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Open Mic is Back!

January 7, 2010

After a holiday hiatus, the mic is back on and open! I’ve missed reading your writing and can’t wait to see what you guys have for us this week.

You know the rules; post your 300-word-or-less poem or story excerpt for others to read and comment. Remember to comment at least one other excerpt if you post your own work. I’m introducing a Sunday cut-off from now on, because I feel badly when someone posts later on and no one’s around to read it. Try to get your work up as soon as possible for maximum exposure!

I’ll be reading and commenting each excerpt, but be patient with me as I’m simultaneously tweaking book three in the Prophecy series, working on a short story for an upcoming anthology, and revising a new book! I WILL get to them all, I promise, but I tend to read and comment in spurts, so don’t worry if it takes me a couple of days to get to yours.

*tap, tap, tap*

Testing, one, two, three…

😀

PS: I’ll be a guest on Barry Eva’s blog radio show “A Book and a Chat” this Saturday, January 9th from 11am-12pm. Take a look for details and to sign up for a reminder, and then listen and call in with questions! I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’re a frequent visitor to my blog!

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89 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 8:32 pm

    umm, this is my first post, so… yeah…leave some input if you want.

    Tell me where to go, ’cause I’m lost and don’t know.
    Tell me where I’m from: this amnesia is makin’ me numb.
    Tell me what to do, the lost souls around me make me blue.
    Tell me it’ll be okay, that tomorrow is another day.
    Tell me that noone is forgotten.
    Tell me that noone is forever broken.

    • Georgia permalink
      January 11, 2010 9:15 pm

      I really like this! I got into it straight away, it is really emotional and I love the way you have described those feelings. Well done, I cannot wait to read more of your writing! x

    • January 13, 2010 7:27 pm

      I really like this, it’s a great start… I can’t wait to see more from you : )

  2. Sapphire_Dani permalink
    January 9, 2010 4:32 pm

    Can’t think about my
    Surroundings…..

    One person occupies my
    Mind….

    The thing you want
    Most…
    Is what you can’t
    Have…

    How can this be…?
    Our short distance apart

    Means nothing when it lacks
    Everything…

    I in your arms
    The soft touch of your lips on mine
    The beauty
    Of our hearts
    Of our love…
    Entwined.

    Surround me with your graceful love…
    For it is all i have.

    I’m only 13…I’m no professional in poems either…..just looking for advice……

  3. January 8, 2010 9:41 pm

    That’s when he saw her. Not the girl that was in his brother’s arms, who was laughing obnoxiously loud, but the one behind her. The girl standing behind them looked a bit out of place and knew it too. She was noticeably the friend of the girl with his brother, waiting for her. Waiting on the girl to leave together, because they weren’t part of his brother’s clique. Most likely the bimbo with his brother persuaded her to come with as said bimbo stopped by the group to be together with his brother. Once they stopped by to say hi, the bimbo, being happy with his brother, laughing much too loud, conveniently forgot about her friend behind her.
    Bimbo’s friend’s is beautiful, thought Younger Brother. She’s beautiful in the way that her makeup wasn’t noticeable from where he was standing, the way it should be, not like most girls wore it. She’s beautiful in the way she slightly hunched over, her light brown hair falling over her face. Her expression of wanting not to be there clearly discernible on her face. Younger Brother didn’t know how long he stared at her, hoping that just once she would look away and notice him. She didn’t. The bell rang and before Younger Brother could see which way she left, she was gone.

    -Thank you for any constructive feedback 🙂
    -Stephanie.

    • Georgia permalink
      January 8, 2010 10:48 pm

      I really like this! The first five words grabbed me, well done Stephanie, I can imagine this scene clearly.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:48 pm

      I really like the description of the girl in this. The details – like her being hunched over – really add to the authenticity. It makes you want to look at the people you see a little closer. And that is a very good thing!

      Hope you come back to post again!

    • January 11, 2010 8:18 pm

      i love this!! its great! it is very well written and i can see her just standing there. its great

  4. Georgia permalink
    January 8, 2010 7:02 pm

    Sorry its late- a short extract from my current project

    Her screams started to flee as she was thrown from the lakes edge; she allowed her agony to slice the ambience in shrill cries as she was dragged across the rocky ground. The serrated floor engraved her legs as she was thrown into the jagged cave wall, her skull thrashed the flinty surface with so much force it caused her head to explode in agony.
    This is what she sought, anything to escape from the mental torture she experienced. Anything to escape her excruciating existence. As she lay on the floor, crouched over on her wounded hands and knees, she was a fugitive of the agony that was superior to this physical pain. As she cried in the reflection of the moon, her hair tangled with crimson, her limbs marked with slim slices of scarlet, she had the strangest sense of release and this physical torture could veil the reminiscences that corrupted her reality. Her green eyes reflected the blood that embraced the ground and as her tears entwined with the deep red she gazed up to see the person that had done this, the individual who had aided her with a further diversion from her misery.
    When she met the infinite eyes of her aide, every distraction she once had disappeared in an instant to transform into panic. This was not a liberator of her agony but a horror returned.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:45 pm

      There are some really amazing pieces of description in this piece, like;

      “…her skull thrashed the flinty surface…”

      “…her limbs marked with slim slices of scarlet…”

      “This was not a liberator of her agony but a horror returned.”

      Love the detail! It’s very vivid!

      Keep coming back, okay?!

      • Georgia permalink
        January 11, 2010 9:13 pm

        Thankyou very much, i really appreciate your great feedback!
        thankyou x

    • January 11, 2010 8:25 pm

      i love this! its amazing! one of my favorite lines is, “As she cried in reflection of the moon….”

      • Georgia permalink
        January 11, 2010 9:09 pm

        Thankyou so much for the lovely feedback! I was really worried, first time participating!
        Thankyou again 😀 x

  5. January 8, 2010 12:31 pm

    Daddy

    I pulled the string to make
    The duck move–
    Little did I know that the
    Same thought worked on me.
    You filled me with smells
    Of your beloved lake–
    Was I as beloved?
    I could never ask, but
    Nor could you ever tell.
    Blood means not a thing,
    It may prick from my finger
    Or pour from my ears like a plague.
    Still nothing, I can’t give you
    What you want, not that
    You would accept.
    All holidays must be the same
    In your mind–
    My small adoring eyes,
    My small showing of love
    With a large amount of courage.
    Hide behind laughter,
    While I hide away in my prison.
    One day I will find that cold,
    Beating thing in your chest,
    But will mine remain?
    The strings of the duck
    Are long gone, yet mine are still in place.
    I must break free,
    Both from the strings
    And the mind that you created.

    My ode to Sylvia : ) I know it needs a bit of work, but I liked writing it.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:40 pm

      Oh, I can FEEL Sylvia in this. Definitely. Your poetry is filled with with sadness. I look forward to it because it’s so raw. In a GOOD way.

      Nice to hear from you again!

      • January 13, 2010 7:26 pm

        Wow that’s probably one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever gotten about my writing that you can feel Sylvia in the poem : ) She’s always been an inspiration of mine when it comes to poetry. My poetry truly is often filled with sadness, I feel that’s because when I’m upset about something I tend to write much better pieces, but I am working on adding some more hopeful pieces to the collections. I’ll aim for putting one of those on open mic next time. Thanks for the love as always! Hope to see you on the blog again soon and that you’re doing great!

  6. January 8, 2010 10:08 am

    This is my first time so i’m a bit nervous. This is an excerpt from a short story I started to write, that refused to stay short for long and is going day by day –

    I saw Mrs Collters car pull up to the pavement outside our house, and I jumped from my chair and jogged to the front door. Mrs Collter was walking up the drive alone, which was more than a bit strange, seen as though she hardly ever called round. And where was Hannah, why wasn’t Hannah here? It was only as she got closer to me that I could tell something was wrong. I couldn’t see her face, her shoes had stolen her attention, but I could see the way she curled into herself, her slight frame trembling. Maybe Mr Collter had told her about the affair, maybe that’s why she was so upset.

    It wasn’t until she got to the end of the walkway that she looked up and the look on her face scared me; it was a crumpled mask of pain. She stepped up next to me and encased me in a hug so tight, I wondered if anyone had ever died from a hug. Her sobs got louder and louder, echoing round the porch. She clung to me like a lifejacket, like I was the only thing keeping her above the water.

    I didn’t know what to do other than stand there and wait it out, so that’s what I did. I can remember that she cried so much I could smell her salty tears, that I couldn’t see anything other than her green shirt and the cotton itched my face. It seemed like hours later she released me, though it was probably about five minutes.

    I couldn’t get my words out so I just stood there and stared at this broken woman hoping to god she hadn’t come to break me too.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:38 pm

      There are some amazingly great pieces in this, Carla. My favorites include the following;

      “I could see the way she curled into herself, her slight frame trembling.”

      “I couldn’t see anything other than her green shirt and the cotton itched my face.”

      “I just stood there and stared at this broken woman hoping to god she hadn’t come to break me too.”

      These are little moments, small memories, passing observations that we all have but only a few of us actually note. Those of us who do, I tend to think, are writers. You obviously have the heart of a writer, and I hope you’ll come back and share your work with us again.

