Cafépress

She logged on.

The first thing she did was click curiously on her profile tab, and the second thing she did was fill it out. By the time she was finished around three hours later, anyone who would click on her bright purple penname would know that her name was Rita, that she was a girl, that she loved puppies, that she enjoyed old Disney movies, and that anyone could e-mail her at any time.

She poked through some other tabs, but lost her interest quickly and logged out.

A few weeks later, her teacher handed back their creative writing assignments. Rita was reminded that the assignment, which she was supposed to have worked on for the past month… was due in a week. Her paper was passed back from the front of the room. She held her breath. The person in front of her lifted the paper over his head and waited for her to grab it. Rita tenderly took it in between two fingers, and held it up to her face.

A fat, red F.

Shoot.

"I'd better get a good idea for a story…" Rita mumbled, laying her head in her hands.

She sat there in grieving for her record of "never failed a class" for a few minutes. Then, she slowly sat straight. Rita remembered a particular domain crawling with ideas from unknown authors…


Rita clicked on a tab that looked promising: "Just In". The first story on the page was labeled, "1. Appletide by xXxFuchsiaXxX". Rita naturally assumed it was the most popular story on the site, since it was rated #1 on the Just Plain In section.

She could only go a few paragraphs in, before words started appearing on her screen that she would have to look up in a dictionary or a pocket translator- She didn't know which. But, she understood that what she was attempting to read would get an A from her English teacher.

Rita scrolled to the bottom of the page to discover a box that read, "Submit Review". She clicked on it, and a popup with a blank textbox appeared. A little message on the bottom led Rita to conclude the author would read it.

Rita's eyes went wide. The author would read it!

Quickly, she bent over her keyboard and banged out a review. It read in full: "OMG ur such a gr8 writer! i rly need some help coud u email me some tips? tysm, bye!"

She hit the submit review button. Returned to the bottom of the story, she decided to look up one of the phrases to see if the writer was just making up words. Rita found it: acesunt. Any substance which is slightly acid, or turning sour (archaic). A few minutes later: archaic. No longer current or applicable; antiquated. A few minutes later:

"YOU'VE GOT MAIL!"

Rita, sitting on her heels on top of her chair before she fell off of it, reminded herself to turn down her speakers. She slowly climbed back on her computer chair, and clicked on the mailbox icon. This new e-mail she had received was from a "bot" at "fictionpress dot com". No wait- It was a FP PM from xXxFuchsiaXxX. Rita clicked on the message eagerly.

"Thanks for reviewing! I'm glad you liked it. I'm surprised you could review so fast. I didn't even have time to log off! Say, if you want to get some good writing advice, there's this great forum I know about. I'll give you the link. Just meet me there at 4:00 PST tomorrow, and I'll try and help you out! Because that's what we do here. We help each other. Looking forward to meeting you at" A link glowed on the screen. "xXxFuchsiaXxX"

Rita blinked a few times at the message. She had to read it again to make sure she was interpreting it right. Someone wanted to meet her? Online? Every year, she fell asleep when someone came in to give a presentation on the dangers of the Internet, but some of it must have soaked in subconsciously. She knew chatting with strangers was dangerous. But… Rita highlighted the link. …what could possibly happen? It wasn't like she was going to give her name, age and address! She read the link again.

"Cafépress…" she mumbled.


A/N: Here's my spiel: Because of the nature of this story, I'd love to hear some of the cliched things that new writers (like me) do, and also some ways to make this more enjoyable for you. So please, spend an extra five seconds to bang out a message to the author! Okay, spiel over. :)