Friday, March 3, 2017

Writing Exercise #5: Be Specific

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Aren't you glad it's Friday? I'm stoked.

I'm stoked because I'm tired. I've had a decent writing week. I've only missed one scheduled writing day--and it was for a legit someone-needed-me reason--but I've been working on the same five pages for a week solid and that takes a lot of energy.

It happens. It's real. Writing is hard. And if I was in the drafting phase, I'd just move on. Come back to it later, you know?

But I'm not. I'm editing. And editing is where we get down in the dirt and start to form our mess of words into a living, breathing creature. I can't move on yet. The scene I'm working on is a crucial turning point and by lingering in this spot, I'm learning so much about what my ensemble cast is made of. If I fly through this junction without stopping to consider the possibilities, I'll miss something important.

Stewing, digging up details--it's what makes a story real. And if it's not real, why should anybody care?

I loved Stephanie's post on Monday. She laid everything out so clearly. Details, you guys. We must be specific in our storytelling. At the end of her post, Steph gave you a chance to share a few of your own sentences--before and after an edit.

Today, I'm going to stretch that skill a little further by giving you a few sentences you did not create. Your job is to rewrite them, replacing my vague generalizations with specific details.

You have a lot of room here and I bet the range of responses will be vast, showing off our very diverse group. Maybe work up your own edit before reading everyone else's. Might be easier to retain your viewpoint that way.

If you've no idea what to do, or find yourself needing some inspiration, jump over to Stephanie's Monday post and read her advice. It'll help. I promise. Leave your responses in the comments section at the end of this post and then be sure to come back throughout the weekend to check in on your friends.

And remember, every time you participate in one of our writing exercises, you're entered into a drawing where you could win a chance to submit a writing question for one of our upcoming panels. We'll be shooting another one soon.

Here are those sentences I promised you. Be specific, friends. Make my murky words real. Make me care.

147 comments:

  1. Josh looked at his foster parents, as much as he could see through his swollen eye. Things hadn't gone at all like he excepted. He just planned to go to a new school,in a new town,cause some problems so that they'll send him back. He did not like living there. He knew they wanted him to. He could tell by their "I want you to stay here forever" faces. He knew he shouldn't have started that fight. He also knew that his foster parents wanted him to react as they would have. Which went walking away from the boy who was teasing him, instead of jumping right on top of him. But he wasn't like then and he never would be. After all he was just a lonely,forgotten, misunderstood, criminal's kid.
    -Emily D
    -

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    1. Great job thinking through the details! You've got the foundation for an interesting internal monologue here.

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    2. Interesting. Like how he made the excuse for himself, by thinking of how his roots are different than his foster parents'.

      -Ann

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    3. Wow, this is really good! Strangely he has part of the problem my main character has in my WIP. Good job!
      *Sarah

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  2. Christmas morning hadn't gone as Mother and Father had expected. Thomas didn't like the piano, with its smooth dark wood and perfectly tuned keys. They wanted him to adore it, especially Mother. He could tell by the expectant smiles when he ripped off the enormous ribbon, the way their eyes widened in the few seconds it took to remove the paper. The hollow disappointment when he didn't smile back.

    They wanted him to shout with joy, to thank them over and over, to laugh and begin to play without bothering to open the rest of his presents.

    But Thomas didn't worship music the way Mother and Father did. He preferred words to sound, the quiet whisper of papers turning, ink scrawled across them. He would never appreciate the beauty they heard, never try to create the melodies they slaved to perform.

    His parents would always try to entice him to their world of sound and music, and Thomas would always disappoint them.
    ~
    For some weird reason, I can only comment on my laptop, not on my mom's PC. Does this blog have something against Windows 10 or something? (Very specific question, I know. Please excuse my lack of computer knowledge.)

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    1. This has a really nice flow and balance of ideas. Very sad, but a fantastic take on the prompt!

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    2. Beautiful!!! Good job here.

      Also, I can only reply to comments on my phone when I use the Google browser. On my computer, I can comment from any browser. Blogspot is weird and fickle, but I do have Windows 10 on my computer, so I'm not sure that's the problem.

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    3. Lovely prose. Can feel the angst here, and I immediately sympathized with all of them.

      -Ann

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    4. This was heartbreakingly realistic. I liked how well you showed both points of view. Great job!

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    5. Ouch, I can relate to Thomas so much. Good job showing both sides of the story too. Keep writing, you're doing great!
      *Sarah

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  3. I hadn't expected for any of this to happen. Not the explosions, not the 5,000 batches of cookies, not the messed up feelings. Yet, here I am. It's all terrible.
    My friends are smiling. "Don't you just love it?" their faces seem to say. They want me to love it just like they would have if they were in my place.My face, on the other hand, is frozen in an awkward sort of smile, sort of frown. As much as they want it to, this doesn't make up for their actions in the past.
    It's all proof they don't know me, not really. I never would have wanted something like this. I'm not like them, I'm not like anyone else. As much as they want me to, as much as I want me to, I can never change.

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    1. Poor tortured soul! I hope (s)he finds a way to enjoy the party! Good job. I felt the awkwardness.

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    2. Ouch. Uncomfortable position to be in. :( I wonder what they've done to her in the past.

      -Ann

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    3. Thank you! I'm glad the message transferred through clearly.

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  4. Things haven’t gone at all like I expected it to go. They gave the custody of me back to my parents. Them, meaning the authorities. The ones who are supposed to make sure that you’re safe and secure where you are. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
    I’m sitting across from my parents carefully ignoring them. The authorities want me to like the arrangement. The looks on their faces show me what they want me to do. They want me to thank them for giving me my parents back. They want me to have tears of joy while I hug my parents. My cruel parents. Their confused looks to each other tell me that my actions don’t meet their expectations. It won’t. It never will. They want me to react like they would have, they don’t know the whole story. I tried to tell the cops what happened, but it’s no use. They don’t believe me. They think I’m a spoiled brat who’s ungrateful. I won’t be all fake like them. I won’t love a situation that’s slowly killing me. I’m not like them and I never will be. I know who I am, and I will never change that for an audience. For them. For anyone. A cop puts his hand on my shoulder, and tries to convince me to go to my “loving” parents. I won’t. Not ever. Not in a million years.

