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“Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, While I Pondered, Weak and Weary…” – Edgar Allan Poe

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The Hunter’s Shimmering Forest, by Gill Bustamante

The clock struck one a.m. when the writers exchanged prompts. After an exhausting hour of scribbling away they looked up from their computers. “How’d it go?”

“Pretty well considering…”

Both authors walked away pleasantly surprised with their work this week. Given their general disappointment with the stories they’ve previously written late at night, the expectation to disappoint again weighed on their minds. The lateness of the hour not withstanding, each of them felt as if their stories succeeded in being both entertaining and representative of their individual genres.

In Song of the Solstice, Jacob wrote a character-centric suspense story about a father and son hunting in the woods. The deceiving nature of the forest makes you wonder what, among its eerie tranquility, is real.

  1. Time Inconsistencies
  2. A Father
  3. The Solstice

The late hour provided ZB with a barrier of separation between author and story that allowed him to venture outside of his comfort zone to create engaging science fiction. He captures the fear of the unknown in the sprawling galactic drama, Elphas Immunodeficiency Virus.

  1. Infected Tattoo
  2. Doctor’s Without Borders
  3. Science Fiction
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Cometa Aducatoare de Viata, by Corina Chirila

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“You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.” – Larry Niven

“In a perfect world, this is exactly how the process of writing would go. I don’t need to be totally in love with the words I’m putting on the page, but if it comes with this level of casualness about it, dear god, I’d never stop doing it.”

This is how Jacob described the week’s writing and it applies pretty well for both writers.

A first draft is rarely the masterpiece we intend to author, these stories are no exception, but they were fun to write and the words came easy. The stories flowed from their fingertips with ease and even a little bit of grace.

In Buy Something or Leave, Jacob presented both the personal and political sides to the end of the world. At its heart this is a slice-of-life story set just before the end of the world. His prompts were:

  1. Supernova
  2. A wild dog
  3. An ultimatum

In What is the Plural of Penis? ZB paired his character with an uncomfortable setting to create an excellent natural conflict. It is a story where the protagonist constantly draws himself back into an unwanted, awkward situation. His prompts:

  1. Beekeeper
  2. A lie
  3. An art gallery
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Supernova Over Avalon, by Frith Johnson

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September 30th, 2014

Annnnd We’re Back!!!

After a super long gap (H)our Stories is back in business!

This first week Jacob hit a home run with Half Way There. His prompts were 1) Death, as a character; 2) Immortality, as a theme; and 3) The line, “Can you spare a dollar.” What we got was an extremely complex look at the struggle of immortality vs. mortality in youth.

ZB wrote There’s a Dragon? with the prompts 1) Literature vs. Reality; 2) A dwarf; 3) “Monkey see, monkey do.” Though he didn’t manage to fulfill most of the prompts he still managed a cute series of vignettes about teenage boys.

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August 28th, 2014

Hi All!

New posting! This week Jacob was prompted with: 1. Fairytale, 2. Oppression, 3. A Father Figure. The final result is The Legend of Henry (as told by Jacob Schatz).

Z.B. was prompted with Sexworker, Gravel, and a Mentally Disabled character. The story is: A Life Full of Peaches.

Tell us what you think!

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July 31st, 2014

Hi All!

Here’s a post we wrote a while back that I’m just now getting up! Sorry about the delay, we’re trying to find a new schedule that works for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to settle back into our rhythm soon.

Jacob used the prompts: Dessert, “The Luck of the Irish”, and “Fraternization with the Enemy” to write the charming tale Enemy Territory.

Zach wrote Tick. Tock. from the prompts: Confinement, Fear, and Old Character.

We both were especially happy with these stories. Hope you enjoy!

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July 9th, 2014

Hi All!

Sorry about the abrupt hiatus. Between job interviews, vacations, and life we just were unable to find time to write together. But we’re back now! Hopefully there won’t be anymore long breaks.

 

This week ZB had to form a story with the prompts: Rap Music, a Male Paraplegic, and Someone else on a Date. Here’s the end result: A Rhythm. A Rhyme.

Jacob used the prompts Texas, Starting Something New, and Murder Mystery to write the great Car Radio.

Enjoy!

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June 12th, 2014

Hi All,

For once we finally succeeded in posting on time! Hope you all had a good week. This week, the posts were a little tricky. To combat the hollywood norm, Jacob’s prompts were: Male Narrator, Superheroes, and that it was required to pass the Bechdel Test. Not a hard task, but you’d be surprised how much of hollywood fails. Here’s how Jacob did:

Weary Withdrawal by Jacob Schatz.

ZB was asked to write a story about Ego, from the view point of a Bully, that included Karaoke. I’m going to take a moment to warn you that this is a pretty graphic story. Remember that the views expressed by characters in this, or any, of our stories do not represent the views of their authors. These pieces are meant to challenge us and to force us to think and write in ways we normally would not. Now with that out of the way, here is: Someone Like You by ZB Wagman.

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June 6th, 2014

Hey All,

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our update schedule has been off over these last couple of weeks. There are multiple reasons for that but we’ve figured out a solution. We will start updating every Thursday now. That’s THURSDAYS. Now on to the writing!

This week was a harder week for both of us. After the ease of last week, it was a little disappointing to struggle with these prompts but I guess that’s the point of the exercise. That being said, we both agreed that these were interesting prompts and that we’d like to revisit these stories at some point. Tell us what you think.

Jacob had to place a bidet and a talking animal in a thematically themed peace about greed.

Bidet-ing his Time by Jacob Schatz

Z.B. also was given a general theme in survival. He had to include royalty and bicycling.

Midas Says by Z.B. Wagman

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May 29th, 2014

Hey guys!

Late as always, but look how much better we were this time! This was a fun week, both of us felt like the pieces were some of our best ones so far. We’d be curious to know what you think!

Jacob was given the difficult objectives of writing a scene set in a bar, about picking up or hooking up with someone, with no dialogue. He pulled it off masterfully in Bar Etiquette.

Z.B. was given the slightly easier task of writing a scene involving a patio, money, and music. The end result was the fable The Siren’s Solo.

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May 19th, 2014

Hi All,

Sorry about the delay again, we’re still working through the moving process. Here’s last weeks post. Hopefully we’ll be able to have the next one out later today!

 

Jacob wrote his piece with the prompts of evil twin, family vacation, and something mundane made awesome.

Like His Brother by Jacob Schatz

Z.B. use an unreliable narrator, the night before prom, and a picture of the skyline to create the start of a horror story.

A Father’s Nightmare by Z.B. Wagman

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