Glossophobia: A No-Chapter Novella

This is an excerpt from the late beginning of the story I wrote for my sister for her birthday. I didn’t put in chapters in this novella, so it’s more like a super-long short story. Please let me know what you think of this excerpt in the comments below. Thanks!

Mr. Bullis walked to his desk and pulled out a black notebook. He flipped it open and started calling roll. His voice was gruff, and Amanda could feel herself getting more apprehensive every second. He finished calling roll and laid the notebook on the desk. He turned back to the class.

“Let me start off by introducing myself. I’m Edward Bullis. I’ve been teaching at this school for five years.” He paused, studying them. “And if you thought that speech class was going to be easy, let me inform you that it won’t be.” The few cheerful faces that were left in the room vanished. “A few things you should know about this class. First, you will be required to write and give a speech every week. I will split you into two groups. One group will do their speeches on Thursday, and the other will do theirs on Friday. The next week they will switch.” Amanda glanced over at Jamie out of the corner of her eye. So far everything that Zane had said was true.

“We will also have pop speeches where you will have five minutes to write a two-minute speech.” Mr. Bullis’s cold blue eyes quickly silenced the students’ groans. A hand slowly rose.

“Yes, Miss Kerr?” Mr. Bullis asked, irritated and impatient.

“Will we actually have to give our pop speeches in front of the class?” the short girl in the second row asked.

Mr. Bullis’s face reddened with exasperation. “Yes, of course. In fact, we’re going to have one today to see how advanced each of you are. Get out a clean sheet of paper.” The sound of zippers and scuffling filled the room as each student obeyed. Amanda glanced over at Jamie fearfully. She knew that she wasn’t ready to do this, especially without instructions.

To her slight relief, Mr. Bullis quickly explained a few speech-writing basics. Jamie sent Amanda a wobbly smile. Amanda gave her a shaky half-grin.

“All right, students. You may begin,” Mr. Bullis said.

Amanda picked up her pencil and stared down at her blank sheet of paper. She tried desperately to think of a topic. She decided to write about dog habits, since that was something she was pretty familiar with. Not only did her family have three dogs, but sometimes she volunteered to dog-sit for other people.

Every sentence and paragraph seemed to take way too long. When Mr. Bullis announced that their time was up, she set down her pencil and groaned, along with most of the class. She felt like she had hurried through too quickly and that she was going to have to give a horrible speech. Her heart started pounding as she thought about getting up in front of the class and having them all stare at her. She gulped.

“We’ll go in alphabetical order by last name,” Mr. Bullis stated. “Cameron Aldly.”

As the boy with the long blond ponytail started his speech about motocross racing, Amanda felt her stomach churning with nervousness. She swallowed, trying to drown her fear. It didn’t help. She fidgeted nervously.

After four more people gave their speeches, it was Jamie’s turn. Amanda managed to give her friend a smile and a thumbs up. Jamie grinned weakly in return, then walked to the front of the classroom. Amanda forced herself to focus on Jamie’s speech. Jamie’s amazing, Amanda thought as she watched her friend. She knew that Jamie hadn’t been worried about the actual speaking part, since she loved talking in front of people and being the center of attention. Jamie had been most worried about writing her speech, especially with a time limit. Amanda thought that Jamie’s topic, gardening, even made sense, since Jamie’s mom was a florist; it was one of the things that Jamie knew well.

Jamie finished her speech and nodded at Mr. Bullis. The class clapped, just like they had for all of the other students, but Mr. Bullis actually looked slightly impressed. That only lasted a second before he was back to his normal hardened self. “That was nice, Miss Hamilton,” he said.

“Thank you, sir,” Jamie replied. Amanda could tell that her friend was thrilled. Jamie sat back down in her chair and smiled encouragingly at Amanda.

Two more people went, and Amanda got more and more nervous. There was only one more person before Amanda.

“Valerie Taverna,” Mr. Bullis announced. The tall black-haired girl sitting in front of Amanda stood up, flipped her hair over her shoulder, and strolled confidently to the front of the room, a clearly fake smile pasted on her face. Mr. Bullis raised an eyebrow skeptically at her. She reached the front of the classroom and turned to face the class. Flipping her hair over her shoulder again, she smiled sweetly at the rest of the class. Amanda noticed that a lot of the boys in the room started paying attention. She rolled her eyes.

Valerie started giving her speech, and Amanda gulped. Valerie was really good. The speech she’d written about good first dates was great, even though Amanda didn’t really care about the topic. Amanda thought that Valerie’s speech was way better than her own, and her presentation was definitely as good as Jamie’s. She fidgeted and had to sit on her hands to keep from biting her nails. Her stomach churned, and she started to feel a little queasy.

