Saturday, May 11, 2013

Can You Keep A Secret?

Yes, I know this is the second post of the day (and be sure to read the one below this) but I just had to tell you all something!

I'm writing another book! :D But not just any old book. I'm writing this one with my best friend Kirsten and her sister Avery. This will be one of the first books I've written with other people. It's called Can You Keep A Secret? What's it about? Read on.

Our Lovely Book Cover

Indie Snow, Amber Jones, and Kaitlyn Wate are the best of friends. They're all fourteen, they all go to Willow High, and they all have a secret of their own. One that they haven't told anyone.

In Willow High, secrets are treasure. Secrets get passed around the high school faster than wildfire. Sometimes the secrets even trickle down into the middle school. Indie, Amber, and Kaitlyn have heard the most dangerous and the most wild of secrets, but none of them will ever have the same effect that their secrets will have.

Can you keep a secret?

Kirsten, Avery, and I all created a character for the story. There are three different points of view, so we switch off every chapter. My character is Indie Snow. I got to start off the story and I am sooooo excited to see the finished project!

Want to see the first chapter?


          "Can you keep a secret?"

          The five most feared and highly anticipated words in Willow High, where secrets are treasure.

          If you say no, it either means you're a freak, you're too popular for such petty nonsense, or you're too scared of what you'll hear.

          If you say yes, it means you're either so desperate to be in with the popular group you'll do or say anything, or you'll listen and try your best not to blab, though everyone does at some point.

          It also means that you're ready to brave the unknown.

          I have a secret. No one knows what it is. Not even my best friends, Amber and Kaitlyn. Not even my family, though I think they suspect that something's up. I've told them I don't have a secret. They said they believed me, though I don't think they do. I'm sure they have secrets of their own, too. They just haven't told them yet.

          It's not a deadly secret. Just a crazy one. No one would believe me if I told everyone what it was, anyway. I wouldn't be any worse than Holly Barrow, who said she had kissed Liam Michaels, who is the cutest, most athletic, buff, and most popular boy in junior high. He's in tenth grade at fifteen-years-old, and totally out of Holly's league. Liam is on the football team and dates ditzy cheerleaders that have big hair and no brains. Holly is a Mathlete and wears Harry Potter glasses.

          I've heard deadly secrets before. One secret got passed around so many times, no one knew who it was about anymore. All anyone knows now is that someone's brother had murdered somebody. Rumor has it he had killed his girlfriend for cheating on him. For months after the secret was told, everyone jumped if someone tapped them on the shoulder. Girls shot suspicious looks at their boyfriends. No one walked home alone. (Enter names here) and I slept over at my house nearly every night, including weekends. My dog Sprout--a large, German shepherd who barked at every noise he heard--made us all feel safe. Nobody calmed down until everyone heard another secret, one about the murderer getting caught and going to jail.

          No, my secret's just crazy. Sometimes I don't believe it myself. It's like a recurring dream that haunts me with each passing day. I try not to think about it, and most of the time I'm able to shake it off for a few hours. But after the lights are out and moonlight comes streaming in through my windows, I remember everything all over again.

          "What up, Indie Snow?" It's Kaitlyn Wate, the spaz of our trio. Kaitlyn is a tiny thing, at 4'9" and 98 pounds. I often feel like a giant when I'm next to her. Her head looks too big for her body, but her large hazel eyes take care of that, along with her long, straight, strawberry blonde hair. She gets more attention than Amber and I do, but that might be because she's so much louder than us. She's wearing a tank top today, yellow, as usual. If it's not yellow, it's white. If it's not white, it's yellow. Kaitlyn's predictable that way. She has a cute pair of bright purple shorts on with pink polka dots. She's wearing black leggings underneath. Complete that image with a pair of boots, her hair in a long ponytail that bobs up and down, and a little bit of makeup and you have Kaitlyn Wate, age fourteen.

          As for me, I'm a bit calmer in the stuff I wear. Actually, I'm a bit calmer, period. Today I had on my square glasses (of course), jeans, a pair of gray, Converse knock-offs, and a T-shirt that said, "Misuse of the word literally makes me figuratively insane."

