Posted in WriterInMotion 2019

Writer In Motion – Week 3

So I’m a little late posting this, and that’s totally on me. I underestimated the amount of time I’d spend working on revisions. Even after having read the comments from my amazing critique partner KJ Harrowick, I thought it was going to be a simple “move this around, change this, boom! Done!”

It did not turn out that way. As soon as I started making changes, I feel like my characters lost some of the charm I loved about them. Everything felt weird and off, and I got frustrated and set the computer down for way too long. That’s all my fault, but I think that the story is better off now, even without some of the pieces I loved. Besides, there’s always next week to finish polishing and make sure that everything is perfect.

So with all of that being said, please enjoy Wrapped Away!

Wrapped Away

Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

The words ran through my head like bunnies chasing each other around in the yard. 

“Five more minutes. Five more, and we can go back outside.” I sank back into my nook behind the couch of the upstairs room. “How did we get wrangled into this again?” I asked Alice, who was sitting next to me inspecting the wall that created the nook we were in.

“Truth or dare.” Alice glared at me, “This is your fault Sammie. I didn’t want to play, but it’s your birthday party. Now I’m sitting here hiding from a mummy!”

“I can’t help that Ariel came up with the idea to sneak into the old creepy house down the road.” I said, as lightning lit up the room from outside. “Plus, it couldn’t be a mummy. They don’t exist.” 

“Of course they exist. They’re in museums, and Egypt. They’re laying in glass cases, or being buried under pyramids. They’re literally everywhere.” She said sarcastically.

“Exactly. They’re everywhere that isn’t here. We just saw a shadow from the lightning.” I said reassuringly, trying to convince myself more than her. This definitely wasn’t the dare we thought it was going to be. It was supposed to be a simple 30 minutes, proving how brave we are, and coming back to the party as ultimate victors of the game. Instead, it turned into a nightmare with us fighting to make it to the end.

“I’m going to check out the clock, it feels different than everything else.” Alice said. 

“What do you mean it’s different?” I asked, chasing after her. As I walked through the room I noticed how nothing was new. There were old records that my grandma would listen to laying on a table, covered in a thick layer of dust. They had to be 100 years old at this point. I nearly tripped over some warped floorboards on the way to the clock, and a chair had tons of stains and holes ripped in it too.

“At least the floor is hard wood. Think of all the bug eggs that could be hiding in carpet. That would be the worst.” I said, trying to lighten the mood.

“Ugh! Sammie, that image was not what I needed right now.” She said standing near the clock. 

“Why is everything pointing at the clock?” I asked. The chairs all faced it, like it was the tv in my living room.

 “Look at this, there’s no dust anywhere on this clock,” she said, ignoring my question. “There aren’t footprints leading to it either.”

Suddenly, the clock began to ring. Loud, deep notes emanated from the clock. 


Before I could take a step back, the clock itself began to slide away from the spot it was resting. 

“What did you do?” I shrieked at Alice

“Nothing, I swear!. It just started started moving,” she screamed back, never looking away from the spot the clock used to stand. Lightning flashed again, lighting up a large hole in the wall. Not very deep, but tall enough that a person could fit into it.

Another flash of lighting illuminated what hid behind the clock. Standing before us was the shape of a body, wrapped in dusty, torn, stained cloth. I stood there, mouth open, trying to take in what I was seeing. Before I could scream, IT groaned a loud, guttural, noise. Alice and I bolted as fast as we could towards the door.

Alice was always faster than me in gym class, so when she passed me, it made sense. I’d be the one to die here in this old haunted house at the hands of a mummy.

“It’s chasing us!” She screamed as she went by. I didn’t dare look behind me, for fear that my legs would turn to jelly and then I’d really be done for. Alice began to toss anything she could reach behind her in an attempt to slow It down. First was a record off the entertainment center, then a large lamp shaped like a mermaid. It was so gaudy looking, that I’d throw it too, even if there wasn’t a mummy chasing us.

“Stop! You’re hitting me, not It!” I yelled, but Alice continued to throw things as fast as she could. We ran down the hallway and several small porcelain figurines came flying by my face, forcing me to duck. Judging by the sound of the mummy behind me, it wasn’t as agile as I was, which gave me some confidence that maybe we’d make it out of this house. I rounded the corner sharply, and relief fell over me. Alice was standing just outside, with the door wide open. 

