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16+ Language Violence

The Amber Balance -Chapter 4

by ArtOfSilence


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

Chapter 4

Something shifted next to me and I slumped sideways onto the ground. Snapping my eyes open at the sudden pain radiating from my shoulder, I sat up. Surprisingly I hurt far less than the last time I'd awoken, but the hot ache had only grown stronger. My skin felt tight and the texture of my clothes brushing against was vivid and raw. Finn had stretched out along the ground to grab an apple and woken me. Hunger gnawed at my stomach as well so following his example I gathered a few myself. Looking to the sky, I grimaced. Sunset. I'd slept almost a full day. A faint thumping grew steadily louder and Jaron strode into the clearing followed by a dozen people I didn't recognize along with the big bald man, Kelber, and the skinny man from yesterday. They all dressed in clothes clearly looted from our village and carried people I did recognize.

"Dad!"

He was unconscious over the shoulder of a large brown-haired man with dark eyes. Dried Blood coated his face and a crude attempt had been made at bandaging his eye and ear. His pants and shirt were stained red but I couldn't make out any injuries other than a badly torn leg under the mess of his clothing.

Our fellow villagers were dumped in the center of the clearing raising a chorus of groans and whimpers. There were fewer of them than there should have been. Out of near sixty of us there couldn't be more than thirty left. Rushing to dad's side I checked his wounds. Besides the ear and eye his worst injury was his ankle, which was bent to the side unnaturally with the whiteness of bone visible up against the skin. His breath pressed faintly against my face. He was alive. Silent tears slid down my cheeks as I held him.

"Ali!"

"June! Mr's Mariet! I'm so glad you're alive! Where's Pieter?"

June's happy expression at finding me alive soured, replaced quickly with anger followed immediately by sorrow.

"Just there." She pointed to the edge of the gathering. "He's breathing, but he hasn't woken up at all, not even when they tried hurting him!"

True to her word Pieter lay on his back upon the grass. Laying dads head gently back on the ground I moved to kneel beside Pieter. His jaw slanted wrongly off the one side, clearly badly broken, and the entire right side of his face was a mottled purple and black.

Fury filled me. My glare found Jaron. He stood off to the side, his people at his back and Kelber at his side. They laughed and milled about completely untouched by the suffering around them, suffering they had caused. We were in the grasp of true monsters; monsters who apparently wanted to make us like them.

With that thought my fury was joined by an equal amount of fear and I turned away. Finn and I tried to make everyone as comfortable as possible before we sat together with June, each being careful not to jostle our injuries. Shouldn’t I be in more pain? I could still feel the pull on the torn skin of my shoulder every time I moved, but it was just pressure and the tingling hot aching.

"Is this everyone?" Finn asked June.

"I think so."

They both looked extremely pale and I’m sure I was the same.

"Where- What are they doing with the bodies?" June’s voice was quiet and quivered slightly, as if she didn’t really want to know the answer.

Looking over to Old Joe our eyes met and he answered simply.

"You mean they're not in the village?"

"No."

"Then don't think about it. It's not important right now, just keep doing what you can for them." He nodded to the worst off in the clearing center.

"Oh gods! How can this be happening?!" June exclaimed.

"Hah. You ain't seen nothing yet girlie. The real show's about to start." Looking up we found Kelber leering down at us. He gestured towards Joe, Mayor Thomas and the others propped up next to the trees. I couldn't see what he was getting at and just as I went to look away pale moonlight fell upon them. With sudden gasps twin beacons of amber lit up the faces of everyone whose skin the light touched. A sudden cacophony of cracks and grinding bone drowned out their groans a moment later.

"Time to cull the weak from the strong!" Jaron's exclamation was met by cheers from his people that quickly grew more guttural, but I was unable to tear my eyes away from the spectacle in front of me.

My friends, the people I'd grown up with, were transforming into monsters before my eyes. Old Joe started coughing, convulsing violently on the ground. A few moments later he spasmed and went still, his face towards me. I watched as life faded from his eyes, followed soon after by the amber glow that had taken it from him. The ethereal light crawled across the clearing towards me. The aching heat I'd been feeling grew to an inferno as it crept ever closer, shining upon the grass. June struggled to stand, screaming, while Finn remained staring slack jawed.

