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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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 Just for fun

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Number of posts : 147
Age : 36
Current Mood :
Registration date : 2009-03-26

PostSubject: Just for fun   June 2nd 2009, 6:43 am

These brief chapters are the first things I ever wrote, before getting stuck and writing the story I'm writing now. I'm just posting them up for fun LOL


He stood there dumbstruck, in awe. His mud stained jeans and ruffled blue shirt rippled in the wind. His hair was greasy and unkempt, brown locks that usually settled around his shoulders were now flowing in the same direction as his clothes. Blood stained both of his hands and the sleeves of his shirt. His name is Jimmie Peterson and he was standing but twenty feet away from an unbelievable sight. He was watching in terror as reality before him shattered into countless pieces and started to revolve around a ghostly nucleus of light.

The pieces of reality each maintaining the image they were portraying, (shards of midnight darkened sky, tenebrous bushes that stood on the periphery of the park, even a faintly lit cottage in the distance) was now nothing more than broken images all revolving around the ghostly light. Clusters of various debris, (broken glass, fallen leaves, and clumps of dead grass) were caught in the suction of this incredible phenomenon. A giant horse chestnut tree that was desperately trying to make a stand against the destructive force was torn apart easily, like a jigsaw puzzle being dismantled piece by piece. Each piece joined the fragments of swirling colours which used to belong to the parks scenery.

A sound that started out as a faint whistling turned into a shrieking howl as the revolutions started to gain speed and momentum. Amidst the sound, (which to him now sounded like air being sucked through a vacuum cleaner) was a peculiar buzzing sound. The drone like noise was gradually getting louder and louder, defining itself against the piercing howl of the swirling matter, gradually making his eardrum pound in aversion. He put his hands to his ears, smearing red over his neck and into his hair, hoping to drown it out. It didn’t make much difference, it seemed to pervade from everything that existed in the immediate vicinity.

He felt his brain start to throb as the buzz took on a pulse like effect, leaving him with a feeling of nausea. The pulsations grew louder and more intense and soon his whole body was throbbing. The sickly feeling took over and he threw his head forward, opened his mouth and vomited greenish-yellow bile that not only stained the quivering grass below but also his mud caped boots. He wanted it all to stop, wishing he wasn’t caught up in this unreal turn of events. But it was too late, he was already involved. Between Jimmie and the anomaly lie two motionless bodies. One of the bodies belonged to David, who was laying face down having been struck first and from behind. The other body belonged to Alyssa, who was lying on her back having been struck in her face. She had turned around to face David’s attacker. Blood that glistened in the moonlight soaked their long silver hair, trickled down their cheeks and flowed onto the grass around them like a river of mortality. Jimmie had caved his ‘friends’ heads in with a brick only five minutes before the maelstrom had begun. As Jimmie stood in front of these two confusing scenes he cast his mind back to when he was living in London, long before these mysterious events and wondered how this all happened.

Jimmie lived on one of London’s many decaying council estates that were built shortly after the Second World War. Local corporations saw them as easy solutions to problems created by the crumbling and unsanitary nineteenth century dwellings and also as replacements for buildings that were destroyed by aerial bombings during the war itself. Excellent views and cheap accommodation were the reasons they were instantly popular but over the years the buildings began to deteriorate and crime began to rise gaining them notoriety. People started to see them as undesirable places to live and in turn councils started filling them with people that could not afford to live in mainstream Britain. Estates started to teem with benefit seekers of whom the majority were young single mothers looking for places to live. Immigrants seeking refuge in the UK were herded into flats by the thousands along with big families on extremely low incomes. Mixed races and cultures all living in a permanent state of recluse, packed in so tightly together like a can of sardines. It was hard trying to grow up into a respectable member of society when you’re surrounded by an urban nightmare, where poverty and fear are life’s certainties.


