What’s the next level for writing?

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photo courtesy http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-image-generator.php

 

Writers and readers, would you like your books to be written at the next level? That is, written not by a human, but by an artificial intelligence?

Yes?

Good, because it’s coming. It’s here.

No?

Too bad, because soon robots will take writer’s jobs (everybody’s jobs).

In the meantime, here’s a website that lets you ease into a world without human fiction writers:

WritingExercises.co.uk

This site has a list of links (on the left side) which lets you generate “random” story elements, such as story titles, character descriptions, and dialogue.

I played around a bit, and here’s what I got:

Title: Poisoned Forest

*

Town Name: Tombminster

*

Character Name #1: Elaine Barnes (mixed and matched first / last names with Janice Wilkinson)

Character Description: A selfish 60 year-old woman

Traits: shy, unkind, materialistic

Job Title: Lighthouse Keeper

*
Character Name #2: Janice Wilkinson (mixed and matched first / last names with Elaine Barnes)

Character Description: A helpful 33 year-old woman

Traits:  idealistic, decisive, compassionate

Job Title: Surveyor

*

Quickie Plot:

The story begins in a church crypt
Someone mistakenly believes s/he has killed someone
It’s a story about learning from mistakes
Your character offers to lend a helping hand

*

Random Dialogue (hacked this a bit):

“You came back!”

“Please don’t argue. You have to leave right now, you aren’t safe here.”

“This isn’t just about you. It’s about what’s best for all of us.”

*

List of 3 Random Words:

education ghost coffin

*

List of 8 Random Words (more=merrier):

queen
dominate
rotten
hamburger
confound
mad
pancake
shun

*

More intriguing random stuff (I forget which links I clicked):

The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive

An imaginative 66 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a terraced house and tends to be a little clumsy.

A generous 33 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a caravan and tends to drink too much.

*

So if you’re looking for story prompts, check it out. I’m going to put the above in a back burner folder and use it as a springboard for a future story, robots be damned. But in the meantime, feel free to jump on any of the random elements I found for your own stories.

Writer and multi-leveled castle-dweller Tom Merriman provided the theme for this post; thanks, Tom!

For a comprehensive list of partial and full stories, click here.

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And they said romance was dead… Not a chance!

At the close of the second half of the second month of the year, I give you part 2 (part 1 can be found here) of my pair-up challenge by doubling up Tom Merriman’s challenge with a goldfish’s challenge (click here for the prelude of this story)!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Les_Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_f%C3%A9vrier.jpg

February, from the Très riches heures du Duc de Berry

Limbourg brothers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

**

“I killed Scarlet because I thought she was going to shoot you!” David slumped against the barn wall and winced as a rusty nail poked a hole in his shoulder. He staggered forward, the nail further ripping his button-down shirt. He cupped his hand over the puncture wound. “And now I’ve got tetanus. And my best shirt is ruined.”

“Shut up, David. Just shut up.” Felicity shook her head, her tawny curls bouncing to and fro. She glanced down at the still body and sniffed. “I should never have gotten mixed up in your shady deals, David. I mean, I thought you were a bad boy, but this is insane.”

“But I did all of this for you. I wanted to impress you. Your profile said, ‘Jaded City Girl Looking for Romance. Likes: High stakes. Dislikes: Playing it safe.’ And, well… ta-da?” he said, spreading his arms wide.

“Is this your idea of a romantic night out?” She turned and stomped her way to the barn door. “Your profile said, ‘Take a chance on a Bad Boy in the making. Likes: Risks and romance. Dislikes: Fussy reading glasses’ – Oh!” Felicity spun around.

Scarlet sat up, tossed her reading glasses to David, and peeled off the fake blood-filled special effects skin. “I’m fine. Not a scratch. My brother here really wanted to impress you. And I think he did.” Scarlet winked at Felicity, stood up, and brushed herself off. “And now that you’ve passed the test, we can all get to work on the real Harrister deal.”

