Shared Stories: C-C-C-C-Combo Post!

A scene:

You’re driving down a long stretch of highway. It is the dead of night (like 7:00 PM). You’re alone in the car. Except for two of your best friends and Avril Lavigne.

Unfortunately, Miss Lavigne is there only in CD-form, so the 7-hour drive is getting to be a tad boring.

The question: What do you do for fun?

If you answered “Have a contest to see how slowly and provocatively each of you can peel a banana, creating a scoring system based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the color ‘Enchanted Forest Green’ instead of numbers and letters”, you’re wrong. So wrong.

If you answered “Write a collaborative-fiction story”, you’re absolutely write!

This is what my friends and I came up with in the car on a laptop. The rules were: take turns contributing only one sentence at a time, try to have some kind of cohesive plot going, and don’t feed the Mogwai after midnight. We broke all of these rules.

Enjoy!

 

Jack flipped open the lid on his coffee maker and looked up at the clock with a defeated sigh. He thought maybe the batteries had died again, but it turns out he had overslept for 12 hours. Jill would have a laugh at him later today. With another glance at the clock, he grabbed his particle beam pistol from the top drawer of his dresser along with his keys and wallet and headed out the door. As he turned around to lock the deadbolt, a tumbleweed blew in between his legs and into the living room.

Jack felt a cold sweat coming on as he stared at the tumbleweed; the war had begun anew. He sent a telepathic message to his partner Cady, a powerful scion with the ability to teleport, that it had begun. He ran into the street, brandishing the particle beam pistol yelling “clear the road!”

Humans and crazy cat ladies alike scattered to the four winds as he hopped into his particle beam cannon armed forklift. He had barely gotten the thing to turn on when Cady materialized in the passenger seat of his oversized industrial forklift. Jack turned to face his soliloquy camera: “Tumbleweeds ain’t what they used to be.”

Cady hit the button to turn on the sirens and the forklift shot off into the Tumblesphere. Jack tore the radio receiver from his hip and hit the button, “this is agent 719. I’ve got a code 9000: unregistered tumbleweed home invasion on the west side of the city. Requesting immediate orders. Over.”

Cady flipped the charge weapon switch with a satisfying beeewoooawwow and looked at Jack with grim determination, “We’re ready.”

“Fire up the shields. We don’t want the space tumbleweeds to tumble us into the tumblesphere.”

Jack and Cady reached the headquarters where the Interstellar Agency for the Suppression of Overactive Tumbleweeds (or IASOT). Captain Mctumness, accompanied by Mcgreggor da Beggar, met them the door.

“What brings you here, Jack? Did you tumble off another hill and break another crown forklift?”

“You know, captain? That gets funnier every time you say it, but I gotta get over to decontamination and make sure I wasn’t exposed to any tumbleweed spores.”

He replied with a smirk, “We’re all professionals here.”

“I hope so. The last tumbleweed war resulted in the deaths of 2 people and 16 kittens so your men better be prepared for anything.”

Cady spoke up and said, “We got any leads on how these things are getting inside city limits?”

Just then another call came over the radio: “This is detective Gruff Mcgruff on the outskirts of city 17! We have a breach in the tumbleweed containment field!” The static from the comm system made it almost incomprehensible.

Cady teleported.

———- (generic section-break) ———-

Down on earth, Gruff Mcgruff stared at the ground where the tumbleweed containment field, a cow fence, stood with a gaping hole in it. He turned around and was relieved to see the dust cloud heralding the arrival of Bobby Joe on his repair wagon.

Bobby Joe rolled up, launching into one of his characteristic monologues, “Goddamn holes are getting bigger every year and the prices of zipties keep going up. I might just hafta open up my own ziptie shop at this rate.”

