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Maggie Mills

United States

A steadfast defender of the Oxford comma

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

Dismay

PROMPT: Setting as Mood

Great work! I really loved what you did with this, and all of the imagery was really clear in my mind. As far as revisions go, I would focus on adding just a smidge more detail to the plotline. You...

2 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

Thief

FREE WRITING

Nice work! I love the way that you kept the true actions of the main character hidden throughout the piece. A few things to keep in mind as you revise: First, try adding some setting to this piece. Is it...

2 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

United States of American Contradictions

PROMPT: Ten Words to You

Nice job! I love the way that you made this feel personal and universal by keeping your specific emotions concealed. I can tell that you care about the country, but also worry for it sometimes, and being able to convey...

4 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

The Tree

PROMPT: My December Competition

Nice work! I think as you revise, focusing on adding more thematic material throughout your piece could be helpful. How could you convey the morals you discuss in the final paragraphs within the story itself?

4 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

Lost Forever

PROMPT: Setting as Mood

Great job! I love the layering of emotions in this piece, and as a reader, I could really understand what Marissa was going through. I also liked your use of present tense. I usually am not a huge fan because...

4 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) liked My Christmas Angel by Flynn Smith (United States)

5 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

frozen

PROMPT: Setting as Mood

Nice work! I love the juxtaposition between the peaceful field and Alley's terror. I can definitely feel what Alley's feeling, and your imagery is also really nice. Perhaps add some background to the story. How does Alley know? Was she...

7 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

Why Do I Write?...Let's See!

PROMPT: Why I Write

Nice work! A few things to think of as you revise: first, perhaps think about using fewer exclamation points. By using only a few per piece, you can really add impact to a certain thought or sentence, whereas using them...

9 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

If only they knew

PROMPT: Numerous Narrators

Really nice work. I love the plot twist, and it was totally unexpected. I think that by adding background, you could really elevate this story. How old are the characters? Where are they? What does Ben do for a living?...

9 days ago

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Maggie Mills (United States) reviewed:

Trading Money for Love

PROMPT: Numerous Narrators

Nice work! As you revise, focus on adding detail to the existing characters and plot line. I would love to see a little more about Kylie's fiancee. Also, you could try adding some more information about her father and the...

18 days ago

Published Work

On the Last Day of the World

Conclusion

I would finish that book so that with my last breath,
I could say that I did

The Art of Specificity

Old Man

1. The old man looked very tired.  

2. The old man’s face was paler than before; his skin looked thinner, especially around his eyes where little semicircles cast shadows on his otherwise pale face. 

3. The man’s shoulders had thinned along with his hairline, and his face drooped like stretched taffy.  Even the shadows under his eyes looked different, deeper, and dark enough that, from a distance, the man had no eyes at all, just blackened sockets  

Writing Small

The Hitchhiker

She stood along the road, soaking wet and wearing a coat so large and crumpled that she looked like a paper grocery bag.  Thomas reached over the console and pushed open the passenger door.  She looked up at him, hiccuped, and rubbed her nose.
    Thomas nodded. 
    The girl climbed in.  
    

Flash Fiction Competition

Ashes

    The tip of a cigarette wavered before glowing orange with another puff. Ella sat on the old pickup truck, legs dangling over the crusty windshield. Her cigarette dripped ash. 
    "I didn't get the scholarship." The moon shone swan-white.    
    "Is your dad gonna pull through?" 
    "Screw my dad." 
    I grabbed the cigarette out of her hand and tossed it into the grass. "Don't say that. You'll find a way to pay." 
    "I don't have the money."   
    She leaned down and put her arms across her knees, staring at the bright pinprick of the cigarette until it succumbed to darkness.  

Flash Fiction Competition

Ashes

    The tip of a cigarette wavered before glowing orange with another puff. Ella's legs dangled over the crusty windshield of the old truck, the roof of which she visited whenever she smoked.  
    "I didn't get the scholarship." The moon bounced its swan-white light off her face.   
    I grabbed the cigarette from her hand and tossed it into the grass. "You'll find a way to pay."
    She put her arms across her knees, staring at the bright pinprick of the stub.  "Come August, you'll have to leave without me."  Silently, we watched until the drowning ember sank into darkness.
 

