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Open Mic! And Jennifer Brown!

January 21, 2010

It’s time for another Open Mic, and this week, I have a surprise for youuuuu!

😀

But first the details;

Same rules as always; 300-words or less of your original poem, short story, or novel excerpt. Comment at least one other piece if you post on yourself.

As usual, I will read and (try to) comment the pieces myself, giving you one piece of constructive advice should you ask for it (and truly want it).

This Open Mic is open for entries today through Sunday, after which I suggest you wait to post on next week’s edition, because once we get to Sunday everybody’s ready to move on!

As a special surprise, I’ve asked Jennifer Brown, author of the AH-mazing book, HATE LIST, to be our guest commentator. She will also comment on each posted entry through Sunday, January 24th.

Happy Writing, guys! Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeves this week!

And if you haven’t checked out HATE LIST, you SHOULD. It’s a heartwrenchingly authentic look at the aftermath of a school shooting and was just named to YALSAs Best Books of 2010.

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
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85 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2010 11:51 pm

    Very nice suspense, and way to keep us hanging with the crimson slash across the white nightgown. I’m curious to know more about this main character… as well as about the girl in the nightgown. And how the two tie together. Very nicely done! I want to know more!

  2. Jessica permalink
    January 24, 2010 3:08 pm

    I’m back this time, glad to post again. I’m sorry it’s so late, I’ve been so busy. This is from a different WIP in which I’m messing around with tone. Comments are welcome!

    ________________________________

    Without warning, the still surrender of the night was shattered with an eerie lament as an unseen bird cried out from the trees above me. I didn’t know what it was, but something about the wail caused the invisible hairs on the back of my neck to raise themselves high, a trickle of goose bumps sliding down my arms as easily as silk slid across skin.

    I stood stock-still, fighting to get air into my lungs. With my heart pulsating at what must have been a dangerous speed, nothing moved except for my eyes as I scanned the area, searching for something that may pose the threat I now felt. Somehow, it seemed as though knowing what was causing this strange fervor of terror would lead to it becoming less alarming.

    Suddenly, I heard the unnerving crunch of a branch, broken by the footfall of whoever – whatever – was behind me. After a moment, this sound was followed by more, coming closer. Footsteps pounded on the dry earth and were running their way towards me. I spun around just as another figure burst her way through the trees. When her eyes locked with mine, she too froze in place. As both of us froze, my eyes locked with hers and something terrible haunted her irises, flooding up through their azure coloring and pushing against the very surface of her cornea.

    But as my eyes moved away from her face, they caught with something else unusual. Dashed across the white of her nightgown, ripped and torn from running through the brambles that coated the forest, was a vivid slash of crimson, standing out against the dreary backdrop of the woods. A sudden terror ripped through me at the sight of this single, unaccompanied blood stain.

    • January 24, 2010 6:12 pm

      oh, wow! thatsamazing! from the very begining it was a little suspensful, and it just fept building! really great!

      • Jessica permalink
        January 24, 2010 7:57 pm

        Thank you so much, Meagan. Glad to know the suspense worked out as planned.

  3. January 22, 2010 6:55 pm

    somethig i wrote a while ago that was in my computer. feel free to leave feedback, hepl me better it.

    Frankiestiens Creation

    I feel like I’m a cop-off.
    A mimick of those around me.
    Say something and you may find that I agree.
    But it doesn’t happen to plaese – it sticks
    Like some horrid trick.

    I’m completely unoriginal.
    The most un-unique individual.
    Pick me apart
    and you could fill carts
    With all the different pieces of people
    I’ve picked up: it’d be tall as a church, right to the steaple.

    So take a good look at frankienstiens creation.
    I’m the sensation of this nation!

    Because I’m an individuale
    Who’s completely unoriginal.
    Tak a deep look at me
    And you will soon agree.
    That I’m a cop-off of everyone I;ve ever met.
    I’m like a mixed deck of cards:
    You never know what you’re gunna get.
    What will show through, which part
    will shine.
    Everytime I speak, I feel like I’ve committed a crime.

    Because I’m a completely unoriginal
    mimick of other individuals.

    • January 22, 2010 11:28 pm

      Wow, this made me feel kind of sad. You certainly elicited emotion in me! As for the poem itself, there are so many parts of it that I really really like (and, by the way, think are delightfully original!). For example, this entire stanza:

      “I’m completely unoriginal.
      The most un-unique individual.
      Pick me apart
      and you could fill carts
      With all the different pieces of people
      I’ve picked up: it’d be tall as a church, right to the steaple”

      I particularly like the word “un-unique” and love the visual of stacking up parts and pieces of you to make them “tall as a church, right to the steeple.” If I had to make one tiny change, I would change “it’d” to “I’d,” only because it would smooth out the rhythm some and I think it might solidify the notion that, even picked apart and stacked up… these un-unique pieces are still… you.

      I also quite thoroughly enjoyed, “I’m a mixed deck of cards.” Really great visual.
      Overall a really excellent poem! I very much enjoyed reading it!

