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Thursday Night Write – Open Mic with Author Cheryl Herbsman

June 17, 2010

Sorry for the late Open Mic, guys. I was in the City all day investigating schools for Kenneth!

I know this is our third Open Mic in a row – and I promise you a prompt next week – but it’s for a very good reason; I have another awesome guest commentator for you this week.

And I never turn down an opportunity to have a talented writer read your stuff!


This week’s guest commentator is Cheryl Herbsman, the author of Breathing, a beautifully written, lyrical story set in South Carolina. It’s one of those stories that grabs ahold of you and won’t let go. I loved the authentic way Cheryl goes about exploring the struggle for independence and inner strength rather than making it seem like a guy – even THE guy – is the answer to all our problems.

Plus, it’s an absolutely perfect summer read!

But instead of trying to wow you with my review abilities, let me share the Booklist review instead;

Ever since she was a child, Savannah has heard her mother tell the story of Savannah’s first asthma attack, which occurred on the day her dad left the family. Since then, breathing has been a challenge for Savannah. Enter Jackson Channing, a gorgeous 18-year-old who is visiting his cousins. As she spends time with Jackson, Savannah’s breathing problems begin to dissipate. Then Jackson leaves for home, and Savannah’s challenge is to learn to breathe on her own, without her daddy, without her mama’s vigilance, and without Jackson’s validating love. This debut novel is a sweet, low-key romance about a young couple who find true love early and struggle to stay together as they embrace their individual growing-up challenges. Herbsman has created likable characters and a coastal Carolina setting that will capture the reader’s imagination, and she subtly emphasizes the qualities that create supportive life partners. Although some may find the dialect a challenge, it is authentic, lyrical, and consistent. Readers will look forward to more from this talented new author. Frances Bradburn

And yes. It IS as amazing as it sounds.

Thank you, Cheryl, for being our guest commentator this week!

Same rules as usual – 300 words or less and be sure to comment someone else’s excerpt if you post one of your own.

74 Comments leave one →
  1. Odyssey Hamling permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:49 pm

    “ hey Beth. What do you plan on singing Friday night?” Demitri asked as we walked to lunch.
    “ I’m not sure yet. Maybe Poker Face by Lady Gaga or Scars by Papa Roach. I’m still trying to decide” I told him.
    “ Babe. Why don’t you sing Blue Skies By Blue October?” He suggested.
    “ It’s to suggestive. People might think I’m trying to say I’m pregnant. You know that my parents are going to there. Plus you know how my dada is the only reason he said I could stay with you is because I promised that we aren’t even planning to do anything rash.” I told him.
    “ your right I just want everyone to hear how amazing you are.”
    “oh, stop. You know your really bias.”
    “ No I’m not. Your just to modest for your own good.” He said as he picked up our intertwined hands and kissed mine.
    I blushed as passing people stared at us. I tapped Demitri’s shoulder light with my free hand and he looked up at me. Then he looked around and smiled at everyone. Suddenly I felt someone tapped my own shoulder. I turned around quickly to see Demitri’s best friend Zerconious who liked me, which on a few occasions caused him and Demitri to fight.
    ______________________________________________________________________ hey all comments and advise welcome. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. June 19, 2010 6:07 pm

    sorry for the late post, didn’t get back from camping with the girls until today, and my laptop charger decided to give out on wednesday night, leaving me with a hefty bill that needed to be paid off. here’s to you all, day seven of the thirty days of letters challenge. btw, currently on day thirteen, just liked this one especially.


