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Tell Me How To Help You (Chapter 1 - Mori)

by writergirl528

I’ve tried so hard. But I’m tired of hiding.

My father is an abusive drunk who spends half his paycheck on alcohol and drugs. My mom works three jobs and survives daily beatings. My older siblings give us as much money as they can. My younger sister lives in the attic so that he won’t find her. My younger brother and I take on all of his wrath to protect the others, but… I don’t know how much longer I can lie about my injuries. The beatings get worse if we get bad grades or break any rules, so my siblings and I have all been top of our classes with perfect disciplinary records. We want to spend as much time away from home as possible, so we’re all in clubs or teams or councils and started working as soon as we could.

This is the reason I’m Student Council President. This is the reason I participate on over half of the sports teams. This is the reason I work two part-time jobs. Not because I’m a hard-working honor student aiming for university. Sorry to disappoint.

Today was the last day of summer break. Our mom takes us to her parent’s house for summer and winter breaks on the grounds that we should know our grandparents. Our father grudgingly allows it as long as Grandma and Grandpa send back a good report (which they always do). Breaks are our only relief from the constant abuse, our time to heal.

But tomorrow we go back.

Tomorrow we return to abuse and terror. Tomorrow I have to pretend that everything is fine. Tomorrow the Student Council meets for the first time to double-check the rules for the year. Tomorrow the students will flood the high school and find their classes. Tomorrow I smile and wave and hand people schedules and make a pretty speech to students who aren’t listening.

Driving home, my little sister asks my mom, “Why can’t you send us to Grandma and Grandpa permanently and transfer us to the school there? It’s not like there’s anything tying us to Father’s house.”

My younger brother immediately scolds her, “Kara! That would leave Mom to deal with Father alone. Plus, don’t you think he’d follow us? We shouldn’t expose them to that!”

Kara immediately backs down. “Yeah. Sorry. I wasn’t thinking. My only thought was avoiding Father. Please forget I said that, Mom. I didn’t mean it.”

Mom shakes her head. “It’s okay. I’ve had similar thoughts before. But Conor is right, your father would chase you down - if we ran, or even just you, none of us would escape. We just have to survive until all of you graduate.”

“What about you, Mom? When will you escape?” I ask, concerned. “Our graduation won’t save you, only us.”

Mom just smiles sadly. “I’ll find a way. Maybe I’ll run away or divorce him once all of you are safe. You should just focus on school and surviving.”

We fall silent for the rest of the ride. When we get to our street, Mom stops to let Conor and Kara out. We learned long ago that Father often becomes angry when we return, so to keep the younger ones safe, they circle around and sneak in through the roof. Thankfully, he’s out drinking, so he probably won’t even remember that we were gone.

I need to prepare for tomorrow. Time to get ready for hell.

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6 Reviews

Points: 45
Reviews: 6

Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:54 pm
GlasweJane wrote a review...

First thoughts:

A heartbreaking start to a hopefully great and rewarding read! Abuse is a tough topic to write about, but I'm glad you decided to tackle it. Fingers crossed that circumstances improve for our main character and I can't wait to read more!


I like the strong focus on the family, however broken it may be. I admire the mother's sacrifice for her children and how she prioritises them completely and does her best to protect them. I'm hoping the siblings will provide some back-and-forth banter throughout the book. Yes, their situation isn't the best, but humour between siblings during these times is a good opportunity for some comic relief. They all seem to have a good connection, which is nice.

Any critiques:

This is a completely personal opinion, but I prefer a little more description when reading, as I find this helps to set up the story even further. For example, the character's ages. Yes, we know some siblings and older and some younger, but by how much? And maybe even a little more information on the grandparents. This is just me being very picky though, and I'm sure you'll elaborate on these details throughout the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed this first part.

Thank you xo

Thanks for providing a thorough response! I am aware that I have some trouble with dialogue (as do most people) but I will try to take your suggestion about the banter. I think (haven't quite written this far yet, though) that the characters' ages will come up in later chapters and I too and hoping that I have a chance to introduce the grandparents later on. I haven't fully decided on their characteristics, but they seems interesting! Thanks for your thoughts.

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Points: 0
Reviews: 0

Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:57 am
writergirl528 says...

I have a request for any reviewers! Though I'm a little late in saying this since some people have already commented. Would you be willing to take a careful look at my grammar, punctuation, and word choice/usage? I need all the help I can get, and I don't have anyone at home to proofread or edit for me. Thanks!

Sorry for the repeated post but I can't seem to delete either one...

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Points: 0
Reviews: 0

Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:57 am
writergirl528 says...

I have a request for any reviewers! Though I'm a little late in saying this since some people have already commented. Would you be willing to take a careful look at my grammar, punctuation, and word choice/usage? I need all the help I can get, and I don't have anyone at home to proofread or edit for me. Thanks!

User avatar
52 Reviews

Points: 1178
Reviews: 52

Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:35 am
BhavyaMehta123 wrote a review...

Hi! I feel your story gave me all the answers as a reader. I hope this novel ends on a great note. The first chapter you have unveiled is heartbreaking . Especially, the last lines where narrator says, " Time to get ready for hell." Life of narrator, her siblings and mother is rough.
Imaging, a life, which narrator and her family lives is no less than hell. Seeing them smile in these circumstances and knowing there is no alternate to it pinches me as a reader.
Overall I think your work was well- written.Also, all the best for other chapters of your novel and your future works as well.

Thank you. I'd like to see what you think of the next few chapters as well, since I use them to introduce a few new characters. Kamorina isn't the only main character, so it switches perspective for a bit. I'd love to hear your opinions on the others, too.

Sure I would love to read and review them.

Random avatar

Points: 8
Reviews: 10

Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:58 am
EvaR14 wrote a review...

Hi, thanks for writing this!
I think you have a good grasp of the premise of the story, which is a good start for writing anything. I suggest writing a plan/plot to follow, if you continue this story.
My main advice would be to develop your characters. Perhaps making character profiles and mapping out the relationships between the characters (particularly how they relate to the protagonist) could be helpful for adding to this aspect of the story.
I also recommend trying a "show, don't tell" technique where, rather than just telling us that the father is an abusive drunk, and the older sister saves money, you could show the father being abusive, and show the sister saving money.
You can find other good advice tips to improve writing on YouTube/on the Internet. I can find some and send them to you, if you want, or else you can find them on your own.
Good luck continuing the story, and again, thanks for writing :)

I like your idea of showing it. I may have some difficulty with that for the first few chapters because it's the exposition, and I'm sort of writing mostly the character's thoughts for now. I'll keep it in mind though! Thanks for the advice.

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103 Reviews

Points: 268
Reviews: 103

Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:56 pm
JesseWrites wrote a review...

The first paragraph is long and can be broken up. The family in this is ruined because of the father, but that topic is overused and old. The kids having great grades is the same. It is always the mom being beaten half to death. There is nothing creative and new.

Your other paragraphs are either small or just snippy sentences. It reads like a list when that happens. I may come off as harsh, so I apologize for that inconvenience.


Thanks for your advice. I don't think I'm taking this where you expect, but you might be right and my entire storyline is a total cliche. I was trying to use the short paragraphs to emphasize things, kind of like when you have a thought that just hits you and you're sighing and that's all you're thinking about. I guess I was just writing stream-of-consciousness style. It might be a bit before the next chapter comes out, but please provide more advice then!

I'm worried about the tigers just kinda roaming around like that, Jack.
— David Letterman