 

You

    Every day, you remain unchanging.  You wake up early enough to jog before you shower.  You comb your hair back while it’s still wet and by the time it dries, your suit will be on and your tie impeccably knotted.  If your children are home they’ll get a kiss but if not, you’ll leave all the same at nine, maybe ten if it’s summertime.  On the way in you drive a bit too fast and listen to the news on the radio.  Maybe you’ll get a phone call and turn the radio down just enough so that they can’t hear it but you still can.  You’ll say something kind to the secretary on your way to your office and sit down behind your desk.  You have two desks, actually, to accommodate all the papers and receipts.  One is to the left of your swivel chair.  The chair isn’t the cheap kind that first-grade teachers use; it’s heavy and...

Apples

Imagine an apple. It’s autumn. The leaves haven’t fallen yet and the sun is still warm, but you can smell it coming on the breeze filtering through the open window behind you. The smell is musty but distinctly sweet, like the scent of the apple before you rinse the dirt off of it. The apple is green. You would have preferred red or perhaps yellow, but you were not the one who picked it out of the basket at the grocery store. The first bite is bitter; bits of the peel get stuck in your front teeth.  The next few bites are just as bitter, though less pulpy. Your temples tighten against the flavor and your tongue swells against your gums. You pause to fill you water cup at the faucet. By the time your teeth hit the hard core, juice drips down your chin and along your fingers.

Imagine two small hands. They’re clammy with short, soft nails bedded...

Dual Perspective

From the Journal of George McKay                         
                                                                                                                                                                     October 12, 1916
    If I could end one thing about this damn war, it would be the dampness.  The whole floor of the trench sits underneath this layer of cloudy filth, most of which is water, some of which is not.  The Damp sticks to the sides, moistening the mud until it turns from brick-solid to sludge.  The few pathetic boards and sandbags placed along the ground and sides ooze muck.  On my more desperate days, I may have even described it as chocolate custard.  When you lie down at night, the Damp will have beaten you to your blanket; the thick wool reeks of mildew and old sweat, and as you close your eyes, you can feel water steadily leaching through your clothes and sticking to your filthy body.  
    The Damp wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to sit in it every single day, waiting and...

Geography of Home

The Loft

    My house is set back from the road between a large, sunny, and often unkempt yard and larger, deeper woods behind.  Rooms are wide open and airy with tall windows looking out at the Ohio spring.  The loft is a library, with all thirty feet of the wall covered in shelves and books.  One side of the room is open, with the wall stopping three feet off the ground, leaving the other ten with a view down at our living room.  The slanted ceiling arches up to meet a row of windows which fill the room with a dusty light.  It's always warm in the winter, and in the summer, a cracked-open window lets in just enough of a grassy breeze to stay cool.  A long table covers half of the floor and two rotating chairs cover the rest.  The chairs came from my grandfather's house, and my sister and I remember using them to whirl each other...

Invented Cartography

Cartography

While not vast enough to be an ocean, the depths of Trenetas’s Sea sink far below its waves. In shape, the sea resembles a hand with long fingers: tributaries and marsh to the west and a smooth palm of rocky shores to the east and north. Along the northern coast of the sea are the pine forests.  Even from the ocean, sailors ships can catch the deep scent of resin that permeates the air. The eastern coast of Trenetas’s Sea is a rocky and brutal place, home to only rough, battering waves and gangs of hunters and pirates who camp along the cliffs.  Beyond the eastern coast lies the Caves, a place that even the pirates avoid, regardless of what they may try to tell you. So few people venture there that the Caves have remained nameless, except in a practical sense.  In the summer, water swirls in and out of the hollows like dusty stained glass; during the winter,...

Writing Synapses

Cartography

Just like on our earth, the foundation of any fictional society must be its geography.  Thousands of years ago, the first civilizations rose from the mud of rivers.  Since then, mountains, valleys, deserts, seas, have guided the course of humanity. One has only to look as far as the first few pages of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings to see great world-building.  He planned every detail before beginning his works, and his maps and charts and languages continue to grab readers by the ears and yank them into his stories.  

YOUR TASK:  Use words to illustrate the map of your fictional world.  Is it sketched with a dull pencil on the back of a homework assignment or in crisp ink on withered parchment?  Does it entail an entire nation or a few trees?  The level of detail and scope of your verbal diagram is up to you.  Providing a setting is the best way to ground any story...