  7. Breezy permalink
    January 8, 2010 4:49 am

    Here’s an excerpt from a short story I’ve been working on:

    “It just doesn’t feel right though, you know? Going through with all of this after Kirstin…after what happened.” My voice breaks on the last word and tight lump forms in my throat.
    “I know,” Jesse says quietly, and suddenly I feel his hand touch my arm, sending hot jolts of electricity up my arm. I turn around to see Jesse standing right in front of me, just mere feet away.
    “Everyone says her death was just an accident but…but I don’t know.”
    “You think it was something more serious?” Jesse asks, suddenly serious. “Like…murder?”
    “I don’t know…” I repeat, suddenly feeling overwhelmed. “It’s just…I was the one that found her…that day on the beach. She was so cold, her skin was blue and her throat…her throat was bruised like she’d been…like she’d been strangled.”
    “Is that what you and Alden were fighting about earlier?” he asks.
    “You saw that?” I ask, horrified.
    “Everybody saw that,” Jesse laughs.
    “Oh my God, Aunt Jenna’ll have me skinned if she finds out I was arguing in public,” I groan, covering my face with my hand in frustration.
    “Well, for the record, I believe you.’” He takes my hand in his own and takes it from my face, continuing to hold it. “Anyone who doesn’t is just an idiot.”
    “Thank you, that means a lot,” I say, smiling.
    “Don’t mention it, I trust you, that’s all there is to it.”
    “I trust you too…” I say, watching our hands. He still hasn’t let go, and, strangely, I don’t want him to.
    He follows my gaze to our entwined fingers and then looks back at me, his deep green eyes are endless, pulling me in. As we continue to watch each other, he brings his other hand up to my face, resting it on my cheek, warm and comforting,
    “Cedar…” he breathes.
    “Jesse, we can’t-“ I start, putting my hand over his still touching my face.
    “Says who?” he whispers.
    Our faces are just inches apart now, so close that I can feel his breath on my cheek and smell his sweet, musky scent. My lips are tingling in anticipation of his kiss-
    “Cedar? What the Hell is this?”
    Alden!
    Oh shit.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:34 pm

      Oh, man! Alden totally broke up that super-steamy moment!
      😦

      Seriously, though, this is intriguing. Love the idea of a murder mystery, and you’ve done a great job setting up chemistry between these two characters.

      I hope you’ll come back and share again!

    • January 9, 2010 8:45 pm

      I want to read more! 🙂

      I like the various tensions between the characters, and I also love the names.

    • January 11, 2010 8:12 pm

      i love it! its very interesting, and i want to hear more!

  8. January 8, 2010 12:50 am

    Hey Michelle,

    Just wondering if you could visit the blog again soon… I finally got around to posting some new things and would love your wonderful input once again : ) Hope your doing well!!!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:30 pm

      Will try to get over there SOON, hon!

  9. January 8, 2010 12:06 am

    First time participating ^_^

    I hate formal affairs. It’s not the clothes, although I can’t wait to get out of them. It’s not even the boredom, although of course it always sets in. It’s the women. Damn my father with his overbearing desire for me to “settle down and have sons,” and damn all of the ladies of the court who go to such ridiculous lengths to impress me.

    It isn’t that I don’t want to marry, I just want to make sure that whoever I marry goes into it knowing that there will never be anything between us. At least not physically; I want to have a good relationship with my wife, and of course we’ll have to have children at some point, but I want someone who knows it’s a lie and that’s all it will ever be.

    So here I am, at my Father’s annual Autumnal Feast, and I just want to leave. So I do. I sneak away when no one is really looking, and I exit through the glass doors and walk down the path to the lake. The path is lighted with tiny fairy lights, heaven knows how much that cost my father. It’s too cold, though, so no one is out walking, which is good because it means I will not be disturbed.

    I find my bench, a little stone one underneath the willow tree on the south bank of the lake, and I look up at the ballroom, sitting in top of the hill on the western side. It looks so warm and merry, as if anyone there is having a good time. Maybe they are, for all I know. But try as I might, I cannot find the joy. Maybe it is because I am twenty-three now, and I know that I will have to marry someone soon. Then my father will abdicate, I’ll take over the throne and become King Rory, start having children, rule the kingdom. Rule the Kingdom. Now there’s a scary thought.

    • January 8, 2010 12:14 am

      I really like this, it reminds me of a short story I was reading a little while back. I am sitting here and I can just imagine the willow tree, rustling in the wind.

    • Breezy permalink
      January 8, 2010 4:56 am

      I really like this, I’m a sucker for fancy parties and royalty! I really want to know what’s gonna happen next! Great work! 🙂

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:30 pm

      This piece has a sense of wry despair to it. I feel the cynicism in this character, but also real sadness, which makes him multi-dimensional and makes me want to know more. It speaks to excellent character development, which is increasingly difficult to do without creating cliched characters. And this is CLEARY not one of those.

      VERY nicely done!

