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  1. The Colorless Writing Prompt: Setting The Stage


    #675712013-12-22 18:55:48 *DarkChaplain said:

    It has been a while since the last organized Writing Project, and I felt we needed something creative to balance out the overwhelming Chorus activities again.

    So here we go - not a Short Story project, but a Writing Prompt.

    I hope that we'll be having a bunch of these, especially in-between bigger projects and efforts. Writing Prompts will not focus on writing a full story, but rather on practicing specific aspects of writing, like characters, personalities, descriptions, settings, or just plain old "write something short about this or that" without the usual constraints outside of being creative.

    Hopefully this kind of thing will spike writing activity again. A lot of you had problems with the Horror and Fantasy genres, so let's approach the whole thing from this angle for now, in the hopes of improving our writing skills bit by bit.


    This Writing Prompt is called "Setting The Stage"

    Your task is to, yes, set the stage for a story, a scene, a character - whatever you may come up with. However, you are NOT supposed to tell the scene or play happening on said stage!
    You are not supposed to introduce a character or plot, but instead depict and describe the stage itself.

    This means that you are supposed to write about, for example, a particular room, location, world, setting. Come up with something interesting, give subtle hints at what may be going on in the story, draw the reader into your created setting and spark interest. Be creative. Try to create a world or setting that intrigues you and has potential. Try to step away from the mundane if you can.

    Imagine your Stage being observed by people in a theater - try to draw them in with the first impression, try to show a more or less static view, maybe with the actors in place, but not having them act or talking about them outside of their appearance.

    Imagine the initial burst of curiosity before the first line is being spoken or the first move being made. Invest the reader in your creation, your setting, your world, not the drama soon to unfold!


    A lot of words, but I hope it helps understand what I am getting at. If any questions arise, feel free to ask them on this thread. Participation is open to everyone, but please don't just sign up without writing anything - this should not take nearly as much time or effort as writing a whole story!

    As for the word count:
    I'd consider 500 to 1000 words reasonable for this task.

    Try to stay within those milestones. If you require slightly above 1000 words, ask if your word count is acceptable. If your count is below 500, you've screwed up and need to rethink your stage - there's always some detail you can expand on!

    For this one please post your finished (or well-underway) writings on this thread.
    If people want to comment on the writings, please do so in nested posts (by clicking the Timestamp on the post).

    Everybody is welcome to post criticism and feedback!

    Happy writing!

  2. #675772013-12-22 19:06:55DarkChaplain said:

    I'd say this is easiest from the point of view of an all-knowing narrator, as that gives you a lot of freedom in building the setting up and getting descriptive beyond what some character may perceive.

  3. #675852013-12-22 19:52:21DarkChaplain said:

    @Teru I simply put her on this list, even if she doesn't show up all that frequently anymore. Maybe it gets her back, maybe not.

    @Chou Glad to hear it. Its much simpler and less taxing, so I hope you'll enjoy it

  4. #675902013-12-22 21:59:32Mau said:
    I go on hiatus for college and work and suddenly I'm dead. OTL.
    As for this contest, I've got like 3 months off school so sure, why not? I'll give it a try.
  5. #675792013-12-22 19:15:53Kirn said:

    Hmmm... that sounds interesting... Though, I have to say, it would be hard to avoid cheating for me. I mean, I get to see a lot of great original settings that you people will never see or hear about, so I can easily use one of those. Hell, I even have a few not really used settings of my own.. Anyways, I'll see what I can come up with.

  6. #675822013-12-22 19:41:55johan_5179 said:

    This is interesting and not too taxing. And doable, all you need is one burst of imagination for the setting. Count me in ^_^

  7. #675932013-12-22 22:55:38 *Cenica said:

    You're going to make your scene a box...a box with a tragic past. In tatters hidden away among the alleys of the most detestable streets?

  8. #676082013-12-23 12:53:43DarkChaplain said:

    Well, this looks pretty shiny so far. Too bad Kirn won't be around for a bit to participate directly.

    Glad to see a few new faces :)

  9. #676182013-12-23 16:57:43hellstorm901 said:

    So Kirn was being Kirn and got banned for it?

