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Unto the Darkness part I

by CaptainFinick


Unto the Darkness
Number One
The Lady in the Lake
The grassy island that stretched outwards from the mainland. The grass here was not green nor lively. It was damp and cold and it's colour seemed to have been drained from it; it's vitality drained forever. Tree's hemmed them all in; standing ominously tall and overbearingly looking down upon them. Their bark was cold and crumbling, their leaves a sickly shade of an ugly green.
And, to only add the darkness and gloom of this squalid little world, a thick, icy layer of fog hung in the air; silently drifting about the place.
Several police cars sat about the outstretched piece of land with their lights flashing silently and uniformed Police Constables milled about the place, focusing their various glances on the lake that the land was dipping into. It wasn't long after that another police car added to the swarm and out stepped another PC followed by a woman.
She was tall and thin in a black suit jacket and a black pencil skirt with a white shirt with blue pinstripes and a pair of high heeled shoes. Her hair was long and brown, but tied back in a pony tail, and her eyes werepiercingjade that glistened in the dim light of the dark day. Her lips were plush and braised with faint lipstick. She approached one of the PC's and pulled a Metropolitan Police warrant card from he inside pocket quickly flashing it at the PC.

"Detective Inspector Hannah Granger." She said sombrely "Where's the body?"

The PC indicated the edge of the lake and there, amongst the small, laping, waves, was the dead body of a woman in a sodden dress. She had long black hair that lay in wet sragles and her skin was as white as the dress she was wearing.Other than the dress she wore nothing else.

Hannah knelt down by the edge of the water and looked at the dead body. Her eyes briefly scanned the icy form of the dead girl that lay before her. As far as Hannah coudl tell the girl that lay before her was barely out of her 20's.

"Did she drown?" Hannah asked.

The PC stayed silent for a minute before breaking the silence and saying "She probably drowned."

"Drunk?" Hannah added.

"Who knows..." the PC quietly replied "The Post Mortem'll probably tell us."

"How long until they come and pick her up?" Hannah continued.

"I dunno." the PC said "They'll radio ahead."

"Thank you." Hannah said, a hint of a smile on her lips. Moments later the PC departed and Hannah was left alone with the dead body that was before her.

She looked around. As she exhaled smoke escaped Hannah's lips in the chilled air. It twisted and danced before her eyes like a ballet dancer. An act that never failed to amuse her.

For a moment Hannah caught herself wondering why anybody would kill a young girl like this. What possible motive could they have? Did she have parents that were mising her? That were worrying about her?

Hannah quickly banished any such thought from her mind. She couldn't risk getting emotionaly involved. That never helped and often brought back unpleasant memories. Unpleasant memories of the last time she'd gotten emotionaly involved...

Again Hannah banished the thought from her mind, silently cursing herself.

After several moments of prolonged silence and the chill of the unforgivingly cold air against Hannah's warm skin a second, female, PC approached Hannah. There was a look of concern upon her face.

"Can I help you?" Hannah asked, her voice devoid of emotion.

"There's someone here to see you ma'am." the PC replied. She looked young to Hannah but not as young as the dead girl lying on the edge of the lake. She looked as if this was all new to her so she couldn't have been in the job for long.

"Who?" Hannah asked "And what do they want?"

"Detective Chief Inspector Vile." the PC replied "He's here to investigate the murder."

"But this is my case." Hannah urgently exclaimed.

"Not anymore, love." a strng, male voice said with a MAnchester accent twining it's way through it like a wild vine. Hannah turned to find a man stood behind her.

He was a tall, not exactly thin man with mid length, wavy hazel hair and pale blue eyes thatmade Hannah shiver. He wore a dark grey suit with a purple short and a black tie and a pair of smart shoes all of which was cuddled together by a shin length, charcoal Crombie overcoat with a belt wrapped around it and dangling freely about the place as a brief wind picked up.

Hannah had a bemused expression drawn across his face and she was staring right at the man.

"Don't you worry." the man smiled mockingly "Beneath my aftershave I'm a very nice man!"

"Vile?" Hannah deduced "Are you DCI Vile?"

"The one and only." the man replied "I'm here to investigate a murder."

"Yeah, the PC told me, but this is my case."

"As I just said..." Vile said coldy "This was your case. Mine now, bye bye."