      • January 23, 2010 12:48 am

        thank you!! 😄 thank you for that pointer XD. thank you very much!!!

    • Jessica permalink
      January 24, 2010 3:10 pm

      This is great, Meagan, I love reading poetry and yours is amazing. Thanks for posting!

  4. January 22, 2010 6:44 pm

    whoops! meant like

  5. January 22, 2010 6:44 pm

    ha, i lik it! this is good.

  6. Jake permalink
    January 22, 2010 11:38 am

    This is part of a book I’m in the middle of writing. I hope you guys like it.

    After Aaron was done with his shower he sat down on his chair. His chair was a Baltimore Ravens leather recliner that he had bought off of http://www.nflshop.com. Well he paid for half of it and his parents helped him out and paid for the other half of it. He grabbed the Harry Potter book that he got from the library and read the back cover. When he had finished reading the back cover he flipped the book over and opened it up. He turned to chapter one and started reading. He told himself he would read at least two chapters. He was in the middle of the second chapter when he got up to use the bathroom and realized he wasn’t in his room. He was at a zoo. The book was not in his hands anymore. He was confused. He didn’t know what happened. The was a black haired boy standing a couple paces away. Aaron went over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.
    When the boy turned around Aaron asked, “Could you tell me your name please.”
    “Harry,” the boy replied, “Harry Potter.”
    Aaron took a few steps back in shock. He thought I my goodness I think I’m actually in
    the Harry Potter book.

    • January 22, 2010 11:20 pm

      Aha! A story within a story! Gotta love it! I have certainly had that feeling before — reading a book and getting so “into it” I’d swear I’d fallen in! I’m curious to see where this will go. Will your main character continue to “fall into” other stories, or will he simply fall into this one and end up going on some magical adventures with Harry? I see some real potential for humor here, as well as for a really likable main character (yours, but Harry’s not a bad little character, either. 😉 ). Good job! Keep going!

  7. January 22, 2010 10:55 am

    I think this is around 300 words, I’m not sure. It’s an excerpt from a WIP of mine titled “What She Didn’t Do”:

    I stood and walked to the window up front, waiting for my father and Gideon to arrive to pick me and Mamma up. All of the sounds around me were overwhelming. A four-year-old was flipping the pages of a children’s picture book, the radio tuned into an annoying country station while Luanne was singing along, Love sweeping hair from the floor, and Andrea’s voice a faint babble in the background. I wanted to get away from it, from them. So I opened the door and walked out.

    I leaned against the brick wall, feeling the sun burn the top of my head even more than it did at soccer practice. But the fresh air calmed me and I could think correctly now.

    I turned into the shade of the alley, hiding from the heat of the sun. I don’t know what made me do it, maybe it was just because I was eight and wanted to have some fun, but when I heard the backdoor of the shop squeak open, I jumped behind a trash can. Looking up, I saw the flash of a garbage bag being thrown into the can. I sat there for a few seconds, wondering when I was going to hear the door shut, when I could finally stand up because my feet were starting to hurt from sitting on them. I peeked over the trash can just in time to see Love’s yellow dress as she turned at the end of the alley, her laugh almost making me pee in my pants. Rarely had I ever even heard her talk.

    Trying to catch up with her to ask what was going on, I found myself in the front of Lou’s again. But this time, I watched as our Chevy truck backed out with my father in the driver’s seat and a certain twenty-year-old size four sitting next to him, laughing with her head back like there was no tomorrow.

    • January 22, 2010 11:14 pm

      First, I’m going to give you props for character-naming. Gideon, Love, even “Mamma” as opposed to “Ma” or “Mom” or “Mother”… all tell so much about the characters, and even the setting, right away (not to mention, gives us a hint of your “voice” immediately). And I really liked the way you sort of freeze-framed the beginning, bringing us right into your character’s ears as she(?) heard all the noises separately. I also liked the way you left us hanging, with certainly a hint that things are not altogether cool. Dad has come to pick up somebody, all right, but it’s Love and not Mamma and the main character? And what happened to Gideon? I can imagine a million ways the next scene could start (Mamma bursting out the front door, a pair of scissors in one hand, screaming, a tear-streaked Gideon standing just behind her… or something else entirely?) and would love to see what you do next with this!

      • January 23, 2010 11:22 am

        Thanks so much! 😀 Yes, the main character is a she. There is a lot of possibilities for the characters and their settings which is one of the things I’m extra-excited about. Again, thank you. I love hearing what authors have to say about my blossoming writing.

  8. January 22, 2010 4:49 am

    correction….totally meant ‘lasted’, not last.

    • January 22, 2010 5:18 am

      This is really good…I love this line
      “They are lost. Gone. They are gold” you’ve got me wanting to read more, I want to know why the father left, and ultimately, who he is referring to in the last sentence, who is the anchor?

      Is this from the “ping” moment, because I like it!

      • January 23, 2010 4:59 pm

        I really liked this, was a cliffhanger and it made me want to find out who “my anchor” is. Keep up the wonderful writing!