    *It's shorter than what I usually do, but I hope you like it. All feedback's welcome. :)

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    1. "I won't love a situation that's slowly killing me." Good! Your interpretation of this scene was really interesting.

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    2. Very desperate. Good job here. Poor kid. I hope (s)he finds a way out.

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    3. I'm with Olivia. Beautiful wording! :D It's so sad, though...

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    4. How awful! This piece is full of emotion that sucked me in. Great job!

      -Ann

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    5. Thank you so much all of you! You made my day. It is sad. :\
      I like writing what people's thoughts are about situations. I like being in someone else's shoes. :) Writing what they could be feeling.
      Olivia, I was surprised at myself for that line. It's one of my favorites that I've done.
      Is it just me, or do you guys read your own writing like it's somebody else's. Just to kind of judge it from a reader's point of view? :)

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    6. I love this! I have a character with a similar background in my WIP.

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    7. I hope I can read it. *smiles naughtily and rubs hands together*

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    8. This is good and probably true in some cases. Now that I've made everyone depressed by that sentence, good job, very well written. You can feel for your character so well. Keep it up!
      *Sarah

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    9. Thanks! You guys are really encouraging. I tend to write the sad parts of life to kind of make people aware of what could be going on in someone's life. People aren't always as they seem.
      Well, I look out for everyone's published, lovely writing in the book stores. *winks*

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  5. Here goes!

    Another failure ground Marvin’s dry soul to powder as he turned toward his men, reluctance drawing out each movement and saving eye contact for last. When at last he looked up, somber but hopeful gazes pelted him from every direction. His left knee ached. He oiled his scratchy fingers in his hair and blinked heavy eyes. He couldn’t do this anymore. It was more than a devout pessimist could stand.
    “Hey, Boss, the run’s got to be better tomorrow. There are only so many losses we can take, right?”
    His leg was shaking now as he met the eyes of his youngest son. The boy was small and wiry, and the faint smile upturning his lips reflected the mood of all the crew except their boss. The apple had fallen three hundred miles from the tree. Good. Maybe the boy wouldn’t contract the disease he didn’t know his father had.
    “Give me my cane, boy.” Marvin limped to the edge of the platform and ignored his son’s questioning eyes as he took the stick from him. Like its owner, the cane has never been shined by finish but had always been coarse and splintered. Marvin eased himself off the platform and began hobbling away, his cane tapping the packed earth with each step. “Pick a new boss, boys.”
    “Da--I mean, Boss, wait a minu--”
    “It’s the only victory you’ll get,” Marvin bellowed over his shoulder. His disease yanked on his insides, and he nearly fell. His leg shook more as he focused on the escape.
    He would never be like them. It was impossible. But there was a chance his disease could decay them over time and turn them cold. He wouldn’t let that happen. When the disease finally took him, it would take him alone.
    Marvin opened the driver side door of his black sedan and waved the chauffeur out. He slipped into the leather seat and propped the cane in the passenger side. He gripped the door handle, but a voice called out to him.
    “Dad?”
    Marvin squinted into the darkness at the sea of smudged faces. The fear his son wore would scar him ‘til he died. His throat constricted, but he forced his voice to be cold. “That’s ‘Boss’ to you, ya little snipe.” He slammed the door, started the engine, and drove away into the night. His son would be better off without him.

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    1. Wow! Terribly sad and miserable! But well done!

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    2. This is so good but SO SAD!!!! *sobs*

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    3. Olivia, I LOVED this. It was so sad, but it was full of wonderful description. :)

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    4. Why are so many of these sad? Great job, I loved it despite how sad it is. Good job!
      *Sarah

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    5. Thank you, Mrs. Dittemore, GJE, LHE, and Sarah! Your comments were so uplifting. I think this particular prompt automatically instilled sorrowful ideas into the minds of all writers on this blog. It's interesting to see how similar all the responses are in that regard. ;) Great job to all of you, as well!

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    6. Yeah, I don't know why, but it just triggers the sad part of our writing brains. I know, they are all similar. Most of them are sad. Well, I think all of them are sad. Thanks Olivia, you're really encouraging too! :)

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    7. THIS IS SO SAD!!!!! But well written. ;) It was very well done. :) Good job. ;)

      <>Jessica<>

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    8. Aw, how awful. :0( Love how his internal thoughts let us get to know him. It made me sympathize and like him despite the desertion.

      -Ann

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    9. So sad! I loved the contrast of the son -- so eager and hopeful. And I'm curious now about the older sons as well. Great job!

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    10. I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved this. :)

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  6. Things hadn’t gone as expected. His plan had fallen apart completely. Trying to disappear into the crowd was hard. Especially when everyone but the infants knew your face. He didn’t like it. Not the popularity, or the power. But that was ok, Wren told himself, all he had to do was follow through with what he had been told to do. Be the perfect heir. He could do this, right?
    “Don’t look so glum Wren. This is the opportunity of a life time. An entire country is riding on you do not mess this up.”
    Wren looked over at his younger brothers. He could tell by their bitter faces that they wanted him to react as they would have. With joy. The twins had eagerly prepared in case they had to be king. They knew every law and protocol. They were perfect for the job. But he was not like them and never would be. Wren was an adventurer and he was not ready to give up his freedom just yet. A new plan was already forming in his mind.
    - Book Dragon

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    1. Ah! I love that ending! The promise of escape. Well-written, friend. Thank you.

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    2. This is excellent, Book Dragon! It has wonderful flow and is a really tight scene. I could definitely feel the protagonist's struggle.

