Waiting Shadows – Semi Finals – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge

Here is my entry for the semi-finals of the NYC Midnight (NYCM) Flash Fiction Challenge. I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy to be assigned ghost story, but I ended up having fun with it. It’s always a hoot to write something creepy around Halloween. (If you care to read about my experience writing this piece, click here.)

As a reminder, I had 48-hours to write a 1,000 word story based on these prompts:

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.20.23 PM

Thanks in advance for reading, and thanks for any feedback you might have!

“Waiting Shadows”

By Jenna Willett

Brief Synopsis: Emma stares outside at the raging blizzard and prays for her husband’s safe return from his hunting trip. Unfortunately, an unwanted guest shows up instead.


The blizzard rattled the cabin. Howling gusts and darting ice slammed into the windowpanes and snuck through cracks in the walls and roof.

Emma rocked back and forth. The dusty floorboards beneath her wooden chair groaned in time with the raging storm. A burning candle bled wax on a table next to her, and cast a faint glow on the withered walls. She stared at the flame’s dancing silhouettes and took comfort in their lively company. She hugged a homespun blanket around her delicate shoulders and focused her gaze across the room, through the window at the dense forest. She prayed for the towering pine trees to stop swaying and bending. To release her from their icy prison.

“He’ll come back.” She shivered and rocked back and forth, back and forth. “He’ll come back.” At any moment, her husband, Jesse, would arrive, sweep her into his arms, and admit she had been right. Hunting during a snowstorm was foolhardy.

A thud outside startled her.

Emma tilted forward and mouthed a silent prayer. It had to be him. Please, let it be him.

The rotting deck squeaked. Emma’s rocking slowed and the blanket slipped. A shadow passed the window. She sat up taller. Please, please.

The shadow paused. Her eyes widened. Her heart swelled…then wilted. Too tall. Too big. Not Jesse. Not Jesse.

The hairs on the back of her neck rose. She glanced down at her lap, at the only remaining weapon she had: a keyhole saw. The rusted teeth on the knife-like tool caught the glow of the candlelight.

A ragged bellow quivered through the tempestuous wind.

Emma looked up. The shadow returned. Puffs of steam fogged the window and a guttural growl echoed through the panes. She leaned over and extinguished the candle’s flame. If the intruder couldn’t see her, it would go away. It had to go away. Wisps of candle smoke coiled and vanished into the dank air. Something sharp scratched the window.

Emma stifled a gasp and wrapped her fingers around the saw’s slim, wooden handle.

The shadow crept away. Its footsteps crunched through the snow until they halted at the front door. She held her breath, closed her eyes, and prayed for the intruder to leave.

The doorknob rattled.

Emma’s eyes flashed open.

Fingernails scrabbled against the wood, and moans drifted through the gap beneath the door. A dry sob erupted from her throat and she shrank into her rocking chair. Where was Jesse? Why hadn’t he come home? Cold and hunger tortured her day and night. He must know that.

Something slammed into the door. Emma winced and straightened. The door shook in its frame, again and again. Thump after thump until—

The wooden barrier burst open and a man staggered inside. “Fucking storm.” He brushed snow off of his massive shoulders and stomped ice from his boots.

A hiss slithered from Emma’s throat.

The man’s head snapped up. He squinted into the cabin’s darkness. “Hello?” His eyes roamed past her and halted on the thin stream of smoke wafting from the candle’s blackened wick. “Someone there?”

Emma glared at the intruder, at his ruddy cheeks and bulging gut. Nothing like Jesse. Her beloved, sweet Jesse.

She squeezed the saw and slid from her chair. The frigid wind blowing through the open doorway flattened her threadbare gown against her skeletal body and lifted her gray, wispy hair. She crouched low, her joints creaking and cracking like the trees in the forest, and willed the man’s attention back to her. Willed him to see her. To feel her desperation and fury.

Why wasn’t he Jesse? She needed Jesse.

The man’s gaze jerked from the candle to Emma. “Shit!” He jumped and grabbed his chest. “You scared me.” A cracked laugh trembled from his lips.

Emma bared her blackened teeth and dug her yellowed fingernails into the saw’s handle.

The man’s grin faded. “Uh…” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I was, uh, hiking and–I didn’t know anyone was–The cabin looked empty from–” He stepped sideways and tripped. “What the…?” He looked down and recoiled. “Holy fuck!” He stumbled away from a pile of bloodied clothes, shriveled flesh, and broken bones.

