Show Case

Show Case features pieces submitted in response to a Writing Prompt. You can see responses to each prompt in the drop down menu for this page. Try an item. They are all delicious. We hope they stimulate your mind, spirit, and urge to write. Maybe they will motivate you to submit a piece for our next prompt:

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Those submissions are due by the end of Monday, November 29, 2021, and will be published here the following Friday. Please attach yours as a .docx, .doc, or .pdf to an email to stranscht@sbcglobal.net. (Guidelines: any genre, approximately 6 – 1,000 words.)

And please share this Show Case with your family, friends, and other writers.

56 thoughts on “Show Case

  1. Sue, thanks for getting this section of the Co-Op up and running. Moron that I am, I kept checking the main page wondering when it would update . . . till the flickering light bulb fzzzzzz-tink! blinked on. (I enjoyed your serio-comedic piece: “a-tropied wife”, indeed!)

    Kudos to everyone who contributed! I read every word. Victor’s moving mother piece, Scott’s riff on learning the German language (for some reason this reminded me of John Irving’s writing style–that’s a compliment), Mimi’s . . . err . . . sly scene (some nice, crackling dialogue in there! Have you ever been better?!), Perry’s bit re: an office romance too-quickly faded, Mellow’s ironic short-short re: our dread fears vs. what actually kills us. Again: Nice job, people! Thank you all for giving Susan something to work with.

    Now, an additional bit of fun: https://iwl.me/

    If you pop your piece into the link provided above the program will analyze your writing and tell you which famous author your personal writing style most approximates. Tell us, won’t you? (I was informed I write like E. L. Doctorow.)

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’m happy to be of service and pleased that you enjoyed my twisted take, Carl.

      I love the fun of writing something that makes me chuckle unexpectedly. That, and time travel.

      A Love Story’s convincing portrayal of clueless communication versus pissed off, hopeless, why-are-you-clueless? communication made it possible to see them from the outside and from inside.with to-a-point sympathy.

      So, this story came up as similar to Anne Rice and three other stories came up as similar to Agatha Christie. Like Victor, I haven’t read either of them. Do you think Victor and I have similar styles? I’m not sure I see it. Maybe…

      A few years ago, I popped a different story (but I can’t recall which one) into a program like this one, and came up as most similar to David Foster Wallace. I started watching for self-destructive thoughts and a discernible level of opacity.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. victoracquista says:

    I can only echo Carl’s comments. Thank you Sue and fellow colleagues!
    I am also obliged to add that the link Carl shared is dangerous as well as fun. I never fashioned myself writing in a style similar to Anne Rice. LOL!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thank you to everyone who wrote: Carl, Victor, Scott, Mimi, Perry, and Barry! I hope you all had fun enough to do this again. And again. Not necessarily every prompt, but often enough to keep your nibs honed.

    I hope you all noticed that the next prompt is at the top of this posted. In red. With a deadline. Hope to see more from you all.

    And if you can, please share this page with other people (and writers) you know. The more… you know the rest. (Uh-oh. How many of you are thinking “The more you know…?)

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Wow, Barry. Your imagery demanded a visceral reaction. Like the snakes, the story kept biting and squeezing till what came out was a terrifying twist that made it all better. Well done. I’m glad your serendipitous early start was early enough for you to write Vow of Silence.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A nice crop of stories there! Thanks to all. Death and decline and fading love – the prompt prompted takes on eternal themes. I look forward to the next crop, to which I may even contribute. But it’s only a week away now! No pressure…

    Liked by 5 people

      • I think Curtis was as surprised as I was, Sue: Given the talent and playful seriousness (a phrase that is not oxymoronic but rather emblematic) of this group’s approach to the craft your prompt elicited far more than mere bursts of vaguely-related-to-the-subject typing but rather portraits in miniature: of fraught relationships, failing people, and fulsome explorations of awkward, true-to-life, serio-comic situations. No wonder Curtis wants to contribute next time! He respects us, methinks, anew. . . .

        Liked by 4 people

      • No intention to tease, Sue, but genuinely at a loss. Finishing one novel, starting another, researching a third – my brain has enough compartments, but switching from one to another is onerous, so fitting in a story is tough. Like last time I do have an idea but I’ve tried wrestling it into submission and haven’t succeeded. I’m putting it away for my unconscious to work on, meaning it might emerge in a month, a year, or never.

        Liked by 4 people

          • Well, this one involves a long haul flight, a woman in a niqab, another with everything on show, male fantasies and a fatwa. Among the things I’ve been wreslting with is the offensiveness, maybe even explosiveness, of it. Tricky. But thanks to the impetus provided by Sue, I’d like to pursue it sometime.

            Liked by 3 people

        • I get it, Curtis. No matter how many compartments we have, we can deal with only one at a time. I’ve finally finished re-writing the YA SciFi from the first book in a trilogy to a stand-alone with the possibility of a series, but I wrote two separate endings for the stand alone in the process. Going back and forth between them was a challenge because the difference was a significant change of plot line. However, it’s ready to submit to the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition, and that was the goal.

          And with two children’s books basically done and a third evolving, and three other novels well begun, I agree it’s tricky to carve out time for a random story. Besides, it sounds like you’re doing a fine job of stretching your writer muscles. I will still look forward to the time a prompt suggests a story that is born fully grown from your head, like Athena.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Sue: Good luck with your submission! Sounds like you’ve been writin’ your pants off: “And with two children’s books basically done and a third evolving, and three other novels well begun . . . ” I envy you: You’re in the “prolific” camp. I’m in the cramped-fingers, clenched-jawed-constipated, sideways-crab-walk camp. I’m lucky if I can get a couple-dozen new sentences down a day. (And when you consider fully one-third-to-a-half of this output constitutes revision of the previous day’s work, well . . . it would take me decades to write a 300-page novel. So I don’t. Because I can’t. But you go girl! Err . . . woman. Tireless dynamo. Tour-de-force. Seriously! Well done. Please gift us a blog post someday re: The Novel: A Sue Ranscht Approach to Inspiration, Organization & Revision. I’d find that well worth reading. I’m always fascinated by people’s approach to the craft, for everyone’s strategy and practice differs.)

