Tag Archives: writing

Writing Update: The Courage of One

Back in 2013, I was excited to be in the middle of a writing project. I was invested in the I Am Number Four series (also known as The Lorien Legacies), and I wrote a [canon] fan fiction story entitled Sarah’s Journal. This was my first real writing project, and I loved it. When finishing the story, I left the ending a little open because I planned on writing a sequel, The Courage of One.

At this point, I believe I read the first three books of the series (I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, and The Rise of Nine). I loved the first two books and started falling away during the third. As I continued to accumulate notes for the fan fiction sequel, I heard the series would last 6 books. I was a little apprehensive at this news. Honestly, I was a little annoyed. I felt like the story was dragging on too long. When I later found out that there would be a 7th book, I lost interest. I thought, this is no Harry Potter series, why is this 7 books. Nonetheless, my enthusiasm for this series drained, especially after reading the 4th book later that year. It did nothing to spark my interest. That’s where I stopped reading.

I did pick up and read some of the side stories, The Lost Files. These are nice additions to the story that help past the time between the yearly releases of the main books. I do appreciate the author(s) creating so much content but that also made it difficult for me to keep the fan fiction stories as canon.

Nonetheless, it was at this point that I abandoned writing The Courage of One. Despite the ideas and direction I had for the story and the characters, I give up the idea.

Almost five years later and a few reader posts/comments, I realized that some people are reading the series (even for the first time) and finding the fan fiction story. Having left the ending open and no updates to conclude the story or abandonment of the project was pretty bad on my part. For that, I apologize. As a reader, I would not want to be left hanging like that. As a writer, that would not be good practice.

So, on that note, I will lay out my ideas and plan (from what I can remember) for The Courage of One. Fortunately, I actually found the zero draft of the first chapter. Here it is.


The Courage of One (first chapter zero draft)

“Sarah, you can’t leave!”

“Mom, I have to. I can’t stay here,” I say, throwing some clothes in a duffle bag. “I just can’t stay here any longer.”

“Sarah, darling, where will you go? Where will you stay?” She looks at me longingly, a worried look weighing down her face. “It’s not safe out there for a teenage girl, Sarah!”

“Well, it’s not very safe here either.” I stop packing and turn my attention to her. “Mom, I’m sorry, but this is just something I believe I have to do. I’m eighteen now—“

“You may be eighteen, sweetheart,” she cuts in, “but that doesn’t mean you’re old enough to go out on your own, roaming the country, looking for that boy!” Tears begin to form in my mother’s eyes.

“That boy is John Smith! And I love him! And I will do anything and everything I have to do to make sure he’s safe.” Besides, I’m not going to be out on my own, I think to myself.

“And how is running away going to help?” Her tears begin to fall.

“I don’t know, mom.” I take a deep breath and try to calm myself. “I don’t know … but staying here is not going to help … waiting around for something else to happen or someone else to come around here looking for me is not going to help.” She sits down on my bed and picks up the stuffed penguin I’ve had since I was seven when I had my tonsils taken out.

“I remember when you were in the hospital,” she begins to reminisce, “when you had your tonsils taken out.” She takes in a deep, sobbing breath, “You looked so little lying in that hospital bed. You were so dramatic back then; You acted like you just had a transplant or something. You looked so, so sad.” She lets out a small laugh. I sit beside her on the bed as she holds the penguin in her hands. “I remember seeing this thing in the gift shop, something in me knew you would love it.”

“I remember you bringing it in.”

“Yeah, and you lit up like a Christmas tree.”

I laugh. “I remember.”

“You … you were so happy when you saw it. It looked like you were going to jump out of bed and run to me. You sat up in bed and held your arms out reaching for me … for it.”

“I was excited when I saw it. You were right; I did love it. But I wasn’t reaching for the penguin, mom.” I waited until she looked at me. “I was reaching for you. You were the one that stayed with me the whole time. You were the one that knew what would cheer me up. You were the one that …..” I started to feel myself welling up inside.

“I guess…” she hesitates, “I guess it just feels like you don’t need to reach for me anymore.”

“Mom…” I put my hands over hers as they grip the stuffed animal. “Mom, I will always reach for you. I will always need you. That will never change. But…” my words hang in the air as I remember what Gloria told me once. “Sometimes we have to make certain choices because we are the only ones that can make that choice and live with the consequences, good or bad.”

“But I don’t understand why you want to run away, Sarah.”