Leaping to my feet, I grabbed dad under the arms. Ignoring my pain, I desperately dragged him away from the moonlight.

"Finn! Help June!"

With a shudder Finn seemed to realize he should be doing something, but it was too late. The same amber light spilled from their eyes and they joined the others frantically pulling at their clothes, choking on screams.

"Youu can'tt runnn fromm thee moooooon-lighhttt spearrr girllll"

Ignoring Jaron's twisted taunt, I pulled with all my strength once more, dragging dad another few feet. He was too big, too heavy; and my left arm wouldn't work right, the agony in my shoulder too debilitating. The light only gained ground despite my efforts, sliding over the edge of dads scuffed leather boots onto the bare skin of his injured leg. His eyes snapped open shining like all the rest. Letting go, I stumbled backwards, falling to one side on the grass.

"No. Stop this!" I pleaded without knowing who I was pleading too.

Large, clawed hands closed around my shoulders, pulling me to my feet, facing me towards the light. The moonlight fell upon my face and a bolt of energy raced through me. Like feeding oil to a fire, the inferno inside me exploded outwards and I felt my skin stretch, unable to contain it. The grip on my shoulders released and I fell to my hands and knees screaming. My ribs flexed outward as muscles twisted, bulged and grew taut. I felt my jaw crack and begin to push out, growing fangs forcing my teeth apart. Pain filled every nerve but even it was not left unchanged, the fire inside consumed it, the pain evaporating into a strange sense of release. Staring down at my fingers in front of me among the grass, I watched with burning eyes as long black talons sprouted and grew. My new claws dug into the soil involuntarily as my hands shifted and changed, becoming almost paws but with longer more dexterous fingers. Light brown, almost red fur erupted all over and my poor shredded blouse finally ripped completely. With a series of cracks and pops I felt my spine curve, forcing me to hunch further forward on the ground.

Panting, I realized it was over. A sudden howl started behind me and new, alien instincts pushed me to add my voice to theirs. Others joined the howl and it built until I needed to join in. Thrusting my head backwards I howled for all I was worth. As it died down a large black werewolf, Jaron, growled.

'Follow. Hunt.'

Somehow, I understood and a desire, a need to obey the alpha of the pack overcame me. New alien thoughts and feelings mingled with my own. Part of me realized I wasn't thinking straight, that I'd changed, but an equal new part of me felt nothing but exhilaration.

Jaron took off up out of the valley and we followed into the forest beyond. Air rushed through my fur, filling my ears as they twitched and swiveled strangely atop my head. Sounds and smells filled my mind with new explicit detail, a tapestry that had always been there just beyond my senses. The darkness barely hindered my vision as I ran, following the pack. New instincts guided me and flexing powerful muscles I leapt over a fallen log, dashing swiftly through the underbrush. A sense of freedom filled me. Moonbeams filtered through the canopy; shafts of light dancing with the movement of the leaves above. It felt right, like I belonged with the pack among the trees and brush. Yet at the same time a small sense of wrong and fear at the back of my mind persisted despite my new feelings.

Suddenly we changed direction and I smelt something warm, something alive; the scent of freshly kicked up dirt and wind beneath the trees. The new part of me that reveled in the strength was suddenly ravenous, flushed with the desire to hunt, to kill. Rushing through me it took full control as the thrill of the hunt stole what little focus I'd retained and the chase overtook me. We approached from downwind of our quarry, silent but for the soft pad of paw on grass. Loping swiftly, we broke from the trees with such speed that the small herd of grazing deer next to a large, clear pond never had time to truly escape. We allowed them to run for a few moments, drawing out the hunt, before Jaron leapt upon a large buck. Immediately I pounced upon the nearest prey, an older doe, bringing her to the ground with my jaws closed on her neck. Whipping my head to the side, I bit down hard. A single sharp crack and her struggles ceased beneath me. A quick death. Warm blood filled my mouth, running between my fangs. It was delicious, a rich tapestry I'd never tasted before. I was starving. Ripping and tearing I ate my fill, seeking the parts that smelt the best to my new senses.