His horrified expression fueled her rage. He didn’t know how long she’d been waiting, suffering, hoping.

“I–I’m sorry.” His chest rose and fell, faster and faster. “I shouldn’t have–I won’t tell anyone–I’ll go.” He spun around and lunged for the open door.

Emma shrieked and, in a single, fluid motion, launched herself across the room. She slammed the door and pressed her wraith-like hands against its rotten wood.

The man whimpered.

She cackled, swiveled around, and drifted up to the ceiling. Higher and higher. She hovered above him, her shabby gown fluttering and her bony hands caressing the saw.

He backed away. “No, don’t! Please. Just–Shit, wait.” He raised a hand. “Wait. Wait!”

Emma howled and swooped downwards. She landed in front of him and drove the keyhole saw into his gaping mouth. The rusted teeth sliced through the side of his cheek and sunk into the back of his throat. Blood spurted and gushed from the wound and pooled onto the floor. She grinned and shoved the saw deeper and deeper until its vicious point burst through the back of his skull.

The man stiffened and collapsed on top of the other intruders who had given her hope. Yet again. Hope Jesse had come home. Hope she’d been saved from the forest’s frozen grip. From starving to death. From dying alone.

Emma glided to her rocking chair, relit the candle, and scooped up the blanket. She sat down and hugged the moldy fabric to her. The candle’s reassuring glow glinted off the bloody saw in her lap. She sighed and stared through the foggy window. The blizzard raged on and on, howling through the cold, cruel forest.

“He’ll come back.” She rocked back and forth, back and forth. “He’ll come back.”


Round 1: La Jolla

(Assignment: Action/adventure, underwater cave, a dumbbell)

Round 2: Kleine Mäuse

(Assignment: Historical fiction, a secret laboratory, a mouse)

To read more stories, visit the Jen’s Pen Page.

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Ghosts and Chaos – Semi-Finals – NYCM Flash Fiction Challenge

Last week, I found out I advanced to the semi-finals of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015. My first two stories, “La Jolla” and “Kleine Mäuse,” scored me enough points to land me in the top three of my group, as well as the top 240 of the entire competition (1,400 writers).

I was obviously thrilled and honored to advance in the contest, but I was stressed too. On top of being exhausted from work, life, and my novel, I was committed to attending a good friend’s baby shower out of town. It just wasn’t going to be a good weekend to compete in a 48-hour writing challenge.

Still, I had to give it a shot. So, I stayed up late on Friday to see my assignment. I really, really wanted comedy after last round’s intense story. But, instead, I got this:
Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.20.23 PMMy first impressions?

Ghost Story:

A forest:

A saw:

I literally groaned out loud when I saw my prompts. Despite its good timing with Halloween less than a week away, I did not want to write a ghost story. Ghost stories are hard, especially if you’re the kind of writer who strives to be as twisty-turny as possible. Plus, my novel has a ghostly element to it, so I had been hoping for something–anything–that would get me away from that genre.

No such luck.

But, I didn’t have the luxury of time to throw a hissy fit. The clock was ticking louder than ever. I only had Saturday and a handful of hours on Sunday to write, rewrite, revise, and edit my story. So, I had to go, go, go!

I jumped straight into a brainstorm session with my mom. Neither of us could come up with anything great. At one point, I even contemplated writing a funny ghost story since I had wanted to write a comedy. But, my love for horror won out, and I came up with a creepier idea.

Unbelievably, I was able to whip out a first draft on Saturday morning and send it to my mom to read and comment on. She gave me the thumbs up, as well as some suggestions to improve it. I wrote, revised, wrote, and revised the rest of the day. By six that night, I had a good enough draft for beta readers.

I was thrilled!

Well, okay, I wasn’t thrilled with my story. But I was thrilled I’d managed to stay on schedule. At the rate I was going, I’d have the majority of my work done before I left for the baby shower on Sunday.

At 7 a.m. the next morning, my mom showed up to help me implement my beta readers’ feedback and edit the you-know-what out of my story. By the time we left for the baby shower a few hours later, I had a draft worthy enough to submit.

But, I wasn’t ready to submit it, so I took my laptop with me in the car. I was too tired to touch my story on the two-hour drive to the baby shower, but on the way home later, I pulled it out to re-read it, tweak it here and there, and then work on a title and synopsis.

