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16+ Language Violence

The Sticks [Chapter Two] - REVISED

by 4revgreen


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

(This takes place eight years before the first chapter, as it alternates from Castle's past and present. Once again, I have edited this so decided to reupload it)

2. The First Day Of Year Seven

“Oh, Castle!” my mum exclaimed as I slunk into the kitchen on that September morning. “You look so grown up! John, look at Cas!”

I didn’t look grown up. I looked ridiculous. The uniform was a hand-me-down from my sister, Journey, who was starting year nine. The blue tartan skirt hung way below my knees, and the dark grey socks reached up past them. The blue shirt was faded, the navy blazer made my shoulders look so big that I was almost triangular. A tie hung limply down my flat chest. I was drowning in a sea of blue and supposed responsibility, of fabric and some kind of independence. I scowled as mum snapped a photo of me on her phone.

“Please don’t post that on Facebook,” I warned her, crossing my arms in a huff. “It looks like you ordered this from that fat-kid catalogue Auntie Rose gets Emma’s clothes from.”

Mum snorted, but immediately tried to cover it up with a cough. “You’ll grow into it, and besides, it’s not like I can afford to just go out and buy you two hundred quids worth of uniform. That bloody school will be the death of me.”

“What was that about fat Emma?” came a voice from upstairs. Heavy footsteps made their way down into the hallway. “Blimey, you do look grown up, don’t you?” my dad scratched his head and smiled at me as he made his way into the kitchen. He ruffled my hair, which didn’t make a difference to its appearance as it was an untamable mane of blonde locks. “You got your lunch money? Your phone on full charge? Have you got-”

“Oh stop fussing - and don’t say fat Emma.” Mum cut him off before taking a sip of the black coffee she’d just made herself. “She’s fine, aren’t you Cas?”

I began to answer her question. “I don’t know, I’m a little excited but also-”

“See? She’s excited for her first day. You’re gonna love being at secondary school, Cas. You get to be so much more independent, you get art and music and drama lessons every week - they’ll be your favourite lessons, I just know!”

Dad also poured himself a coffee, but added milk and three spoonfuls of sugar when mum wasn’t looking, winking at me as he rose it to his lips. “So you want to walk in by yourself? You sure about that? I can always drop you off on the way to work. Or I can force Dex and Journey to walk with you.”

“No, dad. I’m fine. I’ll walk on my own. I’m meant to be growing up, right?” Truth be told, I’d already spent a whole summer with my family, and I just wanted to walk the bridge from primary to secondary school by myself with my music on full volume. Dad put his coffee back down on the counter and added another heap of sugar. “If you keep putting that much sugar in your coffee, you’re going to become fat Emma.”

“Stop calling her fat Emma!” Mum interjected. “She hasn’t had a growth spurt yet, she’ll grow into it!”

Dad mimed having a large stomach, filling his cheeks with air and waddling around the kitchen until Mum whacked him with a tea towel.

“John, that’s horrible! She's thirteen years old!”

I sided with my dad. “Thirteen stone, you mean.”

Mum tried to swat me with the tea towel too, but I ducked out of the way, grinning. “I’m gonna leave now.”

Glancing at his watch, Dad frowned. “It’s eight twenty, it won’t take you forty minutes to get there.”

“I just want to be early. I don’t want them thinking I’m gonna be laid-back like Dexter or dumb like Journey. Like you said yesterday, dad, first impressions matter.

“Yeah, but I was talking about jobs. Year seven is different.”

“Is it really though John?” Mum asked, her voice a little tired. “She needs to make a good impression or I’ll have Mr. bloody Casey phoning me every evening to tell me how she’s not trying hard enough. Oh, and don’t call Journey dumb. She’s just not academic like you!”

I rolled my eyes, and dad did too. “I’ll see you later.”

Dad hugged me again as I tried to open the front door. “Text me at lunch, I’m gonna be worried sick all day!”

“They’ll confiscate her phone if she does that, remember all that hassle we had to go through to get Dexter’s back last year? She’s gonna be fine, John. God, that bloody school.”

