Monthly Archives: August 2006

SandDream Magicks

The following piece of horror flash fiction was inspired by this picture. I used some elements found in some popular urban legends. Hope you enjoy it.

SandDream Magicks
Written by: Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

She hated her brother. She tired of his schemes. Always teasing her, pinching her, making her scream. I’ll show him she thought, “tonight, big brother will pay.”

Into her bedroom, she lit candles by three’s, turned off the lights and then calmly breathed. She unzipped her Kim Possible backpack (cheery and fun). Then pulled out a dark musty book titled The Sands of Bad Dreams. She had purchased it from a strange old shop she’d never seen before. It was the sign that called her in:

SandDream Magicks – Make Your Heart’s Dreams Come True.

She found what she was looking for on page 353. She whispered the words in a soft flowing chant: “Come to me sister sand, hear my heart’s dream. Let him taste what he‘s given, multiply it by three. Capture and wrap him, in sand dreams so dark. Teach him the lessons, which comes from my heart. With your name I invoke thee and so set you free.”

“Sandriel…”
“Sandriel…”
“Sandriel,” she breathed.

Tensely she waited for a sign it had worked, but nothing occurred. She closed the thick book and shoved it back in her pack. I should have known it was all just a scam.

But outside her brother’s slightly open window the breeze picked up. Gusts of wind began to swirl, creating a growing dust devil. Within, a figure began to take form. And then the wind died, but the dust did not fall. No, it was pulled to the center, became part of that living sand dream.

It drifted over to the window and sifted within, reformed. It stood over his bed, watching him sleep. Then she reached over, stroking his cheek. Something felt weird, something felt wrong, and he woke with a start. Brown eyes bulged as he took in the sight. Up from above him was a mutated human type thing.

“What in the heck?” he gasped, staring at it from its head to her feet. She had three misshapen faces staring down on him through four terra cotta eyes. And she appeared to be made entirely of shifting sand. He open his mouth and screamed, but she stifled his cry as her sandy fingers pressed closed his lips. The only one to hear him, was sister Jenny.

She opened his door and froze from the sight.

“Ssshhhh,” Sandriel whispered to the terrified boy. “Not yet. I’m the keeper of sleepers and maker of dreams. I’ve been sent to collect you, so there’s no need to scream.”

And with that, one of her faces winked to his sister, with a soft smile on her third pair of lips. Then bent over and kissed him and swallowed him whole. With her job done, she exploded into a dust devil storm. She sifted out the window with her brother in tow, and took him to her dream world leaving Jenny alone.

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Writing Step 4: Creating Your Characters

Writing Step 4: Creating Your Characters
Written by: Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

Every story needs good, strange, unique, and interesting characters. Your characters can be human, robotic, animalistic, spirits, magical, monstrous; they can even be toys or whatever your mind thinks up. You should know the following about your characters:

Name: Names can be symbolic and/or easy to pronounce. You should definitely use names you like. For articles on naming characters visit http://teenwriting.about.com/od/characternames/ Need help in finding a name for your characters then visit http://www.babynames.com/

Physical Appearance: Is the character short or tall? Old or Young? Fat or thin? Athletic or Bookish? Red hair or blonde or brunette? Number of eyes, arms, legs, limbs, etc…? Eye color, style of clothes, etc… Write a brief overview of what each of your main characters look like.

Lifestyle and Attitude: Is your character a jock or a science whiz or a beauty queen or a goth or a warrior or a farmer and so on. Is your character quick to anger or laid back. Is your character honest or a greedy thief or brave warrior or a heartless killer or worse… how does your character behave.

History: Write a brief summary about your characters past; where they’re from, what kind of family they come from, and a few big events that helped shaped them from their past.

Uniqueness/Special Abilities: What makes your character unique? Is it the way they talk, the way they dress, a physical scar or tattoo, do they see dead people, can play a musical instrument, or is it something else that no one else shares.

Goals: What is the characters goal in the story? Is it to gain world power, conquer death, go on a quest, battle evil, find treasure, and so on. Is the character willing to do anything in order to achieve their goal? Murder, steal, lie, cheat, and so on.

Here’s an article on character development:
How To Bring Characters to Life
From Niko Silvester,
Your Guide to Creative Writing for Teens.

