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All That Glitters Is Not Gold

by AnarchyWolf

Note: This was something we had to write for homework. The task was to do with changing writing styles and stuff. It's incredibly short.

She soared and landed silently on the slick roof, turning her back on the humming city. It was a canvas of brown, black, and grey, flecked with gold and ragged at the edges. The houses leaned against each other like drunken kings, their steep gable-crowns off-kilter and slipping.

She tucked her knife into her sleeve, turning her attention through the coalsmoke and rain, toward the empty Leidsestraat below. The rain mirrored the soft glow of the oil lamps. The Leidsestraat wouldn’t be empty for long.

As she waited for her quarry, a lioness awaiting her kill, the wind blew. It caressed and whispered to her, cradling her as it had done the first time she’d come to the city. She’d arrived, barely a teenager with nothing but a backpack and wide-eyed dreams - a silken-coated puppy about to be devoured by the strays.

Her stomach twisted as the sky darkened to Prussian blue. The city’s lights, the glimmers that had lured her in all those years ago, winked and flickered as they did every night. They’d whipped their old promise of stardom and fame out from under her feet so suddenly. She’d had nothing to hold on to as she fell.

And then, she’d risen. Up into the shadows, she became a cat-like, striking down prey one by one. The gang that had taken her in became the most powerful in the city. As time went on, she’d begun to wear the newly-sparked legends as armour.

Her hands begun to numb against the cold, losing their battle. She shook off the trickling regret, stalking toward the edge of the roof. She stalked like smoke, brushing over the slate without seeming to touch it. It was as if she were a spirit from the next world that no-one had the sense to send back.

Her sharp eyes caught the fleeting movements of her prey. The familiar, clenching, cold-fisted doubt caught her in the gut and froze her for a moment. Each time, she’d push it away, and each time it grew stronger and begun to gnaw its way back.

She’d never be fooled by golden lights again.

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Points: 479
Reviews: 1

Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:57 pm
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DytonPiraten wrote a review...

I like this. I really, truly do. It would benefit from a rewrite, but honestly, it would be even better in the middle of a larger story. I would buy a book that had this as a preview. You should play with the wording a bit more, get a nice thesaurus and really work on this. Some words are over-used, and some lines are clumsy, but it has a ton of potential! I relate to this character, I totally get the imagery! I wanna know about her gang, her dreams and her past. And what she is hunting, mostly.

AnarchyWolf says...

Thanks so much for the review :) I'm glad you like it and I agree with your points.


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230 Reviews

Points: 1224
Reviews: 230

Wed May 18, 2016 2:52 am
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yellow says...

Good read

AnarchyWolf says...

Thanks :)

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677 Reviews

Points: 18325
Reviews: 677

Wed May 18, 2016 2:49 am
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SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...

Hello there! I'm here for a quick review on your fine piece. :3

First thing I want to point out is that I strongly recommend you read through this, since there are quite a few spots with awkward wording, missing phrases (I assume?) and just plain old grammar mistakes. I won't spend much -- if any time -- point them out, but if you want some examples please ask!

One thing that would fall under the editing above that doesn't seem like a big deal, but is kind of, is repetition. I noticed that in the second to last paragraph, the word "stalk" is used twice back to back, even if in different forms. It broke the flow and threw me off. (I also think smoke was mentioned twice, and since this is so short, it threw me off as well.)

Speaking of flow, while I did enjoy your descriptions and such, the paragraphs and sentences within them lacked a connected flow. They didn't read seamlessly to me, instead having a more choppy tone as images jumped from one to another. For instance, the first paragraph. The second and third line doesn't connect well, as the second ends with flecks of gold and the next starts up on houses. While you don't need "transitions" persay, it would help to have more of a train of thought to keep a constant flow throughout.

Overall, I'm kind of confused. There are lots of moments when it switches into backstory mode, moving away from the past-tense present into the past-tense past? And I can understand the difficulty to distinquish it when it's all past tense, I was honestly just confused. Like in the third paragraph when it switches to her arrival. Then it went back to the present. That could be polished up a lot better, especially making things more clear.

Another thing that didn't make sense to me was ending. I'm not entirely sure what's she's hunting or why she calls it her prey, because that makes her sound more like a straight up animal than a gang member/assassin person? And then the last line makes no sense to me. Does it connect back to the narrator being decided when she firsts arrived? (The part about the rug being taken from under her didn't make much sense either. ._.)

I can understand your want to be vague and make this sound mysterious, but there is a difference between leaving out just enough and jumping around vital parts. I may not be making sense right now, so if you need further clarification, please feel free to message me!

Story wise, this is lacking. But I did enjoy your elaborate descriptions, and they fit the tone of the piece quite well ~

Happy writing,
~ Wolfe

AnarchyWolf says...

Thanks for the review :) I agree with all of the points made - I have a few hours before it's due in, so I'm looking over it now and trying to improve it. The bit about the rug being pulled from her feet was about her being caught unawares. She'd been too naive. She was meant to sound like a straight-up animal, though she's human.

Our task was to write something - anything - with the title and moral 'all that glitters is not gold', so I decided to write about a girl who'd been fooled by the golden lights of the city. The last line was a crappy attempt to show how she'd learned not to judge things on how prettily they shine.
And, yes, there is literally no plot here.

Thank you for such a good review. It gave me a load of pointers and help on what to improve :)


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17 Reviews

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Reviews: 17

Tue May 17, 2016 9:12 pm
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AMG wrote a review...

Hello Anarchywolf, the word choice you used was very good. All the descriptions you used very interesting. A couple of my favorite once were " Up into the shadows, she became a cat-like, striking down prey one by one" and " It was a canvas of brown, black, and grey, flecked with gold and ragged at the edges." Those lines create nice imagery of the character and its surrounding. As for the story as a whole, there isn't much substance. It just seemed like a bunch of nicely worded descriptions thrown together. As you had said previously, I understand that this was a school assignment. I'm just wondering if you just had to write a bunch of descriptions or was this meant to be a story.

AnarchyWolf says...

Thanks for the review :) We had to write something - anything - creative with the title and moral 'all that glitters is not gold'. But the plot is something I'm trying to change/add.


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Points: 439
Reviews: 2

Tue May 17, 2016 8:52 pm
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Gokai says...

Wow, This was a school project? Even though it was short, and plot is well... eh, your descriptions are amazing. Absolutely love "The houses leaned against each other like drunken kings." That my friend, was golden. I had very little trouble falling in love with the setting. I had to practice writing for about eight months before my scene description could even be considered on par with yours. That being said, in the beginning, when you said: "She soared and landed silently on the slick roof, turning her back on the humming city." I was just a little bit confused as to if she had stand up or not. Telling instead of showing is also evident in this scene but other than that. Perfect. You should really consider making another :)


AnarchyWolf says...

Thanks so much. I'm glad you like it. And yes, the plot is definitely 'eh'. I'm going to try to work on it.


A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.
— Jean Cocteau