Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy Week 3



Hi Everyone!

This is the 3rd week of analyzing the Fall Writing Frenzy winners’ work from 2020! It’s been absolutely amazing diving in deeper with you and learning about the inspiration of the writers too! If you missed the first two weeks, check out the 1st week analysis here and the 2nd week here!

Before we dive in today, tomorrow is American Thanksgiving, and I hope you enjoy the company (virtual company is still company, my friends) of your family and friends and also reflect on what you’re thankful for and also what Thanksgiving really is about. Here’s an article that I really appreciated that shares the true nature of what happened: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2020/11/23/plymouth-400-mayflower-first-thanksgiving-pilgrims-wampanoag-massasoit/6343621002/

And now the basics of the analysis for the Fall Writing Frenzy winners:

Every week I will try my best to share 5-8 pieces from the Fall Writing Frenzy Winners that have something similar, a theme, if you will. (Figurative gold star if you get the theme in your comment ;))

Please use the comments to share what you think is working for the pieces and why, and you even what you think can be improved if you notice anything. Then you can respond to each other’s comments and of course come back to the blog on Fridays for interviews and giveaways!

Please make sure to be constructive.

We want to learn and grow together in a safe environment.

For example, if you think a piece was rambling (something I often do lol) please don’t say, “They’re rambling forever, can’t they just stop?” Try, “It seems to be a bit on the wordy side, maybe consider cutting out certain parts.”

Thanks for joining in the conversation!

Now off we go!



No Turning Back
By Colleen Murphy
https://celticsea.wordpress.com/2020/10/01/no-turning-back/
@murphyrhymer

Three autumns ago on a Halloween night
with the moon barely sharing a sliver of light,
young Templeton stalked through the neighborhood streets
in his Lucifer costume, no bag for his treats.
As Templeton strutted down Rookery Road
the children all acted as if he’d explode
which made him walk taller and narrow his gaze.
He determined his targets: the pumpkin displays.
He started with house number one fifty-four
where six of his marks lit a path to the door.
Undaunted by witnesses standing around
he picked up and hurled every gourd to the ground.
With subsequent smashings his smile grew slyer.
Every home he hit after increased his desire.
He ravaged his way to house one ninety-eight
where a brittle old woman stood guarding her gate.
She constantly petted the pumpkin she held.
From its openings lavender gasses expelled.
But Templeton’s focus stayed fixed on the prize.
If only he’d heeded the gatekeeper’s cries.
Her cautions of Karma rejected, instead –
he wore what she’d held in her hands on his head!
As he pushed and he pulled the woman said, “Son,*
once punishment’s meted, it’s never undone.”



Among the Trees
By Lisa Lowe Stauffer
http://lisalowestauffer.com/fallwritingfrenzy
@LisaLStauffer

Among the trees one misty day,
Ten of us went out to play. . .
One got spooked and ran away.

Nine of us played hide and seek:
One disappeared, without a shriek.

Eight of us played leap-the-stump . . .
The last in line—just a thump!

Seven raced from here to there.
One got lost (we don’t know where).

Six of us played old Red Rover.
One—poof!—vanished when he came over.

Five of us played toss-a-stick . . .
One absconded, double-quick.

Four of us climbed up a tree.
One went missing . . . then there were three.

Three of us sat down to chat,
Fog rolled in—one was gone like that!

Two of us hurried to leave.
One made it home for Halloween Eve.

One dressed up for trick-or-treat,

And found the rest—
down the street!



BACKWARD
By Ashlee Hashman
@AshleeHashman

Backward.

It’s how the nightmare always ends.

A bone-gray station wagon creeping down our gravel driveway.

Backward.

The shadow of a hooded figure peering over its shoulder. I’m seen.

I awake in a pool of sweat, clutching my blanket like a child’s last promise of safety.

Just a dream.

But I have to pull back the curtains and check anyway.

Relief. Autumn leaves crinkle against the gravel. The gnarled hickory lashes out a branch toward my window. But no creeping car.

I laugh. It appears the universe is trying to frighten me tonight.

I turn to climb back under my blanket, but a sharp flash of light reflects off the wallpaper in front of me.

I flinch, heart kicked into overdrive.

Surely just the neighbor heading home. I can’t stop myself from checking.

The hickory’s hateful branch obscures my view, but there’s no mistaking the crimson glow.

My heart drops to the clammy hardwood. I clamp my eyes shut and shiver. It can’t be.