    Dear God what have they done. Banning Kirn from CL is the equivalent of burning a Quaran.

  10. #677952013-12-29 11:57:45Alfred said:

    May I request that the interested participants get their gear in order and start putting pen to paper before this thread dies to old age?

  11. #678012013-12-29 15:29:16Rinneko said:

    As of now, I'm still thinking and drafting. Not putting it up here yet because it's still a work in progress that I'm improving on.

  12. #678052013-12-29 20:29:08Alfred said:

    @Rinneko
    Even better! Please, by all means, share your work in progress :) The point of these threads is to have a learning experience and practice together.

  13. #678072013-12-29 23:31:47 *--Jack-- said:

    share your work in progress

    Well, okay. This isn't hardly finished, but I'd like to do more than just agree to participate in this thread. Do tell me if this is too character-oriented in parts. I feel that it is.


    Creaking floors press on their feet, and cold dust swirls between the floorboards. An unexpected ending? Now, in all the average paths of life chosen between them, to have it brought down to one leaving? Cold wind nipping at the windows' ice-encrusted edges whistles through the empty halls around them. The bed next to the wall having creaked with one's weight only hours before, and to think all seemed well in the world then. Cold metal sat in their palms, not heated enough to provide comfort. Moving too fast for the world to catch up with them. As if fate was on hold, time seemed to slow. Deafening silence, apart from the wind's whistling filling the room, washed over them as they stood. Stillness pushing the inevitable further and further away. Their eyes didn't break from each other, fire inside them to keep warm.

  14. #678082013-12-30 00:40:31Ecstasy said:

    Welp, I most likely have a lot of mistakes, so do point them all out. I'm not experienced in writing, so pls bear with me (and with my poor English skills as well).
    I also barely meet the minimal word count and I had to have a character because of the stage itself. But the only info I give about them is the name and I even tried to not give them gender.


    Malory struggled to wake up. This place was the essence of everything people hate. Thick darkness seemed to last here day and night. It was gathering in the corners and under the ceiling. Even the rare rays of sun reflecting in the windows gave the impression that the house was further away from any natural sources of light than anything else on this planet. The atmosphere was full of decay and resembled that of a late cold autumn with its artificially looking shadows and rotten leaves.

    Malory looked up. The ceiling was way too high. It was creating a pressing feeling of discomfort and paranoia, somehow making you feel small and unprotected, like a child who got lost in a big supermarket. With the lack of light, it looked more like the walls were just appearing out of the darkness, reaching out for the floor, cold and tacky. The walls were evenly covered in a thin layer of sticky mud, making windows appear as just little gaps in this dirt. The floor was even darker, absorbing any traces of light instead of reflecting it. It resembled a swamp, giving the same smell in the air, the smell of still rotten water and soil filled with death. There were no footprints or any other tracks of people. The place looked abandoned but yet alive which only intensified the paranoia.

    Despite the swamp resemblance, it definitely was a room. But it felt so unrealistic. It was stretched too far and the other end could barely be seen. It seemed to just disappear somewhere in the distance only to create more shadows. Malory tried to focus on the opposite corner but there was no way to tell how far away it was. Trying to estimate the size of the room only led to a headache, the more Malory tried to focus the bigger the room became. It was annoying and unsettling. The door was nowhere to be seen and as it didn’t create any gaps of light, one could assume that, if it existed, it could only lead to another dark room. The windows were too small to get through, making the whole place a trap.

    The worst part was the suffocating silence. With the stiff air, Malory had to take loud deep breaths. They were echoing from the cold walls leaving small tinkling in the ears. Listening to it was unbearable. It was making Malory feel lost in time. It became impossible to distinguish a second from a minute and a minute from an hour. The tension built up with every breath, deceiving senses and clouding thinking.

    And this growing feeling of presence. As if there was someone else in this room, watching your every move, staring blankly at your back, counting your every heartbeat, waiting for the right moment to pull you in one of these dark corners and make sure you never wake up. Or maybe it was the room itself wanting to make Malory a part of it. Deep consciousness showing the darkest sides of a human’s heart.

  15. #678332013-12-31 03:06:18Rinneko said:

    Your English skills are not bad, actually! This was relatable; I could feel myself integrated in to the scene like I was experiencing it myself. Also, I think the concept was presented pretty simply so I did not get lost.

