The Monstrous and Curious

A huge pterosaur appears out of nowhere, sparking wild speculation about the creature’s origin, and the meaning of its existence.

Music: “Monochromatic Stain” by Nicholas Jeudy

[Video Description: “The Monstrous and Curious” Trailer. Duration, 42 seconds. Music, “Monochromatic Stain” by Nicholas Jeudy. Digital drawing. A creature that appears in the shape of a pterosaur but with the coloring and long tail feathers of a blue-and-gold macaw. The creature is perched on a bare branch that appears from left of frame and extends right. The creature faces right, face seen in three-quarters view, wings extended forward. The inside of the left wing is visible as it stretches down the right side of the image. The outside edge of the right wing is visible. The wings are feathered.  Vague outlines suggesting tree trunks and branches are visible behind the creature. Title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Science Mystery,” is displayed at top. Tagline is displayed at bottom. It reads: “A huge pterosaur appears out of nowhere, sparking wild speculation about the creature’s origin, and the meaning of its existence.” Title card and tagline fade. A watermark of the word “storyfeather” appears over the image. Lines from the story appear in sequence: Fear was among our first reactions. Curiosity was among our first reactions. The creature flew away and it was followed.  But somehow, we lost track of it in the forest. This colossal creature spent its days watching us. And when it was done, it evaded the thousand eyes that were watching it.” Site URL appears at bottom right throughout and fades at end. As the last lines disappears, the image blurs, the story title appears at center, and a text card appears at top that reads “Available to Read Now”]

Welcome to Year 9 of Storyfeather

Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. This year, I will turn the Wheel of Fiction to help me decide what to write. There are thirteen spokes on this wheel. Eight are occupied by the eight themes from the previous years of stories. One is a prompt to turn the wheel again. One is a wildcard (hmm…curious). And three are covered only in question marks. I suppose I’ll find out what’s beneath those questions as we go along.

Welcome to the WHEEL OF FICTION

Behold, the Wheel of Fiction turns and lands on…CREATURES.

I started by reviewing the images I’d drawn for the Creatuanary art challenge back in January for inspiration.  I chose the image that I drew for the prompt “ancient parrot.” I drew a pterosaur that had the features (phenotype?) of a modern-day macaw..

So in thinking of the type of story to write for the image, it seemed obvious to choose either science fiction or mythology as the genres. Either a sci-fi tale about how parrots came from ancient feathered pterosaurs, or a myth about parrot ancestors that were both bird and reptile, maybe in the context of a conflict between a bird and reptile character as a framing device at the beginning and end.  A somewhat less obvious genre, to me at least, is mystery.  And to keep some distance from science fiction, the narrator might be a so-called ordinary citizen, instead of being someone who’s close to investigating the mystery.  That distance could allow the narrator to present a bigger picture by considering some of the many questions that arise—about nature, existence, and beliefs—when a prehistoric creature suddenly appears out of nowhere in full view of picnickers visiting a national forest.

[Video Description: Duration, 8 seconds. Choice wheel made on the Spin the Wheel application. Thirteen spokes or slices in various colors, labeled as follows, clockwise from the top: Objects of Power (the “of Power” is not visible), Prompts, Definitions, Turn Again, Elements, Creatures, S.T.E.A.M., Wildcard, Revisitation, Music, Challenge, Draw!!!, Traveler. The title at top reads “The Wheel of Fiction V4” and below that the words “Spin the wheel.” Below that is the date of the spin, 4/9/2022. At top left corner is a flag icon labeled with the letter “F.” This represents a function of the application which interferes with true randomness by reducing the probability of receiving the same choice twice in a row. The wheel turns and lands on CREATURES. As the wheel stops spinning, a cartoon pterosaur appears from left of frame and silently roars.]

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy


Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 9" and below it in larger font, "Wheel of Fiction."

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