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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Broken Wings

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Number of posts : 818
Age : 33
Location : Stuck in Michigan
Current Mood :
Registration date : 2008-07-17

PostSubject: Broken Wings   July 18th 2008, 3:21 am

I started to write this story about 6 months ago and I just don't know how to continue. I still have the last part of the story on my mind and how I want it to end, but I just don't know what's the next thing to write. I know the grammar isn't perfect and that I have to work at the time as well, but I would be glad if someone who writes stories could give me a tip.

Mike walks into his class room like he does every day. All eyes are on him and the laughter in the corner starts to get louder. He looks around while walking to his desk and his eyes start to water. By wearing sunglasses does he hide the tears from the other kids, but he’s sure that everyone know that he’s crying. While he unpack his backpack and places his things on and in the table, a bigger boy comes to him and pushes him down.

“Watch yourself you monster!”, is what he screams at him.

Without any reaction does he sits down and start to count every minute until the teacher walks in the room.

“Good morning class”, he says in an always friendly tone.

“Good morning Mr. McAdams”, replies the group of students.

After looking around the class he walks toward Mike and ask him if he’s doing alright and asks him to take off the sunglasses. While waiting for Mike the laughter in the group start again.

“Be quiet!”, Mr. McAdams screams and everyone stops laughing. “Please guys, you also wouldn’t like it if someone would laugh at you because of something that isn’t your fault!”

Mike Taylor is twelve years old. He was involved in a car accident when he was seven which disfigured his face. He’s been in the hospital for about three months and had one surgery after another. His parents died that day and he’s living with his grandmother since. She tries to help him through every new day and supports him in everything he wants to do. He was one of the kids you would say they had a great childhood, happy and playing all the time, but after the accident happened he wasn’t himself anymore. He became a very quiet person and spent the most of his free time alone in his room while reading book by book about heroes. That was his dream; to become a hero and to show everyone that - also when his face is blemished and he may look like a monster – he’s able to help people in an emergency. He has a great personality and he deserves the attention and affection of a normal human being.

He is a big fan of soap box derby and built together with his grandmother a soap box constructed just for him. He knows, one day he will going to drive and to win such a derby. He and his grandmother tried it a lot to write him into a derby, but every time they saw him they said it’s too dangerous to drive with only one healthy eye. So he got desperate after every try and gave up for a while. Until he read an article in the newspaper one day about a guy who said that every kid has the right to drive in a soap box derby, doesn’t matter if they are handicapped or not. And that was the moment he started to believe in himself again and went directly to the derby together with his grandmother to write him in. Nobody complained as they saw him. Nobody starred at him or pointed in his direction when he sat in his car ready to drive down the hill. He drove it and he won. While standing proud on the podium he received his first trophy and smiled in his grandmother’s direction for a great picture.
In the newspaper from the next day was a big article and a picture of Mike with his trophy in his hand. Of course all of his class mates have read the article but in school nothing changed. They still laughed at him and pushed him all the time. The teachers couldn’t really do anything about it, because as soon as they walked away it started anew. The longer it went that way, the worse it got and Mike was tired to go to school and cried all the time. His grandmother thought it’s the best when he goes in therapy to talk about the problems and the situation at the moment, but he didn’t want to talk to anybody. A few months past and the situation got that bad that Mike had to go to a hospital because he stopped eating. The doctors were worried about him because he didn’t accept the food they gave him through a tube.

His grandmother was very upset because of the situation and didn’t really have someone she could talk to. Her Husband died last year in the age of ninety-eight years. He was a great man who earned his money as a construction expert and so paid the house and the bills. He always used to say: “As you make your bed, so you must lie on it!” and his wife often used to smile. But as soon as he passed away and she couldn’t hear him saying that again she started to think about it. That life is what you’re making out of it and that it is in your Interest what you’re doing with it. So she started to open her own little store where she sells dolls she creates by herself. She had to do money to go ahead with paying the house and of course all the bills they come in a household every day. After Mike’s parents died it was out of question that she will be the one who takes care of him. She had enough money on her bank account to made his room pretty so that he felt comfortable in it. She painted his walls in a beautiful light blue and bought him some very comfortable black furniture. She also bought a lot of books because she knew he’s a book-worm and of course other stuff an eight year old boy should have.

Mike’s situation got better day by day and the doctors recommended that he’s going to visit a therapist to talk about his situation and his problems he got in school. There was no way to change his life if he didn’t talk to someone because all the things he was going through and still goes every day eat him inside and that just leads to another stay in the hospital. So as soon as he felt that good that he could leave the hospital he started to go in therapy once a week. It wasn’t easy for him to talk about his problems and it was even harder to talk about his feelings. He avoided to look into a mirror because what he saw just let him understand why the kids in his school call him “monster”.

