Monday, 31 December 2012

A feeling of impending doom

What is the worst that could happen?  Well, apparently, in my lazy holiday, the worst that could happen was that I forgot to post yesterday's writing prompt.  Between watching Merlin and Downton Abbey (yes, I'm a BBC addict), I guess it just slipped my mind.  But fear not, here it is!

***Writing prompt 300 - You wake up with a nameless feeling of dread in your gut, but you can't figure out what it is.  Write down everything that could possibly happen during the day that could be something for you to dread. ***

As always, I invite you to put your own answer (or link to) in the comment section.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ahoy Puppet!

As much as this writing prompt seemed funny to me at first, I must say I had a hard time finding what I wanted to do with it.  In the end however, I decided to go for something silly.  I hope you'll enjoy it.

***Writing prompt 628 - You are a pirate.  Describe your perfect day.***

The Last Port Tavern
Pirate dating site

Profile #34686: Bubonic Roger Smythe
Physical description: two eaye, missin' a few teeth and fin'ers, hairless, red beard, a few manly scars, as tall as two barrels o' rum.
Pets:  A few rats and other vermin
Other: Own me own ship

Random question: Describe your perfect day

I enjoy wakin' up with t' sun and look at its reflection on t' blue sea. After givin' orders t' me crew, I like t' eat a breaksmartly o' cured meat, washed down by a few pints o' good ale. On a perfect day, I find t' treaaye I was lookin' for in t' mornin' and have me lads bury it before sundown without even catchin' a glimpse o' a royal navy ship. Lastly, no day be really complete without a stop at t' isle o' Skull where t' rum flows and t' wenches be buxom.

What are you looking for in a wench?

I wish t' find an obedient wench t' do me wash and keep me entertained durin' long days at sea. Scurvy wenches need not inquire.


The pirate speak was created using the International Talk Like a Pirate day English to Pirate translator.  If you feel like having some fun just follow the link.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Avast ye matey!

This week's prompt is a fun one!

***Writing prompt 628 - You are a pirate.  Describe your perfect day.***

Totally justified usage of a Johnny Depp picture

Now there are many way to go about it.  You could totally use the classic pirate, but yo could also be a modern day pirate or an Internet one.   I think I want to go for the traditional pirate.  Maybe I can even make it funny (although I'm pretty funny in real life, writing comedy is not my forte.)  Anyway, it should be fun!

As usual, I invite you to post your answers (or link to) in the comment section below.

Thomas is angry

Hi everyone,

Did everyone enjoy a good end of the world party? I had dinner with my family.  Pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary.

So here is the answer to last week's prompt.  I used Thomas, a character from the second tome of my work in progress trilogy (more on this coming at the beginning of the new year), and tried to see how I could tell a lot about him by showing rather than explaining.  Hopefully, it worked.

I would really appreciate it if guys did a little work for me on this one.  I would like you to tell me which voice you preferred and also what you learned about the character from the two different style. And yes, I totally did write more than one paragraph...

*** Prompt 277 - Write a single paragraph that conveys a lot about a character's life.  Think about how this can be achieved with voice and rhythm an repetition. ***

Thomas plopped onto the armchair and pinched the bridge of his nose with his long, soft fingers. He looked at the empty capsule in front of him.  It should have been glowing with blue light, humming dully as liquids came in an out in transparent tubes. His right leg shook incessantly of its own accord.  He got up.

On the virtual board, he flipped a few screens before stopping on one.  Equations upon equations covered its entirety.  There was barely enough space to add any comments.  He squinted at one particularly messy corner, rubbing his chin.  It was all there, under his eyes, yet, he couldn’t make any sense of it. Damn Dale! Had the man been tidier maybe he could have understood this madness.  He sighed and pulled out his glasses out of his smock but didn’t put them on.  Instead, he started to bite at the hinge.  He had, after all, perfect vision, but this human artifact always helped him think. 

He touched the screen, trying to enlarge a minuscule glyph.  He scrutinized it for a long moment only to come to the very same conclusion he always did: this was not a standard symbol.  It was the only possible explanation.  He had used that code for centuries, nothing about it eluded him.  Damn Dale and his imagination!  A nagging voice in the back of his head whispered that if it wasn’t for him, the man would still be around to help decipher his scribble.  Thomas looked at instruments on the table.  Then, with a sudden roar, he sent them flying across the room.  Panting, he went back to his seat to resume his regular, comfortable thinking.


I plopped onto my armchair.  It was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable but it was the only place I could think.  I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose.  This wasn’t working.  That empty capsule should have been full with amniotic liquid and a test subject.  My leg shook, restless.  I was feeling something close to defeat.  I got up.