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    3. Wow, this is good! I've read so many, but this is one of the best. Keep it up!
      *Sarah

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    4. Awww thanks guys.
      - Book Dragon

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  8. I stared blankly at the circle of friends that surrounded me. This was the call we had been waiting for - we had our first assignment from the Queen.
    And, as full-fledged assassins, that meant we had a target to kill. It was supposed to go perfectly.
    But already things hadn't gone as expected.
    I hated it. I hated this assignment with every molecule of my being. My face flushed hot as my fists clenched, gloved fingers digging into a gloved palm.
    They wanted me to love it. To grin and say 'so the chase is on'. But all I could do was shake with anger.
    And it was then that I realized I was not like them. I never could be. I had been called on to track a target before - this time I was called on to kill. And I wouldn't be able to do it - especially with the target being who she was.
    One of the other assassin's eyes turned cold. "Tarrok - what's wrong?"
    I took a deep breath and faced him, my eyes blazing. "Your target is my sister."

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. Wow!! I wonder what their reactions are...

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    2. Savannah, this is fantastic! I wish this was a book. *Hands you a plot bunny and apologizes*

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    3. Ha! I agree with LHE this would be a great book I would read. I like Tarrok's name too, very cool.
      *Sarah

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  9. Pierce stared blankly at the cheering crowd before him. They had expected him to be pleasantly surprised. But he had known they were going to do this weeks ago. That's why he had tried to sneak off.
    He wanted more than anything to be their leader. To fight for them and make their forsaken city great again, but he couldn't. They didn't know he had the the virus. And when he gave the Pledge - when he did the test - they would see his blood. They would know. They would kill him.
    Pierce backed away from the crowd and shook his head. "I'll be right back," he said and ran back into his home. The crowd sounded confused, but they stayed put, thinking he was going to talk to his parents. But he wasn't. He was leaving.
    Pierce grabbed his bag from a table and ran towards the back door. But a girl stepped in front of him, causing him to stop. Pearl.
    "Where are you going?" she asked. Pierce started to back away.
    "Listen, Pearl, I'm not-" Pearl put her hand on his shoulder.
    "It's okay, Pierce," she said calmly. "I know. I'm coming with you."
    "It's too dangerous," Pierce argued. Pearl took his hand and lead him towards the door, grabbing her own bag along the way.
    "If you don't let me go," she said without turning around, "I'll have to tell them where you are."
    Pierce sighed. "Then I guess we're going together."

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    1. Wow, GJE! I wish there was more of this. You did great! :)

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    2. What an interesting dilemma! Thank you for the delightful read, GJE.

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    3. Thank YOU, Olivia! Your entry was lovely also!

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    4. I NEED MORE!!!! This was very well done, GJE. :)

      <>Jessica<> :)

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    5. Thank you SO MUCH!!!! You just made my day! :D I was feeling a little nervous about it...
      Again, thank you ver much!!

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    6. Ooh, a virus. How interesting. Sounds like a great scene for a fantasy adventure.

      -Ann

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    7. Thanks! I LOVE fantasy! :D
      I loved yours!!!!

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  10. She wasn’t supposed to have died. Sure, the girl had been a threat to their operations—found their hideout and knew the leaders of the rebel band. But murder? John thought it would have been simple enough to keep her quiet some other way.

    “Now that the threat has been eliminated, we can concentrate on liberating the people.” Robin’s smile broadened when he turned to John. “This is what we all wanted, right?”

    “Liberty! Liberty!” The sound thundered and echoed in the dark cave as the other rebels hastily exulted their approval. Soon, all eyes turned on quiet John, their frowns more sinister looking against the torches' dancing light. A deadly hush fell over the crowd.

    John fingered the tip of his arrow. He’d known overthrowing the king would be costly and he’d been resigned to that. The throne had abused its power against the people. But to celebrate the loss of a life—no matter who’s—he never would join in. For these foolish men, war held honor. To him, it never would, so why pretend?

    -Ann

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    1. Ah, a perplexing case of the right turning to wrong methods and starting the destructive cycle all over again. I applaud the smitten conscience of your brave protagonist and your stirring take on this prompt. Bravo!

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    2. Thank you! :0)

      -Ann

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    3. Ooh. What a dilemma! I wonder what happens next!

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  11. Okay, so I kind of had a little too much fun with this......but anyway, here it is:

    This wasn't how the battle was supposed to go. The Rancors would never flee from such a small force as this. Try as he might, he could not trust that they had called an actual retreat. Surely their flight was a trick. And yet the Dreman believed it was a victory. He could see the hope and the excitement in their eyes as they gave chase. He could see pride swell within them. He could see their surprise as he did not join them.

    This was not his fight. They knew that. So why did they narrow their eyes as he turned away? Why did they expect him to bask in this moment with them?

    The Hunter has no heart. They all knew it.

    And, for some strange reason, they still expected him to have one. There was more chance for a stone to suddenly sprout a face and start caring for other people. The Hunter would never have a heart.

    ~Julian D.

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    1. Ugh, why are these all so fantastic and sad and beautiful? Great job, Julian! Your talent forced me to comment and tell you so.

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  12. So sad.... I love the writing, though.

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  13. Marken looked at the soldier under the point of his sword. Even in defeat, the soldier’s eyes held the fire of defiance. It was that blasted defiance that had ruined everything. This fight hadn’t gone anything like how Marken had planned.
    Marken had accepted the fact he had to fight the soldier—it was the only way he could remain above suspicion while infiltrating this group of outlaws—but he was never supposed to win. He had been certain that when he arranged the fight to move toward that gap in the rocks, the soldier would seize the opportunity and make an escape. Either the soldier hadn’t been as bright as Marken had given him credit for, or he was made of a lot stronger metal than Marken believed, because the soldier hadn’t retreated. He had launched into the fight with more vigor than ever before. Marken had no choice but to defeat him or be killed. Now, however, he was faced with a choice, and the thought left a sickening felling deep inside his naval area.
    He looked around at the outlaws surrounding him. Cheers were bouncing all around those who had gathered to watch the duel. Cries of “Finish it, finish it!” flew toward Marken, and he shuddered inwardly. Of course the outlaws would want him to kill the soldier. The eager leers on their rough faces purveyed the message clearly enough even if he hadn’t been able to hear their ruthless instructions.
    Would Marken really have to kill an innocent man? It seemed as if he had no other choice. If he didn’t, the others would never believe he was as despicable as they were. It would cast suspicion on himself, and his entire mission would be compromised. If he did kill this soldier, his position among these lawless brutes would be secured. Perhaps this man’s life would be the cost of success.
    Marken took a deep breth. He couldn’t believe he was about to do this. He let the sword’s point drop into the dirt next to the soldier’s head. No, he wouldn’t kill the soldier. He would find another way. No matter how much he appeared like these outlaws on the outside, he wasn’t like them. He would never be.

