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16+ Language Violence Mature Content

The Abel and Cain Institution of Higher Learning (Ch. 1-2)

by serenephantom


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.

Chapter 1: Sorry, Playing Catch Up

[Present Day]

I have no idea how even to start to explain the situation I've gotten myself into.

I sit in a cold, gray room. Everything was bland and place in a specific location. The walls are painted with the upper half being a lighter shade of gray than the bottom, and the floor is mere concrete. There’s not much here that gives the room a desirable personality. Above me is a hanging light that proves to be the only source of light in the room. It hung surrounded by a metal frame and dusty coat.

A light grin forced itself onto my face. A small burst of air left my lips as my attempt to send the gathered particles around the room took place. The slight tap of your fingers brought back my attention. I turned to face forward from my metal seat. The cuffs pressed tightly against my wrists gave off a light jingle when I move against the metal table.

My eyes stare past the empty chair in front of me to the two-way mirror. It’s a small boundary that separates the world I know and live in and the one you do. I’m not sure you will even believe me if I tell you what you want to know.

“I’ve been silent for two days but this seems like the right time to start the truth, that is if you’re willing to listen to me. For once, I want someone to listen to me and since right now I don’t have a choice but to talk, then you don’t have a choice but to listen,” I say, but of course I don’t expect a reply. “I’m going to start out by saying that I am actually Alexander Paulis, I figured that was logically your first question. Second; I am fifteen years old and a year and a half ago on March 13th, I was investigated as a potential suspect in the murder of Karen and Philip Paulis. And as of Tuesday, August 19th of that year, I had been found not guilty of that crime. But there are a few issues with that. One, everyone thought I did it. My face was plastered all over the place but as I said before I didn't do it and there wasn't enough evidence to say that I did do it. That doesn't mean that the public didn't give their own verdict. Two, as I’m sure you are aware, a few years before this a program called The Abel and Cain Institute of Higher Learning had been formed. It was some government project, they funded some big company, and soon the institute became a threat for children but I never really took it seriously, it was kind of like when a teacher claim that if you don't study you'll end up working in fast food for your entire life. I guess I should have.”

I took a small break in my speech. I’m not actually sure any of this is making sense to you, perhaps you just never heard of it? I guess I can try my best to give you some knowledge about the way my life fell apart, but if I’m going to be forced to talk about my life, I’m going to have fun with it.

“The Abel and Cain Institution of Higher Learning was designed to limit the number of killers in the world. If the world could predict who were the next generation of killers they could harden their skills and regulate how many killers were released into what regions of the world. The richer you were the least amount of killers get released in your area. It’s experimental, but the world seemed to jump at the idea. I personally used to think it was a good idea. The issue here is that I’m not a killer, at least I wasn’t then. I didn’t belong there. It’s not fair that I was being forced to go there. I didn’t want to be a murderer of any kind. But that school made me one. Who’s fault really? Let me start from the beginning then.”

***

[March 13th, Last Year]

Each breath burned against my throat. My shoulders roll slightly forward as my body naturally fell into a rocking motion. Lips are parted as if they cannot remain shut against the raspy breath that forced its’ way in and out of them.

My head was light, but my neck was weak. The rocking motion I had fallen into, turned more into a circular rotation as I attempted to keep my head high.

…The smell is enough to make anyone pass out.

A gasp escaped my lips as the thought passed through my mind. I pulled my knees closer to my chest I could feel myself falling apart. My breath became more rapid as my eyes widened with total terror.

I can’t…I-I can’t believe this is happening.

It’s had been silent for a while. No screaming, no pleading, no orders, no bangs, or dings. There haven’t been any cries, yells, or gasps. Just silent.

I don’t like the quiet, but it’s better than before.

Tick, tick, tick,dong

Slowly my breath matched the ticking of the grandfather clock. It slowed down, and with it, my head felt better, as long as I didn’t breath through my nose. I still rocked with the tempo provided for me in the silence of my own home.