      • January 9, 2010 8:43 pm

        Whoo,…thanks so much y’all for the great comments. Was extremely nervous. XD

    • Sapphire_Dani permalink
      January 10, 2010 6:30 pm

      It was nice reading an excerpt from a story from a male’s point of view….Very interesting at the age as well…..As a teen I’ll love to read more about “king Rory”.
      Write On!!!

  10. January 7, 2010 11:19 pm

    My first time participating in this! 🙂 Here’s a snippet from the novel I’m currently revising. This bit is actually from part-way through…so…basic premise: two sisters joined a cult as teenagers. The story goes back and forth between past (1993) and present (2008) and shows how the cult is still affecting them…basically. This is from one of the “present” portions. I hope you enjoy!
    ———

    Instead of speaking to the others, I watch the kids running around. How wonderful it must be to be so innocent, to have no knowledge of the evils the world possesses. I have kept a certain aspect of my past from them, with the full support of my brothers and sisters. The adults all know, but it has become almost taboo in our family, under the encouragement of Jackie and me. My brothers and sisters, all of them, are well aware of how hard facing our pasts has become over the last ten years, since I graduated college. Moving home permanently had been out of the question for me and I had left the town only a year after trying. I do not wish for these young, innocent lives to become effected because of the mistakes I made in my past. I do not wish for my daughters, nieces, or nephews to know of my scarred and frightening memories.

    I look back at my siblings and notice them staring at me, as though they are frightened I might have a fit. I know they are merely concerned for me and what they must know I am going through right now. They know all too well how much effort it took me to come back to this house and this town, even for a celebration like this. They are aware of the painful memories which have begun flooding back to me. However, with this knowledge, their staring is no less irritating.

    “Knock it off,” I snap at the group of them in a whisper, so I don’t disturb the kids’ game.

    “You are incredibly paranoid,” Eva shoots back as she looks away from me, but I notice her glance at me one last time out of the corner of her eye.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:27 pm

      This is a very interesting premise. Unique for sure, and that becomes rarer and rarer, it seems. I love the sense of instability in this… the feeling that the narrator might snap at any moment brings a good kind of tension to the piece.

      Hope to hear more from you!

    • January 11, 2010 8:08 pm

      its very intriguing. well written, and i want to know more.

  11. January 7, 2010 10:58 pm

    You’re no prince charming, but you’ll do.

    Your short, curly brown hair doesn’t flow in the wind as you ride your noble steed over hills and fields and bridges; on your way to save me from some scaly, fire-breathing monster.

    Your noble steed is actually the family car, but you’re too young to drive so you pick me up with an extra pair of Converse and a hoodie to keep me warm as we walk, hand in hand.

    Your shiny, gleaming armour is nothing more than a band hoodie, a cute t-shirt and jeans; you always have on a different pair of shoes.

    I wasn’t wearing glass slippers, and left one on the stairs as I ran out at midnight. Instead I wore Chucks that didn’t shatter and splinter my feet.

    I wasn’t eating a poisoned apple, but you were making a mess out of those barbeque ribs.

    And when the clock struck midnight? You got to kiss me under the stars.

    You’re not prince charming, but I’m charmed all the same.
    I’m not a sleeping beauty, but I feel like one.
    Who wants their car to turn into a pumpkin anyways?

    [edit] Some short piece that was eventually going to be turned into a longer story, just wanted some criticism.

    • January 8, 2010 12:07 am

      I really like it, it’s sort of a prose-poem.

      • January 8, 2010 12:12 am

        Thanks, decided to write some prose one day and ended up with this. I’m not sure if I like it how it is or if I need to edit it a bit.

    • January 8, 2010 12:25 pm

      I really like how you made this into a modern fairy tale… It’s something I haven’t seen in a poem before and I really enjoyed it : ) If you’d be okay with it I may feature it on my blog one day… which you can check out if you’d like : )

      • January 9, 2010 2:05 pm

        Yes, that’d be great. If you click on my name you’ll find my deviantart profile where I have more short prose in my gallery. And what’s the name of your blog? I’ll have to favourite it on my computer 🙂

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:25 pm

      Well, I make it a point not to criticize on Open Mic – though we can revisit that point next week if you guys want – but I really loved this. It made me laugh out loud, but also filled me with this melancholy sense of what it is to be young and in love and trying to find your version of a modern day fairy tale. It felt like it came from a very honest place, and you clearly know how to write!

      Hope you come back again!

      • January 9, 2010 4:27 pm

        Thanks!
        I’m actually trying to enter my portfolia into our school’s art show this year and next year, it will help me graduate with a certificate of the arts which is good when I want to learn how to better my writing and possibly persue a career like that after high school/university.

