Fauxthors™: A Collab with Jo @ The Lens & The Hard Drive (feat. a special guest) {APADO #10}

(this is APADO, a series where I attempt to post once a day for the entire month of october. despite sickness. despite life. i’m not doing half bad so far.)
(Jo posted part one on her blog – you should go check it out!)
(ugh no one is going to like this)

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Okay so I’ve got this habit. Superpower. Thing. It’s like, whenever I’m just sitting reading a comic book or like anything and someone says my name, I’m like what? where did that come from?

And like, I just heard someone say my name.

It was something like “Bring Sasha next time!” Except it was echo…i…er.

So it was more like – bring bring bring Sasha Sasha Sasha next next next time time time.

AND I HEARD IT.

Like, it was pretty much a Bat-signal for ME.

So here I am! What are we doing? What’s going on? WHAT AM I NEEDED FOR?

Questions? Gotcha. I’m a question machine. I’ll answer questions like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I’ll answer as many questions as – oh.

Asking questions?

Well honestly I’m not as good at that but hey, I’m not horrible either, right?

I guess it would help if I read this paper thingie. Who’s even answering these questions?

Ohhhh….oh wow it’s her! IT’S THE ONE WHO SENT OUT THE SASHA-SIGNAL THIS IS SO AWESOME!

*clears throat* Ladies and gentlemen…

…but do any guys even read this thing? seriously though…

…it’s my honor…and duty…and privelege…

…I present to you…

Jo!

@ The Lens & The Hard Drive

Jo’s an awesome writer writing awesome stories like, all the time! But especially during Nanowrimo. Which is legit the craziest challenge ever.

But just like Tess – oh wow I am being so meta here, mentioning my creator and all – Jo writes for fun.

So like, her and Tess have these sessions where they just talk about writing like they know what they’re talking about and they really don’t and both of them know it and they still try to talk about it anyways.

Recently they started calling themselves Fauxthors™. It’s demeaning, but accurate I guess. Don’t forget the trademark!

I mean, I get it. I get doing something and not wanting to make a job out of it. I play baseball and I’m not half-shabby at it but I’m not signing up for the major leagues or anything.

Oh yeah, we were talking about writing. Fauxthors™. Nanowrimo.

And I was supposed to ask Jo these questions about Nanowrimo.

How did we get talking about baseball?

Anyways.

So, Jo. Nanowrimo novels. What’s got you up late at night this time around?

I’m worried it’ll be cliche, boring, and not very coherent. And that I’m copying from other stories. I sure hope not!

Oh gosh I hate that feeling. When you’re trying to be original and you feel like you might not be. Or maybe that trying to be original is unoriginal and you should just not try and be unoriginal and there’s no answer to the conundrum and I need to stop talking. How well do you know your MC?

I woulda scrapped my story if it hadn’t been for Gale. I knew her like a best friend- which she was in many cases. I probably would know what would happen if Gale came here. XD

Okay hands down, Gale is the best. She’s like seriously awesome. Can she come hang out with me sometime? We could watch cartoons and eat Cracker Jacks. OH MAN I LOVE CRACKER JACKS.

QUESTIONS. That’s right. So like, I know you call little baby ideas something…what is it…plot bunnies. What was the first plot bunny that brought about your current idea?

The first plot bunny I thought of was, “what if there was a girl who loved photography as much as I do?” Nothing big. “What if this girl did a stakeout, like I did?” Again, nothing big. So I kept it in my notebook. I was reading some books and watching some videos when the final bunny popped up. “What if this girl was taught by her dad who’s in the army?” And that’s started it all.

I’m like already feeling for your character! I do stakeouts, my dad taught me like a ton of everything I know, and I’m not really good at photography but I love pictures? Mine are always…blurry. For some reason. Huh.

But like how do you guys come up with these ideas? They’re seriously awesome. I know there’s something like pantsing, planning, something like that…which one did you pick? And why?

I just pantsed because it seemed like fun. Not knowing how or where or why and finding it out was exciting. The results of that led to a villain I was terrified of, so I didn’t touch it for a while. That’s when I switched to outlining, so I knew what was happening.