  16. #678112013-12-30 13:34:48 *Rinneko said:

    The ground was coarse with granules of dry dirt. Wild, unruly sprouts of grass struggled to grow in the little spaces. Those little shoots that managed to make it a little ways up above the soil were bent and downtrodden - evidence of the many human feet that had passed through the field. Budding flowers that survived the environment were few and far apart. They, too, were parched and discoloured, for the sun shone endlessly bright over the area. This cramped green patch was land-locked between a tall, dense forest and the crumbling edge of a cliff. Overgrown and withered, there were a number of plants that hung over the edge and effectively concealed it. Anyone unfamiliar with their surroundings would not think twice, instead losing their life when they tipped off the ledge in to the dank city below. It was a meadow ridden with danger and suffering, but not an uncommon sight.

    A petite girl stood in the middle of this darkness. Her head of unruly, silver-blond hair was angled upwards, towards the sky. The clouds that drifted there were reflected in her strangely vacant, grey eyes. The tinkle of laughter, and the image of a small boy's wide grin flashed through a wispy cloud. In the face of another cloud, two children chased each other with playful expressions. They each held an ice-cream cone in their hands, which were gradually melting in to streams of sticky liquid. The image blurred, dissipating as quickly as the cloud that displayed it had drifted away. Amongst the interlocking shades of the blue sky, there lay a city. Skyscrapers made of reinforced glass that boasted unique architectural designs. Glittering LED screens that advertised fresh new items. A luminous cityscape anchored upside down in the dimly lit sky. Tattered little baby-doll dress rustling in the wind, the girl's gaze flittered between the ruined city - her city - just bordering the cliff upon which she stood and the utopia hanging above her. Exactly reversed and perfectly flipped; it was the picture of an unblemished mirror. Yet the word 'mirror' could not describe the scene before her completely, for each landscape was as real as the other. Neither the exuberant city that hung above her nor the rancid one that lay beneath her was able to be dismissed as a simple delusion. They were as substantial as the red coursing through her veins, and the peachy skin fused to her muscles and bones.

    Those grey twin orbs hesitated slightly, as they landed on the lively meadow mirrored back from the sky. Snippets of the activity present there slipped through the clouds once again. A youthful lady taking a jog with her Jack Russel Terrier. A teenager with his baseball cap tilted fashionably back skating smoothly down the path. Amongst all the action, there stood a boy. He was perched directly in the middle of the light. His curly locks were coloured like clean hazelnut, and his eyes shone like honey. The girl observed him wordlessly, waiting for the energetic action that usually ensued. But the boy simply smiled.

    The smile carried none of the eager happiness that she had become accustomed to expecting, and none of the bordering foolish innocence that always seemed to be hinted at. The boy smiled a serene smile. One so perfect yet fragile, clear yet confusing and alluring yet aloof. An expression chock-full of contradictions, like the world around them.

    It was real.


    I'm still 80 words short of the minimum word limit. I don't think I'm fulfilling the prompt at all, because I have two characters in it. My scene isn't very static either but I felt that it was necessary for achieving the image I was aiming for. ;A; I'm working on it! 

    EDIT (06-01-14):
    I elaborated a bit more on certain areas and it is now 575 words. It deviated from the prompt a little further again, I suppose. :/

  17. #678182013-12-30 21:59:21 *Ucui said:

    I honestly forgot all about this until just a few minutes ago. It's relatively short. The theme accurately reflects my feelings. As for what it is reflecting is up for you all to decide.

    Let's just pretend that I didn't forget about this.

    Word Count: 504


    An unimportant cafe in an unimportant town with unimportant people found itself silent. Customers, employees, and the usual passerby all stood and watched. Their emotions ranging from lethargic disconnections to overwhelming sensations of shock. Still, none of them chose to move. None of them chose to take a step. None of them chose to help. None of them chose to care.

    "Disgusting."

    "Why here?"

    "I’m going to be late for work."

    "Come on, hurry it up."

    "I don’t have time for this."

    "Would it be weird if I drank my coffee?"

