Flaunt Your Awesome Day (thank you, Karen Healey)

Posted by houndrat on Monday May 3, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

Okay, wake up, stretch, grab some caffeine. And prepare yourself. The day has come to FLAUNT YOUR AWESOME.

You heard me. An AWESOME AWer (thank you, Parametric!) directed me to this post by Karen Healey, which really hit home. How many times have you brushed off a compliment? Made a self-deprecating joke so you don’t come across as cocky? Worried that people would think you were arrogant if you admitted that DAMN! You look HAWT tonight? Or that you wrote an AMAZING book? Or were a FANTASTIC mom/girlfriend/daughter/friend?

Well, it’s time to stop! Our society talks a lot about low self-esteem in our children—girls, especially—and yet, it some ways, it’s way more acceptable to exude low self-esteem than confidence. Again, this seems especially true for girls. Girls get conditioned to worry about being seen as bitchy, stuck-up, even unfeminine if they admit to feeling, well, awesome. We all have times when we worry about flaunting our awesome. It needs to stop.


I’m not saying run around telling everyone in the world you’re
better than them, not at all. Flaunting your awesome isn’t a contest, it’s not a competition. Rather, it’s a way to own your awesome abilities or traits and darn it, feel GOOD about them for a change. Send a positive message to the girls around you by saying, Hey! I’m awesome and I know it! We don’t have to hem and haw and blush and put ourselves down, just because we worry what other people will think.

So, to continue Karen’s great tradition, let’s all ‘fess up to our awesome. Right here. Right now.

I’ll even start (and trust me, as the queen of self-deprecation, this was quite a challenge for me at first. So if I can do it, I KNOW you can).

I’m awesome because I finished a book and didn’t give up until I found an agent who appreciated my awesomeness. I’m awesome because I found an awesome husband who supports my writing 150%, and helped me make two awesome kids (er, well—you know what I mean).

Finally, I’m awesome because in writing this post, I’m helping others find and acknowledge THEIR awesome.

So, now it’s your turn to flaunt your awesome. Tell us all in the comments—why are you AWESOME? (and you KNOW you are!)

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Teaser Tuesday–Family Matters

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Apr 27, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

Just a little snippet I wrote a few minutes ago! Hope you enjoy!

“Taylor? Hey hon, how was your day?”

I pause, stare at the ceiling. Wonder briefly what she’d say if I told her the truth—that I’d had an epic sized freak-out in English, purposely shunned everyone at lunch, and told the only semi-decent guy I’d met in ages to fuck off. But that would ruin the whole façade of how well our family is coping with everything. I mean, God forbid Mom ever admit that her life might be less than perfect.

I toss a believable smile over my shoulder. Thanks to Mom, I’ve been a pro at faking them for years. “Oh, it was great.”

“Did you make any new friends? Join any clubs?”

“I’m still…scoping things out.”

“Well…just don’t wait too long.”

Worry lines distort the skin over her nose, and I feel a pang of regret. I shouldn’t be so hard on her. I know she loves me. She tries, anyway. It’s just that she mistakes being overly involved in the details of my social life for some crazy deep bond. But I can’t share important stuff. I can’t. Talking, really talking, would mean admitting there’s a problem in the first place. And if we had a family motto? It would totally be: ignore it until it goes away.

Relief strips the tightness from my chest once the door to my room clicks shut. I kick off my shoes and burrow into my bed. Finally relax in the peace that comes from not playing a role.

When I’m by myself it’s like I’m shedding a fake skin, sloughing off the pretense of being okay until it crumples into shriveled little pieces all around me. My down comforter doesn’t give a damn if I’m something less than perfect. Flawed.


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Writer’s Envy: What to Do When You’re Feeling Green

Posted by houndrat on Monday Apr 26, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

So, as a writer, do you ever find yourself feeling like this?

It's not easy being green!

It's not easy being green!

No, I’m not talking about feeling like you have ears the size of small trumpets, or a neck that could support a Hummer. I’m taking about feeling green.

If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The truth is, writers envy other writers. Often.

Think about it. Most of us are striving for the same goals, and no matter how successful we are, someone is going to reach those goals before us. It’s inevitable. And, OMG, then we worry.

I mean, be honest. Have you ever had one of the following thoughts?

Well, if Writer FancyPants got SuperAwesomeAgent X, does that mean there’s no spot left for ME?

Prolific Proser finished that novel in two weeks, and yet I’ve been slogging away at mine for decades!

