Friday, August 19, 2011

Writing Secrets, Lesson 8: CryBaby

Howdy!  First off, before I get into the lesson... I wanted to let you guys know of a contest i'm doing.  Technically it doesn't start until Monday, but here it is.  I'll be announcing the forum thread where I'll be accepting all entries on on Monday.  But I thought I'd let you guys see it early. :)

Now, onto the lesson.  Today we're discussing how to put emotion into your stories.  I hope you guys love it.  Here's the video:

Example One--This is showing emotion through the backdoor with narration.  This is from my middle grade book Prince Tennyson.  Most people cry by the end of the second chapter.  I've posted the first two (unedited) chapters here.  Maybe you can see how it is I make people cry.  

Chapter One:

            I will never say a bad word again.  Never. 
            I know it’s going to be hard to stick to it, not because I go around everywhere cussing every ten minutes or something, but because everyone else around me does. 
            My Grandma Haney took me to her church today.  I wasn’t going to go, but then she promised to buy me a new skirt with a pretty new jacket that matched.  It was bribery really.  I didn’t care.  I love my new light blue jacket with the glittery purple butterfly on it.  The blue flowered skirt was just a bonus, it was the jacket I was really after.  I don’t know if I’ll ever wear the skirt again.  Too fancy for school, I think.
            At church the lesson wasn’t about not swearing.  It was about finding a goal that will make the Lord proud of you for keeping.  We all had to come up with a goal.  I didn’t know what else to say, so I chose to not cuss.  I figured it would be the easiest for me since the last time I said a bad word in front of my mom she slapped me.  Right on the face.  It hurt too.  A good reason not to cuss, don’t you think?
All the kids at my new school say swear words all the time.  I’ll probably get teased or made fun of for not swearing.  Oh well, I guess I better get used to it.  I will never say a bad word again.  Not even if I want to.
I’m very good at keeping my goals.  Some people say it’s because I’m stubborn, others say it’s because I’m headstrong, but Mrs. Chee, my old third grade teacher told me it’s because I’m determined.  I liked that word.  I had to look it up, because I didn’t know what it meant.  When I looked it up, it made me smile.  I wanted to be very determined after that.  I even told my family about that word.
My dad liked it too.  He used to say, “You are the most determined girl I’ve ever met.”  Then he’d rub my hair and remind me, “That’s a good thing.”
That’s another one of my goals actually.  I’m determined to remember my dad.  It’ll be hard as I get older, I know.  Some days it gets hard now.  Some days when I close my eyes and think really hard, I can barely see his smile and the rest of his face is fuzzy.  Other days I can see him so good it’s like he’s standing right next to me. It’s a good thing I’m good at keeping my goals and I’m the most determined girl.  I know I will never really forget my dad.  At least I hope I don’t.
I don’t want to.
I think my mom is trying to forget my dad.
It’s true.  When we were moving here to grandma’s home she told me to empty the trashcans around the house.  Except I think she forgot about the trashcan in her bedroom.  It’s the big one she used in her office, not the small one that was normally in there.  When I went to pull the bag out I couldn’t believe what I found. 
A whole bunch of pictures of my dad.  Some were loose and scattered everywhere in the trash and other were still in their broken frames.  It looked like my mom just freaked out and hurled them all into the garbage can.
My mom does that a lot lately.  Just freaks out and hurls stuff.  She’s even done it at Grandma’s house.  I know because I heard my grandma shout in my mom’s old bedroom at her, “Tiffany!  You can hurl things all you want, but he’s not coming back, so stop it!”
My mom stopped it.  She had to.  Grandma is my mom’s mom, and she can be mean sometimes.  Grandma says, “It’s because I’m the head mom around the house.”
It’s okay, though.  Mom doesn’t know, but I saved those pictures.  I only cut my finger once pulling them out, too.  I figured one day she’ll want to remember Dad again.  I know I would if I was married to him and he was my handsome prince.
My mom loved my dad’s uniform.  She was right.  He looked just like a handsome prince in it.  Maybe that’s why Dad died?  Maybe the bad guys thought he was a prince and not just a normal dad.  You know a normal dad with a normal family and kids and stuff.      
Three kids.  The three musketeers. 
Well, it’s a good thing I’m the oldest and I’m a determined girl, so that way I can take out my secret box and pull out Dad’s pictures and remember him.  One day I’m going to teach my little brother and sister to remember him too.  But right now, Mom still freaks out too much.  I think I’ll keep my secret box a secret for a little while longer.
Besides, now I have something else to figure out.  Something that’s had me puzzled for a whole two days since I went to church with Grandma and Mom stayed home with the other kids.  I have to decide if I want to go back.  Grandma’s already asked me if I survived and if I wanted to come to church again.  I’m not sure.  I’m not sure there’s a point to go back.  I mean, what if they ask me to make another goal? 
I don’t think I could handle that.  I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and the swearing one will keep me busy for the rest of my life.  Plus it just doesn’t make sense.  Sure, we’re promising the Lord, but how does he know anyway?  Just who is this guy and what makes him so special that almost a million other people make promises to him?    My mom says, “God isn’t real.”
My grandma says, “Yes he is, Chelsea, and your mom knows better.” 
But how do I know which one is right?  As far as I can tell it’s one big mess, as messy as the living room when the movers were helping us pack.  As far as I can tell there’s no way to know which one is right either, because the guy is invisible. 
Hmm… Maybe my mom is right.  I’ll have to think about it.   