“Hurry, It’s behind you!”

“I know It’s behind me! Would I be running away if it was in front of me?” I shot back. Passing through the doorway, the rain felt like freedom and safety all rolled up into one. Alice slammed the door behind me, and we heard a crash. The mummy must have run right into the door.

“Hopefully it doesn’t know how to use a door handle”  she giggled. The relief of surviving an actual mummy was too much to contain and I burst out laughing with her.

“Come on, lets go find Ariel. She needs some payback for this dare.” I said, taking off towards home.

We rushed home, where I was expecting to be greeted with cheers for our bravery and success. Instead, we found a house with no lights on.

“That’s weird, why would they go to bed without us?” I asked, staring at the second floor window that marked my room. “Let’s go wake them up.”

We snuck back inside and made our way upstairs. Opening the door, I wasn’t greeted by friends asleep on the floor. Instead, it was the same old, dusty cloth we’d seen in the hole in the wall.


Posted in WriterInMotion 2019

Writer In Motion – Week 2

Y’all! We’re here! We’re at the point where the story starts actually coming together! It’s not just a rough draft that can’t be edited anymore. In fact, editing is the name of the game this week. All those problems surrounding my story are ready to get cleaned up.

Goals I had for this week were fairly straightforward.

1) Narrow the focus. I felt like the story found its footing about halfway through, which meant going in and back filling that focus for the beginning of the story.
2) Discover more about the characters. Sammie and Alice felt flat. I didn’t feel like there was any personality with them. They were just a couple strangers thrown into a weird situation.
3) Bring more descriptors in. I know this is a limitation of my drafting ability. I can’t put descriptions into it. I’m always just trying to get the story out, not make it visual. So getting in what the setting looks like, why it’s a creepy house, what’s off and what’s not. All of those are things that felt lost in the original draft, but were still extremely vibrant in my head.

Those were my major goals, and I think I accomplished at least some of them. It’s definitely more focused. Just like the draft, we jump right into the action, but this time, I knew what was coming. That made it easy to craft a world around the presence of a mummy hidden away that the girls would find at some point. It freed up precious words (have I mentioned how hard it is to stay under 1k words???) to be used in showing the world, the room they are in, and I think the story is a lot better for it.

This week wasn’t without challenges though. I’m still unsure on some things. Namely, why are the girls hiding behind the couch to begin with. I left in that they’d seen a mummy, but that’s never shown. Is that a problem? Should the readers see that? Is that something for another scene in a larger manuscript? Or is it enough that they think they saw a mummy, and are hiding? I don’t really know the answer to these questions yet, but hope to find them in the next few weeks.

The girls also have more personality this go around. A LOT more. Sammie is a sarcastic, sassy young girl now. Alice and her clearly have a rapport that works well between the two. They feel like they’ve been best friends for a long time, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Overall, the dynamics feel more alive, and that definitely helps to improve the story.

Finally, I also found a name for the story. I wanted to convey the fact that we’ve got mummies running left and right, but still keep it sort of hidden as well. So without further ado, I present

Wrapped Away

Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

The words kept running through my head like bunnies chasing each other in the yard. Constantly moving and always there. Like an hour ago, Alice and I took off to go to the old creepy house down the road. Things seemed fine at the time.

“Well…this didn’t turn out like we thought it would.” I said dryly, sitting behind a gross moldy couch. I was staring at a wallpaper that looked like it was older than Mom. The white had long ago turned to yellow, and the stripes had faded from some dark color to a dull grey. There were cracks in the seams, and it was torn in places. What I wouldn’t give for something bright and cheery. 

“There’s no way we just saw a mummy. They don’t exist.” Alice said, sounding like she was trying to reassure herself more than me.

“I mean, they exist.” I said, glancing at her sarcastically. 

“Well of course they exist Sammie, but not like, in real life. They’re in Egypt, or museums, or somewhere else that isn’t here. They’re off doing mummy things like laying in glass cases, or being buried under pyramids.”

“Right. They totally can’t be here. In this house. On this night.” I responded reassuringly.

