Tuesday, December 29, 2015
I'm sure that it's no news that I've been out of commission for the last two months. I only just realized that I never actually posted my news-warning that I wouldn't be here! I'm so sorry! Long story short, the holidays (November and December) are absolute nightmares for me at work. Couple that with a number of personal things that I needed to take care of, I've had little to no time to myself...much less any to do anything useful with.
I'm happy to say that I will be returning. Keep your ear to the ground and be ready to see a return to normal scheduling here in the next couple of days. Of course things posted will include prompts and ideas, writing practices, reviews, and, should I find the time and those interested, I would like to start forming a network for both writers and commissioners to help find each other to build the literature community.
If you need anything from our end, don't hesitate to reach out! Aside from that, we'll be back in the game within the week! Sorry again for the wait.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
First, before we begin, allow me to say that figuring out how to rate this book was one of my bigger struggles. As a whole, I really do like the concept behind the book. It's about a young colored woman, confined to a wheel chair, down on her luck and suffering with the trials of day to day living when she meets a group of superheros. It's only after she's had a moment to deal with them that she realizes the heroes are in fact a bigoted and hateful group that use her for their own means while the villain (ahem: Antagonist) is the one who sides with her.
This is a fresh concept that I can say I've never seen before. It's fun. It's funny. It's thought provoking. I absolutely love the idea behind it and would like to see more done with it. Unfortunately, while I was hoping for an analytic examination of the superhero/villain genre along with some smart/funny commentary on social treatment of a main character that doesn't fit the "White Male Hero" trope; that was not what I got.
To begin, it's quite clear that Burgandi Rakoska is an amateur writer. I've done some quick and dirty research and I've realized that this was a book of passion. A story that she came up with out of the blue and, given drive from friends and family, was encouraged to make her idea a reality. In a way this is fantastic. Nothing good will ever come into this world without the passion to drive it. On the other, I believe she would have benefited from more writing practice.
I will start with the easy one: Formatting and Typographical errors. I won't beat the dead horse here since literally most every review talks about the excess number of formatting errors and typos, so just know that they're there.
More to the point, the book has two primary issues: Control of Time and Awkward Narrative and Phrasing. Regarding Time, it's clear that Rakoska had a number of ideas that she wanted to deliver but wasn't sure just quite how to run them together. This gives the story a bit of a "choppy" feel. You'll have this sudden speed up to one thing or another coupled with a very slow and precise detailing of another scene. Entire days are missed utilizing the 'character knocked unconscious' trope, resulting in the characters telling us rather than showing us what happened.
Couple this with the Awkward narrative and some sections of the book can be extremely difficult to get through. Again, it's clear that Rakoska had a very genuine love for and wanted to see an atypical main character. However, she begins inserting things that are just odd or don't make sense. One scene (a fight scene), out of the clear blue sky, starts talking at length about the sexuality of Merlin. In the context of the fight it might have made sense to have a one off here, but we're talking a LENGTHY discussion arguing like kindergartners. Another example has to do with no one is supposed to be able to enter Victor's home but, because of the specific wording of the spell, Minnie (the main character) is able to roll in. This is funny on it's own, but then her sister is able to run into the house later on, basically making it seem like the only people who can't enter the house are those on a casual stroll.
When all is said and done, the book has a number of fun ideas. Aside from the attempt at social commentary, the book features appearances from greats like Nicholas Flamel, the creator of the Philosopher's Stone. It has an amazing twist with one of the superheroes having a rather unexpected power. It even has a very pleasant ending that will make the toils of the book seem worthwhile.
Overall, the book has heart but is in desperate need of an accompanying editor and maybe even a second, more experienced author to help Rakoska focus her abilities and thoughts. I understand that she's in the process of creating a second entry into the Antagonists series and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was looking forward to it. This is a series that deserves to do well, it just needs the technical delivery to get it there. Heck, if Rakoska were to re-write Book 1, I can assure you I'd be one of the first ones to pick it back up.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
The roar was overwhelming; a rumble that Charlie could feel through his bones and in his guts. And in seconds it was over. It left them coughing and sputtering in the near dark as they gagged on dust and bits of rock that had fallen from the ceiling.