A tremor shook the ground and they turned to look across the fence to see Cady smashing a tumbleweed with her giant hammer. Jack ripped into the atmosphere in his Pulse Cruiser 9001, flame cannons blazing the way.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

The triumphant moment didn’t last long as Jack’s Pulse Cruiser was quickly covered by surface-to-air tumbleweeds. Jack screamed “Code Yellow!” into the radio receiver. It was what Suppressors called the Snowball Effect.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

Jack quickly executed a number of invasive (yes, invasive) maneuvers, designed to shake the tumbleweeds off of his already deteriorated hull. Cady, having experience with such situations, began constructing “the Reaper”.

Bobby Joe helped her out. The Reaper was almost exactly like a lawnmower and he had a lot of experience with them. At the sight of his distraction, Gruff Mcgruff yelled at Bobby Joe: “Get to work on that fence! Those two agents risking their necks out there will be for nothing if we don’t get this fence mended double quick!”

By virtue of Gruff’s assertiveness, the fence was repaired double quick.

The ground began to shake and the air in the distance became filled with dust. Bobby Joe pumped his fist in the air and said “George Warshington’s left testicle! Them idiots down there finally got the Great Tumbleweed Eater online! Yeehee!” It was a triumphant moment for mankind.

End

 

He's my hero.

Thank you kindly for perusing this masterpiece of American literature, surely destined to go down in history as the foremost example of smarmy intellect and anti-tumbleweed stratagem.

I know you’re thinking that it probably took us years to polish it. But you’re wrong. In fact, we wrote another one during that very same drive! I’ll post it tonight.

Italicized gasp!

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Resolutions

My dad bought me a “Who Farted?” themed calendar for Christmas. Classic.

I’ll attempt to use it to its full, smelly potential by using it to help with my New Years Resolutions.

 

Bah. 3000 words a day is too easy. Which is why I'm going to do 30,000 words! A month!

New Years Resolutions have never worked for me. And I suspect they don’t work for most people (hence the jokes that everyone is familiar with). Why don’t they work? Put simply: it’s an entire year! People often don’t even remember what their resolutions were by June, let alone keep up with them.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Beethoven wrote the 5th symphony one note at a time. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel one brush stroke at a time. Bill Gates built his empire one 16-hour + workday at a time. I think you get the idea.

This year, I’ll be making 12 different resolutions, one for each month of the year. All of these resolutions will be things that I either need to do or abstain from doing once a day or all day. This effectively gives me 365 resolutions for this upcoming year, all of which I’ll be outlining below. For every day that I “succeed” (whether it’s abstaining from something for an entire day or doing my assignment or goal for the day) I will put an X on that calendar’s day to mark my progress. If I can string together a bunch of X’s in a row, then I’m doing pretty well. If there are a bunch of blank squares on a given month, then I’m not doing well.

In essence, I will be attempting to build some habits while breaking others.

My month-to-month assignments will, more or less, get tougher to do as the year progresses. For example, February’s goal of drinking no alcohol will be fairy easy since I don’t drink that much anyway. But some of the later months are combinations of several goals that I must complete in a day to achieve an X. I expect to struggle with some of them. Here we go:

 

The Scheme of Things:

January: No fast-food, all day.

February: No alcohol, all day.

March:  Run 1+ miles, once a day.

April: Get up (and stay up) at 5:30 or earlier, every day.

May: Combo of: up at 5:30, run 1+miles, and no caffeine or blatantly unhealthy drinks. (All of these must take place to earn an X. This will be the first tough month).

June: No video games, all day.

July: No distracting internet, all day. (This includes all non-work related websites such as Youtube, Facebook, and news sites, as well as multiplayer video games).

August: No meat in my diet, all day. (Vegetarian for a month, because I’ve always been curious.) *

September: Combo of: up at 5:30, no caffeine or blatantly unhealthy drinks, run 1+ miles, no alcohol, no fast-food, write 1000 + words a day. Eep.

October: No food, all day *. Read 5+ chapters out of the Bible as an alternate sustenance, every day.

November: Combo of: up at 5:30, run 1+ miles, no fast-food, and write 1667 words per day. (To keep up with NaNoWriMo folks. I don’t know if I’ll actually participate in it yet.)