Once sated, I raised my head to gaze out upon the rest of the pack among the trees and my elation at a successful hunt faded. Deer littered the ground and a sense of unstoppable power filled me. Some of the others danced around a pair of adolescent fawns, taking turns swiping them with their claws, reveling in their pain and fear, in their own strength. A feral desire to join them and show my own strength washed through me, but at the same time a sense that this was cruel, wrong occupied the same space. Frozen in place I tried to reconcile the conflicting thoughts fighting for control. Behind the urge to join in, a small sense of confusion came from the new part of my mind. Hunting was for food, drawing out the prey's pain and death was pointless. Watching a moment, the sense of confusion only grew. Leveraging the confusion, the sense of wrongness won. Some control returned and suddenly what they were doing was repulsive.They were torturing helpless fawns, getting off on it, and I'd wanted to join them? I felt sick. Tasting blood and feeling it covering my fingers I looked down at my furred paw-like hands. I'd changed more than just physically, that much was clear. From what was happening in front of me it was obvious the others had as well.

Staring at my sticky, red stained fur, a bottomless pit opened up in my stomach, I felt empty inside. I’m a monster.

Raising my head, I found a brown furred werewolf pacing toward me. Sniffing the air out of instinct, his scent identified him as Kelber. My new instincts rose up again, only this time in complete agreement with my old self. Crouching, I bared my teeth, a growl rumbling up my throat involuntarily. Stopping a few feet in front of me he stared into my eyes, seeming enraged at my reaction.

'Submit.'

I felt no need to obey him as I had Jaron and if he thinks I'm letting him anywhere near me he's got another thing coming.

My growl continued unabated and Kelber stretched himself up to his full height, advancing claws outstretched. His muscles tensed just before he charged, attempting to knock me to the ground. From my crouched position it was easy to dart forward, thrusting upward into his stomach with my claws. The strength of my new muscles surged and his feet left the ground. Forward momentum from his rush caused him to fly a short distance before slamming headfirst into the trunk of a large tree. He recovered quickly, scrambling up in only a few moments; although he continued shaking his head as if to clear it even after he gained his feet.

Kelber began gathering himself for a second charge when Jaron stepped between us, human once more.

"Looks like we've a fight on our hands." His gaze flickered over me from head to toe, grinning. "Little miss spear-girl won't go easily to hands and knees like a good bitch aye Kel? I'm not one to turn down free entertainment. Go on then." He stepped back.

Rage rose within me, along with a feral anticipation for the fight to come. I'd show him who the real bitch was here.

We stared at each other, neither making a move. If he wanted me, he'd have to come to me, so I waited. This time, he approached slowly, taking cautious steps forward until he stood just beyond my reach. Lightning fast he jumped forward arms outstretched, attempting to grapple me the ground. Yet I was faster still, as he began to move I saw my opening and took it. With his arms raised to encircle me I simply leapt directly at him. Colliding with his torso, the force of my leap knocked him onto his back with me directly on top of him.

Not wasting any time, I swiped furiously at his neck. The scent of blood from the deer already saturating the air grew thicker as I ripped bloody chunks from his throat with feral glee. Kelber bucked upwards and threw me to the side. I felt to the forest floor, jumping back to my feet the moment after impact.

Spinning around, I found Kelber crouched low, one hand clutching his throat, the blood pulsing from his throat had already began to slow as his unnatural healing kicked in. I howled in furious joy and scenting his fear, his weakness I pressed my advantage. Darting forward I went to rake my claws across his face but he blocked with a forearm and backpedaled. I matched him step for step growing more and more angry as he deflected my swipes with his arms until finally I threw myself at him. He didn't waste his chance. Thrusting his claws outward, the force of my own leap worked against me. His right hand glanced off bone but I felt my ribs crack and his left -hand claws dug deeply into my upper right torso. My own blood joined his on the air, pain washed through me and I was suddenly short of breath as blood bubbled up my throat. Then I landed on him, crushing him to the ground with my weight. Gripping his arm, I ripped his hand out of my chest, ignoring the flash of agony that accompanied it. Opening my jaw wide I crunched down on his hand savoring his blood as it ran across my tongue. I felt his bones breaking and he roared in agony, desperately gripping my muzzle with his free hand, trying to pry me off. Releasing his hand, I gripped his shoulder, raising one arm, swiping downwards with all my might towards his face.