            Liked by 2 people

            • My approach to the novel guarantees the manuscript will evolve over years instead of months. I’m okay with that — encouraged, even — because each new attack begins with editing and revision and I believe the result is better writing. It also seems to make new writing easier and better. I don’t feel like I’m agonizing over anything.

              My short stories evolve over shorter periods of time, but still involve daily editing and revision till I’m happy with them. I guess that’s why I’ll put the novels aside for a bit to create an intervening finished product.

              All that, of course, is woven into and around completing my livelihood work. Thank goodness I don’t seem to need a lot of sleep. 3am and I are close friends. lol.

              Liked by 2 people

  6. Mistakenly assuming that seeing no POST about the Show Case meant there was a delay in getting it up, I did not think to scan the banner [ HOME • ABOUT … ] for a PAGE link until today.  Looks great, but I will need to print it all out in order to read it properly.  Yes, I am THAT old.

    Many thanks to Sue for running this.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am happy to be of service.

      I identify with you, Mel. That’s why I prefer 14 pt Helvetica. In black. On a laptop.

      Until today, it didn’t occur to me to send an email to alert everyone to the Show Case page. Duh. (Though it did seem strange to me that only three of us who had contributed, had also commented.)

      Still living, still learning.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. mimispeike says:

    I’m thinking about this one, and I have an idea for Maisie, in which she bemoans the necessity of hiding her true self from most of the folks she runs into. W.C. Fields, whom she worked alongside in the Ziegfeld Follies, was an exception. They had a lot in common.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Not much I can add to the comments already here, but I want to salute the clever ending of Sue’s piece.  Suspense built as I read the over-the-top listing of Lydia Sterling’s awards.  Where was this leading?  Then it all came together with 3 meanings for pretty much the same sounds: [ atrophied; a trophied; a trophy ].  While I’ve appreciated many puns, I can’t recall hearing a **triple** entendre before.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. mimispeike says:

    Sue! I have a big problem. This one runs to 2000 words, and I love it as it is. I believe you mentioned we could submit more than one entry. Could I break it into two parts? I will see that part one ends neatly. If you’re beguiled by it, move on to part two.

    If you say no, I will try to edit down further. I may be able to lose two or three hundred words, but not a thousand.

    Here’s what I have at present:

    Part one – “In 1927, Maisie Mulot was box-office dynamite.” 812 words. Part two – “Whatever you know (or think you know) about W.C. Fields, you’re most likely wrong.” Balance of 2000+/- words.

    It suddenly occurs to me: behind the mask applies to both Maisie and to Fields. Terrific!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. mimispeike says:

    These stories are all beautifully written.

    Carl, yours is painfully poignant, so real. I was especially touched by your piece. The monologue/dialogue was spot on.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. We have a problem.

    The comments on Show Case #1 all appear here, but the actual submissions to #1 do not.

    Ideally, clicking on [SHOW CASE] in the banner would give the reader a chance to see #1 or #2 (or #3, after #3 appears). And so on. Ideally, readers of #2 would see the comments on #2 only.

    Suppose Show Case gets as far as #9. As things stand now, readers will see the #9 submissions, followed by a raft of unintelligible comments on #1 thru #8 before any comments on #9.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. AHA!  WP has the functionality needed to solve the problem I noticed.  Point your browser to

            https://writercoop.wordpress.com/category/writing-technique/

    and U will see a page that lists ALL posts to Writers’ Co-op that are in the “writing-technique” category.  The most recent post will be at the top of the page.

    Suppose that each Show Case episode is done as a POST (not a PAGE!) with a new category “Show Case” that is not used otherwise. Suppose that clicking on the [Show Case] button in the banner visits

            https://writercoop.wordpress.com/category/show-case/

    rather than the current

            https://writercoop.wordpress.com/wips-2/

    Then WP will automatically generate and display a page listing the Show Case episodes, with the most recent one at the top.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have no idea why your comment suddenly needed approval, but when I looked at the Comments under My Sites, it shows 315 comments have been approved.

      I think your proposal is a reasonable approach to this little dilemma, although I have a fondness in my heart for Parent and Child pages. They used to be so easy to manage. smh

      Liked by 2 people

  13. You are correct, Mellow. Although we have a Show Case parent page, and I have created both Behind the “Mask” and “Atrophied” Child pages, it turns out I don’t have access to Edit Menus to add the drop downs. We are working on the problem and apologize for the inconvenience.

    In the meantime, you can find the Behind the Mask page that hosts its own comments here: https://writercoop.wordpress.com/wips-2/behind-the-mask-october-22-2021/

    If anyone knows how to move comments to another page, please instruct me.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. mimispeike says:

    I don’t know quite where to ask this. An email, maybe. But first I’ll say it here.

    I’m having no luck with ‘catharsis’ in terms of Sly or Maisie. (Yet)

    But it comes to me that I might write a piece I’ve long contemplated. In particular, about my high school years. Giving voice to thoughts that have tormented me for sixty years would in itself be a catharsis. Is this acceptable?

    I’ve often thought that my family history, distilled down, would make an alternative ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’. I’m not sure my talent is up to the level of a Eugene O’Neill, but I’d like to try.

    Liked by 3 people

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