    A plethora of thoughts flashed in each of their minds as they watched the scene transgress from their seats, behind their counters, and through the window panes. In each of their minds, the onlookers thought many different things on what was going on, but the most prominent that existed within everyone's mind was simply one word.

    Unimportant.

    A minor inconvenience to their day. Perhaps even a story to tell when they arrive home and are greeted by their families who would listen to their words and think the very same thing.

    Unimportant.

    As for the transgressor and the transgressed, their thoughts were simply unimportant. Lying on the floor, and mounted by a man wearing a plain white t-shirt with fists covered in blood, was a young man. Well dressed in a dark blue suit, he was ready for business. His arms were raised to cover the oncoming blows to his face. Certainly ready for business.

    Mounted atop a young business man wearing a blue suit was a man in his late 20s, or so he told people. While donning a white t-shirt and jeans, he punched the young business man relentlessly. Perhaps not so ready for business as the young man, but, regardless, business was being done. His fists were raised to strike the young man once again. Business was most certainly being done.

    Blood was splattered about the cafe, but one could say it was far from a pool of blood. A young employee looked on the scene with contempt. He was certain that the mess was his to clean. His eyes, along with all the other unimportant onlookers, fell onto the two men who were the cause of his lamentable circumstances.

    The transgressed, a businessman, a man of business. His goals were to earn just one more dollar. Because of this, he found himself in a situation where he has become the transgressed.

    The transgressor, the fool, a man who was fooled. He foolishly listened to a businessman and was thus fooled. Because of this, he finds himself blinded by feelings of betrayal and anger as the transgressor.

    To both, each their own, but one and the same. Once this scene concludes, they will return home with stories to tell. To themselves and their listeners, the story will stretch out a hand for sympathy and will be received with such; however, once they rest their heads, they will think only one thing about the events of that day.

    Unimportant.

  18. #678212013-12-30 22:23:26 *Cenica said:

    I have begun! Muwhahahahahaha.

    Intimidating black cliffs rose sharply from the cold waters of the North. This solitary rock was a dark blight upon the soft blue of the sea; like a tombstone marking the house of the dead. The vertical bounds of the island, which appeared to be made from multiple geometric columns, towered hundreds of feet towards the heavens before suddenly flattening into a desolate plateau. A lifeless place; empty of sound but for the dull roar of the rolling sea crashing against the cliffs and the whisper of the ocean breeze. No seafaring birds cried from the rocks and all greenery had long since abandoned this cursed outcrop.

    A black mouth appeared from the columns; concealed from view unless one was upon it. The yawning jaws appeared ready to gorge on any who ventured too close. Columns within the cave appeared broken and crumbling. Their strict forms had been softened by ocean spray and disappeared beneath the seawater, which flowed into the cavern as if it was being inhaled and exhaled. This narrow river of seawater snaked it's way towards the heart of the island, quickly hidden by the darkness of the cavern.

    This forgotten place stood stubbornly in the empty sea. It had once been a reminder to a people who had long since concealed themselves from modern eyes. A reminder that had been lost to history.

    The tortured past continued to echo with whispered hisses from the depths of the blackened cavern. No one stood to hear it. The bones of its meaning lay rotting beneath the dark waters. No one came to see. The significance of this haunted place was no longer even a memory.

    Alas, forgotten things are not always lost and they have a tendency to pop up when least expected. As a wilted flower can revive with proper care, the past can revive with the improper attention. Soon now, the history of this dismal place would be remembered to the forgotten people. Rue the day.

    Inspired by Fingal's Cave.

  19. #678342013-12-31 03:07:38 *Cenica said:

    Guise..guise..
    There are some wonderful pieces here but I wanted to point out some things.

    set the stage for a story

    You're supposed to be describing a scene, as in scenery. Describing where events take place. Not an occurence.

    You are not supposed to introduce a character or plot

    Even I made a mistake here as I somewhat eluded to sinister events and such...Though I think that may be alright because of this part...

    give subtle hints at what may be going on in the story,

    Anyways I believe this it to be more of a practice at description.

  20. #678352013-12-31 04:16:03Rinneko said:

    Eek, I noticed, Cen. ;A; I will probably have to re-evaluate my submission. I didn't realise my description skills were this weak.