"Enough!"

Powerful hands stopped me mid swing, lifting me off the whining, whimpering little bitch and threw me to the side. Slamming into to the ground a second time, I was slower to recover, panting desperate for air as my right lung failed me. Crawling to my hands and knees, spitting blood, I looked over to Kelber. Jaron stood between us, staring at me. Sliding my gaze off him I found a blood covered lump lying on the grass behind him.

Jaron stared at me and all thoughts of continuing, fell away. Still, I'd won. I felt the urge to howl my victory but didn't have the air to do so. I relaxed. Now that the fight was over the pain I'd been ignoring came to the forefront and I looked down. Fuck. He had made a ruin of my torso. It looked as though I'd been impaled on a spear and I was utterly drenched in blood; his blood from when I tore his neck open, and mine from the gaping hole in my chest. The anger returned and placing a hand over the wound I glared over at Kelber once more. I wanted to kill him, but Jaron wouldn't allow it, that much was clear from the way he watched me as he stood between us.

I couldn't get enough air, but as I sat panting it slowly grew easier and I could feel my lung healing. Glancing around I found the others watching me, bloodlust shining in their eyes.

"We'll return to village to sleep and get some clothes. Then I hear there's some peddlers on their way to the city with news of our attacks, giving away our location." He grinned at us sadistically. "We can’t have that.”

We all watched as Jaron shifted into werewolf form in front of us.

Forcing Kelber to his feet, howling a successful hunt and with another 'Follow', he entered the trees.Pressure to obey his command filled my mind, growing by the moment. I fought to resist howling and succeeded in releasing only a quiet whine. Instead I took what small rebellion I could and dashed to the pond where the deer had grazed.

The splash of cold water brought me fully back to lucidity and I found myself filled with a raging hurricane of emotion. I hated Kelber. He just expected me to submit to him simply because he wanted me and thought himself the big strong man and me the weak little girl. I'd showed him just who was weak and I felt nothing but satisfaction about it. Bright sparks of bloodlust and desire mixed with confusion, horror and revulsion at the others torturing helpless fawns and getting off on it. And finally, I felt fear. Fear stemming from the fact that I didn't understand some of my own thoughts and emotions, knowing that I'd never have felt like this before. Fear that I was and forever would be a monster. Even that was tinged with confusion, the new part of me not understanding why I'd feel that way. I’d torn out someone's throat without the slightest hesitation and all I’d felt was glorious bloodlust driving me forward. Finally, there was Jaron. A disturbing mix of fear, hatred, awe and submission came to the forefront as I thought his name. He'd done this to us, killed so many...and yet he was the alpha, wasn't it his right?

The whirlwind of emotion tore at me, threatening to tear me apart and I whimpered, covering my eyes a moment as I tried to regain control of myself.

--------

Running through the trees was a different experience now that I'd shaken off some of the instincts overrunning me during the hunt. I still felt the power, the freedom, but they were outweighed by my growing knowledge that Jaron was right. I had changed in both mind and body, and so had the rest of Glimmerdale; those that survived anyway. It happened so quickly, one moment I was a human girl, the next a ravenous beast. A monster.

I caught up to the others back at the clearing amongst the apple trees, just outside town. Jaron had become human again and was putting on clothes. While everywhere werewolves dragged corpses away. I hadn't realized so few of us survived, the bodies of my former townspeople littered the ground.

Stopping beside Joe's twisted corpse I stared down, crying silently. He lay curled up in the grass, a frozen expression of agony upon his face. Jaron was right again, the weak had been culled from the strong. Only, the strong died instead of letting themselves become monsters, and Joe was the strongest of us.

