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Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-25-2012, 02:57 AM)
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Theme - "Might Have Been"

Word Limit: 2250

Submission Deadline: Friday, May 4 by 11:59 PM Pacific.

Voting begins Saturday, May 5, and goes until Monday, May 7 at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Optional Secondary Objective: Active Verb Description

Only use active verbs in your scene descriptions. No is-verbs! e.g. Instead of "There were trees all around the clearing. They were tall. They were almost up to the sky." you could say "Trees crowded around the clearing. They loomed tall, clawing for the sky." Challenging, but fun!


Submission Guidelines:

- One entry per poster.
- All submissions must be written during the time of the challenge.
- Using the topic as the title of your piece is discouraged.
- Keep to the word count!

Voting Guidelines:

- Three votes per voter. Please denote in your voting your 1st (3 pts), 2nd (2 pts), and 3rd (1 pt) place votes.
- Please read all submissions before voting.
- You must vote in order to be eligible to win the challenge.
- When voting ends, the winner gets a collective pat on the back, and starts the new challenge.

NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge FAQ
Previous Challenge Threads and Themes


The Entries:

Ashes1396 - "farm animals"
John Dunbar - "Masters of Creation"
Grakl - "What Might Have Been"
Valerie Cherish - "Might've Been"
Bootaaay - "Stone"
Tangent - "Six Proofs of Purchases"
Gattsu25 - "No Way Out But Back"
DumbNameD - "Envelopes"
Cyan - "The Mirror of Mayhap"
Last edited by Cyan; 05-07-2012 at 06:28 PM.
Gattsu25
Formerly Wakune
(04-25-2012, 03:35 AM)
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Interesting topic.

Hmm...I'm going to try to compete in this one.

I hope I do. It felt good to write again.
Irish
Member
(04-25-2012, 03:49 AM)
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Nobody will steal my is-verbs. Nobody.
Yeef
Member
(04-25-2012, 05:32 AM)
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Just a little reminder of all the "what-abouts" and all the "might-have-could-have-beens"~
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-25-2012, 06:03 PM)
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Originally Posted by Irish

Nobody will steal my is-verbs. Nobody.

Sounds like you're in!
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-25-2012, 10:14 PM)
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Quick poll: how many folks tried the MRU secondary in the last challenge? How many found it useful?

And if you didn't try it, was there any particular reason?
Alfarif
This picture? uhh I can explain really!
(04-25-2012, 10:15 PM)
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Wait... so you want me to write the way I used to write? Ok. 20 sentence paragraphs for everyone!
Lone_Prodigy
Member
(04-25-2012, 10:29 PM)
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This is a fun topic.
Bootaaay
Member
(04-25-2012, 10:35 PM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

Quick poll: how many folks tried the MRU secondary in the last challenge? How many found it useful?

And if you didn't try it, was there any particular reason?

I was intending to try it, but ran out of time to write the character driven section that would have benefited from it - I'll definitely consider it when editing my next piece though, as it seems to sort of technique that could be useful for me.
Ward
Member
(04-25-2012, 11:58 PM)

Originally Posted by Cyan

Quick poll: how many folks tried the MRU secondary in the last challenge? How many found it useful?

And if you didn't try it, was there any particular reason?


Definitely tried it. I think it really helped =)

I try to keep it in mind when I write but just as often forget about it.


I try to never use any conjugation of to be. Using it makes for flat writing.
Irish
Member
(04-26-2012, 01:58 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

Sounds like you're in!

Shiiiiieeeeettttt. You know how much writing I've been doing lately? Too much.

Guys and gals, make sure you never take three online English courses that have been made into 8-week classes instead of 16-week ones. Oh yeah, plus three other classes on top of that.
Rorschach
Quis custodiet ipsos Batman?
(04-26-2012, 02:09 AM)
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Its "might of"
crowphoenix
rising from soot, not ashes
(04-26-2012, 02:16 AM)
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Your trees can fuck off!
Delio
Member
(04-26-2012, 02:19 AM)
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Just had to chime in to say. Wow,a very interesting theme.
Gattsu25
Formerly Wakune
(04-26-2012, 02:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

Quick poll: how many folks tried the MRU secondary in the last challenge? How many found it useful?