    dear d,

    i think that i’ve finally learned my lesson with you. i was always too proud to leave something alone when it’s dead, and i’m beginning to regret that. you kind of affected me in a way that you really shouldn’t have, and it’s tearing me up from the inside out. it would have been best if i had forgotten you so many years ago; i should have left you surrounded by your drugs and drunken nights and the flirtations of the city girls.
    but i didn’t.
    and perhaps now i need to fix things.
    i could wipe my memory clean of all of the fun times we’ve had;
    from moonlit walks to scary movies to you looking in my eyes and telling me how pretty i was and how you were speechless around me and how you couldn’t help but stop and stare when i turned my webcam on every night.
    because that way you’d just be another kid roaming the streets that i smile at because he’s cute, not because i used to love like him.
    but i’d miss you in my life. it’s better to hurt for you and still have you around than to slice away at the memories of all the fun times we had together and pull them out slowly, one by one.
    i had promised myself that i’d try so hard not to write about you again, yet here i am, tapping away mercilessly at the keyboard to talk about your bright green eyes and lopsided grin and your goshdarn uglyyetcute sweaters.
    and even though i shouldn’t be, i find myself wanting to see you again.
    just for a minute.
    one single mind-blowing minute.
    just to make sure that you’re only as okay as you promised you’d be without me.
    that you haven’t yet wasted away into a pile of pale white skin and glass bones, decorated with the odd metallic glint from your piercings.
    because see,
    i miss you.
    a lot.
    i’ve been with you through every one of your problems since i found you, shivering and alone and cold. i’ve seen you smashed and scared, horny and happy, annoyed and angry. i’ve consoled you and always made you look and see the bright side of things, now it’s only time that you be with me.
    my best friend, just like the good old days.
    what do you say?

    • June 20, 2010 5:19 pm

      This is a very moving letter. I particularly appreciated all the little details that brought the relationship to life– like the lopsided grin and the uglyyetcute sweaters. I thought you did a great job with the descriptions, such as the glass bones and the metallic glint from the piercings. And I could really feel the emotion behind the words. Very beautiful and thanks for sharing!

  3. June 19, 2010 1:55 pm

    Adele, your WIP piece is very entertaining lol I love the witty comments and it definitely get me interested 🙂

  4. June 19, 2010 1:52 pm

    umm I’m new to writing and I’ve just started my WIP. I don’t really know what to post 300 words just doesn’t seem like enough lol but here’s a piece of my work:

    As I sat on the beach watching Logan, Louna, and Riley hitting a beach ball back and forth in the water I had a lot of time to think. Why was Logan acting so…affectionate? Logan and I have never been more than friends; sure he was a great guy and hot to boot, we just never crossed that boundary, we were too close as friends to want to ruin what we had already. I stared at Logan as he hit the ball around, his hard muscular body glistening in the sun from the water, he looked over at that moment; a smile spreading across his face, and waved to me. I smiled back at him and as I raised my hand to wave back, the beach ball smacked him right in the back of the head. I burst out laughing as Logan rubbed the back of his head, he picked up the ball and threw it at Riley who was practically doubled over with laughter. That’s when I felt a shiver rise up my spine, causing my body to tremble nervously. It’s like 100 degrees out I shouldn’t be shivering, and then a massive headache hit me like I had just gotten hit in the head with a hammer. My arms instinctively gripped my head in pain, and I could feel the nausea building in my stomach. I tried to open my eyes but the light became blinding and I couldn’t focus on anything; I tried to look over to the group and call out to them, my voice wouldn’t carry and all that came out was a whimper. I sat there on my towel helpless to the onslaught of pain travelling up my neck and through my head, why was this happening, I’ve never had a migraine in my life but this fricken hurts!

    • June 20, 2010 5:15 pm

      Interesting piece, Melissa! I like the setting and the friendships presented. And I’m very curious to know more about what this pain and nausea is all about. I liked the way Logan and the main character’s eyes met and how that caused him to get hit with the ball. Keep going!

      • June 20, 2010 7:05 pm

        thanks Cheryl 🙂 like I said it’s hard to find a specific piece with only 300 words to make an impression lol thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. June 18, 2010 10:25 am

    Okay so here’s a bit of my WIP…currently in the very basic first draft stage where I haven’t looked back at what I’ve written. It’s not really a romantic book at all, mainly about a girl getting shipped off to Japan to establish a relationship with the father that deserted her. I thought this might be more fun to post.