Looking up from Old Joe my gaze passed over lifeless faces but I couldn't find my dad. Relief filled me but it came with an equal amount of guilt and uncertainty. I was so happy he was alive yet also uncertain if this was a fate worse than death. Either way guilt plagued me for having our little family remain intact while so many others were shattered or wiped out entirely. On top of that, shouldn't I feel more grief? There was sadness, but it was distant, an entire lifetime ago; the change had taken it too, leaving a dull ache far less raw than when I'd sat with Finn just yesterday.

“Guess he was weak after all.” Jaron spoke to me from the clearing center before addressing everyone. "We'll burn the bodies tomorrow before we leave." His lips spread in a sinister smile. "We've places to be."


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Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:42 am
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niteowl wrote a review...



Hi again ArtofSilence! Niteowl coming back to finish reviewing these chapters! This time, to try to avoid some of the nit-pickiness of my previous reviews, I've read through the chapter once before deciding what I want to point out.

The first thing that sticks out to me: has Kelber been introduced yet? Given what a significant role he plays in this chapter, it's weird to me that the name wasn't ringing a bell. Of course, it's been a couple days, so I decided to go back to the previous chapters to see if I'd just forgotten. A quick Ctrl-F search revealed no mention of a Kelber in Chapter 3 or Chapter 2. I'm guessing he's one of the two werewolves who taunt her in the beginning of Chapter 3, but I don't think she ever learned their names. Jaron is the only werewolf that's been named until now.

Rushing to dad's side I checked his wounds.


Minor grammar thing here that I don't remember if I mentioned yet. "Dad" should be capitalized in this sentence because it's a name. However, if it was "my dad" it would be lowercase because it's more of a descriptive term than a name. I feel like that is a terrible explanation but I've seen this error a few times at this point so I thought I'd highlight it.

June's happy expression at finding me alive soured, replaced quickly with anger followed immediately by sorrow.


This might be me, but I'm having trouble visualizing this. It might be better to show something she does with her face or hands to signal the transition in emotions.

The way the moonlight is described here is distracting to me. It almost sounds more like a slowly moving flashlight than something coming from the sky. I don't feel like I've ever seen moonlight crawl, and I don't feel like you can really outrun it as Ali attempts to do.

"Youu can'tt runnn fromm thee moooooon-lighhttt spearrr girllll"


And this line made me think of Leann Rimes, which clearly makes no sense. Maybe it's all the extra letters, which to me looks like how I would write out someone singing, not an authoritative alpha male bellowing.

I really like the description of the next few paragraphs as she transforms and succumbs to werewolf instincts, but I agree with Mea that the paragraphs are really long. I don't remember noticing this in the last few chapters, but here it can be hard to follow what's going on in these long paragraphs, so I would break them up.

I felt no need to obey him as I had Jaron and if he thinks I'm letting him anywhere near me he's got another thing coming.


I think I've pointed this out before, but the tense-switching here was odd and distracting.

Another thing that's confusing me about this fight scene: are the werewolves on two or four legs while in wolf form? Also, is Jaron just magically able to shift between human and wolf and the others can't?

Jaron stared at me and all thoughts of continuing, fell away.


I agree with Mea that there seem to be issues with commas. For instance, this one is unnecessary. If you pause there, like the comma indicates you should, it sounds weird and unnatural.

The splash of cold water brought me fully back to lucidity and I found myself filled with a raging hurricane of emotion.


This sentence feels awkward. Plus I'm not sure a girl from an inland kingdom would even know what a hurricane is?

The last scene with her thinking about her dad made me wonder who else had survived. It's sort of implied that Finn and June transformed, but that's not entirely clear. Perhaps later chapters will ease my confusion.

Overall, this was an action-filled chapter with a strong focus on Ali's emotions as she first transforms into a wolf form and then fights those instincts to rediscover her human side. The mention of amber light also makes the title a lot more clear. However, I found the long paragraphs somewhat hard to follow and I'm still confused about some things like how much these transformations can be controlled and if they primarily use two or four legs in wolf form. Onward to the next chapter! Keep writing! :D




ArtOfSilence says...


