Friday, March 17, 2017

Writing Exercise #6: What Is Your Story Problem?

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.

Both of my kids are voracious readers. We're at this fun stage where the twelve year old is forcing his favorites into the hands of the eight year old. I love watching the two of them share and compare notes. I can't do it without a big, fat smile on my face.

It wasn't always smooth sailing though. When my youngest advanced to chapter books, it was a bit of a shock to her young mind. Unlike many of the more educational books she'd enjoyed as new reader, chapter books made her heart race. It was the angst. The problems bombarding the heroes. The seemingly unsolvable dilemmas. It was almost too much for her.

I can't tell you how many times I had to wipe her tears and ask her to close the book so we could talk. So we could find perspective. Again and again I reminded her, "Every hero has a dilemma. It's not a story if there isn't a problem to be solved."

Today, when she climbed into the car after school, she asked me about my day. When I told her I spent it writing, she said, "You've been writing that book for a long time, Mom. What's it about?"

I stumbled for an explanation--as I always do when asked that question--and I said something brilliant like, "Oh, it's hard to explain, baby."

And she said, "Well, just tell me the problem then. What's the problem in your story?"

And I smiled. Isn't she a clever little thing? Using my own words against me.

So, today, I ask you.



Here are a few things to consider:

Who is your hero?
How would you explain your hero so an eight year old could understand? You want to keep it simple, but consider that things like setting and vocation may help you define what makes your character unique.

My answer: My hero is a truck driver named Sylvi who lives and works on a mountainous island that celebrates two seasons: a wet winter and a frozen one.

What happened? 
To properly explain your story problem, you must be able to pinpoint exactly what happened to force your hero into action. We call this the Inciting Incident and YES, your story must have one.

My answer: Sylvi's best friend was kidnapped by smugglers.

What does your hero want?
Because of what happened, your hero has a want or need. And that desire is going to propel him or her forward.

My answer: Sylvi wants her best friend safe at home.

What's standing in your hero's way?
The truth is, if you've answered the first three questions, you have a pretty good start on your story's problem. To adequately explain it though, we should ask ourselves a few more questions.

What obstacles prevent your hero from reaching what he or she wants? There must be obstacles. There must be blockades standing in your hero's way. Hint: These hurdles make up the bulk of your plot.

My answer: In order to get to her best friend, Sylvi has to truck a thawing ice road that will take her through mountains thick with the magic of Winter and rife with corrupt law dogs and angry rebels.

What happens if your hero fails?
We call this 'the stakes' and the stakes should be high. As high as you can possibly make them. What happens to your hero, to those he or she loves, to the world at large--what happens if your hero fails?

My answer: If she fails, Sylvi will likely lose her rig, her only source of freedom, while her best friend will suffer and die. 

A note here: The stakes in my story are continually rising and they aren't as clear cut as my hero believes. But for the sake of this exercise, stick to what your hero is aware of at the outset. Getting caught up in rising tension and subsequent storylines, will not help you define your story's problem.

BUT! In five simple questions, questions you can easily answer, you're able to hone in on your story problem. What's left is to condense it into something simple and easily shared.

There are many reasons for creating a pitch you can share, but first and foremost this exercise is for you. So many writers have no idea what their story is about. Knowing your story problem will help you write your story and it is the first step toward reaching a satisfying conclusion for your reader. It's as simple as asking yourself a few questions and then taking the time to rearrange the answers into something that makes sense.

The next time my eight year old asks me what my story's about, this is what I'll say:

Sylvi Quine, a rig driver on the enchanted, but frozen island of Layce, finds out her best friend has been abducted by smugglers and taken to a rebel camp at the very end of the Shiv Road. To get her friend back, Sylvi will have to risk her life and her rig to truck a mysterious haul through the mountains, across a rapidly thawing highway rife with corrupt law dogs and angry rebels, and she'll have to make her delivery before the road melts clean away. Failure means the loss of her rig, her freedom and the life of the only friend she's ever had.

It's a little long. Not quite as snappy as a one-sentence summary, but it conveys my story's problem clearly and simply.