Outlining. My teachers tell me to outline my papers and I think it takes longer to outline them than to write them so I usually just skip it. I end up getting bad grades. But honestly I get bad grades no matter what I do. It’s like my curse.

All this must take like a bunch of time. How much time do you spend thinking about your nano?

My first NaNo, I gave it 10 minutes before I decided I wanted to it, not much time for thought. XD I just jumped into it, went in blind. Since then, it’s always on my mind! I’ll be doing something mundane, then go, “Dareine would do this”. It worries my family. 😛

If your family’s not worried, you’re not living, Jo.

Honestly, writers are like super-cool. I don’t understand how they work. But I don’t think Tess or Jo really understand either? Hey, it’s all cool. Let’s move on to these questions about writing and stuff.

So, back on you, Jo…who’s an author you look up to?

I could name 5 and that would be the tip of the iceberg. But one that I reaaaaally look up to is J.R.R. Tolkien, of course. Some say he spent too much time in worlds that don’t exist, but I think he made a haven for weirdos like me. 😛

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH TIME IN WORLDS THAT DON’T EXIST. EVER. Weirdo havens for the win.

But how do you keep going? What’s something that kept you going when you wanted to quit?

Enni. On the last day of camp, I’d been told that nobody asked me to join Camp NaNo, and that made me want to quit. My cabin promptly convinced me otherwise, with Enni very efficiently scolding me. XD I have the paragraphs to prove it!

AWWWWW THAT IS SO SWEET! Enni’s pretty awesome. Me and her characters get along great.

Gosh this is so meta.

Um.

So, like, that’s what keeps you going, but…what’s the reason you write?

Ultimately, I want to glorify God, and I want to tell stories. It actually started for stuff for me to read. Whole worlds I could call home, and characters I could call friends. Somewhere along the road I guess I figured maybe other people would want to see those worlds too.

WOW. That’s deep. That’s like. Wow. I can’t even. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL. I’m wiping tears. Jo, you’re breaking me down.

So – just takin’ some notes here, cuz your novel-writing thing is actually really cool – how do you come up with your stories? Where do you look to for inspiration?

Someone once told me to write about life. So I did. That’s where I find it from. I find it from normal things like going to church late, getting migraines, and oak trees, kids talking. Other writers, books, music. Little normal things like that that nobody except me notices.

Maybe that’s where I’ve always gone wrong. I’ve always thought you had to have something amazing to write about. I think someone once said that the best inspiration is life. But I don’t remember who it was. Maybe it was my mom. Or me. Or some guy on TV. Honestly who cares, SOMEONE said it.

So like, it must be weird, though, when people find out that you write stuff. Even if you are a Fauxthor™. What’s been a memorable reaction when people eventually find out you write?

It had been the last days of April Camp NaNo, and I was talking to my cousins online, and they ask me what I’m up to. So I’m like, “do I tell them about Camp NaNo or not?” I decide to tell them, and when I’m done, my cousin Jon asks me, “have you joined a cult? !?” And my other cousin’s like, “ good luck with Camp No no!” Thanks guys. Thanks.

BUT YOU’VE GOT TO ADMIT THAT IT’S LIKE A CULT. YOU GUYS STAY UP TILL WHO KNOWS WHEN AND MAKE SACRIFICES OF WORDS AND COOKIES AND CHARACTERS. AND MAYBE CHANT INCANTATIONS OF SHIPPING AND SPOILERS.

But hey everything looks like a cult until you get to know what it is.

Even cults.

But aren’t cults really cults so duh they’re going to look like cults?

I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

This has been like, so fun! I’m going to have to convince Tess to let me on here more often. I could talk for like, five hours! On anything! Everything! Just get me going and I –


I’m sorry. I had to cut that off. I couldn’t let her talk you guys until your graves. BECAUSE SHE WOULD.

Honestly, Sasha is a character could write for hours. I wasn’t originally planning to feature anyone, but then Jo made Gale give me my interview…and I couldn’t resist. Especially knowing how much some of you like Sasha. I’m looking at you, Madi.

