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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)

TITLE: Everywhere a Story Story
By Eliza Evans


I have been a prisoner on this ship for eight days now. My name is Princess KatraLaLeena from the small country of Zoldovia. I was captured when thieves and pirates seized upon my homeland...pillaging, destroying and taking gold, silver and anything they could find. Even tobacco, fruit and spices—all stolen from my father's prized gardens and cache.

My dear father. Where is he now? Did he escape to safety with his guardsmen?

There is no relief from the constant rocking of the ship or the hot ocean air that burns my mouth and eyes, even through the walls of this small room that holds me. 

But the cabin boy, Zak, who brings my meals, has softened towards me. He is not more than seventeen, I think. Two years my senior. Strong, confident as a man and weathered from his life on the seas.

Yesterday, he showed me his pet rat, hoping to frighten me I suppose. Instead, I fed it a nibble of dried coconut and let it sniff my hand and press its small paws against my wrist. I was thrilled with its curiosity and liveliness after my days of solitude. The whole time I could feel Zak's eyes on me, watching me. Eyes as deep and blue as these waters we sail.

Today he brought melons, sugared ginger and a piece of poached fish for my supper. He meant it as a kindness, I know, but it stirred memories of home so savagely within me that I cried out in anguish for the first time since my ordeal.
Zak held his fingers to my mouth and brushed away my tears with his thumb. He stood so close to me I could feel his warm breath on my face and smell the cinnamon scent of him. Truth is...I could not look away from him. He put his hand on my waist, leaned into me and put his lips to my ear to whisper.
He had a plan for my escape...for our escape.

Danielle put down her pen, rested against the counter and sighed dreamily. The restaurant buzzed with activity around her, but she didn't mind. Sure, she was supposed to be back from coffee break and waiting on tables, but sigh...she was lost in writing her story. It was so real. It's hard to keep one's mind on coke and burgers when you're trapped on a ship, and there is a really gorgeous guy, too!

But Danielle wasn't surprised by her unromantic teacher's reaction to her tale.

“Some good stuff going on here, Danielle...but eyes as blue and as deep as the ocean? Puuhlease! Oh, and do remind me. Wasn't it last week that your storybook cowboy's eyes were as dark as the starless midnight sky or some such? And smelled like fresh mountain rain?" Mrs. Standish scoffed but she was also smiling. She was happy to have a willing student...even if that student was a little stubborn and star struck.
"Think outside the box, girl! You can do it," was the constant encouragement.

Danielle went to her job at Ed's Diner the next evening with renewed purpose. She “spied” on her customers and eavesdropped on their conversations, jotting in her notebook anything interesting she might use in her next story. She was determined to write something that would finally surprise her teacher.

When Mr. Todd came in for his usual Belgian waffles and bacon, Danielle studied him with a keen writer's eye as she took down his order.

Bulbous nose. Hunched shoulders. Map of friendly wrinkles lining his face.

“Belgian Waffles and bacon. Coming right up, sir. With freshly whipped cream, too.”

Appreciation showed on Mr. Todd's face.

Sort of handsome with a sincere smile.

Just minutes later Danielle heard Ed, the head cook and head boss-man, hollering her name from the kitchen. Danielle dashed back to the grill.

“What in the Sam Hill is this supposed to mean, Danielle?” Ed unclasped a piece of paper from the food order queue.

"Are you trying to tell me I have a big nose or something? Bad posture? Wrinkles? What the...?" Ed paused to cock a smile. "Hey now. So...you think I'm handsome, eh?"

Danielle groaned. She had mixed up her writer's notes with her waitress order pad!

She should have been embarrassed. She certainly should have apologized to the baffled Ed. But the truth is, her first thought was...“I better write this down. This could make a good story!”

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This article has been read 804 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Margaret Kearley 04/30/10
Excellent! I really like this. Very well written and full of humour.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/30/10
The first part was suspenseful and I longed to hear more. Then in the second part I found myself laughing. I am content.
Dana McReynolds05/01/10
I love this. Thanks for a good laugh.
Catrina Bradley 05/01/10
I want to know what happens with the princess and the handsome ship mate!! Loved this - it made me giggle.
Allison Egley 05/02/10
Ah yes... Seeing a story in everything. 'Tis the curse of a writer, is it not? Good job. And I think I want to hear the rest of that story you started. :)
Jackie Wilson05/02/10
Do we all do that, once we're hooked? Constantly gather story ideas?

I was delighted with the princess story placed within the real story. Left me wanting more of both!
AnneRene' Capp05/02/10
This is great. Well told and you had me stuck in the story she was writing! Loved the humor with the cook. Made me lol!
Joan Campbell05/02/10
Loved this! Beatiful writing and really fun humour. I think you captured the writer's mindset very well with your cute MC.
Laury Hubrich 05/03/10
Very cute story. Lots happening here but you pulled it off well.
Carol Slider 05/03/10
This is so much fun to read, right from the beginning! We do have to be careful about where we jot down those story ideas, don't we?? :) Loved it!
Beth LaBuff 05/05/10
Oh what fun! I was wrapped up in your MC's story… (you must finish it for us!) :) Then your MC's own story as a waitress was so creative and your title is so clever! You show great writer's skill/craft with this! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/05/10
Sarah Elisabeth 05/05/10
Ha, you must finish the first story! This was very well written as the master you are :-)

Okay, just a tad of red ink. The last paragraph seemed a little jumbled and I almost missed the perfect punch at the end. Maybe italized her thought.

Right on topic, she sounds like me as I fumble to find my own voice!
Joshua Janoski05/06/10
First of all, I loved the humorous ending. It was the icing on the cake for me.

My only complaint (which isn't really a complaint at all) is that I was getting into the whole story on the ship and didn't want it to end. However, you did a great job of getting me daydreaming and then jerking me out of that dream just as your writer in your story got jerked out by her reality in the diner. Great job! Anytime you can make the reader feel what your character is feeling, that is a sign of some great writing.

Loved this! Thanks for sharing. :)