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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 Magician and the Devil

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Phalen Schuyler


Number of posts : 27
Age : 27
Location : Clarksville, MD
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Registration date : 2008-07-18

PostSubject: The Magician and the Devil   July 18th 2008, 10:00 am

When he pulled a quarter out of her ear, she didn’t think much of it. When he made the quarter grow into a fifty cent piece, she didn’t think much of it. But when he pulled a dollar coin out of her ear, she was alarmed. Her hand shot up to touch her ear gingerly. How could something so big come out of her ear? He tossed the coin into the air, and then caught it. She had to blink twice. The coin was gone, and instead, a round red apple sat in the stranger’s palm, its surface gleaming. Realization dawned on her.
“That’s mine!” She watched as he finished the apple off, leaving the core. She glared at him, but then the glare was replaced with a look of awe as he made the apple whole again. In the end, she thought a lot about it. He waved his hand over the apple, and then abruptly it was gone. She didn’t believe in magic; she believed that everything had a perfectly logical solution. A trick that looked so complicated was actually very simple to perform. She smiled slightly. “Of course! You had two apples on you. Mine’s still in my basket, isn’t it?” He looked towards her basket. Delilah held it close to her, and peeked in slowly. Her apple wasn’t there. She stared up at him in shock. He made a circular motion with his hand, and the fruit’s shiny red surface shined again. He held it out to her, seeming to absorb her every thought.
“Apple?” She took it gingerly, contemplating how he’d done the trick. She wished that she could see his eyes, but they were hidden beneath dark sunglasses. The stranger looked to be in his early twenties; his coal black hair stuck out in all directions and his face was smooth and clean-shaven. He was dressed in a long-sleeved white button-up shirt and black trousers. His shoes were the same color black as his trousers and his hair. The stranger smiled slightly, revealing perfectly even, white teeth.
“You done yet?” He asked, sounding amused. She blushed involuntarily, dropping her gaze. Her friends giggled from next to her, poking her with their elbows.
“My turn.” His head moved slightly, as though he were looking her up and down. She knew that he was taking in her appearance. She was a strangely beautiful girl, with silky white hair piled up on her head in the latest fashion, cheeks that betrayed her every time she was embarrassed or thought something inappropriate, and her greatest feature; her dark red eyes. She suddenly felt self-conscious in her dark blue dress. Was the hem too short? She jolted out of her reverie when a voice cut through the silence.
“Delilah!” Miss Parkinson’s said sternly, commanding complete attention. Only then did Delilah realize that there was a crowd around them. Something seemed to weigh her right hand down, and she opened it up. Three coins sparkled up at her. “Give me those! Tainted by Cabot…” Delilah reluctantly allowed the coins to be snatched out of her hand. “Come along now, we’ve lots to do. I need to stop at the butcher’s before we head off to the fruit stand.” She turned away, but Delilah saw her slip the coins into her bodice. She turned back to the stranger, but he was already disappearing into the throng of people.
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View user profile http://www.writerscafe.org/writers/PhalenSchuyler/


Number of posts : 1136
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Registration date : 2008-07-17

PostSubject: Re: The Magician and the Devil   July 18th 2008, 7:15 pm

Oh, I hope you are going to write something more. Maybe they will meet again?

This is a great story. Have you ever considered entering some online writing competitions. After you figuring out what ones are legit you'll be a hit.

I love how you got right into the story, then did the character building in the middle. A lot of writers I know try to get their characters introduced as soon as possible then head into the story or plot. I think this is what sets your story apart from all others I've read. One of my favorite parts is 'She was a strangely beautiful girl, with silky white hair piled up on her head in the latest fashion, cheeks that betrayed her every time she was embarrassed or thought something inappropriate, and her greatest feature; her dark red eyes.' The dark red eyes knock this piece over the top. Brilliant! Short and sweet and beautifully written. Again I hope you will add more.

Easy reading is damn hard writing! I love you

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Number of posts : 1170
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PostSubject: Re: The Magician and the Devil   July 21st 2008, 8:34 am

It might be lack of sleep, but I'm confused. Is the girl the devil? She has white hair and red eyes, but nothing else about her seem particularly devilish. When something as the word 'devil' in the tittle I expect a real devil of some variety.

Otherwise, your flow is good. There are some formating issue I think with the second paragraph that makes some of the action and dialogue a little difficult to follow, but all that could easily be fixed with a few breaks.

Over all, nice work.
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PostSubject: Re: The Magician and the Devil   July 21st 2008, 3:17 pm

Great story....Hope you have more coming....

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. (Lord Byron)

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PostSubject: Re: The Magician and the Devil   July 21st 2008, 6:20 pm

This was a good submission. The only problem is a lack of completely bringing the reader into the setting. The events are well presented, and the characters are given some substance, but the world around them is very ill defined. Some sense of where and when would help. I get the feeling of a medieval fair with the lady being non-human. True white hair is very rare and red eyes is unknown (wait, is she an albino?).

A little development would help. The end is not a finale, but a declaration that there is more to the story. I would like to see more.

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: The Magician and the Devil   December 6th 2008, 9:21 pm

This is a good idea.
I like the idea and concept, I like the story.
I had a hard time reading it though because of the way the paragraphs were put together.
But other then the format on the forum, its really good.
I like.
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