Category: Writing


“It’s not that simple. I couldn’t prevent you from leaving, but I could sever the strings that kept me attached to your world and follow your exit path with you.”
“Why would anyone want to destroy the thing keeping them clinging to a real place?”
“Say you were in danger, or perhaps you were faced with an impossible situation.”
“So, basically, you can use it to run away.”
“It doesn’t matter anyway. Sooner or later the connection fades. It’s only a temporary thing. If it were permanent, none of us would be wandering around in here. We’d all be out there.” Toby looked up past my face as if he could see the universe beyond. I could see the hopeless longing in his eyes, and that’s what made me realize that even if, by happy coincidence, I could back to the right place and time, there was no hope for me being able to stay there. For a moment, I considered curling up on the floor and crying. My brain was telling my body that it was over and I felt my legs wanting to collapse.
I mustered every ounce of courage and hope that I could and squared my shoulders. Toby was shaken out of his thoughts and his hands dropped from my shoulders. I turned away from him to face one of the hallways leading away from the little room.
“Where are you going?” Toby asked as I took a step toward the hallway.
“I’m going to find a way to get back home.” I said determinedly.
“Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t go wandering off in any old direction.” Said a voice behind me. I turned around, seeing that Toby had also turned. During my assessment of the small room and the hallways beyond, I had failed to look at the ceiling. One of the square sections that made up the ceiling was moving. It slowly moved downward several inches and then slid to one side. From the hole that the square of ceiling had been covering dropped a figure.

Advertisements

Only two days into my June NaNoWriMo experience, I’m officially giving up, but, despite what people think, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing the novel. For June NaNoWriMo, the rules were the same as they would be in November. 50000 words for the month, 2000 words a day, blah blah blah. I’m sure I might have done just fine if I hadn’t started the month with an illness, so instead of June NaNoWriMo, I’m going to do NoMoRhino, which doesn’t actually stand for anything. Brother Mickelson just can’t remember NaNoWriMo, so this is what he says instead. I have now decided to make my own, less painful, less stressful, NaNoWriMo and call it NoMoRhino instead. There is no word count goal, which sounds like it isn’t going to motivate me to work like a goal would, but I’m more motivated than one would think. Also, due to having neck-muscle pain, my doctor recommends that I only spend around a half of an hour on the computer each day, which does NOT give me enough time to type 2000 words, so…. blah.

The difference between November of 2010 and November of 2009 was preparation. I mean this in the biggest way possible. I FORGOT ABOUT NANOWRIMO WHEN IT STARTED IN 2009. I totally forgot, so I didn’t do it, even though they encouraged you to try, even if you were late. I don’t even remember the idea I had for that NaNo.

In 2010, I was sitting around on a Sunday (probably in between the sessions of General Conference) and I had the fleeting thought that November started in a month and that maybe I should think of an idea. I originally based my novel on a dream that I had, though, after I finished preparing it, it was extremely different, but almost similar.

For the first half of the month of October, more out of boredom than anything else, I started jotting down ideas that I had. The second half of the month, my story began to take shape and seem actually possible. Having been a failure for my whole life as a writer, I got pretty excited and more than a little obsessed with the idea that I could actually finish a novel if I wanted to (Sounds dumb, but this was a foreign idea to me at the time). Becoming obsessed in advance was one of the things that carried me through November.

The last week of October, I had filled out a billion character charts and sheets and I’d completely mapped out every scene of my novel, except for the end. I knew my story so well, that I dared have a tiny shred of confidence (until the night before November actually started. I was pretty nervous and I couldn’t sleep. I was scared out of my mind).

I don’t really remember much about November except for that it was easy and hard at the same time. It was easy because I was so prepared that I knew exactly what was going to happen. I even had some of the wording ready to use. It was hard because it consumed every second of my time. I went to school in the morning and wrote as furiously as I possibly could until school started. I was so obsessed with this that I had to stop myself from not paying attention in Seminary so that I could write. The only class that I had a problem in was Human Biology. It’s not that I neglected my work, it’s that I put it off because my novel was my number one priority all month. Mr. Cox was NOT okay with me writing while we were watching movies (that I’d already seen, might I add) or coloring diagrams (lame)(I also recall him being the only teacher in all of Intermediate school that ever gave me a “green slip” which I ended up getting out of because Mrs. Lynch thought that I looked innocent enough…. okay, she didn’t say that, but she said that I sounded pretty sorry and that if I stayed out of her office for fifteen days, she’d just throw the green slip away….. YEAH!…… I don’t even remember what it was for… whatever).

Of course, during Orchestra it was impossible for me to write during class. Plus, Miss Dunn outlawed books and homework during rehearsal. Anyway, the rest of my day probably doesn’t matter (I’m too lazy to type it), but the point is that I took my NaNo binder with me EVERYWHERE. I didn’t put it in my backpack, I carried it in my arms. Even when I had to set it down and concentrate on something else, it was still a presence in the back of my mind (cliche) and I thought about it a lot.

On the bus when I couldn’t write, I familiarized myself with the next spot I was going to write. I played it out in my head, imagined dialogue, talked to myself. When I got home, I locked myself in my room (Not really, my bedroom door has no lock) and I continued to write until eleven or twelve. Then, the next morning I would start again. I only had one moment of real writer’s block during the whole month and even that only lasted about a half an hour, so it was fine. This was able to come about because of how well prepared I was.

