Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #10

Welcome back readers! It’s already day 10 of my daily writing challenge, and I think this is my longest one yet. The weather is starting to get much better out, which means yard work, but of course I’m more interested in both my major writing projects (When in Doubt and an Untitled Fantasy series) if not finding another article or source for improving my craft.

Total side note: CNN has an online creative writing masterclass bundle for only $30 about ALL the aspects of writing: creating a novel, a kids book, freelance, journalism, editing, publishing, etc. I just bought it, and plan to take advantage ASAP, and HERE is the link to check it out yourself!

Anyways… for today’s prompt, it’s the image below and for my short story: I kind of went on the Sarah J. Maas route and the idea for a young blonde woman in a gorgeous gown and venetian mask ascending the marble staircase, but she’s not there for the reasons many would rationalize.

Enjoy!

~~~

“Deadly Desire”

A portly man in a dark wine colored tunic shoved his way past several other audience members out of his way as soon as the lights for intermission went up. He ignored their yells of protest, and picked up even more speed with his pace until he was just under a jogging pace. He cursed himself for having the bladder of a small rodent, and of course the nearest lavatory was still a small journey.

Outside the theater into the atrium, he descended a grand marble staircase and distracted himself by mentally tallying the cost of the many crystal chandeliers that were lit up upon the high ceilings. He chuckled to himself with satisfaction that the ones back at his villa were more impressive. They better be; he paid plenty for them. 

At last, he made it inside the lavatory and was able to relieve himself. 

Once again, he paid no attention to any dirty looks fellow guests shot his way as he made his way back up the stairs, and didn’t see the young woman as he turned to get around a pillar.

The woman wailed as some liquid splattered all over his front, and he groaned with the shattering of glass on the marble floor. 

“Oh my goodness! My apologies, sir, I should’ve watched where I was going,” she apologized.

“You’re lucky it’s a dark material,” the man fumed while he checked the stains running down his front. “Do you have any idea how much this cost?”

The woman wailed. “I can’t tell you how sorry I truly am, is there anything I can do?”

“As a matter of fact, You—” 

The words died on his lips as he looked up at the woman. She was young with blonde hair in a half-up style, amber eyes widened in fear behind a venetian mask, had amazing breasts on display wrapped in a strapless corset-dress. She had to be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen; never mind she was probably half his age. He thought to himself how women like her would appreciate what men like him could do for them.

He cleared his throat. “You know what? Forget about it, as I tell my soon to be ex-accountants, accidents happen.”

 The young woman laughed with relief plain in her eyes. “Oh my, well is there a way I can make it up to you? I can pay for any damages.”

The man guffawed and patted his gut. “Nonsense! I’m sure we can reach some sort of agreement.”

Her eyebrow lifted at that. “What did you have in mind?”

He wrapped his arm around her bare shoulders and turned her towards the stairway. “Let’s discuss it in my carriage and share a nightcap at my villa. This play is horrendous anyways.”

“If you say so, lead the way,” she replied as she wrapped her arms around one of his. He silently gestured to some attendant to go clean up their mess, hardly making eye contact with the boy as the two of them descended the stairs. 

~~~

The two of them were packed into his carriage, and were already on the cobblestoned street to his villa thanks to the fact that he’d paid his driver handsomely to stick around and wait for him to sneak out like he’d planned on. He was smug as he noticed the woman seemed more impressed with him by the second as she took in his ride. His carriage was spacious, but she settled right next to him on the bench as they rode through the night. 

“You never did tell me your name,” the man pointed out. 

She curled a lock of hair through a gloved finger. “Merindah, sir. My father is a diplomat visiting Cresthaven to secure a new trading agreement with the king. I thought I’d enjoy some of the finer aspects of entertainment your city has to offer.” 

He hardly paid any attention to what she said after she mentioned her father. “That’s absolutely riveting. Can I grab you a glass of wine, since you spilled your last all over me earlier?”

Merindah nodded with a serene smile, and he turned his back on her as he reached over into a side compartment to his secret stash.

“Do you happen to have the paperwork on the Magraven case in there too?” Merindah asked, ever so innocent.

The man scoffed as he reached in further for two flutes. “Of course not, Why would—”

He stopped. How would a visiting diplomat’s daughter know anything about the Magraven case?

