The Well of Fate [200 Word Short Story]

Story by R.C. Peris

Dear Mother:

In the center of the universe is a tree and from that tree extends a big branch hanging over the Well of Fate. I spent one hundred days trudging uphill through the frigid cold of the universe to reach the tree. I shed my sack, climbed the tree, crawled onto the branch and hung upside down. I was suspended over a swirling abyss – the bubbling waters of Fate. Every event of human life was down there. Every possibility. For humans and for the gods every event was out of our control. We were victims and pawns of the tidal movement in the Well of Fate.

For eight days I went without food or water as I was suspended. I was seeking that which plagued me. My ordeal. Lack of power over my life and others. I had grown very weak and tired. I was prepared to die to get what I wanted.

On the ninth day of weakness, despair, and fervent praying something spat up from the Well. I caught it. It was a small stone with a letter on it. I was confused but excited. I placed it my small bag. More stones shot up. On the tenth day, nothing more came from the Well. I climbed down from the tree and went to my sack where there was food and water. When I had slaked my thirst and hunger, I crossed the universe and went to my cave by the molten silver sea.

I played with the stones and lined them up. I created words. I created sentences. To create is a lonely endeavor. I spoke to no one.

I created a poem about love and was able to obtain a lover. I created a poem about death and was able to destroy my enemy. I created a poem about war and was able to get men to fight each other.

The stones were power. I had power. Words were power. I was now in control of fate. By creating sentences I created possibilities. There was no end. I could create new worlds. I could recite my words and change the minds of men. On the hundredth day of possessing the stones, I could no longer create. I bashed the walls of my cave. My power slacked. I lost confidence. My lover left me. I had so many new enemies. I fled my cave and now walk the kingdoms hoping one day I will have the power of words again. Perhaps if I suffer once again…I will go back to the Well. If I die then I die. If I survive, I will visit you mother and perhaps as mother and son we can wield power and change the minds of men.

Yours Truly,

Odin

For More Stories Visit – The 200 Word Short Story

The Pagan

 

Story by R.C. Peris

Papa was Lord of the Sea. Our mother and my three sisters lived in a castle in the hills. When papa was away fighting in a raging battle, mama died. My Aunt Aoife came to care for us. She fed us and put us to bed. I don’t think she was sad mama died.

When papa came home he wept and Aoife soothed him. Papa invited her to live with us and after many months I saw Aoife kiss papa. This made me scared. Aoife cared for us but she did not love us. She never once smiled at us or hugged us.

In the spring, papa and Aoife got married and a few months later she became pregnant. Papa left to fight another battle. Aoife began consulting with a Druid priest. They had secret meetings. This was curious. One day Aoife suggested a picnic by the lake. My sisters and I waded in the lake looking for tadpoles. Aoife raised her arms and spoke our names. One by one each us became a swan.

We have been swimming in this lake for hundreds of years. Aoife told us the spell would be broken when we could hear a Christian bell ring. Many people have celebrations by this lake and they ring bells. My sisters got excited when they heard bells but I had grown sick of it. I had come to hate the sound of bells. I was fine being a swan. My feathers were beautifully white and I could glide so gracefully around t

he lake.

One day, hundreds of years later, a man whom everyone called Patrick rang a bell and my sisters and I became young girls again. This made me so mad that I charged forward, grabbed the bell from him, and broke it. People yelled, “Pagan.” My sisters and I were taken to a convent. It was horrible. It was not like papa’s beautiful castle. And we had to pray several times a day to some strange God. Each day was drudgery so I ran away and went to the lake. I plunged in and allowed myself to drown. All because someone rang a Christian bell.

 

Discover More Stories at The 200 Word Short Story

 

A Coven of Witches Should Run for President

 

I want to revisit the 2015 movie, The Witch, directed by Robert Eggers. I was recently re-reading The Scarlet Letter, the perfect chestnut of American literature, and a sermon by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards, a masterful writer, wrote this;

However strong such kind of objections against the eternal misery of the wicked, may seem to the carnal, senseless hearts of men, as though it were against God’s justice and mercy, yet their seeming strength arises from a want of sense of the infinite evil, odiousness, and provocation there is in sin.

The Puritans were obsessed by evil and it is of no surprise that a witch hunt began. The movie is set before the witch hunts. It opens with a family standing before the town council and getting banished for not adhering to towns principles. The father of the family is too pious for the town. We next see the family leaving in a wagon outside the wall that encloses the town and then the doors shutting. The Puritans built walls to keep out the Native Americans who made violent attempts on the settlements. The Native Americans came from the dense, dark woods. But other things lurked in the woods, like evil witches. The wall kept evil and disaster away but did not prevent the breeding of evil.