“Because I have to, mom. I just have to.” I get up and cross the room to my window. As I look out, I see the deserted playground where everything happened a week ago. Despite the thin layer of snow on the ground, I can still see the tire tracks in the grass, deep gouges made by cars and the SWAT trucks.

“This is just one of those choices, whether good or bad, I have to make … and live with because it’s what I feel I must do. You taught me that, you know?” I look back at my mom as she looks up at me.

“Why did you have to grow up so fast, sweetie?” She gets up and carefully places the penguin back on my pillows. She pauses at the door on the way out, “I’ll be downstairs with your father. Your sister’s in her room … waiting for you.” My mom lets out a short chuckle. “She’s actually taking this pretty well. Better than I am.” My mom exits and pads downstairs.

I look back outside and reassure myself that I am doing the right thing. I knew my parents would put up a fight about me leaving, but having to say goodbye to my little sister will be the hardest. I finish packing my clothes and head out into the hallway. Before I get to the door, I stop and go back to my bed. I lift the edge of the duvet that hangs to the floor and reach way back under my bed, grabbing a shoebox.

As I walk into my sister’s bedroom, I see her sitting on her bed drawing a picture. Keep it together, Sarah, for her sake, I think.

“Hey, Squirt!” I say, trying to sound cheery and calm.

“Hey to you,” she says, about as cheery as can be. “So, you leaving today, right?”

“Yeah.” Don’t start crying, Sarah. Don’t, I think.

“Can I have your room?” She looks at me with the biggest grin on her face.

“What? You already planning on getting my room?” I’m shocked that she’s thinking about getting my room and I haven’t even left yet.

Just then, she belts out a huge laugh. “Gotcha!” she exclaims through her laughter.

“Why … you … big … squirt!” I get ready to jump at her and smother her with I-don’t-know-whats.

She curls in a ball and throws her arms over her head and yells out, “Kaboodle!”

I stop short before I get to her. Kaboodle is our safe word whenever we horseplay. It’s like our way of saying time-out. I can’t even remember how we came up with that.

She peeks up at me from under her arms to make sure I stopped. She puts down her arms and giggles.

“You nut,” I say, sitting down on her bed.

“You okay?” she asks, finishing up her drawing.

“Yeah,” I laugh. “I was going to ask you the same thing.”

“I’ll be okay. I’ll miss you. And I’ll worry about you. But I’ll be okay.” Sometimes she can act so mature for her age. I have to admit, it does make this a little easier. “Here,” she says, handing me the drawing. “This is for you. Take it with you.”

I look at the image on the paper. I can see that it’s a picture of the two of us sitting on the swings on the playground.

“This is awesome,” I say, a tear beginning to form in the corner of my eye. “I love it! I will keep it with me always.” I lean over and give her a huge hug, squeezing her tight.

“Can’t breathe,” she strains to whisper.

“Sorry,” I release a little pressure. As I hold her close, her head is under my chin, and I can smell the scent of lavender and vanilla from her shampoo. That smell will always stay with me. After a moment, I sit back and say, “Here, I need you to do me a favor. Give this to Emily when she comes by later.” I hand my sister the shoebox from under my bed, the one that contains my journal. “She knows to come pick it up.”

“Okay.” She slides the shoebox under her bed. She stands up and walks over to her dresser and gets her pink elephant savings bank. As she breaks it open on the corner of her desk, the money inside spills out onto the floor. There’s some change but a lot of bills are strewn about.

“Oh my God, what are doing?” I exclaim.

She giggles and says, “I’ve been dying to do that!”

“Dad’s not going to be happy,” I say.

“What-ev!”

Wow, you spend too much time with Emily, I think.

“I don’t know why he got me a pink elephant. Everyone knows purple is my favorite color. I want you to have this,” she says, picking up all the bills and handing them to me.

“No,” I plead, “this is your money … that you’ve been saving.” I motion for her to keep it.

“Sarah,” giving me the puppy-dog-eyes. “I want you to have it. I want you to find John, and I want to help. Here.” She hands me the money. I could try to argue with her about this but I know in the end, I won’t win. I take the money.

“I’ll get you a new bank.”

“I know you will,” she giggles back. “You’re not going to be alone out there, are you?” she asks, the giggling disappearing.

“No I’m not,” I reassure her, “I’ll be alright. Besides, I have your picture with me.” I pat my left back pocket to show her I have it with me.

