Chatterbox: Inkwell



I know that several of you are on the NaNoWriMo Young Writers site. I wanted to share the story I'm writing on it with you all. (It's also on the Critiques and Novel Feedback" forum.) I know that you will never judge me or make fun of me. And I also know that even if nobody ever reads this story, I will have at least posted it here. I've also included a short section of it here, and a form from NaNo that tells you a little bit about it.

Length: 8,000 words so far, but more every day!

Language: English

Brief Summary: A teenage orphaned girl, Zoey, discovers her heroic destiny in a far-off land populated with dragons, Fae, unicorns, and so much more. But the more time she spends here, the more she realizes that not everything is as it seems. An evil is rising, and only she can stop it.

Known issues: Not everything makes as much sense on paper as it does in my head...

Critique would be much appreciated! While I do like all the "oh yeah it's great keep doing that", I also want honest feedback. If you think something could be improved upon, let me know! 

This is an excerpt from the first chapter. There's also a prologue and several more chapters. If anyone posts that they're interested in reading the rest, I'll post it.


And the prince and the princess lived happily ever after. The End.

I sigh happily and close the book of fairy tales. I’ve always liked them. Fairy tales always end well-- even if my story doesn’t.

Case in point: middle school gym class.

I’ve been “excused” from “physical activity” because I’m, apparently, “malnourished”. That’s a fancy way of saying that all the rich parents of the rich kids at the oh-so-fancy Northbrook Academy don’t want me messing up their kids’ PE class.

I’m the charity case here at Northbrook, picked up out of the orphanage a year and a half ago. I’ve been here ever since. They want me here to show how “kind” and “generous” they are, by allowing a nobody like me to have an education as good as people like them.

Or so I’m told, only about, oh, one million or so times a day.

“Hey, charity case!” one of the other students calls as a ball rolls to a stop on the floor beside me. “Throw back the ball!”

I roll my eyes, and for a second I consider ignoring him, just out of spite.

“Fine,” I call back, and kick it vaguely in his direction. It lands at the feet of the most popular girl in the school, Shaina Wintermere. She cringes back.

“Eww! I don’t want to touch it now! The charity case touched it!” she shrieks. The class laughs, and some shoot me dirty looks-- apparently just for existing.

Shaina’s boyfriend, Justin Glendale, runs over to her.

“Kick it here,” he says, holding out his hands to catch it. The students are playing some sort of game that involves both kicking and catching.

Shaina half-heartedly nudges the ball with her toe, and he picks it up.

Justin nods at me. “Thanks,” he says, then runs back into the thick of the game.

I think the humid gym air must have muddled my malnourished brain. The most popular boy in school can’t have just looked at me, much less thanked me. I decide it’s a hallucination brought on by too many fairy tales.

By the time gym ends, I have re-read half the book of fairy tales, and the ball hasn’t rolled back over here once. When the bell rings and all the students pour out the door of the locker room, I stand up and stretch. My academy uniform-- a black pleated skirt, white collared top, and a blue tie-- is slightly too large for me, and it’s gotten all wrinkled from the folded position I’ve been in the last few hours.

I hear Shaina and her followers snicker as they pass me, their perfectly-fitting uniforms looking like they just came out of the bag. I tug self-consciously at my own uniform.

As I’m leaving the gym after the other kids, a hand lands on my shoulder. I whip around. It’s… Justin?

He falters when he sees my angry expression. That anger isn’t directed at him, exactly-- more like at Northbrook as a whole.

“I just wanted… to… um, to thank you, I guess,” he says, hesitating. “For, um, kicking that ball towards me.”

I snort. “You make it sound like some life-changing event. I kicked a ball. End of story. You’re welcome.”

Justin nods. “And, um…” Now he seems just flat-out uncomfortable. I raise an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry, I don’t think I know your name,” he blurts out, then stares at his shoes.

I shrug. “Charity case. That’s what all of you call me, isn’t it?”

I start walking away. I’ll be late if I stay talking much longer.

“I’m sorry about that,” he says, and I turn slightly over my shoulder.

“What?” I ask.

Justin looks up from his inspection of his shoes to meet my eyes. He takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry for calling you a charity case all this time. It was really mean.”

He sticks out his hand. “Justin,” he says.

“I know,” I say. “Zoey.”