    So the protag, Lucy meets this guy and they quickly get to the crux of it –


    “First kisses suck.” If my words didn’t convince Magnus of my seriousness, then my tone did.
    “Mine didn’t.” He sounded so frustratingly calm that I had the sudden urge to kick him in the shins or punch his arm. That told me right there that I liked him. Why did I always like the asshole.
    “I refuse to believe that.”
    “No, it’s true.”
    “Details then.” Hopefully he would reveal enough to put me off for life. The last thing I needed was a guy to complicate my stay in Japan.
    “Yours sound much more interesting.” He raised an eyebrow. He was daring me to engage. I wouldn’t be so easily lead.
    “Does not.” Okay, I had nothing. He was leading me.
    He snorts in derision.
    “Fine. His name was Doug. I was fifteen. It was like kissing a washing machine but with more suds.” Magnus sniggered.
    “You were fifteen?”
    “I had standards.”
    “Apparently not very high ones.”
    “What about yours?”
    “Her name was Dalla. I was twelve. I was in the hands of an expert.” He smirked, my hand itched.
    “That’s it, that’s all you’re giving me?” Why oh why was I doing this to myself?
    “That’s pretty much all you told me.”
    “Yeah but girls need more details. How old was this expert of yours?”
    He coughed.
    “How old?”
    “Oh ew, Magnus. That genuinely horrifies me.”
    “Horror was the last thing on my mind…or in my hands.”
    “Oh c’mon. You cannot be serious? What kind of fifteen year old lowers herself to snog a twelve year old and let him feel her up?”
    “Well I might have lied about the age a little.”
    “Ah coming clean…finally.”
    “She was sixteen.” His smile was so wide that the satellite circling above us in space could detect it

    • June 18, 2010 1:02 pm

      Adele, this is a fun excerpt! I already like the tension between Lucy and Magnus and the promise of complication to her stay in Japan. Two small things you might want to watch for — make sure to keep your tense consistent. Sometimes the narrative is past tense, such as “He was leading me” and sometimes it’s present, such as, “He snorts in derision.” And the other little thing is that you might want to add a couple more ‘he saids’ or ‘I said’s. A couple times I got confused and had to backtrack to see who was speaking. I know this is an early draft and you’d likely catch those little things on you’re own. But I just thought I’d go ahead and spot it for you:) Other than those little tidbits, I think you’re off to a great start with this WIP. I’m definitely curious to know more about Lucy and what happens during this stay in Japan. I’m also curious as to how this conversation about first kisses came up 😉

      • June 18, 2010 7:57 pm

        Thanks! I’ve been having issues with the jumping tense, never seems to stay where it should 🙂 I figured I’d go back and streamline it once I was finished the WIP. Cheers.

  6. June 18, 2010 4:30 am

    It’s week thirteen of my improv script chronicling the adventure of Venetia, who has found an amulet that is secretly a portal to the Realm of Otherness. Arachne wants to use this amulet to open up the realm and take over the world with his darkness. She has the help from her classmate, Andrick, and two time travellers, Reviva and Cadmon. And it is meant to be film, but it’s hard to do the proper format in this comment section, so it reads more like a play script. Thanks for reading 🙂


    VENETIA (seventeen with long, brown hair, golden brown eyes, and a brown school girl’s clothes with torn stockings)sifts through a noblemen’s town. B.G.-a series of tall homes with a warm brown exterior, cobblestone streets, and a few of the townspeople going about their business. ANDRICK (eighteen with dark, curly hair, green eyes, and wearing a slightly unbuttoned oxford, and relaxed brown pants, REVIVA (a woman with flowing blonde hair, misty gray eyes, and white robes), and CADMON (a good looking man in his late twenties with short red hair, green eyes, and upscale casual wear)follow closely behind her. Venetia seems entranced yet determined. The passing lords and ladies look at the strangeness of their clothing.

    Venetia, this a large village.
    This knight could be anywhere!
    Maybe even the castle or…

    He’s here-that’s where he was
    last seen.

    Reviva and Cadmon exchange doubtful looks. Andrick wants to help Venetia, so he asks a passing nobleman.

    Excuse me, sir, can you tell
    us the wherabouts of Sir Xander

    Aye, he’s on yonder corner.

    Venetia looks at the corner, where she sees XANDER (a young man that now looks old with a long, dark beard with traces of white hair and a peasant wool cloak) on the corner with a begging cup and ranting about seeming nonsense. Venetia approaches him.

    The man is a spider, his men
    are beasts! They live beyond
    this earth!

    Sir Xander?

    Xander does not look at her but continues to rant.

    What happened to you? You
    used to be the knight that
    defeated Arachne…

    Xander does not look at her, but he does react with a shudder at the mention of Arachne.

    The spider has stolen many
    souls of men who tried to
    stop him…

    He could’nt have taken your
    soul; you’re still here!
    Please, if you have any
    memory of how you defeated him…

    The beasts lay quiet because
    of the great sacrifice…

    Venetia, I don’t think he’s
    mentally stable enough to give
    you any useful information.

    But surely someone must have
    some idea of what happened to him!

    If someone did, we would’ve found it
    in the books. I think we’ve got to
    go now. I’m sorry.

    But I…

    Before Venetia goes, Xander clutches at her skirt.

    Beware the spider! I only
    borrowed time. You must
    defeat him! You…alone…

    Xander collapses. The townspeople respond in fear for his safety. Venetia stares at his body while Reviva and Cadmon leave the scene. Andrick grabs her hand and leads her away.

    • June 18, 2010 6:36 am

      I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and read these all together. Can’t believe it’s been 13 weeks!

      I’m loving this so much because I can visual exactly what’s happening. The characters are vivid. Well done!


    • June 18, 2010 12:54 pm

      Dana, this is so exciting! This excerpt has me completely engaged and dying to know what happens. I’m so curious about what happened to Xander, what he meant about borrowing time and what Venetia’s sacrifice will have to be. I really like the way you have Xander seeming like a crazy old guy when clearly he used to be something quite different. I found the dialogue very convincing. Great work!

      • Dana Lee Burton permalink
        June 18, 2010 4:02 pm

        I’m so glad you guys are enjoying this. Xander’s cryptic remarks do have some clues to the ending (yes, it does have to end at some point), but before I write that, I’ll probably go back and write some scenes I skipped over, like Venetia and Andrick’s first visit to 1988, their visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and how Venetia burnt her hand in the first scene I wrote of this. But I really appreciate you guys reading, so thank you!

  7. June 17, 2010 9:20 pm

    Chloe looked across the gym at where Alethea stood with her fellow cheerleaders. She was definitely happier than she usually acted around the apartment and, up until a few days ago, Chloe. Suddenly, Chloe was angry—at Alethea, at the pompoms, at these stupid try-outs, at the memory. In her rage, she threw the pompoms down on the floor and stormed out of the gym.


    She was in the hall, hurrying toward the front doors of the school. She didn’t turn around to face the person calling her.

    “Chloe! Stop!”

    A hand grabbed Chloe around the wrist and stopped her in her tracks, turned her around. Alethea looked concerned, but understanding. “What’s wrong?”

    “You knew,” Chloe muttered, trying to tug her arm out of the other girl’s hand.

    Alethea’s grip stayed strong. “Yes, I knew, but I couldn’t have told you myself. I would have influenced your memories. And it meant more for you to find out yourself.”

    “You knew!” This time Chloe managed to pull her arm free.

    “Honestly, Chloe, does it really matter if we knew each other when we were young? Really? If you’re going to freak out about a memory as trivial as a little kids’ cheerleading recital, I’m a little worried about how you’re going to react over the big stuff.”

    “You could have told me.” Chloe knew she was pouting as she stared at the bottom of the wall behind Alethea’s legs. She knew she was being unattractive, but she couldn’t help it.

    “Are you listening to me?” Chloe didn’t answer, so Alethea grabbed her by the shoulders and stared at her straight in the face. “Listen to me. I can’t tell you anything or it’ll influence your memories. Once you find out what I’ve found out, then we can work together at learning the rest, but until then I can only try to help. But I can’t tell you anything. Do you understand?”

    Chloe squirmed out of Alethea’s grip, still not meeting her eye. “Fine.” She was acting like a petulant child and she knew it, but the shock of what she’d just remembered couldn’t shake the attitude.

    Kinder now, taking Chloe’s hands gently, Alethea said, “Trust me? Please?”

    Chloe nodded reluctantly and let Alethea lead her back into the gym. The journey was just beginning and if she couldn’t handle it now, she wasn’t sure how she’d handle it once she found out what had scared Alethea so much. In that moment, Chloe made a silence promise to herself to catch up to what Alethea already knew so they could both finally move forward in whatever lives they learned they had. Things would be different. Starting now.

    • June 17, 2010 9:37 pm

      Erin, this is really good! I love this story line, keep writing it!!

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 9:49 pm

        I love this story!

    • June 17, 2010 9:41 pm

      Wow, Erin! You really pulled me right into this story. I already care about these two girls and am so anxious to learn more about what’s going on. I’m seriously dying to find out what’s going on with the loss of memories. You’ve done a really fabulous job of creating the scene!

    • June 18, 2010 1:05 am

      I’m enjoying this storyline so much. I want to know what happened to these girls!