"A...actually I'd much rather stick around." Hannah bargained "And... help."

Vile rolled his eyes and sighed loudly, "If you must. But if you are I'm gonna need a name."

Hannah extended her hand with a brief smile "I'm DI Hannah Granger."

Vile ignored the hand and neglected the smile. He simply walked over to the body and looked down at it, the gentle tipples of the stagnant lake lapping against the bottom of his shoes and glistening the black leather against the dim light.

"Well then." Vile said coldly "Let's solve ourselves a murder.

TO BE CONTINUED


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158 Reviews


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Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:51 pm
Veeren wrote a review...



Hey there, Captain :D

Normally, I'd pick out every small detail I find to fix, but there's just a bit too much here for me to cover.
Okay that came out wrong, I mean there's a lot of content, so I me pointing everything out might make this unnecessarily long.
So to prevent that, I'm gonna try to point out only the major spelling and grammatical errors I find. Hopefully you'll be able to pick up minor ones from what I point out.

I'll start out with the spelling(ish) mistakes I found:

Spoiler! :
It was damp and cold and it's colour seemed to have...


That should be 'its' not 'it's'.

Spoiler! :
... but tied back in a pony tail...


'Pony tail' should be one word.

Spoiler! :
... her eyes werepiercingjade that...


'Were piercing jade'.

Spoiler! :
... warrant card from he inside pocket quickly...


'His', not 'he'.

Spoiler! :
She said sombrely...


That should be 'somberly'.

Spoiler! :
... the small, laping, waves...


That should be 'lapping' and you don't need a comma afterwords.

Spoiler! :
... lay in wet sragles and her...


'Straggles'.

Spoiler! :
... she was wearing.Other than...


Space after the period. Wait, that's not spelling... oops ^.^'

Spoiler! :
... Hannah coudl tell the girl...


'Could'.

Spoiler! :
... were mising her? That were worrying...


'Missing' and you should use a comma instead of question mark, since your character is pondering over the same subject.

Spoiler! :
She couldn't risk getting emotionaly involved.


'Emotionally'. You made the same mistake a few sentences later as well.

Spoiler! :
... a strng, male voice said with a MAnchester accent twining it's way...


That should be 'strong', 'Manchester', and 'its'.

Spoiler! :
... hair and pale blue eyes thatmade Hannah shiver.


You're missing a space here.

Spoiler! :
Vile said coldy...


That should be 'coldly'.

Those were the major spelling errors.
I think I should leave the grammar to you. All it takes is a bit of editing to see what needs work.
The story itself is great.
Keep up the good work :D




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Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:51 am
dogs wrote a review...



Alrighty, Dogs here with your review today! This piece is looking good but certainly could use some touching up. Lets dive in shall we?:

"it's colour seemed to have been drained from it; it's vitality drained.."

Ok, good line, I really love the imagery here, great vocab. HOWEVER! You are breaking a major rule here and it is almost never EVER use the word "it" in your writing unless it adds significantly to your literature. Which in this case I don't believe it does. Always specify the "it," you can always change it out with a "them" if you really need to stop sounding redundant. But "it" is usually a no no.

"and, to only add the darkness and gloom of this squalid little world..."

Wonderful wonderful vocab and imagery here. You use "squalid" very effectively here without making it forced. However, begining a sentence with "and" is usually frowned upon unless it helps the flow, but again you can get away with it in short stories. However, beginning a paragraph with a conjunction is a big no no again.

"And out stepped another PC followed by a women"

This line just sounds awkward and is breaking the flow for me. Maybe throw in some commas and rearrange the wording. A good way to fix these problems is to re read your work aloud to yourself. It's a total pain and I hate doing it... but it really helps all my writing.

"sragles"

I'm not quite sure what this word means, or what you were trying to say with it... I looked it up but I couldn't find a definition for it. Apart from this little misspelling I am really enjoying your word choices in your writing.

"Other than the dress she wore nothing else"

Ok, thats something that is typically common sense to the reader, our image is formed by what you tell us is happening. Therefore if you just say the girl is wearing a pink and pokadotted dress with purple swirls, that is what we'll see. You don't need this line.

"Did she have parents that were missing her? That were worrying about her?"

Ok, "That were worrying about her" is grammatically not a question, either merge these two lines together or just chop of the "worrying" aspect of it.