And if you didn't try it, was there any particular reason?

I did not try it for the worst reason possible: time constraints

Depending on my schedule, I will see what I can do with this assignment's Secondary. I'm genuinely intrigued
Elfforkusu
Member
(04-26-2012, 02:59 AM)
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Hard mode: no verbs.
Tangent
Member
(04-26-2012, 03:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

Quick poll: how many folks tried the MRU secondary in the last challenge? How many found it useful?

And if you didn't try it, was there any particular reason?

I tried it, but didn't get to spend as much time trying it as I would have liked. But I really liked MRUs as a secondary.


Haha, the secondary this time around is hilarious. I took this rhetoric class once where we were not allowed to use any is-verbs at all or we'd get grade drops! <:-O By the end of the course, however, I grew to love the power of passive voice!
Irish
Member
(04-26-2012, 03:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by Elfforkusu

Hard mode: no verbs.

Poem?
Elfforkusu
Member
(04-26-2012, 03:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by Irish

Poem?

Suicidal mode.
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-26-2012, 03:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by Elfforkusu

Hard mode: no verbs.

This sounds like that group that would pick random weird challenges to do with their books, like not using the letter "e."
Elfforkusu
Member
(04-26-2012, 04:12 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

This sounds like that group that would pick random weird challenges to do with their books, like not using the letter "e."

"Word limit: 300 words. As in, three hundred unique words in your story."

I promise a similarly ridiculous objective if I ever win one of these.
Grakl
Member
(04-26-2012, 04:15 AM)
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Originally Posted by Elfforkusu

"Word limit: 300 words. As in, three hundred unique words in your story."

I promise a similarly ridiculous objective if I ever win one of these.

The...

Oh no.
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-26-2012, 04:58 AM)
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Originally Posted by Ward

Definitely tried it. I think it really helped =)

Haha. Don't worry, I spotted it!

Originally Posted by crowphoenix

Your trees can fuck off!

Crow! Joiiiiiin ussssss.

I mean, look at Irish! Three online English courses, and he's still joining in. ;)
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-30-2012, 01:07 AM)
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Everyone writing busily? Looms treeing away like spider monkeys on shrooms?
Crunched
point your penis at me,
and have a good day
(04-30-2012, 01:11 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

This sounds like that group that would pick random weird challenges to do with their books, like not using the letter "e."

Funny, this is exactly what I'm attempting with my entry :p
Ward
Member
(04-30-2012, 02:26 AM)
An unrelated addition to this thread, but not necessarily to the writing challenge threads.

If you recall, almost three years ago we had Writing Challenge #33.

Where I submitted this entry- A Guy, The Devil, & Chess.

Here is the film adaptation of my entry- Abe Zanarkand at the Movies.

I hope you enjoy!
Irish
Member
(04-30-2012, 03:09 AM)
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Wow... Challenge 33 was my very first challenge (and also one the last stories of mine that I was somewhat satisfied with). :P

Not bad, Ward.
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(04-30-2012, 05:54 AM)
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Originally Posted by Ward

An unrelated addition to this thread, but not necessarily to the writing challenge threads.

If you recall, almost three years ago we had Writing Challenge #33.

Where I submitted this entry- A Guy, The Devil, & Chess.

Here is the film adaptation of my entry- Abe Zanarkand at the Movies.

I hope you enjoy!

Dude! I totally remember that one.

That's badass, will watch when I get home.
Tim the Wiz
Member
(04-30-2012, 12:35 PM)
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Wow, that was three years ago? I totally remember that story. Nice, Ward.

Originally Posted by Irish

Wow... Challenge 33 was my very first challenge (and also one the last stories of mine that I was somewhat satisfied with). :P

Apparently, my use of obscenities and moustache-twirling villains has diminished. I must fix this!
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(05-01-2012, 06:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

That's badass, will watch when I get home.

