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Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Published

A while back Carly suggested this for a post:  what's the most important thing in getting published?

Carly, this is a question that is not easily answered.  Mainly because people's answers vary depending on who you're asking, what genre they write or represent, and just their general opinion.  I also think it makes a huge difference depending on if the person you ask is published or unpublished.

With that said, answering this as an unpublished writer is a bit tricky for me simply because I've had no experience with the publishing process nor with the industry as a whole.  So, I'd like to write this from a view point as how I would see it if I were a publisher.  If I were a publisher, I think the most important thing in getting published would be a strong voice.  If you are your own person, if your story is its own person right from the first time they glance at your query  or manuscript submission, it'll go a long way.  Having a strong voice.  Be unique.  Imagine reading the same thing everyday, every writer sounding the same, writing about the same thing.  So basically, imagine reading about the stock market everyday.  And then all of the sudden, this wonderful manuscript is on your desk and it's not stocks, it's breaking news.  And the reporter (the writer) isn't someone that represents the stocks, it's someone who knows the president on a first-name-basis.  Can you see where THAT would more likely grab your attention, and that you'd want other people to read THAT than your other submissions?

Now, I will answer the same question as an aspiring, hopeful published author.  In my opinion the most important thing in getting published is...trying.  If you don't first try, you can't get published.  More importantly, trying again.  And again, and again.  Nobody's going to get published or get an agent with the first query they send out - and if that's what you're expecting, you seriously need a reality check.  The industry isn't fair, and it isn't always nice.  But if you don't believe in yourself enough to keep getting back up on that horse, it won't make a difference if you're the next Edgar Allen Poe or Suzanne Collins.  You have to have a backbone to stick up for the story you've worked so hard to create and you have to work hard at changing it around if that's what's right.

Hope this helped and I'm still open for suggestions!  I still have a few left to write about.

With eternal love and blessings,
~Hanna~

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My favorite book and why

A while back JP suggested that Charlie and I write a post about what our favorite book is and why.  Hopefully Charlie will be posting about this when he gets home or when he gets a minute.

My favorite book.  To be honest, I can't pick one.  There are so many that take first on my list.  So, I'm going to go through some of my #1's and tell you why they're #1's.  I'm also going to mention a few books that are number one books, but I don't really want to explain them because I just know I'll give something away.

Twilight (saga) by Stephenie Meyer.  Now, this book started everything in me.  My love for reading and my love for writing.  Not only is the story itself entrancing, the fact that the story was powerful enough to make a non-reader go avid, is amazing.  I think any book that makes me want to read every book about it, no matter how long, is definitely a number one book.  *And I just love Stephenie Meyer - loving the author goes a long way.*

The Strangely Beautiful Series by Leanna Renee Hieber.  Obviously, I love Leanna.  I kind of knew her before I read her books.  But that didn't really change my opinion of them.  I think what I love the most about Leanna's books is the fact that there's so many genres.  There's literally something for everyone.  Paranormal, romance, action, mystery, adventure, the bond of friendship, following your heart, etc.  Another thing that I really like is that even if the characters are from Victorian London and can see ghosts, even if one of them is as pale as a bed sheet and looks like a ghost, you can empathize with every character.  They're relateable and lovable.  Powerful characters combined with the lesson that you can't help what your heart feels made this book a number one.

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce.  Again, I really like this author as a person, but it still didn't effect my love of the book.  This book was just a genuinely good book.  Great book.  What I love about this book was that there were no slow parts where I'd put the book down and go do something else.  Added to the fact that Jinn and Viola were facing the obstacle of loving each other, even if it was 'against the rules'.  I always love it when characters have to overcome something to love each other.  Humor, love, and the perfect mix of everything else made this book a number one.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.  This book is about sisters, which I love.  One sister protects the other from the Fenris (werewolves), but the little sister is tired of it.  She wants to fight too.  But she never expected to fall for her sister's best friend, Silas.  Their whole lives have always been about the hunt, nothing else.  How can Rosie be so selfish and go boy crazy when Scarlett has given her the most valuable gift - her life? Again, I love that the characters have to overcome something to love each other.  Action, mystery, suspense, love, and people killing werewolves made this book a number one.

Vampire Academy (series) by Richelle Mead. 
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.
The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins.
TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher.

And of course Solace by Me. What?  I have to love my own book.  :)

With eternal love and blessings,
Hanna

Friday, July 23, 2010

Where are you guys?

Hey Dreamers!  Where are you guys?  We haven't heard from you in a few posts!

WHY SO QUIET?!? 


Feel like I'm at a football game now.  :P

~Hanna~

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Special Day and a post about rainy days

Hey Dreamers! 

Today is a very special day for me!  Find out why HERE ON MY BLOG.  I didn't feel like copy and pasting everything.

Today is a rainy day in Ohio.  It only rained for a little while, but I still consider it a rainy day if it's gloomy and no sun.  Oh, and if I really don't feel like doing anything.  I wish I could bring myself to do something - anything - but I can't really.  I wrote a little bit, but I kinda lost my feel for it.  Perhaps it's because it's the afternoon, not nighttime.  I'm thinking about re-arranging my book shelf and dusting it and all that fun stuff... yep that's what I'll do.  Maybe touching all of those yummy books will make me want to write one of my own.

Guys, if you have any suggestions for posts or for the site, please leave them in the feedback box at the top of the page.

Keep dreaming,
~Hanna~

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wanna Tell Us Something?

Hey Dreamers!

You may have noticed the little window about the latest post titled "Wanna Tell Us Something?" and then inside "TellHannaAndCharlie".  In this area you can tell us anything you want, suggest posts, ask questions, or give your own two cents on a topic if you don't feel like finding the post about it.

Please use this feature as you wish.  It makes for quicker feedback!
~Hanna~

Results of #3

Piece number one belonged to Charlie.
Piece number two belonged to Hanna.

Which means, Hanna won with a whopping one vote!  ;)

We, again, only had one piece entered, and that was by Miss Carly once again.  Carly, I think your story was really nice.

For some reason I can't ever catch Charlie online, so I'll leave a space blank for his comments if he wants to add anything.

Hanna - Carly the way you wrote this story conveyed the emotion of frustration because your character's boyfriend was kinda acting like he didn't care about her going through the 'crisis'.  However, at the end you conveyed the emotion of devotion and I thought it was very sweet.  :)

Charlie -

THE DISADVANTAGES OF PHONES

By Carly P.

“It was horrible,” I sighed, clutching the phone. “Every second of it. Every bloody second.”


“Oh come on, babe. It doesn’t sound that bad.”


“That’s because you weren’t there, Milton! You weren’t there to see the look on her face. The sadness in her eyes.” I paused to pass a tear, and glanced at the ceiling. “You didn’t see her cry.”


“She CRIED?”


“Mmhhmm,” I sniffled.


He sounded utterly shocked. “But she’s your MOTHER! She NEVER cries!”


“I thought so too. But she does, and when she does, she cries hard.”


There was a moment of silence. “Just start from the beginning, then. I want to hear it all.”


“I don’t know why I try so hard all the time. I really don’t. It’s like all I do is exceed limits, and push past expectations. I don’t want to sound vain, but I can’t help it! You know me, and you know how I act. I spend too much time thinking things through. I strive for success. It’s exhausting!


