Thursday, 25 January 2018

THANKS A LOT KENZIE || consequences of the NaNo Dare Squad

My sisters have been waiting for this post ever since they first heard it was coming...

So waaay back in November, I signed up for an idea Kenzie had:

The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad [of Death]

  • I sent her my goal for NaNo
  • I sent her a dare to go in the Virtual Hat of Consequences

Now obviously this should have meant I would COMPLETE MY GOAL and not lose NaNo. Because the consequences were just too terrible to contemplate.

Lo and behold, I did not win NaNo. Probably because I didn't write for the third and fourth week? I mean, I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that's a bit of a red flag for non-dedication. 

So even though I keep blaming Kenzie, this is entirely my fault.

It's just... she's laughing. I know she's laughing. I CAN HEAR YOU LAUGHING, KENZIE.

But what dare did I get? (you can see the whole post + options here!)

First try, I rolled a five: "Let a sibling or friend who you really don't want in control of your blog write the next post". I am so glad I couldn't do that one. because it was mine.

Then I rolled twelve: "roll the dice separately and do each!"

Then I rolled two ones, which was "Impossible! (Unless you're a Jedi...)" So I'm obviously a Jedi master and do not need to do a dare at all.

Buuut I felt like I should try again.

And I got two fours: "Publish at least one chapter (or section) of the most embarrassing novel you've ever written." (This dare was courtesy of Kirsten at Simple Love.)

I blinked twice ("...okay...") and then a very, very old story flashed through my suddenly tense mind. Quite frankly, if I wasn't such an honourable person, I would have gone with my first response:

I have no idea who this is, but I identify with his amount of nOPE.

But as I said, I have my sense of honour! So. Here it is. My first ever 'long' piece of writing (unfinished at 43 A5 pages), which also happens to be the. most. embarrassing. I just don't know what I was thinking (or why I hadn't burnt it before now??)

You may begin the throwing up. Or tears of laughter. Whichever response you're inclined towards. (I vote for aggressive clicking of the red x at the top right of your browser? but that's just me.)



Intro/Ch 1

When I was eight years old there was a smallpox outbreak in Jorria, the island where I lived. Not many people got it severely, but the ones who did died - including my mother and father. Our King Gregory and Queen Jasmine also died. I missed my parents dreadfully, of course, and for a few days would not speak to anyone.

Much tragedy. Very orphan.

Possibly even a week. TRUE GRIEF right there.
Ten year old Prince Benjamin became ruler of Jorria, advised by his father's most loyal knights, Sir Brock, Sir Peter, Sir Malcolm, Sir Samuel and Sir David. I, daughter of peasants, went to live with my Uncle, Aunt and twin cousins, Carl and Jack. In their cottage I was looked after well, although I never questioned exactly where the food and money Aunt Sue had, came from.

Because if you're not royalty you're a peasant. Obviously.

My years after that were not unhappy. Every morning I got up early and looked out my attic window at the castle in Blith. Blith was the capital of Jorria, about fifty kilometres south-east. I could just see fluttering pennants flying on the roof of the castle, and whether the backdrow was swirling fog, or the bright colours of dawn, the castle looked like it came out of one of the fairytales my mother had used to tell me.
I spent ages making a map, can you tell?? also wow, that's 30 miles, she has good eyes??
That's... probably a little too meta for this story to handle?? (because this story can't handle anything)
As I grew older I had less spare time in the mornings, until I was too busy spinning, weaving, sewing, cooking or knitting to gaze out the window. Aunt Sue kept me busy, as Uncle Tom did my cousins. What the did I didn't know, until one day Uncle Tom called me. Oh hahahaa because those are the occupations in a fantasy world.
"Melody, I need you to do a job for me," he said, leading me quietly to the back of a well-off villager's house. "Wait here; if any one is coming this way, discreetly warn me, okay?"

A little surprised, I waited as Uncle Tom and Jack and Carl climbed a drainpipe into a bedroom. They emerged a few minutes later with a bulging sack.

"No-one came," I said.

Uncle smiled. "Good girl."

I beamed: Praise from Uncle Tom was rare.
I think Uncle Tom was meant to be a manipulative villain. But he... doesn't do anything?