  9. January 22, 2010 1:44 am

    Just started working on the new piece and this declared itself as the opening passage….way less than 300 words. Still working it out.

    My mother and I had only four precious minutes together.

    They are precious, not because they were her last but as I cannot remember them and she’s not here to recall them. They are lost. Gone. They are gold.

    My father last thirty minutes longer.

    Left rather than gone. Ran as far as his grief would carry him. I wasn’t a strong enough tether.

    And then there was her. Only her. My anchor.

    • January 22, 2010 6:55 pm

      Oh, come ON! You can NOT do this to me. Seriously. You are not leaving me hanging like this for real, are you? I must know who “her. My anchor” is immediately. Pretty much I think this is excellent, excellent, excellent. Your opening line is an instant hook. You follow it with those beautiful short sentences (“They are lost. Gone. They are gold.”). Follow it again with not being the strong enough tether for your father. And then end with… another hook! Girl, you got it goin’ on. I honestly could not think of anything to change about this if I had to. Bravo!

    • Ayla permalink
      January 23, 2010 3:52 pm

      !!!! omg i HAVE to read more!!!!

  10. January 21, 2010 11:39 pm

    Really short poem I just randomly found on my computer that I wanted to get some thoughts on as to how to improve it and add a bit more. Let me know what you think… I’d really appreciate it, especially with this short one : )

    Up in the sky. No one can reach me.
    Yellow T shirt. Baseball cap.
    Leaves me on the balcony.
    Smile. Laugh. Play. Look.
    Don’t pull too far. From on the ground.
    Wasting time on the most important thing
    Catching the hare. Finding the four.
    Stolen moments. Fear of the unknown.
    I am a ghost.

    • January 22, 2010 10:39 am

      I like it! At first, I didn’t know what was going on and thought it was just one of those really happy moments when you feel like flying. Then I find out it’s a ghost! The mystery kept me reading. Good job!

    • January 22, 2010 6:49 pm

      I’m going to be the first to admit I’m not great at deciphering poetry (really, it was torture for me in college because I never “saw” what everyone else did in a poem), so I’m kind of unsure if I’m reading this one correctly. At first I thought, like Day did, that this is about a ghost. But after a few re-readings, I began to think that maybe this was a suicide…? What got me there was the shirt and baseball cap followed by the stanza “Leaves me on the balcony.” Also, the “Fear of the unknown” possibly referencing the great unknown that we all fear: death. Probably what I find the most enigmatic is this:

      “Don’t pull too far. From on the ground.”

      and also the reference to “Finding the four” (is this a Revelations reference?).

      I like the succinctness of this poem, and don’t know if I think it needs to be made longer, but maybe just an added word here or there to make it clear what a couple of these references mean.

      Another enjoyable read! 🙂

  11. January 21, 2010 9:39 pm

    Back for some more! :3
    Trying a new style this time, tell me how you like it.

    i like you.
    you + me.
    what do you say boy?

    give me your hand and i promise that i’ll take you places you’ve never been before. i’ll make you fall in love with me ; flying high on cloud nine and breathing in sweet dreams together each night. we’ll be perfectly happy with each other, never wanting for more. your dark hair contrasting against that brilliant smile of yours, and my hipbones jutting out over the top of my jeans.

    but if i make you fall in love with me, then i’ll also drive you mad ‘til you’re driving home from my house one night, pounding your fists against the steering wheel as you try to put up with me. i’ll make you cry, be sure of it because that always happens. i may cry first, but i’ll bring you along for the ride soon enough. i’ll break your heart. then, and only then, will your tears fall.

    and at least i have the guts to admit this stuff to you. at least i can look you in the eye and tell you how everything will end, unlike other girls. at least you’ll be prepared.

    so forget that other girl, she doesn’t like or know you as much as i do. she breathes and lives and loves every single day without you already, don’t you see? what if i can’t, though? this isn’t some silly crush, believe me.

    boy,
    take a chance on me.
    i’m worth it.

    • January 22, 2010 2:07 am

      I like it, there’s an honesty and flirtatiousness (sp) that’s throughout.

      I think you need to make some of the language a little more sophisticated in a few select places, specific ‘put up with me’ and ‘admit stuff’ . By tweaking the vocab just a touch it will have more emotional resonance…unless of course your intent was to have it be a throwaway statement?

      Thanks for sharing.

      • January 22, 2010 2:56 pm

        Thanks! 🙂
        And at the time I didn’t know whether it was going to be a throwaway statement or not, it’s still a work in progress. I’ll probably end up changing it though and thanks for pointing out those two spots. ^^

      • January 22, 2010 6:36 pm

        its really good. i like the honesty in it.

    • January 22, 2010 6:37 pm

      Very interesting! There’s an honesty to this that feels very gritty and real to me. Love the pounding of the fists on the steering wheel and the promise to “cry first,” but “take you along for the ride.” I especially like this:

      “she breathes and lives and loves every single day without you already, don’t you see? what if i can’t, though?”

      and think it’s probably the most poignant line in the whole thing. I also like how the beginning and the end “mirror” each other and provide “bookends,” if you will. Very nice!