I want to thank Jo sooooo much for collabing on this with me! Fauxthors™ for the win.

You can find Jo at her blog, The Lens & The Hard Drive. She’s super relatable and has goregous photos. Go ahead, drop by!

This post was a mess. I’m regretting everything.

tl;dr: I rambled way too long with Sasha and had Jo answer some questions and remembered why posts need to have structure.

Please forgive me.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

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Project Orion {Camp recap + mandatory beta reader signup}

(wow it has been ages since i’ve posted here on steeplechase. i apologize for that. school and animation projects and stuff like camp nanowrimo have been keeping me busy.)
(i have 50 followers! should i be doing anything special for that milestone?)
(PO = Project Orion. my wittle novel project that takes up most of my brain RAM these days.)

sharpie

Camp Recap

March 30th: This Camp, I’m going to go through my 2017 Nano, Project Orion, and edit it into something I can give to beta-readers.

April 6th: Well, this novel is ridiculous. I don’t know why I forgot that it’s spazzy, weirdly-paced, and has the craziest rambly details. (Yeah, three paragraphs about comic book plotlines are not really important to the story.) So let’s just rewrite the stupid thing. What could go wrong?

April 15th: I haven’t progressed in days. And the more I think about it, the more stupid it is. My inciting incident is horrible, there are characters that do nothing for the plot, and my setting is irrelevant. I guess I could write it…but I’m bored. And if I’m bored, what are my readers going to be like?

April 25th: Help. This is going to be the first Nano I’ve ever lost. I need to talk to Madison.

Madison: Change your goal.
Me: What I need to change is my story.
Madison: So why don’t you?
Me: Like…plotting?
Madison: Yep. Change your goal to a plotting goal. Write out stuff about your story. You’ll be better off.

April 30th:

apr2b30252c2b20182b11253a51253a552bpm
this is what happens to you when you don’t sleep well for five or six days and you win fifteen minutes before midnight.

sharpie

My Project

po adhd
This is one thicc boi.

Goal: 50 pages of planning, notes, character development, or ranting on how horrible PO is. (Well, I didn’t want to rant, but I ended up ranting in some places. Hehe.)

I completed the goal: at 11:45 pm on April 30, 2018.

Translation: I WROTE 50 PAGES IN FIVE DAYS. And 23 of those pages were on the last day. HAHAHAHAHA *psychotic laughter fades into the distance*

Now.

You know what time it is.

It’s time for…

Project Orion ADHD Notes: Snippets

Here we go.

(Snippets that are LIKE THIS (and then like this) are page titles. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture above.

sharpie

Hurricane Snippets (run for your lives)

How did the flashdrive get into the antique shop anyways? It’s like they found it behind some Hubba Bubba or something…I really don’t need anymore throwbacks to The Winter Soldier in this nano. I ALREADY HAVE A COMPUTER MAN AND A COMPLETELY ALTRUISTICALLY ADORABLE MC.

Before we get any further in, I should probably say that most of this was written past 3:00 in the morning. It gets a little….well, I called it ADHD planning for a reason. (K.M. Weiland would personally kill me.)

Ways to tipoff the tipoff (brainstorming):
– a robbery of something important
– a break-in

– a natural disaster

– FLYING MANTA RAYSSSSSSS

(“Flying manta rays” is a house term usually describing that-thing-that-you-never-planned-to-put-in-your-novel-but-ended-up-in-there-because-you-were-like-“Hey-wouldn’t-manta-rays-look-cool-as-flying-animals?-Like-seriously-they-could-flap-their-unifinwing-and-be-like-a-living-magic-carpet.”
Or it refers to deus ex machina. Either one.)

And Nero is just hating everyone. XD.

(Nero is the main antagonist.)

Nero has no sympathy for:
– his colleagues
– his fellow Davi-followers
– his friends
– anyone’s feelings
– anyone’s plans
– anyone’s self-esteem
– the lawmakers
– anything.
PERCENT OF HIS BRAIN USED FOR CARING: 0%.

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
(whoops, I don’t have one?)

It’s like you accidentally bought a T-rex thinking it was a frilled lizard.

