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Kendra Ayers writing contest
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Kendra Ayers

My name is Kendra and I want to be America's Next Author. Whether it is through this contest or other avenues, I won't quit until I become a published author. Dreams are great to talk about but I am making mine happen. Thank you for reading my short story and offering your honest opinion of my work.

Story: The Diner


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What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
I've been told by so many authors to just write everyday. I have to sharpen my skills and learn to figure out what works & what doesn't. I work hard on the issues I face when writing such as verb tense, POV, & creating a character worth reading.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I have taken both approaches when writing but I often find I never follow the outline because my characters take their story another route. My first manuscript was completely outlined and I used maybe 10% of it.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I embrace it and learn from it. Sure, it stings a little, but if its constructive criticism, I use it to better my work. The key to good writing is remaining humbled but challenged and open to improving your writing.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I would create an ending. I thought by leaving the story open ended, people could decide for themselves how they wanted it to end. Unfortunately, I think it frustrated some people. Glad people enjoyed it though.



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I read this story before, but I couldn't bring myself to comment because I empathized too strongly with the narrator's absolute agony. It's like being hit with a blunt instrument and being given no pain killers. I've been there with characters before: Briget Jones, any chick lit going really, but I was with them before and I was with them after the agony. In a novel, this scene/chapter works. As a character history this scene/chapter works. As a stand-alone piece? I am not sure the pain is worth it.

Margaret Alice

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Good job! I agree that the story does seem incomplete because the story ends quite abruptly, but overall I felt it was a relatable concept that has the potential to grow into something spectacular. Could you please check out my story, "The Fate Continuum?" I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Good luck!

Susan Gale Wickes

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I think almost everyone can relate to this story. It stirs the emotions. A little more insight into Jen and Finn's past relationship might have added to the story, but I really enjoyed it and was immediately drawn in. Good luck!

Lisa Rose

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I liked your story but wished it were longer. You really didn't put a finish on it; if Jen had hit the ignore button that would have done it. But then that isn't her. Finn and Jen are memorable characters. Finn is an A-class jerk and Jen is a girl in love with the wrong guy. I did notice in your text that you tend to repeat words a lot; trying varying your word usage a little more. You wrote: 'As we switched my tomato soup and grilled cheese with his ham and Swiss, our hands touched as we exchanged plates.' And then in the next sentence you use the word touch again. Maybe try it like this: As we switched my tomato soup and grilled cheese for his ham and Swiss, our fingers brushed. We both looked up at each other as if we had been stung by a bee or worse yet, enjoyed the touch. I really did enjoy your story. The part I liked best? I looked back up at the diner sign and the light bulb struggling to remain lit had finally burned out; no more flickering. I still think she should have hit the ignore button on the jerk! If you have the time please read my story 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.

Peter Lahanas

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I've always been an avid lover of these kind of stories. I loved it. Beautiful story, masterfully told.


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I could really feel the emotions of the MC. As for Finn, he came across as a jerk or an idiot...or both. I felt like smacking him. I really wish you had ended the story- I think it would have been more satisfying. I like dhte metaphor "swirling like paints on a canvas" and again, "I wanted something to jump start my agony so I could get it over with already". That said, there were some spellig errors, some tense confusion at points. Some words shouldn't have been used, for instance, "My presence walking toward the table..." Obviously 'presence' should have been replaced with something else. Good writing, though.


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I really enjoyed being able to read your piece!


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Awesome writing. Loved the flow, and feeling you miss in a lot of writing these days. DEFINITELY left me with wanting to read more. Very up to date with the times. Very relatable to anyone that has a heart and living in the present day time.


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Kendra,WOW! Your writing just keeps getting better and better. In real life not too many things slip passed you-you catch details not only in physical surroundings but also seeing people's feelings, their emotions, and the like. To read how you put this in all of your stories is amazing. I have known you since you were able to talk and your imagination and story-telling began about then. I simply love to read everything you write- this is for sure, a God given talent. NEVER stop writing.

Frances Bell

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Nicely written but not a story, just an incident; the retelling of a moment in a larger story which this is just an exerpt from.


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Loved reading this! It made me want to read much more! You are very talented, never give up on your dream and keep writing!

quiet unlooker

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I do recall reading this similar plot line in another book preview. Im not sure if you were familiar with the book at the time of your writing this story, but the similarities are uncanny. If you didnt know, terrific writing, if you did steal from this particular book's preview (and I have no idea if you did or not) that would be sad. For these reasons I give this three stars.


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LOVED this book!!!!!!!!! This is definitely my kind of story and sadly, it definitely hits home. Keep up the good detailed and descriptive literary masterpieces :)


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Many emotions packed into this well written short story. The word I would use to describe this piece is poignant. It makes me eager to read more works by this aspiring young author. Good job Kendra.............kudos!


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good start, good middle, no ending. i was disappointed at the end when the plot was unfinished, but otherwise it was a good story. i give this three stars. it needs work, but has potential.

Amanda Grace

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Great story Kendra! You have an amazing talent and I enjoyed EVERY minute of this story. I like that fact that it didn't end with you knowing exactly what would happen next. It lets me use my imagination and continue the story in my head! Keep writing, you were meant for it.


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SO Great! Way to go Kendra! What happens next??????


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Great book and person. Love your writings keep it up.


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Great Job Kendra!! You are so beautifully talented in so many ways. Good Luck

stacy a

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I think this book is wonderful . I don't know what the women under me is talking about but its definitely an original piece and I hope you win !!! Amazing !


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Great job Kendra! I wanted more! Keep on writing!

Liz B

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There is nothing that I enjoy more than getting lost in s book. Being able to put myself in the shoes of the main character and live out the book. You are so descriptive that you were able to do just that. Just like authors I have been enjoying for years. I look forward to enjoying your work for years to come. You have such amazing, God given talent. Way to go Kendra!!!


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Loved this and it's not easy to keep my attention but I was really drawn in and the descriptive emotion of the girl almost made you feel as if you were her or could relate. I really want to know what happens!! So much suspense!! Loved this story. You got MAJOR talent girl!!

Alyce Wilson

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There is a lot of genuine emotion in this piece, and I think many people have suffered through similar experiences, which may help readers connect to it. To fully appreciate this situation, however, the reader needs more of their back story. For example, if they have only been keeping in touch via Facebook for two years, how can she be hurt and wronged to learn he's marrying someone else? I felt like perhaps this was meant to be part of a longer piece.

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
America's Next Author

#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!