1. She has no questions? not a lot of surprise? and apparently can't tell what they're doing???
2.  ooh that sounds like a good way of robbing a house! the standard drainpipe/sack of loot method!

Because parent-figures have to be no good! it's a rule! also this one's a manipulative villain as you can SEE.
Together we did that four times in the next months. Then, one evening at the dinner table, Uncle Tom dropped a bombshell.  "My arthritis is getting worse; I'm going to retire. You boys can keep going by yourselves."

Aunt Sue stared. "But what if something goes wrong and they're not able to-"

"I'll do one last job with them, then they're quite capable of continuing," Uncle Tom replied impatiently.
A bombshell ooh dramatic. Especially since I'm pretty sure they don't have bombs.

Of course sudden arthritis would mean he had to retire. With hardly any warning.
"What job?" Jack asked quietly, as usual taciturn.

"The Queen's Diamond," Uncle Tom said casually.

My breath caught in my throat. The Queen's Diamond was given to Prince Benjamin by his mother, just hours before she died. It was the prince's most valued possession, and he had it guarded as such.
"Taciturn", "casually", "let me just regurgitate all the fancy words I've ever read, that will help with conflict and suspense!"

Whether Uncle Tom heard me or not I do not know, but his next words were to me: "Of course, we'll need you to stand watch, Melody."

"But- but- it's in Blith- the guards- and the diamond's in a tower!"

"I'll arrange everything," he said, with an air of finality.

I think at this point I'm just stringing words like "casually" and "with an air of finality" together because that's what cool stories do? not because it makes aNY SENSE for Uncle Tom to be talking "casually"?!

Sure enough, in three days' time Uncle Tom led our four horses to our cottage door.

"All ready?" he asked.

I wasn't, but how could I tell him - and get to stay home? Uncle Tom was the most stubborn person I'd ever met. Jack and Carl mounted their horses and looked at me.

"You're not scared, are you Melody?" Carl inquired innocently.

Obviously, he could see I most certainly was. I scowled and mounted my horse, a slightly flighty Thoroughbred built for speed. I shuddered as we trotted down the dusty road towards Blith. Was Uncle thinking we would need to be making a speedy getaway, perhaps persued [sic] by Jorrian soldiers?

Also I think the twins were supposed to be bad, but they mostly seem like [cliche] annoying boy cousins??

...can you tell I was a wanna-be horse girl?
The tight, sick feeling in my stomach had only increased during the long ride to Blith. And when Uncle Tom and my cousins were up the tower, I thought of everything that could go wrong, and the feeling turned into a ball of lead that churned and bounced in my stomach. Then Uncle Tom poked his head out the window of the diamond's stronghold room, motioning for me to see if it was safe for them to climb back down. Maybe we would get away with it. I let a little of the tension go.

I ran around the corner of the tower to check that no-one was there - and crashed into a knight.

Again with the most cLICHE of phrases.
Ch 2

I fell to the ground. I was a bit bruised, and very scared. Behind the knight I'd crashed into were four more knights, and a tall, strong young man whom I immediately knew was Prince Benjamin.

 Ooh, such telling details...

Pretentious yet incorrect use of 'whom'. *slow clap*
The prince was bending over me now. "Are you alright, maiden?" he asked concernedly. "What is your name?"

I tried to stand up, and winced. "I think I've twisted my ankle, Your Highness, but it was my fault. I'm Melody." I hadn't actually hurt my ankle but I had to keep the knights away from Uncle Tom, Jack and Carl, so we could escape.

Wow this doesn't sound stilted aT ALL NOPE. And 'concernedly'?? 

*gasps* No???
Just then one of the knights went around the corner, and obviously saw my family. Almost before the knight's outraged yell, Uncle Tom led the boys at a run to our horses, which were tied behind a bush nearby. Prince Benjamin and his knights rushed at them. I went after them as my family galloped away, leaving my horse, Jilly, still tied, and confused. She was my hope - perhaps while the knights were following the others, I could escape.Please just stop, Jem. 

Tense and/or action scenes were obviously not my strongest point.
Jilly nickered gladly as I drew nearer. She wanted to gallop after the other horses; I was more than willing! But as she nuzzled me, I realised that the knights had fallen silent, and all were staring at me.