Chapter Two:   

            I went to school today.  I think Wednesdays are the worst days for school.  Really.  I think we should have the whole day off, just something fun for the middle of the week to look forward to.  I bet I would work much harder if I only had to go to school Monday and Tuesday and then Thursday and Friday. 
Maybe I’ll ask the principal.  I’ve only been going here about three weeks now, so I’m still new enough to make ideas and point out flaws in the school.  I mean, change must be brought up somehow and it might as well happen when someone new comes, someone who can see what needs fixed. 
Wednesdays need fixed.
Why is it I get in trouble on Wednesdays?  Always on Wednesdays.  It’s like that day is doomed or something.
The worst part is I’ve made my mom cry again.  I didn’t mean to.  Honest.  Ugh.  Even Grandma, when she came to pick me up from school and heard the teacher’s report, got all watery eyed.  I knew if she wasn’t standing in that classroom listening to my teacher telling on me, she would’ve probably started crying too. 
It started out like any other day—well, except it was Wednesday.  I hung my backpack up outside at the end of the row of hooks where my name was.  Everyone could tell I’d just moved to the school, because my sticker with my name on it was a different design and color from the other kids.  Then after a moment where I just stared at the bright yellow sticker that said Chelsea Tennyson across the top, I noticed that most of the kids where done hanging up their stuff.   I quickly followed them into Mrs. Sheridan’s fifth grade class, and found my seat near the back by two other girls. 
Those girls were actually pretty nice.  One was named, Sarah with an “H” at the end, and the other one was called, Jasmine.
The problem didn’t start until after math, when Mrs. Sheridan asked us all to write about someone very special in our lives.  Someone that we loved very much.
She said, “It can be a family member.  Like a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, aunt, uncle… anyone.  Or it could be a very special friend that you have or it could be a special neighbor or a ballet teacher.  Anyone special in your life, just choose one person.”
Then after that she gave us a whole twenty minutes to write something about this person.
So I chose to write about him.  I wish I didn’t now.  Especially since it made Mom cry, and made Grandma get teary, and made Mrs. Sheridan get mad.  I really didn’t know it would cause that much trouble if I wrote about him.  But it did.
I don’t like to say my dad’s name very much.  It makes my heart hurt, and then I get all quiet and stuff.  So I don’t.  Instead I call him a prince, just like mom used to.  I like to think of him that way.  Handsome and strong and brave and fun and a real good singer and dancer—like all prince’s are. 
Except Dad wasn’t a very good singe.
We were supposed to put the name of the person on top of the paper for the title.  Well, it was Wednesday and Wednesdays are just bad period.  So I figured I wouldn’t risk it by writing my dad’s real name.  Instead I put:
Prince Tennyson.
Then I wrote all about how he and mom met and how he swept her off of her feet and took her to his castle and married her.  Just like how Mom used to always tell me when I was little.  For some reason I wanted my new teacher to know that story too.
Then I told about how after I, Princess Chelsea, was born he would spin me around and dance with me real close, sometimes just me and him, and sometimes in between him and Mom. 
Me and Mom really liked that—to dance together, all of us—it made us giggle like crazy. 
I also wrote about how Prince Tennyson used to read me nighttime stories and then tickle me until I shouted, “Uncle!” 
That drove Mom crazy.  She would come into my bedroom every night with her hands on her hips saying, “Ryan!  How is she supposed to go to sleep with you tickling her to death?”  But my mom wasn’t really mad, I could tell.  She always had a smile when she said it. 
The part that I guess I shouldn’t have written, and the part that I think made my teacher mad, was I said that he flew off to battle.  Maybe I shouldn’t have told that part about Prince Tennyson.  Maybe I should’ve just said that he was normal and went to work on computers somewhere in a bank or something.  I don’t know.  It couldn’t have been anything else, because Mrs. Sheridan wouldn’t let me read the rest of it.  
She just said, “Chelsea!  That is enough.  You will not read out loud anymore.”  Then she walked over to me and asked for my paper.
 Not that anyone would’ve heard what I said, the class was laughing too much.  I guess no one really thought of their dad as a prince before.
After Mrs. Sheridan snatched up my paper she walked to the front of the room and tore it up.  That made me sad, especially when the class laughed more.  Then my teacher said really loud to everyone else, “I don’t want to hear about anymore imagined fairy tales, do you understand?  School will be taken seriously, or you will have your parents called like Chelsea’s will be.”
I sat down and put my head in my arms for the rest of the time the kids talked about their favorite people.  I didn’t care if I got into trouble again for not listening.  It’s all because it was a stupid Wednesday, anyway.  If it was Thursday this never would’ve happened.
I really needed to talk to the principal about Wednesdays. 
Grandma was very mad when we drove home.  She kept swearing under her breath and saying how she hated the arrogance and rudeness of some people.  I just looked out the window and didn’t say a word.  I couldn’t.  Grandma was almost crying and my heart hurt really badly.
When we got home, I let Grandma tell my mom.  I knew she was going to be really sad with me.  She was.  When I walked by later I heard her sniffling into her pillow on her bed.  Her door was open, so I peeked inside. 
She looked like a little girl, with her pink frilly bed and girly curtains hanging around her.
I wanted to tell my mom I was sorry, that I didn’t mean to make her cry.  But then I heard her whisper, “Prince Tennyson, Prince Tennyson, Prince Tennyson…” over and over again.  I decided now was not a good time. 
Instead I went and found my little brother playing in my Uncle Jeremy’s old room.  He was playing with a whole bunch of cars, the Hot Wheels kind.  Cameron was just a baby when my dad left for battle, only a few months old.  Now he was two and two months.  Dad was supposed to come back the week before Cameron’s first birthday.  We were going to have a huge party for my brother and my dad all on the same day.  Except Dad never came home.
It was Wednesday when they said my dad wasn’t coming home.
I hate Wednesdays.
            If God is real, I wonder if he hates Wednesdays too. 