The writing part of it was fun, that’s why I do it. I liked the imagining and the planning (see Paper Towns for awesomeness surrounding the idea of the fun being in the planning of a thing). I REALLY liked the finishing at the end (new experience). I liked the weaving of the story. I really liked NaNoWriMo.

So, doing it again for my June NaNoWriMo should be easy, right? Not in million years. I’m not as prepared, I’ve failed to write two novels since November and I’m even more ready to fail again. Of course, I’m not going to let this stop me, but it might keep me from succeeding, seeing as I keep hesitating. I need that confidence and I need that obsessiveness. This is going to be…

I’m going to talk about writing, because 1) it’s something I talk about a lot, 2) It’s something that’s easy to talk about, 3) it’s on my mind, 4) because I’m putting off writing in my novel because of issues that I will most likely outline sometime in this blog post, 5) I like typing and this is a subject that I could probably go off about forever. So, allons-y.

I’m not sure if I should start at the top of my list or at the bottom… So, I’ll start at the top, for fear of being cliche (of course, starting at the bottom as an act of rebellion is also cliche… LIVE IS ONE HUGE CLICHE!). Not a lot of people think that I talk much, but you should go talk to Leslie, because she will tell you that sometimes I cannot shut up. Especially if I’ve had an idea in my head for a few days. I won’t stop talking about it, but Leslie is just awesome and sits there patiently. I’m sure that sometimes she’s just ignoring me, but that’s okay because she always nods in the right places. When Josh was still living in our house, I would talk at him a lot while he was on his computer (I probably talk at Leslie more now because I don’t have Josh to talk at… sorry Leslie :P). Anyway, as you may or may not know, I am extremely insecure about my writing. If I even have a sliver of doubt (Stupid cliches xP) about something, I usually obsess about it. I am a very anxious person. At the same time, when I get a really great idea that I’m sure will never EVER fail, I can’t stop thinking about it, and because Leslie is the only one who can make sense of my disjointed thoughts, she’s the only one to whom I blab mostly.

I actually lied. Writing is not easy to talk about… in a way that makes sense to anyone besides Leslie, I mean. It’s hard for me to make sense when telling a story, so trying to explain the way that my mind works is next to hopeless. The best I can do is wave my arms and hands around wildly (which you can’t see because I’m typing) and hope that it makes sense… One of my former Seminary teachers, Brother Black, made fun of me once for waving my hands so wildly around. I don’t remember exactly what kind of discussion we were having, but I was trying to explain a question I had and he told me to calm down or I might hit someone.

Writing is on my mind because my friend, Amanda, wants me to do NaNoWriMo in June with her, since she was unable to do it in November. This works out because the OLL is going to do it again sometime during the summer anyway (YES!!!!). I’m trying to decide whether I want to use my time-travel novel idea for it… but I can’t really decide. Also, I finished the book I was reading yesterday and found myself (momentarily) without reading material, so I pulled out my book and was unable to think of something to write in it for almost an entire class period (until I found that I, indeed, had an extra book hidden in my backpack. HOORAH.).

Another issue I have is that, when I write, it’s like I’m opening up my soul and pouring out the story… or something like that. Also, I prefer typing to writing on paper. My computer is in my living room so as to connect it to the internet, but when I write, I like being in my room where it’s more private. Also, my mother has a nasty habit of watching over people’s shoulders whilst they write. I would drag my heavy, old desktop into my room, but then I forfeit my internet and IT’S HEAVY. So, I don’t want to start typing in the living room, simply because I don’t feel comfortable doing it here, but I also have to start doing this at one point or another, so… Procrastination is the answer for now. :P

So maybe I can’t go on forever with this topic, but it did occupy my attention for a while and I do like typing…………

I sat my backpack on the floor next to my new desk and sat watching the clock. I was five minutes early for class, but I wanted to make a good impression for my first day of the fifth grade. The door swung open and a girl dressed in bright clothing stepped through the door. She had blond hair and was carrying a blue shoulder bag.
“Well then,” She said surveying the room and seeing only me. “this is a lively bunch. Fifth grade is going to be one heck of a party!” She grinned. I probably looked confused. I said nothing as the girl looked around then set her bag on the desk next to mine. She plopped down in her chair.
“Hiya, I’m Amerah. A-m-e-r-a-h. And that’s Am-er-uh, not A-mare-ah. I’m not a horse.” I stared. “What’s your name?”
“Emily.” Amerah stuck her hand out and I shook it. The bell rang a few minutes later and our classmates trickled in, along with our teacher, a short chubby woman. The teacher talked a lot about how the school year was going to go, but I couldn’t concentrate on her, because Amerah was trying not to laugh.
“…and I know that we can all be great friends.” The teacher said. Amerah laughed rather loudly. The class stared at her.
“Sorry.” Amerah said as she covered her mouth.
We colored a picture for the next hour, which Amerah complained loudly about.
“We’re not Kindergarteners!”
The bell rang for break and Amerah pulled on my arm to go outside. We walked to the monkey-bars.
“Maybe she really does want to be friends.” I suggested to Amerah.
“Just because she can’t find friends her own age, what makes her think WE want to be friends with her?”
“I don’t know…”
“Neither do I.”
“Anyway, moving on.”
“To what.”
“Let’s just say we are unicorns.”
“What?”
“We’re unicorns. Come on!”
Amerah started running off across the soccer field. I reluctantly followed her.