“And the worst part is, no matter how hard I try, I don’t succeed. I thought I could get everything in line, and have everything under control. But I guess I can’t.


“Milton?” I asked, “You still there?”


There was a slight ruffling in the background. “What are you doing, Milton?”


“Calm down, Stacey! I’m just walking downstairs. I can listen and walk at the same time.”


“Okay, so where did I leave off?”


“Something about not succeeding…”


“Oh yeah.” I took a deep breath, and continued. “So I’m working late to try and get this big promotion. That’s all I’ve been doing lately… work, work work. I have no time for relaxing. And just when I feel like I have it all done, and I grab my coat from the hanger, my boss stops me on the way out.


“Hello?”


This time, there was a standard bell that rang, similar to a text message, in the background. “Milton, what ARE you doing?”


“Nothing! Just making some food in the microwave.”


“What food?”


“Uhh… popcorn.”


“You hate popcorn, Milton.”


There was more silence. “Does it matter what I’m doing? Since when does it matter what I’m cooking in the—”


“Is that a car engine?” I accused, my voice getting louder. “Don’t lie to me, Milton. I’ve had one of the worst days of my life, and you don’t seem to care!”


“I care!” he shot back. “I care about you a lot, Stacey. More than you know.”


“What is THAT supposed to mean?”


“Nothing. Just forget about it, okay? It’s not important. You’ll see in a few minutes.”


“What? You’re not making any sense—”


“Just forget it! Keep talking.”


I was so confused. My whole day was confusing. But I needed to vent. I needed someone to talk to. So, I began talking again. “Turns out, my boss just wanted to tell me I was doing a good job. He held me 20 minutes late to tell me I was doing good.


“You’d THINK I’d be happy by that, but when I got home, I realized I had forgotten about the plans I made with my mother, and she was sitting on the couch crying when I got home. It was her birthday, Milton! And I forgot!”


Silence.


“MILTON!”


“Whatttttttttttttttt,” he answered, his voice trailing off sarcastically.


“I’m dealing with a crisis here! I just need someone to talk to.” And then, I burst out in tears. It had been such a long day, and it seemed as if Milton didn’t even care. It seemed like no one cared. Not my mother, and not even my boyfriend.


“I have to go,” he mumbled, with some mixed shuffling noises. “I can’t talk to you like this.”


“Talk to me like WHAT, Milton? What are you—”


CLICK.

He hung up on me.


I flipped over in my bed and sobbed into my pillow. Then, my door opened.


And guess who stood in the doorway.


“I can’t possibly try and talk to the girl I love without seeing her in person. From now on, I’ll just come on over, if that’s alright with you.”


I wiped a few of my tears and sat up. “Milton. You do care.”


“Yes ma’am. I love you, Stacey Quinn. And I want you to know that I always cared about you, even when you were talking on the way over here. I just need to see you more, instead of talk on the phone.”


“Agreed,” I smiled.


“Besides,” he added, as he sat next to me, “You can’t kiss through the phone.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Novels

Yes novels.  Not drafts.  Novels.

This is a topic I might be totally alone in, but that's why I want to talk about it with you Dreamers.  I've never really voiced my concern about this, nor have I voiced my opinions and feelings, to anyone.  But, alas, I feel I need to.  As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of feel lost on this.  Like I told you all in the beginning, I'll never claim to be an expert in writing.  I just feel I know enough to give my two cents.

So, today I'm gonna talk about first novels.  The first novel you resolve to write.  A lot of times these novels don't see the light of day.  Of course there are exceptions to this seemingly unwritten rule. (i.e. Stephenie Meyer)  However, usually it turns out that the first thing you write doesn't get published.  And that doesn't even mean your first draft.

I'm very scared of this.  I love my story, but I always ask myself "Is it really a story?  Is there really any plot to it?  Or am I just messing around with it and it's the characters I love?".  To me, my novel doesn't seem like a book - which I guess can be looked at two very different ways.  It's good, on one hand, if it doesn't seem like a book because that means it's totally unique.  *And despite what Charlie might say, it's not a Twilight rip-off.  No vamps - I swear.*  On the other hand, it's bad because, to me, it means I can't see it selling or becoming a book. 

I think a lot of times writers are afraid of their first novel never being published for one major reason.  They think they only have one book in them.  However, usually this isn't the case.  For myself, already know of two or three books that I really want to write, outside of SOLACE.  But honestly, before I had those ideas, I was desperately afraid of that.  So afraid that I thought I was going to have to write sequels upon sequels just to make a living.  I was so convinced that SOLACE was the only series/characters I would ever be able to work with.

So, because I know it's going to be asked, how do you assure that you have another book in you to write?

That's really a hard question to answer, so I offer you my best advice.  Keep your eyes open, don't ignore anything.  Think about things in ways someone else might not.  Read - a lot.  Write everything down.  Watch people (in a non-creepy way).  Observe everything.  By doing this, you might just get a new idea you never would have thought about.  I know at least two of my potential novels came about this way.  The other(s) came about via my dad throwing ideas around. 

But what scares me is saying goodbye to this story - if it ever came to that.  I mean, it's my first novel.  The first thing that I've felt passionate about and have stuck with for two and a half years.  I love Hallie as if she's me, and Edward as if he's my boyfriend.  I don't know how I could say goodbye to them.  Could I?

And I suppose that saying goodbye would never be goodbye.  I could always put them into a different story or recreate their world.  But still, if I know that I abandoned them, and didn't let anyone outside of my coterie know them...I feel as though I have failed them.  I've always compared my novel to my child, my characters are my friends, children, family, and lovers. 

However, that's exactly my point.  Your children don't just disappear from your life - even if they pass away, they're still with you.  And so, my first novel will always be my first born child, in a way.  No matter what happens to it, it'll always be in my heart and I'll always love it and it'll always be the thing that impacted my life and made me who I am. 

~Hanna~

Monday, July 12, 2010

Competition Reminder

I just wanted to take a moment to make sure you all saw that the THIRD WRITING COMPETITION was posted just before the Results of #2. 

I hope everyone's week is off to a good start!  Mine is okay, I felt kinda sick earlier, but I'm feeling better.  I'm in the process of cleaning out my computer so my uncle can go in and totally erase everything.  More info on that coming soon.

With eternal love and blessings,
Hanna

Sunday, July 11, 2010

England... England... United Kingdom... England.

Hello guys ;)

Just to say I am in the United Kingdom - so 8 hours behind Hanna instead of the normal 9 :)

Woooo?

Have fun, I won't be on too much... I don't think.

Possibly going to a safari park tomorrow. Going to London on Tuesday... Watching Eclipse on Wednesday.... and i don't know what else. Some roller coaster place? *shivers*

K, bye :)

Blogging (and lack thereof)

So I've noticed that I've been a very bad blogger when it comes to 2T1D.  Since the writing competitions have begun, I don't think I've posted a simple post about writing. 

The fact of the matter is, I'm not all that sure what to talk about.  I've done a lot of the issues I immediately think of, so lets think for a second.  *Honestly I have no plans for this post yet* Jeopardy Theme Song here. 

Hmmm...