No one asked if anyone else was alright. They were too focused on what had just happened. One by one, the few flashlights in the tunnel came to shine on the looming wall of rock that blocked their path.
“Oh god…” Beth sobbed out.
“No…no no no no no!” Andrew ran from the spot he had fallen and began pounding on the rock wall. It didn’t shudder. Instead, the entire tunnel began to tremble as little rocks and streams of dust fell from the ceiling.
Charlie was on him in a moment, pulling him away.
“NO! WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!” Andrew screamed. His eye were wide with panic.
“You can’t, you idiot! You’re gonna collapse the entire tunnel!”
A moment after being dragged away, his jaw went slack and his arms fell at his side as he simply stared at the cave-in. He felt like a sack of potatoes in Charlie’s arms. With as much care as he could muster, he set his friend back against the wall.
Silence fell again as they each came to grips with what had just happened.
What were they to do? What could they do? The tunnel they were in was part of a small mine in a ghost town amusement park. It didn’t go anywhere and instead was just filled with some pictures of old miners and some crappy lamps. No food, no water, nothing but a curved stretch of tunnel that went on for maybe a hundred or so feet and ended in some stupid tribute to the mine’s founder.
Charlie suddenly regretted not eating lunch before they went in here.
Anna was the first to say what they all were thinking.
“How long do you think it will take for them to find us?”
“Finding us isn’t the issue.” Charlie answered. “It’s the question of how much rock is in that tunnel and how fast they can dig us out. Even worse, will they collapse the tunnel trying to get to us?”
Charlie’s glanced over to Andrew who, at the mention of the tunnel collapsing, buried his head in his lap and curled into a large, sobbing mess.
“Alright. Let’s take inventory.” Julia said in her normal snide tone. She started snapping her fingers as she said, “Everyone turn out your pockets! Let’s see what we’ve got.”
Two pocket knives. A Brochure. A half a packet of Starburst. Some receipts. Wallets. Keys. Cellphones with no reception.
“This is all the food we’ve got?” Julia asked with a grimace as she stared at the packet of Starburst.
“That’s it.” Beth said weakly.
“We’re gonna have to ration it.” Elena said.
Andrew couldn’t help but start laughing. He uncurled slightly to glare at her with tear soaked eyes.
“Are you fucking kidding?! It’s a half a packet of candy. It’s not exactly a box of MREs!”
“Then we’ll keep your share.” Julia snapped before putting the Starburst in her pocket.
After that, they sat around. None of them really talked. There wasn’t anything to say. Every now and then, one of them would wander down the tunnel. Perhaps it was to see if some magical new way had opened up or maybe it was just to use the bathroom.
Every now and again, Charlie listened for the sound of rescue: the clink of tools or maybe shouting. He heard nothing.
All too soon, Julia had distributed the last of the Starburst. Charlie was pretty sure she kept the extra piece for herself, but had no way to prove it. Not like it mattered. It could hardly be called a meal. It did nothing to quench his hunger.
“GODDAMNIT!” Julia screeched. “WHAT’S TAKING THEM SO LONG?!”
“Give it a fucking rest, Julia.” Charlie said. “Bitching isn’t gonna do anything and you’re getting on my nerves.”
“Oh YOUR nerves, huh?” She said, snapping her fingers in his face. “This was all YOUR idea! You’re the one who wanted to go in this fucking mine. We could have gone to the haunted house!”
“Get your fingers out of my face.” Charlie said with a growl.
“Or what? You’ll kill me?” Julia said with a sneer. “Great. You’ll just save me the joy of starving to death in this fucking tunnel.”
Something snapped in his mind and Charlie couldn’t control himself. He punched Julia square in the nose. Blood sprayed and she crumpled back against the far wall.
Her hands were covered in blood as she covered her now bleeding nose. Beth and Elena rushed to her side.
“I’m…I’m sorry…” Charlie said.
No one else said anything and Charlie quickly fled to the far end of the tunnel. He found Andrew there.
“What happened?” he asked quietly, not looking up from his lap.
“I think I might have just broken Julia’s nose.”
“Good.” He said softly. “The rotten bitch deserves it.”
Charlie felt like he should have said something to argue, but he had to agree. Julie had always been insufferable and now that they were trapped down here, her bitchiness had escalated to the point that even looking at her made Charlie dream of bashing her head in with a rock.
