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The Sticks [Chapter Four] - REVISED

by 4revgreen


4. The Actual First Day Of Year Seven

Nothing that wouldn’t heal, was what the doctor had said about my injuries.

Dad dropped me off at the same time as Journey and Dexter on the third day of term, and made sure they walked me all the way to my tutor room. He’d spent the last two days worrying about me as I had my leg plastered. I’d broken it in two places, but aside from that all the other wounds were superficial.

“Kids don’t actually flush your head down the toilet and steal your lunch money,” Dexter told me as he swung my bag around, after having helpfully volunteered to carry it for me. “That’s only in American movies. If a kid doesn’t like you, they’ll just fight you and then you’ll be friends again after that. Last year, Aaron in my maths class set up what he called a ‘fight club’ on the AstroTurf by the English block, and like, six boys got suspended for fighting.”

Journey gave him a quick, playful punch in the arm. “That’s boys though. Girls don’t fight, they just bitch about each other behind their backs until a teacher gets involved. Then everyone cries and then they’re friends again. No need for violence!”

Rubbing his sore arm with his free hand, Dexter laughed. “Oh god, the amount of times I’ve heard girls bitching about you! Now I can see why! Plus, you literally just used violence against me, so your point is invalid.”

She punched him again, a little harder this time. I cleared my throat, trying not to laugh.

“I thought you were meant to be giving me advice, not trying to scare me. I don’t think I’ll be getting into any fights today, anyway. I’m basically a cripple.” I raised one of my crutches and hit Dexter in the arm too.

“Hey! Don’t hit me! Hit her!” He yelped, so I did. We almost collapsed in a fit of laughter as we entered the school building, and a passing teacher shushed us.

The school building was old, though they’d tried to cover it with a few licks of fresh paint. Its true age showed through the cracks and stains that covered the cold stone floor. My crutches echoed down the hallway as I hobbled along, hoping I didn’t look ridiculous but at the same time not really caring if I did. The door to my tutor room was propped open by the recycling bin, already filled with paper. Dexter handed me back my bag as we approached it and smiled.

“Find me if you need me. I’ll probably be hanging around the stairs in the music block or something.” Then he strutted off down the corridor, as he must have done a thousand times before. This was his last year here, he didn’t have all five remaining, stretching out in front of him like a racetrack. He’d nearly finished the 100 metre sprint, I was just starting the 500 metre hurdles. But that was Dexter - he just drifted through life like it didn’t touch him. It all came easy. He wasn’t the smartest, but smart enough. He knew how to talk to people, how to keep friends, how to win over the teachers.

Journey smiled too. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” I could tell she didn’t really know what else to say to me.

“Very reassuring, thanks.”

“Don’t be like that, Cas. If you stop being so pessimistic all the time then the world will stop seeming so bad. Put a smile on that face and you might finally make some friends. You can’t spend five years moping about on your own.” She looked into my eyes and I smiled the fakest smile I could force my face to make, and with a sweep of her long bleached hair she was gone.

The classroom was packed full with curious faces, all staring at me with a kind of hungry look in their eyes as I entered.

My tutor, a short middle aged woman with a long, thin scar running across her left cheek, looked up from her computer. “Oh! You must be Castle Graham, yes?”

I heard a few sniggers fire around the classroom, and so fired back with a glare. “Yeah.”

“Well, Castle, you can sit at the front here,” She gestured to an empty table, directly opposite hers. “I’m glad you could join us today, have you got your timetable and everything?”

I nodded and sat down in the cold plastic chair, leaning the crutches against the edge of the table. A boy sat at the table to the right of me turned his head. He hadn’t gone to my junior school, so I didn’t recognize him. He just looked like every other boy in the class, and probably in the school. Average, most likely mediocre at everything he did.

“What happened to you?” His eyes were scanning each scrape and bruise that spanned my face, so I raised my hand to my cheek and blocked his view.

“I got hit by a Honda Civic going forty miles an hour in a thirty zone.”

His mouth gaped open, like I’d just told him something horrific. “Did it hurt?”