Hey niteowl! Glad to to see you back again. Sorry for taking so long to respond. I got a bit of tunnel vision trying to rewrite a few chapters between stuff I'd already written and ended up adding almost two entirely new ones which are the next few to be posted. (Chapter 8 which is up now included)

The first thing that sticks out to me: has Kelber been introduced yet? Given what a significant role he plays in this chapter, it's weird to me that the name wasn't ringing a bell. Of course, it's been a couple days, so I decided to go back to the previous chapters to see if I'd just forgotten. A quick Ctrl-F search revealed no mention of a Kelber in Chapter 3 or Chapter 2. I'm guessing he's one of the two werewolves who taunt her in the beginning of Chapter 3, but I don't think she ever learned their names. Jaron is the only werewolf that's been named until now.


Good catch! I changed how Kelber first introduces himself because it felt both a little too close to how he originally acts when the reader first sees him and very short. Kind of like 'Hi. I'm Kelber', then immediately moving on. I'll definitely be putting a reworked introduction back in.

June's happy expression at finding me alive soured, replaced quickly with anger followed immediately by sorrow.


This might be me, but I'm having trouble visualizing this. It might be better to show something she does with her face or hands to signal the transition in emotions.


You might be right. I'll run it passed some others IRL and see what they think.

"Youu can'tt runnn fromm thee moooooon-lighhttt spearrr girllll"



And this line made me think of Leann Rimes, which clearly makes no sense. Maybe it's all the extra letters, which to me looks like how I would write out someone singing, not an authoritative alpha male bellowing.


Jaron's speech mid transformation shouldn't be perfect and I was trying to make it guttural without describing it directly. I'm not sure what the best option is here. Another thing to get collaborating feedback on I think.

I'll shorten reformat some of the longer paragraphs as you and Mea have suggested and I'll fix the tense switching.

Another thing that's confusing me about this fight scene: are the werewolves on two or four legs while in wolf form?


They're standing on two. although I picture the upper body hunched forward just a bit. I thought the fact they had to actively crouch and lines like 'advancing claws outstretched' would be enough to hopefully get that across. I think I'll reference how they stand as the hunt begins just after everyone has transformed. Probably change this line

Jaron took off up out of the valley and we followed into the forest beyond.


to

Jaron took off into the trees and up out of the valley. We followed as a pack, sprinting upright, our hindpaws pounding into the earth.


or something similar.

Also, is Jaron just magically able to shift between human and wolf and the others can't?


Jaron is has far more control than the others which stems from his drive and sense of purpose, as well as one other thing that the reader is unaware of at the moment.

As for the others, those who've been werewolves longer can mostly shift back and forth at will, although it both takes more out of them and takes longer than Jaron or a more in control werewolf.

I agree with Mea that there seem to be issues with commas.


Collaborating feedback is the best feedback. Thanks for pointing things out.

The splash of cold water brought me fully back to lucidity and I found myself filled with a raging hurricane of emotion.



This sentence feels awkward. Plus I'm not sure a girl from an inland kingdom would even know what a hurricane is?


I didn't even think about the hurricane thing so good catch on that. As for feeling awkward, Mea said the same thing about some of these sentences describing Ali's thoughts and emotions. Either I'll work on it and refine things or

A friend has suggested I split things so that while changed Ali never realizes shes changed mentally, instead only coming to that when shes back in human form. This would definitely make it easier to write, I just worry that readers will be a bit confused until Ali's moment of realization. Still, I think it will be better doing that than it is now.


which I said in Mea's review as well.

Thanks for you're review! Detailed criticism like this is fantastic.

I hope future chapters begin to answer a few questions you have like how controlled the transformations can be. I know you've read the rest of the chapters I've posted here so I assume you know who survived by now, unless I screwed up somewhere that is haha.



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Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:31 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Wow.

This was truly chilling, genuinely almost disturbing to read. From the hunt to the fight to Jaron's dominion over all of them, the contrast between the normal, caring townspeople and the monsters they've become is the stuff of nightmares. I especially liked how you had it always in the back of her head that something was wrong, but it took her a while to really break free (at least, to some extent) of the werewolf she's become.

I'm curious to know what makes Jaron the alpha. Is it that he bit them? But I don't think he personally bit all of them, so I'm guessing it's something else and I'm wondering if your main character is going to wind up taking advantage of that somehow.