Now, it's your turn! In the comments section below, PUH-LEASE share your story problem with us. Maybe get out a pencil and paper and answer the five questions above and then drop your cursor in a comment box below and give us a paragraph that tells us your story's primary problem. I can't wait to see what you're all writing about!

And remember, when you participate in our exercises, you're automatically entered into a drawing where winners have the opportunity to submit a question for our next Go Teen Writers LIVE video panel. We'll have another one for you very soon. Details here.

Now, write! Tell us what your story's all about.

119 comments:

  1. Aubrey, a scavenger with illegal fire powers in a world in which all of humanity reside in floating metal cities, sees her little brother kidnapped by the same ruthless law enforcement who’ve been chasing her. To rescue her brother, Aubrey will have to trust a mysterious and probably insane fire user, leave the refuge of the Abandons, and brave the fire-fearing cities. Failure means capture, death, and losing the only person she’s ever trusted.

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    1. Fantastic! And floating metal cities! How cool.

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    2. Sounds like a fun world. Nice premise that was easy for me to follow. Great job.

      -Ann

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  2. My hero, Max Wagner, is a suicidal teen who wants nothing more than to kill himself the moment the New Year starts, but he is stopped by Ashley, the mysteriously angelic stranger who shows up just seconds before he leaps from a bridge in one Virginia's homey small towns. Max wants nothing more than to die, hopefully quickly and painlessly, but his every attempt is thwarted by Ashley's antics getting in his way. Will he get his wish for a peaceful(ish) death, or will he have to live on in a dreamless, hopeless, boring and mundane cycle of trivial tasks?

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    1. Wow. This sounds sad... but cool also!

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    2. I want to read a whole book about this!!! Keep up the good work.
      Poor Max. I wonder why he's like this? *hint, hint*
      Ashley, keep up the good work. xD

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    3. Two thumbs up for Ashley! Nice summary, I felt Max's hopelessness.

      -Ann

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  3. April Richmond, in ordinary teen girl, has been going through a lot of change in the past five years. After her mom deserts her family, her father dies she decides she's done being the "good girl" Amy trys to stop her from getting into serious trouble, but gets hits by a car while saving one April's "friends". April is devastated and thinks her fault, she hopes her sister won't die she just can't.
    -Emily D

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    1. Good job! Maybe tell us who Amy is when you first introduce her. Something like, "Amy, April's sister, tries to stop her..."

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    2. Sorry. I thought I wrote that. I must of accently erased it.
      -Emily D

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    3. Thank you for the feed back
      -Emily D

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    4. No worries at all! Just a little thought. Good job, friend.

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    5. Aw, how awful! I hope she can turn her life around. :( Nice, hard consequence here. Nice job.

      -Ann

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    6. This is really good. This really puts out what goes through people's minds.

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  4. I don't think I'm gonna do this. I'm pretty sure that my newest book is going to succeed, so I don't wanna risk it. I know that most of ya'll are very trustworthy and reputable authors, so I'm not saying that I don't trust you guys. It's just, ANYONE could steal my ideas.... Plus I'm paranoid. *cries because she really wants to do this*
    All of your books sound awesome, guys! Keep up the awesome work!

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    1. Thanks, lol! I will use this for my writing, but.... in secret! Haha

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    2. Hey, I totally understand, GJE, but if you could write one and leave out some things and only vaguely reference them (mine have a lot of this; things I have but don't state outright)you might feel comfortable posting that. It's only a suggestion, but I thought I'd throw it out there. I'm sure it's great though, so no pressure! ;)
      *Sarah

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    3. Alright! I think I will. I have a few other ideas I could use for this... :D

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  5. My hero is a princess turned queen titled Neve, aka Snow White's granddaughter, who lives in the kingdom of Malum. Neve's parents are murdered, which sets off a chain reaction of horrible events. Although, Neve wants to succeed both in ruling her kingdom and love, many blockades are in her way. Neve goes to her best friend, Kyle, for help with finding the evildoer, but then conflicting evidence shakes her and Neve doesn't know who to trust as the horrible events keep happening. If she fails, the kingdom will fall into a pit of chaos, murder, and darkness.

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    1. She better not fail! Love the fact she's SW's grandkid. Neat.

      -Ann

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  6. Can I make up one, Mrs. Dittemore, or does it have to be about something I'm writing?

