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A lonely spy

by Beautifulsparkle

Chapter 1

(Main character pov)

My friend Marshall is an orphan. Every day in class he comes in with a mischevious expression on his face accentuated by his keen olive eyes. He laughts at other classmates when they act like doofuses and never fails to impart on them his dazzling wit with a healthy dose of sarcasm. But when no one sees him he retreats into a world of sorrows, becoming a well of unshed tears. It hits me harder than a cataclysm, knowing that beneath those glimmering jewels my friend often hides behind stoic, black sunglasses resides the soul of a little boy crying for love, wishing to be cherished like i am.

Which is why i likely should not have complained about my father's penchant for flatulence or my mother's embarassing surprise hugs in front of all of my friends.

"Poor you, it's so hard being you" Marshall told me in a mocking tone.

I hung my head in shame and...i probably should introduce myself.

My name is Robert, Robert Summers. I breath and live video games. My favourite school subject is biology and... i have a little sister, Gracie. Sometimes she is an evil mastermind, being able to lie so smoothly our parents believe she is the incarnation of virgin Mary and that she can do no wrong. Sometimes she is twarted by her overexcited puppy nature which makes her sloppy, her mask slipping. Just yesterday she was caught red handed painting on my school homework to 'make it prettier'. My helicopter parents forbid her to step foot into my room after that. She took it literally, laying down on the floor, her feet outside my room while her hands and torso were inside. She gave me a milion dollar smile and asked if i liked her improvements. Sometimes it's hard not to yell at her.

Today my family and i are sitting at the table eating breakfast...erm soggy cereal that can surely cause diabeties. It's Gracie's favourite. It's silent...too silent.

Suddenly the eerie quietude from before is interrupted by my dad's forced cough.

"Robbie my boy, have you decided to study harder in order to make up for that last math test?

Why can they never ask how biology class is going on, art or P.E.?

"Archimedes knew more math than Robbie dad...when he was in diapers" Gracie put her very 'kind' imput, just to be the center of attention again.

"As a matter of fact dad, i do plan on studying for math today" i said smugly while looking at Gracie who was chewing happily then adding slyly"I heard they put lots of food colouring in these cereals and that it can have negative effects on children's health, such as learning impairment. Dad, mom, don't let such things happen to poor Gracie! Don't let her follow in my math-hating footssteps because of garbage food! She should have healthy oat meal instead"

My sister was throwing me a hateful glance while my parents looked thoughtful.

"We'll see, Robbie" mom said trying to dissolve the tension before asking with worry in her sugary voice "Are my little angels going to be alright on their own while mommy and daddy visit grandma?"

"No sweat mom. I'm fifteen remember?" i say jokingly.

They hugged us goodbye on this wretched day. The hours accumulated but they did not come. I sat on the wine-coloured sofa trying to comfort Gracie who was crying and making wild suppositions such as 'our parents have been abducted by carniverous aliens who are going to make horrible experiments on them'. I shuddered trying to ignore her morbid imagination...

Late at night a police officer came bearing gut-wrenching news. Our parents died in a car accident.

(End of character pov)

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39 Reviews

Points: 2334
Reviews: 39

Sun May 31, 2020 1:21 am
Katteex wrote a review...

Hello there!
I see that you're trying to floor out a sad backstory for your character. This is a typical storyline but don't be disheartened. Cliche plot lines are always there to remind us that our story is still mundane. It has to be normal at some point because if it's filled with plot twists or situational irony, then it'll become disastrous.

Now, what makes one writing unique from another is the execution. By placing your own style, it starts to mold into a new identity. It'll become distinct from all the other stories out there. When I read your work, it feels a little hurried. The ingress and egress felt abrupt and it felt like they're hanging on loose thread (i hope this description would make it clearer for you to understand what I'm trying to say, if not, sorry).

I'm also a bit confused with what you're trying to say by introducing the characters. Why was Marshall important? I know that this is just chapter 1, but I didn't see why it was essential to introduce Marshall first before Robert. It had nothing to do with losing his parents or his sad back story, unless you're trying to say that he's being bullied or ostracized by the people around him. It's also weird because you're telling us that Marshall's feelings are repressed, but then he showed his true self through this dialogue,

Poor you, it's so hard being you" Marshall told me in a mocking tone.

If that's the case why does he stick with Marshall? And his group of friends? I think you should expound more on this. I suggest that you should also narrate how Marshall's sad background affects Robert? How does it mold his personality as a friend?

I hung my head in shame and...i probably should introduce myself.

Is this novel formatted like he's writing this all down in a diary? If it isn't, it was a bit awkward for me to read this. Maybe it's just me, but it would be best if the person doesn't introduce himself. If you could show it through his actions, his lifestyle, the dialogues, and the people around him then his character would be more understandable.

Third would be Grace.

How old is she? How can she be so cunning? Why would she want to humiliate and disturb Robert? I hope you're not using it as a plot device just to accentuate how horrible Robert's life is. You also explain why she garners so much hate, especially towards her brother. Where did it come from? How did it start? I also find it unusual that someone her age could lie like an evil mastermind.

Fourth, the parents.
I feel you. I, too, have parents who pressure me with regards to my grades. However, in

"Robbie my boy, have you decided to study harder in order to make up for that last math test?

Why can they never ask how biology class is going on, art or P.E.?

I think Robert's question is missing something. Based on the context, his parents asked him that question because he failed (had a low score? Average score? Or a high score that was still low enough for his parents) not because it's math. His parents can start asking that question in any of the subjects he's having problems with as well. If Robert wanted his parents to ask him in those aforementioned subjects, it meant he'd excelled in them. He wanted them to see the good side of his studies. I suggest adding, "Why do they always focus on the things I'm not good at? I'm not perfect enough to excel at everything," or something similar to this.

"I heard they put lots of food colouring in these cereals and that it can have negative effects on children's health, such as learning impairment. Dad, mom, don't let such things happen to poor Gracie! Don't let her follow in my math-hating footssteps because of garbage food! She should have healthy oat meal instead"

I hope you don't feel offended but the tone and the usage of words clashes. He had this childish tone yet he's trying to talk smart and mature (maybe it's just me). Also, I don't think learning impairment would ensue something emotionally related such as "math-hating." Hating and liking something is a choice.


They hugged us goodbye on this wretched day

When he described the day as "wretched" it was like he knew that his parents were going to die. Also, when the siblings (and also the readers) were informed it was a bit abrupt. It was hard to feel anything because the parents were introduced as irritating, imposing, authoritarian. They became more of a plot device than actual people. I hope you could change that.

There are also minor errors such as wrong spelling and consistency with the tenses but I don't want to point them out yet because I think you should focus more on the plot and the characterization of the novel. It is also too short for a chapter because the average number would be 1500 - 5000 words so I hope my suggestions helped you discern what to add :)

That's all. I hope you don't feel overwhelmed with my review. If I sounded rude in some parts, I'm really sorry and please point it out to me so that I can avoid it next time. Your writing has so much potential! Keep writing and tag me when you've updated this. Many thanks:)

Best regards,

Kattee x

Hello. In regards to Marshall he'll be important to the story later. I wanted him to sound repressed but also sarcastic and more open to talk his opinion but only to his friend, not to the other classmates. The main character sounds a bit childish but he is a whizz at biology so he would know some technical terms. I don't thing Gracie garners such hate howard her older brother. I write har as a typical younger sibling, seven or eight years old. I have an older brother top, at that age you think it's sorta alright to 'improve' your siblings' homework. Especially if they are encouraged to colour in order to express themselves. I should have probably mentioned her age. About the Albert Einstein comment that was just her being insensitive and trying to make a horrible joke, but i tried to make it in a teasing manner not in a i hate you older brother...manner. Yeah the parents were a bit of a plot device, but i intend for the reader to learn more about them through memories and about how they shaped the characters.

Katteex says...

Thanks for the clarification!

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6 Reviews

Points: 43
Reviews: 6

Tue May 26, 2020 3:21 pm
raesvaughn wrote a review...

I totally was not expecting that ending! This story seems pretty genuine and evokes a lot of emotion. I would say to work on your grammar, use of commas, and capitalism of "I." The small technical errors peppered throughout the piece don't ruin it, but if they were removed your work would be elevated to a completely new level. Try to convey emotion through diction rather than overusing adverbs, even though that's more of my personal preference. Great job, and keep on writing!

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64 Reviews

Points: 4504
Reviews: 64

Tue May 26, 2020 3:17 pm
StarlitMind wrote a review...

Hey! I haven't reviewed in awhile, so I apologize if this isn't very helpful :p

I like this chapter! You have nice word choice, such as "dazzling wit with a healthy dose of sarcasm" and "world of sorrows, becoming a well of unshed tears." Nice job! You have some grammar issues, but don't worry; it's natural and can be easily fixed with proofreading.

One thing I noticed is that you didn't capitalize your I's in several places (example: Which is why i likely should not have.. It should be "Which is why I likely should not have") I would recommend going back and capitalizing them all.

You also switch between present and past tense throughout the chapter. It's easy to do this; I used to have a lot of problems with this in my own writing and still do. Pick which tense you would like to use, whether it be past or present, and make sure all the verbs agree in the tense you choose.

"I breath and live video games." I believe this should be "I breathe and live video games." And for "Don't let her follow in my math-hating footssteps" it should be "footsteps."

Throughout the chapter, you need to capitalize "Mom" and "Dad." If you were to say "my mom" or "my dad," you do not need to capitalize it. But if you just say "Mom" or "Dad" you need to capitalize it, because in that instance Mom and Dad are being used as names. For example, "mom said trying to dissolve the tension" should be "Mom said trying to dissolve the tension." Another example is "No sweat mom. I'm fifteen remember?" This should be "No sweat, Mom. I'm fifteen, remember?"

One last thing. The ending is very abrupt: "Our parents died in a car accident." Maybe you did this on purpose for a reason I am not aware of, but I recommend elaborating this more. How did the police officer deliver the news? How did Robert and Gracie react? What was the setting like? Setting can really contribute to mood, so if you're looking for a darker mood, it can be raining or really dark outside with not even the moon or streetlights shining. I think writing about how your characters reacted to the news is really important, because the reader can learn a lot about the character by how they react to pain, so this would be a good place for some characterization.

Overall, I really like this chapter, good job! I like how in the beginning of the story you talk about Marshall being an orphan, foreshadowing what happens to Robert's parents. I'm excited to read what happens next. Good luck! :)

Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness.
— Lemony Snicket