Skip to content

The various scribblings of Andrew J. Savage Posts

Hook, Line and Sinker — Story Openings (Part 1)

The Hook

Distractions. The world is full of them. The modern world even more so. There are a thousand things a potential reader could be doing other than reading your story (or novel, or screenplay, etc.). Even a reader who is willing to cooperate–who has made the commitment to spend time in your story with you–still has thoughts going off in the back of their mind. The siren call of their phone, the expectation that their kids will come home soon, the ever-present question about whether they really did turn off the gas. There are any number of reasons why even the most willing reader will put your story down. Then there are editors.

1 Comment

The Cabin Boy

“I’ve never met a werewolf before.” Kira tilted her head, watching the boy. The sailors had him locked in the brig, thick wooden bars the only barrier between them. Outside, seagulls shrieked their displeasure at the wind. Waves shredded into frigid, salt-laden spray. The decks were unsafe, frozen and canting, and even below, she could barely take two steps before needing to hold on to something.

The boy hung his head. “They say I killed those people. I…I don’t remember.”

Leave a Comment

Jazz Firebrand’s Last Dance (A short story of Japan)

This is a story I wrote a while ago about unrequited love and a little bit of magic, or is it just wishful thinking?


Masahiro is an artist with secrets. He draws Japanese-style manga comics, full of intricately crafted characters armed with knives, guns, and hi-tech spying equipment. The title of his comic is Jazz Firebrand Za Spectacular, a small-run publication featuring the adventures of the heroine, Jazz Firebrand. Very few people know Masahiro is the artist. This is his first secret. He doesn’t talk about it, not even to Yuki, the girl he loves. Perhaps Yuki does not know that Masahiro loves her. This is another secret.

Jazz is a spy, a mercenary for hire, and sometime assassin; a woman for whom life is an endless series of ever-heightening crises. Jazz faces death page after page, urged ever onward by the stroke of Masahiro’s pen.

These days a single scene blooms from the ink again and again. The same scene repeats–unbidden–as if his life depends on it. As if the life of someone he loves depends on it.

A dog-eared sketchbook rests on Masahiro’s knees. He’s been sitting there so long he’s lost all feeling in his buttocks. Usually when Masahiro draws he is relaxed, but today he is wound tight, teeth clenched so firmly the muscles of his jaw creak in protest when he opens his mouth to lick his lips. Each detail must be just right, every patch of shading just so. He presses down so hard with the pencil that the tip breaks off, flitting across the stiff card stock.

The page is broken into panels, some half-erased where Masahiro has changed his mind part-way and tried to start again. The bottom of the page is almost entirely taken up by a close-up of an open female eye.

Masahiro’s hand trembles.

Leave a Comment

Tears | 50 Word Short Story

Raising the fiction bar on Steemit one 50 word story at a time, @jayna has issued a new writing prompt for the 50 Word Story Challenge. I haven’t ever tried flash fiction at this length before, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  The latest prompt for the challenge  is: tear.


The rift drew closer to the station. A colossal tear in space-time, looming behind the final escape pod.

Inside, Jeffrey waved happily. Unaware, but so perfect.

She shuddered. “You fucking look after him, Tom.”

He nodded, buckling himself in.

With a final look at her baby, she sealed the hatch.

 

2 Comments

The Tengu – Something I’ve been working on

The sounds entered his dream like tendrils of smoke, drifting through the cracks in his consciousness until finally there was nowhere left for him to escape it but to waken. Unusual sounds in the night did not ordinarily bother Steve Vannon. So when he found himself staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, pulse racing, he naturally assumed he’d had a nightmare and did his best to drift back to sleep. Despite his insistent cajoling and the deep breathing exercises his idiot father had forced him to learn by locking him into an online Prana class, the slow incessant click, click, grate, snicker, whisper that seemed to emanate from the woods just beyond the Fujiwara family’s ornate garden, refused to allow him to sink back into his dreams.



His girlfriend Emily lay be beside him on a futon of her own, her deep breathing indicating that she was still fast asleep. He watched her for a moment, wondering whether she dreamed and if that spidery echo had found its way into her mind also. If it had, she did not appear disturbed by it.

Awake or asleep, to him Emily was perfect. He had no doubt her dreams would be as well, though she often professed to not having any. Right now, with that nail-on-slate rasp echoing in his mind, he envied her that.

He extricated himself from the futon, stood, then walked to the window, padding as quietly as he could across the tatami. Outside the world was lit blue by a waxing moon. The garden lay below like a fallen jumble of shadows that hinted at a geometry that by day was disguised by the soft lines of artfully placed shrubs, bushes and rocks.
Above that, a wattle and daub garden wall topped by a row of gleaming roof tiles ran the length of the property and beyond it towered the blue-gray wood that Steve knew stretched for miles in nearly every direction until finally cut by the freeway back to Tokyo. Overshadowing it all was the rocky peak of the mountain with its cliched single spire of weathered granite topped by a single dwarf black pine. Tree and mountain were back lit against the brightness of the moon and framed as perfectly by the window as a Spielberg shot.

Steve listened again for the nose, but it had stopped. If it even existed in the first place. Lately his dreams had been troubled, but he suspected that finding a corpse in a park was the kind of thing that might have that effect on someone. And finding one that seemed to have been dismembered and burned was even worse.

Somewhere nearby a small animal cried out in pain or fear. Steve heard the beating of birds wings, the chirrup of crickets and the constant drone of cicadas. He rubbed his face, yawned and started to head back to his futon when a movement from the corner of his eye stopped him. For an instant he thought he’d seen a figure perched atop a large rock beside one of the moss-covered stone lanterns that dotted the garden. He blinked, looked again and whatever it had been was gone.

Crawling back into bed, he lay listening to Emily’s soft snores and hoping sleep would find him once more.

To be continued…

This is just something I’ve been thinking about and part of a larger project. Let me n

If you like my work, please consider following me for more. I’m posting smaller (hopefully) humorous bits and pieces as well as some longer pieces as I build up my courage.

Tengu statue pic from here

Leave a Comment

First Post – Feels like I should say something commemorative

Lots of people have blogs and lots of writers have blogs. This is mine. Although, I must confess not my first one. That one has been lost in the mists of internet time along with the first domain I ever bought (sadly, I failed to renew it and now it sits there like an abandoned car with its own squatting hobo on board).

In any case, this is going to be my blog. Not sure how often I will update it, but between this and Steemit there should be plenty of updates generally.

On to other matters. Writing. Writing and I share a love-hate relationship. I honestly love writing and hate it at the same time. Writing, on the other hand, is entirely disinterested in me. But when I can get its attention… Oh the feeling.

What annoys me about writing is probably the main thing that has stopped me being very good at it. It’s the grind. Writing, in my humble and generally uninformed opinion, is 90% grind, 5% creativity and inspiration and 50% grind (math is not my strong point). My goal this year is to suffer through the grind, enjoy the fun parts and get a novel draft completed. Still with me?

If so, welcome to the journey. It will be great to have you coming along for the ride.

 

Leave a Comment