Zack Umstead, Young Writer

November 26, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Monkfish

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 3:00 PM

This week’s Monday blog post is about a rather unusual word. I went to a random word generator and got, well, the word monkfish. I had no idea what a monkfish is (in case you don’t know either, click here). After a bit of reading about the monkfish, I came up with this. Please, enjoy!


It’s always so dark down here. Why do I have to live down here? Oh yes, the food, I remember as something brushes against my lure. Just a little closer. I can feel it stir in front of my mouth.

I lunge out and catch the thing in my mouth. Ugh, shrimp. Again. The darned things had little armor plating that made them impossible to eat without hurting some part of the mouth. What I wouldn’t give for a soft little fish. When was the last time I had one of those? It felt like so long, but time meant nothing to me. There was no way to gauge it without light. Every once in a while a spear of light would come down from above, and I would swim towards it to explore what sights it brought, along with many other inhabitants of this little world.

But wait! I feel another stirring in front of me. Maybe I’m going to get another soft little fish. Oh happy day! I twitch my lure closer to my mouth…

And the thing lights up! Light, real light, like I’ve never seen before! So bright it blinds me, and I swim away. But I come back to explore the thing again, this time with my eyes closed. I feel the currents the thing makes. It feels like… a dying fish? I had only ever experienced that once before, and that fish hadn’t lit up when it died. But this thing seems just like that dying fish in every other way, it’s sporadic movements and the way the current flowed around it.

The light’s going to attract others here. I should eat this before they come. Eat this? I stop myself. Should I really eat this thing, when I have no idea what it is? My head doesn’t say yes, but my stomach growls in protest of a pure shrimp diet. I give in to the urge and lunge out to eat it.

I bite into a mass of something that definitely is not meat. I pull once, but I can’t break free, and I feel a sharp jab into my upper jaw. Suddenly, I’m whisked upwards at high speed by this mysterious thing. Light starts to appear from above, and I close my eyes against it. I feel a difference in my surrounding, and with a start realize that I am not surrounded by water. No water? What is this strange substances I am suspended in? I remember nothing more than the vibration through this strange substance of some large creatures pulling me towards them.


Hope you like it! If you have a word for next week’s One-Word Writing, please leave it in a comment. I’ll choose one to use for next week, which means you could be the inspiration for the story next week. So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below!


November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Announcements — Zack @ 11:49 AM

My parents are scrambling making mounds of food in the kitchen below, I chopped probably three pounds of vegetables, and I can currently smell a large fowl roasting in an oven. That all means one thing – today’s Thanksgiving!

So happy Turkey Day (or Tofurkey Day) to those of you celebrating. I hope you see your family, watch some football, and stuff your face with food (thats basically how my night’s going to be spent).

But on a little more serious note, take some time to really be thankful for what you have. Personally, I’m thankful for my great family (though they can get on my nerves sometimes), my house and possessions, and the opportunities I have been given, like the blog I write, or the stories I write that you guys read. Yes, I’m thankful that you guys read my work – after all, what’s a writer without a reader? Anyway, enjoy your holiday and extended weekend for some, and stay safe tomorrow – it gets messy out there.

November 19, 2012

Monday One Word Writing: Ventilating

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 8:29 AM

For my Monday morning blog posts, I believe I’ve come up with a great idea. I’m calling it One Word Writing – basically, I take one word and try to make an entire short story out of it. This week, since it’s the first week, I used a random word generator to come up with my word. My hope is to have you guys comment below with a word for me to write about next week, and I will choose one and write the story about that.

In case you couldn’t tell from the post’s title, this week’s word is “ventilating”. Take a look below for the story!


Peter woke groggily. The room was dark. Where am I? he thought. Think, Peter, think. What happened to me?

Peter remembered leaving the bar after one too many drinks. Things were getting hazy, and this guy had offered him a ride home. Peter wasn’t stupid – he wasn’t going to drive himself after that last Guinness. The last thing he remembered, he was looking out the window as they drove down the interstate.

Man, did I pass out in his car? That’s embarrassing. Peter got up from the floor and immediately felt warmer. Concrete he realised. I was laying on a concrete floor. I don’t have any concrete floors in my house.

“Hey!” Peter yelled. “Hey, where am I?” His voice echoed loudly in the confines of the small room. He walked to the wall and found it was corrugated steel. What the hell? he thought. “Where am I?” he yelled again. He felt his way around the room. It wasn’t much bigger than a closet, and the walls were all corrugated steel. There wasn’t a door, as far as he could tell.

Now he vocalized his emotions. “What the hell?!” he yelled with all his might. The only answer he received was his angered echo. But as his eyes grew used to the dark, he saw a small source of light in the ceiling.

“What’s this?” Upon closer inspection, he found it was an air vent. “Well at least I have you, little guy,” he said. “That’s kind of whoever put me in here.”

The vent closed with a loud metallic snap, and the container fell into total darkness.

November 12, 2012

Just a Quick Announcement…

Filed under: Announcements — Zack @ 8:30 AM

I am currently writing this post from my school (which, thank God, has finally repealed some of the dumber webfilters). As part of my Creative Writing class, we will be writing our free writing on our blogs on Mondays from now on. As many of you know, I prefer to write fiction over anything, so the majority of those posts will be fiction, unless I am explicitly told not to. So check back every Monday for a quick post!

I still will be posting other stories occasionally, so don’t worry about that, they just won’t come out as regularly as these Monday posts. Stay tuned for those, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to hear about all the work I do!

November 6, 2012

Business Card Fiction

This year, one of the classes I’ve been taking is Creative Writing. Sounds like a ton of fun, right? Well, it does to me, but so far, we haven’t done a heck of a lot of writing in Creative Writing, and what we have done is mostly nonfiction. But we are now finally beginning to write fiction, and I couldn’t be happier. Whenever I get the chance (and the story’s good), I’ll post what I’ve written on here. This first post was an odd prompt – we were given a picture prompt, the painting by George Tooker you see here, and were told to write a piece of fiction about it. Simple enough, except there was a catch – we could only write it on the front and back of a business card-sized piece of card stock. Not the easiest thing to fit a full plot arc on. I tried my best, and I think you’ll like it. Go ahead and read below!

The Bureau of Time

Walter shuffled forward in line. “Name, please,” the man asked.

“Walter Robinson.”

“How long are you requesting?”

“Eight years.”

The man behind the counter punched a few keys. He had the same face as everyone else behind the counters. That was for protection – there were dangers in this job. “I can’t give you that. At most, you have seven months.”

“Seven months!” Walter cried. “I need more than that!”

“I can’t give you more than that, sir. I suggest you live your life while you can.”

“Oh, you’ll give me more than that!” Walter pulled a handgun and pointed it right at the clerk’s face.

“I’m sorry sir,” he said without emotion. “I can’t help you.”

Walter pulled a trigger and the bullet punched a clean hole through the robot. He emptied the rest of the clip in the two guards coming toward him, also robots. As he was taken away, he heard the clerk say, “Enjoy your life, sir.”

And just for a bit of fun, here’s a picture of the front and back of the card, with a quarter for scale.

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