Quote of the Week

Today’s quote is from Terri Main, author of Dark Side of the Moon. The quote isn’t so much writing advice as it is humorous. Last night, my family was discussing flu shots. A fairly normal topic this time of year, right? Meanwhile, I was deep in thought about how a government could use a flu shot and control people with it through mini microchips or nanobots. I was half-way through plotting that book by the time dinner was over. So, yes, the “normal” ship has sailed without me on it. 😉

“You are a writer. The ‘normal’ ship sailed without you long ago.” – Terri Main

~ Kayla

The Silence – Part 4

Today I’m posting part 4 of my Doctor Who fanfiction about the Silence. Last week, Karen and Anthony were running away from whatever was following them. This week we find out what is following them and meet Anthony’s parents. I mentioned last week that Anthony is the adopted son of Amy and Rory Pond (Williams), the Eleventh Doctor’s companions. This week, Amy makes a guest appearance in my fanfiction. Those who watch the show know that Amy is typically referred to as Amy or Amelia Pond by the Doctor, but her married name is actually Amy Williams, which is how Karen knows her. 🙂

Our pounding feet on the metal stairs echoed through the apartment building’s hallway. We came to a halt outside Anthony’s front door. Pulling the key from his jean pocket, his fingers fumbled as he inserted the key into the lock and twisted it. We burst through the door and slammed it shut behind us with a loud bang.

“Is that you, Anthony?” called a voice.

“Mom, I’m home, and I brought Karen,” Anthony said as we walked into his warm, bright kitchen filled with the smell of baked muffins that Anthony’s mother was pulling out of the oven.

His mother turned around with a smile. “Karen, it’s always good to see you.” I smiled back despite my anxiety. Mrs. Williams was always so nice and had the prettiest smile and red hair. And I loved her Scottish accent.

“Karen has a question for you,” Anthony explained with an encouraging nod towards me.

I took a deep breath. “I think I’m being followed.”

“In fact, we were followed here, ” Anthony added.

Mrs. Williams stopped filling the muffin tin. “Followed? By whom?”

“I don’t know. There are gaps in my memory that I just don’t understand. I thought there was this shadow following me the other day.” I stopped for a moment, trying to gauge Mrs. Williams’s reaction. She didn’t say anything. “I know you must think I’m crazy,” I started to say.

“I’ve seen some strange things, kid. Trust me. I don’t think you’re crazy.” She leaned against the kitchen counter and pushed her flame colored hair back with her red painted nails.

“Mom, I found this on my hand. I don’t remember how it got here.” Anthony held out his hand towards Mrs. Williams.

What happened next was fuzzy. I remembered turning towards Anthony, about to ask him something, and then the next thing I knew, I was huddled on the kitchen floor with Mrs. Williams beside me and Anthony on the other side.

“What’s happening? Why am I here?” I asked, my head spinning. I looked over at Mrs. Williams and covered my mouth with my hand to keep from screaming. Her face and arms were covered with black lines. “What’s going on? What’s happened to you?”

Mrs. Williams looked down at her arms. “Listen to me, Karen. You haven’t got much time. There’s something out there called the Silence. They’re an alien race that controls humanity. When you look away from them, the memory of your encounter with them is erased. That’s what the gaps in your memory are from. The only way to remember that you’ve seen a Silence is to draw a tally mark on your arm for each one you encounter. They won’t hesitate to kill you if they perceive you as a threat. The only way to escape is to listen to me closely.” Mrs. Williams grabbed my arm. “Find a man called the Doctor. Tell him Amelia Pond sent you. Tell him the Silence are here. And tell him he better rescue us all.”

A scream shatters the stillness of the room. I look up from the diary, my heart pounding. I put the book down on the bed and stand up, the floor creaking slightly. It’s deathly silent in the house, and even though it’s not cold, I have goose bumps on my arms.

“Mom?” I ask, cautiously taking shaky steps down the first two or three stairs, but the only answer is my own voice echoing back. “Mom?” I call, a little louder this time. My answer is a loud banging, and the whistle of the wind. I wrap my arms around myself, climbing down the stairs, forcing my feet to move. The wind bangs the front door against the battered wall, the rain pouring in onto the floor. I slam the door shut and lock it tightly. The rain is running down into my eyes as I turn away from the door. I shut my eyes for a moment, drying my face off with the edge of my shirt. When I open my eyes, I’m not downstairs. My back is against the heavy wooden door to the bedroom, and the diary is open in my hands. “What happened? Where am I?” My head is spinning. I look down at the diary in my hands, and flinch, my heart starting to race again. My hands are covered in tally marks. The Silence. I’d seen Karen’s shadows. They are following me, too. I flip open the diary, the pages making a slight rustle as I turn them. There seems to be only one thing to do. Find out if Karen escaped and how, if possible, I can as well.

Thanks for reading! Part 5 will be up next week.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: December 19 – 25

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 7,850

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 2,412 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on Hunger Games fanfiction, a Christmas story, and a new novel idea.

The Good News: I made my goal, and I feel like I got a ton of writing in.