Hey, Dreamers, I call on you for help. 

WHAT DO YOU WANNA KNOW MORE ABOUT OR JUST TALK ABOUT?

Answer in the comments below!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Results of #2

Piece number one belonged to Charlie.

Piece number two belonged to Hanna.

We have drawn! We got 2 votes, ones each. Thanks for voting!

We only received one entry for this contest, which belonged to Miss Carly.  However, Carly your story was excellent.  Carly's story will be posted below.  Here are our comments.

Hanna - Carly, you know I've always thought you were an amazing writer, and reading this just proves it all the more.  I really liked that you didn't make Ariel a mermaid - just the daughter of a fisherman/business-owner/beach proprietor.  Your style is really unique - really capturing the frustration of a teenager and showing the reader how it feels to have such a bad nickname. Job well done, Carly Barly.  *And I still think you'll be a the first female best-selling-author-turned-President.  ;) *

Charlie - Carly, first, I love your name. With that said, I liked your story. I did slow down at some parts, to reread what I had read as you sometimes switch from present to past tense... but without that, I thought it was really original. Like Hanna, I liked that she was not a glittery, sparkly creature with a fin. :)

A WHOLE NEW WORLD
By Carly P.

You wanna know what’s an annoying nickname?



Fish girl.


You’d THINK a group of high-schoolers can come up with a name a LITTLE more creative, right? It’s so lame. It’s so juvenile. It’s so first grade! When I was seven, Janis Button’s skirt fell down one day. They could have called her all sorts of nicknames, especially because her last name included “butt.” But nooooo, they called her “skirt girl.” I remember feeling bad for Janis, because nicknames are pretty hard to get rid of.


And now that those imbisuls have started to call me fish girl… I couldn’t agree with myself more.


Just because I hang around in the ocean a lot DOESN’T mean I’m a fish. Yeah, I’m the best swimmer on the school swim team. And I like seafood a lot. And My Dad owns most of the shore in our town.


So what? Does that automatically make me “fish girl” for the rest of my life? Judging on how people are treating me, I’d assume that’s exactly what I’ll be called, forever and eternity. The saddest part is I can’t redeem myself, no matter how hard I try. I don’t have any friends, no people I could hang out with. Notice I said no PEOPLE. I’ve got plenty of fish friends!


And there’s this injured dolphin I’ve been feeding off the dock at night. Every night, like tonight, for instance, I walk out and feed her some sardines. She broke her fin a few weeks ago, and being careful and staying close to the shore is helping her recover.


The sun is so beautiful as it’s setting over the ocean. Every night is pretty spectacular, but tonight is extra special. The sun is almost a pink color, which is something new. I’m entranced.


Suddenly, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and I spin around. My bucket of sardines spilled all over the figure standing behind me. “I’m so sorry!” I mumbled, frantically throwing the sardines into the bucket. I moved my eyes upward to reveal the hottest man I’ve even seen in my entire life.


“You’re fine,” he smiles, handing a few sardines to me. His voice is so low. So muscular. So unbelievably unreal. I must be dreaming.
 
Then I realized I was staring. “Ariel!” I spit, plunging my arm out for a shake. “Ariel Duncan.”



He looks quizzical and his eyes dart back to the dock titled DUNCAN’S DOCK. “Like the dock?” he asks.


I blush. “Yes. Like the dock. And the returaunt, and the harbor, and the beach.” This was my worst part of meeting anybody. They always assumed I was some stuckup rich kid who had tons of friends, which by the way… I did NOT. I expected the hot man to walk away, disgusted. He should of just—


“I’m Eric,” he replies, sticking out his hand. We touch hands, and his hands are softer than… well I can’t exactly compare them to anything at the moment. I’m so lost in his smile! And his eyes! Oh, and his—


“Are you going to let go now?”


“Oh yeah,” I blurt, ripping away my hand. “Sorry.”


Then, he laughs. But not at me, with me. And he sits down with his feet in the water. And we talk… for a long time.


I could feel my life changing as we spoke. I, Ariel Duncan, was talking to THE hottest man I’ve ever met, and he didn’t think I was a freak. Wait till everyone sees me now! All the “fish girl” crap will change! Everything will change!


The sun is getting lower into the sky, until it disappears behind the ocean’s horizon. Then it’s just Eric and I, sitting in the dark. And it’s silent. And weird.


“I better get going,” I say, hesitant to leave. “It’s getting pretty late, and I’m getting pretty chilly.”


“No don’t leave, Ariel! Please. It’s my first night here, and my parents are still moving things in, and they’re still fighting a lot these days, and there is nowhere I’d rather be then here.” There was a slight pause. “Here with you.”


I felt a bolt of lightening rush through my body. He wanted to be with me. Here.
 
“Of course,” I reply. Taking a seat, I rub my arms to try and keep them warm. “I’m just so cold!”



Immediately, he ripped off his sweatshirt and handed it to me. “Here,” he offered, “take mine. I’m a Minnesota boy, I’m used to the cold.”


I giggled and took his sweatshirt. It was warm, and cozy, and---

As if it was even possible, he actually looked hotter with it off. Not like “warmer” hotter, but HOTTER hotter.


I am the luckiest girl in the universe. Nothing could ever bring me down. Not even being called fish girl. Not even the entire city!


You know in movies when someone feels as if they’re on top of the world, and then something comes along in the worst moment possible and tears it all apart? I figured that I already met the perfect guy in the cheesy citcom, so of COURSE there would be that one person who had to go and rip my storybook ending apart.


“What in God’s name are you doing?” a voice like thunder roared from behind us on the dock. I looked up to see my father, in the flesh, standing right behind Eric and me.


“Dad, I can explain everything, just give me two seconds.”

“Explain how there’s some topless guy holding hands with you as you two are watching the sunset? What kind of father do you think I am, Ariel?”


It was dead silent. The waves were crashing at the side of the dock, and I wished I could just dive in and swim away. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything but bury my head in my hands and sigh.


“Let’s go,” he barked, grabbing me on the arm.


The sadness in Eric’s eyes were horrible. I couldn’t bear to see him sad like this, forever. And as soon as I could get my chance, I was going to see him. And make it all better.
 
Because that’s what is meant to be.

Writing Competition #3

Today we are posting our third writing competition, and the same rules apply from last week. This week the 'prompt' is Write an emotional scene.  It can be a happy emotion, a sad emotion, or anything inbetween.  Make your readers feel for your character - make them feel the emotion you're trying to convey.  But never tell us "I feel sad"  or  "They felt happy".  The word limit is 500-3000 words.

In order to vote, your comment must include:
1) Which writing piece you're voting for (1 or 2)
2) Why you chose one writing piece over the other.
3) Any critiques (optional)
*4) Bonus points if you can tell the emotion we're trying to convey.
Again, there is no rhyme or reason to whose piece is put with which number, so please do not try to figure it out. Judge the piece for what it is, or what it isn't and base your vote exclusively on this.