      • January 23, 2010 4:58 pm

        Thanks Jennifer, that means a lot coming from you. :3 This was definitely a work in progress, but it’s something that I thought readers would be able to connect with.

  12. January 21, 2010 9:26 pm

    This is my first time doing this. Anyways, here is an excert of my WIP. I hope you enjoy it.

    I hate the smiles that people give in high school. It is as fake, as the “Prada” purses that girls in my school guard like they are your children or a piece of thier demented soul. No one likes anyone in high school, so why do we pretend that to like another. The only person that understands this in the high school is Jordan. She helps me understand that being nice has a reason in high school. It gives you things and I don’t mean sex or drugs. It gives you this sense of power. Some sort of ability over people, while being a bitch gives you nothing, but a few dirty looks and other nasty things.
    “Julia!” I turn around to see Smith. His name is Michael Smith, which I suspect to be some sort of cruel trick on him by his parents to pick the two most common names in the English language. His parents are total suits and have major sticks up their ass. I call him Smith, since it annoys him like crazy.
    I roll my eyes and say, “What do you need Smith?”
    “I would like you in my bed. You know what I would do to you, and can you stop calling me Smith, it isn’t my name.”
    I smack him on the side of the head, “That is sickening, Smith. You are such a freaking pervert. So, why did you want to talk to me?”
    “Well, homecoming is soon and I need a date. You are the only one that isn’t going with someone. So, maybe we could go with each other and not have to go stag.”
    I smack Smith in the head again. The truth is that my smacks might feel more like a left falling on you. Annoying but not a big deal. “I told you that I am not going to go out with you. I have been avoiding you since our classes about puberty. You are a complete ass hat. I don’t want to fall in love and end up like my parents. I want to be happy and full of sunshine. I want to be free”
    “You can be happy without falling in love. Lust is a much more powerful drug.” Smith takes a step towards me and kisses me on the cheek. I really hate him somethings, because he makes me actually feel something.

    • January 22, 2010 6:31 pm

      First and foremost, it’s a little known fact that “asshat” is one of my favorite words, so you get bonus points right out of the gate! 🙂 Seriously, I’m really diggin’ your irreverent voice, and love that your main character has all sorts of attitude. When you start off with a big attitude like that, it makes it all the more poignant and fun later in the story when you soften the character up (which you begin to do in your very last line here by saying Smith, though you hate him, actually makes you “feel something,” which is a huge, wonderful statement). I laughed out loud at your character calling him Smith, not “even though it annoys him,” but “BECAUSE it annoys him,” and I roared at the sentence: “I have been avoiding you since our classes about puberty.” TOO FUNNY!!!

    • January 22, 2010 6:34 pm

      i love this! especially the ending sentence!! 🙂 its awesome!! (i love how she talks about high school, because it is so true!)

  13. January 21, 2010 8:08 pm

    Hi Michelle, hi Jennifer! Here’s an excerpt from my current WIP, enjoy! 😀

    I remember that day as if it were yesterday.
    My brother Abel locked up in a cage, the straw-covered bottom strewn with remnants of past meals, causing the inside of the cage to smell pungent and reek of fetid meat and other rotten food. His skin was papery white, his stomach round and bloated from the copious amounts of food he’d been forced to consume in hopes that he would become fat enough for the witch to cook and eat in order to sustain her diet of children.
    And I remember me, feeling utterly helpless and racked with guilt as I watched my brother suffer from the other side of the cage while I was forced to cook the meals that were used to fatten him up. My hands were red and raw from washing dishes for hours on end and my feet and back ached from standing at the stove constantly. So not only was I a slave to the witch who had so successfully fooled us both into thinking she cared for us, but I was also an accomplice in my brother’s destruction.

    • January 22, 2010 2:06 pm

      Creeepy! But in a totally engrossing way! At first I thought the brother was some sort of circus or carnival sideshow, and I was down with that, but then you bring in a witch and everything gets… whoa, really exciting! And the sister is the one fattening him up for being the witch’s feast? What wonderful, horrible, WONDERFUL conflict! What I really loved most was the description of the cage — I could almost smell it — and of the brother with the white, bloated belly. I would love to hear more — I’m certain the sister is furtively sneaking glances at him, or maybe in some other way trying to help him out. Talking to him, coaching him, passing him things that will help him escape.

      And you want to know what’s really amazing? I’ve already got an image of the witch in my mind, even though you never described her! You pulled me in so immediately with the description of the cage, I was able to “see” the monster who was doing this.

      Cool story!

  14. Ayla permalink
    January 21, 2010 7:43 pm

    oh cool and when you highlight the smiley it turns sideways!!!

    • January 22, 2010 6:30 pm

      i really like this! it has a suspense feeling about it that i love. i would really like to read more

  15. Ayla permalink
    January 21, 2010 6:22 pm

    Hi Michelle! (and Jennifer 😀 )

    Last week I got some constructive feedback… so I used that feedback and edited my small part! Tell me what you think!

    Constructive feedback would be AWESOME!

