Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Contest Practice, topic: The Living Dead

Howdy. Thanks to those who submitted a few prompts for contest practice for me yesterday! I have the first attempt ready. I definitely need to practice more at this. I managed to get about two paragraphs from the end. Right now, I'm just going to post what I was able to write. I may try to finish it later.

I chose Cruella Collett's prompt first, mainly because it was the first one to hit my inbox. Her prompts were:

Topic: The living dead
Words: shortcut, bushel, fist, tureen, mangrove
Leadoff sentence: see below (first sentence)
"Don't look back!" Gerda Aldrin said, as the last conscious look in her eyes faded into a blank stare of nothingness.

Christopher choked back a sob and transferred his baby sister to his other arm. They'd been running for nearly thirty-six hours now, and Elsa was heavy for a two-year-old. Christopher was exhausted.

And he was only eleven.

"Come on," he said to his sister. She blinked at him with sleepy eyes.

"Ma?" she asked.

"No, mom has to stay here," he said, and the black reality of that truth rolled over him like a boulder made of fear. He switched her to the other arm again - it wasn't much of a help - and pushed past the mangrove trees, on into the deeper swamp as quickly as he could.

Before their mother had a chance to open her eyes again and reach out for her children, dead fingers clutching, teeth clicking together like the ball bearings in Christopher's broken skateboard.

An hour later, Christopher gently lay his baby sister down on a dry hummock of swamp grass and looked around. He'd been sure this was some kind of shortcut, but now in the darkness - and through the shifting gray scrim of exhaustion threatening to bludgeon him into unconsciousness - everything looked the same. He sat down beside Elsa and punched at the ground, not realizing how mucky it was.

A hand closed over his fist.

Christopher jerked backward, eyes popping, mouth drawn down into a silent scream. He kicked at the mound rising out of the squelchy black mud. Eyes opened in the dirt, one bleary with mud, the other a clear and questioning blue. The bump of its rising head looked like an upside-down soup tureen, handles for ears, smooth dome of brow curving back for what seemed like forever.

Christopher grabbed his sister, shaking her out of her thin sleep. She began to wail immediately. Chris clamed down on her arm as hard as he could and her little mouth turned into a perfect "o" of pain.

"Else!" he screamed, crying out again as the creature in the muck - once human just like them - pulled him closer.

"RUN!" he cried.

OK, so that's what I came up with for the first attempt. I left out one of the words (bushel; it was coming in those last two paragraphs), and I wasn't able to get to the ending. Close, but no cigar. My hand was singing frickin Ave Maria by the time I was done, too... I think I need to do this more than once a night... but I gotta work up to it. I had a lot of fun with this, though. It was weird - no planning, no thought, just launch into a story while the clock is ticking... but it was fun. More will follow in future entries, I'm sure.

What do y'all think? I know what I think: MORE PRACTICE!!

If any of you would like to leave me a challenge, please feel free. I only need a horror-related topic, five random words, and a leadoff sentence to start. I'll take care of the rest. Thanks to Cruella for this great beginning to a new path!



Yes I totally agree more practice is needed so will endevour to do that when I get a bit of spare time during the day.


Cruella Collett said...

I knew you'd find a clever way of writing a great story out of this! I deliberately picked words that should feel very random in a zombie story, but you managed to fit them in perfectly. Loved it!

Good luck with the other challenges :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Nicely done! Hope your hand gets stronger :)

Dawn Ius said...

Wow. That's awesome and what a great idea. The hand cramps WILL go away, I hear - occupational hazard :-)

Hannah said...

Love it!! I'm so glad there's another horror author out here. :P

I'll try to come up with a good one for you...

Murderous Rage
"Just press enter."

Kay Larch said...

Wow! Since I'm not a writer and just happened upon your 'challenge', this is the first I've ever seen of this. I'm really impressed! What a FUN way to hone your skills!

Sarah Ahiers said...

wait, you wrote it by hand and THEN typed it up?
that's some gumption

Talli Roland said...

I like it! It's short and punchy. Great challenge!

B. Miller said...

Thanks guys!! Your encouragement really means a lot!! I hope these just get better and better. Leave all the prompts you want!

Yvonne - thanks so much for always leaving such great comments on my blog!

Cruella - so glad you're pleased! That was a fun one to start off with. :D

Jemi - thanks! Keep sending healing vibes my way, my friend.

Dawn - I hope they go away soon! Are you still planning on going to KillerCon? I'd love to meet up!

Palindrome - AWESOME! Thanks!! I'll add it to my list of prompts. Look for it on the blog this month! :D

Kay - welcome to my blog!! Hope to see you around here again sometime soon.

And Falen - yep, I wrote it by hand and then typed it... but it wasn't too bad. Easier to type than write, for sure. I DID have to resist the urge to edit myself as I typed it up, though. ;)

Talli - thanks! Good to see you around here again! :)

Cheers, all!

Maurice Mitchell said...

The best part about this story is that if you hadn't told me it was a exercise, I never would have known. Nice.

Shane McElveen said...

I've always wondered what my kids would do (older boy and younger girl)in a zombie situation, so this one was riveting for me. Great job, Becky. I'd love to see this exercise turn into something longer.