I turned around to survey the room I was in again. It turned out the gross wallpaper and couch weren’t  unique to this spot. There were no doors on the “entertainment center”, if you could call it that. The only thing it held of any actual entertainment was some old records that were probably from the 40s or 50s. Even then, that’s really only entertainment for our grandparents. Everything seemed to have a layer of dust too. The floorboards were warped in more than several spots. “At least the house has wood floors? Think how much more gross this would be if it was carpet.” I said, trying to lighten the mood a little. 

The only nice thing in the room was a grandfather clock that had to be standing at least 6 feet tall. The gears inside it still turned, and the clock continued to tick along. The clock face read 11:58 PM. Mom would definitely not be happy if we were caught out. We were supposed to be in the basement having a slumber party, but one game of Truth or Dare later and here we are, trying to prove how brave we are.

I sank back into my nook behind the couch. “Two more minutes, then we can go back outside.” Alice sat up a little, looked at me, then turned around to look out into the room.

“I’m going to look at the clock. It’s weird.”

“We have two minutes and you’re going to look at the clock? Come on Alice, lets just wait out our time thinking of some dare that tops this to give Ariel. She deserves it after this.” A few seconds go by without a response. I looked over, but she was already halfway across the room. “Alice! Seriously?”


The room lit up from a bright flash of lightning, followed almost immediately by loud thunder that scared me out of hiding. I ran over to Alice who was inspecting the clock. “Look, there’s no dust on this. But there’s no footprints on the floor either.”

I stood there staring at the steps we left in the dust leading to the clock.


The hands on the clock all moved smoothly into place, pointing straight up. Midnight. Suddenly, the clock began to move. Like, more than the normal moving parts. The whole thing began to move to the side. “What did you do?” I shrieked. 

“Nothing! I swear. It just started moving.” She screamed back, never looking away from the wall. I raised my flashlight to look at the spot where the clock used to be. A hole had appeared. It wasn’t very deep, maybe only two feet. In that small notch in the wall was a problem. A big problem.

Standing there completely still was a body wrapped in cloth. Dark, torn, gross cloth. We stood there, mouths open, trying to take in what we were seeing. Before we could, IT groaned a loud, guttural noise. We both turned to run.

Alice quickly overtook me. She was always faster than I was. “It’s chasing us!” she screamed as she passed. She started to grab anything in arms reach to toss behind her and slow it down. First it was a record off the entertainment center, then it was a lamp next to the door.

“Stop! You’re hitting me not it!” I yelled, but she continued to throw things as fast as she could. We ran down the hallway and several small porcelain figurines came flying by my face. I had to duck to dodge them. Judging by the sound of the mummy behind me, it wasn’t as agile as I was. I rounded the corner and saw freedom. The front door of the house was open, with Alice waiting to shut it behind me, already drenched from the storm outside.

“Hurry! It’s behind you!” She yelled.

“I know it’s behind me! I wouldn’t be running this way if it was in front of me!” I yelled back. I passed through the doorway, and Alice slammed it quickly behind me. We didn’t stop to question if it knew how to open doors, running towards the other side of the hedge where our friends were waiting for us. We turned the corner, but weren’t greeted by friends. They weren’t there. 

Confused where they could be, we walked home, hoping they’d ended up there. We walked downstairs where the party was, but all the lights were off and no one was home. I flicked the light switch on, and froze. There in the middle of the room was a body wrapped in old rags lying on the floor.


Posted in WriterInMotion 2019

Writer In Motion – Week 1

Wow, this draft is a pile of hot garbage waiting to be nuked from orbit. At least that’s how I’m seeing it. There’s a pretty hard shift where I finally stopped pantsing and decided to figure out where I was going, and things started clicking into place.

The thing about this piece that’s interesting to me, is that I still don’t really know the characters. Some will probably go away, others will get fleshed out more over the next few weeks as I learn about them and can bring their personalities into the story. Right now they’re just names on a page to me, and that is the exact wrong thing for a finished piece of work. That’s what’s so great about Writer in Motion though! It’s okay that the whole thing is awful, because that means there’s a ton of room for improvement.

