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Prologue

by ChildOfNowhere


When August Caswell poured himself a glass of wine that night, standing by the window overlooking the canals, he already knew he has taken the first step into something he’d eventually regret. His moves were followed by a pair of blue eyes, shaded by the blanket which hid the rest of the body of the little boy curled in his armchair. There was still something dark on his face, smudges of which could’ve been both ashes and blood, striped with white lines tears had left behind. August couldn’t recall seeing the boy cry; all he remembered, even though it had barely been a few hours, were flames devouring that house, and a small silhouette reaching towards him.

He wasn’t asked about the child he had snatched from the fire which took its home; no one cared to know who he was nor why he’d done it. If they had asked, August thought to himself as he turned his back to the window to observe the boy, he wouldn’t know what to tell them. Never in his life had he liked children, not even his little siblings whom he’d left in their home country - they were loud and demanding, and couldn’t understand other people nor the beauty and importance of rare artworks he appreciated so much. And yet he not only saved this one, but also brought him home without caring to mention it to anyone, hence practically deleting every trace of the little lone survivor of the fire.

I will contact the police in the morning, he told himself. In the morning, I will find this boy a new home and forget about this night.

He lifted the glass, bringing it to his lips, before realising it was empty and putting it down again. He turned again and took the bottle, sighed, poured himself another glass, arranged some papers on the table by the window, sighed again and closed his eyes shortly before talking. The boy’s eyes never left him, and he could feel that blue glare on himself as if something kept physically, repeatedly poking the same spot on his back.

“Do you have a name?”

The boy nodded slowly. “I’m Lain.” He hesitated a bit. “Lain Valdescu.”

Lain Valdescu?” August frowned, brushing his lips against the glass. It sounded wrong, made up, like a name never spoken out loud before and combined of other names. “Are you from here? It doesn’t sound very Italian,” he muttered.

“Neither does August,” the boy noticed quietly, and August put the glass down again.

“That is because it’s not. I’m English.” He watched the boy as he shrugged the blanket off enough to breathe, seeming to be relaxing a bit though his skin kept that pale shade of fear. His hair was light brown, August noticed, longer than it was probably healthy for his eyes and falling in tangled mess which might have resembled curls once upon a time.

“...Oh.” He frowned slightly and bit his lip, trying and failing to wipe off one of the smudges off his face with an equally smudged sleeve. “Can Lain be English too?”

August raised an eyebrow. “I suppose so.” His eyes darted over the boy’s appearance, the brown blanket which still covered most of his body, the couch and shelves in the dark back of the room, and objects collected or received from all around the world, hung on the walls in places where one might have expected to see family portraits. He couldn’t help but feel somewhat grateful for the way his little guest acted, even though it was under the influence of fear and loss which most likely hadn’t even properly hit him yet; the last he wanted were dark smudges on his things, or broken glass on the carpets.

“Then I’m English too," the boy said.

Somehow, as if shielding a small smile from being spotted, the glass found its way to August’s lips again, occupying them for a few seconds and giving him time to sort his thoughts. There was something in that child that made August almost fond of him, and a thought of not sending him off right away started prodding its way around August’s mind. Perhaps it is possible there’s a child with, while lacking coordination like all of them, brain at least developed enough to understand and listen when the adult tells them not to touch anything. Smirking slightly, he gave the boy a nod.

“Lain, then. Do you like books?”

It was the boy’s turn to look at him in silence. “I liked stories,” he said then, “but now I like pictures more.” He drew his knees to his chest, hugging himself tightly. “Then I can imagine the stories myself.”

August kept his eyes on Lain’s - dark brown on light blue - as neither of them spoke for a long time. His glass was empty again, but he didn’t even notice it - and the morning came and went, but he never forgot.

*


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Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:06 am
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Snowery wrote a review...



Hello Aria :) Here I am in early July, If you receive this any earlier it means that I have died am procrastinating

I won't tell you if I liked this or not yet. So, there! :D

The thing is though, that I'm not going to nit pick this that much. In all honesty I'm going to write this as more of an analysis than a review.