I turned on the virtual board once again and flipped impatiently to the screen I was looking for.  I would have to set a bookmark.  I kept telling myself that but always forgot.  I looked up at the right corner.  There it was, that foreign glyph, mocking me.  Oh I had tried to decipher it, to bend its shape to match the characters I knew, some I had even created but deep down inside I knew that it was a useless task.  Nevertheless, I took out my glasses and started nibbling on the hinge.  Like my chair, they helped me cogitate.  And just like my chair, they were proving useless.

I touched the screen like I always did, enlarging the glyph. This was clearly Dale’s brainchild.  The man had been – probably still was, in fact - a genius.  He was always looking for ways to improve the equations.  I felt guilt.  If it wasn’t for me, he would still be working in this lab.  The guilt suddenly, but not unexpectedly transformed into anger.  He had been the instrument of his own downfall; I had nothing to do with it.  I looked up at the character, then at the lab.  The table was covered in numerous devices and instrument, taunting me.  To my own surprise, I roared and cleared the table in one swift movement.  The sound of glass shattering brought me back to reality.  Panting, I walked back to my seat and resumed my reflection. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Review Wednesday - Warm bodies

Warm bodies is the story of R.  Who's R?  R is a zombie living in a dilapidated airport in a post-apocalyptic world.  His main activities include groaning and riding the escalators up and down until the power goes out again.  He's a pretty normal zombie with a wife and kids, and a best friend he likes to exchange a few syllables with.  However, all that changes the day he meets Julie, a very alive girl, whose boyfriend's brain he devours before saving her life.  From that moment on, his life (death?) is never the same.

I was never a big fan of zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies made me want to bitch slap the author with his own creation) but when I saw the preview for the movie I was intrigued and decided to read the book first.  I found the idea original and the concept interesting; that is probably what made me fly through the first hundred pages.  Things changed a bit after that and although I kept reading at a good pace, I grew discontent with the story.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

R, the main character, is a very lovable zombie.  I liked him from the start with all his undead clumsiness and strange thoughts.  Marion has managed to make him into a very believable zombie and the evolution of the character is brought about skillfully.  Although I have to give him props for creating a heroine who actually has a personality (not an empty shell like Twilight's Bella), I have to say that she is a very cliche one.  She's the I-still-see-hope-in-this-forsaken-world girl who not only is gorgeous but also knows how to swear, drink and drive manual.  She appears almost flawless and was a constant source of annoyance to me.  I didn't believe in her like I did in R.  Actually, her friend Nora was more credible.

At first when I saw that Stephenie Meyers had given the book good critic I was a bit skeptic but as I read, I came to understand why.  The connection that happens between Julie's boyfriend Perry and R is very similar to what happens in Meyers' so-called adult novel The host.  While not being as insipid as Twilight, it's not exactly the best book in history.  The idea wasn't bad but I think it was overused in Warm bodies and many of the memories didn't really help the plot.

Lastly, the miraculous ending was a real let down.  Marion builds a tension all through the book and then lets it fall flat, a bit like Meyers did at the end of Breaking Dawn (Yes, I've read them all.  I believe that to have an opinion about them, one should have least tried to read them.)  Nothing is explained, magical stuff starts to happen and we're in for a happy ending.

Setting the story aside, I must say that Marion's prose is delectable and very enjoyable.  His similes are very appropriate to the theme and made me smile many times.  His use of adjectives is also always dead on (rank ranks, mildewed fairytale, etc) - no pun intended.  All in all, he has a great style and I would definitely like to read more of his work.

In the end, this really falls under the teen literature although it wasn't marketed as so in Chapters.  It's something light, junk food literature as one of my friends would put it.  I will probably go see the movie anyway, just because I'm curious to see the adaptation.

Atua's rating: Meh.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Who are you?

Good evening!

This week's writing prompt is a bit different as it is more an exercise in style than an actual story prompt.

*** Prompt 277 - Write a single paragraph that conveys a lot about a character's life.  Think about how this can be achieved with voice and rhythm an repetition. ***

This should be very interesting to do.  I think I want to try rewriting the same paragraph in different style.  I might even use a character of the Coma saga to do this.

As always, you're more than welcome to participate and post your answer or the link to your answer in the comment section.

Have a great week.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

My mother told me not to talk to strangers

Good evening,

Here is this week's writing prompt.  It seems we are staying in the same theme.

Writing prompt 400 - Approach a stranger, introduce yourself, and ask him or her to tell you something he or she has never told anyone else.  Record your findings.