With the previous night still fresh in his mind Jimmie hastily got out of bed, his aged and flaccid blanket falling down his naked body and onto the floor as he did so. A voice deep in his subconscious was nagging at him, telling him to get dressed and over to see his friend Marcus, so he could tell him what he had seen last night. He had no idea what his friend’s reaction would be, maybe he would question why he cared so much or tell him not to get involved. One thing Jimmie was certain about was that Marcus would go mad being woken up at eight in the morning, but there were ways to get him to listen no matter what time it was. That’s when it dawned on him that he had no clue as to where he stashed his gear.

He had been quite stoned last night and hid it somewhere, not really paying much attention to the where. He knew if he brought a freshly rolled joint round for Marcus to indulge himself in, he would be all ears as they say, but he had to find it first. When he did find it, Jimmie thought to himself, he would then get himself dressed and out the door as soon as possible. The journey from 22 Wallace Place to 57 Marlinton Crescent at the far end of the estate wouldn’t take that long if he managed to navigate through Barker Square unnoticed (Barker Square teems with drug dealers who gather around almost anyone who travels in their direction like pigeons flocking around bread and will use any sale pitch necessary to peddle their wares). He would then tell Marcus what he saw and then what he thought and why he was worried. Displacement was one of the concerns that held Jimmies mind about last night but not the worst. The worst was Donnie.

Donnie ‘capper’ Jones: the notorious gangster, head of the more notorious gang the ‘Barker Street Boys’, denizen of the even more notorious Barker Street estate that was named after the not so notorious Wallace Barker: the founder.

Jimmie had heard enough and seen enough to know that you never get on the wrong side of the ‘Barker Street Boys’, especially Donnie, who is known throughout his firm as ‘The Don’. Just making eye contact with him is like being mentally stabbed; his eyes seem to possess a malevolent aura, directed at anyone unfortunate to meet them. One fact was evident to Jimmie, he didn’t desire to involve himself with Donnie in any way, but that is why he’s so concerned by what he saw.

‘Displacement’ Jimmie thought to himself as he gazed around his room trying to remember where he put his weed, displacement and emerald green. The latter was what stayed his mind on the importance of the matter. A scintillating green glowing among the shadows, dazzling him into temporary paralysis at the sight of the profound beauty they possessed within. Jimmie easily could’ve got lost in the thought over and over, telling himself that he shouldn’t be worrying so much, that it’s nothing to do with him, but he was, and he felt that it was. Something deep down in his subconscious snapped Jimmie away from his revelation, where the fuck was his stash?


Jimmies room was small. The white of the wallpaper had yellowed over the years due to damp, so had the ceiling, both an unfortunate complement to the bald and brown carpet he stood upon. The room had a certain fusty odour to it but Jimmie had lived there for so long his sense of smell was in tune to the smell so he barely notices it. As Jimmie frantically scanned the room trying to remember where he put his gear his eyes came across his musty single bed that resided opposite to the window; just in case somebody decided it would be funny to throw a brick or a bottle through it (which wasn’t an uncommon occurrence here on the Barker Estate). The windows themselves were dirty on the outside and the gloss on the sills and around the frame had dulled and peeled with age. He then turned his gaze around to the corner of the room that was nearest the door, where a small fifteen inch television was perched on a rusty old patio table. He never watched television much; he thought it was the reason why his generation was so messed up and also the reason why nothing was done about it. When he was stoned he would imagine a nation of people all sitting round idly with their eyes fixed on the TV, a nation of zombies frying there brain, losing their motivation for recreation, oblivious to the world crumbling around them. Sudden shouts from outside broke the rooms silence and Jimmie decided to see what it was.