To even begin to understand what had just happened…I can’t. I can’t begin because I’m not sure if there was a beginning to it. Is there ever a beginning to anything? Could that beginning have been stopped? I don’t know.

Tick, tick, tick,dong.

I’m afraid to open the door. I am afraid to know what is on the other side of this closet. I don’t want to know what is causing that smell. I don’t want to know why the sounds all stopped.

But I do.

But I don’t.

But I do.

But I-

Tick, tick, tick.

I hate that old clock. Mom should just part with the old thing. It’s not a good clock. It’s annoying. No matter where you are in the house you can hear the thing. It just ticks the day away. It reminds me when I’m supposed to go to school and when to be home for the night. It tells me when I should eat and when I need to get up. I hate it! I hate it!

Tick, tick, tick,dong.

“Stop!” I screamed through the closet door at the noise. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up! I hate you, stop your God damn ticking! I’ll kill you!”

***

[Present Day]

“Ah, maybe that way too far. I mean, you know all of that from my record right? The closet? The gun? My fingerprints? What about the part about how they assumed I was guilty despite that my fingerprints were not the only ones on the gun and that surprisingly I was locked in a closet when the police arrived? Or was that just ignore because I apparently had a motive? I’ll let you decide then. I’ll tell you everything from the moment I arrived at dearol’ AC Institute.”

***

[August 23rd, Last Year]

The beat of the tires continued to manage to hit every pothole and minor uplift of concrete thus causing the back of my prison to be a cheapcarni-ride with the safety protocol of a drunken teenager on the roof with a poolwaited two stories down.

The tight metal against my wrists continued to remind me of the reality of this situation. I'm sure if it weren't for the cold metal that pressed into my skin, I wouldn't have believed this was even real. It all seemed like a dream that was happening in slow motion. But this is too long to be a dream.

Still, that doesn't stop me from wishing to wake up.

Please...

I need to calm down.

Deep breaths, deep breaths.

I took a moment to breathe. I tried to calm down enough to think logically about the situation. I took a few more deep breaths and began to calm down. I’m not helping anything if I’m panicking.

My eyes looked down at the handcuffs that covered my pale wrists once more. I never tanned well; normally I would just burn. I wish I could hold some type of color. Right now I just look sick, I mean that could just be the situation. Then again Julie last year in science told me I looked like Casper grew up and wore a cheap wig. I really didn’t like her. But she liked my brother…

I really don’t want to think about that.

I let out a sigh and pushed back my long black hair. I was going to get it cut, but for the last few months, it’s just grown. It’s longer in the back now, but the front is getting dangerously close to covering my emerald eyes. It’s never been this long. I wonder if I can get it cut here.

Who am I kidding? This is a prison. Well, I mean it basically is one.

Between the game of whack-a-mole, the transport truck’s tires were playing on the road and the overwhelming anxiety of every terrible sensation that comes with unwarranted guilt, my stomach twisted into a knot a sailor would be proud of. Though I don't dare vomit. The police officer was rather scary. I don't want to get on her bad side, or I guess worse side. Most of the people I've met think I murdered my parents.

I know I didn't, but no one seemed to believe me. There was some evidence that I did it. My fingerprints were on the weapon, and an eye witness saw me go into the house around the time they were killed. But I can explain that. No one cared though. But it was enough to prove doubt. That's what my lawyer said. Apparently, that's why I'm here. I proved doubt, not innocence. According to the representative fromThe Abel and Cain Institute, I was already on their radar. I don't know why I couldn't tell you what I did. But I was on their list. At least for the trial, I was.

At lot has happened in the last few months and even now I can't say what's going to happen. I'm scared, and I've cried more than I was to admit but I can't change a single thing that's happened. Everything has been out of my control, and even now I have no idea what I'm going to do next.

Just stay with me, okay? I need at least one person on my side. 

