Chapter 61 is about to be published for Hard Times.
it is 37 pages - probably longer than most stories that have been submitted recently.
Over the summer, I see a lot of new authors. That is great - probably a lot of people who are out of school (students or teachers).
I thought I would run a mini-contest given there are so many new creative people here - (and some old timers who never left).
In chapter 61 - Savannah offers a confession to Ellen about last summer. In previous chapters, we also allude to some of the characters from her last summer like Joleen and Wayne/Flick from Krystal.
The contest is to publish your own short story (actually, it can be as long as your heart desires) as a 'fan fiction' in the Family Feud Universe that elaborates on that summer.
It can be from Savannah's point of view, third person, from Joleen's point of view, or whatever. I really want you to be creative.
It can be a vignette from that summer - hell, it could even be about what happened with Crystal and Joleen while Savannah was gone. I really don't want to put any limitations on it besides two rules:
1. Post a story that is set in the Buckman last summer before Ellen got here that turns you on.
2. If nobody else like it but you; fuck them.
When you publish a new story there is an option in the clever drop-downs the owners of this site set up that says "Series/Universes"
Pick "Public Universe" Family Feud and post with whatever codes, genre, etc you feel is appropriate.
Send me feedback to let me know you posted it.
WINNER: There can be more than one winner. However, I am going to OFFER you the opportunity to be part of the main storyline.
I will ask you a few questions about who you are and create an 'alter-ego' for you. Someone based on you - and they will be part of the story.
I can't promise they will be main characters but I can tell you they won't just get a short paragraph either.
You will be immortalized in the story. I won't use your real name or anything like that - but it will be someone you identify with.
One of the reasons I think my story is so enjoyable to me is that it's kind of a Wizard of Oz tale in that the characters are all loosely based on people I know or have known.
This is a totally optional prize - submitting the story does not require you to give me any information at all!
DEADLINE: NOW! GO GO GO!
Seriously though, I'd probably keep this contest open about as long as it takes to finish the story.
I may have told this story already but I will again - once upon time I received this email from an angry fan.
It went on at length about "How dare you allow the Taylors to get a tattoo - and brawh, brawh, brawwrrrrr!!"
At first, I told him to eat a dick or something 'polite'.
However, I realized after a few exchanges he was mad because like me - he had fallen in love with the characters.
He had grown to know them - feel for them and he felt I had given them the wrong set of circumstances.
It would be like a Star Trek fan who thinks I shouldn't have let Spock make out with Uhuru or whatever - "Thats not how they would be!!"
They feel strongly about the series and it's integrity. So I thanked him.
He went on to write the first "Fan Fic" in the Family Feud series that took these down the path he wanted to see them go.
I tend to make characters, put them in an interesting situation and just write where I think it is going to go - but it could certainly have gone another way.
I was so flattered.
Then - I think I had taken a bit of a break from writing. If I am not feeling creative it will not due for me to just try to crank out crap.
Some very nice woman wrote another excellent short story that enhanced nicely some details about what the Taylor women were doing across the street in the story.
It was so well done - I would say that it should probably be some 'lost chapters' in the Family Feud series.
I also put Hard Times in the FF "Universe" with a few other stories.
The most recent chapter of Hard Times hints at a backstory that connects them all - and I plan to expound upon that (and who knows - maybe even write a full story that does).
However, for now I am hard at work writing Hard Times.
I almost never get 'fan mail' from people who enjoy my writing. I don't think anyone has ever taken my suggestions in the past - but I am going to try again.
I really miss reading fan fiction with these characters.
I would love to challenge you to write a short story and submit it. You can actually have it posted under the FF Universe.
You could make up your own characters, or take a few of the side characters and play around with them - what are they doing and when?
You could continue the story of the Taylors or embellish a scene I simply alluded to!
You could do a "Taylor Family Christmas" and have them decorate Wendy and Jamie for "old time sake" -years after they stopped the training, when Jamie and Chris have their own families.
"Oh hon, it's a family tradition, don't be bashful. Go ahead and put the red-nose on me. It's all I'll get to wear besides these reindeer hooves and cuffs!"
Have fun with it - it would really make my day!
I just saw the movie "We're The Millers"
What an amazing movie.