Writer LovelyWords wrote a first draft full of such gorgeous, luscious prose, it makes my first draft read like it was penned by a dyslexic donkey!

Then there’s the post-agent envy. That green pang that strikes every time someone you know snags a one, two, three-book deal while you’re twiddling your thumbs on sub, wondering if the editors are using your manuscript as a giant coaster—for the champagne they’re drinking while celebrating the acquisition of THAT OTHER book. Or when so and so gets more marketing money, a better cover, superior book store real estate. The list goes on and on and on.

No fair--his is bigger than mine!

No fair--his is bigger than mine!


Guess what? It’s OKAY to be a little envious. It’s a natural human reaction, and initially coveting someone else’s success doesn’t make you a bad person. Really.

That said, there comes a time when the coveting goes too far. I’m all about accepting your envy, only—don’t let it take you to the Bad Place. You know the one. That’s where you go when you start mumbling stuff like, “Oh, Author BigHugeDeal ONLY got that sweet contract because they were in the right place at the right time.” Or, “Author I’veGotARockstarAgent ONLY got signed because he/she had the right connections.”

Uh-uh. Not cool. Remember—99.0% of the writers who get ahead do so because of hard work, skill, and persistence. So while it’s okay to feel that envy, you need to throw up an inner roadblock. Do NOT drag Author HotSHot to your Bad Place. That’s where your insecurities live, and the only person who can deal with those is YOU. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, really—why would anyone else?

So, instead of a visit to the BP, I’ve made up a little list of helpful hints to keep that really negative type of envy in check:

-Chow down on chocolate. That stuff is FULL of endorphins—embrace it. Plus, if you eat a ton of it, you’ll be too busy trying to get that extra five pounds off to worry about what WonderWriter is doing.

-Buy a killer new pair of shoes. Hey, Author Amazing might have had SqueeWorthy Agent offer five minutes after sending out a full, but YOU’VE got the hot footwear—and your toes/ankles/calves are smoking in those suckers!

-Watch your favorite movie. Then, think about envying your favorite actor or actress instead. Chances are, they’re way more successful than Author FabuFreakingLicious is ever going to be.

-Make a list of awesome skills you have that SpectacularScribbler doesn’t share. Like, the ability to pick up small objects with your toes, or execute a perfect rendition of the Running Man. Or the very crucial talent of shot-gunning a beer in under ten seconds.

In all seriousness, though, the best thing? Let yourself experience the envy without beating yourself up about it. Then, after you’ve embraced your inner green self—get over it. Move on. Realize everyone has their highs and lows, and learn to appreciate your own strengths. And, if it makes you feel any better, know this—there’s probably another writer out there right this very minute who’s envious of YOU.

(P.S. What honestly works for me? Getting really, really excited for the writer in question. I find it’s almost impossible to be ecstatic for someone else and still harbor seriously negative emotions. Plus, squeeing on other people’s behalves? IT’S FUN—and kills free-radicals!!!!)**

**Note: this claim has not been substantiated by medical science. In other words—you’ll just have to take houndrat’s word for it. Sparkle Out.

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Flashback Friday: Movies that Defined Us as Young Adults

Posted by houndrat on Friday Apr 23, 2010 Under movies, writing, Young Adult

Wow, I can actually sum this one up in two words: John Hughes. Done, see you next week!

Okay, okay, so maybe I could write a little more. Like how Mr. Hughes captured all the angst, excitement, fear and fun of high school and being a teen—meshed the outlandish with the real. But since I’m feeling lazy, I think I’ll just throw some of my favorite quotes at you instead.

Sixteen Candles:

Oh Sexy American Girlfriend!

Oh Sexy American Girlfriend!

No more yankee my wankee—the Donger need FOOD!

Grandma: Fred, she’s gotten her boobies! Oh, and they’re so perky!

I mean, would high school have been the same without Long Duk Dong? I think not. (Amusing fact: every single one of my friends was convinced Jake Ryan was a double for this swimmer at our school, Mark Vahradian, who now works in the film industry. Mark, if you’re out there–hi!)

The Breakfast Club:



Vernon: What if your family…what if your home…what if your dope was on fire?
Bender: Impossible, sir. It’s in Johnson’s underwear.

Bender: Come on, Sporto, level with me. Did you slip her the hot beef injection?

Bender: Screws just fall out all the time—the world is an imperfect place.