“You know she stole the extra Starburst, right?”
“Yea…I figured.” Charlie said with a sigh.
“What are we gonna do for food, man? There’s nothing in here and I don’t know how much longer we’ll last.”
“We could always eat Julia as punishment for the Starburst.” Charlie said with a chuckle. To Charlie’s surprise, Andrew didn’t laugh with him. Instead, he looked surprisingly pensive.
“Look, man. I was just joking. I know that’s your Ex.” Charlie finally said.
“No. You’re right.”
“What do you mean ‘right’? Right about what?”
“We’re gonna have to eat Julia.” Andrew said, his voice disturbingly calm.
“WHAT?! Are you insane?!”
“On the contrary. How much longer do you think we can last without something to eat? Personally, I can’t go on without something. Those Starburst were nothing and they were all we had. Not to mention it’s just been so long since we had anything…”
“But Andrew…” Charlie’s mind was reeling. He was trying to think but his mind just wouldn’t. It was too starved. “You’re talking about killing someone. We’re talking about cannibalism!”
“Ok, dude. You’re kind of scaring me. I’m gonna go check if I didn’t do any permanent damage to Julia’s beak. Just stay here, alright?”
Charlie tried to get up. It took all the strength he had. He was just too hungry. That, combined with the thought of fresh meat, as appalling as the idea was, his entire body clamored for anything it could get. He finally made his way back down the tunnel.
“You ok?” He asked as he walked back up to the girls.
“No, you fucking asshat! You punched me in the face!” Julia barked, her face covered in blood from her nose.
“I’m sorry. I really am. It’s just-“
“Just nothing!” Julia was on him a flash. She pushed him and shoved him and snapped her fingers in his face. “You think you’re hot shit and just because of who your daddy is you can push anyone around!”
She kept shoving him, slamming his back against the wall of the tunnel. Beth kept chiming in, trying to tell Julia to calm down, but she wasn’t having it.
“You think you can just break my fucking nose, say sorry, and it’ll all be ok? Well guess what, it’s not! When I get out of here I’m going get a lawyer and I’m going to fucking sue your-“
There was a sickening crunch and Julia crumpled to the ground. Beth started screaming. Elena just stared. Charlie didn’t know what to do. He hadn’t even seen Andrew come in and now, there he was, with a bloody rock in his hand and crimson soaking Julia’s black hair.
Lifting the rock high, Andrew repeatedly smashed in Julia’s head. Each time the crunching crack become wetter and squishier.
“Stop!” Charlie screamed, grabbing both of his arms. Luckily Andrew didn’t fight because Charlie was sobbing too uncontrollably to have done much else.
He couldn’t see Julia’s face anymore. Most of it was covered by her hair and the back of head which was a splintered and gory mess.
“Why would you…?” Beth tried to ask amongst sobs.
“We need to eat.” Andrew said coldly. “If you think I’m gonna starve to death in this tunnel than you’ve got another thing coming. And I definitely ain’t gonna do it when I’ve got this bag of bitch walking around wasting space.”
Nonchalantly, Andrew dragged her body a few feet away, pulled out his pocket knife, and began to examine the body. He seemed to be trying to figure out where to start cutting.
Charlie was still in shock. His back against the wall, he slid down to sitting. He found his gaze drifted back and forth from Andrew, trying to decide what to eat, Beth and Elena with Beth looking horrified and Elena fascinated, and then finally the bits of brain and skull that were scattered across the rocks next to him.
For a while, he just watched. Watched Andrew fillet Julia as easily as you might a fish. Watched him take chunk after chunk and eat it with elation. Watched Elena join him shortly after and dig in to Julia’s upper thigh.
Finally, it was too much. Charlie’s stomach growled and groaned. He was too weak. He was too hungry.
“Can I…Can I have a…?”
“Yes you can.”
Andrew carved off several slices of Julia’s back and passed it to him. Holding them, they felt cold and slimy. Charlie couldn’t help but wish they’d been able to cook them somehow. But, given basic amenities, they probably wouldn’t be eating Andrew’s Ex.
He took a bite.
And was surprised how much he liked it.