December: Combo of: up at 5:30, run 1+miles, no fast-food, write 1000 words per day, no alcohol, no blatantly unhealthy drinks (coffee is fine (hey, its not unhealthy, right?)), no video games, no distracting internet, read 5+ chapters out of the Bible every day (am I missing anything?)

*= The no meat month and the no food month are both subject to change pending me doing some research on how healthy these things are. If I find that I can’t do these things in a healthy manner, then I won’t do them.

 

None of the above would be so difficult on any given day. The goal of this New Years Resolutions experiment is to see if I can do these things consistently. I need to prove to myself that I’m not addicted to some things and that I can improve myself and create habits in other areas.

Also, these are just the items I have to accomplish to earn X’s in those months. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have other goals or that I won’t try to keep some healthy habits once a particular month is over.

I will fail to meet my goals some days, especially on vacations : )
The primary goal for this year will be to keep going anyway, to not give up. If I fail one, two, five, or ten days in a row, I’m going to keep waking up and trying my best to put X’s on my calendar. I’ll post every so often on how well I’m doing.

I find that none of these are specific enough. Goals rarely work unless you work to plan them and hammer out the details.

 

How about you? Do you have any resolutions for the new year? How do you plan on accomplishing them? How hard are you willing to work to achieve your goals for this year?

I apologize if this post wasn’t very entertaining, but I wanted a way to put down my resolutions plan and create some form of accountability to go along with it. I have some interesting things to blog about coming up, including a ton more fiction writing and I “resolve” to post them soon : )

Thanks for reading!

= )

Groove Writing

“Get into the groove boy

You’ve got to prove

Your love to me, yeah

Get up on your feet, yeah

Step to the beat

Boy what will it be?”

– Madonna: Into the Groove

I am truly sorry if you’re the type of person who gets songs stuck in your head purely from reading lyrics.

But I had a point to make.

I love to write. Many people do. So what is it that prevents aspiring writers from writing? Why does everyone and their pet squirrel know the term “writer’s block?”  I would suggest, in a purely sarcastic, please-don’t-take-me-seriously-or-it-may-lead-to-chronic-brain-disorders kind of way that writers have a hard time actually putting words to the page because

Okay… this post was getting excruciatingly boring. Like the mid-point of a sappy romance novel. Or a monkey running and screeching straight for you only to stop and not start up a discourse on hot-wheel collections.

A common method that authors use is to write the same sentence over and over and over until it finally clicks that they should probably go get a little sun.

So I’m just going to post my latest ten-minute story and listen to some 80’s music. Thank you for reading and remember: stay on target! Stay on target!

The Wayfarers

“Nobody’s ever been that interested in the ferry before,” the ferryman observed aloud, his fingers lightly resting on his mustache. “Most people want to know all about the island. Which is understandable of course. There are not many islands in the world made entirely from the shell of a long-dead gigaturtle.”

“Right,” Samuel said. “But everybody knows of the island’s history. The Wayfarers are not interested in well-known, established history. We know that there are things in this world that Man has not yet discovered, and these are the very things that we endeavor to find.” Samuel took a long draw from his electric cigar. “After all, it was a fellow wayfarer of mine, my mentor in fact, that discovered the first gigaturtle skeleton.”

“Jackson Killion is your mentor?” the ferryman said with surprise in his voice.

“Yes. And if I’m ever to achieve the fame that he has, I need you to stop delaying your answers. Now, tell me about this ferry.”

Samuel Kyteslayer held a long, slender vibro-knife against the ferryman’s throat.

“Damn! Alright! I’m just the driver of the thing, so I don’t know the specifics. But I can tell you that you can find more information from Jillian Clide.”

203 words in 10 minutes at 10:03 AM on Dec 17, 2011

Awww! It's so little!

Penguin Attack Strategy

Couldn’t figure out how to embed this but it’s pretty giggle-inducing: http://www.ducksters.com/games/pokethepenguin.php

If you’ve ever played competitive Sudoku, then you’ve probably heard of the famous Penguin Attack Strategy.