I guess this is where the bolder people will actually go and ask a stranger a question.  Personally I lack that kind of courage, so I will probably just write the scene.  I'm looking forward to read your answers!

Does your mother know about this?

Hello peeps!

If you remember, last Sunday's prompt was "Something you never told your mother."  I have to say it gave me a bit of a hard time.  I really had no idea what I was going to write about.  However, when it hit me, I was so connected with my idea that I even failed to see my boss who was riding the bus right next too me.  My brain is a nice place to get lost in but it's difficult to emerge back sometimes.

Before I post my answer to the prompt however, I want to remind you that you're welcome to post links to your own answer on your blog in the comment section.  I will list the links in the next post for everyone to see.  Also, this week's prompt will be posted later today.

Enough talk, here it is!  Enjoy!

***Prompt 216 - Something you never told your mother.***

My mother lives in a quaint little retirement home nestled between a park and a row of blue houses on a quiet street.  On Sundays, regardless of the sky’s mood, I ride my bike and pay her a visit.  I am never late and she is always on time, waiting for me by the gates.  She dresses fine and looks her best for me.  She calls me dear and flirts with me.  It is our little game which, unlike us, never gets old.

My mother, despite her years, is a sound and healthy woman.  She likes to walk in the park holding my arm, naming the flowers as we pass by.  She’s an erudite and I an avid learner.  When the weather is inclement, we stay indoors and play chess.  No old lady games for her; she is yet in her prime, or so she likes to say.  She wins a lot and I cheat a little.  Her knowing smile tells me my tricks are anything but subtle.

My mother was a librarian.  Her love for books is grandiose, her appetite for written words infinite.  Her eyes, worn out companions, have long lost their sharpness and so, mine take over.  She listens ardently at Dickens by the fireplace but also laughs wholeheartedly at Pratchett in the garden.  Together, we have lived the lives of many.

My mother is sometimes melancholic.  She looks at my blue eyes and tells me her father had the same.  To prove it, she takes me to her room and takes a faded shoe box from under her bed.  She blows the dust off her life and shows me yellowed photographs of long gone people.  A dapper young man. A smiling bride.  A chubby infant.  She tells me little, her eyes filling with tears at time.  I put the memories away and hold her soft hand.   I try to avoid her bare ring finger.  She smiles at me softly.

My mother likes me to talk.  To dissipate the hazy past of happiness lost, she asks me to tell her stories of my life.  I confide in her my dreams and hopes.  I tell her of my wife and children.  I show her pictures and drawings.  She never asks to meet them.  Sometimes, I wonder if she knows.

My mother walks me to the door when I leave.  She waves to me as my footsteps crush the gravel path quietly.  Her eyes are on me as I fail to tell her what I must, as I finger the ring that rests heavy in my pocket.

My mother knows everything there is to know about me. 

Everything. Except that I am her son.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

The belated first post

As I promise, it's December and I am back to post!  See the furniture and the fresh paint on the wall?  I've made this house a home, don't you think?  I hope you've enjoyed whatever it was that you got yourself at the corner store while waiting.

So, what is "A Truth Universally Acknowledged" (aka atua) and what's its purpose in life?  Excellent question! 

The Austen fans will have recognized it as the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."  I decided to use it as my blog title because I admire Jane Austen's work but also wanted something that would set the tone of the blog; literature and writing will be discussed here.  Also, should I suddenly decide I want to talk about the life cycle of cacti or the eating habit of pumas, it's flexible enough not to bind me to a very specific niche.

As to the purpose, I intend to use this little corner of the Internet to get my writing out there for the world to see.  It will also help me keep track of my progress and, let's be honest, it will also force me to write regularly.  I love writing, but it seems I always have something "better" to do.  With atua, I will have to answer to you, my readers, when I don't post anything.  Please be merciless. 

The structure will most likely vary at the beginning until I find a format that works well, so I invite you to comment as much as you can; your input will help me greatly. I wish to post writing prompts to share and explore with other bloggers and readers as well as information regarding my work in progress and my tribulations as a writer. I intend to post regularly but not daily.  For day-to-day activity, make sure to check my facebook page or my twitter feed.

Now, as promised, here is the first writing prompt of atua.  Note that all the prompts will come from a book called 642 Things to Write About and that the selection is made with an online random number generator.

Prompt 216 - Something you never told your mother

Please feel free to use this prompt for your writing, but make sure to post whatever you come up with in the comment section (any language is welcome however I will not be able to understand anything else than English, French, Japanese or Spanish.)  I will post mine next Sunday, along with the next prompt.