Monday, February 11, 2008

1,000 Word Writing Contest

Chris Eldin at ABenchPress is having a writing contest of sorts. In 1,000 words you have to tell a story in 4 parts with different criteria to reach each week. In week one we had to tell the first part of the story in 200 - 400 words where we had to create sympathy for our MC, have them meet a gypsy, and have the gypsy give a prediction.

As writer of MG novels, telling a clear, concise story in 1,000 was a real challenge. At first I thought, no problem. But it was much harder than I thought.

Here is my Part I:

It had been a horrible week. Every teacher piled on tests, a sure sign the end of the marking period was near. I studied. Really I did. Yet, somehow I wound up with mostly C’s.

Then, at lunch, they ran out of pizza, and I wound up with mystery meat on a bun.

Really, I shouldn’t’ve been surprised when my audition didn’t go so well either. I practiced my piece for months, ‘til my bottom lip had a perpetual indentation from my flute’s mouthpiece. Mrs. Greyson, my flute teacher, said I was ready. And I was ready. I was so going to get first chair.

“Number 127,” said the judge.

I was dead last, so I was pretty sleepy when I got up. I can’t tell you what I tripped on exactly, but I went flying – my crazy, wavy hair, in my face flying. I landed on my flute, denting the mouthpiece and flattening the pinky key.

The judge, who saw the whole tragic event, just looked at me like, tough break kid, turned and went back in the audition room.

Before the door closed, I heard him say, “We’re all done here.”

“What happened?” said another judge.

Then the door closed. I couldn’t hear what he said, but I did hear them roar with laughter. And people think Simon Cowl’s mean – they have no idea!

“Perfect ending to a perfect week,” I muttered through gritted teeth. “How’m I going to explain this one to Dad?”

And just like that, my moment came and my moment vanished.

I couldn’t take one more thing. I ran full force to the double steel doors, punched the metal arms to unleash them, and stood outside with my face to the sky, tears falling, arms opened wide and screamed, “WHY ARE YOU PICKING ON ME?”

“He always chooses the ones who need it most,” said a thin, wispy voice from the darkness.

The sudden voice made my heart head to my throat.

“Whose there?” I asked.

I heard her squeaky, metal cart before the old woman with wrinkled, translucent skin, stepped under a street light. The sight of her made me think, Disney from her tiered, layered skirt, to her tattered, blousy shirt that must’ve been white at some point, to the purple scarf around her head.

I didn’t think she would hurt me, but the sudden sight of her, made me place one hand on the door and the other on my cell.

“Beware of silver prophets who act like friends,” she said, turned and hobbled her way down the sidewalk, her cart squeaking rhythmically.

Crazy, old lady, I thought just as my Dad pulled up. Now I’ll have to tell him about my flute. Could this week get any worse?


PJ Hoover said...

Wow! I haven't read any other entries, but I think this is fantastic. I'm sorry the MC broke the flute. That sucks! Good job :)

Chris Eldin said...

I also think it's fantastic!!!
I'm so happy you're participating!!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

WOW! Thanks guys. To have both of you say that makes my day! And it's only 7:45 am!

Sarah Hina said...

I liked this, Sheri. You ground it in reality so well--we've all felt so powerless, especially as kids.

But then you introduced the creepy, old lady, which really made it take off.

Can't wait to see what happens next! :)

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Thanks Sarah!

I am not used to telling a story in such a limited amount of words. So we will see.

Anonymous said...

Good beginning. I'm interested to see where it goes next. I also feel bad for the protagonist, which is a good thing.

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Hey Struggling, thanks! And thanks for stopping by too. I have to go to Chris' site to see what Part II will entail. I don’t' have too many words left so I will have to be able to complete part II in as few words as I can. Yikes, me so few words! I shudder to think...

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous