Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Honorable Mention

Many of you know that I entered a short story contest a few months ago hosted by the Rooglewood Press. The challenge was to write a retelling of Snow White in any genre we chose–but there was a maximum of 20,000 words. Most of you know how verbose I am as a writer, so I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it was for me to hold myself back and write a story at 20,000 words or less. It was easily one of the toughest things I’ve ever done as a writer.

But the result was The War Within–possibly one of the best stories I’ve told.

Continue reading “Honorable Mention”

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Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Thoughts After Writing a Short Story

A belated Merry Christmas and early Happy New Year’s to all of you! I hope your holiday break has been restful and encouraging.

As I prepare some New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I’ve been thinking back on this past fall semester and all that I accomplished. I finished my last four Lumerit courses for the year in 4 months–something I was beginning to doubt I’d be able to do in September. I also entered a short story contest.

In June of this year, a friend told me about a fairy tale retelling contest that was going on (something I might have briefly mentioned in a past blog post) and I couldn’t pass it up! Fairy tale retellings used to be one of my favorite genres and I read many of them growing up. This year’s fairy tale to retell was Snow White. We had 6 months to write and send our short story and I thought to myself, “why not?” I hadn’t entered a writing contest in years and since I was in a bit of a rut writing-wise, it might be good for me to try something new.

Continue reading “Thoughts After Writing a Short Story”

Posted in Words Upon Words

Light…

Last night, my sisters and I went to WAFFLE at my cousin’s house and spent time with other writers in the area. We talked about our individual projects, did a writing prompt together and spent some time at the end working on those said individual projects or talking about them. This was my second time going to WAFFLE, but it had been a long time since I went the first time. It was fun and so great to talk to Erin about my story and get her feedback on how The Whistler Daughters should end (or not end 😉 ), which I’ve missed so much this past summer. I look forward to many writing sessions together in the future to prepare for and during NaNoWriMo in November!

Needless to say, I have since yesterday finished my first of many edits for The Whistler Daughters and am now going to hand it over to my aunt for her thoughts. Until I hear back from her, I’m going to be re-reading the 50K I wrote for BJ2 and getting ready to finish writing that novel.

And just for fun, here is the prompt I wrote in 30 minutes last night, stemmed by two images Jeremy and Erin found on the internet. Keep in mind, I wrote it quickly without looking back on it, so there will definitely be a mistake or two in there! 🙂 Enjoy!

Light.

Not blinding light, or glowing light, or faint light, but real light like I’d never seen before. You know the rays that come down from the sun and shine over the earth? It’s always sort of yellow or orange depending on the time of day. This light wasn’t like that. It was as pure as light could get. It was white, as if it had it just been born.

It didn’t hurt, in fact, I hardly felt anything besides a slight tingle in my fingertips, but that might have just been me. After all, goosebumps were crawling up and down my body as I stared at the light coming from my hands. Tears were gathering in my eyes.

My fingers twitched and for a second I was afraid the light might disappear and I would be left standing alone in the coffee shop like I always was. Not that I was really alone. Other people worked there, too. Alone because the light would be gone.

But it stayed. It might have even shined brighter. A smile was forming on my face.

It wasn’t a dream after all.

I didn’t know how it had started or how to make it stop, but finally my day had come.

They couldn’t call me useless anymore. Finally, I had something and not only that, I had something no one else had had in years. Decades. It held the power of light in my hands.

“Anna?”

The light vanished. I jumped up in surprise as Matt stared back at me.

“Hello? Are you there?” He knocked lightly on my head. “Get back to work before boss returns. Do you think she’ll be happy to see you standing around like that?”

Normally I would have thumped his head back or at least stuck my tongue out at him, but I was too happy to care. I just smiled at him and said, “You’re right.”

I held my hands behind my back as I walked to the cash register and took a customer’s order. I bit my lip, trying to hold back my excitement.

All these years and my parents thought I would never amount to anything because I was born without a special ability. In a world where you can only make a difference or really matter at all if you have super powers, it’s really hard on those who just happen to be born without them. Actually, it’s really 50-50, I’d say. But every one of my five brothers and sisters and both of my parents had powers. It wasn’t common to have so many special abilities in one family…and still have one member without.

But everyone knew that some people inherited their powers late in their life. This was more of a 10% chance type of thing than anything else and if nothing happened by the time you were 20, you were done. You weren’t getting any powers. You’d live the rest of your life being less than ordinary. In a world where everyone is extraordinary, if you don’t have that extra, you don’t have anything.