Chapter 2: This Wasn’t What I was Expecting

I felt the car stop I turned my head towards the door. I looked across my gray prison. I couldn’t see out anywhere in the van. There were windows on the two large, metal, back doors, however, they were tinted in a way that I couldn’t see out of them. It almost looks like an ambulance in here but I know it’s not. The fundamental difference had to be the lack of medical equipment or anything for that matter with the exception of two benches that were welded to the walls.

I heard the doors being unlocked and felt my heart jump into my chest. I pushed myself more up, onto the metal bench where I sat, I watched the metal carefully.

As the doors parted and natural light filled the box. I watched as a woman came into view. She was heavily armored in an American SWAT uniform. She was still young with a blank expression. As she finished opening the right door, I noticed the gun strapped to her back.

I gulped, dryly as I noticed it. I saw her motion for me to come out; I didn’t move. My body was clearly shaking. I don’t know what’s out there and I don’t particularly want to know either.

“Come on I don’t have all day, kid. Move!” she commanded and made me jump.

I lowered my gaze I followed her instructions. I don’t particularly like being yelled at; I honestly can’t imagine anyone who does.

I got out of the vehicle I was rather surprised to see what I did.

The grass was a perfect shade of green with a spring air to the scene even though it was August. I gazed around the area I noticed the large prison fence with barbed wire lining the area. I looked down the fence line I could see another tall fence surrounding the currently one with watchtowers placed at the corners.

My eyes went forward as I spotted the school. It was huge. It nearly looked like a castle. Well, more like a Victorian estate with some modern touch ups. The roof was a dark blue and appeared to be freshly done. The walls were a tan like coloring with several white pillars lining the area. The building was three stories at least with half rectangular shape with windows filling the walls with a fancy display.

I noticed several people sitting on the large lawn. Some were on stone benches while others were sitting on the lush grass. They were all between the ages of thirteen and nineteen and wore the same thing.

The boys were in khaki pants, dark blue tie with a white, long sleeve, dress shirt. Some wore a yellow sweater vest with a V-neckline or a navy jacket.

The girls were wearing either khaki pants or a knee-length, high-waisted khaki skirt with knee high navy socks. They wore the same tops as the boys without the tie and instead wore a navy bow tie.

As I was looking around, I felt a push from behind. I gazed back at the woman guard I narrowed my eyes were not appreciating her gesture. Without missing a beat, the woman pointed her gun towards me. My eyes widen. I rose my hands to show I meant no harm and started walking.

I noticed a few people looking towards me. They were mixed races and sizes. In truth, they looked like regular high school kids.

I followed the concrete pathway till we reached the center of the courtyard. The concrete branched out into different directions giving me the indication that there were more buildings behind the one where were currently standing.

A girl and a boy wearing the uniforms came up to us. The girl was most likely sixteen with a heart-shaped face and a broad smile. Her eyes were a bright blue with a gaze that looked as if it could stare right through me. Her collared dress shirt was buttoned all the way up but the sleeves were rolled to her forearms tucked into her circle khaki skirt that reached right above her knee starting right under her rib cage. Lastly, her navy socks began right below her knee cap leading down to white gym like shoes.

Her hair was a dark red pulled back into a tight ponytail with a few loose strands falling across her pale and freckled skin.

The boy was seventeen or sixteen with a dark complexion with an egg shaped head. He wore a slight smirk but it didn’t seem threatening and rather calming in a way. His eyes were a copper brown with a sweet expression. His hair was short and just as dark as my own. It was shaven on the sides of his head in a very clean fashion.

He wore khaki pants with a white dress shirt and a light yellow sweater vest. I noticed he also wore white gym shoes that held a few grass stains.

“Ok Janet, we got it from here,” the girl spoke in a cheery voice.

I don’t see what’s there to be so cheery about.

The woman, who I presume is Janet, smiled and put her gun to her side before taking out the keys to my cuffs. I watched the woman carefully as I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped and looked up at the taller male. He was at least five-eight putting him five inches taller than me.