This will be our last competition for a few weeks, due to the fact that Charlie will be taking a vacation and will not have time to write on prompts. Also, we feel we need a few more followers. So if you have any writer friends, or have any cool ways to help us, well then - help us! (If you wish.) *winks* I'll give Ya'll a cookie :)

If you want to enter a piece of your writing to be voted upon by Charlie and Hanna, please email it to us. To email Hanna: ILuvRobPattinson@gmail.com To email Charlie: icharliee@hotmail.com

Voting and entry deadlines are Wednesday,  July 14th, 2010.
_________________________________________________________________________________
Piece 1 -

How could you…
How could you do that to me, when I specifically told you not to? I trusted you with my secret – believed you would keep it. I thought I knew you – I guess I didn’t. Still, I wonder… how you could have done something like that.
I know, I am nothing special – you have clarified that theory with your friends. I know, I am nothing to look at, nothing to waste your breath on. I am human after all; at least that’s what I thought. But no – no, I am not human, so you say. What you say, is right. That’s what I believe. I wonder why I believe everything you say. I guess it is because of the love I feel for you. The love inside – that’s what really counts. That is what really matters in life – true love.
How could you do it? I repeat because I am just so flabbergasted. I never thought you would have done something like this. After I trusted you – I trusted you, with my secret.
You say I am not human. You say you are always right. Maybe that is true – maybe. I might not be human – but I have a heart, I have feelings, just like everyone, everything else does…
So how could you do it? How could you… do it? Tell my secret. Not just to her – or him, but to everyone. I believed you cared. Maybe I was a fool. Maybe I loved you too much. Yes. I did love you too much. But no. I was not a fool. I was not a fool for telling you – my secret. Telling you, my feelings – telling you I loved you.
You laughed at me. You laughed. With him – and her, and everyone else – you just laughed. I ask again, how could you? My feelings are hurt – and now you ignore me. Ignore me, even though I try to talk to you. Yes, I hate you – yet I try to contact you. But I only hate you, because I love you too much. I cannot let you go. I will not let you go – without a fight.
Please – I believe I can do it. I believe I can change. I know I am nothing special. I don’t have the looks – or the brains, or anything. But I think I have the love. I could love you for ever. I do love you – and will love you for ever. Don’t you know that?
Don’t you know that what I did… why I said it was for you to know… the truth. Besides, isn’t that what matters after all – the love someone shares. It’s not about the looks – despite the fact you have them.
I know your secret. I know what you are deep down inside. I never told anyone, not one single person. Yet, you can tell the whole world my secret – that I love you. You are horrible and heartless inside – that is your secret…
But wait, then I have another secret I wish to share… another secret.
I fell in love with a heartless person – and I am not ashamed to say, I love you for what you are. Whatever you are – I love you.
Now I understand – how a man could still want to be with his cheating wife, even though she broke his heart.
Now I understand, how Bella fell in love with Edward – despite the fact he was a vampire, despite the fact that he had killed. Now I understand.
Now I know the truth – now I know, and so do you – and so does the whole world.
I love you – I fell in love with the heartless girl.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Piece 2 -

“And then the princess kissed the frog and - ” I read aloud to my mother, just as my phone started buzzing. Groaning, I glanced at the alarm going off. “Shoot, Mom, I have to go. Didn’t realize I’d already been here for two hours.” I shoved myself up from the soft summer grass, standing there just looking down at the gravesite. “I’ll see you next week. We’ll finish the book then. I love you.” I sighed, bending over to somewhat wrap my arms around the tombstone. Leaning in, I kissed the top of it and walked away.


As I drove to the restaurant, thoughts of my mom filled my mind. How long had I been going there? Once a week, every week, since I was sixteen and could drive. Reading, every time – countless times over “The Frog Princess”. Eight years now, I guess.

The day she died also popped into my head. I was five, and she had had cancer since I was born. One day I woke up and my mom wasn’t there anymore. My dad told me that she’d gone to visit my grandparents in Heaven.

Pulling into the parking lot, I forced all of those thoughts away. This was supposed to be a happy night. Dinner with my boyfriend and my family.

“You’re late,” Josh whispered in my ear as he embraced me.

“I know,” I replied. “I was with Mom.”

“I figured. It’s Thursday.” Without another word, Josh pulled out my chair for me, sitting me between him and my dad. My family greeted me warmly.

Throughout dinner, my family, Josh, and I were laughing as we shared family stories. After dessert, Josh turned to me, looking somewhat nervous. He looked around the table and was met by smiles. Finally settling his gaze back on me, he said, “Katie, I love you. Love you so much my heart feels like it could explode. I can’t imagine my life without you. Will you make my life complete by becoming my wife?”

My heart froze, and immediately I wasn’t sure how to answer. Could I marry him? Could I be that selfish? Of course, I did love him, and wasn’t that what mattered? But, still…

“Josh,” I finally managed to whisper brokenly. “You know I love you. I-I just…need some time to think…I’m sorry.”

Before Josh could say anything, I got up from the table. I knew he tried to grab my hand, but I pulled away and began walking to the door. My family called after me, but I couldn’t bear to look back.

Once in my car, my hand hesitated putting the key into the ignition. But I forced myself to, so I wouldn’t second-guess myself. I began driving around absentmindedly, but soon realized where I was headed.

The cemetery.

The sun was setting as I got out of my car. I found my mom’s grave effortlessly. I pulled the princess book out of my purse and said, “You used to read this to me all the time – it’s the only thing I remember about you.” I continued reading where I left off and soon finished with the iconic ‘And they lived happily ever after.’

I sat there in the twilight silence and took a deep breath.

“Do you think happily-ever-afters really exist? I mean, it didn’t for you – and it can’t for me, not after losing you. Do they exist for anyone?”

Tears began to fill my eyes. As they escaped, I realized why I had come here. “I didn’t know where else to go, Mommy. I can’t go home right now. You know, it’s not fair. And I know, life’s not fair, but it’s really not fair, me having to grow up without you. Daddy didn’t remarry until I was eighteen, and you left when I was five. Cancer just sucks. Sucks the life right out of anyone it effects, and their families. Sucks the money right of the bank account. Sucks everything bone dry. I never attended your funeral – I never had the choice to.  And that kills me every time I think about it because I never got to say goodbye. I hardly remember you. All I know is that one day I woke up and I didn’t have a Mommy anymore. You didn’t get to tell me that my first crush wouldn’t last forever. I didn’t get to have you when I went on my first date, or when I had my heart broken for the first time, or when I went to prom, or when I graduated. Or when I met Josh.” The mention of Josh made my heart ache. “He asked me to marry him today. But I can’t. I can’t let myself be so selfish and grant myself such happiness…not when you can’t be with me.”

I sat there for a long moment, realizing the sky had gone dark. A tingling sensation touched my arms and I swear my mom was hugging me, reassuringly. Knowing visiting hours were over, I hugged the headstone and kissed the top.

Heading home, I found Josh on our couch. “I wasn’t sure you’d come here.” He said quietly.

“Where else would I go? I couldn’t stay with Mom all night.”

Sitting down next to him, he sat forward on his knees, his hands together at his bridge, as if praying. “When you walked out of the restaurant like that, I thought…” He turned to face me, pain in his eyes, wet with tears, but I didn’t let him go on. Pressing my lips to his, I knew he was surprised, but pleased. “What was that for?”

“For me being an idiot.” When I said nothing else, he gave me a questioning look.

“Which means?”

