November Fiction

Welcome to the November 2012 Fiction Contest…

$50 Cash Prize (minimum) for November Fiction 2012“Best First Chapter”

SoWrite’s November contest features a minimum $50 cash prize for First Place. 

This page is for contest entries. During the competition, this page was password-protected. With the contest complete, it’s now open to everyone.

How to enter the November Fiction Contest:

Have you read the General Contest Rules yet? By entering this contest, you agree to abide by those rules, in addition to any special conditions listed on this page.

Use this page’s Comments section to submit your entry. (see Directions, immediately above that section)

 Contest dates and times: (please note: this contest is now complete)
  • This contest opened to entries on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 9 am (all times are Eastern Time)
  • Judging of entries began on Thursday, November 22 at 6 pm
  • New entries were accepted until Tuesday, November 27 at 11:59 pm
  • We announced three finalists on Thursday, November 29 after 6 pm
  • Final judging of entries was complete by Friday, November 30 at 11:59 pm
  • Contest Winner will be announced on Saturday, December 1, 2012 (we tried! ~Jim)
  • Winner’s submission will be published and featured on this website at that time
 Specific Rules for  November Fiction Contest 2012:
  • This content is for Fiction only, in the form of a prose chapter (no resolution of story required).
  • Choose your best First Chapter as your entry.*
  • You must own full copyright to this work. No prior publication will be allowed.
  • If your chapter is more than 1000 words, stop at the end of the last sentence that crosses the word count. (Over-length entries will be edited by SoWrite if necessary, to conform with this rule.)
  • Do not identify yourself in any way as part of your submission’s text.
  • SoWrite reserves the right to edit entries if necessary (see General Rules).
    • * Can we really tell if it’s a “first chapter”? Nope. The choice is up to you.
Please carefully read and follow these Entry Directions:
  1.  Use the Speak Your Mind box for your entry. Use your keyboard’s “End” key to find this quickly.
  2. If you are logged in (“Post as [your name]”), LOG OUT before placing your entry.
  3. In the Name field, type in your submission’s TITLE, not your name.
  4. (Editor’s note: This was to ensure entries were anonymous)
  5. In the Email field, enter the email you used to pay your contest entry fee.
  6. NOTE: Your email WILL NOT be displayed publicly.
  7. DO NOT enter any text in the Website URL field. (Any text entered here will be deleted)
  8. Copy and paste your submission text into the Comment Box.
    1. Enter Plain Text only
    2. You may use line breaks, Bold and Italics, if desired, for selective emphasis
    3. Limit your entry to approximately 1000 words — over-count to end of sentence is fine.
    4. Proofread your entry. Make corrections as needed
  9. When you’re ready, Click on the green box that says “Post Comment”
  10. That’s it, you’re entered!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENTRY!

Comments

  1. This is a sample contest title says:

    Wrters: don’t repeat your entry ttle here.

    If you want whte space between paragraphs, be sure to add a full lne return for each.

    It was a dark and stormy nght. These are the best of tmes and the worst of tmes. Ths s just a sample entry. It was a dark and stormy nght. These are the best of tmes and the worst of tmes. Ths s just a sample entry.

    Sample dalogue,” she sad.

    It was a dark and stormy nght. These are the best of tmes and the worst of tmes. Ths s just a sample entry. It was a dark and stormy nght. These are the best of tmes and the worst of tmes. Ths s just a sample entry.

    • Contestants may use the Reply functon to make bref comments on other members’ entres, f desred. Be careful not to reveal any knowledge of the entry authors’ names, please.

  2. Agnes’s Garden says:

    The garden was fnally flourshng. Agnes looked carefully across her lmted space. Ths was all she had left – a tny yard, boxed n by huge cnder blocks on three sdes. After spendng her whole lfe lvng n the country, a matchbox sze dwellng and small, almost mnscule, sze yard became her fnal destnaton.

    Lookng out nto the space, Agnes vsualzed her plans. The compost ple was perfect where t was. However, f she added a vertcal frame over the top of t, she could probably grow some berres.
    Thank God she’d saved all those seeds eleven years before, when she was ordered to vacate her country estate. Carefully hdng her seeds deep n the pockets of her meager belongngs, Agnes entered the bus watng to take her away.

    Upon provng she would be a cooperatve ctzen, the government sent her here, to ths cell dsgused as a home. Agnes knew most people were sent to these dwellngs to de. The drt ground, wth absolutely no plant lfe whatsoever was sheer desert, whle the nsde had runnng water and contaned numerous rooms flled wth ancent, processed food – food wth no expraton date, food that would never go bad, due to chemcal enhancements. Agnes’s neghbors ate ths food, growng heaver wth each passng day, somethng she herself refused to do.

    At frst, Agnes survved on extremely lmted amounts of water, patently watng for her orgnal seeds to start sproutng. She dscplned herself wth yoga and medtaton, to help ease her constant hunger.

    Usng cardboard packagng from the processed food, Agnes gradually bult the begnnngs of a compost ple, by shreddng t and bolng t on the stove, to break t down. Over the course of several months, she used ths compost to plant and sprout seeds, developng an ntrcate system of compostng, plantng, harvestng and procreatng new seeds for future crops.

