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#1 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 08:46 PM

A//N: Before I launch right into this, I'm going to explain a couple things:

 

1) This is set in a fictional city called Carthage in the Pacific Northwest. Carthage is split up into three main parts: the Hampton district (suburbia); the Hyde district (the rich inner city); and the Salem district (the poor, crime-ridden inner city).

 

2) Sh/it's gonna be weird.

 

3) Although the title seems to suggest it, this is not another damn paranormal angels-and-demons love story thing. It is focused around crime, and while it does fall vaguely into the category of sci/fi, it's much more than that.

 

4) "But, Artemis, you already wrote half a novel and like twenty billion different short stories about crime! Do something new!" Shut up.

 

5) Yes, I know there are some similarities with already existing works (particularly two). So here. Let's get it out of the way. Here are my influences for this; if you know these, you will know a bit of what to expect: Orphan Black, Veronica Mars, Fringe, and Se7en. (Also, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet will play a large role in this.)

 

6) I'm jumping right into this thing. I know I've started my previous novels slowly, but this one is going to take off and keep on going. Hope you enjoy it.

 

//

 

DIVINE

 

Prologue // Fair Verona

 

 

“Mercer, my mom’s dead.”

 

The news seemed to echo through the empty locker room. I was alone—I’d worked as a lifeguard at the gym so long that Janine finally trusted me to lock up, and I’d stayed late to clean the pool. Since my homework load was minimal and Janine paid me extra when I did maintenance tasks for her, I figured I could spare some of my time to stay a bit later.

 

The phone call caught me completely off guard. It was surprising that I’d even heard it ringing from inside the locker room in the first place. I’d left it there because I didn’t get calls. Jamie rarely called me; we spent so much time together that phone calls were far from a necessity to our relationship. Dad called me when he had to—meaning never, or at least close to that. I kept the phone for emergencies, and clearly it had to be just that if someone was calling me so late.

 

“Sam? Is that you?” The only time I talked to Sam Lauderdale was our literature class, where we sat right next to each other and were usually forced to do group work together. I’d given her my number on a whim one time but never expected her to actually use it. If she’s resorted to calling me—someone she talked to only on occasion—things must’ve been rough.

 

She didn’t respond to the question. Instead, she just continued with her previous statement. “She’s dead, Mercer. She killed herself—public suicide, just like the other two.”

 

“Sam. What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“I’m at the McDonald’s by Jamie’s house in Salem right now. The police just called me with the news. Look, I know we don’t talk a lot, but I need you to come here now. Sh/it’s getting bad, and I’m scared, okay? She’s the third one in the last two weeks. I already called Moby and Jamie. Jamie’s here and Moby’s on his way. We need to talk.”

 

I took a deep breath. Sam Lauderdale, calling me for comfort in a personal crisis. Of course. I hardly knew her—and I certainly didn’t know her mother—but I knew exactly why she was calling me.

 

“I don’t know anything about the suicides, okay? I hardly ever see my dad, and when I do, he sure as hell doesn’t talk about the cases he’s working. If you just want information, then I’m not the person to talk to. Sorry, Sam.”

 

I heard her sigh through her tears on the other end. “I need you to come here, Mercer.”

 

“Sam—”

 

“McDonald’s by Jamie’s. Just get over here fast. I don’t know what’s happening, but I think you’ll know what to do.”

 

Why? Because my dad has an in with the Carthage Police Department? Keep dreaming, Sam. “All right. Do you want me to call someone first? Or—”

 

“Just get over here, Mercer. I’m scared.”

 

Scared. That was the second time she’d said that. Not upset, not angry, not confused—scared. “Why are you scared, Sam?” I could understand horror or frustration or shock, but “scared” was a whole separate level of emotion.

 

“Look, I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about it.” Her voice got quiet, and I swear I felt her fear all the way in the locker room across town. “I know you won’t tell anyone, but… Just keep it on the DL, okay?”

 

I nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”

 

“You know Verona Beckett?”

 

“Yeah. Wish I didn’t.”

 

She paused. “Her name was written all over my mom’s shop. Just ‘VERONA,’ over and over again. I never mentioned her to my mom once. She couldn’t have known—?”

 

I shook my head. “She couldn’t have.”

 

“You need to get over here, Mercer.”

 

I grabbed my bag and keys from my locker, starting for the exit. “I’ll be there in a minute. Stay put.”

 

“Okay.” I heard her sigh one last time, and soon the line was dead.

 

 //

 

-Artemis


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 24 March 2014 - 08:49 PM.

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#2 Jcrazy

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 10:24 PM

Not to hate on A Long Road to Infamy, but I really like THIS hehehe. And I'm not just saying that because there is someone named Jamie in the story (but let's be real, I get ridiculously happy when I see my name in books. Probably some underlying desire to have my name on the FRONT of the book).

So is Mercer like a badass who is going to solve this "suicide" because if so that will make me so beyond happy.

The fact that you said Romeo and Juliet will play a role in the story has me pretty intrigued. Of the half dozen Shakespeare plays I've been forced to read in high school, Romeo and Juliet is probably my favorite (maaaaybe second to Hamlet). Curious about how that has anything to do with this though. Hmmm :)

Also, love the name Moby. Haha, not a name you see every day. I really like it.

Okay, so—DONT DELETE THIS. really. Reading you and Meg's new stories tonight has got me super inspired and I'm sure if y'all keep posting chapters I'll be continually inspired. Really, you'd be doing ME a favor by writing more ;P So, SERIOUSLY: post the first chapter, Artemis!
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#3 24moon100

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 10:51 PM

Alright, Artemis, there are two reasons why I think you should continue with this:

 

1. Your writing is too brilliant not to be read by people.

 

2. I'm hooked. 

 

So there you go. :)

 

I laughed when I read your author's note. You are the queen of author's notes. That is all I will say. Lol. 

 

I like the name Mercer, too. A fitting name for this type of story. Although, I have to be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure if it is a girl's/boy's name. I feel like it's a girl, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I'll probably know soon enough anyway. :P

 

As a matter of fact, Jamie is also one of those names that could go either or... ;)

 

Okay, back to business. So I really like how you divided up the districts. This interests me a lot. I know I'll probably sound freakishly weird for mentioning this, but I guess this wouldn't be a Meghan comment unless I went out on a limb or two: this concept reminds me a lot of Avatar (not the blue people but the cartoon from nickelodeon). I'm sort of obsessed with it, so I don't blame you if you have no idea what I'm talking about, but the districts thing reminds me of this city in the show called BaSingSe (also referred to as the "city of walls and secrets") in the Earth kingdom where each section is separated by a wall and the further in you go the richer you are. So yeah... Just thought I'd share. Please don't judge me...

 

Title rocks. It totally doesn't sound like 'another damn paranormal angels-and-demons love story thing.' Haha. Well, okay, maybe a little. I still like it. It's got a good ring to it. I've always been fond of words that start with the letter "D." 

 

I don't know if you've ever seen Castle but I find it wonderfully ironic that you used the last name Beckett for Verona because that's the same name as the main chick on Castle who, of course, is a cop.

 

I seriously need to watch Veronica Mars. It sounds like my kind of show. Not to mention my best friend since forever is named Veronica.

 

I am also, like Jamie, intrigued to see how Romeo & Juliet plays a role in this. I remember having to read that freshman year. Probably one of my favorites by him. Although I'd have to say my favorite of Shakespeare's is A Midsummer Night's Dream. I had to preform that one actually. Lol.

 

GASP. YOU USED YELLOW. Where art thou maroon? You always use maroon. 

 

I'm just messing with you, I like the yellow. :)

 

I'm sorry. This is getting rambley isn't it? Excuse: sleep deprivation. 

 

Okay so I'll rap this up with saying that I am crazy thrilled to read more and hope that I can manage to stay caught up as the chapters progress. I absolutely hate how I'm so behind on all your stuff yet you always manage to keep pace with my stuff. 

 

Can't forget a SPN gif to celebrate your new story:

 

tumblr_mb641bl1Iz1r1guvio1_500_zps3de46b

 

Okay bye. 

 

—MEG

 


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#4 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:02 PM

Everyone:

 

MERCER IS A GIRL. Lol. I will clear this up now. I knew when I was writing the prologue that it would be an issue, but I couldn't find a discreet way to throw it in there haha.

 

Also: Jamie is Mercer's boyfriend. :)

 

Not to hate on A Long Road to Infamy, but I really like THIS hehehe. And I'm not just saying that because there is someone named Jamie in the story (but let's be real, I get ridiculously happy when I see my name in books. Probably some underlying desire to have my name on the FRONT of the book).

So is Mercer like a badass who is going to solve this "suicide" because if so that will make me so beyond happy.

The fact that you said Romeo and Juliet will play a role in the story has me pretty intrigued. Of the half dozen Shakespeare plays I've been forced to read in high school, Romeo and Juliet is probably my favorite (maaaaybe second to Hamlet). Curious about how that has anything to do with this though. Hmmm :)

Also, love the name Moby. Haha, not a name you see every day. I really like it.

Okay, so—DONT DELETE THIS. really. Reading you and Meg's new stories tonight has got me super inspired and I'm sure if y'all keep posting chapters I'll be continually inspired. Really, you'd be doing ME a favor by writing more ;P So, SERIOUSLY: post the first chapter, Artemis!

 

Wooooo I'm so glad you like what I've posted so far. :) I definitely have been meaning to use the name Jamie in a story for so long, because 1) you're awesome and 2) it's an awesome name. Double awesome.

 

It's a goal in my life to find a character named India in a book. ONE DAY. Haha.

 

Mercer is def gonna be a badass who will possibly be involved in solving the "suicides." I don't want to give away much, but yes, she will have a hand in all of that. It seems like a simple plot at the moment, but I have so much stuff going on in my notebook right now that I'm wondering how exactly everything will turn out.

 

Romeo & Juliet was so awesome. I thought I'd hate it, but I ended up really enjoying it. In fact, I liked it so much that I've made it my goal to read a bunch of Shakespeare stuff. As far as the involvement in the story, you'll have to see. Lol.

 

MOBYYY. I feel like he will end up being my favorite character. I've been working him into a bunch of random plots lately, so I'm glad he's found a home now. :)

 

I'm hoping to post in the next couple days. I'm crazy busy with my school's play (our performances are THIS WEEK aaaah) and art class and freaking biology, so we'll see if I can get anything done.

 

Thanks so much for the comment! It's one of my fears that I'll post something and no one will ever comment on it haha. So I was glad to see this. :D

 

 

Alright, Artemis, there are two reasons why I think you should continue with this:

 

1. Your writing is too brilliant not to be read by people.

 

2. I'm hooked. 

 

So there you go. :)

 

I laughed when I read your author's note. You are the queen of author's notes. That is all I will say. Lol. 

 

I like the name Mercer, too. A fitting name for this type of story. Although, I have to be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure if it is a girl's/boy's name. I feel like it's a girl, but please correct me if I'm wrong. I'll probably know soon enough anyway. :P

 

As a matter of fact, Jamie is also one of those names that could go either or... ;)

 

Okay, back to business. So I really like how you divided up the districts. This interests me a lot. I know I'll probably sound freakishly weird for mentioning this, but I guess this wouldn't be a Meghan comment unless I went out on a limb or two: this concept reminds me a lot of Avatar (not the blue people but the cartoon from nickelodeon). I'm sort of obsessed with it, so I don't blame you if you have no idea what I'm talking about, but the districts thing reminds me of this city in the show called BaSingSe (also referred to as the "city of walls and secrets") in the Earth kingdom where each section is separated by a wall and the further in you go the richer you are. So yeah... Just thought I'd share. Please don't judge me...

 

Title rocks. It totally doesn't sound like 'another damn paranormal angels-and-demons love story thing.' Haha. Well, okay, maybe a little. I still like it. It's got a good ring to it. I've always been fond of words that start with the letter "D." 

 

I don't know if you've ever seen Castle but I find it wonderfully ironic that you used the last name Beckett for Verona because that's the same name as the main chick on Castle who, of course, is a cop.

 

I seriously need to watch Veronica Mars. It sounds like my kind of show. Not to mention my best friend since forever is named Veronica.

 

I am also, like Jamie, intrigued to see how Romeo & Juliet plays a role in this. I remember having to read that freshman year. Probably one of my favorites by him. Although I'd have to say my favorite of Shakespeare's is A Midsummer Night's Dream. I had to preform that one actually. Lol.

 

GASP. YOU USED YELLOW. Where art thou maroon? You always use maroon. 

 

I'm just messing with you, I like the yellow. :)

 

I'm sorry. This is getting rambley isn't it? Excuse: sleep deprivation. 

 

Okay so I'll rap this up with saying that I am crazy thrilled to read more and hope that I can manage to stay caught up as the chapters progress. I absolutely hate how I'm so behind on all your stuff yet you always manage to keep pace with my stuff. 

 

Can't forget a SPN gif to celebrate your new story:

 

tumblr_mb641bl1Iz1r1guvio1_500_zps3de46b

 

Okay bye. 

 

—MEG

 

THAT SUPERNATURAL GIF. Gotta love it. ;)

 

Thanks so much for all the nice things you said! I'm so excited about this, and I'm glad you liked the prologue. I feel like my openings always suck, so it's nice to have a good one for once. Lol.

 

Can I just say that I'm in love with the name Mercer? I feel like it's just a cool name...

 

BUT SHE IS A GIRL. Haha. I was worried about that, so I laughed when you brought it up. :P Jamie is a boy, though! Way to go with the unisex names, me.

 

I never did get into Avatar, but had a friend who was really into it at my old school, so I ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. Haha. :D Yes, it's very similar to that, except I always imagined Salem being the very center of the city rather than the Hyde. But it's the same kind of idea! I know it's an ultra-cliche (too lazy for the accent :P) thing to do in a YA book considering EVERYTHING is always split up like that, but I had to do it. It was too fun not to resist. :)

 

I named this thing Divine because I couldn't think of anything better. The name will make a lot of sense as I progress (the word is ALL OVER my notes, which is why I chose it in the first place).

 

I KNEW I heard the name Beckett somewhere! Castle is one of those shows that's always on in the background but that I've never really watched. That definitely is ironic.

 

You need to watch VM. It's my faaaaaave.

 

Wherefore dost thou ask me of maroon? Haha. But really, I just wanted to do something really new and different for this--meaning YELLOW. And I don't even really like yellow...

 

WELL, THANKS AGAIN. :D Love hearing from you guys. You guys are the best.


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#5 BonkersBookworm78

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 12:31 PM

Okay, this seems good, really good, like everything you write.

I won't lie I'm going to miss A Long Road To Infamy, but this sounds great.

Really, really interesting.

(Lame comment - but look you've got too great comments, so ignore the rest and just note you have another reader.)

Also your brilliant at writing crime. 