Once the cuffs were off, I felt his grip tighten on my shoulder, but it wasn’t painful yet. When Janet left, his grip loosen. As he took his hand back, the male smiled.

“It’s better just to hold your tongue around her. My name is Mike, nice to meet you,” the male said. I’ll admit I didn’t expect his voice to be so low. Maybe it’s just that mine is still high.

“Alex,” I said, rather quietly.

Mike took my hand shaking it forcefully. I took back my hand and held it close to my chest. I rubbed the skin with my other hand; there were small marks left by the tight cuffs.

“Awe, you scared him you doofus,” the girl called in a motherly tone. “Here.” She took my hand and looking at my wrists. The girl hummed for a minute turning over my hand. “You’ll be okay. You didn’t cut through the skin. I’m guessing you didn’t try slipping out of them.”

I took my hand back.

“I didn’t try to,” I replied, softly.

“Well, that’s a shame. You could have slipped right out of them with small hands like yours,” she giggled. “I’m Sarah, by the way.”

I didn’t reply. I didn’t understand why she laughed at that. Or why I would try to escape. I mean that would just get me into more trouble, right?

“Ok. Alex, welcome to Abel and Cain Institute of Higher Learning. Although, that is a rather large mouth full. Most of us, upperclassmen just call it AC High. This is going to be your home for the next four to five years,” Sarah explained in a giddy tone.

“How old are you Alex?” Mike asked.

“Fourteen,” I answered, rather hesitant.

I’m still trying to process that this was happening.

“Then you’re a freshman. You’ll be staying in the Holdmen Wing. You got his file right?” Mike said. He turned to Sarah.

The girl pulled out a tablet from her bag. She typed on it for a moment she smiled and nodded. “Yup got it,” she ensured. She turned her attention back to me and smiled. “Let’s get you changed into a uniform and then we’ll show you around.”

This wasn’t exactly the welcome I was expecting. This isn’t anything like I was expecting.

I followed the two with obvious caution, but that didn’t seem to bother either of them. It was almost as if they were used to it.

It’s very strange, to say the least.


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14 Reviews


Points: 515
Reviews: 14

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:41 am
AlyTheBookworm wrote a review...



Hi, AlyTheBookworm here for a review! :D

I'll just go through what bothered me then end with what I liked. Here goes!

"I sit in a cold, gray room. Everything was bland and place in a specific location."
Two different tenses here. You do this a LOT, so just make sure to look back and keep the tense consistent.

"and the floor is mere concrete."
Why "mere"?

"and place in a specific location."
It would be "placed", but I would just remove this whole phrase because it's a bit redundant.

"It hung surrounded by a metal frame and dusty coat."
Sounds weird. I would rewrite as "It hung in a metal frame coated in dust" or
something.

"A small burst of air left my lips as my attempt to send the gathered particles around the room took place.”
Your descriptions are sometimes confusing. I had to read this more than once to actually understand what it was saying, and that’s not so good. I’m still not quite sure what the “gathered particles” are, but I think it’s the dust? Is he/she (I still don’t know the gender of the POV character yet..) trying to blow up ALL the dust in the room? It’s a weird sentence. In cases like this, you should keep the description straight and simple. A few simple words can put a clear picture in the reader’s head, while this is just confusing. Example: “I breathed out, stirring up a cloud of dust.” Not a very well-written example, but it shows a clearer picture because it uses familiar and simple words that readers can imagine easily.

The use of “you” and “your” threw me off a bit. Second person is hard to pull off on its own, so I really wouldn’t use both first person and second person in the same story. It makes for a lot of confusion- and it’s not fun to read.

That fourth-or-so paragraph starting with ““I’ve been silent for two days but this seems like the right time to start the truth..”
Whew. Super long paragraph and not so fun to read because it was a huge exposition dump.

Also, why would the POV character (still don’t know their name or gender…) stay silent for two days only to easily pour out their whole story this moment on the third day for no apparent reason. Why not the first day in there if they don’t seem to mind saying it?