    • January 10, 2010 1:24 am

      The blog website is: readthisnothat.blogspot.com

      Check it out when you have a moment and I will do the same for you : )

      • January 11, 2010 12:20 am

        ‘Kay, checking it out right now.
        I like your blog, it’s pretty neat. 🙂

      • January 13, 2010 3:43 pm

        Thank you and let me know if there’s anything you want me to add to the blog post that I would like to feature your poem in… name, details about yourself, how long you’ve been writing, etc. : )

    • January 11, 2010 8:04 pm

      i love this. youre comparing all the cliche’s girls want toy how it really is. and i can just really picture it all. its great

  12. Valneanne permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:27 pm

    Midnight.

    She stared at the old clock, none of hands moved, not even the minute hand. Lying perfectly still, Bea slowly moved her hand to look at the ceiling, closing her eyes she counted back from ten as she waited.

    She’d only gotten to five when the room grew colder, and as she reached four she could hear the voices talking in her ears, at three she heard their screams and at two she felt them moving about the room.

    At one a transparent face appeared in front of her and she screamed.

    And kept on screaming, she screamed until she didn’t have the voice to scream anymore, pushing herself up and closer to the wall away from the figure she shivered, biting her lip.

    The girl watched her, seeming confused although Bea couldn’t really tell with those horrible gashes covering her face. She was wearing a dress, but it was thorn and ripped all over, but the worst part was her eyes, even transparent Bea could see madness dancing in the dark corners of the girl’s mind.

    Not again.

    “W-who a-re y-you?” she croaked out, pressing her back against the wall.

    “Linnet,” the girl answered as she absentmindedly looked into the mirror next to Bea’s closet. Following the girl’s eyes Bea looked at the mirror as well, the girl was nowhere to be seen in the mirror.

    Your reflection is your soul, but when you no longer have a body, you won’t see it anymore.

    Swallowing softly she looked back at the girl, unable to keep from cringing as she looked into her eyes again, shifting her gaze she kept looking at the door handle she could see through the girl.

    “Why are you here?” Please, any other answer than–

    “I was told to come here,” Linnet said.

    That one.

    • January 7, 2010 11:46 pm

      That was excellent. Dress was probably torn instead of thorn, tho’.

      • Valneanne permalink
        January 11, 2010 7:38 am

        … That I did, it’s one of my most frequent spelling mistakes which I never notice no matter how many times I re-read something. *sigh*

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:23 pm

      Ohhh! This is CREEPY… unsettling. In a GOOD way. Love your extremely vivid descriptions. Would really like to see more from you. Keep coming back, okay?!

    • January 11, 2010 8:42 pm

      i really like this. the first paragraph really catches your eye. how you describe it, i feel like im there. really great.

  13. January 7, 2010 10:23 pm

    This is from Exit Point, my NaNoWriMo project that I haven’t had the courage to start editing yet. It is paranormal YA.

    I moan softly as Nick’s warm lips move down my throat to the little hollow above my collar bone. At least I think it’s Nick. Could be Kevin. It’s really dark out here and I’ve had a lot to drink. He smells nice, anyway.
    “Sorry, baby,” I say, pushing him off me. “But I have to go pee.”
    “Can’t you hold it, Mimi?” he whines. I was wrong. It’s Josh.
    “No.” I dodged a bullet there.
    I don’t know where my shoes are, so I stumble across the rough concrete barefoot. Between the flaccid glow from streetlight in front of the subdivision clubhouse and the banal half moon, I have enough light to find the bushes. Don’t know why I’m bothering. Nobody can really see me anyway.
    I squat in the bushes for a while after I’m done, trying to figure out a way to stay out here with my friends, but avoid Josh. I look at my cell phone to check the time. It is 12:59. We have not been here a whole hour yet. So much for that idea. Maybe if I tell him I think I might hurl, he’ll back off. I decide to go back to the party. Lexie is probably with Nick and Sierra’s got Kevin in the bushes somewhere, and that’s why I am stuck with Mr. Lame-o.
    I know no one can see me, but I can’t help feeling like someone is watching me. It’s really creepy. I know it is only my imagination, but I could swear there is a shadow near the beer cooler. Who sees shadows in the dark? Better get going before Loser comes looking for me.
    I’ll grab a beer on the way. May as well look like I might be at the puking stage.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:21 pm

      Wow… I LIKE this. It’s very real. Gritty. There’s a hopelessness in the casual way your narrator describes the various guys at the party, but it’s authentic. That’s SO important in YA. Teens can spot a phony a mile off.

      I’d DEFINITELY be interested in seeing more of this! Thanks for posting!

  14. January 7, 2010 10:01 pm

    THE END TIMES

    Juliet raked through the smoldering ashes, revealing large chunks of bone the fire failed to thoroughly burn. The ashes caked on her pale white face were streaked with the unstoppable tears running down like furrows in the dirt.

    It was bad enough when Mama and her baby brother, Ben, died. Then she didn’t think she could go on when Papa died. But losing her life-long companion and former tutor, George, had almost done her in.