Main Points

His moves were followed by a pair of blue eyes


Excellent way of introducing the second character (the child). This is basically the definition of show and not tell. Wonderful :)

it had barely been a few hours


This is too vague.

*Edited* This was an unfinished statement, I was contemplating whether to mention it or not. Please ignore. :)

the child... its home... this one... mention it


A fascinating choice to continue using these terms to describe the child even though it's been revealed as a boy. The continuous use of ambiguity towards the child emphasises it's foreignness in August's house and his almost “alienation” from it. It gives us the feeling that he is trying to objectively categorise “it”.

He lifted the glass,


The constant references to August needing a glass of wine are fabulous. It indicates his discomfort at the situation, and depicts how he really has no idea what to do. Any other normal person would be seeing tho the needs of the child, feeding it, engaging it in conversation or helping it find a new home, they would most certainly not be sipping wine. August is really out of his depth here. The wine doesn't just act as an intoxication here but the actual physical motion of pouring the wine and lifting the glass acts as a distraction too. Hence, when he run out of wine he goes and distracts himself by rearranging papers. You've really built up his reluctance to communicate and interact with the boy. Wonderful job! :)

feel that blue glare on himself


I wouldn't use “glare” here. It implies that the boy is somewhat “angry”, which he doesn't seem to be. :)

”Neither does August,”


August recalls that he saved the child just hours ago right? Now he is having what I'm assuming is his first interaction with the child. So... how does it know his name? Forgive me foor being a kill joy but it just doesn't feel right. Though it's a really cute line and adds to the scene, you previously given me a sense of silence and distance between August and Lain, so I'm curious about how Lain knows August's name.

“Can Lain be English too?”


Lovely implication that Lain actually isn't English. :)

grateful for the way his little guest acted


This is really nit picky but, his little guest hadn't really acted at all so far. So what is August talking about? Maybe mention the fact that Lain kept his hand to himself? I think it's because the entire sentence just seems disconnected.

He couldn’t help but feel somewhat grateful for the way his little guest acted, even though it was under the influence of fear and loss which most likely hadn’t even properly hit him yet; the last he wanted were dark smudges on his things, or broken glass on the carpets.

The way you've written this makes it seem as though you will mention, how it is that the child has acted. The part in italics especially, builds the reader to expect it. The part in bold almost seems like a separate sentence. These are just suggestions but it would be much easier to read if you did break off the bold section and instead added how the child had acted. I hope that wasn't too confusing ^.^

“Then I can imagine the stories myself.”

August kept his eyes on Lain’s


You've written this in such a way that it's clear for the reader to see that what Lain had said in that paragraph had a great impact on August. We can feel that at this moment, that after moments of silence, discomfort and uncertainty, August suddenly connects with the child and that without needing to speak the both of them form a bond. Brilliant stuff. :D

Alas, we have reached the end. First of all, I loved this. As you can see, most of my comments are positive, so sorry if they're not all that beneficial. :/ The only thing I would say is that this does need a lot of editing. Previous reviewers have listed out nit picks and anyway I'm sure you're capable of editing this yourself. I would just say, recheck your word choice, it's usually the smaller connecting words that seem slightly out of place and also watch your “has” and “had” and make sure to put the right one in the right place.
Right from the get go you grabbed me an threw me into August's world. The amount of definition an character development you gave him within that short time was wonderful. Almost none of your sentences were wasted. Each one seemed to add to the story or add to August's character. Even the descriptions, which often destroy pace and can prove distracting, are used in such a way that they add to August's character and convey more about him. Just like in FF, you've used intrigue to capture the reader's attention for the entire way and to keep them invested in the story. Some of them may now really want to review the next chapter despite impending exams -.- Also like in FF, you managed to spin a lovely atmosphere around us readers, with your characterisation, descriptions and pacing. The fact that this is set in Italy is just <3 August mentions canals, so are we in Venice? If so, even more <3 XD

Anywas, this was pretty amazing so I'm looking forward to the fact that you'll be posting more chapters. yes, I've read chapter one, no I'm not to sure when I'll review it, though I hope it's soon. :) Keep up the good work and happy writing! :) :)

Silverlock




Silverlock says...


