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The Boy Fictionalist mother and son
“Mom, I wrote this, and I thought you might want to read it”

Illustrator Fangze Tian, 12 for The Boy Fictionalist by Joshua Bernheisel, 10.
Published July/August 2001.

A note from Emma Wood

Growing up, my favorite place to write was in the living room of my parents’ apartment at a secretary desk. A secretary desk is a desk that is like a secret: the part of the desk that you write on can be opened and shut. When shut, the desk looks like a boring, slightly mysterious piece of wood furniture. When shut, it can also be locked, so the wrong person doesn’t get into your files. In fact, it’s similar to a laptop or a tablet that you keep locked with a passcode. But, when open, it’s a writing surface with many drawers to hide your secret papers.

My parents usually kept their secretary desk closed, but I would get my journal, click the lamp on, fold the desk down, and write. I loved to write there because the desk was old and beautiful. I liked to imagine I was Charlotte Brontë or Emily Dickinson, one of the many 19th-century writers I admired.

Or… I loved to imagine myself writing there, but often, sitting there, I found I couldn’t write! The desk was too serious, too old. So, I would slowly slide to the floor and write beneath it. There, free from history and dark mahogany, I was able to let my imagination roam.

We at Stone Soup would love to hear about where you love to write—and feature your favorite spot on the Stone Soup Instagram! Maybe your favorite writing spot is a desk, a chair, a treehouse, a hammock, a stone next to a stream, your bed, your dog's bed, or even a whole room... We want to see where you write—wherever that is!

For the chance to be featured, please follow this link. All we ask is that you upload 1 - 3 high-res color photos of your favorite writing spot along with 1 - 2 sentences explaining what you most love about the spot. If you like, you can ask someone else to take a picture of you writing in that space, but an image of the space alone works just fine. We can't wait to see where you write!

Submit to #WhereIWrite

Short Short Fiction Contest - a Short Extension!

So far, we have received a record number of submissions for our flash fiction contest… but we have still decided to extend the deadline to midnight on Monday, June 18! This means, you have the whole weekend to write and submit your short, short story to our contest. Remember, we are asking for just 300 words or fewer. Even though I can't enter the contest, I plan to rise to the challenge and write one flash fiction story myself, both today and tomorrow. I hope you will join me!

Submit to the Short Short Fiction Contest

We can’t wait to read your work.

Until next week

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From Stone Soup
January/February 2017

The Boy Fictionalist

By Joshua Bernheisel, 10
Illustrated by Fangze Tian, 12

For all my life, I had hated writing. In fact, I had loathed it. When we were at school, our class would have to do writing exercises every day. My teacher, Ms. Sanders, would write a seemingly random topic on our whiteboard every morning. Before the end of class, each and every one of us had to write at least ten sentences about it. I remember doing this day after day, and I found it tedious and time-consuming but also quite pointless. Although I didn’t like it, I would write my ten sentences anyway. This continued for the first couple months of the school year, and after a while, it wasn’t so bad.

One day, I came into my classroom. There was change in the air, and I realized what it was very quickly. Rather than “Current Canadian Holidays” or “Early Wind Instruments,” there was something unusual written on the whiteboard. It said, in large lettering, “Free Writing—write whatever you want.” I wasn’t going to waste any time. I expeditiously began writing a short story that I called “The Ghost Child.”

As I sat at my desk and commenced work, a boy named Robert walked up behind me. Robert was fairly tall for his age with a pasted-on smirk, jet-black hair, and constant bad breath.

“The Ghost Child,” he said mockingly, leaning over my shoulder. “That has to be the stupidest name I’ve ever seen. Out of all the kids in this room with cutesy titles like ‘Little Dead Hiding Wood’ or ‘Jack and the Leanwalk,’ yours is the worst.” While I don’t want to call anyone the meanest kid, Robert was pretty mean and quite annoying.

I rolled my eyes, the best tactic for getting him to leave me alone. “Robert, please just do your writing.”

“Ha!” he scoffed. “Let me get right on that, Griffin Boy. What should mine be called? Hmm… How about ‘Peter Griffin Writes Hit Story!’ But I’m sure my lowly writing could never compete with ‘The Ghost Kid,’ could it?”

I rolled my eyes again. “Very funny. And it’s ‘The Ghost Child.’” I resumed writing.../more

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