Adrenaline compels me to open my eyes.

Peeling open an eyelid, my mind’s having trouble comprehending.

Like the breath of the Reaper, a dusky station wagon emerges from the dust.

Backward.

He’s here.


The Red Spark
By Jakki Licare
https://writinginthefields.blogspot.com/2020/10/fall-writing-frenzy-contest.html
@j_licare

My little sister holds the bright, red leaf up to her eye. “One more time. Please.”
“I shouldn’t have done it before,” I say, pulling her down the path.
Her lip quivers, making my resolve disintegrate. I really shouldn’t. If I’m found out they’d take me away, but it’s nice to share my magic with someone who isn’t afraid.
I check around and the path is clear. “Last time.”
Her wide smile is so warm, it wraps me up like a woolen scarf. I concentrate on the leaf’s flame-red color and it begins to sizzle. Its tips curl as the smoke mixes in with our steamy breath. Until pop, a spark flies into the air, then another and another. Crackling sounds silence the chattering squirrels and the glowing flecks hover like stars come down to earth.
I send the red sparks to dance around my sister and her giggles fill the crisp air. She chases the sparks as if they were fireflies. Flinging them into the sky, we ooh and awe as they explode like fireworks. All the red sparks fade away, except one. In the distance, the red glow of a cigarette smolders as someone watches us.


Star Seed
By Kelly Jensen
@kellyjensen59

The breath leaving my lips crystalized in the cold air, as the sound of my feet hitting the hardened earth matched the drumming of my beating heart. Faster, I commanded as the tempo increased in response.

Deep blue sky was melting into the grey of twilight. The light betwixt thin tree trunks dissipated into the encroaching fog, signaling the coming of night.

The Shadow’s danger increased in the darkness, cloaked with invisibility. He would soon be upon me, and there would be no hope for my anguished soul then.

I forced my burning lungs to inhale. I urged my legs to carry me forward through the wretched woods, the stolen star pulsating in my pocket— an unfortunate beacon of light.

An owl shrieked in warning. The wind whispered “make haste child,” while the earth beneath me shook, thunder-like, as he gained ground.

Hot breath warmed my neck as the distance between us closed. Whipping around, I wrenched the star from my pocket and held her outright- her light singeing The Shadow’s ethereal skin.

At the forest’s edge was a lone cliffside with thick blackness below. I had no choice. The star screamed as I leaped into the great abyss.


HUNGRY WOLF
By Melissa Trempe
https://melissatrempe.weebly.com/blog-posts.html
@Melissa_Trempe

The November wind ruffled Wolf’s fur.
His belly grumbled.

His favorite holiday feast was a week away, and this cunning wolf had a trick up his sleeve.
Each night under the moon, he planned the guest list and plotted the perfect menu.

Monday
One fluffy faun. [Writes in notebook.]

Tuesday
Two tender porcupines.

Wednesday
Three sweet squirrels.

Thursday
Four marvelous mice.

Friday
Five fantastic bunnies.

Saturday arrived.
“Time to execute my plan!”
He collected everything he needed for his trap…
Leaves for faun.
Wildflowers for porcupines.
Acorns for squirrels.
[The pile of food he carries grows precariously higher.]
Cheese for mice.
And carrots for bunnies!

On Sunday, that sly wolf laid everything out.
He slunk behind a thorn bush to hide.
“Their noses will lead them straight to me!” Wolf chuckled.

A twig snapped… His mouth watered.
A leaf rustled… His claws quivered.

Just as planned,
the animals tiptoed into the clearing
one
by
one.

“HOOOOWWLLLL!” [Leaps out!]

“SURPRISE! Happy Friendsgiving!”
“Wolf! You scared us half to death!” his friends gasped.

After many laughs and happy greetings,
they gratefully shared a vegetarian feast with their best friend Wolf…

Who sunk his fangs into ten delicious bean-burgers.


Lost in the Woods
By Jolene Gutiérrez
https://www.jolenegutierrez.com/p/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html
@writerjolene

Twigs snap under my feet. I’ve been running for so long.

I’m surrounded by trees, wrapped in mist. Will I ever see the sunlight again?

My heart races, and I stop, hands laced behind my head, opening my lungs to let air in.

I stand in a clearing. The view is the same from every angle: forest. The trees are dark, skeletal. I am one of them.

Leaves rustle off to my right, and I’m running again. I think I can smell him. My heart pounds.

My parents gave me a whistle when I was little and told me to blow it if I ever found myself lost in the woods. It’s still on a chain around my neck, tucked under my shirt and warmed by my skin. My feet hit the ground: thud, thud. I’m getting tired. I don’t know how much more I can run. I pull on the chain, free the whistle from under my shirt, put it to my lips, and blow.

The sound is thin and high, like a distant scream. The forest shifts.

Others surround me. Together, we sniff, catching the scent of fear on the wind. Together, we run, a pack hunting prey.



The Lonely Road
By Kara Sibilia
@karasibilia

Ashbury Lane—I know it well. Our road. We drove on it every day—school, work, Walmart—it led us out into the world, until the one night that it didn’t.

Every autumn, when the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, this road takes on a different meaning. I see fog rising from the asphalt, cradling the falling leaves, and think of you…and that night.

You asked me not to go, pleaded, cried, screamed. But me, stubborn as ever, said everything would be fine. It wasn’t. Now, once a year, you visit our road, see the makeshift shrine gone shabby over time—neglected symbols of remembrance, signs of someone loved gone too soon.

You say that you know it’s time to move on—I catch the tremble in your voice. You wonder if I can hear you, see you…I can. I try showing you that I’m here; through the gently rustling leaves I whisper your name. But you don’t hear, and then you leave me. Alone. Regretting my choice that you now live with…on this road that I will haunt forever.


Thank you all for joining us for the Week 3 Analysis of the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy winners by sharing in the comments. I’m looking forward to learning and growing with you! Please remember to share on Twitter and come back next week for more analysis!

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

PS. If you haven’t heard about our free Kidlit Holiday Dance Party, check it out and we hope you join us!

64 thoughts on “Analysis Fall Writing Frenzy Week 3

        1. I am anxious to see what she thinks of my manuscript. She was gracious and generous in her willingness to critique a poetry COLLECTION! (I did offer her a choice of a 350-word story or the 1,100-word collection.) I am most appreciative of this opportunity!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. This year we read History Smashers: The Mayflower by Kate Messner (definitely recommend for helping children understand the reality of the first Thanksgiving). These are all such powerful stories. No Turning Back has a splendid rhythm and I can’t help but cheer on the old woman at the end with a “dern tootin’!” I adore Among the Tree’s approach with the build up of wondering where all the children have gone! ::gasp!:: Only to find they’ve simply gone home to ready for trick or treating. Perfect for a younger audience. Backward was particularly haunting. Mainly because of the reality of it. Comparing the station wagon rolling up to the breath of the Reaper cinched it for me. Similarly, The Red Spark glowed with it’s magic and I was transported to this fantasy, until reality hits with the smoldering cigarette. Star Seed kept me on the edge of my seat and at the end—they jump?! But my favorite part was “unfortunate beacon of light.” Hungry Wolf throws expectations out the window. It builds up and up and we’re all ready for the unfavorable outcome, and then we’re surprised with a happy ending. Lost in the Woods has such a lovely twist. I start out fearing for the character, everything in my mind screams someone help them! Only to find out that they are hunter not hunted. The Lonely Road gave me such shivers. I love a good melancholic haunting tale, and this delivered. Once again, it’s easy to see why these stories really shined. Well done all of you fantastic writers!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hahaha YES! I loved the woman at the end of No Turning Back too, one of my favorite endings and love your dern tooting ha! And I totally agree the twist happy ending of Among the Trees, and totally agree the comparison to the reaper was o good in Backward, the wording is so haunting and loved it, and yes The Red Spark was one of my favorites of all the submissions because there was so much to it, I loved how it circled back to the magic and that was the happiness as well as their potential downfall, and haha yes! For Star Seed, they jump and the light was so powerful! And I totally agree the build up and scary anticipation of Hungry Wolf to have a fun twist was so unexpected! And yes, Jolene did such a great job building up to throw a twist, were left think whoa! And omg right? The Lonely Road was one I just had to choose as one of my winners because daaang it’s so hauntingly beautiful and the surprise ghost ending totally gets me every time

