The Dare -A glimpse at the supernatural


He lay haunted by the shapes that lurked in the dark, calling him over to the other side. The shadows marched a cadence around him, cackling at his fear. He receded farther and farther in his closet embracing the skeletons that shared his fears, till he could take it no longer. He reached for the revolver in the silver box – the one handed down to him by his father who died in the war. Placing it at his temples, he held in a breath as he pulled the trigger.

*********

Marian wiped a tear from her cheek as she stood over a dark coffin that was being lowered into the ground. She took a handful of the mud and spread it over the casket – her other hand tightly gripping tulips that she knew he loved. She dropped them and turned away – shoulders shuddering with sorrow. Someone placed an arm around her and led her away.

***********

Marian had gone to the basement two weeks ago, but never came up again . The lawn was overgrown, the chipped paint began to fall and the mail collected in the abandoned mailbox. The familiar mailman, out of curiosity, walks up the door and gives it a good rap.
“Marian?? Anyone home??”
He lodges a missing persons complaint with the police.

************

Detective Arthur Mead looks at the weakened wooden door.
“Piece of cake” he grimaces at the constable by his side.
“On three…” he whispered. “1… 2…”
And with a mighty shove, he brought down the door.

Marian was rolled up in a fetal position, hidden in a dark corner behind a closet. Detective Arthur steps in and reaches out a reassuring hand toward her.
“Don’t…” a voice straggles out.
Constable Harris flashes a light at her face and is shocked to see the red capillaries pulsing across her eyes. She puts up a hand defensively and the Detective looks at the heavy closet.

**********

Chalked tallies marked up to 14 lined the sides of the dark closet. Shining the light around the room, Harris notices the various scraggly drawings of some creature with glasses.

“Apparently, this thing – whatever it is – has been haunting her, and I’d say for 14 days judging by those tallies.” The detective stooped over broken pieces of chalk that lined the ground, as Constable Harris shone a light for him. A sudden movement catches Arthur’s attention and he flipped his head toward Marian.

***********

Marian arched over them, revolver in hand. The Detective’s sharp eyes notice that it was the same Colt army revolver that was also used by the man who had shot himself two weeks ago. But this was no time for detections or associations. Marian had the revolver propped boldly against the Constable’s forehead.

“Don’t do it, Marian. You know you’re better than that,” said the Detective in a calm voice. Marian merely shook her head and looked down.

When she looked up again, she wore a smug grin. She looked directly into the Detective’s eyes and as quick as ever, pulled the trigger – over her own temple.

*********

Blood and gore splashed across the pale cream wall. The forensics looked at the revolting sight with disgust.
“This isn’t a soap opera. Get to cleaning,” boomed the voice of the detective.
23 year old Adrien swallowed the wave of nausea that struck him. This was his first major assignment and the bloody gore triggered a nauseating wave of repulse that he never faced in five years of lab examinations. He looked away from the gory scene and his eyes picked out a thick book embedded in the junk that flowed around the closet.

**********

“June 24 – Elliot seemed really disturbed at work today. I tried to talk to him but he just pushed me away. I wonder what’s on his mind? I should probably pay him a visit.

“June 26 – I stopped over at Elliot’s and I’m really worried for him. I heard a lot of crashing and banging. Should I go to the police?? But what if…? I don’t know. Maybe I should just give him some time.

“July 1- I can’t take it in. How could Elliot do this to himself??? If only I would have informed the cops that day! If only I could have been there for him. I’ll never forgive myself!

“July 3 – I was silly to be afraid. Elliot visits me everyday. He’s closer to me now than he has ever been. He taunts me constantly but he dotes over me. He doesn’t want me to leave the basement. I’m satisfied here. I’ll stay for as long as he wants me here.

“July 4 – Elliot asked me to light a candle and he would speak over it. I did, and he told me that his father’s spirit had been visiting him very often. His father had died in the war but his spirit wouldn’t rest after the violence and chaos he had seen. Elliot says that his father’s spirit violently roams his mansion seeking to avenge the young blood that soiled his country’s battlegrounds. Elliot’s speech was too abstract for me to understand but I do feel that spirit of violence around me, knocking around the books on the shelves.”

