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 an essay from school 
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Pokemon Ranger
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speculative writing prompt: Imagine that a carnival comes to a small town. In addition to fun rides and games, the carnival has a mysterious machine that tells your fortune. Write a story about a boy or a girl from town who finds this mysterious machine.


Madame Cat A. Clysm


Dariel sprinted away, gasping, They were chasing him, once again. He had to outrun them. Dariel smirked. Of course he would. Those lumbering oafs would never catch up to him. And he was right. Stealing a glance behind his shoulders, he could see the thugs were drenched in sweat and nowhere near him. Dariel stopped and picked up a large stick. He threw it, and it ended up horizontal mid-air and smacked all five of them across the face.
"Stay away!" he hollered. "There's more where that came from!"
The grumbled and lumbered away, knowing he was right. Every day they chased him to tried to beat him up and every day he outran them. He grimaced. Well, every time except for... he shook his head. Dariel walked away thinking. Why did it seem like he was the human target at school? Oh yeah, because first of all, he was the new kid. Second of all, they were taught on a curve and Dariel was one of a few who helped to wreck it, failing a few kids every year. And finally... they just seemed to hate him from the second they saw him. Dariel sighed. Life wasn't easy since his sister had died.
Dariel turned a corner and sat on an abandoned box left over from the carnival. He had scored another high grade on a test today, and he thought of his parents' expressions. Their faces would be happy and excited, but their eyes would betray them. They tried to cover up mountains of grief with happiness, but Dariel could see right through it. Tracing a scar, he thought back to the day he and his sister, May, had fount the fortune-teller at the carnival, the day everything changed. His face deepened in to a scowl as he thought back.


"Mom! Mom! Ms. Cruzzo said there's a carnival in town! Can we go, please?" May begged.
Their mother's eyes shone with amusement. "Of course. What day does it begin?" she asked.
"It's only for Sunday, two days from now!" Dariel put in. He had seen a flyer for it on a telephone pole.
"Well, then, we'd better figure out what we're going to do!" Dad has announced. He was always wanted to plan things out carefully. These days he just seemd to rush--no, more like stumble--in to things blindly.
I had nodded entusiatically, but the rest of them uncertainly said, "We don't know what's there. How can we plan it?"
Dad looked crestfallen, but May's face lit up even more.
"We'll just have to go go with our gut when we get there!" she declared. Dad still looked uncertain, but Dariel and Mom were fine with it.
Saturday passed without much incident. May ran around talking about how they were going to have so much fun, Mom started to prepare the lunched she would bring for a picnic afterwards, Dariel goofed off, and Dad researched carnivals of all kind to get a general feel of what to expect. Then Sunday came. The traffic was unusually heavy for their small town. By the time they had found a good parking spot, May's and Dariel's arms were a bright red from so many punch buggies. May hopped out of the car and the rest of them followed along, making progress a lot slower than May would have liked. She complained about it multiple times but eventually got used to it.
The carnival was small; from a bird's-eye veiw, they could have seen all of it at once. May and Dariel were bored with the immediate attractions, and Mom and Dad targeted the cheap trinked stands as soon as they saw them Mom said we could roam and explore, but to meet them back there when the carnival ended at 4:00. It was 2:30.
"Well, come on! we have no time to lose!" May exclaimed, dragging Dariel along with her. She seemed to make a bunch of completely random turns, making the carnival seem much bigger than it was. Dariel saw a ride that he had been itching to go on, but he knew May wouldn't stop for it. Looking up while running, he noticed a crudely painted sign; it was supposed to say 'thanks for coming!' like they were leavong the carnival; instead, in white paint, it said 'turn back now'. He laughed the initial creepy feeling, saying to himself it was left over from Halloween, Although he couldn't shake the thought that it was June. Surely no one could have left it up for so long? Plus, the paint seemed fairly fresh; the scent still hung in the air.
May didn't seem to notice. She kept on running and making erradic turns. Suddenly they stopped and saaw her uncover her eyes.
"You weren't looking, and you led us here!" Dariel spluttered. May just smiled, saying that she had 'felt pulled toward here'. Dariel rolled his eyes. He sighed. "We may as well explore while we're here," he said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. He didn't want to think of what may be lying in this abandoned place. May seemed to take him literally, however.
"Come look at this!" May exclaimed, pointing to a cloth-covered rectangle. It was pointing straight up, like a telephone booth that you'd see Clark Kent change in to Superman in. Before Dariel had a moment to warn her that it might be best to leave it covered, she ripped the cloth off. It was a mechanical fortune booth. The name on top read Madame Cat A. Clysm in script. i thought it was odd that her name was 'cat'. Also, at the time, we had no idea that it meant 'cataclysm', or tragedy, which is what happened afterward.
"cool, a crazy cat lady! I always wanted to see one!" May shouted. She picked up a quarter from the ground. Well, it had the size and shape of a quarter. It was so rusted over, it was hard to tell. She deposited the piece of rust in the slot, and bingo, the machine started. The fortune teller's head lifted and a creepy purple glow burst forth, accompanied by mist. A deep, ominous music played in the background. The machine gave out an evil laugh; the best way to describe it would be Muahahahaha...... dariel felt a chill run down his spine. he half expected it to say 'I've stolen your souls' or something like that next. The machine's head turned down and looked straight at May. I felt paralyzed. Cat's eyes burned red and a horrid shriek came from the machine. That was May!
Dariel felt like he had to do something. May was shaking, staring at the machine. Dariel grabbed her and sprinted. The machine's head turned and stared at them as they ran. Dariel felt eyes burning in to him as he ran. may sobbed and he carried her away.
"What the heck just happened!?" he thought, gasping. As he ran, a loud creak sounded. He somehow thought Cat A. Clysm had turned Transformer and was chasing them. Dariel ran faster. He was going full tilt now. He never thought he could run this fast. Just as he ran under the sign that said to turn back, the creak turned to a loud groan. He heard something like snapping wires.
Dariel could see daylight and his parents. a look of horror was on their faces. Just then, the most unlucky, unfortunate, cataclysmic thing happened: Dariel tripped on a rock. he nearly righted himself when his shoelaces came undone and he tripped on those, instead. Dariel shouted with all his might, "NO!" Something bad was going to happen, and he could feel it. may slid and rocketed from his arms because of the speed he was going and the force of his trip, She rocketed... right in to the path of a falling ferris wheel. that was the groaning and snapping. It was breaking and falling.
Everyone was yelling and shriekiing and running. Everything was in general chaos, and the wheel finally collapsed. Right on a group of about 30 people.