    P.S. To MZ- I noticed on the bottom left corner of the pages there is a little smiley face… it kind of confuses me on why it is there… Do you know??? 😐
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I sauntered through the open night under the smoky gray clouds. For the fifth time, I peered at the letter that leaded me to the abandoned hotel downtown. I stumbled over the rocks and debris to the so-called front. I couldn’t find a door. I checked the letter to make sure I was at the right place. I was. I ran my fingers over the cold gray stone while staring at the wall to find an entrance.
    “Hey Lady! What you doing here all alone in the dark?” I heard someone say. I whirled around to see a boy wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. “You can call me Rake.”
    “I’m looking for a door.” I said, trying to hide fear.
    “Why does a pretty lady like you need a door?” He asked in his southern accent. Then, a new voice came to my attention.
    “That’s enough Raikel… I’m expecting this young lady.” said the man. I slowly turned around to see the man that had sent me the letter. He was wearing a dark suit with a tie, as if he were going to a formal restaurant. He took a few steps toward me. He held out a hand. “I am Leon.”
    I placed both my hands inside my pocket. “I’m Kiara.” I replied.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    To Jennifer Brown- I haven’t read you book yet but I probably will now!!! Do you have a website???

    • January 21, 2010 7:45 pm

      You’ve got great ambiance going in this piece. It feels gray and dark and cold and frightening. The reader definitely gets a sense that *something* is about to happen. I love the “visual” of this nervous and jittery young lady sort of scrabbling through rocks and debris in the dark, searching for a door at the behest of a stranger, who comes out looking formal and powerful and in command (not to mention, why is a guy in formal-looking attire summonsing a young lady to such an odd place? Suspense!).

      Because you asked for constructive criticism, I will say that I noticed a lot of sentences beginning with the word “I.” Not a big deal by any means, but you might try switching it up a bit, just to keep the sentences from sounding too similar.

      Overall, I’d say you’ve got a great start on something here. I’m definitely interested in where this story is going!

      • Ayla permalink
        January 21, 2010 7:52 pm

        Cool!!! Thanks 😀

  16. January 21, 2010 6:07 pm

    Oooooh…another author! 🙂 Anywho, here’s another excerpt from my novel. At this point, Liz (my main character) has already been in the religious cult for a handful of months. This is a conversation between her and her mother.

    ——-

    There was a pause in which neither woman looked at each other. Elizabeth looked at the floor and her mother looked at her hands. After several seconds, Mom spoke up again, “But isn’t killing one of the seven deadly sins? Because that’s what it sounds like this Pastor Simon and your supposed friends are doing to you. They’re starving you—killing you slowly.”

    Elizabeth’s feet dropped to the floor suddenly and she stared at her mother with a look of pure shock. “They’re not killing me slowly.”

    “Sounds like it to me.”

    “You don’t understand!” Elizabeth cried, standing angrily. “You don’t understand the ways of the Children of the Rose! They’re not killing me—they’re not killing anyone! Pastor Simon’s helping us all get to Heaven on the one true path, on the path that God told him about! You don’t know anything! This stupid family isn’t even religious, so how dare you judge the Children!”

    “Wrath,” her mother quietly scolded, desperate to make a point.

    Elizabeth glared at her mother and scooped up her journal. She stormed into her room, but turned around and added with loathing dripping in each syllable, “And killing is one of the Ten Commandments. Shows how much you know.” With that, she slammed her door.

    Once in the safe haven of her room, she threw herself onto her bed and listened to her mom walking back down the attic stairs. She glared at the wall in front of her, but the anger was still bubbling. Elizabeth looked at the journal she was still holding in her hand and when her stomach started rumbling again, she chucked the book across the room, where it hit the wall hard.

    • January 21, 2010 7:37 pm

      Oh my! I’m so impressed with the concepts I’m seeing on this Open Mic! So you’re tackling religion and possibly anorexia at the same time, maybe? SO COOL! I loved the conflict between mother and daughter. It seemed very “real” to me. Mom is broaching the subject, tentatively but with very strong feelings and emotions. The daughter is defending just as strongly. Love how you slipped in the 7 Deadly Sins thing in there. I didn’t even catch it, which is good, because normally if I catch something like that I’d spend the next three paragraphs going, “She totally didn’t do her research on this!! Error! Error!” But I loved how you used that very small touch to set up more of a chance for the main character to solidify her view that her mother doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Anyway, I think you have a really solid story idea here, if it’s going where I think it’s going. And your writing style is natural and your characters believable. I say you’ve got something really good here.

      • January 23, 2010 3:00 pm

        Thank you very much for your kind comments! 🙂

    • January 21, 2010 8:16 pm

      Hi Erin!

      Ooo, I love this piece! It’s so fiery and full of passion! I really get a feeling of how strongly the main character believes in the cult and it’s teachings! Great job! 😀

    • January 22, 2010 7:11 pm

      I like the plot so far. It is really interesting and I want more.

    • Jessica permalink
      January 24, 2010 3:00 pm

      Wow, this is amazing. You took my breath away, I can picture everything, wonderful job.