Having the power of light, though? No one had heard of anyone controlling light since the 1970s. Since the best superhero that ever lived came on the scene. I hadn’t really ever understood why, but for whatever reason, having the power of light was the best power there was. Better than invisibility, strength, flight, time travel or even mind reading. I don’t think it was so much because of what you could do with it as much as that was what fascinated the public…and it was so rare.

I guess I was too naïve to figure it out. That having the power of light wasn’t all it was hyped up to be.

I guess I should have known better. But I was only 17 then. I just wanted to be like almost everyone in my community. I just wanted to be acknowledged, special.

Too bad for me.

 

Let’s just say, the next thing I knew there was a blackout. I looked around, trying to find a source of light from outside. For some reason, all the blinds were closed and so little light shone out the windows.

“Hey, Matt, what’s—”

A hand covered my mouth and a knee kicked me in the stomach. I half-shrieked and doubled over in pain. I tried to bite the hand that held my mouth or at least hit the guy in the face, but something grabbed my arm and was tying my hands behind my back. They threw me over some guy’s shoulders and I kicked and screamed.

“Matt! Matt! Matt!”

Someone punched me in the face and I was knocked out.

 

When I woke, it was already dark, so I must have been out for a few hours. I looked around me carefully, trying not to alert the man carrying me that I was awake. I was still hanging over his bulky shoulder. My eyes adjusted the darkness pretty quickly and I soon realized that I was at the forsaken railroad. Forsaken because of the accident that had happened back in the 1970s. The one that killed that superhero I was telling you about.

A train was sitting patiently on the tracks, one strong blue light shining from the front. As eerie as the train looked in the darkness, in the prairie that I knew was miles from home, what creeped me out more were the group of lantern holders. It was bright enough for me to tell there were many people waiting, but not bright enough for me to see their faces.

For all I knew, this was just some crazy nightmare. I had been knocked out after all.

If only. Because this was all too real.

I panicked and started kicking again, only then realizing that my legs were tied together like my hands and my mouth was covered. The motion, at least, was enough for my captor to loosen his grip in surprise. I rolled to the ground and tried my best to crawl away. Why did I even bother?

One of the men grabbed me by the back of my shirt and pulled me forward to the crowd. Someone pulled on my hair so that I looked up at the man holding the brightest lantern. I squirmed and squealed but to no avail.

The man above me smirked. “Is this her?” he asked my captors. I think there were only two. They must have answered positively because he smiled and looked down at me. The light from his lantern made peculiar shadows on his face. “I’m sure you’re a little unnerved at the moment, are you not?”

I tried to spit in his face, forgetting that my mouth was tied. Now I just felt embarrassed.

He laughed, which made my blood boil.

What was going on? If this wasn’t a dream, then why did these people want me? Why bring me here of all places? Where did they get that train?

“Don’t worry, everything will be revealed in time. Welcome, Anna. Welcome. We are the light hunters.”

 

Posted in Words Upon Words

Leaving the Green

After a fun night of WAFFLE (writing group I’m a part of that started recently), I wrote this short story in 25 minutes this morning, based on a writing prompt, the image below:

Dream with me.  Once again. by anndr

Image by Anndr

Enjoy! Here is the story:

I had always known he’d leave. He had told me the first day we left the village to go down to the Green and watch the ships leave. I don’t even remember how old either of us were, that’s how long ago it was. He had taken my hand and said, “One day, that’ll be me. I’ll be the captain and I’ll be leading the voyage out to the other worlds.”

I had simply nodded, squeezing his hand tightly. It made sense. He had always possessed leader-like qualities. Why wouldn’t he lead those voyages one day?

But I had told myself it wouldn’t happen for a long, long time. I guess I just wasn’t smart enough to figure out that eventually, a long, long time would come.

Several years later, after many, many trials and hardships, after being rejected again and again, after persevering and never quitting, my brother finally gained the trust of the other Shipmen and he joined their crew. He spent a number of years after that training and training, never giving up on his goal. Never forgetting why he was going through all this. Sometimes I wish I had had such spirit, such will. I had never wanted anything like that before. He wanted it to the point that he didn’t care what he had to give up in order to become captain of his own voyage out there.

I think I would still admire him for it…if the last thing he ended up giving up hadn’t been me.