    As each plant began to grow, Agnes slowly added any possble waste to the compost ple, ncreasng ts nutrents for new generatons to come. Weeds also began to sprout n her garden; she eagerly added them drectly to the compost ple, eventually creatng a healthy, nutrent rch sol, whch she used to plant and expand her garden over tme.

    Agnes made a pont to get to know her neghbors, always offerng her servces to gather ther garbage – garbage she turned nto necessary tems her garden. Cardboard was broken down for compost, whle plastc bottles and metal cans were used to make garden beds.

    Lttle by lttle, she ate the rewards of her labor, gradually gettng stronger and healther through the years, whle her neghbors grew weak, became sckly and ded n ther cells. It was only a matter of tme now. She nearly had the means to help them survve, and n tme, they could all take back ther lves.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Ths contest entry s confrmed and approved #55. Thank you! ~Jm

      • Thank you for jonng the contest. I enjoyed readng ths ntro-story. You’ve panted a vvd pcture about Agnes’ cell-lfe and how she was tryng to make do wth her lmtatons. I lked the story a lot. IMHO, I feel the name ‘Agnes’ sounds redundant. Perhaps one paragraph should descrbe her cell wthout mentonng her or what she thought (?) – just an onlooker vew of the place (?). Just a thought. Regardless, great wrtng.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths entry s well wrtten and clear. There are open questons (such as when does the story take place and where) but there s no confuson. The author creates an unlkely hero out of an older woman wth a talent for brngng a garden to lfe from recyclng. The recyclng s famlar snce many people are nto compostng these days, but the woman’s plght makes me thnk the story takes place n the future. The man character s lkeable because of her resourcefulness, patence, and nner strength. Plus she has a well-defned quest—to escape from her concrete cell.

      Ths author has done a lot n 1000 words and made t seem effortless.

  3. A Spot of Bloated Extravagance says:

    The grl’s chn rested on her knees, her arms wrapped around them tghtly. Clenchng. Holdng on. Rockng back and forth. Her eyes squeezed shut, barrng all the lls of the world from enterng. But t was useless.

    Sghng, she unwrapped her arms and reached to the sde, dppng her fngers nto the slvery stream runnng alongsde tall weeds n whch she was hdng. I’m not hdng, she thought. Sttng. I’m sttng n the weeds. Tall, brown, sckly stcks holdng nothng but a dstant memory of a brutal summer gone by.

    The water was warmsh. Thcksh and warmsh. A heavy water lke quckslver. Her fngers skmmed the top of the reflectve surface, dmplng the flow. The creek burbled n a contnuous monotone, a sterle song heard by few. That was the only sound n ths late afternoon, n the weeds. No chrrupng crckets, whrrng locusts, chatterng brds. Nothng.

    She removed her hand from the water, wpng t on her threadbare dress. She knew t was tme. It couldn’t be helped. It could never be helped. It must be borne. And bear t she would. She stood slowly, melanchola swrlng about, wspy as her har.

    Ploddng barefoot through the stff strands of overgrown dred prare grass, the grl kept her eyes on her feet. She would not look up tll she had to. The scalloped hem of her dress fluttered a bt n the breeze. A pece of rhyme from her chldhood began formng, a jumbled snatch of lyrc, bouncng off the walls of her mnd n a chaotc dsplay. She wlled the words to lne up n a proper queue. Straghten up and behave!

    James James Morrson’s Mother
    Sad to herself, sad she:
    “I can get rght down
    to the end of the town
    and be back n tme for tea.”

    The grl couldn’t remember what came next, or even what the rhyme was about, but t was pleasant and her mnd latched on to t. Now she smled, “be back n tme for tea-ea, for tea-ea, I’ll be back n tme for tea!”

    After a bt, the grl shoved ths sllness away and stared at her now-motonless feet. She wggled her toes as a dstracton, brown and drty toes, but she felt the scream buldng n her head. It was tme. Now. Before the sun set and the dark blanket of nght enclosed the prare.

    She lfted her gaze to the monstrosty n front of her. A large house squatted obscenely, alone on the vast, dead prare. She walked toward t, followng the long, narrow shadow cast n front of her. Her arms down by her sdes, her fngers nervously fddlng wth the materal of her dress, now tappng the rhythm of her snppet of poem.

    She mounted the deeply fssured and groanng steps that led to a decrept porch. Not untl the grl reached the last step dd she notce a strange couple sttng off to her rght. A man and woman sat on ether sde of a beautfully apponted table, completely ncongruent wth the derelct surroundngs. A whte lace tablecloth hung to ther laps. On ths was a bone chna tea set graced wth a delcate floral desgn.

    The woman notced the grl frst. “Oh darlng, come jon us. You must! Ths tea s heavenly.”
    She extended a whte-gloved hand n nvtaton. Her face was powdered whte and her lps panted a rch, succulent red. Hgh-archng brows framed her dark eyes. She wore a whte dress very smlar to the lacy tablecloth. It was frothy and femnne, though wth a plungng necklne that seemed napproprate wth the prmness of the rest of the scene.

    The man spoke up, “Yes, come, come. You must st down.” He was rugged and very handsome. Dressed to the hlt he could have come drectly from a weddng. “Please have some tea, and st and enjoy the vew. We have a fne prospect from ths porch.” Hs voce resonated pleasantly.

    She approached, then hestated, glancng down at her attre, so napproprate for a hgh tea. “Come, come!” He boomed, hs trm mustache twtchng slghtly.

    The man pcked up the teapot and poured out some steamng lqud nto one of the fragle cups, then handed t to her. She took the cup from hm notng t was cy n her hands, at odds wth the steam rsng from t. She looked down nto her cup. The surface of her tea was wrthng, somethng slmy somersaulted n the depths. She glanced away quckly and fxed her eyes back on the man, who had gone on blatherng about the beautful vew, nterjectng wth nvtatons for her to st wth them. She rased the cup to her lps and spped the hot lqud. It tasted good and sld down her wnd-parched throat.

    The grl glanced about for the char upon whch she had been nvted to st. Only a soltary wooden char sportng a cracked back and broken leg was n vew. Nevermnd. She stll clasped her cup closely, her fngers becomng cy.

    Her hosts contnued to stare off nto the blndng settng sun whle chatterng about the vew. The grl took ths opportunty to examne the woman closely. It was only then she notced a crack down the sde of her elegant cheek as f she were wooden, and her lpstck was smeared on one sde. But her lps moved and eye brows danced n anmated conversaton. She was sayng, “…I can get rght down to the end of the town and be back n tme for tea.”

    Decdng t was tme to go, the grl set the cup down on the lacy tablecloth, whch she notced was qute staned and torn n spots, and poltely thanked them both. But they ddn’t seem to notce. She turned toward the man door. Tme was spendng and she had to keep movng.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Ths contest entry s confrmed and approved #63. Thank you! ~Jm

      • I kept wonderng where you kept movng wth ths story and what was the outcome of her meetng ths wonderful couple . Great wrtng … and the endng of ths frst chapter excerpt leaves me wantng to know more. On the other hand, I found the begnnng part a bt abrupt and uneven untl you pcked up a much better read few paragraphs later. On the whole I thnk ths story-lne has potental.

      • Tamara Narayan says:

        Ths entry starts wth a well-panted scene of a sad grl hdng n the weeds by a stream. We don’t know who she s or why she s hdng. I love the wrtng n these frst paragraphs.

        Then thngs start happenng wth the song, the house, and havng tea wth the couple, but I found t odd that the grl would choose to drnk the tea when ‘The surface of her tea was wrthng, somethng slmy somersaulted n the depths”. I love the creepy atmosphere.

        The wrtng s lovely—a balanced mx of descrpton and thngs happenng. It s not statc. But after 1000 words there are many questons. Is the grl a vctm of abuse? Does she see ghosts or manfest them? Is she nsane? Is ths all a dream? A better sense of what’s happenng would help me connect wth the character.

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  4. From Raggs (Subtitled: The Bent Man) says:

    [Edtor’s note: Ths s our wnnng contest entry]
    She sat rgdly on a low, coarse three-legged stool next to the blackened hearth of the dull feldstone freplace, the lnes on her face betrayng her ntense, slent determnaton to burn the potatoes n the blackened pot she was tendng. She was the executoner, scorchng the evenng meal over the smoky peat fre, the flames catchng her grey eyes and flckerng, but not movng her soul. She dd not seem to blnk. It was a curous thng, watchng her n the dull yellow lght. She seldom moved at all.

    I dd not know any tme after my father ded that she dd not do that. She always dd that, sttng there motonless whle she burned the potatoes, and then the stones, too, n ther tme; perhaps t was the llness, or just a reflecton of ncessant, unfeelng numbness she suffered from the endless, backbreakng work of the sland; t was lke that, or maybe t was her best effort at tryng to gnore the maddenng wnd, the uncarng, ceaseless wnd that shreked through the cracks n the walls n the wnter-tme, chllng the body and dullng the mnd lke the endless scream of a black soul , that of a wanderng banshee.

    Perhaps t s even more realstc just to say her dullness came from the sckness, but t was certanly easer to pretend t was from the hours of knttng or gazng out over the dull, gray cold water –that s what the other boys sad when they saw her sttng, cursng to herself, ether spttng, or starng at the flame, or pokng at the blackened stones of the freplace and the smoke-blackened walls and the smoke-black wndow.

    “She s not rght, she wll kll us, frst chance ” they whspered exctedly and always backed away carefully as she stared blankly or turned, threatenngly, or ponted toward them but not drectly, just as f they were not standng besde me at all, but n another dark place n her mnd, then shftng her gaze and her pontng, crooked fngers slowly to the sngle wndow pane, or the fre, or the blackened stone walls.

    “She s not rght.” the whsperers repeatedly told me.

    “She’s been ht n the head by a stone as a chld, she wll kll us, wat and see” they whspered, and turned to run away. She never chased them, just ponted at them, and saw them turn whte wth fear.

    The celng too, was as black as nsanty, a mdnght shadow, and everythng else n the stone house was blackened and worn and old and dull and tred lke she was. Maybe t was just that she ntutvely knew that the stones, and the potatoes before them— lke us, just lke the peat brcks on the fre, were already condemned to be burned lke desperate souls on the way to the deepest black guts of hell tself.