Example Two (This is from Persuaded--spring 2012):

Chapter Twelve

            “Which part of the pool is the deepest?  Do you know?”
            Gregory’s whispered baritone sent shivers in my ear and I tried really hard to remember to be mad at him and not to enjoy being held in his arms.  It was a losing battle.  I shook my head for an answer; I really couldn’t trust myself to speak.
            “No?”   He chuckled.  “You don’t know?  Well, I guess we’ll have to figure it out ourselves.”
            That did it!  I started squealing.  Loudly.  The last thing I remember before plunging into the lukewarm water was that Gregory’s laughter was still tickling my ear.  He jumped with me!  Sputtering I came to the surface, free of his arms to find his face smiling above mine. 
            Water poured from his forehead, streamed past his eyes and right down that beaming smile.  He rubbed his face and laughingly attempted to get the water from his ears.  “Dang girl.  You can scream loud.  My ears are still ringing.”
            “Serves you right.” I smirked and lowered myself into the water to smooth my hair off my face.  I jerked to the side when I saw a big white mass float to the surface.  What in the-?  “Hey!  You even got my towel wet.”  I had forgotten I had wrapped it around my waist. 
            Gregory out and out laughed as he removed the soaking lump and set it on the patio.  “That’ll teach you for wearing a towel around a swimming pool.”
            “Gregory!”  Kylie called as she and Lilly made it over to us.  “That looked like so much fun; you have to jump in with me, too.”
            “Yeah?  You want to?”  He happily obliged by climbing out of the pool and then waited for her.  
            Lilly and I waded in the water while watching Gregory scoop Kylie up and jump in with her the same way he had with me.  She came out laughing and sputtering and eager to do it again.  Kylie was out and dragging Gregory back up to the patio before he’d even had a chance to wipe the water off of his face.  He didn’t seem to mind.  The way he laughed down at her as he scooped her back up onto his broad chest, totally stopped any thoughts I might’ve had of Kylie annoying him.  Gregory was far from annoyed.  As a matter of fact the only one who seemed to be even a tiny bit perturbed by the whole display, was me.  Even Lilly giggled as they crashed back into the water and Kylie yelled,
            “Again!  That was awesome!  We’ve gotta do it again!”
            Gregory’s answering, “Sure.  It’s fun, isn’t it?” sealed it for me. 
            Good grief.  Are they going to do this all night?  They’re getting me wet.  Never mind, the fact that I was in a swimming pool and supposed to get wet; I wasn’t exactly thinking rationally at the moment.  All I knew for sure was I wanted to escape Kylie’s screams of delight and Gregory’s laugh.  Quickly I peered into the dark around me.  Carson and Madison were talking quietly over in the corner under an imported palm tree.  Yeah, rather not interrupt them.  The shallow end of the pool seemed to be the best bet. 
I swam over to the steps and sat down on one, allowing the water to lap up around my waist.  Kylie and Gregory’s antics had changed from jumping into the pool to dunking and splashing each other.  By the looks of it, Lilly had joined in too.  I went ahead and stayed where I was for about ten minutes, in case anyone was watching.  I wanted them to think I was actually enjoying myself.  Besides, the night breeze was picking up and I didn’t think I’d last much longer.  After another five minutes I glanced once more around the pool and then I climbed hurriedly out. 
            Brr.  It’s cold.  Dang, I wish I had my towel.  I grabbed my flip flops and didn’t even bother putting them on, before I lightly jogged on the patio and up the walk to the back door.  It was just as I was lifting the handle that I heard a wolf whistle behind me, and a distinct male voice holler out,
            “Who’s the babe without a towel?  Where are you going?” 
            You’ve got to be kidding me.  Talk about trying to leave unnoticed.  Grr.   Frantically, I managed to jerk the door open, but not before I heard Gregory call out, 
            “Ethan, leave her alone.  You’re…” the rest was muffled by the door as it slammed behind me.
            Once inside the air conditioning hit me like an Arctic breeze.  I stopped a moment and slid my shoes on, before continuing my hurried jog to my room.  Thankfully no one was around. 
            As quick as I could I jumped into a nice hot shower to warm back up again.  After a few minutes I climbed out and got dressed in some old jeans and a T-shirt. 
The night was still young. 
I debated over which book to choose and figured I could plop onto the soft comfy couches in the family room and read it.  Then if anyone would come by, it would look like I was still part of the group and interacting and stuff.  It was as I was combing through the books that I came across an autobiography of a famous composer.    
Oh my gosh.  The piano.  I almost forgot.  In a flash I was out the door and running—literally running—down the hall to the music room.  It was dark and after a few tries I found the switches and bathed the room in a sea of warm cream-colored lights. 
The piano beckoned me, just as it had before and I quickly walked up to it.  My smile would’ve burst if it could’ve got any bigger.  Sitting gingerly on the stool provided, I carefully lifted the lid.  I took a deep breath and willed my hovering hands to stop shaking.  Slowly I lowered my right hand as my thumb pushed down on middle C for the first time in over two years, and then, out of nowhere, I cried.  Like a baby.  Totally cried. 
            I allowed the emotions of the past two years wash over me as my fingers galloped and danced their way across the keys, exploding into crescendos all around me.  At first I chose strong, vibrant pieces to play before experimenting with softer, calmer melodies.  And then as always, I ended with happy, joyful—even playful--arrangements that uplifted and tingled all the way into the darkest corners of my heart.  Until all that was left, was a blissful carefree being, whose body hummed with the excitement and cheer that should come after playing with such enthusiasm. 
            My tears had long since dried.  In fact I wasn’t quite sure just how long I had been playing, leaping and bounding through song after song.  But I did notice the profound stillness of the room when I stopped.  It was too still.  I looked up into the stunned faces of my all friends.  Even Sydney stared at me from across the room.