The Bad News: I need to get back to editing Snow.

Lesson Learned: I learned how to procrastinate. Okay, okay, not really!  I’ve been avoiding editing Snow since I finished writing my NaNo novel. I really dislike editing, so I’m not very motivated to do it! However, I really want and need to finish editing Snow. So, I’m going to try and “unlearn” this lesson and start editing soon!

Goal for Next Week:  My goal is to edit a chapter of Snow this week.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Merry Christmas Eve! This quote is from Nora DeLoach, author of Mama Traps A Killer. Editing is something that’s always been a struggle for me, and nothing is more frustrating than having to rewrite the same scene ten times. However, it’s a part of writing, and after I finish editing a scene, my writing sound so much better, it’s worth all the frustration!

“Writing is rewriting. Even after you’ve gotten an agent and an editor, you’ll have to rewrite. If you fall in love with the vision you want of your work and not your words, the rewriting will become easier.” – Nora DeLoach.

The Silence – Part 3

Last Tuesday, I posted the second part of my Doctor Who fanfiction about the Silence. Bree had stopped reading Karen’s diary entry, realizing she was being followed, too. I mentioned last week that Karen’s name was a reference to the actress who plays Amy Pond. Well, I snuck in another reference to the show in the date of the diary entry. April 23 is the date that “The Impossible Astronaut,” the episode that introduced the Silence, first aired. There’s another reference, as well, to a deleted scene from the last episode the Ponds were in. Anthony was the name of the son the Ponds adopted, and in my story, he’s Karen’s best friend. Also Kaz, Anthony’s nickname for Karen, is the same as Matt Smith’s (Eleventh Doctor) nickname for Karen Gillan (Amy Pond).

April 23, 1960

Where do I begin? After I finally felt safe enough to come out last night, I went downstairs and saw my parents had come home. They didn’t seem to notice that anything was wrong. I didn’t sleep much last night and could barely drag myself out of bed for school. I was terrified of walking to school all alone, where that shadow could find me and follow me there, too. I forced myself to do it, though. Some parts of it are very clear in my mind. My pounding heart, my feet hammering against the concrete, fearful of something, but not knowing of what. Most of that walk, however, is just gone, giant blank gaps in my memory. I do remember running into school, stopping by the door, out of breath, trying to remember why I was running and why I was so scared …

I forced myself to breathe normally as I stepped inside the school, pushing past the other students chatting by their lockers. “Anthony!” I called to a brown haired boy putting his extra books in his locker. He turned, hearing my shout, and gave me a wave. I scooted past a group of chattering girls to join Anthony.

He shut his locker door, locked it, and leaned against it. “Hello, Kaz.”

“Kaz” is the nickname he gave me years ago that he uses to drive me crazy. However, I wasn’t in the mood to play games today.

“Anthony, I need to talk to you. I need your help.”

The smile faded on Anthony’s face. “What’s wrong?”

“There’s something following me,” I told him in a low whisper, clutching at his arm. “I saw a shadow yesterday while I was walking home. I know it followed me. And the mirror. I saw something in the mirror, but I can’t remember what it was.” The words spilled out of my mouth, one on top of another.

Anthony didn’t say anything for a moment. “Are you sure?” he said slowly.

I nodded. “I know you must think I’m crazy.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy,” Anthony reassured. “Are you doing anything this afternoon?”

Confused, I shook my head. “I don’t think so, why?”

“I think you need to talk to my parents.” The bell cut our conversation off, and we hurried to our class. I slipped into the seat in front of his, and I felt something poke my arm. I looked down to see a folded paper. I grabbed it, unfolded it, and read the note to myself. “Meet me at my house after school. We’ll talk to my parents there.” Tucking the paper into my pocket, I felt like I could relax, at least a little bit.

I sat through school as best I could, jittery and nervous. When that last bell sounded, I was the first one out the door. I waited outside until Anthony walked up.

“You coming?” he asked, taking my books from me.

“Thanks,” I said as we walked along the street.

“Look, what my parents are going to tell you isn’t going to sound normal. You’re probably not even going to believe them,” Anthony warned.

“At this point, Anthony, I’ll believe anything,” I assured him.

I must have zoned out, because the next thing I remember was passing shop windows and being half-way to Anthony’s house.

“Quick walk,” I commented.

Anthony shrugged, not saying anything.

My eyes rested on the black marks on the back of his hand. “Hey, what’s on your hand?”

Anthony looked down. “It’s noth-” he stopped, staring at the black lines that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

“Karen,” he said slowly.

“Yes?” I asked, wondering why he sounded so nervous.

“Run,” he whispered, grabbing my hand.

Thanks for reading! Part 4 next week.

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: December 12 – 18

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 6,659

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Tuesday with 1,686.

What I Worked On: I worked on Hunger Games fanfiction, a Christmas story, and a new novel idea.

The Good News: Despite the crazy week, I managed to make my goal every day!

The Bad News: It was an insane week, so I didn’t get as much writing in as I would have liked.

