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Stepping Into Static [Edited]



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Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:33 pm
niccy_v says...



Edited 20 times from various people's edits
- Thankyou so much to all those who've edited this!!

American spelling/interpretation included, I hope, I think, in this copy.

---
ELLEN

Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus. Instantly, I could see how crowded the well-irrigated lawns were, signifying that it was indeed the first day of school – our senior year. The air smelled fresh with expectation of the coming school year.
She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, the shine radiating off her long, tanned legs. She had a black tote slung over one arm.
“My one and only Ellen Johnson!” She shrieked as she threw her arms around me in a tight hug.
“Hey, Kass, what’s up?” I asked as we crossed to the towering red door of the high school, pushing it with all my might and heading down long hall. She followed me in, clutching at my shoulder so we wouldn’t get separated.
“I haven’t seen you in ages! Ah, and guess what?” Kassie squeaked into my ear.
“We have ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ as our homeroom teacher this year?” I turned my head to look into her eyes. Her face fell as I looked at her, her cheeks paling a little.
“We do? Aw, I hate that horrid rapid fire voice of hers. Gives me the creeps!”
“I was only guessing, Kass!” I only rolled my eyes before turning to continue our sedate plod down the hall. I hadn’t noticed the sea of students flowing around us, as if terrified of touching us, like we were a virus. My hand automatically flew to my head. My hair!
“Blonde works - don’t worry.” Kassie shoved me to prove her point, flinging her own blonde hair over her shoulder.
“Thanks, Kass,” I sighed. ”But you’re a bit biased, aren’t you? Remember last summer when you told me my highlights were fantastic, and my dad asked me if I had some rebellion going on I hadn’t told him about?”
“Oh, right, well, this time I’m telling the truth,” she promised, patting my head gently.
“You’d better be.”
“Sure, that’s why I’m your best friend – I tell you the truth…”
“Kass!”
“Okay, sorry, you should ease up on the hair spray next time maybe, if you want total honesty; the top of your head looks solid…”
“Kass…” I warned. She swiftly shut up, dropping her gaze when she lost her words. “What did you have to tell me? What’s the news?”
“Smell that?” Kass stretched up on the tips of her toes, still plodding along behind me. She brought her lips close to my ear, her warm breath unpleasant on my skin.
“No,” I grumbled, pushing her back with my elbow, keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not listening, not caring, not really looking, just moving.
“Pause, close your eyes…” she instructed.
“You’re kidding me, right?” I paused by the water fountain to take a long sip, pleased when the students swarmed away from us to clear a nice path.
“Okay, concentrate on the scent exclusively…” she had both hands on my back, and her voice sounded dreamy.
Rolling my eyes, I slipped my fingers through hers so we couldn’t be separated as we moved back into the centre of the hall and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odor individually. The usual were there, as expected, including the stale aroma of disinfectant chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odor, beer breath, smoke and oranges, the customary bus snack – the peels made fair projectiles for unsuspecting cyclists.
My breath raced up my throat and escaped my lips in a sudden hiss; my eyes bulged and my nostrils flared.
“What… is… that?” I rasped, my voice sounding foreign and distanced. I struggled helplessly against the urge to surrender to the odor, the most beautiful thing I’ve smelled recently, and let it excite me.
“That’s him.”
“Who?” I took another long gulp of air. The swarms of students were beginning to thin, so Kassie moved to my side.
“My news! There’s a new kid, and he’s scrumptious!”
“Can’t be,” I hissed again. I’d lived in Raymond for eight years and the last time there’d been a new kid at school I was in fifth grade. Kassie shrugged, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. A voice boomed behind us and we automatically jumped forward in unison, away from the lurking danger, away from the sour odor dispersing the beautiful one, our eyes searching for escape.
“Girls!” Jonesy roared, grabbing us and hauling us to his chest. The beautiful smell disappeared the second he smushed our faces into his smelly shirt that, like the rest of him, reeked of stale body odor and grime. His tall, lanky figure held powerful muscles - our own were far too weak to battle against, though we were trying.
“Did you shower in your own puke this morning, Jonesy?” Kass wrinkled her nose with distaste, not even trying to struggle against his iron grip anymore. He smiled to reveal his crooked teeth with his cheeks folding up into numerous wrinkles, his eyes disappearing entirely.
“No, didn’t have time.”
“To puke? Wow, what a first. What’d you use? The sweat scraped off from under your moms boobs or what?”
Kassie snapped.
“Hey, her boob sweat is a personal issue I prefer not to be discussed outside the family.”
“Wow, sorry.”
“Don’t be, baby,” he leaned right down to whisper something in her ear that made her writhe wildly, her brown eyes wide with terror. He ignored her, clutching her closer, squeezing me at the same time.
Heads turned when our struggles became noisily violent; he winced and shrunk away from us with a low groan, tears of pain prickling in the corners of his eyes, Kass punching the air triumphantly. A punch, with a slide of her illegally long nails down his side worked every time. It had last year and it would this year – when we wanted to rid ourselves of Jonesy, the school loser, Kassie’s volatile fingers worked a treat. People were laughing now, but not at us, at least. Seeing an escape open itself down the hall we dashed between the throngs of students – freshmen to seniors– toward our open homeroom door, breathless when we finally made it through the homeroom doorway.
“Ew, I got some skin,” Kassie shrieked, quickly digging out her nail scissors from her makeup bag in her tote.
“I love you Kass!” I threw my arms around her. Unfortunately hugging her wouldn’t rid us of the putrid smell still lingering on our skin.
“My nails are a force not to be messed with, which he discovered the hard way, didn’t he? At least he won’t go grabbing us again, the jerk.”
’Machine-Gun Gracey’ stalked in, her authoritative voice bringing a dark shadow of silence sweeping through the room in a flat second. Kassie took her seat beside me in the front room – no need to start the year off bad again, at least. When Ms. Gracey had her back turned – a first for the wrinkled prune – my eyes swept the surrounding desks. The only Pacific Islander, Melanie, sat hunched over with her wide chin resting on her chubby hands. The summer hadn’t willed her to attend the gym her rich dad owned, clearly. The anorexic Indian girl, Thalia, had her legs folded beneath her, her eyes glaring back at me. Beside her, Jared, the eldest of the fourteen Hispanic students at the school glared toward the front unmoving, his eyes staring unseeingly at the ceiling.
“Ellen Johnson, I see we’re assessing the class already, are we?”
Ten curious pairs of eyes fired sharpened daggers into the back of my head as I whimpered ‘yes’. A wicked smile crept across her over-glossed lips.
“We’ve learnt from our mistakes, I see? No silence when I ask you a question?”
“Yes, ma’am, I have learnt.”
“Good, just keep responding to me - then I hope we’ll be firm friends, Miss Johnson.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
I cringed back into my seat and, before anybody could actually dig a dagger into my head, I dropped it onto my hands and groaned quietly. Kassie’s bag made a soft thud on the new carpet at her feet, her own groan far from what mine was. The slip of paper that brushed my arm could only be one thing - a horrible thing that would determine the outcome of my year.
“Your schedules are final and you will need permission from your parents and your teacher before moving any classes.”
Schedules. One slip of paper outlining where you are legally required to be every minute of the day from eight-thirty Monday to three-o’clock Friday. With five classes, break, lunch, and homeroom, the schedule clearly defines your classrooms, teachers, and ultimately how your year will be. You can be like me with every class ten miles apart on opposite ends of the school property with only deadline-Nazis as teachers, or you can be like Kassie with classes grouped so close together the longest distance is possibly a fifty second walk at most with only the kindest, slackest teachers exclusively reserved. Since freshmen year she’d floated through while I was left drowning. Not only do schedules either stir or deter the storm cloud that is your future, but they outline your friends, or lack of, your end of year grade, good or bad, and whose parties you’re going to attend. Seventh to eleventh grade Kassie had been in Michael Hansberry’s class, the most god-like creature on the face of the planet. We were lucky to be graced with his mere presence and due to the constant classes with him Kassie had dated him all during freshmen year and most of my sophomore year too, but now they were close friends. And he didn’t date anymore, not until she took him back.
So Kassie's groan was understandably terrifying - not because she'd received a bad classroom location, but because of a far worse reason. Like having a deadline-Nazi teacher like ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ – Ms. Gracey to her face - or Mr. Booty, who was so paranoid and ferocious and strict not a soul even dared think of ridiculing his name – over the years the legends created about him have been lethal.
Kassie wasn't breathing; she dug her nails into the underside of the desk. She glanced over to where Thalia sat, smiling deviously; Kassie's eyes bulged out of her sockets.
“Kassandra Alexandra Liddle, control yourself or I will force you!” Ms. Gracey screamed.
An ear-shattering screech tore from her lips when her fingers pulverized the wood.
Kassie gulped, but didn’t move, her angelic face frozen with fear.
“What’s wrong, Kass?” I hissed.
“I don’t have a single class… not a single class anywhere near each other!” She cried, throwing her head back to groan.
“Is that all?” I gasped, leaning back in my chair to breathe a sigh of relief. So it wasn’t her teachers, it was indeed just a bad classroom location.”
Ms. Gracey ambled to her student’s side, placing a hand on Kassie’s shoulder. Not a muscle even moved in my best friend’s body; her eyes followed the paper as Ms. Gracey lifted it for examination.
That smile was neither comforting nor promising.
“Seems you’re going to have to trade those heels for sneakers, my dear,” Ms. Gracey laughed throatily, slapping the paper lightly on the desk and ambling back to her own. Behind me Thalia was giggling into her hand, Jared was still glaring ahead, Melanie’s shoulders were shaking with silent laughter, and the remaining students joined in with a splutter of laughter
“S-sneakers?" she stammered, her nails digging deeper into the desk. 'Machine gun Gracey' raised an eyebrow and nodded her head so fast her fat bun wobbled. “Unlatch yourself from the poor desk. I’m sure it’s not designed to survive your assault.”
Kassie flexed her fingers slowly. I leaned across my desk and grabbed the timetable before Kassie could rip it apart. My eyes widened as I read the paper, a slight giggle escaping from my lips. Kassie glared unmercifully at me.
I remember every year’s schedule perfectly, almost as if it was etched into my skin because every year it only got worse. I would have given anything to go back to seventh grade. My classes then were just on opposite sides of the smallest building rather than opposite sides of the campus. The longer my eyes rested all the paper, the harder it was to resist the urge to cry out in laughter.
“Stop laughing!” Kassie whined, her cheeks now flushed, her lips pulled down in a scowl. Behind me the laughter erupted into a fierce roar as the realization hit in its final wave. I couldn’t help but join in when I realized how Kassie – always queen bee with expensive high heels, wearing the latest fashions, and never-had-a-problem-with-school-so-I’ll-just-breeze-through, was about to be ‘de-throned’. For once I’d be better off than her. I was quick to join in, screaming with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.
“Oh Kass, I’m so sorry, I truly am, but this is amazing!”
She eyed my own timetable, her frown deepening.
“They must’ve muddled our names or something – you got what I usually get, except Pre Calc and Government!” Kassie said quickly, lines of worry etched into her forehead.
“I doubt it,” my voice faltering; Kassie was grinning mischievously. Bitch. I knew she'd find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths in practice, and change to politics.