“No, not one bit,” I joked, but his expression didn’t change so I leant closer to him. “It hurt like a bitch.”

My tutor shushed the class and sat back down at her seat. “Well, Castle - do you prefer Castle or Cas?”

Shrugging, I pulled my timetable out of my bag and quickly skimmed through it till my eyes approached Wednesday. My first lesson was P.E - how ironic.

The same boy was still looking at me, all beady-eyed like I was some freak attraction at a circus. “Your name is actually Castle? Like, actually?”

“Thomas, leave the poor girl alone. It’s her first day!” My tutor switched on the interactive whiteboard and a powerpoint about making the most of our time at the school flashed up.

I turned my head towards Thomas, and mirrored his expression. “Your name is actually Thomas? Like, actually?”

The rest of the day crawled by as slow as a paraplegic toddler. I couldn’t join in the sports, I had to sit on a bench and watch sixty or so girls in blue polo shirts and shiny shorts learn how to play tennis. The question “What happened to you?” was asked at least twenty times, and each time I answered with a different story.

“My mum decided she wanted an abortion but she was eleven years too late.” was the one that gained the most confused look. Close behind was “I served Gordon Ramsey a raw steak.”

I couldn’t join in with the activities in drama, I just had to bring the lights up for each five minute performance, and dim them again after everyone had finished giggling. That was the biggest shame of the day, because I actually enjoyed acting. I tried to convince my teacher, Mrs. Miller, that I was capable of acting even with my crutches, but she was too concerned about health and safety to let me. Everyone in my classes seemed to be photocopies of each other, with each copy slightly more blurred than the last. I knew I was just like them really, but I didn’t want to be. I’d have to find some way to make myself stand out whilst also fitting in just enough to not be bullied. When lunch time finally rolled around, I was completely drained of any energy I’d had when I awoke in the morning and so I hid myself away in the library.

The library wasn’t very impressive, but it was quiet, and that would do. I chose a table next to the poetry section and pulled my notepad out of my bag. The cover was battered from being hit by the Honda Civic, and the pages were close to falling out. It made a thump as I dropped it on the table, and I flicked it open to a page that was half filled with something I’d been working on. Nothing revolutionary, but I was eleven years old. No eleven year olds can do anything revolutionary, at least not in Britain.

“What are you writing?” There was suddenly a boy sitting opposite me, I hadn’t heard him approach. He leant across the table, his head propped up by one arm, stubby fingers spread out across his red cheeks.

I shielded my book with my arm, protecting my words from his view. “Nothing.”

“Is it a poem? Because if it is, that’d be very appropriate right now.” He didn’t move, not taking his eyes off of mine. That was my thing, the blue-eyed death stare, the cold and unwelcoming stance. I’d spent the whole summer trying to perfect, convinced that one day I could play the villain in a spy movie. Why was someone else doing it, and equally as well as I could?

“Because we’re in the poetry section?” Our eyes were still locked, unblinking, like some strange staring competition. First to blink is the weakest.

“Because my name is Poet.”

First he stole my stare, and then proceeds to have an unusual name as well? As I bore my eyes deeper into the soul behind his eyes he blinked and lost the game, looking away to the side. “That’s a stupid name.”

It wasn’t like I wanted to talk to him - having an unusual name wasn’t a personality trait but it did show that his parents probably wanted him to be different. And it’d worked, because the more I looked at him, the more I realised how strange looking he really was. Short, and chubby, yet his features weirdly defined as though he were skinny. The uniform fit him just right, like it was tailored, and one eyebrow was significantly more raised than the other, giving him a permanent puzzled expression.

“I bet yours is too, isn’t it?” He smiled, his lips parting to reveal a large gap between his two front teeth “Go on, what’s your name?”

It came out as almost a whisper, as I hadn’t been wholly prepared to encounter anyone in this dusty old library. “Castle.”

He slapped the table with his palm, leaning back in the seat. “I knew it! Just as stupid as mine!”

