Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Theodore Harvey to the stage.
Teddy is a senior at Lakeland Christian Academy in Warsaw, Indiana. He writes for fun and specifically enjoys writing psychological thrillers, like author Ted Dekker.
He’s considering minoring in Creative Writing next year at Cedarville University.
Teddy submitted a 9000 word short story and gave me, THE BRUTAL EDITOR, permission to chop his first chapter. Part of being a writer means being able to accept constructive criticism–which isn’t easy. I didn’t change Teddy’s story–I only rearranged sentences, deleted unnecessary words, and changed a few passive verbs to active ones.
RANDOM is bragging about Teddy today because he was brave enough to submit his story and THICK SKINNED enough to let me edit his first chapter. I’m proud of you, Teddy! Notice how Teddy ended this chapter with suspense. Perfect. It’s the kind of ending that makes the reader stay up late and read a little longer.
ISLAND OF DREAMS
By: Teddy Harvey
Chapter One: Unlucky
The warm sun beat down on Jake Smith as he drove his newly-bought speed boat. He stood and smelled the air, loving the scent of the ocean in the summertime. As the boat rocked, water sloshed up its side, spilling onto the deck. He slowed to stop the water from coming inside and looked back to the shore, realizing he was farther than he expected.
“Wow, this boat is fast!”
He began to turn around, when he noticed an island not too away. He thought he shouldl check it out. He sped the boat up again and headed toward the island, and after a minute or so, slowed down. The water had turned dark near the island.
He looked up toward the sky, noticing the dark clouds blocking the sun. He thought he better get back home before the storm came. He sighed. Too bad I can’t explore. But as Jake started to turn the boat around, the bow hit something and the boat lurched. He steadied himself and assessed the damage. “Shoot!” A large rock sticking out of the water had dented the engine.
At least I have the oars. He went to the storage compartments under the seats and lifted them, but all he found was a child’s life jacket. “Oh really? Figures I’d forget to bring oars.”
He grumbled as he pulled out his cell phone. It was off. Of course. He turned on the phone and waited for it to power up, but as it came to life Jake noticed the number of bars. Shoot, no service.
“Aahh! How could this day get any worse?” He said into the wind.
He restrained himself from chucking the phone into the sea and put it in his pocket instead. The boat rocked harder, so he grabbed the small life jacket. “If this storm gets any worse this little thing won’t help much.” He hoped the storm would break soon.
He sat, securing himself as the boat rocked harder. The storm swelled until the boat was on the verge of capsizing. Jake looked behind him just as a wall of water came into view. He panicked and looked for something to hold on to.
The water hit the boat, flipping it and throwing Jake into the sea. He struggled to stay above the water, but waves slapped him back down. His vision turned dark, and he felt his consciousness slip away.
Below is the last chapter of this story. Notice the verbs (in caps) he used to create emotion. Active verbs can improve a story. Well done!
Chapter 19: The End of the Beginning
“It is finished!” Lucifer YELLED. The darkness SPILLED all around him. It GRABBED his soul and TELEPORTED him to a barren wasteland devoid of life. There was no light aside from Jesus, and the darkness, not the living darkness, just the emptiness made from the absence of light, as it seemed to EXTEND endlessly in every direction. The living darkness GATHERED together and FORMED an angel with no flaws. The angel had six large darkened wings that shined. He RADIATED a powerful aura and looked upon Jesus with a conquering, judging stare. He spoke confidently, his voice booming.
“I have BEATEN you, KILLED you. Or rather, your own people killed you with a little persuasion from me, of course.” He smiled wickedly as he walked slowly towards Jesus, who had not moved or said a word. “Look at you. Weak and powerless, you can’t even stand up. Look who’s King now. Come on. Get up and FIGHT me!” Lucifer flew straight toward the still figure, gathering his dark powers to SLAY his Creator.
In a split second, Jesus STOOD, looking with righteous anger at the most powerful of all the angels He had created. He was saddened that Lucifer had disobeyed Him, and knew he would never again turn back to Him. Jesus SPREAD his arms and light threw itself in every direction. Lucifer STRUGGLED to stay upright, but flew back, PUSHED by the light. A dark portal OPENED and Lucifer flew back through it. He wasn’t destroyed, simply predestinated to lose the battle of darkness and light.
“It is time.” Jesus said, and went back to his body on earth. The earthquake OCCURRED and he AROSE in a burst of glorious light, conquering death forevermore.
What did you like about Teddy’s story?