MURMURS is a Fortnightly Periodical of Writings by JMF Casey

Issue 2 - Preface

A fortnight passes and those who witnessed the murmurs for the first time return again up the winding track to the edge of the moor. As the signs had indicated, murmurs arose from the derelict barn once more. A pile of fresh timbers lies before the crumbling structure, a soft lamenting fills the sullen meadows.

I had a request to expand on some of the exercises involved in the writings, so for this issue I will use the preface to demonstrate one. This is a randomising exercise that can provide the spark for a short piece of writing. This exercise was developed in the casual writing circle SWWS, and I would like to thank all the members, but also in general for this kind of exercise writing I would like to thank Jan Flamank and her writing class.


Exercise - Random Inferno

In order to trigger a short writing exercise take dice: D4 D6 and D10 (number indicating number of faces). Agree time limit. 

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Refer to the Maps of Dante’s Inferno. A narrative can be triggered by a randomly determined “sin”, this sin becomes the core of the writing - it can be the sin of a character, a reflection on the sin itself, or a more tangential response to the trigger.  

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First Roll a D4 - Number indicates level of Hell

1 - Upper Hell - Sins of The Leopard

2 - Nether Hell I - Sins of The Lion

3 - Nether Hell II - Sins of The Wolf (1. Malbowges)

4 - Nether Hell III - Sins of The Wolf (2. Cocytus)

Roll against the sin list of the Hell Level.

Sins of The Leopard - roll a D6

1 - The Futile

2 - The Lustful

3 - The Gluttonous

4 - The Hoarders and Spendthrifts

5 - The Wrathful

6 - The Heretics

Sins of The Lion - roll a D4

1 - The Violent Against Their Neighbours

2 - The Violent Against Self

3 - The Violent Against Nature

4 - The Violent Against God

Sins of The Wolf (1. Malbowges) - roll D10

1 - Panderers and Seducers

2 - Flatterers

3 - Simoniacs (Those who buy and sell the sacred.)

4 - Sorcerers

5 - Barrators

6 - Hypocrites

7 - Thieves

8 - Counsellors of Fraud

9 - Sowers of Discord

10 - Falsifiers

Sins of The Wolf (2. Cocytus) - roll D4

1 - Traitors To Their Kindred

2 - Traitors To Their Country

3 - Traitors To Their Guests

4 - Traitors To Their Lords


[E.g -

Time limit: 4 mins.

Rolled a D4, result: 3

Referred to Sins of The Wolf (1. Malbowges)

Rolled a D10, result: 4 - Sorcerers.

The lines of grief were clear upon the woman’s face, broken by the streaks of long weeping. Yet into her sad eyes came a glimmer of hope as they met the piercing blue of Zelvat’s orbs, framed by long blond hair and dazzling earrings. Zelvat led the woman's gaze with his subtle gestures above the earthenware pot, he began an incomprehensible muttering, his voice had the unearthly cadence of nighthawks chirruping in the valley. Removing the circular lid of the vessel Zelvat withdrew a dozen knuckle bones…]


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The End of the Ice Age