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    1. I love the situation you put him in, and how he struggles with it. Beautifully done!

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    2. Thanks, Mary. I think I just came up for an entire novel idea from just this little blurb. Maybe someday it will become an entire book.

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    3. Very good! And I like the name you chose for your protagonist.

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    4. Thanks, Olivia! I used the name of a person very briefly mentioned in another story I am working on. In that story, Marken is believed to be dead, but I guess he isn't. Now he has a story of his own.

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  14. A simple dinner, she had told him. A simple dinner with her family before the elopement. Of course, he knew her family well enough to expect that it would be a glamorous affair with champagne and roses, but he knew something was very wrong the minute an uninitiated hush swept through the room of guests. The faces around him fell into a uniform air of benevolence as they parted, admitting Sophie’s parents. His grasp around the stem of his wine glass tightened – he knew now what was happening. “I didn’t realize he would do this…” murmured Sophie pathetically as her father’s voice, genial, but with an unquestionable note of firmness, announced their engagement. A piano burst into an obviously planned rendition of Auld Lang Syne, and people swarmed around him, patting him on the back and smiling. He searched for Sophie, staring at her blankly. The words pounding into his ears left him nauseous…they were congratulating him for being admitted into such a prestigious family, telling him how fortunate he was to have stumbled into such wealth, letting him know that he was lucky – didn’t he know it? “Well aren’t you a lucky man!” demanded one guest, almost tipping over into him. His daze was broken, and he abruptly shrugged the man away, staring at the ring of guests with the audacity of a caged tiger. There was a darkness to his gaze that shadowed every grinning visage it found. That kind of lucky was the last thing he wanted to be, and they had a right to know it.

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    1. Very good! I like your protagonist's attitude toward the materialistic guests.

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    2. I agree with Olivia. Makes me wonder why they were going to elope to begin with . . . and why the father has now announced them engaged. Hmmm. *writer's wheels turning, detective hat on* Good job!
      *Sarah

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    3. Thank you Olivia and Sarah!

      My thought was that the father found out they were going to elope, so he tried to avoid bad publicity by announcing an engagement. I'm not quite sure yet why they were eloping, but possibly to show that money/fame had nothing to do with their marriage.
      I've been having fun thinking up the rest of their story!

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  15. He gripped the banister, his knuckles white. This hadn't gone as it should have, and he could barely keep himself from crying. He could see the gleeful smiles on some of the advisers' faces. How could they like this, how did they think he would?
    He watched Aza struggle to pull her eyepatch back on over the scar that represented her one blind eye as she stood in the duelyard far below. He ceased trying to stop the tears from spilling over. He hated this. This wasn't the role a king should play.
    "King Maven?" He looked over his shoulder to see Conn Tiernan, the figure blurry through his tears. "King Maven, what did you think of the duel?" Conn Tiernan asked, smirking. Maven knew that Conn Tiernan had liked it. So had the other advisers. It was written plainly over their faces, and they wanted him to like it too.
    Maven glanced down at Aza again. She was limping over to the stairs, and she would come say goodbye to him. Possibly forever.
    He seethed with anger. Aza was his oldest friend. The advisers were not. The only one among them he had cared for was his half-brother, who had been exiled.
    Maven whirled around to face Conn Tiernan. "I hated it. I was told that the duel was a criminal's punishment. I hadn't expected it to be good anyway."
    He inhaled, trying to keep his anger under control. "Instead you matched Deminen Aza, my oldest friend, against a girl known to be invincible, You humiliated me and her."
    Conn Tiernan's eyes were sharp. "King Maven, I expected more of you. Deminen Aza has been accused of treason."
    "Which she never committed!" Maven snarled. "She was with me the night of the explosion. We were in a practice duel when we heard it, and she mourned my father's loss as much as I did. I relinquish her from all accusations against her name!"
    "King Maven, you are one of us."
    "No, I'm not!" He swung his arm in a wide arc, and lightning shot from his fingers, barely missing Conn Tiernan.
    "I'll never be one of you," He growled. "I never will. I order you to remove Calor, my brother, from exile. I will not be a pawn the way my father was." He wiped the tears from his face, though he knew more would come.
    Aza appeared at the top of the stairs. Maven noted her eyepatch and permanent limp. She shouldn't suffer more.
    He strode toward her, then called angrily to Conn Tiernan, "I'm not an adviser, I'm the king. It's time I started acting like one."

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    1. This is SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. Ooohhh, I love this king! He's so cool! I hope he has a great story to live in *winks*. I'd love to hear more, great job!
      *Sarah

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  16. Adrian’s plans, neatly laid out as a fresh pair of clothes for the morrow, now looked like a yarn ball after washing. He abhorred it. The man who carried a dictionary over his shoulder stepped up and pointed his gun at Adrian. He opened the dictionary on the desk and found the word he sought, shoving his finger into it, indicating that Adrian should read. Engage. Then he shoved Adrian into the hard chair in front of the dashboard. The grim silence held by all the faces behind the iron lattice showed their disdain for his actions. They wanted Adrian to react as their code allowed, to do as asked, not to fight, but he was not of the Adhfi. Nor would he ever be, now.



    When I first started writing I took each sentence on its own. When I went back for the fourth sentence I realized wait... This is a paragraph. These sentences are supposed to go together.

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    1. "Like a yarn ball after washing" -- Adrian had my instant sympathy right there! Definitely curious to know more about the iron lattice and his resistance.