Adrien looked up from reading the diary. No one was in the room. The muffled conversation of the Inspector with the Detective sounded, from outside the basement door. Adrien was uneasy being alone with the corpse of the poor woman. A shiver ran down his spine and he took a step over the body towards the door when he stumbled over apparent nothingness and was tossed to the ground. His head struck the edge of the closet and he lay for a moment on the floor waiting for the delirium to pass. It felt like all the objects on the shelves swam over his head.

He blinked twice but the objects wouldn’t move away. He suddenly felt the cold steel of the silver revolver over his temple. He tried to speak but choked. He felt paralyzed. Unable to move his hands, he tried to turn his head from side to side. A powerful force locked his jaw, and he heard the rattling of the cans in the distance. Suddenly, the trigger pulled.

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A Room of Her Own


“… and then she looked around at the faces around her. They were supposed to be family but she had never felt more alone. Their eyes judged her every move, heads shaking disdainfully at her. The voice that she thought was protecting her was only in her head. All she heard was…”

“Footsteps!” yelled Ide, alarmed.

I rushed to shut the journal I was writing in and the pen flew from my hand. It landed beside the door frame just as Father walked in.

“What are you doing? Are you writing?”

“No, I was just tinkering with something I read earlier, that’s it.”

“What do you need the pen for?” he said as he picked it up and walked out of the room.

“Now he’s going to be suspicious about what I have been doing! It’s not fair!”

I kept the journal under my pillow and pulled out a book with an ambiguous title. When I was sure I was alone with Ide, I put away the book and sat up straight. “You remember when we read Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’? I loved every single thing that she wrote and the way she wrote it. But I never thought it could be applied today. We’re living in an urban society in the 21st century. Surely women are free to do whatever they wish, and they are given equal opportunities.”

Ide looked at me pathetically. “That’s just an impression created by media and you know it. It’s a cycle. People have their own ideologies but they look at media and they think that’s how they should behave but, that’s just a masquerade. Put them in a life-or-death situation, and they will reveal their true colors.”

“But giving me false hope and then pulling the rug from under my feet? I don’t think there’s anything crueler. They are always so guarded about what they say around me and then there’s all the apprehension about what I am doing all the time!”

“They’re just worried that your isolation may be driving you crazy. They think that you have all these unresolved thoughts that you share with no one and you may be going cuckoo.”

“Are you saying I’m crazy?” I got up and looked in the mirror.

“I’m just saying that you need to cover up your tracks better. You think that writing is your release, your vent. For all you know, they might have read something you wrote. And I’m not the first to tell you that you do follow the unconventional,” Ide walked out of the room.

I heard my name being called, and left the room frustrated.

I felt like I was in an interrogation room. Mother and Father sat across from me like a panel. Something was up. The air suddenly became thick and stifling.

“We’re concerned about you,” began Mother.

“Worried, in fact,” interrupted Father, but kept quiet after one stern glance from Mother.

“About what?!” I said, a tone more hostile than I intended.

“That right there. You seem to have something on your mind all the time, and you spend a lot of time in the room, when we’re out here. You never stay in the same room we are. And you’re always writing in that book! What do you even write about?”

“Does it matter? Just tell me what you want,”

“You need to watch your attitude, first of all. But you need to get out of that room. You are secluded and you isolate yourself from the world…”

I said nothing. In fact, I tuned out the entire speech. I couldn’t care less what they said. I wanted to get out of the room and run away. Virginia Woolf was right. A woman needs a room of her own – one with a door and a deadbolt on. I wasn’t pushing anyone out, I just needed my space.

“…and all that getting into your head must be driving you crazy!”

“What?”

“We’re not saying you’re crazy but you seem to talk to yourself and you have these mood swings and when you go out, you’re a different person than you are at home.”

“I don’t talk to myself! I only talk with Ide and you know that! Where’s Ide?” I was tipsy from the surge of blood rushing to my head.

“What are you talking about?” asked Mother and Father looking truly disturbed.

Ide stood in front of the mirror, staring at me.

“What are they talking about, Ide? They think I’m crazy! Say something!”