I want to waste paper and do this the fun way.

(Don’t look at me like that. All I wanted to do was draw bubbles and arrows. *pfft* Hypocrite.)

Omw. Is this a good ol’ classic story?
I love it. It’s a familiar story…IN DISGUISE……

DO THEY KNOW OR NOT?
(settling how stupid Leo and his frens are)

Looks like I need to add this to the plotty plot thingie.

(I just called my plot a “plotty plot thingie.” SAY THAT AGAIN, IN SLOW MOTION.)

Kablam – Project Orion!

In the words of a wise man:
“This is legitness!”

And then poor Dav-Davs kicked the bucket, because cancer.

(Prehistory. No one dies of cancer in PO.)

Meet Mystical Hipster Who Now Looks Like A Hipster Raisin Because Hipstering Is So 2018.

(Post history. I wanted to think about a sequel so that I’d know how to end PO. So I made up a new character…accidentally…and she’s weird. Oh boy.)

*crickets*
What was I talking about?

MJ GETS TRIGGERED
(and other stories)

GOOD THINGS ABOUT PO
(i want to feel good right now)
Leo Cordova.
Never mind, all the charries.
But Nero in particular.
AND SYRE SHANKHOR. LEMME HUG DAT BOI.

Heterochromia.
STUFF. ACTUALLY. HAPPENS.
It’s so sequelable.

Wide variety of MBTI.
Diverse charries
and………………………………………
THE FACT THAT I MADE ALL OF IT UP.

Thus endeth the snippets. *dies*

sharpie

What next?

Wow. I didn’t expect you to survive that. But here you are, ready to be barraged with…

MORE INFORMATION.

PO is a long way from being done. I mean a distance-from-the-Sun-to-Pluto long way. But it is started, and I have something like a game plan for it. Yay.

Tess’ Tentative Schedule For Completing Project Orion

(okay half the reason I named it Project Orion is so that when people ask me what I’m doing, I can be like, “Oh, I’m working on….” *mysterious toss of head* “…Project Orion.”)

By May 13th: Finish planning. Write out a little guide sheet so I can remember where I need to foreshadow my ridiculous plot.

May 14th – June 30th: Write it. Yeah, just like that. This is Draft #2. (Draft #1 is the aforementioned piece of trash that meanders around and uses weird metaphors.)

July 1st – July 30th: Take a break from PO and write something totally different for July camp. I can’t go burning myself out…

August 1st: Release PO to my hungry beta-readers…

…that I need to have a definitive list of.

I know several of you have raised your hands when I’ve asked you if you want to beta read. But I don’t have a list list.

If you want to beta read PO, you must sign up below. It is MANDATORY. If you do not fill in the simple form below, then you will not be on the list of beta readers and that first chapter will not show up in your inbox on August 1st. Even if you’ve told me in person, or through the camp message board, or anywhere elseYOU. MUST. SIGN. UP. WITH. THIS. FORM.

Click me to sign up for beta reading!

(Look, I even made it a Typeform, so it would be fun. Link opens in a new tab.)

sharpie

How I know I’m excited about PO

  • I think about my charries like they’re real.
  • When I’m doing something, I muse about how each of my charries would do it.
  • I make references to it, laugh hysterically, and then stare at everyone around me like not getting my personal jokes is a social crime.
  • I write about it in my journal once a night.
  • My next animation will feature PO charries (because my people drawing skills have gotten wayyy better)
  • I made virtual Funko Pops of all of them.

Ahahahaha! You want to see the Project Orion Funko Pop collection, don’t you? Time for another round of…

Secrets

(shhhh…)

Steps to complete secret mission and unlock the PO Pops:

  1. In one of the pictures in this post, I shared my last name. Find my last name and write it down.
  2. Go to the Secrets page (located on the top, next to the trophy shelf. It’s hard to miss.)
  3. Enter my last name as the password in all lowercase.
  4. See the Pops. I also provided a link to the tool I used to make them. But I’m not going to give you that link here….you’ll just have to go unlock the Secrets page. >:)
  5. Leave a comment, if you want.

sharpie

Did you sign up for beta reading? Which snippet was your favorite? How was your Camp Nanowrimo?