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  7. Ashlynn was enjoying her life as a college student, where her biggest worry is the latest test for her math class. However, as far as she knows, that life may be permanently lost when without reason or warning she finds herself in a strange world where kidnapping nomads roam the land and birds large enough to carry a person sweep the sky. With help from a few friends she meets along the way she begins to adjust to her new way of life, even volunteering to fly on the back of one of the giant birds as a messenger for a resistance planning to overthrow the tyrannical king. Still, Ashlynn's greatest wish is to get back home to her family and friends. Then, Ashlynn's life is turned upside down once again when she learns an incredible secret. If she acts on her newfound knowledge, it may mean victory for the resistance. However, at the very best it could mean giving up any possibility of returning home, and at worst, it could mean giving up her life.

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    1. Ooooo. Fun. You've got a lot of interesting stuff here.

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    2. Ah, poor kid, but interesting land! My curiosity is piqued. :)

      -Ann

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  8. Hey, great post!
    My hero is a orphan in an ancient land, where a family name matters more than one's own deeds. When he has a chance to prove himself, and claim a name of greatness, he takes it--no matter the stakes. But then he becomes entangled in a race against the Darkness itself, and what's more, only an ancient prophesy and a mysterious sword can save the land--and all the Light left in the world. But the road is long, the forest treacherous, and the prophesy hard to interpret....and not what it seems.
    Ya, it's allegorical christian fantasy....
    ~Sarah

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    1. I enjoy allegories. It's such fun figuring out the hidden meaning. Great summary! :)

      -Ann

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  9. This falls a little flat and the wording is awkward in spots, but I tried to convey most of my story.

    Snow's older sister, Rose, protects Merillia from monsters with her magical red cloak, but one day she leaves to confront a dragon named Wolf and never returns. Snow is desperate to find out what happened to her sister, and if she's still alive, to bring her home safe. In order to find her, she must go on a long journey to the dragon's lair, accompanied by a wizard and a talking bear. The whole time, the dragon stalks her, along with its mysterious rider, who has stolen her sister's cloak. If she fails, she abandons the sister she's spent her whole life with to an unknown fate, either unrescued... or unavenged.

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    1. (In case you didn't notice, it's a fractured fairy tale. Mostly a combination of "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Snow White and Rose Red".

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    2. Nifty. Like the premise a lot.

      -Ann

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    3. Very cool! Very cool! And, it's not as awkward as you think it is. You describing action and not feeling and that FEELS awkward when you first give it a go, but it's the best way to tell people what your story is about. Good job.

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    4. This sounds amazing! I love fairy tale retellings, dragons, and stories about sisters. Very clear, very exciting. I don't think it falls flat at all.

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  10. Whee! This should be fun:

    Marywyn is a simple village healer, and certainly not warrior material. Yet when she becomes waiting woman to the Princess, her life is constantly put on the line. Enemy spies and traitors are everywhere in the castle, and no one is safe, not even a simple servant. Can she master the use of a weapon before she and the Princess loose their lives? Will she ever return to her village and garden?

    ~Julian Daventry

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    1. Intriguing and very nicely explained. Great job!

      -Ann

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  11. Haunted by his past, physically disabled Clive Hardy hopes his family will keep safely away from him. So when his baby sister comes to stay for the summer, he figures the best he can do is earn enough money for someone else to take care of her. Accepting an accounting job quickly turns into more than he bargained for after a fellow employee is murdered and all evidence points to him. While he tries to clear his own name, “accidents” start endangering not only his life but his sister’s as well. If Clive can’t catch the real killer in time, they both might wind up dead.

    -Ann

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    1. Wow, this sounds interesting! I want to read your book when it comes out. :)

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    2. This definitely hooked me -- I agree with Hannah about wanting to read it. Awesome job! :)

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    3. Thanks y'all! :)

      -Ann

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  12. Yay, this looks fun!