The movie addresses misogyny and the limited choices women had. The daughter of the family joins the coven at the end of the movie and, for the first time, she looks wildly happy and free. When the witches had killed her siblings and parents, she had a few options:

1. Starve to death on the abandoned farm.
2. Possibly die while trying to reach the Commonwealth on foot.
3. Or face potential charges of being a witch after arrving at the colony and explaining that her family was killed by supernatural forces (and her own blade in her mother’s case). And again, death is a likely outcome at the end of a Puritan’s rope—just ask the 20 descendants from this generation who were executed 60 years later.

Faced with these options, joining a witches coven seems entirely reasonable. Hawthorne understood the inherent unfairness and cruelty inflicted on women by the Puritans. After all, Hester must wear a Scarlet A for the simple act of sex. She also lives apart from the community and appears to have no friends.

In our current political climate, there are echoes of the Puritans. Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Ted Cruz have all said strangely misogynistic things, advocate for laws that directly impact the liberty of women, and the few women in Trump’s cabinet/camp reject feminism.

Maybe some women should form a coven and run in the next campaign. It’s women versus them. Perhaps women should delight in their ‘strangeness’ and take down the hypocrites.

The movie trailer for The Witch:

 

David Mamet, His Masterclass, and Talent for Dialogue

I recall last year, Masterclass was offering lessons from master writer, James Patterson. I thought it was funny. Patterson writes outlines to his stories, with assistance, and then has a few writers who crank out pages and he gets the final review. I wouldn’t say that was master writing as much as master management.

Masterclass is currently offering lessons in writing, film, and direction from David Mamet. When I discovered that, I perked up.

https://www.masterclass.com/classes/david-mamet-teaches-dramatic-writing?utm_source=Paid&utm_medium=AdWords&utm_term=Aq-Prospecting&utm_content=Search&utm_campaign=DAMA#/

David Mamet came to my attention in college with the movies Oleanna and Glengarry Glenross. I was most impressed with Glengarry. I had just ended a crap sales job over the summer selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. Each morning we piled into our Team Manager’s car and hit the road looking for houses to knock on so we could vacuum their carpet and sell them a vacuum cleaner for an ungodly sum of money. I didn’t do horribly. I averaged two sales a week but it sucked. The whole thing. What was worse is that the ‘career’ sales people (all men) were constantly giving one line pep talks to keep us motivated. They had read all the sales books and adored Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. They were chasing the dream. One day they were going to be rich. Glengarry took the upbeat sales person and flipped them over. The men in Glengarry are desperate or they are jerks. Often both. What Mamet managed to portray with his dialogue is the stink and curdle of desperation.

I started reading Mamet’s plays and watching and re-watching his movies. Most of his movies fall flat. The Spanish prisoner was completely devoid of excitement. I think I fell asleep multiple times watching it. But I did enjoy his plays. Mamet does dialogue is a riveting, jarring way. No one talks like his characters. Mamet is not naturalistic. He takes characters, guts them, and makes them claw to survive as they bleed. There is animosity in his dialogue and each character seems deeply distrustful of humanity.

I might consider a masterclass in writing from David Mamet.

Here is the Al Pacino monologue from Glengarry:

 

How to Get Your Book Made into and Audiobook

One of the best ways to boost your books sales revenue is to turn it into an audiobook.

The global audiobook industry is currently evaluated at $3.5 billion dollars and the United States is currently the largest singular market with $1.8 billion dollars in audio sales in 2016 and this was a 31% increase from 2015. The Audio Publishers of America has stated that every year for the past three years 36,000 audiobooks were issued.

The most popular audiobook genres in 2016 were mystery, thriller, romance and fantasy/science fiction.

How do you get your book transformed into an audiobook with a higher price point? The best way is to use Amazon’s service – ACX. Once you create an account you can claim your book (your book must be listed on Amazon). You then post looking for auditions. You are required to give a 2-3 page audition script, which is just pages from your book. You also need to state your marketing goals and plans.

There are two ways to compensate the actor/actress. One is pay nothing up front but split the royalties 50/50. Another way is to pay a small amount up front with a lower royalty share. Generally, if you don’t make your audiobook exclusive to Audible then you get a much lower royalty but you can saturate the audiobook websites with your book. Of course, Audible accounts for most of the sales of audiobooks.

It can be hard finding an actor/actress to record the audio without any money up front. A lot of times, the talent will respond to the ad but ask for a flat fee up front even though you specified in your post royalty sharing only. But keep your call for audition posted and check into the site ever few days. Sometimes tweaking the ad to flesh out your marketing strategy for the audiobook can help.

It may take effort and a small investment, but turning your book into an audiobook makes marketing and financial sense.