*Edited*



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Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:24 pm
Magenta wrote a review...



Hello AriaAdams!

This is Magenta here to comment your prologue that you have submitted to YWS for us to see. Now that the review day is over, I can actually complete a review without the pressure. You are a great writer. I have some comments to make about this great work...

"When August Caswell poured himself a glass of wine that night, standing by the window overlooking the canals, he already knew he has taken the first step into something he’d eventually regret. "

When you write a prologue, you want to write something that grabs the reader with its mystery which encourages them to read on. I love the beginning of the prologue which truly draws the readers curiosity into continuing onto more of your novel. Most people start theirs too casually or end up discouraging their reader, but you didn't. Great job with that!

I really love where this is headed. Will you continue? Yes, you will! I insist that you do. I really can't find that much to add from the praise and reviews that you've received from the other people. I can't wait to see what is next.

~ Magenta

P.R. Do you have a dragon?




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Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:07 am
CesareBorgia wrote a review...



Cardinal CesareBorgia here for a review

I wanted to say that this was a great way to start the story.

Nitpicks:

I only found one spelling error as I was reading. This was it: bringing it to his lips, before realising it was empty and putting it down again.

Comma after it and realising is spelled releasing.

Literary Comments:

One- I liked the way you started the story with August saving the little boy.
That as my favorite part.

Two-I like the depth you put into the character.

Conclusion:

All in all this was a great story. I will see chapter one. With a little grammar polish this will be a good story.

CesareBorgia signing out.




AriaAdams says...


Thank you~

"Realising" isn't misspelled though, it's just British spelling of "realizing" ;)



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Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:56 am
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eldEr wrote a review...



Aria! Isha here to review as requested.

H'okay so this was actually ridiculously cute, and really sad, all at the same time. I kind of have a soft spot for stories about little kids. Anyway.

First off all, you've officially got yourself a very intriguing prologue. It was interesting, and just mysterious enough (in the way that we're thrust into this story where a little boy's house burnt down and some child-hating English man saved him and we have no idea what's really going on, left or right) to be hooking. Your imagery was pretty concise, in a good way, and your dialogue was flowy and realistic.

The only things I really have to say are an elaboration of previous nitpicks. For starters, as Sureal said, there were a lot of long sentences. I, personally, really strongly dislike long sentences with no breaks (which is where I developed my comma-abuse problem!). I'd consider a read-through; long sentences ruin the flow and exhaust the eyes (and the brain), and feel more like drabble than good writing.

Also, I know that I say I don't typically nitpick, but there are a few things that I wanted to bring up here, so I will! (also they're probably not in order I apologize five million times for that)

There was something in that child that made August almost fond of him, and a thought of not sending him off right away started prodding its way around August’s mind.


This sentence felt awkward to me. For starters, the bolded 'that.' It feels like it messes with your tenses and your passive/active voice. Consider changing to 'the'. And then the entire second clause feels off. It was just awkwardly worded, I think? Play around with that a little bit. :P

August raised an eyebrow. “I suppose so.” His eyes darted over the boy’s appearance, the brown blanket which still covered most of his body, the couch and shelves in the dark back of the room, and objects collected or received from all around the world, hung on the walls in places where one might have expected to see family portraits.


And I want to point this out, too, because yeah it's definitely really odd that you went from Lain's appearance to his surroundings in a single sentence. I'd toss in a transition there and change some of those commas to periods.

He wasn’t asked about the child he had snatched from the fire which took its home; no one cared to know who he was nor why he’d done it.


I have no idea what era this story's in, but I feel like a man running away from a burning building with a probably freaking out child would be a little suspect? Also, the bolded 'he' isn't very clear. For a second, I thought you were talking about Lain, but then 'why he'd done it,' and I thought you were talking about August. Consider clarifying that, maybe?

The bolded 'which,' I didn't like at all. I actually don't know that it's gramatically correct. Consider changing it to 'that,' perhaps.

Also, the bolded 'nor' is incorrect. Change it to 'or.'