  17. Shannon Hamling permalink
    January 21, 2010 6:00 pm

    This is an excerpt from a book I’m currently working on. Thanking you so much for your reviews, provided you post one. =]

    “Just remember that it was always your arms I wanted to die in. Not to cause you grief but to tell you that I’m sorry.” Ethan paused and then continued to answer my unspoken question. “I’m sorry that my last breath would be the last time I would say, I love you” he whispered softly.
    The clear salty tears cleaned tiny trails through the blood and grime on his beautiful face. By now my own sorrowful tears created waterfalls down my cheeks, always in constant motion, one right after the other like falling soldiers. Hiccups and a runny nose soon accompanied but my Ethan didn’t seem to care he stared dazedly up at me.
    “Ethan Nathaniel Jones you CAN NOT leave me!” I screamed, forcing the bitter words through my teeth. He smiled and ran a dirty hand down the left side of my face.
    “You’re not cold anymore” he grinned. His body jerked and a concerned expression took over his countenance. He grabbed for his heart and clawed at his chest.
    “No. Ethan!” his eyes closed. “Ethan!” I cried. I screamed as loud as I could into the open clearing in the forest I had dragged Ethan into. My werewolf instincts roared in the deepest part of my body and my thirst for revenge temporarily replaced my vampirism thirst for blood. I leaned down to Ethan’s head and whispered in his ear.
    “I’ll get him.” I said shakily “I’ll get him and rip him to shreds. Who ever it is.” This came out with more fierceness.

    PLEASE review. PLEASE!
    thank you

    • January 21, 2010 7:12 pm

      Okay, so I am a serious werewolf fan, serious, they are my forte. So I am so so glad someone has finally posted about them! But I’m wondering why this girl has a vampirism thirst for blood, is she a hybrid? And who did this to Ethan? whats happened to him. I could feel the tension building as you got closer and closer to the end. I want to know who did this to them and why, which is fab, because I want to read more. Great stuff!

    • January 21, 2010 7:29 pm

      Whoa, talk about being dropped right into the action! I have some questions about the main character — I’m assuming it’s a female, is she half-vampire/half-werewolf, etc. — and of course these are all questions that are hard to answer in such a short snippet of writing. But what I’m really enjoying about the main character is the contrast between the two emotions — the soft, weeping, sorrowful grief and the blind rage. Play up this contrast and I think you’ll have a really cool well-rounded character. Nicely done!

      • shannon hamling permalink
        January 22, 2010 5:40 am

        Thank you ever so much for your reviews. =] I can’t tell you how extactic I am to hear some perspective other than my family’s which, though they are incredibly supportive, I am convinced are trained to say they like my writing.

    • shannon hamling permalink
      January 22, 2010 5:56 am

      If it isn’t too much trouble could I get someone to nit-pick at it. Sounds crazy, I know but I kinda want someone to tear away the bad stuff so I can rebuild it. Like muscles, they get stronger every time. 🙂

    • Sapphire_Dani permalink
      January 22, 2010 11:31 am

      WOW!!!!! A hybrid?? Nice touch…and something I was not expecting…..To be honest I, gave up on vamps and werewolves for a while and this….maybe I might change my mind……Continue please!!!!!!!! I’ll just love to read a blood and gore scene as a follow up to this!!!

  18. January 21, 2010 5:18 pm

    This is the from the same story as last week. Just a little bit nervous knowing not just one but TWO awesome authors are commenting this week. Breathe in. Breathe out. Thank you, Michelle, again for doing this. ~Danielle~

    For the first time in a long time everyone will be able to see me. Not just the unlucky few. Every.Single.Person. I’m more nervous about that than meeting Leigh. In a way I already know her. I know her pain and that’s kind of like knowing her. We share a bond over her grief although I’m not opening with that. Definitely not opening with, “Hi. I claimed your mom’s soul and caused you all this misery, want to hang out?” I don’t think that’s the best opening line. I’d like her to never know that I was responsible for her pain. I’d like to help her. I’d like to pretend I’m normal just for today.
    I take a deep breath and walk inside the Purple Cow coffee shop. I glance around trying to catch people staring at me. No one even bothers to look my way except for the employee. That’s kind of disappointing, but I’m relieved.
    “What can I get you, buddy?” the older man behind the counter asks me.
    He’s not on the list.
    “Regular coffee, please.”
    “You betcha,” he says.
    I dig out a dollar and some change from the front pocket of my slightly faded jeans and leave it on the counter. I feel a little guilty about taking money from Hank, but he insisted after I told him that although I’m not allowed sometimes I want to eat real food. He said a young man like myself needs to break the rules and treat himself once in a while and handed me a bunch of money. I took just a little and left the rest where Cora would find it. She’ll need it more than me.

    • January 21, 2010 7:08 pm

      I love this story…..i’m wondering why everyone will be able to see him, is he expecting to find Leigh in the coffee shop? and who is Cora. The line “he’s not on the list” in there, made me wonder who else was on the list, someone in the coffee shop? Can’t wait to see more of this, you are awesome like a hot dog!