"Not any more love"

Ohhhhh I can already tell I'm going to love Inspector Vile. I love characters with that style, really develop this guy and his "vileness" or whatever you choose to make him. But egotistical stuck up and arrogantly sassy detectives can never go wrong :).

Ok, intresting interaction between Hannah and Vile... I'd expect a character like Hannah to be more in an outrage about her sudden dismissal and not so willing to compromise. That part seems a little rushed in your writing. I'd suggest Hannah to inquire more about why she's being replaced and some reasoning from Vile. Thats like someone coming to your house and saying: "hey, this is my house now... get out. Thanks." and then you just going along with it without asking why or what prompted that comment. All and all this piece is coming along very well. Maybe a few grammatical errors and you should do a spell check but it's looking good. Definitely cut out a little for smoother transitions. I looovvee your vocab choice most the time, very well written in that regard. Anywho! give me a P.M if you have any questions, I'd be glad to help. I myself am writing a mystery novel also :) The Magnificent Mansion. I wish you the best of luck in your writing though. Keep up the good work!!!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032




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Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:22 am
Audy wrote a review...



Hey Captainfinnicky,

It's Audy here with a review, I can be somewhat blunt/harsh, so just let me know if you have any questions or want to chat this up sometime. Also, remember to take anything I say with a grain of salt. So, enough of the preamble and let's just jump down to it.

The very first thing I noticed: your first sentence is a fragment. This is the FIRST SENTENCE of this entire piece, you don't want to start off with a bad impression. You want to grip and hook your reader, you want to keep me invested. I'd suggest to do a quick proofread, or read your own work out loud - check for common grammar mistakes. There were a lot of fragments and run-ons that I've noticed, a lot of misplaced commas, and a lot of spelling and formatting errors. Check to see if you can't cut anything out. For example:

The grass here was not green nor lively. It was damp and cold and it's colour seemed to have been drained from it


The next thing I noticed was that the next few sentences were repetitive and basically saying the same thing. If the grass isn't green or lively, I already assume that the color is being drained from it. That "it's vitality drained forever" fragment is getting into melodrama and I would avoid that at all costs. A bit further down, you go again to repeat that the trees were an ugly green. Say it once, say it right.

The use of PC to me was grating to say the least. It's not a common abbreviation for "Police Constable", why not just write out "Police" ? or write out "Constable" ? PC is a common use for personal computer, and it's usage here just distracted me from the piece.

She couldn't risk getting emotionaly involved. That never helped and often brought back unpleasant memories. Unpleasant memories of the last time she'd gotten emotionaly involved...

Again Hannah banished the thought from her mind, silently cursing herself.


Here, you are repeating yourself again, and worse, because you are challenging your reader's intelligence. This is like you are putting flashing lights and signs pointing at the fact that Hannah's emotional instability has led her to bad experiences/past. Don't point that sort of thing out. Give it some subtlety, give your readers credit.

He was a tall, not exactly thin man with mid length, wavy hazel hair and pale blue eyes thatmade Hannah shiver. He wore a dark grey suit with a purple short and a black tie and a pair of smart shoes all of which was cuddled together by a shin length, charcoal Crombie overcoat with a belt wrapped around it and dangling freely about the place as a brief wind picked up.


You spend a lot of time describing what your characters wear, whole paragraphs in fact. Unless it's important, don't spend too much time describing it. He wore a dark suit and tie would suffice. But when you get to the whole smart shoes, shin length, overcoat, belts, and all these things - you are seriously bogging down the story. It's as if you've pressed a stop button to what little action there was and have included a commercial break/infomercial mid-way through. That's not the experience we want when we read novels. We want to be engrossed in the story. We want to be engrossed in characters - not what they wear, but how they act towards each other, what they say, what they do and what they want.

I still don't know what it is Hannah wants. I get that she is a police detective, but so what? What makes her special, what makes her interesting? There's not much here to make me want to read on. Maybe spend some time developing your characters and see where that takes you.

The dialogue seems the best part of the story, particularly Vile's dialogue. But it still feels a bit stilted and repetitive at some points. I would review on how to punctuate dialogue and see if you can find a way to keep dialogue interesting.

The most interesting part of this chapter seems to be that confrontation between Vile and Hannah. I would suggest you build that part up just a bit more, so we can get a sense of who these characters are first. I want to know why Vile is there, why he wants to work on this case, what he has against Hannah, etc. And then, I want to know more about Hannah and who she is, what kind of personality does she have? And that way, when we meet them and see them interact, we'll be excited to see how their interactions with each other play out!

I hope this helps.

~ as always, Audy




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Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:03 am
Paracosm wrote a review...



Hey there Finick! I'm going to give you a quick review. I'm going to start the review with some technical issues in the story, like sentence structure, word order, and the like. Next I'll talk about idea, voice, and research. Crime fiction is sort of my thing, so I sincerely hope I can help!

Technical Stuff

The grassy island that stretched outwards from the mainland.

This sentence is a fragment. This means there is a subject but no verb. In this case, you can remedy the problem by removing 'that'. In fact, 'that' may have just been a typo. Either way, with the 'that' in the sentence, it is a fragment.

Tree's hemmed them all in; standing ominously tall and overbearingly looking down upon them.

This sentence is worded awkwardly. What did the trees hem in? The part after the semi-colon has some good description, but the wording is bad. It's an easy fix, I would now use the word 'overbearingly', because ominously pretty much covers that aspect of the description. I would also avoid saying they are 'ominously tall'. Ominously does not really compliment tall very well.

Another quick note, 'Tree's' should be 'Trees'.

Their bark was cold and crumbling, their leaves a sickly shade of an ugly green.

I would take out the 'an' in this sentence, and it would sound great.

It wasn't long after that another police car added to the swarm and out stepped another PC followed by a woman.

This sentence should be broken down into different clauses. The way it's worded right now, there isn't many pauses in the sentence so it reads very awkwardly.

She was tall and thin in a black suit jacket and a black pencil skirt with a white shirt with blue pinstripes and a pair of high heeled shoes.

Here's another instant where you'd be well off breaking this sentence down into clauses.

sragles

I don't think this is a word, I'm sure you meant 'strands'.

Your wording in the latter half of this piece improves drastically. Just go through and read it aloud or to a friend, if anything sounds off, you'll notice.

Unpleasant memories of the last time she'd gotten emotionaly involved...

Nice allusion!

You have a very good voice for this story. It's compelling, once you get past the technical issues. They are the biggest thing bogging this story down. Work hard on your sentence structure and word order, and your voice will be fine. You're only thirteen, and you're doing incredible for your age! All of the technical thing with your writing will come with time and experience, you have a natural knack for voice. Most of the time, it's the other way around. People will struggle with their voice, but the technical issues aren't a problem. Your ahead of the game as far as voice goes!

You have a nice idea, but we don't know much about it yet. With crime fiction, it's a delicate balance between too much information and too little. If you give them too much, they'll solve it too easily, if you give them too little, they'll accuse you of cheating. This only comes with time, experience, and hard work, but it's worth it.

The next thing I want to talk about is research. Research is important for anything you write, so go ahead and get your notebook ready!

In your story, you don't give much detail about the investigation or the crime scene. I suggest you do plenty of research on crime scenes. My TV is almost always tuned to HLN. Most of the time they portray realistic crime scenes. Check out COPS, on Fox, too. That'll give you a lot of insight into active crime scenes. Avoid basing your crime scenes on fictional shows. They are rarely accurate.

Another good idea is to read plenty of mystery. This'll give you insight into how other writers do their crime scenes. For cozy mysteries, stuff like Katherine Hall Page writes, there isn't much that goes into a crime scene. They aren't a common setting in her stories, because her mysteries tend to be more personal and character driven. But for authors like Tami Hoag, you'll see a bit more of the crime scenes because her characters tend to be detectives.

But, don't let research bog you down either. If you are spend too much time focusing on research, you'll more often than not get scared off of the actual writing process. The awesome RoseyUnicorn told me to write until I hit a point where I actually HAVE to research. This is an excellent method.

Well Finick, I hope my review was helpful. Keep up the great work! If you need any help with anything, feel free to PM me. Keep writing!





“Such nonsense!" declared Dr Greysteel. "Whoever heard of cats doing anything useful!" "Except for staring at one in a supercilious manner," said Strange. "That has a sort of moral usefulness, I suppose, in making one feel uncomfortable and encouraging sober reflection upon one's imperfections.”
— Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell