The Relic: Part One (Vote Your Adventure)

This is the first part of an adventure series where YOU determine the next step in the story.

You are woken by a scratching sound. Rhythmic. Incessant. Needy. Your head is on a dirty floor, so close to the wall that your nose is almost touching it. The scratching is coming from the other side. You scramble away from the sound on your hands and knees, kicking up a cloud of dust in your wake. You stop in the center of the room and struggle to shake off the overwhelming grogginess. The scratching has stopped and all is still. A high-pitched ringing fills your ears.

Your head is pounding – whether it is from previous injury or the sudden movement, you aren’t sure. You can’t remember how you got here. The room starts to spin very slowly. Drawing a deep breath, you close your eyes and lower your head to the floor. The cool pavement against your scalp is soothing, though it makes you realize you lost your helmet. You open your eyes and scan your body armor: standard-issue Kevlar, black and green and beat to hell. Patches of duct tape hold it together and the front is coated in dried blood and black mucus. Other than the pain in your head, you feel no injury so you guess the blood isn’t yours. Your supply bag is gone, and so is your gun. To add insult to injury, your name tag is coming off. Slowly, so as not to scramble your brain again, you lift your head and scan the room.

It looks like an abandoned maintenance room. Directly in front of you, a long, wooden workbench is set against the wall, cluttered with tools and a thick layer of dust. To the right of the bench, a metal ladder leans against the wall next to a mop and bucket and a push broom. To the left, a flimsy interior door is covered with dark red splatters. You decide not to think about the splatters and keep your eyes moving. The walls on either side of you are blank, though scrapes and holes lead you to believe that shelving was once attached. You twist your neck to look over your shoulder and wince from the pain. Behind you is a closed metal door with an emergency push bar. The floor around it is brushed clean, so you guess that’s where you came in. To the left of the door is a window, the only source of light in the room. A massive, hastily painted occult symbol covers the glass. You’ve seen the warped crescent-and-star symbol before and know it will temporarily restrain evil. You don’t know how long it will hold.

You squint through the streaks of black paint, noting the waning light. You have no radio, no weapon, and experience tells you that you will not make it through the night alone with only a hasty ward.

The sound of wings beating draws your attention back to the spot where you woke up. The scratching resumes.

What do you do?

A: Open the metal door.
B: Look out the window.
C: Check the workbench for a makeshift weapon

Vote in the comments or on Twitter. Voting ends Tuesday night. The highest vote will be the next step in the story, posted on Fridays.

UPDATE: The voting is now closed. Looks like the C’s have it. A final count will be added in the comment section, in case you’re curious. The next step in the story will be posted Friday.
Continue reading “The Relic: Part One (Vote Your Adventure)”

Coming Soon… This Place!

Welcome to the new JenKirchner.com! If you’ve stumbled here from a link or you’re just jumping the gun with your bookmarks, thanks for coming by. The official live date for the website isn’t until Friday, May 6, and we’re working hard on sprucing up the place before then (the front page is looking a little dull, but we’re going to change that).

On Friday, we’ll kick off this new site with a new recurring series — a riff on Choose Your Own Adventure stories! I will offer up a 500-word short. At the end you will have choices on what to do next. Vote your selection in the comments or on Twitter (@JenLKirchner). Highest vote wins. The following Friday, I will post the next step in the story. I hope you will stick around for it!

In the meantime, please feel free to take a look around. We’ve moved a few posts over from the old blog just so the front page doesn’t look so dreary. Feel free to peruse, comment on posts, or pop over to Twitter and say hi.

Jen

May I Introduce You…

Every week for the next 10 weeks I will be featuring a friend’s blog. They will get the totally awesome “Kreative Blogger Award” from me and an eager endorsement. Sure, these web awards are about as legit as the MTV Awards, but it’s the thought that counts.

This week’s award goes to: Mark Lidstone!

The Kreativ Blogger Award

I met Mark on Twitter a few weeks ago. He writes horror short stories and features them on his blog. In fact, that’s all his writing blog is: A place to feature his awesome stories. His current series is called “Killing Friends” where he, well, kills his friends.

Come to think of it, maybe being friends with Mark isn’t such a great thing.

Anyway, congratulations to Mark! To see his writing blog, click here.

Social Networking and Me (and You)

Platform! Branding! Social Media! Twitter! LinkedIn! Facebook! Rstat.us! Fame! Success! Numbers! Strategy! Network! Globalize! Promote! Sell!

Whoa there, pal. I have a headache and I didn’t even get through ten percent of the social networking buzzwords.

I’ve always been a computer person. I grew up in the Seattle area and computers were the norm. My grandparents had Pong (sweet!). I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas (back in the day when it came bundled with Pac Man and Combat!) and I was hooked. My brother and I spent hours camped out in the den in sleeping bags, beneath a ramshackle fort we had created, playing video games.

And I was awesome at this. P.S. This guy is doing it wrong.

Some of my best friends were met in online video games. I even met my spouse in a video game. (Embarrassingly enough, it’s true — and we’re coming up on 7 years of marital bliss.) When online life was new, most of my friends shunned me, saying they’d never understand. At one point, a group of them came over and tried doing an intervention. And where are they now?

Continue reading “Social Networking and Me (and You)”

Dialogue: All the Time, No Exceptions

Lately I’ve been talking about editing and how I treat my work differently if I know it’s going to be read aloud. Writing instructors and agents have often talked about the importance of reading your work aloud, but they seldom talk about why.

So let’s get into it.

It’s a matter of dialogue. Everyone loves writing it (especially me). Dialogue is action. Dialogue is interesting. Dialogue fills in the holes when we think we can’t convey through narration and description. It’s a safety net. It’s a catch-all.

On the other hand, there’s narration. It’s, like, description and stuff. We’ll go out with narration because we have to, but while we’re taking narration to dinner and a movie, we’re dreaming of dialogue.

Continue reading “Dialogue: All the Time, No Exceptions”