August 29, 2016

I promised, so...

That's right. Finally, finally, I post it. It's a short story that I wrote for school, it's called Climbing Starlight, let's go. I have been told that it's kind of dark, but it shouldn't be bad. Here we go!
(That's the cover art, I drew it myself.)

Climbing Starlight
    The room was empty, almost. Some people could have found beauty in its simplicity, but I had to live in it. The walls were white and the floors were gray tile. There were no furnishings, only a pile of blankets in one corner. That was where I slept, curled on the floor, every night. I had rearranged the space before, but it did little to change how the room felt.
    The symmetry is what I hated most. It was the same on every side. I could completely lose my sense of direction just by closing my eyes. Everything was colorless, even my clothes. Almost everything I touched was some shade of white, gray, or black.
    Not only that, I felt trapped. I wasn't claustrophobic. There was no way out. There were no doors, no windows. Some days it seemed as if the walls were closer together. Other days the space seemed to grow.
    The only thing that stayed the same was the hole in the roof. That was the only way in and out of the room. It was like a skylight, but with no glass. On sunny days I felt the sun's warmth, brightening the room. The room felt full, free of the cold emptiness that usually occupied it. On cloudless nights, the moon brought shadows and chilled beauty. There was an eeriness about the moon that made me shiver with awe. When the sky was thick with clouds and a faint mist hung in the air, I grew tense with anticipation.
    I lived for the days when the sky grew dark and the rain poured from the sky. I felt like I wasn't the only one here, like someone else was putting the rain there to make me happy. I would wait for the first drops to fall, no matter how many hours it took.
    When the rain came, I stood underneath the skylight. I let it soak my clothes and my hair, pouring over my body, no matter how cold it was. Icy rain stole the breath from my lungs and left me gasping and shivering. I didn't care. The rain was perfect. The rain was what I lived for.
    By the time I woke, the rain had stopped. The floor was wet, but my blankets were still dry. The moon and stars reflected tiny sparkles onto the puddle.
    I waded into the puddle, my bare feet cringing in the chilly water. A shiver ran up my spine, but I ignored it. I looked up at the sky, almost fully clear of clouds now.  The sky above me sparkled with stars.
    I didn't remember much from my childhood. I didn't have any friends. The only people I ever saw were my parents. One of the few things I did remember was a nursery rhyme Mom had taught me. We used to recite it together on clear nights. I took a breath and began to recite it myself.
    “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.”
    I shut my eyes and made a wish. I wished for the same thing every night. Freedom. It was childish to make wishes, but I had nothing better to do. I had no one to talk to, nobody who would smile and wave as I passed. I didn't even know what I looked like.
    At first, when I made wishes, I wished for a mirror. I wanted to see myself, to know if I still looked nice. After a while I just stopped caring. Sometimes I pretended I was beautiful, but I really didn't know. Inside, I was fairly sure that I didn't look very nice.
    My hair was long, thick, and tangled. It fell down to my waist in bright red waves. Occasionally I would braid it to keep it out of the way, but it was hard. I hadn't brushed it in several years, and I certainly hadn't washed it. My skin was tanned from the sun. My shoulders, and probably my face too, were covered in freckles. Some days I still wanted a mirror to know how I had changed.
    So far none of my wishes had come true. I doubted there were such things as miracles. I was going to be stuck in this room until I caught a deadly disease or died of old age. Neither was very likely to happen.
    I noticed a tray of food on the floor beside the water fountain. It didn't excite me. I knew that there must be a door there, only activated from the outside. My food was the same as always. A tube filled with applesauce, a tube filled with yogurt, and a tube filled with oatmeal was all I would ever get to eat. I hadn't eaten any food that I could actually chew since I had been brought here. I guess they were worried that I would force my food down the wrong way and choke myself. They were right, I would have killed myself by now if I had the option. Unfortunately, I didn't.