My eyes suddenly looked at her reflection in the mirror, or lack of one. The room swam around me into a mocking face. When I looked back, Ide was gone. Ide was never there. The face mocked me, “You thought Ide was real? I-D-E: I Don’t Exist!”


if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Lesson 2: Combating Writer’s Block


A beginner can face all kinds of troubles when it comes to writing their first work. In spite of your age, when you are first instilled with the idea to write, the self-confidence that goes along with it is very important for your follow-through. It would become very easy to give up especially after you’ve hit your first writer’s block.

Writer’s block is only a part of the process. The best way to combat this is to write when you are most inspired – this could be at any time of the day including 2 a.m. Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, “One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.” The first paragraph is also important in luring the reader into the story.

If you usually sit down to write at 9 p.m. daily after your chores and realize that you’ve hit a block, try writing at a different time of the day – maybe earlier in the morning. Make sure you follow the writing habit closely every day. Keeping a gap will only create disjointedness and make you lose your flow of thought.

The best source of your inspiration is other writers. Therefore, read for inspiration. If you find yourself stuck in terms of language, you can gain inspiration from any piece of good literature. To go a step ahead, read a bit of the classics. The contexts and settings of the Classics always use beautiful language; it may help you think more creatively. However, if you are stuck with regard to concept, you may have to continue doing your research.

Sometimes, you have the idea of your plot, but you reach a roadblock on how to phrase it in the most appealing way possible. In this case, write down your story in its most crude form. When you have a mental map of all the roads and alleys your plot may take, you will be much more ready to begin writing your story.

Set a timer for half-an-hour or fifteen minutes and try to write an essay on a simple topic. Then, grade yourself according to your standards of vocabulary, originality and creativity. This exercise can help you in the long run.

Don’t force yourself to write when you see that the effort is going nowhere. Take a break and immerse yourself in something completely unrelated. Give it time.

The most effective way, if you can access it, is to find a writing mentor. Show them manuscripts and journals so they get an idea about your writing style and can help guide you better.

Take physical care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep and drink a lot of water so that you have more than sufficient oxygen flowing through you. Take a walk or jog for a while so you have the blood circulation in your brain gets your creative juices flowing.

Writer’s block can hit the best of us. I’m talking about Coleridge, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Tolstoy, Woolf and Mansfeld who all faced writer’s block.

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’… And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” – Maya Angelou

A Curious Case of going back to basics


“Writing is not everyone’s cup of tea.” See? I told you, I just used a cliché there. Now that probably just annoys you. It’s okay. Some clichés are annoying. See what I did there? I just used 5 short sentences to pitch a simple idea. So, you agree with me? Writing can get a little tedious.

Writing is not difficult. Fine writing is.

You’re probably saying, “What, that’s a thing now? First we have fine dining and fine art and now fine writing?” Not exactly. Fine writing has existed since man could write. Fine writing got Chaucer or Bacon featured as canonical literature. Fine writing is subjective. It depends on what you enjoy.

Now, if you haven’t stopped reading this yet, I can assume that you are into writing and you probably have a decent collection of books. (Even if you don’t, it’s fine. You soon will.) Grab any random book off the shelf and read the first sentence. (If it has a prologue, skip it).

I just picked ‘The Good Lord Bird’ by James McBride. More like something I would read for my American Literature class, but…

“I was born a colored man and don’t you forget it. But I lived as a colored woman for seventeen years.”

Has it got you hooked? Do you have a vague idea about the book’s theme? What point of view are you using? Is it working for your novel? Wonderful. Great job, McBride – you modern day Mark Twain!

Let’s try another one.

This time I get ‘Charleston’ by Alexandra Ripley. Ooh, Romance.

“The wide street was quiet and deserted under the scorching sun. The leaves on the vines and trees in its gardens hung limply; even the birds had no strength to sing in the heavy, sticky air.”

Has it set the scene? Beautifully. Is it short and precise, while setting the scene? Most definitely. Do you have a vague idea about the book’s theme? Not quite, but you are intrigued enough to continue, are you not?

