Monday, February 28, 2011

Scarry Night Flash Fiction Challenge

**This is my contribution to the Scarry Night Flash Fiction Challenge. The short version: write a flash short story using the line "I don't even mind the scars," which Patti overheard on a night out.

Find dozens more shorts by some super-talented writers over at Patti Abbott's blog. ***

Restraining Order

I wasn’t supposed to be there, in the dark, at her house, looking up at her bedroom window from the shadows of the big pine tree in the neighbor’s yard. I mean, there were lawyers involved now—ones that cost more per hour than a car payment, as my dad liked to say. I wasn’t supposed to come near Danielle.

But there I was, twenty feet from her house, trying to figure out how to get her to open the curtains. I could see her bedroom light was on. It was after ten, so I knew she was probably listening to her iPod, or watching TV. In her fleece pajamas—I loved her in those.

I looked around for a rock, but realized I might just break the window. There was an irony in that, since I still dreamed of the broken glass. The rush of air. I closed my eyes, and pushed away the images of the accident.

There was a pine cone near the base of the tree that could work. I clutched it, feeling the sting in my shoulder. Better to use my left arm. I aimed, heard the pine cone bounce gently off the glass.
I waited, then figured she didn’t hear it. There was another pine cone on the ground, and just as I reached down to grab it, I heard her voice.

“Paul?” She leaned on the window frame, her long blond hair blowing in the breeze, hugging her shoulders. I loved her hair.

I waved, and stepped away from the tree so she could see me.

Danielle climbed out the window, and jumped down. Onto the driveway, with her bare feet. She always had an odd tolerance for pain. Danielle liked to take it to edge.

And I loved to follow her there. “Hey,” I said. “I know I’m not supposed to be here, but…”

She laughed. “So what? We’ll let the lawyers figure that out, blahblah boring.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Wanna walk?” Danielle asked, but didn’t wait for my answer. She just looped her arm through mine, and led me to the sidewalk. I guessed she didn’t worry about who saw us together, even if there was that restraining order.

“Did they tell you yet when you can come back to school?” I asked, feeling like I should say something.

Neh. And I don’t think I’d come back anyway, suspension or not. That place is a drag.” Danielle liked excitement. You could see it in her eyes—I loved that, and feared it at the same time. “I’m thinking of just taking off, you know?” she said to the night. “See what’s out there.”

I smiled, not sure what to say. I was the sensible one, the one who got the good grades, the one with the track-team scholarships to go to the good colleges. The accident was the first thing that happened to me that was not part of my plan. It was all about Danielle now.

She stopped, and pulled my arm. “You want to go? We could take your car, go west or something.” The streetlight twinkled in her eye.

“My car is totaled, remember?” I never did get to see it, after the crash. But my parents told me it was a heap of misery. Like I’d been, weeks in that hospital bed. “Why didn’t you come and see me?”

She rolled her eyes. “You know I hate hospitals. And then there was the restraining order, you know.”

“That was Dad’s idea. He thinks you’re a bad influence.” He had a point. It was Danielle who’d been so mad, after I told her I was taking that scholarship and was moving to California. Of course, she’d put on her seat belt before hitting that lamppost, unlike me. And I’d gone flying through the windshield, bouncing off the pavement—not that I remembered anything once I landed. But I was reminded plenty anyway. All I had to do was look in the mirror, at the pink lines that ran across my scalp, my face, down my neck, and all over my body. And those scholarships were long gone, now that I could no longer run.

Danielle looped her arms around my waist. “We’ll just take my mom’s Audi. Let’s go tonight.”

“Okay,” I heard myself say.

Danielle looked at me. “You’re still sexy, you know.” She kissed the scar on my cheek. “You know, some girls would dump their boyfriends after something like this.” She smiled. “Not me. You couldn’t get rid of me if you tried.” She play-punched my bad shoulder.

I winced.

Danielle turned around to walk back to her house, and like always, I followed. “You know,” she said as she leaned into me, “I don’t even mind the scars.”

Friday, February 25, 2011


My blog has surpassed 10,000 vistors! Actually, when I checked this morning it was at 10,015, and it was only because I scrolled that I saw. Hurrah! Thanks everyone for continuing to stop by. Without you, I'd just be talking to myself, and I do that enough already.

Pass the virtual cake, all. It's chocolate, mmmm.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blogs? No Thanks

I had heard before that teens don't really care much for blogs, but this NYT article explains why. If you write for teens, it has some great information on teen tech habits, so check it out.

Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fun Timewastery

Check out the GenderGenie! It lets you paste text (like my latest WIP) and tells you if it thinks you're male or female by your word choices.

I'm still a girl, quelle relief. It's all nonsense, but it's Tuesday, and I knew you were looking for something to do that isn't what you should be doing. Right?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kidlit Agathas

Snatched from the lovely Janet Rudolph at Mystery Fanfare: the Agatha Noms for kidlit:

Best Children's/Young Adult:

Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
Virals by Kathy Reichs
The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Library Love

I love my library. Where other people might go shopping for the art of the hunt, I treasure hunt at my library. And I always walk out with a giant bag of books, like a hungry man at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books, and with parents who would take me to the library on Monday evenings. I discovered Agatha Christie while roaming there, and was taught that if you want to learn something new, you get a book--whether you're writing a book report or want to learn a new craft. Libraries are my favorite places.

Ah, nostalgia. If you're up for some more, check out this article in the Guardian on libraries in the movies. It was a fun trip down movie memory lane for me.

How about you? What's your library story?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Music: Best Suit Ever

In case you missed last night's performance by Cee Lo, here 'tis. Is this not the best suit ever??

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Lives Under A High School

This past Monday, I taught my last class of the year (on fiction writing)at my local high school. It's always interesting to see who shows up--directing teenagers can be a lot like herding cats (no insult there, I love cats).

This last one was pretty hands-on, because I worked with the class, showing how to plot a novel using the three-act system. And we did. It took my class (all girls this time) no time at all to toss out fun ideas, which reminded me: teenagers are sharp as a tack. I was humbled, and reminded of why I love to write for kids: they have an uncluttered intelligence, imagination, and willingness to go on a fictional journey that's just tough to find in an adult audience.

I laughed my butt off with this class, and I was sorry this year's sessions were done. Oh, in case you're wondering: in our novel called Dragon High, dragons are living under the high school, and it's up to our hero emo Steve to slay them and the evil janitorial crew to get the girl.

I told you we had fun.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Is For Flash

It's February, and since it won't freakin' stop snowing, I look for some fun distraction to beat the winter blahs. Here's a great one for us writers: Patti Abbott posted a flash fiction challenge on her blog, calling for stories based on an overheard conversation, where a young woman said to her male friend, "I really don't mind the scars."

I can hear your imaginations spinning tales already, writer pals.

Check out the details here, and join in! If you're not convinced yet, check out this nice review of DISCOUNT NOIR, an anthology that started as a flash fiction challenge just like this one. Cool, huh?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Music: Lovin' Linkin

Bringing you some inspiration on this Monday with uber-talented Linkin Park. Turn up the volume, all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never Open With The Weather

Or so we're told as writers, right? I've always hated this rule. What's so bad about 'it was a dark and stormy night?' Weather is such a great tool to set mood, build tension, or add conflict. Just look at this massive storm we're all talking about, and the news people are so happy to finally have a new crisis.

I'm working on a new story (such fun) that revolves around the weather--tornadoes to be exact. So I'm breaking the old weather rule, though I probably won't make it the first line or anything.

How 'bout you, my writer pals? Ever use the weather to build your story?