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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Reality Versus Dreaming

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Number of posts : 144
Age : 27
Location : St. Louis, Missouri
Registration date : 2008-09-09

PostSubject: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 9th 2008, 8:57 pm

This was written for a contest on another forum, where the topic was Dreams Vs. Reality. I ended up winning somehow. I will never get past the feeling that I shouldn't have won, but this is basically the most recent story I've actually finished in years. Any help with it would be wonderful, I've been working with it on and off since the contest.



Pain. Fierce electric pain. It flew through her body like a speeding yo-yo. Her heart pounded in panic; Fire, heat, explosion. She cried in anguish as she thought of all the family members that had been in the building. A family reunion, everyone had been there. Everyone that she had loved. Their laughs still rung in her mind, as the building above her gave a sudden jolt, pressing down on her.

Escape. That’s what she needed to do. She put all her weight on her arms and pushed up. A quick shrill sound escaped her lips, and everything went white.

Though this was only for seconds, for the whiteness was then filled with delightful smells and a familiar building. She could smell her father’s cigar smoke. Those sweets smell only he could create. Weaving in and out with the sweet scent of the cigar came the deep scent of chicken broth. The steamy aroma rose from the kitchen, sending her into a flurry of ‘ahs. Her mother was making the family recipe of chicken and dumplings. Thank you great-grandmother!

Her bare toes wrapped themselves around the plush carpet, welcoming the gentle touch. Home. She looked out the front window, it was slightly opaque from the cold, but she could still see the beautiful powdery snow. She walked past her father, and came into the pleasantly warm kitchen. Her nostrils were filled with the overwhelming aroma of the Chicken and Dumplings, and her mouth watered with desire. She dipped a spoon into the boiling pot, and gently blew on the molten liquid. The steam rose, sending delicious wafts through her nose, exciting her senses. She gently put it to her lips and took a deep sip. She gave a huge grin of pleasure, as the perfect combination of pepper, salt, chicken broth and onion danced on her tongue. Her mother walked in, with her old red apron on, and smiled. She reached in for a hug, yearning for the touch of her mother once more, only to have it all disappear.

She woke up with a jolt. Her body throbbed violently, pain pulsating through her every atom. She could feel every beat of her heart, as if it were a tremor through her body. She felt as if there were thousands of pounds of pressure weighing down every inch of her, threatening to crush the very bones in her body. She closed her eyes, and struggled to concentrate. She could feel the almost non-existent breeze in the air surrounding her. She could hear the distant droplets of rain meters above her. She took a deep breath, only to get the sensation of sneezing as the ash particles fell into limited air-space. Her entire body screamed as her head jolted from the sneeze. Everything went blank.

A warm summer breeze blew her hair gently, as she leaned onto the well-shaded oak tree. In her
hand she held a metal fishing rod, and watched as it gently nodded in the dirty lake water. She closed her eyes, and listened. She heard the ruffling of the tree leaves, the barking of dogs’ miles away, and the beautiful chirping of the morning birds. The sound of the mild chatter of her father and his friends as they discussed work, welcomed her. Just twenty feet away, she heard the gentle flow of the stream that led to the lake. She stretched, and started to get up. When suddenly she was jostled as her fishing pole was tugged abruptly. She steadily kept hold of her rod, and kept the reel in place as the fish violently tugged on the line. Her father came to her side as her arm struggled to reel in the line, the fish fighting her the entire way. With one last pull, the fish shot from the lake, wiggling on the end of the line. Her father laughed and pat her on the back, the sensation making her smile broadly. He pulled the hook gently from the fish mouth, and placed it in the barrel. He winked at her and placed an arm around her shoulder, as if he was about to tell her something very important. It suddenly all disappeared.

She woke up in a confused state, her mind cloudy with tiredness. Every breath she took was sharp and painful. He heartbeat became slower with every second. She slipped in and out of consciousness, feeling nothing but a hollow pain throughout her body. She dreamt of better times and of once forgotten memories. She went in and out of her dreams, confusing reality from her subconscious dreamland. Her body began to give out. Slowly, she closed her eyes. With one last breath, she left it all behind. Black.

Darkness was soon filled with a bright, gentle light.

The sun warmed her face, as she lay in warm grass. A cool breeze blew over her face as she took in a deep breath. The air smelled of honey suckle and wild lavender. She could smell the distant pine, adding to make a wonderful aroma only mother nature could provide. The sky was filled with bird songs and the flutter of their wings as they took flight. The squirrels chased one another in the treetops, sending leaves drifting to the ground. She raised herself to her feet and spun around, letting the cool air through her hair. Colors blended into mother natures mosaic. Green became brown and blue became white. She grinned widely, walking forward unsteadily from dizziness.
She looked into the woods, and saw her family surrounding a fire. They all laughed and talked, while the children chased each other around. She called out for them and ran at full speed. Her voice quivered as she looked at her mother and father. They were real. After all those years, there they were, finally together. The tears fell down in happy torrents as she flung her arms over her dad’s neck. Her mother planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Welcome home.” Her mother smiled through tears, “We missed you.”
She sat down between her mother and father, laying her head on her father’s lap. She smiled and closed her eyes.
Happy, to be finally dreaming forever.

[Was on another forum a few months ago.]
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Number of posts : 1287
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PostSubject: Reply   September 9th 2008, 10:46 pm

Truthfully, it works. I believe that it fits what you were attempting. I really don't know what you can do with it, besides share it (and I thank you).

No nit-picking from me, but no advice either. Again, I thank you for sharing.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 10th 2008, 12:42 am

Aha, thank you Smile

I'm not exactly sure what I'd do with it either. I think I'm just looking to get back into writing in General, and that was my first step towards it. Though, I also need to work on describing, it's always been one of my problems.

Thanks again for your comment.


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PostSubject: Re: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 10th 2008, 2:54 am

I liked it Bick! the beginning just drew me in, then I had to slow myself down as I kept missing words just to get faster and then I had to go back and read everything as I didn't want to miss anything.

it fits the theme perfectly well, no wonder you won!
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PostSubject: Re: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 16th 2008, 1:25 pm

Wonderful concept. Despite the depressing circumstances, her dreams come through so vivid and real. It makes me wonder which one was more real in the mind of the character. A lifetime of memories, or a nightmarish moment.

Love your style, Bick. Now, where the hell am I going to find soup that sounds that good?

~New York Bum
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PostSubject: Re: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 19th 2008, 10:10 am

Thanks you guys Smile Your input means a lot!



PS: Actually :p Not to burst my own bubble Death, but I make a killer Chicken and Dumplings, that memory with the soup is based on real memories just a little... prettier then they really were. My grandmother has an amazing recipe for Chicken and Dumplings, and has passed it down through my mother and I.
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PostSubject: Re: Reality Versus Dreaming   September 19th 2008, 2:57 pm

Well done, indeed!
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