Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Mystery / Suspense

E - Everyone

Devil's Disguise Chapter 2

by maishaywca


Tiana goes up to her room and sits beside the window on her bed. Neighborhood children are playing in the field in front of her house. She is not in the mood to play outside. She doesn’t like the children. They are often mean to her. They call her “weirdo”. But Zara wouldn't do that. Zara wouldn't call her weird.

Tiana became sad. There are no new books to read. There is no one to talk with her. Salma is a very irritating person. She is always busy praising her work and talking big of her home village. She is not a person to gossip with.

Tiana yawns, her eyelids are becoming heavy. “I should take a nap, “she thinks. She removes her glasses to take a nap. Before laying down, she looked through the window. A girly figure is standing before the window in Zara’s house. Tiana is straight on her bed and quickly reached her glasses. There is no one. She jumps of the bed and presses her nose on the window for a better look.

“Oh! Maybe I am thinking too much about Zara. It must be a hallucination. I should go back to sleep.”

Tiana is standing in the middle of a forest. It looks familiar but she can’t remember exactly. Suddenly, she hears someone coming. As the footsteps came closer, she turns around and sees a girl standing. The person she wanted to meet the most, Zara. Tiana felt like her jaw dropping. “Oh, Zara! Where have you been? I missed you…” Before she could finish her sentence, Zara turns and starts to run. Tiana starts running after Zara shouting, “Zara! Stop!” But it seems Zara is not listening. She is running very fast, Tiana following behind her. At a point, Zara stops and turns to Tiana. She looks very pale. It looks like she was kept in ice for a long time. Tiana is panting very fast. She just opens her mouth when suddenly Zara falls down and is being pulled backwards. She is now screaming and shouting, “Tiana, save me. Save me, please!”

Suddenly Tiana feels very dizzy. She can’t stand still anymore. Before falling on the ground, she can see a dark figure standing before her laughing grossly.

Tiana wakes up with a start.

"What a terrible dream that was!" She said, still sweating.

She tries to get up and felt something on her hand. She is surprised to what she was holding. It’s a locket. Zara gifted this to her before leaving. She requested Tiana to keep that safe with her. Since that day Tiana has kept it safely in her dollhouse, locked in the cupboard. She couldn’t find any safer place than the dollhouse because no one would think of it and the cupboard was always locked. That’s the reason why she never wanted Salma to clean her cupboard. “But how did it come in my hand? Strange…”

There's a knock on the door, and her mother comes in. She gives a tight hug to her daughter.

“Had a nap?” she asks smiling.

“Hmm…I was feeling very sleepy.”

“Good. Feeling better now?”

“Yes, maa.”

“Ok…You must…”

Suddenly her eyes fell on Tiana’s hand.

“What’s in your hand, dear?” she asked, frowning.

Tiana looks in her hands for a while and said, “Maa, Zara had gifted it to me.” Her mother smiled and gave her another hug.

“Missing her?”

“A lot, Maa…”

“Don’t be sad. You will get a lot of friends.”

Tiana says nothing and keeps staring at the locket. She knows she won’t get any friend like Zara.

Her mother kissed her on the forehead and said, “Come on, now. You must be hungry. Let’s have dinner.” 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
370 Reviews


Points: 34173
Reviews: 370

Donate
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:14 pm
DarkPandemonium wrote a review...



Hi again, maishaywca! Pan back to review.

Same format as last time. I'll start by reading through the piece and drawing attention to smaller issues, then finish off with my overall thoughts. Grammatical corrections will be shown blue.

She is not in the mood to play outside. She doesn’t like the children. They are often mean to her. They call her “weirdo”. But Zara wouldn't do that. Zara wouldn't call her weird.


I find the sentence structure here very repetitive. Short sentences can be great, but they need to stand out against the rest of the story. Try to vary your sentence length more - connecting some clauses with conjunctions such as 'and' or 'but' or 'so' will allow you to create more diversity. I always remember this source when I talk about sentence length:

Image

It really captures the importance of variation!

Tiana became sad. There are no new books to read.


Your tenses are still a bit inconsistent. 'Became' should be 'becomes', as this story is told in the present tense.

“Oh! Maybe I am thinking too much about Zara. It must be a hallucination. I should go back to sleep.”


Just like I mentioned in the first chapter, I feel like this bit of dialogue only exists to make sure the reader knows what's going on. It sounds quite unnatural to me, not like something a person would really say. I also don't think that someone would say 'it must be a hallucination' in that kind of blasé way - she might be more likely to convince herself that it was a trick of the light, or that she just thought she'd seen something.

She is surprised to what she was holding.


We tend to be surprised at or by things, not surprised to them.

“But how did it come in my hand?


Similarly, I think she'd be more likely to say 'how did it get in my hand?' We don't really use 'come' in this context.

Okie-dokie, that's it for the specifics. I think this chapter is definitely more interesting than the first. The appearance of the girl at the window is intriguing, and I've also been left to wonder about the significance of the dream. I'm glad that we're seeing Tiana's everyday life be disturbed, as that's how you add mystery to a story and draw your readers in.

My biggest pointers for this chapter pertain partially to things that the previous reviewers have mentioned. I do think you really struggle with the show/tell balance. Like Sujana says, there isn't anything wrong with having tell-heavy stories, especially if you have a sort of fairytale vibe going on. However, you still need to make sure that we get something else other than the bare facts. Like Blue says, the narrative feels very dry because the reader is made to feel like an outsider. We don't get much specific insight into what Tiana can see, hear and feel.

I also think the dryness is largely due to the sentence structure issues I've mentioned earlier. If English isn't your native language, I completely understand that changing up your sentence types might be a bit of a challenge, but it's absolutely crucial to keeping the reader interested. If the structure of the writing is monotonous, the whole story feels monotonous. As far as correcting this goes, it really just comes down to you expanding and developing your knowledge of sentence types by reading and writing as much English as you can. It isn't going to happen overnight, but if you keep at it you will improve. For now, I think you should definitely focus on connecting some of your sentences with connectives like 'and', 'but', 'because' and 'so' - words like that will give your story more of a sense of progression. Without anything to link them, the events of the story feel unconnected and aimless. Connectives will help us get a better sense of cause and effect.

As a final point, I feel like you need to develop Zara's character a lot more. Even though she isn't physically present within the story, we should still be able to learn about her personality through how Tiana thinks of her. At this point, you're sort of claiming that Zara was an amazing friend to Tiana without actually giving me evidence. What was their friendship actually like? What was Zara like? How did the two girls differ; what did they have in common? What specific memories does Tiana have of Zara? You don't need to answer these questions all at once, but they should be woven into the narrative. If we're going to care about Tiana's connection to Zara, you need to actually show their friendship, perhaps through flashbacks or just moments of reminiscence on Tiana's part. Just telling us that they were close isn't enough to convince me.

That's all I have to say for now! I hope this helped. I do think this chapter is a step in the right direction, as it introduces far more interesting plot developments and actually leaves me with some questions, but you need to work on varying your sentence structure and showing as well as telling. Neither of those issues are quick fixes, but they can be improved upon with practice.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




User avatar
380 Reviews


Points: 19632
Reviews: 380

Donate
Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:46 pm
Sujana wrote a review...



So, besides what Blue already mentioned in her review, I also have a couple of things to say about the work. I'll be looking a bit into grammar as well, but I also mean to discuss the voice of your work and how you can fully develop it.

She is not in a mood of going to play. Actually, she doesn’t like the children. They are really mean to her. They call her “weirdo”. However, she can’t find anything weird about herself. Zara never called her weird!


Blue mentioned how the work, as it stands, Tells more than it Shows. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. Fairy tales and children books often Tell more than they Show, and it works for them because their function is limited to telling bare-bone stories and teaching hamfisted morals. Some horror stories emulate the style of a fairy tale or a children book, and to add depth they don't depend on what they Show to the reader--these type of stories depend on what they don't Show to the reader.

I can't really think of any good, literature examples, but I recently played Doki Doki Literature Club and there's a poem in there discussing one of the character's abusive fathers, and it's pretty effective in translating the air of dread the character has when they're at home. It has its fair balance of Show and it has its fair balance of Tell--lines like "I like when Papa cooks me dinner" is double layered, it Tells us what the character thinks, but it also Shows us what the character feels by suggesting the Papa doesn't always cook the character dinner. The building pile of things that Papa may or may not do cumulates into the character finally saying "I like it when Papa is too tired to notice me. I like it when Papa is too tired for anything." Which suggests a lot for the reader, and it's terrifying because the character doesn't tell OR show us what happens when Papa isn't too tired for anything.

Anyway, the same can be said of this work. You can still work with the dry storytelling with the justification that the character is still young and childish, but you just need to know what to Tell the readers and what to Show/Suggest to the readers. For example, that quote I just mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, you could phrase it this way:

Spoiler! :
She is not in the mood to play outside. She doesn’t like the children. They are often mean to her. They call her “weirdo”. But Zara wouldn't do that. Zara wouldn't call her weird.

Tiana became sad.


My improvement is a little superficial, but you can probably see that I made the text a little dryer, but it was more deliberate this time. The effect that I'm (or at least, hoping that I'm) conveying is a a lot of subtext under a stretch of simple lines. The text is meant to be plain and confusing so that the reader can ask themselves, "Why do the children call Tiana weird?" "Why is Tiana suddenly sad?" and let them connect the pieces they already have. The repetition of Zara's name leading to the statement of "Tiana became sad" is meant to emphasize that Zara's been away, and make the reader understand Tiana's loneliness a bit better.