Then I turn and walk away, to Ms. Muiller’s English-Language Arts class.



I hope that shows up correctly... it might not. Oh well.


submitted by Starseeker, age 156 moons, Enterprise
(September 6, 2017 - 5:53 pm)

First of all, this is actually me, Starseeker, topping this so that it doesn't fall down into the Depths of Despair. Second of all, yay! The copy/pasting I did from the actual thing on Google Docs to here did turn out correctly!! More or less. It left out the tabbing at the beginning of each paragraph and the italics on the first line, but other than that it looks pretty good!


submitted by TOP, age TOP, TOP
(September 6, 2017 - 8:15 pm)

That was super good! I feel there might be a ship between Zoey and Justin, and the girls will call it (drum roll please [gets sighs and ughs instead]) JUSTIN CASE! (Just in case? Anyone?)

Ok, besides that horrible joke, I really think Justin might be involved in the magical world you mentioned. Is Charity case supposed to be a nickname? I suppose if it were to be a "name" given to her, the Case would have to capitalized as if it were her last name. Or maybe that's just my mind jumping to conclusions. Either way, that was beautiful! It really brings the reader into the situation. I unfortunately don't have time for NaNoWriMo this month, but keep up the good work!

submitted by Storm Windwhisperer, age 13, Fuar Peak
(September 6, 2017 - 8:23 pm)

Okay, I'll post the prologue, the rest of the forst chapter, and the next few chapters in here now! But I'll do them in separate posts so that I don't overload the Chatterbox system. :)

Also, I don't believe there's going to be a ship between Justin and Zoey, though there might be. And hahaha puns! Yes, charity case is a nickname, although it is a very mean one the other students at Northbrook have given her. I think I might change that scene later, though, because you're the second person (one's irl) that's asked me if charity case is her name.

Eventually, waaaay later on in the book, I think Justin and another character you'll meet in the first chapter get to go to that magical world with Zoey. I'm uncertain at this point. But if I do make that happen, it'll not be for a long time, since (not revealing anything) there's a lot that needs to happed to Zoey between now and then.

Looking forward to your comments on the next chapters!


submitted by Starseeker, age 156 moons, Enterprise
(September 7, 2017 - 11:30 am)

*a red egg has appeared!*

3(4/5 X 0) +((3 X 15)/5)  

submitted by The Yolkster, age 8 eggyears, The WingEGG hider
(April 18, 2019 - 5:05 pm)

*a red egg has appeared!*

3(4/5 X 0) +((3 X 15)/5)  

submitted by The Yolkster, age 8 eggyears, The WingEGG hider
(April 18, 2019 - 5:05 pm)

The answer is 9.

submitted by Kitten, Pondering
(April 19, 2019 - 8:03 pm)
submitted by The Yolkster, Corregg!
(April 20, 2019 - 5:49 pm)

I really like it SK far! Please post more! I agree with Storm, I think Justin Case could be a thing. (Actually, Storm, I kinda like it XD) I don't see any major flaws yet, so keep up the good work! If I got this book at the library, I would definitely keep reading reading it. 

submitted by Leeli
(September 7, 2017 - 8:05 am)

Wow, this is really good! I can't wait for more!

submitted by unsuspectingstrytllr
(September 7, 2017 - 8:49 am)

Great work, Starseeker!!!

@unsuspectingstrytllr!! HI! I haven't seen you around the CB in FOREVER! Where've you been???? 

submitted by Silverwaxwing
(September 7, 2017 - 10:13 am)


Many years ago…

The sapphire dragon anxiously waited in the thick mist. He shivered. Even though he knew there was nothing there that could possibly hurt him, he felt uneasy.

“You came,” said a voice behind him. The dragon spun around, baring his teeth. “Oh,” he said, relief evident in his voice. “It’s just you.”

“Just me?” the voice said playfully, the owner emerging from the mist. It was a human female, with fiery red hair and flowing midnight robes. Her teal eyes sparkled with teasing.

“Zalia…” he sighed.

She retorted, “Oh, fine, Stratus!”, just as another figure emerged from the mist.

“If you two are done bantering like little fillies, we can get on with our meeting,” the figure said. As it stepped forward, Stratus could see it was Jupiter, a wise unicorn friend of his. Jupiter’s snowy mane was beginning to grey, but his silver horn still shone as brightly as it had centuries ago.