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    2. This is great! I feel for Adrian. I agree with Mary ---"Like a yarn ball after washing"

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  17. Jenna's birthday didn't go quite as she'd expected.
    "Clothes?" she asked, looking up from the presents she'd just unwrapped. "You guys got me CLOTHES?"
    She thought she could guess what this was about. These looked like fairly stylish clothes, and she thought she might have seen some of the more popular girls at school wearing something similar. These were probably the newest trends, but she didn't keep up with trends enough to know for sure.
    Her parents did, though.
    "I thought that if you wore some more fashionable clothes," her mother said with a hopeful smile, "you might be able to make a few friends."
    "Not that you don't have any friends," her father added hastily, seeing her open her mouth, "but the ones you have just aren't very... well..."
    "Cool," her mother finished. "I mean, they're kind of nerds, honey. You can do better."
    Jenna couldn't believe this was happening. "My friends share my interests!" she burst out. "Does that make me a nerd too? Is that why you didn't get me any of the books I asked for? You're afraid I'll turn out even nerdier?"
    "Honey, you're sixteen now. It's about time you started making some of the connections that'll help you later in life."
    "You know what'll help me later in life? The research I've been working on! Grown scientists are impressed by my work! It could earn me a full-ride scholarship to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, but apparently it's too NERDY for you, because you didn't get me any of the equipment I need to move forward either!"
    "Honey-"
    "No! I'm not like you guys, Mom! My ultimate goal in life isn't to become the most popular person at the work parties for a mediocre job that I do just to have enough money to buy a fancy new party dress! I want to actually DO something with my life!"
    Before they could say another word, she turned and ran up the stairs, up to her bedroom, decorated with nerdy science posters and chemistry equipment. She didn't care what they wanted. She wasn't like them, and she never would be.

    (Changed the gender, I hope that's okay.)

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    1. Wow! This is great! It's sad that people think that they have to dress a certain way to make friends... :(

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    2. Yes! Intelligence over fashion! Jenna has my full support and sympathy. It's such a shame her parents are pressing her to be someone she's not. :( Great job, Christine!

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    3. Oh, I love this and totally get what Jenna is going through. I'm the girl who doesn't fit in most places, so I totally get it. That and who wants clothes for their birthday when they can get books? LOL Keep up the good work!
      *Sarah

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    4. Poor girl. Her parents should be supporting her, not putting her down Great work on showing her emotion. :)

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  18. Quick drabble based around some characters I've been working on recently:
    This hadn’t gone at all as expected. Well, obviously no one really *expects* to get kidnapped by an elusive terrorist group, stabbed by a psychotic teenager, and have their private memories rummaged through by a high school teacher, but for Elliot it hadn’t really been unexpected either.
    The unexpected part was that after all the kidnapping, stabbing and mind reading, they wanted him to join them.
    The people-stabber leaned relaxed against the wall, black hair falling into his smiling face. The scarred healer on guard duty tried to feign disinterest, but the way she leaned closer round the edge of the entrance showed that she was eager to hear what he had to say.
    Elliot looked at the two of them, wondering if they were really serious. Finally he responded.
    “Are you insane? Wait, you kill people for fun, of course you’re insane, let me rephrase that. Are you stupid? What could possibly make you think I want to help wipe out an entire race?”
    The black haired boy scoffed. “They killed your dad, right? You know what it’s like out there. We’ll never be accepted at the snail’s pace this city calls progress.”
    “Right, and murdering humans left and right is definitely going to convince them they don’t need to slaughter us. Great logic. Look, I might not exactly be a great person, but I’m *nothing* like you. Now shut up go kick some puppies or something.”

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    1. Wow. Elliot has had a lot going on lately.
      I especially love how he calls that one guy "the people-stabber" and the casual details of his hair and posture against the wall.

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    2. Thanks guys :D Elliot's a fun one to write.

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    3. Ditto what Gilly and LHE said, plus I like the irony of the situation. This is a great little scene. Good luck with these characters in the future!

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    4. This is great, Elliot's humor in the face of mortal danger is funny and reminds me of one of my characters. Great job, keep going!
      *Sarah

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  19. "Now shut up and go kick some puppies or something". Poor puppies. :)
    This is really good, PurpleDragonWriting! I want more!

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  20. Things hadn’t gone as expected.
    It had gone smoothly until the day little Runa had taken the bird straight out of the sky. Then people had started talking, and it didn’t take them long to connect the girl’s sudden throwing prowess and her brother’s innate skill with a stone.
    He didn’t like it. He didn’t like being looked at or spoken of as if he had done something wrong. Or as if he had done the impossible. It wasn’t wrong to teach his sister how to throw, and contrary to popular belief, she was a quick learner.
    Rennow had always refused to believe the lie that Runa was mind-damaged. They wanted him to, but he had stubbornly held on to the idea that there was nothing wrong with his sister. And by teaching her to throw rocks, he had proved not only that he was right, but that they were wrong. And they hated being wrong. He had been watching from the window the day Runa had taken the bird down, and he could tell from the looks on their faces. It was disbelief first, followed by fear and an anger that sickened Rennow.
    They wanted him to react as they would have. No, they were waiting for him to react as they would have. They mentioned it to him each time they saw him.
    “Your sister actually has quite the throwing arm! Well, I guess she has to be good at something.”
    But Rennow refused to respond with disbelief, anger, or fear, or even the faintest hint of surprise. Runa’s talent had been far beyond what he had expected her to be capable of, but he had always known her to be smarter than she appeared. So his responses were his most tactfully phrased versions of “I told you so.” To Tren, he actually did say “I told you so.” It felt good, for once, to prove Tren wrong.
    He didn’t care what they thought. He didn’t care if they connected his throwing arm and his lack of surprise and his knack for teaching with Runa’s sudden blossoming of skills and confidence. He wasn’t like them, and he never would be.

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    1. What a good brother! I care for him already.

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    2. Aww, this brother is so sweet. Great work!!! I loved this. I wish there was more!!!