    • June 18, 2010 8:00 pm

      I am definitely intrigued. Way to pull your audience in~

  8. mak...XD permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:59 pm

    OH CRAP!!!!!!!!!! i forgot…darn…and michelle…i dont think u even checked out last week’s open mic…@.@

    • June 17, 2010 9:08 pm

      mak… I dont mean to be pushy/bossy but… you have to post this week!!! heehee :]

      • mak...XD permalink
        June 17, 2010 9:10 pm

        ummm tomorrow….not the best these days meagan…not the best….*cries* add me…its…anyone else interested…no probs!!!

      • June 17, 2010 9:35 pm

        Psh!! I’m sure that you still write plenty amazing, like always 😉

  9. June 17, 2010 8:56 pm

    I haven’t been here in a while, but I’m revising tonight, so what the heck! This is the first 283 words of my YA fantasy WIP. I had this same excerpt critiqued on Nathan Bransford’s blog last month and this is my revision. Interested to see reactions. 🙂

    The muscle in his forearm twitched as he readied himself for the attack. Backhand, probably, from the position of his arm. He could easily swing it around to a forehand punch but my reflexes were faster, more finely tuned. I knew I could block him with little effort, duck down and spin while kicking my leg out. He’d be on the ground in moments.

    I wanted to grin, but I held back. Instead I held firm in my fighting stance, waiting for him to make the first move. I had him again.

    “I love you, Liang” he said, trying to distract me. His sideways grin usually melted my insides, but not now. I refused to look at his face while I was sparring. I couldn’t believe he’d think that would work on me. My toes dug into the dirt floor. I wouldn’t lose my grip, not now.

    Kang’s hand flew and the scene played out just as I thought it would. He fell to the floor while his arms jerked out to the sides, slapping on the ground first to protect his back from a hard landing.

    I giggled, seeing his eyes close and tighten. Frustration took over. After all these years, he still had a hard time believing a girl could beat him. Lucky for him, no one had ever seen him lose. Girls weren’t allowed to fight, especially not an adoptee like myself. Technically he wasn’t allowed to fight either, but since he was adopted by the arms master, he was given some leeway to assist with training.

    “Why do you insist on torturing me, Liang?” he asked. His black hair flopped over his forehead as he rolled on his side.

    • June 17, 2010 9:01 pm

      I love this!! It made me laugh, I like the characters already and the detail is really great! :] Awesome job!

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 9:52 pm

        I love this! The dynamic between the two characters is so good.

    • June 17, 2010 9:25 pm

      Oh, wow. This is really good! I got sucked into the story immediately and I love the dynamic between these two characters. I also really like the fact that you make it sound like a very serious thing going on in the first couple paragraphs, but quickly reveal that this is a game.

    • June 17, 2010 9:49 pm

      I really enjoyed the relationship between these two characters, Michelle. I also liked how the detail showed how much Liang knows about this fighting. We get right away how knowledgeable she is. I was a little confused at the beginning. It took me a couple of read-throughs of the first paragraphs to understand that they were sparring and this was all in fun. But once that was clear I really loved this opening because there is so much promise of what might lie ahead — the potential for romance, the restrictions of the culture and how they are overcome, adventure… Very enticing 😉

    • June 18, 2010 6:41 am

      Michelle- this is great! You’ve got an eye for detail and a wonderful way with describing action. =)

    • June 18, 2010 7:29 pm

      Thanks for the awesome comments, everyone. I’m glad to see people are enjoying it. Can’t wait to finish my revisions and hand off to my beta readers. 🙂

  10. Ashley permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:43 pm

    Here we go. First time posting anything for this. So here is a bit of my WIP.