Within an hour, I finished everything and relaxed for the first time all weekend. I was basically done. All I had to do was get home, read it once more, and then submit it.

That’s when my flat tire alarm on my dashboard went off.

I completely freaked out! I was still forty-five minutes from home and in a sketchy part of Denver. I didn’t have the mental energy or time to breakdown and deal with a flat tire. The competition’s clock was still ticking! I couldn’t miss the deadline after everything I’d done.

Thankfully, after a whirlwind adventure of getting off the highway and pulling into a rundown hotel’s parking lot, I discovered I didn’t have a flat…Well, it didn’t look like I had a flat, despite what my gage said on my dashboard. All I could figure was the electronics system had gone haywire.

So, my mom and I drove home. Slowly. It was one of the longest drives of my life. Every bump, every sound, every shift made me tense and break into a cold sweat. I kept waiting for the tire to blow or the alarm on my dashboard to scream at me again…Nothing happened. We made it home just fine.

After a prayer of thanks, I hurried into the house, put the finishing touches on my story, and submitted it.

Then collapsed in relief.

Overall, the weekend ended up being a strange mix of peace and chaos, and I’m not sure what I think about the story I submitted. I’ll admit, it’s not my favorite, but I had fun with it. I can only hope readers will have fun with it too.

As usual, I’ll post my story later this week once we get the green light from NYCM. For now, here’s my title and synopsis:

“Waiting Shadows”
Brief Synopsis: Emma stares outside at the raging blizzard and prays for her husband’s safe return from his hunting trip. Unfortunately, an unwanted guest shows up instead.

Congrats to all those who participated and submitted a story for the semi-finals of the NYCM Flash Fiction Challenge!

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Music Monday – Epiphany – Sweeney Todd

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-music

This past weekend, a fellow writer reminded me how great the musical Sweeney Todd is…Well, disturbing and horrifying, but great, especially when you’re creating a story with disturbing and horrifying elements to it.

Anyway, as I listened to the Sweeney Todd soundtrack on my way to work this morning, I got stuck on one song in particular: “Epiphany”. Again and again I played it, obsessing over its gritty emotions: Rage, malice, revenge, sorrow…

514FLIPCJfLIn addition to its emotions, I find “Epiphany” inspiring because it takes me into the mind of a demented character–a twisted man so full of hate and vengeance, he becomes a ruthless murderer. Which is great!

And necessary.

As much as my imagination thinks it can create insane characters, I need songs like this to develop them properly. I can’t get to those dark places I need to go on my own.

Now, you might be wondering why I need to be listening to a song like this right now. Well, over the weekend, I made a difficult, but surprisingly, exciting decision. I’m not going to start the fourth draft of my YA novel right now. Instead, I’m going to focus on a new project–one that relates to a short story I wrote for an NYC Midnight Challenge. I plan to write a longer blog post to explain my decision, but for now, just know this course of action feels right and I’m really happy to take a step in a new direction. It’s been a long time coming.

Anyway, to get me started on this new novel, I’m creating a fresh “book playlist”. And–surprise, surprise–“Epiphany” will be on it.

So, if you’re looking for a gritty song that brings to life darker emotions, check out “Epiphany” from the musical, Sweeney Todd!

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Boo Hoo – 2nd Round – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

Well, everyone, I’m happy to announce I made it through the second round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge.

Last week, I found out my story, The Ark, advanced me to round two. After doing a little “woo-hoo” dance, I began mentally preparing myself for the shorter deadline (three days, not eight) and smaller word count (2,000, not 2,500).

I actually felt much better going into this round than I did round one. During round one, my entire life had been a mess and I was exhausted from working on my manuscript. This time, my life was–relatively–calm, and I had plenty of energy to get me through the crazy three day deadline.

The whirlwind started on Friday morning. I woke up and looked at my second round assignment:

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.05.25 PM

BLAHHHHHH!

Yep, not gonna lie. I wasn’t happy with my assigned prompts. Even though they didn’t include comedy or romance, I was irritated I’d received “Ghost Story”. In my opinion, it’s one of those genres that’s hard to be original and surprising with–and I pride myself on being both of those things.

Plus, the “statue” and “waitress” prompts were uninspiring and dull to me. I just didn’t feel anything when I saw them.

Luckily, I remembered a concept I’d thought of months ago after listening to Ella Henderson’s song, “Ghost”, and my “blah” transformed into an “ah-ha!” I quickly called my mom and sister to see what they thought of it, and they liked it too. 

Phew! 

During my 40-minute commute–yes, I had to go to work that day, and yes, I was annoyed about it–I brainstormed a general plot so that when I sat down at my desk, I could jump right into things…Unfortunately, work ended up being a lot busier than I’d expected, and I spent most of the day crying on the inside while watching my precious time tick away.

By the time I left work, I’d only managed to write a few paragraphs, and I wasn’t happy with any of them–gah! To make matters worse, on my way home, my sister called to see if I could run a last minute errand with her, and it was an errand I couldn’t say no to. So I ended up losing even more time.

I was on the verge of a meltdown. I’d basically lost one of my three precious days–ahhh!

Once I finally got home, I went straight into hermit mode. I locked my doors, put on my PJs, and huddled up on my couch to write.

I barely made it a third of the way through my first draft when I threw in the towel. You know it’s time to shut things down for the day when you work on the same two paragraphs for three hours. Plus, my house started making creepy sounds right when I reached the ghost scenes. I yelled at it to stop freaking me out and went to bed (and hid under the covers, haha).

On Saturday, I woke up around 5 AM and got to work. I felt much calmer, steadier, and more focused than I had on Friday. It helped to know I had nowhere to go and no obligations to uphold. The day was mine.

By mid-morning I had a first draft. Around the time I finished it, my mom showed up to offer support and provide feedback. I wasn’t expecting this, but I was grateful. My mom is so amazing during these contests. Not only will she help me edit my stories to death, but she’ll give me 100% honest feedback, especially during my early drafts.

If a plot is boring or cliche, she’ll tell me. If a character is annoying or unlikeable, she’ll point it out. If there’s a way to twist things around and surprise the reader, she’ll suggest it. Seriously, without my mom, my stories wouldn’t be what they are. She’s the best ever!

(You are cool, Mom. Thank you!)

Anyway, as I made myself breakfast, my mom read my first draft.

“Well?” I nervously asked once she’d finished.

She was silent.

Oh no…

Finally, she turned and looked at me. “Honestly? I think you could submit this and be fine.”

I. Was. Shocked!

My mom has never said that about a first draft of mine. Usually, she says, “It’s a good start…” Or, “It would be better if you…” Or, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it–at all.”

Her positive feedback dissolved the anxious knot in my stomach and gave me the boost I needed. We spent the next two hours reading through my story to figure out its weak points, and then my mom left so I could focus on a second draft. I was able to finish it by dinner and send it back to her for more feedback. She called me soon after:

“Hey, I read it.” She sounded out of breath.

“Uh, are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She laughed. “I just ran out of breath reading your story. Your ending…sheesh!”

Suffice it to say, she liked it.

We decided to read through the story again over the phone to track down its weak spots–and there were still many. More backstory here, better descriptions there…Thankfully (and miraculously) I was still 500 words under the word count limit, so I had plenty of room to expand and improve things.

By early Sunday morning, I finished a third draft and sent it off to a handful of beta readers. As their feedback trickled in, I noticed the biggest concern was the “ghost story” aspect. Some of my readers didn’t think it would technically qualify.

So, grumbling and mumbling, I went to work rewriting parts to ensure it would qualify…Thank God for Peanut M&M’s. Those little sanity savers are what get me through those beepity-beep! moments.

10359514_10102091520073993_3929706847775812655_n(Seriously, I went through that entire bag over the weekend…Don’t judge me!)

As I worked on infusing more of a ghost flare to my story, my mom showed up to help me in the final stretch of the process. We read the story out loud about a billion times to search for flaws, rework sentences, and chop out words to get it below the word count (because of course I ended up going over the 2,000 limit).

Around 3 p.m., I hit my “I’m over this!” wall and submitted it.

So, another challenge completed and another story in the bucket. Overall, I’m satisfied with its outcome. I’m not sure what others will think of it–I never do–but considering I only had three days and 2,000 words at my disposal (and had to write a blasted ghost story), I’m proud of it.

As always, I’ll be posting my story here once I get the thumbs up from NYC Midnight. For now, here is my title and synopsis:

The Darkness Whispers

Brief Synopsis: Jude, a tormented artist, is haunted by the memory of his murdered muse. Self-loathing, insanity, and terror drive him to the edge of darkness.

Did you participate in the second round of the Short Story Challenge 2015? If so, how’d you do?

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Music Monday – Ghost – Ella Henderson

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicYes, I’m fully aware I’ve used “Ghost” as a previous Music Monday feature. But it was my number one inspiration this past weekend as I worked on my second round submission for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2015, so I had to use it again!

20140430100120!Ella_Henderson_-_GhostLast Friday, I woke up and looked at my assigned genre for round two:

Ghost Story…Gag!

Although it wasn’t the worst genre I could’ve received, it was definitely on my “Do Not Want” list. In my opinion, it’s hard to come up with a ghost story that’s original and surprising. Thankfully, on my way to work, I remembered I’d thought of a concept months before–a concept inspired by Ella Henderson’s “Ghost”.

I ended up watching the music video of “Ghost” over and over again while developing my story. I couldn’t help it. Every time I watched/listened to it, my foggy plot sharpened and my vague characters came to life. Between the imagery, the tone, and the lyrics, “Ghost” had everything I needed to get me motivated to write my story.

Each time that I think you go
I turn around and you’re creeping in
And I let you under my skin
‘Cause I love living in the sin

I highly recommend you watch/listen to “Ghost” by Ella Henderson. It’s great inspiration for all kinds of stories (not just ghost ones).

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Oh, The Horror – Round 1 – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

Well, everyone, I’ve survived yet another round of an NYC Midnight writing challenge…barely.

Let me rewind a little bit…

A few weeks before round one of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2015, I made a promise to myself: I wouldn’t start the competition until I finished the third draft of my novel. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. I had to finish it. I had to!

I didn’t.

Despite my best efforts, I still had two more chapters to write when the first round kicked off on January 16th.

Yeah, I was a little stressed.

Thankfully, the first round of the Short Story Challenge was eight days long, so I had the ability to sacrifice a day to get those last two chapters of my novel finished.

Which I did!

Okay, there was no time to celebrate the fact I’d finished the third draft of my novel. I’d lost one of my eight precious days with the Short Story Challenge and needed to dive right into it. So–after a mini “I don’t wanna!” meltdown–I put aside my fatigue and desire to do nothing, and pulled up my assignment:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.28.57 PM

First thought? WOO-HOO! I’d been praying to get drama, suspense, or horror since those are the genres I’m most comfortable with. Plus, with my low motivation and energy levels, I needed a genre I’d be enthusiastic about. And horror was just the ticket.

Second thought? What the hell is “medical (or health) tourism”? Seriously, I’d never heard of such a thing. Thank God for Google. After a quick search, I figured out medical tourism is when someone visits another country for a health treatment (mainly because it’s cheaper, or because it’s a treatment they can’t get in their home country). I wasn’t thrilled with this prompt. Medical stuff freaks me out and I’m not all that inspired by it.

Third thought? “Oh crap! Hugh from Hugh’s Views & News is in my group!”

Let me explain: A couple of months ago, I encouraged my friend Hugh from the blog Hugh’s Views & News to enter the Short Story Challenge. I assured him we wouldn’t be put in the same group. I mean, come on!  There are 1,400 people in the competition, broken down into 48 groups of 30. What were the chances we’d end up pitted against each other? Huh?

After I screamed, “NOOO!, I laughed and emailed Hugh, because, really, it was hilarious. And also kind of cool. Even though it stinks to have to compete directly against a friend, it’s nice to know someone in your group. It gives you someone other than yourself to cheer for. (“Goooo Hugh!”)

So, anyway. Once I stopped shaking my head over that, and I figured out what the heck “medical tourism” was, and I drank a lot of coffee, I got to work.

Luckily, my story’s concept came to me almost instantly…Don’t worry, it wasn’t about a Frankenstein surgery gone wrong.

As fun as that idea might’ve been, I had a feeling a lot of my competitors would take that kind of approach, so I went in a different direction…Hopefully it’s a direction others didn’t think of. *fingers crossed*

On Sunday, I started and finished a butt ugly first draft and sent it to my favorite and most critical beta reader: my Mom. As expected, she didn’t love it and she had a lot of issues with it–just as I did. So, we had a long brainstorming session to iron out the kinks and come up with some much needed solutions.