Done. Fun little story.

But no explanation! Is Zanarkand psychic now? ;)

Also, that one dude was clearly on Neogaf when he was supposed to be working. It's just like real life!
Tangent
Member
(05-01-2012, 06:53 PM)
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Ward, that was awesome!

And, now...back to work...
Gattsu25
Formerly Wakune
(05-02-2012, 06:31 AM)
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It's not looking good for my participation in this one.

Not a single workable idea, yet...
AlteredBeast
Member
(05-02-2012, 06:35 AM)
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alright...let me see what I can do. :)

I am so used to writing comedy and screenplay format, that it will be interesting to write this way again, especially without using to be verbs.
AlteredBeast
Member
(05-02-2012, 06:36 AM)
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Originally Posted by Ward

An unrelated addition to this thread, but not necessarily to the writing challenge threads.

If you recall, almost three years ago we had Writing Challenge #33.

Where I submitted this entry- A Guy, The Devil, & Chess.

Here is the film adaptation of my entry- Abe Zanarkand at the Movies.

I hope you enjoy!

I was long gone from these threads by then, but I am definitely reading your story first, then watch the short film.

Great work, man!
Puddles
Banned
(05-02-2012, 06:42 AM)

Originally Posted by Irish

Nobody will steal my is-verbs. Nobody.

What rulebook-junkies don't realize is that it's all about the mood your words create.

Passive voice and is-verbs can be very valuable tools if used properly.
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(05-03-2012, 04:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by AlteredBeast

alright...let me see what I can do. :)

I am so used to writing comedy and screenplay format, that it will be interesting to write this way again, especially without using to be verbs.

Right on!

Originally Posted by Puddles

What rulebook-junkies don't realize is that it's all about the mood your words create.

Passive voice and is-verbs can be very valuable tools if used properly.

It's an exercise, dude. They can certainly be valuable tools, but it's a good idea to sharpen up your other tools once in a while, too. ;)
Ashes
Member
(05-03-2012, 05:31 AM)
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farm animals

A farmer loses his daughter to a horrific crime.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/49745078/farm%20animals.pdf
Last edited by Ashes; 05-03-2012 at 06:58 PM. Reason: updated link..
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(05-04-2012, 06:18 AM)
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^Hey, that post said something different before!

Getting started on mine now, but man, my protagonist just ain't working for the secondary. Doesn't fit his voice at all. I might have to *gulp* not do it.
John Dunbar
correct about everything
(05-04-2012, 09:28 PM)
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Masters of Creation
(1,900 words)

The Grand Ballroom of the Plaza teemed with life, masters and servants alike. Large round tables covered the floor, and above the stage hung a golden banner with a bright red acronym: VEM. Beneath it smaller varicoloured streamers flew with crimson stars and a single slogan repeated to infinity: Life Finds a Way to Die.

An officious looking little man with glasses and a bald shiny dome atop his head took the stage. “Hello?” he said, giving the microphone attached to the podium a few uncertain taps. “Is this thing on?”

When a hush fell over the audience the little man's confidence seemed to grow. “Good evening, everybody,” he said. “And welcome to the 35th annual fundraiser dinner of VEM. I'm pleased to announce that we've managed to raise over 1.5 million dollars for our noble cause tonight. Give yourselves a big hand, everyone.”

Gladly the jam-packed ballroom followed the little man's example and cheered themselves loudly, some clinking their glasses together and more emptying them. The little bald speaker then fumbled with his notes, and to a discernible, sober eye a faint frown flashed across his face as he read his next card.

“And the night isn't over yet, folks,” he continued. “The Voluntary Extinction of Mankind movement has not seen a more fervent champion than our next speaker. Please welcome Senator Reston Longfellow!”

