Artistic License

October 29, 2009

A short story sample

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 1:11 pm

This snippet is from the short story I’m writing for Fiction Writing centering around Michael and Cameron.  It takes place when they first meet their sophomore year, before they get together.  Enjoy 🙂

“You’re the first person who can stand to just sit here and watch me draw. Miranda won’t. Even Sarah wouldn’t, actually.” He hadn’t looked at me in a while, preferring to scrutinize what he had of his drawing. “So many people here are… antsy, I guess. They feel like they always need to be accomplishing something.”

“Is that a bad thing?” I said.

Cameron shrugged and finally went back to his drawing. “Honestly? I never knew you before this year. I’m just saying being… different isn’t a bad thing. Isn’t that what Clearbell’s all about? Encouraging you to be different and express that?”

“Miranda’s different,” I said. Cameron shook his head, his eyes following his hand as he drew.

“Miranda stands out because she’s a leader. But she’s still following what’s expected of her,” he said.

We sat there for a while, the only sound being the scratching of charcoal against canvas. Finally, I said, “It sounds like you’re the one that doesn’t like being here.” Cameron’s hand stopped, and his blue eyes moved from the canvas to me.

“Why would you say that?” he asked, honestly curious.

“You sound like you don’t enjoy it. All these people trying to be individuals when they’re really not.” I shrugged feebly, hoping he understood my point. A smile came across Cameron’s face at that, and he leaned away from the easel and canvas. He didn’t even seem to notice that the charcoal stick he had been using rolled off the table beside him and dropped to the floor.

“Everyone needs acceptance, Michael. I’m not going to hold group mentality against a bunch of teenagers.”

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October 6, 2009

Reading

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 10:24 pm

Another novel side story from a Fiction Writing prompt.  Enjoy!

“You read too much.”

I glanced up to see my friend Misty standing over me.  I rose an eyebrow.  Misty was in the writing program and you knew something was wrong if you didn’t see her with a pen behind her ear and a notebook clutched to her chest.  I liked to joke that her notebooks had ‘chest dents’ because after she had been using one long enough, it would be curved in the middle horizontally.

Which is why what she was saying to me seemed so bizarre.

“You write a novel every November,” I said.  “and you’re accusing me of reading too much?”

“Well it’s weird,” Misty said, sitting down on the couch beside me.  Most people were taking advantage of the good weather since Fall in Maine never guaranteed it would last long.  “You’re in the math and science program, so you’re supposed to be all logical.  But here you reading…” She stopped and bent a little, and I held up my book so she could see the title.  “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” She frowned.  “Even I haven’t read that one.”

“Do you wanna borrow it?  I’ve already read it,” I said.  Misty glanced at the cover and nodded.  I shut the book and handed it to her.  She smiled and stood up, heading outside.

Well, so much for my afternoon.

October 3, 2009

Conflict

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 2:22 am

Another short story from a prompt, this time a conflict between two people. As always, it centers around Michael and Miranda 😀

My birthday is June 30’th, and of course Miranda’s is too since we’re twins. Our parents had only been divorced for about a month so it seemed that our father was still insistent on seeing us for our birthday even though he had pretty much dropped out of our lives otherwise.

“I don’t want to go out with Dad alone, Michael,” Miranda mumbled as we sat there at the kitchen table, staring at the phone. It had been ringing on and off for the last hour, and each time the Caller ID had been our father’s cell phone. After the divorce, when they split everything down the middle, Dad didn’t get any of us kids, the house, either of the cars, or even a single landline phone. I’d almost say he was jipped, but I can’t say I care.

“Just because Dad is inevitably going to get you whatever you want doesn’t mean you should go,” I said, looking to the side. I could still see my sister out of the corner of my eye, though, and she was frowning.

“Mike, it isn’t about the gifts or whatever,” she said. “He’s our dad.” She whispered that last part, like she was afraid I might do something violent if I could be sure I heard that. I’m not a violent person, though, and she knows it.

Miranda was looking uncomfortable now. She hadn’t bothered braiding her hair today so it just hung loose over her shoulders, and she raised a hand up to brush a piece of it behind her ear. She was staring down at her lap and not saying anything else. My sister was the chattier of us two, so this seemed just kind of weird.

The phone suddenly started ringing for the millionth time since we had been sitting there, but like every other time, Miranda still jumped in surprise. We both stared at it with looks that I’m sure, to anyone that would happen to pass by, made it look like we had strong suspicions that the phone was actually a bomb.

“Michael, if you don’t answer I will,” Miranda said, sounding a lot braver than before. I frowned as it rung twice, three times. And then we both dove for the phone at the same time. Like in some kind of bad comedy, we met in the middle and it slipped out of our hands, flying through the air and landing on the floor, skidding a little before hitting the divider where the tiled kitchen floor changed to the living room rug. The phone stopped ringing, but unlike the numerous other times Dad had called, the answering machine picked up.

“Hello, Michael, Miranda. It’s June 30’th, so I just thought I’d wish you two a happy birthday. I don’t know if you’re actually not home or you’re avoiding me, but either way…” The machine suddenly cut-off at that, probably because he had hung up considering there was plenty of room on the answering machine to leave a longer message.

“I’m hoping this isn’t an indication of how the summer’s going to go,” Miranda said, dusting off her front like she had been in some kind of fight.

“Just… shut up.”

September 30, 2009

I Never Meant

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 9:48 pm

And yet another product of a prompt in Fiction Writing, this time to start a story with “I never meant”. Enjoy.

I never meant to tell my father I hate him. I don’t regret it because I still say he’s to blame for making us miserable, even though Mom was the one that hired the divorce lawyers first.