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#6 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 11:44 AM

Okay, this seems good, really good, like everything you write.

I won't lie I'm going to miss A Long Road To Infamy, but this sounds great.

Really, really interesting.

(Lame comment - but look you've got too great comments, so ignore the rest and just note you have another reader.)

Also your brilliant at writing crime. 

 

Whoa, sorry; I forgot to reply to this. :P

 

First: THANK YOU. I always love your comments. They never need to be long, either; any kind of feedback works for me.

 

I'm gonna miss ALRtI, too, but I need something new. I will finish that story one day, I'll tell you that. I can't just let it sit there for too long. But the ideas stopped coming, and I didn't want to force myself to write something I couldn't work with. Better to try something new and keep the words flowing.

 

Naturally, I'm still writing about crime. Lol. I just can't get away from it. It's my favorite topic, so naturally I had to carry it with me into a new story. It's just the opposite way around this time--solving crimes instead of committing them.

 

Glad to have you reading! :) I'm hoping to update this weekend. Our school play is finally over and I actually have time to DO things now. Hopefully I don't waste too much time watching TV/on Pinterest and I actually get something done.

 

-Artemis


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#7 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 09:19 PM

I DID IT. I WROTE A WHOLE CHAPTER.

 

DIVINE

1 // Civil Hands Unclean

 

Flash back to freshman year. No one knew me, but I seemed to know everyone. I’d always been an observer, and the first thing I observed at West Carthage High was the mystique surrounding a sophomore named Verona Beckett.

 

The allure that drew everyone to the Hampton girl eluded me. In a high school ruled by the idea of sex appeal, she hardly stood out. She was pretty, sure—but nothing all that remarkable.  Dark brown hair, dull blue eyes, and skin even paler than the rest of ours. She wielded the same status as her politician father: rich and influential. Part of me believed that the only reason she was anyone in West Carthage High’s social hierarchy was because of her father, and another part of me believed that the narcissist inside me refused to applaud the success of anyone but myself.

 

As much as I prided myself in my facade of indifference toward the school’s favorite Hampton girl, the news of her suicide three months into the school year rattled me to the core. She and her boyfriend, a Salem kid named Max, drank cyanide-laced booze together in the bathroom of her friend Emily Roswell’s house at a party after the school’s Sadie Hawkins dance. The event sent Carthage into a state of hysteria—famed Congressman Jonah Beckett’s beautiful daughter, dead. And all because of punkass Salem kid Max Gall.

 

Verona’s diary hinted at plans of suicide months before the event occurred—nothing quite as showy and public as the event that actually transpired, but suicide nonetheless. Max had “issues,” she said, and somehow he’d dragged her into his downward spiral with him. The diary was intentionally vague but hinted at drug abuse and other illicit activity that could’ve potentially wound her and her family up in endless loads of trouble.

 

And, oh, did Jonah Beckett suffer for his daughter’s actions. The media jumped on the opportunity to mar his image as soon as the news of Verona’s suicide broke. A congressman, letting his daughter corrupt herself right under his nose. Who’s to say he didn’t know about the heroin? Or the theft? Or the partying, the sex, and the booze? Who’s to say he didn’t just let it happen?

 

Jump two years into the future and the world had forgotten Jonah Beckett entirely. He abandoned his position in Congress and left the county just months after the suicide to spare himself from the media’s abuse, and since then, the world had moved on. Everyone at West Carthage High only remembered Verona because they had to.

 

Except for Sam Lauderdale.

 

***

 

“Hey, Mercer, grab me some ketchup packets! Also napkins, because Sam kind of stole all of mine.”

 

I arrived to find Moby, Jamie, and Sam piled into a booth at the back of the McDonald’s. They looked as conspicuous as ever, talking in hushed voices with their heads down. Sam was a wreck, her dark eye makeup smeared across her face and wiped all over a growing stack of stained white napkins. She’d stopped crying, but she appeared ready to start up at any given moment. Getting her to stay calm and talk about what had happened looked like it was going to be a difficult task.

 

I grabbed about five ketchup packets too many and enough napkins for another half hour of Sam’s tears and strode over to their table. Aside from a gangly old homeless man who’d paid for his meal in quarters and dimes, the four of us had the restaurant all to ourselves. I didn’t like talking in public places, but if that’s where Sam was most comfortable, I wouldn’t object.

 

“Are you doing okay?” I asked Sam, pushing the packs of ketchup toward Moby. He thanked me with a nod.

 

“I think I’m going crazy,” she replied, her mouth beginning to quiver. I got a napkin ready.

 

Since Moby and Jamie, who’d mostly been staring ahead at the window revealing the dark streets outside the dimly light interior of the McDonald’s and offering no help comforting Sam, didn’t make any move to ease her mind, I decided to speak up. “You’re not going crazy.”

 

“Yeah?” She snatched the napkin from my extended hand and dabbed at her red eyes. “If this isn’t what going crazy feels like, then—”

 

Upon seeing the tears well up in her eyes, I cut her off. It was a perfectly normal reaction, but I wanted to know more. The more she talked, the calmer she would be. Giving her time to think too much would just increase her distress, so I prodded more. “What makes you think you’re going crazy?”

 

Jamie sighed. “Mercer, maybe you should lay off. Her mom just—”

 

“It’s the Verona thing all over again.” She gripped the tissue tightly with her shaking hands, fidgeting in her seat. Jamie pursed his lips. “All I can think about is Max. I knew, Mercer—I knew. He spelled it out for me and I didn’t do anything."

 

And there were the tears. Moby sighed a bit too audibly and stared out the window, eating his Big Mac with a particular lack of enthusiasm. Jamie reached over to grab Sam’s hand, but she pulled away and only cried harder.

 

“It’s been—what? Over two years now? Sam. I know you feel guilty, but you can’t beat yourself u—”

 

She stopped her weeping abruptly, setting her blackened napkin on the table with a look of horror on her face. “What’s the date?”

 

I narrowed my eyes. The date? Somehow I was missing the significance.

 

Her hands shook harder. “Mercer. What’s the date?"

 

“It’s the fifteenth,” Moby replied, still vacantly observing life outside our safe haven. “November 15th.”

 

A heavy silence hung in the air as we each in turn realized the importance of the day. November 15th, the same day as the Sadie Hawkins dance freshman year. The same day as Emily Roswell’s party. The same day Max Gall and Verona Beckett killed themselves.

 

“Well, sh/it.” Moby turned back to the table, finishing the last bite of his burger. “Irony’s a bi/tch, huh?”

 

--end of 1--

 

Well, I wrote a whole bunch of notes on this chapter, but MCMB decided to freak out, and I LOST ALL OF THEM. So here's a shorter version:

 

-Holy backstory, Batman. Now we can get into all the good stuff (aka CHARACTER STUDIES).

 

-So much suicide. I guess that's going to be a big thing in this story...

 

-I had to Google the SHADIEST stuff for this chapter. Since my poison knowledge is about as minimal as it gets, I had to do some serious research. I settled with cyanide because it seemed like the easiest to work with. (Oh my god, taken out of context, that makes me sound like a psychopath. Update: I am not a psychopath.)

 

-This chapter is short because I don't know how to write. The fact that it sucks ass can also be blamed on my inability to write anything that's not 100% garbage.

 

-Look for the Romeo & Juliet parallels, man. I'm having a blast over here, so you better appreciate it.

 

-If you think you know where the plot is going, think again. Like I said: sh/it's gonna be weird. Just you wait. I have so much plotting work to do...

