Posted in Completely Random!!, Novel Project

(CWS11.2) Thanks for the Nominations

Since the Sandbox 11 assignment was to nominate awards to classmates, everyone got several, mostly for their Novel Projects. I know Cherri also gave me some super awesome award like “Highest Snark” or something too (who, me?), and I got another Best Villain award from…. someone…, but not everyone’s sandboxes have been posted yet.

Well, thanks, peoplez.

From Emily:

Best Title

Best Drama/Dramatic Moment

Best Ending/Death Scene

From Emma:

Best Characterization of a Lead – Seth Grayson

Most Likely to Publish

Most Enjoyable Narrating Tone

From Grace Anne:

Best Title

(2nd?) Best Supporting Male Character – Marshall Peterson

(2nd?) Best Villain (ha, funny)

(2nd?) Best Opening Line

Most Likely to Publish

Posted in Completely Random!!, Hehe, Novel Project

Writing, Guns, Potatoes, and Tropes

‘Tsup world. I’m doing a thoroughly great job on procrastinating on this action-packed chapter nine of Four Rules of Murder that’s due in a few hours! *boogie boogie boogie*

Yeah, so I’ve got this great problem called Not-Enough-Story-Planning-at-the-Beginning-of-the-Semester, so now I’m stuck with my characters in this gunfight with a lot of action that should be there and isn’t. And you know what happens when that happens?

This happens. (Uh-oh, I just used “happens” three four times.)

Out of the corner of his eye, Seth saw Lisa stand. He dropped the empty gun and turned to face her, but her blue eyes were already deadly as she pulled out a POTATO FROM HER POCKET AND WONKED HIM ON THE HEAD WITH IT.

Black spots swam before his eyes!! Oh Nooeeezzz.

And Seth died from a concussion.

But before he died, his beloved creator recognised her ignorance on the matter of guns, and seeing as this chapter was jam-packed with the stuff, she got a move on with Bing right away. That was how she found this amazing website called TV Tropes.

Check it out. It’s great for avoiding clichés in action scenes, and it gives you a good laugh. Be realistic about your guns and heroes, writers.

Oh yeah, but don’t start ranting to me about gun control, because I don’t know enough about it to have an educated/informed opinion. Plus my characters don’t give a dime about it. (See what I did there.)

I feel so much more educated now. I guess I should go finish that chapter though .-.

Posted in Novel Project, The Sandbox, Writing

(CWS7) World Piece

Sandbox Assignment 7: If Seth was invited to give a speech, who would he be speaking to, what would the topic be, and why?

If he accepted the invitation, he would be speaking to a bunch of senior citizens about diversity and world peace because a stranger on the sidewalk asked him to. But that’s only if he accepted, and thankfully, Seth doesn’t have to accept, because he apparently has better things to do with his life.

Give it up for Seth Grayson from Four Rules of Murder, and for the speech that he won’t have to give! (To get the password for the novel project page, click here.)


Everyone loves public speaking, and everyone loves solicitors. When a stranger asks Seth to give a speech, Seth… downright refuses. No purpose going out of the comfort zone for something dumb like this, right?


World Piece

Seth had heard of this thing called “public speaking” before; he had just never cared for it, much less thought that a random, pudgy-faced man with graying blonde hair and bouncing jowls would suddenly ask him to do it.

Well, maybe it was plausible. On television. When Seth wasn’t walking with Keeley to pick up Adrian from school in the middle of the neighborhood sidewalk.

If it had been to anyone else it would have been better, but Evan Peach didn’t know that.

“Greetings, young man, hello, hello!” He was wearing a sign around his neck that read World Piece – not “peace,” but “piece” – as if he had purposefully stuck the cardboard slab over his big belly to try to further decrease his own self-esteem.

“I see you’re out for a nice walk with your daughter on this fine, peaceful day!”

Seth thought he could see where the man was going with this. And daughter?

“Sister,” he corrected as the guy reached out five sausage fingers to forcefully shake Seth’s free hand in a grimy sort of embrace.

“I’m Evan Peach, and I wanted to ask you, do you know where this beautiful war-free day comes from?”

Lots of bloodshed and treaties that cost thousands of lives?

“That’s right, it comes from people like you and me working together to bring harmony and blessing to mankind!” Evan clamped his arm around Seth’s shoulder. “Friend, it takes effort to bring about peace like this. Real effort, you know? Neighbors on the street saying hello to each other. Giving a person a smile every day to make yourself feel good about yourself. It’s about community, diversity, and…well, say, what’s your ethnic background?”

Seth ducked under the heavy arm and rubbed his shoulder, unable to believe the guy. Keeley looked up at him quizzically and tugged at his hand, pointing at her little pink watch on her wrist, but this Peach man wasn’t letting up.

“I’m gonna have to say Vietnamese. Is that it? …wait, no, no, I’ve got it. You look… well, I have to say, I can clearly see your North Korean roots, it’s in your hands, you know? Never gotten the wrong vibe from the hands. And your eyes say Japanese! Midnight blue just like that, yes, I know that, I’ve seen it in a picture once. Probably some Dutch in your background, too, am I right?”

