Posted in Completely Random!!, The Sandbox

(CWS11) Trophy for You, Trophy for You; Trophy for (Almost) Everyone!

For this final Sandbox, we were supposed to nominate different classmates for different awards – with made up awards or the awards from a set list. So, here we go. Great job, peoples.

(But it should be noted that I wasn’t able to read through everybody’s entire projects, so my nominations are limited.)

Best Title

Letters of the Lost Joshua Tan


Best Female Lead Character

Liv – Emma Ladwig

Best Introduction of Characters and Backstories

Emily Marlin

Best Setting

Epusonia – Grace Anne Ellis

Best Opening Line

What is the most appropriate name for nothing?” – Peggy Williams

Best Closing Line

I just sat there, frozen as tears poured down falling from my cheeks.” – Marissa Chan

Best Mystery/Suspenseful Moment

Emily Marlin

Best Fantasy/Science Fiction

-Emma Ladwig

-Grace Anne Ellis

Most Likely to Finish at the Last Minute Yet Still Bring Us to Tears

Emma Ladwig, just because she was procrastinating and her story seems like that kind of novel xD

Best Development of New Creatures and Places

Emma Ladwig

Coolest Fight Scenes (or Fight Scenes in General)

Grace Anne Ellis!!!

Best/Most Realistic Character Interactions

-Emily Marlin

-Grace Anne Ellis

Posted in Completely Random!!, The Sandbox

(CWS10) You May Kill My Character if I May Kill Yours

Writing collaborations?

Not easy.

Writing collaborations with an entire class of students who enjoy writing different genres of fiction?

Even harder.

In this Sandbox assignment, our teacher opened a Google Document for the class and began a story with a single sentence. From there the class could take it anywhere we wanted, with only a few rules: (1. Students may add three sentences max in a single post (individual sentences inside quotations not included), (2. No student could post back-to-back with him/herself, (3. Students should shoot for cohesiveness, (4. Everyone must post at least once before class, and (5. Everyone must add their last name in parentheses after each post.

The great thing about this was how quickly it changed into something totally different from the implied setting, and how quickly the story expanded with so many people working on it. The hard part was the sentence limit (we broke it several times), staying consistent and keeping up with all the new information everyone else was adding, and the general lack of communication we had at any given time with everyone else.

After a week, though, we fifteen students managed to write twelve pages’ worth of a fantastic (and somewhat random and inconsistent) piece. Here is our lovely long “short” story.

To find the blogs of the other contributors to this piece, see the names under the right panel: “This Ain’t Hogwarts.”


 

Lacey closed the Shakespeare book and gazed out at the trees through the second-story library window. (GAINES) She couldn’t help but sigh that they weren’t real trees—they’d died away a long time ago with most other lifeforms—and Lacey wanted to close her eyes and pretend, just for one moment, that the rustling was the wind and not some computer’s random simulation behind the ancient holograms. But she did not let herself, no, she couldn’t go back to pretending and daydreams when staying alive meant staying alert. Her hand instinctively checked for her blaster as she crept out of the dilapidated building into the dying city. (TAN)

It was dark outside and dust coated everything, creating a thick layer of fog over the city. Lacey crept along the sides of the buildings, careful to stay in the shadows. She glanced around, tense and uneasy. (ELLIS)

If you’re still looking for something nice to enjoy here,” a voice suddenly echoed from the alley beside her, “you realize you’re looking in vain.”

I know,” Lacey replied tersely, hand moving away from the weapon by her side as she recognized the ragged figure immediately; “Your presence only proves that.”

The voice laughed tauntingly, harshly; and a dark girl seemed to take shape from the blackness itself, her bright eyes intelligent yet starving, her thin form lean yet battered, her long hair uneven yet also somehow beautiful — a diamond raised from the ashes, a warrior born from death — and with a background, Lacey knew, nothing like that of the once-spoiled girl standing here now who used to prioritize wasting her time on trivial things like beauty. (WONG)

Lacey sighed and leaned against the wall as she stared up at the grey sky overhead, “Edith, what are you doing here?” It was uncanny, and admittedly annoying, how she could just appear like that.

The girl shrugged, “Orders. I’m supposed to be here.”

Lacey eyed Edith, fingers twitching on her blaster, “Vague. As usual. Why are you supposed to be here, though?” (WILLIAMS)

Is protecting humankind a satisfactory answer for you, Miss Princess?” Edith sighed, spinning the gun-like piece of metal in her hand effortlessly. “Or would you rather me say something like, ‘I’m trying to plant flowers in this awful desolate place to remind you a little bit of what your sunshine-rainbow world used to be like before your country started a nuclear war’? Would that make you feel better?”

