That’s quite the post title to think about. I’ve officially been blogging for three years at Julia’s Creative Corner. That’s the same length of time as high school here in Canada! (And that thing feels like it lasts eons; just ask any high schooler 😂)
We’ve moved the blog twice, meaning that it’s had three different looks over time, but I’ve made sure to keep all those posts even after a move. In total, I’ve published 131 blog posts. That’s just kind of crazy to think about.
When some people have their blogiversary, they hold a giveaway or something. I just get kind of nostalgic. 😂 After I hit 1 year of blogging, I shared one of the oldest pieces of writing that I could get my hands on. (which you can check out here) (though, fair warning, that post was confusing even for me to read 😂) Then, last year, I was in the middle of a super long series on how to keep your reader interested (apparently, I can’t get away from splitting up series; I almost posted this tomorrow, which was when I’m supposed to do Part 2 of my foreshadowing posts 🤦♀️) and shared a scene from one of my earlier works. (you can also check that out here)
I was seriously considering doing this year’s post featuring the second-earliest piece of writing I could find – a fantasy story I wrote in grade 5 – but I had a feeling no one would really want to see that one? 😅 So, instead, I thought I’d share a scene from the most recent version of my book, The Storm Inside. It only seems proper; it’s the book I started writing when I began this blog, and I’ve shared snippets of it during NaNoWriMo for years, and yet no one has ever seen a full scene.
So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the disaster that is Amanda Dale. *bows and backs away*
Note: I have no idea if anything shown below is going to stay in the future versions of this book.
Also: Please do not steal anything shown below. Everything written belongs to me, Julia Herkel, and I will still be writing this book.
I copy pasted the scene into here, then went through and added my own thoughts.
Amanda knew this important day was off to a great start when she almost dumped coffee on herself.
Such a waste of perfectly good coffee.
“Watch out!” Mrs. Dale yelped, leaping up and slamming a napkin down to sop up the spilt coffee, as if her life depending on making a bigger deal out of it than necessary – at least, that’s how it felt to Amanda.
I got the message across, but this feels kind of clunky.
“I’m sorry!” Amanda used her own napkin to catch some droplets trying to escape off the edge of the table. “My coffee…”
Dude, that would literally be me 😂 Apologize for the mess, then bemoan the loss.
“I’m sorry that it’s spilt, dear,” Mrs. Dale sighed, tucking one of her multitudous stray hairs behind her ear. “I know how much you love your coffee. But you may want to go change your clothes. You just leaned into it.”
Amanda looked down at herself, and, sure enough, coffee was all over her front. She groaned. “But I hardly have any clean clothes as it is!”
“Believe me, I know,” Mrs. Dale grumbling, picking up the soggy napkins. “I’m waiting for the washing machine to get fixed as eagerly as the rest of you – and I’m the one who has to do the laundry!”
Fun fact: I made up that the laundry machine was broken right here as I wrote this scene. I had no idea that it was as I entered the scene.
With a final sigh, Amanda hurried off to go change. She’d read books upon books with the whole ‘new girl’ concept where she moves to a new town and super cool stuff happens. But seriously, none of this was as cool as books made it sound to move.
Of course, it also wasn’t as not cool either. Half the books had characters excited to, and the other half had angsty teenagers who wasted their share of oxygen by using every breath to complain about how they don’t want to be there – and then at the end they get the chance to move away and end up deciding that they like it there.
Boom. At least a couple thousand books summed up.
That was both amusing and completely unnecessary. Though it does really show that she’s a bookworm.
Amanda entered the room she shared with her twin sister, Gina. Boxes were strewn across the floor and stacked precariously as if Gina was trying to make a crazy parkour course in their room – or maybe their grave. Amanda wasn’t sure which yet.
Heyyyy I showed this one as a snippet during NaNoWriMo last year!
“Have you seen my shoes?” she heard her sister call out from the general direction of her bed. It was hard to see with all of the boxes where she was exactly.
The two halves of the room were practically as different as the two girls themselves. Everyone around Amanda was always wondering how she and Gina could possibly be sisters, much less twins, and sometimes she herself questioned it.
And I’m questioning the wording of that sentence; it did not flow very well at all.
Amanda’s side of the room had no boxes left. Her clothes were in her drawers and closet – mostly consisting of the color black – and her bed was neatly made. The only thing out of place was her bookshelf, which she was carefully reordering. It was a complex mix of by favourite, color coordinated, and alphabetically, author and title-wise.
The ‘mostly consisting of the color black’ part should have come after just ‘Her clothes’ instead. Also, I added in that bit about reordering, because it’s what I dream of doing someday when I have more books – and more bookshelves. 😂
“Which pair do you even want?” Amanda called out. “And shouldn’t they be in the front closet?”
“I keep my fancy shoes in here.”
“You aren’t wearing the bright red ones to this test, Gina. You aren’t Dorothy.”
I just love that she instantly knew which ones her sister was thinking of wearing.
Gina’s head popped out from behind the boxes. “The bright red ones? I have several pairs in different shades of red. Which ones are you referring to?”
“The obnoxious ones.”
I made a very strange laughing snort noise in my throat at that; it was odd.
“O-o-oh, you mean the ones with sparkles! Yeah, you hate those.” She nodded, looking sagely and wise. But then, she noticed Amanda’s shirt. “What happened to you?”
Gina is such a over-the-top happy character that I can’t even imagine her pulling off that expression. 😂
“I bumped over my coffee,” Amanda grumbled, flipping through the clothes still left in her closet viciously. The washing machine had broken down right after they’d gotten there, and they still hadn’t managed to get it fixed. Out of everyone in the house, Gina had the most clothes, so if she ran out, Amanda could always borrow some. They were the same size. But she was desperately hoping it wouldn’t come to that. They had styles that were practically as opposite as their physical features.
Amanda had dark black hair, but Gina had bright blond. And where Amanda liked to just clomp around in tall black books – heelless, thank you very much – Gina had an overabundance of shoes. While some were the kind normal people would wear, her collection mostly included heels, ranging from pumps to stilettos.
‘normal people’ 😂
Amanda paused in her search of skirts, suddenly remembering that the instructions on the sign-up website had explicitly said to be wearing pants that allowed a comfortable range of motion. What the heck that had anything to do with taking a test, she had no idea.
Didn’t it spill on her shirt?
*scrolls up to check*
Oh it was the whole outfit. Never mind.
Amanda didn’t own very many pairs of pants. Neither of the girls wore them very often, but each owned a few pairs in case they needed them.
Amanda went to her dresser and pulled out a black pair, and then a black shirt to match.
“You know,” Gina commented, her head popping into view again, “you should wear something other than black. Green would complement your eyes. They’re such a pretty dark blue.”
“I expect this is the part where you expect me to tell you to wear a light pink shirt, since it’ll match your light blue eyes and blond hair,” Amanda said drily, moving to exit the room and change in the bathroom.
“Just lock the door and stay in here,” Gina called. “I’m behind all these boxes. I won’t look; I want to talk with you. You’re usually reading these days. Or, you know, all days.”
Amanda chewed her bottom lip but shut the door and locked it like Gina said. They usually would change with their backs to each other anyway, since it was faster than everyone trying to use the bathroom.
“What even is that book you’re currently reading?” Gina asked, rooting around for a pair of shoes. “The one with the cool cover?”
“Most of my books have cool covers,” Amanda answered drily. “Please tell me you’re looking for a pair of sneakers.”
“Just my black flats; I thought you would approve more.”
“This isn’t a party.”
