August 31, 2023 Story of the Week

As we say in the trade, here’s a little backstory…

Last spring I decided to broaden my horizons a bit, so I signed up for a fiction writing class at the local junior college. Since I’d never had any formal training when it came to prose writing (unlike all of the screenwriting training I went through), I figured why not see what it might be like to be in a class where I might have to come up with more than 101 words. I ended up writing a few eight-page stories (in the 3,800 word range) which gave me the confidence to think I might be able to expand my storytelling a bit.

Maybe I should’ve stopped there, but last week I started taking the novel writing class at the local JC. There’ll be plenty of time to tell you about my plans in future posts, so for now I just thought I’d share our first writing assignment (instead of the usual 101’er). We were given a visual prompt (the below picture) and told to use it to create whatever kind of story we wanted. There was no length given, but the instructor said he only wanted us to turn in the first page.

With that in mind, here was my page (all 217 words of it).

                 Research Interrupted

Until the transformation is complete, I better not turn around. Keep walking. Don’t let them see my face until the modified gills disappear and I look like their species.

In the meantime, continue to send atmospheric samples. Now that my orientation download is complete, I recognize the wet smells of the forest. Purpose: unknown. Analysis continues.

I walk with arm out and thumb up. The download did not explain the significance, only that if I do this, I will most likely blend in. I take notice of the unusual solid surface below my feet. Why don’t the inhabitants travel below it?

A puddle of an unknown liquid substance draws my attention. I veer off course to investigate. Could this be the portal I’ve been looking for? I step into it and my foot sinks down, oozing into a spongy, dark material that covers my boot. I bend over to evaluate when a transport vehicle stops.

“Josh—get out of the mud. If your father sees you mistreating your new boots, you’ll be grounded. And snap out of that trance. No more sci-fi for you. It’s ruining you. Get home.”

She drives off and my tentacle extends. I quickly collect and transmit today’s sample. That was a close call. Too close. My time here can’t end soon enough.

Alright, kids. That’s all I got for you today. I’ll keep writing, you keep reading, and we’ll get along just fine.

Scotty out!

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