The school was only a twenty minute walk away, up past the town centre, next to the playing grounds. The route I took wove through the town and eventually crossed the graveyard, and a short burst of trees we called no-mans land because it was where we’d play war games. I guessed I wouldn’t be playing them anymore, all those kids would be starting secondary school today too, whether it was Bluevale Ridge like me or the religious school in the next town over. My mum hadn’t given me a chance to express how nervous I was, something that always happened. Maybe secondary school was the time to stop letting people talk for me.

Of course, I had a song blasting through my earphones as soon as I left the house. “The Sticks” by Mother Mother, turned up so loud that any passerby could hear it. But I didn’t care. I’d really never cared about being embarrassed - it seemed so pointless to let what other people thought dictate your life.

The graveyard came into sight and I started to run.

I was suddenly in a movie, being chased by enemy soldiers. Zombie enemy soldiers. Ducking behind the abandoned graves, I started pulling out the weeds that had sprouted through the cracks, gathering vital supplies of food. The graves acted as my cover, protecting me from enemy fire as I stuck my fingers out like guns and shot at the rising dead. They clawed their way up through the dirt, squirming worms hanging from empty eye sockets like accessories. Their soiled fingernails clawed at my ankles, tearing at my skin as I leapt over piles of decaying flowers left by their loved ones.

Gasping for air, I threw myself over a gaping hole in the ground where a hoard of zombies had been hiding. One grabbed onto my foot with a revolting, skinless hand, and I screamed, shaking it off. As I vaulted over a stone fence dividing the battleground into two, I felt their warm rotten stink on the back of my neck, the breath they’d lost in death. I tumbled over the mossy remains of a grave and threw myself down into the grass, my bag of weapons thumping against my back. A dying stone angel, hauntingly beautiful in the morning sun, shielded my head from the rubble that flew through the air after a bomb the enemies had thrown exploded close to me.

“INCOMING!” I screeched, leaping up and throwing a grenade as hard as I could across the trenches. It soared through the air, spinning fast, looking as though it was going to make it to the other side of the graveyard. If it landed in the zombie trenches, it could take out a whole hoard of the revolting creatures, shred them into pieces of putrid flesh in a blinding explosion. A boney finger scraped across the back of my exposed legs, causing me to shriek with terror. I jumped forward, praying that the grenade had detonated, but as I watched it fly, it was no longer an explosive. It was a pine cone. I was pulled back into reality just before the boney hand pulled me down into the earth. My stupid, childish imagination had just smacked a teenager square in the face.

He was walking with his friends, all big and tall and acne-ridden. At first, he was stunned, watching as the pine cone dropped back onto the concrete.

“What the fuck?” came a deep, growling voice. They’d begun to charge my way, with greasy hair and Lynx deodorant just as rancid as the zombies. Anger was dangerously apparent on their tomato red faces. I didn’t recognize them, but Dexter always said there were kids in Bluevale Ridge that you just didn’t mess with, if you valued your life. They looked like those kids, with their shirts unbuttoned and untucked, exposing a hairy chest that could have only belonged to a full-grown man, or an ape. Their chins sprouted mean looking stubble, surely sharp enough to puncture my skin if they got close enough.

I started to run again, darting in and out of the gravestones that no longer acted as adequate barriers between us. I prayed I didn’t become like one of the decomposing bodies beneath them, ready to awaken in some other child’s nightmarish game. The gate was in sight - if I could just make it across the road, I could hide down some alleyway, and I’d be close to school. They wouldn’t beat me up in front of other people. They couldn’t.

And then I had made it, to the gate, out of breath, panting hard. I didn’t stop; they were right behind me. I was within reach of their ape-like hands, their cigarette breath.

So I kept sprinting, legs moving faster than they’d ever moved before. The music was still blasting through my ears, deafening me from their shouts and curses. I was running, at a blistering speed, right out into the main road. The thrill of the chase was so overwhelming, I didn’t even stop to check for traffic. I had been focusing on the other side of the road, believing it would put a safe enough distance between us. So focused in fact, that I didn’t even notice the car speeding down the tarmac towards me.


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Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:12 am
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EternalRain says...



This was a great second chapter. I'm loving the idea of alternating between past/present Castle. By the way, the names are awesome.

The balance between fun and intense in this chapter was great. The first chunk with Castle's parents was really sweet. Zombie scene was super great. And the end scene was super intense - is she going to get hit?!

On to the next!




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Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:57 am
Necromancer14 wrote a review...