    Rule number 4: Never taunt Nightmares it just makes them pissed off.
    The Nightmares paw was twice the size of my head; he brought it up to bat me aside. Ducking I lunged towards the Nightmares leg sinking the boys into the dark flesh. They craved some Nightmare blood; we were hungry.
    The first hit was insufficient, barely a scratch but it was enough to ignite the roaring hunger within me. The second hit was sound, I moved under the Nightmares stomach thrusting my bone daggers up into the belly of the Nightmare and drew the daggers away from each other. Ripping the exposed belly of the Nightmare Canine open. Nightmares don’t bleed they ooze and always in the source of their power is a little blazing white ball, the ball is the original dream captured and infected by Nightmare particles which gives birth to Nightmare Creatures like the dog. The ooze only dripping now hit the floor of this persons Unconscious. Wiping away the stinging ooze from my face and retracting my daggers into my wrists I reached into the belly of the beast and from it withdrew the bright ball.
    “Its about time” Alexandros’s voice chimed to my right.
    Glancing in the direction of him “well you could have been here sooner. Take your dream” I tossed the white ball at Alexandros and heard him curse softly as he caught the glowing orb it hovered an inch above his palms.
    The Dream Keeper smirked “no, I really couldn’t have” and like a snake he dislocated his jaw and consumed the infected dream while. I shivered at least I was not born a Dream Keeper the whole jaw unhinging thingy was disgusting

    • June 17, 2010 9:18 pm

      This was really cool! It captured my attention from the first sentence, and the last one made me giggle. This was really great, and I would love more of this story!

      • Ashley permalink
        June 17, 2010 9:23 pm


    • June 17, 2010 9:56 pm

      Oh wow, the imagery is so vivid. You have a great way of describing the visuals. And this story definitely feels unique. I’m curious to know more about The Nightmares and the Dream Keeper. Such interesting language. Watch out for little spots of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’ like this one: “the ball is the original dream…” Find a way to work that into the story so that it’s organic to the narrative. This piece is very intriguing!

    • FlaglineGeek permalink
      June 18, 2010 7:50 am

      This is so interesting. It pulled me in instantly, and I want to know more about the Nightmares and Dream Keepers. I’ve heard those terms used like this before and I like it alot.

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 20, 2010 9:14 am

        Meant to say: “I’ve never heard those terms. . .”

      • Ashley permalink
        June 20, 2010 8:38 pm

        Thanks, I was hoping it was original 🙂

        Thanks to you and Cheryl both!

  11. June 17, 2010 8:12 pm

    Yay, guest commentators are awesomesauce! Another piece from my WIP -“Ollie.” Kind of boring this week, but eh. 🙂

    If there was one thing that Danny had learned in the eleven minutes of being in the car with Ollie, nothing but silence between the two of them, it was that awkwardness and anxiety isn’t the best combination.

    He was nervous. So nervous that every inch of his body trembled with great apprehension at any sign of movement from the passenger seat. His head, which felt as if it would burst from the rapid activity, was running through quirky and suave things he could say that would impress her. Because for some reason, he felt as if he needed to impress her.

    And considering the fact that their first meeting had been on an overpass, him threatening her with his own life, he knew he had a lot of schmoozing to do.

    “You can take your pills, you know.”

    Danny almost swerved the car into a nearby donut shop at the sound of her voice. He took a few breaths, mentally willing his heart to stop ramming against his ribcage before he glanced over at her.

    “Pardon?” he asked.

    “Your pills. You keep scoping out that bag in the backseat through the rear view mirror. If you want to pull over to take them, that’s fine with me. I’m not squeamish about that kind of crap,” she explained.

    He wanted to. Oh, how he wanted to. They would calm him almost instantaneously. They would put his slippery words and embarrassing outbursts on a short leash. But could he risk that kind of embarrassing exposure? She would probably stare at him. She would probably ask him what he was taking them for. It wasn’t a conversation he wanted to have. Especially not with her.

    • June 17, 2010 8:17 pm

      This is good. I like the names and the interaction! Ollie is a fantastic name and I love the way you used the term “trembling with excitement”.

      • June 17, 2010 8:28 pm

        I reeeally like this story line. I like the characters, and its just great!! Awesome job! I’m looking forward to more!! :]

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 8:48 pm

        This is very good. I like the character interactions and descriptions.

    • June 17, 2010 9:00 pm

      Wow – I really like this. The action moves along nicely and their conversations are spot-on. I may have to go back and find older posts by you – I’m intrigued! 🙂

    • June 17, 2010 10:14 pm

      Katie, this is not boring at all! It feels like a very real interaction that is convincing and not overdone. I believe in his anxieties and I loooovvvee the way Ollie is so straight-forward about it. I’m a little bit puzzled about what it means when you say he threatened her with his own life. Does that mean he was threatening to take his own life? I definitely want to know more after reading this excerpt… what else is he hiding? How will she handle it? How will their relationship grow? Great start!

  12. June 17, 2010 8:09 pm

    Hi! My apologies… but this is over 300 words. I wanted to share it, though so I hope you won’t mind!