    • January 21, 2010 7:22 pm

      Okay, so I cheated and went back to last week to see if I could figure out who this character is. At first I was leaning toward Satan, but now I’m thinking maybe the Grim Reaper, and what I find most exciting about this is how vulnerable and multi-dimensional the character is! If he is a seriously bad dude, such as the ones I noted above, I’m very much intrigued by this storyline. Imagine, making your readers sympathetic to an Ultimate Bad Guy (you know, of course, this kind of storyline is right up my alley!). I also really love that you’ve tackled a male voice, and the narrative feels appropriately young and cavalier and at some points almost humorous. You left me wanting to read more, my friend. I’m very curious about where this story is going!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 22, 2010 8:52 am

      I REALLY love this, Danielle. You do a nice job with the mail voice, and I love the glimpses of wry humor in passages like this;

      “Definitely not opening with, “Hi. I claimed your mom’s soul and caused you all this misery, want to hang out?” I don’t think that’s the best opening line.”

      Like the above commenters, I get the idea that this is not necessarily a good guy, but you’ve humanized him in a very short passage. And that takes talent.

      Very nicely done! Keep coming back!

      MZ

    • January 22, 2010 11:04 am

      Thank you Carla, Jennifer and Michelle!

    • Sapphire_Dani permalink
      January 22, 2010 11:27 am

      really awesome…..something that would most certainly pull in a fussy teen like me……can’t wait for more……

  19. January 21, 2010 4:57 pm

    Another author? That only makes me a tiny bit nervous, haha. Here’s another clip from my WIP.

    She dropped yet another page into my lap. I wasn’t going to look, I really wasn’t. But her cold fingers pulled my hand away from my mouth and her touch startled me. When my eyelids flickered open, it was right there.

    Oh, no. Please, no.

    A toddler stared up at me. Her dark brown hair was full of fierce curls and her features were glowing with curiosity, probably at the camera that had been shoved in her face. My eyes slid up, even though I already knew the simple horror that the headline held. ‘MOTHER FINDS DAUGHTER DEAD AT DOORSTEP ’ I couldn’t stop the tears from cascading this time. I breathed in a heavy gasp as I scanned the page, my gaze sweeping across the first few words.

    “The body of missing 3-year-old Jessie Middleton turned up on the porch of her Pittsburgh home late Friday evening-”

    Leaping off of the bed, I grabbed for the trashcan and aimed. I heaved up a mixture of tears, anguish and turkey. My head spun with the images of those poor people. That poor baby. How could he do it? How could somebody, no matter how sadistic they are, be so heartless as to do something like that? Who would be that cruel?

    My own father, that’s who

    My own flesh and blood.

    And I never suspected a single thing.

    When I was done puking, I lifted my head from the trashcan and glared across the room at Mom. She had more paper clippings on her lap, and I couldn’t stop the sudden outrage that coursed through my veins.

    • January 21, 2010 5:05 pm

      oh my god, I couldn’t believe it when I read that “dad” comment, at first I thought, “why is she saying he, how does she know it was a man” this is really good, really drew me in!

    • January 21, 2010 5:27 pm

      Wow! That’s all. I’ll have to come back and comment when I have more words. Well done.

      I’m in. You’ve hooked me.

    • January 21, 2010 5:55 pm

      (Don’t be nervous! I promise I’m only slightly mean and nasty! Mwahahaha! Kidding!)
      Oh, holy WOW! Okay, first of all, you can’t leave me hanging like this. I need to know more of this story. Very excellent! This is a very vivid scene, from the protag sitting on the bed with fingers pushed to mouth (excellent body language of someone who is upset and/or nervous and “pulling away,” by the way) to the description of the toddler on the page to the puking “tears, anguish and turkey,” I could see it all. Every little bit of it. I could feel the rage and the confusion and the sadness and the sickness… very nicely done! You’ve got me hooked!

    • Shannon Hamling permalink
      January 21, 2010 6:03 pm

      my, my, that is captivating. I can’t wait to read more if you choose to continue your writing and publish. Much luck to you!

    • January 21, 2010 6:28 pm

      Wow. That was amazing. And such a thrilling twist with the “dad” thing. I could actually feel my heart skip a beat when I hit that part. I want to know more! 🙂

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 22, 2010 8:49 am

      Really enjoyed this, Katie! It’s definitely got a dark edge to it. Is it a thriller? YA or adult?

      In any case, sounds like a truly intriguing plot.

      Hope to hear more from you, hon!

      • January 22, 2010 6:18 pm

        wow. that got me interseted right away! i reeally want to read more!

    • January 22, 2010 7:09 pm

      I want more…. It is really great.

  20. Sapphire_Dani permalink
    January 21, 2010 4:35 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.

    Reviews please….thank you!!!!!!!

    • January 21, 2010 5:23 pm

      I’m not that good with reviewing/commenting on poetry. I think it comes from years of English courses. Please forgive me.

      So much seems to be happening here. I feel the pain of separation. Nicely done!