Nice second chapter! You get to see what her personality is like before this "Starry" person happened.

Here's my review:

I see now that you are alternating between seven years ago and the present. that's a nice way to write, and it reminded me of "The Historian" which alternates between timelines too. However, I would keep the "2. First day of year seven" things consistent. In the first chapter, it was normal text, but in this one it's bold.

"I didn’t look grown up. I looked ridiculous."

You already have a good idea of what her personality is like.

"“Please don’t post that on Facebook,” I warned her, crossing my arms in a huff. “It looks like you ordered this from that fat-kid catalogue Auntie Rose gets Emma’s clothes from.”"

First you refer to the photo as "that," then you refer to it as "this." It's confusing, as you're not supposed to mix those sorts of things up. I would change the second one to "...like you ordered it from that fat-kid..." using the word "it" is less confusing then using the word "this" for something right after you used the word "that" for the same thing.

"I was suddenly in a movie, being chased by enemy soldiers. "

This whole section was very descriptive, from the zombies to the teenagers. Very well done there.

"So focused in fact, that I didn’t even notice the car speeding down the tarmac towards me."

The cliffhanger ending, love it. I use cliffhangers too, and they are another great technique to build suspense. (Obviously.:P You probably knew that already.)

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




4revgreen says...


Thank you, again! It means a lot



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Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:01 am
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Liberty wrote a review...



Heyo!

Hope you’re doing well. I’m back to read & review! :)

Alright, so first things first, I like how you start this chapter. We first get to know what this tradition is and then we see Castle and what’s going on. I like it. Also, the names!! Journey, Castle, Starry... this is intriguing!

You’d be playing with the big kids now, all grown up and spotty and moody.

I’m sorry if this isn’t what you meant it to be, but the first thought that came to mind when I read “spotty” was: acne, oh no. xD I love it!

I looked ridiculous.

Pfft I bet you look like a princess, Castle. Get it? Princess? Castle? Yes, I can pun too.

The details on how the uniform looks like is pretty great! I usually like details to be spread out through the chapter, but this one didn’t seem as if it needed to be chopped up. It’s fine as it is!

I was drowning in a sea of blue and supposed responsibility, of fabric and some kind of independence.

LOL sorry I’m laughing at you Castle, but it sounds hilarious. Cx

I scowled as mum snapped a photo of me on her phone.

#HellaRelatable Whenever I’m in some fancy clothing and Mama finds me in it and says I look great, she’ll whip out her phone from somewhere over the rainbow and she’ll snap a picture of me. Usually I’m fussy when I wear fancy clothes because all of mine are itchy so I’m always scowling.

Dad also poured himself a coffee, but added milk and three spoonfuls of sugar when mum wasn’t looking, winking at me as he rose it to his lips.

Such a dad thing to do lol.

The graveyard came into sight and I started to run, suddenly pretending I was in a movie, that I was being chased by enemy soldiers. Zombie enemy soldiers.

Don’t tell anyone, but I do the same too. Shhhhh.

Okay, I don’t go around finger gunning the graves, but you get the point. I love Castle when she was a kid.

So I sprinted out into the road, not stopping to check for oncoming traffic.

OHNOOHNOOHNOOHNOOHNO WHAT WHY ??? I thought it was Starry? Am I missing something? Or is this how Castle meets Starry? Cliffhangers, man. >.< But I'll be continuing with this today, so it won't be a cliffhanger for longer woop woop!

Anyways, now that I'm done with commenting, I don't have much else to say. But! We do get a lot of what Castle looks like. Not much of what Castle's character is like. Because, like, we do get a lot of what how Castle looks like, but her personality... err... not much. Maybe this is how you meant it to be in the first chapter, and then you'll expand on her character, but just pointing it out in case! :)

Done with my review now! Hope this helped in some sort of way. Of course, if you have any questions about the review, feel free to ask me whenever. ^-^

And as always...

Keep on writing!

~Hedwiggle Potter




4revgreen says...


Thank you so much! I'll try add in some more of her personality when I go back to edit :-)



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Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:20 am
Kassiani wrote a review...



Hello! I have returned for Round 2.