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  21. The party hadn’t gone as expected. It was like they spoke a different language now. There was no longer any understanding. Oh yes, the smiles, the nodding, the robotic motions of this awkward dance. The questions, his pointed evasiveness. No one dared press him. Oh, look what he’d done. His sister stood frozen, the broom dangling in her hand, the glass glittering across the floor like fallen stars.
    He couldn’t meet her eyes.
    He couldn’t stand it, all the people, the forced cheerfulness. They wanted him to. Of course, all they wanted. All they’d ever wanted. Oh, dear Mother. Dear Mother. One corner of her lips still upturned a little, crooked at the edge. The ghost of a smile. He’d killed it. Those soft brown eyes, wells of grief. They reminded him of the Frenchman’s. No, not to think of the Frenchman. Not now. Never again.
    They wanted him to smile. Anything for a smile. How they used to laugh at his singing! It was like a game. But of course he was no longer a child and there were no longer memories of games. Not the nice kind anyway.
    It was too hot in here. He could not stand it any longer. He turned, stalked from the room, passing the once grand piano, its ebony keys grinning sadly. The door banged open and at his touch and rattled its frame.
    The night, ah the night. Good. Cold. How he liked the air, the cold.
    His sister was crying. He couldn’t bear to hear her cry. He moved off a little down the road. He would never be like them. Never again.
    He shook his body, trying to loosen his muscles. The tension followed him even here. He turned his face to the sky, but there were no lights. No dogfights or bombers. And for once, no shelling. How quiet it was. Not even stars. He felt terribly alone, standing there on the blacked out street under an empty sky.
    The eternal ache in his chest. Oh dear Mother. He would have to say he was sorry. Eat some of those intolerable cakes. Yes, that would be better.
    His fingers no longer itched for the keys as they had those first long months away. There was no music in his hands now.
    Never again.

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    1. This is gripping, and a fascinating take on the prompt. Really good job! The description really puts you right next to him.

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    2. Really good, I can feel his pain here. Good job!
      *Sarah

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    3. "Those soft brown eyes, wells of grief." That part is my favorite. This is like...amazing! I can really feel what he's feeling. This is great, Gilly! :)

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  22. Tom knew things hadn’t gone as expected. He glanced at Terrin and saw his fears confirmed: the burly southlander looked worried. Apparently this final test was a surprise to both of them—Terrin had certainly never warned him that he would be expected to do what these men were asking.
    Tom looked again at the shadowed countenances surrounding the table, rendered ghostlike by the flickering torchlight. They wanted him to like it—he could tell by the looks on their faces. They wanted him to be ready to take advantage of situations where others were vulnerable, and that meant more than just stealing from nobles who would miss the pride more than the money.
    /Thorns and roses, I didn’t get into this to hurt anyone./ Tom knew already that he couldn’t do it. Terrin had trained him meticulously on how to get in and how to get out, how to stand out against a backdrop of common thugs. Personality, style, skill—by the Scarlet Rose, by this point he could probably rob the king and no one would know! But threaten a peasant for his pocket money? That he could not bring himself to do.
    And yet, glancing around the table again, Tom knew each of the serious faces watching him would not hesitate to do it. So that was what this test was about. They wanted him to react as they would have.
    /But I can’t. So what do I do now?/ Terrin was watching him intensely, waiting to see what he would do. What would he do? He knew the stakes were high—if he passed this test, he would have friends in high places, friends who could get him out of trouble if he needed it. But if he failed…
    He didn’t want to think about that.
    The men were beginning to shift restlessly, and Tom knew his time was running out. What should he do? /They want me to react as they would…but I’m not like them and I never will be./
    At last a thought struck him, and he released a breath he hadn’t known he was holding. He cleared his throat.
    “Well, sirs, I’m afraid to say that I find myself obliged to decline this offer. I simply cannot reconcile myself to the idea of threatening and thieving from some hapless peasant.”
    There was a murmur of surprise, and one of the men was about to say something angrily when Tom held up his hand and continued.
    “You must allow me to finish. I mean you no dishonor by my refusal, it is only that, well…” He smiled. “I believe that such action is beneath someone as capable as I.” He held out his hands imploringly. “You must understand—why should I take some poor man’s empty purse when I could just as easily rob the jewels from a count’s armory? I feel the effort would be much more worthwhile in the latter case.”
    There were a few chuckles and the man who had been about to speak sat back. Terrin looked immensely relieved, and Tom felt his face glowing with pride. It was true—he wasn’t like these men and never would be. But…maybe that was a good thing.
    ~J

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    1. This is something I would really love to read in a book. *hint, hint*
      Lots of description and it really hooks me at the beginning! :)
      Keep up the good work!

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    2. Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. :)
      ~J

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    3. I like this! I felt myself getting as nervous as Tom!

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    4. Wow! Tom really did pull a clever escape in this one. *Sighs in relief.* Good job!

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  23. No. No, no way was this happening.
    Lucas’ knife nearly slipped from my trembling palm. My stomach knotted itself and somersaulted. The dragon tried to hide her head under her mangled wing, but the chains screeched and yanked her back.
    *Go on then.* Her whispers crept into my mind. *Forget we knew each other.*
    I had to kill her. The realisation stabbed me and twisted deeper into my chest. The other trainees gazed at me in wonder, not comprehending how I wasn’t whooping with joy at the opportunity of twelve lives combined. The sobs of the girl I was picked instead of sliced through the murmuring of the crowd below.
    Because if I didn’t tear out the dragon’s heart, the trainees would know I wasn’t their friend Lucas, and never would be, however long I pretended. That I was an imposter. A stowaway. A spy. And then I’d be as dead as the dragon.
    She licked her scalded foot. *Murdering your best friend for the greater good? How cliché.*
    *I’m sorry, Skydra.* I raised the knife.
    The audience pointed and hissed louder. Master barked an order to hurry.
    *No,* she replied. *I’m sorry.*
    Skydra roared, and white flames shot from her throat. The audience screamed. She stretched her wings, knocking over two trainees, and lugged the squeaking chains once, twice then thrice, when they ripped free of the wall. Master bellowed with rage. Skydra flapped her wings and rose above the scattering crowd, who flooded to the exits.
    *Toodleoo. Enjoy your certain death.* She darted above the storm clouds and vanished beyond the horizon.

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    1. This is great, Claudia! Keep up the good work! :)

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    2. Ahhh! Betrayal! What a shocking twist!