---

This is on another critique site as well as this one, and everybody's vary so vastly, by the time I got to the last few most of it did not apply. Some I do not agree with, and this is getting much better thanks to all of you! And it really is amazing how even the most detailed critiques miss so much others pick up!
Last edited by niccy_v on Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:54 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:38 pm
niccy_v says...



Okay i am sorry the vampism doesn't actually come out till next chapter gah. But i am physically unable to tell a short story which translates into I cannot make anything i write to the point. I tend to drag a little. Hence ^^ is just introductory more or less developing their friendship.

Vamp romance does come.... but i can't tell a short story. it took me hours making the 78 page beast into chapters i could post... haha

Any reviews are greatly appreciated guys. Truly, it would mean the world
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Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:53 pm
ashleylee says...



Hey, Nic! Here I am, ready to review. Hopefully it helps!

Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus, the well-irrigated lawn sweeping out in front of the school more crowded now today was the first day of the new school year.


Okay, first, this sentence is all carbs and no protein (excuse my use of bad similies :?) You give us all this wonderful information, but in too close proximity to each other. Maybe try: Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus. Instantly, I could see how populated teh well-irrigated lawns were, signifying that it was, indeed, the first day of school. This way, you break up the information, but still keep your wonderful beginning sentence :wink:

“Thanks Kass, but you’re a bit biased, aren’t you?”


I'm guessing that she just dyed her hair blonde, so she's worried if it looks okay or not... however, I'm not sure why other students are avoiding them like a virus. Explain more.

“Okay concentrate on your scent only…”


This is worded funny. Maybe try: "Okay, only cocentrate on your sense of smell..." or something like that.

Timetables are deadly critters.


I don't think "critters" really fits here. Use something more deadly.

Behind me Thalia was giggling into her hand, Jared was still glaring ahead, Melanie’s shoulders were shaking with silent laughter, and the remaining splutter of classmates joined in.


How can the MC know that she is giggling in her head? Expand more.

I couldn’t help but join in, bashing my desk with my fist. We screamed with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.


This seems a little melodramatic. I mean, yeah, I would laugh, but not get so close that I was crying :? I would change this.

~ ~ ~ ~

But is it still giving twilight creepers?


No, not yet at least :wink: I like this beginning. It was very lifelike. The only thing that I would watch out for is the scent thing. I think instead of being so obvious about it, maybe have both girls walking and smell it. Both freeze and kind of have fantasies of their own about what it is, but don't actually say it to each other because that way, it doesn't sound so weird. But this is totally up to you :wink:

Characterisation - can you picture (so far) the characters?


Yes, I love them! They were what kep the story alive, even though that your last edit was Twilight-ish. They are so easy to relate to. Good job with them :D

Boring-level. I know this starts of sloooowww but it is only chapter one. More to come i promise. but does it send you to sleep so you don't care what happens next??


No, I liked. I would have kept reading :D

Is the rating appropriate??


Yes, I think the rating is appropriate. I mean, you have the beer stuff and the slight swearing, but it isn't extreme. I mean, you wouldn't have to if you didn't want to, but I would keep it just so people know :wink:

Well, I think that covers everything. PM me when you post more! :D
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Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:08 pm
niccy_v says...



Ah thankyou (lol 1.07am! Had to stay awake long enough to get this haha you're such a good reviewer!)

My hero ashleylee. I have this submitted in another forum as well, and once i have a few, i'll set up the second chapter. They go a little slow... i don't tell a short story haha!

but thanks!
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Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:10 am
Juniper says...



niccy_v wrote:First off: Is the rating appropriate??

Brief summary: Jonah is a vampire - get that straight. Ellen is a bored teenager living in Raymond, Washington (okay this is going to be changed later, i promise). She's lived there with divorced-now-remarried father. Mother lives in Australia. She's got a best friend Kassie, and together they are beginning their final year at school. Now more or less in this chapter, it's their first day of school. Jonah more or less doesn't make a very big appearance. But here's the first chapter

Oh - formatting is most likely stuffed in places. Ignore that. I SUCK at formatting! Especially at midnight XD


(Hey there Niccy! Here as requested. Now, before I begin, I would say dump the summary!! It's better to include those things into the story, because if you give a summary then it takes away the point of reading. Anyway =))
---

ELLEN

Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus, the well-irrigated lawn sweeping out in front of the school more crowded now today was the first day of the new school year. She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, the shine radiating off her long, tanned legs almost blindingly. (I would separate the first sentence at the comma; replacing the comma with the period. )
“Hey Kass, what’s up?” We crossed to the towering red door of the high school, pushing it and heading into the long corridor.

(Throw in a bit about who the speaker is. Who asks Kass what's up?)


“I haven’t seen you in ages! Ah, and guess what?”
“We have Machine-Gun Gracey as our homeroom teacher this year?”


(clarify who is speaking and who is being spoken to here)

When her face fell, I grabbed her wrist and hauled her toward the gate, dragging her along behind me; I hadn’t noticed how the sea of students flowed around us, as if terrified of touching us, like we were a virus. My hand automatically flew to my head. I almost felt the blood draining from my cheeks.

(This is a little confusing! Let's try rewording this, maybe, like, "Her face fell as I (she) said this. I grabbed her wrist and dragged her behind me towards the gate..." )
“Blonde works don’t worry.”
“Thanks Kass, but you’re a bit biased, aren’t you?”
“Sure, that’s why I’m your best friend – I tell you what you want to hear even…”
“KASS!”
“Okay, sorry, you should ease up on the hair spray next time; the top of your head looks solid…”
“Kass,” my sharp toned warned her and she swiftly shut up, dropping her gaze when we reached the front door. Unlike most mornings it was held open with a heavy brass doorstopper – somebody must’ve poured cement into it because last year the seventh graders had used it as a Frisbee. “What did you have to tell me? What’s the news?”


(This bit confused me a lot. I got kind of lost here; Re-wording and a bit of clarification can remdy that, dear.)
“Smell that?” Kass leant up on her tip toes, still shuffling forward though, her lips real close to my ear, her warm breath unpleasant on my skin.
“No,” I grumbled, pushing her back, keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not listening, not caring, not really looking, just moving.


