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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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 The Plain Man

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Number of posts : 124
Age : 30
Location : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-09-24

PostSubject: The Plain Man   September 24th 2008, 5:57 pm

Chapter One – Present Day

There’s a man sitting on a park bench, he pulled back the sleeve of his plain black jacket and checked the time, 11:48. He hated waiting for these moments, he was impatient at times. A part of him wished he would just get on with it but then all his meticulous planning would go to waste.

It was a clear bright day, the birds were quietly chattering in the background and the sounds of a nearby fountain relaxed him. His bench was offset from a path that ran through the centre of the park. With all its serene and kempt beauty it still managed to be plumped dead in the middle of a dense modern environment. To the left, above the beautiful birch trees the plain man could see a modern corporate building with its tinted reflective windows and signature spires reaching for the sky. To the right there was a high class hotel which he knew quite well, the prestigious Maxman Hotel. He'd stayed there before, three times, as Mr. Green, Mr. Leif and last week as Mr. Greenleif. He enjoyed that joke; Mr. Greenleif. The plain man considered himself as a master of disguise. Today he had on an itchy moustache, which he constantly had to scratch.

He smiled to himself as he checked his watch again, it was 11:54.

The plain man had been coming here for several weeks now and had begun to notice the regulars who passed by his bench at any given time. There was a man who he knew was cheating on his wife, sneaking out the office at lunch time for a quickie with the hotel receptionist. A woman who he knew was having trouble being a single mom with two rebellious teenage children. Mr. Greenleif knew these things because he had to know.

He glanced at his wrist and read 11:59.

The plain man got up, smiled at a passing policeman before looking around as if admiring the beauty of the park. He arched his back to relieve the stiffness before he darted into the low-cut bushes flanking the path. When he was sure no one had seen him he moved carefully pushing aside the dense shrubs. He headed left and arrived at a spot that enabled him to see the entrance to the hotel. He dug ferociously near the root of a nearby bougainvillea and extracted a long slender rectangular tube from the earth. He looked at the hotel while he was removing the contents of the tube. Now he wished he hadn't spent the last five minutes reveling in his wit.

He laid out a large handkerchief and assembled his VSSK Vychlop 12.7mm silenced sniper rifle with quick motion. When he was done he knelt on the hankie and pointed his rifle out towards the entrance of the hotel. He saw the cute little receptionist he knew was having an affair with the married man from the corporate building. She seemed to be busy dealing with and unsatisfied customer. He remembered purposefully ‘distracting’ the receptionist to get a look at the hotel register. She kept asking him to call her afterwards but he knew was never going to. He was Mr. Green that day.

He saw a young man pulling in a cart of bags that was way too heavy for his size. He had chatted with this boy before, and had managed to get a rough idea of the security surrounding the name he saw in the register. That day he’d dressed up like a drunk with full fledged beard and alcohol stench in tow. He remembered paying quite a bit of cash for that little piece of information. Greenleif thought about shooting the kid too but decided it would be a waste of a good bullet. A group of private security guys were having cigarettes at the entrance. One in particular caught his eye; he seemed to be telling a very animated story from his hand gestures he could tell it as about a woman.

Slackers, he thought to himself.

He glanced at his watch, 12:03.

He’s late. The plain man knew this because he had to know everything.

Ten more minutes passed and just as the plain man was about to have a cigarette he saw the slack security guys moving around into some kind of formation. Here we go. He pulled off the irritating moustache and slipped it into his pocket.

“Better,” he muttered to himself. He made a mental note to burn the itchy moustache when this was over.

He felt rejuvenated; the excitement of the kill to come was amazing. He’d never felt like this before, maybe because he didn't have any real reason to actually kill someone except for money.

He watched as a sleek black limo pulled up to the entrance. He glanced at the number plate, 250283ST.

Why that cheeky bastard!

He watched as the security guys looked around and wanted to shout I’m over here. The story telling security guard moved to the side of the limo and opened the door. The plain man held his breath. A portly man probably in his late fifties stepped out of the vehicle. He was wearing a crisp pinstripe suit with a pressed white shirt, but something wasn’t totally right about his appearance, his face looked pale and locked in a fearful expression, like he’d just had a Botox. Greenleif pushed his paranoia aside and focused.

The portly man looked around suspiciously before looking straight at the bush where the plain man was hiding.

Go to sleep my darling, he fired twice, go to sleep.
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Number of posts : 1287
Age : 58
Location : Ringgold, Louisiana
Current Mood :
Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: Reply   September 24th 2008, 6:14 pm

Okay. I will let it slide.

The major problem with the tale is that there is no reason for me to like it. You give the character no likeable traits. The plot has no redeeming qualities. While being about someone about to commit murder, you don't even give a reason for the murder to occur (except that the man was paid to make the kill).

Oh, and two minor mistakes (those happen). You typed AND instead of AN, and you only typed AS instead of WAS. No biggee.

As a study of an event however, this piece could have some worth. I will thus simply mark this submission as practice, and leave it as that. Practice is good. Keep practicing.

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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Age : 39
Location : Charlotte, NC
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Registration date : 2008-07-20

PostSubject: Re: The Plain Man   September 24th 2008, 7:33 pm

It does certainly feel like the start of something. I can't say I wouldn't want to read more, but I also can't say I'd go out of my way to do so.
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Registration date : 2008-09-23

PostSubject: Re: The Plain Man   September 26th 2008, 9:19 pm

This is not bad.

A little editing to clean up sentence flow, and this is fine. Only issue I had was "the plain man" that name just tanked in my mind as far as a name goes. I would just call him Mr. Greenlief or something to make life easier for the reader.
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Number of posts : 124
Age : 30
Location : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-09-24

PostSubject: Re: The Plain Man   September 27th 2008, 1:11 am

Thanks for all the response guys i'll be sure to try to make it better.
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