Write Campaign Challenge #2

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I write for young children, mainly picture books, so when presented with the words: imago, lacuna, oscitate (not found in my British dictionaries or in my Winnie the Pooh collection!), miasma and synchronicity, for Rach’s second campaign challenge, I hesitated. However, not one to quit without a fight, I decided to stretch my age range up to MG and launch into some Sci Fi. Here is my 200-word piece of flash fiction. (#1 can be read here).

 “Gloria virtuti resonat tamquam imago”

“I know it’s Cicero, but heck, I almost flunked my Latin exam last summer,” Matt said, unrolling the scroll.

“Geez, what sort of a loser of a Junior High teaches Latin?” asked Jed.

“Don’t ask,” groaned Matt, “but it may come in handy if we are to get any clues from this manuscript as to where Jenna is.”

“Woah, you really believe she’s there don’t you? In Ancient Rome?” Matt ignored the scorn in Jed’s voice.

“Look, Jenna and I have spent hours in the Met Library and, well, she was convinced she had found one of those manuscript lacunas.  If the synchronicity is right, a time vacuum is created,” Matt tried to explain.

“Dude, what century are you in?” Jed derided.

Matt coughed, and began to translate:

No virtue could hide the vile miasma of the omen.  Decaying and corrupt, only the sacrifice of one fair and far removed from this epoch, can hope to free the populous from this curse.”  Matt’s finger traced down the scroll, beyond the hand-scribed letters, into the lacuna. The scroll oscitated a nano-second of void.

The boys jumped backwards to avoid the quadriga chariot clattering over the cobbles of the via Appia.

Thanks for reading.. I am #88  if you want to visit the link on Rach’s page.

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72 Responses to Write Campaign Challenge #2

  1. Diane says:

    Wow! very cool, very cool indeed and in dialogue! Comes naturally for you Joanna. I couldn’t find the words in my “Famous Five” Series either….lol.

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you, Diane. This campaign is proving great for me to attempt to write outside my genre, with MG this time, and adult last time. I guess I shall have to try some YA for the third challenge!

  2. D.J. Kirkby says:

    Impressive! *flounces off in a jealous huff*

  3. This is lovely, and it reads as if it’s part of a much longer story. I like the way you effortlessly weave in the words.

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you, Katharina. Yes, I am kind of interested to see what the three of them (assuming they find Jenna) get up to in 1st Century BC Rome

  4. Helen says:

    I liked the time slip element in this one. Well-written with convincing dialogue. I agree, it could definitely be turned into a longer story.

  5. Now *THIS* is how to write with those words! That was excellent, Joanna. May I join the throng in clamoring for the rest of this story?

    • Joanna says:

      Aw, Beth, thank you. If I keep on listening to your encouragement, I may finally get together the courage to start a MG novel by the end of the year 😉

      • Yes, do! I’m finding so much more space to manoeuvre in MG versus picture books. And you definitely have a gift that needs to be shared widely. MG, YA… the sky’s the limit. Or perhaps even the sky won’t limit you.

  6. Jen says:

    I loved this – but I love anything Roman 🙂
    Mine is #3

  7. Sonia Lal says:

    Wonderful story. I like idea of going back in time.

  8. A very delighting read that has no trouble provoking the mind to extend the story before and after the scene.

  9. Very nice! I think I’d like to read a fleshed out version of that story!

  10. Dawn says:

    I enjoyed this! I always like a little time-travel! I’d love to hear more.

    The Write Soil

    My entry is #50.

  11. Very intriguing! I wanted to read more! ; )

  12. That’s a great take on this challenge. Mine is #29

  13. Mel Corbett says:

    This has got a serious, but lighthearted feel to it. It sounds like it would be fun to read the rest of the story about these guys as they try to solve whatever the curse is. 🙂

  14. Nicely done. It reads as a great piece of flash *and* a possible novel opening. Wonderful use of the words and great dialogue!

  15. tara tyler says:

    sounds like the second chapter opening in a grand time travel adventure!

  16. F.E. Sewell says:

    Wow! What a fun story! I think you should definitely extend this into a MG novel. I would read it.

  17. Melodie says:

    This was great – I loved your creativity in weaving the words so they added to your setting/genre.

  18. Joanna says:

    @Roger, @Dawn, @Sheri, @Bridget, @Mel, @Cheryl, @Tara, @FE, @Melodie

    Thank you all for your comments. Tara, I think you are right, this would be the second chapter. I have made my way through about 3/4 of the entries so far!

  19. Susanna says:

    Wow, Joanna, I am impressed! As a fellow picture book writer, I too have been struggling with how to write this challenge in my genre and have been considering stretching up to MG – but haven’t done it yet! Great job with the challenge!!! 🙂

  20. What happens next?? Great job!

    • Joanna says:

      Gee, isn’t that the fun thing about writing… I now want to finish the story to find out! But as the catacombs were starting to be dug in the 1st century BC, I am pretty sure they will find themselves underground at some point!

  21. That’s by far the most imaginative use of “imago” ever! And it actually took me back to my own Latin-learning days, when Mr. Handy used to do cheerleading routines to help us remember Amo, Amas, Amat.

    • Joanna says:

      I have vivid memories of latin class too, Gail. I was great at modern languages, but couldn’t get the hang of a language I couldn’t go out and use in the street 🙂

  22. Oooh! Yes. This is the kind of story I like to tell. You accomplished so much and drew my in so quickly. Awesome. Loved the voice of your characters.

    Great job! 🙂

  23. Wow, excellent use of the words. They sound totally natural in your story.

  24. Very nice, Joanna! I really enjoyed it. 🙂

  25. Kurt Hartwig says:

    Great work shifting the words around and still making their register work throughout the story.

  26. Oh, I love time-travel 🙂 This reads as though it’s part of a longer piece…at least I hope so because I’m hooked and want to read more!

  27. Clever story. Different from any of the others I’ve read. I like it.

  28. Arlee Bird says:

    You’ve whetted my appetite. I want to read the rest of this. Impressive!

    Tossing It Out

  29. Jocelyn Rish says:

    Fun!! And I agree with everyone else, this is just begging to be turned into a longer story.

  30. Neel says:

    Love your blog….being a children’s writer must be wonderful.

    In this entry, liked the way you recreated Rome for the gen X….

  31. Great entry! I like the way you used Latin, and the dialogue between the characters was fun to read. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by my blog!

  32. Joanna says:

    Thanks ‘Golden’, I shall be checking out your blog again!

  33. That was neat! Nice use of the worlds and creative little time traveling piece.

  34. I’m impressed! I really enjoyed reading your entry. You used the words with such ease. And, I’m glad you did something along the lines of YA. Very creative entry.


  35. alberta ross says:

    Please make this a longer story – it’s begging you for it! great use of the words

  36. Great story! You have a terrific MG voice. If this was a book opener, I’d definitely read more!

  37. Awesome use of the words and what a great entry!

  38. Jes says:

    This was fabulous! It stands alone but could also be fleshed into a longer story. Wonderful job!

    (Bo, bis, bit…that’s about all I remember of Latin anymore; a few conjugations!)

  39. I love the way you used the words Joanna. It’s such a shame you had to stop at 200 words though – I’m keen to read more. Well done! 🙂

  40. Tia Bach says:

    Excellent and fun! You tackled using the difficult words in dialogue with wonderful effect. Congrats. And thanks for stopping by Depression Cookies to read my piece. I appreciate it.

    Congrats, a very successful piece.

    • Joanna says:

      Hi Tia, thanks for dropping by. Than you for your encouragement, this was fun to write, once I had got over the BIG-WORD fear!

  41. Karen says:

    You have a wonderful knack for dialogue. This sounds like it could belong in a bigger piece. Great job!


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