As we hug once again, I get another whiff of her lavender and vanilla smell. I grab my bag on the way out her door and slowly make my way downstairs. My mom sits on the sofa and my dad stands by the front window. His refusal of my leaving is evident and apparent, but he remains quiet about it. I doubt if he wants to go round and round again like we did a couple days ago when we first talked about me leaving.

We hear a car horn honk twice outside. My dad looks out the window and sees a car in front of the house.

“Well,” my dad begins, “I suppose that’s your ride.”

“Yes, sir,” I say in a hushed tone.

Still looking outside, he says, “I guess there’s no changing your mind about this?”

“No, dad … there isn’t. I … this is what I have to do.” As I walk to the front door, my dad suddenly turns and comes at me. His arms spread wide before wrapping me up in a tight, comforting embrace like he used to when I was a little girl… safe in daddy’s arms.

“Please,” he begins, “please be careful, sweetheart.” He begins to cry softly.

“I … will,” I barely squeak out as I begin to sob. I didn’t think it would be this difficult to say goodbye but it is quickly becoming overwhelming. I reluctantly pull away leaving his shirt slightly damp with my tears.

He pulls out his handkerchief and hands it to me. It’s the same one I gave him last Father’s Day. It’s off-white and has his initials monogrammed in one corner. I take the handkerchief and wipe my eyes and nose. I fold it up neatly and hand it back to him.

He closes my hand back around it and lovingly pushes it back to me. “You hold on to it, sweetheart.” He backs away and walks over to my mom on the couch. Before anyone else says a word, I shove the handkerchief in my back pocket and head out the door.

The rays of the sun warm my face as a cool breeze of fresh air moves over me. Everything seems like a normal day: birds are chirping and flittering about, cars move up and down the street, neighbors are outside in their yards. I almost feel like a stranger to everything around me … like this is no longer my world, my neighborhood, my life. I take a deep breath and adjust the bag on my shoulder and walk down the driveway to the awaiting car. As I get in the passenger seat, I toss my bag in the back. When I close the door, all the sounds of life outside become muffled and silent, and I am left with my thoughts.

“What next?” asks Mark, sitting in the driver’s seat with both his hands on the steering wheel.

“Pleasant View Cemetery,” I say. “I guess it’s time to say goodbye to Paradise … my next life awaits.”


The Courage of One (story notes/ideas)

There isn’t too much to this section except some main ideas I had planned. I believe Sarah was suppose to meet Gloria at the cemetery and that’s where their journey would really begin.

Yes, Gloria is a Cepan. She came over on the ship. She was originally One’s Cepan but Palmer wanted her for special tasks, that’s when Hilde was assigned to One (which I named Audria). All three of them were together when the Mogs attacked them. Of course, Hilde dies trying to protect One. Before the Mogs can get to One and Gloria, One locks Gloria behind a lock gate somehow. They have a moment and One recites the underlying tone and tag line of the story: “Everything has a purpose. Everyone has a role.” One leaves Gloria to fight the Mogs. I believe one of her abilities was a ground shaking power. Gloria feels that and knows One will not survive. One sacrifices herself to save Gloria knowing that she can ultimately help the other Garde members. Of course, the Mogs leave after killing One because they never knew that there were two Cepans present. Gloria manages to escape. All this is revealed to Sarah through a memory stone that Gloria has. It acts like a Vulcan mind meld and is very unpleasant to Sarah after the Memory experience has passed. Sarah experiences this flashback through One’s eyes while feeling almost all the emotions that One felt at the time.

Sarah also experiences another of One’s flashbacks when she was around 7, I think. One of the Lost Files stories touched on a scene of hers at a birthday party or celebration of some sort. I think this is where she meets Gloria for the first time.

Later in the story, Sarah was to meet up with her aunt. Her aunt was also at the arrival of  the other ship, I think there were two ships that came. I think Gloria told Sarah this and they went to find more answers. During her visit, the Mogs track her down and eventually kills her aunt. This is where Sarah’s involvement in the story really gets personal. It was one thing to find herself in the middle of all this when she gets involved in a relationship with and “alien boy” but it’s at this point where things change for Sarah.

At some point, Palmer meets up with Sarah and lays out a lot of exposition as to what happened when the ships arrived and perhaps Gloria’s role in everything and perhaps her history.

