Guest Post: Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination

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Good day to you all. I have the pleasure of hosting another wonderful author on Writerly Bookish Stuff today. Faith Rivens is here to discuss that annoying thing all us writers face from time to time: procrastination. Fancy some tips on getting out of the slump and beating procrastination? Get your notepad ready and stay tuned. Over to you, Faith.


Hi, everyone.

I’m excited to be able to share some thoughts with you on a problem that I’ve struggled with a lot in the past. I’m focusing on it from a writer’s perspective even though this challenge is a universal one.

Procrastination. That inclination to postpone the inevitable tasks that cause us undue stress. Is there anyone on this planet who hasn’t delayed action of some kind for any reason?

There was a time when I did pride myself on quick response and action. In the early years of my student days, I was glad to get my work done as quickly as possible. It was a work ethic that didn’t last. But it never affected my own writing life. My stories were what I used to procrastinate my school work.

And then came what I call the ‘Dark Period’ in my life, a time in my early twenties when I was struggling with what I wanted to make of myself, who I wanted to be, even my weight. It was a time when I wanted to devote myself to writing entirely and I would argue that I could make a living doing it. But when I was alone in my room, I didn’t work on stories. I just binge watched shows and read a lot and watched the time fly by.

Looking back now, I can honestly say that I wasted a good year and a half of my life going through the motions. And yes, that experience was extreme, toeing the line between procrastination and depression, but I learned quite a few lessons from that dark period about how to deal with the urge to delay, and I’ll share them with you now.

Breaking down the problem is always helpful. And I believe there are, at least, three major (pardon the scientific term) variables to take into consideration:

  1. One’s reason for procrastination;
  2. One’s preferred form of procrastination;
  3. & One’s exterior circumstances.

Let’s break those down!

ONE:

Identifying the reason behind the urge to procrastinate is essential. When I get the antsy feeling to prolong the plunge, it’s my second step after admitting to myself that I am procrastinating.

During my dark period, I hit a roadblock with my writing because I felt the pressure of wanting to prove that it could be a full time job for me. It removed the joy I felt when writing and made me more inclined to look for other things to do so I wouldn’t have to deal with that stress.

On a smaller scale, the reason for procrastination can be much simpler. Maybe the storyline isn’t clicking with you, you’re bored of the scene you’re writing, or you’re tired of staring at your screen.

TWO:

Knowing how you like to procrastinate seems especially paramount, considering that we live in a digital age. From streaming videos, to stalking twitter, to retail therapy, to browsing GoodReads to add one more book to your already mountainous TBR, to looking for the perfect pins for your novel aesthetic. I’m sure most of us rely on our computers or devices to distract us from the task at hand. And we should never underestimate the lure of a good book, either.

When I was going through my dark period, I was watching shows on the side and reading FanFiction.

THREE:

I feel the need to bring up external factors that influence us because I think too many times we neglect how the people and circumstances around us can affect our mindset. I have mentioned in the recent months that I’m struggling with a family issue at home and the challenge of that makes it difficult to focus on the work I have to do and inclines me to procrastinate my writing because my mental energy is drained.

So…

Once you understand why and how you procrastinate, finding a way to stay inspired becomes easier. Like most vices in our life, there’s no foolproof cure, but there are definitely steps that can be taken to make the challenge less daunting.

If you’re avoiding writing the next chapter or scene because you’re afraid of tackling the material, why not try drafting or outlining it first if you’re not ready to take the plunge, or write another scene to inspire you. If you’re tired of looking at your screen, try writing by hand, or schedule yourself day by day according to a manageable timetable that will make sure you don’t run into boredom.

If you know that you’re someone who procrastinates most online, find a way to switch off the internet so it can’t distract you from your task, or go somewhere different and write by hand. Or set yourself a reward system. If you write a certain amount of words give yourself a certain amount of time to connect online and then jump back into the writing.

