“Alright class, today’s assignment is to write a story that covers the requirements on the board. As you see, there are very little, but you need to go into great detail. I want these stories to be the best stories you have written.”
“Ugh! It is Monday morning, come on Mr. Raegen.”
Mr. Raegen knew that none of us were fond of writing yet he gave us weekly assignments and the requirements were always different. This week he had these written on the board:
500 word minimum
2,000 word maximum
Use two similes
This seemed too easy, but everyone complained anyway, including me. I never liked writing, I would like to read a whole book before writing an essay. Mr. Raegen knew this, so he always tried to give me an extra boost. He started my story out with its first sentence that included a simile. Now it was time for me to put my thoughts into this and hope to reach the 500 word minimum. He gave us the rest of the week to work on it in class, and Friday we would read them out loud. Unlike normal, I actually sat there and concentrated on it, mainly to just get it done.
I wrote my story about a young girl who had dyslexia, and she had a hard time getting through school, but she found a friend who motivated her, and they got through together. I was 300 words in and had not even gotten to the peak of the story, so I knew I had to go farther than 500 words. When I finally got to 500 words, on Wednesday, the story still had a whole ending to get through. Never had I written more than the minimum he gave us. That just was not normal for me, I am not a good writer. I always get B’s on my stories, and I am fine with that.
Friday came, and I had 1,688 words. The story was almost over, the happy ending was about to come, so I finished up writing that and I had 1,984 words. So close to the maximum. I knew Mr. Raegan would be happy, even if my story sucked, which I am sure it did. I turned in my story, and later that evening I got a message from Mr. Ragen, but I knew it was probably bad, so I said I would wait until Monday morning to open it.
Monday morning I opened the message and it said, “Braelynn, your story was terrific! Where has this talent been all year? You exceeded my guidelines, and I am so proud of you! This story will be posted on our website, and I hope for you to share it with everyone. Thank you for trying your best and giving me this awesome story. -Mr. Raegen. “
“What?!” I screamed in the middle of Civics class. How was my story this good? No way. When I got to his class I asked him if he was kidding, and he laughed at me.
“Your story was great Brae. I was quite surprised, but very proud. Keep it up.”
That day in class, we published the stories to our website. The only stories he felt were worth posting were mine, Jackson’s, and Avery’s. Jackson and Avery’s stories were always posted because they are genuinely good writers. Everyone else always depends, but my story has never been chosen. I still did not think it was good enough for our website that occasionally reaches thousands of people. I asked Mr. Raegen if he had to put who wrote the story on the website, and he said yes. I did not want people to know it was me, but I guess I had no choice.
A week had gone by and it was time for our new topic, but before that we always looked at the statistics for the week before stories. Mr. Raegen gasped and the class was intrigued.
“What happened Mr. Raegen?”
“Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing is wrong. Braelynn, can I talk to you in the hallway?”
The whole class was looking at me, I got up nervously and met him in the hall.
“Your story reached 5,000 views. That is the highest I have ever seen in my ten years of teaching.
“5,000?! How? It wasn’t even good.”
“There is more news. I had an email from a local publisher. She wants to meet with you.”
“Meet with me? This can’t be happening.”
“If you are willing, I will give her a message back.”
I could not believe this. I barely knew what a publisher was. This was so weird. I was always the girl who needed help in writing, now a publisher wants to meet with me? Mr. Raegen messaged her back and we made a plan to meet that Friday at noon, here in his classroom.
Friday arrived and I was a ball of nerves. It was 11:30 and I almost backed out, but I didn’t. I walked into Mr. Raegen’s class and there she was, sitting at a desk with a folder and a laptop. She looked way too professional for me.
“Hi Braelynn, I am Sarah Stevens, a publisher that works in West City. I would just like to talk to you about your story and maybe get it to go farther.”
“Hi! It is great to meet you, I would love to sit down and talk.”
Sarah Stevens and I had an hour-long conversation that ended with her taking a copy of my story to post on her website that gets millions of views every day.
“I will get back to you soon.”
“Great. It was nice to meet you.”
A few weeks had gone by and I had not heard from her. I figured my story was a bust and she knew she made a mistake. I patiently waited for a response, but started to lose hope. Mr. Ragen motivated me to stay positive, even if Sarah did not message me back, so I did. I went on with life and a month had gone by and then the unexpected happened.
I hope this finds you well. I know it has been longer than expected to hear back from me, but I have great news for you! I published your story, as you know, and the views were outrageous. I had five major publishers reach out to me wanting to use your story on their websites. Since you gave me permission, they have all posted your story. Braelynn, your story is getting around everywhere. You are going to have people contacting you and wanting you to write more. I hope you make the right decisions in your writing career and do what is best for you! I am sure your family and Mr. Raegen is so proud of you. This won’t be easy, since you are still a child, but you have so much potential ahead of you.
This letter was my future. A chance to make something of myself.