Why I Write

No Greater Agony

    I think I’ve always loved reading.  My mom likes to tell stories of me, riding in my booster seat, yelling at her to slow down so there was time to read all of the passing street-signs.  Growing up, I always had a book within a few feet of me in case dinner grew boring or I couldn’t sleep.  It wasn’t until middle school that I started writing, though.  
    Reading had always served as an escape hatch out of my life and into another.  Pages turned into little film reels running in my head, casting images of new worlds and vivid people.  The power of a story to manipulate my emotions and values never ceased to amaze me, and when I felt alone in my life, I could always find warmth with a book.  Eventually, I started to run out of books to read.  Experience made me a very picky connoisseur, and I would turn my nose up...

Novel Writing Competition

Eldingar

    The main-mast blocked Kirian's view of shore, but the fire’s black tail thickened with every gust of wind.  Cursing, he lept up the ladder to where Visi stood squarely, bracing herself against the wind and waves.  Even with her back turned, she felt his agitation through the boards at her feet.   
    “Visi,they’re gone again.”
    “And the village will be burned to the ground before we drop anchor,”  Visi shouted an order and the Eldingar heaved beneath them.    
    The town was another northern fishing village, too small for the ship to fit up against its dock.  The dock, which was the only thing not smoldering, looked rotted enough to collapse.
    “Nothing's moving,”  Cos sidled up and slid a spyglass back into his belt.  Visi’s hands paused, letting the rope she held slacken for a moment, then she tugged at the rope once, hard enough to rock the dinghy on its wooden blocks,  
    “Up...

Novel Writing Competition

Eldingar

    Kirian could see smoke from the lowest deck.  The main-mast blocked his view of shore, but the fire’s black tail thickened with every gust of wind.  Cursing, he lept up the ladder to where Visi stood squarely, bracing herself against the wind and waves.  Even with her back turned, she felt his agitation through the boards at her feet.   
    “Visi,”  He stopped moving and looked back out at the open sea.  “They’re gone again.”
    “And the village will be burned to the ground before we drop anchor,”  Visi shouted an order and the Eldingar heaved beneath them.    
    “We’re close enough now,” she moved towards the side of the ship where one of the dinghies waited.  Kirian blew out one more angry breath but followed.  
    The town was just another northern fishing village, too small for the massive ship to fit up against its dock.  The dock, which was the only thing notsmoldering, looked rotted...

Open Prompt

Dual Perspective

There is no greater feeling than reading too late and waking in the morning, contentedly exhausted.  

Mysteries Abound

Humanity

We don't know why we're here,

we don't know why we can't ever find the answer,

and we certainly haven't agreed to stop searching.  We are human after all.  

Illumination

Selfless

    When she heard about the earthquake that shook Haiti, she knew that she had to do something; she stepped into her car, drove down to the donation center, and entrusted a lightly-used pair of ice skates to the attendant.  She didn't stop to notice the look on the attendant's face, for not only was she flooded with pride for her deep goodness, but she was late to her hair appointment.   

Historical Fiction Competition

Dear Cecile,

                                                                                                                                                              November 13, 1939
Dear Cecile,                   
    I took our savings from under the mattress.  We didn’t have much, but I hope you understand.  I opened the door to go, but I realized that without a note, I’d be gone without a trace.  You never would know where I went and what happened to me. Even if the contents of this letter turn you against me, I want you to know the truth.
    You probably will never see me again.  I’ll think...

Historical Fiction Competition

Dear Cecile,

                                                                                                                                                                  November 13, 1939
Dear Cecile,                   
    I took our savings from under the mattress.  We didn’t have much, but I hope you understand.  I opened the door to go, but I realized that without a note, I’d be gone without a trace.  You never would know where I went and what happened to me. Even if the contents of this letter turn you against me, I want you to know the truth.
    You probably will never see me again....

All Talk

Okay

"Mom?"
"Yes?"
"Where are we going?"
"Away."
"Oh... Away from where?"
"Home."
"But Daddy's at home."
"I know, honey.  Read your book."
"Okay... Mom?"
"Yes?"
"Why are we going away from home if that's where Daddy is?"
"I'll tell you when you're older."
"How soon is older?"
"Not soon, Franky, not soon."
"Okay... Mom?"
"Yes, Franky?"
"I think we should go back.  My, uh, favorite dinosaur is under my bed."
"Franky, isn't that your dinosaur right there? In your lap?"
"This is my second favorite dinosaur."
"Franky, I told you to put all of your toys in the box, remember?  I'm sorry, Franky, we can't go back.  I'll get you another dinosaur, I promise."
"Mom, you can't just replace a dinosaur."
"Franky, I'm sorry, but I can't do anything about your dinosaur now!  I can't really do anything at all."
"Okay... Mom?"
"Hmmm?"
"You can stop crying.  This is my favorite dinosaur, right here.  I actually do have it, so...

