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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I’m not overly thrilled with our recent weather pattern. It seems Tuesday is monsoon day around here. For the second Tuesday in a row, I’ve had to drive through blinding rain in order to participate in my writing group. At least this time I was only dealing with flooded streets as opposed to last Tuesday when I was dodging falling branches. It figures, doesn’t it? I really don’t venture far from home, if at all, the other six days a week, but on the one day I do…

It was a very small group yesterday. At first we thought it was only going to be four of us, but by 7:30 we were up to eleven. Of the eleven, only five of us read. The timing was perfect for a small group. We have roughly an 1,100 word max on what we read, so there will be enough time for everyone who wants to read. Since my stories are comprised of short chapters, staying under the 1,100 words has never been an issue.

However, last night’s chapter went over the max, but because the group was small, it wasn’t a problem. Still, in the back of my mind, I knew the piece was longer than allowed, so I picked up the pace while I was reading, and I got yelled at to slow down, twice. Chapter seven of Faerie Tale Queen was well received, (I’ve been reading a chapter every time we meet). I got chuckles in the appropriate places, and they seemed to enjoy the main character’s quirky relationship with her GPS. I got some good feedback which I will be able to use when I sit down to work on my initial edits (the ones I do BEFORE I send the manuscript off to be edited).

Two gentlemen, ironically both named Alex, read last night. One Alex is a regular to the group, and a majority of the time he writes plays or performance monologues. Last night he read an excerpt from a performance piece which was hysterical. I’m talking, I couldn’t catch my breath, had tears in my eyes, and snorted because I was laughing so hard. I’m still chuckling right now, just trying to tell you about it.

The flip side of the coin was the other Alex. He is brand new to the group, last night was his first night, and he brought us into a dark place. He also accomplished an extremely difficult task, keeping us engaged in a fiction piece told in first person. The story was, I don’t want to say creepy, and I don’t want to repeat myself by saying dark again, but I don’t know a better way to describe it. What I can say is I am looking forward to hearing more of the story in the weeks to come.

With a little luck, I will hit the 25K mark today. I’m close, but it will still take a fairly good push to get me there. Considering today is the halfway point of the month, I’m only a few hours behind.

On that note, I should get writing because I only have two hours and 2,300 words to go. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The morning light looked strange

Out of desperation to come up with a challenge to give you yesterday, I looked up, in hope to think of something, and that’s when I noticed the strange light coming through my living room window. It reminded me of another time, many years ago, when I saw a similar light.

I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but I do remember I was a teenager, and I was home on summer break. My mom had left for work already, but it was still early when I padded downstairs to forage for something to eat. I looked through the kitchen window and was greeted by a weird orangey yellow haze. Figuring my sleep filled eyes and summertime hazed brain were playing tricks on my, I ceased my breakfast preparations and went out on our front porch to investigate.

From my new vantage point I was able to see a sight I hope to never experience again. The sky to the south was blanketed in varying shades of amber and brown, and there was an acrid stench in the air. I quickly reentered my house, then ran from room to room and closed all the windows and doors. I than began to furiously flip through the radio dial to find a news station, or any station which would be able to enlighten me as to what was going on.

***

I ran out of time, but I figured if I had left the story there, I’d get hate mail. I found WCTC, which is a central New Jersey new station. Since sunrise, their radio station had been inundated with calls. It turned out the haze and the smell were due to a wildfire, raging out of control, in the Pinelands, over seventy-five miles away from my home. It was days before the sun could penetrate and the smell dissipated, and until it did, most of the state was shroud in an unnatural light.

Your Next Challenge is:

I am…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.