    Dr. Annie is one of the last Herbalist Doctors, who were almost made extinct by the growth of the drug dynasty. Now that the drugs have all but failed, the remaining Herbalist Doctors are in high demand by countries all over the world. Any given day Annie might find herself in on a different end of the globe. While working for the US, her world is turned upside down and she is forced into hiding. To find justice and closure so that she can go back to helping those in need, she and a small group of faithful friends must find out who is hunting her. Meanwhile, the US refuses to offer assistance and continues to harbor Dr. Rhys, the prime suspect. If she isn’t able to find out who is responsible, more people will die as a result and the world will become desolate.

    ~Sarah R.

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    1. This is super interesting. You know what I want to know? I want to know specifically what that inciting incident is. What happens that turns her world "upside down"?

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  13. Raven is a fifteen year old girl who works day an night to keep her family in a home and off the streets. But after raven's plan to steal from Pautillya Pressinger, the richest woman in the city of Charming, fails, Pautillya threatens to take away Raven's home and put her entire family out on the streets. Raven's last option to save her family is to marry the prince of Charming who's looking for a bride during the course of three balls. The only issue: there's another girl who keeps showing up and taking the prince's attention away. And her motives seem to be a bit more sinister than what most would expect. If Raven can't stop this mysterious girl as well as marry the prince and thus a better life, her entire family will starve and the rest of the kingdom will be at the mercy of a strange girl who's willing to kill to get what she wants.

    (i should mention that it's a retelling of Cinderella, but from the step-sister's POV)

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    1. Fun! Retellings are very 'in' right now! Good job working out the details here.

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    2. Wow! This sounds COOL!

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    3. This sounds really interesting, I love fairy tale retellings. The more different the better!
      *Sarah

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    4. This sounds amazing! An evil Cinderella? Yes, please!

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  14. Cerise was ordinary, once. However, she got bitten by a werewolf that wasn't quite a werewolf, so now she's not quite sure what she is. Her plan to go to the capitol and become a Guardian disappeared when she realizes that she now has to live on the run, running from the very people she wanted to join. At first she just wants to survive, then she hears tale of a witch who can reverse magical transformations. However, if she doesn't make it to the witch, she could be an outcast for the rest of her life, which might not be that long if the Guardians catch her trail.

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    1. I'm open to any comments. :D

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    2. I want to read MORE of this!!!!!!! Werewoves intrigue me. xD
      Keep up the good work, Lexi. :)

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    3. Ohhhh, this sounds really cool! I want to read more too! Keep at it, Lexi!
      *Sarah

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  15. Thanks so much for this post--it's awesome! I love these questions and will be using them (especially for future stories). Wish I had known this two years ago, I could have saved myself 250,000 words of plot-less ramblings, lol!
    Here's mine, Marty's Kid--
    At 14 years old, Connor has already had years of experience with crime--his uncle Marty is a gang underboss. But on Christmas Eve, Connor finds a scrap of paper in his lap telling him that Jesus loves him, and through it he begins a difficult journey of searching for something he has never had, something he doesn't even understand. He wants someone to look at him, listen to him, treat him like he exists--if he can't get that he doesn't want to live anymore. But he's still a gangster's kid. And an underworld enemy stalking not only his uncle, but him, is sucking him deeper into a darkness of fear and hatred.

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    1. This is great, Hannah! I loved this. "He wants someone to look at him, listen to him, treat him like he exists--if he can't get that he doesn't want to live anymore." -now that is DEEP. I love your description of his feelings. UGH, I want more. Is this something you are writing to be a book?

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    2. I want to read this so bad!

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    3. I agree wholeheartedly with LHE and GJE, Hannah. This sounds really good and something I would totally read.
      *Sarah

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    4. Thanks guys! Hopefully you can read it someday!
      @LHE, Yes, this is a teen novel I'm writing. I'm working on the third draft now and it's coming together nicely (at least I think). Hoping to get it polished and pitch it at a conference in May...see what happens. :)

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    5. I definitely see success in your writing. Ooohh, a conference? Sounds liek fun! :)

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    6. Yay!!! I can't wait!

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    7. Wow, so cool! Good luck with that!
      *Sarah

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  16. My hero is a lonely, teen named Blake who lives in an abandoned grocery store. His friend is exceedingly sick and needs help. Blake wants to help his friend, but can’t afford being publicly seen. He doesn’t want to get sent back to his cruel parents. If Blake fails to help his friend then not only will his friend die, but he’ll be completely, utterly alone. Or, so he thinks.