Quartet

The Gambler

He straightened his tie, fingered his cuffs, cocked his head and gave a liar's smile.  

Everyday Magic

The Angels

    The Angels are white, the brightest white Ella has ever seen.  They come when she is awake to swirl around her. Slowly, they bend down, touch her head and her wrist, straighten up again, and drift off into the mist.  Ella can never make out their words through the haze, but she becomes familiar with many of the blurred voices that echo through her head.  Vision filled with a soft glow, Ella can't see the faces of her Angels, but she knows when they are there, hovering on their feathered wings. Beeps and dings from the surrounding machines fill her little room in the clouds with a symphony of single-note tones, and a slight ache in her left elbow encircles the needle puncturing her skin.  Milky liquid drips down the connected tube all day, through the needle's point, and into Ella's blood.  Most days, Ella can hear the whispers of the Angels murmuring around her, floating above, with...

Six-Word Memoir

Six-Word Memoir

Running until once again, I fall.   

 

Setting as Mood

Lonely Sun

    The boy looked out over the fields, trying to ignore the pain that the sight thrust into his gut.  The valley was waving its browning grass, the swishing fronds sending a low whisper through the air.  A silver river trickled calm and cool from the mountains, pooling at the base of the hill.  Broad and wide, the valley stretched for miles.  The air was damp, and a chill hung over the land.  The boy watched as the sun set, field beginning to glow with oranges and reds.  The whole world was on fire from the hill where he stood, sun piercing the fog and turning the grass golden.  But slowly, the sun disappeared behind the mountains and the valley was swallowed once more in the misty cold.  Grasses and reeds continued to shift and whisper with the wind, but their colors grayed under the fading light until the ground was one, dark, hissing blanket. As much as the boy wished...

Improbable Flavor

Salty and Sweet

Winter is best when inhaled sharply, rushing in its cold wind down your throat, leaving behing the clean, crisp taste of softly falling snow.  

Adrenaline leaves a warm pulse in your temple and a swollen tongue in your mouth.  To some, it tastes like the freedom of a clear, open sky.  To others, it holds the bitter flavor of fear and regret.  

Surprise pops on your tongue like a firecracker, opening your eyes and sparking laughter to bubble up from deep in your chest.

Simplicity is sugary like caramel, melting in your mouth and leaving a clean, sweet taste on your teeth.

Writer's Block is cold and damp, a bit like sucking on a pebble found washed up after a rainstorm.  Chewing is futile, and try as you might, it's impossible to swallow.  

The Color Green tastes like the wind rustling through the summer leaves and damp grass after a rainy day.  It tastes like flower petals...

Improbable Flavor

Salty and Sweet

Winter is best when inhaled sharply, rushing in its cold wind down your throat, leaving behing the clean, crisp tast of softly falling snow.  

Adrenaline leaves a warm pulse in your temple and a swollen tongue in your mouth.  To some, it tastes like the freedom of a clear, open sky.  To others, it holds the bitter flavor of fear and regret.  

Surprise pops on your tongue like a firecracker, opening your eyes and sparking laughter to bubble up from deep in your chest.

Simplicity is sugary like caramel, melting in your mouth and leaving a clean, sweet taste on your teeth.

Writer's Block is cold and damp, a bit like sucking on a pebble found washed up after a rainstorm.  Chewing is futile, and try as you might, it's impossible to swallow.  

The Color Green tastes like the wind rustling through the summer leaves and damp grass after a rainy day.  It tastes like flower petals...

Ten Words to You

My Home

A cold place, unknown to many, loved by most.  

 

Collective Voice

Color

We are bad.  Not a knives-and-black-hooded-evil bad, but a teacher-reddening-detention-earning kind of bad.  When we first came to school, we were like everyone else; students with crisp new folders and naive, hopeful minds.  But years passed and our minds clouded with foggy monotony.  

It started with little things: letting loose the lab rats or spraying the halls with Pam.  One night, we switched the dry erase markers with permanent ones.  The whole school dripped with clorox for days.  Plugging our noses like the other unknowing students, we shared glances across the stinking classrooms.  Our reign of madness grew.  The teachers would hold assemblies, scream through the P.A. system, and assign an increasing number of pop quizzes; but it didn’t matter to us.  The other kids began to expect it.  

We aren’t ordinary students anymore.  We aren’t the greying people living in a grey world.  We are the color.  We are that last bit of exploding light.  Our little...

Ripple Effect

Unchanging

    The smog covers the city, surrounds the towers, flows into lungs.  Children choke, gag, reach for their masks.  And yet, the cars drive on, the factories spew more smoke.  Why don't we change?  Humans are stubborn, but the truth that we all know: things will not get better as long as we remain unchanging.  

That Sort of Person

That Sort of Person

1.  Liza's the kind of person whose compliments sting more than her insults.
2.  She's the sort of girl who names the flowers in the vase.
3.  Tom is the type of boy that tries to rescue the squirrels from their trees.  
4.  He likes to build model houses, but only so he can smash them with his father's golf clubs.  
5.  Ben's the kind of guy that will borrow your suit for a party and come home wearing a hawaiin shirt and cowboy boots.  
 
 

Poetry

Secrets

Secrets are cunning, clever and wise,
they keep all the stories that people despise.  
Whispering through ears and through thoughts in the night,
waiting until they can finally bite.
The people that open their mouths to share
have all been trapped in the demon’s snare.
For once a secret has been told,
it slithers free, turning friendships cold.  

Six-Word Story

Six-Word Story

No one knows what really happens.

Five Beginnings

Five Beginnings

With a Character Description:
   
The first thing you notice about Harold is his face.  It's not a pleasant face, but rather holds the expression a fox makes before it digs a weasel out of its hole.  

With the Weather:
    When the first gust of cold win blew into town, no one minded it.  It was just a leftover breeze from August's tornado, or maybe the remains of a northern storm.  But the winds kept blowing, and the crops began to wither.  Flocks of birds rose above the greying fields and pointed their beaks south, headed away from what only they could sense in the air.  Hats were blown from heads and scarves tugged loose, and for the first time in one-hundred-and-thirty-seven years, snow began to fall.  

With a Moment in Time:
    
At exactly 1:56 a.m., the window cracked open.  It opened slowly, as to prevent the creaks of old hinges that often squealed...

Personal Narrative

In Too Deep

Dead!  No.  This can’t be.  It’s like Harry Potter all over again.  Are you kidding me?  Dead!  Three books.  For three books I have been attached to her.  I wanted to be her!  No.  Don’t cry.  DO NOT CRY.  Whoops.  Too late.  Tris Prior.  Gone.  Dead.  No amount of tearful fan-fiction can ever fix this.  

The “Divergent” series captivated me.  It was exciting, fresh, uplifting.  The classic story of how a person like me managed to rise up and fight for what she believed.  Then, my beloved heroine, Tris, got shot: three times.

Sitting in tech class, hiding the book behind my computer, I frantically finished the last pages.  Gunshots rang in my head as I flipped through the book, looking for more.  Some excuse or explanation to convince myself that she wasn’t really gone.  As I desperately searched, my best friend tapped my shoulder,

“You O.K.?”  She asked.  I nodded feebly, unable to take my eyes from the...

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24 Likes from Others

Old Man

Liked by 7 people

Conclusion

Liked by 2 people

Eldingar

Liked by 4 people

The Hitchhiker

Liked by 3 people

You

Liked by 1 person

Ashes

Liked by 2 people

Ashes

Liked by 1 person

Apples

Liked by 1 person

Dual Perspective

Liked by 1 person

Dual Perspective

Liked by 1 person

The Gambler

Liked by 3 people

Selfless

Liked by 4 people

Color

Liked by 3 people

Dear Cecile,

Liked by 1 person

Cartography

Liked by 3 people

Cartography

Liked by 4 people

Dual Perspective

Liked by 1 person

Humanity

Liked by 1 person

Lonely Sun

Liked by 1 person

Six-Word Memoir

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My Home

Liked by 1 person

In Too Deep

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Five Beginnings

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Espe

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Popular penman

Very nicely done - you've got over ten favorites.

Earned about 1 year ago


Reviewer

You've reviewed!

Earned over 2 years ago


Top critic

Woohoo. You've submitted over fifteen reviews.

Earned 2 months ago


Competitor

Thanks for entering a competition.

Earned over 2 years ago


Best seller inactive

Get over twenty favorites for one of your published pieces and you'll be a bestseller.

Luminary inactive

Publish one hundred pieces and you'll be a luminary.

Master reviewer inactive

Write and publish over fifty reviews to become a Master Reviewer