Tag Archives: Challenge

Which Letter’s Missing?

A full English-language Scrabble tile set. See...

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

Right, I should let you know which letter I won’t be using for this little prompt, but I won’t. I figure it will be more fun like this. Will you figure it out by the end of this post?

For someone like me, who loves messing with words, not using one letter is horribly difficult. You forget the number of times every letter turns up in your speech. Even not using letters which don’t see the light much, is tricky.

So, news?

Well everything’s going right for once. It’s not often I get to think in positive terms but yes, feeling OK to good. I’ll begin my new job in just under two weeks, so I just need to ensure I’ve written up the guides. I’ve given the dull, boring stuff to other people, so there’s nothing too horrendous left for me to do.

I’m pretty much just going to enjoy this next fortnight. I’ll sleep better, be more rested, in short just chill the hell out.

So, you figured out which letter I’ve not used yet?

Well, it’s obviously not S, O, Y, U, F, I, G, R, E, D, T, W, H, C, L, T, V, N or S.

Need Help? Well it turns out I’m not chicken, eh?

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Sci-Fi Gone? Not on my Watch

Escape from Colditz Do or Die CardDo or die, such a dramatic title. Unless, it’s referring to the cards in Escape from Colditz the boardgame, and then not so much. Although, it can be rather exciting, rolling all those dice and seeing if your last chap gets all the way over the wall and far away without being shot dead.

Anyway, all that and I don’t even know what the daily prompt is today.

“You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!”

Holy bejeesus! I only have 300 words to justify the existence of Science Fiction. Actually, what am I worried about? It’ll be easy.

Science Fiction is the ultimate form of escapism. Within science fiction anything can be possible. You can visit distant worlds, travel through time, parallel worlds. Science fiction allows you to experience the wonder and excitement of the universe. It mixes beauty with danger, and science with imagination.

Science fiction not only enchants but it predicts future technology. Of course, it is unclear whether science fiction drives technological invention or whether just like the invention of earth’s technology, technology in science fiction is driven by need. Debit cards, earphones, video chat, satellite communications and even anti-depressants, all featured in science fiction novels before they were invented.

Science fiction is the embodiment of hope that the world collectively has. The hope that we will advance to another state of being, the hope that we will become better people, the hope that war and poverty will be eradicated; that hope that someday we’ll invent holodecks, that causes 90% of the male population to die from exhaustion and malnutrition within months.

Getting rid of science fiction is like getting rid of our hope for the future. That’s something you can’t destroy. Surely.

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Flash Fiction : RPG In-Quest

Time to squeeze out some more writing if I can, and this time the words will be liberally flung at the Terribleminds Flash Fiction competition. Each week Mr Wendig sets us a little old challenge and then we all trot off back to our own blogs and create the lexicological wonder that is word-smithy.

This week’s challenge is of Gygaxual proportions, we have to click on this link here, which will generate us a D&D character, and then we write 1000 words. Easy!

I clicked the link and I got…

‘Apathetic Halfling Ranger from a nomad circus who unwittingly misuses words all the bloody time’

… So now I just need those 1000 words.

 RPG In-Quest

‘Please help me, kind sir. Wolves from the local forest have attacked my cattle. Please go into the forest and kill ten of them before my cattle come to any more harm?’

The Ranger considered what the bruised and rather battered farmer standing in front of the Halfling ranger had said. ‘No, thanks. Bye.’

‘Do you understand what I’m saying? They are going to kill my livestock.’

‘Yes, you said. Well good luck with that’ said the ranger as he turned to walk away wondering if there was anywhere he could get some roast chicken.

The farmer caught him by the arm, and spun him round. ‘Don’t you care?’

‘Ummmm not really, no. Though it’s clear you do. You should get started on that whole wolf killing thing.’

The farmer signed and took a deep breath. ‘I’m going to explain to you how this works, you see this glowing exclamation mark above my head? Well that means that I am a quest giver and that means you are supposed to help me. In exchange I will mystically make you a more experienced ranger and give you some gold.’

The ranger stared back with an expressionless face. ‘So you want me to go out into the wilderness, and kill ten wolves from that wolf burrow nearby, because you fear they might attack your cattle? You said that exact same thing to that pleated warrior over there, and god knows how many before it. If every one of us kills ten wolves we’re not talking about a cull you’re talking about mass murder, you’re talking about extinquish. I didn’t leave the circus just to wander about the countryside and slaughter species because a farmer didn’t have the foresight to check the local areas wildlife before setting up his farm.’

