Photo Exercise

A little while ago I posted an Object Exercise which was a writing prompt from my Nonfiction class. I thought I would share the prompt with all of you in case you wanted to do it yourselves. Well, here’s another prompt from my class.

The rules are easy enough: pick a picture from your past (childhood, recent, whenever) and tell a story based on that picture. Now, this is nonfiction so that would mean telling the real story behind the picture, which is what I had to do. Of course, you could always modify the rules and write a fiction story based on a real picture. Maybe start off nonfiction and then make a slight change and see what could have happened. Play around with it.

Here’s mine. Enjoy.

Kris (left), Peter Pan (middle), and me (right)
Kris (left), Peter Pan (middle), and me (right)

            Every time I look at this photo, I get butterflies in my stomach. My sister (left) and I (right) met Peter Pan for the first time in our lives and it was without a doubt one of the best moments in my life.

Peter Pan is a celebrity, a hero, a figment of the imagination. He lives in a place called Neverland which is located on the second star to the right and straight on until morning. I have never been to Neverland, but it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit since I was a child.

In August 2014, my sister and I had the opportunity to go to Disney World with our cousins. We had gone to Disney two years before, but I never got the chance to meet Peter Pan because we couldn’t find him. When we decided to go again I told my sister, “I have to meet Peter Pan.”

After a few hours walking around Magic Kingdom and asking quite a few workers where Peter Pan usually stood, we finally came across him by accident.

“Kristen, there he is!” I stopped short and grabbed onto my sister’s arm, staring in awe at my favorite celebrity 20 feet away.

She pressed her hand up against my back and pushed me towards the continuously growing line to meet the man in green. “Then get in line!” she panicked, knowing the workers only allowed a certain number of people in at a time before Peter Pan would have to go on break.

We hopped in line just before the line was closed; we only had three people standing behind us. We were under a wooden tarp with wooden fences around us keeping us in line. Trees surrounded us making us feel as though we were inside Peter Pan’s tree house in Neverland.

As the line inched farther along, I started to shake. I began to get hot flashes. I didn’t know if that was from the 85-degree Florida heat or just nerves. My guess was the latter.

When there were just a couple people left ahead of us in line, I urged to tell Kristen that I didn’t want to meet Peter Pan anymore. I was panicking too much inside my head and he was fun to watch from afar. However, I clamped my mouth shut and stuck it out until we were next.

I nearly had a panic attack.

Peter Pan flagged us over with a wide grin on his face. He was animated; bouncing up and down, constantly shifting his weight with quick movements, and his facial expressions contorted like a cartoon character. He sounded just like the Peter Pan I know from the movie and he looked like him, too; not just from the clothes, but his hair and face as well. Of course, that could have just been me being star struck.

“You should come to Neverland with me. I’ve never had girls there before… well, besides Wendy. You two can be my lost girls! I’ve never had any lost girls before. You’ll be the first ones!”

Peter Pan rambled on and on, Kristen giggling at his mannerisms and me smiling and nodding trying to take everything in.

“Hey, you wanna crow with me? You look like you’re good crowers!” Peter Pan stood up straight, cupping his hands to his mouth and then bellowed. Kristen mimicked him playing along while I gawked at him like an idiot.

We then took our picture with him where he put his arms around our shoulders. I smiled at the worker taking our picture with my camera beaming. I couldn’t believe Peter Pan was touching me.

“You’re shaking.”

I continued to smile at the camera even though the woman wasn’t taking pictures anymore. I didn’t know who was speaking, but it sounded like a man so it must have been Peter Pan. I ignored him, not knowing how to respond. I didn’t even know what he was talking about.

I gave him one last hug before retrieving my camera from the park employee and Kristen and I exited the outdoor tree house. I turned on my camera again and started going through the pictures to find the ones of Peter Pan.

“You know, his face was practically kissing yours when he noticed how much you were shaking… and you didn’t even answer him.” Kristen informed me laughing at how nervous I had been.

My mouth gaped open. I couldn’t believe Peter Pan had been that close to me. I couldn’t believe I didn’t talk to him. I couldn’t believe I didn’t crow with him. I finally met my favorite Disney character and I was scared stiff the entire time. I was so embarrassed, but I was laughing at myself at the same time.

Then I started to cry.

Kristen stopped walking and stood in front of me. She stared at me in horror wondering what was wrong.

I smiled through the tears and shouted, “I met Peter Pan!” finally letting it all sink in.

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Cheerios and Chicken Soup

Yum…

Kris and I decided to do more writing contests and such.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? This is one of the things we want to do. We pick book topics that we can write a nonfiction story about and send it in. If your story is picked to be in the book, you’ll receive 200 dollars plus ten free copies of the book. I think that’s a good deal.

As of right now, there are two topics that I am able to write for. Stories About Cats and Overcoming Challenges. I could write for the Stories About Dogs one, but I don’t have any real stories that pop out in my mind. I can only think of one story with my cat, Hunter, and my turtle, Raph. I’m going to write about that. I doubt it’ll get picked, but hey–might as well toss in every story I can, right? The deadline for this one is August 31, 2013.

The Overcoming Challenges one I’m going to talk about my high school career–my best friend bullying me, my anxiety disorder, and some of the teachers not believing in me. I don’t know if I ever explained this one here, but I left high school half way through my junior year. I did get my high school diploma, but I went through college to get it. It also gave me a head start on my degree, which was nice. The deadline for this one is October 31, 2013.

There are a couple of other topics I could write for, but there are no stories that pop into my head for them. We’ll see, though; especially since I have time for the two topics I plan on doing. Of course August 31 is going to be here before I know it.

I also heard of another contest through My Journey As A Writer‘s blog. It’s called Cheerios Spoonful of Stories. You can send in an unlimited amount of children’s books. Grand prize is 5,000 dollars. The story is featured on the website as well as handed over to Simon and Schuster publishing to be considered for publication. Second and third prize gets 1,000 dollars. The deadline is July 31, 2013.

I have a few children’s book ideas, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to write, edit, and send them in. I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday and when I come back there will be about three days left until the deadline. The book I would love to send in is still being considered by a publisher who only takes exclusive manuscripts. I’m not allowed to send the manuscript anywhere else until I hear from them, or September 7 (it’s a three-month turnaround time and I sent it in on June 7). We’ll see if I have any time this week to write up some manuscripts and give them a good look-over.

There’s also Writer’s Digest competitions. I have done a couple of their competitions before, but never won anything. Of course, I can keep trying.

I also bought a book called 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Not only does the book have a list of publishers and agents, it has a list of contests, as well. Of course, a lot of them have already ended because I was smart and bought the book half way through the year of 2013. But it also has a list of magazines, too. Some pay, some don’t. Some have contests, some don’t. But you can still send stuff in, depending on what they’re looking for.

I told myself I wanted to have something published by my 25th birthday. Of course, when I say something published, I mean one of my young adult novels or middle grade novels or something.

I turn 20 on September 1, 2013. That gives me five more years to get something done. If I can get something published by winning a contest, even if it’s just published in a small magazine, I’ll take it. I would prefer one of my novels, but if it gets my foot in the door, I’ll be happy.