“it was kind of like when a teacher claim”
“claim” should be “claims”

The dialogue doesn’t sound like dialogue. It sounds like you were looking for an easy way to give the reader info. I’m sure you’ve heard it (I think all of us writers have) but SHOW don’t TELL (and if you have to tell, you could do it in a better way than this). Would you actually say this and say it this way if you were in this situation? It doesn’t sound like something a real person would say and though I’m getting this big info dump, I still don’t really understand Alexander’s thoughts/emotions about all of this. Also, I would prefer less things to be handed out to me as the reader, I’d like more mystery and I’d like to have to work and wait for the story to come out.. If you feel Alexander explaining his story like this is necessary to the story, do it- but it’s not the most interesting way to let us know his backstory.

“If the world could predict who were the next generation of killers they could harden their skills and regulate how many killers were released into what regions of the world. The richer you were the least amount of killers get released in your area.”
I don’t understand this reasoning. Why release ANY killers?? And how do they determine if anyone is going to kill a person? There are so many different reasons and ways people kill eachother, and I don’t believe it’s something you can determine when they’re a child unless they have some crazy mental problem that makes it likely for them to kill. If you want to use this concept or something similar, I’d tweak it so that it makes more sense…

“It’s experimental, but the world seemed to jump at the idea. I personally used to think it was a good idea.”
I’m sure the poor people weren’t jumping at this idea.

You said that the school was designed to limit the number of killers, but then Alexander said that the school made him one. I’m confused?

“The rocking motion I had fallen into, turned more into a circular rotation as I attempted to keep my head high.”
I’m not sure what this circular rotation would look like... it doesn’t explain/describe this well enough because I can’t picture what it would look like. I’d just take out this whole sentence as it’s not too important.

“…The smell is enough to make anyone pass out.”
I’ve never heard of anyone passing out due to a smell, but maybe that’s just me? Either way, I’d replace “pass out” with “gag” or something, though this nitpick is only one of preference. I would also take out the ellipsis.

“I pulled my knees closer to my chest I could feel myself falling apart.”
This needs either a comma and conjunction or to be two separate sentences. You do this in a lot of places (I didn’t want to list them all) so just make sure you re-read and catch all of them.

“It’s had been silent for a while.”
Either turn "It's" into "It" or take out "had". Depends on which tense you want this story to be in.

“A gasp escaped my lips as the thought passed through my mind.”
What thought? After a few more paragraphs, I still don’t know what was so shocking. Maybe it's supposed to be mysterious (which I like, btw) but I never end up figuring out what that thought was.

Here’s a bit of praise. I do like this new mystery of him hiding in the closet, because it takes a while to understand his situation and it makes readers wonder and look forward to finding out what’s happening.

Okay, back to my nitpicking! :)

“It reminds me when I’m supposed to go to school and when to be home for the night.”
If he wasn’t home he wouldn’t be able to hear it.

“The beat of the tires continued to manage to hit every pothole and minor uplift of concrete thus causing the back of my prison to be a cheapcarni-ride with the safety protocol of a drunken teenager on the roof with a poolwaited two stories down.”
Very long sentence that can be shortened, cut, and divided into separate sentences. “continues to manage to” doesn’t flow at all. Choose one phrase and toss the other! Either it continues to hit every pothole or it manages to hit every pothole. Also it’s not the beat of the tires that hits a pothole but the actual tire, so this should be specified. “poolwaited” should be “pool waiting”, but I’m not too excited about this comparison and I think it should be cut out anyways.

“The tight metal against my wrists continued to remind me of the reality of this situation. I'm sure if it weren't for the cold metal that pressed into my skin, I wouldn't have believed this was even real.”
Watch the double adjectives! When you write descriptions, make sure to toss anything that isn’t unnecessary and only keep what’s needed or what won’t get in the way of making a sentence flow. It’s tough to have to choose what to keep and what to toss (I’ve struggled with this as well), but some things will only drag the flow of your story down. Since “pressed into my skin” already implies that the metal is tight, you can take away “tight” in the first sentence. You also say metal twice, the second use very soon after the first. You could say instead, “The icy metal against my wrists continued to remind me of the reality of the situation. I’m sure if it weren’t for the handcuffs pressing into my skin, I wouldn’t have believed this was even real.”