The farmer squinted at the ranger unsure as to why he was having so much difficulty when every other adventurer before him had simply accepted his quest.

‘Look, you’re thinking about this too much, and the wolves will breed just as fast as you can kill them so don’t worry about them becoming extinct.’ As soon as the words had passed his lips, the farmer knew they were a mistake.

‘So it actually doesn’t do any bloody difference at all whether I kill them or not? I don’t care who you are, you’re not making any sense and I am not going to waste my time slaughtering the survival equivalent of Duracell bunnies.’

‘Dura-what bunnies?’

‘Ummm not sure, sorry. Anyway it has been an absolute expedience talking to you and good luck with your pointless wolf killing.’

The ranger took a few steps but then turned back to the farmer, something unsettling dawning on him. The exclamation mark above the farmers head glowed again.

‘Please help me kind sir. Wolves from the local forest have attacked my cattle. Please could you go into the forest and kill ten of them, before my cattle come to any more harm?’

‘What? We’ve done that’ said the Ranger.

‘Sorry’ said the farmer, his enthusiasm draining from him by the moment. ’If you’re not going to kill the wolves for me, why are you pestering me?’

‘Is this how my life is going to be now then? In order to become big and strong and save the kingdom from dragons, I’m going to have to wander the land and help people who by rights should be sorted out by natural selection and survival of the fittest.’

‘Well…’ stuttered the farmer.

‘I’m going to have to be every Tom, Dick and Harvey’s bitch for the rest of my life, just so I get the chance to risk my life even more by fighting bigger and more dangerous things?’

‘I think it’s better if you don’t think of it that way…. just kill those wolves for me and you’ll feel better.’

‘Oh, I doubt that. I’m just sorry I wasted all that time in that cockamamie tutorial. At least I realised it now.’

The ranger sheathed his sword and sat down, an exclamation mark appeared above his head, and the rangers new and much easier life began.

Flash Fiction : The Dead Waitress

Blurred FaceTerribleminds? Terribleminds? It rings a bell, but what could it be, the fevered dreams of a lunatic, maybe; a slice of dream that remains in the waking world. Just kidding. Of course I remember TM, though it’s been months since I’ve taken part in one of their Flash Fiction Challenges.

Now is the time to rectify that, and today’s challenge is ‘The random Title Challenge’. There are two lists of 20 words. You generate a random number for each, put the words together and hey presto, there’s your title. Now you just need to write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 1500 words.

I did the deed with this site and I got the numbers 5 and 3, which means that my title is…

…The Dead Waitress

Sounds interesting enough and I have the time and the inclination to be challenged today. So here we go. Continue reading Flash Fiction : The Dead Waitress

Flash Fiction – The Job

Chicken SandwichToday you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)

I think the only response to today’s daily prompt is to write a piece of flash fiction. It’s been a while since I’ve written any. So, I’ll write some flash fiction that includes a…

  • speeding car
  • phone call
  • crisp bright morning.

My propensity is to write about dark, tragic events often with violence or there’s just plain weirdness going on, but risking a teeny-tiny spoiler, I’m going to keep things on the lighter side. That’s right, it’s all going to be hugs and puppies as far as this is concerned.

Ok, so here we go…

 

The sky was a reddish-orange that most people only see in the winter, and the grass dusted with frost. Mike held the hot thermos of coffee in his hands and waited for his lift. John was never on time.

Ten minutes became an hour, the orange of the sky eventually gave way to a pale, morning blue streaked with golden clouds and there was still no sign of Mike. John was Mike’s work colleague and they generally got on well enough, it wasn’t so much that he was late that was bothering him as Mike always planned for things in plenty of time but it was excruciatingly cold. His coffee was now offering little more than slow warmth and he had stopped feeling his toes about fifteen minutes ago, got knows if his fingers could still function at this temperature, though he would find that out later.

Just as Mike started to wonder if he would ever turn up, John’s Audi spun round the corner, and came screeching to a halt next to him.

Subtle, thought Mike as the window rolled down and a warm cloud of cigarette smoke billowed out into the morning that made Mike’s eyes water. All John had to do was drive Mike around, and not stand out. John was a good driver, but blending in was not his forte.

‘Sorry I’m late, chap. Been waiting long?” shouted John over the sound of Wagner.

