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The Penname

By FalliciousPuns All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Drama


It was my first day at university.  I was completely overwhelmed by its size, as I had spent the whole summer in a dark room hunched over a computer, or scribbling in a notebook, working on the project I dreamed about ever since I was eight.  

I glanced at my schedule.  I knew which class I had by heart.  It was the one I was most excited about:  Creative Writing.  I was excited about my other courses as well; I loved Medieval History, and Linguistic Studies, but Creative Writing was where I’d be able to show off my skills the most.  If you haven’t met my friends, or haven't realized it yet, I’m a rather annoying showoff.  

It took me a while to find the class.  It was on the second floor which had no other classes in it.  I hurried down the hall to room 304.  My fancy shoes made an annoying tap tapping noise on the polished wood floor.  I heard a faint murmur at the end of the hall.  Was I late?  I broke into a run.  The sun shone through the windows that covered the right wall.  I passed empty room after empty room on my right.  I nearly ran past 304.  I sort of skidded past it as I tried to stop and managed to catch the door handle on my way past.  I peered into the class through the door’s window.  There were only three other students.  I wasn’t late.  I knocked and entered.

“Hi there,” said a young woman.  “I’m Miss Cannie, and I’ll be subbing for the first week of classes because Mr. Jordan’s niece is ill.”

Mr. Jordan was supposed to be our teacher, but Miss Cannie looked nice enough.

“Hi-ya,” called one of the boys in the back.  “You can come join in our discussion, if you want to.”  Another boy rolled his eyes as the first continued, “We’re trying to figure out the plot of the next Fencers book, because James de Keen is an asshole when it comes to cliffhangers.”

I grinned and walked over.  “What if Princess Cisna turns out to be a mage or something cool?”  I asked, grabbing a seat next to them.  “J. de Keen is also an asshole when it comes to plot twists,” I suggested.  

The boy laughed.  “I know!  I remember reading the second book, and you know the part in the last five pages where it Cadicus turns out to be a spy?  I swear I must have cussed J. de Keen out a thousand times for dropping the bomb like that,” he laughed.  “But they’re still crazy good.”

We continued talking, and I discovered their names.  Kieth was the first one, and Alex was the one who had rolled his eyes.  The third one was Eric.  Kieth had the look of a real schoolboy.  His shirt and trousers had just the right of wear and disheveled-ness to them, and he had a wide eyed look that confirmed that he was a first-year like me.  Alex was aloof and dark haired.  Handsome, but not rugged, if you were into that sort of thing.  He wore a fedora too, with a tilt.  Not much is to be said about Eric.  He was very tall, very dutch, and very blonde.  He had somewhat short hair and glasses.  They were all good and relatively new friends and I happened to be in the same college as them, so I knew them by sight and not by name.

After a few more minutes of waiting, the rest of the students arrived.  In all, there were seven.  Not many.  Miss Cannie waited for them to quiet and then closed the door.

“Alright guys,” she said, “Since today’s the first class, we’ll just be going over the curriculum for this year.”  Miss Cannie walked over to the whiteboard.  She drew three rows and four columns.  In the first column, she wrote:




In the second, she wrote:

Lanceling/Collin Bishops


Action Scene

In the third she wrote:

Fencers: Silver Sword/James de Keen

Cultivating reaction Laugh/Cry/Frustrate/Cliffhanger

I thought I sort of understood.  The first entry was a book title.  They were fairly YA fantasy which I found odd.  I’d read Silver Sword.  It was the newest installment in the Fencers series, and reading it was dangerously addictive.  I remember I’d walked around doing everything one-handed for a week.  Lanceling was another fantasy novel.  I’d never read it, but it looked promising from what all the reviews said.  I remembered that there was still one more column.  I glanced at it and had to clap a hand to my mouth to refrain from squealing or vomiting up my stomach, or both.

It read:

Many Faces/Edward N. Agnello

Characterization/Character Development

Character Death/Character Reaction

Many Faces.  The critically acclaimed, international best-selling fantasy novel of two years ago, written by Edward N. Agnello.  It followed the story of a young boy named Lorian from his childhood to early adulthood.  At first it seemed like the typical ‘farm boy goes to defeat dark wizard’, but it took some interesting twists and turns.  It was a real hunk of a book, over a thousand pages long.  I owned every edition of it, and I could probably recite at least half of it.  It wasn’t necessarily my favorite book, but it was the most special to me.  I had written it.

Miss Cannie turned to us.  “Alright,” she said, consulting a piece of paper, “In the first row are books you’ll be reading this year, one for each trimester.  The second row are the types of writing exercises that you can expect to have during the trimester, and the third row are your projects that you’ll be having during the trimester as well.  Got it?”

We all nodded.

“Ok,” she said, squinting at the paper again, “The copies of Lanceling are in this box,” she continued, patting a large cardboard box beside her.  She stared at us for a moment.  “Well, come on then,” she said, grinning.  

The class formed a haphazard line.  Since me, Kieth, Alex and Eric were at the back,  we got our books last.  I saw we had the choice between the different editions:  Hardback, paperback, and a different illustration for paperback.  I grabbed a hardback, as it would wouldn’t get damaged so easily, and I walked back to my chair.  I glanced at the cover.  I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it was a simple and elegant design that I liked.  It was a simple spear surrounded by tiny diamonds, like sparkles.  I supposed the diamonds symbolized magic.  I looked up.  Miss Cannie was talking.  

“Mr. Jordan would like you all to read the prologue for next class,” she smiled, changing tone, “I suppose I’ll see you around this semester.  I might be subbing for some of your other teachers.”

Class was dismissed.

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