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Thank you Heather- I really like the “unfortunate beacon of light” line as well. It just popped out of me like a burst of light and I knew it was a great line right away. Love it when that happens!!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love these spooky stories, I’m trying to work out the theme lots of tension is built up so is it something to do with a warning or a cautionary tale. Also, I thought all the stories had a kind of twist at the end. Am I getting warmer?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great collection of stories! To me, the common thread was the suspense and sense of looming danger which all seven stories implemented giving me that edge of my seat feeling.
    No Turning Back
     As a non-rhymer, I am in awe of those who can do it well and this piece had so much rhythm and was such fun to read aloud. I love how the piece portrays the main character through “Undaunted by witnesses” and “He ravaged his way…”. Of course, my favorite part is the surprise ending which was just so satisfying. I love the juxtaposition of this tough character versus the “brittle old woman” who calmly has the last word.
    Among the Trees
    This is a super cute counting story that feels like a classic. I can just imagine how amazing illustrations would pair with this text. 
    Backward
    This was one of my favorites! I love the way the suspense builds up to the final “he’s here”. Also, the language choices paint such a clear picture for me and transport me into the bedroom with the character. The way Ashlee shows the rollercoaster of emotions her MC is going through felt so relatable. I love the way the hickory was personified as well. 
    The Red SparkI love the subtle suspense and danger at the beginning of the MC knowing she shouldn’t use her magic. It is just enough to make that last line hit home. Speaking of the last line, it is incredible and packs such a punch. I was left feeling the terror the girl must have felt knowing that she’d been found out. I also found the word choice for the leaf sparking to be so well done. 
    Star Seed
    So many favorite lines in this piece. “The Shadow’s danger increased in the darkness, cloaked with invisibility.” and  “Deep blue sky was melting into the grey of twilight. The light betwixt thin tree trunks dissipated into the encroaching fog, signaling the coming of night.” The suspense in this piece was palatable, as I was transported right into the chase. This story was another that had an incredible, yet unexpected ending. I felt a mix of sadness for the MC but also an understanding of her choice.  
    Hungry Wolf
    What a happy surprise among all these sinister endings. I love how this piece builds the same type of suspense as the others but with a lighthearted and tender ending. I felt guilty at the end that I had so misjudged Wolf. I love how the author was able to build suspense while still making the ending feel authentic. In rereading the piece I can see how all of the descriptions of the wolve’s action could take on a thoughtful or sinister intention. 
    Lost in the Woods
    I love the momentum of this piece. I felt like I was along for the run. The twist at the end was jarring, yet so satisfying.  I loved “The scent of fear on the wind.” Another aspect I responded to was the MC’s voice. The word choices were appropriately childlike and still conveyed the emotion of the story and the suspense. 
    The Lonely Road
    I was hooked from the beginning with, “it led us out into the world, until the one night that it didn’t. I love how this piece leaves so much unsaid, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions as to what really occurred that night. Some of my favorite lines were “see the makeshift shrine gone shabby over time—neglected symbols of remembrance, signs of someone loved gone too soon.” and “I see fog rising from the asphalt, cradling the falling leaves, and think of you…and that night.” The appeal for me in this piece was the emotional haunt I felt as opposed to it being overtly spooky. The concept that our choices as individuals have such an impact and possible ramifications good or bad for many others is so powerful and so well articulated with “Regretting my choice that you now live with…”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Andrea, I replied to this, but it seems it didn’t go through, so here it goes again. I think you can definitely do rhyme if you ever want to, check out my resources page, there’s some amazing teachers out there! and haha I totally love that juxaposition of the tough guy and the brittle lady, well put! and super great point about how the end and the beginning of the red spark really hit home and I bet we all felt we misjudged the wolf, such a great lesson for us all (not to mention great writing, even starting from the title!) and I love the phrase “emotional haunt!” Well done, sir!