          Now you might think I'm a nerd, but I'm really not. I'm just a grammar nerd. I read, I write poetry, and I get straight A's in English. Other than that and the D's and C's I get in math--no matter how hard I study--I'm the middle of the middle. I'm not too smart, not too dumb, not too skinny at 123 pounds, not too fat, not too short at 5'4", not too tall, not too athletic, not a couch potato, not too popular, not a freak. I'm recognized by most everyone in the ninth grade, but not because I'm loud like Kaitlyn or a geek like Holly, but because I'm just Indie. I'm not trying to be someone I'm not.

          "Hey, Kaitlyn," I say. I fiddle with the combination lock on my locker. "Amber around?"

          "Haven't seen her." Kaitlyn twirls a loose piece of hair around her finger. "Saw Holly, though."

          Kaitlyn rolls her eyes.

          "Another one?" I groan. "You'd think she'd quit by now."

          "Nope." Kaitlyn gives a loud sigh. "This time its Taylor Matthews."

          I laugh and shake my head a little. Taylor Matthews was Liam Michaels's best friend.

          "Taylor Matthews wouldn't let her come within ten feet him, much less let her kiss him."

          Kaitlyn shrugs.

          "Hey, it's more believable than saying his brother kissed her first."

          "We're way too young to be kissing boys," I say. "We should wait at least another two years."

          Kaitlyn smiles and tucks the strand of loose hair behind her ear.

          "I've kissed a boy," she says in a sing-song voice.

          This time I roll my eyes.

          "I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it again, kissing a poster of Adam Levine does not count as kissing a boy."

          "Oh, you spoil all of my fun." Kaitlyn shoves my shoulder playfully. "At least I'm not kissing my poster of Demi Lovato."

          "Eww!" I say. Kaitlyn just laughs and bursts into song, singing "Skyscraper" so loud that people turn to stare.

          "Move it." I push Kaitlyn down the hallway. "We're going to be late for English."

          "And we know what you'll do if we make you late."

          Amber catches up to us and walks by my side.

          "Yeah," I say. "I'll pound you both to a pulp."

          Amber Jones looks as different from Kaitlyn as I do, if not even more so. She has long brown hair with curly ends, eyes the color of dark chocolate, and is wearing black Converse, skinny jeans, a plain, blue T-shirt, and the locket from her mom with a picture of the two of them inside. She wears if every day, all the time, and only takes it off when she's going to get wet or super dirty. She's super close to her mom, Maria Jones. Amber's 5' exactly, and 105 lbs.

          "We wouldn't want to miss the 'announcing of the winners.'" Amber says these last words with the air of a king making a grand speech.

          "Yeah, but we both know that Indie's gonna get first." Kaitlyn winks at me.

          "No," I mumble, my cheeks heating. "We don't know that. Emily Grace told me that Olivia Carmen's poem was about her cat's death. Emily said it made her cry."

          "Hoooo boy." Kaitlyn sucks in a big breath of air. Our English teacher, Mrs. Meyers, told us every class that if we were to impress her with our writing, we need to make her feel something powerful, whether you were making her feel inspired, elated, or depressed. She said a writer's hardest job is to fill their readers with tears of either sadness or joy.

          "But your poem about Sprout was really sweet, too," Amber said, placing her hand on my shoulder. "I loved how you used the word 'frolicking.' That's such a fun word!"

          Kaitlyn immediately began to chant, "Frolicking, frolicking, frolicking."

          I hit her on her arm. Kaitlyn says, "Ow!" and laughs.

          We dart into the English classroom just as Mrs. Meyers takes out a piece of paper.

          "You're just in time girls," she says, beaming at us. "Sit down. We're about to announce the winners of the poetry contest."

          I sit in the middle of Amber and Kaitlyn, holding my breath. The first place winner of the poetry contest not only received admiration from the rest of their peers, but also got an automatic A that counted for twenty percent of their overall English grade.

          "You're so going to win!" Kaitlyn whispers from my left.

          "There's zero competition," Amber says from my right. "Our poems sucked!"

          The whole classroom sounds like a beehive. The buzz and whispers of the classmates wishing each other good luck surrounds me with such ferocity, my stomach feels like its closing in on itself. My heart is pounding two times faster and harder than usual. Amber and Kaitlyn squeeze my arms.

          Mrs. Meyers clears her throat. It's loud, but not loud enough. She does it again, but everyone ignores her. My hands are shaking.

          "Class dismissed!" she finally shouts. Everyone stops talking and looks up, confused.

          "I know how hard it is for you all to refrain from chit-chatting," she says. "But we need to get on with this."