("leant" should be changed to "stretched" and reword this. It's not terribly written, I just over-obsess over grammar and such. Reading this aloud kind of bothered me. I would suggest; "Kass stretched up on the tips of her toes, shuffling forward (slowly?/quickly?). She brought her lips close to my ear, jher warm breath unpleasant on my skin." )


“Pause, close your eyes…”
“You’re kidding me right?”
“Okay concentrate on your scent only…”
Rolling my eyes, I slipped my fingers through hers so we didn’t separate and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odour. The usuals were there, as expected, including the stale aroma of chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odour, beer breath, smoke, oranges…
My breath raced up my throat and escaped my lips in a sudden hiss, my eyes bulging, my nostrils flared.


(Have her interlock her fingers with hers; entwine them; grip them. Drop the ellipsis after oranges. Watch your tenses! "My eyes bulged, and my nostrils flared" )

“What… is… that?” My voice sounded foreign, distanced. I struggled helplessly against the urge to surrender to the odour, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever smelt in my life, and let it consume me.
“That’s him.”
“Who?”


(Space after the ellipses in your first sentence. Throw a verb in there, "I gasped; my voice sounded foriegn". "Odour" is the British spelling of odor xD. "Smelt" should be "smelled". Change your last sentence to, "I let it..." also, a smell can't really consume one, can it? How about... enveloped; excited?)


“My news! There’s a new kid, and he’s scrumptious!”
“Can’t be,” I hissed again. I’d lived in Raymond for eight years and the last time there’d been a new kid at school I was in year five.. Kassie shrugged, closing her eyes and inhaling herself. A voice boomed behind us and we automatically jumped forward in unison, away from the lurking danger, away from the sour odour dispersing the beautiful one, our eyes searching for escape.


(Watch your tenses! You should stay with past tense; in this story it sounds a little better than present. Also, this part bothered me; "Kassie shrugged, closing her eyes, and inhaling herself..."

Change it to; "Kassie shrugged, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply," or something of that sort. At first I thought she had sniffed herself up, lol.)



“GIRLS!” He roared, grabbing us and hauling us to his chest. The beautiful smell disappeared the second he smushed my face into his smelly shirt that, like the rest of him, reeked of cigarette smoke and stale beer.
“Did you shower in your own puke this morning, Jonesy?” Kass wrinkled her nose with distaste, not even trying to struggle against his iron grip. He only smiled his crooked-tooth smile – in itself hideous – with his cheeks folding up into numerous wrinkles, his eyes disappearing entirely.


(Who roared?! I need to know! Maybe it was the principal... You don't introduce "Jonesy" to us; you just merely throw him at us. Try throwing a line like this in; "It was Jonesy..." Or is it Jones? His eyes... disappear? How about shutting completely? )

“No, didn’t have time.”
“To puke? Wow, what a first. What’d you use? The sweat scraped off under your mums boobs or what?”
“Hey, her boob sweat is a personal issue I prefer not to be discussed outside of family lines.”
“Wow, sorry.”
“Don’t be baby,” he leant right down to whisper something in her ear that made her writhe wildly, her brown eyes wide with terror. He ignored her, clutching her closer, squeezing me at the same time.
“You guys are so slow, man! I didn’t shower, gosh.”


(How gross! Ick xD. "leant" should be leaned")

Heads turned when our struggles became noisily violent; he winced and shrunk away from us with a low groan, tears prickling in the corners of his eyes, Kass punching the air triumphantly. People were laughing now, but not at us, at least. Seeing an escape we dashed between the throngs of students – both young and old – toward homeroom, breathless when we finally made it under the red-rimmed doorway.


(I had to read this twice to realize that they broke free from them! Throw more description in here, girl! I know you can. Perhaps say a bit on how they escaped. Did they have to punch him, scratch him? What?)

“Ew, I got some skin.”
“I love you Kass, you’re amazing!”
“My nails are a force not to be messed with, which he discovered the hard way, didn’t he? At least he won’t go grabbing us again, the jerk.”
Machine-gun Gracey (<<-- put this is quotation marks) stalked in, her authoritative voice a dark shadow of silence that swept the room in a mere fraction of 30 milliseconds. Kass took her seat beside me in the front room – no need to start the year off bad again, at least. When she had her back turned – a first for the wrinkled prune – my eyes swept the surrounding desks. The only Pacific Islander, Melanie, sat hunched over with her wide chin rested on her chubby hands. The summer hadn’t willed her to attend the gym her rich dad owned, clearly. The tallest Indian girl in the school, out of the five, Thalia, had her thin legs crossed Beneath (tsk! caps!) a flowing yellow dress that showed her anorexia. Beside(s) her(,) Jared, the eldest of the fourteen Hispanic men at the school glared toward the front unmoving, his fists balled as usual. The summer hadn’t changed him, the temper he was famous for blatantly obvious even concealed behind his sharply focused hazel eyes. Personally I’d rather crawl into a hole and be eaten by bloodthirsty ants than pick a fight with him – who didn’t after Paul was hospitalised last year with third degree burns? – yet he still had beauty in his youthful face. If he had a better temper control method I’d be his friend.


(hopitalised should be spelled; "Hospitalized". This paragraph was a bit iffy. How about you describe the people's features more... show us that they are actually Hispanic and Indian. Dark hair, dark eyes, you know?)


“Ellen Johnson, I see we’re assessing the class already, are we?”
Ten curious pairs of eyes fired sharpened daggers into the back of my head as I whimpered ‘yes’. A wicked smile crept across her over-glossed lips.
“We’ve learnt from our mistakes, I see?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Good, just keep responding to me and we’ll be firm friends, I hope, Miss Johnson.”
“Yes ma’am.”
I cringed back into my seat and, before anybody could actually dig a dagger into my head, I dropped it onto my hands and groaned quietly. Kassie’s bag made a soft thud on the new carpet at her feet, her own groan far from what mine was. The slip of paper that brushed my arm could only be one thing. A horrible thing that would determine the outcome of my year.
“Your timetables are final and you will need both teacher and parental permission before moving any classes.”


(Eh, this sounded a bit too awkward to be a )

Timetables. One slip of paper outlining where you are legally required to be every minute of the day from eight-thirty in the morning Monday morning to three-o’clock Friday afternoon. With five classes, break, lunch, and homeroom the timetable clearly defines your classrooms, teachers, and ultimately how your year will be. You can be like me with every class ten miles apart on opposite ends of the school property with only deadline-Nazi’s as teachers, or you can be like Kassie with classes grouped so close together the longest distance is possibly a fifty second walk at most with only the kindest, slackest teachers exclusively reserved. Seventh to eleventh grade she’d floated through while I was left drowning. Not only do timetables either stir or deter the storm cloud that is your future, but they outline your friends, or lack of, your end of year grade, good or bad, and whose parties you’re going to attend. Seventh to eleventh grade Kassie had been in Michael Hansberry’s class, the most god-like creature on the face of the planet. We were lucky to be graced with his mere presence, and due to the constant classes with him Kassie had dated him all during freshmen year and most of sophomore year too, but now they were close friends. And he didn’t date anymore. Seventh to eleventh grade, thanks to the formidable power of the timetable I’d been stuck with slime ball partners, not a single one even a mere fraction of his beauty and grace and goodness. Timetables are deadly critters.


(This was almost tedious to read. Splash it with dialog, more description. Make it interesting!)


So for Kassie to groan was terrifying. And not because I thought she’d gotten a bad classroom location, but for a far worse reason. Like having a deadline-Nazi teacher like Machine-Gun Gracey (quotation mark that) or Mr (Mr.) Booty, who was so paranoid and ferocious and strict not a soul even dared think of ridiculing his name – over the years the legends created about him were lethal.
Kassie wasn’t breathing. Her skin was ashen. Her manicure was being buried into the wood beneath the desk. Thalia was smiling. Kassie’s eyes bulged.
“Kassandra Alexandra Liddle, control yourself or I will force you!” An ear-shattering screech tore from her lips when her fingers pulverised the wood. (pulverized)
Kassie gulped, but didn’t move, her angelic face frozen with fear.
Machine-Gun Gracey ambled to her student’s side, placing a hand on Kassie’s shoulder. Not a muscle even moved in my best friend’s body; her eyes followed the paper as Machine-Gun Gracey lifted it for examination.


(Oh dear >.< They have one strict teacher. I didn't like the sentences about Kassie; I think they needed to be reworded.

"Kassie wasn't breathing; she dug her nails into the underside of the desk. She glanced over to where Thalia sat, smiling deviously; Kassie's eyes bulged out of her sockets."

Something like that; if you get my drift, the sentences were a bit out of place, y'know?)