Something wasn’t right. 

He frowned as he turned back to her, but a blade against his throat stopped any words from escaping off his tongue. That, and the cloth Merindah shoved in his mouth. 

“Scream, and I end your miserable life right now.” Merindah’s smile dropped, and the dark look she now wore chilled the man to his bones. Her blade edged against his throat, and he gulped, already feeling a thin trickle of blood slip down his Adams apple. 

He was too terrified to even answer.

“I take it you know I’m not really a diplomat’s daughter by now, right?” She whispered against his ear; to anyone who possibly saw the two of them, it’d look like they were a canoodling couple. 

“What is the meaning of this?” he sputtered out. 

“You and several other key players are planning something, and the Magraven case was just the first step, am I right?”

His silence confirmed the answer she’d already suspected. 

“Well, there’s another group that thinks your plans to further separate the classes in order for more money in your pocket isn’t a very useful idea for the wellbeing of everyone, so they hired me and some of my friends to take care of it.”

Sweat beaded down his forehead, and he attempted to shove her off, but she only stuffed the cloth deeper down his throat and stabbed the blade into his thigh. Pain unlike any other tore through him and he bit down on the cloth. 

With a smirk, Merindah dislodged her blade from his leg and returned it to his throat. He was shaking all over, and copper stung his nostrils as he felt more of his blood flowing down his leg and settling into his handcrafted leather loafers. 

He should’ve stayed at that horrendous play…

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #9

Welcome back, and hope everyone has been safe and healthy! For today’s writing challenge, the image of a log cabin was the the prompt selected by Danielle, my friend and other writer participating in these. Obviously, it’s creepy AF and kind of foreboding, so I went with what felt normal and went with a horror route. It’s not what I normally write, and I never got feedback from Danielle, so i’m curious to see what anyone thinks! What did I do right? What needs some improvement? What did you like? Didn’t like? Feel free to comment, or send me a message somewhere.

Enjoy below!

~~~

“Unseen Forces”

To anyone else, it would sound like a simple task that any normal being could do. To anyone else, it would quite literally be a walk in the park…or a log cabin in this case. Walk in, grab a ring, and get out. Simple as that, nothing to worry about right? Easy like Sunday morning, or even just getting out of bed most days.

The only difference here was you absolutely couldn’t look into the eyes of the horror that lived there. 

No one really knows how it came to be or where it came from; it felt like some story told by the campfire or some fairytale kids were told by their parents in order to stay out of the forest at night. Some may look at it as some version of the Boogeyman, the Jersey Devil, or even Slenderman to some; maybe it had no face just like the internet myth. It was hard to say because no one survived long enough to catch a glimpse of whatever used that small bed of land in the middle of those ghostly woods as it’s feeding ground. 

I have no choice but to walk closer towards the cabin. I can’t go back without that ring, but whatever it is, that thing took my wife who carried it with her. 

The ground beneath my feet cracks, so my heart stops and I freeze as my eyes go straight for the ground. I’ve literally never felt my body so tense before, but as I peek up with one eye open, I’m honestly surprised I’m still alive. 

Somehow it’s even more chilling how there’s still absolutely no sound at all. No calls from birds, no other living creature around; there wasn’t even a breeze to move the tree’s. Everything looked dead. Despite what I know, my eyes dart around, almost like I’m expecting to see whatever it is running at me through the trees, but the silence makes it even worse. 

Legs barely able to move and I can finally breathe again, so I manage to make my way closer to the cabin. The fog lifts, as if it’s inviting me to come in closer, and I wish I could do anything else, but I continue ambling up to the log cabin. 

The stairs moan as I ascend, almost like they’re begging me to stop, and I bite my lip. A bead of sweat runs down my brow, and I’m almost tempted to just bolt right inside already, I can’t take any more of the anxiety running through my veins, weighing down my chest, and the paranoia making me picture something like the freakin’ demogorgon jumping at me.

I swear it was like the air froze as I reached forward and clasp the knob, and I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of that creaking door if I can somehow make it out of this alive. 

There’s no movement inside, only dark silhouettes all pushed against the walls. The air was thick with dust and there was a strange odor that instantly made me gag, but there’s still no movement or sound other than my steps as I hesitantly stepped inside…

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #8

Welcome back readers! Just another day in the pandemic that we’re all going through, but my motivation today is that I have Savoy’s pizza preordered and so I excited knowing I have a great dinner on the way! Here’s todays Daily Challenge prompt below, based off the image of a bonfire with friends:

~~~

“Bond-Fire”

On a late August afternoon, Matt walked through the back fenced door into the small backyard, and smiled to himself at all the faces already sitting around a lit bonfire pit. Peter, Tony, and the three other guys they were living with had all sent out a mass text telling everyone who was back at school to come over to their place and have a reunion, and Matt had no idea so many of his friends had returned. 