Bender: Why does Andrew get to get up? If he gets up, we’ll all get up! It will be ANARCHY!

(Yeah, so I totally had a thing for Bender/Judd Nelson when I was a teen. I think it was the glove.)

Pretty in Pink:

Look, you can wear a heinous prom dress and still get all the guys!

Look, you can wear a heinous prom dress and still get all the guys!

Duckie: May I admire you again today?

Duckie: What’s this? We don’t have a candy machine in the boys’ room!

Stefan: That girl was, is, and always will be, nada.

(It must be noted that Pretty in Pink had one of the best soundtracks EVAH! Love New Order…especially Shellshock, and then Elegia playing before the big locker confrontation scene–awesome!. Also, I had a teensy little infatuation with James Spader. Does Less Than Zero count as a teen movie? ‘Cuz I loved that one, too–Spader made a perfect douchebag. I bet here’s a movie he starred in during the 80’s that you never watched, though:

Wow, this is a bad title....

Wow, this is a bad title....

Plus, apparently I wasn’t the only one with a Spader obsession:

Although it’s not a John Hughes film, and a little past my teen years, I have to give a shout-out to Ten Thing I Hate About You, anyway. It’s one of my most fave teen movies ever (RIP, Heath Ledger)

I miss her table dancing...

I miss her table dancing...

Patrick: It’s not every day you find a girl who’ll flash someone to get you out of detention.

Kat: I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls.

Teacher: Now. I know Shakespeare’s a dead white guy, but he knows his shit, so we can overlook that.

Mr. Stratford: And I’ll get to sleep at night. The deep slumber of a father whose daughters aren’t out being impregnated.

Mr. Stratford: This morning I delivered a set of twins to a 15 year old girl. You know what she said to me?
Bianca: I’m a crack whore who should have made her sleazy boyfriend wear a condom?
Mr. Stratford: No. She said “I should have listened to my father.”
Bianca: She did not.
Mr. Stratford: No, but she would have if she wasn’t so doped up.

Again, not a John Hughes flick, but probably one of my favorite all-time lines (and if you know me, you’ve heard me quote this and perform some random stunt to go with it, way, way too many times) is from Real Genius:

Val Kilmer: You may be smarter than me, but can you do this?

There’s so many more: Dirty Dancing (No one puts Baby in the corner!), The Lost Boys (back when vampires were still SCARY!), Top Gun (I feel the need, the need for speed!), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (my swimmer friends and I actually serenaded the employees at Disneyland with our stunning rendition of Twist and Shout), Clueless (Do you prefer fashion victim or ensembly challenged?), 9 and 1/2 Weeks (wait–you’re saying that WASN’T a teen movie?), too many to name. In fact, I think I feel the need for a teen movie marathon coming on…..

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Teaser Tuesday: Beware of the Wall Face

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Mar 30, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

At the last minute, decided to post a random Teaser from my WIP about a girl’s addiction. It’s rough, raw, and a wee bit dark. Hope you enjoy! (And with that, it’s back to the revision cave for me!)

It’s cold, so freaking cold. I curl my knees into my body, wrap my arms around tight. Sit very, very still. I’m almost afraid to breathe. They’re staring at me, I know they are. Hunting me. Faces in the wall, bursting out and grabbing at me with long, fleshless fingers. They’re all out to get me. Devour me. I scrunch down into the tightest ball I can manage, trying to disappear.

Something brushes against my neck.

My body shivers, and I rock, rock, rock, keeping my eyes tightly closed. “No, no, go away! I can’t see you, I can’t.”

A voice. “Kaylin?”

They know my name. They’re trying to trick me. I can’t look, I can’t look. They might snatch me into the wall if I do. “No. No! NO!!! La, la, la, I can’t see you.” I start to laugh, rock even faster.

They won’t win. I’m too smart. I’m too—

“NO!” My hands whip up like claws to scratch at whatever is touching my neck, but I keep my eyes squeezed shut like my life depends on it. Oh, God, are there bugs crawling on me? I shake violently, slap at my arms. Maybe if I peel off my skin, they’ll go away. I start to scratch, and I can’t stop. Deep down, a part of me knows I’m shredding the fuck out of my arms, but I don’t care. I want it to go away. I want everything to go away. My skin is dirty, but blood is clean. Blood will wash it all away.

“Jesus—KAYLIN! STOP!” Strong hands manacle my wrists, yank my arms behind me.

