Welcome

Welcome to my blog! Please join me as I journey towards finding an agent for my first young adult novel. Between writing, endless snapping of photos, sleep deprivation, taking care of two adorable little girls, and oh yes, the laundry, I'm sure it's going to be a bit crazy on the way to the awaited publication.

I'm open to any tips, critique, or random musings about the things I write or the photos I take, so feel free to email me or comment below.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Campaigner Challenge #1

Today is the first challenge of Rachel Harrie's Platform Building Campaign!

The rules are to write a short story / flash fiction in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, "The door swung open". These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words, "the door swung shut". (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Alright, you got all that? Well here is my 200 word count entry. Enjoy!

***
Out of the Coldness

The door swung open. Bitter wind fluttered the papers on my desk while it filled the room with the stench of saltwater and death. It swirled around the wick of my oil lamp and assaulted the flickering flame.

Dread grazed my spine as the room flushed with darkness. The coldness was coming.

Shivering, I quickly slammed the door, needing to shut it out before it could get in. I didn’t want it anywhere near me.

I double checked the latch. I always kept it locked, especially up here in the lighthouse.  

With each passing circle of the huge bulb above, it showered the room with the much needed protection of light; then just as quickly doused everything in blackness.  It was the only warning beacon here on the Cape.

My hands shook while trying to re-light the lantern but the flame refused. It wasn’t safe to be left in the dark too long, the coldness would easily find its way in.

Shivering, I opened the door not willing to wait for the safety of the morning sun. But before I could step out I knew that I was already too late. The coldness whirled in and the door swung shut.

***

So there you have it. Feel free to let me know what you thought of it. If you liked it enough to vote, please look for me here and click the "like" button. I'm #107.  :)

©Alynza Smith 2011

53 comments:

  1. Awesome! I just moved to Maine and so could picture this! I'll stay away from the lighthouses... :)

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  2. Thank goodness I just got a cup of hot chocolate! Pulled me right in.

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  3. I love your personification of cold as an entity. Creepy!

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  4. @Rachel! Lighthouses totally creep me out. It was the first thing that I thought of for this.

    @A.B. It was so hard to keep it at 200 words! I had to keep deleting stuff. lol

    @Alleged Thanks! That was the effect I was going for. Glad it worked. :)

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  5. Oh my, made me so sad and cold. This inspires fear...

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  6. This was really good! I got the feeling there was more out there than the cold. Then again, maybe that's just my lure to the paranormal. Excellent job!

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  7. I had chills, feeling like I was in the room with the MC. Great entry. :)

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  8. Hi, Alynza

    I'm one of the judges for this challenge, and I just want to let you know that you have been short-listed to move on to stage two of the competition. Your entry hooked me in and gave me the shivers. Well done!

    There will be a semi-final (stage three) and a final (stage four).

    Best of luck!!

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  9. First, congrats on being short-listed! Woot! Woot! Lighthouses creep me out too and you brought that shiver to graze my spine too! Great story!

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  10. @Jodi Su Oh no! Is that good or bad?

    @Heather There's always more out there than the cold. :)

    @AveryMarsh Thanks, glad I was able to throw you in there with her.

    @Jennifer Groepl Thanks! I'm excited that the story made the short list!

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  11. Hi Amanda!

    Wow how cool is that! Thank you for short-listing me to move on to stage two. Now you've got me nervous. :)

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  12. Ooooh, very nice! I was shivering...

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  13. Wow. All that imagery made me shiver. Off to find my jacket. ;) Well done, fellow campaigner!

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  14. Creepy...love it! The setting is what intrigued me most. Sarah xx

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  15. I could actually feel the bitter wind ... a realistic write ! Congrats on being short-listed !
    You can find my entry at no.#59

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  16. Nice details, Alynza! I had to rub my arms there for a second. Chilling scene. Nice one! :)

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  17. I'm shivering. Nice description and story. I like it.

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  18. This was quite enjoyable as I sit here sweating in L.A. Thanks for the momentary distraction. Mine is #72

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  19. Excellent! I could really picture the assaulted flame, the way the darkness traded places with light with every turn--okay, you said it way better! lol I just mean your imagery was fabulous!

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  20. Oh, and I wanted to add, I love your personal description: Mom by day, sleep deprived writer by night...That is my life too! :)

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  21. @Holly - Thanks! I wasn't so sure if it was overdone or not. :)

    @Cortney - Thanks Cortney! I struggle with balancing writing and being a mom all the time. Of course kids come first but then that means I'm up late. :)

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  22. I really liked the setting. Great story! Mine is #138, and it is also a little creepy creep.

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  23. oooh! I really liked it. I want to know what's going to happen!

    mine is 256

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  24. Wow! Very chilling, thats some amazing imagery!! Great job!

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  25. I like how you used the word 'swirled' in the third sentence (a word usually associated with water) to describe the wind... therefore pairing the two separate elements ;)

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  26. I LOVE this, I'm a lighthouse fanatic & you made it so intriguing! Def wanted to read more! ; )

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  27. Wow! My eyes popped wide at "The coldness is coming." Love the suspense!

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  28. Hi there,

    Fellow campaigner dropping by.

    Love your flash piece, very creepy and great idea to set it in a lighthouse.

    Claire

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  29. Thanks everyone! I appreciate all of you taking the time to come over here and read it. There are so many in the challenge. :)

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  30. Lighthouses are great fodder for this almost gothic tone. I could smell the bitterly salty wind.

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  31. I've always wanted to explore a lighthouse, but after reading your entry, definitely not at night. Great job!

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  32. Enjoyed your flash fiction--it gave me goose bumps. :) Congrats on going to the next level.

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  33. CONGRATS!

    I am a judge of the next section, and you are 1 of the 38 semi-finalists!

    Good luck in the finals :)

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  34. I loved it. I am too late for the contest, but I really enjoyed your story!

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  35. Congrats on being a semi-finalist! :)
    I'm a fellow campaigner and new follower. Nice to meet you!

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  36. @The Desert Rocks - Thanks for reading! Hopefully you'll be able to catch the next challenge. :)

    @Margo - Thanks! It's nice to meet you and I'm glad your a follower. :)

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  37. Alynza,

    As one of the appointed finalist judges, I'm pleased to announce that you are one of the 12 finalists for the first campaign challenge! And you've won a prize!

    Since there were 384 entries, you are in the top 3%.

    Congratulations! :)

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  38. Thanks David! I appreciate the judges who have been diligently reading through all of the entries. I can't imagine how hard it must be to pick which ones will move forward. There are so many talented writers in the contest!

    This whole campaign has been a treasure to find. Thanks for allowing my entry to move forward. :)

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  39. Congratulations!! I am trying so hard to read every one's entry.
    As I sit here in my office reading yours the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. I believe fall is making it's way to Philadelphia..
    I lived in New England and I LOVED the lighthouses...so dark and creepy..great job!

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  40. Hey Alynza, I just wanted to stop by to congratulate you on being a Finalist in my First Campaigner Challenge! Since being given a list of the top 12 entries, I've decided your place (and thus your prize).

    You've come in Eleventh Place out of 384 entries - well done, that's so awesome!!! I really enjoyed reading your entry - your imagery was lovely and dark, and so evocative I actually had to put a jacket on! I don't think I'll ever look at a lighthouse the same way again :D

    Congratulations again - make sure you pop by my blog to see what you've won :)

    Hugs,

    Rach

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  41. This is great. I like that you chose a very different evil than the rest of us. Congrats on your win, too.

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  42. Congratulations - I am going to put on my slippers now. Brrrrr!

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