Out of those twenty, they later discovered, somehow only may died. the rest escaped with shock and some minor cuts, scratches, and bruises. The whole town was sad for a few days. they all recovered in time, though, f course. but never Dariel. Or Mom or Dad. Dariel still blamed himself for that. to this day he still did. For a few years he went over that scene in his head again and again. He remembered the machine saying something to May. probably her fortune. Dariel spent years upon years trying to figure out what the machine said. Finally, he arrived at only one solution that made sense.
the machine had said, "I am madame Cataclysm. Your fate is to eternally serve me, as a slave. you will take this job, stealing innocent lives and souls. In the time you aren't, you'll be in your own personal Underworld; the form of torture that will drive you insane the most quickly. Say goodbye, little child, to your old life, and hello to mine."


That was a speculative writing prompt I did for school. i'll edit if i get my grade back. And I was sorta rushed to do it, so sorry if there are a few typos... Comments?

_________________
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." -Abraham Lincoln
"You can't argue with all the fools in the world- it's best to let them have their way and trick them while they're not looking." -Brom
Credit to Jester for the avatar!


Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:40 pm
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Bug Catcher
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Well, I don't think my opinion counts for a whole lot, but it looks like you at least tried to write a decent story. We'll start with the good. Your description is pretty decent, especially as Dariel is running away from the bullies. You vary your beginnings and lengths of sentences so that the structure itself doesn't make the whole story boring. I also have to say, I like the way you turned "cataclysm" into a name. You're definitely in a good position to start.

Of course, there are some problems. It doesn't look like it's been proofread very thoroughly, as there are quite a few typing mistakes. Various capitalization errors and lack of punctuation, that sort of thing- though I've seen a lot worse. The biggest problem I see is internal inconsistency. You switch person a few times, and the verb tense doesn't always agree from sentence to sentence. I note that the number of people the Ferris wheel falls on changes from 30 to 20. (Technically, you're supposed to spell out numbers unless they're more than three words, but I don't care about that one too much.) And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you're supposed to skip a line between paragraphs when you post the story.

Once you fix up this technical stuff, you can focus on more artistic details, like characterization and plot. I must say, I don't entirely understand the latter in this piece. Everything seems just a little bit random, like it doesn't really fit together. This could probably be fixed with a little extra explanation and some good transitions. Another problem I have is that some things seem quite unlikely- a stick is not going to slap five different people in one throw unless it's too long to be thrown, or they are lined up exactly right. Other than that, you have a lot of nice details, like the rusty quarter, that don't really have anything to do with the story (as far as I can tell). It's best when most things are somewhat tied together. The only other problem I have is this: If Dariel didn't know from the start what was said, how did he figure out that whole long passage? Why is this the only thing that makes sense? And how does the ending at all relate to the events of the story? There's no evidence that May is now gathering souls for Cat A. Clysm (that I can find).

If your teacher's any good, he/she will have more to add to this. Again, you've definitely put some effort into this, but there's a lot of room for improvement still. Not that I would know... my own English teacher puts some generic compliment like "good" on everything I write, then marks me down for who-knows-what. I'm starting to think she sees me as unsalvageable and doesn't want to take the time to tell me what's wrong with my work. Anyway, good luck on the assignment.


Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:28 pm
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Pokemon Ranger
Pokemon Ranger
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:13 am
Posts: 690
Location: Avoiding roasted cabbage, not eating earwax, and looking on the bright side of life
Thanks for the criticism- now I express my shock at my own stupidity-
I changed it from 20-30?! How didn't I notice it?!
As for the capitalization/general punctuation typos... I didn't really look when I copied it back down. Those are just accidents which may or may not have happened on the actual writing.
Switching from person to person- I didn't really notice that, so that would be a problem.
Also, thanks for the good luck.

_________________
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." -Abraham Lincoln
"You can't argue with all the fools in the world- it's best to let them have their way and trick them while they're not looking." -Brom
Credit to Jester for the avatar!


Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:46 pm
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