The accident happened when he was on the way to visit his grandmother with his parents. They drove on a dirty road with big rocks on the side. It was a beautiful and hot summer day and a cold breeze was going. The streets ran in a S-form and the sand on the road sometimes made the view impossible. After they stopped for a pee-break they went along with driving and came to a point in the route that’s called “The deep canyon”. You have to drive through a tunnel for almost one mile and right when you come out it there’s a sharp deviation to left. The Taylor’s drove out the tunnel and his dad lost control over his car and drove frontally into the big rock. The car was a total loss and his parents died at the right away. Mike was clamped in the car for almost eight hours before a car came that way and called nine-nine-one. The accident was on a place where it took the ambulance a long time to drive to it. So another two hours passed until they arrived. Pete, the guy who found the car tried to help Mike out the car because he saw that he was bleeding. But through the fact that he was clamped he couldn’t really do anything than block the street with his sign he had in his car. Finally the ambulance and the fire department came and delivered Mike from the thing that clamped him for the last ten hours. After Mike arrived in the hospital the police called his grandmother and she came as fast as possible. It was a harsh thing to see him laying like that, but she knew she’s the only person he still got in his life and that she’s going to raise him now after his parents died. The fact that she was the only one permitted the doctors to talk to her.

“Mrs. McDonald, you know your nephew had a very bad car accident. His face was clamped by a heavy steel thing from the front seat and it’s impossible to reconstruct his face .. He lost his eye-sight on his left eye and it will never come back. The left side of his face is totally defaced and he got a big scar from his lips up to his ear. It will take him a while to handle all that and I would recommend to visit a therapist where he can talk about what happened and I’m sure it will help him to work that up.”

His grandmother was shocked and didn’t really know what to say. She was just standing in front of the doctor and starred at him.

“Are you alright Mrs. McDonald?”, he asked with a worry in his voice.

“Yes I’m alright Doctor. I just have to work that all up. I’m an old Woman and I wasn’t ready to get such bad news, but it is out of question that Mike will live together with me. I take your advice and will go to a therapist with Mike. I’m sure it also will be good for me to talk about what happened and to help him to find a way to handle all that. When can Mike goes home?”

“I’m sorry to tell you that but he has to stay in the hospital for at least two weeks. When we see that it’s going better we might let him out earlier but right now that’s all I can tell you. So it’s the best when you go home and catch some sleep. You can’t do anything for by staying here. We gave him some strong medicine and he will be sleeping until tomorrow.”

“I’m sure that I can’t sleep but I’m going to do what you’re telling me and will be here again tomorrow.”

“That’s the best Mrs. McDonald. I will call you when something change and will see you tomorrow.”

“Good night Doctor.”

Rose McDonald couldn’t sleep this night. She always thought about Mike and how sorry she is for him. He lost his parents and his left side of his face in one night. She also started to think about what would have happen when they wouldn’t have be on the way to visit her. She’s the reason why that happen. If they didn’t want to see her his son and daughter-in-law were still alive and his nephew still had his whole face beautiful like it was before. She kept going through the night with “what if…”-questions and it seemed that she couldn’t get some sleep tonight. It was just a dream was what she thought in the morning as she woke up after one hour sleep. But after she realized that it really happened and she knew there is nothing that can change that she broke down and started to cry. She could catch herself after a few minutes, took a shower and got ready to go to the hospital.

The first thing she did after arriving in Mike’s room was looking for the doctor. After a few minutes a nurse came into the room.

“Good morning. I’m looking for Doctor Miller. Is he here?”

“Good morning Mrs. McDonald. Please hold on one moment, I’m going and get him for you.”

“Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

A few minutes passed and the doctor came into the room.

“Good morning Mrs. McDonald. How are you doing today?”

“Good morning Doctor. I’m doing fine. I didn’t really get sleep last night and all I wanted is just to be with Mike. So how is he doing today?”

“He is doing good this morning. We gave him more medicine to keep the pain less and the nurse just finished with changing the band-aids in his face. He is awake but he’s not talking to anyone. I’m sure he’s happy to see you and I would appreciate if you could talk to him that we can figure out how he’s doing.”

“Of course I will do that. I always had a great relationship with him so it shouldn’t be a problem to talk to him. Does he already know that his parents died?”

“Unfortunately not. We haven’t been able to tell him yet. He might fall back in coma and that would make the situation worse. But I think he’s ready to know it.”

“Please let me tell him. It is hard enough for him to lose his parents and his left side of his face so I want that someone familiar tells him if that is okay for you?!”

“Of course that is okay with me. I’m glad to see that he has someone who is there for him and helps him through that hard time.”

While talking to Mike’s grandmother the doctors pager beeped and he had to go.

“I’ll talk to you later Mrs. McDonald”

“Thank you Doctor.”

Right after the doctor went away she sat next to Mike’s bed and tried to talk to him. He looked at her and didn’t really know what’s going on.

“What happened Grandma? Why I’m in the hospital? Where’s mom and dad?”

“Mike I think it’s the best when you try to sleep that you can go home with me.”

“With you? Why with you? I wanna go home with mom and dad. Where are they? Did they drive home without me?”

“Mike do you remember when you were on the way to visit me?


“You had a car accident right after “The deep canyon”. You crashed in a rock and you were clamped between the front and the back seat. You…”

Before she could go ahead with the sentence Mike screamed for his parents.

“Where are my parents? I wanna go to my parents!”

A nurse ran into the room because she heard Mike screaming.

“What happened? What’s wrong?”

“He was asking me about what happened and I was about to tell him. Then he started to scream and you came into the room.”

Right after the nurse wrote a message from her pager the doctor came into the room.

“What happened?”

“Mrs. McDonald tried to tell Mike what happened and he started screaming.”

“Yeah but I couldn’t even tell him what happened. He always ask for his parents and he doesn’t stop screaming.”

The doctor bends over Mike and becalmed him. He stopped screaming and crying and looked around in the room

“Can I talk to you for a moment Mike?”

Mike nodded.

“Okay. Look your grandmother is trying to talk to you and to answer your questions. But she can’t do that when you’re screaming around okay? You have to be quiet and you have to listen to her because only then will you get the answers. Can you do that for me?”

He nodded again and his grandmother sat on his bed and took his hand.

“Mike what happened is that you and your parents had a very bad car accident. You were clamped for about ten hours before the fire department took you out the car. There was nothing they could do for your parents. They died right away.”
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Age : 33
Location : Stuck in Michigan
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Registration date : 2008-07-17

PostSubject: Re: Broken Wings   July 18th 2008, 3:22 am

Mike was just sitting there, starring at the wall with big eyes. His grandmother wasn’t sure if he understood what she told him. But then his eyes slowly filled with water and he started to cry.

“Nooooooo….Mommy….Daddy….please not. Please come back. Don’t do that to me. Don’t let me alone. Nooooooo…..!”

Mrs. McDonald started to cry too. She knew how he must feel. She knew his world broke apart and that she must be there for him more than ever. She wrapped her arms around him and he cried on her cheek.

“I am so sorry Baby. I am sooo sorry. You can’t see your mom and dad anymore, but they will always be in your heart. They will accompany you doesn’t matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. I will be here for you . I will always be here for you!”

She knew that was just the beginning. He didn’t have seen his face yet. He can feel all the band-aids but there is no mirror where he could see himself. She didn’t even see him yet without the band-aids. She remembered what the doctor said as she was talking to him the night Mike came into the hospital; it’s impossible to reconstruct his face! That reflected in her head over and over again and tears came into her eyes.

Mike wasn’t talking to anybody as he heard from his parents dead. He sat in his bed and starred at the empty walls. Like a waterfall that never ends rolled his tears down his face. Rose didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t even sure if she could handle that whole situation. She was too old to go through such a thing and right now all she wanted was to take Mike and just go home. She knew there was a lot of work that will come with Mike, but she also knew she will be there for him all the time.

“Mrs. McDonald it’s time to go home again. The visiting hours are over and there’s still nothing you can do for Mike.”

“Doctor isn’t it possible that I can stay the night? That I get a bed next to him that if he wakes up and screams for his parents or something like that I’m here?”

“Okay Mrs. McDonald I think we can make an exception. Nurse Julie can you make the bed next to Mike ready that Mrs. McDonald can spend the night here?”

“Yes Doctor,” answered the Nurse behind the curtain.

“Thank you very much Doctor. It means a lot to me that you allow me to stay.”

“No need to thank me Ma’am. Have a good night and try to sleep okay?”

Yes I try to, thank you.”
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PostSubject: Re: Broken Wings   July 21st 2008, 6:41 pm

Ack. Quicky review.

Snacker with (by TerishD) wrote:
“Watch yourself you monster!”, is what he (the bigger kid) screams at him.

Without any reaction does he (this would still be the bigger kid, although it is not) sits down and start to count every minute until the teacher walks in the room.

“Good morning class”, he (okay, this IS the teacher, but the repeated 'he' is getting annoying) says in an always friendly tone.
I believe that you have a good concept for a story. A little work clarifying your vision to keep the presentation interesting and not confusing the reader would greatly help.

The fact that you have had it sitting for 6 months bothers me. I often write little scenes. If I believe that they are worthy of development, I read, and read, and read it. If I cannot think of what to say, I at least perfect what I am saying. 6 months of editing should have had this in a lot better shape.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Broken Wings   July 21st 2008, 6:54 pm

I didn't edit it for 6 month, I wrote it about 6 months ago and didn't go over it again. I had that day where I just wanted to write and this is what came out. I mostly write poems and not stories.

But thank you very much for the criticism. It helped a lot and I know exactly what you're talking about.

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PostSubject: Re: Broken Wings   July 22nd 2008, 4:38 pm

I think going back to explain how he lost his parents and stuff is great. I would try to shift the story back to the current situation in the classroom. Maybe later in his life there might be another reason to go back and reveal more of his history.
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