First off,” Lacey snapped in defense, “the U.S. didn’t start the war; it takes more than one to start chaos like this. Secondly, I’m still trying to play my part, so if you would stop picking on me just because you’re from a lower and poorer class, maybe social discrimination wouldn’t be so much of an issue.” (WONG)

They stood there silently, staring at each other, each extremely interested in figuring out how to shoot the other without getting in trouble. Suddenly, a foreign sound fell upon their ears, causing both to look up in alarm, as their thoughts were interrupted. A repetitive thrumming that drowned out the wind and the humming of machines, a sound that each recognized as soon as they heard it: helicopter blades. (WILLIAMS)

The Federation,” Edith said grimly, pulling out a second blaster as the red insignia of a crown became apparent on the side of the chopper. Her own weapons bore the blue seal of the League’s eagle; since World War IV nearly five years ago, the major world powers had not only relieved the planet of most of its natural wildlife through nuclear warfare and technological development; but the two countries with the most influence at the time, China and India, had also virtually split the world into two alliances: the League and the Federation, which were made up of countries such as China, the United States, South Africa, Japan, and the United Korea; and India, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Russia, Germany, and France, respectively. Other lesser countries had been forced to join a side for fear of being snuffed out from the map completely, and so the struggle for complete control ensued as both sides struggled back and forth in a game of chess and never-ending bloodshed. (WONG)

Silence ensued as the faint shadow passed over their frozen faces.  “Well, that’s my cue, none of the Red Fed’s are allowed to get past me, even in a neutral zone such as this, and our remedial light, barely seeping through the darkness, can only last so long.”, Edith spoke solemnly before running off towards that machine of the sky.  (TAING) ‘Arrogant fools,’ Lacey spat out, wishing for more firepower, wishing that she could simply reach out and crush the defiant enemy forces with her bare hand… but no, Edith was the trained one, the foreign one, the one now running towards an airborne chopper by herself (she would not destroy it, for all her bravado, but she would find a way to keep it from flying further inland). Despite her barbed comments about status and wealth, Lacey often wished that she’d been in the Chinese girl’s place instead, the talented naturally and with even more skills learnt through the government initiative, deployed to patrol one of the most dangerous ‘neutral zones’ in the world. But here she was, just an ordinary nobody in a filthy factory city overshadowed by the old Mexican Wall. (TAN)  As she traced her hands along the cracks of the wall, she came across a crooked inscription carved which read:

The darkness fell, yet it’s still falling

Onto those who hear their calling:

To find the truth within the scars

To find themselves among the stars

Believers of hope, once deemed wise

Now only seen as tellers of lies

Fall down to their forgotten fears

Drown within their frozen tears

Until they are nothing but gray

 

-Comm. Kairo

July 28th, 2216 (TAING)

A cold feeling settled in Lacey’s stomach as she read the inscription, her hands shaking as she traced over the fading words etched in stone. How true those words had been and how prophetic; and yet how ironic given their situation. Turning, Lacey looked away from the inscription, bitter towards all that had happened, and on an impulse, she ran after Edith. (ELLIS)

Edith loaded her blaster and took aim, hesitating for a split second as she heard suspicious footsteps behind, and then, ignoring them—the helicopter lurched downwards, blazing in flames, but then pulled away in the last moment only to crash into an abandoned building. A soft thud landed in the darkness, and Edith spun, finger on trigger, blaster to kill… ‘Stop!’ the figure exclaimed in a voice strangely vulnerable and honest. ‘If you have to shoot me, let me finish talking first…’ A moment of not dying seemed enough for him to continue, ‘My name… doesn’t matter. I am… I was… from the Federation… and I’m here to warn you.’ (TAN)

Edith lowered her blaster, ever so slightly, eyes narrowed in suspicion. The chances of someone from the Federation coming to warn the League about something, for whatever reasons, were low; for all she knew, it could be a trap. This could all be a set up- an attempt to gain entrance into the base so that they could obtain important information.(WILLIAMS)

Lacey, though, had fewer qualms in this matter and joined the two, saying, “Who are you?”

The young man blinked, obviously startled by Lacey’s lack of suspicion. He was not much older than herself, with an honest, but nervous look, and he was dressed in the faded uniform of a Federation soldier. (ELLIS) Hesitantly, he shook his head, mouth moving, but no sound coming out; the man staggered, and in one swift movement, Edith clipped one of her blasters to her belt, and stepped forward to catch him as he fell.