“That’s no excuse to not look nice! We need to make a good first impression! I could do your hair for you, if you want. A waterfall braid down the side of your head would look very nice. And then you could put on some pretty dangling earrings instead of studs, borrow a pair of my shoes, and maybe get into some pink clothes…”
She obviously really wants to give Amanda a makeover 😂
“I’m good, thanks,” Amanda said, shaking her head. Despite how often she turned down her sister’s fashion suggestions, Gina wouldn’t stop trying. “I’m done changing, by the way.”
Gina popped up from her place among the boxes. “If I agree to put on sneakers, will you wear something with color?”
“No,” Amanda said simply, walking to the door quickly leaving the room. “And you may want to hurry,” she added over her shoulder. “I think we’re leaving in a few minutes.”
There was the sound of Gina jerking up in surprise and smacking her head into one of her boxes as Amanda closed the door behind her.
When their mom had heard about an entry test to a prestigious school being held in the small town they’d just moved to, she’d instantly hunted down the website and signed up her own daughters. It was for a boarding school, but their mother thought it would give them a better education than the local one.
Personally, Amanda had no wish whatsoever to even pass the thing. She just wanted to finish ordering her books on her bookshelf and go to the local school. She’d stay home with her family and work hard. Why did she need to go to a boarding school?
*sing song* Normal world!
Mrs. Dale was rushing around the kitchen, trying to finish cleaning before they left. Gina got her unorganized nature from their mother. There were boxes scattered across the whole house that needed to be unpacked. “Oh good,” Mrs. Dale said, catching sight of Amanda. “You’re ready. Please grab my keys and go out to the car to wait for me. I’ll be there in a minute.” She paused in her mad rush to yell, “GINA! WE NEED TO GO!”
Amanda hurried out of the room and to the front door where she had taken out her boots and left a sweater to pull on before leaving. She pulled the oversized hoodie on, which was, of course, black. She rummaged through her mother’s purse, pulling out the keys to the car.
Be consistent; if it’s a hoodie, don’t call it a sweater first. I was confused by that myself for a few seconds, and I’m the one who wrote it!
“HEY MOM, HAVE YOU SEEN MY SHOES?” Gina yelled from down the hall.
“PUT ON YOUR SNEAKERS! THEY’RE AT THE FRONT DOOR!” Mrs. Dale yelled back.
Amanda gave a small smile of triumph; thank goodness Gina wouldn’t be wearing stilettos.
And then there’s the fact we must consider that it even felt like an option to Gina to wear those to a test… 😂
Amanda slipped quietly out the front door, clomping down the front steps to their car in the driveway. They had another one, a beautiful blue color, but Mr. Dale took it to work. So, they were taking the purple one – Mrs. Dale’s.
The car chirped out cheerfully as it unlocked, and Amanda slipped into the back seat to wait. It took a few minutes before Mrs. Dale and Gina finally emerged from the house – Gina in sneakers.
“Do you know where my keys are?” Mrs. Dale gasped as she entered the car. “I looked for them everywhere!”
Amanda gave her mother a quizzical look. “You told me to take them out here.” She held them out.
Mrs. Dale stared. “Oh. I forgot.” Then, she quickly was back in motion, snatching up the keys and starting the little purple car. “We’ll have to hurry, or we’ll be late!”
“We’ll be fine, Mom,” Amanda began to assure their mother, but was interrupted as they abruptly pulled out of the driveway and screeched around a corner.
“Mom! That was a stop sign!” Gina yelled from the back.
“Those are just for bad drivers to follow!”
“They’re really not!” Amanda clung to the door.
“You’re being a horrible example!” Gina added.
They slammed on the brakes at another stop sign. “There! Are you happy?” Mrs. Dale asked, pushing more stray hairs out of her eyes.
“No!” both girls yelled back as they shot off down the street, way over the playground zone speed limit.
And this was the moment I discovered that Mrs. Dale is a horrible driver – another thing I had no idea even was a thing until I was in the midst of writing the scene.
“I wish she would slow down,” Amanda thought, biting down hard on her bottom lip as they rounded another corner.
“Like you could do any better,” her mind countered.
Amanda tried to ignore the spiteful little voice in her head, but its words stung like needles, prickling and sticking in her mind.
“This is so exciting!” Mrs. Dale exclaimed, slamming on the brakes again and causing Amanda and Gina to slam forward against their seatbelts. “I’m going to grab ingredients from that little grocery store nearby while I wait for you to do your test. I’ll make chocolate chip cookies when we get home!”
“Yum!” Gina exclaimed, managing to sound chipper despite their death-defying driving.
Amanda wondered how long it would take till they got pulled over by a police officer.
That dry sass is epic 😂 😂 😂
Nervous butterflies fluttered in her stomach. She had no wish to leave this new home for yet another, but she also didn’t want to be left behind by Gina. And she was pretty sure, whatever they would be tested on, Gina would pass.
Five minutes later, Mrs. Dale pulled to a stop at a large building. “I think this is the place! Wow, everything is so close by in this town! I love how small it is.”
“And we’re early!” Gina noted cheerfully.
Which meant they’d probably have to socialize with whoever was in there.
The dry sarcasm strikes again 😂
Amanda opened up her door, exiting the purple car and suddenly wondering if it was actually safer inside the car with her mother driving instead of going into this place filled with teenagers.
Gina scooted across the back seats, swinging her legs out and jumping up perkily, as if the drive hadn’t just occurred. “Thanks, Mom!” she chirped cheerfully. “We’ll see you later!” She leaned in and added in a conspiratorial whisper, “Make sure to get a lot of ingredients for those cookies.”
Gina and Mrs. Dale laughed, and then Gina shut the car door. The sound to Amanda was like the final nail being hammered into her coffin.
Mmm maybe reorder the order of events there in the last sentence.
“I’m so excited!” Gina said, practically skipping along the sidewalk leading up to the large, intimidating building. “What do you think they’ll ask on this test? Lots of questions on math and science to see how intelligent we are?”
“Good glory,” Amanda shuddered, “I hope not.” She was more of an English-literature type of girl.
“Have you ever seen this building before?” Gina asked, continuing her stream of chatter. “I mean, we haven’t seen a lot of places yet, but it’s a small town, so surely we’ll know everywhere soon enough!”
Amanda looked up at the big building, and then glanced down the street. She suddenly frowned. “That’s… the grocery store.”
Gina looked over. “So it is. Good eye! Now if Mom’s not here when we’re done, we can just go over and sneak more ingredients into her shopping cart.”
Amanda ignored her sister as she went on about cookies and ingredients for them.
Because something suddenly felt very, very off.
Amanda had been to the grocery store before.
But never before had she seen this huge, hard-to-miss building.
Her mind insisted that she must have just been blind and missed it the obvious – as usual – but deep down, in her gut, Amanda felt like something was wrong about this.
Intriguing… *waggles eyebrows*
So. That was… not the worst thing ever? But also, I mean, it could have been better, of course.
To End on A Sappy Note
You obviously can’t escape without me giving a bit of a sappy speech. 😝
Blogging is hard. I moved to a different host again a year ago so that I could try to focus on growing my blog more.
In the year since then, I’ve gotten 50 followers on WordPress. I appreciate every single time someone hit the follow button, and that you even want to see what I have to say in my little corner of the internet.
Hopefully, someday in the future, I’ll launch a book here, and you’ll all (finally) get to see that new part of my journey. After all, that’s what the tagline on this blog is about: a writer’s journey. And the next step from writer is author, amiright?
So, thank you. Thank you for sticking with me through craziness (moving *cough* TWICE *hack*) through me going insane *pointed look at The Storm Inside from earlier this year* and popping by in the comments to chat with me.
Here’s to another year!
One that will likely be even more insane because I’m going into grade 12 this year.
How long have you been following my blog for?
Isn’t it just crazy how long it’s been?! 😱
Did you enjoy reading that scene with all my critiques? 😉