Writing Prompts

One of my resolutions this year was to start writing more stories, so I’ve decided to use the blog to help me do that in a fun way. I’ll pick two or three prompts and write a short story instead of a book or movie review. If you like the story I’ve started, feel free to comment your thoughts or any of your own prompt suggestions. I also hope to get blog readers more involved with the site, so we’ll see how this experiment goes. Hope you enjoy!

Prompt: Write for 5 minutes with your eyes closed. Start with “I remember”.

     I remember the sound of the wind as we soared through the air. I felt light as a feather, flying next to you. So calm. So free. I let out a scream to release the breath from my lungs. It was so relaxing. More so than I’d ever felt before. I could no longer see you as you zoomed ahead through the clouds, but I heard the pulse of your heartbeat in my head. Steady and full. We were connected. Two beings made into one. You were mine and I was yours. There was no other way to move than with you.

     The tree branches brushed by my ears as I flew by. Then, I froze. There was an unusual sound. A buzzing in my ear. It persisted, getting louder and louder, until it was all I could hear. The noise battled against the wind, fighting for my attention. I called ahead, but there was no answer. You were gone. Suddenly, I couldn’t hold myself up any longer and I fell. Thrashing through the trees, I called out to you. I wanted you to save me, but you weren’t there to catch my fall. With a crash I landed, crushing my wings beneath me. The last sound I heard was of your breath, racing with mine, until it slowed to a stop.

I really like this prompt because it allows the reader to let out their thoughts without stopping, and it’s just a flow of continuous writing that comes from absolutely no planning. You simply write, freehanded. I’m not sure why bird-like creatures came to mind, but I was very interested to know that this story was the first that I thought of.

Prompt: The eye color of humans changes with an individual’s current emotions. One person is born without this trait and is mistrusted by many people.

    My eyes have always been blue. The color of sadness, most seem to think. But I liked to believe I have a shred of hope in them, even though I’ve only noticed one day when they happened to pulse a bright gold. Other than that, it’s always been a blue tinted world for me.

     I bet I would be the biggest freak in school if it wasn’t for him. No one knew his name. Everyone just called him “Gray”. His eyes never changed from the black and white light that was colorless, emotionless. As the outcast of the school, people often joked why they weren’t just blue and miserable or even black. But nonetheless, his gray eyes made him somewhat of a haunting figure in our sea of pinks and yellows and reds. Even the teachers whispered behind his back, afraid they’d have the very pleasure of him in their class. To be around the ghost was to associate yourself with the unfeeling, uncaring portion of society.

      At least I had feelings. At least I could walk around all day knowing that I had a soul. Sure, everyday was sulky, but at least there was color. I wondered what it was like to see with no shades of anything, no pigment, no idea of what the world really looked like. Everyone said he’d been born a freak, but no one really knew for sure. One thing I did know, not to get in the way of the boy who felt nothing.

This prompt just seemed like an interesting topic. I didn’t have a plan for this story either, so I chose to interpret it this way.

-Sabrina C., 11th Grade

Top Reads of 2016

Top Reads of 2016

Legend by Marie Lu

It was a book that had been on my reading list since it came out. However, I only just got around to reading it and couldn’t believe the adventure I’d missed. Lu tells an amazingly detailed story about a government soldier tracking down the most wanted criminal in the Republic. You can imagine what happens as the novice, June, and poor robber, Day, cross paths during her hunt. She falls for him on the street, unaware of his true identity, her target. She has to decide if avenging her brother’s death is more important than staying with this stranger she’s grown to love. Lu’s writing intrigues me because she focuses on small details that lead to the end of the story which most readers would find insignificant. This engages the reader to pay attention to the words they’re reading. I loved it so much, I just had to get the second book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Like Legend, this book has remained on my list but I didn’t put it on priority. So when I found it at the Mission Viejo Library’s bookstore, I knew it was finally my time to discover the story. Hundreds of years into the future, this spinoff of the Cinderella takes place in a New Beijing in a world where androids are normal to help people with daily chores and sometimes cyborgs roam among the crowd. However, it isn’t easy when you’re not considered human and work as lowly mechanic. Especially when your stepmother and stepsister want nothing to do with you to begin with. When the letumosis disease, plaguing the city issues a cyborg draft, Cinder’s stepmother doesn’t miss her chance to sign up her daughter for an experiment no one comes back from. Not long after Cinder’s admission, the doctor finds there is much more to her than just a few missing parts. Meyer tells this dystopian story while still adding elements of the original fairytale, just like the rest of the books in her series.