“Which means,” I drew in a long breath, making sure of myself. “If you’ll still have me, I’d be honored to become your wife.”

He was silent for a moment, but then cracked a smile and burst out laughing. “Of course I’ll have you!”

He slid the ring on my finger and kissed me long and hard.



One Week Later



Josh and I got out of the car at the cemetery. I led him toward the grave taking a long, shaky breath on the verge of tears.

“Katie, you really didn’t have to bring me here, if it’s too personal.”

“No, I need to. I need for you two to meet and I need for her to approve.” I didn’t care how stupid that sounded, I couldn’t hide from him something this important to me.

We continued walking and when we reached the grave I introduced them. “Mommy, this is my fiancĂ©e, Josh. Josh, this is my mom.”

I could tell Josh was uncomfortable, but still he said, “Mrs. Ruth, I love your daughter with all my heart. I promise I’ll take care of her.”

As we stood, wrapped in each other’s arms, a warm breeze blew. It caressed my face and each inch of our bodies.  Wrapping us seemingly in a blanket of fairy tale bliss – the embrace of an angle.

She approved of us.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing Competition #2

Today we are posting our second writing competition, and the same rules apply from last week.  This week the 'prompt' is Write a modern-day adaptation of a fairy tale.  The original story must be obvious, but you may never tell us outright what the fairy tale is.  The word limit is 1000-5000 words.  *We would prefer Dreamers not write an adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood because Jackson Pearce just wrote a book about it.*

In order to vote,  your comment must include:
1) Which writing piece you're voting for (1 or 2)
2) Why you chose one writing piece over the other.
3) Any critiques (optional)

Again, there is no rhyme or reason to whose piece is put with which number, so please do not try to figure it out.  Judge the piece for what it is, or what it isn't and base your vote exclusively on this.

If you want to enter a piece of your writing to be voted upon by Charlie and Hanna, please email it to us.  To email Hanna:  ILuvRobPattinson@gmail.com To email Charlie: icharliee@hotmail.com

Voting and entry deadlines are Friday, July 9th, 2010.

Piece 1

_______________________________________________________________________
I had so much free time to dwell on my past that I even remember my mother and father before I was taken away. She had almond shaped, hazel eyes – I remember them so profoundly because of the kindness and warmth I felt when looking into them. I remember her long golden hair, which I obviously had inherited from her.
I remember my father to be a chubby man, but that was just about it for his appearance. Though, if I recall, he had a certain fondness for cabbage, as he would bring some into the house nearly every day from the garden that grew right behind the wall. Mother would start to sob whenever he brought some in. I guessed she couldn’t stand cabbage the sight of cabbage or the smell… or the taste.
I should know. She brings some every time she pays a visit.
I was sat on a divan, when my mind drifted back into the present and I heard somebody ruffling in the trees below the chamber which I had been locked in most of my life. I rushed off my seat, and moved to the large hole in the brick wall which some would call a window. I quite knew what to expect.
“Let down your hair to me.” cried the unearthly, savage witch who stole me from my loved ones.
I was forced to obey. Grabbing my hair and stroking it between my two fingers, I let it fall out like waves of gold, and waited for the tugging I knew would come. I wiped a tear as I felt some hairs being pulled savagely out of their roots.
This happened quite often, maybe once or twice a week. After her visit, she would climb back down the way she came, and I would move to the long glorious mirror I kept for company (besides the witch) to check how much hair had been pulled out.
I had magnificent long golden hair, which I adored. The witch had told me I was beautiful, and that I was locked up in here as a punishment for such a crime, as beauty like mine was not tolerated in the outside world. She made it out to look like she was protecting me, and I half believed it.
Days and days passed till her next visit.
I was near the window, looking out at the sky, singing in my wonderful melodic voice, when, from the corner of my eye, I spotted a person with a large backpack and binoculars to his eyes, looking up at me from behind the trees. I almost turned my head to face him, until I saw her coming from the left.
“Let down your hair to me.” She ordered yet again when placed beneath the window.
I tilted my head to the side and looked at his face, full of astonishment. I smiled halfheartedly, and pulled back my hair when she had climbed all the way up, into my cell; my home.
**
In my solitude, I would sing, more out of pleasure than boredom. My sweet voice soothed me as it resounded and echoed off the cells walls.
Presently, I heard a shaky, rough voice shout “Let down your hair to me.”
I did the usual, and wondered what had happened to my mistress, as I had never heard her voice sound quite so husky. She must have been feeling kind today, as her pull on my hair was gentle. I felt no pain.
Instead of my tall mistress in black clothing whom I was expecting, stood an astounding handsome man. My heart skipped a beat as I took in his gorgeous features. His tanned skin, and perfect, straight nose. His large kind eyes of liquid brown. Like the lightest chocolate around.
“Alas!” he said to me “I was hoping to win you over with my looks, but I see you have beaten me to it.” His voice had a certain, lovely ring to it. I did not quite know what to say.
“Do you speak English?” He asked. His eyes were always on my face. I did not recognize his accent at all.
“Yes,” I managed. “Who are you?”
“I heard you singing that wonderful tune a few days back, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It has so deeply touched my heart that only today did I gain the courage to speak those words and climb up to you.”
“How did you come to be here? I have never heard anyone talk like you.”
“Here? In North Carolina? I say! Have you never heard of a tourist, dear?”
“I – I.” I stuttered. I did not know what to say.
“Hmm. How odd.” He rubbed his chin while examining me. “I have come from England. The hotel which I am staying in told me about a few places I might like to visit. This abandoned jail being one of them. Why are you here, child?”
Child… He might have looked older, but I was eighteen.
“I live here.” I stated. “And I really am not allowed any visitors”
He looked at me with an expression of sadness. “You must be telling lies! What beautiful girl like you would live in a jail cell and not be granted visitors?” So I was beautiful. I smiled.
“I can’t get out.” I thought of my mistress, and how much I hated her. “Could you help me?”
“Certainly, but I cannot get you down today as I need to get down myself by means of your hair. I will come back tomorrow with a plan. I am sure I will come up with something. If not, I shall ask one of my friends for help.” I felt jealous when he said the word friend.
“What is your name?” he asked, his lips pulling up at the corners.
“Rachel.” I answered. “And yours?”
He told me his name was Adam, and after that we talked for hours. I felt very comfortable with him. He slid down my golden hair at twilight; we had lost track of time. I went to sleep quite early, thinking of Adam and how I could eventually be rid of this place.
It was a silent night when her mistress came once more. Tugging on my hair, and pulling with all her might, as usual. I shouted, without deliberating on my words.
“Why do you pull with such force? Adam never hurt me when he came up.” And then I quivered as I realized what I had done.
“You treacherous child, I have given you everything!” She spit, slapping me across the face with such power that I fell to the ground.
I bit my lip hard enough that my pink lips turned red and I cried as she thrust me and beat me to the floor. I could not speak as she tied a woolen cloth tighter than necessary around my mouth. My hands were bound behind me, and I lay motionless on the floor. Then she grabbed a pair of scissors and began to cut lengths and lengths of hair till I was almost bald.
“That teaches you. As for your friend…”
I shook in my place like a fish out of water, or a person having a fit, fumbling with the ropes at my back, but all the knots held good and tight. I only slightly loosened them, but not enough to free my hands.
“Rachel, it is I, Adam. Are you awake?”
“Yes!” The witch giggled in a voice quite like mine and then sneered at me. Grabbing the mountainous pile of hair, she let it down, tying it to the railing in a large, round knot.
It was silent; all that could be heard was Adam’s sighing, as he panted up the hair. My eyes glistened and tears spilled when his face came into view. Though my fingers were sore and bled, I had finally managed to loosen the rope enough to free my hands. I tugged at the cloth and shouted.
“Adam, let go!”
His face was frightful as his eyes darted to the witch.
“You fools.” She said to both of us.
It all happened very quickly then.
First, I saw Adam let go of his grip on my hair, and fall down, into the thorns below the jail cell. After, I was up against the wall, her hands at my throat, chocking me to death. Though she did not kill me, she did ruin my voice. It was all part of her plan, I figured. Adam would not recognize me without my hair, and I could not prove to him who I was without the singing voice which he obviously fell in love with.

_______________________________________________________

Piece 2

The town outside of the shop window was nothing special. Every day was the same in the poor, provincial town. Who knew a small-town-nothing-but-country-and-farms could be so incredibly boring?


I began my trek home in disappointment, the book shop held no book that I had not read already. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gaston, the town ‘hunk’, who happens to be crazy about me. French name, southern accent. Very humorous.

“Hey, Southern Belle!” He called, using the worst possible nickname pun.

Sighing, I turned around to meet him. “How about it? How about today?”

I didn’t even have to ask what it was. Marriage. “No, Gaston, not today - not ever.”

Not letting him get another word in, I ran home to Papa. Inside, I found a note addressed to me. It read:

Belle,
I just wanted to let you know that my wood-chopping invention finally worked! I’m off to the fair before it breaks again. I’ll be home in three days - I promise. And don’t worry - even a country boy’s got some street smarts.
Love you always,
Papa

Laughing, I knew he’d be fine. Or at least, I thought he would be. Looking back, I guess it was foolish of me to expect him to manage safely in a big city - the only one he’d ever been to.

The call came four days after he had left - up until then I thought that maybe he’d just stopped overnight somewhere and that was why he wasn’t home.

“Belle,” His frantic voice met me before I could even say ‘hello’. “Belle, listen to me. I’m in a mansion, held prisoner, somewhere near Phoenix-”

“Papa! Where at in Phoenix? I’ll come-”

“No, Belle. You mustn’t come looking for me. I’m old and I’ve lived my life. I just wanted to say goodbye, for now. I love you so much.”

“Papa…I-I love you -” Before I could finish the line went dead.

After that I knew what I had to do. It wasn’t too hard to guess where the mansion was - there was only one between Oklahoma and Phoenix.

And so I set out to rescue my father. With no plan of how to do so, and no idea who might be holding him prisoner, I felt as if I was walking onto a battlefield blindfolded. But there was no other way, I knew I couldn’t let my father just sit in a cell with some stranger.

Days passed as I drove through the winding country roads. Finally I escaped the depressing setting of the green cornfields and dirt roads and entered into a whole new world. Before the desert of Arizona, there’s a compromise between city and desert. It didn’t take long to discover the brick house on top of the hill, isolated and closed off from the rest of the town by a huge wrought iron gate.

I stopped in front of it and got out of my car. The wind whipped at my brown hair, forcing sections of it to sting at my face. Standing there, I contemplated how to possibly get inside. There was no key pad to buzz up to the house, nor was there a guard standing on duty. Having no better option, I simply pushed the doors. Lo and behold they both swung open without protest. Shrugging, I got back into the car, driving the mile-long driveway up the hill.

There, I was again faced with another door. Again, I decided to just try to open it. Surprisingly, it was unlocked. Even in my small, safe town we never dared leave our doors unlocked. This man must not have much common sense. That or he welcomed threats, intruders, and mass murderers.

Inside, the grand house was dark and cold. Most of all, silent.

My footsteps echoed through the whole, bare, house. Somewhere in the distance I heard a faint, scuffling noise. And perhaps very, very, very hushed whispers of voices.

Knowing better than to call out, I kept walking. A few moments later I finally discovered a lit floor lamp. Odd, I thought, but decided to turn in the direction of the lamp. On a side table next to the lamp, sat a digital alarm clock, which I also found quite strange due to the fact that the rest of the room was covered with gray sheets, as if the master of the house had long moved. Except one other object. A single ray of light from the outside world shone in this room, and it kissed the single, withering rose in a vase, covered by glass.

Almost entranced, as if by some outside force, I began walking to the flower. As my hands reached out for the glass, a hand suddenly struck me, sending me to the ground, away from the rose. Looking up, I saw the assaulter’s face illuminated in the light ray.

My hand rose to my mouth in astonishment as I took in the appearance of him. He had long, brown hair, cascading down past his shoulders. His height was towering, standing, I guessed, near six and a half feet. Hair coated his arms so thickly you could hardly tell his skin color. Vibrant blues eyes glared at me with fury.

“What are you doing here?” He growled.

Hoping my voice was strong, I said, “I came to rescue my father. You’ve taken him hostage.”

“Ahh, the old man,” He nearly scoffed. “Why wouldn’t you just leave h-” Something made him pause, and suddenly his face turned soft as he glanced at me once more. “You-you would do that?”

“He’s my father. I can’t very well just leave him here, can I?”

“Might I ask how old you are?”

“Twenty-five. And yourself?” I couldn’t understand why he changed the conversation point, but perhaps it was better to talk about this.

“Thirty-five.” He allowed himself to smile. “Would you be willing to take your father’s place here…?” He struggled for a name.

“Belle,” I supplied him.

“If it means my father’s freedom, then yes…”

“Braxton.” He provided.

Braxton bid me to come with him, and so I did. He led me through the winding halls, finally landing in the room where my father was.

“Papa!” I yelled, running to him.

“Belle! I told you not to come!” He embraced me and whispered so low I could barely hear, “He’s a monster. We must get out of here.”

I couldn’t reply to him, couldn’t tell him what I had done, what I had agreed to, so I just shook my head and held him tighter.

“Mr. Petre,” Braxton began, “you are free to go. Your daughter has agreed to take your place.”


Days went by, with each passing hour I missed Papa more and more. But I couldn’t regret my decision to replace him. And besides, Braxton wasn’t all that bad. He had given me the library, after I saved his life from a coyote that made its way onto the property. I also soon realized that the mansion was enchanted. The lamp, alarm clock, and coffee pot were especially welcoming to me.

“Belle,” He whispered softly as we sat on the couch together in the newly uncovered room with the lamp and alarm clock. I had turned on some new show on ABC family. “I need to tell you something.” When I gave no other reply than turning off the TV and looking at him, he proceeded. “I was put under a horrible spell, my house along with me. I was made to appear animal-like for the sake of me not seeing inner beauty. God knows I don’t care about appearances now. And if I do not find love by the time that last rose petal falls, we will all be trapped like this forever.”

At the time, I wasn’t sure how to react to that. And to tell you the truth, I’m still not. It was only when I found myself lying beside Braxton as his breathing slowed and I could already see his body atrophying that I came to realize the answer.

Memories of our time filled my mind. Playing in the snow together, dancing in the ball room as if in child’s book, and promising him I would never leave - even if given my freedom. How could I have denied my feelings for so long? He had made his apparent by his very nature.

“I cannot deny you anymore,” I sobbed into his chest. “I love you.”

His body was wrapped in a blanket of light and I wondered for but a moment if the Angels had come to take him from me. But then I realized his body changing. His long hair shortened to rest lazily at his chin, his eyes softened, his arms became less shaggy. And, his face changed…I’m not sure how, but it changed. It was more…loving that before.

Coming to his feet, he pulled me with him. “You’ve broken the spell, Belle.” He picked me up by my waist and swung me around. “I love you, too, by the way.”

Braxton raked a hand through my hair, placing another hand at the small of my back. Drawing me into him, my lips met his with such a fiery passion, I swear it set off fireworks.

But perhaps that’s just me. And perhaps it’s only because I finally realized how to respond to his statement about the spell.

To love completely, you must love someone for who they are. Not what they are.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

I don’t know about other places, but the corn is definitely knee-high today! The hot, humid weather provides a very nourishing upbringing of the corn. Still wish it wasn’t hot and humid so much.


Today, as you’re well aware is the Fourth of July - the birthday of our country as its own country. Today we celebrate our Independence from Great Britain. I cannot imagine my life if we still lived under Britain’s eye, under their power. Obviously, I have nothing against England, but I think we’d live a whole other kind of life here if we were under their control. And it’s also nice to see that they respect our holidays such as the 4th and Memorial Day, by postponing all new episodes of BBC shows until the following weekend. No matter how much I wish I got to see Dr Who last night, I shall not complain because they are showing us respect.

I imagine the time of our Founding Fathers and wonder what they would think of our present-day country. Would they be proud of our advancements? Would they frown at the issues that we face everyday? Would they be ashamed of what some of our people have become? Would they still fight in the war, even with the modern day weaponry, having no experience with it? Most of all, would they be able to end these wars, with the US being the victor?

As much as I love this country, I have to admit that we’re not perfect - far from it. But so is every other country. Sometimes I wish that we could go back and live in the times of Jane Austen or Edgar Allen Poe, it was so simple and everyone knew each other and people were so polite. But then again, I would never want to live in that era. Their medicine developments were very limited, and added to that, the fact that I’d have to ride a horse, a carriage, or walk anywhere I went. I don’t know how I’d like that. And on top of that, having to wear all of those layers of clothes everyday, even in the 90 degree heat? No, I think I’ll stick with present-day. Because in present day we as Americans come together during thick and thin, and I think holidays are a great way to really see that. Most of all, I cannot imagine being under England’s control when 9-11 happened. No, that was America’s time to prove itself, that we could, if not fully, mostly recover from such a tragedy.

So today I ask you to just remember people in your lives that have made a difference in your community and remember what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to give us - Freedom. And most of all, remember that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

May God Bless you, and may God continue to Bless America.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

In Honor

In honor of the birthday of the United State's and in respect of our independence from Great Britain, we will be delaying the posting of the next competition until Monday, July 5th, 2010.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and the deadline for story submissions and voting will be extended accordingly.  Thank you for your understanding, and we hope you have a wonderful 4th!

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.

Respectfully Yours,
Hanna and Charlie

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Results

I think this contest went very well.  Since we only had two Dreamers write and submit their story, we are going to post both for Dreamers to review.  *the stories will be at the end of this post*

But first, which story Charlie and Hanna chose and why.

Hanna: I chose J Perez's story because to me it gave me more of a sense of suspense and I kept trying to figure out what was going to happen.  Although, I will say that I found both stories a bit confusing.  Of course, it's very hard to clearify in 500-1000 words.

Charlie: I chose Jessica's story, because its something I would want to read. It is also similar to my own writing style, plus it kept me wanting more. Though, to me, it was not much suspense, I still liked it VERY much. Next time, I would tone it down just a little, and put more into the story.
For J Perez, I thought he had too much going on at the same time. For Jessica, I thought she needed a little bit more. That is just my thoughts, though.

So Jessica And J Perez have drawn.

Now, which story out of mine and Charlie's won. The decision was obvious:
Story #2 won by a landslide.

Story #1 - belonged to Hanna.
Story #2 - belonged to Charlie.

So, congratulations Charlie!!!! :) You did good!

Thanks to everyone for participating... Here are the two stories we recieved.

Story 1: by J Perez


Nadia Grimes was hell on heels. The Devil’s babysitter. Evil wrapped in a yellow cardigan. She was also senior vice president—senior vice-president— of Jefferson High School. So when she found out that class president Richard Andrews had stolen money from the class budget, she was delighted.
“Should I tell the principal?” Erin asked. Erin Summers was class treasurer and the one who informed Nadia of the missing money. A soft spoken, hardworking girl, Erin was eclipsed by Nadia in height, personality and social class.
Nadia leaned back in her seat unpeeling an orange. She looked down and smiled. “No,” she said. She then shifted her eyes beck to Erin. “And you won’t either.”
“What are you going to do?”
Nadia stared at the gray, worn t-shirt that Erin wore. Erin looked away.
“Honey, here’s some advice: everyone women has the choice to be stupid or bad. The stupid ones flirt and tease all their lives. They bat their eyes and flip their hair, but when the opportunity arises, they’re too scared to do anything but flirt. The bad ones, they’re the ones with the reputations; they’re the girls who take life by the balls.”
Nadia hated Richard. He was a basket of kittens. He was dimples and apples pies. He killed with kindness. He reigned with love. If Nadia was the devil then he was mother fucken’ Jesus.
Nadia squeezed the orange she was holding, the pulp gushing between her fingers.
“Erin, let’s just say I have a very bad reputation.”

“You look beautiful,” her prom date said to her. She ignored him.
Principal Pattinson cleared his voice into the microphone. It was time to announce the Prom Queen and King and only Erin noticed Nadia leave the table.
Nadia knew if she went to the principal when Erin told her about the missing money, Richard would deny it. She needed proof, but she had none. And if he wasn’t going to leave her any evidence, then she would just invent some.
Nadia also wondered why Richard needed the money.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said.
Nadia knew that the school would ask that same question. She needed an answer.
Students booed and hissed the principal.
And then Nadia found one.
“Tonight, I have the distinct pleasure to announce your new prom king and his beautiful queen.”
It may have cost Nadia a pretty penny, but she bought a diamond ring worth the amount Richard stole. A ring that everyone will think is for his longtime girlfriend Diana.
The audience clapped and cheered.
Nadia just needed to get into the inside of his locker.
“Ms. Darcy, the envelope?”
Holding a class office has many advantages…including keys to the school.
He pulled opened the sealed letter.
It may have been an abused of elected power, but Nadia snuck into the security guards office where they kept a list of student locker combinations.
Principal Pattinson paused.
She just needed to open his locker one more time…
He looked up at the audience.
So when Nadia pulls the fire alarm everyone will see…
“Jefferson High School’s new prom queen is…”
…Richard stole the money.
“Nadia Grimes!”
Nadia had her hand on the doorknob when she heard her name.
The audience cheered. The spotlight searched the crowd. When she turned around the light landed. She tried to cover her eyes in time, but it was too late. Nadia couldn’t see them as they hugged her, kissed her and lifted her to the center of the room. They stuffed roses in her hand. She coughed up confetti. She felt a ring being shoved on her finger, a tiara around her head, a thick robe on her back. When she regained her vision she saw that she was standing in front of a microphone; the crowd was chanting “speech, speech, speech.”
“No, please don’t—“
Ringggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg.
Mr. Pattinson grabbed the microphone away from Nadia.
“Fire alarm, people! Follow your nearest teacher or chaperone!”
Students flooded the hallway when the alarm stopped. The crowd looked at each other. Some students began pushing their way back into the gym, others asking their nearest neighbor what to do. Teachers were screaming, trying to keep order. Nadia walked out of the gym, still adorned with her prom queen costume, confused and frightened.
“Hey, look at this!” someone yelled. “Over here!”
Richard tried to move to the front of the crowd to get a closer look.
“What is everyone looking at?” he asked.
Nadia followed Richard through the crowd.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
Everyone was crowded around an open locker.
It was Richard’s locker.
Inside the locker sat a black, satin jewelry box on a stack of white index cards. The same ones used to vote for prom queen. Richard bent down and read the card.
“They are uncounted votes that Richard stole,” Erin said as she stepped out of the crowd.
“What are you talking about?”
Erin faced the crowd.
“You rigged the prom,” Erin said. “That was your last mistake.”
Principal Pattinson pushed his way through the crowd.
“Your first mistake was stealing money from the senior class budget.” Erin picked up the jewelry box and lifted it over her head.
“But how else could you buy Nadia this diamond ring.”
The crowd around Nadia stepped away. Everyone turned in her direction. She looked at her hand and saw the diamond ring.
Nadia’s evidence.
“I haven’t stolen a dime!” screamed Richard. The principal was making his way through the crowd.
People started to whisper.
It was the longest anyone had ever looked at Erin.
“Richard wasn’t alone.”
It was the first time that any person, let alone a group, had hung to every word Erin said.
“What!” Nadia screamed. The crowd went wild.
The crowd went wind for Erin.
“Nadia demanded that he prove his love. She told him to steal the money.”
“But that wasn’t enough, was it? You also wanted the prom,” Erin said. “You and Richard had the keys to the school, so you saw your opportunity and stole those votes.”
“You are filthy liar! You framed me!” Nadia was grabbed by nearby students. She struggle against them. Her tiara fell to the ground, shattering.
“Who do you think you are, you bitch?”
Erin walked up to her and leaned in so only Nadia could hear.
“I’m just a girl who saw her opportunity.”
Nadia’s eyes widened and she began to thrash against her captors as they dragged her away.
There are two types of girls. There are the smart ones and the ones that get caught.
Erin Summers was a smart girl.

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Story 2: By Jessica

A girl named Anna was alone. But not in the usual sense of the word. She was alone rather with the ideas that plagued her with visions and dreams that could only come about if Espials was watching over you. She saw and thought things differently than those around her, because where they saw light, she saw darkness. This is the kind of darkness that brings about the end of the world, the kind that remains hidden from most. This darkness contains a secret, a secret that crawls all over your decaying flesh, or rather, beneath it. It is a poison that infects every living thing, and Anna can see it, she can see you.

She laid on her back, eyes closed, hands open as if to catch her disappearing world, her feet dancing along with a nursery rhyme from long ago. She felt at ease as her tone deaf ears allowed her to mimic the words that gave her a few more precious moments before slipping. As long as she could hear her voice and her uneven breathing she could hold onto the world around her for just a little bit longer. But she kept growing weaker with the ticking of the clock in a distant place she didn’t know about, it was what was dragging her down. The tick, tick, tick, echoing in her ears, making her voice disappear and her breathing to join the rhythm of that god forsaken clock. Her body began to convulse as the rhyme she so loved became only a distant whisper. She couldn’t hold on any more, all she could do was beg for release with a voice weighed down by steal.
Just a little bit longer, please.
Her feet collapsed as if they were cramped and her hands became fists holding onto nothing but the darkness around her. Her body began to feel light and uneasy as if she was falling. No longer could she say a word for all of the air that once lived in the hollow of her lungs left, but that didn’t matter to her, for never had words before helped. The ticking got louder and louder until it was the only thing that she could concentrate on, thinking about anything else took too much strength for her to burn so soon.
But then, it all stopped.
Once again her lungs carved out for air were filled, her feet no longer had the sensation of disappearing, and her hands didn’t dig into her palms anymore, trying to hold onto a reality that never really belonged to her. But the only thing that she felt the most was the lack of the tick, tick, from the clock. It had stopped and now she could finally think again. She felt free of her nightmare. However it wasn’t until she finally heard that dark, growl of a voice, that she realized it wasn’t just a nightmare…it was still real.
“Hello Anna, we’ve been waiting for you now for quite some time.”
She imagined a smile filled with holes and dead things to belong to the voice that whispered patiently to her. She would have liked to look into its eyes and see if she would finally be able to make sense of this place that ripped her from her world to one filled with nothing but debauchery. But she was still too much of a coward and she also knew that was exactly what it wanted, for her to open her eyes.
“Love, you’ve been getting stronger, trying to fight will never do any good. We will always win.”
She tried to think of her nursery rhyme. She knew that if she could hold onto something even so small as a melody from a song she might be able to leave this place and this thing she dared not look at.
“I need you to open your eyes now, we have to go, everyone is waiting for you.”
Over and over again, “Ladybug ladybug fly away home…” But she couldn’t focus on the words, they didn’t mean anything to her because no longer could she understand what they meant or the importance of them, and a terrible smell lingered in the pit of her nose. It played with her emotions as it went up farther, into her skull where her brain lied in wait, frightened. Soon she once again became a puppet who felt and did nothing without a master hiding in the dark.
“Now open your eyes Anna.”
Her eyes jerked open with a command that she didn‘t give. The smell left her then and she was finally no longer just a bystander watching herself fall to pieces. There was no hope of seeing home soon now, because everything had became all the more real since she could see it, the only way back was to be sent. She saw the face of the voice that came for her every night and nothing else. She was too terrified to let this creature go unobserved, too scared of what he might do if she took her eyes off of him even for an instant. This place was one she was not familiar with, and not knowing what was possible here scared her more than all of the terrible things she knew could happen. But also she was afraid to look at the things around her. She knew everything would be covered in a dark glow that made the things it touched seem all the more frightening and dangerous.
“Now then, are you ready Anna?”
His question was more like a joke, because he knew she wouldn’t be able to speak. With his disfigured face like a goblins and a snake, eyes so strange and dark that they might be their own black hole, waiting for the thing that fuels its existence. Anna.
She knew this creature, who was known as Atticus, would take her to a chamber where you could see the whole of this strange world that was home to the nightmares of children and the tragedies of the world. Where everything that infested this dark place would come and see her. There Anna would scream and beg with words formed out of something else besides sounds. She would do anything she could think of to try and run from what was chasing her. But slowly, everything would stop, and all she would see was what everyone who watched her were waiting for. She would see and become who they worshipped.
The Darkness.