‘Long enough’ said Mike passively as he got into the passenger seat.

The journey didn’t take long and as John yammered on and on about nothing while spraying most of his chicken sandwich across his lap, Mike remained focused. He looked at the picture on his lap, it was of a man in a dark suit, taking an envelope from another man in a dark suit. Mr Carnascis was no stranger to taking envelopes, and today they were going to finally get him. Two months of planning and it all came down to this, he had one shot. If he blew it his boss would give them hell.

As they pulled up Mike’s phone rang, flipping it open he held it up to his ear and listened without saying a word. After a few seconds he clicked the phone shut again.

John threw the remnants of his chicken sandwich out of the car window and looked at Mike, with the kind of nervous excited look that all new guys had.

Mike smiled.

‘Change of plan…?” said John.

There was a popping sound and John slumped forward in his seat,

Mike, took the revolver out of his pocket, and refilled the chamber, just as Mr Carnascis car pulled into view.

‘Sorry John, this guy’s mine.’

————————————-

Yeah, alright I know I said it wouldn’t get dark… and I tried I really did.

Living in Silent Hill?

Silent Hill (film)

Right, well today’s daily prompt is pretty interesting, so much so that I’m going to do it even though I’m a day late.

“You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.”

Right, well my favourite film is Silent Hill, which for all those not aware of it is a kind of horror movie based on the famous survival horror video games of the same name. The games are cram packed full of bizarre imagery, and the film isn’t any different. Continue reading Living in Silent Hill?

Bad Words, Naughty Words…

WordsWoohoo! It’s daily prompt time, and this time it is all about the misuse of words, well a word. Specifically…

“Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).”

…but this is going to be one of those rare moments when I don’t just ramble on all about me. Not this time.

Advertising and journalism are excellent sources of misused words. They have a job to do and that job is to sell stuff, not to use language appropriately. It’s both understandable and extremely irritating to me, that people can get away with complete out-and-out lying when it comes to advertising and journalism.

Here is my list of the top 4 most irritating and often misused words…

Literally

Maybe it shouldn’t bug me as much as it does but the word literally is misused so many times. For example “I was so excited, I literally exploded.” No! No, you didn’t or if you did you’re talking to me from beyond the grave. The pressure differential within you caused by extreme excitement did not cause you to explode. Rather than use the word “literally”, try this sentence instead “I was really excited.” There you go, short and to the point and not ridiculous, or better yet use “figuratively” which is actually the word you mean to use in the first place.

Instantly

Another one here, predominantly the domain of advertisers trying to impress upon us just how quick something can happen. Admittedly there isn’t a dictionary definition in regards to exactly how long an instant is in measured time, but when I see something like “Instant Popcorn, takes 2 minutes in the microwave” an instance has to be shorter than that though, right. Quick test, blink and then wait for it to end. That is an instant, before you even know it, it’s happened. Now start counting slowly to 120, two minutes does not feel like an instant.

Arguably

Arguably makes it into my top four because it doesn’t mean anything. Arguably, or “It can be argued that” is a pointless word. What can’t be argued with? It doesn’t say ‘argue with a sensible or logical rationale behind it’ oh no just that it can be argued with.

“The Sky is Blue”

“No, it’s not”

“Frogs are Green”

“No, they’re pink”

“I’m the most gorgeous guy in the entire world”

“No, you’re the most gorgeous guy that ever existed, ever.”

See?

Revert

Oh boy does this one grind my gears. I think this one may be fairly local but no less excusable. People where I work and indeed the place where I previously worked, would replace the word “reply” with the word “revert”, for example “I trust you can revert to me on this”.

Trust you can revert to me on this? I mean…. Aaaaaargh! Revert, is to go back to a former state of being, habit, practice etc. Reply is to respond to a point, question or comment. I know they share a few common letters but that doesn’t give people the right to just use random words where ever they want, that’s just going to get confusing.

You want to “ask your sister for some chocolate” and with the above logic you’d end up “axing yellow shoes for Colombia.”

To balance out all this positivity my favourite words at the moment are…

  • Smorgasbord
  • Leviathan
  • Chartreuse
  • Condescension
  • Pluck

… They’re such cool words.

Phew, I am going to have a little lie down now. My heart is literally going to explode. I’m arguably a very tired person. I’ll of course try to revert instantly to any comments.

Oh, and don’t get me started on LOL.