That made me laugh. He grinned cheekily as he leant towards me again and motioned for the notebook I was still shielding from his view. I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to slide it across the table to him. It was a poem, scribbled down whilst I’d been in the hospital. Nothing good, but I’d tried as hard as I could to portray the betrayal I’d felt when I’d been deprived of that first day at school.

“It’s not very good,” I admitted as I pushed it over to him. “And you might not be able to read my writing, but if you can’t I’m not reading it out to you.”

His eyes quickly darted back and forth across the page, slowly soaking in each word. “I like it. I like how it rhymes, kind of childish, showing how you’re still a child and that’s why you’re moaning about missing your first day.”

I squinted my eyes at him, and he raised his hands in defense. “My parents like poetry!”

“I can tell, Poet the Poet.”

“And you’re parents are fans of castles?”

“Shirley Jackson, actually. Do you know her book, ‘We have always lived in the castle’?” He nodded. “Well, I was this close to being called Merricat. Not Mary Katherine, just Merricat.”

“I was nearly called Gavin, which I think is much worse than Poet. I like Poet, although now there’s a sort of building pressure on me to actually become a poet.”

“At least there’s no pressure on me to actually become a castle,” I laughed, and he did too.


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Thu Mar 19, 2020 7:43 pm
Liberty wrote a review...



Heya Green!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight. I'm here to drop off a review for you once again!

Ahh! I'm so glad nothing happened to Castle after the accident! <3 Also, the relationship she and her siblings have is absolutely and I want to pinch everyone's cheek but I have a feeling that Castle Would Not Approve. xD

But that was Dexter - he just drifted through life like it didn’t touch him.

Stahp with the over dramaticness, Castle. It's because he's older and he gets through the tough stuff before you do!!

The classroom was packed full with curious faces, all staring at me with a kind of hungry look in their eyes as I entered.

"Hugry look" oh my lord that is creeepyyyy.

I heard a few sniggers fire around the classroom, and so fired back with a glare.

KICK THEIR - *ahem* Sorry I guess I got too hyped about Castle "firing back with a glare" BUT ATTA GIRL YOU GO!!!

“I got hit by a Honda Civic going forty miles an hour in a thirty zone.”

His mouth gaped open, like I’d just told him something horrific. “Did it hurt?”

“No, not one bit,” I joked, but his expression didn’t change so I leant closer to him. “It hurt like a bitch.”

LOL I LUV U CAS SO MUCH

“Well, Castle - do you prefer Castle or Cas?”

CAS CAS CAS CAS CAS

“Your name is actually Thomas? Like, actually?”

YOU'RE KILLING ME STAAAAP LOL Castle is awesome!!

Ooh, and I like this new guy! Unusual name, stealer of Castle's spy villain roll in her future. I love. I have a feeling we won't be seeing Poet much considering we haven't heard anything about him in the first and third chapter. But maybe he'll come out in the next chapters? I dunno, I'll just have to move along and check out the next chapters soon! c:

I don't have much else to say now, I'll move onto the next chapter soon because I am really enjoying this story! Brava! I hope this review helped in some sort of way~

[maqruee]And as always...[/marquee]

Keep on writing!

~Hedwiggle Potter




4revgreen says...


Thank you so much <3



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Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:49 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hey there!

Yay, I love 11 year old perspective Castle chapters. I love the complete mood switch between each chapter - when Castle is older, the tone of the chapters are super dark and moody and full of anguish. These ones are giddy and fun and perfectly 11-year-old with all of Castle’s sarcasm and imagination (her making up those various scenarios about what happened to her - haha).

having an unusual name wasn’t a personality trait but it did show that his parents probably wanted him to be different.


Not sure how I feel about this - parents wanting him to be different reasonings doesn’t stick with me very well. Something like “I relate to people with weird names because of my own” seems better, just because Castle’s assumption feels a little flat. That being said, I love Poet’s name. I’m curious how his character will impact the story.