 

-Speaking of plotting: The reason this ridiculously short chapter took almost a month to complete was because I was stuck on a major plot point. Thankfully, my hella rad younger sister came up with a hella rad solution. Thanks, Kennedy. I am forever indebted to you.

 

-I hate writing about people crying because I feel like I use the same three words to describe their actions. Ugh. It's awful.

 

-I am so excited to write a narcissistic main character. After suffering 1.5 novels (ugh that .5 just pisses me off) of protagonists with serious self-esteem issues, I'm pumped to change course and write a pretentious MC. I'm predicting she'll drive me up the wall, but AT LEAST SHE'S NOT ALYCE OR HOLLY. (By the way, I'm perfectly aware that Michael is the spitting image of a narcissist, but I'm talking about protagonists here.)

 

-SO MANY "M" NAMES. Let's just review:

 

Michael

Marcus

Mordechai (double points because his last name starts with an M??)

Mary

Melody

Matt x2 (Armando's Saint friend AND Marcus's kid)

Mikael Hahn

Max

Moby

(also someone who I can't talk about from this story whose name also starts with an "M;" not even going to give a name because I like feeling like you're in suspense even though you couldn't care less)

 

Pretty convinced there are more, but... Those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

 

Hope ya'll are ready for three months with no update. Because, given my certain tendencies, that's about how long it's going to take. Just a prediction.

 

-Artemis


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 20 April 2014 - 09:20 PM.

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#8 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:23 AM

I'm a rollllllll.

DIVINE

2 // Violent Delights

 

“Don’t you just love Carthage weather?” Jamie climbed into the car, wiping the water droplets off his black glasses. Before he even shut his door, I began speeding off toward school. He glanced over at me with wide eyes, smirking. “You got somewhere to be or something?”

 

I honked at the driver of the car in front of me who was taking his dear sweet time making his way through the always busy intersection a block away from Jamie’s apartment. “Yeah. It’s called school.”

 

He sighed as I cussed out a couple pedestrians that couldn’t hear a word of what I was saying. “Something wrong?”

 

I shrugged. “The Lauderdale suicide.” I took a deep breath. “The goddamn parallels, Jamie.”

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him smile to himself. “I knew you’d be losing sleep over it.”

 

“Well.” I upped the speed of the window wipers and looked over at him. “You sure know me well, don’t you?”

 

***

 

I suffer from some type of metaphorical masochism. My dad says it runs in the family. It’s the reason he became a detective. Being the embodiment of Type A personality, his compulsions, need for total comprehension of a situation, and incredible drive led him to great things. There’s nothing my dad loves more than a case that gets him so badly that he can’t focus on anything else. It eats him alive, and he feeds off of it.

 

I’m the same way. Not having a solution to a problem kills me—but at the same time, it’s the thing I desire most. I love the challenge and the struggle and the nights where I can’t sleep for the life of me. My addictive personality coupled with the aforementioned idea of metaphorical masochism is both a blessing and a curse. It drives everyone else crazy, but I love it.

 

The emergency McDonald’s meeting left me awake all night, my mind reeling for hours. Sam’s mom, a commercial psychic who specialized in mediumship, had scrawled Verona Beckett’s first name all over the shop she operated out of in the heart of Salem. Not long after, she drove out to the Hampton district and shot herself with an illegally purchased handgun in the atrium of Hampton Village Mall. In her purse, the police found a piece of paper torn out from a spiral-bound notebook where she’d written the Becketts’ old address as well as Emily Roswell’s home address. Beneath both addresses she’d printed a single word in clear, bold lettering: DIVINE.

 

Two other psychics had done the exact same in the past two weeks, minus the obsession with Verona Beckett. All three psychics killed themselves in public, for everyone to see. The word “divine” appeared in all three cases—the first, a one-word text to her son sent minutes before the event; the second, a word Sharpied in black on the palm of her hand; the third, a note written almost like a reminder.

 

The word began to cycle through my thoughts on repeat throughout the day. Divine. If people normally viewed me as distraught, then I can’t imagine what they thought of me on that particular day. I wandered the halls between classes like a zombie, functioning off of a solid hour of sleep and an endless supply of Mountain Dew from the vending machines throughout the school.

 

At lunch, Moby tried to distract me by telling me stories of his various adventures from earlier in the day. “So this morning,” he started, inhaling one of the calzones the school offered on an every-other-week rotation, “I met Adam in the English hall, by his locker. You know where I’m talking about?"

 

Jamie nodded halfheartedly while I ignored him completely.

 

“Yeah, so right by the drinking fountain. By Walker’s room. So—” he set down his calzone as he reached the heart of the story “—you know how Adam literally can’t stand Mr. Gamble since he flunked him last year, right? Okay, so Gamble walks by right when Adam is doing his impression of him—like, ‘This is a college prep course and if you can’t understand these basic concepts, then you don’t belong here.’ Or, ‘Darwin would’ve died happy if he’d read Mendel. But no one read Mendel at the time. No one.’”

 

By that point, both Jamie and I had drowned him out. We made eye contact and exchanged silent sighs. Moby told more pointless stories at lunch than either of us could stand, but rarely did either of us interrupt. There was no point—once he got started, he couldn’t be stopped.

 

“And so Gamble says, ‘What’s this about Gregor Mendel?’” Moby contorted his face to accentuate the look of exasperation and disdain that Mr. Gamble, the school’s primary biology teacher, wore like a mask. I’d had him freshman year and sophomore year, and I don’t think I’d ever seen him vary his facial expression even slightly. “And Adam’s like, ‘Darwin would’ve died happy if he’d read what Mendel wrote.’”

 

“It is true, though,” I interjected, rubbing my right eye with the back of my hand.

 

Moby shot me a look. “Yeah, just because something’s true doesn’t mean you have to lecture about it every other day.” I shrugged, still rubbing my eyes, as he took a moment to gather his thoughts. “So anyway. Gamble doesn’t even realize he’s mocking him, and he tries to have a legitimate conversation about Darwin and Mendel with Adam. At that point I’m practically in tears, and Gamble’s giving me these dirty looks, and I dunno, man, it just struck me as funny.” After finishing his story, he looked back and forth between us, searching for looks of approval. Finally he noticed that both of us had stopped listening. Disheartened, he returned to his calzone. “Maybe you just had to be there.”

 

After a bit of awkward silence in which the only noise other than the discord of teenagers yelling across the lunchroom was Moby’s obnoxious chewing, Jamie carried on the conversation. “Adam pisses me off,” he said, flipping through Lord of the Flies disinterestedly.

 

“He’s an ass/hole,” Moby agreed, “but I love him. There’s a reason we get along.” It was generally accepted that Moby was king of the assholes. In our freshman English class, he earned the nickname Moby—after the classic novel Moby-Dick, emphasis on the “dick.”

 

“I swear everyone in this school is an ass/hole.” Jamie took a look around the cafeteria and just shook his head. “Just look at all of them. It’s like a godforsaken ass/hole convention or something.”

 

Jamie always seemed to have some personally vendetta against everyone at West Carthage High. I never understood it. “Teenagers are generally ass/holes,” I explained. “It’s not just this school.”

 

“I swear it’s like ten times worse here.”

 

“Don’t get me wrong,” I said. “I don’t disagree that about 90% of the school is comprised of people I’d rather drink poisoned booze in my friend’s bathroom than spend more than a minute conversing with. But it’s not just the school. It’s teenagers everywhere. We just generally suck.”

