Forum posts made by magnificent1rascal

Topic About this forum
Posted 16 Jul 2019 14:08

Any member may post a writing prompt or challenge (no more than one per week, please).

Writing Prompts may take many forms. For example:

• Write a paragraph about your childhood
• Write a haiku about today's weather
• Tell a story about a photograph (you must have permission to post a photo prompt)
• Write a story that must include specific items or phrases

Prompts do not require that whatever is written be submitted and published here, although they certainly may be if the author wishes. The idea is simply to provide a creative spark. No badge is offered for following a writing prompt.

Challenges should have a set of guidelines, including a tag or title requirement that will enable us to keep track of participating submissions. Pieces written in response to a challenge must be submitted for publication. Participants will receive a Challenge Champ badge that displays the number of challenges completed.

If a writing prompt or challenge is found to be inappropriate, it may be revised or removed.

Please contact me with questions or comments.

Topic Challenge: The Moon
Posted 16 Jul 2019 10:45

Thanks, Anna – this is a great challenge! Those who complete it will receive a Challenge Champ badge.

Topic Writing tips from some of the greats
Posted 08 Jul 2019 09:12

How I Do It: Anne Rice on Writing Technique

1. Rely heavily on concrete nouns and action verbs. Nothing conveys immediacy and excitement like the concrete noun and the action verb.

2. Rely heavily on short sentences and even fragments. Long complex sentences, especially when filled with abstract nouns slow the reader and even confuse him or her. Break up these sentences. Or balance them with short ones.

3. Don’t hesitate to write one sentence paragraphs and short paragraphs in general. Never, never bury a key revelation or surprise or important physical gesture by a character at the end of an existing paragraph. Move this to a new paragraph.

4. Go easy on conjunctions such as “but,” “and,” “yet,” and “however.” The prose may feel fluid to you when you use these; but if you go back and simply remove them the prose may be even more fluid.

5. Repeat a character’s name often in dialogue and in straight narrative. Don’t slip into “he” or “she” for long stretches because if you do many fast readers will find themselves having to go back to determine who is speaking or feeling or viewing the action. Punch the proper names.

6. Be generous and loving with adjectives and adverbs. These words give specificity to the narrative; they make it vibrant.

7. When you repeat yourself in a novel, acknowledge it, as in “Again, he found himself thinking, as he had so often before . . .”

8. If the plot takes a highly improbable turn, acknowledge that through having the characters acknowledge it.

9. In writing intense action scenes, avoid slipping into “ing” words. It may feel “immediate” to use these words, say in a sword fight, a physical brawl, or an intense confrontation, but if you stick with simple past tense, you will actually heighten the action.

10. Remember that in writing a novel, you are crafting something that must be fully understood and experienced in one reading, yet stand up to innumerable readings in the future.

11. Never underestimate the power of the two line break. You may not want a new chapter but you want to cut away from the scene. Make the two line break.

12. Never get trapped into thinking that if you have a character open a door, he necessarily has to close it later on. You are creating a visual impression of a scene, and you don’t need to spotlight every gesture. And you can cut away from a scene in progress.

13. Paragraphs again: they are the way you engineer the page for the reader. That’s why I say never hesitate to make one line paragraphs and short paragraphs. You’re punching action or an emotional moment when you set it off in a paragraph. And you want to make things easy for the reader. Long paragraphs always impose something of a burden. The eye longs for a break.

14. Multiple point of view can be very energizing for a reader. The switch in point of view can be exciting. And multiple point of view gives you a chance to reveal the world in a way that single point of view cannot. Favorite multiple point of view novels for me are War and Peace and The Godfather.

15. A single point of view throughout is the best opportunity a writer has to get a reader to fall in love with a hero or heroine. The limitations are obvious; you can’t go to “another part of the forest” to find out what’s happening. But you have immense power in single point of view to get into the thoughts and feelings of your champion.

16. First Person single point of view can take the reader not only into deep love but deep antipathy. Great Expectations, David Copperfield and Lolita are shining examples.

17. If you find yourself becoming bored, then do what you must do to make the novel exciting again for you. Never keep building a scene because you feel you must. Think of some other way to solve the problem that is goading you to write what you don’t enjoy.

18. When you feel yourself getting tired, stop and read something that is energizing. The opening pages of Stephen King’s Firestarter always refresh me and send me back to the keyboard. So does reading any part of Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song. So does reading The Godfather. So does reading a Hemingway short story.

19. Keep going. Remember that you must finish the novel for it to have a chance in this world. You absolutely must complete it. And of course, as soon as I do I think of new things. I go back, refining, adding a little. And when I stop feeling the urge to do that, well, I know it’s really finished.

20. If these “rules” or suggestions don’t work for you, by all means disregard them completely! You’re the boss when it comes to your writing.

Topic Up two, three, Down two, three... Make a word.
Posted 06 Jul 2019 00:18

Terri ble-at tach

Topic Words from words
Posted 11 Jun 2019 00:52


Under, stand, sand, and, strand, stranded, nude, rant, rants, rate, rates, rated, rat, rats, dune, dunes, rest, star, stare, stared, dare, dares, dared, dude, dudes, redundant


Topic Writing tips from some of the greats
Posted 31 May 2019 00:30

Best advice on the list:
7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.

Worst advice on the list (unless you’ve perfected time travel):
1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

Topic Writing tips from some of the greats
Posted 31 May 2019 00:23

Zadie Smith’s Rules for Writers

1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3. Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.

8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.

10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.

Topic Hello I’m Rose from the other site
Posted 24 May 2019 15:32

Welcome to Stories Space, Rose!


Topic Weird, neverending crossword thingy.
Posted 04 Apr 2019 09:45

7 letters... The King of hide & seek...

I'm penciling in BIGFOOT

Next clue: 5 letters - Eve's fruit

Topic Challenge: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
Posted 14 Mar 2019 15:05

Bumping this thread since many of us have recently experienced another "time warp" or will go through one soon.

Topic Challenges and Prompts
Posted 11 Feb 2019 00:01

What is it with the badge ego!
Just an observation...

For someone who claims not to care about badges, you seem to care a lot about badges.

You're right, it probably is ego, but know what, it's also a heck of a lot of fun chasing badges. Fun is something you might want to try on here, for no other reason than it is fun.

I think I need to tackle these challenges too, it's been a while since I got a shiny new badge. happy8

I have and it got me nowhere when all the apples go to a few pies. A posse does not change the truth.
A posse may not change the truth (whatever that means), but neither does repeating the same thing over and over, ad infinitum. The truth, in this case, is that:

1. Most of our members enjoy badges
2. Those who don’t have the option of hiding them on their profile
3. Someone else receiving a badge doesn’t affect you in the slightest
4. Badges aren’t going away on this site

This matter has been discussed and debated for months, and although the resolution was clearly not to your liking, it is time for you to lay down your king and gracefully accept defeat.

Topic Challenges and Prompts
Posted 07 Feb 2019 11:01

Thanks for the bump, Bill and Larry!

Another challenge and a prompt will be posted soon. For those who haven’t received their Challenge Champ badge, I’ll try to get caught up with awarding those in the next couple of days. geek

Topic On This Day In History...
Posted 02 Feb 2019 23:54

Feb 2, 2018

On this day, one year ago, I came home from the hospital following a complete hysterectomy. The surgery was supposed to be the end of a growing health concern that had lasted for eight months up to that point, but the pathology report led to more tests and procedures until I was finally given a clean bill of health three months later.

Topic Daily Ecological Alternatives
Posted 31 Jan 2019 13:45

What happened to this thread? Is freedom is speech dead here, then?

The thread got tidied up at the request of the parties involved. Freedom of speech refers to government impeding a person’s rights, not to what is removed from a privately owned website.

Topic Updating badges to reflect reality
Posted 23 Jan 2019 00:47

Today marks the first I have noticed of some changes to the badges on our site here. Apparently our good friend Gav is making some updates. If you go to the Badges list you will read quite a few changes. Some are simply badges that are renamed. That is the case with the old Prolific Writer and the Omnium badge. Those two are now called the Diverse Writer and the Plenary Writer.

I won't mention all that I saw in the list. But there are interesting changes.

One that is of interest to me particulary is the new Author 250 badge for authors with over 250 stories. I, along with Colors_of_the_Wind and CKAcres, now display that badge. However, it should be noted that we three are no longer listed in the Authors' list. I assume it has to do with this badge change. I will hope that we three will reappear in the Authors' list again, perhaps tomorrow when the system has a chance to recycle itself.

But it is going to be fun to watch the changes as they occur. rr

Yes, Gav has had his hands full making all the badge changes requested. There are a few wrinkles to iron out yet, but I think many people will be pleased by what’s been done.


Topic What is the Premium length of a story?
Posted 03 Jan 2019 01:09

FWIW, years ago Alan told me the length of story that, in his experience, was most likely to sell to contemporary fiction magazines, both in print and online.

And what was the magic number, you ask?

1,200 words.

Topic Ravenpearl was called to heaven today
Posted 20 Dec 2018 10:14

Thanks for the suggestion, all. Marcie’s profile bio has been updated to reflect her passing but preserved in all other respects, and her forum rank has been changed to “Rest in Peace”

Topic Storiesspace Avatar Pics
Posted 05 Dec 2018 00:05

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 03 Dec 2018 15:42

Just a note —

If Gav makes all the badge changes requested, some of us will see our badge count fluctuate. icon_smile happy8 icon_smile happy8 drunken

Topic Suggested Ideas for Income Stream(s) for Stories Space.
Posted 27 Nov 2018 14:16

Suggest you send this, your thoughts, to every Member via PM because not every Member visits the Forum.