Speaking of Poet, him popping up out of nowhere was a slight bit weird. It felt like Pop! Hello, I’m Poet. Why is he in the library? I’m assuming he eats his lunch in the library, too, but I think some back-and-forth dialogue concerning why they’re both there could be great - not only to fill the reader in, but also as a way of developing their relationship (maybe Poet doesn’t like people - Castle is intrigued by this because everyone at school is so bland to her?).

No eleven year olds can do anything revolutionary, at least not in Britain.


This line was so! good! I just loved Castle’s blatant commentary and pessimism. Haha. It’s great.

His eyes quickly darted back and forth across the page, slowly soaking in each word. “I like it. I like how it rhymes, kind of childish, showing how you’re still a child and that’s why you’re moaning about missing your first day.”

I squinted my eyes at him, and he raised his hands in defense. “My parents like poetry!”


I don’t really get the correlation between these two lines? Is Castle’s squint supposed to be out of confusion or annoyance at his comment..? and if it is, I don’t see how Poet’s “My parent’s like poetry” comment is related. I may also be totally missing something lolol.

Overall, I liked this chapter and I’m glad we got introduced to another character. It’s also great seeing Castle’s pessimism be so evident even early on. Can’t wait to read more (still gotta know about what happened to Starry!).

Peace,
~ EternalRain

PS. This is my 400th review!! eek, so exciting!




4revgreen says...


Thank you for the review :-)
I was actually just thinking about how I could develop their meeting scene and make it more realistic/interesting!

His eyes quickly darted back and forth across the page, slowly soaking in each word. %u201CI like it. I like how it rhymes, kind of childish, showing how you%u2019re still a child and that%u2019s why you%u2019re moaning about missing your first day.%u201D

I squinted my eyes at him, and he raised his hands in defense. %u201CMy parents like poetry!%u201D

As for this part, Castle thinks it's a little odd for Poet, and 11 year old boy, to give such a sophisticated view of her poem, so she gives him a weird look to be like "Why do you know so much about poetry, none of the other kids do"
Hope that clears it up a little!



EternalRain says...


Ah okay, that totally makes more sense! Thanks for explaining.



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Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:41 am
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Necromancer14 wrote a review...



Well! Another chapter read. I like Castle's sass in this one. It was quite fun to read.

Here's my review:

Okay, for one thing, the chapter title was hilarious. It reminded me of Rick Riordan's style of chapter-title writing. (chapter-title writing? is that even a thing?) Also, like I already said, Castle's sass was just simply great XD. This one had the most humor by far, and humor is something I really enjoy reading.

"Dad dropped me off at the same time as Journey and Dexter on the third day of term, and made sure they walked me all the way to my tutor room."

Another grammar mistake involving commas. You need to either remove the comma, or put a word like "they" after the word "and" in the second clause. Here's how you can tell that it is incorrect: you're connecting two sentences, right? So if you disconnect the sentences, the way you wrote it is like this: "Dad dropped me off at the same time as Journey and Dexter on the third day of term. Made sure they walked me all the way to my tutor room." You can immediately tell that that doesn't sound right. Fine for dialogue? Yes. Normal writing? No. (I never thought of myself as a grammar nerd, but oh well...)

"“Your name is actually Thomas? Like, actually?”"

This was absolutely hilarious!

"slow as a paraplegic toddler"

Very creative! And hilarious!

"“I served Gordon Ramsey a raw steak.”"

Again, super hilarious! XD

"“At least there’s no pressure on me to actually become a castle,”"

humor right at the end. Hilarious.

Well, that's my review! I hope it was helpful.




4revgreen says...


Thank you so much!

Another grammar mistake involving commas. You need to either remove the comma, or put a word like "they" after the word "and" in the second clause. Here's how you can tell that it is incorrect: you're connecting two sentences, right? So if you disconnect the sentences, the way you wrote it is like this: "Dad dropped me off at the same time as Journey and Dexter on the third day of term. Made sure they walked me all the way to my tutor room." You can immediately tell that that doesn't sound right. Fine for dialogue? Yes. Normal writing? No. (I never thought of myself as a grammar nerd, but oh well...)


