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Friday, August 20, 2010

Schmooze & Flash Fiction sample

Last Sunday, I attended an awesome local event hosted by Shutta Crum.  I do not appear in the photos on her website because I was sitting on a trunk in the corner.  It was a great time with food and more writer networking.  Seriously, children's writers are the friendliest group of people you could ask for.  You're never alone in a crowd of children's writers.  Although, my bud, Jody was there too and we had a conversation about the angst of revising.  Our conversation led me to email Jay Asher, since we're so tight, and ask him about critiques and revising.  He responded, promptly, and gave me some fantastic advice.  Basically, if the advice doesn't match up with the vision you had when you started writing, don't pay it any mind.  It sounds simple enough but that point can easily be muddied when you start throwing paid critiques from professionals into the mix.
The Schmooze was a great event to follow the LA conference.  Helped me to stay focused and energized about what I'm doing, despite the lapse of revision angst.  Now, I find myself gazing longingly at the SCBWI-MI fall conference which is taking place next month.  So many awesome events, so little time and money. 
Anyway, I've also been thinking that I should get some writing samples up on this page.  I recently entered a flash fiction contest with this little piece I call, DORIAN.  The rules stated that the first line had to be, "What were you thinking?"  and the piece could be no more than 400 words.  This isn't the greatest piece of writing I've done and I could definitely polish this more but I like the concept I came up with and I thought you might enjoy a brief read.  So here you go.  Let me know what you think.


What were you thinking?  The words echo in my brain even as my vision starts to get fuzzy. 
I know what I’d been thinking.  Everything is so clear now.  I knew all along that I should have stayed away from Dorian.  Everything about him put me on edge, especially his eyes.  Looking into his eyes, even for a second, had made me feel like all my secrets were transported into his mind.  It was a terrifying sensation, but it also had the effect of making me want to be near him.  Maybe I just wanted to know the guy who seemed to steal my secrets, and, against my better judgment, I chose to get involved. 
I never expected to trust him.
Sure, we hung out, we even kissed, but it never made him less creepy.  He would say the right things and I would answer the right way but I always stayed a little on guard.  After all, he was the weirdo of the entire high school, probably of all the high schools in the nation.  I needed to be able to drop him if things got too weird.  
Today, after school, he’d asked if he could take me somewhere special.  To my credit, I hesitated.  “That’s ok,” he’d said quickly.  “You don’t have to, it’s cool.” 
“No,” I’d replied, suddenly feeling like I’d offended him.  “I’d like to go.” 
“Are you sure?” he asked.  “I don’t want you to feel like I’m twisting your arm or anything.”
“No,” I assured him.  “I’m sure it’ll be fun.” 
That was the first time I’d ever fully trusted him.  I let my guard slip and it turns out that I won’t have an opportunity to make that mistake again.
When Dorian stole my secrets, he would have learned that, even though I’m seventeen, I’m still afraid of monsters.  I know, it sounds stupid, but there’s always a moment at night, just after I turn off the light, that I hold my breath and brace for the worst.  Nothing happens and I feel silly, but I still do it. 
“You were right to fear monsters” he’d said when he brought me here.  Now, I’m lying on the forest floor watching all my blood flow from my body.  It’s almost reassuring to know that my nighttime ritual wasn’t in vain but I’m sorry I’ll never be able to warn anyone.  

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