You might be right. How do I send a PM to all SS members?

It would be very cumbersome for you to do. However, we're working on getting a newsletter message ready to go out to all members and will include a pointer to this thread in it. flower

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 27 Nov 2018 10:25

Good morning, Larry. Kind of soggy here but supposed to chill out and turn snowy later.

My current writing project (a contemporary romance-drama) has reached 4700 words with no end in sight. And that's all SS-friendly so no detailed descriptions of naughtiness. It's all plot and character, basically. I am kind of at the line where I need to decide where to take it, though. The climax (of the story) seems close and that's where it moves into other territory if it is going to.

But that brings me to another thought. How long will this site really tolerate? I know the limit here is technically the same as the other site I write for (10K words), most of what I see posted is fairly short, 2K or less. Even the chapters of Anna's novel run around 3-4K words. Night of the Wind, my last full story, was 4800 words and that seems long among recent stories here. I am starting to think I might want to split this new story if I go too much longer and still keep it SS-friendly. Not for rules but just for readership. Any thoughts?

Speaking for myself, about 6,000 words is the upper end of what I'm comfortable reading in this format. Longer stories are best viewed in ebook format, in my opinion.

Topic Story settings, an anomaly
Posted 19 Nov 2018 01:17

Perhaps some members deleted their comments, but if there’s a large discrepancy between the number of votes and the number of comments we’ll have to look into it.

Topic Challenge: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
Posted 18 Nov 2018 12:33

Question... Can we post more than once in a Challenge?

Also, since there is no actual winner of a Challenge, how about a "Good Sport" badge for members who make an effort to support SS in generating enthusiasm, ie. Challenges...

Each challenge may have different guidelines, but for this one post as many pieces as you’d like.

Anyone who successfully completes a challenge is a winner! Adding a challenge badge is among the badge update requests, but Gav is busy at his paying job so it might be a couple of weeks before he can get to it.

Topic Challenge: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
Posted 17 Nov 2018 21:11

But seriously, this is an ongoing challenge. Whenever you’re inspired, it will be here.
Does this mean I can come back in a hundred years and post my entry? No doubt, LarryF and Adagio will have broken the 10,000 posted story barrier by then.
It does, and they will have! laughing9

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 17 Nov 2018 12:51

From the movie, Legend, right? Or something like that? God, I love Ferry's voice.

I've got a thread on my other board celebrating Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. He turns 80 today and is doing a charity gig in his hometown, Orillia, Ontario, to celebrate.

Yes, Legend. He is a superb artist, I agree. I am listening to 'Boys and Girls' right now on a disc which is rotating at 33&1/3 RPM. icon_smile

I also like Gordon Lightfoot. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a fantastic song.

OMG you two! Just spent a week discovering Carole King now you give me this Lightfoot guy? He must be country singer if he sings about wrecks.

Nah, not country. He’s a fantastic Canadian singer in the storyteller style, kind of like Harry Chapin and Jim Croce, but better. You should look them up too, though. Lwinking

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 17 Nov 2018 12:19

Gordon Lightfoot is 80?!?!

Topic Challenge: Let's Do the Time Warp Again
Posted 16 Nov 2018 18:00

That's not a problem. When, sometime in the future, you do have the time and inspiration, write it, take your time editing it and then bring it back to the present and submit it. Simples!

Yeah, but owing to timey-wimey stuff, I'd probably land in an alternate 2018 where SS only accepts stories written in pig Latin or something.confused5

Oh, didn’t you hear? Beginning next week, all stories have to be in Klingon. geek

But seriously, this is an ongoing challenge. Whenever you’re inspired, it will be here.

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 15 Nov 2018 15:11

Just posted my latest story here yesterday. Now, today, I notice that I wrote it in second person point of view and present tense. That is cool. Not done often.


I noticed the second person and intended to comment. It’s great to see you and other writers doing unique things, trying out different styles, etc. Stories Space is a good place to spread your wings, as it were. Well done!

Topic Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted 12 Nov 2018 16:48

Sorry, just want to ask. Why this forum does not register on my forum post on my profile. If I wanted to get back to my last post here to read, i'll just click the link on my profile. 🤔 Thank you.

I'll point this out to Maggie. It's a new forum so perhaps something isn't set up just right. I know forum software can be fiddly sometimes.

Thank you hello2

I tweaked one of the forum settings so coffee house and other Break Room posts should now appear on your profile. Please let me know if it still isn’t working properly.

Topic Riddle me this
Posted 11 Nov 2018 20:45

Spectacles (or monocle)

What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?