It's a rather complex technique, of course, and I suggest mastering Show Don't Tell first before jumping into this, but if you want to stick to the style of writing you have now you can try and see if this method works out for you.

There is no new book to read.


There are no new books to read.

She is always busy praising her work and talking big of her village home.


I think you meant home village, not village home.

To be sure, she put on her glasses. Surely, she sees no one. She thinks it to be her hallucination and fall to sleep.


It's 'falls' to sleep. And I think you should space out the "She thinks it to be a hallucination" and "falls to sleep part." Maybe "She thinks it to be her hallucination, and decides to go back to sleep" would work better.

Before she could finish her sentence, Zara turns and starts to run. Tiana started running after Zara shouting, “Zara! Stop!” But it seems Zara is not listening.


Right, so if you want to stick to past tense, stick to past tense, and if you want to stick to present tense stick to present tense. Usually it sounds better and runs better in past tense, but eitherway you have to be consistent. Change with 'starts'.

She is running very fast followed by Tiana.


"She is running very fast, Tiana following behind her" sounds better, I think. And you need a comma (and usually a conjunction, but the rules are laxer in fiction) to separate different clauses.

Tiana wakes up with a start. “What a terrible dream it was!”


Okay, I expected a dream sequence, but you could maybe make the waking up a little more startling. I'd personally just separate the first sentence with the second sentence, to make a pause for the reader. Observe:

Spoiler! :
Tiana wakes up with a start.

"What a terrible dream that was!" She said, still sweating.


She is surprised to what she is holding.


She is surprised by what she was holding.

She couldn’t find any safer place than the dollhouse because no one would think of it and cupboard was always locked.


and the cupboard was always locked.

The door knocked and her mother comes in.


Doors can't knock because they're usually made of wood or any other inanimate material. What you're thinking of is "there's a knock on the door." Also, put a comma behind 'and'.

“What’s in your hand, dear?” she asked frowning.


Put a comma behind 'frowning'.

Anyway, that's just my advice. It was an interesting read and I'm glad I took the time to look through it. I understand you're an ESL like me, so my suggestion is read a lot of English fiction and practice, because those two really help. Add to your vocabulary by reading the dictionary every now and then, take notes of phrases that you don't understand, and consider analyzing English books/stories you like and why you like them (according to the prose and the story beat). Hope you have fun editing.

--Elliot.




maishaywca says...


Thank you very much!

I really need that kind of help... This is my first English novel. So, you can understand it's very difficult for me to express everything correctly. I am trying my best. I will try to change the sentences as you advised.
Thanks again!



maishaywca says...


Hey, I have made some changes. Hope it's good.



User avatar
1399 Reviews


Points: 97371
Reviews: 1399

Donate
Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:39 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...



Hi there!

So I think my main issue with this story is that it's very dry. You tell us what Tiana does but the emotion doesn't really come through because it's just a straightforward "she does this, then she does this, then she does this, then she does this."

Tiana is feeling very sleepy. So, she removes her glasses to take a nap. Before laying down, she looked through the window. For a second, she thought she saw a girl standing before the window in Zara’s house. To be sure, she put on her glasses. Surely, she sees no one. She thinks it to be her hallucination and fall to sleep.


Here, for example. In the very first sentence, you say "Tiana is feeling very sleepy." This is the sort of thing where showing vs. telling comes in. Rather than telling us Tiana feels sleepy, think about how it feels to be sleepy. Does Tiana yawn? Are her eyelids heavy? Is she already in bed, or is she somewhere else? Does she have trouble getting up and moving to the bed? Instead of saying "she feels sleepy," use some of these details to show us that she feels sleepy.

Then you take what could be a tense moment - when Tiana thinks she sees a girl in the window of Zara's house - and suck all the tension out of it by giving us the bare facts and nothing else. Tiana takes off her glasses. Tiana lies down. Tiana looks out the window. Tiana thinks she sees something. Tiana puts on her glasses. Tiana doesn't see anything. Tiana decides she was imagining things and goes to sleep.

I don't even know how Tiana feels in this moment. She's sleepy at first, but what about when she sees something - or thinks she sees something - in Zara's window? Is she scared? Excited? Think about how she might react physically. Putting her glasses back on, sure, but what else? Does she jolt upright? Does she calmly reach for her glasses, look outside, and think, "Oh, I was wrong?" Or does she scrabble for her glasses, jam them on her face, press her nose to the window for a better look, feel disappointed when she realizes she was wrong?

Details like this, rather than a recitation of the facts, will make the story come alive.




maishaywca says...


Oh! Thank you very much.
Actually, this is my first novel in English. So, there are many mistakes. Thanks for telling me. I will add the things you advised.

Thanks again for helping.



BlueAfrica says...


No problem!



maishaywca says...


Hey, I have made some changes. Hope it's good.




Memories, left untranslated, can be disowned; memories untranslatable can become someone else’s story.
— YiYun Li