    I opened the oatmeal first. I used my fingers to scrape the oatmeal from the container into my mouth. It was a bit dry today. I pressed the button that activated the spout in the wall. This served as a water fountain, while still keeping the room symmetrical. The water splashed into the drain until I put the container underneath the flow. Just a bit of water made the oatmeal taste much better.
    I left the rest of the food for later, when I would be hungry again. I walked slowly back over to the puddle, exactly in the center of the room. I sat down in the middle of the puddle. Water soaked through my already damp jeans. I stared back up at the sky. The moon had moved away from the skylight, so I couldn't see it anymore. Instead, the space was filled with many twinkling stars.
    One star in particular stood out to me. Its shine was duller than the rest, but it was a deeper hue of gold. It seemed like it had something to say, but no words to use.
    “A wishing star,” I whispered to the night sky. A wishing star, hiding behind the moon. Imagine that! I didn't know if it was really a wishing star, but I hoped it was. I hoped desperately that it was a wishing star that would make my dream of freedom come true.
    I shivered, crawling out of the puddle and making my way back over to my blankets. I wrapped myself in them, burying my head underneath them. I drifted off, maybe for a few minutes, maybe a few hours. I could never be sure.
    When I woke up, the bright light of dawn lit the whole room. I blinked and squinted, trying to let my eyes adjust. My clothes were still damp, and I was cold. I took them off and wrapped myself in a blanket instead. I stepped back into the puddle, being careful not to let the blanket drag in the water. Above me the sky was still dark.
    “The wishing star?” I breathed. It had to be. The same dim star still twinkled in the center of the skylight.
    “The wishing star,” I said again. “My wishing star.”
    The next night I waited. Through the hours my impatience grew, but the wishing star did not return.
    Where was it? It was real! It couldn't have been a coincidence, or a dream. Could it? All the hope I'd felt last night slowly drained away from me. The wishing star couldn't return. There was no such thing as miracles.
    I felt my eyes start to water. I buried my head in my blanket and cried. I hadn't cried in many years. At first I had cried from loneliness, but after a while I grew used to it. Now it was like those first days all over again. I had a friend, or I thought I had a friend, in the wishing star. I cried harder, my gentle tears growing into hard, painful sobs. It was gone. My star was gone.
    “I never left,” a voice said in my ear. “I would never leave you.”
    I sat up, raising my eyes to look around the room. That wasn't a voice I knew, but it felt familiar. As my gaze moved toward the skylight, I noticed the beam of starlight. It was the star. The star had returned.
    “You're back,” I coughed, my throat dry from crying.
    “Of course,” the star said gently. “I would never leave you.”
    I smiled, wiping the remnants of tears from my eyes. I turned my head, back to the beam of starlight. It didn't feel cold, the way the moonlight was. It warmed the room.
    Evidently the star could see where I was looking. “Teach yourself to climb it,” the star whispered. “The dawn will wait.”
    I stared into the wall of light before me. “You can't climb light,” I told the star. “It's impossible.”
    “Teach yourself to climb the starlight,” the star repeated. “The dawn will wait until you finish.”
    The star's voice and presence left the room, leaving it cold and empty feeling. The starlight remained, but it could never be a way out.
    “There is no way out,” I told myself. “Not until whoever put me in here comes to bring me out.”
    I walked back over to my blankets, not because I was tired, but because I had nothing better to do. I slept a lot, like a cat. I was rarely tired, hardly ever hungry, but always bored.
    It seemed like I lay awake for hours before finally drifting off to sleep. When I awoke, my food had been delivered. The starlight was still there.