Felicity shrieked with delight, ran to David, and threw her arms around him. “You passed the test too, you bad boy.” She kissed him. “Sorry about your shoulder.” She tenderly pulled the cloth from the wound. “Maybe you should see a doctor.”

“That would ruin our alibi.”

“But don’t you think you could have tetanus?”

David shrugged. “That’s a chance I’ll have to take.” With a flourish, David led Felicity out the barn door.

“And they said romance was dead,” Scarlet said as she picked hay out of her hair.

**

Mount Gold Goatboy: The Legend of Winky Rivers (a short story)

Photo by Jo Naylor.

The sun started to slip behind Mount Gold, and Jan dismounted his horse, his eyes brimming with tears of awe and longing. As the last few rays splayed over the summit, the crest of the mountain glowed a brilliant gold. Jan draped his arm around his horse’s neck, and he squinted at the fiery crescent. “That there is what I’m after, girl,” he whispered in the animal’s ear. “It may be just the sun playing tricks, but it may be gold after all. So rest up tonight, ’cause tomorrow I’m gonna be the first man brave enough to reach the-”

A movement at the base of the mountain caught Jan’s eyes, and he quickly focused his attention on an out-of-place shadow about twenty feet away. As the last of the sun’s rays blinked out, the shadow grew larger and darker, solidifying into the shape of a goat. The side of the goat swung open, as if on a hinge, and a man dressed in a black bodysuit rolled out and fell to the ground. He untucked his limbs, stretched, and stood on wobbly legs.

Jan gasped. “What in tarnation-”

The man in black politely waved. “I’m a goatboy,” he called out. “In a steel goat I ride.”

Jan and his horse slowly walked toward the man. “What in tarnation is that contraption?” He pointed at the goat.

“It’s new-fangled machinery. This here goat can instantaneously take me anywhen I wanna go.”

“Anywhen? What’s that supposed to-” Jan stopped talking when he stood face-to-face with the man in black. “Say, you look like that fella in the wanted poster I saw in town.” Jan hovered his hand above the handle of his holstered six-shooter.

“I likely am that fella,” the man nodded. “But don’t get too excited, not just yet. Whatever reward they have posted for my head, I can double it.”

“How do I know that?” Jan said, his trigger finger twitching.

The man gestured to his mechanical goat. “As you can see, I’m a man of means. I’m here to liberate a fortune in gold with the help of my goat. Back home, there’s a gold shortage. I figured I’d procure an investment here, so I can cash in. For the future. So to speak.” The man grinned. “But I need a partner to navigate me up the side of this here mountain. I tend to close my eyes when I get more than a couple hundred feet up. I’m acrophobic.”

“Acro-what?”

“-phobic. Irrationally afraid of heights. As many times as I’ve transported myself to this mountain, I’ve yet to actually reach the summit. That’s why I- er- my goat keeps havin’ to jump claims.”

“Yer a claim jumper?”

“No better animal than a goat fer jumpin’. Claim-jumpin’, that is. An’ that’s why I’m wanted, dead or alive.”

Jan relaxed his trigger finger. “So you’ve heard of the legend of Mount Gold.”

The man nodded. “Well, ‘cause the name – Mount Gold. Makes it kinda obvious.”

“Yep. Folks say she’s capped in pure gold.” Jan gazed up the side of the dark mountain and sighed. “But don’t worry ‘bout me. The sheriff is crooked. He’d never make good on that reward anyway.” Jan extended his hand. “Name’s ‘Jan Rains.’ Pleased to meet ya.”

The man shook Jan’s hand. “Ya say yer name’s ‘John Wayne’?”

“Nah, I didn’t say that.” Jan cocked his head.

“Sorry. I’m a bit hard of hearin’. Nearly got trampled by a herd of wild goats as a young’un. ‘Bout blew out my ear drums.” The man laughed. “What kind of a name is ‘John Wayne,’ anyways?” Sounds like some high-falutin’ Hollywood name.”

Jan raised his brow. “Hollywood?”