      I love this:
      Our short distance apart

      Means nothing when it lacks
      Everything…

    • January 21, 2010 5:49 pm

      Man, I love good romantic poetry! The first thing I want to comment on is that it’s visually appealing, and I like that in a poem. I also like that the first time you break the one-word second line in each stanza is when you get to the line “our short distance apart,” which is a short sentence, but looks so much longer because of how each stanza ahead of it was set up. This, of course, is visually saying what the poem is saying: it may be a short distance, but it’s only deceptively short. It feels longer than it is! I love the next stanza (“Means nothing when it lacks/Everything…”), as well, which sums it up beautifully — when the most important thing is gone, how “gone” it is really means nothing because gone is gone. Gorgeous!

      • Sapphire_Dani permalink
        January 21, 2010 9:11 pm

        WOW!!!! Thanks so much…..I’m only thirteen btw and I have absolutely no professional experience in writing….

    • Ayla permalink
      January 21, 2010 6:12 pm

      Ok now that- is cool!!!

    • January 21, 2010 11:41 pm

      I really loved this poem. It’s sooo relatable, which I believe to be so important to a poem. I can’t wait to see more from you : )

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 22, 2010 8:45 am

      This is beautiful! I’ve said before that I’m terrible at critiquing poetry (must get Ellen Hopkins on here!), but this is just lovely.

      MZ

  21. January 21, 2010 4:16 pm

    Woah……..Jennifer Brown…..wow!! how friggin cool is that?! Okay, so you may remember me from last week and the story with the nurse?? maybe not…..if you do, then this is part of the same story but chapters ahead. It’s the same girl though 🙂

    Sometimes when my mum is sleeping, I sneak downstairs and out into our garden. I stand in the shadows, swallowed by the night, letting the cold air seep into my bones. Let it numb my skin and turn my toes to the prettiest shade of violet I have ever seen. I stand still until my body riots from the cold, violent tremors shaking me back into my own skin. Sometimes I just want to feel something, anything.

    I’m standing in the shadow of our elm tree, basking in the soft glow of the moon. My fingers and toes tingling from the cold. A frigid breeze stirs the blades of grass around me, swaying in perfect unison, whispering suggestions of a coming storm. The cold spreads slowly at first and then it is almost forceful, slamming me back into my skin. I sigh; the night air floats out of my mouth in little puffs, each one dancing before me. When I start to ache, I know I should go back into the house. I slowly turn around and thats when I see him.

    He’s standing in his window, casting a shadow onto our lawn. He’s stood perfectly still, his stare rooting me to the spot. I give him a small wave, just a slight flick of my frozen hand. His hand raises, and I think for a second he may wave back. He doesn’t. I watch his arm reach out, eyes never leaving mine as he pulls the cord on his blinds. They glide down his window, inch by inch they descend, robbing the light from the garden. Leaving me in a dark so dense, I wonder if the moon has been stolen from the sky.

    Thanks again guys!

    • January 21, 2010 4:58 pm

      Wow, so vividly descriptive! And the ending was awesome. Great job!

    • January 21, 2010 5:20 pm

      Carla- I like the slight changes you’ve made on this. The flow is smooth. Very vivid. And now I have a chill. 😉

    • January 21, 2010 5:41 pm

      Wow, wow, WOW! You come outa the gate swingin’, don’t you? Okay, here’s what I loved about this piece. You start with this feeling of being sooo cold, right? And you manage to make the cold beautiful, with the violet toes and the moon glow and so forth. This juxtaposition of discomfort and beauty really works! And then… this is great stuff… the coldness even turns to an almost violent edge — you’ve got the shivering (and, by the way, I love the idea of being shivered back into your own skin, because that’s exactly what it feels like!) and the cold breeze and the coming storm and even the aching, right, and then POW! you’re hit with heat when you spot the guy in the window. Immediately all talk of cold stops, and it’s almost like all that movement that had just been happening stops as well and you’re in this freeze-frame. And you want more. Loved this! Well-done!

    • January 21, 2010 6:26 pm

      Your descriptions are absolutely amazing! Way to go!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      January 21, 2010 10:54 pm

      Carla… this is amazing. AMAZING.

      This;

      “I stand in the shadows, swallowed by the night, letting the cold air seep into my bones.”

      And this;

      “I stand still until my body riots from the cold, violent tremors shaking me back into my own skin.”

      It’s beautiful and melancholy and excruciatingly vivid.

      I am TRULY impresses, hon. Can’t wait to see more!

      MZ

      • January 22, 2010 5:33 am

        I am jealous. I wish I could write passages that are both beautiful, descriptive and character building. There’s a wistfulness to it that I really liked too, beneath the cold and the anticipation. There’s a certain languor to it that I really like also, very unique.

      • January 22, 2010 5:36 am

        Thank you everyone!! You have turned me into a giggling, mumbling girl.

      • January 22, 2010 6:14 pm

        wow that was just… amazing! it was so vivid! and how you descibe the cold, and then how you feel when you see the guy, it paints a picture in my head where everything just stops. its just amazing!

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