This chapter was more scattered than the first one. I know I had my gripes about the lack of action in chapter one, but, to its credit, that installment was at least tight and focused. This one's much more random: first, we've got Castle (no matter how many times I type that name, it still feels wrong) going off to school, then we've got Castle playing make-believe, then Castle being chased, then—11th hour twist!—Castle is... hit by a car? It's a lot, especially for what is actually a very short entry.

You seem to favor short chapters, but it's early in the book so maybe that changes later on? I hope it does. The pacing in this one wasn't great. It definitely felt like you were trying to shove in more stuff than this itty-bitty installment could handle. I would've liked it if you took your time with each section: more of the interaction between Castle and her parents (since that's a plum opportunity to give your readers a sense of her personality and relationship to her family), more of Castle's game of pretend, and MUCH more of the chase with the boys. That last development happens so suddenly, and then it's over just as quick. There's no suspense, no tension. It's just like, "Well, I guess this is happening now! Oh wait, now it's over..." That's not how it should be. Those are the moments where you can settle into the drama. Milk it for all it's worth, squeeze every last drop of entertainment out of it. Show us Castle nearly getting grabbed by one of the boys, or one of them screaming obscenities at her. Maybe they throw a pinecone at her head in an act of vengeance. Gimme something, anything—just make make me want to keep reading.

I thought the descriptions were a little lackluster too. Like, they were fine, but they weren't particularly captivating or vivid, and they were worded in predictable ways. For example, when Castle's playing her game of pretend—a prime chance for some trippy, offbeat imagery—you really don't make the graveyard come to life. It's still a regular-schmegular graveyard. You describe the stone angel as "a stone angel," and the zombie fingernails as "dirty." This doesn't evoke the wild imagination of a child, just someone who's taken some mushrooms and is now chilling in a cemetery. It's not exciting. I like imagery that is creative and poetic, that makes me see something I've seen a million times before in a totally different way. Castle's romp through the graveyard is the exact right opportunity to have fun with your imagery, to make me see a cemetery through a whole new light. But instead, the descriptions are dull and flat. I just see a graveyard (albeit one with some zombies).

I was hoping to get more of a sense of Castle's personality from this chapter, because chapter one was dominated by Castle's sadness over Starry whereas this is Castle pre-Starry. Unfortunately, she's just as much of a bummer in this one as in the first. Seriously, does this girl do anything other than complain and mope and tell us how ~angsty~ she is? I could cut her some slack in the first chapter—she's in mourning, after all—but there's no excuse here. She's ELEVEN. I just wanted to shake her and say, "Stop being such a buzzkill! I'm trying to like you!" But yeah, I don't enjoy her at this point, or really care about her very much? She hasn't won me over, is what I'm saying. I'm kind of surprised that you decided to double-down on the angsty thing in this chapter rather than showing us a sunnier, pre-Starry version of Castle—a Baby Cas, if you will, with light in her eyes and hope in her heart. That would've been interesting, if only so that we, the readers, could see just how much Starry's death has affected her. But instead—twist!—it turns out she's always been kind of a moody jerk? Well, okay, if that's how you wanna play it...

A big problem I had with Castle's characterization in this chapter is that so much of it is just conjecture from her inner monologue. In other words, we're not seeing her interact with the world and discovering her personality that way—instead, she's just telling us what she's like, and sometimes those asides seem very random, or even unsupported by her actual behavior. I'll include some specific examples below so you'll see what I mean.

As for what I liked, I think the graveyard scene sticks out to me as the one with the most potential—not only for imagery, but also for letting us see another side of Castle. Finally, she can be playful and carefree! I do feel like some of that scene's potential was wasted (see what I said above, about the descriptions), BUT it did humanize Castle a little bit, and made her slightly more well-rounded, which was nice. And I like how the ending, with her running out onto the road without looking, mirrors the ending of the first chapter, where she gets into a fight without thinking. Both endings establish her as being unpredictable and reckless, and it's a clever little parallel. Nice choice.

Anyway, time for some comments...

The first day of year seven

See my suggestion on the last chapter, re: centering these chapter headings and capitalizing the first letters.

The first day of year seven is like a tradition or ritual amongst the children in this country.

Let's talk about this opening sentence! I don't love it. I already talked a lot in my last review about attention-grabbing chapter starts, so—for your sake as well as mine—I won't reiterate that same point. But I will say this: the first sentence here has the same drabness as last chapter's, and what's worse, it's followed by a paragraph that doesn't spice it up at all. Which brings me to...