As for this part, I've just been looking it up and you CAN use a comma before 'and' if you're joining two independent clauses. In this case, I have actually made a mistake in that it should actually be
"Dad dropped me off at the same time as Journey and Dexter on the third day of term, and he made sure they walked me all the way to my tutor room."
That way, it makes sense as both are independent clauses so you can use a comma and a conjunctive.

I hope that's cleared it up, thank you for pointing it out as now we both know!





Actually, what you said that you needed to do to fix it is what I meant to say. (For some reason though I said to use "they instead of "he". No idea what I was thinking) However, my first suggestion for fixing it would work too, because it makes the second part a phrase, not a clause. It's still correct, but it's not a clause. Basically, what I'm saying you did, is you wrote a phrase, but you marked it like a clause.





Actually, never mind. My first suggestion wouldn't work.



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Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:36 am
Kassiani wrote a review...



Last review (at least for now?), I swear. We'll get through it together.

I'm going to make an effort to be a little gentler with this one—but, full disclosure, I did write some parts of it before I got your message and as such, there may be occasional moments of brittleness. Bear with me...

So, I actually think this chapter was an improvement over the last one, and I'm not just saying that to spare your feelings. One of the reasons it worked for me was that there was a lot more dialogue and interaction, and we get to see Castle navigating this foreign environment, which sort of allowed more of her personality to come through. I also felt like her narration was toned down to the point that it became less obtrusive and portentous, which in turn made it more enjoyable.

A lot of the problems I've previously discussed continue to persist, but they didn't seem quite so noticeable in this installment. Plus: Castle's name was finally acknowledged as hella weird! Vindication! Although we also get another bizarrely-named character in this entry, so it's a trade-off. (For the record: I am not anti-weird name. I am, myself, a weirdly-named person. I just think less is more, especially since too many odd names in an otherwise-realistic story tend to strain the reader's suspension of disbelief.) I know you said you have a reason for the epidemic of odd names—essentially that Castle is drawn to people like herself and this is one feature she finds attractive—and I'm glad there's a purpose behind it. Knowing that makes it easier for me to understand your approach here. At the same time, I do feel like it's sort of an unbelievable coincidence that she romances(?) at least two different people with names as offbeat as hers, and all within a short span of time. It's also just really cutesy, and cuteness is, to put it mildly, not my thing.

Anyway, Poet. It looks like you're setting up some kind of schoolyard romance between him and Castle? I haven't really talked much about the representation in this story, mainly because it's treated so matter-of-factly (which I like!), but I guess this seems as good a time as any to discuss. I'm curious to know more about Castle's orientation. Obviously she likes girls, because Starry. There seemed to be a little bit of a spark between her and William, too. Now we've got Poet, who—unless I'm misinterpreting—seems to be a potential romantic interest as well. So, maybe she's pan? Bi? As I said before, I like that you're not drawing attention to her queerness and instead treating it so matter-of-factly. I like that, in the present-day chapters, everybody just seems to accept that she's devastated over the loss of her girlfriend, without paying any mind to the fact that they're both girls. It's always refreshing to see an LGBTQ+ romance handled so casually. It's also nice that you haven't gone out of your way to clarify her sexuality: maybe she's into William, maybe she's into Poet. Either way, she's still queer, and in no hurry to explain to us her orientation. That's cool.

But, if we're going to talk about representation in this novel, we must also address the fact that this is a tragic love story. Starry, a queer woman, is dead. Castle, also a queer woman, is depressed. And Castle can be violent (like in the first chapter), and reckless, and kind of a jerk. So, the representation, by virtue of that, is maybe a little problematic. I don't know how you feel about the discourse surrounding tragic queer love stories, but they are, to say the least, controversial, and some of the arguments against them raise valid points. The simple fact of the matter is that queer characters are too often portrayed as victims, inextricably linked to pain and suffering. And yeah, they die quite often in movies/books/shows/etc. Even well-intentioned, feminist, pro-LGBTQ+ stories, like Orange is the New Black, have been criticized for "killing their gays." So, my question to you is, how do you feel about that? Is that something you've thought about as you've written this story? Does it affect the choices you're making at all? I think it's something you should certainly keep in mind. It's fine to tell a tragic love story, it's great to have queer characters, and it's all well and good to center your novel around an anti-heroine like Castle, but if you combine all of those elements, then you start to dip into a potentially problematic pond. I guess it ultimately boils down to this question: should tragic queer love stories still be told in light of how queer characters have been traditionally represented in media? Is it better to only tell positive, happy queer love stories that celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ community, rather than stories that could, potentially, reinforce negative ideas (like being gay = a life of pain)? I don't pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I think you, as someone who is writing a tragic queer love story, should reflect on them.