That smile was not comforting, nor promising.
“Seems you’re going to have to trade those heels for sneakers, my dear,” Machine-Gun Gracey laughed throatily, slapping the paper lightly on the desk and ambling back to her own. Behind me Thalia was giggling into her hand, Jared was still glaring ahead, Melanie’s shoulders were shaking with silent laughter, and the remaining splutter of classmates joined in.
“Sn.. s-s-s-sn-sn sneakers?” She gulped, her nails digging deeper into the desk. Machine-Gun Gracey raised an eyebrow and shook her head so her fat bun wobbled.


("The smile was neither promising, nor comforting."

"The remaining students joined in with a splutter of laughter."

"S-sneakers?" she stammered..."

"'Machine gun Gracey' raised an eyebrow and nodded her head so fast, her fat bun wobbled")


“Unlatch yourself from the poor desk. I’m sure it’s not designed to survive your assault.”
Kassie flexed her fingers slowly; I leant across and grabbed the timetable before she could rip it up. My eyes bulged myself, a soft giggle ripping from my lips. Kassie glared evilly.
I remembered every year’s timetable perfectly like it was etched in blood across my skin because every year it only got worse. What I wouldn’t give to go back to seventh grade where my classes were just on opposite sides of the smallest building, rather than on opposite sides of the quadrangle. The longer my eyes glanced across the page the harsher the urge to cry with laughter grew. It was an exact replica of Sophomore year, my worst year ever, including all the Nazi’s -Henrie, Smith, Seydel, Lockett, Brywn– and the dreaded subjects – literature, physical science, Maths 5– and, naturally, every class on opposite corners of the school.


(No, no. Tsk. Tsk. Major rewording we need here, because this is beginning to speak repetition, deary.

"Kassie flexed her fingers slowly. I leaned across my desk and grabbed the timetable before Kassie could rip it apart. My eyes widened as I read the paper, a slight giggle escaping from my lips. Kassie glared unmercifully at me.

I remember every years' timetable perfectly, almost as if it was etched into my skin because every year it only got worse. I would have given anything to go back to seventh grade. My classes then were were just on opposite sides of the smallest building rather than opposite sides of the quadrangle. The longer my eyes rested all the paper, the harder it was to resist the urge to cry out in laughter..." )



“Stop laughing!” Kassie whined, her cheeks now flushed, her lips pulled down in a scowl. Behind me the laughter erupted into a fierce roar as the realisation (realization) hit in its final wave. I couldn’t help but join in, bashing my desk with my fist. We screamed with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.
“Oh Kass, I’m so sorry, I truly am, but this is amazing!”
She eyed my own timetable, her frown deepening.
“They must’ve muddled our names or something – you got what I usually got (get), except Pre Calc and Government!”


(Oh wow. Interesting!)
“I doubt it.” But my voice had faltered and Kassie grinned her scheming grin. Bitch. I knew she’d find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths In Practise and change to American Law.
Bitch, bitch, bitch.
“We’ll see.”
Machine-Gun Gracey proceeded to, before any species of argument showed its ugly face, hand out locker numbers, allocate new lockers to students who needed them, distribute our diaries and give us directions for the new bus pick up and drop off areas. Riveting stuff, in all honesty.


(first line: ..."my voice faltering; Kassie was grinning mischievously. Bitch. I knew she'd find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths in practice, and change to American law. )


---

What i am looking for:

- No to twilight - my first thing on this (this is nano rewritten/edited 6 times) was literally twilight with diff characters and less sparkle and less blood desire. I changed a hell of a lot to make this what it is now. But is it still giving twilight creepers? To me - not so much - but neither did the original, and well, that just went up in flames.
- Characterisation - can you picture (so far) the characters? I know them inside and out so i am afraid i have not actually described them for readers to picture.
- Boring-level. I know this starts of sloooowww but it is only chapter one. More to come i promise. but does it send you to sleep so you don't care what happens next??

NOTE: Grammar/spelling should be all right. [/b]BRITISH spelling. even if it is based in America (a technicality i shall fix at a later date)




Okay!

So, very good. Thumbs up for that. Here's all you need to pay attention to;

[b]Tenses - Keep an eye on your tenses; you switch from present to past often.

Capitalization - You sometimes capitalize things in mid-sentence. Just remember to keep an eye on that.

Sentence length - Your variation kind of... I don't know how to say this without sounding mean; but what I'm trying to say is, you vary your sentence length, yes, but you kind of cluster them together... like you have 5 short sentences in a row, and then 5 long ones. Then comes the two medium... and so on. That's pretty exaggerated, but I was just saying what I mean.

Clarification - It gets confusing! Pay attention to how you layout the story! I became confused easily. It was hard to tell who was saying what so most of the time I was taking guesses.


Aside from that it was great! I can't wait to find out more about this new student, and I'd like to know who is a vamp and who isn't. I'm guessing Kassie and Ellen are vamps? Don't tell me! Leave it for the suspense, lol.

General Impression: The general impression this story gave me was the typical high-school/teenage drama with the modern vampiric twist to it. This is the only vampire story I have ever taken interest in, and I would certainly love to read more. The plot seems developed, although I can't say that the sentence were written perfectly. If you could just tighten up your sentences a bit, then that would be great. Best regards

---

Your faithful critiquer!
June
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Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:34 am
200397 says...



Instantly, I could see how populated the well-irrigated lawns were, signifying it was, indeed, the first day of school.


I'd cut out the whole "indeed" thing. I'd rewrite it as something like: "Instantly, I could see how populated the well-irrigated lawns were, the mass of students signifying it was the first day of school after all."

The air smelled fresh with expectation of our


Our . . . what? You literally left the sentence hanging.

“Hey, Kass, what’s up?”


Added a comma after "hey".

I asked as we crossed to the towering red door of the high school, pushing it and heading into the long corridor.


Um. I know you live in Australia, but you are writing about a girl living in Washington, right? Well, we don't call them "corridors" here. We call them "halls" or "hallways". Take your pick.

“Blonde works, don’t worry.”


Added a comma after "works".

“Thanks, Kass,” I sighed.


Added a comma after "thanks."

“Oh, right. Well, this time I’m telling the truth,” she promised, patting my head gently.


Added all of the things in bold font.

“Okay concentrate on only your scent…” she had both hands on my back, and she sounded dreamy.


I agree with ashley. That first sentence is way awkward, and it would be prudent to change it to something more natural.

Rolling my eyes, I slipped my fingers through hers so we couldn’t separate as we moved back into the centre of the hall and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odour individually.


Pay no attention to this comment if you don't like it! It actually isn't wrong at all. But, as I said, since you're writing about a girl in America, these words are politically incorrect to us Americans. But you don't have to change them because you do not live in America. I was just pointing them out . . .

I’d lived in Raymond for eight years and the last time there’d been a new kid at school I was in year five.


We call it "fifth grade."

“Ellen Johnson, I see we’re assessing the class already, are we?”
Ten curious pairs of eyes fired sharpened daggers into the back of my head as I whimpered ‘yes’. A wicked smile crept across her over-glossed lips.
“We’ve learnt from our mistakes, I see?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Good, just keep responding to me and we’ll be firm friends, I hope, Miss Johnson.”
“Yes ma’am.”


I don't get this. What did she do wrong? Is looking at other people illegal?

Timetables. One slip of paper outlining where you are legally required to be every minute of the day from eight-thirty in the morning Monday morning to three-o’clock Friday afternoon. With five classes, break, lunch, and homeroom the timetable clearly defines your classrooms, teachers, and ultimately how your year will be. You can be like me with every class ten miles apart on opposite ends of the school property with only deadline-Nazi’s as teachers, or you can be like Kassie with classes grouped so close together the longest distance is possibly a fifty second walk at most with only the kindest, slackest teachers exclusively reserved. Seventh to eleventh grade she’d floated through while I was left drowning. Not only do timetables either stir or deter the storm cloud that is your future, but they outline your friends, or lack of, your end of year grade, good or bad, and whose parties you’re going to attend. Seventh to eleventh grade Kassie had been in Michael Hansberry’s class, the most god-like creature on the face of the planet. We were lucky to be graced with his mere presence, and due to the constant classes with him Kassie had dated him all during freshmen year and most of sophomore year too, but now they were close friends. And he didn’t date anymore. Seventh to eleventh grade, thanks to the formidable power of the timetable I’d been stuck with slime ball partners, not a single one even a mere fraction of his beauty and grace and goodness. Timetables are deadly.


Just another politically incorrect thing. What we call "timestables" are the multiples of numbers in multiplication in Math. I'm guessing "timestables" needs to be changed to "schedules". But you don't have to if you don't want to.

“Kassandra Alexandra Liddle, control yourself or I will force you!”


How would the teacher know her full name and middle name? Are they personally related?

'Machine-Gun Gracey' raised an eyebrow and nodded her head so fast her fat bun wobbled.