      Like

  4. These stories were all so wonderful to read, and I enjoyed the twists.
    No Turning Back, I enjoyed the ability to rhyme through the story, I find rhyming to be such a difficult and this story did it really well.
    Backward had me from the start. I could visualize the story and felt my heart-pounding connecting to the main character.
    Among The Trees, I always enjoy a counting type of picture book, and this took a fun twist with the curiosity of where the children went to.
    Red Spark, I loved the creative idea from the picture that was used. What an imaginative story, I want this idea turned into a whole book!
    In Star Seed – the descriptive language was amazing. My favorite was “I forced my burning lungs to inhale. I urged my legs to carry me forward through the wretched woods, the stolen star pulsating in my pocket— an unfortunate beacon of light.” I read those lines over and over, just loving each and every word.
    The Lonely Road brought such emotion, shivers done my spine while I read through it. The pace of the story was perfect and kept me engaged, tragic by loved it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Love this analysis! And if you ever want to learn rhyme, check out the resources page on my website, Renee LaTulippe and Diana Murray are amazing rhymers and teachers. I love that you read some lines over and over, that tells you it’s so good and I totally want so many of these to be books too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Creepy and twisty is the order of the day!
    I adore the karma in No Turning Back, such a great ending. And the rhyming is terrific; great meter and flow. It’s great to read aloud.
    I love the countdown in Among the Trees. That’s so much fun for little ones and with such a sunny surprise ending. Very cute!
    Backward gets an A+ for setting a creepy, haunting mood. I had a feeling that was a false sense of relief early on. That bone-grey station wagon! That description is everything.
    I love the inventiveness in The Red Spark, it’s so clever. The magic is fun and sparkly yet we feel there is something sinister lurking; had me holding my breath. Well done!
    Star Seed left me gaping – they jump?! Beautiful, evocative writing, I felt like I was there running too, with the stolen star.
    I adore Hungry Wolf! haha I admit I was completely fooled and loved the happy ending twist. What a thoughtful friend Wolf is – I love he has a notebook – and that he’s vegetarian! So funny and clever.
    Lost in the Woods has the greatest twist of all – the terrific build up only to find they’re the pack hunting prey, not the hunted! “Others surround me. Together, we sniff, catching the scent of fear on the wind” Wow. Unexpected and chilling.
    The Lonely Road is heartbreaking. Unfortunately too many of us are familiar with this scenario. Kara captured the devastating emotion so well. “….See the makeshift shrine gone shabby over time – neglected symbols of remembrance, signs of someone loved gone too soon” is so powerful.
    Well done week 3 writers!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said on the bone-grey station wagon, I didn’t pick that out; very nice! So true about the Red Spark too, I wonder if we can pick out the parts (before the end of course) that made us feel the sinister lurking. And I totally agree with the amazing quote from Kara’s story! So well done! Thanks for your great analysis!

      Like

  6. What a great collection of stories! To me, the common thread was the suspense and sense of looming danger which all seven stories implemented giving me that edge of my seat feeling.

    No Turning Back
     As a non-rhymer, I am in awe of those who can do it well and this piece had so much rhythm and was such fun to read aloud. I love how the piece portrays the main character through “Undaunted by witnesses” and “He ravaged his way…”. Of course, my favorite part is the surprise ending which was just so satisfying. I love the juxtaposition of this tough character versus the “brittle old woman” who calmly has the last word.

    Among the Trees
    This is a super cute counting story that feels like a classic. I can just imagine how amazing illustrations would pair with this text. 

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Backward
    This was one of my favorites! I love the way the suspense builds up to the final “he’s here”. Also, the language choices paint such a clear picture for me and transport me into the bedroom with the character. The way Ashlee shows the rollercoaster of emotions her MC is going through felt so relatable. I love the way the hickory was personified as well. 

    The Red Spark
    I love the subtle suspense and danger at the beginning of the MC knowing she shouldn’t use her magic. It is just enough to make that last line hit home. Speaking of the last line, it is incredible and packs such a punch. I was left feeling the terror the girl must have felt knowing that she’d been found out. I also found the word choice for the leaf sparking to be so well done. 

    Star Seed
    So many favorite lines in this piece. “The Shadow’s  danger increased in the darkness, cloaked with invisibility.” and  “Deep blue sky was melting into the grey of twilight. The light betwixt thin tree trunks dissipated into the encroaching fog, signaling the coming of night.” The suspense in this piece was palatable, as I was transported right into the chase. This story was another that had an incredible, yet unexpected ending. I felt a mix of sadness for the MC but also an understanding of her choice.  

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hungry Wolf
    What a happy surprise among all these sinister endings. I love how this piece builds the same type of suspense as the others but with a lighthearted and tender ending. I felt guilty at the end that I had so misjudged Wolf. I love how the author was able to build suspense while still making the ending feel authentic. In rereading the piece I can see how all of the descriptions of the wolve’s action could take on a thoughtful or sinister intention. 

    Lost in the Woods
    I love the momentum of this piece. I felt like I was along for the run. The twist at the end was jarring, yet so satisfying.  I loved “The scent of fear on the wind.” Another aspect I responded to was the MC’s voice. The word choices were appropriately childlike and still conveyed the emotion of the story and the suspense. 

    The Lonely Road
    I was hooked from the beginning with, “it led us out into the world, until the one night that it didn’t. I love how this piece leaves so much unsaid, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions as to what really occurred that night. Some of my favorite lines were “see the makeshift shrine gone shabby over time—neglected symbols of remembrance, signs of someone loved gone too soon.” and “I see fog rising from the asphalt, cradling the falling leaves, and think of you…and that night.” The appeal for me in this piece was the emotional haunt I felt as opposed to it being overtly spooky. The concept that our choices as individuals have such an impact and possible ramifications good or bad for many others is so powerful and so well articulated with “Regretting my choice that you now live with…”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. To your Hungry Wolf comment, have you read Harold Loves His Wooly Hat? If not, get it when you can’t you’ll love it, it’s a top fave of mine for the shock factor and yes to all your others! I was compelled to offer a critique to Kara for hers because it was just so haunting and what a cool twist right?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m always amazed at people in can write in rhyme! No Turning back had such great imagery-I love the name she gave the road. It made me feel like I was walking right along Templeton. I really hope Among the Trees comes out as a picture book! I love the use of rhyme, numbers and fun twist at the end that really mimics the playfulness of the holiday. Backward, the Red Spark and Star Seed to me were so lyrical, I really felt like was reading poetry. Melissa’s Hungry Wolf had such a great twist ending! I also loved the meal planning aspect. Jolene’s Lost in the Woods, totally had me on the edge of my seat. I kept guessing where the story was going, and was delightfully surprised each time (I was totally wrong!) Kara’s Lonely Road was just such an incredible story. I loved how she just gives enough hints without saying outright what happened to give the reader the experience of piecing it together on their own. So well done everyone!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I hope this isn’t a repeat – I replied earlier, but I don’t think it went through for some reason. I’ll try to re-create.
    I love these creepy, twisty stories!
    I love the karma in No Turning Back. The ending is so great, it’s hard to feel sorry for Templeton. Terrific rhyme and meter, the story flowed so well!
    I found Among the Trees to be so charming. Counting stories, backwards no less, are such fun for little ones and coupled with the Halloween theme, it’s a winner. And I love the ending! I didn’t expect that. Very clever.
    Backward is so eerie and spine tingling, it’s amazing. “A bone-grey station wagon creeping down our gravel driveway.” Ahhmazing! We just know that initial relief is short lived and doom is around the corner.
    I love the sparkly magic in The Red Spark, and how the narrator knows she shouldn’t but..that’s part of the fun, no? And then, “the red glow of a cigarette smolders as someone watches us” …my stomach dropped for her. So well done.
    Star Seed has such beautiful, evocative writing. I adore the line, “The light betwixt thin tree trunks dissipated into the encroaching fog…” an unexpected ending, left me feeling melancholy.
    I love, love Hungry Wolf! I completely fell for it – and I love that Wolf has a notebook, and that he’s vegetarian! Such a charming tale of friendship, very fun and so clever.
    Lost in the Woods wow! such a build up, and again, did not expect that ending. I’m thinking the whistle is to call for help, but then.the lines, “The sound is thin and high, like a distant scream. The forest shifts. Others surround me. Together we sniff, catching the scent of fear on the wind.” Ahhh they’re the hunters!! Such a terrific twist.
    The Lonely Road really got to me. I think many of us can relate to this devastating scenario. Kara did a beautiful job with this…”Now, once a year, you visit our road, see the makeshift shrine gone shabby over time – neglected symbols of remembrance, signs of someone loved gone too soon.” Very powerful.
    Well done week 3 writers!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. After reading the first two, I thought the common thread would be spot-on meter and rhyme. But then the third piece didn’t rhyme.
    Now, after reading all of them, I see that they all have twist endings.

    These are all great but I really love The Lonely Road. Beautiful language with an emotional punch at the end.
    My second favorite–The Red Spark.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! I was hoping that would throw someone, though it wasn’t my intent it was just the order they’re in on the winner doc lol, and yes! Twist endings for sure, they’re so great when well done, my favorite in pb form is Harold Loves His Wooly Hat, I think my jaw dropped open in the library when I read it the first time! And I still just think about how amazing it is all the time! And yay for Lonely Road, it was definitely one of my faves, that’s why I really wanted to be paired with Kara and omg Red Spark blew me away too!