I almost had a problem with August referring to Lain as 'it', but if he doesn't like children, then I guess that it makes sense with the voice. :P

Overall, though, this was pretty much excellent, and I really hope that we get to find more out about August's motives in saving the kid. And maybe more about which era this happens in because I was a little confused XD

Anyway! Excellent work, and keep writing!
~Ish




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Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:51 pm
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Sureal wrote a review...



This is really good, so I'm going to have to go with a nit-picky review. I hope you don't mind.


-> "shaded by the blanket which hid the rest of the body of little boy curled in his armchair"

- Pretty sure you're missing a word here. I'm guessing it's a "the" you're short of.


-> "“Neither does August,” the boy noticed silently,"

- I'm not sure people can talk silently. Consider rewording.


-> "He watched the boy as he shrugged the blanket off enough to breathe, seeming to be relaxing a bit though his skin kept that pale shade of fear."

- This sentence doesn't quite work. The second clause in particular is problematic. Consider rewording.


-> "Perhaps it is possible there’s a child with, while lacking coordination like all of them, brain at least developed enough to understand and listen when the adult tells them not to touch anything."

- Third clause is problematic. I think you're missing an "a" just before "brain."


-> " as none of them spoke for a long time."

- There's only two present, so consider replacing "none" with "neither."


-> I like semi-colons, but I think you might like them a bit too much. You have a lot of long sentences, and at times it can feel a tad too much. Not a major issue, and can easily put down as personal style rather than a fault.


-> Proof-read more. I've pointed out what I think are a few little mistakes, but these are the sorts of things you can catch yourself. If you have access to a printer, print the story off and then slowly read through it with red pen in hand. It's easier to spot mistakes when you read the story in a new format like this.


-> I hope you'll come back to the fire at some point to give us a better idea of why August saved the boy. You've established that it's somewhat out of character for August, so at the moment it feels like you're setting it up to explore the scene in greater detail later in the novel.


-> August is an English name? A minor point, and perhaps intentional, but that did make me stop and go "what?"


-> I love this. Write more.




AriaAdams says...


Thanks c:
I'll change those little things which both you and Megs pointed out.. I admit I haven't even proofread it after typing it up before posting, let alone edited <.<
Oh, and yes, there will be more info on the fire and name c:



Sureal says...


Good good. Feel free to message me when you post the next chapter.



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Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:27 pm
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megsug wrote a review...



Aria~
You have stuff! And I'll read it. :3

I feel like I recognize these names, but if I ask about it I'll just be saying, "Is that this thing when we were talking about that thing" so... I'm just going to assume these names were mentioned once.

Your characters are great. Lain is so precious and August so... haughtily mysterious.

Few small things:

as none of them spoke for a long time

None implies a group of people. Neither would be more suitable for a couple.

which hid the rest of the body of little boy curled in his armchair

I feel like an 'a' or some other word is missing here?

he could feel that blue glare on himself as if something kept physically, repeatedly poking the same spot on his back.

Previously it was said August had turned around to look at the boy, so wouldn't Lain be looking at August's chest?

ne of the smudges off his face with an equally smudged sleeve.


His eyes darted over the boy’s appearance, the brown blanket which still covered most of his body, the couch and shelves in the dark back of the room, and objects collected or received from all around the world, hung on the walls in places where one might have expected to see family portraits.

It's kind of strange how you go from the boys appearance to his surroundings without any transition.

So... I don't have any big complaints about this prologue. I think it's intriguing and does a good job introducing the characters and the setting.

I mean... The only thing I want to mention is that August's actions before the prologue, so when he's saving Lain from the fire, are a little unbelievable. Not so much the saving of but the not reporting of the saving of Lain is a little weird.

Anyways, that's all I've got for you.

Let me know when chapter one is up. :3
Megs~




AriaAdams says...


Thank you~
The names were the same in my Camp NaNo, but the story changed! So you don't quite know them, but you also do xD

I shall poke you if I ever put chapter one up ^^



megsug says...


XD I thought they came from NaNo, but I wasn't sure.




This is a house of homes, a sacred place, by human passion made divinely sweet.
— Alfred Joyce Kilmer