Short Story Sunday #72

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SSS Group Project

            It all started when I overslept that morning. I knew nothing good was going to come from the day because I had already had a rough start. When I was assigned that group project in fifth period, I knew it was karma for me missing some of the school day.

We didn’t get to pick our partners, either. The teacher assigned us partners and I was paired up with Jimmy and Kim. I grunted with an eye roll, despite trying to be subtle about it. Jimmy didn’t care about school. He never did his homework and he never arrived to school on time. He never paid any attention in class and didn’t bother to bring his textbooks, a notebook, or even a pen to class with him. Kim did her homework and she was smart, but all she cared about was how her face looked. She sat in the back of the class, constantly taking out her hand mirror to check that the make-up hadn’t melted off her face.

I wondered if this was going to be a good thing. Maybe if I just did the entire project myself, things would go a lot smoother. I would definitely get a decent grade because I knew what I was doing. I wouldn’t have to worry about waiting for Jimmy and Kim to give me their part of the project and I also wouldn’t have to worry about whether they did a good job on their parts or not.

I would be in full control.

My teacher then announced that each group member would be getting the same grade, so we all needed to really work together in order to earn our grade. I scoffed. Yeah, right. I turned around in my desk and noticed that Jimmy’s head was down on his desk sleeping and Kim was texting under her desk.

Maybe I could just tell my teacher I did all the work and she would make an exception for our group. She knew how Jimmy and Kim were—it was May. If she had any reason to think they would actually do the work, then my teacher was crazy herself.

I delegated to Jimmy and Kim to make it seem as though I was trying to include them. I asked what parts of the project they wanted to do and when they didn’t respond, I assigned parts to them. I didn’t want to sound bossy, but at least they couldn’t say I didn’t try to give them a chance.

I did their parts without telling them, too. I wanted to make sure it got done and didn’t want to be scrambling to finish the project last minute in case they didn’t do their share of the work—which neither one of them did.

I planned on talking to my teacher after class the day the project was due. I wanted her to know that I did all the work. Jimmy and Kim did not deserve a good grade.

“Sasha, Jimmy, and Kim, I would like to speak to you after class.” My teacher said the moment the bell rang. What was this about?

When all my other classmates dismissed themselves, I walked up to my teacher’s desk with Jimmy and Kim right behind me.

My teacher looked me in the eye. “I was told this morning that Jimmy and Kim had to work together on this project because you didn’t want to be included?”

My jaw dropped. You had to be kidding me….

Gasp by Lisa McMann

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2015-08-15 18.24.28

Title: Gasp
Author: Lisa McMann
Genre: Young adult paranormal
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Amazon):

After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and those around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the vision curse passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then it must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved.

That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy—that the images are of something real. Something imminent.

As the danger escalates in this conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening—before it’s too late to prevent disaster.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

Just like the first two books, the visions are still happening.

Jules has realized that when you save someone from a vision, you accidentally pass on the vision.

They saved a lot of people from the school shooting so now they have to figure out who they passed the visions to in order to stop the next tragedy.

Bed-ridden for a while due to the shooting, Tori finds it hard to help Jules and the gang solve the next disaster; especially since she’s the one having the visions. Ben, who they saved from the shooting, helps them along the way.

Together, Jules, her two siblings, Ben, Sawyer, and Tori solve the next tragedy.

It isn’t until much later they realize how Jules got the vision in the first place. I found the answer to that question to be very satisfying. It was great how Lisa McMann brought everything full circle.

There’s no explanation how the visions came to be in the first place, but that’s left up to the imaginations of the readers.

Gasp by Lisa McMann gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Too bad there’s nothing admirable about being a fraud.” –Lisa McMann, Gasp

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’m reading next!
If you have a book recommendation for me, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to get in touch using the contact form on the Contact Me page.

Time To Write: Sentence Starter #2

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Last week’s prompt was the A-Z Challenge.

Here’s Kris’s:

Allison sighed as the sounds of bullets going through the store windows echoed in the shop. Becky was not going to be happy. Cannonball had broken the windows last month, and they had just recently been replaced by the insurance company.

Dust exploded above Allison as one of the bullets hit a vase that had been long-forgotten on a shelf behind the register. Eric held onto her arm to pull her down, and the pair huddled behind the register’s counter, the sounds of the robbers pilfering the goods from the store’s shelves. Fingers, rough and dirty, groped around the cash register, probably trying to find a button to open the drawer. Gently, Allison reached up and pressed the worn panic button that was hidden under the register, doing her best to stay out of reach of the robber’s hand.

“How long do you think it will take them to get here?” Eric whispered.

“I don’t know,” Allison said, “but probably not too long. Jason timed them during the last robbery, and it only took them about six minutes.”