Can you give the teacher a proper name? This is about the sixth time you've said 'Machine-Gun Gracey' and it is wearing a little thin. Perhaps give the teacher a proper name and slip in the nickname every once in a while.

I was quick to join in, screaming with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.


Yeah, this is a bit much.

I knew she'd find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths in practice, and change to American law


What's "American law"? I've never heard of it before. Also, add a period at the end.

I know the ending is still bad, but really i have no idea how to make it end suspensefully. I'm not a big taker on the 'everything went black' or 'a loud noise' thing ... any suggestions?


Hmmm. Well, maybe you could end it by having the class end or having Kassie leave because she's ticked off. I would be anyway . . .

The only way I can think of to make the ending better would be fore Ellen to actually meet the vampire, or at least glimpse him. Come to think of it, glimpsing would be preferable.'

OVERALL: It was a good beginning. Your characters are developing themselves perfectly, and I liked the part with the smelly-geeky guy, Jonesy, because we all know someone like that.

One thing I would suggest is to put a little mystery into the story. From the beginning paragraphs, there wasn't really something that drew me in. Perhaps write a short prologue or something. Maybe mention the new guy earlier, I liked that.

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Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:35 am
Icefire63111 says...



niccy_v: In your own words, "this is brilliant!"
It really is!

I have a probelm with this sentance, however.

“Good, just keep responding to me and we’ll be firm friends, I hope, Miss Johnson.”


It is to long. Try to break it into Two sentances, aloung the lines of:

"Good, just keep responding to me.(PERIOD) Then I hope we`ll become firm friends, Miss Johnson."

There were a few misspellings.

and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odour individually.


Misspelling of odor (or maybe it`s just my computer.)

The usuals were there, as expected, including the stale aroma of disinfectant chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odour, beer breath, smoke and oranges, the customary bus snack – the peels made fair projectiles for unsuspecting cyclists.


Even though you are describing, this sentance is just toooo long.

Try:

The usual smells of disinfectant chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odour, beer breath, smoke and oranges.

As rocking, funny (and true) as the extra info on the orange part is- the bus and cyclist part, I`d chuck it, unless you can make it fit in.

who didn’t after Paul was hospitalised last year with third degree burns


Misspelling of "hospitalized". As werid as it seems, hospitalized is spelled with a z.

An ear-shattering screech tore from her lips when her fingers pulverised the wood.


Misspelling of "pulverized". Z strikes again!

My classes then were were just on opposite sides of the smallest building rather than opposite sides of the quadrangle.


You wrote "were" twice.

and never-had-a-problem-with-school-so-I’ll-just-breeze-through, was about about to be


You wrote "about" twice

Those were the only mistakes I found in Spelling/grammar

And on the ending?

Maybe the new kid, the yummy smelling one could walk in and hand the teacher a note, melt the Mc, then walk out, leaving everyone breathless?

That`s what I would do, but you could leave it the way it is.....

"Brilliant!"
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Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:58 am
Tabithalillian says...



Ok, im awful at nitpicking and grammar my self so I wont comment on that! Any way, one thing confused me. Do they have special smelling powers or some thing? because they were like smelling every thing when they first got into the school. but besides that I really enjoyed your writing style. it was nice and refreshing and I too am writing a vampire romance and you are (so far) suprisingly unlike stephenie meyer is in a wonderful way! I do love stephenie but I have read so many twilight words for words that I may puke. But I really liked it so kudos!
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Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:46 am
Lost_in_dreamland says...



Edited 5 times from various people's edits


---


ELLEN


Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus. Instantly, I could see how populated the well-irrigated lawns were, signifying it was, indeed, the first day of school. The air smelled fresh with expectation of the coming school year.

The one issue I have with this paragraph is the part that reads:
lawns were signifying it was

I would rewrite this as:
lawns were signifying that it was...


She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, the shine radiating off her long, tanned legs. She had her black tote slung over one arm.

“Hey Kass, what’s up?” I asked as we crossed to the towering red door of the high school, pushing it and heading into the long corridor.

Red door? What shade of red? Was it old? Did it have cracks in it, was it made of wood? When they opened it what noise did it make? In this part I think you should add a bit more information.
She followed me in, clutching at my shoulder so we didn’t get separated.
I think personally it should be:
She followed me in, clutching at my shoulder so we wouldn't get seperated.



“I haven’t seen you in ages! Ah, and guess what?” Kassie squeaked into my ear.

“We have Machine-Gun Gracey as our homeroom teacher this year?” I turned my head to look into her eyes. Her face fell as I looked at her, her cheeks paling a little. I only rolled my eyes before turning to continue our sedate plod down the hall. I hadn’t noticed the sea of students flowing around us, as if terrified of touching us, like we were a virus. My hand automatically flew to my head. I almost felt the blood draining from my cheeks.
What? Why do the students avoid them like a virus?

“Blonde works don’t worry.” Kassie shoved me to prove her point, flinging her own blonde hair over her shoulder.

“Thanks Kass,” I sighed. ”But you’re a bit biased, aren’t you? Remember last summer when you told me my highlights were fantastic, and my dad asked me if I had some rebellious thought I hadn’t told him about?”

Ok; this would work better as:
"Thanks Kass", I sighed. "But you're a bit biased, aren't you? Remember last summer when you told me that my highlights were fantastic, and my dad asked me if I had some rebellion going on that he hadn't heard about.


“Oh, right, well this time I’m telling the truth,” she promised, patting my head gently.

“You’d better be.”

“Sure, that’s why I’m your best friend – I tell you the truth…”

“KASS!”

“Okay, sorry, you should ease up on the hair spray next time maybe, if you want total honesty; the top of your head looks solid…”

“Kass,” my sharp toned warned her and she swiftly shut up, dropping her gaze when she lost her words.

“What did you have to tell me? What’s the news?”

“Smell that?” Kass stretched up on the tips of her toes, still plodding along behind me She brought her lips close to my ear, her warm breath unpleasant on my skin..

“No,” I grumbled, pushing her back with my elbow, keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not listening, not caring, not really looking, just moving.

“Pause, close your eyes…” she instructed.

“You’re kidding me right?” I paused by the water fountain to take a long sip, pleased when the students swarmed away from us to clear a nice path.

“Okay concentrate on only your scent…” she had both hands on my back, and she sounded dreamy.
I don't think you need the and in this line.

Rolling my eyes, I slipped my fingers through hers so we couldn’t separate as we moved back into the centre of the hall and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odour individually. The usuals were there, as expected, including the stale aroma of disinfectant chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odour, beer breath, smoke and oranges, the customary bus snack – the peels made fair projectiles for unsuspecting cyclists.
I like the description here ;)

My breath raced up my throat and escaped my lips in a sudden hiss; my eyes bulged and my nostrils flared.

“What… is… that?” I rasped, my voice sounding foreign and distanced. I struggled helplessly against the urge to surrender to the odour, the most beautiful thing I’ve smelled recently, and let it excite me.

“That’s him.”

“Who?” I took another long gulp of air. The swarm of students were beginning to thin so Kassie moved to my side.

“My news! There’s a new kid, and he’s scrumptious!”
This line made me laugh so much :lol:

“Can’t be,” I hissed again. I’d lived in Raymond for eight years and the last time there’d been a new kid at school I was in year five. Kassie shrugged, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. A voice boomed behind us and we automatically jumped forward in unison, away from the lurking danger, away from the sour odour dispersing the beautiful one, our eyes searching for escape.

“GIRLS!” Jonesy roared, grabbing us and hauling us to his chest. The beautiful smell disappeared the second he smushed our faces into his smelly shirt that, like the rest of him, reeked of cigarette smoke and stale beer. He’d raided his father’s liquor stash before jumping the bus, clearly. His tall, lanky figure held powerful muscles

Comma or full stop after muscles.
our own were far too weak to battle against, though we were trying.

“Did you shower in your own puke this morning, Jonesy?” Kass wrinkled her nose with distaste, not even trying to struggle against his iron grip anymore. He smiled to reveal his crooked teeth with his cheeks folding up into numerous wrinkles, his eyes disappearing entirely.

“No, didn’t have time.”

“To puke? Wow, what a first. What’d you use? The sweat scraped off under your mums boobs or what?” Kassie snapped.

“Hey, her boob sweat is a personal issue I prefer not to be discussed outside of family lines.”

“Wow, sorry.”

“Don’t be, baby,” he leaned right down to whisper something in her ear that made her writhe wildly, her brown eyes wide with terror. He ignored her, clutching her closer, squeezing me at the same time.

“You guys are so slow, man! I didn’t shower, gosh.”

Heads turned when our struggles became noisily violent; he winced and shrunk away from us with a low groan, tears prickling in the corners of his eyes, Kass punching the air triumphantly. A punch, with a slide of her illegally long nails down his side worked every time. It had last year and it would this year – when we wanted to rid ourselves of Jonesy, the school loser, Kassie’s volatile fingers worked a treat. People were laughing now, but not at us, at least. Seeing an escape open itself down the hall we dashed between the throngs of students – both first year and seniors– toward our open homeroom door, breathless when we finally made it under the red-rimmed doorway.
I think you should describe the doors more here too as mentioned before ;)

“Ew, I got some skin,” Kassie shrieked, quickly digging out her nail scissors from her makeup bag in her tote.

“I love you Kass, you’re amazing!” I threw my arms around her. Unfortunately hugging her wouldn’t rid us of the putrid smell still lingering on our skin.

“My nails are a force not to be messed with, which he discovered the hard way, didn’t he? At least he won’t go grabbing us again, the jerk.”

‘Machine-gun Gracey’ stalked in, her authoritative voice bringing a dark shadow of silence sweeping through the room in a mere fraction of 30 milliseconds. Kass took her seat beside me in the front room – no need to start the year off bad again, at least. When she had her back turned – a first for the wrinkled prune – my eyes swept the surrounding desks. The only Pacific Islander, Melanie, sat hunched over with her wide chin rested on her chubby hands. The summer hadn’t willed her to attend the gym her rich dad owned, clearly. The tallest Indian girl in the school, out of the five, Thalia, had her thin legs crossed beneath a flowing yellow dress that showed her anorexia. Beside her, Jared, the eldest of the fourteen Hispanic men at the school glared toward the front unmoving, his fists balled as usual. The summer hadn’t changed him, the temper he was famous for blatantly obvious
You don't need blatantly and obviously in the one line seeing as they mean the same.
even concealed behind his sharply focused hazel eyes. Personally I’d rather crawl into a hole and be eaten by bloodthirsty ants than pick a fight with him – who didn’t after Paul was hospitalised last year with third degree burns? – yet he still had beauty in his youthful face. If he had a better temper control method I’d be his friend.

“Ellen Johnson, I see we’re assessing the class already, are we?”

Ten curious pairs of eyes fired sharpened daggers into the back of my head as I whimpered ‘yes’. A wicked smile crept across her over-glossed lips.

“We’ve learnt from our mistakes, I see?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good, just keep responding to me and we’ll be firm friends, I hope, Miss Johnson.”

“Yes ma’am.”

I cringed back into my seat and, before anybody could actually dig a dagger into my head, I dropped it onto my hands and groaned quietly. Kassie’s bag made a soft thud on the new carpet at her feet, her own groan far from what mine was. The slip of paper that brushed my arm could only be one thing. A horrible thing that would determine the outcome of my year.

“Your timetables are final and you will need both teacher and parental permission before moving any classes.”

Timetables. One slip of paper outlining where you are legally required to be every minute of the day from eight-thirty in the morning Monday morning to three-o’clock Friday afternoon. With five classes, break, lunch, and homeroom the timetable clearly defines your classrooms, teachers, and ultimately how your year will be. You can be like me with every class ten miles apart on opposite ends of the school property with only deadline-Nazi’s as teachers, or you can be like Kassie with classes grouped so close together the longest distance is possibly a fifty second walk at most with only the kindest, slackest teachers exclusively reserved. Seventh to eleventh grade she’d floated through while I was left drowning. Not only do timetables either stir or deter the storm cloud that is your future, but they outline your friends, or lack of, your end of year grade, good or bad, and whose parties you’re going to attend. Seventh to eleventh grade Kassie had been in Michael Hansberry’s class, the most god-like creature on the face of the planet. We were lucky to be graced with his mere presence, and due to the constant classes with him
comma
Kassie had dated him all during freshmen year and most of sophomore year too, but now they were close friends. And he didn’t date anymore. Seventh to eleventh grade, thanks to the formidable power of the timetable I’d been stuck with slime ball partners, not a single one even a mere fraction of his beauty and grace and goodness. Timetables are deadly.

So for Kassie to groan was terrifying. And not because I thought she’d gotten a bad classroom location, but for a far worse reason. Like having a deadline-Nazi teacher like ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ or Mr. Booty, who was so paranoid and ferocious and strict not a soul even dared think of ridiculing his name – over the years the legends created about him were lethal.

Kassie wasn't breathing; she dug her nails into the underside of the desk. She glanced over to where Thalia sat, smiling deviously; Kassie's eyes bulged out of her sockets.

“Kassandra Alexandra Liddle, control yourself or I will force you!” An ear-shattering screech tore from her lips when her fingers pulverised the wood.

Kassie gulped, but didn’t move, her angelic face frozen with fear.

‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ ambled to her student’s side, placing a hand on Kassie’s shoulder. Not a muscle even moved in my best friend’s body; her eyes followed the paper as ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ lifted it for examination.

That smile was neither comforting, nor promising.

“Seems you’re going to have to trade those heels for sneakers, my dear,” ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ laughed throatily, slapping the paper lightly on the desk and ambling back to her own. Behind me Thalia was giggling into her hand, Jared was still glaring ahead, Melanie’s shoulders were shaking with silent laughter, and the remaining students joined in with a splutter of laughter

“S-sneakers?" she stammered, her nails digging deeper into the desk. 'Machine gun Gracey' raised an eyebrow and nodded her head so fast her fat bun wobbled. “Unlatch yourself from the poor desk. I’m sure it’s not designed to survive your assault.”

Kassie flexed her fingers slowly. I leaned across my desk and grabbed the timetable before Kassie could rip it apart. My eyes widened as I read the paper, a slight giggle escaping from my lips. Kassie glared unmercifully at me.


I remember every year’s timetable perfectly, almost as if it was etched into my skin because every year it only got worse. I would have given anything to go back to seventh grade. My classes then were were just on opposite sides of the smallest building rather than opposite sides of the quadrangle. The longer my eyes rested all the paper, the harder it was to resist the urge to cry out in laughter.

“Stop laughing!” Kassie whined, her cheeks now flushed, her lips pulled down in a scowl. Behind me the laughter erupted into a fierce roar as the realisation hit in its final wave. I couldn’t help but join in when I realised how Kassie – always queen bee with expensive high heels, wearing the latest fashions, and never-had-a-problem-with-school-so-I’ll-just-breeze-through, was about about to be ‘de-throned’. For once I’d be better off than her. I was quick to join in, screaming with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.

“Oh Kass, I’m so sorry, I truly am, but this is amazing!”

She eyed my own timetable, her frown deepening.

“They must’ve muddled our names or something – you got what I usually get, except Pre Calc and Government!”

“I doubt it,” my voice faltering; Kassie was grinning mischievously. Bitch. I knew she'd find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths in practice, and change to American law

--


I know the ending is still bad, but really i have no idea how to make it end suspensefully. I'm not a big taker on the 'everything went black' or 'a loud noise' thing ... any suggestions?


This was good. I feel that your biggest area on this piece is going to be character development. It's going well already xD, the way the teachers have nicknames reflects the characters, and so you are developing them already. I look forward to seeing where this piece goes. Your grammar was good, and please remember that I only point out the bits that could be fixed so that I don't give a useless review, you'd rather have a helpful, harsher critique than a lying soft critique, right? If you were to choose one area to improve I'd say imagery. Your description is good, but description and imagery are not the same thing. The description of people is great, but we want some imagery, give us some more similes, some metaphors. Nice uses of language in points though, just make sure to include it in some other parts of the piece. Over all though, it was really good ;)
and what's more, I hate vampire stories but this one was actually ok - and ok for a vampire story by my standards is actually fantastic - I was shocked at how good it was for a vampire story :) and for that I applaude you...x
-Kirsten *-)
:) x
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Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:25 pm
niccy_v says...



^^ You all have 100 points more now!
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Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:26 am
POTAFan1973 says...



Good story. I can easily visualize the line about the yellow dress easily showing that one of the characters had anorexia because this one singer that I'm a fan of had this dress or more of an outfit, anyway it easily showed that she had anorexia. It was perhaps one of the ugliest outfits that I've seen. Sorry about my rambling. Really good story.
One person's craziness is another person's reality
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Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:35 pm
Demeter says...



'Kay, hi, here I am. Sorry it took a while.


ELLEN


Kassie was waiting for me outside the school gates when I hopped off the bus. Instantly, I could see how populated crowded, maybe? the well-irrigated lawns were, signifying it was, indeed, the first day of school. The air smelled fresh with expectation of the coming school year. A little cliché here, but it's fine.

She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, the shine radiating off her long, tanned legs. She had her black tote slung over one arm. I don't quite know why, but I think it would read better with "she had a black tote", not "her". Especially when the tote hasn't been brought up before this.