 

“Mercer, with today’s daily dose of positivity,” Moby commented. I would've snickered along with him and Jamie if I hadn't been so drained. "But for real. Just imagine how much better this school would be if there weren't so many fu/cking Hampton kids."

 

The three of us nodded in tired agreement at the bell rang. We each headed off in our separate directions--Moby to PE, Jamie to AP Government, and me to Spanish, where I knew the only thing on my mind would be Verona Beckett.

 

--end of 2--

 

Wow, so I guess that only took a couple of hours, not three months. Granted, it's not much longer than the last one, but at least things are moving along. At least the title makes sense (sort of) now.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 21 April 2014 - 12:25 AM.

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#9 Jcrazy

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:04 PM

COLOR ME SURPRISED. When I woke up this morning and saw you had updated again I actually immediately read it before even rising from bed :P This is where I virtually bow down to you, because it is awesome that you managed to write that chapter and update so quickly! Go you.

So, obviously I am enjoying this if I read the second chapter before even peeing today. Hah.

The major thing I'm noticing about this story so far is how different it is than what I've read by you before. I KNOW you called yourself out on writing another crime novel, but this just feels entirely different than A Long Road to Infamy. I think it's Mercer's voice. Like you said, she definitely doesn't have self-esteem issues, so far as I can tell. I wouldn't necessarily call her narcissistic (yet), but she for sure seems confident. And I actually LIKE that. It's refreshing to have a main character who knows they know what's up (if that makes any sense at all...)

“I swear everyone in this school is an ass/hole.” Jamie took a look around the cafeteria and just shook his head. “Just look at all of them. It’s like a godforsaken ass/hole convention or something.”

“I swear it’s like ten times worse here.”

These quotes are the most accurate depiction of my feelings that I've ever read. I agree wholeheartedly. Exactly how I feel about my school :D haha.

You've got me curious and questioning a lot of things right now (obviously, lol), but I'll just wait and see what happens next. I don't really have any predictions of my own. I can see this story going a multitude of ways.

Update when you can! Whether it be three months or a couple hours--I'll take what I can get! :P
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#10 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:18 PM

COLOR ME SURPRISED. When I woke up this morning and saw you had updated again I actually immediately read it before even rising from bed :P This is where I virtually bow down to you, because it is awesome that you managed to write that chapter and update so quickly! Go you.

So, obviously I am enjoying this if I read the second chapter before even peeing today. Hah.

The major thing I'm noticing about this story so far is how different it is than what I've read by you before. I KNOW you called yourself out on writing another crime novel, but this just feels entirely different than A Long Road to Infamy. I think it's Mercer's voice. Like you said, she definitely doesn't have self-esteem issues, so far as I can tell. I wouldn't necessarily call her narcissistic (yet), but she for sure seems confident. And I actually LIKE that. It's refreshing to have a main character who knows they know what's up (if that makes any sense at all...)

These quotes are the most accurate depiction of my feelings that I've ever read. I agree wholeheartedly. Exactly how I feel about my school :D haha.

You've got me curious and questioning a lot of things right now (obviously, lol), but I'll just wait and see what happens next. I don't really have any predictions of my own. I can see this story going a multitude of ways.

Update when you can! Whether it be three months or a couple hours--I'll take what I can get! :P

 

I'm working on the next chapter right now (I'm inspired right now for some reason), so this is going to be the  crappiest reply you'll ever witness. Lol.

 

You know something must not be too bad if you read it before you get up to pee. :P Haha. But, for real, I'm going to take that as a compliment.

 

So I decided before I really wrote any of this that I didn't want to edit myself as much when it came to all the bits and pieces of this. Mercer's voice is WAY different than Holly's or especially Alyce's. There's been a ton of progress with my writing in that regard--the more experience I have writing, the less need I feel to conform to a specific "pattern" for my protagonists' voices, if that makes any sense. I think I have a better understanding of writing first-person than when I started.

 

I am so excited to get into the character aspect of this. Right now I feel like every single part of this is BACKSTORY and SETUP, both of which are like my two least favorite things to write. So I'm pretty much driving myself crazy. :P

 

I side with both Mercer and Jamie on the school thing. I think my school is 90% assholes, but at the same time, can it really be any different anywhere else? Haha.

 

I literally have no idea how I'm going to pull any of this off. It's really ambitious, but I'm doing some "research" right now (reading a certain extremely famous true crime book that's been a huge help with developing the plot) and I think that'll help. :)

 

I'm hoping to get another update in tonight. I have some early stuff I'm working into this next chapter (which I'm hoping will be closer to normal length lol). I'm going to get into the mechanics of the city as well as some character stuff.

 

Thanks for the comment! I always love hearing from you. :)

 

-Artemis


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#11 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:17 AM

Hell yeaaaaah.

 

DIVINE

3 // Montagues & Capulets

 

West Carthage High sits at the very edge of Salem and is considered one of the only “decent” schools in the district. Because of those two factors, WCH has become a melting pot of upper-end Salem kids and lower-end Hampton kids. This mix of classes has created a smaller-scale version of the larger class wars in Carthage.

 

The city itself is split into three main districts: Hampton, Salem, and the Hyde. The Hampton kids don’t get along with the Salem kids, and the Hyde kids don’t even get along with themselves, let alone anyone from Hampton or Salem.

 

Anyone living in Salem is generally dirt poor. It’s not the kind of place someone with money and power decides they want to live. Salem is really the heart of Carthage culture—punk rock, street venders, psychics, like fifty billion different bars and strip clubs, et cetera. It’s also the heart of crime in not only Carthage, but also the whole Pacific Northwest as a whole. My dad, a detective for the Salem sector of the Carthage Police Department, always finds himself in over his head in some murder, robbery, or drug bust. As someone who has spent seventeen years of their life exposed to the good and evil of Salem, I can confirm that it really is just as bad as they make it out to be on the news.

 

Kids from the Hyde are wealthy elitists who attend private schools where they talk about “higher level thinking” and philosophy or whatever the hell rich white people get their kicks from learning about. The Hyde is full of money—art galleries, international corporation headquarters, five-star restaurants, lofty hotels, and enough pretentious businessmen to make your skin start crawling and never stop.

 

Hampton kids hold a bad reputation because of their true lack of status—not ridiculously poor, but not drowning in money, either. Hampton is the suburbia of lovely Carthage, where everything looks like a photo from a magazine for middle-aged women. The kids all look the same, talk the same, dress the same—in Salem, we call them Barbies and Kens. Something about being raised in the filth of Salem, where you roll around in the mud every single day, almost makes you hate the pretense of suburbia, where things are just as bad as we have them in Salem if you dig below the surface. If you can look past the white picket fences, carefree soccer mom smiles, and cookie-cutter houses, you begin to realize Hampton is just as fu/cked up as Salem—maybe even more so, because Salem doesn’t bother trying to cover up the filth with pristine coats of pastel paint. In Salem, you learn to live in the dirt. It’s a different story in Hampton.

 

Teenagers love and hate with unmatchable passion, and so the divide between districts is magnified in the high school setting. Having the Becketts of the world mix with the Mercers of the world only leads to bad things. For example, Moby has been suspended at least once every year he’s gone to school at West Carthage, because—much like Jamie—he holds a special place of hatred in his shallow heart for the Hampton kids that have infiltrated the school over the years. He just lets it show more than Jamie does.

 

Of course, sometimes those general societal guidelines are blurred or disregarded entirely. Sometimes Salem kids and Hampton kids don’t hate each other. Just look at Verona Beckett and Max Gall, who loved each other up until the end. Sometimes Hampton kids hate each other instead of bonding over the mutual enjoyment they all seem to find in Starbucks’s coffee.

 

And sometimes Salem kids just plain don’t like each other, either. For instance, I have never really been friends with Sam Lauderdale. The most we do is tolerate each other and pretend to be closer than we are to avoid pissing the other off. It’s not ideal, but it has saved us from biting each other’s heads off, which would be inevitable otherwise. I guess I can’t complain.

 

***

 

“Who the hell names their kid ‘Mercer’? Even her name pisses me off.”

 

I looked up from my book, a copy of The Great Gatsby that we were reading in English, and replied in a monotone, “My first name’s Beth.”

 

The girl in front of me turned around, wrinkling her nose. She had no idea I’d heard a word of what she’d said up until I spoke up, but I’d been listening to her whisper to her friend about me for a solid five minutes. One of my favorite games to play was putting in earphones but not turning on music, just to see what people talk about when they think you can’t hear them. Usually it’s not all too interesting, but sometimes you strike gold. On that particular day, I’d considered it a jackpot. I got filled in on most of the current gossip surrounding the people I associated with—including myself. Most of it vaguely reminded me of a bad episode of an overrated teen TV drama.

 

“Could you hear—?”

 

I exaggerated a smile and nodded, pulling out both earphones. “Yeah. Mercer’s my last name. First name’s Beth, but who really wants to be called Beth? It’s one of those names that’s been passed down in my family since the freaking Civil War or whatever. Never been a fan.”

 

My conversational tone set her off, just like I’d hoped it would. She stared at me while her friend laughed uncomfortably. I made sure to keep smiling, just to make both of them feel as awkward as possible.

 

When she didn’t reply, I added, “Out of curiosity, do you have a name like Amy or Emily or Rachel that you share with like half the world’s female population?”

 

She pursed her lips, trying to hide her amusement. “Yeah.”

 

I gestured for her to continue since she refused to elaborate without my help.

 

“It’s Sam. Short for Samantha.”

 

“Sam…?”

 

“Lauderdale.”

 

***

 

And I didn’t say another word to her until Honors American Lit at the start of our junior year. I’d always assumed she was too embarrassed to ever bring up our first ever conversation, considering she introduced herself as a stranger when we were forced to converse again. I didn’t mind. If I was her, I’d have done my best to block the incident from my memory entirely.

 

When Sam called me at the pool the night of her mother’s suicide, I had been surprised. Of all people, me. For someone who had never been close to her to begin with, I couldn’t quite figure out why I was among the first people she went to for help.

 

--end of 3--

Were you expecting a longer chapter? HAHA. Guess you were wrong, man.

 

So here we go: Finally, an exploration into the city of Carthage. I know I mentioned the districts in the original author's note, but I never gave ANY detail. So there you go. :) Pretty self-explanatory. Pretty boring. Also pretty necessary.

 

Fun fact: I have wanted to write about a city called Carthage for aaaages. I don't know why, but the name has always been awesome to me. I love the connotation of it, too--you have to think of Hannibal and vicious war when you think of Carthage, right?

 

I actually wrote a bunch of rough drafts of what became A Long Road to Infamy with futuristic Seattle split up into districts called Harlem, Salem, and Hyde. So, you know, slight alterations. The districts also weren't the same in regards to wealth with their corresponding Divine districts.

 

Also, we are now beginning to explore the character of Sam Lauderdale. :) Mercer a bit, too. I'm hoping to do some Mercer-Jamie stuff next chapter.

 

So I think I figured out what my problem with writing is right now. The academic essay has suffocated my creativity. Writing essays has definitely made me a better writer--no doubt about it--but I'd like to not weep over every linking verb or instance of passive voice for once. I think I've become so focused on the mechanics that I've squeezed the fun out of it. Not that the mechanics aren't fun! Believe me, I freaking love grammar and all that. But sometimes you just have to WRITE and not think about whether or not you've used a certain sentence structure too many times. I firmly believe that's been the reason my fiction writing has been suffering lately--I can't get past the little things to look at the bigger picture.

 

Also, in regards to the small chapters: I think I've been watching way too much TV. I've begun to think of everything in terms of "scenes" rather than chapters. My visuals have improved so much after doing some analysis of some of my favorite TV shows (*cough* OrphanBlackBreakingBad *cough*). I've eliminated more of the "fluff" of my writing and stuck to things that all have a very specific purpose so far, which surprises me since my writing usually heavily features digressions every other paragraph. Yes, it's less fun to write this way, but it makes me feel better. My head is also WAY clearer. I'm focused on the plotline for once! Wow.

 

Also, I've been putting much more thought into the smaller details of this. I'm trying to get myself into this world. I recently did an art project based on one of my favorite movies, Se7en (what's in the boooox??), and my appreciation for all the TINY details in movies grew to the point where I've become obsessed with analysis even more than before. My friend and I sat down and took so many notes on themes and parallelism and motifs in the movie, and all I could think was, "What if someone does this when my books is turned into a movie someday? I would be so overjoyed that someone gets it!" (Just kidding. I will make them turn my novels into miniseries instead of movies, because TV > movies, obviously.)

 

I'm rambling again hahaha. I MISS THIS. Getting into writing again makes me feel so good. I've been missing out. I've been inspired lately. I've found things that are working for me and helping me with ideas, whether it's music (Nine Inch Nails, man) or TV/movies (can we just talk about the new Orphan Black episode for a second) or books (Helter Skelter is killing me with the bazillions of details but it's SO GOOD). It's also finally warm here in lovely WI, so I'm able to bike again, and most of my good ideas spawn from my long bike rides. So. It looks like I'm in a good place right now. :)

 

-Artemis


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#12 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:03 PM

Mercer's dad is my new favorite.

DIVINE

4 // Outlines

 

Jamie and I blared the Beastie Boys on the way back from school. Our friendship had original spawned from a mutual love of “Brass Monkey,” as all the greatest friendships should, and so we frequently made a habit of listening to them together. They were our band.

 

Usually I, being the bigger Beastie Boys fan (my dad had raised me on “Licensed to Ill”), instigated our listening sessions, but Jamie suggested it on that particular day as we walked from his locker to the school’s parking lot. I assumed he was making an effort to cheer me up since I’d been so moody all day.

 

“You know, most people listen to this kind of music to get pumped up,” he remarked as I pulled out of the school parking lot. “But then there’s you.”

 

“Nothing more calming than fighting for your right to party,” I replied, cranking the volume to its max. He shook his head and I smiled, because there was something immensely satisfying about maintaining a relationship built on classic hip-hop for over a year and a half.

 

***

 

“Beth? Is that you?”

 

I slammed the apartment door, greeted right away by my cat, Kurt (who, yes, I had named after a certain famous 90s musician). He waited eagerly at the door whenever he heard someone heading up the stairs to out apartment. Usually he let me hold him, but that day, he proceeded to meow aggressively and struggle to escape my arms as soon as I picked him up.

 

“Who else would it be, dumbass?”

 

“I dunno—maybe your brother, dumbass.”

 

My dad and I have the best kind of relationship—the kind where we can call each other “dumbass” and neither of us takes a bit of offense at it. At some point, “dumbass” replaced the stereotypical “dad” or—in his case—“kid,” and since then, I’d viewed it as a sincere term of endearment rather than an insult.