Sarah eventually gets captured by the Mogs. She’s brought to the cave where Four, Nine, and Sam were at. In one of the books, Four rescues Sarah. Only… it’s not Sarah. It’s an imposter. How? I think S’Ra’s staff or something can shape-shift someone into another person or something. He uses this to shape shift a spy and allows her to be rescued. The real Sarah is rescued by Gloria and they continue their adventure. At this time, Sarah changes her look and cuts her hair (which now matches her silhouette picture on the fan fiction book cover). Because the imposter and the real Sarah are “linked” through the shape shifting method, Sarah is able to see through the imposter at random times through a dream-like trance. This is how Sarah is able to keep tabs on the Garde that are around the imposter Sarah after her rescue. Of course, the Garde and Four have no idea and the imposter seems to fit right in. I think this also how the Mogs track the remaining Garde.

By the end of the story, Sarah and Gloria were still making their way through their adventure. I do know that at the end of this story, Sarah sends a purple elephant bank to her sister to replace the one from the beginning of the story. This also lets her sister know that she is okay.

I think that’s about as far as I got in the ideas and notes and planning. I really wanted these fan fiction stories to fit in with the originals and be like actual canon. I think it would’ve worked with the original main books (and if I had kept an interest in the story), but the addition of so much side stories in the Lost Files and Journals made it difficult, especially when they published an actual Sarah’s Journal.

I thank all those that had an interest in my stories and took the time to read it and inquire about it. Again, I apologize for having a hanging ending and then not continuing the story or updating the abandonment of the project. I hope you enjoyed the story and the original works.

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Absent, But Not Forgotten

It’s pretty bad when I recently realized that 2016 has come and gone, and I haven’t posted anything on here for the entire year. The last post was September 2015, ironically for a new writing project in which I haven’t posted anything on there either. That’s sad. And I say this because I love to write, and I was excited to really dive in to this project and just writing and posting on here in general. Evidentally, life and laziness and procrastination had other plans. I’m hoping to change this in 2017.

I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions but I do have two for this year: read more and write more. Last year, I had a reading goal of 30 books which is not a far reach. I started off strong but fell off by the summer and didn’t get back to it. I only managed about 18 books total, and 3 of those books were crammed in at the end of the year. And as I stated earlier, writing was pretty non-existent for last year. 

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m already working on these two resolutions and hopefully this will continue throughout the year. This post, for one, is a great start to my writing. I mean, it is the first post in about 16 months. I will certainly consider it a start. A huge start! And the reading side of things has gotten to a good start. I knocked out a Neil Gaiman book to start the year (a great way to begin the year in my opinion), and I am continuing the great Harry Potter series (book 5). 

All in all, I’m liking the way 2017 is starting off and using 2016 as a springboard to help propel me—and my writing!—to a better and consistent place. Here’s to more reading and more writing for 2017…. CHEERS!


You’re Not Really Human

It’s your 18th birthday and, upon it, you parents deliver some pretty shocking news: You’re not really human. They admit that they’ve been covering up the fact that you are actually a (fill in the blank). After hearing the news you still decide to go to school, but this school day is different than all your school days past, especially when it’s revealed to others what you truly are.

(500 words or fewer)


 

Today is my 18th birthday, and I feel like my life is about to change.

 

As I gather my things for school, my parents come in to talk to me. They say it’s very important, and that it’s something I should know before the Master wakes up. Before I can ask about the Master, they proceed to tell me that I’m not human. What? Not human? Am I an alien or something? They confirm that I’m not even an alien. What is going on here? Finally, they come to the disturbing truth that I’m not real… that this world I live in is not real… and that they are not my parents at all.

 

This news is so unsettling that I can’t bear to hear anymore. As I try to leave, they begin to convince me with examples and proof: strange and unexplainable things always happening; time moving fast, especially when I’m sleeping; the same furniture in everyone’s houses; dialogue that sometimes doesn’t make any sense; and the weirdest of all, the eerie green, diamond-shaped oracle hovering over certain people’s heads.

 

I can’t take anymore of this nonsense! I have to leave at once! I grab my things and run out of the house trying to flush out all these lies my parents—or these people, or whomever—have told me.

 

In an instant, I’m at school, not remembering how I got here so fast. I try to compose myself the best way I know how and remain calm. But as I look around, I begin to wonder if these are actually my friends… if they are actually even real people.

 

Lies! All lies! It must be. How could what they say be true? And who is this Master they spoke of?

 

Then, like a click of a switch, I begin to see and hear the strangest things. These people scurry about their day not doing anything in particular. I notice we never spend any real time in class. People talk in odd languages. And I have to admit, there are times where I see a green oracle floating over someone’s head. There, over him, now, over her … changing from one to another and another. But more frightening than that is when I see what someone is thinking. I can’t explain how, but it appears in a dialogue balloon over their head when they are hungry or tired or when they have to go to the bathroom.