          An eerie silence falls over the classroom. Someone drops a pencil. No one laughs, like everyone usually does.

          Mrs. Meyers clears her throat one more time and looks down at the list of winners.

          "Third place goes to Payton Hayes."

          The class applauds as Payton gets up from his desk to receive his printed and framed poem. He tries hard to hide his smile as he hangs his poem up on the wall. It's titled "Homeless Man" and is about a man he saw on the streets of New York, which is only two or three hours away from Willow High in Pennsylvania. Payton's buddies slap him on the back and congratulate him as he sits back down.

          "Second place goes to Olivia Carmen."

          Emily's squeal is so high-pitched, we can hear it over the smattering of applause. Olivia leaps up from her desk as if she sat on a pin. Her face is paper white but she grinning from ear to ear. Mrs. Meyers whispers a congratulation and hands Olivia her poem. Olivia hangs it up next to Payton's. Her poem is called "Tiger." Emily had been right, it was about Olivia's cat's death. I see a tear trickle down Olivia's cheek. She wipes it away hurriedly. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed.

          "Told you!" Kaitlyn hisses. I shush her.

          "We don't know I won yet!"

          "First place goes to . . ." Mrs. Meyers pauses with a smile for dramatic affect. Kaitlyn and Amber grab my hands as if they're watching a scary movie and need someone to hold on to.

          "Indie Snow!"

          "Now we know!" Amber says as I get up slowly from my desk. The applause makes my ears ring. Mrs. Meyers hands me my poem and says, "Congratulations. Your poem was spectacular!" My hands are still shaking and for a minute I'm scared I'm going to drop the frame. I hang the poem up next to Olivia's and stare at it. The title is "The Meadow" and is about Sprout running through a meadow filled with flowers.

The  Meadow

by Indie Snow

Floppy brown ears,

Eyes filled with joy.

There's nothing more he'd rather do

Than play with his toy.



And dandelions yellow.

My big scary guard dog is happy and mellow.

Frolicking through the meadow so green,

Makes me forget about people so mean.

I grab his favorite ball and it's hurled.

Sprout runs through the grass without a care in the world.

We roll around under the midday sun.

We are happy and content.

My work here is done.

          I beam with pride and spend the rest of the day walking on cloud nine.

Thoughts? Leave a comment! :D


Karoline Kingley said...

Wow! You totally hooked me! I don't know how old your friends are that are helping you write this book but YOU definitely write with skill beyond your years. The writing is smooth and the concept is gripping. My only advice would be to maybe include a tiny bit less physical description of the characters. They all sound so interesting that the first girl for example, was amply described by her kooky and bold clothes. Keep it up!

The Magic Violinist said...

Thanks, Karoline! :D I'll keep that in mind when we work on editing the story.

Kirsten is 13 (she's only five months older than me) and Avery is 11 (she's turning 12 in July). When I first met them, they weren't that interested in reading OR writing at all! Now they're in the middle of writing two or three books (each!) and read at every chance they get.

Bethy said...

Wow! I love it!! :) You're writing style is really good! :)

The Magic Violinist said...

Thanks, Bethy! :D

Boquinha said...

Intriguing! I'm so glad you didn't give away the secrets right away - make us readers curious and hungry to find out.

I agree with Karoline - do more showing and less telling. Also, thank you for not introducing too many characters all at once. I really don't like that in books. It's too much to take in and doesn't help reading be pleasurable . . . and reading ought to be pleasurable!

I like the concept and I love stories told from multiple perspectives. For a home schooled girl, you sure do a good job describing regular school!

I have to admit, I'm excited to read a non-fantasy, non-post-apocolyptic story by you (and your friends)! So far, so good!

The Magic Violinist said...

I've read enough books to get the general idea about public school. ;) Though it would be great if I could experience it sometime (but only for a week or so).

Ha ha, this book is actually going to be fantasy at some point. ;) I probably should've mentioned that in the post.

Dr. Mark said...

Great first chapter! I'll echo the suggestions from everyone else--I don't have any fresh ones for you. But fantasy? Again? What would happen if you didn't go the fantasy route? ;)

In the end, write the story that wants to be told, whatever the genre. I'm excited to read more!

The Magic Violinist said...

Ha ha. ;) "Cosmo" isn't fantasy, and that's going pretty well! :D I guess we'll have to see how this book turns out. If the fantasy isn't really flowing with the book, we might just ditch it. ;P