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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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 Today was odd

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Today was odd   August 26th 2009, 11:20 pm

This is all true. What I want to talk about is not the most surreal moment in my life. That happened many years ago when I was working to get my teacher certification.

I had a number of hoops to jump through, so had to travel between my college and home. My car however was in terrible condition. I was on interstate glad to be doing 40mph. Yes, there is a minimum speed limit, so I was praying to God to not have me noticed by a cop while still managing to get me back to town. Well, I do give God credit to getting me to town. When I pulled into a convenience store the car stopped Ė dead. I was later told that the crankshaft had broken. Now, cars do not go anywhere with a broken crankshaft, and at the stresses of normal operation crankshafts do not partially break. No one really knows how I got back into town.

Now, me going down the interstate praying to God at 40mph is not what made the even surreal. I passed someone Ė honestly. There I was having a solid conversation with the most powerful entity glad that my vehicle was moving (at all), and I found myself approaching another car. I guess someone could have a car worse than me, but I remember the driver not acting like his vehicle was stressed. He definitely was not there hunched over the wheel talking to some unseen entity. He was sitting in the driver seat as if having a normal cruise. While I remembered to have God keep the cops away while he had angels pushing me along, this guy was moving as if the cops would give him an award for not speeding. I checked my mirrors, and the interstate was otherwise empty of traffic. Being incredibly grateful that my car was moving (at all), I did not want to slow down. I thus changed lanes to pass. Me doing 40mph on interstate and passing someone instead of a multitude zipping around me is a memory still locked in my brain.

Today was not exactly surreal, but definitely strange. I was on the same section of highway. Coming South from Natchitoches (pronounced Nak-a-dush with a long Indian language lesson to anyone that asks why) to Alexandria, Louisiana, one comes over the great hills that we of Louisiana consider mountains (note to all, the highest point in Louisiana is not even 600ft). I had left in clear weather, worked a number of hours on my family property in clear weather, but the sky was growing dark. I had passed an ambulance. No lights. I wondered about the vehicle, as the towns around her have good hospitals. I noticed that the writing on the ambulance said that it was from Bossier/Shreveport, which is in North Louisiana. I donít know what prima-donna was being delivered between hospitals or why (it quite possibly was a good reason, but Shreveport does have good hospitals). Anyway, I speculated about the situation inside the ambulance as I passed it.

The rain started. Nothing spectacular in Louisiana. I checked my speed making sure that I wasnít going too fast (I do speed, but not enough to be ticketed except by only the most desperate cop). I suddenly saw this ambulance coming from behind. I immediately wondered why the Shreveport ambulance felt a need to go somewhere. Well, it was not the Shreveport ambulance, but one from Natchitoches. Why it felt a need to rush south I did not know, because Natchitoches has a decent hospital as well. Still, it might have been a good reason, and I saw no reason to be rude. No, I did not stop, but I did slow down (a little below the speed limit) and move partially on the shoulder. The vehicle seemed to pause as if to berate me, but it was the fricking interstate and he had a whole lane to himself. Well, he passes me, and I go back to consider moving down the road.

Suddenly, the ambulance ahead of me puts on its lights and swerves. I check my own vehicle and notice a ladder in the road. Now, this did not appear to be a regular work ladder. Okay, it probably was, but it was fully stretched out in the ĎVí shape with the side bars locked. This ladder had not simply fallen, but appeared to have been set there. I had seen the ambulance react, so I was prepared. I went around the ladder easily, as it was not exactly in my lane. I still wanted to give right-of-way to the ambulance, so I slowed down. There I was in one lane of the interstate in the rain passing an ambulance in the other lane with its lights on while waving for the ambulance driver to get back on its way. I donít doubt that the ambulance driver was surprised by the ladder in the road, and possibly was saying some choice words, but his responsibility was to the patient and getting him/her to where they needed to be. I imagined that he again wanted to berate me, but he refound the accelerator pedal and zipped away. No sooner did I get up to speed than the rain went away.

Okay, final story from today. I was up on the family property working to restore the land and make it possibly livable. I am way back in the woods. Not miles, but Brett Favre in his better days would not be able to reach a receiver on any nearby road. I remember feeling worried and sad, but I was working on a new story in my mind while doing the physical labor, so enjoyed the emotion as giving a foundation to the characters and situations I was imagining. As I worked, I suddenly noticed the sound of large trucks moving nearby. There is a US Highway nearby, but it is far enough away that I seldom hear anything. I then heard a strange sound like the audio from a wind machine playing backwards. I noticed it being really strange, and gained the impression that something was trying to speak. It happened again, then nothing more, and the emotion I had been feeling left. That is it for this little episode, but if something more happens I will relate it.

For those that donít know, I live alone with my boys. I really did not relate this to them, and certainly would not have done so in such a long-winded fashion. Having no one else to speak to, I decided to write it up and post it. I hope you enjoyed.

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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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Urs


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PostSubject: Re: Today was odd   August 27th 2009, 2:52 am

humm... thought provoking
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PostSubject: Re: Today was odd   August 27th 2009, 8:25 am

Yeah, I've encountered ladders, a sofa, and couple of fully decorated Christmas trees laying in the middle of traffic. So, the ladder thing wouldn't have even raised to the level of unusual in my book.

I've also been behind more then one person calmly doing thirty-five or below on the interstate. I think they're hoping someone will come tearing through doing four times that and crash into them, either as an attempt at suicide or for the insurance money. Also, since the highway wasn't busy it could merely have been that the guy was enjoying sometime away from his wife and children and didn't see any need to go any faster then moving.

As for your prayers delivering you from breaking down before reaching a safe spot. I believe this happened and have done similar with the power of will, your focus point was just different then mine is all.

Now the thing with the property, that's interesting. Could just be an echo effect from the road you're not aware of combined with your imagination, which you stated was already fully engaged, but it could be something more to it. Do you happen to know the history of the land?
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TerishD


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PostSubject: Reply   August 27th 2009, 9:02 am

HYdraMStar wrote:
Now the thing with the property, that's interesting. Could just be an echo effect from the road you're not aware of combined with your imagination, which you stated was already fully engaged, but it could be something more to it. Do you happen to know the history of the land?
I really don't. I know that the original house on the land was an eastern depot of the Pony Express. It was a large structure perfect for a man and his growing family (I always think of it as two-story, but it was an uncle that converted the attic to a rather large comfortable bedroom). I remember that house, but it was torn down in my childhood (I built a treehouse from some of the wood). I actually doubt that there is any written history of the property itself, but might bother to check one day (especially if something really odd actually happens).

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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: Today was odd   August 28th 2009, 3:39 am

Yea, keep us updated - I absolutely love weird stories! Smile
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