"Have you seen them before?" the prince asked, his voice cold.

I tried to sound insulted and indignant. "No, never!" I lied blatently.[sic]
Again with the wanna-be horse girl. 

Good thing you told the readers she's lying, Jem! They'd never have figured out she was blatantly lying otherwise!!
Prince Benjamin gave a hard laugh. "Is that your only virtue?"

"I don't understand, Highness." Not being related to thieves my only virtue?

"Being a bad liar," he replied. "Is that your only virtue?"
"a hard laugh". I'm finding it hard to laugh, is that the same?
"I tell you, I never saw them before!" I began panicking. "You can't prove anything!" That was practically admitting my guilt. I bit my tongue.Kid, in any serious storyworld you'd be dead meat. Possibly literally. How are you so tERRIBLE.
"Your ankle doesn't seem to be hurt anymore," a knight commented dryly.

The prince smiled. It wasn't a smile that boded well for me. "An excellent observation, Sir Malcolm."

I hated Sir Malcolm.

Moving suddenly, I grabbed Jilly's reins and leapt into the saddle. "Go!" I screamed. Jilly went. Two steps.

Ooh, I'm so scared for poor ickle Melody. Will she go to prison? *gasp* What if she... hangs?? Yeah... nope. Not feeling it.
While I had moved suddenly, years of experience made the knights' reflexes very fast. One grabbed the bridle, another my leg. Franticly [sic] I pulled away, but his calloused hand held firm.

"Sir Brock, Sir Samuel, well done," Prince Benjamin said.

 I hated them too.
I assume she's wearing long pants for riding, this being a standard fantasy world, so how she felt the callouses on the knight's hand I don't know.
Prince Benjamin walked over to me. "Get down," he commanded.

I obeyed, though my legs felt like lead. Sir Brock and Sir Samuel took my arms.

The prince continued. "You are guilty of aiding and abetting thieves, if not guilty of robbery itself. You are under arrest in the name of Jorria and its royal family."

I'd like to insert some final snarky commentary here but I'm frankly a bit exhausted, being so close to the end, so you're going to have to do it yourself. Make it a good one.
The grips on my arms tightened as the prince led his men, and one unwilling prisoner, in the castle gate. I was finished - or my free life was, and that meant about the same to me. ...melodramatic much?
Chap 3

 In the royal courtroo-


WHOA OKAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And that's two chapters so, technically, it's enough to complete the dare.

Don't argue with me on this.

I have a few things to say about this piece of writing I was forced to drag up from the depths. 

cringy \\ infodump \\ rip-off characters \\ rip-off everything \\ I do not see anything salvageable

It's also the reason I don't write much in first person any more. 

Something else I have to say: sTOP LAUGHING, KENZIE. We both know what's coming for you. *eyebrows aggressively* (yes, eyebrows is a verb)

Now I know it's too late, but excuse me while I go burn these papers.

What's the most embarrassing thing you ever wrote? Did your younger self ever try to write romance? (I'm just glad it wasn't in the first two chapters, so I escaped that embarrassment...) Would you ever consider participating in Kenzie's Dare Squad if she does it again? (the answer is yes, you do of course want to torture yourself beyond the standard NaNo torture. But winners got to potentially mess with other people's dares! you could have fun!) What do you think happened in the rest of this story?? (I vote for "you should have had an earthquake-slash-tsunami event which wipes everyone out". But I'm an easygoing kind of person; I could be persuaded to vote for another outbreak of the smallpox.)


  1. Oh goodness Jem. Your snarky commentary combined with this story is golden. I literally snickered the entire time. Love it. XD

    1. I picked up the story, and decided that my snarky internal commentary may as well accompany this horror of writing into the blogosphere... Glad you found it amusing, Faith!

  2. Jem. YOU JUST MADE MY DAY BETTER. I'm working on a school assignment (bleh) and took a tiiiny break to read this... *is dying laughing* Your commentary is SO AWESOME. XD Especially the hard laugh part. I read that part to my brother and he thought it was funny.