It’s a trick. It’s a trick. It’s—

My eyelids flutter open. A figure, kneeling before me, dark hair dripping like chocolate across his forehead. Not a wall face. Safe. “P-Patrick?”

Relief rushes through me in a wave of liquid joy. My fears melt away. But something is wrong. I can see it, there in the downward arch of his mouth, the pain radiating behind his dark blue eyes.

My trembling fingers reach up to touch the cool skin of his cheek. “Patrick, why are you sad?”

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Where Stories Come from

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Mar 25, 2010 Under writing

And here we are, to the 4th and finally installment of Corrine Jackson’s How Writers Do It (Bom Chica Bom Bom–yeah, I’m still totally snickering at that title). This week’s topic is Where Stories Come From: From the time you get the idea for a novel to the day you first put your fingers to the keyboard, how does the story come to you? (i.e. Can also explore prepping to write your novel here)

Where do stories comes from?? That’s easy. Two simple words:? my butt.

Now that's what I call bootylicious

Now that's what I call bootylicious

Yeah, I was just dying to say that—unavoidable consequence of hanging out with a 6-yr-old boy. Sorry. But it’s pretty much true. I mean, prepping? What’s that? Does grabbing a chai latte and booting up my computer count?

Prepping, here I come!

Prepping, here I come!

I’m a pantser, through and through (although I’m trying to reform. Ask me how well that’s going once I’m halfway through my next novel. And don’t hold your breath.)

As much as I’d love to be different, I’m just not one of those fancy schmancy plotters—you know, those writers with the cute little outlines and the plot boards and highlighters and note cards. My novel ideas typically come to me randomly: while I’m in the shower, while I’m driving (sans kids, of course—the only thing that comes to me when I’m in the car with them is a serious need for Calgon and the Super Nanny). Oh, and hugely, when I’m running. Although I usually can’t write with music on, many, many a scene has been created while running to my favorite songs. Basically, an entire scene pops into my head. I hear the dialogue and feel the emotion, and then, run home to jot it down on paper.

My first novel Tainted was written almost entirely by madly typing out scenes that came to me while running, then piecing them together. And I didn’t even start at the beginning. Nope, I started with a scene about 2/3 of the way in (I think I just heard Laura McMeeking wince all the way from England.)

Seriously, though, I’ve been trying to change. With my WIP, I’ve been pondering things a great deal in my head before plunging recklessly on (I’ve got about 10k right now). It’s really challenging to nail exactly who my MC is, and I want to get it just right. So I’ve been putting her through some mental drills. I have a feeling, though, I’m not *really* going to know what she’s all about until I commit her more to paper. Writing is a pretty organic thing for me.

Wow. Organic Coke?  Really?

Wow. Organic Coke? Really?

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell talks about both the non-outliners (NOPs) and the outliners (Ops).

Of the NOPs he says:

The joy of being a NOP is that you get to fall in love every day. The heartache comes when you look back and see nothing resembling plot.

Admit it. All you outlining types are gloating just a little right now (and stroking your note cards lovingly—STOP THAT!) But not so fast. Here’s what he has to say about the Ops:

The value of the OP approach is that, with experience, one can virtually guarantee a solidly structured plot. The danger, however, is the lack of freshness and spontaneity the NOPs are known for.

His solution? Try a little of both. Use structure/attention to plot prior to writing, yet give yourself freedom to vary from your outlines or note cards. But whether you’re a NOP or OP, the two things he definitely recommends doing before starting to write your story are:

1) Use the LOCK system to flesh out your story. LOCK stands for Lead, Objective, Confrontation, and Knockout—a set of principles he thinks guides all successful novels.

2) Write the back cover blurb

Hope this was informative helpful didn’t totally put you to sleep! Thanks again to Corrine Jackson for her great prompts on the writing process! Don’t forget to visit her blog and the other 8 writers who posted on this subject. Plus, PRIZES–YAY!

Happy Writing!

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This is how we do it…take two!

Time for the second week of Corrine Jackson’s writing process series on how writers do it. Today’s topic? Getting Into the Zone: What goes into the creative process of writing a novel? (i.e. Author’s mindset, the writer’s environment, etc.)

Lots and lots of junk food…whoa, what? Who said that? Actually, I don’t know if I’ve upped my junk food intake so much as I’ve maxed out on caffeine—one of the hazards of writing at Starbucks/Boudin.