I'm wondering about Starry's death, too. I hope you don't make it the result of a hate crime or a suicide. I hope her death has nothing to do with her sexuality at all—like it's totally random, maybe an accident of some kind. Don't get me wrong: stories about the horrors of homophobia should be told, but they also feed into those aforementioned, problematic "gay pain" torture-porn tropes. I'd just hate to see this story explicitly tie the central tragedy to its characters' queerness. It would be nice if you continue to handle Castle and Starry's sexuality as matter-of-factly as you have so far, and if Starry's death is addressed with the sensitivity it deserves.

Anyway, onto my comments...

The car that hit me was a Honda Civic going about 40 miles per hour and left no permanent damage, only a broken ankle and plenty of bruises and cuts on my back and side from when I’d slammed into the tarmac.

Don't start off the chapter with another info dump. Find a more subtle way to establish this information—like maybe Castle gets asked about the crutches at school and has to explain to somebody, through actual dialogue, what happened. There's a million more interesting ways you could begin this chapter.

Nothing that wouldn’t heal was what the doctor had said.

I'd put "nothing that wouldn't heal" in italics.

Maybe it was his way of trying to tell me that I wasn’t like most kids, but I think I had already worked that out.

Oh, shut up, Castle. There's nothing about you that's different. Seriously, tell me ONE THING about Castle that makes her different from any other angsty child (besides her name). I'll wait.

Who else turned up to school on the third day with their leg in a cast, struggling with the crutches that were just slightly too big for them?

LOTS OF KIDS DO.

Dad dropped me off at the time as Journey and Dexter,

I think you meant "at the same time" but missed a word.

The school building was old, the stone floor cold and uninviting.

This is such a rote description. Try something a little more interesting/vivid.

This was his last year here, he didn’t have five long years

"Year/years" is repetitive.

But that was Dexter; he just drifted through life like it didn’t touch him.

Incorrect semicolon.

“Very reassuring, thanks.”

See, this I like. Snarky Castle is a lot more interesting to me than woe-is-me Castle. She can still be angsty, just throw in some sarcasm and wit to make her angst entertaining.

I smiled the fakest smile I could force my face to make

I like this, too. It gives Castle a little more personality and a touch of much-need levity/self-awareness.

A boy sat at the table to the right of me turned his head to look at me.

"Me" is repetitive and this sentence is badly structured. Rephrase.

All that came out was a shrug.

Shrugs don't "come out." If, for example, she were to have coughed or said something, that would make sense, because coughs/words come out of our mouths. But shrugs?

I turned my head to Thomas, and mirrored his expression. “Your name is actually Thomas? Like, actually?”

Haha. I swear I'm not saying this just to be nice: Castle is definitely better in this chapter than the last one. She's much more entertaining when she interacts with people. That's when all her humor finally comes out and she seems more likable.
I know you said in your response to my previous review that you don't like writing dialogue, but I would never have guessed if you hadn't told me. It's actually too bad it doesn't excite you, because the story definitely picks up during those scenes.

The rest of the day crawled by as slow as a paraplegic toddler.

This line definitely caught my attention. If the rest of Castle's inner monologue was written like this, it wouldn't bother me so much.

Everyone in my classes seemed to be photocopies of each other, with each copy slightly more blurred than the last.