While he definitely wished again that he could roast it somehow, to his surprise it tasted and smelled vaguely like pork. He ate it bite by bite and soon every bit and piece was gone and he was licking the remains of Julia off his fingers.
Beth joined in soon after.
It was only after they had eaten every bit, every morsel, and every part of Julia and sat fat and happy in the darkness that the tunnel began to tremble again. Dust filtered from the ceiling above and little bits of rock rained down on the hollowed out remains of Julia.
They didn’t run. There wasn’t anything they could do. They sat quietly and accepted their fate. If they died in a cave in then it was only fitting for what they’d just done, Charlie thought.
A moment later, the rock wall burst forward as a man with a pickaxe and another man with a large sledgehammer made their way through. The group could see light behind them. They could hear people talking and chattering in the distance of the tunnel.
Charlie jumped up in joy, as did Beth, Elena, and Andrew.
The two men, their rescuers, recoiled in horror and held up the tools as if to defend themselves. From the group.
“Dear god!” The man with the pickaxe screamed as he surveyed the empty carcass of Julia and the blood soaked mouths of Charlie and his friends. “What happened…?”
Charlie hung his head as he tried to wipe the blood from his mouth. He only made the mess worse.
“We did what we had to in order to survive...” He said quietly. The others nodded their heads in agreement.
“What you had to?” The man asked in terror and shock. “YOU’VE ONLY BEEN IN HERE FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES!”
(Hey everyone. I figured we'd end Spookytober on a bit of a funnier note. I really hope you enjoyed. With that said, we will be returning to our regular schedule and, as such, feel free to join us for prompts and practice, 6 word and two sentence stories, along with much, much more! I hope everyone has a safe and pleasant Halloween! See you soon!)
Friday, October 30, 2015
Sorry about the absence this last week. I won't go into the finer details, however I've been a bit out of commission this last week. Nothing major, just distracting overall. I've been working on a last hurrah for Spookytober and, if it's looking good, should be posted come tomorrow. Check for it then and thanks again for the patience!
Friday, October 23, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
"My uncle is the best Ventriloquist I've ever seen. Half the time
the puppet seems like it can walk and talk on its own without
him even being in the same room...or awake..."
Saturday, October 17, 2015
No story today, but rather just a few words of encouragement for my fellow writers or anyone who wants to BE a writer and just can't quite get the courage up.
Remember, not everything boils down to how many words you get on a page or how many hours your spend tapping away at a keyboard. Part of writing, a large part actually, is allowing your brain to process and consider. Something a lot of people run into is they'll run into Writer's Block and then stall to a complete stop because they don't know what to do and they feel worthless for not writing. A cycle begins where you can't think of what to write and you hate yourself for not writing, you then feel worse and can't think of what to do next and the process starts itself all over again.
I just want to say "It's ok to relax sometimes."
A lot of people now a-days are powered by the Protestant Work Ethic whether they realize it or not. Since birth, through school and work, people have it ingrained that if they aren't PRODUCING then their time has been meaningless. This is powered by that old manufacturing mindset that time spent doing anything but making A THING is wasted.
However, for writer's, you have to be able to take time to create. Words are nothing without meaning and, if you don't have something meaningful to work from than you're, at best, free-writing.
So please...let yourself think. Let yourself relax. Let your mind wander to your thoughts and your passions. Let it twist upon your perversions and your secrets. Enjoy everything that you have available to you no matter your background and let everything you hear and see and smell and touch and taste inspire you. Just let yourself BE.
If you feel the need to write, than write! But if you are beating yourself up because you open up a blank word document and simply stare at a flashing icon, just remember that's it's ok to let yourself be.
You are a writer. Now let yourself write however you need to.
P.S. This applies to ALL of you artist type people. So all of you drawers and painters and game designers and anyone else who just needs to take a minute to breath so your mind can do what it does best: it’s ok to take a minute for yourself. You’re all amazing.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
"No more light! He'll find us!"
(Hey all, hope you're doing well. So I've recently been kind of inspired by the success I've been seeing with the Two Sentence Stories. As such, my wife recommended I try an even MORE difficult writing exercise: Six Word Stories. Let me know what you think.)
