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Bitter Oracle - Chapter 5 - Cold Tea Kind of Girl

by papillote

Let's leave Stephen Carlin for a while (Prologue and Chapter 4) and go back to our main protagonist. In Chapter 3, Bitter made a sexual conquest. Now, it's the dreaded morning after.

So sorry, it's a brief, slow chapter, but I think it's important to set a big part of Bitter's character - her voluntary isolation. Please, tell me what you think about it in the reviews.

It’s probably not a testament to the kind of life you have led when you have a modus operandi for kicking strangers out of your bed in the morning. Well, I have never pretended I was a saint.

First step. First step actually didn’t require any action on my part. I just woke up. Usually, it didn’t take much effort: I didn’t sleep well with other people and I kept coming to, then falling back asleep all the time. Around dawn, it got to be too annoying, and I just started wishing the person would leave.

Second step. I suppose my second step could be shaking the bugger awake and throwing them out, but I was just not that rude – not this early in the morning, anyway. So, second step was slipping out of bed as quietly as possible. I shut myself into the bathroom to shower and slip into whatever was currently hanging on the drying rack.

Third step was breakfast. Too early to make something elaborate. I took a cup of cold tea and an apple onto the window ledge. I could live someplace less shabby – it’s not a rent issue, but I loved the view on the river I had from my kitchen. It was especially beautiful in the morning. It was a palette of soft pinks, pale purples and light blue-grays.

Fourth step. Fourth step was just that – watching the sun rise over my city. I basked in the quiet and loneliness. Maybe I was strange, but a night of togetherness was all I could handle. Once I felt like I could deal with someone else again, I moved on to the fifth step.

Fifth step. I went back into the bedroom and I knelt on the bed. One-night-stands were rarely as attractive in the morning. There were snores, unruly tufts of hair and panda eyes. It wasn’t often that I felt like going back for seconds. At this stage, I limited physical contact to a hand on the shoulder and a shake.

“Hey, sorry,” I whispered. “I’ve got to run. You want something to eat? Coffee? Tea? Cereals? Toasts?”

Sometimes, it took a couple of repetitions to get them awake and moving.

Sixth step. Sixth step was pure avoidance. Getting the person under the shower while I cooked breakfast. Busying myself with chores while they ate.

Seventh step. Seventh step was inevitably awkward. My “guests” never saw themselves out. I had to escort them to the door. My hallway had seen countless tense conversations like, “Well, I guess I should go…”


Titter. “I don’t even know your name.”

“Don’t sweat it. “Brownie” is fine.”

“It’d look strange on my phone.”

“I imagine it would.”

Usually, it was enough disinterest to get the door slammed into my face.

Sorry,” I often wanted to say. “Believe me, you don’t want to care about me.

That was one conversation Bitter was in a hurry to get away from. To find out what she might say if she wished to participate in a conversation, read Chapter 6.

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550 Reviews

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Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:53 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi papillote,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

This was an interesting and well developed chapter for trying to give Bitter more depth. I liked the chapter in the sense that you can see the points she lists and ticks off is like a prayer she repeats over and over again. I realise that Bitter, likes to get involved in something but may even regret it afterwards once it reaches the point where it can't go back.

What I really liked was the confidence you built up when she was alone and thinking through the plan, but lost it as soon as she is in contact with someone else. I think that shows not only that she is punishing herself in a way, but doesn't really know what else to say herself after a one-night stand.

I especially like the conversation at the end, which showed me a bit that Bitter is also ashamed at the end, maybe blaming herself for a lot of things or for something specific. The simple apology she wants to say is also a defensive reaction on her part that she probably has from childhood. (I'm certainly going too far into her character there now. :D)

I actually rarely pay attention to the names of a chapter, as you're not supposed to judge a book by its appearance, but I like the description you give here to represent Bitter. It has a purposeful meaning for me, like the coldness of the bed after a night's sleep or being forgotten.

What I also noticed was that your sentences get a bit bigger with each new step you list. In the beginning they were structurally short and without a subordinate clause, but with being awake longer, they also became longer and with a subordinate clause or in a different structural form.

It was a strange and yet very fascinating chapter. I like Bitter's portrayal and continue to be curious to see how the story will unfold the further you read.

Have fun writing!


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Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:17 pm
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ExOmelas wrote a review...

Alrighty, little later in the day today. Blame the tennis. Also Simona Halep is basically me and her win today makes me unbelievably happy :D

Nit-picks and nice moments:

First step. First step actually didn’t require any action on my part. I just woke up. Usually, it didn’t take much effort: I didn’t sleep well with other people and I kept coming to, then falling back asleep all the time. Around dawn, it got to be too annoying, and I just started wishing the person would leave.

The tenses are quite strange here. It should definitely be past tense when describing the actions she does. But I think things that remain true for Bit should probably be in present tense eg "I don't sleep well with other people", unless the point in her life Bit is telling us this from is so dramatically different that this doesn't apply anymore... or she's telling us from beyond the grave I guess, which I wouldn't put past this story.

Fourth step. Fourth step was just that – watching the sun rise over my city.

"just that" doesn't really make any sense. What is "that" referring to?

Getting the person under the shower while I cooked breakfast. Busying myself with chores while they ate.

Just remembered I wanted to express my love for the lgbt+ representation. Idk whether Bit is gay or bi (this makes me think bi, which made me really excited and is why I highlighted it) but either way not making a big deal out of the same-sex nature of this encounter is my favourite way to do representation <3


You know what I'm going to say. Where is this taking the story? There isn't a great deal of point in me going on about this too much since I'm behind on chapters and I already know what's in the next one, but it's what my feedback is, so I can't exactly not mention it at all either.