“My eyes looked down at the handcuffs that covered my pale wrists once more.”
Why “my eyes” instead of “I”? It sounds a bit weird. Your eyes don’t look at something, YOU look at something and use your eyes to do so. It’s the same way you wouldn’t say “My hand grabbed the keys”- you’d say something more like “I grabbed the keys”. Also, you’ve already talked a lot about how the handcuffs are on your wrists. In fact, you’ve said it in three different ways (1. “against my wrists” 2. “pressing into my skin” 3. “that covered my pale wrists”). It’s getting redundant and repetitive, so I’d shorten this sentence to a simple, “I looked down at the handcuffs again.”

“I never tanned well; normally I would just burn. I wish I could hold some type of color. Right now I just look sick, I mean that could just be the situation. Then again Julie last year in science told me I looked like Casper grew up and wore a cheap wig. I really didn’t like her. But she liked my brother…”
This all comes out of nowhere. I’m not sure why Alexander would be thinking about how he doesn’t tan when he’s wearing handcuffs in the back of a police car. I feel like it's an excuse to throw in the fact that he has a brother and what his skin tone is.

“I let out a sigh and pushed back my long black hair. I was going to get it cut, but for the last few months, it’s just grown. It’s longer in the back now, but the front is getting dangerously close to covering my emerald eyes. It’s never been this long. I wonder if I can get it cut here.”
This is obviously here to tell the reader how Alexander looks. I’d either leave this up to the reader’s imagination or slip this description into an action or a situation where his looks would be relevant. Again, I’m not sure why he’s wondering if he can get a haircut when some crazy stuff has been going on.

“I don’t particularly like being yelled at; I honestly can’t imagine anyone who does.”
As Alexander says himself, someone can assume that most people don’t enjoy being yelled at, so this sentence is unnecessary and should be cut out.

“I looked down the fence line I could see another tall fence surrounding the currently one with watchtowers placed at the corners.”
Currently should be current and the second “I” should be “and”.

“The building was three stories at least with half rectangular shape with windows filling the walls with a fancy display.”
You say “with” a lot in this sentence and I don’t know what “half rectangular shape” applies to.

“Her collared dress shirt was buttoned all the way up but the sleeves were rolled to her forearms tucked into her circle khaki skirt that reached right above her knee starting right under her rib cage.”
This is a really confusing and unnecessary description which the reader will not want to read and won't remember later on anyways. And you already described the uniforms of the students a few sentences ago, so that makes this even more pointless.

I would cut down on all the description of these two characters- a lot of it is stuff the reader won’t want to have to remember. What the reader WILL remember is a few quick, vivid, and defining features. They’ll remember that someone has a sly, mocking smile or that someone has solemn grey eyes, but they won’t remember that their sleeves were rolled to their forearms or any other small details like that. It’s not memorable because it doesn’t mean anything. And since it doesn’t mean anything, it should be cut.

Also, I reeaaally don't like how his head was described as being "egg-shaped". Since peoples heads aren't usually compared to eggs, this stuck out to me and he's now "Egg-head" in my mind. ;)

“I watched the woman carefully as I felt a hand on my shoulder.”
You use the word “as” a lot, but it’s not a transition and shouldn’t be used like “and”. If something is happening AS something else happens, they’re both happening at once. You’re using this word wrong in some places, and it seems off to me as the reader.

“Once the cuffs were off, I felt his grip tighten on my shoulder, but it wasn’t painful yet. When Janet left, his grip loosen. As he took his hand back, the male smiled.”
I always hate when people say “the male” or “the female”. Just say “man”, “woman”, “girl”, “guy”… etc. When you call someone a male or a female it’s the most bland and detached description you could give of them.