He’s exhausted,” she said grimly, “Who knows how long his flight was.”

Lacey bit her lip, knowing Edith might disagree, as she usually did, with whatever she said, but she made the suggestion anyways, “We could take him to headquarters. They might know something about it, and besides we don’t have enough supplies here that will help revive him.” (WILLIAMS)

Oh, that is a wonderful idea!” Edith said sarcastically. “I’m sure my superiors will completely understand why I am bringing in an unconscious Federation soldier and you.” She said the last part like it was some insult and Lacey huffed indignantly, but Edith wasn’t done. “They will just love it, I assure you. After all, who doesn’t love receiving enemy soldiers! I just love it!”

Do you have a better idea?” Lacey shot back, unable to contain her annoyance and when Edith made no response, she smirked at her and said, “I thought not. Let’s go.”

Edith didn’t look happy, but she acquiesced and after a long walk, the two found themselves stooping down to enter into a bunker hidden in shadows, still lugging the soldier’s body with them. (ELLIS) Lacey straightened once she was inside. The interior of the bunker was dimly lit with black lights running along a long corridor that took no turns for about thirty feet; by the end of the corridor, there was a fork where one had the option to either turn right, or left. By instinct and practice, the two girls turned left, where the corridor opened up into a room that was whirring with machines and echoing with the commands of people that were constantly active. (WILLIAMS)

Edith, what is the meaning of this? Who are these people?”  A stout, burly man demanded as he caught sight of them.

Sorry Papa, but the man is exhausted. There was nowhere else to take him.”  (INGE)

It was Lacey who’d spoken, and Edith, who disliked being ignored when she was the addressed, didn’t wait for the base commander, Lacey’s father, to respond. ‘We have an enemy hostage,’ she said coolly. ‘This might be important. I’ll be needing an interrogation chamber. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the rest.’

Commander Axelon eyed Edith with a level gaze, but whatever he’d been looking for, whether sureness or confidence or responsibility, it satisfied, and he waved them off dismissively, saying ‘Chamber three is yours. I believe that you’re perfectly capable of not messing up, and I’m counting on that.’ (TAN)

I still say we shoot this kid,” Edith huffed, pushing her black hair out of her face as she and Lacey continued to pull the Federate soldier to the small third chamber, shoving him unceremoniously onto a chair. “Nothing good can come of this. You realize we just brought him straight to our base? He might have a tracker on, or some kind of camera, or some kamikaze-like weapon. He looks more than capable of something that.”

He looks exhausted,” Lacey snapped, “and any time you want to stop being violent, maybe we could get something more done than just killing people. There’s this thing called talking, and it’s saved thousands of lives before, believe it or not. Maybe you could try it some time before blasting a person to bits.” (WONG)

Edith’s eyes blazed as she fumbled with the straps and secured the man into the chair. “Talking I can deal with, but I am not going to trust him.” She jabbed a finger at Lacey and snapped, “You are too trusting, Lacey. Not everyone is sweet and innocent. No one is as perfect as they seem. It’s all a mirage, a smokescreen intended to deceive. The sooner in life you realize that, the better off you will be.”

Lacey stared at Edith in shock, stunned by the girl’s harsh view on life. “I may be too trusting, but at least I can trust. You’ve lost the ability.” (ELLIS)

‘Trust is a luxury people in war cannot afford,’ Edith retorted—growing up poor under a different rule had taught her such a lesson the hard way—but she new better than to lose her composure over a useless argument; turning to prod the young soldier awake, she said to Lacey, ‘You can argue later. We have a job to do first.’

‘You’re in an interrogation chamber,’ she explained curtly, as if that explained everything for him, ‘I know you didn’t plan to go back to the Federation. You navigated an unmanned, outdated, chopper to the edge of the neutral zone, then destroyed it, and if you’re telling the truth, then you’re either very capable or very desperate, but I don’t care about that. Right now, you’re alive here and not bound in some prison cell because of me; it is an extension of my trust, so don’t make me regret that. Right now, I want you to explain, very concisely, how you know about this threat, what the threat is, and why I should believe you. Understand?’ (TAN)

Lacey rolled her eyes at the other girl’s dramatic speech. She stood behind Edith, facing the young soldier, her head tilted as she studied him. His blue eyes held a depth beyond the fright – no doubt he had seen the same sorrow and bloodshed as the girls – and his blond hair (he was most likely of German descent, Lacey decided) was cut short to complete the military look. (MARLIN)

Before we start,” the young soldier wheezed slowly, “Could I…maybe have…some food first?”