    One way or another, and only God knows why, the potatoes always got charred so that they looked lke knobby rounded coal-black stones, no dfferent than a pot of coal burned on a forge as f for an offerng to a terrble false God; for n ther state, the potatoes were most certanly not a ft meal for anyone, not the hard-workng, bent man and hs thn-boned boy or even the almost-starvng, squealng pgs n the sty. When the stone-faced woman fnally swung the smokng, heavy cast-ron pot off of the fre, the potato charcoal smoulderng n t was no dfferent, no less black than the charred, soot-encrusted exteror of her pot, no dfferent than blackened stones pavng the way to hell, and no more ft to eat.

    Sometmes, when I got older, at the suggeston of the bent man, f we thought she was not lookng, I jumped up and stopped her rtual sacrfce n tme by swngng the pot-ron off the fre but only f she was lookng elsewhere, for she proved to be a frugal woman, usng every bt of heat from the roarng fre, and f she caught me, slently scolded me for dong what she would not. She stared agonzngly nto my soul wth her penetratng, blank eyes, pushng my hands away from the pot, pontng at me wth her crooked whte fngers and forcefully removng my hands from the fre ron and swearng both at me, and to herself. She never faled to place the pot over the ragng heat agan, no matter how scorched.

    “She puts t back” I sad to my father quetly. “She always puts t back. I try, but she puts t back.” Hs face was grm and tred.

    “Let her burn her pot of charcoal as she wll then” my father sad, one day, and he got a second pot to cook the meal n whle the woman sat and gnored and cursed and stared, scorchng the contents of her own pot to nothng. We ate n slence that evenng, she sad nothng about the second pot, the real food we were to eat, and my father smled grmly just outsde the door when he told me to put peces of smoothed, blackened stone from the seashore nto her pot every nght nstead of allowng her potatoes, for t was the tme of a bad crop, a small, two-barrow crop, and we had no food to waste. I dd as he asked. She dd not know the dfference. She burned the stones nstead, sayng not a word.

    “She knows not the dfference, boy.” he sad, watchng her the next day. “We shall burn the potatoes, not too badly, God wllng, and we shall leave her to burn the stones as she wll do.”
    It became my job to cook and take care of her n the best way I knew. I cooked the potatoes n the other pot just as the bent man showed me, and sometmes my nexperence and tender age burned them too, and we ate them btterly.

    • Ths contest entry s confrmed and approved #82. Thank you! ~Jm

    • I thnk I fell n love wth the character n the frst paragraph. Your descrpton of her s so strong and emphatc that t makes me want to know the entre story that revolves around her. I can already tell that ths s the start of a very nterestng novel. Wonderful descrpton and dalogue throughout.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      The qualty of wrtng n the pece s hgh. The descrpton of the woman burnng potatoes over the fre s pure brllant. I love the way the author keeps returnng to ths mage. The atmosphere of desperaton s executed beautfully.

      Ths pece poses many questons. The old woman s clearly mportant, but I stll don’t know who she s. In paragraphs two, the narrator mentons the old woman burnng her potatoes after hs father ded, but later n the passage, the father s alve. The sense of ‘when’ for ths passage, n relatonshp to the narrator, s vague. I lked the ‘whsperers’, but can’t tell f they are other chldren or just the narrator’s nner thoughts.

      I realze these partcular questons may have been set up delberately to be cleared up as the story progresses. The bggest queston after 1000 words–what s the story gong to be about? The boy’s story, the Bent Man’s, or the old woman? Or all three?

      • H Tamara, questons wth a purpose and the ‘lucd sense of when’ for ths frst chapter are part of the setup; the exstence and survval of people lvng n the old world n poverty s a queston n tself. The old woman s really collateral damage, not beng the father’s wfe but part of an undefned, relatonshp–undefned only by crcumstance of the exstence.
        The whsperers are also set up, –the chldren are the frst whsperers also,– as they observe the curous, dffcult nature of the boy’s ” old-woman pseudo-mother-fgure” that lves n the poor home. The story s about all three–and others. I do hope ths answers your queston(s) “:)
        I’m glad you lke t! Your very knd comments are very encouragng…I apprecate them. Thanks!

        • Jim Bessey says:

          Please keep us all posted on the development of ths story, Raymond.
          Wth such an ntrgung start, I know many of us are anxous to read more. Well done!

