Isn’t it cool how you can do so much with so few words?
I love it. 😁
It started as a mark.
By lunch, it burned, snaking past her wrist to wind ‘round the elbow and onto the bicep.
At day’s end, it spanned shoulder to shoulder, a wide band of flaking grey weeping crimson and cream.
Come morning, she stood,
swallowed head to toe,
in the bark of a ravening tree.
If anyone ever asks me how I get past writer’s block or get myself ready for the day, I’m gonna lead them to these 55-word shorts.
I love ’em.
Dainty girls break too easy.
Which is why, after the effortless snapping of bones
and easy tearing of too-tender flesh,
he craved a Stout Girl.
One with meat on her legs, a heft to her stride.
Pudgy arms, thick wrists.
Yes, that’s the ticket,
as Stout Girl bashed his head with a brick.
Just another little something I wrote – a fairly complete, hopefully intriguing story with a 55 word limit – while loosening the ol’ writing muscles for the day’s work.
I do think I’ll compile these into a collection someday. 🙃
I’ve knitted a shroud.
Or perhaps sewn is the right word.
Dollar store linen and bone-white thread beginning at my purple feet, past my arthritic knees and swollen stomach, onto my weeping breasts and blackened throat.
My knuckles knitting my sins into seclusion and shadow
once the smell becomes toxic,
I will be found.
See? You don’t need a ton of words to tell a good, creepy, screwed up story. Fifty-five words – maybe even less – is sometimes all it takes.
Perhaps I should publish a collection. 🤔
“I’m just going to tell you what I think really makes these novellas work and what makes me think Jonathan Winn is a brilliant young author. There are two things that really stand out for me. One is that Winn’s characters are fantastic, so incredibly well developed for such short works, and, love em or hate em, they make you feel something, and they make you interested in their fates. The other thing, and this one is huge for me, is that his endings are fucking perfect. Some of the hardest hitting, wickedly horrific finales I’ve ever read. Because of that, the stories stay with you long after you’ve read the last word.”
Now, on to the excerpt!
My stories do trend darker but I absolutely chose to focus on horror. Why? Because it’s limitless. I can be brutal and strange or sly and surprising. Horror is a big tent under a huge umbrella. What other genre can you turn a field of golden grass into something it’s not? Something sinister? Or a simple piece of string into the most horrific of inescapable nightmares? Or have an unexpected tattoo – one the character doesn’t remember getting – come to life, multiply, burrow under the skin and bring bloody retribution fed by guilt and regret? My imagination is allowed to run free when it comes to horror. I’m not sure it’d be that way with other genres.
You can read the rest over here.
Ah, stumbled upon this the other day. A chat with the titular Martuk . One of my favorite interviews. It ran a few years ago when I was releasing Martuk the Holy: Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk the Holy.
Always loved this one.
He glanced around the cafe. Noticed the group of German tourists scanning their maps, a jumble of shopping bags at their feet. The mother chatting on her cell phone, her eyes fixed on the baby sleeping in the stroller. He watched the waitress, an older woman with thick hips and thin arms, as she leaned on the counter. And the young couple tucked away in the corner, their fingers clutching stout porcelain. “I’ve watched the world change,” he said. “Civilations rise and fall. Whole worlds end. Yet it still remains the same. Always the same.”
For a moment, I’d forgotten who he was, this Martuk. Had forgotten about his birth in the sun-blasted Zagros mountains one thousand years before Christ. Had forgotten the centuries he’d seen. The bloody chaos he’d caused and the agony he’d endured. Reminded myself that this was a man who’d had a long life, a long immortality, even before something as unremarkable as a cup of coffee even existed.
I gave him a moment. “If I may, why the second book?” I said. “Why Proseuche? Was it something as simple as the story continuing?”
“Nothing’s that simple.” He finished his espresso in one final swallow, his finger raised to order a second. A small nod from me, and a second finger lifted to indicate two. “Writing doesn’t excorcise the ghosts. It emboldens them.”
“So why write?”
A moment of silence followed by a brief shrug. “Who am I without my ghosts? In this world that changes yet remains the same, they are one of my few constants. Their anger, their rage. Their fear and regret and sorrow. These things, I know them. They are familiar. Even here, even now, they walk with me.
“They are amaranthine. A word I now love, by the way,” he said with a grin. “Endless and forever and constant.”
Not only will this push the envelope, it will guild that envelope in gold, hone it to a razors edge and use it in a beautiful & brutal ceremony. It so heavy and beautiful and I loved every moment of it, Martuk is going to strike nerves.”
– Zakk @ The Eyes of Madness
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