Edith’s eyes grew wider than the diameter of the chopper explosion.  She drew back her hand, then-SMACK!!!  It collided fiercely with the young man’s face.  (LAGUNA)

你是不是想死?”  Edith demanded, and ranted a string of Chinese curses at the man while Lacey tried to step between the two. [Tr: You want to die, don’t you?]

It’s just food!” Lacey protested, trying to fend off the furious girl, but mostly in vain as Edith managed to land another punch before apparently being satisfied that she had avenged the audacity of this upstart Federate. Several minutes later, the young man brushed the stale bread crumbs off his lap under the deadly glare of Edith, then took a deep breath and finally began his story. (WONG)

My name is Jakin. The ‘threat,’ as you put it, is a weapon.”

Edith scoffed and said, “A weapon? Why is that a concern?”

It’s not a gun or rifle. It’s a group of soldiers that were, well, altered. They were modified to be unstoppable; to be super-soldiers. They’ve all been trained and built into machines of war. They were made to wipe out the League. I know about this because I was a transport shuttle pilot. I had to carry these things around to the different bases. But when I saw them unleashed onto one of the smaller League towns I… I couldn’t keep doing it. I deserted.” (ELLIS)

You dare lie to me?” Edith remarked, letting her hand spread wide ready to slap the young man. Suddenly, she felt her hand stopped, and she looked in disbelief as Lacey had grabbed it from the air. Lacey was not looking at Edith though; she gazed into the man’s deep blue eyes, and she felt a sincerity that was lacking in the war-stricken people she encountered every day. (BURKHOLDER)

Would you stop it?” Lacey shouted, angrily squeezing the hand she still held within her grasp, having lost her temper to this girl who so desperately wished to think ill of all. She softened, releasing her grip and looked Edith in the eyes, begging her to understand, “He’s quite sincere, don’t you see? Not everyone is out to kill you.” (BALDON)

Edith pressed her lips tightly together, hands clenching into fists. Perhaps she was judged harshly for how she acted, most people likely thought she had her own agenda and couldn’t care less about anything else – most people, however, had not gone through the horrific experiences she had that had resulted in her being this way. “You are lucky to still be alive, with how trusting you are,” stated Edith evenly, dark eyes burning with memories, “trust, in a war, gets you killed. Let’s make one thing quite clear, I will be the one asking the questions. Got it? Good,” turning to face the young man, she inquired in an unforgiving voice, “I doubt you are telling the truth. However, it’s your lucky day. I happen to be in a splendid mood, and am willing to humor your story. Why should I believe you? What benefit does it give you? And if, you are in fact telling the truth – which I highly doubt, how much destruction can these super-soldiers do and at what capacity are they making them?” (DEAN)

They will destroy the world,” came his worn, yet emphatic reply.

Right. As if it’s not already burned to pieces,” she remarked. “You better have more to say than that.” (BALDON)

Look, I don’t know what to tell you to make you believe me,” Jakin sighed, shaking his head as Edith moved closer to him and narrowed her eyes.

Lacey ignored her partner’s intimidation methods – she knew Edith had good reason to be so hard, even if she didn’t approve – and focused on the young man. Beyond the sincerity in his eyes, there was a spark in them, something Lacey had not seen in a very long time, and something that made her like him as well as trust him: hope. (MARLIN)

It’s a viable weapon in the hands of madmen,’ Jakin sighed, hoping to explain the viability behind the truth, ‘Yes, if they wanted to destroy you, they would have developed the next big bomb, but even madmen know that a foolish choice twice is more than the world could take.’ Mutually assured destruction should have prevented the world’s current mess in the first place, but that required rational thinking—something the leaders that started the war lacked, and something none of the subsequent ones inherited. ‘Listen, it makes little sense to wipe out one’s enemies—war all too often makes no sense—but the point is that they now have the means to do so without endangering themselves, so the impossibility of yet another nuclear war isn’t going to save anyone.’ (TAN)

Lacey took a step back and sucked in a short, hollow breath in shock of the information she and Edith were just given. Now, Lacey was doubtful, but it all made too much sense. Why would a young, smart, handsome – wait, what? – soldier put himself at risk – to the point of death – by deserting the Federation, and then make up a story like this one? And if these “super soldiers” were coming to destroy the little left of what they knew, when would they be coming and how could they possibly defend themselves?

Jakin was putting everything on the line to warn them, and Lacey decided they had to trust him. “Do you want me to go get Papa?” she asked, turning to Edith.