  5. Lily's Journey says:

    1969
    “She’s a grl, she doesn’t need an educaton,” Mom sneered, swattng a hand through the ar. “She’ll get marred and have kds.”
    Dad ddn’t agree. In hs opnon I should go to hgh school. He was about to come up wth yet another argument when Mom cut hm off.
    “She’s not the sharpest knfe n the drawer Albert. She won’t be able to cope. She hates school. Why put her through another sx years?”
    “Well, then maybe an art academy,” Dad reasoned. “She’s pretty good at drawng. Let her develop by dong somethng creatve.”
    “I don’t know Albert,” Mom shook her head n doubt. “If we were talkng about a boy I’d say fne, let hm go to an academy nstead of a hgh school, but we’re talkng about a grl. A grl who wll meet a boy, fall n love, get marred and start a famly. She’ll be a housewfe lke me. So why does she need a fancy educaton? I say, let her stay n the school she’s been n for the past sx years; let her enter the specal program where she’ll learn to cook and sew. That wll be all the educaton she’ll ever need.”
    “Luc went to hgh school,” Dad remarked.
    “Luc s a boy, he’s smart and he’s got a great future ahead of hm. Dd you know he wants to become a math professor?”
    I was hunched over the dnng room table wth my back to the freplace, glarng from my mom to my dad as they argued about me. I wshed they would stop and gve me a say n the matter. I would tell them that I hated school, hated t wth a passon. The teacher lked nothng better than puttng me on the spot wth questons I couldn’t answer and my classmates took pleasure n my humlaton.
    Poor Luc; He would fnsh hgh school n June and mght have to go to the unversty n September for who knows how many years. Wth a sgh I turned my attenton back to my homework. School would break for summer next week, but Mss Moon stll gave us homework—math and an essay. We had to wrte a two page essay about what we were gong to do durng school break.
    I stuck the end of my pen between my front teeth and stared at the blank page n front of me. We would go campng just lke last year and the year before, sghtseeng, vst lttle markets, go swmmng and generally have fun. But how to put ths nto words?
    “How’s t gong wth that essay Lly?” Mom asked on her way to the ktchen.
    I shrugged helplessly.
    “Do you want some help?”
    I eagerly nodded.
    “Okay, let me go and make some coffee and then I’ll come and help you.”
    Wth a sgh of relef I put my pen down. If Mom was gong to help wth the essay t would turn out alrght. Mom wrote all my essays and she always receved good marks for me.
    “What do you need to wrte about?” Mom asked.
    “Our plans for the summer holdays.”
    “Well that’s easy.” Slghtly rrtated, Mom pulled the paper towards her. “We’re gong campng. Why can’t you tell your teacher about that?”
    “I can tell her,” I sad, “but I don’t know how to wrte t.”
    “Tell me.”
    “You know what we do on holday.”
    “Yes, but I stll want you to tell me. You can’t expect me to do everythng.”
    As I related the planned holday from past experences, Mom wrote everythng down. Every now and then she would hold up her hand when I went too fast and she would nod when I could contnue.
    When I was fnshed sayng what I had to say, Mom rewrote what she had on paper. Twenty mnutes later the essay was fnshed. Mom read the fnshed pece aloud and I glowed wth enthusasm. Mom had wrtten what I had told her, but Mom’s verson was so much better.
    “Now then, do you have anythng else to do?”
    “Math.”
    Mom pulled a frown and got up. “Can’t help you wth that, but Luc wll. Better get started.”
    Math was my worst subject. I had no trouble wth regular math—addng, subtractng, dvdng and multplyng, but when t came to story related math problems I was lost. Wthout much hope I looked at the frst queston.

    Ants on a stck
    One hundred ants are dropped on a meter stck. Each ant s travelng ether to the left or the rght wth constant speed one meter per mnute. When two ants meet, they bounce off each other and reverse drecton. When an ant reaches an end of the stck, t falls off.
    At some pont all the ants wll have fallen off. The tme at whch ths happens wll depend on the ntal confguraton of the ants.
    Queston: Over all possble ntal confguratons, what s the longest amount of tme that you would need to wat for the stck to have no more ants on t?

    I read the queston agan and agan and agan. My hands balled nto fsts as I racked my bran tryng to come up wth the rght answer. I had no dea how long t would take for all the ants to be off the meter stck.
    “Lly, I can hear you sghng,” Mom called. “Don’t you understand the queston?”
    “I understand the queston Mom, but I don’t know the answer.”
    “Then you don’t understand the queston,” Mom sad, pushng herself out of her char n the sttng room. “I don’t thnk I’ll be of much use, but let me have a look.”
    Havng put on her glasses, she peered over my shoulder and read the story about the ants.
    “Good Lord,” she commented, “I can’t help you wth ths Lly, but Luc wll know. Ask hm when he comes downstars.”
    Moments later Luc sauntered nto the lvng room.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Ths contest entry s confrmed and approved #28. Thank you! ~Jm

      • Uh oh! You sent me a Desgn Sponge lnk whlst I’m at work. I don’t thnk I’m gong to have a productve mornng! Ths project looks perfect – and I’m pleased to see that I’m not the only one who buys more &#t;202pre8ty thngs” than they know what to do wth! Have a great day x

    • I love the dalogue (dalog) here. You make t seem so natural and the flow of t doesn’t sound off at all. (Ths s one aspect that sounds odd n many novels; forced dalogues.) I loved the menton of the math problem, for t made me also stop to thnk of what the answer s (lol) and then I suddenly had to remnd myself that I was readng an excerpt and had to read through.

      Great wrtng … but I would have enjoyed added spacng between each dalogue lne. Spacng would enhance a better readng experence.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      The scene starts off well: two parents argung over ther daughter’s schoolng. I’m a lttle confused on the 6-year hgh school snce US hgh schools last 4 years. The atttude of the mom s rksome—ths s a good thng. But I expected the unlkeable mom to be offset by a daughter wth some backbone. Instead, I was turned off by Lly after she let her mother wrte her essay. (I do love the math problem and am stll tryng to convnce myself t’s 1 mnute.) Consderng the ttle, makng Lly weak n the begnnng mght be the whole pont. The man character should change and grow.

      I do agree wth Mandy on the dalogue. It has great flow. Well done.

    • I REALLY lke ths story–t sounds so realstc. The mother sounds lke my own mother n the past, helpng wth homework….too funny! …..The dalogue structure and flow s absolutely wonderful…In my own wrtng, I try hard to wrte realstc dalogue–and I was completely mpressed wth ths wrter’s ablty to make these people sound totally natural. I enjoyed the ‘math problem’. Btw, my mother would have flaled ths mother serously wth a wet noodle for sayng grls don’t need an educaton !
      “:) Great job!

  6. The Boy With the Black Leather Jacket says:

    The frst tme she saw the boy n the black leather jacket he had been astrde an expertly restored Harley Davdson unseengly starng off across the wldflower meadow next to George Bower’s garage. He held absently between forefnger and thumb a lt cgarette burnng down to nothng. He ddn’t bother to push away the long, wnd-blown har fallng nto hs dark, broodng eyes. So oblvous to all was he that he ddn’t even notce he was beng watched most carefully.

    When he fnally looked up and saw her, ther eyes locked for a second whch lasted an eternty. There was nstant attracton for both. He had the rugged good looks often seen n Calvn Klen ads, but there was more there. She saw t all then. Even at a dstance, she could make out a deep sadness, a resonatng ache and a resentment almost palpable all n hs eyes. He had suffered. She could tell and she nexplcably wshed to erase t all. Crazy t was for she knew nothng about hm and crazer stll because she doubted he would allow her the prvlege.

    Beng caught n ths unguarded moment rankled hm. He threw down the cgarette-turned-to-ashes and stomped on t, hs eyes narrowed. The curtans had closed. He was the tough guy now, the one who feels nothng because that’s the only way he knew how to survve. He rased an nsolent eyebrow and swept hs eyes down and up agan tellng her slently she was nothng to hm, just somethng nce to look at. He would, f gven the chance, treat her lke crap and not feel remotely sorry for t.

    “You up for that, Babe?” hs smrk seemed to say.

    Instead of beng repulsed and nsulted, or even frghtened, as he undoubtedly expected her to be, hs lustful gaze felt lke a warm, gentle caress. She smled at hm serenely. He frowned, shook hs head, no doubt thnkng her a nave, stupd lttle grl and looked away.

    “Well, George, what’s the verdct?” Reverend Campbell asked grmly, expectng the worst.

    “Don’t know what dot told you t was the transmsson, Reverend, but you probably shouldn’t ought to be gon’ to hm no more,” George sad jovally, hookng hs thumbs n the belt loops of hs faded denms just under hs protrudng belly. “Twas nothng more than loose and rusty battery cable connectors.”

    Mandy gggled and sad, “Uncle Clnton sn’t very brght.”

    “Amanda! Respect for your elders,” her father sad harshly.

    Abashed, she lowered her eyes to the ground meekly sayng, “Yes, Papa.”

    “Are you certan, George?” Reverend Campbell asked skeptcally, turnng back to George who was now lookng at Mandy wth sympathy n hs watery pale blue eyes.

    “Yep, took Nck but ten mnutes to see t had nothng to do wth the transmsson,” George repled amcably.

    “You ddn’t look at my car yourself?” Reverend Campbell asked evdently annoyed.

    George grnned sheepshly. “Well, no, but, to say the truth, Nck’s better at fxng cars than even me. Funny that, as I taught hm all I know. I’d lke t f you ddn’t spread that around, Reverend,” he repled lftng hs grease-staned Braves baseball cap to scratch the top of hs baldng head. Amanda gggled agan and he wnked at her.

    “Amanda, mnd your manners,” her father hssed.

    “Yes, Papa,” she mumbled, lookng down at her toes.

    “Anyway, Nck wll tell you. He’s rght over there on hs bke. You know that’s the same one my boy wrapped around a tree last year. Almost klled hmself! Destroyed t. I was about to haul t to the junkyard when Nck says he can fx t. Couldn’t beleve t. Fxed t up real nce. Made hm my pro-toe-jay after that,” George sad carefully, makng Mandy gggle agan.

    “Amanda,” her father warned.

    “Sorry, Papa,” she muttered castng eyes down.

    Reverend Campbell cast a stern look over hs shoulder at the boy. “That’s Elmer Johnson’s bastard. Landed hmself n prson when he klled the whore. What was her name? Beaufort, Karen I thnk,” he sad dspassonately.

    Vsbly taken aback, George stared at hm. “Well, yeah, Reverend, but Nck couldn’t help where he comes from no more than us. He’s had t rough. No doubt about that, but he’s a good boy. Always works real hard, harder than my other two boys put together. And he’s real smart. He fnshed school,” George sad defensvely.

    “Just the same, George, I’d rather you take care of my car n future. So, how much do I owe you?” Reverend Campbell asked tersely, pullng out hs wallet.

    “It was nothng. Two bucks and ten mnutes tme. Don’t worry about t,” George sad stffly. “If you lke you could gve Nck a tp as he dd the work.”

    “All rght,” Reverend Campbell repled takng a fve dollar bll out of the wallet.

    Strcken, not only wth her father’s judgmental rectal of Nck’s dreadful parentage but also wth hs unconcern for Nck’s worth, Mandy grabbed the wallet and pulled out a twenty. “You should gve Nck somethng good, Papa. He fxed the car for practcally nothng and n no tme. You know Uncle Clnton would have blked you for hundreds of dollars and taken weeks to do t f …..”

    “Enough, Amanda! You wll not speak n that manner,” he sad. “George, you can gve ths to the boy wth my thanks.”

    “You should gve t to hm yourself, Reverend. Nck!” George sad quckly, gesturng for the boy to come over.

    Nck reluctantly came away from hs bke, takng slow strdes wth a bellgerent expresson on hs face.

    “Yeah, George?” he sad delberately avodng lookng at Mandy and castng wary glances at the Reverend.

    “Ths s Reverend Campbell, Nck, and hs daughter, Mandy,” George sad gvng Mandy an affectonate grn.

    “Sr, ma’am,” Nck sad wth a slght nclnng of the head for each, hs eyes lngerng ever so slghtly longer on Mandy’s enormous, brght blue ones. It was lke an ocean wave crashng down on you.

    • Ths entry s approved and confrmed, wth corrected ttle. ~Jm

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths pece s strong. I love the exchange of looks n the begnnng. That part s well done, cool, and evokes forbdden love. The mpact would have been even stronger f I had known the age of these characters and the fact that the grl was the daughter of a mnster.

      As soon as the dalogue started, I was lost on who was n the scene and who was speakng. I had to read t agan to fgure t out. A few detals would help: the grl s standng next to her father, the Reverend Campbell, and they have stopped by George’s garage to see f the Reverend’s car s fxed. Wth that nformaton, the scene s set and the dalogue can do ts thng.

      Also, dd George gve hs protégée that motorcycle after he fxed t? Snce the scene opens wth the boy on the bke, t seems lke the motorcycle belongs to hm.

      • I see what you mean. I thought t rather apparent that the grl and boy whose eyes met were Mandy and Nck. I guess I should have named them, but I dd knd of want a bt of the mystery at the start. As for the bke, snce George made t clear when speakng to the Reverend about the bke gong to the junk yard before Nck took t and fxed t, I thought t obvous that George now consdered t Nck’s, snce he was the one who restored t.

        • Glory, I loved ths pece…I should have guessed t was yours, the ‘looks, taboo love, etc…–I thought the frst sentence was a curous structure–a bt awkward, but the wrtng s beautful-the nteracton between the characters & dalogue s terrfc! Well done, to the pont that I was knd of expectng ths one mght wn!

  7. Wow… VERY engagng story, rght from the start. I found the ntal sentences a bt awkward, but your knack for tellng a compellng tale s very obvous. What becomes of Nck and Mandy? … I would defntely want to know more. But more than that, I thnk ts the Reverend that got my attenton. I thnk the story would turn out nterestng … as to what role he ultmately plays and how he nfluences the story.

  8. I’m huddled under the eave of the communcatons hut at the far end of a secure mltary star transport feld on a very cold, dark, rany nght tryng to brng lfe back to my frozen toes. I stamp my feet and wonder f my feet are really cold or f I’m beng empathetc wth Tren, one of my partners, as he quetly sloshes hs large shaggy feet through puddles at the far end of the tarmac, close to the star cruser that wll take us to Ecuran. Through hm I hear, smell and see the marne grunts who are haphazardly loadng crate after crate of weapons onto my cruser. A shudder goes down my back as Ing, one of my other partners, ruffles hs feathers aganst the ran.
    My name s Ev D’Ander and I’m a tracker. Beng a tracker was not even on my lst of thngs to accomplsh wth my lfe; the physologcal swtchng, for me, took place years after t does for most trackers. Trackers are usually dentfed at the age of 16 and have one partner n the frst year. I was 21, takng a rest from a very lucratve concert tour, and ended up wth three partners n less than 24 cubents. I telepathcally saw and heard the world through the eyes of three very dfferent anmals. I became the swtchboard through whch we could communcate wth each other. I’m two full cycles overdue to be rotated home, that’s longer than most trackers can be out, but I haven’t gone crazy yet and my brothers are due to pck me up n three days to take me home. I really need to see my dad and just spend tme enjoyng lfe nstead of tryng to save lves.
    In my mnd, through Tren, I hear the solders complan about how cold t s, why does anyone have to leave n the mddle of the nght, what they are gong to do when they reach the rdge and how they’ll show “them” who s boss. Tren moves a step toward the wng of the transport and we hear: “If you want to know about your brother, you’ll do what we tell you…”
    A crashng crate and foul language overrde the rest of the sentence. I ask Tren to get closer, to see who s talkng. He ponts out that f he does that, hs cover wll be blown. Through Ing, I watch as Admral Roka’s ground transport pulls through the securty gate and moves toward me. Tren notes that the solders mmedately become more nvested n loadng the cruser. We watch as a major we hadn’t seen before barks orders to clean up the crate before he jogs toward Roka’s transport. Ths s begnnng to get nterestng.
    Admral Roka s out of the transport before t stops. I watch as he shvers, then tucks hs small empathetc dog nto a carryng pocket up under hs coat. Only I know that the Admral s empathetc wth the dog; the rest of galaxy thnks t s qurky to carry a dog around.
    We have to stall for tme, not everythng s n place yet.
    “A lot of weapons for a sngle nvtaton. I ddn’t realze ths was a gveaway to the Ecuran,” s how I greet the Admral.
    “And how are you ths fne cold evenng, Admral?” Roka says for me as he moves up under the eave. Wth a sgh he says, “Councl thought t best to send support.”
    “Councl? So who s n charge snce the Frst Charman s on Grada and the Sub Charman s on Plants? That leaves mnorty char, Djwhal?” I look out over the ran msty feld. “The one who ordered the orgnal troops that are stranded on the rdge?”
    The admral grnds hs heel nto the mud. “That’s the one.”
    “He’s also the Mnng Consortum’s rep.”
    Roka doesn’t answer.
    “I’m stll the only name on the nvtaton.”
    The major stops n front of the admral and salutes smartly. “Admral Roka, Major Houseman, reportng.”
    The Admral waves hm off. “Major.”
    “We’re almost done loadng, Sr.”
    “Thank you Major. Get your men ready.”
    I move out of the protecton of the overhang and start to walk away.
    “D’Ander! Where do you thnk you’re gong? ” Roka uses hs best authortaran voce.
    “Call me n a couple of days, I’ll do the body bag count for you.”
    I can hear Admral Roka swear under hs breath. “I order you … .”
    “You need to check our contract, Admral. Clause 2a states that f I deem the msson too dangerous, I don’t have to take t.”
    One of the communcatons hacks comes around the corner. “Lady D, your brothers just notfed us.”
    I nod my thanks and watch as the hack goes back the way he’d come.
    Everythng s n place, Roka nods and backs off. “Ev.”
    “Order them,” I look at the troops gettng ready to board the cruser, “to back down so I can get on wth my job.”
    Before Roka can answer, Major Houseman breaks nto the dscusson. “Admral, my men and I are capable of takng the rdge wthout any help.”
    Goose bumps rase up on the back of my neck. A ‘can do – gung ho’ atttude gets people klled. “Do you know how many of the marnes are stll alve, Major? Do you even know where they are?” I press for an answer.
    Major Houseman tres to ntmdate me by steppng closer, he towers over me. He has to be a good two meters tall; on a tall day, I’m just over a meter and a half. “No, that nformaton hasn’t been passed on to me, yet,” he responds n a voce flled wth authorty.
    “It won’t be. The rdge s a volcanc steam rdge wth vents that keep the temperatures more than warm at nght and hellsh durng the day. You don’t have a fly-by that can peg the temp varatons so you can fnd the men. Do you know what knd of weapons the Ecuran have and how they fght, Major?”

    • Ths entry s confrmed and approved, thank you! ~Jm

    • Its great to see there s yet one more entry worth readng. Your wrtng s strong and has potental for movng ths story forward. The frst part of your story s engagng that t made me want to read on further. However, by the tme I proceeded towards the end, I had actually dverted from the start of your story. You lost me n many places due to some dsconnectedness n the second half. You’ve created an nterestng settng, but somethng seems to be confusng. I’m not really sure t’s the dalogue.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      The openng paragraphs are strong. They quckly buld the world and the character. After that, thngs get confusng. Let’s see f I have ths correct. The hero, D’Ander, s flyng a transport of weapons to a group of marnes stranded on a rdge. But he doesn’t want to go because t s too dangerous and thnks the person who ordered ths msson only cares about a mnng operaton. I’m gettng a strong Avatar vbe here. Is ths good or bad?

      So D’Ander s angry and mstrustful. Check. But why s he orderng the marnes to stand down (not get on hs shp) so he can do hs job? I thought D’Ander was leavng to go home wth hs brothers for R and R. What job does he mean? Also, the use of the word ‘nvtaton’ s lost on me here. Is t smply sarcasm?

      Whle the dea of a tracker and empaths s ntrgung (I love the snppet about the general’s dog), the dalogue’s fast pace leaves me behnd wthout a clear understandng of what’s gong on.

  9. Hmm t appears lke your ste ate my frst comment (t was super long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum t up what I submtted and say, I’m
    thoroughly enjoyng your blog. I too am an asprng blog blogger
    but I’m stll new to the whole thng. Do you have any recommendatons for novce blog wrters? I’d defntely apprecate t.

    • Thank you, Madge.

      You’re actually dong a fne job tryng to get back-lnks placed on other blogs, by wrtng clearly and wthout stupd grammar errors. Well done!

      Unfortunately, I’ve deleted your suppled lnk because t’s useless to our readers. My advce for novce blog wrters s to follow the followng authortes, whom I trust completely:

        Mary Jaksch at “Wrte to Done”
        The entre team at Copyblogger — choosng only the blog-wrtng topcs
        Jon Morrow (also an edtor at Copyblogger) at “Boost Blog Traffc” — because he’s a fabulous wrter and knows hs stuff nsde and out.
  10. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d defntely donate to ths excellent blog!
    I guess for now ‘ll settle for bookmarkng and addng
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and wll talk about ths webste wth my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

  11. Any deas of what I can wrte about? What would you be nterested n readng? And how can I get people to see t?.

  12. and fnancal nnovatonONPut the cost of a $59see up to $94 and clentele wll flp absent. Once you’re t genune whch the easy to understand gladness on the bestfamly debt rate s generally

  13. Beautfully wrtten, Honour. I love the vvdness of your words. You took me back to my chldhood, when I used to watch the flotlla of tny salboats pour out of the harbour almost every Sunday.If you want to know what t’s lke to “have the wnds and waters as your ma212r&#8set; – you should come and lve here n New Zealand.

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