 

This can’t be happening. This can’t be real… I mean, what I’m now seeing can’t be real… I mean, I don’t know what to think anymore. My whole world is crashing down on me right now and I can’t help but follow a path to the bathroom, like I’m being controlled somehow.

 

I enter a stall to do my business and as I look down, I see the most bizarre thing for the first time: my crotch region is blurred out! What’s happening?! Perhaps there’s a….

 

Simple

Inexplicable

Motive

Supervising

 

…my existence.


I’m Supposed To Get Married Today, But

You call an old flame from high school whom you still have feelings for and ask to meet up. The flame says, “Sure, how about noon at the pub by your house.” While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress (or tuxedo). The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” What happens? Write this scene.

(500 words or fewer)


As Monica, my old high school flame, walks through the door of the pub, I become utterly speechless. Not only is she as gorgeous as ever, but she is beautifully adorned in a stunning wedding gown. Before I can say a word, Monica sashays up to me and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but getting your call on the way to the church earlier… I knew I needed to see you, Andrew.”

 

“Monica, I… I had no idea today was your wedding. Otherwise, I never would’ve called—“

 

“No, no…” she cuts in. “I’m glad you called. I’ve actually been having second thoughts… you know, if I was doing the right thing by marrying David. I mean, he’s a good guy and all, but…” she pauses and just smiles at me.

 

“But Monica, this is your wedding day! I don’t want to ruin your wedding day.” Despite my words, I can’t help but feel selfish. After all these years, I still want Monica for myself.

 

“No, you see,” she takes my hand in hers, “you probably saved me from making a huge mistake today.” She slides onto the barstool in front of me. “Everything happens for a reason, Andrew. And your call today, of all days, is no accident. Maybe I’m not suppose to marry David.”

 

I don’t want you to marry David, I think to myself.

 

“Maybe all these emotions and feelings that I’m experiencing with you now is telling me something else… like I should be with someone else… like I should be with you.” Her smile freezes time as we lean in and kiss our very first kiss.

 

“Andrew! Andrew, wake up, dude!”

 

When I open my eyes, I find myself stretched out on a couch. My best friend is standing beside me in a tuxedo with a whimsical expression on his face.

 

“Dude, did you forget? You’re getting married in like two hours!”

 

I look down at my clothes and notice the classic cutaway tuxedo I’m decked out in. The hangover from last night is beginning to subside and I remember that today is my wedding day. I’m marrying Michelle whom I met a year ago.

 

Bryan, man, I just had the weirdest dream. You remember Monica, from high school?” I say, sitting up on the couch.

 

“The one you had the crush on all those years?” He hands me a glass of fizzing water. “Drink this. It’ll help.”

 

“Yeah. She… uh….”

 

“Dude, I hope it was a good dream,” he says with a devilish grin, “because you better not be dreaming of any other women after today!” He belts out a laugh.

 

A cell phone rings, and I see that it’s mine and point to it on the desk. As I drink my fizzing water, I motion to Bryan to answer it.

 

“Hello?… Yeah, he’s right here… Ok, who’s this?… Oh wow, we were just talking about you. Weird. Alright, hold on.”

 

He hands me the phone and says, “Dude, it’s Monica.”


I Love The Way She

 

I love the way she takes her time
as she runs her fingers across my spine

I love the way she grips me in her hands
and as she demands, my feature expands

I love the way she turns me over and over
and gives everyone else the cold shoulder

I love that she is my owner
But I can still control her

and so…

she sinks lower
as I get bolder
she loses her composure
as the climax gets closer
my intensity smolders
as her emotions expose her
I wish I could hold her
as we achieve closure

Our only reaction
is mutual satisfaction
as she gives me one last look

There’s nothing better in this world
than to know a girl
who loves to read a good book


© 2013 Andrew Hildreth


one drink and one glass

 

one drink and one glass

involved in one-sided chats

lonely Friday night

 

[photo version on Tumblr]


IDGAD

>IDGAD

>KMA, GTFO

>IML, TY

[photo version on Tumblr]


as the curtain falls

 

as the curtain falls

the sad act of my play ends

no more encores here

 

[photo version on Tumblr]


night eyes wide open

 

night eyes wide open

in the dark heart has spoken

midnight poetry

 

[photo version on Tumblr]


taken for granted

 

taken for granted

it is more than just a kiss

loving reverence

[photo version on Tumblr]