So, a big theme with this chapter is that Castle's judging everybody because they're all bland and basic and interchangeable, whereas she, presumably, is not. The big problem is that you have yet to establish what makes Castle distinct from these other people. Sure, she's resentful of them, and sure, she's got an odd name... but, beyond that, what, specifically, sets her apart? You need to show your reader the answer to that question, because at this point, you have not.

The cover was battered from being hit by the Honda Civic when I was

"When I was" isn't necessary, we know what she's talking about.

It wasn’t like I wanted to talk to him; having an unusual name

Improper semicolon.

having an unusual name wasn’t a personality trait

Yeah, EXACTLY. So then why does having an odd name seem to be the defining trait of several characters in this story (including, arguably, Castle herself)? Lampshading doesn't solve the problem.

How did he know me so well?

He doesn't. He asked if she has a weird name and if she was writing poetry. Just because the answers to those two questions happened to be yes doesn't mean he knows her well.
I hope Castle never visits a psychic. They'd bankrupt her.

With that one sentence, he’d knocked down the defences I’d spent my whole life building.

What? There's several things wrong here, from the fact that she claims to have been building defenses her "whole life" up to this point EVEN THOUGH SHE'S ONLY ELEVEN, to the fact that she drops her armor the second some weirdly-named boy bats his lashes at her. You're asking me to really suspend my disbelief here, and I'm not sure I can.

Poet seemed like the kind of person I could trust. I don’t know how I came to that conclusion in the very brief exchange we’d had

Yeah, Castle, I don't know either.

So, as you can probably tell, I wasn't wild about Castle's introduction to Poet. It just felt too twee, too improbable. I didn't mind the dialogue between them—the banter was cute and felt believable enough—but Castle's narration sort of ruined it. The thing you need to learn is that less is more when it comes to her commentary, and you've gotta reign in some of your worst impulses—like stating the obvious, telling the reader instead of showing, or having Castle just make ridiculous observations.

I don't think her narration is irredeemable, though. I think if you injected more of a sardonic wit into her voice, that would go a long way toward improving it. It's not terrible or anything, it just needs some work, and it shouldn't be your fallback whenever you need us to know something about her. Try to establish information as organically as possible, through your characters' actions or dialogue. That's one of your most prominent weaknesses.

Anyway, this chapter wasn't too rough. Still needs some work of course, but it is definitely fixable. I think all of your chapters are fixable, for that matter. Some definitely need more work than others, but none of them are doomed for the trash heap. Hell, I've read many stories on here that needed far more work than yours. I can tell this project means a lot to you and that you have big ideas for it, and that's very important. My ultimate hope is that my reviews, though they may've initially stung to read, will prove useful to you during future edits/rewrites. I truly believe that if you take the advice I've given you (even just some of it), it could radically improve this story. Keep working on it; don't give up. And feel free to let me know if you want more reviews at any point. <3




4revgreen says...


thank you so much again, because reading this I felt like I completely over-reacted at the last review. I'm kind of not having a great time lately and just needed somewhere to project it, eek. Anyway, I actually really agree with your points here. When I started writing this, I had no intention to ever really mention sexuality apart from Starry death which was going to be during a homophobic attack as I'd previously written a short story about it that linked into this. However, if you really feel that this would be taking away from the death/pain etc. then I wouldn't be completely adverse to changing it.
Basically, sexuality was going to come into play when she finds out her dad has been cheating on her mum for years with a man, which leads to her mum doing something stupid. And at the time she finds out, she is dating Starry and because she hates her dad for it she experiences some internal homophobia because she hates him for being the same thing she is. If that makes sense?
And I tried to make Castle a conflicting character, like she is always contradicting herself but I guess if it doesn't work I wouldn't be adverse to changing it either. Like she isn't actually special, she's just a pretentious kid who never really grows up.
You mentioned before about Starry being a bit manic pixie dream girl which I am aware of but the kind of "twist" was going to be that their relationship was far from perfect but now she's dead it's all rose coloured glasses etc.
I hope that cleared up more about the story? Anyway, thanks again




You can't blame the writer for what the characters say.
— Truman Capote