Edith quickly turned her head to face Lacey and responded tersely to her question. “Did you not hear him before? No mistakes. We can take care of this ourselves.”  Lacey sighed and watched as Edith turned back to their captive, eyeing him with a scrutinizing gaze. (MANERI, Marlin, Williams)

Her eyes twitched as she scanned him up and down. Lacey stood a few feet back contemplating in her mind what she should do. She truly believed Jakin was out to help them. He had a way about him, a sense of sincere peace that led Lacey to desire hope more than she ever had. And that was just it, she felt it when he talked and could hear what the geniuses was in his voice: hope. They had to trust him, what if they didn’t and then all went to hell?

It would be completely my faulther mind fell into a place of fear and anxiety. “I have to tell papa,” she whispered, “I have to.

LACEY,” Edith waved her hands impatiently in the air while calling her name in an irritated tone, “help me!” She motioned for her to come. And that’s just what Lacey did. She came to Edith to help with whatever her control freak untrusting heart wanted to do; all with the intentions of going behind her back later and asking her papa for help. She had to, she didn’t know what else could be done. She couldn’t let this fall into her hands if it went wrong, there was too much risk involved. (FIERRO)

Lacey looked to Edith, scattering her thoughts into thin air. She went to Edith with the curiosity for why she sounded so frantic. “What’s going on?” (CHAN)

Something’s wrong, I don’t know what happened,” replied Edith, alarm pervading her voice, “He was talking, and then it’s like he just passed out.”

Growing worried, Lacey rushed over to Jakin and placed her ear close to his face.  After a few short moments, she darted her eyes toward Edith, gasping, “He’s not breathing.  Check the pulse monitor.”  (LAGUNA)

Before Edith had a chance, a long beep pierced the air. “Get me a medic in here!” Edith raised her voice, and a small scrawny boy flew through the door, an AED tucked under one arm. Forcing the boy to the side, Edith ripped open the box and prepared to shock Jakin yelling, “Clear!” (BURKHOLDER)

The young man’s body jerked briefly as power surged through the machine, but even as Lacey leaned down apparently to give CPR, something in Jakin’s chest sparked — “Machinery?” Edith said in surprise — and the defibrillator began to smoke before finally erupting in a small explosion. Lacey, Edith, and Yuuki, the boy who had brought the AED, covered their faces, coughing, and when they looked back, Jakin was unmistakably dead.

What…” Edith gingerly pulled the steaming ragged uniform off Jakin’s chest to reveal a Red Crown chip implanted in his skin. (WONG)

Lacey knelt by Edith, examining the chip that rested in the palm of Edith’s hand; the Federation chip was about as large as a beetle, but it was surprisingly light and thin; behind a thin layer of plastic, a red light was blinking at them dully,  “Was it what was killing him?” Lacey asked

I don’t think so,” Edith stated, as she rolled the piece between her fingers, “If this was designed to kill him, then it most likely would’ve been destroyed in the process. My guess? It’s a tracking device.” Her eyes widened, glancing at Jakin, “Which means… Oh man, we’ve got to destroy this before they pinpoint our location— they probably already have…” she added as an afterthought, mind racing. (WILLIAMS)

No.’ Lacey exclaimed, without really thinking, but just intuitively sensing that something sounded off, something had to be wrong. ‘That wouldn’t make sense. If the Federation sent him, then they wouldn’t kill him and reveal themselves; he’d be lying anyway if he were on their side, so killing him would just alert us of their play and merely silence the misinformation being given to us. Killing Jakin means that he deserted, which means that they only know where he is, not that two random people brought him to a secret baseit was my idea, and how could anyone have predicted that. For all they know, he could be in an abandoned factory, or a toilet, but deserting would still be enough to kill him… which means, Edith, that this can’t be a trap.’ (TAN)

Edith paused, eyes staring at the chip as she processed what Lacey had said; deep down she had a feeling that the Lacey was telling the truth, and just because it was a tracking device, didn’t mean their base was discovered. Still… she felt she had to argue with Lacey, tell her that the girl was somehow wrong, “But what…” she muttered, “What are the odds, that they sent him to one of the most dangerous neutral zones in the world, on the same day that I’m told to be here, and say this…” she turned to Lacey, “Just pretend for a moment that it was my idea to bring him to the base, because he said that he was warning us about something. Say he was lying about what he just said, and that he died from some sort of pill, the Federation didn’t kill him, but he did- because he knew that if we found out he was lying, there was no way we could forgive him. Then,” Edith stated, “We have something to worry about, because if they sent him, then where he’s at now would be there best bet at where we’re at.” (WILLIAMS)