“Hey Kass, what’s up?” I asked as we crossed to the towering red door of the high school, pushing it and heading into the long corridor. She followed me in, clutching at my shoulder so we didn’t get wouldn't get? separated.

“I haven’t seen you in ages! Ah, and guess what?” Kassie squeaked into my ear. Why is she speaking only now? They've been together for minutes now.

“We have Machine-Gun Gracey as our homeroom teacher this year?” I turned my head to look into her eyes. Her face fell as I looked at her, her cheeks paling a little. Why? Because of the disappointment? Show us that. I only rolled my eyes before turning to continue our sedate plod down the hall. I hadn’t noticed the sea of students flowing around us, as if terrified of touching us, Gets a little repetitive here, you know, "us – us" like we were a virus. My hand automatically flew to my head. Why's that? I almost felt the blood draining from my cheeks.

“Blonde workscomma don’t worry.” Kassie shoved me to prove her point, flinging her own blonde hair over her shoulder.

“Thankscomma Kass,” I sighed. ”But you’re a bit biased, aren’t you? Remember last summer when you told me my highlights were fantastic, and my dad asked me if I had some rebellious thought I hadn’t told him about?” This sentence doesn't connect well enough with the idea.

“Oh, right, wellcomma this time I’m telling the truth,” she promised, patting my head gently.

“You’d better be.”

“Sure, that’s why I’m your best friend – I tell you the truth…”

“KASS!” Italics look better. Maybe I've just spent too much time in YWS ;)

“Okay, sorry, you should ease up on the hair spray next time maybe, if you want total honesty; the top of your head looks solid…”

“Kass,replace the comma with ellipses” [s]m[/s]My sharp tone[s]d[/s] warned her and she swiftly shut up, dropping her gaze when she lost her words.

“What did you have to tell me? What’s the news?” It's a little unclear that it's the narrator speaking.

“Smell that?” Kass stretched up on the tips of her toes, still plodding along behind meperiod She brought her lips close to my ear, her warm breath unpleasant on my skin.. Unpleasant. A little funny word choice, but fine.

“No,” I grumbled, pushing her back with my elbow, keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not listening, not caring, not really looking, just moving. Divide this sentence. You know, the last part being "I didn't listen, I didn't care, I didn't look, I just moved" or something similar.

“Pause, close your eyes…” she instructed. reconsider word choice

“You’re kidding mecomma right?” I paused by the water fountain to take a long sip, pleased when the students swarmed away from us to clear a nice path.

“Okaycomma concentrate on only your scent…"only on your sense of smell" would sound better” she had both hands on my back, and [s]she[/s] her voice sounded dreamy.

Rolling my eyes, I slipped my fingers through hers so we couldn’t get separated as we moved back into the centre of the hall and inhaled sharply through my nostrils, allowing my brain to sample each new odour individually. The usuals were there, as expected, including the stale aroma of disinfectant chemicals, fierce perfumes, a hint of body odour, beer breath, smoke and oranges, the customary bus snack – the peels made fair projectiles for unsuspecting cyclists.

My breath raced up my throat and escaped my lips in a sudden hiss; my eyes bulged and my nostrils flared.

“What… is… that?” I rasped, my voice sounding foreign and distanced. I struggled helplessly against the urge to surrender to the odour, the most beautiful thing I’ve smelled recently, and let it excite me.

“That’s him.”

“Who?” I took another long gulp of air. The swarm of students were beginning to thin so Kassie moved to my side.

“My news! There’s a new kid, and he’s scrumptious!”

“Can’t be,” I hissed again. I’d lived in Raymond for eight years and the last time there’d been a new kid at school I was in year five. Why is it so hard to believe there's new student at school? Kassie shrugged, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. A voice boomed behind us and we automatically jumped forward in unison, away from the lurking danger, away from the sour odour dispersing the beautiful one, our eyes searching for escape.

“GIRLS!” Again, italics would be better. Jonesy Jonesy? Can't help thinking you've been watching Sixteen :D roared, grabbing us and hauling us to his chest. The beautiful smell disappeared the second he smushed our faces into his smelly shirt that, like the rest of him, reeked of cigarette smoke and stale beer. He’d raided his father’s liquor stash before jumping the bus, clearly. Consider moving that "clearly" after "he'd". His tall, lanky figure held powerful muscles our own were far too weak to battle against, though we were trying. I had to focus harder on this sentence to catch it.

“Did you shower in your own puke this morning, Jonesy?” I thought this was very believable line. Good job. Kass wrinkled her nose with distaste disgust?, not even trying to struggle against his iron grip anymore. He smiled to reveal his crooked teeth with his cheeks folding up into numerous wrinkles, his eyes disappearing entirely.

“No, didn’t have time.”

“To puke? Wow, what a first. What’d you use? The sweat scraped off under your mums boobs or what?” Kassie snapped.

“Hey, her boob sweat is a personal issue I prefer not to be discussed outside of family lines.”

“Wow, sorry.”

“Don’t be, baby,” he leaned right down to whisper something in her ear that made her writhe wildly, her brown eyes wide with terror. He ignored her, clutching her closer, squeezing me at the same time.

“You guys are so slow, man! I didn’t shower, gosh.” The joke has gotten a little old already, therefore this may be difficult to understand at first.

Heads turned when our struggles became noisily violent; he winced and shrunk away from us with a low groan, tears prickling in the corners of his eyes, Kass punching the air triumphantly. A punch, with a slide of her illegally long nails down his side worked every time. It had last year and it would this year – when we wanted to rid ourselves of Jonesy, the school loser, Kassie’s volatile fingers worked a treat. People were laughing now, but not at us, at least. Seeing an escape open itself down the hall we dashed between the throngs of students – both first year and seniors– toward our open homeroom door, breathless when we finally made it under the red-rimmed doorway.

“Ew, I got some skin,” Kassie shrieked, quickly digging out her nail scissors from her makeup bag in her tote.

“I love you Kass, you’re amazing!”Choose either "I love you" or "You're amazing" – no need for both. I threw my arms around her. Unfortunately hugging her wouldn’t rid us of the putrid smell still lingering on our skin.

“My nails are a force not to be messed with, which he discovered the hard way, didn’t he? At least he won’t go grabbing us again, the jerk.”

‘Machine-gun Gracey’ stalked in, her authoritative voice bringing a dark shadow of silence sweeping through the room in a mere fraction of 30 milliseconds. Kass took her seat beside me in the front room – no need to start the year off bad again, at least. When she had her back turned – a first for the wrinkled prune – my eyes swept the surrounding desks. The only Pacific Islander, Melanie, sat hunched over with her wide chin rested on her chubby hands. The summer hadn’t willed her to attend the gym her rich dad owned, clearly. The tallest Indian girl in the school, out of the five, Thalia, had her thin legs crossed beneath a flowing yellow dress that showed her anorexia. Does she know Thalia has anorexia or is she only assuming? Either way, clear that out. Beside her, Jared, the eldest of the fourteen Hispanic men at the school Men? Aren't students usually boys? glared toward the front unmoving, his fists balled as usual. The summer hadn’t changed him, the temper he was famous for blatantly obvious even concealed behind his sharply focused hazel eyes. Personally I’d rather crawl into a hole and be eaten by bloodthirsty ants than pick a fight with him – who didn’t after Paul was hospitalised last year with third degree burns? – yet he still had beauty in his youthful face. If he had a better temper control method I’d be his friend. You get a little rambly here, do we need to know all that?

“Ellen Johnson, I see we’re assessing the class already, are we?”

Ten curious pairs of eyes fired sharpened daggers into the back of my head as I whimpered ‘yes’. A wicked smile crept across her over-glossed lips.

“We’ve learnt from our mistakes, I see?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good, just keep responding to me and we’ll be firm friends, I hope, Miss Johnson.”

“Yescomma ma’am.”

I cringed back into my seat and, before anybody could actually dig a dagger into my head, I dropped it onto my hands and groaned quietly. Kassie’s bag made a soft thud on the new carpet at her feet, her own groan far from what mine was. The slip of paper that brushed my arm could only be one thing. A horrible thing that would determine the outcome of my year.

“Your timetables are final and you will need both teacher and parental permission before moving any classes.”

Timetables. One slip of paper outlining where you are legally required to be every minute of the day from eight-thirty in the morning Monday morning to three-o’clock Friday afternoon. With five classes, break, lunch, and homeroom the timetable clearly defines your classrooms, teachers, and ultimately how your year will be. You can be like me with every class ten miles apart on opposite ends of the school property with only deadline-Nazi’s as teachers, or you can be like Kassie with classes grouped so close together the longest distance is possibly a fifty second walk at most with only the kindest, slackest teachers exclusively reserved. Seventh to eleventh grade she’d floated through while I was left drowning. Not only do timetables either stir or deter the storm cloud that is your future, but they outline your friends, or lack of, your end of year grade, good or bad, and whose parties you’re going to attend. I actually understood all that, but everyone might not – maybe clear the things out a little bit? Seventh to eleventh grade Kassie had been in Michael Hansberry’s class, the most god-like creature on the face of the planet. We were lucky to be graced with his mere presence, and due to the constant classes with him Kassie had dated him all during freshmen year and most of sophomore year too, but now they were close friends. And he didn’t date anymore. Seventh to eleventh grade, thanks to the formidable power of the timetable I’d been stuck with slime ball partners, not a single one even a mere fraction of his beauty and grace and goodness. Timetables are deadly. Again, a little rambly.