Your ideas are all here, the emotional beats and the events, but I know you can make this chapter even more powerful by refining the prose itself.

Firstly, you have a lot of long paragraphs here as you describe the werewolf pack's hunt and the main character's actions during and after it. I think you could break them up in places that most emphasize the turn of emotions or the atmosphere at that particular point. I also felt like a lot of the sentences that were specifically describing her emotions or what was going through her head at the moment just read awkwardly, which made them a lot less powerful than they could have been. Reading them out loud can often help with figuring out what sounds awkward.

Bright sparks of bloodlust and desire mixed with confusion, horror and revulsion at the others torturing helpless fawns and getting off on it. And finally, I felt fear. Fear stemming from the fact that I didn't understand some of my own thoughts and emotions, knowing that I'd never have felt like this before.

This was one part that was really good in my opinion, not awkward at all and very powerful.

Also, you tend to have quite a few comma errors scattered about, mostly omitting commas where you should have one, but you also have the occasional comma splice, which is where you connect two phrases that could both be their own sentences together using only a comma. If both phrases can be their own sentences, you always need a conjunction as well.

Surprisingly I hurt far less than the last time I'd awoken, but the hot ache had only grown stronger

This sentence just feels contradictory, even though I can think through what you mean.

And I think that's all I've got for you! I'll probably come back and review more chapters of this tomorrow.




ArtOfSilence says...


Thanks for the review! Sorry it took me awhile to get to respond.

I wrote a full response but YWS went down as I tried to post it's gone. Let's see what I can remember lol.

I rewrote chapters 8-10 over the last few weeks and I was worried some character developement might have less impact or feel unearned because Alison didn't have enough of a change or struggle earlier so you finding this chilling makes me a bit more optimistic.

I think you could break them up in places that most emphasize the turn of emotions or the atmosphere at that particular point.


niteowl above has seconded this and you're right, some are a little long so I'll fix them. Thanks for pointing it out!

I also felt like a lot of the sentences that were specifically describing her emotions or what was going through her head at the moment just read awkwardly, which made them a lot less powerful than they could have been. Reading them out loud can often help with figuring out what sounds awkward.


Those passages were definitely the hardest part of this chapter to write. Trying to get Ali's thoughts, emotions, the fact that on some level she realizes she's changed mentally as well as physically and her response to flow well was a little too much.

Reading this a friend has suggested I split things so that while changed Ali never realizes shes changed mentally, instead only coming to that when shes back in human form. This would definitely make it easier to write, I just worry that readers will be a bit confused until Ali's moment of realization. Still, I think it will be better doing that than it is now.

Also, you tend to have quite a few comma errors scattered about, mostly omitting commas where you should have one, but you also have the occasional comma splice, which is where you connect two phrases that could both be their own sentences together using only a comma. If both phrases can be their own sentences, you always need a conjunction as well.


Thanks for this. I'm always looking to improve my grammar which has always been a little shaky. When I was learning I tended to just focus on the story, throwing grammar to the side as a very distant afterthought.

Surprisingly I hurt far less than the last time I'd awoken, but the hot ache had only grown stronger

This sentence just feels contradictory, even though I can think through what you mean.


I can see why, even if it does make sense. The best solution I can think of at the moment is just splitting it into two sentences. Perhaps

The tingling heat had spread through my veins, reaching every corner of my body and suffusing my muscles in a constant low warmth. Surprisingly, I hurt far less than the last time I'd awoken


Not sure that's any better, it's what first came to mind though.

Thanks again for reviewing! I really appreciate it and it definitely makes a difference. Most of my friends and family aren't what I would describe as 'readers', so getting peoples thoughts and opinions that are almost certainly closer to my own helps. I'm writing this for people who enjoy similar things to myself after all.



Mea says...


You're very welcome! I definitely know what you mean about only having family/friends who are readers. xD All they'll tell me is vaguely "it's good!" and I'm like "...but I need more than that."




How can I be king of the world? Because I am king of rubbish. And rubbish is what the world is made of.
— Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane