Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flash Flood

My sister is no more.

It was like any other dreary day in school. I was walking along the canteen stalls deciding what I would have for recess. My younger sister was tagging along behind me, keeping up her incessant chatter. This was when Jim, my best friend, raced past me, screeching "Flash flood!!" he yelled, with profound terror written upon his face.

I whipped around to see a surfer's dream. A twenty-five foot wave towered above us. When I saw that the looming monster was charging towards us like the hordes of Genghis Khan, fear coursed through my body. I hauled my sister upon my back and fled at the speed of light. I flew up the steps which stretched forever upwards, sprinting as fast as my legs could carry me. I barely made it to the second storey when the flood swept through the canteen. However, at that last fateful moment, my grip on my sister loosened as cold sweat lubricated my hands. She slipped away and plunged into the deep flood waters. I gazed helplessly as she struggled to swim.

That was the last I saw of her.

The foundations were crumbling in the force of the waves. The buildings gave way and crashed into the water. Water washed through the corridors. I dashed into a classroo, slamming the door behind me. My desperate attempt was to no avail. The door snapped under stress. Seconds later, I was met by the full might of the wave. I was stunned by the force of the collision. Gasping for breath, I broke the surface, taking in the long-awaited air. Clinging to the remains of a table, I followed the current. "It must have come from Balm Creek" I murmured.

I opened my eyes. Glancing around, I concluded that I was at Lexington Hospital. My weak eyes were not yet accustomed to the bright lights and could not stop blinking. A nurse entered. Seeing that I was conscious, she explained a few things. They had identified me correctly as a Heppner resident who had been swept downstream. The rescue team had located my parents but believed that my sister had died during the terrible disaster.

This news brought a torrent of tears.


  1. if I didn't read your mother's blog, I would have absolutely believed this was a true accounting of a horrific you publish now? If not why not, you have a fine grasp of the emotion created by description. I can "see" your sister's hand slipping from your grasp...a well written piece "Little Boy!"

  2. To critique your writing. Firstly, your grammar and sentence structure are a bit off. Your sentences all follow the same structure, making it a bit monotonous and dull to read. Also, you may have heard of this before, "Show, Not Tell." A huge part of your story is telling the reader what happened, instead of showing through implied senses. Which brings me to another point. Use more of each of the five senses in your description, instead of just the sense of sight and sometimes touch.
    For example, the wave could have been described as, "A gargantuan monster of water roared above us, grimy and dirty in its blackness, threatening to swallow our lives." This is certainly much better than just stating it as it is.
    Also, your story must feel "real". It must also have a sense of logic. There are a few losses of logic in your story, where there is less continuity, such as when you awoke in a hospital. This does not seem to have any connection to the paragraph before, where you were floating on water, still conscious.
    Next, to a writer, their best asset is "knowledge". "Knowledge" lets you make your story feel more "real". If there was a flash flood, would you think that a twenty five foot wave would result from it? That's more likely to be from a tsunami.
    Next, having "knowledge" also helps you to write better description. For example, when you're scared, adrenaline is produced in your body. This could be lent to your description, whereas you can call it "adrenaline coursed through my veins, enabling me to push my legs further and faster than I have ever done before."
    Writers also have an important thing called "experience". You may have heard of this saying: "Write what you know." This is extremely true. If you have experienced something before, chances are you would have remembered that and the feelings that come with it. This would help you write better.
    Now about your choice of vocabulary. Let me tell you this from experience. They do not matter. Sure, they help some, but they hinder some too, especially at your level. See, right now, you are most probably thinking in terms of synonyms. For example, you may think that "enraged" is the same as "anger". But, no. They are different, subtly different, but still different. "Enraged" is indicating a higher level of anger than just the word "anger". Discerning English teachers will actually be looking out for correct uses of the words, instead of being impressed by great, exceptional vocabulary. If you look at all the good writers work, they do not use extremely complicated words, but use them in interesting and ,more importantly, correct ways.
    Lastly, creativity. Creativity is what people look out for more than the other things above. Would you rather read a story with great vocabulary, but still boring, with no interesting plot twists, or a story that is unpredictable? If you manage to interest an examiner, your grades will certainly increase. This requires certain maturity and somewhat creative thinking.
    All in all, though, your story is actually pretty good for someone of your age. It, however needs to be improved, and can be easily improved, if you follow some of the tips above. The most important thing is to be creative! So keep working at it!

  3. Ok, to clarify my comment of "real" above, its not about writing a realistic story. It's more about how your characters react to situations than about the situation itself. For example, look at Harry Potter. It's clearly not realistic, but the way the characters act are certainly realistic and natural. Basically, the only "real" thing you need in a story are the emotions experienced.
    So, remember to keep working at it! If I may, I would also like to recommend that you try your hand at NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. This is a voluntary contest, in which you try to write a novel of 50000 words in one month. By writing so many words in such a short time, your writing skills will increase exponentially. I have experienced this before, seeing my writing skills improve by leaps and bounds just by participating one time, even though I did not finish my novel. So, keep working hard! You can do it!

  4. Good story!:D From a nine year old girl

  5. I can't believe is only graded 28. Whatever happened to nurturing imaginations?