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Taking a novel approach

June 10, 2000

Irma Lemus

RANCHO DISTRICT -- She may not be published, but Danica Davidson's

works include a murder mystery, a comedy based on "Dracula" and even a

retelling of Greek myths -- with a twist.

Though her books have yet to appear in print, the 14-year-old David

Starr Jordan eighth-grader has quite a following at the school.

"Every time I finish a story, I make copies and give them out to


friends who want to read my stuff," said Danica, who began writing when

she was 3 years old.

"When I was really young, I used to mostly write fantasies. I used to

dictate them to my parents and they would write them down," said the

aspiring writer, who has penned a collection of poetry and an astounding

15 novels.

Her most recent work, "Our Stories II," retells Greek mythology from

the gods' perspective. The 200-page work uses humor and a different point

of view to make it appealing to readers, Danica said.

Lauren Bauer, 14, a classmate of Danica, said she is a fan.

"The first story I read was 'Drachenberg' in the sixth grade -- it's

based on 'Dracula'... I really liked it," Lauren said. "As soon as she

gives me a copy, I read it all."

Students are not the only ones reading Danica's work.

Rayell Sawyer, who teaches sixth-grade English and history at Jordan,

said she uses Danica's stories to teach writing structure. Sawyer said

she learned of Danica's talents when the student, who is her teacher's

assistant, brought in samples of her work.

"When I read the first story I thought it was great. It had a lot of

detail and dialogue and I thought my students could learn from it,"

Sawyer said.

Danica's father, Peter Davidson, said his daughter's writing prowess

initially caught him by surprise.

"When she was about 6 years old, she wrote 'All the Reasons Why I

Should Sleep on Your Bed and Not Mine.' I was blown away by her

thinking," Davidson said.

"I'm really impressed by her stuff, she's got all the basics to be a

writer... Her work has humor, insight and a plot," said Davidson, who

runs his own consulting firm.

But it hasn't been all good news for Danica.

"It's really hard to get published. I've sent publishers letters, but

they have written me back telling me I'm too young -- that's if they

write back at all," Danica said.

The lack of enthusiasm by publishers has only pushed her to be more

diligent, Danica said.

"I want to be a writer. I've always wanted to be a writer. When I'm

not writing it drives me crazy," she said.

Excerpt from "Our Stories II"

By Danica Davidson

"This is the Underworld?" I gasped, fascinated, yet frightful.

"Ya-huh," Hermes said. "A regular Dante's Inferno, don't you think?"

I didn't know what to think... We were standing on a river bank, a

river bank, hundreds of miles below the surface of the Earth. The water

was black, or at least appeared to be with what looked like smoke

rippling and spiraling below the top... Ghosts wandered there, faces

pale, expression blank, fulfilling dreadful tasks the gods gave them as

punishment for what they did in life."

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