    Knowing she had to burn the body to prevent future spread of the sickness, Juliet had been overwhelmed with too much grief and hopelessness to perform the job for three days. It was finding the vultures feeding on George’s body that spurred her into action.

    She dragged his bulky body from the back porch, where he had died, to the clearing almost 100 yards from the house. After pouring kerosene over the body, she lit a match and watched her tutor, her best friend, burst into flames.

    Juliet was totally alone now – no family, no friends – afraid to go the five miles into town to find out if there were anymore survivors. It had only been three weeks since the sickness had hit her small rural hometown. Horror stories had started airing over television and radio at the onset of the sickness, descriptions of the ravaging sickness that was killing hundreds of thousands of people in the blink of an eye …

    … At 13, Juliet had always thought of Papa as her rock – he could do no wrong. And this is why Juliet hated herself for blaming Papa. Papa was supposed to keep them all safe. He was supposed to protect her and Mama and baby Ben.

    But Papa had been helpless when the disease invaded their tiny corner of the world. Papa didn’t have the answers – Papa couldn’t save them – he couldn’t save himself.

    • January 7, 2010 10:17 pm

      I can really visualise what is happening here, and that first sentence really caught me – I was not expecting to see bone mentioned as sitting amongst the ashes, and the moment it did pop up I had to know more.

    • January 7, 2010 11:43 pm

      I liked how you showed the reader how sad Juliette was. You did a great job of getting in her head and showing us what was happening to her. Since she lived in a rural area AND had a tutor (those two things seemed an odd juxtaposition to me), I wondered if Juliette and her family were on Earth or were offworld colonists. My only nitpick was with the technical details of the corpse. Unless it is very cold, a body that has been decomposing for 3 days will be very difficult to handle, especially if scavengers have been at it. It would probably take more than one gruesome trip to get all of it there. Also, she would need to pile up some wood under or on top of poor old George to get ashes with chunks of bone. But aside from that, great job.

    • January 7, 2010 11:58 pm

      This is great–Juliet’s pain definitely comes through to the reader. It can be so hard to write scenes that don’t involve dialogue, but you did an amazing job here. I’m very interested to read more, you’ve got me hooked!

    • Georgia permalink
      January 8, 2010 7:18 pm

      I can really imagine everything you have described in your writing, it is very poignant. I want to know alot more about your character Juliet, i cant wait to read more!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:17 pm

      You’ve dropped us right into a fascinating situation. One that makes me want to know more about the story, what’s going on, what’s happened to everyone. I can clearly visualize everything in your story, the house (which I see as older and white), the old porch, the clearing where she burns the body…

      Nicely done, Bobbi! Hope you come back to share again!

  15. January 7, 2010 9:43 pm

    “The Southern Kingdoms?” I had heard of the lands to the south, beyond the mountains. Stories told of dangerous men, cutthroats at every corner and a land too wild to be tamed by the emperor. “Is it safe?”

    Nemison laughed. “Safe? It’s safer than staying here. I’ll create the portal and you run through it first. I’ll be close behind.”

    I heard the rapid footfalls behind me, wondering how close Blorn’s guards were to catching up with us. The air in front of us shimmered as his magic opened a portal. I’d never been through one before, but I’d heard they were harmless. Perhaps I’d experience a little discomfort the first time.

    “Keep running right through,” Nemison said. He let go of my hand. I turned around as my foot entered the portal and saw him stop. A guard caught up with him and grabbed his arms. Twisting them behind Nemison’s back, they forced him to the ground.

    “No!” I screamed. But it was too late, I’d already entered the portal.

    My body coasted through what felt like empty space as I transported from my father’s estate to an unknown location in the Southern Kingdoms.

    My feet landed on the floor, the rest of my body collapsing in front of them. I bent at the waist, my stomach contracting with spasms. It felt more like a warrior had punched me instead of the gentle flutter Nemison had assured me I’d feel when we passed through the portal. More like momentary torture.

    I laid on the floor a few minutes as the spasms relented. The wood under my body felt warm, unlike the cool hardwood of my northern home. I traced a knothole with my fingertip relaxing in the stillness of the moment.

    • January 7, 2010 11:17 pm

      Great job of upping the stakes. The MC has really had the rug pulled out from under him, and it looks like he might not have the skills/experience to fix the problem.

    • January 7, 2010 11:55 pm

      I’m intrigued. This is really well-written and your suspense is great. As this is my first time at Open Mic, I haven’t read any more (if you’ve posted earlier snippets), but I can definitely tell that some kind of twist is happening in this scene. I definitely want to read more!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:13 pm

      This has really NICE flow. Reading it feels effortless, and I think that’s a key part of reading for me. Not that you shouldn’t THINK about what you’re writing, but that everything should be pieces together in such a way that it FLOWS. This does, and I’m intrigued with the world you’ve introduced here.