When you’re struggling with life outside, it can be a bit more tricky to find the impulse to work and, in fact, you might find yourself slipping into a writing rut more than a cycle of delay. In those instances, when finding the will to write might be more difficult, look back and remember why writing brings you joy and look for times in the day when you might be more productive. Or set smaller goals for yourself every day. Don’t stop writing, just stop putting too much pressure on yourself to accomplish word counts that exceed your ability.

At the end of the day, friends, writing should be something you do because you love it. If it doesn’t excite you, find ways to rejuvenate and refresh, put the writing aside until you find that joy again. When you do, it’ll be easier to resist the urge to procrastinate.

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill, dear friends!


Author PhotoFaith Rivens is the author of the novella, Eléonore. Her second novel is due to release later this year.
A reader since the age of three, publishing a novel has been a life long dream. When she’s not busy creating fantastic worlds for readers to delve into, she spends her time reading more fantastical worlds, playing the guitar, and geeking out on all things Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Sherlock!
Life is never boring with a bit of imagination!
Find Faith and her debut book here:

Permission for use of the content featured in this post must be sought from the author, Faith Rivens.

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Update 09/09/17

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New Release

A lot has happened in the month since I last posted an update. Zombie Playlist was released into the wild, and ARC reviews received. It was a successful release day, and I want to thank everyone who downloaded a copy, joined my ARC squad, and posted links via social media. You all helped make Dagger’s first day a special one.

Back to School

I have had a lovely summer spending time with the family. It’s not a good summer if I don’t feel exhausted at the end of it and have an uneven tan, so this year must have been brilliant. The one downside to the school holidays is my lack of writing/ editing time. I had planned to start my edit of EVO Ghost in August, but soon realised that it needed my full attention, and my full attention was elsewhere. I let the manuscript rest for another month. You know what? I didn’t mind it too much. However, by September, I was ready to get back to it.

EVO Ghost

Editing is back in full swing. This first edit is a read through and plot checker. I am only focussing on the plot and character development in this one, ensuring everything progresses how it should, makes sense, and has a solid timeline. I reckon this one may take a little longer yet. My editing notes from when I was writing the first draft are extensive. That’s the pantser life for you. Oh, and I’ve discovered about two (possibly three) unwritten chapters. I’ve left myself a handy note that says ‘something is missing here’. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that something actually is.

Zombie Playlist Paperback

I sorted most of the formatting in August by doing small sections when I had a spare thirty minutes. It wasn’t too painful seeing as the word count is only 25k. The next big step is a full cover. It is in pieces at the moment, but once it has been given the photoshop magic, it shall be raring to go to review. There isn’t a deadline for this project, but the end of September seems realistic.

Blog Guest Posts

Lately, I have only been posting reviews, picture prompts, and monthly updates to my blog. Yes, I have taken a step away to focus on my novel writing and editing, but I felt the blog was getting stale. Adding regular guest posts is the way forward. I have been organising a plethora of talented authors who are ready and willing to offer advice and tips on various writing topics. These posts will be bi-monthly. The first was only yesterday: Dana Fraedrich on World Building. The next is on Sept 22nd with the lovely Faith Rivens who shall be discussing beating procrastination.

Here’s the line up for the next few months:

  • 22nd Sept: Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination
  • 6th Oct: Katie Masters on Writing Well Rounded Antagonists
  • 20th Oct: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals
  • 10th Nov: Brianna West on The Importance of a Book Cover

There are plenty more planned into 2018, so watch this space. If you would like to be considered for a guest post in the future, please give me a shout.

Book Award

Thrown to The Blue has been nominated for best fantasy book in Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards. It is an honour to be nominated, and there is still a short amount of time to vote. If you enjoyed Thrown to The Blue, a vote is much appreciated: Vote Here!