Monday, October 12, 2015
"Is it dinner-time yet, mommy?" My son asked with a smile. Even though I knew he was dead, the thing had copied him so well; his look, his voice, that I couldn't bring myself to fight back as it took the first bite out of me.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
"Help me!" She screamed as loud as she could, praying that anyone might hear her while she desperately tried to keep grip on the cliffside. That was when cold, bony fingers took hold of her hands and pulled her away from the brink of life and death.
Hey all, I hope you enjoyed today's two sentence story. I know that it wasn't particularly "horror" (more likely than not it's, at most, kinda creepy to think about). That said, however, I was heavily inspired by the song "O Death" and this little tidbit was just begging to be let out.
Song Source: Until Dawn - PlayStation 4
Friday, October 9, 2015
I was awoken by the sound of someone knocking
on my window, asking to be let in. It was only as I
started to get up that I remembered I lived on
the 13th floor and didn't have a fire escape outside.
Photo Source:28 Weeks Later (Widescreen Edition)
Thursday, October 8, 2015
With a sigh, I roll over and snuggle closer to the sleeping
form of my wife. That is, until I notice my wife standing
several feet away, her face frozen in fear at whatever
is in my arms.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
"You couldn't help but think the Smiths' new Scarecrow
was a little creepy. That was why you noticed that it was
missing on your walk back home..."
Hey all, I know we're a week into it (been running a little late here) but I wanted to announce that this month is going to be...
What this means is very simple. Any stories, inspiration, motivations, and anything else we post will be focused towards the "Spoooooky" in honor of Halloween. Everything will a bit of a dark or morbid twist and is meant just for fun.
We hope you enjoy (and sorry for this being a week late)!
We hope you enjoy (and sorry for this being a week late)!
Saturday, October 3, 2015
"Please don't go out tonight." she begged as I
finished snapping my harness. "I saw something
moving down there." That was a moment before
the boat lurched and I was thrown overboard,
falling into the black abyss.
Friday, October 2, 2015
Writer / Editor
To those that are interested: I would like to provide my services as both a
Writer and an Editor. I have a great deal of experience in both avenues due
to my own personal interest in the field and have decided to share that
experience with those who desire it. Allow me to craft you a fantastical
story or simply help you clean up your own work of literary art.
story or simply help you clean up your own work of literary art.
- Writing (by word)
- $3 100 - 500 words
- $5 500 - 1000 words
- $9 1000 - 2000 words
- $15 Per 2000 word increment above and beyond
- Erotic / Pornographic Writing (by word)
- $5 100 - 500 words
- $8 500 - 1000 words
- $14 1000 - 2000 words
- $20 Per 2000 word increment above and beyond
- Editing Services (by Hour)
- $10 Copyediting / Proofreading
- $15 Transcription
- $20 Research / Fact Check
While I consider myself well-versed and highly adaptable, I am particularly
talented in the realm of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Erotica. These are the areas
that I have the strongest background and therefore where I have the most ease
in Writing and Editing. Any fields that I am unfamiliar with will be researched
professionally and thoroughly to insure accuracy and enjoyable material.
Additionally, I'm more than willing and able to produce either original content
or works directly related to other pieces of fiction (read: Fanfiction).
I am generally very easy-going with regards to writing restrictions, however I do
have two particular no-no's. First and foremost, any works that unironically and
blatantly spread a hateful and genocidal agenda towards any particular group of
individuals, living or dead. Two, any works of an erotic nature that feature extreme
sex acts including piss, shit, diapers, incest, vore, gore and pedophilia as these are
unfamiliar and uncomfortable to me and are not a topic I desire to research.
- I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.
- All Payments must be made through Paypal for the security of both
writer and customer.
- You are welcome to contact me through any social media medium,
however you can contact me directly at RBPublishing@outlook.com
- Payment is to be provided before the final product is submitted
- Projects that are canceled before completion will have a charge
based on the percentage of work completed before cancellation.
- E.G: a 2000 word project that has had 500 words written will
be charged the respective $3 of a 500 word project.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
While wandering the internet the other day, it was brought to my attention that there are a group of individuals that feel that Hermione from the Harry Potter series is a young, black woman. This grabbed my interest as I always associated Hermione with Emma Watson due to the movie series. As such, I decided to dig into it a bit.