      Like

      1. I’d never heard of Harold Loves His Wooly Hat, so I found a read aloud online. 🙂 Sweet ending. Thanks for recommending it.

        Like

  12. Wow, the element of surprise at the conclusion of each story was amazing!

    No Turning Back – I love the the “brittle old women petting the pumpkin’s head”…She knew where it was going!!
    Among the Trees – Loved the rhyming elements and the counting…the Kindergarten teacher in me immediately surfaced!!!
    Backward – I love the use of the one word “backward” throughout the entire story!
    Red Spark – My favorite line is ” Her smile is so bright it wraps me up like a woolen scarf”!!!
    Star Seed – The final line which gives the star voice “The star screamed..” certainly adds to this one!
    Hungry Wolf – Brilliant twist in this one!! Loved it!!
    Lost in the Woods – The reader could feel the fear the character was experiencing!
    Lonely Road – Again, you could actually feel the element of sadness and the need to “move on” in this story!

    Thanks Kaitlyn! This was another great batch of stories! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  13. So many spook-tacular stories in this one! NO TURNING BACK is so wonderfully paced, story- and text-wise. Also love the seamless weave of old and new: Templeton has such an old-timey name but his mischief is all kid, old woman in such a child-dominated event, etc. Even the language seems old but the action is so young!

    HUNGRY WOLF is such a delight. It’s math dipped in sugar! Meanwhile, AMONG THE TREES is math smothered in slime. My favorite line: “Six of us played old Red Rover. One—poof!—vanished when he came over.” So funny!!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Oh I love your choices here Penny!, Karma, spine tingling , doom, sparkly magic, evocative and I’m loving everyone’s thoughts on Jolene’s, I read it as she did get hurt and when she finally calls for help, they hunt the bad one down, but I may have missed the mark based on everyone else’s thoughts, hopeful Jolene will pop in and share

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved all the spooky stories!

    No turning back:
    Nicely done with the rhyme, meter, and plot! Loved the ending.

    Among the Trees:
    Loved this! The pace is great – full of suspense and what a fun ending! A unique counting book.

    Backward:
    The word choices stand out and create compelling imagery. Loved “child’s last promise of safety” I was with the character, biting my nails! The only place where maybe I felt a break in voice was “Adrenaline compels me to open my eyes”

    The Red spark:
    The prose captures the magical mood really well. It is rich with onomatopoeia and similes. Particularly loved “crackling sounds silence the chattering of squirrels”, “her lips quiver” and “wrapped me up like a warm scarf”. I also loved how it describes the real and endearing bond between the sisters. Breaking the last sentence might make it more impactful.

    Star Seed:
    Full of suspense and thrill! Loved some of the personifications/word choices in this piece like the wind whispering “make haste, child”, “I whipped around”

    Hungry Wolf:
    Such a cute and fun story. Loved it.

    Lost in the woods:
    I want to know what happens next!

    The lonely road
    So haunting and beautiful. I would love to know what happened that night.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I was treading water all last week and completely missed this! Just read through everyone’s comments and I definitely thought this was the creepiest batch, but I love that you went with twist endings for the theme. Love them!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. NO TURNING BACK- great rhyming. For some reason I really loved “Rookery Road.” Wearing what she held on his head was a cool way to explain what he was up to.
    AMONG THE TREES- loved the ending, completely unexpected and made me laugh.
    BACKWARD- agree with everyone that the “bone-grey station wagon” was a great choice. Also like “Hickory’s hateful branch”
    RED SPARK- Boo for that red cigarette! I was like “nooooooo!” Nice twist, and great choice in carrying the fire forward into another unexpected medium.
    HUNGRY WOLF- super duper cute. I can see little kids really liking this one in a PB. My vegetarian self approves of this message.
    LOST IN THE WOODS- Really great twist. Totally unexpected. Makes me think that the hunter can be nervous too, which isn’t necessarily a POV you usually get.
    LONELY ROAD- I love the ghost. I really really wanted them to be able to communicate with each other somehow. Made me want to have that ability developed later on in a longer version.

