And now for a harder writing assignment … Hunger Games – The Prequel

The Trifecta Weekly Challenge is a lot more complicated (for ME anyway) than the abbreviated weekend version we played a few days ago.  The difference is that I have more time and more words with which to work. The rules are pretty simple: All entries must be between 33 and 333 words. In addition, they must include the following word as defined by its third definition:

vulgar (adj) \ˈvəl-gər\ 

1: generally used, applied, or accepted

2: vernacular <the vulgar name of a plant>

* * * * * * * * * *

I opted to write a prequel to the book I’m reading right now. Actually, that’s a lie … because I’m not reading Hunger Games anymore.  I just finished that book and have now begun reading its sequel, the second in the trilogy, entitled Catching Fire. The following passage (which I struggled to edit to 332 words) is intended to serve as a prequel to the entire trilogy.  I tried to write it to appease both the Hunger Games expert as well as the newbie.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll even score some new readers to the series for author Suzanne Collins.  You’re welcome, Ms. Collins.  Your books have enveloped me.

Hunger Games – The Prequel

I entered the square with my mother and sister, Prim.  She was only 7 and, thanks to a mine explosion that claimed the lives of many, she would now grow up with little memory of the honorable man I knew as our father. The three of us stood there, paralyzed alongside the other families who had also lost a loved one.

I’ve never seen so many people at the Justice Building for anything other than the reaping.  Now eleven, I shuddered, realizing that next year I would be eligible for this barbaric annual ritual.  It was the Capitol’s way of keeping us, the inhabitants of Panem’s 12 districts, in our places since the bloody, failed attempt at an uprising seventy years earlier.

I swallowed hard, tasting bile in my throat.  I knew my name would be in that glass bowl, along with all other 12 to 18 year olds in District 12.  We would file in, be herded by age and wait, breathlessly, as a girl’s then a boy’s name was selected, sentencing them to an almost certain death at the hands of another child.

Effie Trinket was the Capitol’s representative for District 12.  As long as I can remember, I’ve watched her bony hand pluck name after name out of that infamous bowl.  But today she was here for a different reason.  Today, she was here, along with a paltry showing of other heartless Capitol representatives, to bid farewell to the victims.

I could feel her staring me down, searching for any sign of weakness at my father’s death.  Those from the Capitol have always been fascinated by our emotions, as they were reprogrammed years ago to have them deleted from their consciousness. As such, they perceived our displays as common, vulgar even, and found it mesmerizing whenever this imperfection was exhibited publicly.

But I wouldn’t give Effie the satisfaction today.  I stared at her with the same steely eyes that I knew she would reflect back at me if my name was ever pulled from that bowl.

* * * * * * * * * *

Wanna read a PREQUEL to the prequel? Click here.


39 responses to “And now for a harder writing assignment … Hunger Games – The Prequel

  1. Nice!
    I just finished it as well, and plan to start Catching Fire on Thursday night while on the bus with the cheerleaders going to Gatlinburg. I’m hooked too!

  2. {{{wondering what bile tastes like}}}

  3. I know nothing about the hunger games, but like the story you wrote.

  4. I haven’t read any of the Hunger Game series. This bit of fan fiction is making me want to know more.

  5. The last line is my favorite. Nice tease for those who know what lies ahead.

  6. Bravo! I love this prequel. You hit Katniss’ voice spot on. What a great way to bring ‘vulgar’ into print. I’m nearly halfway through The Mockingjay, and look forward to the movie. We know only Katniss can sport those ‘steely eyes’.

    • Thank you, Sandra. I thought I was the last one on Earth to read this series but, judging from the comments, I’m not. It’s nice to hear you feel I channeled Katniss effectively. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  7. I like the fanfic take on Hunger Games. It’s a world that seems to invite others in, isn’t it. (Ironic, since it’s rather biased against its own people.)

  8. This is really wonderful. I’ve yet to read The Hunger Games, but it’s on my list after I finish the “Dragon Tattoo” series I’m reading now. If it’s anything like what you’ve written here, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

    Good luck in the challenge!