It’s treated as such an important event, a large step forwards in life. You’d be playing with the big kids now, all grown up and spotty and moody. Some would even say it was a rite of passage; how dare you be stripped of this right to get lost in a big ugly building, built and neglected sometime in the seventies, in a blazer three times too big for you with a map of the school in your hands. How else are you meant to mature at the average rate if you never gained the experience of feeling so lost in a place so foreign and faraway from what you’re used to. Or, at least, that’s why I assume the first day of year seven is meant to be like. I wouldn’t know, I never made it to the school on that day.

Oof, this is a lot. You're hitting your reader with a bunch of info right off the bat—you sure you want to do that? It's a pretty dry way to begin. And do we really need to know all this right now? Wouldn't it be more impactful to just observe Castle as she goes through the day and feels these feelings and thinks about the absurdities of school, bit by bit?
I do like the twist at the end, where you reveal she missed her first day. That's cute. Not sure if it's worth wading through the preceding paragraph for, though.

“Oh, Castle!” My mum exclaimed

See what I said in my previous review, re: capitalizing the first letter after a dialogue tag. (If you don't want to look up what I said before, here's the short version: don't do it!)

The uniform was a hand-me-down from my sister Journey

All right, I was really trying to not bring up the names in this book, but now that you've introduced Journey, you're forcing my hand.
So, MC is named Castle. MC's girlfriend is Starry. MC's sister is Journey. Jesus. What did regular-schmegular names, like Catherine or Isabelle or Emily, ever do to you? Did someone named Jane Smith murder your entire family?
I joke, but in all seriousness, this is a little much? Like, I can buy that Castle's parents are really into weird names, but Starry's parents too? Is this whole country infected with people whose names sound like they belong to My Little Pony characters??
Ultimately, it's a little too twee for my liking. I hope you address it at some point—like, maybe Castle and Starry share a heartfelt conversation about both their parents being crazy creative types who favor, er, unconventional names? Just gimme something. I NEED an explanation.

“You got your lunch money? Your phone on full charge? Have you got-”

Mum took a sip of the black coffee she’d just poured herself and cut him off. “Oh stop fussing, she’s fine, aren’t you Cas?”

The previous reviewer covered this already, but I agree that Mum's dialogue should come immediately after Dad's. Otherwise it's a little confusing. Perhaps try:
“You got your lunch money? Your phone on full charge? Have you got-”
"Oh, stop fussing," Mum cut in, taking a sip of the black coffee she’d just poured herself. "She’s fine. Aren’t you, Cas?”


Everyone always liked to speak for me and say I was, thought they knew what I wanted and what I was feeling

Show, don't tell.

when mum wasn’t looking

The M in "mum" should be capitalized here. Capitalize the first letter in mum/dad/etc if there's no pronoun or article in front of it. (Ex: "Hi Mum!" gets a capital M, "I love my mum" gets lowercase.)

No, dad.

Same issue here as above. (Don't worry, I won't be correcting any more of these going forward.)

Even if I’d known that it would be a rickety and old wooden bridge, dangling dangerously between two jagged cliff edges before I left that morning, I don’t think I would have walked with my siblings. Some bridges you just need to cross on your own, even if you don’t make it.

This is way too heavy-handed. Delete delete delete.

before Dexter or Journey had even woken up.

So Castle's parents named their children Castle, Journey, and... Dexter? Wow, talk about an anticlimax. Poor Dex must really feel like the odd man out.

I guessed I wouldn’t be playing them anymore, all those kids would be starting secondary school today too, whether it was Bluevale Ridge like I was or the religious school in the next town, we’d all be experiencing the universal fears and challenges at the same time.

Run-on sentence, and after "Bluevale Ridge," change "like I was" to "like me."

The Sticks by Mother Mother

Song titles should be in quotes.

I didn’t really care about anything, I never had. It all seemed so pointless, even to me as a child.

Again: show don't tell. You've yet to give us a reason to think Castle doesn't care about anything, so this information comes completely out of left-field. If it's true that this is her attitude and outlook on life, show me her uncaring-ness, show me that punk-rock indifference, don't just have her narrate to me that it's there. (Also: what seems pointless? Societal rules? It's not very clear.)

their way up through the dirt and the worms. Their dirty fingernails

"Dirt/dirty" is repetitive here. Use a synonym.