Yeah, I’m one of those weird writers who doesn’t get much writing done at home unless it’s late at night. (read: kidlets are all locked up straight-jacketed asleep in their beds, and dogs are valiumed dozing on the couch). During the day, the house just distracts me. There’s always so much that needs to be done around here—and unless I want my MC seething with guilt over three-week-old dirty clothes piles or toilets that could be breeding the next super-bug, I tend to vamoose.

And then of course, if I sit all day at a coffee shop, it would be wrong not to buy drinks. Wrong, I tell you! Hence the caffeine.

caffeine yum

caffeine yum

Weirdly enough, I typically can’t listen to music when I write, but I can tune out conversations, background music, etc. I think I *love* my music sooooo much, that all I want to do when I hear it is sing along. I do brainstorm up a bunch of new scenes while I listen to my iPod and run, though. And I just totally digressed there, didn’t I?

Let’s see. So far, we’ve got caffeine and Starbucks. What else goes into the creative process for me? Tons and tons of desire. I mean, there are so many distractions and other things begging to be done, you’ve really got to have that fire. For me, I have to want, no, NEED, to get my story down on paper in order to make time to do it. And the best way to make that happen is to both a) start writing the darn thing and see what comes (which sounds slightly contradictory to what I just said but trust me, it makes sense) and b) think about my story/characters A LOT.

What doesn’t go into my creative process? Outlining. I’m a total pantser. One who is trying to reform but will probably fail miserably, given how I repel all things organizationally-related.

James Scott Bell doesn’t really talk about the creative mindset so much in Plot and Structure, but he does suggest ways to brainstorm Shiny New Ideas. Examples include:

- making up a cool title and then dreaming up a story to go with it

-list mental pictures from your past and come up with little stories to describe them

-listen to music and come up with a story for the song

- scour the obituaries and recreate an original character from the biographies (As Cordelia might say–morbid much?)

-write an opening line and go from there

-mind-mapping (Something to do with writing down a word/concept that intrigues you, then doing free association to come up with a bunch of words/ideas to go with it. Honestly, it kinda scares me.)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there’s a small section in the book on how NOT to get ideas:

Drugs, alcohol and stress

Drugs and writing = badness...unless youre Stephen King

Drugs and writing = badness...unless you're Stephen King

I know, I know—what a major killjoy! But note the conspicuous absence of caffeine from that list. Which obviously means it’s okay to tank up (hey, I had to tie this post together somehow!)

So, that’s my creative process in a nutshell—caffeine, somewhere that’s not home, and desire. What’s your creative process like?

And don’t forget to go back and check out Corrine Jackson’s post, along with all the other YA writers who participated!

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Querying oopsies–did I *really* do that?

Posted by houndrat on Friday Mar 5, 2010 Under writing

Who, me? Make a querying faux pas? Never!

Of course, if you know me at all, you’re not buying that for a second.

All right, fine, I’ll ‘fess up. I mean, querying blunders–everyone makes them. We’ve all heard the story about the overeager writer who called the agent’s office for a status check on his query(cringe!) or sent a package of live hamsters to go along with that cute hamster picture book she was pitching (Okay, I might have made that one up—but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had happened. Because, you know, nothing says represent my book like a box of dead rodents).

Seriously, though—if you’ve made a querying/writing oopsie, you’re not alone. And to prove it, I’m gonna share some of my more special moments with you.

1) I might have cold-emailed this author my first chapter and asked for her input. No, I’m not making this up. In my defense—at the time, I had no idea such behavior was frowned upon. I’d just read about her on an agent’s blog and thought she sounded really cool. And the author, lovely lady that she was, actually responded with a crit! Unbelievable, really, how awesomely supportive so many fellow writers are. Of course, when I sent her ten thousand follow-up questions, she ran far, far away, but that’s another story.

2) I might have sent a different writer I read about on the same blog my query letter to critique. Again, I didn’t know her, and again, she totally responded. I’m thinking maybe she suspected I needed medical help.

3) I sent out about 15 queries for my first manuscript without having any other writers read it. Just a few friends and my mom—yep, I’m *that* girl. On the plus side, I did not mention that my mom liked it in the query letter. But that’s probably just because I didn’t think about it.

4) When I got two full requests from those queries, I did not attach a title page. I suppose it could have been worse—I could have sent that box of hamsters.

5) I decorated my query letter envelope with puffy paints and stickers, and enclosed a photo of myself. Yeah, okay—I totally made that part up. But I bet *somebody* did it!