    Also this story feels like one of my original horrible stories. Except mine are 219021 times worse. I used basically every fantasy cliché of ever?? So they were really bad??

    The "lighting the homework on fire" gif was hilarious.

    Thanks for making me laugh. :D

    1. I'm so happy I could lighten your day a bit, Zane! :D I hope the assignment went well. (And obviously your brother is cool. ;P)

      YES. My stories weren't usually 'high' fantasy, which is probably the only reason I avoided every cliche, but every cliche I could fit I apparently jammed in?? starting with orphans and working up from there??

      Thanks for laughing! ;D

  3. The snark in this post was strong. I absolutely loved it! Oh yes, it's great!

    1. Yes... the snark is strong with this one. ;P Thanks, Sarah!

  4. Your commentary on this was HILARIOUS. XD

    1. Well, I couldn't send that story out into the blogosphere without adding a note about my loathing, Gray... xD

  5. So...I know you are embarrassed by this chapter but...Where WAS the money and food coming from? WERE HER GUARDIAN'S....THIEVES?


    One more job.

    What one?

    The queen's diamond. *shrugs in boredom*

    I liked Uncle Tom talking about this heist like it was the most boring thing in the world. I can imagine all her cousins, her uncle and her aunt being chill about EVERYTHING and she's over their panicking about everything and people are like, "Yup, I can see she's adopted."

    I LOVE your snarky comments on the side.
    Actually I love all of it.

    "Not being related to thieves my only virtue?"

    "Your ankle doesn't seem to be hurt anymore," a knight commented dryly.

    The prince smiled. It wasn't a smile that boded well for me. "An excellent observation, Sir Malcolm."

    I hated Sir Malcolm.

    "Sir Brock, Sir Samuel, well done," Prince Benjamin said.

    I hated them too.


    (Did her family at least get away with the gem? Are they super casual about her being gone. DO THEY MOUNT AN ATTACK OR IS HER UNCLE'S ARTHRITIS TOO BAD? I MUST KNOW

    1. Yep. Her guardians were thieves. Who stole... unspecified... stuff. And she gets taken to the castle, and then to prison. From which she escapes! by digging the mortar out with a spoon! and stealing her horse from the castle stables! And then she goes and finds her family, who are on a boat with the diamond (which she intends on stealing back) and don't care at all about her - except for maybe getting the reward for turning her back in.

      They're not doing anything on the boat. They're just... sitting there. (Uncle Tom's arthritis doesn't even feature.)


      BUT. MK, your comment is wonderful and now I almost want to rewrite it?? so it's one of those slightly self-aware stories that poke gentle fun at the tropes? Obviously her family would be the main focus of the new version, because them being chill about everything while she freaks out is such a lovely picture! [maybe because I can't stand her??]
      So thank you for that! ;)

  6. This post was awesome xD I'm pretty sure my brother gave me more than a couple of odd looks. Oh gosh, did younger me ever write romance.......I'm terrified to answer that question......But I was reading a story that I'm fixing (it needs A LOT of fixing...) and I've been screaming at 12-year-old me the whole time.


    1. Ohh yes. 12-year-old me gets a lot of screaming.
      "Romance? well, why not, you litERAL CHILD oh wAIT, THAT'S WHY NOT, wHAT DO YOU EVEN THINK YOU'RE DOING"
      "Horses! of course, horses! never mind that your knowledge of horses comes from imagination and Saddle Club, which is a topic of screaming for another day! of course, write horses!"
      "Castles? whoo hoo, you've written the most beautiful, comfortable and cOMPLETELY FAKE castles ever to grace the most cliche castles of the fairy tale genre."

      I hope your story works out well in the end, Ani, despite 12-year-old you's efforts... ;)

  7. *crying*


    *hysterical laughing*

    Reading that...and your commentary...I have no words...


    1. I had the opposite reaction, Catherine... I had too many words. Thus the commentary. ;P

  8. That was amazingly awesome. I feel like that would be a fun thing to publish /with/ your commentary. Cause okay...yes, there were real writing mistakes in there. But the commentary just made it all amazing. It was just so much fun to read!!! (I'm sorry if I'm laughing at your expense, but this story was precious!)