Valerie finished her speech and nodded at Mr. Bullis. The clapping from the students was thunderous, especially from the boys. Amanda had noticed that some of them had taken notes. Valerie sat down with a smug look on her face. She had done well, Amanda thought, and she knew it.

Mr. Bullis looked down at his black notebook. “Amanda Terrell.”

Amanda felt her stomach jump and tried to swallow her fear. She stood up and picked up her sheet of paper, walking slowly to the front of the classroom, her heart pounding. She turned to face the class. Sixteen pairs of eyes were focused on her, seventeen if you counted Mr. Bullis. Jamie smiled encouragingly at her.

Amanda started her speech. Even with her eyes focused on her speech, she could feel the class staring at her. She tripped over her words and said “um” and “uh” way too often. She knew that she was talking too fast, but she couldn’t help it. She heard giggles rolling through the classroom and her face reddened with embarrassment. She quickly nodded at Mr. Bullis and walked back to her seat with her head down. She could feel the teacher’s eyes drilling into the back of her head. Jamie gave Amanda a sympathetic smile as the next student walked to the front of the classroom.

Valerie turned around from the seat in front of Amanda and faced her with a taunting grin. “So, like, um, don’t you know, uh, how to give a, er, speech?” she teased. Amanda’s face flushed bright red.

“Knock it off,” Jamie growled in defense of her friend.

The sound of someone clearing their throat at the front of the room caught the three girls’ attention. Mr. Bullis was glaring at them, his angry gaze frigid. He turned to the speaker, who had just finished. “Thank you, sir.” The boy nodded and sat down. Mr. Bullis sent another cold glare in the girls’ direction before calling the next student.

The last five speeches seemed to crawl past, especially for Amanda, who squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. She couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom; on the other hand, she knew that a lot of the students would probably tease her when they got out of class.

The final student finished his speech, and the rest of the class clapped enthusiastically. It wasn’t that his speech was really that great, but the fact that the speeches were over.

Mr. Bullis stood up, glancing at the clock. “Your homework for this week is to choose a topic to write a speech about for Friday.” The bell rang. “You may go,” Mr. Bullis announced over the clamor of the students gathering their books. Amanda stuffed her speech into her binder and hurried to the door, following right behind Jamie.

“Miss Terrell,” Amanda heard someone say behind her. She stopped and turned around. It was Mr. Bullis. “I’d like you to stay after class.” Amanda nodded wordlessly and let the other kids flow past her, her heart pounding, until she was left to face Mr. Bullis.

Paralyzed Dreams: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the first part of the chapter) from my (currently) longest completed story, which I wrote for my mom for her birthday a while back. Once again, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

CHAPTER ONE (not the full chapter)

“Mine!” Pam Wilson yelled as she dove for the volleyball. Her body slammed into the sand as her arms connected with the ball, which flew high in the air. Lauren Cosden, her best friend and fellow teammate spiked the ball over the net. Pam rolled over to her feet and watched as the ball thudded into the sand. She exchanged a high-five with Lauren.

“Nice job, Lauren, Pam,” Coach Pennington called. “Take five, everybody. We’ll start the next round of practice games in a minute.”

“Nice dive,” Lauren told her, impressed. “You sure aren’t afraid to get dirty anymore.”

Pam saw the teasing glint in Lauren’s eyes. “Yeah. That was a nice spike, too. You sure aren’t afraid to jump anymore.”

Lauren laughed. “When was I ever afraid to jump?”

It was true. Lauren had always been the brave and adventurous one, climbing trees, jumping out of them, and rolling around in the dirt with her brothers. She’d broken her arm more times than Pam could remember, and she was always getting into trouble.

Pam, on the other hand, was more of an indoors person. She liked to stay in her room and read, or cook, or paint. She and Lauren had different interests, but they still had a few things in common, like their love for writing. They both went to the same school, same church, and were in the same grade. And they both had the same love for volleyball.

Coach Pennington came over to the water fountain where they were standing. “Girls, you’re going to be on B court next. You’re going to practice against the twins.”

“Okay, Coach,” Lauren agreed. Pam held in her sigh until the coach had headed back to the courts.

“Great,” she muttered.

“We’ll beat them this time,” Lauren assured her.

Pam rolled her blue eyes. “No way,” she told Lauren. “They’ve got that mental telepathy thing going on.” The twins could figure out what the other was thinking, and they had beaten Pam and Lauren every time they’d played. They were really good.

Lauren hooked her arm through Pam’s elbow. “Come on, don’t be so negative. You want to play in the Olympics, right?”

Pam rolled her eyes. “You know that,” she reminded Lauren.

Lauren laughed. “I know. But you’ve got to have a positive mindset. Isn’t that one of the things that Coach Pennington has been lecturing us about?”

“Yeah,” Pam agreed reluctantly.

“Then…” Lauren prompted, her brown eyes sparkling.