(I’ll respond to whatever you comment below – probably in all caps/no caps/complete disregard of grammar and punctuation, which is awful in writing but somehow okay in commenting? I never understood that, but I do it anyways. :))

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Two Drawings (I guess this doesn’t really count as an art dump)

(I am seriously on a roll with these posts. There are so many little squares filled in on my calendar! Yay. I’m actually being a blogger.)

My drawing goes in seasons. There are weeks where I’m making one amazing piece after another. There are weeks when I don’t draw anything. There are weeks where whenever my pencil touches paper, I get Lolina all over again. But after one of those weeks, I usually have a good week, and that’s what happened today.

Saturday morning, I started drawing faces, just for practice. I came out with twelve of them and I think they’re not too bad.

Twelve Faces

I really like a lot of these faces. So I decided to give them names.

Top row, left to right: Alastair (I love this name so much), Megan, Jenny, Tao

Middle row, left to right: Asha, Mahmud, Dashiell (he looks like Dash from The Incredibles, doesn’t he?) and Sasha (she’s technically already a character).

Bottom row, left to right: Mia, Bri, Raymundo, and Cole (yep, like the Ninjago character, I based his hair off the Lego piece).

All in all, I think it turned out really good and I got so much practice out of it. I’ll definitely be doing more of these.

But the fun’s not over yet. I won’t over-hype this one, but it features Syre and Sasha (you know, from this story).

Skating

Hold it in, Tess. Don’t brag about how near-perfect their posings are. Don’t emphasize Syre’s hilariously adorable expression. Don’t say how much you love how Sasha has weight. Just….let them look. Let. Them. Look.

Suggestions and comments are always welcome!

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

Syre’s Comic Stand Fling {Bonus Story for Project Orion / AAWC Challenge #5}

I should have done this wayyyy earlier. As a result, it’s sort of awkward. But here it is, it uses all three prompts, and it’s somewhat on time. Enjoy or cringe – it’s your choice.

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Syre could think of a lot of places he’d rather be than where he was. Maybe in a coffee shop with a hot chai latte. Or better yet, under his pet snake’s heat lamp. But he was sitting on the steps outside Peridot Institute, watching the wind toss withered leaves into the oncoming traffic, and wishing desperately that he’d worn his thermal shirt.

He was waiting for his friend Sasha to crash through the doors behind him, the doors that had been locked five minutes ago, just when he’d figured that she wouldn’t mind him changing their meeting spot. He’d tugged on the handle, pleading with his eyes, but Mr. Summerlin had shaken his head and pocketed the keys. Thus rejected, he’d taken a seat on the cold concrete and crossed his arms – more because of the cold than because of his attitude.

Daring to pull up the sleeve of his coat, he checked his watch. She’d been in Miss Jae’s office for thirty minutes now. Whatever she was in trouble for, she’d gotten into it deeper than the Black Forest. He wondered whether he should go home and hear all about it later. Even though he knew she’d be mad at him for deserting her, anything was better than waiting here for another half hour. And besides, it took longer to walk home with Sasha than to walk home alone because she got sidetracked easily and always wanted to explore. If he went ahead and left, he would save himself ten or fifteen frigid minutes.

He was about to get up (and potentially kindle her irritation) when the doors opened behind him. Sasha quickly slammed them shut again, like she’d detonated something inside. “Come on, before they know it was me!” she hissed, nearly dragging him by his hood as he stumbled to follow her.

“What’s up?” he asked as they took off down the sidewalk at a swinging walk.

She dug in her pockets for her mittens, resisting the urge to run. “I might have, just possibly, broken the statue of that old dead guy with the chair.”

“You broke Adam Weishaupt?”

“So that’s how you say his name,” she muttered. “Uh huh.”

Syre chuckled. “Is it fixable?”

“So long as they don’t notice it. I just cracked the base, that’s all. It fits right together again, no problem. I just have to glue it when no one’s looking and – voila! Vice Hopped or however-you-say-it is still standing. Sitting, I guess.”