    Thanks everyone for the STAR SEED comments! This was a fun exercise!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Star Seed comments and such great points that hadn’t been addressed before (I totally went NOOO to the cigarette too!) and Lost in the Woods was so cool to see that different perspective, I didn’t think of it that way as I saw it as someone being hunted then whistling and others joined in to hunt the hunter, I can’t wait to hear what Jolene shares about the true meaning. And yes! Kara’s ghost had me wanting them communicating, too! Thanks for your fun insight!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. NO TURNING BACK by Colleen Murphy
    Ooo. Haunting last line. Reminds me of a line from the movie, A Knight’s Tale, “You have been weighed … and found wanting.”

    Flawless rhyme. Incredible storytelling. Wonderful wordsmithing. All the story elements are so well crafted using so few words. Bravo!

    AMONG THE TREES by Lisa Lowe Stauffer
    Nice job of escalating the tension by picking off each person one by one. What a fun twist at the end. I thought maybe it was actually a pumpkin patch where pumpkins were being picked one by one.

    BACKWARD by Ashlee Hashman
    Nice word choice to create the haunting mood, “bone grey” and “creeping”. “Like the breath of the Reaper,” is a chilling sensory detail. Such a spooky altered reality Twilight Zone ending.

    THE RED SPARK by Jakki Licare
    Beautiful analogy of her warm smile that “wraps me up like a woolen scarf.” “Sparks like fireflies” is a magical image. What a creepy, cliffhanger ending.

    STAR SEED by Kelly Jensen
    The eerie setting “grey of twilight” and “encroaching fog” creates a suspenseful mood. Cool warnings from the woods “owl shrieked” and “wind whispered”. “Hot breath warmed my neck” is a sensory detail that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    HUNGRY WOLF by Melissa Trempe
    I love the incorporation of the days of the week within the story. As a former teacher, I like this educational element in a humorous format. Clever way of creating suspense with the event planning recorded in a notebook. Such a cute surprise ending of “Friendsgiving” for this otherwise sinister story.

    LOST IN THE WOODS by Jolene Gutierrez
    Cool! A magic whistle! So fun how this item appears when he needs it, like in Harry Potter. Scary story with an unexpected reveal at the end.

    THE LONELY ROAD by Kara Sibilia
    “Makeshift shrine,” says it all. We know what horrible thing happened. What a haunting last line, “regretting my choice that you will live with forever.”

    All the entry winners did such a great job creating suspense and a surprise ending with their hauntingly beautiful stories!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love how you really picked out the word choices that really made these pieces so special and the pumpkin patch is such a cool pov and the knight’s tale reference: YEEEES! Such a great part and a wonderful comparison, I totally get that feeling there as well!

      Like

  19. This week, everyone hit on everything I could with these pieces so I’ll just briefly share my first impressions when reading through submissions. Remember these are just quick notes to myself as to what I thought so I could come back and make final decision with the judges.

    No Turning Back: Maybe Diana, great rhythm and funny

    Among the trees: Loved it, twist on another tale but so funny and sweet, well done

    Backward: Omg stunning writing, great descriptions even car associations to keep with the theme and my heart was racing I was enthralled and my jaw dropped so well done

    The Red Spark: I enjoyed the wonderful images and the anticipation of wondering what will go wrong. I also like that the red spark was the glory and the demise

    Star Seed: Had me intrigued with bated breath the whole time, very well written and creative.

    Hungry Wolf: (nothing written, I was easily shown the light by the other judges when we discussed, but I remember thinking oh, vegetarian! nice!)

    Lost in the Woods: (nothing written after I noticed it was my client I left this decision up to the other judges to be unbiased and wow that ending!)

    The Lonely Road: Loved it, heart wrenching, cried a bit, well done, emotion-filled ghost story full of regret.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Loved this theme of twist endings!

    No Turning Back – Really good rhyme scheme! I loved the plot of this one a lot, plus the descriptive language (like lavender gasses…) and Templeton is a great name!

    Among the Trees – Another great rhyming story! The counting element was a lot of fun, as well as the surprise ending!

    Backward – This one was so creepy, it gave me goosebumps! Incredible imagery and language (clutching my blanket like a child’s last promise of safety… – that was my favorite line!)

    The Red Spark – More great imagery! I loved this twist ending and want to hear what happens next!

    Star Seed – Loved the use of evocative language and the tension building! My favorite line: …forced my burning lungs to inhale…

    Hungry Wolf – This one made me laugh out loud at the end! So fun and clever!

    Lost in the Woods – Great twist ending! The hunted (or so I thought!) becomes the hunter!

    Great stories everyone!!

    Kaitlyn – thank you for all that you do for this writing community!

    Liked by 2 people

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