05-14-2011, 06:38 PM
Sentence starters (http://www.colonyofgamers.com/cogforums/tags.php?tag=sentence+starter) are a fairly simple concept. I'll post a sentence. You write everything that follows that sentence. That's it. It's just flash fiction. Make it interesting. Make it compelling. Make it yours.
I'm pretty certain that this one is from an old creative writing course I took. The challenge, in that course, was to make the ensuing story as comedically ridiculous as possible, and that might as well be the charge I make to you here:
The vicious snaps and guttural snarls were coming from around the corner.
05-24-2011, 07:36 PM
The vicious snaps and guttural snarls were coming from around the corner. He opened the door, the rusted bolt gasping softly, the hinges adding its squeal to the disturbing noise, and then he stood aside for her in pseudo-chivalry, tried to nudge her in through the portal with a hand at the small of her back, but she would not move an inch closer to the empty dark. She stared into it with a wonderful misgiving.
“Come on,” he said, taking up her warm hand, feeling it tremor. His fingers were quite cold, as he had been waving his hands about in the icy air on the way across the courtyards to the old gymnasium, elaborating some point, his dark and heavy eyebrows raising and lowering in passionate emphasis, while the whole way she kept her fists in her pockets and watched him with tight-lipped amusement. Presently, she trailed him at two arm lengths and with comedic reluctance, down a dingy hallway of dusty windows, lambent on one side from the outside street lamps. Her lips parted slightly—she had not spoken a word—and brown curls cascaded out from a gray knit hat. They were both very young, clear-eyed and clean, dressed for winter, their breath steaming even indoors.
The hall came into bleary focus by the sepulchral light the windows permitted: the stone walls, the concrete floor, the bits of plywood and carpeting in the corner, the air as tangible as dirty glass, and at the far end an open door turned left. The noise echoed through it: the snaps and snarls, and a whistling and creaking, regular as clockwork but so varied within its cycle, so that she did not know if something was pacing alive in there or if it was some infernal machine, nor could she decide which sounded more terrifying. She was not afraid, because he was not, who led the way.
Yes, there were snaps and snarls, and the creatures were stuffed with torn-up newspaper and hung from wires in the wide, high-ceilinged hall of the gymnasium. Trails glided at random through the dust that streaked the floor, and strange shapes loomed in the dark against the folded bleachers: forms cowled in black tarps or fenced in by scaffolding, unidentifiable in the gloom that filtered through the high windows running along the ceiling, which admitted only a scarce glow of street lights and an occasional sweep of a car in passing. It had the feeling of a black cathedral, and the high light directed the attention heavenward, toward the main attraction of that decrepit hall, the invention that lived smoothly, seamlessly, and ceaselessly along its rafters.
A numerous flock of mechanical birds twirled in uneven orbits, in opposite directions and overlapping circles. A dove made out of construction paper, a magpie painted more carefully than the rest, a blue jay wearing a corner of steel for its high helm, a raven wrought quickly out of concert T-shirts, with a cone wrapped in electrical tape for a beak; a dozen more, crafted by hand and with love; and following them, so incongruous as to be a mockery, a long squid with a barbed head and tentacles that opened and closed like a flower towards the sun. This cephalopod was made out of a plastic bottle and a dozen knee-length socks twisted up into braids, lifted up and let down from the heels by a spread claw of wire at the end of an arm that reached back through a nest of branches into the concealed mechanisms that set the flock in perpetual motion.
A papier-mâché bower hung from the high grid of rafters by taut streaks of fishing line, independent of any tree, and quite realistic in a wintry wooded way, wherever there was too much dark to make out the creases, imperfections, and unnaturally smooth complexions of the false branches, though elsewhere this arbor more resembled a grand tangle of poorly painted antlers. Tin songbirds squatted atop these limbs, beaks snapping, wings rising and clapping shut, eyes empty. Bird sounds gurgled out from tinny little speakers, mounted within opening horns of varying sizes and painted the dark green of leaves; and then there was the grinding whistle of the metal mechanisms, working in a kind of concerted disunion, too subtle, annoying, and regular to be called a cacophony.
The hummingbird made the most noise and seemed about to tear itself apart, flickering up and down in a crescent motion between two roses with soda can petals. He alone moved vertically in stilted flight, while the rest twisted in centrifugal circles, paper wingspans held out by the strength of wires, or bobbed and twittered atop the branches. Even though they traveled at the same speed and in a predictable pattern, the gathered flock looked random in motion—which is true of all living swarms, I suppose.
“They’re not alive are they?” she asked hazily.
It did not seem like such a strange question. Somehow the night and even the chill seemed to invest the world with a magic life. Emptily, the mechanical birds promised to eat all the darkness and sadness out of the world below. Another sweep of headlights set the whole congregation aglitter, then faded back into mysterious, eternal motion.
05-24-2011, 08:15 PM
Where is your imagination?
The vicious snaps and guttural snarls were coming from around the corner. A cacophony of savage exposition, broken only by the noise of a key clanking open the deadbolt on one of two metal security doors. Harry Wright squeaked open the door and carried a bucket of gristle, bone, and bloody steaks into the little concrete hallway between the two gates. A guard with a rifle wished Harry luck and shut the first one behind him.
The Croco-bears were in rare form today. Harry winced as a female emitted an ear-shattering mating call that screeched down the hallway like truck. He looked soberly at the little flatscreen monitor in the corner of the security hallway that showed a camera feed of the Croco-bear pen. Looking at the monsters, which were fat and low to the ground but surprisingly agile, Harry got a good idea for how this would go down.
It would have to be a rush job, just like normal. Harry would sprint out the door, past the Croco-bear clan—currently leaping around a bush and snapping at one another with their freakishly long snouts, which were both hairy and ridged like a lizard. He would dump out the smelly bucket on the concrete as he ran, then leap into the cracked open door on the other side of the pen. The guard would shut the door behind him and say, “Whoop, that was a close one Mr. Wright!”
Just another day at the Disney Exotic Creatures Boutique. The Croco-bears were one of the Disney Corporations more volatile genetic experiments. Wright’s favorite was the surprisingly docile Cobra-crow. At first he’d been horrified, wondering why anyone would put wings on a venomous snake, but it turned out they were completely harmless. He’d let his 12-year-old son Edward help feed them one afternoon, and two Cobra-crows even landed on his shoulder, winding their feathered tails around his neck and making that dry coughing noise that meant they were happy.
The Croco-bears were another matter entirely. They’d try to bite your head off as soon as they smelled you, even with four-inch thick bulletproof glass in the way. Four Croco-bears had killed themselves in suicidal charges on an enclosed feeding container, and one had choked to death jamming its face into a food chute, which was why Harry had to make the Mutilation Marathon, as his coworkers endearingly called it. But he wasn’t complaining. He was getting his eldest daughter through USC with the bonus he got for the dangerous job.
Harry had armor on his arms and legs, a taser in his pocket, and a guard standing by with a rifle, but who was he kidding? Once one of those things got hold of him, the rest of the pack would be on him before he could say, “Michael Eisner.”
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