Like reading about my mistakes? Don’t stop here! Go to our Old People Writing for Teens post on the subject and see what goofs our other writers made!

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Teaser Tuesday–more experimenting with first person present

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Feb 9, 2010 Under writing

Since I’ve skipped the past few Teasers, I decided I’d better post something today, even though I’m not really sure what that something is yet. It’s a bit of YA first person present I’ve been tinkering with. I sent some out to crit group this week (meep!) so I figured, what the heck? Maybe I’d be brave and post a snip on here, too! (double meep!)

Comments welcome, as always!

When I walk down the stairs, Mom’s smile is the same one she’s been wearing for the past four months—perky, wide. Strained.

Then she gives me a once over, and the smile fades. It’s not long before she’s hovering, which makes even our condo-sized kitchen feel claustrophobic, and I can see her biting her lip. She’s trying not to say anything about my new look. But I know her. Former Miss Chester County won’t be able to help herself.

Sure enough, one last graze of lasered-white teeth against perfectly applied Chanel lip-color later, she says, “Hon, are you sure that’s what you want to wear on your first day of school?”

I look down. I’m wearing a frayed t-shirt, an old pair of jeans that had probably worn out their coolness years ago, and a pair of scuffed up sneakers. Not as awful as I’d like, to be honest. I completely procrastinated on my mission to stock up on school clothes at the local discount store. But my blond hair is pulled back into a haphazard braid that makes me look about twelve, and instead of contacts, I’m wearing my ancient square glasses—the ones my brother used to tease me were only fit for one-hundred year old librarians. Or asexual men.

“Yes, this is exactly what I want to wear.”

Mom opens her mouth as if to protest, but appears to think the better of it. “Okay, hon. Just remember, everything will be fine.” She’s using that soft, soothing voice I hate, the one that says she thinks I’m a wild, injured animal that needs to be approached with extra care. And I know she’s not finished; we’ve been here before. Soothing voice is always followed by some false platitude about how I’m really such a nice girl.

Wait for it. Wait for it. “You’re a good person—whether you believe it or not.”

But she can’t hold my gaze when she says it, she never can; instead, she turns to fuss with the already perfect place setting.

We both know she’s lying.

I don’t reply, but my silence speaks volumes. I grab a single piece of toast off a plate groaning with pancakes, eggs, the works. Because it’s a universal mom fact that food will solve everything that’s wrong in the world. I sling my backpack over my shoulder.

“You have to eat more than that before your first day,” she frets.

“I’ll be fine. Thanks though,” I add, leaning down to give her a peck on the cheek. After all, it’s not her fault. “Besides, I need to get going if I’m going to walk.”

Mom frowns. “I still don’t know why you’re planning on walking. You have a perfectly good car.”

Too good—that was the problem. I didn’t want to show up for the first day at my new school in a Lexus convertible. “Haven’t you heard? Exercise is good for you.”


I try to smile, but my mouth fumbles over how to form one. It feels like decades have passed since I’ve activated those particular muscles. In reality, it’s only been a few months. “See ya later.”

Then, I walk out the door to start the mile hike to school. This year will be different. It has to be.

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Trying something new and probably failing miserably Teaser

Posted by houndrat on Monday Jan 18, 2010 Under writing

So, as I head down the homestretch on Demon Gaurd revisions, I decided to post something new for a change. This is a random snip from a story that doesn’t have much of a plot yet. Or any plot at all, really. It’s also totally different than anything I’ve written before.

Comments appreciated, as always! :D

I walk through campus and take in all the buildings, the quad, the school I’ve attended for the past three years. My eyes seek a tangible clue, a scrap of evidence that things have changed.

But I find…nothing. The familiar stucco walls are still the color of butterscotch, the grass in the senior courtyard the same vibrant shade of green. Even the old oak sprawling proudly through the middle of campus appears to have the same number of leaves. The kids laughing and gossiping their way past me in huddles are talking about the same meaningless topics as always…parties, dates, homework.

I turn to cut through the corridor toward homeroom, when I spot him.


My heart slams to a halt in my chest. Then, it kick-starts into an unsteady gait, like an athlete’s first limping step after an injury.

As I watch him lean into a curvy dark-haired girl, his arm loosely draped across her shoulders, I finally pinpoint what’s different. It’s not the school, or the students, or anything that I can touch. It’s my hold on James. Always tenuous at best, my slippery claim to him has faded along with the intensity of the summer sun.

I’d give just about anything to change that.

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