      Hope to hear more from you!

      • January 10, 2010 8:57 pm

        Thank you, Michelle, Erin and Artemis! This was my first time participating in open mic and it was fun. 🙂

  16. January 7, 2010 8:35 pm

    Okay, back to the NaNo project it seems. XD This is just part of a longer snippet I posted up on my blog during November.

    The simple of act of stepping into the graveyard made the world seem greyer. It was not the stone walls of the church that did it, nor was it the stones that marked the graves of so many lost loved ones – although both of these things did assist the feeling, surely. It was just that there was a feeling of greyness to the world, that even the bright colours flicking about the edges seemed darker.

    The only spot of colour that did seem bright was the hair, bright as fire, of a young woman already visiting a grave marked by a towering angel. A young boy, perhaps eight years old, seemed to be with her, although he was far more interested in exploring the graveyard itself and seeing all the symbols on the headstones than he was in actually mourning.

    Nathan blinked. The red-haired woman was no longer at the angel, but one row forward. Perhaps he had been wrong, just so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he assumed the woman was here to mourn his wife as well. When she was alive, his world had revolved around Sorcha. He was young, and she was beautiful, and they were in love. Then they had one beautiful daughter, whom Nathan saw as a second sun to revolve around.

    They had been so happy. And then, it was just him and Aurora, and they were not.

    Sorcha was buried beneath the angel in the middle of the graveyard; the statue wore her face. In its arms it held a baby, wrapped tight and held close to its chest. The real Sorcha was deep below, in the cold ground, with her arms wrapped around the babe that they had wanted so badly and that had taken her life.

    • January 7, 2010 10:04 pm

      Nice, Catherine! Your descriptions made me shiver – I could see the woman and boy standing under the towering angel.

    • January 7, 2010 11:14 pm

      That is so poignant. I liked how the greyness of his feelings was embodied and amplified by the grey church and environs. That painted a very beautiful, sad picture. Now, I’m wondering if the red-haird woman is just an example of how his mind pulls everything into the gravitational field of his grief, or is she really something strange…

    • January 7, 2010 11:33 pm

      You’ve got a real talent for describing things. I could totally see what you were going for–very vivid!

    • January 8, 2010 12:10 am

      I like this, you can tell that the characters have already been fleshed out enough. The descriptions are awesome as well and I hope to see more from you in the future. 🙂

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:11 pm

      Oh, wow… Catherine. CATHERINE.

      This is GOOD. No, not good. GREAT. You have such a gift for setting and your pieces have such strong voice. I’m transported as easily and instantly to this world as I was to the others you’ve shared.

      VERY nice, hon.

  17. January 7, 2010 7:46 pm

    “Crotchety, that’s what my grandpa would call you.” Now he was talking about her freaking crotch? If she had any doubts about him running with the asshats, they were now washed away.
    “You’re an ass.”
    “And you don’t even know my name.” He said it like it was, a fact.
    “Why would I bother?”
    “Ahh the fact that I have been in your grade all year?” the corner of his mouth turned up. For all her silent and verbalised accusations, she was the one looking like an ass.
    “I bet you don’t know mine either.”
    “Molly.” He didn’t pause for dramatic effect, just shot it out like an arrow finding its target. Her face must have expressed her pique as he laughed silently. Clearly he was a guy that liked a challenge.
    “Fine. Who might you be oh exulted one?”
    He jumped down with surprising finesse. He sprang up and stretched his arms above his head like a wannabe cricketer “Mitch. Mitch Andrews.”
    “Mitch? Not Johnno, or Stevo or Hatto?” It was with unabashed glee. Apparently there was a rule that adding an o to the end of one’s name made them instantly part of the gang.
    “Who do you think I am?”
    “A footballer who’s brain defaults to a some sort of hive Queen.”
    “Ouch.” His hand rose to where his heart lay. “That hurt…”
    “Good. I didn’t think an ignoramus had feelings.”
    “Oh we do, unlike the ice queen standing before me.”
    “Who’s dolling out the ouchies now?”
    “That would be me. I can be bitchtastic too.” He folded his arms, glanced at me through his peripheral vision and sported a gigantic grin. The giggle was building up inside of me. Bitchtastic? Clearly he wasn’t as stupid as most of the guys he hung out with but who was she to judge? Her friendship group at school consisted of the dust bunnies that collected around her feet as she sat alone in the corridors.
    “You sure can, you’re definitely in touch with your inner shrew.”
    “Better an outie than an innie.”
    She nodded her agreement, “Too true. I think I’ve mastered that.”
    “What was your training for that?”
    “Oh you know heavy eyeliner application…” pointing at her own, “hair pulling, vocabulary expansion for effective insults and the death glare.”
    He raised his hands performing a ‘not worthy.
    “I bow to you my queen.”
    “Why thank you, kind sir.”

