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JPC Allen Writes

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Monday Sparks

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: Christmas Haiku

sunrise-w3850768_1280I haven’t had a poetry prompt in awhile, so here’s one for Christmas Haiku. My haiku has seventeen syllables but not in the correct lines. Instead of lines of five, seven, and five syllables, I  have lines of five, six, and six syllables. But I thought the lines worked better than way.

When darkness descends

And seems to have no end,

The Son will rise again.

If you’re inspired, share below!

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s the Christmas Story?

horse-w19244_1280This month on my blog, the theme is Christmas. Anything and everything Christmas.

For Monday Sparks, I’ll post a photo and suggest a style of writing or genre for a Christmas story. For the photo above, I chose historical fiction because it looks like sleighs are gliding ahead of a horse with a rider, who is watching them.

Here’s my version. It’s historical fiction, but as usual, I have to work in a sinister element:

With a nudge from my heel, Midnight slipped out of the tree line and onto the snow-clogged road.

Even without the heavy snowfall, I doubted Deke Black and the other man driving the sleighs ahead would notice me. They were having too much fun, singing and laughing, as the horses pulled the supplies for Old Man Turner’s annual Christmas party.

But I hung back, watching. Deke Black was my only link, and tonight was my last chance to get him to confess what he knew about Old Man Turner and the mine.

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s the Story?

drownw-3690715_1280My featured author this week is Ronnel Kay Gibson, whose short story “Those Who Stayed” in Christmas fiction off the beaten path, is a drama centered around a life-changing question.

My prompt isn’t the same question, but I thought I’d choose one that had similar consequences. Your main characters is alone by a body of water and sees someone who looks like he’s drowning. What does she do?

If she’s a strong swimmer, does she try to rescue him? What if she isn’t? Does she still try? Should she try to get help? Or risk her life? The answers depend on your character, whether the incident is at the beginning, middle, or end of your plot, and what theme you are trying to explore. If the drowning or near-drowning kicks off a story, I’ll treat it differently than if it was the climax.

So what’s the story you imagine from this photo?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s the Story?

fruitw-1022520_1280This prompt ties in with the short story guest blogger Sandra Merville Hart will be writing about on Thursday. “Not This Year” is a family drama, set in the 1980’s. But family drama is timeless.

This photo grabbed my attention because no one in it looks happy, and a few people look decidedly unhappy. What is story behind this family’s trip to the grocery store? Here’s my version.

What was I thinking? When has going shopping with the kids ever gone well? And I had the bright idea of bringing two nieces along. If one more kid complains, I am out of here, and I’ll give Mom and Dad a gift card for their anniversary instead of a party.

Monday Spark — Writing Prompts: What’s the Story?

steampunkw1-4413878_1280To prepare you for this week’s interview with Michelle L. Levigne, today’s prompt is a picture appropriate for steampunk. That’s the genre of Michelle’s short story, “Crystal Rose” in Christmas fiction off the beaten path.

If you are new to this genre, it’s a kind of speculative fiction. Usually set in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, it imagines our world as if it had been run by Jules Verne. All kinds of scientific advances that were made decades later in reality are made during this time period with steam.

I have a particular fondness for steampunk because one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was The Wild, Wild West, an early example of steampunk. My sisters and I would sit down on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to watch reruns of how two government agents in the Old West protected our nation from steam-powered robots and other fantastic plots dreamed up by supervillains, bent on taking over our country and then the world.

What’s the story with this steampunk picture? Here’s my take:

As my grandfather steered our dirigible toward the city, I leaned on the rail.

Neuweschstein. The most advanced city in the German Empire. Their scientists were known all over the world for their breakthroughs in developing steam tech. Some of their inventions were on board.

The German government also had a less well-known reputation for stealing other nation’s ideas. And possibly their scientists.

The city sprawled below us. My heart sank. “Gramps, even if Papa is here, how can we find him?”

Gramps set his jaw as he gripped the helm. “If he’s there, we’ll find him.”

 

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