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Harriets Garden

by BlackXcat


Chapter One

A small girl sitting on the seat of a rusted swing-set gazed hopelessly out upon the horizon. Tears cascaded down her cheeks leaving white trails through the dirt on her skin. She looked beat-up and bruised; her little white dress was torn up and covered with stains of dirt and muck. Her feet were scarred and blistered and they would hurt if she attempted to walk. A sad little girl under an angry amber sky where no clouds dared to form, the dried-up wire-like grass in a desolate park and the rusted swing-set, painted a picture of a home that was no more than a distant memory. Harriet was all alone.

Harriet heard a noise coming from outside. She scrambled up onto pink wooden chest that had a beautiful blue butterfly painted on its top. She peered out the window. Down at the end of the drive-way Harriet saw a dark sedan crawling up the dusty road, its wheels spitting out dirt behind it as it sped toward the house. Out of the corner of her eye Harriet noticed her mother and father standing in the front garden and who gave a slight wave in the direction of the oncoming vehicle. Harriet’s mother was a beautiful woman and wonderfully kind. She wore a dress that was the slightest shade of green, a white pair of sneakers and in her she wore a ribbon given to her by Harriet, her rich brown hair gently falling across her shoulders. Her father was dressed in a white button-up shirt, a brown waist-coat and brown slacks. Just in front of her parents Harriet heard the dark sedan whistle to a halt and out stepped a slender, stern-looking man dressed in a black suit that ended in impossibly shiny shoes.


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6 Reviews


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Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:58 am
BlackXcat says...



Readers please keep in mind that this piece of work is constantly changing and being rewritten.
Review it, or just read it, do whatever you like.
Just try not to take it too seriously.

I will keep you all posted as the story progresses.




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Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:11 pm
dogs wrote a review...



"Tears cascaded down her cheeks leaving white trails through..."

Howdy Black! Dogs here with your review today. I really like this line, great use of the word "cascaded." On a small note, there should be a comma after "cheeks." I also don't recall tears leaving white trails on ones face after crying. Perhaps try to find a different descriptor.

"her little white dress"

Omit all useless words whenever you can, just say: "her white dress." It makes your writing read smoother.

That first paragraph you do an excellent job of setting up the scene for the reader, creating a great image for us to follow throughout the rest of your writing.

Ok, a few quick notes. Firstly: The second paragraph, notice how many times you start the sentence with "Harriet" or "she." That constant repetition of those two words, especially in the same place of a sentence, will make your piece sound choppy and a little difficult to read. Try to cut out some "she's" and "Harriet's" just to make your piece run a little smother.

Secondly, this is some great writing you have here, but I don't think it really is a great way to end a chapter. It's always effective to leave the reader off on a hanging note, but here you haven't given the reader enough points to leave us hanging. At this point we're just confused, why is Harriett beat up? Why is her family inviting in the certain person? Why is this all relevant? Right now it just seems like a recollection of events, instead of something happening that should really effect the reader. Add in a little more substantial information here and you'll be looking good. Let me know if you ever need a review. Keep up the good work!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032




BlackXcat says...


Thanks for your review.

Firstly, the line is "leaving white trails through the dirt on her skin". So that is how tears can leave white trails. hahaha

Secondly, I have noted your ideas and think that you might have a point. I wil see if i can lessen the amount of "she" and "Harriet" in the work,

Thirdly, it isn't a finished chapter. The story has only just begun. :) you guys aren't even getting the best part.

Thanks again for your review



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Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:57 pm
Jonathan wrote a review...



(Set gazing hopelessly) might be better than (Set gazed hopelessly)

It seams that if she were all beat up she would have blood stains on her dress.

If when you started I think you said she was on a rusted old swing or next to it but then she git up and looks out a window that has just popped up next to her and a chest to.

( a white pair of sneakers and in her she wore a ribbon given to her by Harriet) that sounds wrong is it like she ate it or is it in her hair what dose it mean?.

Nice now you have got me hooked know I want to read anything that comes out with your name on it but any way nice work supper good grammar as far as I could tell and spelling to.

Keep writing and good luck.




BlackXcat says...


The first paragraph is disjointed from the rest of the story. That was the purpose.
They are two completely different scenes.

Also, you might be confused purely because of some typos within the piece. I have rewritten this chapter a few times, but it was meant to say "in her HAIR" hahaha.



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Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:48 am
Caesar wrote a review...



Hi there BlackXCat!

You haven't finished this, you say. And yet you post this on YWS. There's not a lot to go on. If we consider this a full chapter (I assume it isn't) it really doesn't work, and I don't need to point out why, I trust. It leaves us hanging without having formed a clear impression of the world and characters around us, and that isn't any good now is it?

However, it could work as a teaser. It could. Teasers usually give us snippets of the juiciest, most dramatic bits. If you wanted to post a teaser, I would have recommended you do that. If you haven't finished this chapter, and this is all you've got, I wouldn't have suggested posting it. Wait until you have the full chapter and then post it, it makes things easier for the readers and eventual reviewers x)

Your opening however, can be considered as reviewable, teaser or full chapter. This opening doesn't call to me. I'd rather know about why she's like that and/or how she's feeling rather than a long and redundant description of her. I say redundant because you need to hook the readers in the first few sentences (paragraphs if it's a long work), and description doesn't do that, at least not for me, in most cases. Furthermore, it's also grammatically incorrect. It should be 'was' sitting, or introduce the present tense with a temporal expression, otherwise 'sitting' is incorrect. It also sounds really bad, if you've noticed.

Speaking of grammatical mistakes, it should be 'Harriet's Garden'. Saxon genitive and what not. The apostrophe indicates possession, and since it's her garden, it should be placed there.

Now, why is she there? Why is she alone? She seems to have a kind and loving mother and a well-dressed father. Why does she feel this way? Do they abuse or neglect her? Or her father, at least. A kind and wonderful mother doesn't :P
These questions should be answered quickly, or it leaves readers wondering, like now. I really recommend you bulk this out, or post a more dramatic teaser next time.

Hope this helped
~Ita




BlackXcat says...


I posted this purely because I could. I wanted to give an opportunity to let people in on my writing process.

The hook IS the first paragraph. You get one scene playing out and then it cuts to something completely different. The point is to leave the reader asking questions and having the answers displayed throughout the book. Like, on one angle it doesn't make sense, but then once the story has concluded everything will fall into place.

The story itself explains the story.

Also, this isn't any where close to the heart of the story. It's just setting the scene to prepare for the story to come.

Im don't want to spoil anything, but it goes from seemingly real to the utterly fantastical. The fantastical elements are meant to be as random and unfamiliar to us as they are to Harriet.
Once the story concludes everything will make sense.

Thanks for your input and stay tuned.




Stay gold, Ponyboy.
— S.E. Hinton