What I found was that there are a number of arguments for why Hermione (and even Harry Potter himself) are individuals of color, unlike their portrayals in the movies and a large majority of artwork. The ideas are related not only to a lack of direct description but a number of very small asides in the stories that might be taken in a different context. This, coupled with a cross-examination of racism and bigotry (mudblood referring to an individual of dark descent versus simply half-blood wizard), inspired me to tap up this article.
Character Descriptions as a whole can be incredibly important. What is or is not present will either paint a picture or leave a character up to the reader's imagination. Based on how you introduce them, how they are revisited, and how others react and interact will lead your readers in the direction you want them to go.
The style that you utilize will depend on whether or not you have any kind of an agenda for the character or story in question. To use myself as an example, I have a tendency of leaving my character descriptions exceptionally open except for base, important details. Things like notable strength or speed and maybe one or two defining features like eyes or hair make up the majority of physical description. Instead, I favor social and psychological interaction to allow for more engaging characters. This is not necessarily a good OR bad means of writing, just one type.
Instead, where problems arise is when there is either too much or no description. Let's take a look at the first:
"Tony walked up to me. Looking at him, I had to marvel. He was easily 6'5, white, clean shaven, and built like a fullback lineman. Based on his appearance, he was was about 24. He wore a leather jacket over a red shirt with blue jeans and military boots to match. On his neck hung a silver pair of dogtags and a glittering gold ring on his right, middle finger. His pearly white smile shone through and his periwinkle eyes glittered in the sunlight. Running his hands through his blond locks, he laughed at the expression on my face."
Now, this is EXACT. You know exactly what you are looking at and there is little to no room for interpretation. The obvious problem with this is that a description like this slows the story to a halt in favor of over-consideration of what a character looks like. It doesn't leave any wiggle room and often makes the story boring or tedious for the reader. On the flipside...
"Tony was a male."
Yea. Not much better. Now we have NOTHING to work with. Ok, he was male. How old? How young? Is he athletic? Overweight? White? Black? Obviously you don't have to answer ALL of the questions, but a reader should have some kind of an impression of your character. Let's revisit Tony one last time...
"Tony walked up. He was clean shaven and heavily muscled. Everything about him screamed military service from his crisp clothes to the way he carried himself."
Now, as a writer, I picked out a few ideal things that seemed important to me to portray for "Tony". It's all about First impressions. Everything else can be built up through the remainder of the story. Was the ring in the first description important but not something you'd really grab in a first impression. Bring it up later in the story. Do you want to make sure your character has blue eyes? Address it. You have an entire story to bring the strings together.
The last thing to consider, and this rolls back to the Hermione as a young, black woman point, is with regards to race (or other defining characteristics). IF it is important to you that a particular individual have a particular description whether it be race, gender, sexuality, or otherwise than SAY IT. You don't have to be blunt and go "Hermione was white, so there!" but simply work it into your description somewhere in the story (first impression or otherwise). The more wiggle room you leave for readers the more they will interpret the story their way. If that's a problem for you than correct it, otherwise you're going to get a whole host of fantastic new ideas as more people read your story.
People will bring their own life experiences and expectations to the stories they read and it's that imagination that allow them to enjoy the tale laid out before them.
"Consider a world where all childbirth and reproduction
is licensed and approved by the government and
tell the store of a group of aspiring parents."
Monday, September 28, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Look at this photo and consider how or why this forest looks the way it does.
You are welcome to delve into fiction, science fiction, fantasy, or more.
Write a story or at least a detailed explanation for usage in a story creation.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
In a far off place
In a tiny little town
There stands a house
On a street halfway down
It stands big and white
And two stories tall
It has rose bushes in front
With a little stone wall
I sit and I watch
This house that was once a home
Filled with another family
While I sit here alone
I'll never know this family
With faces that come and go
A little dog and a little car
And problems I'll never know
It's just the house that holds me
From my place of peace
It's the house that holds me
The memories never cease
It's a ghost that haunts me
A discarded shell of life forgotten
From a time when I young and happy
And my soul wasn't rotten
Those days are gone though
Lost to the wiles of time
My friends and family are gone now
Lost to disease and crime
So now I just sit here
Watching this house alone
Remembering faces and names long past
Watching the ghost that was once a home