So for Kassie to groan was terrifying. I didn't get that at first. I had to read it again. And not because I thought she’d gotten a bad classroom location, but for a far worse reason. Like having a deadline-Nazi teacher like ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ no need for quote marks or Mr. Booty, who was so paranoid and ferocious and strict not a soul even dared think of ridiculing his name – over the years the legends created about him were lethal.

Kassie wasn't breathing; she dug her nails into the underside of the desk. She glanced over to where Thalia sat, smiling deviously; Kassie's eyes bulged out of her sockets.

“Kassandra Alexandra Liddle, control yourself or I will force you!” How does she know the name? An ear-shattering screech tore from her lips when her fingers pulverised the wood.

Kassie gulped, but didn’t move, her angelic face frozen with fear.

‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ ambled to her student’s side, placing a hand on Kassie’s shoulder. Not a muscle even moved in my best friend’s body; her eyes followed the paper as ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ lifted it for examination.

That smile was neither comforting, no comma nor promising.

“Seems you’re going to have to trade those heels for sneakers, my dear,” ‘Machine-Gun Gracey’ laughed throatily, slapping the paper lightly on the desk and ambling back to her own. Behind me Thalia was giggling into her hand, Jared was still glaring ahead, Melanie’s shoulders were shaking with silent laughter, and the remaining students joined in with a splutter of laughter

“S-sneakers?" she stammered, her nails digging deeper into the desk. 'Machine gun Gracey' no need for constant quote marks, the name is fine without them raised an eyebrow and nodded her head so fast her fat bun wobbled. “Unlatch yourself from the poor desk. I’m sure it’s not designed to survive your assault.”

Kassie flexed her fingers slowly. I leaned across my desk and grabbed the timetable before Kassie could rip it apart. My eyes widened as I read the paper, a slight giggle escaping from my lips. Kassie glared unmercifully at me.


I remember every year’s timetable perfectly, almost as if it was etched into my skin because every year it only got worse. I would have given anything to go back to seventh grade. My classes then were were just on opposite sides of the smallest building rather than opposite sides of the quadrangle. The longer my eyes rested all the paper, the harder it was to resist the urge to cry out in laughter.

“Stop laughing!” Kassie whined, her cheeks now flushed, her lips pulled down in a scowl. Behind me the laughter erupted into a fierce roar as the realisation hit in its final wave. I couldn’t help but join in when I realised how Kassie – always queen bee with expensive high heels, wearing the latest fashions, and never-had-a-problem-with-school-so-I’ll-just-breeze-through, was about about to be ‘de-throned’. For once I’d be better off than her. I was quick to join in, screaming with laughter until we were clutching at our stomachs with tears pouring down our cheeks.

“Oh Kass, I’m so sorry, I truly am, but this is amazing!”

She eyed my own timetable, her frown deepening.

“They must’ve muddled our names or something – you got what I usually get, except Pre Calc and Government!”

“I doubt it,” my voice faltering; Kassie was grinning mischievously. Bitch. I knew she'd find some way to make them swap our classes, drop her down to Maths in practice, and change to American lawperiod


Okay. I just need to ask a question. Why are the timetables so important? You explained a little of it in that one paragraph, but it doesn't seem very believable to compare getting a lousy timetable with losing the throne. It just isn't.


Overall, this was nice to read, and by nice, I mean just nice. Not great, but not bad. You have some sentences and ideas that are a little hard to understand at first, but your style of writing is quite flexible and flowing. I could also find some punctuation errors, but not many. Your characterization of Kassie was good. The narrator lacks some personality at the moment, but then again, this is only the first chapter. You'll have plenty of time. :)

Thanks for the read and good luck!


Demeter xxx
"Your jokes are scarier than your earrings." -Twit

"14. Pretend like you would want him even if he wasn't a prince. (Yeah, right.)" -How to Make a Guy Like You - Disney Princess Style

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Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:18 am
ChernobyllyInclined says...



Highschool is so boring. Unless you're going to blow up the school in the middle and send everyone to the unknown Virtuoso region of San Derinina.

I commend you for the fact that you actually seem to understand the basics of English grammar and punctuation--most Twilighters don't--and I also appreciate your slightly less bland dialogue. But you're writing Twilight, my friend, and it's already been done. For your own health and for others, use your imagination. I don't doubt your potential...try to introduce a little anarchy. No, anarchy isn't the word. But that quote from Dark Knight threw me off.

If you insist on writing about highschool, vampires, or highschool vampires, at least shove a jagged knife in it and give it a twist it won't forget. For instance, the highschool is located underground to escape the radiation of a nearby nuclear disaster, and the vampire is a substitute teacher (not ridiculously hot) and is only there to mess with people and frighten kids into wondering about the meaning of life--something he doesn't have and is perhaps a little bitter that he doesn't have.

It's lonely in a vampire highschool romance. I can see the terror of repetition and droll of infinite numbers of attractive people. I'm begging you: write something else.

Anyway, what you have here isn't bad. But that is only because what you are trying for is very small. And I say all of this in an encouraging way. I simply wish for less cliche and more interesting stuff to read on YWS. Be the miracle!
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Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:40 am
niccy_v says...



You bring up good points, ChernobyllyInclined, but this is under constant work on about 3 different forums I'm on...

So the end result is going to be major different.

This is just the beginning anyway, and your points were appreciated. But everybody has different ideas, and for now this is staying the way it is. In the future I may completely rewrite it, who knows. Right now I am in the cannot-be-stuffed mood to (after 2 months of 5 rewrites behind me) really do much more other than follow what people have suggested and correct small sections.

It was a much appreciated review thanks
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Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:45 pm
ashleylee says...



Hey, Nic. I just want to thank you right now before I forget for all your super helpful critiques on Poisoned Roses. You have no idea how helpful they all where =)

Instantly, I could see how crowded the well-irrigated lawns were, signifying that it was indeed the first day of school – our senior year.


That last little blurp about senior year and such doesn’t really help the flow. Maybe try something like: …signifying that it was indeed the first day of our senior year at the school. or something like that.

She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, the shine radiating off her long, tanned legs.


Instead of saying “She” at the beginning, I would use Kass’s name just so the reader doesn’t get confused.

“My one and only Ellen Johnson!” She shrieked as she threw her arms around me in a tight hug.


I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this to you before but in dialogue, there is a sort of rule. For example:

”Hey, Jo, how are you?” she asked with a knowing smile.
”Just dandy, Kali,” she said with a slight up-turn of her lips.

Okay, you see how there is a comma after “Kali” and then there is a lowercase “s” on “she” in each sentence. You have to remember to apply those to all your dialogue. Also, you always have a comma before someone’s name when you are addressing them.

Now, returning to yours, this is how it would look:

”My one and only, Ellen Johnson!” she shrieked as she threw her arms around me in a tight hug.

See the difference? I just thought I would mention this since I don’t think I have before :wink:

Her face fell as I looked at her, her cheeks paling a little.


It is “palling” not “paling”

“I was only guessing, Kass!” I only rolled my eyes before turning to continue our sedate plod down the hall.


You use “only” pretty close to each other here. I suggest cutting out the second one.

“No,” I grumbled, pushing her back with my elbow, keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not listening, not caring, not really looking, just moving.


Whoa! =0 A little too much description here. Maybe try: [b]…keeping my own eyes straight ahead, not bothering to listen to her, but also not really caring; I just concentrated on keeping my feet moving forward.

It had last year and it would this year – when we wanted to rid ourselves of Jonesy, the school loser, Kassie’s volatile fingers worked a treat.


No need to include anything after “Jonesy” because you already explained the nail thing in the previous sentence.

“I love you Kass!”


Comma after “you”

“Yes, ma’am, I have learnt.”


“Learnt”? I would use “learned” Sounds more like a teenager that way. =)

“I don’t have a single class… not a single class anywhere near each other!” She cried, throwing her head back to groan.


Lowercase “s” on “she”

~ ~ ~ ~

All right, Nic, it is obvious that you have worked hard on this and I can’t praise you enough. This was so much easier to read. I really have no other complaints than what I mentioned above so yeah…

Great job on the rewrite! :D
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