Eden was the first to notice him walking, so she squealed with joy and rose up out of her lawn chair. Her blunt bangs bouncing in tune with the clap of her flip flops, Matt’s mood continued to rise as she jogged over to wrap him up into one of her signature bear hugs. 

“Oh my goodness! It’s so great to see you, Matt!” Eden gave him a peck on the cheek, and everyone else’s greeting could be heard over the crackling of the fire. “Come, come! Sit next to me, I’m sure we can pull up a chair somewhere.”

“Right here, bud.” Peter gestured to a chair he’d grabbed that’d been resting against the house. “Happy to see you, can I get you a beer?”

“No, I’m fine, but thank you.” Matt sat down and smiled around the fire. “I missed you guys, it’s great to be back.”

Jared grinned from across the circle. “You look like you got plenty of sun, Bedbreaker.”

Matt chuckled. “That’s what being a lifeguard will do to you.”

“So that’s why you’re so blond.”

Madison flipped her long hair over her shoulder as she peered over while sipping on a WhiteClaw. “No way, he totally got some highlights.” She got up to get a closer look at Matt’s scalp, and he squirmed in his seat when she made a satisfied noise in her throat. “I knew it.”

Matt groaned. “Nice to see you too, Mads.”

“Love you, boo.” Madison tossed him an air-kiss before she went back to her chair next to Jared, who’s grin only widened.

“Don’t worry, I think you look pretty neat,” Eden said with a wink.

“I see it now,” Peter said. “But you look good, bud.”