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  24. Hey, guys, maybe a little late to post, but I managed to cook this up real quick. All the ones before me are so good, I hope mine is that good. This is actually a bit from the rough draft I'm working on, though from a different view point. As always any feedback, good or bad, is always appreciated! Thanks for reading!
    *Sarah

    Miles hadn’t expected it to go this way. He was supposed to be victorious, standing over his victim gloating over his triumph. Now he lay on the ground mortally wounded while his enemy stood over him, flaming sword in hand, breathing hard though in ragged gasps as if he couldn’t draw in air without pain.
    “Kill him, Flynn! He’s too dangerous to live!” a shout came from one of his enemy’s friends at the mountain’s base.
    Miles’ enemy, Flynn, stared down at him then at the sword in his hand, flames licking the ground around them from their intense duel. The sounds of battle raged below, the force field destroyed and laid waste letting in all kinds of scum and slime. His master’s plan had failed and now he lay dying while those loyal to their cause were either dead, dying, or had fled like cowards.
    A thing Miles would never be.
    “Go ahead, kill me,” Miles spat. “That’s what you’ve wanted all along, revenge, for all I’ve done to you and those you care for. Feel the hate, the bitterness, the anger and rage. You want to kill me, I know it.” He didn’t know why but he wanted hate to swell in his enemy, he wanted to see it light the fire in his eyes so he could to plunge him on into more guilt and shame by his death at his hand. He should feel that way after what he had done to their family. Killed those precious to him, to them.
    Haunted hazel eyes met Miles’, sweat draining down his face from his soaked dark brown hair. He gripped the hilt and slowly raised his fire engulfed sword to hover over his chest. Good, revenge. Miles could hate him in peace now. He shut his eyes only a strange sound filled his ears. The clatter of iron hitting rock.
    “No. I’m not like them and I never will be,” the quiet voice of his enemy whispered above him.
    Miles’ eyes snapped open the second his enemy knelt at his side gasping for air wincing with every breath, lightly pressing a hand to his ribs. He coughed and a trail of blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth. Miles' enemy gave him a small smile, beaten and battered, dying from broken ribs that had surely pierced his lungs and was gradually letting in blood to drown him.
    “Why?” was all Miles could ask.
    His enemy met his eyes with that same adoring smile he remembered from their childhood so long ago before war and death tore them apart. “I could never kill you. I love you, brother.”

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    1. I want to know more!! This is gripping and fascinating. Amazing job!

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    2. NOOOO!!! Not Flynn! I did like watching your hero through an embittered pair of eyes, but... Flynn has to be okay!

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    3. Thanks for all the positive comments! Makes me feel like I can actually do this writing thing after all.
      Oh my, Flynn has a fan! Olivia, don't worry, Flynn has a nasty habit of throwing himself on the brink of death and crawling back off without any lasting damage. He's quite fine and will survive this one too! He's really good at it - much to his girlfriend's dismay (she's the one who always has to patch him up later!). Thanks for reading! Your comments really make my day.
      *Sarah

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    4. Oh, yay! I was worried you were going to crush my hopes and force me to respond in laments and virtual tears. ;) My hero has the same remarkable survival powers! If I were to be totally realistic in my writing, he would be either dead or maimed for life. Especially since he doesn't have a girlfriend to patch him up. How far along is Flynn's story? *Hint, hint.*

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    5. This is so good! It had me hooked all the way. I too, am rather happy to know that Flynn will survive -- I'd love to see more between him and Miles!

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    6. Good Gracious. You left me hanging! I am glad Flynn is OK. I want more!!!! *is on the edge of her seat looking pleadingly at Sarah*
      Keep up the good work!

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    7. Wow, I never knew my writing would get so many fans! LOL

      Flynn's story is part of a trilogy of which the first one is sorta done and the second is a mess that's called a rough draft. The third's not written yet - plenty of time for Flynn to get into more trouble! :)

      And, Olivia, I agree if Flynn were a real person he'd be dead by now. Thankfully I really like him so he's safe. ;)
      *Sarah

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    8. I just posted... (really late) and I started reading yours... AMAZING!!! The ending made my mind explode. Wait, brothers? I love how you get a bit of insight into Miles' character, even though it's only in a couple paragraphs. Good job!!

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    9. Wow, Sara, two books? That's so exciting! I had to completely rewrite Uriah's first book, and the second book stretched so much in plot that by the time I finished, it was 176,000 words. Thus, I split it into two and am now preparing to rewrite the entire second plotline. Yay. :P
      Good luck with Flynn, Miles, and all the others! I look forward (*really* look forward) to reading about them in print some day.

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    10. Oh, sorry, I misspelled your name. :P Sarah. With an "h." My bad.

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    11. Ha, ha, don't worry about it, Olivia, I know who you're talking to! Yes, I'm super proud of them too even if they are a mess. My first story is still a mess and it's somewhere around 200,000 words . . . yeah, I know huge. I think I'll just label them as epic fantasy because the second one's the same . . . I also look forward to seeing them in print some day! That's the goal . . . eventually. After I edit them again and again and- you get the idea. :P

      Thank you for the nice comment, Lexi, yours is great too!
      *Sarah

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  25. Whaaaa???? This is AMAZING!!! Your description and emotion is like...I don't have words for it. Sarah, keep up the good work. I loved this.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it, your comment made my day!
      *Sarah

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  26. So beautiful!!! "Haunted hazel eyes..." <3

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I really liked that description too. :)
      *Sarah

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    2. You're welcome! It's amazing how one sentence can change the mood of a story... :D

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  27. He hadn't gotten Tybalt, even though he'd nailed the audition. His iambic pentameter was perfect, his pronunciation precise. So the directors had given him Romeo, and now he was crushed with disappointment. The cast wanted him to be happy, more than happy, overjoyed. He could tell by their frowns that they were jealous, and they'd be even more jealous if he didn't enjoy it. They wanted him to revel in it like they would have, had the cast list gone as expected, but he didn't. He wasn't like the others, ready to play any toad so long as they got good lines. He never would be so shallow. -Maggie

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    1. Ooo, a thespian disappointed to play Romeo? Can't say I blame him...
      Great job on this, Maggie!