Since we are starting from scratch, I recommend the first step – analyze a little writing. If you liked a certain paragraph in a book, figure out what made it so intriguing. Do not dissect it to the point where it loses its essence. Read it once. What stays in your head after a while? A particular sentence? An image that was described in words? Could you hear the dialogue happening? Could you see the incident? Were you involved?

Please leave your experiences as a Comment. I’ll let you in on a deal in the next post.

Here are few examples (of careless writings)


(Disclaimer: I do not own the content given below. This content is taken purely from http://www.bbctraining.com/onlineCourse.asp?tID=5487&cat=2772 although abridged slightly)

While writing, it’s obvious, you must know what you want to say. Although obvious, people do seem to stray from this central point quite unintentionally. Here’s an example: For the second time in six months, a prisoner at Durham jail has died after hanging himself in his cell.”

This seemingly strange ability to die more than once is also illustrated in this headline: “A suicide bomber has struck again in Jerusalem.”

The afterlife seems to exist according to this writer: “Sixty women have come forward to claim they have been assaulted by a dead gynecologist.”

It’s essential to remember the subject of the sentence. For instance, ” The police in Hounslow, west London, were so concerned about a surge in street crime that they carried out a survey to discover why.” or ” A walker crossing Tower Bridge spotted the body – it’s understood he was about five-and-a-half and Afro-Caribbean.”

Lack of thought produces sentences such as: “It’s a sad and tragic fact that if you’re a farmer you are three times more likely to die than the average factory worker.”

An item on Bank Holiday traffic problems offered this unlikely spectacle: “There’s an overturned tractor trailer heading north on the M11”.


The key to good writing is simple thoughts simply expressed. Use short sentences and short words. Anything which is confused, complicated, poorly written or capable of being misunderstood risks losing the reader.

Have a cool day! B)

Writing – A Fundamental way to Express Yourself


(Note :  This is written from an amateur’s point of view and not to be taken significantly)

Writing – be it reviews, essays, dissertations, letters, books – all require quite a lot of ability and also, knowledge on the concerned topic. Extensive researching on a topic takes time which is why it is important to keep oneself informed on significant happenings. Reading is a great head-start – if newspapers are unaccessible, its good to stay updated through the internet (subscribe to an online periodical…). ¶ Here are a few tips to remember while writing anything:

1) Avoid repetitions. When we know only a little about the subject concerned, we tend to repeat a sentence in different ways, while all the time, the same message / meaning is being conveyed. This must largely be avoided in formal English writing where brevity is much appreciated.

2) Clarity in Language. One must find a way to effectively convey a message with simple clear lexicon. Sometimes, we do tend to invite that sudden vibe of writing and academic English – truly irresistible, however, clarity in such a context is much more important. Although, yes, creative writing does appreciate these vibes of irresistible writing.

3) Stick to Word limits. Yes, again, we do get carried away and keep writing paying no heed to word limit obstacles – that is until it’s too late. You suddenly realize you’ve exceeded the word limit and need to start over. It’s important to remember that brevity is very essential. After you’re done, go through your passage and find out the points that are repeating, and points that can be clubbed together as one. It’s always recommended to follow the CODER formula –

Collecting your ideas

Organizing your ideas into an Outline

Draft a rough passage

Edit the passage

Review.

Make short notes of the content on a separate rough sheet, organize these points appropriately and draft your work. However, if you’re pressed for time, you may think that following CODER may be out of the question, true, in such conditions, it is essential to take a minute and organize the important points in your mind before presenting it on paper.

4) Short sentences. No one likes to read long sentences whose meaning suddenly gets out of hand and in the end, you’re all muddled up. In such situations, it is important to fragment the sentence to form two meaningful sentences.

5) Punctuations, Spellings and the related. Definitely, it is extremely important to check your work for mistakes in spellings, grammar, punctuation marks – those verbs and nouns ( For example, the term ‘author’ is widely known as a noun, and there are controversies over its usage as a verb – avoid using such controversial terms such as authored or authoring). So bring out that proof-reader in you and skim your work for such mistakes. Remember: Use capital letters in the appropriate places.

I understand that examples are required, hopefully that will be the next post.

Till then, have a great day… 😀 !