Content Belongs to K.J. Chapman

Guest Post: Dana Fraedrich on World Building

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I am thrilled to welcome author Dana Fraedrich to Writerly Bookish Stuff to discuss a topic that is a crucial part of any writing process: world building. Grab yourself a coffee or tea and stick around for some handy advice and tips on creating an imaginative and believable world. Over to you, Dana.


Five Rules of World Building

World building, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating things about fiction writing, but it’s also one of the trickiest.  Coming up with a basic concept is easy—a world where cybernetic enhancements are the newest fashion trend…until a major fashion designer ends up dead by her own creations.  Boom!  Done.  When you get into the nitty-gritty details, however, things can get…squiffy.

In my experience, a lot of world building falls down because the authors haven’t worked through some of the foundational details.  “But, Dana, I’m not trying to write a Tolkien-level world history here!  I just want to write a story!”  Yeah, I know, and that’s fine.  You don’t have to get that deep, but you do need a few basic elements hammered out before you introduce your world to ours.

Nail Down the Fundamentals

Whether it takes place in a fictional universe or an alternate version of ours, to create a convincing world, you have to understand the basic functions of your characters’ society:

  • How do people get food? Do they work their farms with basic tools, in cooperation with machines, or do mechanical drones do all the work?
  • What’s the currency like and how is it exchanged? Do people need to carry physical funds on them?  Or maybe there’s some kind of credit system, either electronic or paper.  Maybe money doesn’t exist and the characters barter instead.
  • How do people communicate over long distances? Wireless communication, whether via magic stones or smart phones, completely changes the game.  If your characters rely on a postal or courier system, you’ll need to take that extra delivery time into account.

Why do we care about this?  Two reasons.  First, every decision you make as god of this realm influences the possibilities within it.  Secondly, if you don’t know these things, it’ll show.  At best, the reader will feel a little lost.  At worst, you’ll write a huge inconsistency into your story.  Now, in most cases you won’t have to do more than mention these things in passing, if that.  However, if you do end up having to explain why a character refuses scan the barcode on her wrist whilst on the run from baddies, you’ll be prepared.

Crime and Punishment

What do readers want?  Stakes.  The higher the better.  And conflict comes from characters breaking the rules.  So what will happen if your main character gets caught during the big heist or meeting with that shady so-and-so?  That’s what you need to make crystal clear to your readers.  Otherwise, they won’t fret over the fate of your characters.  Maybe a school headmaster with a grudge has the power to expel students.  Maybe it’s a good high court with bad evidence before a public execution.  No matter the situation, you need to know who’s in power, how they wield it, and what your character stands to lose.

Use the Land

You can’t paint a picture without envisioning the world first.  However, some authors bog down their readers with florid depictions of rolling hills and planetary panoramas.  Descriptions of setting should create atmosphere and further the plot.  Grand vistas and poetic descriptions create calm.  Getting over a literal mountain creates a big challenge for your traveling band of actors.  Does your severely agoraphobic character have to navigate ten NYC blocks?  Okay, use pieces of that environment to show how it affects him.  The towering buildings on either side loom, the people waiting to cross the street press, the reek of garbage bags in the summer heat suffocates.  If the setting doesn’t serve one of these purposes, you can go pretty light with the details.  Do keep your readers informed, though.  At the very least, they need to know where the action is taking place.

Magic Requires Rules

Magic is like physics.  You can’t see it, but the world operates within its laws.  If you create a world with magic in it, you must know magic’s limits, its rules, and its impact on casters.  And you must be consistent!  I cannot stress this enough: magic is not a deus ex machina that comes in and fixes everything…magically.  This steals your hero’s accomplishment.  If you want to break an established rule, write in a precedent for it.

*Super advanced technology falls under this category too because, at a certain point, technology begins to resemble magic.