I remember the last time Art brought me to the Green as if it were yesterday. We sat in silence for a long time, just watching the ships fly away. I remember feeling at peace and actually very happy. I wouldn’t have felt such foolish emotions if I had known that that was the last time Art would take me there. To our favorite place.

“I’m leaving tomorrow, Ginger. You know that, right?”

“Leaving where?” I asked ignorantly.

“Captain Bo said I’m ready. Ready to lead my own voyage. I’m taking the Marion out—out there. The captaining ceremony for me is tonight. And then…” He gestured to the floating ships. “It’s my turn.”

“Already?” After so many years of waiting, the day had finally come and I could hardly breathe. “But—you’re taking me with you, right?”

Art looked down. I think it pained him at least a little to say what he said next. I like to think it did. “I’m sorry, Ging. You can’t come. No passengers allowed. Only captain and crew.”

“Wait, you’re leaving me behind?” My heart leaped into my throat. Our parents had died a decade ago and even though I was almost nineteen, I couldn’t bear the thought of living in the Upper City alone. Working at the inn for room and board (the landlady had been kind enough to lend us the attic room for the past couple of years). I had worked at the inn since I was ten, getting us money for food and to pay for Art’s captaining sessions. Now I was to go back to the inn alone? I had no one but Art. No one.

“I’m sorry, Ging.”

“Please, Art, what will I do while you’re gone? Which world are you going to? You won’t be gone longer than a few weeks, right? Right?”

Art frowned, looking away. “Actually…Captain Bo wants me to go to…to Heartland. Past the Fifties.”

“Heartland?” The tears were falling. I felt so childish. How could I cling to my brother like this, when I was a perfectly capable adult? I was, wasn’t I? I could handle being along, I just didn’t want to. But Heartland! “On your first voyage? How can Captain Bo allow that? Heartland is months away! You want me to be in Upper City by myself for-for—a year—at the least?” I wish I could have just let him go and be happy for him. This was all that he had ever wanted.

But Heartland…the journey was perilous. I knew why Captain Bo had picked my brother to captain the first voyage there in almost a dozen years. The last two voyages there had ended in disaster. If anyone could battle the skies, Art could, but…what if he didn’t return?

Art stood and wiped the grass off his pants. He stretched out a hand to me. “One year from today, when you’re almost twenty, I’ll meet you back here at sunset. On the Green. I promise.”

I let him help me up and hugged him tight. “Fine. As long as you keep that promise.”

“In the meantime, I’ve ‘hired’, you could say, someone to look after you for me. One of my captaining buddies. He won’t get his certification for another year or so. You can depend on him to not be going anywhere while I’m gone.”

“I don’t need a guardian,” I pushed Art away, knowing I was lying. “I need you. Art, if you don’t come back—”

“I promised I’m coming back and you know I keep my promises.” Art looked at me seriously from his gray eyes.

I nodded.

“You’ll meet my captaining buddy at the ceremony tonight. You want to head over? It starts in an hour.”

“No. I’ll stay here a few more minutes.”

Art nodded and slowly headed for the Upper City.

I sat down and watched him leave. I watched him run across the desert and climb up the cliffside. Then I watched the last ship float away. Ships were leaving all the time, but to places nearby. The closest world, Jade, was only a few days away from here. Jade and our kingdom were good friends and trading was going on constantly between the two. Why couldn’t Art’s first voyage go there?

But I knew that wouldn’t have satisfied him. He wanted a real adventure. He wanted to go out there. And see what there was to see.

I didn’t really want to go with him. But I didn’t want to be alone either.

 

The ceremony took place and it was as grand as any other captaining ceremony. They are a monthly occurrence and this one was no different than any other. After Art was captained, food and drink was passed around and dancing started in the Square. It might have been all one huge excuse for a dance. Art made his way over and I pretended I hadn’t just been crying a minute ago.

“Congrats, Art,” I said sincerely. What’s done was done. I might as well have been happy for him.

He smiled and tousled my hair. “Thanks, sis.”

“Don’t ruin my braid,” I said, not really caring how my hair looked. I patted it down and he only smirked. “What?”

“Nothing.” He paused looking around the Square. “Are you ready to meet my buddy?”

“I’ve probably already met him. I know most of your buddies.”

“You don’t know this one. He’s only been around for three years.”

Instead of Art’s million.

I looked around as Art motioned for a man to step forward. He did. My eyes widened. Art had to be joking.

He expected me to be watched over by this man?