Kneeling on the cement floor wasn’t easy on Allison’s legs, and after about two minutes, she was wishing that the cavalry would arrive on the scene. Laughter made her look up, and she swallowed hard when she looked into the barrel of the robbers’ guns pointed at Eric and her. Mentally praying for help, Allison stood up on shaking legs and slowly raised her hands in surrender, with her coworker mimicking her movements. Normally she wouldn’t have been so nervous, what with living in a city that was overrun with villains and superheroes alike, but she had never been standing at gunpoint before. Outbreaks of thieves and burglars were common in this city, despite the numerous heroes that patrolled the area.

Plastic hockey masks covered the faces of the robbers, and they wordlessly directed Allison and Eric to the back wall of the store. Quietly, they obeyed, but Allison couldn’t help but sneak a glance out the bullet-riddled windows. Rush, at the very least with his super speed, should have been at the scene by now, or even Gigabyte with her swift electricity should have arrived.

She felt her stomach drop at the idea that Eric and she were in this alone, that maybe the superheroes of the city were too busy to deal with an armed robbery. Together, Allison and Eric would have to figure out how to get away from the robbers. Until backup arrived, either in the form of heroes or the police, they would be on their own.

Vaguely, Allison realized that the robbers were trying to get Eric to open the cash drawer for them. With all of her strength, she grabbed a nearby thick folder of paperwork and smashed it over the head of one of the robbers. Xeroxed copies of “Guidelines for New Hires” snowed around the group, prompting Allison to grab Eric’s hand, and the two raced for the door. Yells from the robbers did not slow them down, and they made it out of the shop as the police were arriving.

Zero costumed heroes made it to the scene that day, but Allison realized that simple people like herself could be heroes when they needed to be.

Here’s mine:

“After everything’s that happened, I have to say I’m a little relieved.” Bob confessed with a small smile.

Casey nodded in agreement. “Danielle was only bringing you down. Everyone is really happy you called off the wedding. Friends shouldn’t let friends marry jerks.”

Grinning bigger, Bob sat up straighter in his chair. “Her parents were more upset about us splitting up, I think. I know Danielle was more upset that she wouldn’t be able to buy a big, white, expensive dress.”

“Just because she’s not going to have a day where the world revolves around her.”

Karen walked into the room with a silver tray in her hand. “Lemonade? Made with extra sugar.”

No one responded to the maid. Overall, they were still thinking about the bullet they dodged with the wedding. Periodically Danielle would reach out to Bob, but he would just ignore her. Quoting him all the time, Danielle reminded him of all the promises he made to her. Remembering the good times, Bob looked at Casey with a frown.

She frowned in return shaking her head. Time and time again Bob would miss Danielle and Casey would have to snap him out of it.

“Umbrella,” she reminded him of a particular memory. Valuing Casey’s attempts, Bob shuddered at the memory and didn’t say another word.

“Well,” Karen piped up, “this Danielle person must have done a number on you.”

Xeroxed copies of the wedding details popped out of the fax machine from Danielle and Karen eyed Bob with a twinkle in her eye. “You know she’s not going to quit.”

“Zero,” Bob shook his head, “that’s how much I care.”

Thanks Kris for participating!

Now onto this week’s prompt…

TTW SS 2

Here’s another sentence starter.

Have fun with this one!

If you choose to participate, post your work in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Next Friday, before revealing the next prompt, I’ll post my version of the prompt along with anyone else who participates with a link back to their blog.

Happy writing!

Ten Things To Do In Between Writing

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I try to get as much writing done in one day as I can. I usually sit at my laptop and write 2,000 words at a time. Then I take a small break and go back to it.

I repeat this until my fingers are numb or my brain can’t handle words or the computer screen any longer.

Because I do this, I’m able to write up to 10,000 words in one day. Those words may not necessarily be any good, but at least I’m getting the idea down on paper.

So, in no particular order, here’s a list of things you can do in between your writing.

1. Take a walk.

I need exercise every once in a while and so does my dog. In between word counts I like to take Chip for a walk. Walking not only gets your body moving for a little while, it clears your mind and you’re breathing in fresh air. Then you can go back to your writing with a fresh mind.

2. Watch the rain.

You can’t go walking in a thunderstorm. I mean… You could. But I wouldn’t recommend it. I always found rain soothing; the sound it makes, its smell, and just watching it come down from the sky.

3. Play video games.

This is my personal favorite. Video games are my hobby and I don’t get to play very often between writing and work and other things. Video games help with writing, too. It teaches you about character development and has great story lines.

4. Eat.

I know I forget to do this while writing. I usually like to eat foods that get all over my fingers and who wants a cheesy keyboard? So, go make yourself a snack, eat, and refuel.

5. Clean or organize something.

Throw in a load of laundry or rearrange everything on your desk. A clean area to work is motivating and can make you feel more productive.

6. Play with the dog.

If you have one. If not… Go buy one.

7. Be social.

Why would you want to do this? You have your characters, don’t you?

8. Watch TV.

Just like video games. Except you should limit yourself to one or two episodes. Depending on the show before you know it, it will be the next day.