Today for ETAS (clever, clever), I am going to talk about something. I don’t really know what that’s going to be at this moment, but it’ll probably end up really boring……
So, I’ve started writing a new novel. It’s going to be about time-travel. A couple of things are going to be different about this novel relative to every novel I’ve ever written.
1) It’ll be in first-person instead of third-person. I really hate first-person because I always felt that it restricted me because I couldn’t really talk about the thoughts going on in other people’s heads (which I realize isn’t necessarily true and that I’m just really stupid and not good when it comes to writing) so, I just never wrote in first-person, but then I realized that my writing is basically a lot of what is going on in the character’s head, so I started my new novel in first-person, and it’s turns out to be SOO much easier to write in, which is new.
2) I’m going to do what I was supposed to do for NaNoWriMo. They tell you that you aren’t supposed to edit as you go, but I did. I would write in my notebook at school and church, and then I’d get home and I’d transfer it into my computer, while making it make more sense, and adding more words and stuff. With this book, I’m pretty sure I can push my way through to the end if I stop caring whether or not it makes sense or works. I’m not going to care about sentence or paragraph structure so it’ll be, as my eighth grade English teacher calls it, word vomit.
3) My main character won’t be a nerd. In every other novel/story/everything I’ve ever written, the main character is super smart and super adaptive. This time, I’m writing about a normal (HA) person, which might or might not work out seeing as I don’t know a whole lot about normalness.
If my changing of book writing principles doesn’t work, then I will probably hate the world, but that’s okay, because no one cares.
Best Wishes!

Snippet From Screenplay

Dubois:

Alright, quiet down children.

One boy raises his hand. Mr. Dubois raises his eyebrows at the kid.

Boy:

Are you wearing a bow-tie?

Dubois: No.

Boy: What? Yes you are.

Dubois:Then, why did you ask?

A girl from the back of the class raises her hand, but doesn’t wait for Mr. Dubois’ acknowledgment.

Girl:I think bow-ties are a crime against fashion.

Dubois: Well, you don’t have to wear one.

Girl: Why do you wear one?

Dubois: Because The Doctor wears a bow-tie.

Mona: YES!

Screenplay

Ext. Street – AFTERNOON

Mona Carter is seen walking along a sidewalk. She carries a backpack and a violin and keeps her head down. Music plays in the background (credits). She walks past houses with lots of trees in the front yards and kids playing with balls. As the music fades, Mona is passed by several police cars and a van. These vehicles turn into a driveway that she has almost reached. The house is set back farther from the road than those near it (the closest houses are fair distance away) and the driveway is pretty long and big. Mona stops, looks confused, then makes her way up the front sidewalk to the house. She walks through the open front door into the entrance hallway. Police are doing police stuff and ignoring her. Again, Mona is confused. She slowly makes her way along the hallway. She walks into the kitchen, which is strangely empty. She then looks around another corner into the living room. Seven bodies are seen lying on the floor, arranged in no particular way, and covered in blood. Mona is shown frozen and shocked.

MONA

What…?

A man in a blue suit is seen standing near Mona. He holds a small, black notebook and is writing. When he hears Mona speak he turns to her, standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

MR. BRIGHT

Who are you?

MONA

I live here.

The man looks confused.

Mr. BRIGHT

That wasn’t the question.

Mona finally looks away from her dead family.

MONA

Oh… Sorry. I’m Mona…. I live here.

Mr. BRIGHT

(Sarcastically)

Oh really? Um…

He looks around as if thinking.

Mr. BRIGHT

Why don’t we go in here?

He gestures back into the kitchen. Mona turns and the man follows. Mona takes off her violin and her backpack and sets them down in the corner of the kitchen next to a garbage can. Both sit at the kitchen table. The man turns his notebook to a clean page.

Mr. BRIGHT

Your full name.

MONA

Mona L. Carter.

Mr. BRIGHT

L?……. Lora, Linda, Leanne…

MONA

Lisa.

Mr. BRIGHT

You’re kidding.

MONA

Does it look like I’m laughing?

Mr. BRIGHT

Oh… Sorry…

MONA

It’s fine.

Mr. BRIGHT

Okay… Um… One moment.

The man leaves the room. Mona leans forward to read what the man has written in his notebook. The notebook is shown. All that is written is her name on the top line in All caps. Mona sits back slowly. One hand raises to her mouth and she starts chewing her nails. The man reenters followed by another man in a navy blue, official looking jacket. He holds out his hand for Mona to shake. She looks at the hand for a second and then shakes it. Both of the men sit down.

Mr. BRIGHT

(gesturing to Mona)

This is Mona Carter.

Mr. BLAIRE

My name is Charles Blaire and this is my associate, John Bright.

Mona nods and there is a silent moment where Mona shifts in her chair, Mr. Blaire pulls out an identical notebook to that of Mr. Bright, who is scribbling at the top of the page, absently.

