25 March 2013

A Few Submissions

Not many of you may know this, but I'm a writer.  I've been a writer since I was eight (we will not delve into all the embarrassing stories of youth-writer-me), but only since I was twelve did I really start "writing books."  I wrote my first "book" when I was twelve and homeschooled and bored stiff.  I remember being (still am) a huge fan of Sarah Dessen and thinking, "If she can do it, so can I," which in retrospect sounds incredibly pretentious and obnoxious, but whatever.  I was a real bratty twelve-year-old.  Ever since I was twelve, I've been doing this... writing thing.

Since the tenth grade, I've been attempting NaNoWriMo and, after three years, finally won last year.  NaNoWriMo was the biggest writing thing I'd done in recent years in terms of public achievement.

Until now.

Even now, I have absolutely no flipping idea what prompted me to submit my writing to a website as part of a contest.  Now, be warned, I have done this before, just minus the contest part.  When I was twelve, up till I was fourteen, I was incredibly active on another public submission site but not since then.  And this was for a contest.

What the heck was I thinking?

A part of me wants to be so proud that I've taken this small step out of my comfort zone.  After all, submitting my work for public critique can only help me grow as a writer.  Not only do I get comments about my writing, but I'm actually writing.  Not writing has been a huge problem for me lately.  (After I finished NaNo last year, I haven't done anything, and that needed to change.)

But I'm also baring my soul to the world by putting my work out there, and it's an incredibly uncomfortable feeling.  I recognize this uncomfortable feeling as vulnerability, and there's only one person I turn to when I'm having a vulnerability issue:  Dr. Brene Brown, who gave several fantastic TED talks about her research on vulnerability and shame.  Here's a quote she shared that I absolutely love, and it gives me a sort of resilience and strength whenever I'm thinking or doing something that makes me feel vulnerable:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly... who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Theodore Roosevelt
This "man in the arena" quote really helps me realize that stepping out of my comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable, is vital to my growth and a writer and a person.  If I don't push boundaries, I won't go anywhere.

So what I'd like to do today is share with you all the two things I've submitted to this site.  You may have heard of it.  It's called Figment, a community of like-mindedness (read: crazy people who also do this...writing thing).  Details of each submission are listed.

*  *  *

by Amelia Robinson

March 24, 2013
Spring Fever Short Story Contest, Figment.com

Prompt: In 250 words or fewer, write a story that’s set in springtime.

Description:  Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter, is captured by Hades, lord of the Underworld.
After the first loaf of bread from the first harvest is sacrificed to my mother, I gather wildflowers from the fields that sweep across our hills and present them to her. It makes her smile, to be brought flowers when she is the goddess of the fields.

There is only the earth’s song to surround me as I hook my basket over my elbow and wade out into wheat stalks that brush the skin of my arms, left bare for the newly warm sun to kiss. With the sound of the waves beating against the cliffs so close, I know I am safe to let my whole arms be free to the air. No one will see.

A patch of crocuses grow in the soft turn of earth left behind by a rockslide. They please me, with their white petals stained with dark purple. I kneel on the rocks, pick the flowers, and weave them, slowly and carefully, in the way my mother taught me, into a wreath.

As I finish, a skin-prickling chill tightens the skin along my back, and arms embrace me, like a lover, from behind. A soft, icy breath against my neck freezes me in place, and two hands, white as bone, close over mine. They slip the wreath from my fingers. The hands lift it slowly and then, so gently, it comes to rest on my head.

“Oh, my darling, yes,” a voice whispers. “You shall have your crown.”

by Amelia Robinson

March 24, 2013
Ball Challenge, Figment.com

Prompt: Write an opening scene for a novel. Your scene should begin in the middle of the action—and there should be an unanswered question. Why is your character being chased; crying hysterically; hiding in the bathroom? It’s up to you what the “ball” is—just make sure to hide it!

Word Limit: 500 or less

Description: A boy finds the victim of a vicious werewolf attack.
Her gasps were wet because half her throat was gone.

I took a cursory glance over the rest of her body because I knew Doctor Graham would want to know the details. It was the smell that kept my stomach in my mouth. Blood, human blood especially, brought on the swelling desire for the hunt, and when you went your entire life eating things well cooked, suddenly taking a fancy to raw meat came with some adjustment.

Though my wolf roused at the thought of soft flesh, I couldn’t do more than glance over the exposed innards of her belly.

I swallowed, then grimaced as the scent of death slid into my gut.

Just concentrate.

In addition to her belly, her sternum had been split open. It started at her left collarbone, drew across her chest, then tapered off after slicing through several ribs on her right side.

A hip bone poked out. So did a knee cap. A bit of her thigh muscle was gone on both sides, and both of her calves were broken.

I didn’t remember my attack being so vicious, but then again, I’d been a wuss. I’d lost consciousness soon after my attacker loped away.

The girl gurgled, like she was trying to speak.

I knew there was damage to her face. There was always damage to the face. I could see the stark contrast between the white sheet of her skin and the dark swath of blood in my peripheral vision, but I couldn’t… I swallowed death again, and wished fiercely that Steven were here to do the honorable thing: talk to her, smooth her hair off her forehead, and ease her passing.

I remembered my attack. That moment just before slipping into blackness when I was so sure – so sure – that I was dying, and being consumed by fear and pain because there was nothing I could do but die.

I’d be a real bastard if I couldn’t even bring myself to look at her as she died.

Her eyes were closed, gripped tight with agony, but it was as if she sensed my gaze because her eyes blinked open.

White bone flashed under the torrent of blood flowing from a gash to her forehead. It slipped over her face, pooling in the corner of one her eyes. Her eyelashes were wet and clumped.

Though her lip was split, the corners of her mouth jerked up briefly, shakily, bravely. Like she was glad I was there.

When she died, the blood flowed into the whites of her eyes, unchecked. I shifted away from her. My heels were sore from kneeling.

Then she gasped and her body arched. I fell away from her, catching myself on my hands. Her eyes were wide, same as her mouth, as she yanked air into her lungs.

As her body began healing, I watched as her eyes glinted suddenly in the moonlight, and they were no longer blue, but gold.

The Change had taken hold of her.
*  *  *

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.  I'd love to hear back from you.  :)  Thank you for reading.