Ideally, fictional characters should seem to have lives and existences beyond the novel or story that they appear in, but how can a writer accomplish this task? Below, you’ll find ways to make characters more real, to make them “sit up and start to breathe on their own,” as writer Jack Hodgins says.

Difficulty: N/A
Time Required: As long as it takes
Here’s How:

1. Find the right name. A character’s name can say a lot about them, whether you choose a name with symbolic meaning, or just one that has a good sound. Quite often, characters seem to arrive already named, but sometimes it can take forever to find the perfect thing to call them. The wrong name will probably irritate you, and will never seem quite right, so take the time to choose one that fits.

2. Give the character a history. Even if you never mention a character’s past in the novel or story, the fact that they have one will make the character more alive for you — and that will translate into a more realistic character for the reader. Think about where the character came from. Where did they grow up? What was their childhood like? What things have happened to them?

3. Consider physical appearance. Is your character short or tall? What colour is their hair? Their eyes? These are all details that may or may not make it onto the page, but YOU need to know them. Having a concrete look for a character gives you something to picture while you write about them. Image how hard it would be to write about someone you can’t even picture.

4. Give them a sense of style. We all make judgments of some kind about people based on what they look like. One person’s clothing may tell us they are a Goth, while another person may wear only the most expensive designer fashions. Figure out what kind of clothing and accessories your character wears and why. What does their clothing say about them and what do THEY think it says?

5. Think about tastes. What things does your character like and dislike? What are their favourite foods and colours? The things a person likes can say a lot about them; we may gain hints about their history and psychology. Again, how much of this information you will use in the piece of fiction you write will vary, but knowing your character well means you can write more effectively.

6. Find a unique manner of speaking. While you don’t want every character to have strange vocal quirks or a bizarre vocabulary, making each person speak in a subtly different way helps make each character distinct. Ideally, you should be able to tell which character is speaking without looking at the dialogue tags, but you also don’t want to exaggerate their uniqueness.

7. Think about behaviour and mannerisms. Do you have some little gesture you make when you’re nervous? Do you tilt your head or stick out the end of your tongue when you concentrate? Everyone has little quirks and mannerisms, and so should your characters. As with everything else, you don’t want to overdo it, but a unique gesture or repeated mannerism can give a character more personality.

Tips:
1. Take your time and really think about your characters.
2. Don’t overdo any of the techniques.
3. Remember that many characteristics will appear as you write; you don’t have to fully develop a character before you write about them.
4. You don’t have to use every detail that you discover/invent.
For more articles on character development visit http://teenwriting.about.com/od/characters/

Character Creation Worksheet
Created by: Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

My Characters
Name________________________________ Age_____ Gender________
Color of Eyes _____________ Hair _________ Skin/Fur _____________
Place of Birth ____________________ City/Town __________________
Job or Trade _________________________________________________
Clubs, Clans, or Organizations __________________________________
Physical Apperance and Style ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Attitude ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Uniqueness/Special Abilities _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Family _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
History ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Goals _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


To Hunt the Hunters

I would classify the following piece as a cross between horror flash fiction and superhero flash fiction. The characters were taken from the book I’m currently working on: Seraph Hunters. I hope you enjoy it.

To Hunt the Hunters
Written by: Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

Blurry eyes opened, my head throbbed in pain. What in the blazes? I feel like I’ve been hit by a… “no,” I whispered as my eyes fell on her fallen form. Spitfire was down. And Hellbeast raged against the pack.

It was then that the memories came back.

Werewolf activity had become extreme the past couple of nights, innocent blood stained the streets. It could only mean one thing, a new pack had made our city their home.

We had to act quickly, before the spread of the lycan’s parasitical virus gained an unbreakable foothold.

Our handler, Averus, had broken us up into two groups with one goal in mind: To kill the Alpha. “Frostbite, Soul Reaper, Darkclaw, Thorn you got eastside,” he said. “Pulse, Spitfire, Hellbeast take westside. Remember, this city is counting on you.” Even if they don‘t know it we thought to ourselves. So the hunt began.

We had entered the back alleys of the red light district when it happened. The pack had been cunning, ambushed us from up high. No wonder Hellbeast hadn’t caught their scent in time.