            Oh no.  How long have they been here?  “Uh, I-I’m sorry.”
            No one spoke. 
            Self-consciously, I swiftly shut the cover and stepped off the raised platform.  I stood a bit in the center of the room willing someone to say something. 
            No one said a word.  They all just stared. 
            Fidgety and beginning to shake slightly under the pressure of their gaping, I lowered my eyes a little and said, “Excuse me.”
            Once in the hallway I began to dash back to my room.  I am such a freak.  Seriously.  Had I known I had an audience I wouldn’t have dreamed of playing like that.  Honestly.  I can’t even begin to imagine just how loud some of my chords were.  I hadn’t held anything back for myself, my audience of one.  But for them, no, I would’ve chosen much less-personal pieces to play.  More widely accepted rational arrangements. 
            Mortified, I burst into the room and hastily shut the door.  I paced a second or two between the bed and the bookshelf, before I grabbed a book at random and plunked onto the mattress and landed on my tummy.  Bringing my feet up behind me, I opened the book without rhyme or reason to a page and hoped I presented a look of casual bliss.  It was somewhere in between the pages of a galactic battle scene and a New Age war council that I heard the faint knock. 
            “Amanda?”  It was Madison.
            “Can I come in?” she asked hesitantly.
            Great, she sounds afraid of me.  “Of course.”  I don’t bite.  I just get a little carried away on the piano, that’s all. 
            I heard the door handle click open and then just as softly snicker shut. 
            “A-are you all right?”  Madison walked up to her bed and looked across at me.
            I nonchalantly glanced up.  “Yeah, why?”
            She seemed a little taken aback.  “Oh, you just—you just—it seemed that you were a little upset that’s all.
            A little upset.  I let the phrase fully sink in.  “No.  I wasn’t upset.”  Confused, embarrassed, awkward… not upset. 
            I returned to my book.  Yep, a New Age war council.  
            After a few minutes I noticed Madison had found a book on gardening and crashed on her bed too.  She pretended to read a bit, until frustrated, she tossed the book aside and sat up.
            Here it comes. 
            “Where did you learn to play like that?”
            I acted as if I had read a few more sentences before turning toward her. “Huh?”
            She didn’t buy it.  Madison laughed out loud.  “You aren’t any more interested in that book, than I am in mine.”  She shoved her book closer to the edge of her bed for emphasis. 
            I chuckled and closed the book.  “Caught me.  Sci-Fi’s aren’t my thing, anyway.”
            She grinned, “So are you going to answer me or what?”
            “Gee, how do most overly spoiled rich girls learn to do anything?” I sighed as I sat up.  “By Daddy paying for the best instructor money can buy.”
            “I don’t believe that for two seconds.” She snorted.
            “Why not?  It’s true.”
            “Because, first off, you’re not spoiled.  Second, a million instructors in the world couldn’t have taught me how to play like that.  And thirdly, you devoured that piano like you hadn’t played one in years.”
            Good grief.  I would get stuck with the one roommate who had psychic abilities.  I decided to change the subject.  “How do you do that?”   It worked. 
            “Read people so well?”
            Madison shrugged, “I don’t know.  I’ve always been that way.  I guess I’m just more observant than most people, or something.”  She looked at me funny a moment and then grinned. “Good try, by the way.”
            Dang.  “What?  It didn’t work?”
            “Nope, it didn’t work.”  She tucked her feet underneath her.  “So why would a musical prodigy need to come all the way to Moab just to play a piano?”
            “We don’t own one.”  Plain and simple.
            “Why not?”
            “Can’t afford it.  The money my family had, we lost.  Besides, it’s a good thing they sold the grand piano or we would’ve never had a place for it in the new house.”
            “How long ago?”
            Is nothing sacred?  “Just over two years.”
            “So you never got an upright?  Or a keyboard, or anything?  Your family hasn’t bought you anything to replace it with?”
            “My sister got a new fuel-efficient car.”
            “Yeah, I’ll bet.  I’m not talking about Sydney.  Why wouldn’t your parents buy you a piano?”
            I don’t know.  “Because I’m the only one who plays.”
            “Yeah, so what!  Do you share Sydney’s car?”
            “Uh, no.”
            “Do you have a car?”
            “No.  But I don’t want one.  I can use my parents’ cars.”  Why are we discussing cars anyway?
            “Are you kidding me?”  Madison raised her hands up in a no shoot gesture.  “I think I’m going to cry!”
            Don’t you dare.  “That’s not even funny, Madison.”
            “I didn’t say it was.  I’m serious.  Do you realize you probably live with the most selfish family in the world?” 
            “Uh—” was all I managed to gasp out, before Madison plunged on.
            “Do you have any idea why we were all so speechless earlier?  Any clue at all?”
            I shook my head.
            “You’re good!  You’re not just good, you’re amazing.  Seriously.  You’re incredible.  The most talented person any of us had ever come close to in our entire lives.”
            What?  One small tear crept to the corner of my eye.
            “And the crazy thing is; Sydney didn’t even know it!  She was just as flabbergasted as we were.  Sydney—who can’t ever have anything come out of her mouth, unless it’s an insult—actually complimented you!”
            Are you kidding me?  The tear spilled over.  
            “Amanda Ellis do you even know how inspiring you are?  How just by the sound of your music, we were drawn in one by one, to hear you play?  Do you think just any pianist can do that?  Honestly, do you have any idea how much I so want to be you right now?  How much I would love to have something in my life that creates such passion and excitement within me.  Holy Cow!  Hasn’t anyone ever told you how wonderful you really are?”  She waited then.  She actually expected an answer.
            Speak!  “I uh—n-no.”  The second tear fell.  “N-no one.” 
            Except Greg, three years ago. 

