to make an appointment. We are usually booked up for about two or three weeks.”
    “No problem. What about 1 tomorrow? I smiled blatantly, unscathed by her hostility and confident that there was an appointment available.
    I texted Suzie on my way back to work.
    The next day on my lunch break I squeezed all of my plump youth into the dress of my dreams. It was hard to see the full gown properly in the pokey dressing room. The spotlight glared off the reflective surface of the mirror and there was no room to stand back to see. But it felt right. Hope fluttered, making me jittery.
    I manoeuvred my way out of the dressing room trying not to get tangled in the train that coiled at my feet. When I appeared outside of the curtains I was greeted with a squeal of delighted from Suzy
    “Oh it’s perfect.”
    She was right. I’d finally found the perfect wedding dress I was ready to marry my perfect man.

    • Lovely use of the prompts and a very realistic depiction of what buying a wedding dress can be like! 😀 I can’t help feeling a little bit sorry for Suzie, though. 🙂

    • ‘I squeezed all of my plump youth into the dress’ is a fantastic description. There is just so much pressure on women! Shopping is hideous and this displays that well.

    • I liked the essence of this story. It tracks the emergence of a strong young woman who starts out too soft, but ends up strong and able to demand what she wants. The subtle use of words got the message across. ‘ The nice lady was on the phone and I was too nervous…’ indicated her to be a shy, undemanding young woman. A really good example of ‘show, not tell’.

    • Desperate business buying a wedding dress. I bought the first one I tried on because I was too scared to ask to try others!! Now she has the perfect dress let’s hope the man is perfect too.

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