 

“Well, it’s not Chris. It’s me.” I set Kurt down and hung up my heavy green parka on the back of one of the chairs around the metal folding table that functioned as the centerpiece of our dining room. From our makeshift dining room/entryway, I could hear ESPN blasting in the living room. “How was your day?”

 

“Godawful.”

 

I smiled. A typical response from my dad. Kids at school may have associated me with endless negativity, but my dad trumped me, hands down. I couldn’t recall a time when he’d given me a “good” or even anything better than an “all right” when I asked him how his day was. The guy lived and breathed the “irritable cop” attitude.

 

I rummaged through the fridge for food, waiting for him to ask me how my day was. When he didn’t reply, I shouted toward the living room, “My day was good—thanks for asking.”

 

He sighed so loudly that I could hear it over the deafening sound of ESPN. “Jesus, Beth.”

 

My dad called me Beth. He was the only one—even my mom (divorced; she’d reverted back to “Chan” after the split ten years back) called me by my last name. My dad referring to me as “Mercer” would’ve been like me calling him “Detective”—just plain weird.

 

“Cut me some slack,” he shouted. I grabbed a Pepsi from the back of the fridge and made my way toward the living room to join my dad on the couch. “I spent all night and most of the day digging through some hippie’s shithole of a house for the Lauderdale investigation. Do you really expect me to put up with your nonsense after hours of that?”

 

We exchanged smiles as I entered the room and plopped down next to him. “What would I do without your sarcasm?” I asked. He grabbed the remote off the cluttered coffee table that we used as more of a footrest than for its actual purpose. While I opened my can of Pepsi and downed about half of it (my caffeine intake for the day was off the charts), he turned the volume down to a respectable rate and even switched off ESPN in favor of something he knew I didn’t hate.

 

“You’d be way less awesome,” he said, flipping through channels. “My sarcasm’s rubbed off on you.”

 

“Among other things.”

 

He laughed. “So. How was your day, Beth?”

 

I didn’t want him knowing quite the extent of my growing obsession with the Lauderdale suicide, so I relayed endless details about precalc and lit—things that had absolutely nothing to do with what had occupied my thoughts for the majority of the day. He nodded along, pretending to be interested in Walt Whitman for me. I knew he didn’t care, and that was fine with me, because—truth be told—I couldn’t have given less of a sh/it about Walt Whitman either. Both of our minds were in the exact same place.

 

“Favorite Walt Whitman poem,” he said. “Go.”

 

I thought for a second. “Song of the Open Road.”

 

“I’d like to say I know exactly what you’re talking about,” he replied, “but I never liked poetry.”

 

I shrugged. “Me either. That was just the last one we read in class.”

 

His standard grimace turned to a smirk, and so we smirked together. I knew he was exhausted and probably had a million other things he’d have rather been doing than discussing poetry with me, but being able to sit together and just talk was nice. He spent so much time on the job that I hardly ever got to talk with him, especially not about something as frivolous as Honors American Lit. Normally we were limited strictly to business—unload the dishwasher, feed the cat, have a good day, etc. It had been months since we got to sit in front of the TV talk. My dad was a busy man.

 

“Was your day really godawful?” I asked, setting my empty Pepsi can next to three others from previous days. Clearly I needed to get into the habit of throwing them out. “Or are you just trying to elicit my pity like you always do?”

 

“I’d say it’s a healthy combination of both.” I laughed and leaned against the armrest of our old leather couch. The thing had been sitting in the exact same spot since we’d moved into the apartment years ago. “You know, Beth, the last thing I want to talk about right now is the suicides.”

 

I nodded, understanding, but inside I just rolled my eyes. The one thing I wanted to talk about with him was the thing he refused to elaborate on at all.

 

--end of 4--

 

A bit of a lighter chapter. Not necessarily super fluffy fluff, but...definitely some fluff. :)

 

So I wrote that whole Beastie Boys thing last night, and this morning I was in the car with my mom and "Brass Monkey" came on, and I just about died. Talk about a funny coincidence. (And, yes, I definitely did listen to "Licensed to Ill" as I wrote this chapter. :P I know, I'm lame.)

 

Not much to say about this one. Pretty straightforward. I'm gradually introducing things. WE'RE GETTING THERE.

 

So the whole Walt Whitman thing was definitely more of a reference to some certain events in Breaking Bad instead of to the poet himself... :P

 

I was convinced this was going to be a normal-length chapter (like 2.5k at least), but NOPE. Still barely over 1k. Sigh.

 

-Artemis


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 24 April 2014 - 10:05 PM.

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#13 BonkersBookworm78

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:52 AM

Finally got round to reading this.

Wow, it's good, the humour.

Seems slightly more in control and focused than Long Road To Infamy.

Flawless as ever and not awkward at all.

Great protagonist.

I do the headphone thing all the time (it works).

Mercer and her father's negativity is so entertaining.

Not pretending I have any idea what will happen.


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#14 Jcrazy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:19 PM

HI! Finally.

The information of the city of Carthage was actually very cool to read. "Salem doesn’t bother trying to cover up the filth with pristine coats of pastel paint." I like that. Funny that you've always wanted to write about a city named Carthage. I always wanted to write about a boarding school called Grandover. It must be a writer thing. :P

Flashback was cool in chap three. One thing I'm always interested about in stories is how characters that already have an established relationship when the story started met. Their meeting explains why they aren't necessarily all that close right now.

Small note: I would TOTALLY want my book/books turned into television series as opposed to movies too! Hah.

"there was something immensely satisfying about maintaining a relationship built on classic hip-hop for over a year and a half." I love how casual Jamie and Mercer's relationship feels at this point.

Her dad—OH MY GOD. I love him. I love cool dad's in cool stories. They make everything better. I like how he's the only one who calls her Beth. Individualized their relationship.

Confession: when I think Walt Whitman, I think Breaking Bad. There is no escaping the connection.

All in all I am still wonderfully impressed by this! Don't stress about chapter length. Again, that's simply something that does not matter in the slightest.

Update! I love it.
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#15 24moon100

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 06:50 PM

I've been wanting to read this, but SAT is tomorrow so I have kinda been stressing out about that lately so I will have to catch up once the SAT madness is over. 

 

A little side note because I'm curious: is the title "Outlines" for chapter four at all influenced by the song "Outlines" by ATL? I know you listen to them so just wondering. :)

 

Will read soon. Promise.

 

-MEG


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#16 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:08 PM

I've been wanting to read this, but SAT is tomorrow so I have kinda been stressing out about that lately so I will have to catch up once the SAT madness is over. 

 

A little side note because I'm curious: is the title "Outlines" for chapter four at all influenced by the song "Outlines" by ATL? I know you listen to them so just wondering. :)

 

Will read soon. Promise.

 

-MEG

 

Oh, dude, don't stress about reading this AT ALL. The SAT should definitely be your highest priority. :)

 

(And maybe I just so happened to scroll through my iTunes until I found a song name I liked. :P Lol. I was hoping you would know!)


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#17 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:52 PM

I think I'd like being a lifeguard...

 

DIVINE

5 // Black Noise

 

I started work at the Salem YMCA about halfway through freshman year. I’d never been the kind of person to actually go to the gym to work out; my core values emphasized mental strength over physical strength, and so I primarily focused on the intellectual side of things. It wasn’t that I disregarded physical strength altogether—it just never seemed near important enough for me to spend $60 a month on a gym membership to maintain.

 

Working at the gym, on the other hand, I definitely couldn’t complain about. The pay was great and the atmosphere was one of determination and balance—just what I needed when I had hours to myself to think. Being a lifeguard at the YMCA’s pool really didn’t require much skill or effort, so I spent a lot of time mindlessly staring at people doing laps while I contemplated whatever happened to be occupying my mind on that particular day.

