Arlock writes (personal). An outlet for Glossolalia

Posts tagged “writing exercise

Autobiography Challenge

Writers Challenge #AutoBio-Challengeself-delusion

A multifaceted, multi-genre mini-autobiography.The challenging part is that these have to be short, matching the theme, and recognisably autobiographical. Feel free to tag a friend.
My Life: As a Tragedy
My Coffee is always cold and the chocolate has usually melted.

My Life: As a Sci-Fi
I now store my memory in the cloud. My meat-brain is only for analysis.

My Life: As a Romance
I met ‘the one’. Never looked back, or around, since then.

My Life: As an Urban Fantasy
There are creatures in the walls. As long as I leave them alone, they ignore me.

My Life: As an Epic Fantasy
I have lived. I have conquered. I wait now, on my mountain, for death.

My Life: Literary Fiction
In Korea I learnt English, in Knosis I felt awe. All across the world, the people I see have more in common than they do in differences.

My Life: Non-Fiction
How to write in snatches at your day job, without being fired.

2 Lines of Horror (Pt4)

A little something appropriate to the season…

Sometimes, in the name of scientific exploration, we push the boundaries to try and get to the truth. Now after my 132nd consecutive day without sleep I’ve reached the point where I can see the terrible things that lurk between the cracks in reality and I fear that they are becoming aware of me.


2 Lines of Horror (Pt3)

A little something appropriate to the season…

The laughter itself doesn’t worry me, it’s a friendly chuckle, almost sweet really. I just wish it wasn’t coming from the drains.


2 Lines of Horror (Pt2)

A little something appropriate to the season…

There is a form of pure evil that can not be denied, cannot be constrained, can not be fought. It’s why I no longer have any mirrors in the house.


2 Lines of Horror (Pt1)

A little something appropriate to the season…

Every night I make sure the windows and doors are locked. I’m terrified that one night they’ll get out.



Abyss – Consult a Developmental Editor

from SMBC

While They Sleep

Writing Exercise: Describe a place. Use no characters or dialogue.

Dark corridors stretch as far as the eye can see. At least they would, had anyone been present to see. The dull red glow of emergency lighting provided the only illumination and would reveal nothing to an observer beyond miles of untreated metal panels and non-slip flooring. The air itself is stale and lifeless, carrying only suspended dust particles and the scent of exposed steel. Here and there an exposed wire pokes out from the unsealed intersection of ceiling and wall, breaking the monotony.

There are few sounds out here, so far from the unceasing engines. Sometimes those exposed wires will spark, disturbing the silence and adding a faint scent of ozone to the already metallic air. Then the accompanying puff of smoke will drift through the red lighting, like a ghost trying to escape this sterile limbo and out into the dark void of space beyond. Rarer still is the occasional echoing clang of an external impact, an ancient traveller shattering itself against the reinforced walls.

There is a strange grandeur to this spartan desolation, not only in the sheer scale of this facility but in its very nature. It staggers the mind to think that flesh and blood creatures, took the metals of their world and hurled them into space to form a new artificial home. Creatures that would never survive the harsh coldness of space had stolen the bones and breadth of the world that birthed them and had created something wholly new, wholly unnatural. Yet this Frankenstein’s monster of science and desperation may well be all that stands between us and extinction.

Description Exercise. Same setting, different viewpoint.

1. Describe a party from the point of view of a soldier on leave from a war zone. Don’t mention the war or the fact he is a soldier.

She had only recently returned to the tedium of suburban life, and the invitations to social events were already becoming a burden. These housewives with their shiny cars and sticky children, their petty feuds and narrow worldview chipping away at her forced calm.  “Obligation, it is the price of acceptance”, she muttered to herself in the corner, desperately clutching a Vodka and Orange that is more vodka than orange.

A loud bang sends her pulse racing, senses suddenly on alert. But the call of ‘Taxi’ comes in from the patio, along with forced socially acceptable laughter. It’s an old joke, from a culture she no longer understands, loud sudden noises should evoke fear, not tired chuckles. She wants to shake these people, rub their faces in fleeting nature of their existence, but that isn’t what a good guest does.

Around her the social tango spins on, its a tune she can remember but no longer understands, the rhythm jars, each note seems false. She wants to scream at them, open their eyes to the real world around them and pull them out of the shared domestic fantasy they are lost in. Instead she takes another gulp of the bitter juice, finding to her surprise that the glass has emptied itself again.

Between her and the kitchen, lies the gauntlet of the young single community men. Young, smug little shits with their tennis shoes and know-it-all attitudes. Worse still are the divorcees mingled amongst them, privileged suburbanites with BMW’s and wandering hands. They are here for her, invited so that they can assess the single woman who has foolishly entered their hunting grounds. She gathers the tattered remains of her courage and moves forward, forcing a smile, knowing that they won’t notice that it doesn’t reaches her eyes. Beyond them lies the drinks cabinet and the blessed vodka that makes these gatherings bearable

2. Describe the same party from the point of view of a child. Don’t mention the child.

This was supposed to be a party, but it didn’t feel like a party. Lots of people standing around talking about things that make no sense, big words and long pauses while others nod agreement. Sometimes people would move from one group to another, sometimes a whole group would collapse and the people in it would reform in another place. It was like watching bubbles in a sink, the groups moving, bursting, reforming.