Before I knew it, my head had exploded in pain. I slipped into the darkness of unconsciousness, only to awaken to this sight. Spitfire on the ground, half transformed into her red draic fae form and the powerful Hellbeast, in major rampage mode but badly outnumbered.

I willed the juice to flow, to pulse within my veins as I got to my feet. I felt the flickers of consciousness awakening within Spitfire, felt her rage as she finished her transformation as my mind began to give shape to the energy within me.

I am Pulse, leader of my team of Seraph Hunters and I’ll be damned if we’ll lose this fight to pack of mangy werewolves. Pain filled sounds of howling filled the night as the moon hid behind a shroud of clouds.


Error with Theme fixed at StoryMask.com

I setup my new theme last night, gave it a test drive, and everything was working as it should be. So I was quite surprised to see my site not working properly this morning. Turns out that everything was working fine because I was logged into the system, but as an ‘un-logged’ visitor it wasn’t.

Every time I clicked on one of my stories it would be displayed as a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ with no background image, sidebar moved to the bottom… everything just went ‘wonky.’

This morning I discovered the reason, turns out the box I checked in the options menu that required visitors to be logged in to leave a comment was causing a conflict with the theme I chose. So the remedy was simple, I unchecked the box and now my site (and theme) is working correctly 🙂 Glad I caught that early and I’m happy with the theme I chose.


StoryMask.com Goes Live

StoryMask.com Goes Live!

Just wanted to post a quick news bite to let our readers know that StoryMask.com is now live. I spent the weekend learning my way around the features my new web host offers and I’m proud to say that my wordpress blog is now working!

In CELEBRATION, I wrote up a new piece of Flash Fiction (crossing the horror genre with the superheroes genre) called “To Hunt the Hunters.”

StoryMask.com

Not bad for someone who is still new to the world of blogs and uploading software and themes. Also, our forums are near completion and should be up by the end of the new week. So please stop by and add us to your blogroll if you like what you see. 🙂


The Feast – A micro fiction piece (aka a very short story).

I’ve started a new category on my blog titled: – Micro Fiction. In honor of the new category I wrote a new piece called The Feast. I hope you enjoy it.

The Feast
Written by Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

He lived in a stone mansion. His room on the third floor of the right wing. At night, before bed, he liked to go out on the balcony and look into the old forest. Under the gaze of the new moon it looked blue, magical.

The wind swept up to him from that forest carrying the hint of music and more.

Eyes lit up as a strange intoxicating scent entered him. Hair and skin changed to feathers, mouth to beak, and feet to talons. He spread his powerful wings and gazed in marvel, magical.

He pumped them up and down and hovered over the balcony. His eyes caught sight of other winged shapes, dancing in mid-air, on the edge of the old forest.

Eyes looked on as he laughed the mad joyous laugh of those in a world all their own. He shot out over the balcony towards the old forest. A loud crisp CRACK pierced the beauty of the night as head met concrete, magical (they grinned).

The winged shapes took form as they flocked forth from the edge of the old forest. Their eyes like beads, skin of moss covered bark, evergreen wings, and pot bellied tummies.

Knife-like claws sprouting from branching arms, filled the night wind with rhythmic clacking. Thin limbed legs with root like feet, dangled as they laughed.

They began to sing:

“Ooh it’s so deliciously sweet.
A pot bellied treat!
We’ll eat it up, eat it up.
From its head to its feet.”

They danced circles round the corpse sprawled on the ground and chattered excitedly through rows of splintered teeth. Slowly they descended; bodies trembling and claws clacking in glee as the eldest among them sang out “Let the new moon feast begin.”


Short Story – Night Falls is Officially Entry #23 in the Clarity of Night writing contest.

Short Story – Night Falls is Officially Entry #23 in the Clarity of Night writing contest.
Written by Ben Marroquin
StoryMask.com

It’s official! My short story (Night Falls) is entry #23 in Clarity of Night’s short story writing contest… and the competition in stiff. Please take a moment of your time and read Night Falls at:

http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2006/08/entry-23.html

If you enjoy the story as much as I did writing it, then please let be known by writing a simple comment. It would be much appreciated. Well, I’m off to look for another picture to inspire my next short story. I wish you well in your endeavors.