 

I’d originally wanted to work the front desk and greet patrons as I scanned their membership cards, but the lady who ran the place—Janine—had reserved that position for workers who’d moved their way up the ladder of the Salem YMCA, of which I was at the very bottom. Instead, she selected me for possibly the least desirable position of them all: lifeguard.

 

Winter lifeguard training two years back spawned comradery in its highest form. The friends I made during that week-long session had hung around in the foreground of my life since bonding over our mutual lack of interest in saving the lives of drowning children years earlier. The six of us had no real desire to be lifeguards, so we spent the whole training session bit/ching and moaning about the instructors and the exercises we were forced to complete. Somehow, all that bit/ching and moaning led to great things.

 

I became friends with Moby during lifeguard training. Although we shared the same hour for English, the two of us had only spoken about three words to each other—until lifeguard training. It was then that I realized Moby shared my inner monologue of sarcastic thoughts. We learned to speak each other’s language with the slightest of glances.

 

Moby and I had a long running joke that, as lifeguards, we were serving civilians as brave social heroes, overlooking their activities and intervening in moments of mayhem, but I’d truthfully never helped anyone at the pool in the entirety of the time I worked there. I mostly sat on the lifeguard stand like a king on his throne and stared down at kids splashing below. It was a great job.

 

***

 

“Mercer? Are you all right?”

 

One of the new workers—Amy—stared up at me with wide eyes, level with my feet from my place on the lifeguard stand. I hadn’t realized she was addressing me until she shook my leg. She held a stack of three freshly washed white towels in one hand and a phone in the other. Her face revealed concern.

 

I inhaled deeply and replied with a “yeah” and a tired shrug. My typically distracted, weary personality troubled people who didn’t know me well, and Amy certainly wasn’t an exception. Janine had assigned me to show the new lifeguards how things were done, but I didn’t really have anything to teach them. So I kept quiet and let them figure things out for themselves.

 

Despite this deliberately nonexistent communication with my new coworkers, Amy had latched on to me. I couldn’t have been less thrilled.

 

“Someone was calling your cell,” she said, sheepishly extending the hand holding the phone that I’d mistaken for hers. I reached down to grab it, scanning the pool rather than make eye contact with her.

 

“How did you get this?” I asked, entering my passcode at a sluggish pace to continue my decided absence of eye contact.

 

Amy shifted, switching the stack of towels between her hands. Now she was the one not making eye contact—her eyes drifted to a man who’d been struggling with his backstroke for a good fifteen minutes. I studied her and watched her tense. If I was going to break the bond she’d been trying to form with me, I needed to make her as uncomfortable as possible whenever the opportunity arose.

 

She eventually replied to my question, but by then I was far too concerned with listening to Sam Lauderdale’s voice message to care what it was Amy had to say.

 

“Hey, Mercer, it’s Sam. I’m sorry for freaking you out yesterday—Moby said you were really stressed out by everything today, and I’m really sorry. I know you get really, uh…fixed on this kind of thing. So I’m sorry for getting you involved.”

 

She’d barely said anything and I’d already had to sit through more apologies I usually did in a month. If it hadn’t been Sam, with all her links and information regarding the suicides, I would’ve deleted the voicemail off my phone already. Apologies bored me to death.

 

I looked up and noticed Amy had walked off, leaving me and the struggling swimmer to our half of the pool. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the rest of the message.

 

“It was selfish of me to think that, you know, you probably knew more than I did because of your dad, but… Look.” She sighed, and her tone began to change. She started talking faster, her breath shallow. “I can’t help thinking it’s because of me. Like she knew that I was responsible—or, you know, sort of responsible, whatever—for Verona and Max’s suicides, because I could have talked him out of it. Like I was a huge disappointment, and that’s why she did it. She must’ve found out about me going to support group and why I was going—oh my God, Mercer, I just feel sick. About Max and about Verona and now her.”

 

I probably would’ve felt the same way in her situation, but listening to her gripe without giving me anything new to work with just irritated me further.

 

“I hated her—you know I hated her, but come on. It’s devastating. I started going to support group thinking her being gone would solve my problems, but…I think it’s just making them worse. I feel even worse than before.

 

“And then there are the other two—Sharon and Leanna. My mom never knew them, at least not that I know of. And I know I’d never heard of them until they were all over the news. And both of them killed themselves, too. What if it’s all because of me, Mercer?”

 

The voicemail ended and I opened my eyes, immediately glancing at the clock above one of the large windows in the vast room. Five minutes left of work. The man had disappeared into the locker room, and Amy was no longer in sight. The pool was empty.

 

--end of 5--

 

This chapter seems pointless, but it's NOT. I promise. :P It will be important in the long run. Gradual introduction of important information (plus some fun backstory :P).

 

Jamie & MillyLong day, and I've already spent a bunch of energy writing this. SO: thank you guys so much for your comments!! I would reply in detail like normal, but I'm not feelin it right now. Regardless, it's always great to get feedback. :) I really appreciate it.

 

xoxoArtemis


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 06 May 2014 - 06:57 PM.

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#18 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:41 PM

I decided I give no sh/its about chapter length.

DIVINE

6 // Art Form

 

“Has Sam ever talked about her support group with you?” I asked, tennis ball in one hand and racquet in the other. Moby and I strolled off to the far end of the school’s tennis courts to pretend to play a game or two for gym class. Neither of us had any interest in tennis, so partnering together ensured both of us would be spared from the try-hard athletes in our class.

 

He took the ball from my hand and jogged to his end of the court. Seeing Moby in gym clothes made me laugh almost daily—he normally dressed in fashion typical of the Salem punk scene, and it suited him. Baby blue athletic shorts and resale orange Nikes from back in 2005, on the other hand? Not so much.

 

“Not really,” he said, bouncing the ball a few times before serving. “Why d’you ask?”

 

I shrugged. “She keeps bringing it up.”

 

“Well, you know Sam. Always willing to bi/tch about her problems to anyone who’ll listen.”

 

He served, and the ball barely made it over the new. I tried to return it but ended up swatting at air. For a generally coordinated person, I sure sucked at tennis. “She left me a voice message last night.” I threw the ball over to him so he could serve again. “I swear to God I’ve gotten more phone calls in the past three days than I have in my entire life.”

 

“If you stop answering, she’ll stop calling,” he advised. His next serve was even worse than the first.

 

“Moby.” I shot him a look. “Do you think I haven’t already tried that?”

 

He rolled his eyes and ignored my jab. “So she keeps talking about her support group?”

 

“Yeah. Support group. And I dunno—it has to be at least somewhat pertinent to her situation if she keeps bringing it up, right? And it ties back to the Verona Beckett thing so nicely, too, with Max Gall being part of it and all.”

 

Moby wasn’t impressed. “Here’s what I think, Mercer: You are looking into this sh/it way too deeply. It doesn’t concern you at all. Let it go, man. Let it go.”

 

He served with his habitual poor form, and this time, I was actually able to return it. I mostly attributed my sudden success to my irritation. They say you play better when you’re angry. “I don’t think you get it.”

 

“I don’t really see that there’s anything to get.”

 

The ball hit the corner of the court and bounced into oblivion. He watched lifelessly as it rolled halfway across the row of seven others. “You should get that.” He flipped me off in classic Moby fashion and ran off after it.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 27 May 2014 - 08:42 PM.

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