“Nevermind. I’m getting’ a little ahead of myself. Anyway, people call me ‘Winky Rivers.’ ”

“Now that’s a cowboy’s name if I ever did hear one.”

“Cowboy? Try ‘goatboy.’ There’s no way a cow’s gonna make it up the side of Mount Gold. It’s dang near a sheer cliff.”

“Cow? Try ‘horse.’ No way I’d be caught ridin’ a cow.” Jan patted the shoulder of his stallion.

Winky shrugged. “Same difference.”

“Say, how ‘bout we team up an’ get us some gold? Bein’ as yer an outlaw, I figure you can use my help.”

“I thought you’d never ask. We’ll start fresh in the mornin.’ Me an’ you an’ this here goat.”

They built a campfire, laid out some blankets, and retired for the night.

—–

After a breakfast of coffee and crackers, Winky showed Jan how to maneuver the goat’s ears to steer, accelerate, and brake.

Jan tapped the side of the goat. “So you’ll be ridin’ inside this contraption?” he asked.

“Ridin’ inside is for… quicker trips, so to speak.” Winky smiled. “It gets kinda stuffy in there. There’s room enough fer both of us in the saddle, an’ she’s sure-footed.”

Jan shrugged and they mounted the mechanical goat. “We’ll follow Chaos Creek upstream until we git to the summit.”

“Good idea,” Winky said, his hands gripping the sides of the saddle.” Gotta keep ourselves hydrated. And clean.”

“Yer right,” Jan replied, chuckling.” Nothin’ worse than dried up, dust-covered goatboys.”

Winky fastened his saddle belt and closed his eyes. After a few minutes, Jan saw that the trail up the side of the mountain had faded out, and they continued making their way up the sheer cliff face. The goat precariously jumped from jutting rock to jutting rock.

Half-way up, they came to a plateau and dismounted. Chaos Creek was now a miniature waterfall flowing into a shallow pond bordering the cliff face. After a thirst-slaking drink and refreshing dip, they mounted the goat and continued up the side of the mountain.

Nearing sunset, the goat finally jumped onto the gleaming summit of Mount Gold. “Open yer eyes if you can stand it, Winky – we made it!” Jan whooped and hollered. “An’ it looks like real gold, no foolin’!”

Winky peeked through his fingers and slid off the goat. He kept his eyes on the glinting gold ground. Jan jumped off the goat and fell to his knees, kissing the golden summit.

“Just one question – how we gonna divvy up this here gold?” Jan said, rising to his feet. “I figure I’ve done most of the work, steering the goat all the way up here.

“If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be up here, you doltish cowboy!”

Jan frowned and kicked a gold pebble off the side of the plateau. “I’m no cowboy, not anymore. I’m a goatboy, Winky. You taught me. I thought you’d do right by me after all we’ve been through.”

“Doesn’t matter. Watch this.” Winky led the goat to an outcropping and pulled the goat’s tail.

The goat’s eyes shot brilliant red laser beams from its rectangular pupils, slicing a dozen neat gold bars from the summit. Winky moseyed up to the bars, grabbed one, and held it up. The last of the sun’s rays illuminated the bar in a warm golden glow.

“How in tarnation did yer goat do that?” Jan took a staggering step toward the stack of gold bars.

“Like I told ya yesterday, it’s new-fangled machinery. This here goat can carve standard-issue gold bars from a gold boulder, an’ inscribe my name on each one of ‘em. I aim to carve up this entire mountain top.” He ran his finger over the inscribed bar. “Well, gotta cash in. Good luck gettin’ down the mountain. After I load my gold, I’ll be on my way.” He twisted his goat’s horn, and the side panel swung open. He put the gold bar into the goat.

“You can’t take all the gold, Winky! If you do, I’ll tell this story to my children, and they’ll tell it to their children, and on down the line until a whole army of my future kin hunt you down! I know yer one of them time travelers.”