Jimmie rubbed his eyes and peered out of his bedroom window to see two school kids fighting below a pallid morning sun. Both were dressed in baggy black trousers that overlapped black shoes, creasy white shirt that hung loosely under a blazer. One of the kids was pulling the other kids tie creating a ‘peanut’ effect at the knot, choking him in the process. It wasn’t clear to Jimmie whether they were just messing around aggressively or if the act was maliciously intended to cause harm. The kid on the receiving end of the ‘peanut’ was smaller than the other boy but kicked out at him, jerking the laughing boys shin backwards with force, nearly knocking him to the ground. The lank boy eased his grip off the tie and began to laugh more wickedly, all the while regaining his footing and rubbing his shin. The smaller boy loosened the knot around his neck and joined in the hysterics, clearly desensitised to the situation. A sudden bombardment of memories fleeted through Jimmies mind as realisation made him feel momentarily dazed, they were play fighting in the same spot where he saw the old lady, that used to live in the same block as he did, murdered.

Ethel Langley had lived alone for over thirty seven years. Her husband had died serving his country during the war, after being shot in the face while his camp was under enemy fire. She had been emotionally scarred by her loss but she refused to show it. She was always a pleasure to be around. Jimmie, as young as he was, felt adoration towards her like a grandma. If she was planning to visit his mother she would always have a bag of sweets in her tattered old wicker basket for him, purchased at the local store with the tiny pension that she lived on.

Ethel would often tell a bright eyed Jimmie about the countryside where she used to live with her husband Bert Langley. Whether they were tales of strawberry picking or horses, farms or windmills Jimmies little ears would soak up the stories like a sponge, wishing that one day he would be able to see with his own eyes the quaint wonders of rural England. She would speak of these things with a smile on her face that made the stories even more pleasing to hear, especially because the only strawberries Jimmie had ever seen was among the rotten selection of fruits displayed outside the local store, way past their sell by dates but no one seemed to ever throw them out. He had seen horses, but only two dimensionally whenever he watched The Grand National on TV. Farms and windmills were just a fantasy, he could only dream of one day leaving his dismal estate life behind, boarding a train and travelling away from his chaotic prison which he calls London.
She was a warm and caring old lady who wanted to see everyone she knew happy. Like a star that pierces the blackest nights, she shone in the hearts of everyone that knew her.

She was thrown to the ground on the way back from the store by a boy wearing a black hooded jumper that hid most of his face. Another boy who wore a tracksuit repeatedly stamped on her face while she lay screaming on the ground. They were lying in wait down a foliage concealed alleyway between the last block of flats on Wallace Place and a boarded up bike repair shop, one of the very alleys she petitioned to close. Her skull was crushed under his boot; her frail skin tore apart easily and erupted, bathing the concrete below with ruddy outpours. The pair took her basket and then fled. He was seven years old when he witnessed the attack and he had run to his mother who immediately ran out to her aid. His father was out working at the factory at the time and he had no brothers or sisters, so when she grabbed a blanket from the closet and ran out of the front door he had to go with her. Jimmie remembers standing over the twitching body while his mother covered her with the old musty blanket she had taken with her, blood still oozing from the many ruptures on her face whilst her glasses lay smashed next to her. His mother was screaming at people who were hiding in the shadows and looking out from behind curtains and doors, screaming at them for help. But none came. He remembered retching at the foul stench that was emanating from the old lady; the poor old widow soiled herself during the attack.

Feeling his face frozen in a grimace, he shook off the unpleasant thoughts and focused his attention back on the decrepit forecourt in front of him. The school kids had gone, taking their ruckus with them so he stepped away from the window to continue his search for his stash.
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PostSubject: Re: Just for fun   June 2nd 2009, 6:43 am


A brown oak wardrobe stood humbly between the TV and the window, it’s once proud shine faded over years gone by. He decided to get dressed before carrying on his search because he had had enough of walking around naked so he walked over to it, pulling at the dented handles with both hands. The doors swung open revealing a few hanging garments, many of which had patches sown over old wears and tears. He pulled out a faded blue t-shirt and light blue denim jeans. While he was putting them on he suddenly realised that he had put his gear in the top drawer of the little bedside table, and without hesitating he went to run towards it. In his haste he weren’t paying attention to the fact that he had one leg half inside his jeans when he started to manoeuvre and fell head first on the floor. Feeling his cranium for the inevitable nub he stood up and finished putting his jeans on before attempting another walk to the table. He rummaged through the top drawer, momentarily panicking until he found what he was looking for. A relieved sigh left his mouth as he pulled out a small lump wrapped in cling-film which he held up to the light as if to admire it and then slid it into his jean pocket.

