Wow! The FaBo stories took directions I wasn’t expecting this time. Some were funny, one rocketed into sci-fi and one in particular featured a strange boy who barely said a word. He didn’t need to speak – he gave me the shivers just by what he did.
Some of you wrote something that wasn’t connected to the story starter. Some were only a few lines and needed a bit more to be a full story, and some needed to be checked for grammar and spelling, but on the whole, you did a great job. The stories I liked most were the ones with vivid descriptions of characters and places (Will), with realistic conversations between characters (Ava and Tashya) and a well-rounded story (Peyton). I liked the pace in Reuben and Kyle’s stories, and I loved the thoughts and fears of the main character in Amelia’s story. There were also some wonderful ideas – riddles (Helena), a magic notepad and pencil (Amanda), and codes (Madeleine).
Peyton Morete described the characters so well that I could see them. I ran downstairs and slung my backpack over my shoulder. Chloe had her pink miniskirt on and her purple tank top. Her sassy queen bag lay on her converses.
And then Peyton gave the story an interesting twist. Keegan and Chloe’s mum got changed and walked down the stairs, wearing a red dress and hair spiraled down in curls – just like the miniature wax figure in the front seat of the yellow VW.
The dad in Will Isaac’s story had died in a tragic car accident and the kids missed him terribly. It was a great idea, and Will did well to capture the sadness in the detailed memories about Keegan and Chloe’s dad. “… dark brown eyes, all-time favourite yellow suit (it was incredibly ghastly but I didn’t want to tell him that), his blue tie with cars on, and his incredibly polished R.M. Williams boots.”
I loved the detail. It made his dad come alive in my mind.
A good story becomes bigger when characters want something badly and they have to struggle to get it. That’s often what motivates them to do something extraordinary. It also needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes you find a great story by starting with your main idea and asking questions, such as “What happened to their dad on that tragic day of the accident?” Perhaps the items in the box were clues to what really happened to their father. What if there was a sinister element to his car accident? Or perhaps their mum lied about it? Why would she lie? Finding that out could spark off the rest of the story, with Keegan and Chloe going back in time to prevent it happening.
In a good thriller, the stakes need to be high.
It was difficult to choose a winner this week, because so many of you did something well. In the end my shortlist was Ava, Amelia and Peyton, because you all wrote well and you had a beginning, middle and end. Amelia, your story had a mood and tension that no other story had. It was like we were listening to your character’s thoughts and fears, and it was beautifully done. “I heard a bang in the middle of the night and in the morning my red headed friend randy was gone. There was no box or sign or note just the shoes of randy.”
It was a tough decision, but the prize this week is going to Peyton Morete of Te Horo School, for a well-balanced story with good pace and unexpected twists and turns. Congratulations, Peyton, and thanks to everyone for writing such entertaining stories for us to read. Email me your postal address, Peyton, so I can put your prize in the post.
Kathy’s Story Starter
The doorbell rang.
Mum groaned, nearly stabbing herself in the eye with her mascara. ‘Why does it always ring when I’m in a hurry? Can you answer that, Keegan? I haven’t cleaned my teeth yet.’ She breathed into her hand. ‘Good gracious, I smell like a gorilla’s armpit.’
Keegan sighed and slid off his bar stool, vegemite on toast in one hand, and a Go Pro attached to his head. He had been filming all weekend for a school project called ‘BSI: A scientific investigation into boredom, during which he had fallen asleep in his food twice. He could have drowned in his bolognaise or got a bit of corn stuck up his nose. But did anyone care? No. His sister Chloe muttered ‘Gross’ like she’d swallowed a snail, and continued doing inane snapchats with her friend Marty. And his mother? Well, his mother did what she always did.
‘Have you tidied your room yet, Keegan? There’s a good boy.’
She was so busy these days, she wouldn’t notice if he died and rotted on the carpet. She would step over his fly-infested corpse in the hallway and moan that he was always leaving stuff around. Keegan sighed deeply and opened the door.
Standing on the doorstep was a man in a red-and-yellow uniform. He grinned widely and thrust a rectangular box into Keegan’s hands. ‘Special delivery for K Bennet,’ he said, handing Keegan a clipboard and pen. ‘Sign here.’
Keegan put a vegemite fingerprint and a squiggle on the dotted line. He couldn’t stop looking at the strange aquamarine eye printed on the box lid.
‘Enjoy,’ the man winked. ‘Oh, and happy birthday.’
Keegan frowned. ‘My birthday’s in January ….’
Chloe poked him from behind. ‘What is it?’
He shrugged and lifted the lid.
Buried under the tissue was a small yellow car (a VW), a wooden cat with a long neck, and a notepad and tiny pencil.
‘What the …?’
Chloe snatched the card out of the box and read. ‘Happy birthday. We’re going back. We have to change the world, Keegan. We have no choice. P.S. Don’t forget the chocolate.’ Chloe looked up. ‘You have some weird friends, dude.’
‘Not half as weird as this,’ Keegan said, lifting the little yellow car into the air. There in the back seat were miniatures of Keegan and Chloe. And driving the car was ….
Peyton’s Winning Story
Mum. She was wearing her red skinny dress and her hair spiralled down in curls. She looked amazing, her makeup made her features stand out. She didn’t look like herself, she looked like a… a goddess.
“Kids, I am just quickly changing. This outfit is too ick. Please get ready so we can leave.” Mum yelled from upstairs.
Geez, she was so messy these days, what was I to do.
“Keegan, clean your room up now.”
I groan, my go pro bobbing on my head as I bounced up the stairs.
After I had chucked everything into the wardrobe, I ran downstairs and slung my backpack over my shoulder. Chloe had her pink miniskirt on and her purple tank top. Her sassy queen bag lay on her converses.
I groaned, “Mum! Hurry up!”
“Just a minute!”
Normally that meant she was going to change her appearance again but who knew. But this time we heard her clattering down the stairs.
When she came around the corner, I nearly choked. What the…
She wore the red skinny dress and her hair was spiralled. This couldn’t be happening.
Chloe had obviously noticed, “Isn’t that like your toy car, K?”
“Hmm?” Mum asked as she reached over to get her purse.
“Oh yeah, I got this present for my birthday. You are wearing exactly the same clothes. It is weird”
Mum smiled at me and started to hum. This was weird.
She pats my shoulder and whispers in my ear.
“Go get in the car please.”
I groan, “Fine.”
I wander out to the car and strap myself in. Life was cruel.
I look at the car and look at Chloe, she is wearing a pink miniskirt…. Oh my god. What the hell.
I quickly zoom my eyes at my little wax body and see myself wearing the jeans and shirt I was wearing now.
This is weird, then I realised. Our car was yellow…
What. The. Hell.
I close my eyes and hear Mum and Chloe enter.
When we start to drive, I start playing with the car. Racing it along the seat, dodging the rocks that were spilled on the VW seats.
It was actually kind of fun to be back in my childhood memories. Then I made the car hit a big rock, denting the front of the car and smashing up Chloe and Mum.
Suddenly the car screeches and I see a massive boulder on the road, we swerve but hit it. The car groaning and grumbling.
Then I realise before I black out. The note said we had to go back, We have to change the world, we don’t have any choice. I did go back to playing with this car. The world has changed because I don’t have a mum anymore. I don’t have anyone. There was no choice. This was always destined to happen. I blame whoever sent this. It was them! Or was it me…