    “Teach yourself to climb it, the dawn will wait.” The star's words echoed in my mind. The puddle was mostly gone now, after two nights. I stepped into the edges of what was left. The starlight was cold on my face. It felt like ice, and I was freezing along with it.
    I stepped backward out of the beam, onto the dry floor. The edges of the puddle were crystallizing, growing inward to form a perfect star. I reached out to touch the starlight. It felt like water, falling through my fingers.
    “I can,” I thought, my heart beating faster at the prospect. “I can climb the starlight.”
    I took hold of the starlight, planting my feet in it and starting to climb. My heart fluttered with excitement, but my handhold slipped and I fell back to the floor. My foot hit the sheet of ice beneath the starlight, shattering it. I picked up a shard and slid it in my pocket. I wasn't sure why I needed ice, but it could help me remember.
    My hands couldn't hold the starlight, not yet. Still, every time I fell I could feel myself getting stronger. I could feel the burn in my arms. Every time I fell I could feel myself slipping a little slower.
    “I can,” I repeated. “I can climb the starlight.” I took hold again, trying to ignore the pain in my arms. I pulled myself up, planting my feet in. I let go with my right hand, reaching higher. I let go with my left hand, hanging and pulling myself up with my right. I grabbed with my left hand, moving my feet higher. I realized I was higher than I had ever climbed before.
    “I've done it!” I whispered. Raising my voice to a shout, I called, “I'm climbing starlight!”
    It was so amazing it made me want to laugh. Tears of joy came to my eyes as I climbed higher. I had done it. I had won. I was free.
    I set my feet down on the roof. My arms and legs hurt, but the pain was overridden by joy. I sat down on the edge, dangling my feet off. The view of the city was beautiful, its tall buildings silhouetted against the sunrise. I wanted to shout, but I was afraid to break the silence. I couldn't bear to wake from this wonderful dream.
    “Fae!” a voice shouted behind me. I turned to see a man and a woman running across the rooftop towards me.
    The woman took me in her arms. “My baby,” she sobbed, pulling my head to her shoulder. “We saw the footage. We've come to take you home.”
    Every night that week I woke up crying. My home was wonderful, but I still felt trapped. Through all the love and gifts my parents gave me, I felt homesick. I was an outcast, a stranger, and the starlight was gone.
    I realized that I missed the starlight. I had lost a friend. Even surrounded by a world of people only a greeting away, I felt lonely. Empty. I had never thanked the star. The starlight was my savior, my protector. It brought me out of the sameness that would have been the rest of my life. I never did anything for the star. I even doubted its voice, but it saved me. It sent its light for me to climb. I didn't even thank it.
    That night I ran away. Without hardly thinking, my feet carried me back to the lab, the place where I was imprisoned. Without realizing what I was doing, I put my hand on the door buzzer. It was there that I hesitated. It was freedom or the starlight, I couldn't have both. I took a deep breath and pushed the buzzer.
    A grumpy woman answered the door, grudgingly letting me in. “Stupid people, visiting at all hours of the night,” she muttered under her breath. “Can't they see we're closed? I'm a secretary, not a doorman!”
    “Thank you,” I said politely, and she looked down at my face. The woman gasped.
    “Come with me, sweetheart,” she said, taking my hand. Louder, she said, “Aaron! It's Fourteen! She's back!”
    We walked up several staircases, all while Aaron was asking me about my escape. He concluded that I must have been kidnapped and hallucinating.
    “I really don't know how we could have missed that helicopter,” he said. Either way, they were very glad that I was back. They left me in my room with a resolve to fit a screen over the skylight.
    As soon as the door shut, The starlight returned. I ran to it, standing underneath its beam.
    “You came back,” the star whispered.
    I smiled softly up at the stars. “Of course,” I whispered back. “I would never leave you.”