Feeling mentally rejuvenated after his find he picked up the half empty packet of Marlboro’s that were lying on top of the dresser and slid them into his other jean pocket. He looked into the mirror that hung on the wall above the table and looked into it, his blue eyes piercing the room’s dullness as they stared back at him. Glints of emerald green visually echoed throughout his mind as he stared blankly into the smeary face of the mirror while he thought of last night, memories that were still clear as crystal playing over and over. Why was it so important to him that he would relay the images to Marcus? In fact, why was it so important to him? He felt unsure of the real reason but there was definitely something wrong with the situation; displacement he kept thinking. His hair needed combing so he picked up the brush that was also on the dresser and ran it through his hair, straightening it out so it reached the collar of his shirt. He put the brush down and walked towards his door, the pale morning light projecting a dull shadow from him onto his yellowed walls, barely visible to the eye.

He crept through the living room fully aware of the sleeping figure on the couch. He really didn’t want to wake her, not this early, not in her state. He casually stepped over a depleted bottle of cheap Russian vodka that lay a few feet away from the slumbering woman and noticed the broken pieces of ashtray that littered the floor along with dog ends that swam in a sea of spilt ash. He slalomed his way around these obstacles and reached the front door where he dressed his feet with battered white trainers and then picked up his keys before taking one last look at the bitter and blemished face of his once picturesque mother, her antecedent beauty nothing more than a lost memory. Her long black hair once bounced elegantly around her shoulders like the mane of a galloping horse passing through the countryside. Today it hung morbidly; presenting a horror of split ends tipping tresses that were dull and greasy. A momentary sadness crept through his body for the love he no longer felt for her, a love she no longer wanted. Emotions regarding his mother were only temporary for Jimmie now, even though he sometimes feels himself yearn for her to get better, knowing that she won’t.

As quiet as a door mouse he left his home and walked out into the cold world to share his revelation with his life long friend.



Stepping out of his front door Jimmie is not surprised to see freshly daubed graffiti on the stairwell that leads up to the third floor. It must have been done some time last night because the scent of the spray paint still lingered strong enough to penetrate his nasal. Jimmie couldn’t help but to take in a deep breath of the aroma, which to Jimmie smells potently sweet and rich. The aroma momentarily tickled his senses, drowning out the more usual stench of urine that permeates the block. The words that were sprayed over the dull bluish-grey wall were barely legible but Jimmie thought they spelt B.S.B, which he knew were the initials of Barker Street Boys. He thought some of them must have been loitering in these stairwells last night, after he had returned from his midnight mission, smoking and drinking. As if to back up his theory he accidentally kicked an empty can of Super T as he started to walk down the stairs, the rattling sound of tin echoed through the building as it tumbled.

As he steps out onto the forecourt, the pale morning sun seems unwilling to illuminate the row of decrepit houses opposite his block that wallow in their perpetual torment of disrepair. Cracked render scales from doors to roofs. Broken gutters fall away from the wooden fascias, overhanging dirty windows that fracture in corners. The perfect backdrop for a destruction movie Jimmie thought to himself.

Lack of planning stopped me there because I didn't have a clue where I was going with it, though I had an end, I had to stop lol
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PostSubject: Re: Just for fun   March 10th 2011, 11:24 pm

Have you worked anymore on this? It's not bad, with some rewriting this has the makings of a nice short novel. I'd like to read more. As far as lack of planning, write the ending, and maybe afterward some of the middle will be filled in. I hope you are continuing to write, it is good for the soul.
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