And just because you’re a special agent on this end of the border doesn’t mean you’re famous, Edith,’ Lacey retorted. ‘How many agents of the Federation do you know? How about nonesince we both know that the only stuff that crosses the borders are missiles, helicopters, and death threats, not information—which again shows this to be nothing more than a coincidence, not something you could plan.’ (TAN)

Edith clenched her fist, reluctantly agreeing with Lacey, “We need to somehow wipe them out — we can’t let that threat hang over our heads.” (WILLIAMS)

Pressing her lips tightly together, Lacey tried to think of some way to solve this problem. Another problem – there were always problems. Ever since the world had basically lost its marbles, it seemed like humanity could not catch a break anywhere, and she was getting tired of it – always fighting, never ending war; depressing news after more depressing news, when will it end? she asked herself, when everyone’s dead? No. We’ll stop it before then, somehow. There’s always hope, and that is a very powerful thing. (DEAN)

There was a lot of excited buzzing around the base as Lacey and Edith left the room, leaving Jakin’s body there for the moment. As one of the men passed by, Edith grabbed his arm and demanded, “What’s going on?”

We just heard from the Federation,” he said, barely pausing as he continued to rush along; “Apparently they’ve asked for a treaty. We’re trying to see why to make sure there’s nothing fishy going on.” (WONG)

Some Indian military commander was speaking on an encrypted video message replaying on the screens; he was by no means old, but his features were worn and weary, and his voice carried a crisp sense of tiredness. ‘We thought it was some mere nobody that attempted a border run when we detected a lifeform on an unmanned helicopter…but Jakin Evans was no ordinary defector… he was a lead scientist that disappeared years ago while working on some project to create a new, more powerful soldier… we thought he’d gone rogue after he disappeared when we shut the program, but the kill signal we intercepted implies that he was made to work against his will. The chip in him was not Federation sanctioned—we outlawed that years ago—and we fear that a rogue faction in the Federation plans to take over and destroy both the League and most of the Federation… We can’t stop them ourselves, and neither can you, so we ask of you, as equals: will you accept a treaty, work together, to survive?’ (TAN)

 

To be continued…

Posted in The Sandbox

(CWS9) The End Is the Beginning

You know when you just go around flipping through books, comparing the beginning line with the end line to see if they’re connected in some epic way?

I didn’t either until today. So this assignment proved interesting, because we were supposed to copy down the beginning and end lines of any ten novels. I found connections I never noticed before. And I did include more than one line in some cases for context, or just because I really liked more than just the last line hehe.

Here’s my 9th Sandbox assignment.

Rainbow Valley – L. M. Montgomery (Whoa, déjà vu…)

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Beginning: “It was a clear, apple-green evening in May, and Four Winds Harbour was mirroring back the clouds of the golden West between its softly dark shores.”

End: “But Jem sprang up with a gay laugh. He stood up on a little hillock, tall and splendid, with his open brow and his fearless eyes. There were thousands like him all over the land of the maple. / ‘Let the Piper come and welcome,’ he cried, waving his hand. ‘I‘ll follow him gladly round and round the world.”

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Déjà vu times two.)

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Beginning: “Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest.”

End: “Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has – yes or no? – eaten a rose… / Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: Is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes… / And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!”

The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster

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Beginning: “There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.”

End: “’Well, I would like to make another trip,’ he said, jumping to his feet; ‘but I really don’t know when I’ll have the time. There’s just so much to do right here.’”

John – John (God)

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Not a novel, but it’s full of real-life stories, right?

Beginning: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

End: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Peter and Wendy – J. M. Barrie

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Beginning: All children, except one, grow up.”

End: As you look at Wendy you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring-cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter’s mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”

The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane

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Beginning: The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”

End: “Over the river a golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rain clouds.”

This Present Darkness – Frank E. Peretti

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Beginning: “Late on a full-mooned Sunday night, the two figures in work clothes appeared on Highway 27, just outside the small college town of Ashton.”

End: “With a burst of brilliant wings and three trails of sparkling fire, the warriors shot into the sky, heading southward, becoming smaller and smaller until finally they were gone, leaving the now peaceful town of Ashton in very capable hands.”

The Shakespeare Stealer – Gary Blackwood

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Beginning: “I never knew my mother or my father.”

End: “For every ken and wis and aye I had dropped from my vocabulary, I had picked up a dozen new and useful terms. Some were fencing terms, some were peculiar to London, some were the jargon of the players’ trade. But the ones that had made the most difference to me were the words I had heard before and never fully understood their import – words such as honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship. / And family. / And home.”

Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

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Beginning: “That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.”

End: “And so, with laughter and love, we lived happily ever after.”

The Last Battle – C. S. Lewis

9780064471084

Beginning: “In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond the Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.”

End: “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning for the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


Well, best for last: my favorite ending was by far C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. While it doesn’t necessarily strengthen anything from the beginning line, it’s the kind of ending that makes you ecstatic as the tears fall dramatically from your eyes as you realize a great series/book is over…

And yeah, most of these are more for younger readers, but sometimes these things are written better than books for adults. Sad truth.

Well then, bye.

Posted in Completely Random!!, The Sandbox

(CWS8) Four Rules of Murder: “Now a Major Motion Picture”

Sandbox 8 theme: what if our novel project was turned into a movie?

Interesting. Here’s some casting, music, and other complete randomness somewhat related to this.

Film score: Cry by Thomas Bergersen. I was wavering between two others as well, but I chose Cry because (1. The other two were too intense for too much of the songs, and (2. Seth would probably be annoyed that the song would have such a “pathetic” title. (We totally love each other.)

Not really sure how this is relevant… but if Seth cared to read, he’d probably prefer non-fiction over fiction. If he did choose a favorite fiction novel, it’d probably be Lord of the Flies by William Golding, because he’d wholeheartedly agree with the perspective that man is inherently evil, and that younger boys are more than capable of killing. On the same note, Seth wouldn’t mind an intelligent, realistic action TV show, but seeing as those don’t exist, he doesn’t care for television.

As for cast… I don’t know Hollywood actors. I guess for Seth I can see 杨洋 from China acting him out, if the dude had blue eyes and looked more…… average. I mean he looks like he could kill but he’s kind of too good…looking… Seth, face it.

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I think for everyone else, their ethnic backgrounds and physical features (in my mind) are too specific for me to bother looking up the actors/actresses for them. Part of me wants to use anime characters, but Four Rules of Murder would be much better as a live-action movie than an anime…

So there we are. I obviously put a lot of hard work and sweat and tears into this. (Or I would’ve if I didn’t have other things to do.)

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.

Posted in The Sandbox

(CWS5) Ghost-Write

This week’s genius Sandbox assignment was to step into one of our classmate’s Novel Projects and “ghost-write” their fifth chapter, either trolling it super hard, or trying to write what we think might actually happen in their story. So of course I took the lazy route where I don’t necessarily need to have read the other “chapters” to be able to write a fifth, and that’s Caleb’s novel project, which is an album of ten themed songs.

This week Caleb’s theme was the “humility of darkness,” because he’s been pairing character traits with “elements” – and, yeah, darkness because he had to get creative when he ran out of the classic fire, water, wind, earth “elements.” He doesn’t have any of the lyrics *cough* or recordings *cough* up yet, but you can still check out his website here.

Anyway, for the Sandbox 5 I’ve written a song called “影(Shadows).” If you know the anime 黒子のバスケ(romanization: Kuroko no Basuke), this song is partially based off of that, which made it fun to write and kind of explains the Japanese title (that could also be taken for Chinese) :P I tried going for a more anime-OP sound, but that didn’t really work out because I probably need a couple of electric guitars and a drum set…

Oh well. Here are the lyrics. I don’t think I can post a recording :b


影 (Shadows)

V1: Underestimated, unappreciated

You knew they would forget about you

But being a part of their colorless background

Isn’t the worst thing that could happen, is it?

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V2: Second best, falling last

That’s what they’d expect of us

Their labels just show they really know nothing at all

We know one day we’ll be leaving them all in awe*

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C: Even when you have a flare,

No one seems to see or care

But why should you care?

‘Cause it’s the shadow that sets the light rays apart

Even as you’re shaking there

Like it’s more than you can bear

You know it’s another stair

Taking you higher, higher

Even if you’re happy here in the shadows

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B: Humility takes you so far

While you struggle to reach their bar

You know you’re stuck behind the stars

But as long as you don’t lose heart

You’ll be able to play your part

Even if it’s in the dark

Even if no one sees your spark

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Chorus x2

End: When you’re a shadow you don’t need the spotlight…


*You could argue that the italicized bit sounds more like a pre-chorus.

Posted in The Sandbox

(CWS4) Mad Libs Time

It’s true. Creative Writing homework is the stuff I work on when I’m avoiding the real work.

Hello from the other side, math, A&P, Chinese, piano, and dirty dishes.

But it’s good, because I just made an awful mad lib(s?) with a short story from this class’s first semester. If you want, you can read the original story here, but it’s not actually worth spending your time on. Might as well just attempt this thing to see how well it works out for you.

How It Works:

I don’t know if you’ve played “Mad Libs” before, but basically, you come up with a list of words based off the prompts that tell you what kind of word to give. For example, the first prompt says “noun,” so obviously you come up with a noun – any noun, like “shirt,” “computer,” “instrument.” After coming up with something for the list of 10 words, you insert each word into its place in the paragraph that follows. It’s highly suggested that you come up with the list before reading the paragraph so that it’s as random and weird/funny as possible, but I guess if you feel like putting actual effort into making something goofy, you can always do that too.

Ready?

…Too bad if you’re not. Read slower next time.

Here’s the list:

    1. Noun

    2. Plural noun

    3. Noun (object)

    4. Noun

    5. Verb (present tense, NOT present PARTICIPLE)

    6. Verb (present tense, NOT present PARTICIPLE)

    7. Adverb

    8. Adjective

    9. Verb (past tense)

    10. Noun

You can write them out on a piece of paper or a word document, or just go hardcore and try to remember all your words. For the nouns, try to avoid proper nouns like names or specific places. Once you’ve come up with ten words according to each of the numbers, insert them in the paragraph below…

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And I meant way, way down below…

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I’m giving you more time.

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Here we go.

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For real.

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That day, we learned how much more meaning [the word] “ (1. noun)_” really carries. And how much expectation can be placed on you when you have _(2. plural noun) most other people don’t. But just having a (3. noun [object]) doesn’t turn you into a (4. noun) ; you (5. verb) the choice yourself, just like having a pen doesn’t make you a writer, but what you choose to (6. verb) with it can turn you into one. Yet people (7. adverb) assume you should be some sort of hero just because of the (8. adjective) circumstances, and the pressure can build up until you feel (9. verb) into a box where people watch you and point out every (10. noun) you make.

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Great. If you come up with something hilarious, please post it in the comments, but if not, no one’s interested in reading it, so don’t bother.

We’re just being honest xD Thanks. Here’s the original paragraph:

That day, we learned how much more meaning “hero” really carries. And how much expectation can be placed on you when you have something most other people don’t. But just having a power doesn’t turn you into a hero; you make the choice yourself, just like having a pen doesn’t make you a writer, but what you choose to do with it can turn you into one. Yet people automatically assume you should be some sort of hero just because of the given circumstances, and the pressure can build up until you feel forced into a box where people watch you and point out every mistake you make.


Side note: Four Rules of Murder has not been updated yet due to major perfectionistic issues on the author’s part, but chapter 3 might come out in the next century or so if we’re lucky.

Posted in The Sandbox

(CWS3) A Travel Brochure to the US (Boring)

Here it is: a silly travel brochure to the US for my “novel setting” that’s oh, so exciting. It’s in Chinese just because I could and because it doesn’t really make sense to make a travel brochure for the US in English unless I’m assuming it’s for an Australian/British/some-other-English-speaking-place audience.

YES, IT’S UGLY. I’m glad we’ve both cleared that up! Buuuuuut I’m not spending my entire day trying to make it perfect when no one else cares anyway, so meh.

Oh. Yes. And it’s supposed to fold. Which doesn’t really make any sense either, because then it would have another side with three units, but I don’t care .-.

Brochure.jpg

Posted in Novel Project, Quotes, The Sandbox

(CWS2) A Branch of Quotes

Greetings, Internet. For this Sandbox assignment, we are to choose/make up ten quotes related to our Novel Project theme(s). Therefore, here I bestow unto thee ten amazingly deep quotes that are related to my themes!

Peace.

…Oh, yeah, and before you think I’m really stuck-up for including/making up some of my own quotes for this, we were required to include at least one original thingy. Plus it’s easier to make one up than to find one off the internet from a random person that no one knows, so HA.


What. It’s (Not) a Title

“Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs.” – C. S. Lewis

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

“Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.” – Neil Gaiman

“It makes you realise that people are the same wherever you go.” – Nicholas Lea

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” – Paulo Coelho

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” – Frank Crane

“The little cracks you reveal to others are what shows them that you’re human.” – E. Wong

“To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?” – C. S. Lewis

“As long as you’re alive there’s still a chance for redemption. Once you’re dead it’s set in stone, but for now, the story is still being written, the words are still being woven together. It’s not too late.” – E. Wong

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” – Joel 2:13