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The Forest

Vignette Speed Writing Challenge Write-off

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#1 Offline Velox

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Posted Apr 18 2012 - 01:53 AM

In conjunction with this topic, this was done for a "write-off" between myself, John (55555), Micah (Kakaru), and another guy from Flickr (and other sites) that they know (we have since had several other write-offs with more participants -- I'll probably write up a blog entry later); just a very short vignette. We were to write a short story in 15 minutes (with no time for preparation) based off the theme "The Forest" -- any interpretation valid. As such, this story is not the usual quality of my work, as it is completely unedited and was planned, thought-up and written in fifteen minutes. I may or may not be posting more of these later.

The Forest

I walked alone through a dark forest, nothing but the beasts of the woodland to accompany me. Yet I was content...........The moon shone ever so slightly through the thick foliage so that every few minutes I could glimpse the milky light. Occasionally I even had the chance to see a star or two, there for one moment, but gone the next as I took another step. My feet travelled over rocky terrain, covered in pine needles, leaves, roots of trees, and much other frondescence...........A squirrel scurried up a tree next to me. I turned to look, smiled. It was always so comforting here. So peaceful. There was no one to disturb me. Not a soul. Just me and the forest around me...........I came to a shallow river, the water flowing gracefully through the woods. I took a step in, allowed the cool liquid to inebriate my being. It was already cold with the spring night, but it was something I welcomed, so I allowed the glistening liquid to cool me even more. I crouched down, cupped my hands, and washed my face. Immediately it seemed as though my sense were doubled. I could see sharper, and the slight wind on my face became all the more apparent, chilling my cheeks...........Taking a large gulp, I stood up again, stepped out of the river, and made my way north, following along the bank of the river. After what may have been hours I came to a cave. It was my home...........I pushed aside the leaves I had strung as a crude door and stepped inside. I sat down on the cold, dark surface. I let my eyes wander, and they came upon a series of markings on the walls...........Memories flooded my mind. Memories of how I came here; unhappy times. I remembered how I was banished from where I lived, dumped in to the middle of this forest. At first I hated it, hated God, hated everything. I found this cave, making inscriptions on the wall showing my disgust, telling my story. But as the years went by I began to embrace the life they chose for me. I came to realize the beauty of the world we live in, and how the only way it could possibly exist was through a God...........I stopped trying to find a way out, stopped caring to get revenge on those who put me here. Instead I continued to live my life. To embrace it. To cherish it. To love it...........This forest is my home.

~ :: ~

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender

#2 Offline Mel

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Posted Oct 17 2012 - 10:59 PM

Official Short Stories Critics Club Charity ReviewBut you know that already, since you assigned this to me. =PI feel really hesitant to criticize this, since as you said it was written in fifteen minutes, and editing is the wonderful process that suddenly makes the world better. Having said that, my main issue with this story is that it seems to be going somewhere and then stops for the sake of exposition. I know it's a vignette, but it lacks this sense of immediacy that I associate with short pieces like this. Especially in the last paragraphs, when the character starts reminiscing for what seems to be the readers benefit. He or she has been in the forest for a very long time, and his/her realizations have been gradual. Why do the markings, which the character has been looking at every day, suddenly trigger these memories?I want the same sort of sensory experience that I received in the first part of the story. I not just "markings," but pictures, words, images and voices. Memories are a collection of all the sense. You know, the whole "show, don't tell" thing. I am pretty sure you understand it because I've seen you mention it in your criticism. It's just a matter of making it instinctual. No writer has perfected it, but that's what practice is for. ^^Now some general nitpicks.

I came to a shallow river, the water flowing gracefully through the woods.

I believe this is an example of a dangling participle, where the adjectival phrase is not modifying the subject of the main clause. Or something. I don't know, all the examples I found had the modifying phrase at the front of the sentence. Anyway, it would be better split into two sentences, e.g. "The water flowed gracefully through the woods." To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about "gracefully" either, it's not a word I would associate with streams.

I took a step in, allowed the cool liquid to inebriate my being

"Inebriate" implies drunkenness, but the paragraph suggests that the water sharpens the character's senses. Try "awaken" or "permeate" if you want to go for something more neutral. By the way, I'm not familiar with forests, but isn't standing around in a cold stream at night a bad idea? How cold is it, exactly?

I stopped trying to find a way out, stopped caring to get revenge on those who put me here.

Try "stopped caring about revenge."This is the point where I usually say "keep writing," but since that is a given for you, I will just say good night and good luck.

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