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Creative Writing

Vampire: The Masquerade – Meet Hiroko

Last year I experienced tabletop roleplaying for the first time.  I’d dabbled in it before – a game of Edgewalkers here, a few nights of Pathfinder there – but I’d never really taken it seriously before.  That is, until I was invited to join a game of Vampire: The Masquerade.

Inspired by my recent read of the time, The Trees by Ali Shaw, I created Hiroko, a Gangrel (animalistic shape-shifting vampire) from Japan.  Hiroko was just nine years old when she was murdered by a mysterious stranger in the woods near her home.  Scared and terrified after her transformation, she frenzied (a term for when a vampire’s humanity drops too low and the beast within them takes over) and killed her parents in an attack orchestrated by her twisted Sire.  After years of abuse, traveling with her as a pet and means of entertainment, her Sire abandoned her and she found her way to the moors of England, where she was taken in by an old Gangrel called Morris.  She moved into a beat-up old caravan on his acres of land, where he taught her how to control her bloodlust, and feed off sheep instead of people.

One night Hiroko learns of the terrifying murder of her dear friend Morris, and forms an unlikely alliance with a group of vampires, who are all invested for their own reasons in finding out who has been killing the locals.  As the story unfolds, Hiroko soon learns that someone from her past has returned – her wicked Sire, who lives now in a neighbouring city.  What has led him to the same area as Hiroko, and does it have anything to do with the murders in town…

Sadly, the group was not to be, and we were never able to complete the full storyline, but I loved developing Hiroko! The game involved a lot of acting as we stayed in character through the sessions. Acting isn’t my forte, but usually by the end of the session I was successfully ‘in the zone’, and it was actually quite fun!

Has anyone else ever played Vampire: The Masquerade or similar games? I’d love to hear about the characters you created!

Emma

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June 18, 2017
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These Eyes

A while ago, inspired by my discovery of zines, I created a few poetry pieces for a collection, just for my own amusement.  I found one of these today whilst tidying and thought I’d share.

“These eyes
have seen it all,”
he says,
bottle slamming
onto the table.
Drink spilling
in his haste.
Palms over
eyes,
he is still
for just a moment.
Still
but
still remembering.
“These eyes
have seen it
all,”
he says.
“I wish
they hadn’t.”

The poem was called These Eyes and was part of a series of old poems I don’t even remember writing.  I just happened to dig them up in the depths of the ‘Writing’ folders on my computer.  It feels strange to find something I don’t remember writing, like I don’t even know who I was when I created it.  I barely dabble in poetry, which makes it even stranger!  Anyway, I enjoyed cutting letters out of newspapers and bringing the poem to life with some olde typewriter font.  There’s a few other poems I have adapted in the same way that I might share too at some point.

Happy writing,

Emma

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May 9, 2017
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Flash Fiction Winner: ‘Beautiful’

I’m pleased to share the winning entry of April’s Flash Fiction Competition!  The theme for April was ‘beautiful’, and the judges enjoyed Nicky’s short story about a disillusioned mother and the relationship with her son.

You can read her winning story below:


Perfect day for it. Could have gone either way, really. If I’d gone to the gym first I’d have talked myself out of it, definitely. An endorphin-fuelled shallow sense of contentment. No, it was now-or-never. Done with the pretence, too old to care what people think. Growing this thick-skin recently felt bloody amazing. With the big year approaching, well, it’s just shouting out for a big decision, isn’t it? Besides, I still haven’t struck off half the things on my bucket list. Been all about you from the start; you, my one and only, my son. Now nearly 16. You’d get it; you of everyone. You’d been allowed to follow your dreams. Me, parenting solo, always was over-compensating for the absent one. There had been the trumpet years, the Nintendo years, the karate obsession, the violin and drama classes. The holidays to Disney and Thorpe Park. I was there enjoying myself too, don’t get me wrong. But not properly. Worry always there. Would you fit in at your new school? Worry I’d get a knock on the door at midnight with news you’d been in a road accident. Would you pass your exams? Would you start to resent me for my failed relationship? Any hopes and plans of my own were discarded, buried with my former self. Just what you have to do, what we all do, isn’t it? My life coach kept cheering me on that now I had to step into my own power.

Gave you a hug, pulled you close to my chest this morning as you went to kiss me goodbye. Smell of your shampooed hair made me wobble. “Mum!  Get off! My mates will see.” Don’t think I didn’t spot that smile fighting with your top lip there.

“Your dad’s picking you up today from football. Don’t be late.” Christ, how I said that so matter-of-factly. So driven lately. Nothing was going to get in the way. Been paying an arm and a leg for those life coaching sessions. About time my investment paid off.
“Can’t you, Mum?  Don’t wanna see him. I’m old enough now to make my own decisions.”
“All in good time, love.” Waving a bit too manically as you hurry out the car. When did you get so tall? Catching a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror, I wince. When did I get so lined?

I’m putting my foot down. Driving past the school playing fields, past the railway tracks, swing onto the ring road. Clock the traffic sign for Dover. Open the glove compartment. Guide book, check. Euros check. One way to Calais. Check. Shoulders drop, face muscles relax. I switch the dial from Radio 4 to Kiss fm. Bill Withers. I tap out the beat on the steering wheel, joining in. ‘And the world’s alright with me…’ The light bouncing off the windows on the houses in front never looked so beautiful.


The Flash Fiction Competition is returning on Tuesday 1st August 2017.  Check the Flash Fiction page for more information!

Emma

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May 1, 2017
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Round-Robin Fiction: Haven

I’ve wanted to try something like this for a while – a round-robin way of storytelling, where everyone has a chance to shape the story.  The idea is that I will start off below with an opening, and if you want to add to the story, simply post your few lines or paragraph (though no longer than 150-200 words) below as a comment.  I’ll pick the “best fit” to add to the story – make sure you leave a name too, so you can be credited for your contribution!  You can join in the story at any time, don’t be shy.

Who knows how long the story will be, or what will happen along the way…


There was something dainty in the way Sally stepped between the shards of broken glass towards the kiosk.  A sort of grace in the manner she held herself at all times, Kian thought, that she refused to lose despite the dark grey sky and far-off glow of flame on the horizon.  They’d been doing well recently too, and there was some colour in her cheeks again – she looked good, and he could almost imagine what she had looked like without those weary, searching eyes, with her cheeks a little plumper.  Whilst he waited for her to catch up, Kian looked out the little window across Haven Park with a frown.  The grass, once a luscious green, lay dead and crisp.  Trees hung limp, their leafless branches brushing the dry ground.  They hadn’t seen anyone for days now.

 

February 28, 2017
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Elegy for a Dead World: Dear Marta

I recently started playing a fantastic game for writers called Elegy for a Dead World.  It plays like a scrolling platform game, but there is no fighting or obstacles to face.  Instead, in each world, players are given the opportunity to write stories about their landscape – the sights, the smells, the sounds – with writing prompts to guide them.

I’ve written a few stories on there now, but I was particularly pleased with my most recent one: Dear Marta.  It is the letter from a girl on a new planet – one with warm weather, beautiful sunsets and starry, starry nights – to her sister back on their home world, Onun.

As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that this isn’t a letter written from the heartache of a short absence.  It has been a long time since the girls have been together.

At the end, it is revealed that the narrator’s sister died a long time ago, back when they were children on Onun.  The girl remembers their childhood fondly, and promises her sister that she will never forget her, but this will be the last letter she will write.


What story would you have written, with this beautiful purple planet as your backdrop?

Happy writing,

Emma

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February 16, 2017
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Flash Fiction Competition: December 2016

It’s December, and that means another round of the Flash Fiction Competition.  There was no winner for August’s theme ‘flying’, so I’m hoping this time we’ll get some great entries that really interest the judges!

December’s theme is…

‘family feud’

The rules:

  • Write a piece of flash fiction up to 500 words, linking in the theme somehow (it is up to you how you decide to do this)
  • There is no entry fee, but you will need to submit your story before the deadline: 25th December, Midnight (GMT)
  • The winner will be announced in early January and will be awarded a £10 Amazon voucher as well as publication on Wandering Words

Please read the Terms and Conditions before submitting your entry, which can be found here.

If you’ve got any questions, you can get in touch by commenting below or emailing: wanderingwords@outlook.com

Happy writing!

Emma

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December 1, 2016
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The Year of the NaNo Rebel

nanowrimoThat time of year is approaching, and I’ll be doing things a little differently this time.  We’re less than two weeks away from November, and that means late nights, comfort food hauls and playlists on repeat – yes, that’s right, it is NaNoWriMo once again.

Last year, drowning in character profiles and years of notes, I managed to write just over 20,000 words towards my novel, which at the time was titled The Soul Market.  The experience helped me an awful lot with my writing – it was this 20k that made me realise what was lacking from the story all along, and not long after I decided to start taking my writing a little more seriously.  Almost a year on, I have a completed first draft, and have made great progress with editing!

So, not wanting to miss out on all the NaNoWriMo fun, I’ve decided to join this year as a NaNo Rebel.  According to Wikiwrimo, a NaNo Rebel is:

a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words

The term covers all sorts of writing projects, from non-fiction texts to blogging!  But I’ll be using the month to finish up editing, and hopefully have a completed novel I’m proud of by the end of November.

The end is in sight, and who knows – by NaNoWriMo 2017, I might be ready to start a whole new novel!

Who else is doing NaNoWriMo this year?

Happy writing!

Emma

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October 20, 2016
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Wanderlust Writing Prompts

Wanderlust

I’ve loved using my 642 Tiny Things to Write About book recently – even just flicking through it to get creativity flowing has been helpful.  It’s amazing what ideas pop into your head when you’re given the beginnings of a story, or even just a few words.  So, after scouring the pages of my copy of the book, I’ve found six very different prompts that will stretch your imagination to places far from home!

1.) Plot a story about a disastrous vacation involving two families in the same house.

2.) Aloha!  You’re a lost tourist on a locals-only beach in Hawaii.  Talk your way out of a night mugging, using only surfer slang and sea turtle metaphors.

3.) A note in a bottle you found washed up on the shores of Disney World’s Lake Buena Vista Water Park.

4.) What is number three in your top list of places you want to go?

5.) Think about an event that happened while you were traveling abroad, and tell your story from a local’s point of view.

6.) Randomly choose a word or phrase in a foreign language that you don’t know, and write a translation.


642 Tiny Things To Write About

I found number 6 particularly interesting, especially as I’ve been (very gradually) learning some French.  A lot of the time I can guess the meaning of a French word, but other times the assumption I make takes me completely off course!

If you’re interested in the writing prompts book I’ve been using, check out the links below:

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | The Book Depository

Emma

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Wanderlust Week runs annually on the first week of August, celebrating wanderlust and adventure through travel posts on the blog.  Click here to view all posts.
August 4, 2016
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August’s Flash Fiction Theme

The Flash Fiction Competition is back!  After a long hiatus, the rules have changed slightly – the competition now runs just three times a year (April, August and December), but you’ll now have a whole 25 days to submit your entry.

August’s theme is…

‘flying’

The rules:

  • Write a piece of flash fiction up to 500 words, linking in the theme somehow (it is up to you how you decide to do this)
  • There is no entry fee for the rest of 2016, but you will need to submit your story before the deadline: 25th August, Midnight (GMT)
  • The winner will be announced in early September and will receive a £10 Amazon voucher

Please read the Terms and Conditions before submitting your entry, which can be found here.

If you’ve got any questions, you can get in touch by commenting below or emailing: wanderingwords@outlook.com

Happy writing!

Emma

Follow me on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

Wanderlust Week runs annually on the first week of August, celebrating wanderlust and adventure through travel posts on the blog.  Click here to view all posts.
August 1, 2016
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The Evening of Experimental Writing Prompts: Story Cubes

Years ago, my sister was gifted two boxes of Story Cubes, and I’ve only just managed to “borrow” (steal) them for playing with.  She has the original Story Cubes set (black cubes) and the Actions set (blue cubes).

There are lots of different ways of playing with the cubes (including with multiple players), but I’ve chosen the very basic version of the game: three cubes each for the beginning, middle and end of the story.

So, let’s play!

I merged both sets and rolled the dice one at a time.  This is the order they appeared in (starting at the top, left to right):

The point of Story Cubes is that there is no one definition for each image – they are to be interpreted freely.  Bearing that in mind, here’s my response to the cubes (I’ve highlighted the words that tie in with the pictures):

The boy peered into the room, unable to hide the concern on his face.  His sister was working out again.  Kyle should have been thrilled; their father had been nagging for years for her to get fit, and all of a sudden, overnight almost, Daisy had joined the gym and changed her eating habits.  Lifting weights in the spare room was the latest addition to her new rigorous timetable.  Their father was pleased, of course, and was quick to brush off any worries he had expressed, but Kyle knew his sister better than that.  Shaking his head, he backed quietly out the room and closed the door behind him.

Kyle had sensed a change in his sister – a change beyond her sudden enthusiasm for keep-fit – but he just couldn’t put his finger on the root of it.  The next day, while Daisy was at work, he crept into her bedroom, searching for clues.  Being the younger brother, even though he was now a man, most of his experiences of being in Daisy’s room were her screaming at him to get out.  This feeling stayed with him as he glanced around for information, his guilty conscience making him feel like a tresspasser.  He looked over her dressing table, scanned her desk and finally thought to check under her bed before leaving.  As he crouched down, not expecting to find anything, a small blue box caught his eye.  Cautiously, as though it might contain explosives, he reached into the shadows beneath the bed frame and pulled the box out into the light.  It seemed to fit neatly into the palm of his hand, and he knew what it contained before he even prised it over, the sparkling jewel a confirmation of his fears.  He was alarmed at the discovery of the small box, and sadness washed over him.  He understood it now – Daisy’s strange mood, her anxiety over her weight.  It had been barely twelve months since that tragic day; their father was still mourning the loss, and Kyle could see how his sister’s secrecy had been to protect him.  He knew she’d want to wear their mother’s wedding dress for her special day, but even announcing the engagement would be a big step for the family.  Still, Kyle was surprised by all this.  He’d just figured they’d all cross that bridge when they got to it; he never thought it would affect her this much.

That evening, Kyle had managed to persuade a reluctant Daisy to accompany him to the supermarket.  He needed to get her out of the house; perhaps a change of environment would encourage her to open up to him.

“Talk to me,” Kyle said, when her silence became too much for him.  He reached out to touch her shoulder but she flinched away.  She dropped some apples into the trolley, avoiding his gaze, turning back to the fruit on display so he couldn’t see her expression.  Kyle sighed, continuing to push the trolley up the aisle.  

“I can’t force you,” he added, “but I’ll be here when you are ready to talk.”  Hearing these words, Daisy’s face creased and she finally began to cry.  Kyle glanced nervously at a couple who looked over with quiet concern, but he shook his head at them and waved them off.  Then, he wrapped his arms around Daisy and held her tightly, hoping she couldn’t feel his heart breaking in his chest.


Phew, that was a nerve-racking experience!  I really felt my imagination was challenged, particularly having those two action cubes together at the beginning.  In some ways I felt the cubes were restrictive, as at times I wanted to elaborate much more on certain points, but always felt that I was keeping my eye on the next cube at all times.  In terms of inspiring a story, it was a huge success – even if I had used the cubes loosely as a starting point, I was amazed at how easy it was to build a plot from a few pictures!

For anyone wanting more information on Story Cubes, check out their website.  They are also available to buy on The Book Depository (link leads to the Original set: the black cubes in the photo above).

What story would you have made from these cubes?  Comment below!

Emma

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February 18, 2016
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