““Well, that’s a shame. You could have slipped right out of them with small hands like yours,” she giggled. “
The word “giggled” is a pet peeve of mine (as well as the word "smirk".. they're both a bit overused) when it’s used it certain ways, and this is one of them. I get that she has a cheerful personality and all, but she really doesn’t need to “giggle” when she says this. She’s not saying anything funny, so I’d replace giggled with a nice and simple “said”.

...Giggle. I'm sorry, but I really hate that word. xD

About the story itself, you've run into a few cliches (a highschool for special kids, a teenage protagonist, a teenage protagonist whose parents were murdered...) but don't despair! You can pull these cliches off if you have other unique or intriguing things in your story. If you manage to put your own twist on this and write it well, it can still be a good story.

Alright, I am done with my nitpicking and critique. On to the praise!
I like the closet scene a lot, because I get that something is wrong but I don't really understand what's wrong at first. Then you slowly feed me some details and I come to realize where he is, which is cool. School settings and drama (while not always original) are always entertaining. You reveal a lot in this first chapter, so it's good that you kept us in the dark about the murder of Alexander's parents.

I also liked the name. "The Abel and Cain Institution of Higher Learning..." When you know the story of Abel and Cain, this becomes a bit ominous. :)

Okay, hope this helped, hope it wasn't too harsh, thank-you for your review on my work Luminous, and good luck on your story!

-AlyTheBookworm






Thanks for the review. I do want to start off by saying a few things that seemed to be lost within your reading. The whole story is a story that alex is telling in past tense to you, the reader. He begins in an interrogation room (hence present tense. Speaking of, the first case where you pointed out a change in tense, there isn't one. It's present.) alex then tells the story in past tense with interrupting thought in present. When speaking or in thought it is common to use present tense despite a story being in past and as long as I remain consistent, (which I beleive I have. There might be a few hiccups) it's a stylistic choice.

As for some related confusion, please realize that alex is an unreliable narrator. The point of the story (stated both by him and in the blurb) is that he believes his innocent. Some of the reasons he does certain things or words phrases is his personality, for example, his mention of the clock is his reference to time itself. Ah, I'm not going to try and explain everything.

Some of the grammatical errors you found will be helpful in the second draft of this work but some of your "nitpicking" wasn't that helpful. You really were picky about my word choices and sentance structure (although correct you commented that you didn't like them multiple times instead of accepting author's voice) this way of critic did come across as harsh. Some of the things you said are useful, don't get me wrong, but a lot of it was changing my style of writing to yours. This isn't your work and if I want to use the words "giggled" or "mere" allow me to. That's my style of writing and it's the voice I want to give my character.





Sorry that I came off as harsh (really not what I was going for). When I review I read through the story and make notes about what bugs me as I read, and I see a lot of things that bug me in almost everything I read so I'm not singling this out. I did like it- only I'm more than a bit nit-picky and I want to help you out by giving you my honest thoughts. (And everything I said was my honest opinion) I actually tell people to rip up my stories, because I'd like to hear about even their tiniest annoyances and every bit of confusion to make my writing as good as possible. But you should feel free to take whatever helps and ignore anything I said that messes with your style/story. I won't tell you that you need to write this exactly how I want it to be- because, as you said, then it wouldn't be yours.



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Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:54 pm
jimss23 wrote a review...



Yo.

Thought I would pop in a try to do a review. To be honest, I saw all the warning tags and was like "Yes! Another person who writes gritty stuff!", so I came to see if I could offer my services.

Quick disclaimer, I don't do human emotions too well, so if I offend you, don't take it personally. I don't mean to.

Alright, let's do this.

1) So, I will start with overall things. The first section is a bit disjointed. Some of the phrasing is a little wonky. Now, I didn't notice anything that seemed "incorrect" (mostly because I have the grammar skills of a sixth-grader), but it just read a little weird.

2) I understand wanting to keep the beginning ambiguous, but there is a point where you just lose your reader and your getting awfully close to it. I was a little confused about what was happening, and it didn't draw me in as much as I think you want it to. I would advise making it more streamlined and easier to tell what is happening and then have it lead to something that will demand that the reader turns the page to find out what will happen next. Right now, it jumps around a lot and doesn't end on as strong a note as I think you are going for.

3) I like the premise of the story and the idea behind it, but it doesn't feel fleshed out enough. The school just kind of exists because it does. I mean, I know you gave a quick description of why, but it came off sounding vague and bare bones. Now, this could just be the fact that I take way, way too much time world building, but I think it would benefit your story if you really hashed out everything in the back story. What is the major company? How did the government get this morally dubious legislation passed? I want to know more, and I think it is better to know up front. If you want to reveal more behind the scenes of what happened later in the book, I encourage you to do so. The more detail you add, the more real and convincing the world seems.

4) On that note, I think you should also explain how the criminal justice system works in this world because it bears no resemblance to our own. This world violated this kid's Constitutional rights like three or four separate times from what I gathered. Now, if you want any help trying to figure out how to make this world's criminal justice system sort of reminiscent of our own, I can help with that, as I am the child of lawyers and am studying to be a lawyer myself. Just let me know. In any case, I would briefly touch on this world's criminal justice system and the process that got him from point A to point B.

5) "The boy was seventeen or sixteen with a dark complexion with an egg shaped head. He wore a slight smirk, but it didn’t seem threatening and rather calming in a way."

I think the "and" at the end should be an "and it was" so you clarify that the smile was calming.

6) "I’m still trying to process that this was happening."

This phrase is a little redundant and breaks up the flow of the dialogue. I think it would be better to cut it or place it elsewhere.

7) "I gazed back at the woman guard I narrowed my eyes were not appreciating her gesture."

"were" doesn't fit there.

Alright. That's it for me. Thanks for letting me review your work! As a fellow author, I know it can sometimes be a little nerve wracking letting people pick at your drafts, but I hope that I am able to help in some small way. I hope I didn't come off as negative or overly critical. I try to give my honest opinion in my reviews rather than butter people up.

If you need me to clarify anything or if you want any more help with anything, let me know.

Cheers,

Jimmy






Thank you for the helpful review. I had some thoughts about the first chapter and although it is supposed to be confusing I can understand the point that it might be too confusing. What I was going for was two stories being told with the separation of *** when switching between the two stories. I am tempted to place the ticking story first then the one in the truck second.

As for the lack of description of the judicial system and the school itself, I am doing that on purpose. Alex is a fourteen-year-old boy. Now, I don't know how many fourteen-year-old boys you know who don't have much of an interest in politics who can tell you the inner workings who could tell you exactly what goes on and when. Even though he, himself has been through a court trial he still doesn't fully understand what happened or what everything that had been said and done was. As many minors in these type of trails (with state representation) tend to go unaware of what is truly happening an example of this in literature is the novel Monster where it is once again the first-person perspective of a young teen on the charge of murder and yet he isn't certain of everything that is going on in the court even as it happens.

Next, as Alex continues to state that he is not guilty and that he was forced here unfairly please remember, this is Alex's perspective and I have given no information to indicate that he is a reliable narrator and instead am attempting to force the audience to chose whether or not they actually believe Alex as more information is later on revealed.

I have done quite a bit of research in developing this character and the setting but I am not a fan of giving all of the information all at once. Rather, I attempt to spread out the information through different sections of the story as it is explained to Alex himself. As it was stated earlier, Alex knows very little about this place, to him, it's just a threat used like how if you don't get good grades you'll end up working in fast food for your life. More information about the AC Institute is explained through the character Mars, a character who grew up there as would know more about the inner workings and explanations of the school than Alex would.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to review my work and I will be considering the points you have presented carefully. Have a nice day.

Stevie




No one is perfect; not even your reflection.
— Chalkboard Words