“Well, now that my hair has gotten enough attention, how about we change the subject,” Matt suggested. “Like, favorite summer memory?”  

~~~

I know, I know… it’s not much to go off of. I used some familiar characters I’ve created from my “When In Doubt” project (check it all out above on the main menu), and believe me, there were plenty of similar scenes like the image above when I went to college.

I thought some small plot or conflict would come to me as I started writing, but it just didn’t happen, so I can admit that today’s daily wasn’t all that much of a success. It happens, and I told myself that I’d post the less successful days on here too to maybe show others that not every day is a successful writing day, and there’s nothing wrong with that! To be honest, I’ve been working on my 2nd Draft of my WIP, and my focus was more on that.

Danielle, my cowriter and friend doing these daily’s with me, and I have another prompt for our next short story, and I should have it written later tonight and posted soon!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #1

Hello all you cool cats and kittens, Nick Goodsell here, and like many of you, I am sick of this pandemic that’s taken the world by storm. I’m not going to be yet another person droning on about it, so I’m already going to leave it at that…

Writing has been a huge coping mechanism for me during these crazy times, and has been a great way to not only distract myself, but enjoy the act of creating something for myself, and maybe even someone else can enjoy or be inspired by. A friend and me were talking about stories and the “Choices” role playing app, and discussing my “When in Doubt” WIP when we came up with the idea to do a fun activity of doing daily writing challenges based off a prompt we switch off and personally select. Since this is my personal blog and want to include more writing projects besides just book reviews and fancasts, I thought I’d post mine on here and share with whoever happens upon them!

My friend, Danielle, selected the first prompt and she selected this image to write a short piece about:

Not sure who the artist is, I’d of course credit them if I knew, but the landscape of the shadowy city mixed with old and new gave me an idea of a steampunk-like heist story involving a small group of rogues who need to steal a powerful, magical item from a corrupt Commandant in order to save their city and return their world back to its former glory.

Without further ado, here’s my excerpt:

“The Heist”

This world may be shrouded in darkness, it may be in the creeping shadows that are filled with the unknown faces of soulless, roaring monsters, but no more. Tonight, they’d put an end to it all. 

For too long has the Lord Commandant kept the Alkalian Shield in this world, and for too long has it been a parasite, and has sucked the life from this world in which was once a grand oasis, but now lay in dark and the edge of total annihilation. Paranoia, fear, and chaos have taken over with a brutalistic pull of the trigger, with a twist of cap off a blackhole grenade, and the city of Alpatuan has become the centerpiece for the horror of what everything this world has become. The poster city of desperation, carnage, and near extinction. 

From a nondescript roof of a small factory in the heart of the city, five figures hid in the shadows of its smoke stacks, completely unseen as they watched the streets below while ash continued to fall from the black sky like snow. 

Andrian, a mercenary and the captain of their small rebel crew, narrowed his eyes as he watched three of the totalitarianistic officers corner a woman who was walking completely alone. They were supposed to be the keepers of peace and order, the presence of safety and protection against the crime that was rampant, yet there they were cornering some poor, innocent soul into an alleyway to rob her of whatever she had, and to possibly commit even worse crimes.  

He took a deep breath to keep himself in place once the screaming began. He hates what his home has become.

“Easy, Captain.” 

Andrain turned to Elthea, the shapeshifting assassin who’s head slightly turned his way, and gave her a gruff nod. “I know the plan.”

Her eyes narrowed, but Elthea looked back towards her sector while the others remained stoic and silent at their posts. 

Andrian’s hazel eyes traveled over her lithe form and noted how she’d gone with her darker skin, long ebony hair, and elongated elven ears for the expert hearing she’d need for their mission. She’d widened her hips since the last time he’d seen her, and memories of last night and their night of wicked passion came rushing back to him and caused his blood to flow to all areas of his body. It was a swift, stolen act in the back storage room while they’d all been resting for the task ahead, but lords had it been absolutely thrilling and absolutely mind altering. All three times. 

Andrian swallowed as he told himself that if they survived this night, they’d have to do a couple repeat performances. When he was sure she wouldn’t notice, Andrian squatted in his position to subtly adjust himself without moving his hands from his semi-automatic bronze rifle. 

“Captain, suspicious movement on my end,” Rokanathon, his Skyphos spymaster, warned him from the edge of the roof. With his grey feathered wings, and the winged Skyphos people’s ability to stay as stiff as stone for periods of time, he was a gargoyle as he watched over his section of the city. 

Andrian’s dirty thoughts flashed from his mind, and he flipped the dark locks of hair that had fallen over his eyes back, and crept over to whatever Rokanathon was reporting about without making a sound. All the others became tense, but no one still made a sound as Andrian peered over his spymaster’s large, tucked in right wing. Sure enough, the figure they’d been waiting for maneuvered through the foggy streets; avoiding contact with anyone as their midnight violet cloak stirred in the air around them. 

Andrian scratched his lightly stubbled chin with satisfaction as he witnessed the glowing object the figure carried preciously in their gloved hands. “Good work, Ro.”

Without looking away, he signaled for Elthea, and like she was made of the mist of the early dawn, she was right at his side, her lavender eyes now also trailing who was soon to be her latest acquisition. 

Andrian couldn’t help but give her a teasing bump of his shoulder. “Think you can handle ‘em?”

He could sense her eyes narrow at him, but also knew her lips quirked up into a smirk that would’ve sent chills down his spine if he could see it for himself. The air was stolen from his lungs when one of her needle-like knives appeared at his throat, and the scent of rainfall when it lingered on stone mixed with sea mist intoxicated his senses.  

“I think you of all people know that I’ve got it covered,” she said along his ear, and he tried his damndest not to shiver at the breath he felt lace along his throat. She wasn’t about to have him lose control in front of everyone else, even if she was obviously enjoying watching him squirm. 

Andrian dared to gaze into her eyes, and was both aroused and terrified of the devilish amusement lit in her heated gaze. “Then the plan’s all in motion.” He signaled to all the others to move into the next phase of their heist. “Let’s move.”

That’s all I’ve got for now! What do you think? Feel free to join in and create your own work based off this prompt, we could form some sort of writers community and help each other out!

If not that, if you want to get more into writing, I recommend going out and finding your own prompts and/or writing inspirations to keep those juices flowing! It’s a fun activity to try everyday, and who knows, maybe you’ll find the next Harry Potter in your work

Thanks for reading!

— Nick Goodsell