    1. Well, there was no way I was posting it online /without/ the commentary, Julian... I'm glad you enjoyed laughing at it. ;)

  9. Oh my woooord I was giggling through this entire story just because of your snarky comments on the side. XD XD

  10. This was quite fun to read! I especially enjoyed the snarky comments to the side XD

    1. Thanks, Mira! (If there's one thing I'm good at, it's snarky comments... ;P)

  11. Oh you are brave! I don't think I could ever post my earlier writing online.😂😂 But this was hilarious and I loved your salty side commentary there!!

    1. I'm not sure exactly how this piece went from Not Even For Family's Eyes to Hey Why Not Share With Everyone In The Blogosphere?? It wasn't because I was brave, though... foolish, maybe. xD Glad you enjoyed it, Cait; thanks for reading!

  12. Your commentary is HILARIOUS. It made everything twice as funny. The story definitely reminds me of my own painful past as a writer. Though I don't think I ever got as far as you did. I have two or three stories that are only about three pages long that are basically just: girl walking in the woods+random stranger boy appears and is severely wounded and/or has amnesia (probably from another world). And then... nothing happened. Or everyone got captured by evil villains.
    Don't throw it away! My sister once threw away a story because she thought it was stupid and she has regretted it ever since. Maybe it's still painful to look at now, but someday it might just be funny. You should definitely write a commentary for the whole thing :)

    1. Thanks, Magneto! Yep, that sounds like myself as a young writer... a time I prefer not to look back on... Amnesia + woods sounds good, though! ;)

      *sighs* So many writers' advice is to keep eVERYTHING you ever wrote. I suppose I'll have to hide it under my bed forever. (It's not like I could get rid of it now, anyway... it's online...)

      I would have written a commentary for the whole thing, but it would have gotten me too wound up, and I wouldn't have had enough room left for the story. :P

  13. Oh my word, this was FANTASTIC!!!!!! XD I am so sorry and I know you shall probably despise me eternally for this but I COULDN'T HELP BUT LAUGH AT BOTH THE TWISTS OF THIS STORY AND ALSO YOUR COMMENTS, OH MY WORD. XD XD XD This was the best. The literal best...

    As for what might happen next -- WAIT! WAIT! LET ME GUESS... Melody and the Prince fall in love??? Or Melody and Sir Malcolm?? That would make for an interesting twist... I think my favorite part was how Uncle Tom couldn't be a robber anymore because of his arthritis, though. It was so unexpected. XD Your comments throughout this whole thing were just...oh my word, they were perfection. XD

    Jem, I cannot ever thank you enough for joining the Dare Squad!!!!! *hugs* Even though we both didn't meet our goals, I still think we're winners, yes??? (also, this whole getting to see everyone's embarrassing dare thing is so much fun... XD) AND UGH. DON'T EVEN REMIND ME WHAT I'M GOING TO HAVE TO DO. I'm just gonna go bury my face in a paper bag now... XD Thank you SO SO much for participating!!! This just made my day!!!

    1. WHAT TWISTS, KENZIE. THERE WERE NO TWISTS IT WAS THE MOST CLICHE STORY EVER. Oh, go ahead and laugh... we know what's coming for you... *evil cackle* THANKS, THO. :D

      Ugh. Melody and the prince, yes. (why must my younger self attempt to write romance... *dies*) And I have no idea why I gave Uncle Tom arthritis?? but I'm pleased you liked it xD

      Thank you for organising the Dare Squad! (And if you do it again, I'm going to be talking it up so. much. ;)

  14. Adored this post! <3
    Charlotte |

    1. Thanks, Charlotte, and welcome to my blog! :)

  15. Oh, I would've chickened out, so you are BRAVE, Jem! xD

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. Not really... more like foolish. ;P Thanks for commenting, Micaiah!

  16. LOL this sounds like something I would have written a few years ago... I can totally relate. XD
    The commentary was awesome!

    1. I think [or at least hope??] that all writers have a story like this somewhere in their past xD Thanks, Kendra!


Comment away! I read all comments - no matter how old the post may be! - and I'll try to reply. Just keep your words appropriate so I won't have to delete your comment (I'd hate to have to do that).