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    1. All feedback's welcome. :)

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    2. 'Or, so he thinks'? What's going on there? I want to know this storyline!

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    3. I still don't know if I'll put this in a novel or not (I'm being attacked by possible plots). He doesn't know (yet) that Jesus is always there.He feels like everything his parents have said to him decide his worth (which isn't true). He doesn't know that he won't every be alone.

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    4. This sounds like a great idea! I love homeless kids (my first book was all about them, see www.parisoflondon.com).
      Keep fleshing out this story, it's a great concept! Like the article says, think of one big thing to trigger the whole problem (maybe his friend getting sick), some serious obstacles (which are abundant for homeless kids), make things personal. Make us fall in love with this guy. Give him a constant, driving desire and then put him through a lot to get it. Bring him to a point where everything else fails him and he has to turn to Christ (like you're saying, he discovers he won't ever be alone). Then make the victory sweet!
      Just some ideas.
      By the way I love the name Blake. :D

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    5. I love the name Blake too! You have really good ideas! Thank you so much for your comment, I will definitely use these. :D
      Yes, I really need to put him through some rough things if I end up doing this. It brings pity and it draws you closer to the character. It makes you wonder what will happen next. :)
      *keeps ya at the edge of your seat*

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    6. I really like this, LHE. I posted last night but it seems to have vanished . . . stupid internet. Anyways, this sounds great, can't wait till you tell us you published it. I'll be first in line to buy it!
      *Sarah

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    7. Aww, I definitely will comment here when (hopefully it's just when and not if) it get's published. Thanks! I know, I had commented at least three times the same comment one time and it kept not showing up. I don't know what it is!

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  17. It's been awhile since I wrote the beginning/middle of this story so this may not be totally accurate but...

    Members of a small harbor town, Zephyr, Chayse, Elowen, and current palace guard North become targets of the imposter king who has secretly infiltrated the palace after a letter detailing terrible, secret truths of the kingdom falls into Zephyr’s hands. Three of the four also have family members caught up in the imposter’s scheme. They must set off for the kingdom’s capital to do something about their knowledge, while avoiding guards set on arresting them and attempting to infiltrate the imposter’s palace. Should they fail, they may end up in prison with the imposter still safely on the throne, controlling the war the kingdom is waging and exerting his will over the people.

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  18. Hey, guys, these all sound so interesting! I want to read them all! LOL! I'm actually working on two stories in my fantasy trilogy, so I'll go ahead and post both (with certain details left out) if no one minds. ;) So here goes nothing, feedback is always welcome!
    *Sarah

    Book 1 -

    As tension builds in a split nation, Vienna, a peasant girl, struggles with being a curse and her longing to see the forbidden outside world while Flynn, a petty thief with a death threat hanging over his head, tries to survive on the streets and honor Tirana(God) at the same time. Vienna’s last wish is granted in the most horrifying way when she and her horse, Braveheart, are sold to a man with a chill of foreboding around him. Landed in a raid gone bad Flynn is left with blood on his hands and fear in his heart causing him to flee only to stumble across Vienna and Braveheart. He frees them and the three escape those out to capture them only to fall into a bigger mess called war between the west and east sides of the nation. Even though they don’t want to, Vienna and Flynn are forced to fight for their lives and freedom before everything they know crumbles into ash–and the one thing the enemy wants most seems to be Vienna.

    Book 2-

    War is still building in the nation setting Flynn on edge as the guilt and shame of his past mount upon his head–even a certain knight eyes him with suspicion–while Vienna struggles with new duties expected of her which she doesn’t understand nor knows how to deal with. Disaster strikes when Flynn and two others are kidnapped by knights of an evil kingdom for sinister reasons, the only way to free them being to break the force field around it. Defying orders Vienna rides after Flynn and her friends straight into danger only for them to realize the evil kingdom will not break easily and will destroy their nation in two weeks unless they can crumble the force field first. Only Flynn’s doubts and fears of himself and strange new abilities he can’t control may kill him before they can save their nation.

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    1. Sarah, this is really good. I want to read them so badly. :)

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    2. I can't wait 'til you publish these!!!