Don’t Take It Too Far

Like anything in life, moderation is key.  There’s a fine line between immersion and tedium.  As a busy author, you can’t spend all your time figuring out your world’s every minute detail.  If a process or element in your fictional universe matches reality, you probably don’t need to explain it (save for the really esoteric stuff).  For anything that doesn’t match, you’ll need to make a judgment call.  Your editor and beta readers can tell you what needs more or less explanation, but the choice is yours in the end.  Too many details can catch you out in an inconsistency later, so I tend to err on the side of fewer details.  After all, your audience has imaginations of their own.  And remember, seeing something work is always more interesting than being told.

A final note: don’t sweat the small stuff.  Every great story has holes in it.  Take the Harry Potter series.  It’s one of the most beloved universes of all time, but where were cell phones, guns, and the Internet?  Muggleborns must have known about those things.  Granted, magical elements were part of what made those books so enchanting, but it’s true.  And those issues didn’t stop J.K. Rowling from selling a bazillion copies.  Happy writing!


dana auhtor pic for blogAuthor Bio: Dana Fraedrich is an independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek. Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind. Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs. Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Find Dana on:

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Twitter

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Permission for use of the content featured in this post must be sought from the author, Dana Fraedrich.

Picture Prompt 01/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(8)

I wasn’t foolish enough to expect Titan Mount to be deserted. The Hivers are scared of water. Something in their web of minds registers fear of the wet stuff. If the survivors were to stand any chance, it was to hole up on islands. That’s exactly why the mount was heavily populated by the time I arrived.

The problem I didn’t foresee was low tide. The sea recedes, leaving the mount exposed for hours a day. The security procedures are long and extensive. For six hours, twice a day, we have to defend and protect our little, safe slice of the world from the creatures hellbent on eating us. The bodies litter the wet sand, and then the sea returns and washes them away. We sleep, eat, and repeat.

Twelve hours a day – every day – for the rest of my life. No thanks. I’ve been gathering a group of us to head further out to sea. There is an island – Seafarer’s Bay –  about one hundred miles southwest of here. The last anyone heard, they were over-run when the last aid plane landed. If we can keep hundreds of the creatures at bay day in, day out, we can exterminate an island of seven hundred people… Hivers.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Picture Prompt 03/08/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

Copy of K.J. CHAPMAN

“Read the note again.” Denny walks two paces ahead, rucksack hanging from the one shoulder. He has a nervous energy about him, but the fact that he is trying to conceal it puts me on edge.

“I’ve read it ten times already. It isn’t going to have changed in the last five minutes,” I say. He turns and glowers over his shoulder in that big-brotherly way that says ‘don’t make me beat on you’. “Pack a bag, walk to the special place, and find the red amongst the green. The past and future awaits you there.”

Denny brushes his shaggy, blonde hair out of his eyes. “And this was hand delivered?”

“Yes,” I snap, sick of recounting the same thing over and over. “There isn’t a stamp. See?”

He ignores me, choosing to pick up his pace.

We come to our special place; the lake where Dad used to bring us fishing as kids. I usually only come back here on anniversaries: birthdays, the day he died. Instantly, Denny points to the mass of fallen trees. The red leaves on one particular tree jar against the greens surrounding it.

“This is it,” Denny says, rushing to the bushes. He digs about in the brush, pulling out a box wrapped in plastic. “How I have prayed for this,” he cries with delight.

He rips open the parcel, marvelling at an ornate, wooden box. I have never seen it before, but clearly this means something to Denny.

“Prayed for what? What is this? Is this a game- a hoax?”

Denny opens the box, breaths ragged and shallow. Inside is a gold coin- doubloon like in appearance. “I thought they were all destroyed.” He starts half sobbing, half laughing. “I can’t believe it. This means–”

“What is that? Who left it?” I ask. “Denny, you’re scaring me.”

Picking up the coin in the cloth it is wrapped in, Denny grips my arm and pulls me toward him. “This is our ticket home, Tia. It is time for you to remember.”

He presses the coin to my forehead, and a searing pain ignites behind my eyes. I have surely fainted for all is black for a moment before a kaleidoscope of colours rushes through my mind’s eye.