Lesson Learned: I’ve started working on writing fanfiction about an hour or so before I go to bed. It’s enough time to get in my 700 words, and it’s actually pretty relaxing, helping me to fall asleep. This is less than a lesson learned and more something I’ve found that’s really helped me lately!

Goal for Next Week:  My goal is to write 700 words a day.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Monthly Link Share – How to Narrate

Welcome to December’s monthly link share! Today I’m sharing some links I’ve found helpful this past month!

For me, narration is one of the hardest things to write. I tend to repeat myself a ton and also worry about keeping the reader’s interest. This article has some great advice for polishing your narration so it’s interesting and the best it can be!

http://writetodone.com/clean-up-your-narration-four-tips-for-fiction-writers/

Another thing I worry about is creating likeable characters. This article has some great tips to make sure your protagonist is relatable and not someone the readers hate!

http://emblazoners.com/create-a-relatable-protagonist/

In this article, mystery writer P.D. James gives ten tips for writing novels. Her advice is really good and touches on some points different than the advice that is usually given.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-24867584

I’m not a huge Christmas music fan, but when one of my favorite artists, Chris August, released a brand new Christmas EP, I had to get it. The whole EP is a great mix of classic Christmas hymns and original songs. My favorite original Christmas song from the album is this incredibly funny and crazy song called, “Tell Me What You Want For Christmas.”

Thanks for clicking and reading!

~Kayla

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote is from Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds. I always worry about whether or not my characters seem real, and this quote had some great advice to help me with that!

“The core of every good story is a character for whom we care – and not just care a little, but care deeply. This alone is no easy task: such a character must be likeable, but not annoying. He must have virtues but remain imperfect. She must possess the potential for sacrifice, for selflessness, for selfishness, for evil. He may be funny, but not only that. She may be serious, but not only that. He comprises many dimensions but not so many that he seems unreal or unpindownable.” – Chuck Wendig

~ Kayla

The Silence – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of a Doctor Who fanfiction about the Silence. We left off just as Bree opened the diary she had found and read the first sentence from a girl named Karen Helms who claimed she was being followed. I chose the name Karen as a bit of an Easter egg. The actress who plays Amy Pond, the Eleventh Doctor’s companion who also meets the Silence, is named Karen Gillan. I decided it’d be fun to name my character after Ms. Gillan and make the subtle connection back to the show! 🙂

I don’t know by what, and I don’t know by whom. I just know there is someone – or something – following me. I feel like I should write everything down in case something happens to me. It’s a strange feeling, like there’s something over my shoulder, something always watching me. I can’t escape the feeling, even now, in my room, with the door locked.

It started today when I was walking down one of the back streets on my way home. I never use the main sidewalks, if I can help it, since they’re so crowded. It was wet and rainy, and I could see my reflection in the rainwater pooled in the dips of the black asphalt street. Only when I looked down did I realize there was more than just my face and the brick buildings reflected in those puddles. I stopped, staring at the rippling water. Behind, me there was a murky black shape, like a shadow. I looked up quickly, but there was no one there. Nothing was casting that shadow. I started to walk again, much more quickly, staring down into the puddles on the road. From broken reflection to broken reflection, I could see the shadow following me. My stomach twisted into knots as I dashed across the road, and stepped onto the busy New York City sidewalk, pushing through the crowds. I bumped into a few people, who shouted at me angrily, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away from whatever was behind me. I caught a glimpse of a puddle beside me, but there were too many shadows and reflections for me to tell if the shape was still following me. I jogged up the first couple steps to my front door, glancing over my shoulder quickly as I did so. There was nothing behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief as I inserted the key into the hole and twisted it, opened the door, and relocked it behind me. There. Now no shadows could get in.

I sat my textbooks down on the coffee table. As I did, I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror hanging above the fireplace. Looking at the mirror, I had the strangest feeling, like there was something I’d forgotten. Something important, but I couldn’t remember what. I stepped closer to the mirror, putting my hand on the cool glass, trying to remember what I’d forgotten. Suddenly, my stomach twisted in fear, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I knew I had to get out of there, but I didn’t know why. Not even thinking about my decision, I raced up the stairs and flung open the door to my room, shutting it and locking it. I slid down onto the floor, the feeling of terror overwhelming me.

That’s where I am now. My back still against the solid wooden door, writing in this diary. I want to tell someone, but I’m afraid Mom and Dad will only think I’m being silly or playing a prank on them. Maybe I’ll tell Anthony tomorrow. Anthony is one of my closest friends. Most of the others avoid him since his family is …different. No one has ever forgotten the day in seventh grade when he proudly told the class that his parents once met a man from space. Of course, after today, I’d being willing to believe that.

The writing abruptly stops. I flip the page over and find another entry, but it doesn’t pick up where the previous page left off. I’m about to begin reading again, but then I realize my hands are gripping the edge of the book so tightly my knuckles are white. I can almost feel someone’s eyes on me as I sit here, the diary open in my lap. I can’t help but think of Karen as I glance behind me only to find nothing. I’m being followed.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for part 3 next week.

~Kayla