He was walking with his friends; all big and tall and acne ridden.

Incorrect semicolon. Swap it for a comma. And stick a hyphen in "acne-ridden."

Greasy hair and lynx deodorant started to charge my way, as did anger on their red faces.

Lynx is a brand, so capitalize the L. Furthermore, you're saying that hair, deodorant and anger "charged [Castle's] way"? I get what you're aiming for, but if you think about it, it makes no sense.

Dexter always said there were kids in Bluevale Ridge that you just didn’t mess with. They looked like those kids, with their shirts untucked and their ties so loose.

Untucked shirts and loose ties?! What badasses! Did they wear their bowler hats slightly askew, too?

I started to run again, but this time it was an act of desperation, not imagination

I really dislike how "desperation" and "imagination" sound when they're this close together. It's too Seussian.

But it wasn’t like I’d have known. I never understood other people.

Show, don't tell.

So I sprinted out into the road, not stopping to check for oncoming traffic.

This chapter and the last one both end very abruptly. I get that you're leaving things on a cliffhanger, but cliffhangers need to be interesting and suspenseful. This isn't that. This doesn't feel like the final sentence of a chapter, it just feels like... a sentence.
If you wanted to jazz it up, you could do something like: "So I just kept running, and running, and running. I didn't look, didn't think. It never even occurred to me to check for oncoming traffic. And that's how I sprinted right onto the road—landing myself in front of a car moving too fast to stop." Granted, that example's pretty bad, but at least it's closer to a "proper" ending.

So, to conclude, this chapter could use some work, but I like the bones of it. You have an opportunity to write some really compelling scenes in this. I'd love an expanded version of Castle's battle with the zombies—something vivid and surrealist—as well as an expanded version of her chase with the boys: something tense and suspenseful, contrasting sharply with the playfulness of the previous scene. If you could nail those parts, this chapter would be a wild ride (in a good way). I'd also love more showing and less telling, and maybe Castle could be less of a drag? That'd be neat.

Anyway, those are my thoughts! I'll stop here for the time being, but I'll continue with chapter three very soon. Here's hoping I get some answers to the weird name epidemic in that installment. I'll keep my fingers crossed. :P




4revgreen says...


Thank you again for the review, it was really helpful. Though there are some things you critique that I disagree with - I guess we just prefer different styles aha - it is really useful as I go back and edit.
The things with the names will be explored later on, as it's going to be a kind of theme that Cas is attracted to people with weird names because she thinks they'll be more like her etc. And the meaning behind her name will be explored as well, when I expand on her parents. I just really hate 'ordinary' names and wanted something that made my character unique.

Once again, this is only a rough draft so I will definitely go back and add in more description, imagery etc, and add in more interaction with the characters.

Cas is a character who has always been close to my heart because of her pessimism and grumpiness, and she's gonna be like this most of the book. You'll probably see how whenever she lets her self loose and acts like a child for once, or allows herself to be happy, something tragic always happens and so she's convinced that she needs to suffer eternally or whatever.

Anyway, I'm going to go and edit the first two chapters now since I hit a slight block at the one I'm on now aha. I just really want to finish the story before I perfect it, :-)

Thank you again!



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Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:00 am
Tawsif wrote a review...



Hi, 4evergreen! Thought I'll review the second chapter as well.

First of all, I like the format you introduced in this chapter. Switching from present to past and back and forth. GREAT!

I had some trouble understanding the opening para, since you talked about the year 7. And in my country, there is no such system as year 7 to move from primary to secondary level of education. But then I googled it, and after that I had no more trouble. But I have some observations about this para:

'....all grown up and spotty and moody.' Why spotty? Are you trying to refer to the spots that appear in the face in adolescence? In that case you need to emphasize this word, maybe italicize it, describe how the MC hates the spots in adolescents' faces. This will be more interesting, and your readers will understand why you used the word 'spotty' here.

'Or, at least, that’s why I assume the first day of year seven is meant to be like.' I think the 'why' here should be replaced with a 'what'.

I like the sarcasm you portrayed in this para.

'I was drowning in a sea of blue and supposed responsibility, of fabric and some kind of independence.'