I awake on my back, Denny leaning over me in concern. It is as if I’m am looking at him for the first time. “You’re not my brother,” I whisper.

Denny laughs into the air. “Not by blood, no. I think I’ve earned the title, though. What do you say?”

My thoughts clear a little more. Denny aka Dennison Harvey was on my father’s guard. I was entrusted to his care when… “Oh, shit! I remember,” I gasp out loud.

“That’s no language for a Princess to use,” he says, nudging me playfully.

“He altered my memories, so I wouldn’t return home. That’s why the Queen tried to destroy all the remaining coins. My father must still be alive, Denny.”

I stand, brushing the dirt from my clothes, and Denny kneels with bowed head. The familiarity of such an action is like another piece of the puzzle slotting into place- my memory weaving itself back together.

“Get up, you idiot. You’ve been my brother for the past four years, that doesn’t stop now. Pass me that coin, I’m taking us home.”


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Update 02/08/17

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This is a short and sweet update just to let you know where I am at with things.

Zombie Playlist

The ARCs of Zombie Playlist are now in the hands of the readers. I shall sit here and bite my nails, awaiting feedback. It’s crazy to think that Dagger’s story is released in a month. September 4th is the big day! Mark it in your calendars. You can preorder today by clicking this link.

If you’d like to feature the release of Zombie Playlist on your blog etc, get in touch.

Blog Stuff

I had the pleasure of writing a small piece about self-doubt for Sarina Langer’s post over on her blog, Cookie Break. 14 authors offer sound advice for tackling self-doubt. Head on over and take a look.

What’s Next?

Apart from getting ready for the release, I am prepping for the EVO Ghost edit. This is going to be a mammoth task. Possibly, the biggest editing task I have had to date. I have no idea on timescale, deadlines, or the such.

The Red Archer has grown by a few thousand words since the last update, but this is on the back burner whilst the EVO Ghost edit is in full swing. I know that I will dip in here and there as I can’t solely edit without losing my sanity.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

CampNaNoWriMo July 17

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I am a CampNanoWriMo winner, and with eleven days to spare. Although my planned project was editing 50 pages of Zombie Playlist, I also wrote 10k of The Red Archer.

My experience of CampNaNo this month was a little different than previous ones. Not because I was editing instead of drafting, but because I opted to be placed in a public cabin. For every other CampNaNo, I have joined or created a cabin of writer buddies; writers who are already in my networking circle via social media. The chat forum and encouragement was what kept me motivated and made the experience what it was. I purposely joined a public cabin to meet new people and discover other like minded writers. Yeah, well, it fell a little flat. On the whole, my cabin was a quiet one. Days went by without a response to one of my comments. In the end, I would check weekly for any updates. I shan’t be checking in now I have completed. That is the first and last time I join a public cabin if I can help it.

What are your experiences with public cabins? I’m sure many are lively and fun, and I’m sure the writers in my cabin were just busy meeting their word count goals, but I like a good chat. I sound like a pestering nag, I know.

talk to me

Anyhoo, I thought I’d share some of the music I have been listening to during the editing process of Zombie Playlist. I kept the editing music separate from the actual playlist in hopes of keeping it fresh.

Shall I share an excerpt from The Red Archer? Okay, you twisted my arm.

“Kin, sing us a song,” calls Cray from the far side of the room. Stave and Imma drink with him, discussing trades and stashes.

There is a chorus of agreement, and I jump on the table, the room spinning a little as I do so. “The Girl of the Ocean,” I bellow to the lute player, raising my tankard into the air. This one always gets them singing.

Did you participate in CampNaNo this month? I hope you had a productive month.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Update 12/07/17

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Much has been happening in the writing cave of KJ. I finished drafting EVO Ghost in June, and since then, it has been a month jam packed with editing. I am using CampNaNoWriMo to get through the beta edits of Zombie Playlist. Yes, my first ever zombie novella is in the hands of my beta readers. As it is just 25k words, the process is moving quicker than it has done for my novels. The next step, after the beta edits have been added, is for my proof reader to glance her beady eye over it.