*SPOILER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE*
(Although I think the premise is going to be obvious)
A low-level pot dealer poses as a family man in order to pay back a debt to his supplier in this comedy starring Saturday Night Live alumni Jason Sudeikis. If you're a soccer mom in search of some reefer, David Burke (Sudeikis) is just the man to talk to. He certainly isn't the biggest dealer in town, but he's discreet, and aims to please. When David attempts to perform a good deed and gets robbed in the process, however, his supplier Brad (Ed Helms) is none too happy. Now, in order to pay Brad back before the hammer drops, David must retrieve a big drug shipment from Mexico and sneak back across the border undetected. It's a risky job for sure, but with the help of a few neighbors David might just pull it off. With sardonic stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) assuming the role of housewife, teenage misfit Kenny (Will Poulter) posing as the awkward son, and rebellious Casey (Emma Roberts) filling in as his sister, David slips on some khakis, and starts heading south. Meanwhile, as David tries to convince himself that the border patrol wouldn't give a second glance at such a typical suburban family, the shipment -- and the stakes -- both prove greater than anticipated
Naturally, the outcome and the bonding is also exactly what you think may happen.
However, there are so many surprises.
For instance, Kenny's fake sister sees him strike out trying to kiss a girl so she starts to teach him. His fake mom comes in and says "Let me show him"
They start to have so much fun teasing Kenny that David (The fake dad) starts to take video.
The girl Kenny was trying to impress walks in and sees this.
What I would like to see -in any form/fashion is some We're the Millers fanfic that either retells the original story or picks up at different points before/after or takes the millers on an entirely different avenue.
I would write it myself but I am knee-deep in the story I am writing.
So can a blog be a request/idea generator for fellow authors - even people who never wrote before?
SUGGESTION: Watch the movie first before you write it.
Someone emailed this to me - and I just want to share because there are so many wonderful things said here;
Hello Amanda Serve,
I have recently started reading your story *Hard Times* and I love it. You say in your profile that you aren*t writing for the masses, which is in fact is amply borne out by some of the questions you answer in the Companion. On most of them, I only had to read the question to anticipate your answer and to think to myself, *Wow! They really don*t get it, do they?*
In particular, I find the setting of a trailer camp very intriguing. I am a product of the upper middle class and have never lacked for money, but I lived in Africa for five years in my teens, where I saw first-hand how families lived on $12 to $20 a month in the late fifties -- but I also recognized that they were people. I was reminded of that contrast when I saw a critique of Robert Kaplan*s An Empire Wilderness, where Kaplan describes his shock at how different the passengers boarding a bus in Mississippi are from *normal* Americans like you (maybe not so much -- depends on how much of your early self you left behind in the trailer parks -- you certainly sound like you at least remember quite vividly, and maybe have some nostalgia for, your childhood) or me (and I*m not even American, although I have a Green Card). The critic* point being of course that Kaplan is an arrogant elitist for not realizing that the Walmart people constitute a sizable chunk of the American peopl
e. (Here*s a link to Kaplan on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Kaplan if you*re interested). So congratulations on defying conventions. Not that it hasn*t been done before; cf. Erskine Caldwell and John Steinbeck.
Also, I like it that you take your time and write actual stories about people*s lives. I get really frustrated with 1,000-word stroke stories. What you*re writing isn*t porn anyway. It has erotic content, but then, unless they are total assholes, so do most people.
And the occasional joke or humorous trait. So far, I think your best is naming that fighting black girl Clymidia. So plausible -- almost like Latrina! Is it real? Have you met a Clymidia?
Your voice as Ellen is excellent. She is a very likable, if exasperating, heroine. I have no problem with her ambivalence, oscillating between the champion of rules and orderly behavior versus the rebel versus the fear of losing cred with her contemporaries. I have a harder time liking Savannah, but that is surely a result of my own upbringing an personality: I was an *easy* child. I*ve become a little more adventurous since but not a whole lot. BTW, I was reminded of The Diamond Bikini by Charles Williams, which was told in the voice of the six-year old son of a shady racecourse con artist who winds up with a redneck moonshiner family in Texas (after having travelled, in the boy*s words, through all the great cities of America: Aqueduct, Pimlico, Hialeah, Churchill Downs, etc...). I think you*d enjoy reading it. Charles Williams is almost unknown in this country today -- he is actually better known in France. That is where The Diamond Bikini was made into a hilarious movie -
- probably unobtainable today.
Forgive me for rambling, and THANK YOU for *Hard Times!* Keep up the good work!
I have the rough draft of chapter 50 of Hard Times submitted.
I am calling it "50 shades of Bitches and Bosses" because I think the story is at a turning point where some of the roles aren't as easily defined.
I am hopeful anyone who has been following the story is puzzled by some of the evolution of the characters - and perhaps enjoying wondering some of the motivations.
I took a long break from the story because I wasn't feeling creative - but I am back!! and ready to kick ass.