There was music too. Old, slow stuff that he had heard before but didn’t recognise. It was playing quietly and no one was dancing, so he wasn’t sure why it was on. Sometimes someone would turn the music up for a song but someone else would turn it right back down again because it made it harder to argue about ‘politics’, and ‘batting averages’.

There was cake earlier, full of cream and strawberries. It was left in the middle of the big table so that you could come back and have as many pieces as you want. That had been the best bit of the whole thing. Far better than having to wade through strangers smelling of smoke and dead flowers.

In the back of the biggest room, in a corner between the door and the indoor plant, there was a sad looking lady. She didn’t join the groups, she just smiled at people and occasionally went into the kitchen and back. One time she left her seat and he switched his empty glass with her full one, but it tasted like the juice had gone off, so he poured it out on the plant.


Description Exercise

Take an image, describe it through different genre filters


As a spoof.

A pimple of a mountain, an acne scar on the face of Gaia, that’s what this place is. People take one look at this place and head to more civilised areas, bemoaning their traitorous tourist guides. They leave behind only their dust, while the moon looks down myopically at the tiny people, a judgemental eye in a gaudy blue face.


In a romance.

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Away from the noises, and distractions, and failed relationships. This place would be an escape, a return to simplicity, if only for a few days. Just the two of them, alone together under an endless sky and a shy moon. The warmth of the rocks, pure in their ochre tones, was a warm welcome. In this ancient place, maybe something new could be awoken.


A suspense story.

It sits a hundred miles from anywhere, its secrets hidden from the world by virtue of sheer isolation. Somewhere in a deep crevice, guarded by the sheer approach and broken terrain, a world-changing discovery waits. The mountain is patient though, it has waited since before mankind began to record its words. For now, it sleeps under a blue sky until it can reveal itself and change history as we know it.



Harsh stone, broken only by the occasional appearance of a stunted tree struggling to survive. There was no easy path and no sanctuary from the scorching sun. This was an unforgiving land, a stranger to both rain and hope. Here mercy was a quick fall and slow lingering death as the sun claimed its sacrifice. Bleached bones giving mute testament to how often that mercy was granted.

Last Post

We start with two characters in a room. A basic writing exercise starting with the line…

‘There’s something happening out there.’


Telling through description

It was hot:

The Acropolis seems to shimmer, slightly out of focus, its ancient stone reflecting the sun.

Around us gawking tourists suck greedily on their water bottles, reconsidered their choice of leaving the sanctuary of air-conditioned hotels. It is 10 am, and the only shade is claimed by the feral dogs.

The rain was heavy:

It advanced across the city-scape, looking like a grey curtain, sounding like a stampede. Trees bent under the assault, while tourists fled for the dubious protection of their tour bus.

The moon was shining:

Colours were washed out, the edges of things seeming sharper. Here, away from the street lights, the shadows danced. They were darker and more primal than those that lived under the sun, more solid, more alive, children of a silver mother.

Our meal was delicious:

…used the last crusts of his bread to mop the remaining sauce off the plate. If there hadn’t been so many potential witnesses present, he probably would have licked it as well.

His drink was sweet:

…took a sip and gagged. “What is this, sugar water? Get me a real god damned drink!”

The office stank:

A thousand careers had come here to die, their corpses contributing to the fetid miasma of the room

Tomorrow: Observing a stranger

3:15 on a Sunday and Cody has pulled the McCafe shift again.He’s bored, its obvious from the burnt coffee and excessive foam. Even with penalty rates its hard to be enthused on a subsistence wage.

There aren’t many prospects here, not in this town. If he could be brutally honest with himself he feels there aren’t any prospects in his life at the moment.

Back at home there is a girl named Tara waiting for him, but she may be waiting forever for that ring she wants. That’s Cody’s life in a nutshell, he’s got the McDonalds bug. He wants it up-sized, he’s going to upgrade to the dream, and he wants it now.

Problem is that no one has ever sat down and actually explained ‘the dream’ to him, so it remains a undefined want. What he does know is that it doesn’t include working in this thankless job for much longer. It certainly doesn’t involve supporting Tara for the rest of her life.

He needs a plan, a roadmap to success. Onwards and upwards, he’s meant for bigger things than this. All he has to do is make the move, hand in his resignation and leave Tara and all her baggage behind.

Of course he can’t quit now though, he has the latest in a long line of coffees to make. Can’t quit at the end of today’s shift either, there are those overdue bills to pay. Naturally he’d break up with Tara, but it’s their anniversary on Wednesday, and while he doesn’t love her any more he can’t do that to her. Next week, he’ll do it next week.

*Notes: So there was a grumpy guy at Macca’s, everything else is conjecture.