  9. Pingback: Some babblings and a Vulgar Trifecta | Guapola

  10. These stories — like The Hunger Games — terrify me, I’m afraid to report. Is that bad? Something about the chaos … maybe I can imagine it as a bit too real? I’ve not read the book but I thought your story was excellent! Yikes!

    • For the record, I am a big chicken and have weathered fine during Hunger Games so far. I’m currently in the middle of the second book. It HAS affected my dreams but not in a disruptive way. The story definitely sucks you in. But you know your limits. I’d hate to be responsible for your lost sleep. 🙂

  11. I listened to the Hunger Games a few years ago while I was painting my bedroom and I was hooked immediately. I can only hope the movies do the book justice. But, I dunno. That Effie is not at ALL what I was expecting.

    • Well, we know the movies can never fully portray the many details of the books … but I anxiously anticipate them nonetheless. I expect three movies or, in the moneymaking styles of Harry Potter and Twilight, four … as the last installment will be covered in two films.

  12. My adult daughter bought the first two books and had them delivered to my house. I wanted to read them then, but was afraid I would get sucked in and not give them to her… now I’m certain of it and must own my own copies ASAP! 😉

    • Is she still reading them? People generally blow through them in only a few days each. Call her! Call her now! They’re probably sitting idle on her bookshelf … just waiting for you to come appropriate them as your own. You do have a key, don’t you? 🙂

  13. I just read all three of them last week! SO good!

    I like your take on the prequel.

  14. Thanks for linking up again, ODNT. This is a very clever response. I haven’t read any of these books either, but like a lot of others who have commented, your prequel has whetted the appetite. I have no idea how the style compares to the original, but your style certainly captures the imagination. Nice job. Hope to see you for the shorter (less complicated!) weekend challenge.

    • Thank you. Oh, I SO wish you or someone at Trifecta was familiar with the series. I was very excited about attempting to replicate the tone, the details and the characterization of the whole thing.

      I’m having lots of fun with these exercises. You’ll definitely see me again.

  15. This is really a tasty bit of fiction. I have not read any of the Hunger Games series, but may now have to make the time to do it.

    I’m new to your blog. Followed the link over from the Bloggess yesterday. Have read the entire thing from start to finish, and must say I am now either a fan or an addict. Either way, I’m hooked!

    • Welcome! Yay! I’m naming you ‘Person of the Day’ here at ODNT. People that make me feel good about myself without drugs, cheese or alcohol (well, yes, alcohol is a drug, too … or at least a “drug”) deserve high praise indeed. Stick around. I tend to go all over the place and would love your two cents whenever you want to jump in.

  16. So much with so few words. A tight write worthy of winning.

    • Thanks, booguloo. Truthfully, the first draft was about 400 words. I then began the meticulous process of shaving off 70-ish words. It was not easy. I wanted to be careful not to change the feeling of anything. In the end, I wound up cutting it to 332 words. The maximum word allowance was 333 … so I had one to grow on. 🙂

  17. Reading through entries on the Trifecta page. I realized I never put my “official” comment here. I read it over again just now. I liked the way you set it in a time before we knew her, where she was still “innocent” in a sense. This piece makes you realize just how much she went through by the time we met her in the first book. The last line still gave me goosebumps. It was a PERFECT ending. Good work, chica!

  18. I like it but, writer to writer, I can say I hate the contests that limit the words to use. This is especially difficult given the subject you chose and the amount of information needed to be covered. I talked to my editor wife about this and we came up with something you might want to try. Find one thing from one characters past and focus on the exploration of that event. For added interest I would choose a character we readers know little about. Good Luck!

    • Ooh, I especially like that second idea. It’s sort of like the producers of ‘Cheers’ choosing Frasier as their spin-off character upon which to center a new show. (Hate me for using TV as my reference?)

      Alas, the contest is over and, while I didn’t win, I sure had fun writing this piece. Thanks, Ed, for reading my entry. Excellent insight.

  19. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to a Friend (with the help of Classic TV) | OldDogNewTits

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