Clutching a pile of papers an elderly man with wild time-peppered hair slouched towards the podium to applause just loud enough not to be rude, but reserved enough to make it clear that no one looked forward to hearing him speak. From experience they knew that they were in for another speech that would take 30 minutes to go anywhere, and then you were sorry it did. Longfellow straightened his papers ceremoniously against the wood while two men placed an enormous easel next to him and promptly left. After placing his papers down he stared long and hard at the first page, gripping tightly the sides of the podium. Then he let out a loud sigh.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Longfellow began. “For weeks I laboured on what I should say here tonight, and as you can see I even wrote a few words down.” He tapped the pile of papers to a few nervous chuckles. “But the more I thought about this night, about the past 35 years, and most of all about what exactly we have achieved, what I had to do became clear.”

Longfellow grabbed the pile of papers and threw them down on the diners. “I will not waste so many words on such a rotten lot. Too long have I stood idly by, letting you all play your silly game. Now it is time for us to face the facts: abstinence does not work. Contraceptives do not work. Termination does not work. Governments won't allow forced sterilization of the stubborn and the petty. Many of you parrot how we have managed to bring down birth rates in the west, but I ask what good does that do when all our hard work is undone by some hussy in Nigeria who can't keep her legs closed?”

A murmur of disapproval filled the room, which could be translated as “Was that racist? I'm pretty sure that was racist. I better object so no one will think I'm racist.”

“You are all children,” Longfellow went on, ignoring the protests. “The ideals from which Voluntary Extinction movement originated recognized that the history of humanity is written in blood on a parchment of rotting flesh. Will we be just another cankerous footnote? Many of those who came before you were no better than you, I admit it, when just one year after the Initiation they pushed through the One child policy in China, thinking it would not be long until reproduction would be a thing of the past. Fool and their dreams, but they were men of action and principle. What have you achieved? Just in the last 15 years we have gone from less than six billion to more than seven. This is an affront to all that we should hold decent, and all you do is hold parties and celebrate your non-existent accomplishments. I have cause to believe a few of you even are breeders yourselves. But I have a solution to all of this.”

Ignoring the growing booing Longfellow reached over for the easel, tearing off the blank sheet. In doing so he revealed a picture, an orb ablaze with yellow fires.

“The Sun,” Longfellow declared solemnly to a suddenly silent room. “Our precious star needs to be taken down a peg or two. Too long it has dominated the sky, reminding man of his mortality at dusk and filled him with false hope at dawn. Its eternal glow makes a mockery of life, it imposes its will upon us, and its monopoly of light and energy is no less despicable than that of a Middle-Eastern oil baron. Ladies and gentlemen, we have no need to trifle around with contraceptives and abortions when we can unite all of mankind against this celestial abomination. Turning them will be easy. We are face to face with our cruel creator every day. Its rays rape the good earth, spreading disease, dearth and death. We cannot choose our beginning, so let us choose our end. From this day henceforth, I propose we pool all our resources together in ridding ourselves of this evil. ”

“You can't destroy the Sun,” someone argued.

“Yes, it's too hot,” an uncertain voice added. “And big.”

“Yes, too big and too hot,” an expert confirmed the analysis.

“Gentlemen, please! Look at the big picture!” Longfellow shouted, pointing furiously at the tiny Sun behind him. “We will not destroy the Sun, not as long as anyone in this room still draws breath. But in our quest to achieve this seeming impossibility we shall unite mankind. Our Halcyon days shall follow, days of unity through destruction to match God's seven days of creation. And when our descendants finally succeed, and it is inevitable they will, for life always finds a way to die, aeons may pass and this empty, dead planet will remain undisturbed. But one day it will be discovered by some race deserving of life, and what shall they find? Amidst the wrecks of the universe, countless of civilizations destroyed by war, disease and disaster, one shining beacon show them the way, a species which chose to end its own existence, understanding that the only way to conquer death was to embrace it. When they see what we have done, will they not worship us as gods? Will they not with resigned envy and admiration declare that these men truly were masters of creation?”

“You're a madman, Longfellow!” Someone shouted at him, and the room was soon full of assenting shouts.

