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.
- Time Inconsistencies
- A Father
- 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.
- Infected Tattoo
- Doctor’s Without Borders
- Science Fiction
Cometa Aducatoare de Viata, by Corina Chirila
“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:
- A wild dog
- 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:
- A lie
- An art gallery
Supernova Over Avalon, by Frith Johnson
Homeless Man, by Elize Bezuidenhout
The last two weeks have been full of challenges for both writers. This week was no different. While each of the six stories written over the last two weeks was unique in its attempt to utilize the prompts given, it wasn’t until this week that both writers felt like their story used each prompt to their full effect.
Jacob wrote Metropolis Razing, a heavy piece that captures the complexity and difficulty of life on the streets. His prompts:
- Non-White Main Character
- The Smell of Skin
- Times Square
For a totally different tone, ZB’s Casual Dating adds mystery to a bad date & shows how romance has evolved over the years.
- Modern Dating
- A Budding Politician
- Bari, Italy
Tinder Boy, by Ambrus Gero
For a look at the last two week’s stories, look here and here.
Wandering Albatross, by Chris Rose. In keeping with this weeks’s prompts.
This week’s process proved great for both writers. A sort of perfect storm of prompts lead both Z.B. & Jacob to new creatives places. It was a nice change after the difficulties of the previous week — to be able enjoy writing and have a couple of pieces that we are proud of.
Jacob wrote an eccentric piece with solid world building that drops you directly into the story. With three seemingly contrary prompts he committed to the absurdity and wrote the charming : Our King, the Giant Squid.
- Giant Squid
- Shakespearean Fool
ZB found inspiration in the epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Manhattan Project/Hiroshima Bombing to write the multilayered The Albatross.
- Location of a crime
- A tailor
- An albatross
This quote has perhaps never been more true for the writers than it was today, though Herbert likely had other intentions behind his words.
Z.B. spent much of his hour researching the perfect setting, but ran out of time before his characters arrived there. Jacob, on the other hand, felt the constant tug and release of conflicting ideas, resulting in a conclusion more or necessity than purpose.
ZB’s story Storm in a Teacup used the following prompts:
- School for the (disability/speciality/etc.)
- “Going back in style.”
Jacob’s story No Horizons used:
- Epic romance
- Ghastly Murder
- Jack-in-the-box (children’s toy)
Jack in the Box, by Charlie Spear. A fitting visual to this week’s struggles.
Arête de bus, by Kristian Kasi.
The two stories that came out of this week’s writing session proved as opposite as possible.
Jacob wrote a loving story between a mother and her son. Inspired by his own experience at his sixth grade science fair, he created the impressively cute An Imperfect Gift.
- Mother’s Day
- Surrounded by water
- An Inventor.
For a more nihilistic read, ZB’s Bus Stop captures the cynicism of an authoritarian society. He used his prompts to supplement an ideology not entirely his own.
His prompts included:
- Police State
- Bus Stop
*Two Years Later*
Z.B & Jacob, the writers behind (H)our Stories, are pleased to turn that proverbial door sign around and announce that they are BACK IN BUSINESS!
Plenty has changed since the last time the writers convened to write. Two years away experiencing what the world had to offer between nourishment, shelter, & companionship, the writers remembered that stories (and the writing thereof) is just as integral to their wellbeing today as it had been all those years ago.
To start off, Jacob wrote a simple story about a 1. grandfather 2. brushing teeth. It had to include two different time eras and he managed it beautifully in the slow paced but gripping Heaven Before Bed.
Z.B. wrote a very noir story unique by its contradiction of genre to character. He was supposed to include 1. a person in a cowboy hat, 2. somewhere near sand, and 3. a Sony Walkman. Stay vigilant and keep an eye out for that Walkman in The Package.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste Cap, by Elizabeth Fraser.
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.
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!