I do love that Bit is living up to her name. She takes something relatable - hurt, self-loathing - and uses it to push people away in a very abrasive manner. That's like the definition of being bitter. You are doing her character very very well. I also think the chapter's slightly ironic tone suits this, and works very well to support the final line of characterisation, so good job there!

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)

p.s. I now understand how chapter 6 was only just getting to the support group :P

papillote says...

Still a slow burn. I was thinking bi, initially, but I'm not so sure anymore. I told my sister about this story and she said, 'Hm hm, bisexuality, of course, if she's self-destructive', which isn't exactly what I had in mind. More like, she's bi because she's bi and she's self-destructive in the way she treats her partners.

papillote says...

PS: I've no idea who Simona Halep is, I had to look it up on Google. Tennis, uh? My family is more soccer :)

ExOmelas says...

That is an... interesting... view on bisexuality. I don't think any sexuality is any more suited to her than any other, but bi rep makes me happy cos there's less of it ^.^

Yeah, not many people know tennis, was just a long shot because afaik you're french and it was the French Open. British TV is full of Wimbledon when it's on xD

papillote says...

I've friends who love tennis. They even went to Roland-Garros one year. They said it was hell because it's so crowded. But it's not 24/7 on TV like the World Cup or stuff like that.

ExOmelas says...

ah, fair

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494 Reviews

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Fri May 18, 2018 5:48 pm
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Holysocks wrote a review...

Hey there! I thought I'd come down here and exercise my reviewing muscle!

I really really liked that you put a brief description of what happened in the last chapter! As someone that often jumps in to review chapters in the middle of a story, it really does help make you feel like you know a bit more of what's going on- so I'm not like grasping at straws trying to figure out the story!

As you said, this is a short chapter, but I agree that it really does seem to lend a lot to the character! I honestly didn't think it would, and am not normally a fan of morning scenes for their common boring nature, but the whole "how to get rid of last night's one night stand" was pretty comical- in a very somber kind of way.

One thing that I think may improve things a little in this chapter is at the end having a bit of dialogue with Bitter(?) and the current guy in her place. Maybe it was intended that the convo was from that guy? But it was sorta implied that it was just a past convo, and as readers we're not super interested in past convos. I think having a tinyyyy bit more interaction with the actual guy in her place might spice things up a bit. I guess I can understand if he's not at all going to be a part of the story here-on-out, buuuut I still think a little minimal conversation or something might be nice.

The only other thing I wanted to mention was in your dialogue at the end there, it gets a little confusing who's talking. And by confusing I mean, if we're super on top of things and read it carefully, we'll be able to deduct who's talking. BUT a lot of time people (or maybe it's just me) read sorta quickly or not exactly with super clear brain waves- so when it's not made known who's talking pretty regularly, you end up having to go back and reread to figure out who is saying whatttt and it gets kinda tiring. So what I'm saying is don't be afraid to use "he said/she said/they said". A lot of people think that adding "he/she/they said" is just wordy and unnecessary, but most people don't even really notice it while they're reading, and it just grounds in the knowledge of who's saying what. And as long as you keep it simple like "he said/she said" and not "he thundered/she palpated" it's not going to be too wordy or distracting. c:

Anyways, that's just my thoughts! Best wishes on the novel writing! c:


papillote says...

Thanks for the review.
I totally understand your point of view. I will probably re-work this chapter, and I will keep your comments in mind. I wasn't completely surprised to read them.
I intentionally left the dialogue at the end vague. Part of it was that I wanted it to give off a "that's how it always goes down" vibe. It's not necessarily supposed to be an exciting or eventful chapter. I'm only trying to set up the scene before the action finally starts in the next chapter.
And then, there was also the fact that it's heavily implied that the one-night-stand is a girl Bitter picked up in Chapter 3 (she already used the nickname 'Brownie') and it's a pain in a ass to do that kind of dialogue between two people of the same gender ("she said/she said" -> who did?!)
But I understand why it would feel a little slow and confusing.

Holysocks says...

Ah I see! Well, in the event of having dialogue with two genders- yeah names are useful- like replace "she" with "Bitter" or "Brownie". Yeah I was a little confused by the use of "Brownie", I wasn't sure if it was the name of the other lady or what.

papillote says...

That's confusing. I'll definitely work some more on this chapter. Thanks.

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37 Reviews

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Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:55 pm
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Boluk wrote a review...

Wow. This story has me pretty astounded. You put so much depth and character development in this story which I can tell even though I've never read any of your previous chapters. Your main charachter seems to be going through vast struggles in their life I assume. So I hope you are able to show even more charechter development in your character. You can feel the Bitter is well bitter. You feel like her. You feel like you've done all you can and there's nowhere else to go other than endless sadness and despair. You made me feel all those emotions from just one chapter. And for that I give you 4 and a half brownies out of five. Roughly an A. So all in all make more of these gosh dang it! There great.

papillote says...

Wow, thank you. I'm glad you liked it. I hope you also enjoy the next few chapters. I'll try to finish my other story and maybe publish another chapter in this one before review day.
Thanks for the review.

Boluk says...

As Maui from Moana once said: "your welcome!"

I am and always will be optimist, the hoper of far-flung hopes, the dreamer of improbable dreams.
— 11th Doctor