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    3. Thanks, guys! I can't wait until I publish them too.
      *Sarah

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    4. Keep up the good work and I know you will! :)

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    5. This sounds amazing! I can't wait to see where this goes. :)
      ~J

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    6. Awesome!!!! Can I hack into your computer to read the drafts? Wait... That's probably not legal, is it?

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    7. Haha, I agree with Lexi. I'l hack in with Lexi; it's worth the record. lol

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    8. Hey, no peeking! LOL The second story's rough draft wouldn't even make sense at this point. You'd be going "Huh? What in the world is going on?!" And the first story I have to add some of this stuff to it- it's not even there right now! So don't try it, I wouldn't want you guys to be confused or going "Huh?" That would be tragic. ;)
      *Sarah

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    9. So I won't look in the second draft.... Say nothing about the first. :D And I'm okay with going "Huh?". You should see my first draft. :shudder:

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    10. Ha! I think this a common affliction with all writers. Or at least, I think so . . . :) Still, no peeking! Or I'll have to go ninja on you (or Jedi knight, whichever). ;)
      *Sarah

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    11. This is so good! I think I'll have to join the other two when they hack into the first draft...

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  19. This is from a book I *started* to write:
    Life on the streets is hard enough, but Clara is an orphan. Everyone she thought she knew and loved deserted her. That's why she panicked on the night of the Raid. She didn't want more trouble. But she was caught anyway, and no matter how hard the Raiders try to convince her that they aren't going to hurt her, Clara can't trust them. But she becomes desperate for answers when she finds out that Peter could be her brother. Just as trust begins to form, soldiers attack, separating Clara and other prisoners from the Raiders. Does Clara have what it takes to save her brother and friends before it's too late. Before they're killed?

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    1. "... before it's too late?"*

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    2. I love this but one question: who's Peter? You might want to add something simple like "he's one of the Raiders" or something like that just to say who he is. You don't want him to just show up and everyone's like who's this guy? Great job otherwise, and very interesting! I'd love to read it!
      *Sarah

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    3. Yeah, okay! lol Thank you!! He is a Raider. I'm sorry about the confusion... :D

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    4. You're welcome and no problem!
      *Sarah

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  20. It's a little long...I'm horrible at summarizing. ~J
    Aidan, an ordinary guy living in a city controlled by a tyrannical Council, is arrested and then rescued by rebels. Among them is a mysterious girl who later tells Aidan that she is part of a group of ten elves who were accidentally separated and transported to his dimension—along with their powerful enemy, a sorcerer—and have been trapped there for centuries. Aand then she tells him that the leader of the elves is actually Aidan’s grandfather. Now, Aidan must learn to use his elven gift, help get all ten elves back together so they can find a way home, and try to keep the truth a secret from everyone else—as well as being an active part in the rebellion and trying to make peace with his best friend. If they fail, the elves will be stuck in Aidan’s dimension forever, the sorcerer will become more powerful than ever before, and the rebellion will probably come to nothing.

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    1. Elves are cool! This sounds interesting and the stakes are said clearly and I can tell this is going to be a problem. And you we're long, mine were longer! Great job, keep it up!
      *Sarah

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    2. Thanks for the feedback!
      ~J

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    3. Sure, no problem!
      *Sarah

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  21. You're not horrible at summarizing. Now me, on the other hand....
    This sounds neat. I love elves! :)

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    1. Haha, thanks. And elves are the best!
      ~J

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    2. You're welcome! I know! lol

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  22. Forrest's Residential Middle and High School for Students of Excellence has a secret. It’s a little different from other schools-- with the tiny dragons, teleportation classes, and magic powers. Kaelin, a freshman returning for her second year, writes down everything she hears, but when the new girl Clara pushes her to publish her writings as a gossip column, things get a little out of hand.

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    1. I'm looking at people's comments, and everyone is so creative! Great job, Josie! :)

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    2. A gossip column in a magic school? Sounds awesome! I would love to read this.

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    3. This looks really cool.