Winky giggled. “Or I could just blast ya with my goat eye lasers. I think I’ll do that.” He grabbed his goat’s ear and swung the head around to face Jan. Before he could aim, Jan dived at the stack of gold bars, grabbed one, and ran for the edge of the summit. He leapt off, still clutching the bar, screaming all the way down.

—–

“Say, is this here Mount Winky Rivers?” the man in black said.

The goatboy nodded. “Sure is.”

“I heard there’s gold bars on top of the summit. Used to belong to an outlaw named ‘Winky Rivers.’ ”

“So you’ve heard of the legend of Winky Rivers.” The goatboy dismounted his goat.

“Yep. That’s why I’m here.” The man patted the side of his own goat.

The goatboy extended his hand. “Name’s ‘Jan Rains, the Third.’ ”

“Yeah, I reckon,” the man said, sliding on a pair of farsighted glasses.

*

Thanks to Tony Southcotte of Human Echoes Podcast for this short story challenge!

La-De-Da-Na-No-Wri-Mo

o-PIC1-570

Jumpin’ on the NaNo Train again, but this time, I’m gettin’ all literary. Thumbin’ my nose at my usual genre plots. So what the heck is a “literary novel”?

Wiki says,

“To be considered literary, a work usually must be ‘critically acclaimed’ and ‘serious.’ In practice, works of literary fiction often are ‘complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas.’ “

Further burrowing into the wiki rabbit hole, I find it has something to do with art, beauty, and the way something tastes. Hmm…

Wanna hop on the NaNo Train? 50,000 words of literary, of genre, or of anything, in 30 days. Better hurry, though. This NaNo Train is ready to roll!

CHUGACHUGACHUGACHUGA

*****

UPDATE:

I won with 50187 words of literary novel!

2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner

HUZZAH!

Bonus Points for the Virgins- a Flash Fiction Challenge

source - APF

Now there’s a campy writing prompt!

500 words packed into 1 story about “Bonus points for the virgins.”

Link it in the comments by July 4. I will post my own story by then.

Want more jet fuel? Check out the inspiration for this writing prompt – the baudy, bodacious blog of author Diane Henders!

Bonus-bonus points if you make it a creepy story including a “truly horrifying” expression and a description of “self-flagellation”  (credit again goes to Diane Henders, whom I should point out, is the polar opposite of “truly horrifying,” in case you were wondering. I’ll leave the “self-flagellation” speculation up to you).

Here’s mine, overflowing 500 words:

Bonus Points for the Virgins

The tricorder whirs, then beeps, and Richard giggles at the readout. “Patience pays,” he says. “Persistance pays.” He runs his glowing white fingers through his bleach-blonde hair. “But this sun is gonna turn me into an angry red… pomegranate.” He giggles again. “And that would be…” he lowers his voice and winks at Sonny, “bad for business.”

Sonny nods and enters his quotation into her smartphone.

Richard wipes his sleeve across his forehead. “Blazing blue balls. No wonder the Martians burrowed underground.”

Brandy sprays herself with a plant mister and shakes her head. “Are you sure Martians are ready for space travel? They haven’t even mastered surface locomotion.”

“I plant the seed, and the Martians will bloom. Remember – patience and persistence equals paycheck.”

“Speaking paychecks, how will we monetize this?” Brandy says.

“Yeah, Martians don’t speak our language.” Sonny bites her lip. “They don’t even use money, that I can see. No jobs, no incomes. They’re like… little burrowing animals.”

“Come on, this is Virgin 101 stuff!” Richard stands in front of Sonny and Brandy. “Step one – invade. Step two – introduce Earthling ways. Step three – enforce Earthling ways. Step four – let the natives figure out how to keep themselves out of trouble.”

Sonny nods and types into her smartphone.

“Mars is the twin of Earth, and so Martians are the twins of Earthlings. It’s just that Martians haven’t progressed their technology beyond what we would consider Paleolithic.” He runs his thumbs around the inside of his waistband. “Subsequently, their social conventions are still a bit stifling as well. But if we want to sell them on space travel, we’ve got to sell ourselves on their temporary abstinence.” He forces a smile and squares his shoulders. “Speak their language, so to speak.”

“Er, their language?” Sonny raises her finger. “But-”

“I’ve become a born-again virgin, and I expect my staff – er – my employees to follow the same rigid standard. It’s gonna be hard, but we must be patient and persistent. By the way, Brandy and Sonny, your names are now ‘Patience’ and ‘Persistence.’ ”

Persistence nods and enters the info into her smartphone.

“Anybody who does not become a born-again virgin will be shafted. Rather, get the shaft. From me. So to speak. Now, who wants to join me for a quickie? Lunch inside the spaceport. Let’s ditch this radiation.”

“No sex? But I’m a nymph- I, um, have a medical condition.” Patience blushes.

“The virginity compliance will be incorporated into the Virgin Employee Points Plan,” Richard continues. “Each full day of virginity will be awarded five-hundred bonus points. One hundred thousand points earns you one paid month of vacation back on Earth, after which your bonus points will be re-set to zero, of course.” He flashes a dazzling white smile. “Now, where on Mars did I put my self-flaggelator? Time to shizzle my shiznit.” He wanders back to the spaceport, and Patience and Persistence follow. “This virgin gig is alchemizing my pink sapphires into…”

“Blue sapphires?” Persistence offers.

“Yes, I think you’re right! But we’ll verify after the quickie.”

Tourist Stew- a Microfiction Tale

cannibals

“So sleepy,” Mickey said, sinking in the pot. “I thought the tea was supposed to perk me up. I drank two cups…”

“Your knees are pressing against my thigh, and now I’m stuck,” Hillary said. “And why are they removing the backdrop? I wanted the jungle hut in the background, to frame the photo… Mickey?”

*

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this this microfiction challenge!

Air Guitar Marathon- a Microfiction Tale

Must be at least a hundred of ‘em – all rotten and stinky and thrustin’ their hips, holdin’ their arms out at weird angles. Me, I’m just a musician tryin’ to survive the apocalypse. “Last one air guitaring wins a Stratocaster!” was divine inspiration.

I had no idea zombies loved Stratocasters more than they do brains.

*

*

*

*

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this microfiction challenge!

Nell’s Nannies- a Flash Fiction Tale

mirror.co.uk

Be My Baby (part 1 of 2)

“Timothy! Pull your pants up this minute!” Nell says, jumping up and wagging her finger in the air.

“Yes, Miss Nell,” Timmy says, clutching his waistband and pulling up his pants. “I’m sorry, Miss Nell.” His face reddens.

“So is this how you get your jollies? By embarrassing your dates with diapers?”

“Oh no, Miss Nell. I wasn’t trying to embarrass you. I thought you would understand. I thought we had… a connection.” Timmy hugs himself and rocks side-to-side.

Nell furrows her brow and sighs. “You’re serious about this. I can tell. Are you one of those diaper fetishists?”

Timmy sticks out his lip. “Icky. I don’t like icky fetish stuff. That’s for grown-ups.”

“But you are a grown-up. You’re thirty-seven.”

“I’ve had thirty-seven birthdays.” He pulls on the hem of his shirt. “But I still feel like a baby. That’s why I joined BeMyBaby.com. I was hoping to find a nice lady to take care of me. A lady to feed me, clothe me… to treat me like the baby I am. Of course I had planned to make it worthwhile for the lady – I’m not a baby all the time. From nine to five I’m an investment banker at North Valley Bank, and I do very well for myself, financially.” He glances at Nell. “I was hoping to share my wealth with the right… nanny.” Timmy clasps his hands to his chest. “When you answered my ad, I thought my dreams had finally come true.” He slowly lowers himself to his seat.

“You’re an investment banker?”

“For the past fourteen years. Before that I was a financial consultant. I got my degree in accounting at Shasta College here in Redding.”

“Why are you telling me all this?” Nell smiles.