“Who said that?” Longfellow croaked as he scanned the room in uproar with a hand shading his eyes. “Is it Waters? I should have known a flip-flopping liberal like you is all talk and no action!”

“Yes, it's me,” the man called Waters yelled back, much louder now to be heard over the din. “You're a madman! Get off the stage!”

“Say that once more and I'll shove a wine bottle down your throat!”

He said it once more.

*

The ballroom was dark and empty, save for a lonely drinker at a large round table. Reston Longfellow huddled over his glass and bottle as if safeguarding the sole earthly possession remaining to him.

“Shouldn't you be going home?” someone finally interrupted his brooding.

Longfellow looked up, and saw the cordial face of Julian Waters. One of those Hollywood types, Longfellow knew, whose convictions were as fleeting as their morals. A handsome man, no doubt. “What do you want?” he said.

“They told me you were still here, so I came to see that you're alright.”

“Now you've seen, and now you can leave.”

But Waters didn't leave. He sat down at the table, few chairs away from Longfellow as to leave a comfortable cushion between them.

“The cleaning staff is too scared to come in here, after the scene you caused,” Waters said, and they glanced over to where Longfellow had jumped off the stage and ran on the tables on his way to throttle the life out of Waters, leaving behind him a trail of broken tableware, spilled drinks, scattered food, and one broken wooden podium. The party had ended soon after. “I trust you have recovered from your momentary urge to murder me?”

“What a bunch of useless twits,” Longfellow grumbled, ignoring the question. “If they had an ounce of sense they would not be cleaning up after others. There's no dignity in that. None.”

“And pray tell, what should they do?”

“You know what. They should put an end to it.”

“Oh yes, I suppose if we can't have a good old fashioned general extinction, a personal one will have to do.”

“You're mocking me, Waters.”

“And you're underestimating the opponent, Longfellow,” Waters said. “These, hmph,” the word seemed to get stuck in his throat. “People you want dead so bad are much more resilient than you think. They cling to life like ticks to a fat cow, and more someone like you tries to dash their hopes, faster they try to rebuild them. You republicans will never understand that. I don't think I need to remind you of the whole American Dream debacle. Show people what they're missing to drive them into despair seemed such an elegant solution, but who would have thought the fools would actually try to go out and achieve it?”

“Why are you agreeing with me?” Longfellow said, uncertain both from Waters' words and the drink. ”You made a fool of me. You just told everyone I was wrong.”

“I said that you were crazy,” Waters said. “I never said that you were wrong. And so am I, as far as most are concerned. You think I'm inconstant, fickle, but I'm anything but. We want the same thing, but for very different reasons. We were given our very own Eden, yet after all this time history still produces men like you, Longfellow, men who would destroy the world out of bitterness. But at least you have some semblance of principles. The filth that filled this room tonight is much worse than any angry old man. Our garden is overrun by hedonistic pigs whose whose ideals are chosen like their clothes and cars, by fashion. It was not some jealous god who cast us out of our paradise. It was us.”

Longfellow did not deign to reply, but Waters just laughed. “And you certainly did not need my help to make a fool of yourself. The Sun, Longfellow?”

“It would have been beautiful,” Longfellow said, more to his drink than to Waters. “Even as a failure.”

“I know you want to reach for the stars, but regrettably even the nearest one is much too far. But not to worry, there are solutions closer to home.”

“What? How?”

“There's one thing you can always rely on, Longfellow,” Waters said as he rose and placed his hand on Longfellow's shoulder, giving it an encouraging squeeze. “No matter what, life finds a way.”
Last edited by John Dunbar; 05-05-2012 at 10:00 PM.
n0b
Member
(05-04-2012, 11:58 PM)
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I can't get this done for tonight. I have at least another thousand words to get into this before it gets where I want it, and I can't do that and edit when I have to go somewhere in an hour. I had a story I liked the concepts behind, I just couldn't get the actual narrative to form in my mind. Poop. ):