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Paria Stolarz

I’ve done a review on this novel already, but I couldn’t help from mentioning it as it was a very memorable read for me. It was very different from most horror stories and took the word “nightmare” to a whole new level. Of course, this book ended with a cliffhanger and many unanswered questions, so I was ecstatic to find there was a sequel.

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

A high schooler, Liz, tells the story from her point of view behind a camera lens, a perspective of the world as she sees it. Her life takes an unexpected turn when her best friend, Kate, decides to shut her out without warning or reason, and everyone whispers rumors and accusations behind her back. Suddenly, her world is out of focus and she tries to make sense of it all while still holding onto her friendship. This realistic story is told through a series of poems, which makes the events even more enticing and easy to follow along. I had to finish this book in one sitting because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages without reading what came next. I would definitely read this book again.

Sabrina C., 11th Grade

Film Review: Lights Out

lightsoutIn the spirit of Halloween, I chose to write about horror; one of my favorite subjects that will always intrigue me. Most times when I see a scary movie, it’s not as scary as I expect to be or the storyline just doesn’t make sense. Maybe it was the pitch black theater or the speakers amplifying every scratch and scream, but seeing Lights Out on the big screen made the story come to life.

Before watching it, I had heard that the film wasn’t good and that its scariest scenes were already revealed in the trailer. However, this didn’t seem to be the case as I was always jumping at the least expected times. While watching the horror story, I had to keep myself from closing my eyes or looking away.

On the subject of horror, I think it’s such an interesting topic to write about because not all horror stories have to be about murders or monsters. This leaves it to the authors to interpret and brainstorm their own horror stories that leave readers on a chilling cliffhanger.

-Sabrina C., 11th Grade

The Conjuring

the_conjuringThe Conjuring, supposedly a true story, is about a family in the 1960’s that move into a new house and start to experience supernatural occurrences. The plot of the movie focuses on the strange and frightening things happening to the family and the couple who tries to help them because they “hunt” ghosts and demons. The movie starts off with a peek into another horror film, Annabelle, which led me to believe I was watching the wrong movie at first. After the clip ends, the scene shifts to a classroom where the couple teach people about the beings they hunt to stop them from haunting and killing people. Here, they meet the mother of the family and learn about the things living in her house. It’s interesting because there isn’t just one ghost but many spirits haunting the land. After the team of hunters settle into the house, more supernatural action happens which is scary to see at first just because this movie isn’t very predictable, which is one of the things I like about it.

An interesting addition to the characters is that the wife in the couple has a sort of sixth sense which allows her to sense the entities around her, only making her more fun to watch. With most scary movies, you can tell when the scary thing will pop out and what it’s going to be, but this story made it more exciting and thrilling for me. I liked the element of surprise, especially because only certain members of the family seemed able to see the entities at first so you never knew when they would show a scary ghost or not. Lastly, with the ending of the movie, I thought it wrapped up well and left me, not only satisfied with the story, but able to go to bed and not worry about what could be hiding in my closet. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can handle scary scenes in the dark. It’s one of the best horror movies I have seen so far, not too scary but good enough so you’re not bored or expecting what’s to come.

-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Creative Writing: Original Beginnings

For this month I decided to write the beginning of my own two short stories instead of writing a traditional book or movie review. I hope you enjoy!

Rain. It hadn’t stopped. Continuously, it poured from the sky, drenching the lawns and flooding the streets. I haven’t been outside for weeks because of it. No one could get anywhere. It just kept coming as if the crying sky wanted everyone else to be just as miserable.

I mean, it got its wish. I was officially miserable. With dimmed lights and a dreary view, I only had one thing to keep me happy during my days in isolation.

Sammy. My little brother didn’t understand the meaning of the oncoming rain. He almost liked it. I didn’t understand why. The constant pattering on the roof was enough to drive me crazy within the first few days. But the innocent child loved it, hoping to see a rainbow when it finally cleared. That’s innocence for you, waiting for the bright colors on a gray day. I didn’t have that luxury. I knew it would be a long while until we saw any light, if we did at all. It’d be a miracle to get outside of this dark house.

—————–

I had always been told not to walk alone at night, but I had never been told why. My imagination was left to run free with what would happen to me. What were the chances that a monster would take me? How did I even know something bad would happen? I had no idea why it was such a terrible thing; I just know it was. My mind was filled with the memories of my parents locking my door every night, trapping me in isolation once the sun went down. Now that I thought about it, I didn’t really remember what I did at night. I didn’t remember falling asleep or fighting to get out. I couldn’t even remember anything right after I was shoved into the room and all the light went away. It was as if my mind had shut down and wouldn’t let me access my thoughts or feelings. And when I woke up, the first thing I had always seen was my door. The whole situation wouldn’t have confused me so much if the wood hadn’t been cut through on the inside with claw marks.

-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Arts Alive Festival 2016

The annual Art’s Alive Festival is hosted by Mission Viejo at the Norman P. Murray Center. This year’s event took place on April 30 and May 1 with a 90’s theme. Street painters, youth or adult, come to showcase their skills. There are great booths set up with fun activities like henna tattoos, cookie walks, and just little shops with paintings, clothes, and plants to buy. There’s always music playing when you walk in and musicians on the stage. It’s a fun event to visit that allows you to be involved with the community.

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As a street painter for the last two years, I love coming to the festival and presenting artwork as an artist, even if it’s something I’m not known for. There were many interpretations of the theme this year, but a popular one seemed to be Disney, especially The Lion King. My friends and I decided to draw a 90’s cartoon.

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There were also a few Pokémon and Nirvana drawings. And how could you forget the 90’s hit show, Friends?

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This year’s paintings were very colorful and vibrant. It was impressive to see what some of the artists could draw, even the younger kids were able to shade the paintings almost perfectly, which brought the festival to life. All the festivals held by Mission Viejo are worth checking out to get an up-close view of what our community means to us and how we celebrate it.

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-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, I’m afraid it’s that time of year again. “New year, new you” as they say. There is a constant battle about resolutions that still hover over you as those final ten seconds of the year tick away. Many have mixed feelings about setting new resolutions because they feel pressured over what they should be, whether it’s as simple as being nicer or something a harder like losing weight. In my opinion, New Year’s resolutions are a good thing. You’re setting goals for yourself and pursuing what you want. Even if some seem hard at first, you shouldn’t give up. Remember that you have a whole year! Take it one small step at a time to get where you want to be.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can procrastinate. Believe me, I love to wait until the last minute to do things, but that doesn’t help me at all. You should plan it out, making sure that by the end of the year, you’ve completed what you wanted. Also, don’t set a goal that’s going to be impossibly hard to achieve. However, it shouldn’t be too easy, just enough to push yourself.

If you are happy with where you are and what you’re doing, that’s awesome! If resolutions stress you out, don’t worry about. Just make sure that you’re doing what you really love. Happy New Year’s, everyone! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone a little and live the way you want.

-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Modern Music and Classic Literature

“Classics in literature are irrelevant now and don’t relate to life today.”

At least, that’s what I used to think before given an assignment where I had to relate a classic to a text “in my own world”. I didn’t like classics before, and some I’m still not interested in, but after analyzing one for the assignment I realized there is much I can relate to. I started to see the relation and it was pretty surprising. And there really wasn’t that big of a generation gap.

As a very big fan of music, I have a lot of connections to songs and my life. One of the main reasons I love it so much is because it’s so similar to my situations and how I feel, so I always love to tie it to anything I can. In this particular assignment, I found a song that I think is a shorter, more modern version of the idea behind J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

“Somewhere in Neverland” by All Time Low closely resembles the story of The Catcher in the Rye. The song talks about a boy in between adolescence and adulthood who doesn’t want to grow up. He doesn’t want to get a job and a life on his own. He feels lost “with no compass to guide”, much like Holden during his stay in New York. He wishes he could start over and be “forever young” and innocent, which is why Holden admires children.

In the song, the boy wants to run away with a girl to Neverland, a place where time stops and everything just keeps going around and around like the carousel. Holden just wants to go to a place where everything can stay the same, something he also likes about his memories of the Museum of Natural History museum. Holden proposes the idea of running away with Sally so they can escape the inevitability of growing up and having responsibilities. He wants to “start a life of the plain and the simple” when he has the idea of staying in a cabin in the woods away from the real world. This song is a close interpretation of the book and ties in with the ideas and themes very well.

-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Rhetoric Rants

Everybody has an opinion, and everyone is entitled to it, therefore you should use it. Whether it’s a matter of drinking Coke or Pepsi or something huge like why there should be a woman president, you should always speak your mind. Someone might even agree with you, and if you make a convincing argument, they may even switch their beliefs based on how strongly you believe in your opinion.

I personally don’t have strong opinions about a lot of things, only those I’m very passionate about. In my English class, a unit was dedicated to learning how to write effective persuasive speeches or “rhetoric rants”, using rhetorical devices and certain propaganda techniques to convince your reader. I decided to write about dance, being something that I have been very passionate about for as long as I can remember. More specifically, I wrote about how many people refuse to consider that the art of dance can also be a sport. Being a dancer, it may seem biased to argue that it is both an art and a sport, but I added facts that support my case. After sharing this with some of my classmates, I got them to believe in what I was saying, and I felt very accomplished, so now I will share it with you and see if I can do the same.

Dance Is A Sport!

The biggest debate between dancers and non dancers is whether or not dance is a sport. People say it is not a sport, and that it’s an art. Others argue that it is both. I’m one of those people who argue that it’s both. People who are uneducated about dance are quick to judge and say that it is not a sport. They say this because it’s not like football or soccer or swim or any “regular” sport. To everybody who claims dance isn’t a sport, what defines a sport? A sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. In dance, you compete like in any other sport. Instead of playing on a field or in the water, you perform on a stage. You still accumulate points. Maybe it’s not the same because you’re being judged for those points but it’s just as hard to work to get those points. Dancers practice just as much as players do when they prepare for a game or competition. A sport requires exercise. You exercise in dance. You build muscles just like in any other sport. You sweat just like in any other sport. It takes all your energy just like in any other sport. It’s not easy to hold your leg to your head or balance on one leg for minutes while spinning or get up from the ground without using your hands. Sports are also apparently supposed to have uniforms. Well, dance has uniforms. A uniform is just an identifying outfit worn by the members of a given profession, organization, or rank. Your costume is your uniform, worn by everyone performing and competing. But why would clothes even define what’s a sport?  Many of these arguments can easily be proven wrong just as I have done. So tell me again how dance isn’t a sport? Pool is considered a sport. Chess is considered a sport. So is dance not considered a sport? In the end, dance is many things. Dance is an exercise. Dance is an art. And dance is a sport. A professional dancer, Shanna Lafleur, once said “It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer”. Dance is graceful like an art and athletic like a sport.

Any thoughts on my very informal but informative rant? Anything you’re passionate about and want others to know about it? Comment and let me know what you think.

-Sabrina C.

To My Fellow Readers,

Don’t you hate it when you have an infinite reading list because you know you will never finish it? No matter how much you read, how many books you cross off, more are always added. Your love for books keeps growing and there is no way to make it stop. So you add book after book of everything you want to read, hoping someday you will get to read them all. Even those books that you never really got around to, the ones you may have lost interest in. They are still there, on your list, waiting to be read by you. And those old books still sitting in your shelves, the ones piled in high stacks on your floor. No matter how many books you own or how many times you say you will read them, you always find a new one that draws your attention. But we do still try to make it back to the ones that were forgotten. We always try to read as much as we can, whenever we can.

Reading can be a pastime or an obsession. For me, I obsess over books. I always read one right after the other, trying to finish that long lasting list of mine. I may never finish it but I love to try. Because reading is knowledge. It’s emotional. It’s calming or disturbing, but a good book always makes you feel something. Whether it’s joy or despair or heartbreak or liberation. In the end it’s just words on a page, and it can change everything.

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