Katie's favourite hobby is to make video-blogs and post them online. She needs a way to vent her feelings and express herself, just like any other 14 year old. But she's losing her touch and is really struggling to find topics to talk about. And when her family move to some distant island no one's heard of, it seems that what originally seemed to be temporary 'speaker's block' is something more. Much more.

When Katie's thrown into a new life, with a new home, school and friends, she realises that something's not quite right. She just needs to figure out what...before she's left it too late to be able to...


1. 'Speaker's Block'


I sighed. This was the third time this week that I was stuck for inspiration. I just sat in front of my very worn camera mounted on my chest of drawers with what I knew was a dumb look on my face. When I’d started my video blogging 2 years ago, I’d just meant to do it to vent my feelings and have a bit of fun. I’ve always been very creative, but never good at getting my ideas on paper, so I decided to speak them instead. Apparently my blogs were pretty good, because after 6 months I’d gotten pretty popular on the website I’d uploaded them on, XPRESS URSELF. My friend had found it and told me about it; I’d started on it when it was pretty new and had hardly anyone on it – now it’s one of the most popular blogging sites in the UK.

After 6 months of random blogging, I decided to make life easier for my fans by creating a 'schedule' in which I would upload a new video every week. That started out fine for about another year - I had lots of ideas for blogs in my head, and just had to say what I felt into the little black circle in the middle of the camera lens.

It was really weird at first, talking to a camera. I felt pretty silly and my first few blogs were pretty much revolving around me looking kind of skittish and constantly checking to see if anyone in my house was listening to me. But once I got the hang of it my creativity really started to flow out through my words. I realised the key was to speak about what you love, what you're passionate about, rather than trying to talk about something that you'll know others will like but you have no interest in at all - the words just won't come to you. My video blogs were all about my personal take on life: what I felt about the current issues in the news, my passions, book reviews and style suggestions. I'd talk about things that excited me and that I wanted others to benefit from too, like the sales on in shops or the new movie that'll really make an impact on your life. I guess others liked the sense of honesty that came from my videos, because I suddenly started getting a whole lot more views than before.

But a year's worth of video blogs every week really starts to take its toll on you, and I guess it sort of drained my creativity. For the past couple months I've been really stuck on what to say - "LET US SPEAK" was my motto; it seems kind of comical now, as I'm given plenty of opportunity to speak, I just can't find my voice. My fans have noticed as well: on the rare weeks when I have actually uploaded a video, they've been dull and lacked actual content worth listening to. My ratings have started to drop, but only slightly - my fans are the best, they know I'm just going through a 'speaker's block' phase and are patiently waiting for my creativity to start to flow again. My only worry is: What if it doesn't?

I sighed again and got up from my chair. I walked across the room to my chest of drawers and picked up the camera. It looked out of place against the relatively new furnishings in my room. Let's just say, my family's not low on money. My mum split with my dad around two and a half years ago (one of the inspirations for my video blog) and met Jack through being introduced by friends. They really hit it off, and at first I was kind of annoyed at this Jack guy for effectively taking the role my dad had in the family, but after a while I realised he's a really nice guy. He's not short on cash, but unlike most people in his position, he actually deserves it. He wasn't born into a rich family, he got a good education and earned it - I think that's the thing I admire most about him. After about 6 months they decided they wanted to move in together. He has a son, Tyler, who's 12, and I was kind of nervous at first to go from a house of just girls to a house with 2 girls and 2 guys, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My mum and Jack realised that I wouldn't want to share things like a bathroom with Tyler, so they made sure we had separate ones, for which I was very grateful. They also understood how this must be a really big change for me, and knew that I got attached to things (one of my traits I'm not so fond of when 'Charity Donation Day' comes around), so Jack and Tyler moved into to our house. My bedroom got redecorated, and went from a random bunch of stuff in a room to a colour-coordinated room with all-new furnishings. I would have had a new camera by now instead of my mum's old, worn out one, but if there's one thing my mother doesn't approve of, it's my video blogging. She still let's me do it, because she knows that there's a lot of creativity inside me that I need to vent, but she doesn't do anything to aid me in my hobby - resulting in the old camera. I don't mind, possessions aren't as big a deal to me as the average 14 year old, but it would be nice to have my fans see my real face instead of the heavily pixilated one that's in pretty much all of my videos.

I looked around my blue and white themed room and reminded myself, yet again, that this really wasn't a bad life. And I did know that, but ever since I lost my creativity, my general positivity kind of left, too. I know they're connected. It's probably due to me straining my mind after making so many videos - it'll come back. I think.

I looked through the few videos I'd recorded on my camera in the last half hour, concluding that the little actually good content in them wouldn't be enough for a whole video blog. I switched the camera back onto video mode, put it back onto the chest of drawers and set it on timer. By the time I sat down in my seat I had another five or so seconds before the camera would start rolling. I forced a smile on my face and tried to adjust my hair so that it hopefully wouldn't be the general haystack of a mess it normally was. BEEP, it started filming:

"Okay, so I know that wasn't really the best blog you've seen me do but, as you've probably gathered, I'm just struggling to find creative things to talk about at the moment." I gulped, trying to buy time for me to think about what to say next, "Why don't we have a competition where you each give me a topic suggestion to talk about, and in next week's blog I'll pick the top 10 topic suggestions and do a whole video blog about what you guys want to hear? Just leave the suggestion in the comment box by Wednesday next week and there's a chance your voice could be heard too!" I smiled again as I gave my signature sign-off: something always revolving around my motto, which I'd had posted on my profile on XPRESS URSELF from day 1. I got up and switched off the camera, then checked it's battery life: 10%. Lucky I'd finished it when I had. I took the battery pack out and put it on charge, then carefully took out the memory card and slid it into the slot in the side of my laptop. LET US SPEAK - There it was - ironically named after the saying that my life has seemed to revolve around for the past 2 years. I clicked on it and watched as the screen changed to a list of the videos recorded on the memory card. Normally the screen would be almost completely filled up with videos, but nowadays there were only a handful, in which only a fraction of them would actually be good enough to put in my blog. I used to have to struggle picking the videos I wanted to include in my blog; now I struggle finding enough. I clicked on the first one and watched as I attempted to talk about the new issue of my favourite magazine. That seemed like ages ago when I filmed that, when in reality it must have  been about half an hour. In the next video I watched myself try to explain one of the current issues in the news - not even worth watching the whole way through. In the next I talked about this great bargain I'd found in my favourite shop, Take It Or Leave It. I cut out the boring bits and added them to the best parts I'd collected from the magazine review. In the next half hour I managed to find another 5 minutes worth of video content, which consisted of me talking about the latest songs to come out and the grammatical errors in the blurb of one the books I'd just bought - yes, a poor subject but I really needed something else to add. I concluded with the bit I'd filmed about the competition and put all the finishing touches to it. Overal it was a rather poor blog. I logged in to XPRESS URSELF and found the video I'd just finished editing in my documents. It really wasn't good, but I figured it was better to post something than nothing at all. Maybe. I felt guilty. This really wasn't what my devoted fans deserved, but it was all I could offer for the moment. 


I sighed for the third time this evening and pressed send.

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