After that, I felt better about the general plot and my two main characters. I sat back down at my computer and started over. And I worked allllll week long writing, rewriting, revising, editing, tweaking…

To be honest, it was a downright painful process. Even though I love horror and I liked my idea, I had smashed into a wall and fallen beyond my breaking point.

Having worked non-stop on my novel for over a month, my willpower was close to zero. And everything hurt: my head, my eyes, my wrists/forearms. Every time I sat down in front of my computer, I’d make it a few words and then want to quit and go to bed.

To make matters worse, I decided to take on a subject I wasn’t prepared to. And it’s a subject I have deep personal convictions about, so…yeah. I was in a constant battle between me and my characters. I had to figure out how to word things that would  satisfy all of us.

By Wednesday night, I had a decent enough draft to send back to my Mom. I also sent it to my sister since she–after helping with a few of the kinks I struggled with most–wanted to give some input.

My sister’s feedback: “I LOVED the last line. Loved, loved.” I almost cried when I read that because I had no idea how to end the story. I’d written that last line on a whim. But after her enthusiasm for it, I knew I’d keep it and use it as my guide while trudging through the end’s fuzzy murk. Yippee for clarity!

And then I read my Mom’s feedback: “It doesn’t feel urgent enough. And I think you should change this and this and this…” I did cry then…Okay, not really. But her critique pushed me to the brink of an epic meltdown.

But, once again, I gave myself a mental slap and went back to work. And by Friday morning I felt confident enough to send my story to three more beta readers (all writing pals this time). Each one gave me incredible feedback and helped me chop down my 2,700 worded story to the word count limit of 2,500.

I’ll admit, a couple of my betas made some suggestions that would’ve required rewriting large portions of the story, and I ignored them. Because I just didn’t care.

Yep! Talk about a horrible attitude. And I’ll likely pay for it when I start getting my feedback from other readers. Oh well. I just didn’t have any fuel left in the tank to deal with those big changes.

On Saturday, I edited my story once more and then submitted it.

And CRASHED!

I spent the rest of the weekend napping on the couch and watching episodes of “The Good Wife”. It was pure bliss.

Now, as you might imagine, I’m not all that confident with my story and I don’t know if it’ll be good enough to advance me to the second round in March. But, whatever! I’m just proud of myself for not giving up, fighting through my exhaustion, and submitting something.

As usual, I’ll be posting my story here once we get the thumbs up from NYC Midnight (which should be today or tomorrow). For now, here is my title and synopsis!

The Ark

Brief Synopsis: When Becca picks her mom up at JFK Airport, she discovers she was diagnosed and treated for cancer while overseas. Their train ride home is fraught with bickering, accusations, and death.

Dun, dun, dun…

Yeah, okay. I know my synopsis is vague. But I’m stickler for spoilers and I didn’t want to spoil anything with this one 🙂

Did you participate in the Short Story Challenge 2015? If so, how’d you do?

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Music Monday – Tomorrow Belongs To Me – Cabaret

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicFor quite some time, I’ve debated about sharing this week’s Music Monday choice with you. It revolves around a controversial topic that I’ve been scared to connect myself with in any way.

However, I’ve realized many songs are controversial in their own way, and just because I like one doesn’t mean I agree with its message. In fact, I so strongly oppose this song’s message, it’s exactly why I love it. “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” from the musical Cabaret makes me angry, sick, and horrified…which, let’s face it, is an excellent combination of emotions to feel when creating a villain and/or conflict, right?

10278_show_portrait_largeTo put it simply, this song is evil. It might not sound like it. Actually, when you first hear it, you’ll likely think it’s beautiful and sweet–motivational, even. But once you stop and listen to the lyrics, you’ll quickly realize what’s being sung about and your stomach will drop and your heart will sink.

The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
But soon says the whisper, arise, arise
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

cabaret_tomorrow_belongs_to_meYes, this song is about the rise of The National Socialist Party before World War II, and yes, it’s downright horrible.

“Tomorrow Belongs To Me” drips with supremacy, arrogance, and bloodlust. What makes it even more disturbing is the actor who performs it in the video below. The fact that he basically has the voice and face of an angel makes it a hundred times creepier and sickening.

So, if you’re looking for a song to inspire the evilness and corruption in your story, listen to this one.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

Photo credits: 

http://michaelgalvis.com/

http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/studio54/cabaret.php

http://cinema-fanatic.com/2013/02/04/oscar-vault-monday-cabaret-1972-dir-bob-fosse/