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  23. Glorindon, apprentice to the Wizard Haefgar, discovers an ancient evil called Kazvas is rising in the south. Kazvas has sent his servants out into the world to find a powerful relic called the Estrelstar, with which he will be able to dominate all the lands. Only the Wizard knows where it is, and so dark forces begin to hunt him. Glorindon, his mentor, and a Company of six others set out to find the Estrelstar first, but to do so they must make their way hundreds of miles southwards while battling wolves, servants of evil, and allies turned traitors. When at last the Estrelstar is found, it is snatched from the Company's grasp by one of their own--and it is left to Glorindon and one other to retrieve it before their once-companion destroys it. While the others of the Company wage war against the forces of darkness, Glorindon and his companion must make their way into the very realm of Kazvas to reclaim the Estrelstar and wield it against him. But the way is impossibly difficult, and should they fail, their friends and all the free peoples will be utterly overrun.

    (By the way, I'm CS C. For some reason my Windows computer sets me up as "Unknown" and I can't change it. Sorry about that.)

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    1. Oh, it's fine! This sounds like you would be the author of Lord Of The Rings.
      Ooooh, wolves. Good work!

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  24. Shadow, an orphan who lost her family to a cult from the magical realm of the North, is a thief to survive. However, after being confronted by a wizard who asks her to steal a time element in the possession of the cult, it becomes more then just a chance to escape a pointless life, but a chance to go back in time and save her family! Picking up several unintended companions along the way, Shadow sets out across the dying land of the East, with the cult hunters never far behind! In her possession, four watches containing the heart of each realm that the cult desperately seeks! What appeared to be a simple mission though, turns out to have graver consequences if she should fail, that would not only affect her life, but the lives of everyone, and the future of the realms!

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    Replies
    1. This sounds really interesting. I adore reading about time travel. I'd like to know more about this cult; they sound dangerous.

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    2. I agree, this sounds really interesting. Keep writing!
      *Sarah

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    3. Thanks for the encouraging comments!

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  25. This sounds interesting. Keep up the good work!

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  26. 15-year-old Mack already has more to stress about than homework, when he accidently sets some fire-breathing squirrels on his classmates. He’s broken a law of the imaginers – people cut off from the rest of society who can mould hope into objects, creatures and dreams. To redeem himself, he has to help two imaginer trainees track down their missing friend, Tiffany. But Tiffany didn’t exactly leave a trail of breadcrumbs, and strange monsters are emerging from the shadows. Can Mack master his new powers and stop the imaginers unleashing their punishment of eternal nightmares?

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    Replies
    1. Ohh, this sounds really interesting! I want to know more about Tiffany now!

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  27. In the war-torn land of Charm, a dangerous disease known as the Ghost Plague annihilated the population. Exiled wizard Rayne Everhorn wants to live a peaceful life away from everything, especially his past. But when a former friend and ally shows up on his doorstep, Rayne's quiet life is turned upside down, especially when he starts showing symptoms of the plague.
    To get the cure, Rayne must travel across the kingdom with only his rusty magic skills and a small group of allies to protect him, all the while growing weaker under the influence of the disease. Along the way, Rayne finds out that more important things than his life are on the line, and failurewill mean not only the loss of his newfound friends, but the world he knows as well.

    ~Natalie

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  28. Emberly is a very shy and sweet girl who wants to go to a summer arts camp with her viola but is worried about homesickness and friendlessness.
    Sarvi is a laid-back, calm girl who signs up for a summer arts camp to draw so that she can get away from home; her parents are getting a divorce.
    Trith is a daring, impulsive girl who signs up for a summer arts camp for theater to try something new.
    But once there, strange things start happening, and although they are different, Emberly, Sarvi, and Trith become friends as they investigate why they're the only ones who notice or care...

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  29. Chayton Dorn - a half-breed knight with the blood of two rival nations running in his veins - has only ever sought the respect of Emberlin and her people, but when he wins the championship match against their favored knight their hatred for him ignites again. Forced to go on a quest from which he might never return in hopes that their anger will cool in his absence, Chayton vows to find and protect the kidnaped daughter of his adoptive parents who was once blessed by the king of Emberlin to become the future heir and cursed by the king of Dunrel to die upon her return, but when he is mistaken for the leader of a Dunrel raid, he realizes that saving the girl won’t be enough to prove his loyalty to countrymen who wish to see him hanged as a traitor.

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