    February 16, 1997. Summer.

    Eight twenty in the morning shouldn’t be so hot. It’s stifling and dry, like the heat from an oven turned all the way up. The grass crackles under his feet, no longer the soft plush of a backyard lawn, but hard and burnt from the heat. The sun’s bright and reflects off the glistening lake, inviting him in for a morning swim. He avoids the old people sitting at the end of the L-shaped jetty. He doesn’t want to splash them when he dives into the water. He’s thinking about them. He’s thinking about how cool the water will feel on his sweating, burning body. He’s thinking he’s sixteen, full of life, with the world in his hands.

    He stops halfway up the jetty, away from the old people. When he dives into the water, he hits his head on the sandy bottom of the lake. He feels a crack, but it doesn’t hurt. Nothing hurts. He doesn’t realize that he’s badly sprained his thumbs when they bent backwards and are now turning black. He can move his arms, but can’t move upward and out of the water. He looks up at the jetty, at the people there and thinks I need to get there, but I can’t get there. He cannot move. He can only stare at the world above him through waterlogged eyes as he begins to drown.

    There isn’t a white light. There isn’t a choir of angels to sing him home. It isn’t painful, but quiet and peaceful. Surreal. Drowning doesn’t hurt. Everything around him goes black. His feet turn purple. He doesn’t remember being rescued. He waits in the water on a blanket before they move him to the bank of the lake. He doesn’t feel any pain as he waits for the paramedics. In fact, he doesn’t feel any pain until the nurse, a woman from the crowd, pokes him in the arm to put fluid in. He makes jokes, asking for a mirror to fix his hair, because he knows he’s in serious trouble, but doesn’t know how much.

    He is sixteen, full of life, with the world in his hands.

    He’s a child, a kid, alone in a hospital. Afraid. Waiting for his parents when the doctor comes in and says, “You broke your neck. You’re never going to walk again,” and walks back out.

    He can no longer feel his legs. He can no longer feel his body from the chest down. He knows it’s there, but his body is dead to him. A moment in time changes his life forever. A crack the size of a grain of sand renders his body useless.

    He is sixteen.

    • June 17, 2010 8:16 pm

      This was beautiful, sad, but beautiful. Its emotional, and the imagery is marvolous. I especially like how you repeat, “He is sixteen, full of life, with the world in his hands.” The first time I read that, I knew there was something comming. This was really really great! 🙂

    • June 17, 2010 8:18 pm

      This sounds good and I work in accessibility in the web for Yahoo so I know how these things happen. The only thing is does the grass get burnt from the ‘heat’ or is it the sun? I don’t know! lol.

    • June 17, 2010 9:05 pm

      Danielle!!!!! When I read about his thumbs, my hands literally flew away from the keyboard in pain!!! This is very well-written and so descriptive. I can’t wait to see more by you. 😉

    • June 17, 2010 10:22 pm

      Danielle, there is some really beautiful writing here! The first paragraph is just gorgeous and the voice is so strong. I love your descriptions. They are fabulous! In the second paragraph I was a little confused. You mention that he feels a crack, but you don’t say where. And then you mention he doesn’t realize he has sprained his thumbs. I think I might focus on what he IS aware of and leave out the things he’s not aware of. Otherwise it seems like if you mention the thumbs you would also mention the spine. The next paragraphs are so moving and heartbreaking. This excerpt would definitely keep me turning pages!

    • FlaglineGeek permalink
      June 18, 2010 7:54 am

      This writing is so beautiful! The imagery is amazing, and I could feel the emotion so clearly.

    • June 21, 2010 6:19 pm

      Thanks everyone! 😉

  13. FlaglineGeek permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:02 pm

    I’m continuing my fae guardian story. 🙂 In case this is confusing, Michael is the main narrator’s boyfriend. Makani is her fae guardian who she kissed.

    “What’s wrong?” Michael questioned. His tone surprised me. Though it sounded sincere, I sensed an edge to it. He looked around the room waiting for my answer. What is he looking for? I wondered. Wait–does he know about Makani? No, I convinced myself, that’s impossible.

    “I’m fine,” I lied, “just stressed about school.” Such a lame excuse. But what else can I say?

    “Oh.” He seemed to believe me. “Your mom was worried. She says you’ve been up here for a long time. I wanted to come and surprise you, but when I got here I had to ask where you were.”