He shook his head. “How’d he break?”

“I was trying to hurry and get out. Ran into him.”

“Miss Jae sure kept you awhile, didn’t she?”

She nodded.

“What’s up?” he asked, knowing he was treading on thin ice. He tried to catch her eye, but she turned away.

“It’s my stupid grades again.” she muttered.

This wasn’t the first time Sasha had been chastised for grades. She was smart enough, Syre knew, but he felt the problem was that she couldn’t spit back the important information they were required to know – especially in timed tests under Miss Wilshire’s eagle eyes. Naturally easygoing, she was a deer in the headlights when pressed, and both she and Syre knew it. But there was nothing he could say, because he’d made a 99 on the last test. Sasha’s nines had been turned upside down.

So he said nothing, let the hum of passing cars and idling engines fill the space between them.

On any other day, they’d be talking about whatever they saw as they started the long walk to the Straus Square Metro. Every day, twice a day, they had to pass under the concrete-and-steel beam beast known as Brooklyn Bridge, admire the teeny shops set up underneath, their fading signs written in half-Korean. After passing the graffiti-tagged vans and were out of the bridge’s shadow, they only had a few blocks before they would trip down the stairs into the subway car at exactly 4:00.

But today, things would be different. The metro had left without them already due to Sasha’s delay. The other thing Syre was realizing was that he couldn’t let her keep being so dejected. Her optimism, her carefree happiness that she usually had, was what had made them instant friends in the first place.

Biting his lip, he put his arm around her shoulder.

She glanced at his hand hanging next to her backpack strap. Then she looked at him. “What’s this?” she asked, pointing.

“It’s an arm around your shoulder.”

She chuckled, shaking her head. “Okay.”

“Look, I know you’re not feeling so great.”

“Yeah.” She sighed.

He looked at her, waiting for her to elaborate.

She kicked a rock in the sidewalk, averting his eyes. “It’s like, all my life I’ve thought everyone liked me just the way I was. And now all the sudden I’m not good enough.”

“I’m sure it’s not that.”

“No, it is. You remember why both of us are in this school.”

He nodded. “Because of what they saw in us.”

“Yeah. But you’re more the type they want. And now I feel like an idiot.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true,” she muttered.

“Who says?”

“Everybody.”

“Except Leo,” he offered.

She looked at him as she pushed her glasses up her nose. “Don’t you remember? You’re supposed to call him Mr. Cordova now.”

“Well, sure, I’m supposed to, but since when have I followed the rules? Besides, he likes Leo better anyways.”

“I dunno.”

Syre felt like he was about to grasp the real problem, the thing that had hid behind her braces-clad grin for what must have been months. There was no way to find out for sure (she wasn’t in the mood for spilling her guts right now, he could tell), but it had something to do with Leo.

When Syre had first met Sasha, she’d had a friend in Leo. An odd friend, for sure, considering that he was years older than she was and certainly caught up in more than she knew existed, but a friend nonetheless. She was the captain of a ragtag baseball team, now defunct for school. And then there was him, the mysterious kid who had become friends with her in the most peculiar circumstances.

Now, since Peridot Institute’s reopening, Leo taught the new generation with the other alumni of the school. Busy and enjoying the new life he was leading, he treated Sasha more like the rest of his students. Yes, he was much more partial to her than to anyone else, but the magical thing they had forged out of simply being neighbors was gone. And moving to this new school full of studious, motivated, hero-material kind of people had made her feel like she didn’t belong.

He didn’t want to tell her that Miss Jae might be right, but that seemed to be the case. Even though her unorthodox look at the world was what had gotten her into P.I, she needed to straighten up to succeed. And that was something he felt she would never be good at. He was pulling off alright, but he couldn’t see her being as sober as he was and still being Sasha.

But did he seriously want her to straighten up? Wasn’t she, weird optimism and all, what had changed everything for him? She wouldn’t be any different – it wasn’t like her. And then everything suddenly made sense.

For the first time in her life, Sasha was lonely. Leo, the one who listened faithfully to her weird ideas, was too busy for her. She didn’t have any other friends at this new school except himself. But now he felt like their grades, his success and her capers, had put a division between her and everyone she loved.