Tell me about an instance in your life that was sad, or emotional that you can use to show emotions in your stories.  


  1. Well, let's see. I've had a lot of deaths of close family members to deal with: parents, inlaws, brother, daughter, husband. That gives me a real advantage in the emotions department. I just burrow down deep and bring the feelings back, and voila! The scene has authenticity.

    Marsha Ward
    Writer in the Pines

  2. I guess I'm pretty lucky to experience any really sad moments. the saddest moment i have ever had was when my parents were fighting over how my mom cooked red meat too much (it's unhealthy). since i was like 5 and that was the first fight my parents had in front of me, i cried and thought they were getting divorced. it took me some time to remember that so i guess i don't have much to work with. yet.

  3. There was this time when my grandma was really ill. Both of us were really close, though i usually get irritated by her busybody-ness. She used to annoy me, though not purposely. And i loved her so much. But i never got to tell her. Instead, I left her. I visited her two days before she passed away. The day before she died, i was being stubborn, and i insisted on going out with my friends instead of visiting her. that very midnight, she was gone. And i never had the chace to say how much I love her, nor did i ever asked forgiveness from her.. That was one lesson I learnt.. from that day on, I never left my other grandma at all. The same thing is happening again too. but this time.. this time, everything is not going to repeat.

  4. A sad instance in my life that stands out is in my second grade class. There were two girls at my table that were 'popular' you could say.

    So one day one of the girls' said "Why do you walk like that?"
    And I said, "What do you mean?"

    Now, let me tell you I don't have any sort of disease or condition that makes me walk funny. No I'm just a normal person.

    The girl got up and walked like I was some sort of model trying to show off or something. I don't think she was trying to be mean. I think she was trying to be funny, for her other friend.

    You know, I can't remember who that other girl was, and I went to a french immersion school so everyone knew everyone. I can't remember who it was. I can't remember if she laughed. I can't remember if she didn't.

    All i remember is feeling, helpless. She didn't even think she was making fun of me. She wasn't even trying. I think that's what kills me the most, because it still hurt. I still remember it, but she doesn't even know.

    I walk by that girl everyday. She still goes to my school.Since then, I've tried to forgive her. Telling myself, she doesn't know that hurt your feelings. But sometimes, like now, I don't forgive her, after all these years.

    I had social studies with her two years ago and she was talking to me about something, a project we had to do or something, and I can tell she still doesn't know.

    I know I'm saying that a lot but it's true. It's one thing to intentionally hurt someone, it's another to think your making a joke. I never told her she hurt me, I never asked for her apology.
    Why would I? I figure if I asked now, she;
    a) wouldn't remember what I'm talking about
    b) would think I'm over reacting.

    This is probably the best memory I can work with.

  5. Well I joined my sisters competitive soccer team when I was in fifth grade, all the other girls were one to two years older than me. The only reason I got on the team was that my dad was the assistant coach.
    None of the other girls really liked me and I was always picked last for everything, no one wanted to be my partner in games or anything. One day we had a game and it was snowing I was just waiting to go in, after the first half was over and I still hadn't gone in I plucked up the courage to ask my coach. At first I thought she didn't hear me but after asking a few more times without a response I knew she just didn't want me to go in, and so I sat there in the snow clenching my teeth and hoping I wouldn't start to cry. After the game I went home and cried for a long time there is a rule in my family that you can't quit a sport in the middle of the season so all that night I prayed and prayed that somehow my dad could be the real coach so I could be put in the game.
    The next day at soccer practice the coach didn't show up so one of the older girls took charge and set up a scrimmage. she chose captains and they started calling out names I quickly counted how many people there were and gave a sigh of relief when I found that there was an even number I was happy until the girl who set up the scrimmage announced that she was to be the coach and she wouldn't play after all the teams were chosen they found that I was left and if she was to be the coach there would have to be an extra I can imagine the anguish that must have been in my eyes as I looked around at my classmates and my own sister but no one stuck up for me. last I turned to the girl posing as coach I could see in her eyes the decision to join so I would get to play or stay an "the coach" even though I wouldn't get to play.I can still remember her looking down at me then turning away and telling them to begin the game.I don't know how I survived that hour of scrimmaging where I sat and watched my team play and "the coach" mess around with a stray. I never did get to play but after about 90 minuets without our coach I saw the most glorious sight my father coming over the hill and telling us that our coach had broken her hip and that he, my dad would be the coach for the rest of the season. I felt bad for the coach but I also felt like I had just been saved.
    The girls on that team probably don't even remember me but I forgive them and my coach and I hope all the people I have ever hurt will forgive me.

  6. I found out that my best friend was suicidal. She would take a box of pills before she went to sleep and hope that she didn't wake up.

    What hurt me the most about this was I didn't know how to help her. I didn't know if I should tell someone, what I could do, I didn't know anything!

    I was so scared for about a year that someone or something would do something to push her over the edge and for me to wake up with no best friend.

    Eventually, she found the love of her life, who had actually had his father commit suicide. I think she saw that she was being selfish with her life and forgot how her death would affect people.

    She's now the happiest, bubbliest person I know.

    And, jenni, your friend know and I'm sure she's always watching down on you and I know for a fact - that she will be proud of everything you've done xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. It was September 8th, 2010. I was home sick from school and on wattpad...i remember i was commenting back to someone who said something mean about someones story. I was so mad at them for being so mean. In the middle of writing it my mom came in the door from work, she had tears streaming down her face, hurt etched (sp?) in her eyes. I remember i was scared. Did I do something? Did someone die?
    "Nicolette, I have to tell you something. Tracy passed away."
    "Your'e kidding, right?" Was my reaction. No, Tracy was my mothers best friend, and my almost-mother!
    "Why would I joke about that?!" She said.
    That was it, I broke down. I fell to the floor tears forever streaming down my face.
    My heart was broken. We were so close...How can she be gone?
    Of course it was the cancer. She had brain, lung, and breast cancer. I thought she could pull through though...she was so strong.
    ...Though...I hadn't seen her for two years. Since that day.

    Thanks :)

  8. Excellent lesson today, very emotional and very helpful. I don't really know what sad memories I have, that can help me write. There have been family deaths a long time ago but I was very young and I can't remember it properly.
    I guess I am one of those very lucky people who don't have those terrible moments in their lives.
    When I have to write emotional scenes, I put myself into that characters shoes and work like that because I don't really have any real-life experiences to link the scenes with.

  9. Aww.. That is so sad! :(
    I usually forget sad moments faster than happy moments so I forgot a lot of them...
    I've been thinking of something I could tell you for like half an hour and can't think of anything!!
    But I can make up things just as easily..

  10. You've probably heard this before, Jenni, but I'm sure Janie has already forgiven you, even if you haven't forgiven yourself. She would be proud of how you had changed because of that experience.

    My saddest memory isn't exactly one solid memory. It's more like a year and a half worth of memories. I went to a pretty small grade school where if you were in a certain grade, you were stuck with the other people in that grade for every single class you had. Usually there was one big group of friends and then there were the outsiders.

    I was one of the outsiders. I didn't listen to the right kind of music, wear the right kind of clothes, or talk or act immaturely like everyone else. I never looked the way we were 'supposed' to, I read entirely too much and I was way too smart. The worst offense I made though was loving animals and owning a lot of them.

    The 'popular' kids made fun of me everyday for all of those things and more. I remember feeling helpless when they did it, but I would always think "Don't let this affect you. They are only trying to make themselves feel better about themselves." It did bother me though. Immensely. The nicknames, the laughing, the words, pierced the calm and collected facade I put up. I faked sick a lot of days just so I wouldn't have to deal with them. The thing that made it worse, was none of my 'friends' would say anything to the kids. Sometimes even, they joined in by laughing along with the others.

    I would laugh it off with them then, and act as if it didn't hurt me. Most days however, I would come home and go to my room to cry. There were one day that it hurt so bad I went to talk to my mom about it, which ended up with tears streaming down my face and my eyes all puffy and red. She told me to tell a teacher, but I never did. I didn't want them to start calling me a snitch as well. If my mom would ask from then on I told her everything was fine.

    You have no idea how happy I was for the summer that year. I told myself that everything would be better the next year. Man was I wrong. It started up again from the very first day. So I did exactly what I had the previous year and pretended it didn't matter. Finally, halfway through the year, I reached my limit. It was right after lunch and we were lining up to go to computer class. These two girls were in line behind me and asked me if I liked smelling like wet dog, then started barking. I almost started crying right then and there. I knew I didn't smell like wet dog, yet it still stung. That's when I decided to actually tell a teacher.

    I asked if I could stop at the counselors office before going to computer. My teacher said yes, and that's what I did. I don't quite remember what was said during that meeting, but I do know I was a mess. I was sobbing from the moment I said "I've decided I'm done." I stayed out of class for the rest of the day.

    The kids never really said another mean thing to me from that day on. I couldn't bring myself to become friends with them, but school became much more enjoyable. Although I still couldn't wait to graduate that May and get away from the people and memories.

  11. Well a really sad memory of mine would have to be my great grandmothers death. She died this year. I never really got to see her, well I hadn't actually seen her for five years. She lived overseas and we never really had enough money to go visit the extended family. But this year we were finally going to visit at Christmas. I had been thinking that this year, I would get to go and have a nice long holiday. But one day I had come home from school, and my mum had told me that she passed away. At first it hadn't really hit me. And it seemed that she wasn't actually gone. The day after I had found out my father immediately took break from his job and got on a plane back home. The next day I went to school, it still hadn't hit me. I wasn't someone who reacted to death that easily. At school I to all my normal classes and told my teachers that I wouldn't be here for the rest of the term. All I could focus on was that I got to get out of all my assignments and tests that were coming up.
    The next day we had my parents and I drove down to my aunt and uncles where they lived in the capital staying there I had forgotten the reason we were going overseas in the first place.
    But when we had finally got to my great grandmothers house, I remembered walking all the way up to her front porch and just walking straight into the house without a second thought. All I could think about was seeing her again.
    But I had paused in front of the door waiting to hear her cries of delight to see my dad and my mum and me. But I didn't hear her. I turned around and saw my mum with tears welling up in her eyes. She was waiting for the same thing. And then I had noticed it. The coffin. Thats when it had hit me. I remembered all my family members seating me on a chair. But I couldn't face it. I couldn't look in that direction, but when I turned away all I saw was my parents with tears streaming down their faces. And I had started to cry too. I couldn't believe that I had forgotten. Even though whenever my great grandmother talked to me we couldn't understand a thing the other was saying (she can't speak English) I still loved her, she was my family.

    So I guess I still remember that moment really clearly.

  12. @JENNI YOUR BOOK CAME TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! IM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. *This has been going on for a while*
    I'm not really sure if it's sad but it really gets my self esteem down and makes me second guess everything I do and makes me feel worse about myself then I already do. In my school district most know who I am because they don't like me and I'm the kind of person who's not afraid to dance In the hallways or laugh as loud as I can in class. But last night I was with my friend and she has the whole blonde hair, blue eyes and good body thing going on and we were out getting dinner near my house and we saw this guy and his friends. I'm going to call the guy Bob, we started to hang with him and his friends. Bob is always telling me how much he hates me or how everyone hates me and I'm ugly and I should leave and leave my friend there because no one wants me there. Now of course I don't burst into tears. I just smile and say alright sounds great. Later on we went to where we had dinner and it was now just Bob me and my friend and he insulted me again and at this point he had said so much to me that night that I was about to cry. But my point is that I always feel like everyone hates me and tries their hardest to let me know and it really hurts. An whenever I'm with my blonde friend I always feel second best, like I'm not as important as her or as good looking and at some point I just don't want to hang put with her because I always feel bad or I have to spend a little extra time on my makeup or my hair or think extra hard on what I'm going to wear but she's one of my bestfriends so I want to hang out with her but at this point I'm just venting and I'm about to cry lol so bye! Can't wait for next weeks lesson!

  14. well without going in depth im good at writing about angry people because i dont have the best relationship with my mother... make that i have no relationship with my mother. We fight all the time.

  15. I'm 11 y.o. and haven't lived many sad experiences, and I hope never to live them. But a couple of years ago one of my cats died. );


  16. Jenni, i know you've probably heard this already, but i believe janie has already forgiven you. I think she's up in heaven watching you right now. She would be proud of how much you changed because of what happened.

    Let me think, a sad memory.... oh yeah, a few months ago, i was at home one day, and my dog Bailey fell down the stairs. We took her to the vet, and found that she had problems with her joints and back.

    My house has a lot of stairs, and she kept slipping and falling down. So my mom decided that we had to foster her instead of keeping her. I was so sad, nobody in my family can imagine. She loved me the best out of my whole family. I was the one who played with her, trained her, gave her treats, and took her on walks.

    Then she got adopted. It felt like my heart had been ripped out. The only dog who had ever loved me, was gone. Forever.

    My mom got us a new dog, Clover. Clover is a great dog, and I love her, but she can never replace Bailey.

    Bailey is the best dog ever, and I hope she still remembers me, and how much I love her.

  17. Jenni, I'm a sucker for sad stories, and I always cry when I get them told to me. I only do that When I'm not around any one though, because I'm the strong independent girl and nothing makes me cry.

    This is my sob story, I mean, It's still happening, but It's been all through out my life.

    Okay, My dad's in the army, I've only seen him cry 2 times in my life. He's been deployed for times than I can think and how long he's gone ranges from 6 months - 18 months or longer. I've moved more than 27 times, I can barely ever keep a friend because of it. I've been to Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Korea, and almost every state I can think of. My mom and my dad fight, I mean not just like bickering fights, I mean full on fights where my dad got so angry that he put a whole through the wall.

    I love my mom and my dad, but they are splitting up, and they don't even ask how I feel about it. The worst part is ever since my dad had a his surgery for his neck last year, he's been on medicines, and now he's on anti narcotic While my mom is off with some other guy and keeping my dad in the dark. I don't show any one how I feel about this, I mean I cry so much, but no one notices. No one seems to care how I feel, because I'm the so called 'strong independent girl'. Well I'm pretending, and only two people barely know. they've been my friends for 3-4 years, but I've never met them face to face before, they are my friends online. Rae, and Haiden, there both 16.

    I don't think anyone else even notices that I"m not the strong-independent happy funny girl I pretend to be.

    I am so Sorry about Janie, I can't say I know how you feel, I know no one will ever know exactly how you feel about it. Rae had cancer in her throat for 5 years, I believe. She just recently got over it last year. I couldn't have lost Rae, that would have been to hard on me............


  18. This story touched me immeasurably, I'm not an easy crier but goodness me. It was like a dam broke or something. I hope Janie rests in peace and I think she already knows what happened.I think she would be happy with the changes that you have made.

    My story isn't as tragic as others, but it is still continuing even now. My family is fairly average, middle class and all. Middle of 2008 while I was in year 8 (or grade 8 for the Americans on here :) ), my sister in law dropped a bombshell on me one afternoon. She told me that my dad was having various online relationships with women from all sorts of different countries. She showed me proof that my dad was buying them things and sending them over for their kids and such, or he was sending them money when we were hard pressed to make ends meet at the time. There was this horrible sense of shock when I realised exactly why my older brother and sister had come home to talk to dad.

    My mum had no idea, and my older siblings were asking him to stop cheating on her. Apparently he did. For 3 days. Then mum started working more, dad changed jobs and he worked split shifts which gave him a couple of hours during the middle of the day. I remember one day I was feeling sick to my stomach at school. I was supposed to be sent home, but dad never came to pick me up. I had to walk home as mum would still be at work for hours.

    I walked in on dad and a woman having coffee. I was immediately put on edge as this was one of the women that dad had pictures of on his phone and the computer too. (It’s a kick in the guts to know that your dad is dating women in Australia while your mum is at work.) She scurried off like a mouse after I came home and dad started yelling at me, demanding to know why I was home early. I told him I was sick, he called me a liar.

    He called the school and they told him that they'd called him 5 times. He turned on his phone; there were 5 missed calls from my school. I later found disgusting pictures of what they had been doing, on the digital camera.

    To cut a long story short, a few days ago I turned 18 and he's still doing it. There is nothing I can do as I can’t tell mum because she'd find out that everyone knew but her and I can't tell dad to knock it off. My sister and brother have their own lives, so now I'm very good friends with my school counselor. Contrary to the stereotype, they aren't that nosy.

    Though I now have no love left for my dad, I now have a lot of relaxing hobbies like knitting and singing. I find it wonderful that you can create something from one single strand. I have learned that your past shapes you, but it will never define you. Pain heals, occasionally it resurfaces with a vengeance, but all I know now, is that I would never wish another person to have their own family torn apart like this.

    Infidelity from either parent is sadly, like a cancer. It spreads negative feelings throughout others bodies until they are consumed by it. I think the worst part of all, is when my teachers ask me after every class if there are any changes, my answer is always the same: "If there is change, I won't see it. I want to be far away from it all. So for now, no changes." Their replies are also the same: "Well.....let me know if there is anything I can do for you....alright?" Their reply makes me give them a slightly wonky smile and I rush off before I’m late for my next class.

    My friends are a fantastic help, even though I feel like I'm telling them the same old things. They always give me a hug and a spare Kleenex. If I had any advice for others in a situation like mine, it would be this. Don't give up! Things get better; even if nothing changes you can build strong support from your friends, teachers, partners. You will get through it and never ever let others mistakes foreshadow your own. Carpe Diem! Seize every day, including this one. For we never know what will happen to us or the people around us.

    Thanks to everyone who read this.

  19. I was bullied all through my elementary years and the first year of Junior High, and no one stood up for me. Which is why I stand up for others now.

    But the sadness probably would've been the day the only person I thought would be there for me, was the one causing the hurt. His name was Alex and he was my best friend all through elementary. He never stood up for me because it was never done when he was around. But he was always there to listen to me cry. Until we left elementary and hit Junior High, he just abandonned me.

    He started dating this girl and apparently she made a list of girls he wasn't permitted to speak with. Me being one of them, and even though I was supposedly his best friend, he complied. He stopped talking to me completely. A couple of months passed and he couldn't even look at me without sneering. He'd toss harsh comments my way in the hallways, laughing with his friends every time a foot shot out and tripped me.

    It all started a day before Christmas break. In gym class I had thrown a ball and it had crashed off the wall, hitting the school's most popular guy. It hit him in the spine so hard that he fell, and when he fell he hit the floor so hard that he actually broke his leg. He fell in the weirdest way, I've never seen anything like it.

    So because of him being the star school hockey player, he wasn't allowed to play hockey until his cast was off. During that time he would miss the big game that would get the school's team first place for the tenth year in a row. And they lost that game.

    Two days after Christmas break, I had gotten out of my car and was walking up to the door when suddenly it seemed as if the whole school yard had silenced. No one spoke, they all just looked at me with disgust in their eyes.

    I tried to hurry for the door, wondering why in the world people were looking at me with such hate, but I never made it there. Because the whole group of boys Alex now hung out with were blocking the door, arms crossed and eyes narrowed stereotypically.

    I directed my question at the leader of the group, knowing Alex would hate me more if I acknowledged that I knew him. Wondering what was going on and what I had done wrong. The leader whose name was Liam laughed harshly stepping up close to me he said,

    "Nobody likes you. We can't understand why you even come to school everyday, you're so ugly. You're like an eyesore. Your clothes are tacky, your hair is greasy, your eyes are dumb and your face looks like a train ran over it. Why couldn't you have just killed yourself during Christmas break? Everyone would've been better off. It would've been come back for what you did to Andy"

    As if that wasn't bad enough, they continued to taunt me without letting me passed to get in the school. Everyone around watched as I struggled to contain my tears, however each time Alex added harsh commentary with all of his other 'friends' it felt like I was being slapped even harder.

    Just as I thought it was done, the most shocking happened. Alex actually stepped out of the crowd and shoved me. He shoved me! So hard that I actually lost my balance and tumbled backwards, sprawling out on the ground. I landed on my back so hard I could barely move, not even contain the tears anymore. He sneered down at me and told me he hated me more than anyone in this whole school and he wanted me dead more then anyone.

    Then he laughed, and they all walked into the school as the bell rang. People stepped on me as I stared shocked at his retreating back, crushing my ankles as if I was part of the ground. No one would look down at me and meet my eyes. No one offered me a hand up. Everyone hated me for a mistake.

    And the hardest blow was my best friend telling me that he wanted me dead more than anyone else, and me having no idea what I did to make him desire that. After that I hated him probably just as much as he hated me, but there was never a time I wanted him dead.

    1. You story brought me tears. If I was at that school I promis you I would have stood up to them no matter the cost. I would have punched Alex jsut for saying that to you. I thank you for your saying that you never wanted him dead. That really shows which of you is more mature. You took the hight ground and I applaud you.

  20. I don't really have to sad of a memory on my mind but your story reminds me of one regret I have. My seventh grade year there was this boy I barely new. I knew he was a nerd (I like nerds by the way) and I knew there was something different about him. I had my friends but we werent that popular group we are accutally the crazy nerd group. Ususlly the boy was fallowed around by meaner boys and I never put much thought into it. One day my best friend was sick of them fallowing him, so she got up, walked over to them and told them to stop. While she walked over to them I thought to myself, I should fallow her, but I didn't. I thought, "She has it under control and doesn't need me." I regret that moment now more than ever.

    This past year, my freshman year in highschool, I took a drama class. That same boy was in my class. He was a nice kid and one day I noticed that he wrote 'Kill Me' on one of his hands. That really worried me and again I thought that I should tell my teacher or a counceler, but again I didn't a few months latter I got into the school play and he didn't. One night after practice, I was waiting in the loby of the school and he was also there. I walked over and talked to him. He told me his parents were late. I continued to talk to him and he started to ramble on about how the drama teacher hated him because he wasn't picked for the play, and his parents hated him and he could see it in there eyes. Then he blamed it on is autism. That really hurt me because he thought he wasn't worth anything because of his diabilaty. I looked at him in shock because of what he said. Then I told him how lucky he was and he began to argue with me. I told him not to argue and told him my sister's story.

    My younger sister was born with a rare disability. She has mosaic turner syndrom. It is extremly rare and leaves her developmentaly behind. She is now going to be eight and has the brain level of a very low three year old. She has a million other problems. She has epilepsy, and her right foot is deformed so she walks on the side of her foot and will probably go back into surgery in a few years. She also has symptoms of autism but is not fully diagnosed. But every day she smiles her toothless smile and is always so happy and nice. I told him that she sees life differently. She has so many problems and will never have a normal life.

    I also have a best friend with the same type of autism that he has. I told him that he also has the same output on life that my sister has and he has worked and his family has worked for a long time and he has improved so much that you wouldn't be able to tell that he has autism.

    He was latter added into the show and I am now trying to help him. He is obssesed over a girl who is popular and takes no notice in him. She is moving and he wants to clone himself so he can run away with her. I have tryed to tell him to get over her and help him see that he shouldn't be obsessing over a girl at this age. esspecially that way he does. He likes the idea that he wants to die or hurt himself, and it is killing me that he thinks that way.

    I don't want to look back one day at this year of my life thinking I could have done more, when one the news it shows that he has killed himself. That is now one of my biggest fears. I don't want to feal guilty about him so every chance I get to tell him he is so much more and that he is not a mistake (because God makes no mistakes). I just hope that he turns out okay and that I won't live with the same guilt you have.

    I am very sorry about Gennie and I'm pretty sure that when that day comes that you will run to her and tell her you are sorry, she will look you in the eye and say, "Jenni I forgave you a long time ago!" Thank you for telling your story and letting me share mine. I love your classes and I hope to be as great of a writer as you are someday. <3


Tell it like it is! :)