    • Indigo permalink
      January 7, 2010 9:30 pm

      This is great! I absolutely love the humor going on. Keep it up!

    • January 7, 2010 9:50 pm

      Hilarious! I had a picture in my head and they cracked me up. Sarcasm is my second language, so I appreciate this excerpt.

    • Valneanne permalink
      January 7, 2010 10:24 pm

      I love this one, what I really love is that despite there being no description of the characters or the setting, the characters sort of fleshed it out for me (even though they don’t actually say anything specific, my mind’s eye started imagining things just from the simple facts littered through the sample). The humour is excellent, but I really love how fleshed-out the characters seem 🙂

    • January 7, 2010 11:03 pm

      I thought the dialogue sounded very realistic, but you might want to tag a few more of the lines – I wasn’t always sure who was talking. I’d like to know more about where they are and why they are there and why he is attracted to her (and if that is a good thing or a bad thing).

    • January 7, 2010 11:26 pm

      This is great! I love sarcastic banter, and you write it well. I definitely have a feel for these two characters already, in just these 300 words. Good job!

    • January 8, 2010 9:58 am

      The humor in the is great….loved it!!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:09 pm

      This is GREAT, Adele. GREAT! You had me laughing in the first paragraph, and this piece is overflowing with strong voice and personality. The dialogue feels witty but authentic for teenagers. So glad you’re going to have more time to focus on your writing. You’re definitely on the right track, Sweets.

    • January 11, 2010 7:58 pm

      ah! i love it!

    • Sapphire_Dani permalink
      January 16, 2010 4:41 pm

      I absolutely love this…..reminds me of myself and a book i used to write……the girl was Dania (aka Dani) and the guy was Chase……..he got tired of the “in crowd”………
      It has its humor and I can understand the personality of Molly………I hope you write more……….XD

  18. January 7, 2010 6:56 pm

    Yay, love this feature! Here’s more of mine. It’s pretty boring, but eh.

    Loud thumping. It was all that I could hear. Was it my out-of-control heart? Was it the crushing blows of physical pain that the creatures were inflicting upon me? I couldn’t feel it, most likely due to the incredible fear that numbed my body, but I knew it had to be happening.
    So I stayed perfectly still; bunched in a heap on the floor in the fetal position, awaiting certain death. I replayed the timeline of my life throughout my mind, resisting the urge to cry out at the pathetic, intensified plunge that it took after my father’s conviction. My father. Craig Kilmer.
    This was his fault. They were seeking revenge through me. But what was next? Were they going to continue their vengeance and go after Mom as well? Aunt Mary and Lissa?
    As I listened to the continuous thumping, still waiting for my consciousness to falter, I thought about everybody back in Ohio. How would they react to the newspapers and newscasts informing them of my tragic death?
    Tragic. If I wasn’t in the process of being murdered, I would’ve laughed.
    The thumping escalated louder and louder. This was it. Goodbye world- Mom, Aunt Mary, Lissa, Hilary and Julie, Dexter-
    Dexter.
    He saw these things as well. But these things, their faces, were indirectly involved with me and my messed up issues, so why would he see the faces of three of my father’s victims? It didn’t make sense and I didn’t have the time to play detective. Because I was seconds away from death.

    • January 7, 2010 7:47 pm

      Way to get me all intrigued Katie.

      Nice use of the cliffhanger at the end.

    • January 7, 2010 9:48 pm

      Pretty boring? Hardly! My heart was thumping too…

    • January 7, 2010 10:06 pm

      Dexter – the Dexter? I love those books (and the TV series)! Great descriptions, Katie – I can see the main character huddled on the ground in a fetal postion and almost hear the tortured voices in her head. And I agree with Adele, great cliffhanger!

    • January 7, 2010 10:32 pm

      I thought you did a good job of sprinkling details to build suspense. Just what did Craig Kilmer do? Were these ghosts or mutants? I didn’t think that “crushing blows of physical pain” that she could not feel worked, tho’. Even if she could not feel the pain, she could still feel pressure, and if someone was hitting her that hard, her body would be moving. Perhaps she could wonder why she didn’t feel any of what she imagined was happening.

    • January 7, 2010 11:23 pm

      Oh my gosh…so good! You’ve sucked me in! I think this is wonderful. You’ve got quite the knack for suspense.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 9, 2010 2:07 pm

      NICE! Love the descriptions. And the narrator’s detachment as she revisits the people in her life seems very fitting, under the circumstances.

    • January 11, 2010 7:53 pm

      its great. i love the suspense and how detailed you are, but also how you dont give it all away. you leave us wanting more.

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