He glanced at her pensive face. She was probably jealous, too.

“Look,” he said, feeling just a bit guilty about that, “Let’s go home a different way today.” Just as they were about to cross Broadway, he turned her to the right.

“Why?” she asked. Something sounded different about her voice.

“I dunno,” said Syre, searching rapidly for a newsstand. There had to be one around here somewhere. It was prime time to sell evening papers, they were in a business district…and if there was one thing that could cheer her up, it would be a comic book.

The two of them had disagreed minorly on comics since they’d met. Syre always felt guilty for buying something as silly as a comic book, when there were other better uses of money. But to Sasha, comics were her hobby. She collected comic books, loved everything about them. She called it looking through a giant camera. Once she’d mounted the ladder and peered through the enormous lense, she could see a world larger than the world she lived in, and that enchanted her.

What she needed right now was to feel the way he felt about her – that she was perfect just the way that she was, and that someone cared about her.

He dug in the pocket of his jeans, fingering the five-dollar bill he’d slipped in there earlier.

“So maybe there’s a place I wanna stop by, is that okay?” he asked.

“Sure,” she shrugged.

Finally, he saw it on the green of a nearby park, its red and blue banner flapping in the cold February wind. NEWSPAPERS – MAGAZINES – COMICS, it advertised.

She felt them walking towards it. “I – uh…I don’t have any money, she faltered.”

“Don’t sweat it,” Syre replied, slipping the bill into her hands. “On me today.”

She stopped in her tracks and looked him dead in the eyes. “But you think comic books are stupid,” she questioned.

“Well, the person I know who likes them isn’t so…”

Her smile flooded back to her face. “Oh, gosh.”

“What are you waiting for?”

It was like doing just that had switched off her depression. In between thanking him, she started talking, just like she used to. It came slowly, awkwardly at first, but soon he could tell she’d forgotten she was lonely. She was back to her old self, talking to whoever would listen, or even pretend to listen. Grey eyes bright again, cheeks red from the biting wind, she looked her old self again.

Their boots crunched in the icy, dead grass. “A laser gun,” she was saying. Syre was so busy thinking about her that he hadn’t been listening. “And then Beta looks at him and says, ‘Did you just shoot down, and possibly kill, Santa?'”

Syre laughed as hard as she did, not really because whatever Christmas-exclusive edition of Inventions Prime was so funny, but because he was overjoyed to see her back to her normal self.

As she pored over the books (and Syre stood watching), the newsboy leaned over and whispered, “Hey, kid, did you see it?”

“No?” Sasha looked at him.

Christmas is back.”

“Are you serious?” she asked, picking it up. “This is the one I was telling you about, Sy, you gotta come look.”

Syre came and laughed over the zany, ridiculous pages with her. But he found himself looking at her smile more than Beta. Christmas wasn’t the only thing that had returned. The Sasha he knew and loved was back.

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I didn’t want to have to go through all the explaining but it would have made almost no sense if I didn’t. I also wanted to stop it when he saw the newstand, but I needed to use the other two prompts.

I’m setting a new record here! I used all three prompts:

She called it looking through a giant camera. Once she’d mounted the ladder and peered through the enormous lense, she could see a world larger than the world she lived in, and that enchanted her.

“A laser gun,” she was saying. Syre was so busy thinking about her that he hadn’t been listening. “And then Beta looks at him and says, ‘Did you just shoot down, and possibly kill, Santa?'”

As she pored over the books (and Syre stood watching), the newsboy leaned over and whispered, “Hey, kid, did you see it?”

“No?” Sasha looked at him.

Christmas is back.”

I also used my team name:

Whatever she was in trouble for, she’d gotten into it deeper than the Black Forest.

Lamely, albeit, but still.

I also drew these two stupid drawings that I didn’t put in line because I’m not proud of them (and I failed on the backgrounds and ended up cutting them out):

So yes, this entry was hurried, but it’s an entry!

Total points: 1 (participation) + 6 (prompts) + 1 (team name) + 4 (illustrations) = 12 points!

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}