Here’s a ten minute short story that explains its origins.

Sudoku with Spiffy

Spiffy looked all around himself at the mess he had made. The floor was absolutely littered with what most people would call junk. A pair of bottlecaps, an old bead curtain, a fluffy mitten, and some kit-kat bars, among other things, lay on an old table. These were the tools of Spiffy’s success.

Allow me to explain this nonsense. Spiffy was a Sudoku player by trade. Spiffy was also a penguin. He twisted his flightless wings around for a stretch as he thought of his past life. Determined that he would become a penguin on a comeback to glory, he set his beaky face in a grim grimace.

He had been honored with the title of Sodoku Deathmatch World Champion years ago. But after his defeat at the flippers of the insidious Lord Backhump, Prince of Whales, Spiffy fell into quite a funk. Now he practiced day and night to get his groove back

154 words in 10 minutes at 06:36 AM on Dec 12, 2011
——————————————————————
I was actually disappointed with this story. I had taken some ideas from past stories of mine and ended up running out of time. I didn’t have enough time at the end to put the last period in there, let alone finish my thoughts. All the same, it was fun : )
And now a poll:
Thanks for reading and have a fantasmic day!

10 Minute Short Stories

I have recently discovered this imperfect but nifty little site called http://writeforten.com . It’s a great tool to use to get your mental and physical writing fingers warmed up for a paper, short story, novel, 20-book epic, or what have you. Personally, I plan to write on it and post nearly every day with a short 10-minute story. I’ve written in it twice  so far (under the name of Shpob) and I’m rather proud of what I can write in ten minutes given the right amount of focus.

Below are my first two examples. Keep in mind that I wrote these in 10 minutes or less, without any editing or revision afterwards. (The page on the site actually freezes and doesn’t allow you to change things after 10 minutes is up). This 10 minutes includes plot and character development as well as the writing itself, so don’t expect masterpieces by any means. But I (biased as I may be) think these are decently entertaining : )

First Story:

Kitar, the most powerful magician the kingdoms had ever known, looked across the white expanse from his high perch. The Kingdom of Kitchen was in dire straits, under siege from a menace heretofore unseen in all of the 3 house kingdoms, and he would not break his vigil. The enemies that threatened the very way of life in Kitchen were many and Kitar was the land’s first and last line of defense.

Kitar’s fur stood on end when he thought about his hated enemies.

Mice. A menace so evil and terrible to behold that it put even the Roaches of Riftwall to shame. They regularly ransacked the provinces and cupboards of Kitchen, stealing away all of the Kingdom’s hope. But the lords and ladies of the land were ready to stand up to the Mice Menace. They had hired Kitar to seek peace in the land through the spilling of the blood of their enemies.

Grinning mischievously, the magician retrieved some magical liquid from a bowl. It was a concoction that made Kitar even more powerful than in his normal state. Cat-nip. The lady of Kitchen had granted him permission to do whatever it took to see the Mice destroyed. Kitar the kitten was only too happy to oblige.

209 words in 10 minutes at 06:00 PM on Dec 07, 2011

“You’re a wizard, Hairy.” Rubeus Catrid.

Second Story:

James squinted his eyes as he hobbled into his apartment. He didn’t remember leaving the light on, but he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised given his memory problems in his old age.

James was an old man, but he liked to think of himself as “seasoned and well aged, like a good scotch”. His past life had been full of adventures and traveling around the world, but he had long since given up that life for an easy retirement. Now, he liked to kick back and watch old television shows he not had much of a chance to experience in his younger years. He also enjoyed the occasional game of bingo down the street.

On this night, however, he would be quickly reminded of what an old mentor used to say to him.
“This kind of life we live, James, never really ends. You can try to escape it, but it always comes back to haunt you. We have changed too much and destroyed too many lives to be forgotten.”

James walked into his bedroom and sighed when he saw what was written on the wall in blood-red paint. His mentor had been right. He never could escape his past.

The wall’s words shone crimson.
“Bingo.”