I understand how the MC is drowning in a sea of blue (became the uniform seems too blue to her), but 'supposed responsibility', 'fabric' and 'some kind of independence'? I tried to get what you meant here, but aI just couldn't. I'd love to know what you meant here.

' I didn’t know. Was I? Everyone always liked to speak for me and say I was, thought they knew what I wanted and what I was feeling because I looked like them and shared the same blood. They never did, but I suppose I never spoke up either, so can I really complain?'

I loved this para. Everyone speaking for the MC without realizing what she actually feels like--excellent! But, the last line: They never did.... They never did what? If you're not mentioning anything here, then the reader has to go back to the previous sentence and understand that 'what' from the context. But there's no such context in the previous sentence. You need to work on this, green.

Also,, first you wrote 'Everyone always liked to speak for me....', then you wrote '....because I looked like them and shared the same blood.' So, who's the 'everyone' here? Only the parents? maybe relatives included? Again, youu need to work on this, clarify who you're referring to so the reader isn't confused.

'Mum took a sip of the black coffee she’d just poured herself and cut him off. “Oh stop fussing, she’s fine, aren’t you Cas?”

If I were the writer, I'd go with this: "Oh stop fussing, she’s fine, aren’t you Cas?” Mum cut him off and took a sip of the black coffee she’d just poured herself. This way, the face that the MC's dad was cut off midsentence becomes more apparent, because Mum's dialogue comes right after dada's unfinished dialogue. This is, as I always, just another personal opinion.

'Truth be told, I’d already spent a whole summer with my family, and I just wanted to walk the bridge from primary to secondary school by myself with my music on full volume. Even if I’d known that it would be a rickety and old wooden bridge, dangling dangerously between two jagged cliff edges before I left that morning, I don’t think I would have walked with my siblings. Some bridges you just need to cross on your own, even if you don’t make it.'

One of the most favorite parts of mine in this chapter! You have a really touching tone here. The sort of aloof, nonchalant tone that leaves the readers thinking. And the metaphor of bridge, ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!

'we’d all be experiencing the universal fears and challenges at the same time.'

There's actually nothing wrong with this sentence, but I just feel this sentence is taking a bit of uniqueness away from the MC. It shows that the fear of moving into the unexperienced horizon of secondary school is actually universal; everybody goes through it. This makes your character less special. You can omit this part if you like. (Another personal opinion)

' It all seemed so pointless, even to me as a child.'

This read a teensy bit awkward. I'd write this: 'It all seemed so pointless, even when I was a child.'

The last few paras were amazing. The imagery you used, the childish game of fighting the dead (that almost made me nostalgic), the hatred towards grownups shown by using descriptions like Greasy Hair and Lynx Deodorant (I actually laughed reading that part), it was all full of excitement, and a deep, deep depression at the same time.

The character you've managed to portray, so far, is very interesting and will earn a lot of sympathy from the readers, thanks to your magical tone. You're going nicely, green. A bit more polish, it will be even nicer.

Felt good to review this chapter. Will review the next one too if I can.

Keep writing.




4revgreen says...


Thank you so much for this review, it is honestly so helpful as everything you said has helped me to improve my work!
I'll try and explain some things aha. So year seven (7) is the first year of secondary school/education in the UK, and it's seen as quite a big jump from primary school as you are now much more independent and have different classrooms for each class, more lessons, more freedom etc. So in the story, Castle is comparing it to a kind of "rite of passage" because of how important parents make it out to be when it isn't really. I hope that cleared it up a little :-)
With the line
'I was drowning in a sea of blue and supposed responsibility, of fabric and some kind of independence.'
I was trying to portray how there is so much pressure put on the kids to succeed and do well in their new school by being grown up, and how they are expected to be responsible and independent despite being such young children (aged 11) shown by how the uniform is so big that it's "drowning"
Honestly, thank you so much for the feedback, it made my day when I saw it!



Tawsif says...


It made my day when I saw how grateful you were!

About the drowning part, why not explain it the way you're explaining now to me?Remember, readers always come first. You can first elaborate on this particular sentence a bit for the sake of your readers. And I liked this sentence pretty much, but it'll be even more amazing if you explain it the way you just explained in your reply.




I'm also not sure why but even though I normally wear cool tones I have a feeling red would have been my color in the 1860s.
— Elinor