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I recently found a box of my writing while cleaning out our storeroom, and some of it is so old I don't even recognize it - like an entire outline for a youth level book, complete with ending!

Anyway, I came across a story I hadn't thought of in years, and found it still on my computer (some of the other writing is in notebooks, not yet transcribed). FYI, I'm one of those people who can't resist a fresh notebook... it must be filled with writing! 😍 

Long story short (too late?), I've given this a bit of a polish, and I'm curious to see what you think... my first reaction was that it seemed like something I would read in a woman's magazine... but my DH (often my harshest critic) liked it, so I might be being overly critical myself.

What made me laugh (at myself) was that this story (written in 1998), and the book I'm working on right now, both begin with a girl running away from home - though for vastly different reasons...

FYI, following some of the feedback, I re-worked the story, so if you're just reading it now you can just read V2, or if you're interested, you can compare the two!

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Replies (8)
    • Hi Jo

      I liked it, a nice warming story with a happy ending - perfect for kids.

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      • Thanks Danny. Looking at what I generally write, I'm starting to think the youth market is where I usually end up style-wise. A couple darker things, and very few short stories - I'm not even sure what inspired this one... as I said, it was in an old box of scribbles, and I just cleaned it up a bit...

        Not sure what I'll do with it, but I've started printing and organizing my stories, to see what I have!

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        • Hey Jo, this is a great short story. You've created a great character arc and given Carolyn a lot of depth with a misconception that leads her to make decisions that get her into trouble. I was immediately immersed in her story and read straight to the end. 

          It does need some more editing, though. You tell us how Carolyn is feeling instead of showing us and a lot of Caroyln's back story could be inferred or spread out throughout the story instead of a big block of info dump. I've taken a stab at the beginning to show you what I mean. I hope this helps!

          “Maybe I should run away," Carolyn said, brushing snow off her sore butt. "This ski trip is the last straw!" She stared across at the steeper slopes where the rest of her family gracefully shushed and slalomed, while she was stuck here on the bunny hill. Carolyn snorted. Baby hill was more like it.

          Her mother, Ellen, grinned and called out something Carolyn couldn't hear, and her older brothers and sisters laughed in response. She blinked away tears. "I guess they are just as happy without me.” But she didn’t blame Mom, it was only natural she wanted to be with her real children, and not her. 

          "They wouldn't even miss me if I did run away," she said, her shoulders slumping. In the past three months, she must have thought about running away from home at least a hundred times.

          She shot a dark look at the tall, handsome man who came skiing to a showy halt beside her pretty mother. It hadn't always been this way, when dad was alive things had been different.

          Three years ago when she was six, and finally starting to trust the family that had adopted her, a drunk driver ran a red light and smashed into the car her dad was driving.

          Even now, tears sprang to her eyes when she remembered him. She was his special pet, and it always amazed her that none of her siblings seemed to mind.

          "Come on squirt." He would call, as he swung her up, up, up, to sit on his broad shoulders. "Let's go...” for a walk... or to the park... or wherever else she might enjoy.

          Carolyn blinked back the tears. She had been certain the family would send her packing after the funeral, and it was over a year before her heart stopped pounding every time someone came to the door. Of course, she didn't mention it to anyone. Why give people ideas that might not have occurred to them yet! 

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          • Lovely story and I think Julie has given you some excellent advice. Why don’t you try short story competitions. There are also magazines for nannies that take this kind of story. 

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            • Thanks for the feedback... and I do like some of your edits, I'll have to give that some more thought. I never heard of magazines for nannies! I'll have to check that out... thank you again for the encouragement and good notes...

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              • OK, if you ladies have the patience and are so inclined, 😁 , would you take a peek at V2 posted above, and let me know if it's an improvement? I took many of your suggestions, and went over the entire story, removing some excessive glue words, and adding some smells 👃 etc. I THINK I've tightened it quite a bit, but would appreciate your take...

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                • I liked it. Your setup at the beginning had me on the slopes immediately. The only nitpicky thing is how the parents tracked her down so fast. But it's a short story so maybe not that relevant. 

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                  • Hmmm, I thought that was explained when they thanked the teacher for calling them, 😁 

                    But things like that are also why it suddenly occurred to me to wonder (when re-reading the first version) where her skis went, when she stopped to watch the children... they would probably have noticed someone climbing onto the bus hauling skis... so I had her lean them against the building first!

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