Running a hand through his hair, Seth exhaled in frustration. “Hey, look, Peach, I’d love to chat about life and all, but I’m running late for something, so – ”

Peach put his hands up. “No worries. No worries at all! I’ll just walk with you and your little girl here.”

“Sister.”

“Right, right, how old is she, four? Little cutie.” He rubbed Keeley’s head at this, which she clearly found annoying, and Seth in turn found himself getting more annoyed as the man walked beside them. “You know, I’m pretty good at guessing people’s ethnic backgrounds; my grandma always told me I had a gift for it, a real gift, so she always said, ‘Evan, my boy, you have a real gift for knowing stuff about people as soon as you lay eyes on ’em.’ She said that, and I’m no liar, I’m pretty sure I got you down to a t.”

Adrian’s school was still three blocks away. Will he never shut up?

“So, I’ve started this organization to promote world peace; it’s called ‘World Peace.’ Every year we have a great big meeting conference thing with speakers about how we can put this into action, and we were looking for a guest speaker, and this year’s theme is diversity, you know, because diversity is a big part of world peace. Last year’s theme was conformity which was super great, and we got like identical twins to speak and it was just awesome, man, Mrs. Shana gathered a huge crowd there with all her friends. At one point we had a hard time with all those hearing aids in one place, but we got it solved, so this year should be great and we’ll have like tea and man, I know this is a big favor to ask of you, but it would mean so much to everyone, so would you be willing to speak at our conference?”

Did I hear wrong? “I’m sorry… what?”

“Diversity.” Peach looked dreamily up at the blue sky. “It’s a beautiful thing. You wanna give a speech for us in a week?”

Seth and Keeley stopped at the gate and waved at Adrian, who exchanged some last words with his friends, then ran over. “No, I don’t.”

“Bro, it would mean so much, thank you – ”

“I said no.”

Adrian looked inquisitively at the strange man Seth was talking to, but being too shy to ask, he just waited with them.

Peach persisted. “Man, it only has to be, like, half an hour long, it won’t take up much of your time, I swear.”

Seth took Adrian’s hand and began walking away, but Peach tried to follow, his voice still pleading. “You can give me your phone number, and I’ll call you every day for an hour, and man, we really need this speech…”

“Here’s what you do,” Seth suggested sarcastically. “You say, ‘Thanks for coming, everyone, enjoy the tea party and help us promote world peace!’ And for the remaining twenty-nine minutes, you can sing Barney songs and dance to show them just how much world peace will help them. It’s a win-win. You look like more of an idiot, and everyone else doesn’t totally waste their time.”

“But – ”

“Look,” Seth interrupted. “All I know is that you’re a lonely bachelor with nothing better to do than to bug people. You talk too much, think you’re more important than you really are, and probably have some kind of inferiority complex with a serious case of denial that makes you refuse to see that people are sick of you talking their ears off. You probably didn’t get enough attention as a kid, which apparently crippled your ability to listen to people. You can’t take no for an answer; your organization is slipping down the drain with no one who really cares about it; and your little tea parties aren’t going to help you through that no matter how much you refuse to acknowledge the fact. Your dumb sign is spelled incorrectly, and I’m pretty sure the neighborhood has something against this soliciting that could be reported as harassment, so stop following us before I call the police.”

Peach stood in shock on the sidewalk. Seth and the Yoo kids left him there, the two kids looking back at him, then looking back at Seth with questioning looks, but he didn’t feel like explaining it to them.

“I’ll take that as a maybe!” Peach shouted from behind. “See you next week! …do you want my number? You and your kids going home now?”

They’re not my kids.

“Yup. I hope you find your world piece.” Or a piece of the world where you find some purpose in your pathetic life.

Posted in Novel Project, The Sandbox, Writing

(CWS6) Unheard Words

Hey everyone, today’s Sandbox assignment was to re-write a scene/chapter from our novel project. Here are parts of chapter 1 and 2 of Four Rules of Murder, re-written as a short story from the Babysitter’s perspective (Derik Scott). To see the original chapters, check out the chapter index, and if you need the password for the novel project, see this post again.

Thanks. ‘Fore you go on, let me just say… I loved Derik a lot more after writing this. Babysitter, you rock.


Unheard Words

What do you do when your job and your feelings get in each other’s way?

You let your feelings run wild and hope you don’t get fired.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Derik Scott hated this part of his job. It was boring. When he’d joined the Group twenty years ago before any of the Tetrad had been recruited, he had always imagined being part of high-action missions, exhilarating car chases, suspense-filled break-ins. What did he get instead? An online babysitting job, where he monitored four little specks as they moved around the globe to kill people. Four lonely little specks in a big, wide world that knew nothing of their existence.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

If he was honest with himself, he knew he could never pull off what these kids did. It took guts, lack of conscience, years and years of training. He would have been shut down by now, but not them, not the ones he had helped to raise, those little kids who had had such bright eyes back then who now could shoot a person in the head without blinking.

Oh, what have I done?

His job, that was what, he thought as he zoomed in on Number 3’s screen to see the red dot speeding up over the map of the airport. He must have boarded his plane now. The other Tetrad were already at the apartment, since Numbers 2 and 4 had returned earlier in the week and the Ace had come in a few hours ago from her trip to Guatemala.

Derik fidgeted with his headset and leaned back in his office chair. The sun was beginning to peek through the blinds of his spacious office/bedroom, and he let out a yawn and stretched his arms out, running his hands over his smooth, bald head. Well, one thing was for sure: if he couldn’t handle the killing itself, he definitely wouldn’t be able to stand the international flights the Tetrad constantly went through. Even sitting around in an office chair all night wiped his energy.

He checked the clock. The plane should be cruising by now. Derik had nothing else to do, so why not? He twisted his headphone mic into place and switched it on to channel three.

How’d it go?”

There was a static sound, and Seth swore. Did he learn that word from me?

Rule number one,” Derik sighed, twisting the headphone cord around his fingers.

Rule number five,” Number 3 snapped back.

Derik felt like he should know what was coming. The kid had always been smart – maybe too smart for his own good sometimes, which made him sarcastic to any sign of possible stupidity; which, for Number 3, meant constant sarcasm. Or did he learn that from Derik as well?

There is no rule five.” Derik pulled out a bag of chips and ripped it open.

I just made it up. ‘Don’t be like Derik Scott.’” How original. “I already finished cleaning.”

Good. Any gory details I should know about?”

How about I think you’re a jerk.”

We’ve settled that before.” Derik stuffed some of the chips into his mouth and continued, “For such a good people-person, you’re pretty mean when you wanna be. You know that?”

What don’t I know? Now shut up and let me sleep.”

Derik clicked his tongue as best he could with a full mouth. “You know me. Just checking in on my kids.”

Seth snorted. He was obviously exhausted; he always got harsher when he was tired. Derik took the hint, and he offered to pick Three up from the airport before cutting off the conversation to let the teenager sleep.

Imagine Number 3 sitting on a plane filled with so many normal people, Derik thought. It was almost funny.

Later, when Seth returned and the Tetrad all lay asleep in their beds, Derik walked restlessly around the apartment. He normally stayed in his own apartment a half hour drive away, but he kept a bedroom in their “home” for whenever he wanted to stay the night. Now he creaked open the doors to their rooms, checking up on them like a father would on his children. He liked that, thinking of himself as a father to them. There was something comforting about seeing their peaceful forms, about hearing their soft breathing, about knowing they had lived another day and were safe for now.

Standing at the side of Seth’s bed, Derik paused, gazing at the dark hair resting over the slightly furrowed brows, at the bare arm outstretched on its own, covered in scars. He had known this kid for fifteen years, ever since Seth was… two? Back then he was so tiny and dependent. Seth had come to him before any of the others; Derik had known him for almost his whole life, which gave the seventeen-year-old a special place in the man’s heart.

How time flew. The young man here was his boy who used to cry himself to sleep at nights when training left him aching all over. The little child who showed his every feeling toward every little thing until he learned to numb his heart. The toddler who used to look up to Derik like a father, who wanted to hold his hand, who ran to him when he had nightmares, who fell asleep in his arms after an exhausting day. Now look at him, flying overseas alone, sleeping all alone, living life alone, doing everything alone.

He had turned so cold. Was this what it was like to have a child?

No, Derik had to be careful. The Head had warned him what would happen if he showed any sign of attachment to the Tetrad; he would undoubtedly be fired, maybe imprisoned to keep his mouth shut. But what idiots would give a lonely widower four dependent children to look after and train? These were the children he had raised with his wife before she had been killed. These kids were his family, his life.

Derik loved them. He ached for them. He wanted to protect them, help them. Yet they kept going on these suicide missions, and all he could do was sit behind these monitors and watch the little blinking dots put their lives on the line again and again.

Four specks on a screen. Four little pawns, that was how the government saw them. But they all thought differently, all killed differently, all came from different backgrounds. And there was one thing they had in common, one thing they lacked: three little words in their childhoods that would have made all the difference in their lives now. Three words that had never been said enough, that held the weight of worlds for hurting children who were expected to reach perfection. Just three words.

I love you,” Derik whispered to the sleeping figure. “You might never know it, but I love you, Seth, my son, my child… stay alive a little longer. Just a little longer for Daddy, okay?”

He stroked the black hair gently off the pale face, then leaned down and pressed his lips against the warm forehead. “You never mourned your loss of innocence… but I do. I do for you children. You should have stayed young instead of growing up too quickly like this.”

He pulled away and took a deep breath. Wiping his eyes, Derik took one last look at the sleeping boy, readjusted the covers over Seth’s shoulders, and quietly walked out and closed the door.