MR. BLAIRE

(Kindly)

Well, I’m going to ask you a few questions, is that okay?

Mona glances around.

MONA

Um, I guess so.

MR. BLAIRE

Where were you at around 3:00 PM this afternoon?

MONA

At school.

MR. BLAIRE

It’s almost 6:00. Did it take you three hours to get home? How far away is the school?

MONA

The school is only about a mile away, and I stayed after.

MR. BLAIRE

For what reason?

MONA

I have Orchestra for my last period of the day and we decided to extend our rehearsal… For… Fun…

Mr. Bright looks confused and Mr. Blaire looks suspicious. Mona blushes and looks down.

MR. BLAIRE

Is there any way I can verify this?

MONA

Um, you could ask my Orchestra teacher, Miss Dunne.

Both men started writing in their notebooks.

MR. BRIGHT

Did you do this sort of thing often?

MONA

Occasionally, yes.

MR. BLAIRE

How many days of school do you have left?

MONA

Today was the last day.

MR. BLAIRE

But, on the last day of school, don’t you just hang out and sign yearbooks and stuff?

MONA

Yes, but the Orchestra decided to rehearse anyway.

Mr. Bright coughs.

MR. BRIGHT

ANYWAY, have there been any strange people around the house lately, or has anyone in your family been acting strangely?

MR. BLAIRE

(Pointedly)

Have YOU been acting strangely?

Mona laughs and the two men look very confused. Mona sees that they don’t understand and stops laughing.

MONA

(Embarrassed)

We’re good children. A little crazy, but, you know, what can you do?

No one says anything.

monA

No weird people around… not that I pay that much attention or even care. Not that anyone else really cares either, it’s not like we put security cameras all over the place to watch for strange people…

There’s an awkward silence.

Mona

…and it depends on how you define “strange”.

MR. BLAIRE

Not normal?

MONA

Not normal, as in compared to other people or compared to you?

Mr. Blaire stops looking confused and looks a bit annoyed.

MR. BLAIRE

You. And you’re not that strange.

MONA

You have no idea.

Mr. Bright coughs again.

MR. BRIGHT

Well, if we have any further questions, we’ll be back.

Mr. Bright and Mr. Blaire stand up and each shake Mona’s hand again before exiting the kitchen. As soon as they leave, Mona sinks lower into her chair and looks depressed (understandably).

INT. Kitchen – LATER

Mona has not changed position. Another man’s head is seen slowly poking into the room via the door to the living room. Mona, who has been staring out into space looks over at the head. The man is a bit short with hair approaching long. He enters the room, walks up to the table and shakes Mona’s hand without saying anything. He reaches into a shoulder bag that he is carrying and pulls out a black folder and a pencil, then he sits down in the chair opposite Mona.

Jason Lomax

My name is Jason Lomax and I work for The Utah Department of Human Services: Division of Child and Family Services.

Jason opens the black folder and spreads some papers out onto the table.

JaSON

You can just call me Jason.

Mona nods.

Mona

Okay.

JaSON

Are you?

Mona looks confused. Jason stares intently at her. Mona begins to look uncomfortable.

MonA

(hesitantly)

What?

Jason

Okay. Are you okay? You look a bit pale.

Mona self-consciously brushes her hair out of her eyes and adjusts her glasses.

Mona

I’m fine.

Jason

I doubt that…

Mona blushes and looks down at her hands.

Jason

You aren’t going to be able to stay here.

Mona

Well… I kind of gathered that.

Jason

I’m going to take you to a place to stay until we can find somewhere for you to go permanently.

Mona nods.

Jason

So, you might want to go find some things to take with you. We’ll come back here sometime with luggage so that you can pack properly, but for now just bring your essentials.

Mona stands, grabs her backpack and violin, and walks to the front of the house and upstairs to her room. She is seen walking into the room, flipping on the light switch, and then standing, looking lost.

Cut to Jason watching Mona leave the kitchen and then looking down to read some papers.

Ext. Outside Mona’s house – DUSK

Mona walks out the door with her backpack and violin. Jason closes the door behind her and follows her to the street in front of the house where his small, white car is parked. He opens the trunk and puts her stuff inside, then walks around to the passenger side and opens Mona’s door for her. He gets in and starts the car. As they pull away, Mona turns her head to the window and starts to cry, silently.

Int. Government facility for orphaned children, Mona’s room – NIGHT

The outline of a figure in a bed is seen in the moonlight. The figure gets restless, tossing and turning, until it sits straight up. Mona is breathing heavily and the shine of tears can be seen on her face. She puts her head in her hands and sobs.

INT. Dr. Steinbeck’s office – DAY

Mona sits in an office on a couch facing a desk. She scans the pictures on the walls and desk then nervously bites her nails. She reads the name carved on a piece of wood that was sitting on the desk. “Douglas L. Steinbeck”. An older man wearing a very expensive looking suit opens a door behind her and walks to his desk. Mona doesn’t move.

Dr. steinbeck

Good morning, Mona.

Mona

Good morning.

Dr. STEINBECK

How are you feeling? Did you sleep well?

Mona

(expressionless)

Define “well”.