Did you catch the cover and blurb reveal for Zombie Playlist?

 

 

How about for EVO Ghost?

 

 

What else is in the pipeline?

As soon as Zombie Playlist is with the ARC reviewers in August, I shall start the mammoth task of editing EVO Ghost. At the moment, the draft stands at 104k words. There are characters to be scrubbed out, scenes to be deleted, and stuff to be added. A redraft will kick start the whole process and help me streamline.

I’m also writing The Red Archer. This WIP won’t receive my sole attention due to the editing, but I am already 10k words in and loving where the narrative is going. Watch this space for more updates on this. *There is a cheeky excerpt at the end of this post.*

ARC Reviewers Required

ARC copies of Zombie Playlist will be sent on August 4th. If Zombie Playlist sounds like your kind of read, and you can get through it in time for the release on September 4th, contact me with your email and preferred format, and I will add you to the email list.

Excerpt from The Red Archer:

As this shall be the only thing I’m writing whilst editing the other two WIPs, I shall share excerpts sporadically.

Your tales are pretty and fanciful, Imma, but the truth is much uglier. I was born into the ugly, stop pretending I’m some delicate secret, hidden like a cache of fashda gems. I am a foretold, orphan Queen who is a better smuggler than she is a lady.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Update 29/06/17

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A lot has happened since my last update. I finished Zombie Playlist in the first week of June. Something came over me and I wrote nearly 10k in two days. As soon as the playlist was finalised, everything fell into the place. Zombie Playlist has been put away until July to give it some time to rest. I swore that I wouldn’t touch it again until the first draft of EVO Ghost was finished. I had been toying with the last 10-15k words on EVO Ghost, and it has been hard to sit down and finish. Self-doubt and worry about not doing my characters justice was to blame. I wrote through it and finished that draft at 6am this morning. That’s two finished drafts. Woohoo.

What’s Next?

EVO Ghost needs to rest, so I will start the editing of Zombie Playlist for CampNaNoWrimo in July. I have my betas waiting patiently, and will be doing an ARC reviewer request in the foreseeable future. Don’t ask me dates because I have no idea. It’s a novella, so I’m hoping for a quicker editing process. When I say things like this, my words usually come back to bite my in the butt.

I’m not going to lie, I am going to play around with book two of The Indigo Flame Series, The Red Archer. Playing around will be the extent of it for a while. It’s strange to think that once EVO Ghost and Zombie Playlist are done, The Indigo Flame series is my only series on the table. I don’t roll like that, and I have had an idea bouncing around in my brain for some months now. I can’t think of a better time to crack open a new notebook.

What Have I Been Listening to?

As I have been concentrating on the conclusion of EVO Ghost, I have been listening to a lot of empowering music. The new Little Mix song has that female strength and kickass-ness to it. It’s perfect for my MC, Teddie.

Excerpts:

Sorry, these are getting shorter and shorter. I don’t want to give anything away. Obviously, there will be no more excerpts after today’s post.

Zombie Playlist:

Once I have my old trusty in my hands, I’m back in business. “Not today, Mother Fuckers!”

EVO Ghost:

“Do you see?” I scream through tears. “Do you see me? Do you see who I have to be?”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Picture Prompt 09/06/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Writer Spotlight:

Two writers picked up the last prompt and invented their own story from it.

Check out Dana’s interpretation over on Instagram, and give her a follow while you are at it! Dana Fraedrich on Instagram.

Gabriel also created a brilliant piece. Check it out here in the comments of my last post:  Gabriel’s Interpretation. Head on over to Gabriel’s blog and follow follow follow: A Little Me, Apparently.

