Category Archives: Writing Exercises


They descended the stairs and found themselves in the fifth underdungeon of the labyrinth. Argo stopped at the bottom step, kneeling to peer into the vast, dark room beyond. His sword gleamed blue in the light from the mage’s staff.

“What see you, Argo?” whispered Bolivar. The cleric, next in line behind the warrior, gripped his staff in one hand and the faintly glowing scepter of Kolineer, his holy relic, in the other. The rest of the party, the mage and the other warrior bringing up the rear, huddled close behind them.

“Nothing,” Argo answered. “All is dark. Send in…Arik.”

The cleric nodded, his face grim. Arik had died during their trip through the fourth underdungeon. Bolivar had done what he could, but the results were less than satisfactory. Arik now existed primarily as a skull, floating in a hazy cloud of dust formed by his own skeleton.

Bolivar directed the scepter of Kolineer, and the remains of Arik drifted forward through the party and into the room. The skull rotated left and right, searching out the darkness.

“It feels unseemly to keep him like this,” Argo muttered.

“Worry not,” Bolivar said. “His nobility of spirit remains. He is happy to help. And as a bonus, he is virtually indestructible now, as long as his skull remains intact.”

“Maybe we should get him a helmet,” said Argo.

“I liked him better with a body,” spoke the mage. “He was beautiful.”

The cries of stone goblins split the air, and crudely fashioned arrows began whistling through the air, and through Arik’s useless powdered-marrow body. Argo raised his shield, grunting as the arrows clattered against it.

“I, too, miss his body,” Argo growled.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Aidan thought it was a bad idea to even keep a black lagoon on the property. It could have been drained, or just opened up to the ocean and turned into a nice beach and tourist trap years ago. As is, it was useless. But tradition was tradition. What would the Black Lagoon Winery be without a black lagoon? Just an empty logo, that’s what. Was there anything more tragic than a brand with no identity?

He hauled two buckets of fish out to the lagoon every morning. Today, young Leon would be helping him, as it would eventually be up to him to keep the thing in the lagoon sated. He’d slept in once in 1987, and, well, after their daughter came home in utter shock from a brush-in with what she described as a gilled man, the neighbor family had moved out and nobody had ever moved in. Eventually, Aidan had just bought that land cheap as dirt. In the long run he was able to work that land and turn a tidy profit, but still. It was a damned shame how neighborhoods can go into decline sometimes. Continue reading Creature from the Black Lagoon


The boy found it, pulling the ancient, rusted chain free of the muck and grim in which it had been entombed for centuries. As he started tugging on the amulet itself, still embedded in the soil, I swatted him away and took the chain from him before he had a chance to foolishly damage the thing.

It was magnificent. Once pried from its resting place and gently washed, it gleamed as though it had just been pulled from the fires of its forge. Made of solid gold, it was diamond in shape, encrusted with rubies and emeralds around the edges. Intricate rune patterns adorned both sides. I muttered a few words of old Altartongue and the runes began to glow. I patted the boy on the shoulder and we began making our way out of the catacombs, back toward the bright streets of Paris.

I picked at the gems. They were a little loose after all this time. “Once we pry this shit out it’ll be useful,” I said.

“Is that the magic that will bring mommy back?” the boy asked.

“Perhaps,” I said. “Or perhaps the magic is inside you already.”

He stopped and stared with wide eyes. “Really?”

“No,” I snapped. “Don’t be an idiot. It’s the amulet.”


“Daddy, Bobby at school today said we all eat eight spiders a year while we sleep. Is that true?”

“Hah, no dear. It’s a myth. Think about it a moment. We don’t sleep with our mouths open for one thing, or if we do we’re snoring, and the vibrations from the noise would scare a spider away. And the size? Think about it this way: would you walk up to a sleeping giant and crawl into its mouth?”

“Hmm, no, I guess not.”

The little girl fell silent, contemplating, perhaps, the dietary habits of giants and suicidal tendencies of spiders.

“No, dear,” her father assured her. “It’s not the spiders you have to worry about. It’s the eye parasites.”


Stories Every Day!

The writing group is in the midst of our annual Story Every Day event. We’re all doing our best to churn out 500+ word stories or scenes each day. I have two so far, for a total of about 1900 words, which is more than I’ve written in ages.

The two are connected, emerging from the things that have been on my mind a lot lately, as I discussed a couple posts back. The world is shaping up in my mind, but I’m playing it pretty fast and loose. I don’t know if these are stories and characters I’ll be using in the final…novel?…but it’s a fun way to world build.


This day in history, 1863:

President Abraham Lincoln and his crack special forces teamĀ  battle the Confedabot, a twenty-foot-tall doomsday machine. Lincoln himself delivers the killing blow to Florida Senator Augustus Maxwell, who had been controlling the Confedabot via psychic broadcasts. Ten miles away, the Gettysburg address is delivered by a projectogram hidden in Ward Hill Lamon’s hat.

Don’t blame me, blame your textbooks.

This Day In History

Occasionally on Facebook I post these little “historical” factoids as my status for fun. I like to think they’re more interesting than “OMG I hate Mondays” or whatever. Some are funny, some are simply dramatic. I’m obviously not the first to do this, but they’re fun to write and make nice little exercises to keep the brain working.

There’s more room there than on Twitter, so I can do things a little more involved without that shorter character limit. But even then, sometimes I don’t have enough space. Today’s was one of those where I wanted to embellish more, but didn’t have the space.

At any rate, I thought I’d start posting those here, and more of them, as regular content. With any luck, some will grow into fuller stories. Also, here they won’t eventually vanish into the Facebook ether at some point. You guys can let me know which ones you think are cool and which ones are dead ends.

So here’s the first.

This day in history, 2108: Begin the great Cephalopod Invasion. By midnight, Octopus Prime conquers Manhattan, his enormous tentacles cutting a swath of destruction across New York and New Jersey. His amphibious army seizes ports throughout the Eastern Seaboard. They retreat a week later, leaving behind cities completely depleted of human life. Typed missives inform the beleaguered nation that they attack only to remind us why the month is named October – and to replenish their supply of human slaves.

(I have some totally awesome ideas about the Cephalapod Marine force, so I’m looking forward to expanding this one.)


The Writer’s Ink crew had an excellent meeting the other night, and it was decided as a group goal that we’ll all be trying to write some 250 words a day during October. This is something we should be doing anyway, as a matter of policy, but I think various things have been conspiring to keep many of us from productivity this past year. We are hoping to get back at it!

I know I, for one, have not gotten nearly enough rejection letters this year.

It was perhaps inspired by this post, among other things.

We will be consulting these, should we need them.

Maybe I’ll try writing a novel a thousand words at a time.