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Michael A. Wood Jr. writing contest
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Michael A. Wood Jr.

A Marine Sergeant, a Police Sergeant, a loving husband and father, I was born in Baltimore and other than serving abroad in the Marine Corps, I have always been rooted there. I always loved to read and kept a hundred stories floating around in my head. I started writing in non-fiction to help guide the professional career paths of police supervisors. That writing process gave me the courage to branch out into fiction. Between growing up, the Marine Corps, and policing in an urban environment, I have been exposed to and learned to understand a plethora of ethnicities and lifestyles. Please enjoy my reading because it comes from the heart, with a love of the story, not from any desire to make money.

Story: In Another Life


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?
Just do it! Just write. Nothing can get started until you write. Read aloud, somethings don't sound so great once read aloud.Who I am to say? The advice on my best advice, is not something I would advice.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
For short stories I have just jumped right in, for novels I have had relatively detailed outlines, which are subject to change, but I found to be great tools for connecting the timeline and providing consistency.


S. A. Merk

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I really liked this story but found some of the elements a bit drawn out. I hate to say this because I think the plot and the characters were quite engaging. I think that you have a unique and creative voice. But for a short story things just seemed to have an odd pacing. Some of the narrative appeared to me to be more “tell” than “show” and the storyline drags out a bit too long for the format. While I had some issues with these items, I think that you have a story here…just not a short story. Should you break this out into a novel and use dialogue and action rather than narrative to engage and inform the reader you will have a winner on your hands. You are a gifted story-teller and I think this is an outline for a novel rather than a proper short story. I know that I am just a reader, so take this for what it’s worth – rewrite this and turn it into a novel. Just my humble opinion. And – thank you for serving. A humble Army vet.

Military girl <3

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I absolutely loved it, It was one of the most entertaining stories I've read. I wish you good luck :]

Bruce M

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Very touching. Thank you.

Penniless Writer

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I appreciate the content and direction of the story, and while the end is shocking and very grim, it reflects the reality of what youth face in America today. However, the story loses some of its power in composition. One, at the beginning we get slammed with exposition, much of which we don't even need to know, and almost all of which could be revealed in conversation between Chris and Devin. Second, the story spans far too much time. In a short-story format, having years go by is impractical and ruins momentum. Third, the dialogue really needs work. It's unnatural and not believable. You have a credible and relatable storyline, but it's hidden by overly-detailed narrative, poor pacing, and ill-fitting dialogue.

Lori Paris

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I liked it very much, however, I would have liked them to have made the decision to die together, rather than one just doing it and the other one following him. It could have been something they decided by themselves, for themselves, together. Just a thought. You conveyed their feelings very warmly.

Angelina Dees

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Heartfelt and emotional, I really enjoyed this story. I was wondering how you would bring them back together and the way you managed it was quite beautiful. You have an amazing talent. Good Luck.

Dave R

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Very enjoyable and well written.


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Good story, a different ending then I imagined and overall written well. Keep writting you have a real talent and I would love to read other stories you have written.


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Loved the story, Should be made in to a great motion picture


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Good Luck

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You can tell this is a very personal story and the details are well thought out. A quick, moving read. I recommend it!

Frances Bell

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Very well written story although not my favorite genre - well done! This deserves to be read although I suspect many won't because of that label. If it were possible, I would remove it...


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Quite a good story - captures the emotions of young people struggling to understand who they are and establish themselves as young adults

Rose Burke

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What an unexpected ending! This is a wonderful piece and I'm glad I came across it. It reminds me a bit of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'...which is a great book if you haven't read it. Overall an excellent read. If you get a chance check out my story This Girl and a Bartender, thanks!

Lisa Rose

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I was going to tell you that there were a few mistakes in punctuation and you need to proofread your work a couple of times. But.. I don't care anymore. Your story is the reason I have combed through all of the lemons, just looking for a jewel. This is IT! Great story and I can tell it does come from the heart, because it touched mine.

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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. [...]
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#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!