Dr. STEINBECK

Is it something you would like to experience every night?

MonA

No.

Dr. STEINBECK

Okay…

There is a silence as the Dr. thinks. He pulls out a notebook and a pen and starts to write in it.

Dr. STEINBECK

How long have you been here?

Mona

Four days. Shouldn’t I by lying down on this couch or something?

Dr. Steinbeck laughs.

Dr. STEINBECK

Will it make you feel more comfortable?

MonA

No… just wondering, because in most movies or TV shows, the person seeing a psychiatrist is always laying down…

She looks away, out the window that is behind the desk. Dr. Steinbeck stares at her thoughtfully and continues writing.

Dr. STEINBECK

How would you rate your overall mood?

Mona is shown thinking.

Mona

I’d say a four.

Dr. Steinbeck nods as he jots down some more notes.

Dr. STEINBECK

Okay, and how would you rate your mood four days ago?

MonA

Four.

The Dr. begins writing and then stops. He looks up at her and seems confused.

Dr. STEINBECK

You don’t feel any better.

MONA

Oh… I don’t know, I never was very good at rating things…

The Dr. looks exasperated.

Dr. STEINBECK

Okay, can you at least tell my why you picked a four?

MonA

It’s the first number that came to my mind. Plus, I didn’t want to say seven or eight, because that’s what people always say. I’d reserve the top half of that spectrum to be reserved for happy people, and I’m kind of a pessimist, so I picked a number in the lower half.

The Dr. is seen scribbling something in his notes out and then looks up at Mona again, thinking.

DR. STEINBECK

So, can you tell me what happened to you four days ago?

MonA

I came home, my family had been murdered, I came here. I’m sure you’ve read about it in my file.

Mona points to a plain black folder sitting on the desk. The Dr. looks a little embarrassed.

DR. STEINBECK

Yes, but the point was for you to share your feelings a little bit in the telling so that I could see how you are dealing.

MonA

Um, I suppose I feel the same as everyone else in this situation. I really don’t see how dwelling on it is going to help.

Dr. STEINBECK

If you keep things bottled up inside, then you’re eventually going to explode. Sometimes you need to talk about things so that you can move on.

Mona

Yeah, well, sometimes talking about things doesn’t really help. Also, I promise not to explode.

Dr. STEINBECK

How do you know your stress won’t just keep building?

MonA

I’m a white personality.

DR. STEINBECK

No one can escape stress, not even white personalities.

monA

What’s your point?

Dr. STEINBECK

Just because someone brilliant came up with four slots to categorize people in, doesn’t meant that everyone fits in with the stereotype.

monA

I know that, but people generally do.

dr. STEINBECK

I had the feeling that you were an exception.

Mona looks doubtful, Dr. Steinbeck raises an eyebrow.

monA

How would you know?

DR. STEINBECK

I’m a psychiatrist. It’s my job to know these things.

mona

(sarcastically)

Really?

Dr. STEINBECK

(also sarcastically)

I don’t know. I’m making things up.

MonA

How unfortunate.

Dr. STEINBECK

Why aren’t you concerned about the death of your family?

Mona

Nothing I can do about it.

Dr. STEINBECK

Yes, but doesn’t it scare you or anger you.

Mona

I guess if I think about it, but I don’t really want to, you know? Why think about something that makes me sad or afraid. I’m just moving on.

The Dr. absently rubs the side of his face with his hand.

Dr. STEINBECK

Aren’t you concerned that you aren’t going to see them ever again?

Mona

Personally, I believe in an afterlife, so… not too worried about it.

dr. STEINBECK

Don’t you have doubts?

Mona

Sometimes, yes, but if it’s there isn’t life after death, why waste my life worrying about it?

Dr. STEINBECK

True… but what if their deaths had something to do with you? Shouldn’t you worry about it then?

Mona

I doubt that it does.

Dr. STEINBECK

You should never ever doubt what nobody is sure about.

monA

You didn’t just quote Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

dr. STEINBECK

It’s a great film.

MONA

Yes it is.

The two look at each other for a long time with blank expressions on their faces.

Int. David Sandson’s home office – EVENING

David Sandson is sitting at a desk in a room surrounded with bookshelves. The phone rings.

David

Hello, David Sandson speaking.

David listens to a voice speaking. He looks surprised and then excited.

DavID

Really? That’s good! Well, not that this situation came to be but…

David cuts off in mid-sentence and listens.

david

That soon? Okay… Certainly… Of course. You are very welcome… goodbye.

David hangs up the phone and then stands up from his desk. He exits the office and runs through a living room into a dining room. His wife, Annalise, is sitting at the table reading the newspaper. He calmly takes the newspaper from her, takes her hand, and drags her into the living room. He then picks her up and starts spinning.

Annalise

(laughing)

What?

David

I didn’t want to break anything.

AnnALISE

No, I meant, why are you so… jubilant?

David sets Annalise down and grins at her.

INT. GOVERNMENT FACILITY FOR ORPHANED CHILDREN, MONA’S ROOM – MORNING

Mona is sitting on her bed with her back against the wall. She is reading Redwall by Brian Jacques. There is a knock on her door.

Mona

Come in.

Jason opens the door a little a sticks his head in.