“I’m trying to show you I’m an open book. Of course, there’s no reason my banking colleagues should know about my specials needs, but with you – I want to show you I have nothing to hide. No ulterior motives. I just want to be babied… that’s all.” Timmy blinks up at Nell.

* * *

“It’s time for baby’s bottle! Who wants some ju-ju? Do you-you?” Nell pours apple juice into a baby bottle and holds it above Timmy’s playpen.

Timmy squeals in delight, clapping his hands.

“Can you say ju-ju, Timmy? Ju-ju? Can you say ju-ju?”

Timmy giggles and reaches for the bottle.

“Say ju-ju, and you can have your bottle.”

Timmy screws up his face and blows spit bubbles.

“Ju-ju, Timmy. Say it.”

“Na-ma mphf. Do-do.”

Nell frowns and shakes her head.

“Ma-mamoo-moo. Do-do.”

“Aw, c’mon!” Nells slams the bottle on the dining room table. “This is getting ridiculous. It started with you asking me to call North Bank telling them you’re sick. You haven’t been to the office in a month. Then you asked me to not only feed you and give you your bottles, but bathe you and dress you. You even convinced me to go out and get an over-sized playpen and crib. And I still don’t know how you talked me into changing your di-dees, but this has got to stop! Now say something intelligible!”

“Na-na.” Timmy drools.

Nells gasps, and covering her mouth with her hand. “Did you say na-na?”

“Na-namphfah.”

“Oh, Timmy, you called me nana.” She smiles and stoops to hug him. “Yes, I’m your nanny. I’m sorry I was cross.”

Timmy coos.

“That’s a good baby. Don’t you worry about a thing, little- er, big baby. Nana Nell will take care of everything.”

* * *

“How does this sound – Wanted: ladies who are motherly and gentle, yet firm, and strict, if necessary. If you are a discreet lady who enjoys taking care of the big boys, apply at Nell’s Nannies.”

“I dunno, Nell,” Charlene says. “Do you think people will know what ‘big boys’ means? They might think it’s a legitimate nanny agency.”

“But it is a legitimate agency. I mean it will be, once I get my license.”

Tonya rolls her eyes. “An agency to match mother figures with pervs? Ha! I always knew there was something a little freaky about you, Nell. Do you really think there’s a market for this?”

“I already have a waiting list of adult babies who are looking for specially-trained nannies.” Nell smirks. “These men have all been screened and background-checked. And they all make six figures.”

“Sign me up,” Charlene and Tonya say simultaneously.

Nell pours three glasses of Riesling. “Cheers to the big boys.” The ladies clink glasses.

“By the way,” Charlene says, “where is Timmy? I haven’t heard a peep out of him all evening.”

“He’s in a nursing home.” Nell sighs. “He regressed to the point where he couldn’t do anything for himself. Lucky for me, he gave me power of attorney before he lost the ability to speak and write.”

“So you’re in control of all of Timmy’s finances?” Tonya says.

“How else do you think I was able to start Nell’s Nannies?” She winks and downs the rest of her wine.

* * *

Thanks to Ron Earl of Flash Fiction Friday for this flash fiction prompt!

Hokey in the Pokey- a Microfiction Tale

Maricopa County female inmates are padlocked by the ankle for chain gang duty in Phoenix, Arizona October 21, 2003.

“I’m sorry, Jimmy.”

“Don’t be sorry, dad. All I wanted was to be like you.”

“I didn’t have time for you. I wasn’t a good father.”

“Aw, forget it, dad. We get to spend time together now. We can do the hokey in the pokey. We can turn ourselves around. That’s what it’s all about.”

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this microfiction challenge!

Abode by the Sea- a Microfiction Tale

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil

I wasn’t Daddy’s little girl, and Mum resented me. You said no one good would ever care for me. So I found my creep, and we eloped. Guess what? He spoils me. When you all see the big rock he gave me, and our quaint little abode by the sea, you’ll all be sorry.

*

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this microfiction challenge!