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    2. I agree with Olivia. :) Great job, Maggie!
      *Sarah

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  28. This is good, Maggie! :)

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  29. His jaw worked as he stared at the ground, the only sound in the room the rustling of the sheet of paper in his father’s hand, the one bearing the business figures of the last quarter. His hands squeezed in and out of fists, the echo of his father’s voice reading the report still echoing in his mind. Even after all they had put into this, they would barely have enough to make it through the season. He shuddered, the failure chafing like sandpaper against his heart.
    The weight of his family’s gazes pressed hard against his chest. He chanced a glance up at them. His mother was leaning forward, her eyes imploring him, her smile flickering on and off as she waited for his response. A small smile slanted across his sister’s mouth, her hopeful gaze riveted on his face as she twisted the hem of her skirt between her fingers. His father shifted where he stood, his eyes expectant, the paper dangling from his hand.
    *We’ll be fine*, their gazes said. *Don’t give up hope. Getting angry won’t help. We’ll make it. It’ll get better. Don’t get angry.*
    But his jaw hardened and his hands stayed clenched in fists. Shame burned his face. He might have been their blood son but he was not like them. They couldn’t force him into their mold of constant hope. He jerked around and stormed out of the room.

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    1. This is great! I feel his grief. Keep up the good work. :)

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    2. Thanks guys!

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    3. I couldn't help but comment in this. It was lovely! :)

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  30. I love how you worded this!!! Amazing!

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  31. The night hadn't gone how Prince Tristan had anticipated. He reluctantly squinted in the direction of his father's finger, scanning the crowd of guests until he found the pointed finger's subject.
    The Princess Gabrielle De La Clay, her platinum blond hair so shiny it practically blinded him. Tristan felt slightly sick as he watched Gabrielle flash her perfect white teeth and flirt with every man within ten feet of her.
    Which was a lot.
    Tristan bit his lip. She was so unlike Isabella. Her dark, unruly curls, her deep blue eyes seemed to flash across his vision.
    "I am not," Tristan said, moodily stabbing an artichoke with his fork. "Marrying Gabrielle."
    He looked around at his family's stunned expressions. It was obvious how they wanted him to react. It was written all over their faces, especially his mother's and sister's. Just accept it, their eyes seemed to plead. Accept it, like we did.
    But Tristan wasn't like them. He wasn't going to marry to prevent a war. He wasn't like them, and he never would be.
    "I'm not marrying Gabrielle," the prince repeated, standing up. "I'm going to marry Isabella."

    ~Natalie

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    1. Yay! I thought someone was going to use this predicament. You did not disappoint!

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    2. Go, Prince Tristan! I totally loved this! Keep up the good work!
      *Sarah

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    3. Thanks guys! (By the way, I thought both of yours were awesome!)

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    4. I admire his resolve! The part about Prince Tristan, "moodily stabbing an artichoke with his fork," made me like him even more. :)
      Wonderful take on the prompt!

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    5. I agree with Mary: "moodily stabbing an artichoke with his fork,"
      That showed his emotions in a creative way. Good job! :D

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  32. Huh. THAT hadn't gone as planned. Of course, being half wolf changes you. Cerise brushed hair out of her eyes as she kept her expression neutral. She could smell their emotions - something she was still getting used to - and she was expecting something more. Something, that probably isn't what she was feeling.
    She wanted her to like it. Well. When someone gives you a big plate of veggies as your Choosing Day feast and you are part wolf....
    "How do you like it dear?" Great Aunt Nuli said.
    Cerise looked at the old, frail, invalid that had just finished a scottish jig and said,"You must have worked hard on it."
    Aunt Nuli smiled with a toothless grin, "Yes. I just wanted to make it perfect for my little pup!"
    Cerise silenced a groan from coming out... 27 cheek pinches don't feel good. Especially within half an hour.
    As she looked into her Great Aunt's eyes, Cerise realized that even though her aunt loved her, she could never give her what she wanted. She had been *changed*. She wasn't human anymore. But until Aunt Nuli accepted that, she'd have to put up with veggie cakes, and cheek pinches....
    How much time 'til the full moon?


    I'd love any feedback you have!!

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    1. P.S. For those of you who were wondering what Cerise's predicament is, she spends one month as a human, then, when the full moon comes, she changes and has to spend a month as a wolf. :D

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    2. This is very inspiring! I loved this quote the best: "... 27 cheek pinches don't feel good. Especially within half an hour."
      You did REALLY well. I liked how you wrote how she could smell their emotions. That would be a weird thing to get used to. I could feel her character. Keep up the excellent work, Lexi! :)

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    3. I understand her frustration! lol. Good work!

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  33. Lexi, this is really good! I sensed Cerise's conflict while her itching to escape. 27 cheek pinches? Yeah, I'd be wishing for the full moon too. :) Great job!
    *Sarah

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  34. The rebels should have been there two days ago. The tension was high, had been mounting ever since they got the message that the rebel army was on it's way. With nowhere to flee to in time, they had been on constant watch.
    Grey paced the floor, cursing under his breath. The others in his squadron had been holding their breath, hoping the royal caves weren't attacked. He knew they thought he was, too.
    They should have been there. This wasn't right. Grey had told them the only secret route to the Caves; only he knew about it. There was no way his message had been intercepted. But then, what had gone wrong?
    If only they hadn't assigned him spy three years ago...
    Just then, Alister, another soldier, walked in. Smiling, he crossed to Grey, grabbing his hands.
    "Grey, you won't believe the news! A patrol group found the rebels! They were eliminated within a day!" Alister was smiling, hope and happiness on his face.
    After a long moment of Grey's growing dread, he realized he should try to match it. The result was something of a robotic grimace.
    If they had intercepted the message, they would have known who sent it.
    Just then, a deeper voice reverberated from where Alister had just entered a moment ago.
    "Soldier Grey Pilarr, you are hereby and henceforth arrested for treason and sentenced to death for the aiding and helping of illegal rebels."
    Alister gasped and backed away.
    Grey squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the blow.

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