JasON

Hey, I was wondering if you could come down to the office so that we could talk to you.

Mona

Yup.

Jason holds the door open and Mona walks through. There’s a montage of them walking silently down hallways and stairs and then finally into the door of an office. There is a woman sitting at a desk and three chairs in front of the desk. Mona and Jason sit down. The woman looks up at them from behind some papers.

Woman

Mona, we have found a suitable placement option for you.

The woman hands Mona a file. Mona opens it.

Mona

(Reading)

David and Annalise Sandson. Tremonton, Utah… Where is that?

Jason

Box Elder county. In the North.

Mona nods and then laughs.

Mona

(Kidding)

People live up there?

Nobody laughs. Mona looks away and coughs.

Jason

We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning to stop by your house to grab your stuff and then it’ll take us two hours to get up there.

Mona nods and there is an awkward silence.

INT. Dr. steinbeck’s office – LATER

Dr. STEINBECK

Oh, Tremonton…

Sits thinking. Mona sits somewhat uncomfortably. Suddenly, he turns to his computer and starts typing. After a moment, he hits a key and grins.

Dr. STEINBECK

There is a former pupil of mine that is currently practicing in Tremonton. I’m going to contact him and refer you to him.

monA

What? Why? I’m fine.

Dr. STEINBECK

I don’t think that you are fine. Professionally, I think that you still need to undergo therapy. Unprofessionally, I think it will be hard for you to adjust to this environment change, even if you don’t show it. I think that, eventually, you are going to appreciate someone to talk to and you might not be comfortable with talking to whomever you are being placed with.

Mona looks disgruntled.

Mona

Talking hasn’t helped so far.

dr. STEINBECK

It hasn’t been that long!

Mona

It’s been almost two months!

Dr. STEINBECK

Has it? Hm…

Mona looks away, disgruntled.

Ext Street/Jason’s car – morning

Mona and Jason are sitting in Jason’s car. They pull into Mona’s driveway. Jason looks at Mona. Mona looks forward. They get out of the car, Mona grabbing her backpack out of the trunk, while Jason grabs a large suitcase, and walk up to the front door. Jason pulls a key out of his pocket, unlocks it, and holds the door open for Mona. Without hesitation, Mona walks up the stairs to her bedroom. Jason follows and stands in the doorway. Mona fills the suitcase with clothes, then starts to fill her backpack with books from her bookshelf. Jason watches in disbelief.

Jason

What are you doing?

Mona looks up from situating books.

MonA

They’re mine. I’m not leaving them.

Jason

Um, isn’t there anything else you want to take with you besides books and clothes?

Mona looks thoughtful.

Mona

Good point… I’ll need some paper.

She turns to a desk and pulls out a binder, several notebooks, some pens, pencils, and Sharpies, and her scriptures. She finds places for all these things in the suitcase, then stands back to look at her accumulation of luggage. She thinks for a moment and then goes to her closet. She takes out a long, black dress inside a clear clothing protector bag. In the bottom of the bag is a pair of knee-high black socks, a black shirt, and a pair of flat, black dress shoes. Jason is shown looking confused and amazed.

jasON

What is that for?

MonA

It’s my Orchestra concert dress.

jason

Why on Earth do you need it?

MONA

(offended)

I made this…

Jason

(skeptical)

You’re kidding.

Mona

No. I’m not and I’m taking it with me.

Mona carefully folds the dress to fit in the little space left in the suitcase. She then lifts it off the bed and sets it on the floor. She zips up her backpack and puts it on her shoulders, grabs the handle at the top of the suitcase, and begins to drag it toward the door. Jason resignedly moves out of the way and follows Mona back out to the car, locking the door behind them, and helping Mona get the huge suitcase into the trunk of his car. They both get into the car and this time Mona stares straight forward as they drive away.

ext. Freeway – DAY

Montage of Mona and Jason in the car, looking at things around them, driving, the car on the road. At the end of the montage, they exit the freeway and start driving down a seemingly endless road.

Mona

Are you sure you know where you’re going?

jason

Yes. I looked it up on Google Maps before we left.

Mona laughs dryly and looks away.

ext. Street outside the Sandson house. – lATER

The car stops in front of a house. Mona and Jason look at the house for a long time. Jason turns off the car.

Mona

Allons-y.

Jason

What?

mona

Let’s go, in French.

Jason

You speak French?

Mona

Oui.

Jason

Wow…

Mona

Not really, I’m kidding.

Jason

What? Then how did you know that?

Mona

Doctor Who?

Jason

Doctor What?

monA

No, Doctor WHO.

Jason

What’s that?

Mona

British TV show… I’d explain, but I don’t think we really have the time right now.

Jason

Oh, yeah. Right…

They both get out of the car and Mona puts on her backpack and violin, and Jason grabs the suitcase. They walk up to the door and Jason knocks.

int. Living room – CONTINUOUS

David is sitting on the couch reading the Ensign. Annalise is sitting on the arm of said couch, reading a book. They here the knock on the door. They both look at the door and then at each other. Trying to appear calm, David stands up and walks to the door, Annalise following. He opens the door and Jason and Mona are standing there. They all stare at each other for a while.

Mona

(with fake enthusiasm)

Hi!

David and Annalise look at each other, unsure. Jason smiles.

Jason

Hello.

He shakes David’s and Annalise’s hands, then looks expectantly at Mona. She looks confused for a moment.

MonA

Oh.

She holds out her hand to shake. David hesitates and Annalise nudges him. He shakes the hand. Annalise shakes it as well.

Jason

This is Mona. Mona, David and Annalise.

Mona

Yeah, I know. I read the file.

Mona leans toward them slightly.

Mona

Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

David and Annalise look concerned.

Mona

(dissapointed)

Kidding.

Mona looks away. David and Annalise look uncomfortable and Jason looks a little impatient.

Jason

Anyway, how about we come inside and chat a little.

David and Annalise are shaken out of their discomfort and they move out of the way for Mona and Jason to enter. They set Mona’s stuff down by the door and sit down on the couch. David and Annalise sit in arm chairs facing the couch.

AnnaliSE

So, you’re Mona? It’s very nice to meet you.

David just nods.

Mona

Nice to meet you too.

There is an awkward silence again.

Jason

As you probably know, my name is Jason Lomax. I’m Mona’s social worker in the Foster Fare system. I have some papers here…

Jason pulls the papers out of his shoulder bag (which he is always carrying), and he puts them on the coffee table that sits in between them…

Jason

You have general information, and there’s summaries of the police reports…

Jason looks at Mona a bit embarrassed. Mona looks over quickly.

Mona

Oh, yeah. I never got to see those. May I take a look?

Jason hands Mona some papers and she begins to read them.

Jason

Also, there’s a recommendation here from Dr. Steinbeck to visit…

Mona interrupts while still reading the police reports.

Mona

Disregard that.

Jason

Not a chance.

Mona

Dang it.

David

What?

Jason

Mona’s therapist from child and family services has recommended that she see a pupil of his who works here in Tremonton.

David

Really… who?

Jason

(reading)

Stephen Sharp.

Mona starts laughing. Everyone looks at her. She stops laughing and looks up at them with an expressionless face.

Mona

This is pretty funny reading.

She indicates the police reports she is holding. David and Annalise look confused. Jason looks amused.

Mona

Kidding…. tough crowd.

David looks like he is about to say something in response, but Annalise interrupts him.

ANNALISE

I’ve heard of Doctor Sharp…

Jason

Dr. Steinbeck is a very good man, so his recommendations can be trusted.

Mona

(sarcastically)

Right.

David looks confused. Annalise smiles uncomfortably. Mona continues to stare at the police reports. Jason keeps pulling out papers.

int. liVING ROOM – lATER

Jason gets into his car, waves and pulls away. David and Annalise wave back. Mona just stands behind them. They all walk back into the house and close the door. David and Annalise sit back down on their chairs and Mona hesitantly follows. There is a bit of a silence. David gestures to Mona’s violin case.

David

You play the violin?

Mona

No, I just carry it around for fun.

David hesitates.

David

You’re kidding….?

Mona

Yes.

David

Okay. Yeah, it’s just that you look like you’re totally serious, so I get thrown off…

Mona

You’re a teacher, aren’t you?

David

Yes. I’m a Seminary teacher.

Mona

Seminary? Oh…

David

(a bit defensive)

What’s wrong with that?

Mona

Nothing… I just didn’t really like Seminary much.

david

We’ll change that.

Mona looks doubtful.

int. KitCHEN – eVENING

Mona, David, and Annalise are sitting on kitchen counters. David and Annalise are sitting on either side of the kitchen sink. Mona is sitting next to the fridge on the counter perpendicular to the counter with the sink. There is silence.

David

So… you like music?

Mona

Everyone likes music.

David

Um… That’s probably true…

Mona

Probably…

They all look away from each other.

int. Mona’s bedrooom – NIGHT

Mona sits up in bed, gasping for breath. She takes one deep breath and swallows. She gets up out of bed and goes to the window. She stares at the dark outline of some mountains for a while. She turns and gets back into bed, curling up into a tight ball, holding the blankets closely to her.

eXT. Front lawn – morning

Mona sits against a tree, reading. She wears a black jacket despite the obvious summertime. She looks distant.

int. liVING ROOM window – MOMENTS LATER

Annalise comes to stand by the window. She is shown watching Mona for a few moments before she turns away.

int. davID’s OFFICE – afternoon

David sits at his desk, typing on a laptop. Mona sits uncomfortably on a folding chair next to, and a little bit behind, him. He is pointing at the computer screen and gesturing quite a bit with his hands.

David

…and then you have to enter the name into this box. Then, you do it all over. Indexing sounds fun, right?

He looks back at Mona, who scratches the side of her face and adjusts her glasses.

Mona

I think I prefer Email surveys…

DavID

What?

Mona gestures questioningly at the laptop. David slides it closer to her. She slides closer to the desk and starts to type rather quickly. She presses the enter key and waits. She types something in.

Mona

See? List of random questions. You answer them all, and send them to cool people. They send them back, and you laugh at how hilarious you all are.

David looks doubtful.

David

It’s sort of just a waste of time.

Mona

Yeah, at least we aren’t doing drugs.

David

Hm…

Mona

I like to think of it as writing in a journal.

David

What? Why? Journals are like a personal history. Email quizzes are… Eh…

Mona uses the touch pad and starts scrolling. A ridiculously long list of emails, all from the same person, is shown on the screen.

Mona

Do you know what this is?

David

A lot of wasted time?

Mona

No. This is every email quiz I’ve ever done/received from the last six years.

David

Why on Earth did you save them?

Mona

For the same reason you keep a journal.

David

I doubt that.

Mona

The way that I answer these questions, much like what you write about in your journal, reflects the person I was when I did them. Reading back through the quizzes that I did when I was in the sixth grade, is like looking back in time.

David

Okay, then…

Mona

Well, it sounds more fun than Indexing.

David

Indexing is important work.

Mona

Like math class? Necessary evils and all that jazz?

DavID

Um, no…

David looks away.

inT. LivinG ROOM – The nEXT DAY

Mona is walking toward the front door. David comes out of the kitchen, almost running into her.

David

Where are you going?

MONA

Outside to read.

David

Haven’t you been reading that book all week?

Mona

Yes. I haven’t finished it yet.

David

Have you read it before?

MONA

Yes. Several times.

DaviD

Why don’t you go visit the public library? It’s not that far away.

Mona

Where is it?

David

Walk two blocks North and a block East.

Mona

Cool… Should I be home at any particular time?

David

Um… Before dinnertime?

Mona

Cool… Cool, cool, cool.

Mona slips out the front door. David stands looking at the door for a while before walking across the living room to his office.

InT. Dining Room – evening

Mona, David, and Annalise sit at the dinner table, eating food.

Annalise

So, I called Dr. Sharp’s office today…

Mona

(hopefully)

And nobody answered?

Annalise

No…

David

Did they want us to come in?

Annalise

Yes.

Mona

Dang it.

Annalise

The person on the phone said that they had Mona’s name in their computer under “Schedule appointment”.

Annalise says this using air-quotes. Mona grumbles under her breath. David goes back to his food.

Int. Dr. Sharp’s office – DAY

David and Annalise stand unsure by the door into the office. Mona walks up to a man behind a desk. The man looks up.

Mona

Hi.

Alonzo

Hello…

Mona

My name is Mona. What is your name?

Alonzo

Alonzo…

Mona

Awesome! Allons-y Alonzo!

Alonzo

I’ve had someone say that to me once… Why?

Mona laughs uncontrollably for a moment while David and Annalise look uncomfortable.

Mona

Google it.

Alonzo looks thoughtful.

AlONZO

Oh, yeah. Mona Carter. I’m supposed to show you in as soon as you get here.

Mona

Molto Bene.

Alonzo stands up from his desk and starts walking down a hallway.

AloNZO

What?

Mona

It’s Italian for “very good”.

Alonzo looks confused. He reaches the end of the hallway and opens a door. Mona, David, and Annalise walk through the door into an office. Dr. Sharp is sitting at his desk, typing on a laptop. He looks up as they walk in the door. He stands up.

Dr. Stephen Sharp

Have a seat.

Mona

I can have it? Really?

Dr. SHARP

For now, but you have to keep it where it is.

Mona

Good answer.

Dr. SHARP

Thank you.

They all sit down and Dr. Sharp interlocks his fingers together and puts his elbows on his desk.

Dr. SHARP

Now, I’ve read some of Dr. Steinbeck’s notes…

Mona

Oh, great…

Dr. Sharp looked up at Mona, surprised, but amused.

Dr. SHARP

They are very interesting.

Mona

I’m sure…

Dr. SHARP

(mischievously)

Yes. I’m quite anxious to take some notes myself.

Mona fakes a look of horror. Dr. Sharp laughs. David and Annalise pretend to look amused, but are obviously uncomfortable.

Dr. SHARP

Now, Dr. Steinbeck has recommended that Mona come to see me on a regular basis…

Mona

Of course.

Dr. SHARP

…which will be free of charge.

David

What? Why?

Dr. SHARP

Because Mona was recommended by a doctor from The Division of Child and Family Services, the Department of Human Services pays for her therapy.

David and Annalise nod, understandingly.

Mona

Or, they could save their money for people who actually need it.

Dr. Sharp smiles at Mona as if she is an adorably naive child. Mona glares at him.

Dr. SHARP

Hey, Mona, why don’t you step out in the hallway for a second while I talk to David and Annalise?

Mona

I don’t really know.

Dr. SHARP

What?

Mona

I don’t know why I don’t… I just don’t.

Dr. Sharp laughs again and makes shooing motions with his hands. Mona looks confused, gets up, and walks out the door. Dr. Sharp waits until the door has closed and then looks at David and Annalise very seriously.

Dr. SHARP

Now, I’ve also been told that my services may also be offered to you free of charge.

David

What? You think we need Counseling?

Dr. SHARP

I think you need a little help understanding your foster child.

David

I’m a high school teacher. I like to think that I have a pretty good understanding of teenagers.

Dr. SHARP

You’d like to think that wouldn’t you?

I think that I am one of the people that cause average to be a C+, because I am currently sitting at a D right now in Geometry. Now I get to decide whether or not to do my homework. I don’t want to, but I should. This is a horrible dilemma.