A moment later, a bullet struck the back of James’ head from the man hiding in the corner.

224 words in 10 minutes at 11:43 AM on Dec 09, 2011

I’ll publish more of these every so often. Probably.

Thank you for reading and have a great, bacon-flavored day!

Yo! What’s Happenin’?

Wow. This dust is thick. And the cobwebs! Eww.

For this post, I mostly just want to see if there’s anyone out there still subscribed to this thing and will read it. I’m seriously considering resurrecting this blog from its slumber.  There’s a trillion-billion x pi number of things that I’d love to write about, but I lack the discipline and mental consistency to do it well in blog format. Mayhaps if I keep the posts shorter but more frequent, it’ll work better for me and the world as a whole. (Which really shouldn’t be difficult, right? Right? I see your doubting  expression, Shpob; you can’t fool me.)

Thanks for reading! I’ll do another blog post in about 5 minutes to make up for lost time : )

= )

Wandering Random with our Words

I think we can all empathize.

Perfectionism is a curse in the creative soul. Raise your hand if you agree.

I am such a one afflicted by this curse. Perfectionism, the fear of producing anything less than what it could be rather than what it should be, is like an enormous shovel.

I see you (yes, you!) shaking your head, wondering what a shovel has to do with trying to be perfect in a chaotic world. Perfectionism digs and undermine’s one’s creativity, gauging a hole beneath our minds and making it much harder to climb over that writer’s block. Kind of, sort of, like a shovel. Maybe.

Professional writers don’t believe in writer’s block though, and I feel that I shouldn’t either. One technique that they use is to simply begin writing at random. They just open up a new Word document and force themselves to start typing without stopping. With every sentence down, no matter how meaningless or silly it is, they build a rung in the ladder out of that hole and over that block.

I’ve never tried this before, but I figure now’s as good a time as any since my grammar’s been agrarian lately. Normally, you’d never want to publish these random thoughts, but here I go all the same:

******

Ahem. This is the most delicious fork I’ve ever sucked on. Red potatoes deserve honey goodness. I’m cooking right now.

A recipe in my head. A recipe for disaster. Whoa! Just remembered a poem I wrote long ago called “A Recipe for Disaster”. / head reels. I’m going to look for it, and maybe post if it I’m lucky enough to find it.

Luck can be obtained through skill. Skill is acquired through hard work and practice, both of which are traits that I’d be lucky to have. Oh well.

Some people don’t like me. I do like a good cola every so often though.

Young men fear the passage of time. Old men fear passage. Middlemen fear smart entrepreneurs.

Companion cubes are far too short in supply. The world could use them like the world could use more well-intentioned entrepreneurs.

Carrots are good against potatoes. I think it’s a +4 bonus.

The Tazmanian Devil was a crazy, crazy dude. He died an early death due to the dislodging of his brain from his spine from an over-indulgent spin. But he lived. Boy, did he live.

The alarm brings brings brings me awake. I massacre the snooze button with furious palmation.

Dogs are better than cats. That’s all there is to it.

Drinking carbonated sugar-acid-water is probably not healthy. For the body. But my brain loves it. Mmmmm. Brains. Zombies drink Vanilla Coke. This is a free ad for Vanilla Coke, though I’m secretly hoping for royalties.

(A Minecraft Observation): Cliff-hopping sheep have evolved their wool to be especially bounciful. Tigger’s got nothin’ on them.

“The Empire is mine by right! I, by blood and strife and cunning, have taken this empire from my brother. I have conquered kingdoms and  …. Yeah that won’t work. Fantasy writing will take a slower hand methinks. Prithee.

*****

And that’s it. I tried my best to keep typing constantly and avoid thinking too much and I was mostly successful. I paused a bit in some parts and returned afterward to correct some mistyping, but all in all it took maybe five minutes.

I think it helped with my writer’s block. I’ll keep you posted on that, but I believe I can recommend this method of ladder building.

The pen is sharp! And the keys are so many! That is why I'm a chicken when it comes to writing.