“Yes, just why have you called us here, Jupiter?” Zalia asked curiously.

Jupiter took a moment to collect his thoughts.

“Something is not right with the land,” he said. “Something evil has stirred. Something… long forgotten, and better left alone.”

“The Three?” Stratus said fearfully. He had not been alive when the Three last rose, but his great-great-grandfather had, and he had been raised on tales of the Three’s evil deeds.

“Perhaps…” Jupiter said thoughtfully.

Stratus turned to Zalia for a second opinion, only to gasp in horror. For she was floating in the air, and her usual blue eyes blazed green.

“Wha--” Stratus started, only to be cut off by Jupiter.
“Ssh,” he said, “let her speak.”

When Zalia finally spoke, her voice whispered with the spirits of long past.

Three Heroes Born To End The Fight

Three Heroes Come To Repel The Night

Save Or Raze The Land They Will

Fate Shall Unfold On Night Of Quill

A Maiden Of The Raven Hair

Shall Come To You From Lands Out There

Time Ago Banished Here

Far Away Across The Mere

A Pure Descendant Of Cloud

True, Honest, and Golden Browed

Does Always Noble Endeavor

And Shall Be One Of Three Heroes Forever

One That Does Not Fit

One That Cannot Flit

Scorned By Those Who Cannot Foresee

He Will Be One Of Destined Three

An Evil Is Coming To Choke The Land

All Will Perish By Their Hand

Time Again Will Repeat

Unless The Evil Can Be Beat…”

Stratus whimpered in fear. Zalia’s eyes blazed brighter and he was forced to look  away. When he looked back, she was lying crumpled on the ground. Stratus gasped and surged forward, but Jupiter was already there. Zalia sat up, rubbing her head. She looked confused when she saw Jupiter and Stratus bending over her.
“What-- what happened?” she asked.

Stratus babbled, “You were floating, and then your eyes were glowing, and then you were talking, but it was weird, and it rhymed, and your voice was all slithery, and--”

Jupiter cut him off. “You seem to have gotten the Gift,” he said.

“The Gift? What in all the lands is the Gift?” demanded Stratus.

Jupiter turned to him. “The Gift of Sight, or the Gift for short, is something Zalia’s ancestors had. It allows the recipient to see snatches of the future, and the voices of the past to speak through a mortal form. It only appears in times of great trouble. The last time it appeared was…”

“When the Three last appeared,” Zalia cut in. Her eyes were far away and troubled.

Stratus gulped. “Does that mean…”

Zalia nodded. “The Three are back.”

So, that's the prologue. It's not the best and brightest of my writing so far, but it gets the prophecy out. (I slaved HARD AND LONG over that prophecy, so please be gentle in your critiques on it. Thanks.)

submitted by Starseeker, age 156 moons, Enterprise
(September 7, 2017 - 11:36 am)

Wow, thanks guys! It means a lot to me that you guys like it! I didn't see any of your posts until after I'd posted something back to Storm but thanks so much for the encouragement!


submitted by Starseeker, age 156 moons, Enterprise
(September 7, 2017 - 11:39 am)

Me again. I know I said I would post the first chapter, but I haven't actually finished it yet. I added it on to the beginning. The second and third chapters are done, however. Give me a day or two and I should have the first chapter completed, and then I will also post the second and third chapters. Then there's going to be a big gap as I finish the fourth chapter. And so on. Sometimes I can have a flash of imagination and it takes me only a few hours to write a chapter, but other times, I have no time to write and no imagination either. Bear with me here!


submitted by Starseeker, age 156 moons, Enterprise
(September 7, 2017 - 1:44 pm)

xD have I really been gone that long.?Idk, I've been busy with school starting and stuff :P ... I've been checking up on the CB but never had much time to post.

submitted by @Silverwaxwing, unsuspectingstrytllr
(September 7, 2017 - 1:45 pm)

I like the writing style- it's good, easy to read, and flows together nicely. The plot could end up being cliche if you're not careful, though. You know, the girl gets transported to corrupted land sort of thing? I think that if you continue in the way you have been, and keep it interesting, it'll be a great story. 

submitted by Pepper Star
(September 7, 2017 - 6:17 pm)