“Let’s go beat them!” Pam declared, acting enthusiastic, although her hopes really weren’t that high.

Lauren grinned. “That’s my Pam.” The two girls strolled arm-in-arm over to the B court. The twins were there waiting. Cheri and Chelsea looked up as the other pair entered. They nodded at their opponents, their dark brown eyes confident but bored. Pam could tell that they thought that the win would be easy. Her blood started boiling.

Lauren sensed Pam’s anger and pulled her over to the bench. She made Pam sit down on the bench next to her. “So,” she started casually, leaning back. “I’ve been working on this theory, you see. If we stay calm and don’t get overly upset over them, then we may have a chance.” She glanced over at Pam, brushing her long blond bangs out of her hair. “Remember your grandpa’s saying: kill them with kindness.”

Pam grinned, then grew serious. “So, let’s just be really nice.”

“And Christ-like,” Lauren added, nudging her. The makeshift judge stepped onto his platform, and the girls stood up. Pam stretched, brushing her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She and Lauren walked up to the net and shook hands with the twins.

Cheri grinned cockily at Pam and turned to her sister. “I figure my coffee won’t have time to get cold before this is over.”

Pam smiled cheerfully. Well, with forced cheerfulness. “Good luck!” she told her.

Cheri raised an eyebrow. “We won’t need luck,” she scoffed.

Singing Lessons: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the entire first part) of a novella I wrote for a friend for her birthday. It was the first longer-than-a-short-story project that I finished completely. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.


“Mo-o-om!” Emily Noble insisted. “You know that I don’t like singing in front of people!”

Her mother looked up from her newspaper. “But, Emily, you have such a beautiful voice. You should share it! Why don’t you try out for choir?”

“I don’t like singing, or being in front of a whole bunch of people.” Emily sighed.

“You could take singing lessons,” her mom suggested.

Emily groaned. “Please, Mom, don’t make me,” she begged.

Her mom sighed, too. “All right, it’s your decision.”

Emily nodded and smiled gratefully at her mom. She knew that her mom wished that her daughter was interested in performing, but she hated being in front of people. Her mom realized that, though, so she allowed Emily to be herself, although she still encouraged Emily to perform, especially as a singer.

“Do you have any homework to work on?” her mom asked her meaningfully as Emily reached for the television remote. She looked up at her mom guiltily.

“Yeah,” she admitted.

Her mother gave her a fake stern look. “Homework first,” she ordered.

Emily grinned at her mom and headed upstairs to her room. She plopped down in her desk chair, flipping on her purple desk lamp. She didn’t have much homework left since she’d finished most of it in study hall.

“Write an essay about your siblings, or another close family member if you are an only child…” Emily muttered as she read over the homework assignment for her English class. She sighed. She only had one sibling, her older brother, Adrian, and she hadn’t seen him since his college graduation. How was she supposed to write an essay about the brother that she hadn’t seen in two years? She checked her notes. The essay wasn’t due until Monday, so she had five days. Emily didn’t normally procrastinate, especially with English since it was her favorite subject, but she really wasn’t looking forward to writing an essay about her brother.


Emily finally finished her homework and leaned back in her chair. She flipped the switch on her boom box, turning on the radio. Upbeat Christian music swelled and filled the room as she adjusted the volume, turning it down so she wouldn’t bother her parents. She stood up, grabbing one of her many novels, and flopped down on the bed on her stomach. She flipped a couple of pages distractedly, and then set the book down. She closed her eyes and rested her chin on the bed, soaking in the music. The DJ came on and started talking. She tuned him out, thinking about her essay that she had to work on. What was she going to do?

“… and here’s one of Manafest’s hits!” the DJ announced. Emily rolled over onto her back. The familiar beat made her close her eyes and bite back tears. Her brother had been one of Manafest’s biggest fans. He’d listened to their music all of the time, so she knew all of their songs by heart. The two of them used to sing along with the songs at the top of their lungs. Emily hadn’t listened to Manafest since Adrian had left. Now the memories of all of their good times came flooding back, and Emily could barely hold back the tears.

She wanted her brother back.


Emily slid into her chair at the dining room table. The dining room was one of her favorite rooms, other than her own. She loved the wooden furniture and the paintings hanging on the wall that her mother had painted while she was in college. Her dad came in and smiled at her, plopping down into his chair.

“How was your day, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Good,” Emily replied. She traced the edge of the lacy table cloth with her finger.

Her mom swept into the dining room with a dish in her arms. “Dinner’s ready!” she announced brightly as she set the dish down on the table.

“Ooh, chicken spaghetti casserole!” Emily’s dad exclaimed, licking his lips. The family bent their heads to pray over the meal.

Adrian’s favorite, Emily thought, but she didn’t mention it out loud. It was her favorite, too. She wished that he was with them now. She made up her mind then and there: she was going to find Adrian.