August 28, 2016

The Character Creation Tag

The Rules:
Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
Answer all 44 questions about your Character and Book.
Tag 10 people and let them know you tagged them.
List the Rules on your post.

I don't know many writing blogs, but I will tag as many as I can.
Ali @ Ali's Island
Charlie Evans @ Charlie's Hoopla

 Are tag backs allowed? If so, I wouldn't mind doing this again. Of course, if you're reading this, you are welcome to do the tag too. This is going to be long, but also interesting, hopefully.

Based on my current obsession with Caught Outside, I will be interviewing Meredith.
Hello there.
I will be in regular font, the questions will be in Bold, and any additional comments from Meredith will be in green.
desert.jpg
____________________________________________

Name:
Meredith Raven Engle
Height:
5' 3"
Age in story:
14
Birthplace:
An imaginary place in southern Florida. I haven't worked out a name yet.
It's hard to live in a nameless place you know. Very difficult for addressing packages and such. 
Yes, yes, I'm getting there. Any recommendations are appreciated.
Hair color, length, style:
She has short, curly brown hair.
It's probably the world's most annoying hair.
Deal with it.
Race/nationality:
Meredith is African American.
Accent: (include voice, style of speech, slang, signature phrases or words)
Meredith speaks surprisingly little for how extroverted she is. As for signature phrases, she won't give you her full name until you've asked three times. No accent. I don't think Florida has a signature accent. Her voice is a little girlier than you would expect.
Religion:
Meredith is Christian
Scars or other notable physical attributes:
None at the beginning.
Except at the end I have this big gash over my right ear.
Stop with the spoilers, will you?
Handicaps: (emotional, physical, mental)
After a certain point in the story, she refuses to seek help from a doctor.
And you would have no part in that, would you? You'd be scared too if-
Okay, that's enough.
Athletic? Inactive? Overall health?
Meredith is not especially active, and somewhat out of shape. It really shows when she's trying to run away from something.
Style of dress:
I actually drew some stuff for that, so I am going to show you that instead of trying to describe it.


Favorite colors:
Hot pink and neon green.
Also anything bright or neon is cool too.
How does the character feel about his/her appearance?
Meredith is slightly dissatisfied with her appearance.
Um, what? I have brown hair, brown eyes, and brown skin! I am so bored with my appearance that I can't stand the color brown! I wish I was a redhead.
Brothers/sisters:
I'm an only child.
Really? Because I thought-
It's not-
Oh yes it is.
Why must you torture me like this?
It's called conflict, Meredith. Otherwise you end up in a utopia and that's no fun.
Relationship with parents:
Meredith was...
Hold on, let me tell this part. I was really close with my Mom. She was a single parent bringing me up. AND THEN SHE WAS BRUTALLY MURDERED BY EVY HERE. 
I didn't murder her, Meredith. She got sick and died.
Same difference. Anyway, my dad left for some reason, but I intend to find him and get the whole story.
Memories about childhood:

Educational background: (street smart? Formal? Does he/she read?)
Meredith was homeschooled by her mom starting when she was three.
I had just made it through my junior year of high school when she was killed.
Work experience:
Meredith is a good artist and knitter.

Occupation:
Does being completely homeless count?
You have a home.
Not really.
I guess your occupation would be an artist.
Where does the character live now? Describe home (emotional atmosphere as well as physical)
Meredith, at the moment, lives in a house in the southern corner of her city. Six other people live there, including the four (Lilly, Alison, Celia, and Mason) from the sneak peek.
I have to share a room with a girl I can't stand. 
Neat or messy?
Meredith is not very organized. In her opinion, if it's in a drawer somewhere, it's cleaned up.
And I can find my stuff just fine. It's my dresser anyway.
Women friends/men friends:
Henry Arnold: 17
Lilly Arnold: 14
Mason Fincher: 16
Dillon Thomas: 14
Celia Clarence Thomas: 17 (She shouldn't be on a list of my friends. My enemies, maybe.) {Be nice. You'll come around eventually.}
Alison Bailey: 15

Pets?
She had a cat named Burrito
Who likely burned to death.
This is your final warning.

Enemies? Why?
Celia Thomas. They really should get along, but they don't.
Really? Because-
*Coughs loudly*
Oh. Hehe. Right.
Personality traits (shy, outgoing, domineering, doormat, honest, kind, sense of humor):
Overconfident, pressing, has difficulty realizing some acts of kindness, disobedient.
Is there a reason these are all negative? What about artistic or optimistic?
They're what come to mind first. 

Strongest trait:
Probably her confidence and optimism.

Weakest trait:
Making intelligent decisions.

What does the character fear?
Doctors. Never trust them.
What is the character proud of?
Her art skills, most definitely. 
For once, I agree!

What is the character ashamed of?
Nothing, yet. Maybe she will come to see Celia in a different light and then be ashamed of how she treated Celia.
Or maybe it will be the other way around. I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything to provoke her. 
Outlook on life (optimistic, pessimistic, cynic, idealist)
Optimistic, usually. She always believes that someone is going to come rescue her, and usually someone does.
Are you saying someone isn't going to rescue me?
You have to save yourself sometimes. That's called character development.

Ambitions:
She will do anything if someone is in trouble.
That’s better.
Thanks.
How does the character see himself/herself?
I think that I'm friendly and deserve to be trusted.
I can't do anything about their motives!
Yes you can.

How is the character seen by others?
Somewhat naive, optimistic (sometimes to much), her art is admired, pretty
SOMEONE ELSE THINKS I'M PRETTY? WHO IS IT?
Celia.
Nevermind.

Do you like this person? Why or why not?
Sometimes I wonder about Meredith's dumb decisions, but overall, I think she's a good person.

Will readers like or dislike?
I really don't know. I hope so.
Most important thing to know about this character:
Don't ever expect her to stay put. She won't.
Present problem:
She's been kidnapped and gotten to go blind for a while!
How it will get worse:
What point is there in telling you that? All I can say is that it gets much, much worse.
I'm scared now.
What is the character’s goal in the story?
To find her dad and create a permanent home for herself.
And avoid doctors for the rest of my life.
Meredith...

What traits will help/hurt the character in achieving this goal?
She is good at finding attention. Usually the wrong kind.
She thinks logically once in a while.
She is very determined and doesn't stop for silly things.

What makes the character different from similar characters?
I guess her happy outlook on life despite the messes she gets into.

Why will readers remember this character vividly?
Shall it be her dumb thinking or horrible sibling rivalry? You decide. 

I hope you liked this tag! It took me forever to fill out, but it was worth it. I'm going to add this to her character file, because a lot of the info hadn't been written down before and some had developed as I wrote.
That's all for today, although I will post Climbing Starlight tomorrow,


August 27, 2016

Updates

So, updates. Yeah.
This week I went to my grandparents', which is why I haven't posted. We walked a nature trail in Helen, Georgia, so that was fun. We also visited some antebellum homes in Madison Georgia.
On another note, I am now in the process of writing a very dark short story. Caught Outside progress has slowed to the extreme.


Here are some random photos to make this post more interesting. I have a tag coming up tomorrow and I am (finally) going to post Climbing Starlight. FINALLY. I have been trying to remember for the entire summer, and now I finally am going to do it.
Would you read a dark short story?


August 18, 2016

Caught Outside: Sneak Peek

When I asked in the last post, Anika said that she would like to see a sneak peek of Caught Outside. This is from chapter five or six. Note that one or two names from this might be changed before I post the real chapter.
Here we go.

August 17, 2016

Recent Art

I have been wanting to post for a few days, but didn't know what to post. I have decided to post some of my recent artworks.

This is my cousin, Braxton. I copied this from a photograph, and I think it turned out pretty good, besides the fact that he looks really old.

This is another that I am especially proud of. It's a mermaid secretary. I felt like drawing a mermaid, and then this happened.

This is a redesign of a character that I drew for one of my friend's contests. I forgot I even entered until she told me I won. Just as a comparison for how my drawing skills have improved, here is the entry.


The new one looks much better.
My camera decided to be weird for this one, so it's sideways. This is a cat. A very nice cat. Probably one of the best I've drawn, actually. Her face actually looks like it has depth!

This is a cover that I drew for Caught Outside. It seems pretty self-explanatory.

This is another piece of art based on Caught Outside. This one is Meredith's bedroom. I was trying to draw 3D and it didn't really work, so the curtains ended up being sort of sideways. The bookshelf was just a disaster. I think Meredith actually draws this in chapter one.

This is another piece from Caught Outside, Meredith's backyard. Meredith draws it in one of the later scenes.

For our last drawing, we have one titled: Dream. But if you look, there are two messages in the sky. I enjoyed doing the posing for this one. I think that the girl sitting is one of the best that I have done.

That's all for now. Which piece of art is your favorite, and would you like to see a random sneak peek for Caught Outside? I really would like to know.

August 6, 2016

Boring Into Beautiful Photography Contest

Hello, it's Gemstone with Evy narrating. Unlike the past four (I think) posts, this is not about Camp NaNo or writing! It's about photography!
I have entered Megan from A Barefoot Gal's photography contest. Her blog is here. They have two spots left I think. The first category was posted this morning. 
I haven't ever told anyone this, but I do have a photography blog. It's called Chasing Butterflies. I will be posting entries for the contest there. The first photo I will post here, though, just so this post will be a little more interesting.

Category one: Fuzzy

I took a picture of a fuzzy flower. I especially like the raindrops on the leaves.
That's all for now, although I will make a post later on Chasing Butterflies.