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A. Jarrell Hayes writing contest
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A. Jarrell Hayes

A. Jarrell Hayes is a poet and fiction writer. He has independently published over a dozen books of poetry, fantasy, and fiction. His writing has appeared in over twenty publications. He invites you to visit his website

Story: This Old House


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Keep writing. Writers don't get better unless they write.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I prepare an outline in advance. For longer works, I do chapter summaries and scene-by-scene outlines.


Rose Burke

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I love how you've given life to a house, giving it memories, and feelings. I especially liked how you compared the house to a human while clinging onto life. Great read! If you get a chance check out my story This Girl and a Bartender, Thanks!


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The embodiment of spirit within every animate and inanimate object along with the memories they hold are channeled through AJ Hayes’ short story, “This Old House”. AJ combines a unique twist of eastern and western flavors in his depiction of the Jackson family home and the troves of memories within. I’m certain you’ll enjoy “This Old House” as much as I have!


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What a wonderfully writen story! It catches your attention and hold its there to the end. Learning stories told by those that lived and visited the house was a interesting to tell one families history. As you read, you become connected to the Jackson family (through the eyes and memories of the house)! I really liked this story. It was interesting, intriging, and extremely creative! EXCELLENT!

Teresa Garcia

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First off, I really like the use of description. Some people describe too much and others too little, but for this story, I think you hit it spot on with your description level. Especially where you are describing the chi. Houses having spirits of their own is an old concept. If you like digging in folkore, you might like the idea of looking for old Japanese versions of houses having spirits of their own (as opposed to spirits IN a house). I'm loving how you describe the individual parts adding to the spirit, since that's how I've always seen it working when investigating houses to see if I could live there. This is not your usual ghost story, for which I thank you as I love all kinds. The end was awesome, I won't spoil it for anyone... but it was very well handled and brought tears to my eyes. This author immersed me that far.


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Interesting concept that a house has a spirit .


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This story is filled with superpowers and suspense. Not your typical ghost story- but AJ Hayes is not your typical writer.This story takes you close enough to the heart of evil that you can hear it's beat. This is definitely a moment of brillance. Take the next 15 minutes and read this story IT IS WORTH IT!

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December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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