Something else I’ve noticed about my writing is that my first run through never has any description. There are times where I’m like “Ooo, I’m 500 words into this scene and all the reader really knows is that the characters exist and have had a conversation.” There’s no world building there. Hopefully I can remedy that in weeks 2 or 3.

Finally, I’m super excited about this piece growing and becoming something. I’ve been wanting to do a MG spooky story for a while, but didn’t have the time, or motivation to start putting something on paper. While this is meant to be a stand alone piece right now (which isn’t easy in under 1k word!), I definitely think after this whole processes is through, this can serve as the basis for a larger story. We’ll see how things go.

Anyways, without further ado, here is my still to be titled Draft 1.

I knew I shouldn’t have taken that bet.

The words kept running through my mind like the athletes in gym class. Just around and around, at a much faster pace than I ever could. In this moment, I was squished somewhere between a couch and a moldy wall, with water dripping on my forehead.

“Sammie! We need you to go into that house at the end of the block. You know, the one that used to be owned by that old kook.”

Those were the words that started it all. It was weird. Tori had never talked to me before, but somehow she knew my name. Did I rocket up the cool ladder overnight somehow? I guess now that I’m thinking about it, it doesn’t really matter how my social standing at got the attention of Tori Lendas. All that matters is that I saw my ticket to be one of the popular girls.

“Jaycee heard that there was a dead body in the basement. If you go check it out, and bring proof that you were in there, we’ll let you into our group.”

So this was it. All I had to do was go into a house and prove I was there? They didn’t need to know that I was definitely super afraid of that house. Shoot, I didn’t even need to think about that. I should have thought about it, but I didn’t. I definitely didn’t. Or I wouldn’t be in this situation.

“Sammie, stop dwelling on it. We’re here now.” Alice, my best friend who I was determined to bring with me to the popular group, snapped me out of dwelling on my hopeless situation. We were already in the house.

“I know we’re here. That doesn’t mean I can’t be grumpy about it though. You know I needed you here for moral support, and we’ve already had the door swing open on its own.”

“That was the wind. he whole house is shaking from the storm outside.”

I know she was trying to calm me down. It wasn’t just the door opening on its own though. Other weird things had happened too. This  house wasn’t just old, but haunted by the old man who used to live here.

“Let’s just get this over with.” I say peeking out from behind the couch I’d hidden behind. I didn’t see anything in the living room, so it was a good time to make a break for it. I ran towards the first door that looked like it could lead to a basement. When I swung it open, I was greeted with an awful, foul smell, but no stairs. It appeared to be a closet. I’m not sure what smelled so bad, but I wasn’t about to stick around and find out.

“Not this one,” I yelled behind me without looking to see if Alice was following. I kept moving through the living room. There was a surprising amount of doors and hallways that led out of this room. We even found a hidden passageway behind an old grandfather clock that was on the wall. That was all in the past though. Before we knew the place was haunted.

I opened another door. This time there wasn’t a terrible smell. Instead, it was another closet. A long narrow closet with a pile of rags on the ground. Dusty, torn, dirty rags, just piled up in a long bunch. 

“Umm…Sammie?” Alice said sheepishly from somewhere behind me. “I don’t like the look of that. From this angle it sort of looks like —” 

“…a mummy.” I whispered.


Lightning lit up the room, we were in. The terrifying reality of what we just saw was confirmed. We were standing in front of a mummy in a closet! Before I could slam the door shut, there was a piercing shriek that came from Alice.

“The mummy, it’s moving!!”

Staring at the pile of clothes beginning to rise in front of me, I slammed the door shut and turned to run. Behind me I heard the door crash back open again. I took off towards the front door, to safety. Alice was right in front of me, knocking anything in her path off along the way to slow the monster down.

“Alice, I’m behind you! Quit knocking things over, you’re slowing me down too.” I shouted. A book came flying at my face. Ducking, I narrowly missed it. Clearly she didn’t hear me. I could see the door, Alice had opened it already and was waiting for me to pass through before she could shut it. As I made it to safety, the feeling of pouring rain felt like sweet relief. 

The door slammed shut behind me, and we both grabbed the handle to hold it shut. If the mummy could break the closet door open, we were both going to have to hold the handle to keep it in the house. A minute or so after being outside, nothing tried to open the door. No loud crash from it running into the door. No tugging as it tried to catch us. Nothing.

“I’m not sticking around to find out what just happened.” I panted through my deep breaths.

“Yeah, lets get out of here before it decides it knows how to open doors.” We grabbed our bikes and rode as fast as we could to the safety of home. We parked our bikes on the front step and went inside.

“Mom! You’re never going to believe what just happened.” I shouted as we walked in. The house was quiet, and Mom never responded. “Let’s make some hot chocolate.” I say waving for Alice to follow me to the kitchen. Rounding the corner, I opened up the pantry to find the hot chocolate mix, and was met with the same gross smell as the old house.

I turned on the lights, and froze. On the ground was a pile of dusty old rags that started moving. “Mummy!!!”

Posted in WriterInMotion 2019

Writer in Motion – Week 0

Have you ever been sitting around reading a book, or a blog, or an article, and you think to yourself, “Wow, this person is really great at writing. It’s obvious why they became a writer and why I didn’t. I could never write like that.”? I know I do. A lot. Yet for some reason, I am about 25,000 words into a novel that I’m writing. I know that it’s hot garbage. I know that it doesn’t compare to actual authors works and manuscripts. I’m just not really that great of a writer.

Or am I?

By the time a story reaches you, especially novels, it’s gone through LOTS of editing. There’s the authors own revisions, critique partners, beta and sensitivity readers, professional editors, agents, and possibly more! The book can find itself in its 10th or 12th form before you lay eyes on it. Unfortunately, that’s also all we as authors have to gauge our own works against.

Even if you’re another authors critique partner, it’s still been through at least one or more rounds of revisions and edits. So it’s really hard to see that within your pile of garbage that you call a first draft, there could be a shiny gem waiting to be seen. Even if you have to pull it out kicking and screaming. That’s what Writer In Motion is all about.

So if you follow along over the next 6 weeks, you’ll see a short story based off a prompt I didn’t see until Nov. 1st grow and evolve and become something (hopefully) unrecognizable from where it started. With all of that out of the way, lets get to the prompt!

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t do great with prompts. My writing ideas generally spawn organically from something I’m doing, or some conversation I’m having, or some situation I’m in and complaining about (so many airport stories from when I was traveling every week for work). So I was definitely nervous to see a prompt. What if I’m not inspired? What if I take it too literally? What if I simply don’t find the image interesting enough?

Unfortunately, at least one of those things happened. Nothing was coming to me at all. I spent a good 30 minutes just digesting what I was seeing. A woman, holding a flare on what could be a pier or a ship mast or something, with a partly cloudy blue sky behind her. Nothing says a story with conflict like a sunny blue sky right? Especially when I had in my head before anything was released, that I wanted to write a middle grade “horror” story, since it was the day after Halloween and I still had all the fun thoughts of trick or treating, horror films, and spooky decorations floating around in my head.

Finally, I saw something I could work with. The entire lower portion of the photo looks like a storm brewing out at sea. Tall, dark, ominous clouds creeping over the horizon is definitely a view I’m familiar with. At the ski resort I used to work at, it was a common thing for it to be sunny and beautiful until about 2pm, at which point clouds like that would race over the mountain and bring their downpours for an hour before moving on further east.

All of this is to say, I had a setting. A dark and stormy afternoon. How many horror stories include a well timed crack of lightning and thunder? Like, all of them! With setting in hand, I decided to break out my trusty laptop and start to pants like there was no tomorrow! In my writing, I’m generally a plantser, so pantsing was definitely not the best thing to do. I found myself 200 words in, with no idea where to go. Like I was spinning my wheels in deep mud.

I did the best thing I could do, and planned out a little bit. All I needed was an idea of where I was going, so I could figure out how to get there. Honestly, y’all pantsers are crazy! I will never understand how you can get somewhere without knowing where you’re going first. It’s madness!

I did finally figure out where I was going though, and I think you’ll be able to see the transition in the draft. I like to think that it goes from “Scooby Doo” to “Goosebumps” in the span of like a sentence. All that really means though, is that I’ve got a great spot to start with revisions come week 2! Stay tuned, the draft will be up tomorrow!