This Week’s Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(5)

*This picture is of the old lifeboat station at Lizard Point, Cornwall.*

Jack is a secretive type. I know him, and yet, I don’t. We met by chance when he saved my life when I was caught in a rip current. Since then, we have met up every evening at the beach, but he always rushes off after our meetings, especially if my brother and my friends are due to turn up. Tonight, I was adamant that I would follow him. Keeping a good distance between us, I follow him onto the coastal path. I dont recall any residential buildings on the cliffs, and it’s quite a way to walk to the neighbouring port. He wouldn’t make it before dark.

I’m contemplating turning back when he diverts from the coastal path and heads down the slip to the old lifeboat station. Ignoring the warning signs, he brazenly sprints across the rickety platform. I watch him disappear inside. Could he be living here? Is that why he’s embarrassed to meet my friends, or tell me much about himself? By confronting him, I hope to ease some of his worries. He’s a good guy, a gentleman, and if its help he needs, perhaps I am the one to give it to him.

Slipping and sliding my way down the seaweed covered slipway, I gingerly make my way over the platform. A blinding light glares from within the station, but only for a moment. The noise of Jack clanging around inside disappears, and I have the oddest sensation of being totally alone. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

“Jack?” I call, the heebie jeebies getting the better of me. No reply. “Jack?”

Rushing inside the old station, I clamber over bits of drift wood and good knows what else in search of the man I saw run in here just moment ago. “Jack! This isn’t funny. I know you’re in here. If you’re embarrassed–”

Another flash of light burns at my retinas. I stumble backward, sprawling over the mounds of debris. Jack reappears out of thin air, only now, he is accompanied by two men. The three of them tap at the metal bands on their wrists; the metal band that Jack always wears, and I thought was a bracelet of some kind. What the hell is happening? Where did they come from? Jack isn’t comfortable around these people. I can sense the hesitation in his body language. I’m too frightened to move. My mind is swimming with questions, and trying to think up a logical excuse for three people to just pop out of thin air. I should have minded my own business and kept well away.

I shrink back as they pass, trying to make myself as small as possible. One of the strangers shoves Jack ahead of him, nearly toppling him in the process. As he rights himself, his eyes meet mine. The shock on his face is quickly replaced with worry. Placing a finger to his lips, he pleads with his eyes for me to remain quiet.

“You’ve been posted here for a month, and you’re telling me that you’ve not even managed to talk to the girl?” The other guy asks him.

Jack’s eyes flit to my hiding spot. “I don’t think she’s the one, Franky. I did some digging, and her Dad died in a machinery accident when her Mum was pregnant with her.” My stomach swoops. He’s talking about me. “There’s a grave and everything–”

Franky clouts him around the head. “Oh, you’ve done some digging. Did you dig up that bloody grave? Did you find out who, if anyone, is buried there, because it sure as hell ain’t her old man?” Jack recoils from him, positioning himself between them and me. “You’ve spoken to her, haven’t you?” Franky says, gripping at the scruff of Jack’s top. “You’re protecting her.”

Jack pulls himself free. “I won’t let you take her back to him.” The pair laugh, but Jack draws himself up taller. “If Lana was here right now, I’d tell her she is in danger, and to get to that clear space at my nine o clock. Trust me.” He whispers those last two words. Franky and the other guy look at him bewildered. “Now, Lana!” Jack shouts.

I have to do what he says. Every fibre in my body urges me to move. Jumping up from my position on the floor, I hurdle the debris and land in the open space beside Jack. He turns on his heels, sprinting toward me, tapping at his watch as he runs. The two men draw guns, but they don’t have the time to use them. Jack body slams me, wrapping his arms around me, and then shouts at me to close my eyes. Another final blast of light ignites the air around us, and in the next split-second, we sprawl onto a cool, metal floor. As Jack hoists me to my feet, my first sight is the most spectacular and daunting sight I have ever seen. I’m looking at the Earth from space.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman