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, March 5, 2012

Salt of the Earth / 2nd Campaigner Challenge

All I can say is WOW. This new challenge of Rachael's has definitely been the most difficult. I gave a bash at it but didn't do all of them. I chose #2, the 200 word short story/flash fiction based on all the prompts and #4, a poem using five sentences based on the prompts.  To view the rules and prompts, they are at the bottom of this post. 

My entries are:

# 2. (200 word flash fiction piece using all the prompts)

Salt of the Earth

They have our son.

Those words echoed over and over as my soul shattered piece by piece. I held my breath as Jacob and I searched up and down the beach, flipping over trash and debris. Maybe he was just hiding. I noticed children scavenging through garbage. Was he with them?

Jacob motioned before lunging into the water and splashed around like a madman. He caught Isaac’s red coat. It was drenched with sand and poisonous salt, but still, no Isaac. I couldn’t go anywhere near it, if the salt were to contaminate the deep gash on my leg, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

My throat tightened. The ball Isaac found should have been my first clue. If only I had said no to the rare toy. They must have used it to lure him away. The Salt Spinners always took the healthy children.

Sobs erupted from my throat as I sat beneath the rusted bridge. Jacob returned, his wet hair full of salt and his eyes bursting with rage.

“I still have the Salt Spinner’s Pear, I can get to Isaac.” With a single toxic bite, Jacob burst into golden molecules.

Before I could stop him, he was gone.

#4. (Poem in five sentences, each based on the prompts)

They sit beneath the bridge in complete despair,
     pondering the game of life and how it’s so unfair.

They watch their only child run with such glee,
     for even he can’t understand such deep misery.

Even the pears were once fresh with life,
     but are now so toxic and kill quicker than a knife.

Even the other children live on the lethal shore
     with nothing to eat and no one to love them at all anymore.

But if one were to actually eat a Salt Spinner’s Pear,
     would it really kill him or send him from here to there?

If you liked it enough to vote, please "like" me by clicking HERE. (this is a direct link, only click once because this page will stay the same)

To go to the Linky List page and view all of the votes and entries, please go HERE. (I'm #36)

The rules are:

1.  Write a pitch / logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
      I am sooo not good at these. I attempted, but scratched it. I'll have to do without. :)

2.  Write a short story / flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts

3.  Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
     Haha! I'm only good for about one poem per challenge.

4.  Write a story / poem in five sentences, each sentences based on one of the prompts
     Check! (or at least my puny attempt at a poem)

5.  Write a poem / flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words "pear", "spoon", or "droplet"
     Umm, nope, couldn't get this one right either.

For added difficulty / challenge:

1.  Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme
     I tried but no luck :( Although my two have a common theme. Bonus points?

2.  Write in a genre that is not your own
     Dystopian feel is definitely not my cup of tea. I like reading it, just not good at writing it.

3.  Ask Challenge Entrants to critique your writing.
     Okey dokey. Have at it my fellow campaigners! Just remember, it's choppy due to the word count limit. 
     Otherwise, have at it!

The prompts are:

Prompt 1: Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person's leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2

Prompt 3

Prompt 4

Prompt 5
©Alynza Smith 2012


  1. This is a heart-wrenching and intriguing story. I'm curious to learn more about the Salt Spinners, and I hope Isaac is found! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think they go to "There" but I want to know more. Love the salt spinners, and hope that they actually spin like Whirling Dervishes while they make their pears.

    Okay, critique time. I don't know if the rhythm created by the repeated words in the first line of your story work. It makes me hear a weary voice in my head, not the breathless one I think you were going for. And the "sobs erupted from my throat" is an example of one of my own hated writing habits: giving the action to the throat rather than the person. I know why you do this, as it is the same thing I often do, you want us to focus on the sob, as if it is a closeup... but it reads like she is not in control of her throat, especially in first person.

    It sounds like I am being harsh, but I actually really liked your entries. The poem was brilliant.

  3. Thanks T.B. Not harsh at all. I see what you mean about giving action to the person. *smacks forehead* Makes complete sense to me and I think I do this more times than not.

    I appreciate you even taking the time to critique it. I love any help I can get. :)

  4. Great job! I really like the mystery revolving around the Salt Spinners.

  5. Wowzers! Great job. Love the poem a lot.

  6. Love the idea of salt spinners and I want to know if he can come back after eating the pear? Gah, what happened? The only thing that stuck out to me was this "searched up and down the beach, flipping over trash and debris. Maybe he was just hiding" Trash and debris feels small to me, not big enough for a child to hide in. But I completely understand the word limits and not having enough space to describe anything. One of my pieces was 300 words and I had to cut a third of it. Gah.

    1. lol, totally see about the hiding in trash & debris. I guess I pictured in my head more than just a little bit of litter. I cut out so much of the descriptions! So hard to whittle these things down. :)

  7. Excellent job of using all of the prompts for an orignial story. I liked it.

  8. Great story and the poem was wonderful.

  9. Excellent story. You did a lot with 200 words!
    Melissa Maygrove #14

  10. I like the story and poem both.. it's rare to find someone who can do both equally well. Very nice.

    Kevin, (#19)

  11. exciting & different! great job!
    you made it to stage 2!

  12. Even though you state you don't do dystopian, this story is well done. I liked it. :)

  13. It didn't feel choppy, it was well developed with lots of interesting elements. Your first line hooked me. I want to know if Jacob can bring Isaac back or if they are both goners. You could definitely do a lot more with this. Nice poem too!

  14. I really enjoyed reading this story! I thought the pace was great, I was engaged and wanted more! The poem was good too!

  15. I really enjoyed this. Her pain is plain in this and I am interested in the salt pear.

  16. Your strength is definitely conveying emotion - I can feel the angst and sheer terror of losing a child. Good job!

  17. Truly enjoyed your unique take on the prompts. Awesome work! :)

  18. Great job!! I hope Jacob made it out with Isaac!!

  19. Oooh, I'm very intrigued by these Salt Spinners and especially the Salt Spinner’s Pear. I can definitely see this being developed into a longer piece.

  20. Oooh, I have to know... do they get their son back? Great job. Very intriguing and get sense of emotions.

  21. Wow, you've done an amazing job here - hooking the reader, showing us so much and yet posing so many questions in so few words. Well done!

  22. Your flash fic leaves me with so many questions! I'd like to know more. But it was a great read. :)


  23. Well done!

    Congratulations, you've been shortlisted to move onto the Finals.

  24. Gosh congrats on moving to the finals. Well done. I've given you the Sunshine Award over on my blog :)

  25. Nicely done. Hope your month has been great. Are you doing the a to z challenge in April?

  26. Alynza, this was so moving, and an intriguing use of the prompts as well! Congratulations - I've awarded you sixth place in the Judging Round! Make sure you check out my post to see the cool prizes you've won :)

    Congrats again!



  27. Hey,

    Just saw you came in third place over at Rach's Second Challenge...

    NICE ONE!!!!

    Well done you, I am well impressed (even though I knew you made the finals, but couldn't share :)~

    Use this as a jumping point and all the very best... keep going with your big, bad writer self, you :)

  28. These are great! Well done! :)

    I've left an award for you on my blog, btw. Come check it out! vickiorians.blogspot.com

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