Sarah Brandel

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Sarah Brandel

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My Progress

I finished my final Write-a-thon story a day late, but it’s done (and the longest I’ve written these six weeks)!  Thanks for following along.  Just 25 more stories to go!

Week 27: “What Follows” (7,391 words)
Excerpt: The scratching began as a slow, deliberate scraping in the middle of the door.  Then again, slightly closer to the handle.  And again, closer.
When Jessa sat up in bed, she was holding a bared blade.  But if her nightmare was on the other side of that door, a blade would do her only so much good, even a silver one.  What she needed was something she rarely carried, especially when she took most of her meals outside the house.
Her medicine chest, with all its small drawers, was difficult to navigate in the dark, especially with shaking hands.  Where was the salt?  She couldn’t remember if she’d dumped the crystals in a drawer or left them in a bag or…  She held the knife blade between her teeth and searched by touch, smelling pepper and ginger and chilis.
The scratching grew louder, as if the fingers on the other side had begun raking furrows in the wood.

I’m halfway through the 52-week challenge!  Here are my stats so far:


Total words written: 113,306 words


Longest story: Household Gods (8,072 words)


Shortest story: Perfect for Me (178 words)


Average story length: 4,357.9 words


Week 26: Playing the Villain (3,054 words)


Excerpt: My husband didn’t die saving the world, you know.


I killed him.


I can see you disapprove, dearie, and I understand.  Murder is illegal, even for us.


Or maybe you think I’m crazy.  After all, it’s difficult to believe an old woman capable of violence when she can barely lift herself out of bed.


But there was a time when I was strong.  Strong enough to shoulder the weight of this decision.


Week 25: This Is Not a Ghost Story (1,060 words)


Excerpt: “Why is the mirror covered?” asked Evan, standing on his tiptoes as he tried to peek around the paper shroud.


“So the ghosts can’t look out at you,” said Uncle Joe.


“Why are there ghosts?”  Glenda edged away from the table, glancing toward the sunny patch of grass outside the workshop door.  “Is it haunted?”


Uncle Joe levered open a can of stain and set the lid aside.  “There are always ghosts in mirrors,” he said as he picked up a foam-tipped brush.  “That’s how we can see them and they can see us.”


Week 24: The Champion (2,837 words)


Excerpt:  When the Champion died for the last time, the only two people to witness it were Miriam and Dr. Sunil.


“Bring her back,” said Miriam as the hospital’s machines began to keen.


Dr. Sunil peeled off bloodied latex gloves and hovered his hands over the Champion’s chest.  A golden glow suffused the air between them.  Slowly, the glow found its way into her eyes, mouth, nose, and ears, as well as the sutured shrapnel wounds across her torso.


The doctor bent until his lips were near the Champion’s ear.  “Charlotte,” he called softly.  “You’re needed.”


Week 23: Road Trip (4,220 words)


Excerpt: Dean didn’t drink much, but he found himself sitting at the bar, craning his head back to watch the baseball game.  From the corner of one eye, he could see the man and his entourage gathered at one table, looking at a cell phone the man held.  Despite the beer bottles arrayed around them, they seemed much more sober now than they had outside the bar.


Nervousness made Dean need to do something with his hands, so he sipped his beer, finishing it much faster than he’d intended.  He ordered another, still pretending to watch the baseball game.  The group stayed clustered around the cell phone, typing a little, then swiping through photos.


Perhaps it was innocent.  Perhaps the man in the stetson really was a musician, and they were all co-writing a blog post about life on the road.  But there was something about the uncertainty with which they used the phone that made it seem like they’d found it somewhere, or perhaps stolen it.  Just another lark, then?  Maybe.  But maybe not.


Week 22: Departure (4,504 words)


Excerpt:  Mothers died in fairytales all the time.  But that happened in a time long ago and a land far away, not in the present day, in a darkened sickroom in our own small house.


Instead of sending a postcard, the Conductor himself arrived with the mail train.  This time, even when the train whistle blew like a mother calling her scattered children to dinner, he didn’t heed it.


Mother said to the Conductor, “Dying is the only way I could get you to stay.”  He was holding her hand when she said this, and tightened his grip so much it must have hurt her.  As if he could hold her in this world when all the doctors and the medicine cold not.

What I Write


“Dear and Dearly Beloved” – Net Author’s E2K, October 2003
“Hungry Ghosts” – Thou Shalt Not… from Dark Cloud Press, Fall 2006
“Imarja’s Children” – Aberrant Dreams, Summer 2006 (Issue 8)
“A Life in Pictures” – Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy

My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I’m currently taking part in the Ray Bradbury Challenge to write a story a week for a year.  The Write-a-thon will be a continuation of that (weeks 22-27).  I’m currently on week 21 (as of 6/15), and I’ve written over 95,000 words  since I started.

Fundraising Goals

I don’t have a particular goal, but it would be amazing if you could make a donation to Clarion West in honor of me finishing Week 26 and being halfway done.