9. Run an errand or two.

Get out of the house every so often. It’s good for you.

10. Check social media.

Social media is a huge distraction. Get your word count done and use social media (and the Internet itself) as a reward.

What do you do in beweteen your word counts?

Inspiration Station: Prologue/Epilogue

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IS Prologue Epilogue

What is a prologue?

The beginning to start the beginning. A prologue is usually a chapter before chapter one. Sometimes it has something to do with the novel, sometimes it doesn’t.

With that being said…

Do I need a prologue?

Ask yourself, “will this prologue contribute to the plot?” If the answer is yes, then you can probably get away with having a prologue.

If the answer is no, then I wouldn’t bother. Some readers ignore prologues regardless of whether they’re important or not. You want your prologue to have some significance to the plot to start the novel off right.

What should my prologue be about?

There are a few ways to utilize a prologue. Depending on your plot and genre, some ways are probably better than others. You need to use your best judgement on which opening works best for your novel.

Past Protagonist

Take a dip into the past long before your novel even starts. The prologue can be a few years before chapter one, it can be a couple of days before.

This can be written in a different POV, as well. The prologue can explain something that happened long before your main character was born.

As long as there is relevant information to help the plot along, the prologue should be good to go.

Background Information

If your novel is set in a new, fictional world some background would be useful to the reader. There are some things that should be explained before they’re thrown into a brand new world they know nothing about.

New world or not, you can always give information on other things such as a background on the main character.

Just be careful not to info-dump. You want the information to be relevant to the novel and interesting enough to the reader.

If it’s something that will be explained throughout the novel, then don’t bother to explain it in the prologue. Some things the readers should be able to figure out on their own as they read the novel.

What is an epilogue?

The end to end the ending… I’m going to hope that made sense.

While a prologue helps begin the novel, an epilogue helps end the novel.

Do I need an epilogue?

Ask yourself the same question you would ask about your prologue. Will it be relevant to the plot?

Most epilogues are used as an “aftermath” of the story. If you can wrap up your plot and give the readers a more satisfying ending for the characters, then an epilogue might be useful to the story.

What should my epilogue be about?

Most epilogues take a peek into the future.

Wrap-Up

Did your novel have an intense climax? Did it end immediately after the resolution? Use the epilogue to explain what happened to the characters and the world after that. It can be a couple months later or a few years later. Give you characters a “happy ending” or at least the ending they deserve.

Explaining Life

Was a character pregnant? Fast forward a few months and explain the baby. It shows that life goes on despite the plot. Show how the characters have moved on with their life after the plot of the story.

Explaining Death

Did any characters die? Fast forward and show how the other characters cope. Again, show how the characters have moved on with their life after the plot.

Sometimes prologues and epilogues aren’t necessary. Epilogues seem to be more common than prologues. Most readers like to know what happens to the characters after their hardships of the plot.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, check out my posts about Beginnings, Middles, and Ends!

Jokes For Writers

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I don’t know what made me think of this, but a while ago I was on Pinterest looking at some writing things. I found a couple of “jokes.”

They’re not necessarily funny, but they’re clever. Of course I laughed really hard at both of them.

Whenever I tell these jokes to people they laugh because I’m laughing so hard that they probably pity me for being such a dope.

Maybe you guys will appreciate the jokes, though. I found both of them on Pinterest, so I don’t know who originally posted them. But they’re funny all the same.

Dig

It actually took me a couple of minutes to actually get this one. I had to read it a couple of times before I finally understood it. I was never very good at telling and listening to jokes, so… Don’t judge me.

Tense

I found this one absolutely hilarious. Unlike the other one, I actually understood it right away.

If you guys have any other jokes like that, let me know. I enjoy them.

But maybe that’s just me.

Writer’s Digest

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If you love to write then I’m sure you’ve heard of Writer’s Digest before. You’ve probably checked back there more than once to help with your own writing.

I just wanted to give Writer’s Digest a shout out on my blog because it’s really a great community.

If you go on their website you’ll find writing contests, prompts, helpful articles, writing resources, different blogs and events, and so much more.

I check on the website often (mostly for the contests), but pretty much everything on their site is helpful in more ways than one.

Their website is good, but I do love their magazine. Kris is subscribed to it so we get it whenever the next issue is out.

She just got the latest issue in the mail the other day and it had a list of agents all seeking new authors.

Since my children’s book is in the querying stage at the moment, I loved this. There are a few agents on the list that I have never come across before who represent my genre, so querying to them will definitely be on my to-do list soon.

Plus, one of the main articles was all about the mystery, thriller, and suspense genre. Which, as you guys probably know by now, is the genre of my first novel.

I think my personal favorite is the issue that has the annual list of 101 best websites for writers. That issue already came out so I’m sure you can find the list somewhere if you’re not subscribed to Writer’s Digest already.

If you are a writer, I would highly recommend utilizing Writer’s Digest as often as you can if you don’t already.

It helps a lot more than you would think.

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