More about making audiobooks:

How to Pitch Your Book to the Media

        

You are an author and you have a book. You think your book is awesome and hope, no expect, for instant, massive sales. It doesn’t happen unless you are Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, J.K. Rowling. You get the picture. But don’t worry, there is hope.

A publishing company once told me that they wrote a press release and then emailed it to media outlets. That was it. It’s no wonder that most of their books had meager sales. Many authors think a press release blasted out is actually effective. Here is the truth. Most media outlets get 1000s of press releases each month. They are overwhelmed and a press release does not help them do their job. A press release basically states this: I wrote an awesome book, I am awesome, buy my book. Where’s the story?You need to evaluate your book, market, and your education,

You need to evaluate your book, market, and your education, experience, and organizations you are involved in. Then you need to come up with a story to pitch the media outlets or at least help your book promoter come up with a great story. Are you a retired teacher with ten grandchildren who runs a rescue organization for sugar gliders in Colorado and who has just written a YA book? If you were to pitch bloggers, what could your story be? Imagine the headline.

Example: Retired grandmother and veteran teacher has figured out how to pursue her passions. Her love of animals and love of writing have energized her retirement. She has tips for anyone wanting to revitalize their life.

Notice how the story isn’t about the book but lived life lessons that can offer information for the viewers and readers of the media outlets. If you pitch, you also have made the life of the media contact easier as they no longer have to sit at their computer staring at a boring press release and wondering how the heck it could be story.

Do your research before you promote your book and also figure out who you are as a writer. What’s interesting about you? What’s unique?

Do some soul searching and start crafting your story to pitch media outlets.

For affordable help with book promotion check out this video:

What is a Treatment and How to Write a Treatment?

A treatment is essentially a summary of your story idea or already written screenplay. The treatment must identify all the characters, their descriptions, all the plot points including the beginning, middle or end. Screenplays are almost never read until a few stages into the vetting process. What productions companies, directors and producers do read are treatments. The treatment gets your foot in the door.

Here are the basics of treatments:

  1. Just plain paper. Don’t get fancy or add photos or illustrations. Only include words.
  2. State your name and contact details.
  3. Provide a logline. A logline is one sentence summarizing the entire story.
  4. List all characters with relevant descriptions.
  5. Then write the summary. Stick to 12 Pt font and an easy to read font.

 

When we spoke with Michael LiCastri, a screenwriter with sixteen feature length films, he said “treatments should be no more than 2500 words, which usually means 4-5 pages.” We asked Mr. LiCastri about where samples of treatments could be accessed. He suggested using Google. There are a lot of sources about movie writing on the internet. Do your research before you dive into the writing process.

Mr. LiCastri said, “a good, solid treatment can get you movie deals.” The Jessica Chastain movie, Miss Sloane, was chosen for production in minutes, which is impressive since it was pitched by a new writer.

 

Here are some resources:

https://www.screenwritinggoldmine.com/how-to-write-a-treatment/

http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/how-to-write-a-treatment.html

https://www.writersstore.com/what-is-a-treatment-and-why-do-i-need-one/

 

To learn more about Michael LiCastri, go to his IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4186485/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Or his business site:

https://mlicastri12.wixsite.com/website

 

Miss Sloane trailer:

 

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Interested in varying degrees of involvement in the production of a finished work.

Ability to author, edit, rewrite, proofread, and review books, manuscripts, essays, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, white papers, ghostwrite, and other texts that are officially credited to another person or with attribution.

Accomplished writer, educator of material content on a variety of topics, scope, and academic readership levels.

Let me know your project. Let’s discuss your content goals!

 

Nikki Forston, Proofreader (Ad)

I’m a freelance writer/proofreader. I’ve worked with published authors in both fiction and non-fiction categories. My most recent project was editing/proofreading The Global Kindness Revolution: How Together We Can Heal Violence, Racism and Meanness. The author has an extensive background in humanitarian work and has established a global platform. Prior to this, I assisted a published mystery writer for two years which included proofing content and marketing her work. Corresponding links:
My professional experience also includes: ghostwriting; copywriting; content development; screenwriting . I’ve handled proofreading assignments for a variety of formats such as: sales pages, marketing materials, blogs and other business correspondence.
Nikki Forston
Independent Contractor

Book Expo America – May 31-June 2 2017

BookExpo America is a 3 day event being held from 31st May to 2nd June 2017 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, United States Of America. This event showcases products like discover new titles and authors, conduct business and network, and learn the latest trends.booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights, licensing, and book industry professionals in North America etc. in the Book industry.

https://10times.com/book-expo-america?utm_source=newsletter1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10times%2BNewsletter&utm_content=attend&utm_term=attend_noLogin&sender=bfhhhibe&hash=/wg5JqUdSsS4PMGgtQ67HSpXSYyu5PMGYw3uijtt0Bw=

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