“He’s not such a bad guy, Michael,” Miranda liked to tell me whenever she thought I was listening. This time we were sitting on the grassy lawn out back of our dorm, watching the first colors of autumn spiral to the ground. “He’s human, that’s all. And Mom’s a lot happier without him there to jump down her throat every chance he gets.” A bright-red leaf came drifting in on the wind and landed in her hair, tangling in the multiple braids she wore today.

“I know, but I feel like Mom expects me to apologize or something,” I said. A couple was walking by now, smiling at each other as they talked. I recognized the guy as one of Miranda’s friends and ducked my head. I didn’t know him and didn’t feel like making it seem like it was okay for him to come in on the conversation. To my relief, he just waved at us and let his girlfriend pull him along.

“Well, do you want to?” Miranda asked once they were gone. I sighed and watched another leaf spiral to the ground to join its brethren.

“No, but I know I have to.”

September 22, 2009

Red

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 9:11 pm

And here’s another side story courtesy of a Fiction Writing prompt, this time to just use the word ‘red’.  And for some reason WordPress won’t let me use indents like I did with the first one.  Oh well.  Enjoy.

I like calm colors like grey, and blue, and grey mixed with blue.  I know it sounds boring, but that’s just who I am.  So of course, when Miranda decided that a bright, red dress was perfect to wear to our eighth grade graduation, I kind of questioned her.

“Of course you don’t understand it, you’re a guy!” Miranda said as she took the dress off its hanger and stared at it lovingly.  She was in love with this dress and there was nothing I could do to stop her, was what she seemed to be saying.

“It will make you look like a cheap whore,” I said.  Miranda gave me a look of horror before bunching the dress up a bit in her hands, hugging it to her.

“It will not!” she said.  “Anyway, your taste is boring.  Dress clothes and a tie is not what you wear when you’re graduating.”

“It’s only eighth grade,” I protested, but Miranda shook her head.

“Yeah, but we both got into the fine arts academy, so it’s like ‘Bye, everyone, we’ll never see you again!’.  Don’t you want to make a bigger impression on everyone?” Miranda frowned and put the dress over her shoulder, taking her headband out of her hair and putting it back in again.  Her hair was down to her waist and too unwieldy for those cloth headbands, but she didn’t seem to think so.

“If I wanted to leave an impression on our class I would’ve done it already,” I said.  Miranda sighed and took the dress back into her hands.  Despite my protests, though, she didn’t put it on the hanger.  I had to follow her to the women’s dressing rooms, since our parents only let us come here alone as long as we promised to stay together.

“Well you’re not like me,” she said.  “I’m a performer!  I dance across the stage and expose my soul to the masses.  You… I wasn’t even aware they had a math and science program there until you applied for it.  Geek.” As if that were a cue, I adjusted my glasses after they slid down my nose a little.

“If I’m a geek, you’re a drama queen,” I said.  Miranda frowned.  The dressing rooms were full right now, so she had to wait.

“But I’m a dancer, not an actor,” she said.  “Would that make me a… dancing queen?”

“Like the song?” I asked.  Miranda smiled, and she started belting out ABBA before I could stop her.  There’s a reason she’s a dancer and not a singer or actor.  She’s as tone deaf as… a thing that’s really tone deaf. There’s also a reason I’m not a writer.

I cringed and covered my ears, throwing looks at the dressing room attendant, hoping she would do something.  Apparently the dressing room attendant was regular deaf, though, because she just stood there behind her counter, stoic, not even seeming to notice Miranda’s horribly off-key singing.

I had to give Miranda some credit, though.  She has fun.  Even if it is at the expense of my dignity most of the time.

September 21, 2009

Side Story- Rain

Filed under: Side Stories — Joana @ 11:46 pm

I wrote this for my Fiction Writing class, where the prompt was to simply think of the word ‘rain’ and write a story around it.  I decided to use it to help develop my characters in the context of this novel, though, so it has to do with Artistic License.  So uh, enjoy!

                I remember not liking the rain when I was younger, but then, neither did my sister.  Well, more specifically, we didn’t like the thunder and lightning.  If there was a storm in the middle of the night, we’d both crawl out of our beds in our shared room and run right over to Mom and Dad’s room, despite anything they may previously have been doing.  Of course this only led to awkward situations when we were older, probably about a year before our younger sister was born.  Yeah, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

                “What made you stop being afraid of lightning, anyway?” my twin sister, Miranda, asked me one day during the summer as we sat there on our house’s front porch and watched the rain fall in sheets.  She was sitting there on the swinging bench, letting her bare feet brush against the polished wood as she pushed herself forward and back, but I just sat on the floor, my knees pulled up to my chest.

                “I dunno, I think it was that time we tried to go in and sleep with Mom and Dad during a thunder storm and we walked in on them having sex,” I said.  Miranda laughed at that, letting the bench stop swinging.  She eventually pulled her feet up and folded her legs in front of her.  Miranda and I weren’t identical twins, since it’s kind of impossible for a boy and a girl to be identical twins.  We still looked a lot alike, though.  We both had brown eyes, and black hair, even though hers was to her waist and silky, while mine was just kind of… there.  I didn’t really know what to do with it.  And we even had the same skin tone, not quite black but a darker shade than Caucasian since we were only a few diluted  generations down the line of a Native American family.

                Miranda’s brown eyes were currently watching the rain come down, occasionally going down with a section and then going right back up to do it all again.  Since it was summer, she had dressed in cut-off shorts and a tank-top thinking that it would be appropriate for the weather.  I could tell she was shivering, though, and so I stood up.

                “Why don’t we go inside and start lunch?  Stacey’s probably up by now,” I said.  Miranda smiled and stood up straight on the bench, jumping down and landing gracefully on the porch floor as only a trained dancer probably could.

                “Sounds like a plan!”

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