THIS IS MY ENTRY NOW HURRR SEE BECAUSE IT IS AFTERMATH oh god I am horrible ignore this
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(05-05-2012, 01:12 AM)
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Originally Posted by n0b

I can't get this done for tonight. I have at least another thousand words to get into this before it gets where I want it, and I can't do that and edit when I have to go somewhere in an hour. I had a story I liked the concepts behind, I just couldn't get the actual narrative to form in my mind. Poop. ):


THIS IS MY ENTRY NOW HURRR SEE BECAUSE IT IS AFTERMATH oh god I am horrible ignore this

Alas, what might have been. :(
Crunched
point your penis at me,
and have a good day
(05-05-2012, 02:02 AM)
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I'm stuck on mine. It's tough getting anywhere when you omit the letter e. I don't think I'll be entering this round, but I'm looking forward to what everyone else comes up with.
Gattsu25
Formerly Wakune
(05-05-2012, 02:09 AM)
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I literally have no idea what I should write...
Bootaaay
Member
(05-05-2012, 04:00 AM)
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This is going to be pretty rushed, as I'm literally struggling to stay awake here. Must. Keep. Typing.
Grakl
Member
(05-05-2012, 04:07 AM)
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What Might Have Been

I might have written a story, but I ended up working on other things.

Let's dance instead.
Last edited by Grakl; 05-05-2012 at 08:38 PM.
Puddles
Banned
(05-05-2012, 04:09 AM)
Heh, Might Have Been. I might have been making six figures by now. I might have been still together with the one girl I've ever met to give me butterflies. I might have been a successful man with a wife, a good salary, and a Golden Retriever. Things just had to continue on their projected course starting a few years back.

I don't think I can do this topic.
Cyan
Purple Drazi
(05-05-2012, 04:14 AM)
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On the other hand, you are a pretty hot writer. ;)
Irish
Member
(05-05-2012, 04:16 AM)
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Wait, is it time for our "I give up" posts?

I might have continued on with these challenges if I actually thought I knew how to write. Maybe if I had more confidence (or was just a better writer in general) I would still be around today and not just post in these threads because I think I belong here for some inexplicable reason. Who the hell is this Irish guy anyway?
Valerie Cherish
Junior Member
(05-05-2012, 04:22 AM)
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"Might've Been" : A Valerie Cherish Joint

The password is neogaf

Not my finest hour
Last edited by Valerie Cherish; 05-05-2012 at 04:27 AM.
Bootaaay
Member
(05-05-2012, 04:27 AM)
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Isobel closed her drowsy eyes and allowed the feel of the place to wash over her. The wind whistled against the still of the night, prickling her skin with every salt tinged breath, while the waves gently whispered as they caressed the shingle shore of the cove far below. In the distance, a boat called on the midnight tide, far out at the edge of the horizon. She gazed up at the moon, fat and round, hanging high in the midnight sky, obscured here and there by a few faint wisps of cloud that were slowly dragged along in the wake of the evening breeze. Inside, she could hear Mark clearing away the remains of their dinner and shortly he came out to join her on the porch. They stood, leaning upon the smooth wooden rail, sharing a companionable silence as they both took in the scene arrayed in front of them.

"I can see why you love this place" she said, breaking the silence.

"It is wonderfully peaceful out here" he replied. "I forget that when I'm at home."

"Well, there's always something, isn't there? Work, friends, nights out."

"True. Here, everything just seems to move at a slower pace." he said, his voice sounding wistful as a smile played at his lips. "I've often wondered what it'd be like if we moved up here. Just you and me, and our little cottage by the sea."

"Oh yes?" she laughed. "And do what with ourselves, exactly? Would you go out on the fishing boats? Braving the cold, North Sea, while I sit at home and raise your bairns?"

He smiled at that. "No, the sea isn't for me. I would write, I expect. You would paint, of course, and the land would inspire us. By day we would walk the cliffs and thickets and fens, and by night we'd curl up in front of the fire and talk until sleep took us."

"You always were a romantic." she said, leaning over to plant a kiss on his cheek.

At length, the wind grew chillier, it's whistles turning in to wails. They were about to retreat inside to the warmth of their fire, when Isobel spotted something down on the beach below. Making slow, wavering progress across the uneven shingle was a lone light in the darkness, it's eerie orange glow bobbing along as if afloat.

"There's something down there. Do you think it could be smugglers?" she asked.

"Maybe a hundred years ago" Mark replied, following Isobel's pointing finger to the little circle of light below. "But not any more. It's probably just old Jake."

"Who's he?"

"Hmmm? Oh, a lobster fisherman. He's been living here as long as most can remember."

"Fishing, at this hour?"

"No, the lobster pots would have gone out at dusk. He always walks the low tide shore under the full moon. It's a rather sad story, to be honest."

"Tell me?" she asked, failing to mask the obvious intrigue in her voice.

"Well, Jakes mother, and her father, and his father, and so on, were well regarded in these parts as 'cunning folk'. They read fortunes, countered hexes and spells, provided charms and potions, that sort of thing. Jake learned some of it from his mother, so people say, but there was little call for her skills during those days, and none by the time Jake was grown. So he followed in his father's footsteps and became a fisherman."

The light was still now, and Isobel could make out the shape of the old man, hunched over a rock pool.

"Anyway, Jake got married not long after leaving school and taking up his father's trade. By all accounts she was a wonderful girl, a natural painter as it happens. She loved to explore the countryside, while Jake worked the waves, and would always be there, ready to take care of him when he got home. But one evening, Jake returned from setting the lobster pots and his wife was nowhere to be found."

"He went to the local constable and they soon roused a rescue party, who set out with torch and lantern, searching the village, the bay and the woods before, eventually, finding her delirious, face down in the field of long grass behind the church. Rushing her back to the village, under lamplight they could see what afflicted her. On her knee, just below the hem of the warm, summer dress she wore, a bite mark sat, angry and inflamed."

"Jake's face went pale as he stared down at his wife, her eyes rolling, unseeing, back into her head. The constable talked to him, telling him that they'd have to send out a call to the city hospital for anti-venom, but according to those there, Jake just stared, before turning and running out the door. A full moon sat high in the sky, and as Jake raced towards this very cove, he remembered words he had read in his mother's books, about a special sort of stone, found only on moonlit nights."

"Called sometimes a 'Druid’s glass', for it's supposed magnifying qualities of mystical power, it is more commonly known as an 'adder stone' and was said to be able to cure all manner of venoms and poisons. It was for this stone which Jake now raced, but it was a stone which proved very difficult to find. Smooth and glassy, the stone must have a hole bored through the middle by the sea's current, and when dropped into a pool of water, must float."

"He didn't ever find the stone, did he?" Isobel said.

"No, he did not. Jake returned home, soaked to the bone, fingers bloody and ragged from tearing through the shingle in search of this one, most lucky of stones, only to find his wife had already passed."

"That's awful." Isobel replied sadly. "So why's he still looking?"

"Well, some people say it's a sign that he can't cope, some that he lost part of his self when he lost her, and is stuck amid the clutches of that last night when he still held out some hope. I don't agree."

"Why not?"

"Because Jake copes just fine, and has done for more years now than he had ever spent with his wife. People assume he's crazy, that he lost his marbles all those year ago, when perhaps this is his way of mourning her? And besides, don't we all dwell on what might of been, from time to time?"

Down on the beach, Jake had set his lantern down, the light reflecting from the shallow rock pool's water. With shaking hands, he raised the stone before his gaze, peering through the hole in the middle at the glowing form of the moon above. Then carefully, he bent down and rolled the small pebble from his palm and into the rock pool. It broke the surface with a faint plop, and Jake began to let out a sigh, punctuated by a whoop of delight as the stone resurfaced, pale blue and floating in the moonlit water. He snatched it up in his hand before bringing it reverently to his lips. With a kiss for good luck and a prayer cast, he sent the stone back into the sea.

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