    “I needed some time to think. That’s all.” I stood up from the bed, attempting to end the conversation as quickly as possible. His eyes pierced into mine, as if trying to read my mind. Then, seemingly satisfied, he leaned in and kissed me on the lips. I felt guilty that I liked Makani’s kiss better. “Let’s go out,” he suggested. “Dinner and a movie will cheer you up.”

    “Okay, Mr. Old Fashioned.”

    “Hey,” he protested, pressing his lips to mine again. This time he kissed me longer and more aggressively. When he finally released my lips, I felt confused and guilty. It wasn’t like him to start a major makeout so suddenly. Plus, I wished it was Makani kissing me instead. “Sure, let’s go out.” I pretended to like the idea. “It’ll be fun. Just let me get dressed, I’ll be down in a few,” I said. He gazed at the pajamas I wore.

    “You know I think you look beautiful in anything.” Aww… I wanted to scream out. Confess that I’d cheated. I wanted him to be mad at me. To punish me for what I’d done wrong. But he didn’t even know Makani existed.

    • June 17, 2010 8:11 pm

      Nicely done!! I love this: I felt guilty that I liked Makani’s kiss better. It’s so honest of the narrator to admit that to herself.

      • June 17, 2010 8:19 pm

        Ohh, this was very good!! I was looking forward to you posting more of this, I really liked it, and am looking forward to more on this!! Great, great job!!

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 8:50 pm

        Thank you both!

    • June 17, 2010 8:16 pm

      Awesome job! The narrator is a teenager, right? Because I can easily read the teenage voice through the writing, which is always a good thing! 🙂

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 8:47 pm

        Yes, the narrator is a teenager.

    • June 17, 2010 8:19 pm

      I like the character interaction and the messing around with each other.

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 8:51 pm

        Thank you very much.

    • June 17, 2010 9:07 pm

      I really like this and already feel a connection with your main character. Very nicely done!!!

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 17, 2010 9:55 pm

        Thanks so much!

    • June 17, 2010 10:29 pm

      FG, you manage to get across a lot in this short piece. As others have said, the voice of the main character comes through right away, as does her sense of guilt. I like the way you use details, like the fact that she’s still in pjs to communicate her state of mind and how much things are affecting her. I appreciated how well you showed her confusing feelings — the discomfort with Michael’s kisses, the guilt about the kiss with Makani, and the fact that Makani isn’t human. Lots of tension here, which is always good!

      • FlaglineGeek permalink
        June 18, 2010 8:26 am

        Thanks so much! It’s wonderful to hear such nice comments.

  14. June 17, 2010 7:45 pm

    *Giggle* First! haha, anyways, all comments welcome….

    Hmmm… Lets go to the park! 6-17-10

    My entire life is an adventure,
    The world my playground.
    Watch me
    Do the Flutterwagon, and my head spin ’round
    And believe
    In things unseen.

    My entire life is an adventure,
    Getting me into trouble,
    Making me scramble
    For an excuse, and when none comes,
    Well, hell it was fun!

    My entire life is an adventure,
    One that will make me cry.
    But the tears, I’ll hide,
    ‘Cause I’m determined to be strong,
    No matter whats going on.

    My entire life is an adventure
    One that will always make me laugh
    As I remember smaller adventures from the past;
    Adventures that will forever last
    In my memory
    As I go through live, being who I want to be.

    • June 17, 2010 8:12 pm

      Love it! 😉

    • June 17, 2010 8:20 pm

      Love poetry but omg what is a flutterwagon?

      • June 17, 2010 8:30 pm

        Oh, sorry! That was a refference to the newer Alice In Wonderland movie. I didnt know how to spell it, so I just did my best. Sorry again!

    • Ashley permalink
      June 17, 2010 8:45 pm

      I love it! I love poetry, and I love the way this flows

    • June 17, 2010 9:16 pm

      I don’t pretend to know anything at all about poetry, but I really enjoyed it!!!

    • June 17, 2010 10:34 pm

      Meagan, this is great! I love the fun feeling of the poem and the way you work in the different elements of life’s adventure. I also really liked the repetition of the first line. The structure of this poem worked really well for me. And the feeling of the poem really spoke to me, appreciating life’s ups and downs and the underlying sense of self. Thanks for sharing this!

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