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Typhoon - Chapter 1 (1)

by DougalOfBiscuits


Chapter 1 - Reminiscences on a Larva

"Oh, Josie, you know there's no such thing as fairies."

Eric thought of them as famous last words these days, though luckily he was still yet to encounter one of the fey folk. He stared down at his lumpy meal... porridge? It didn't quite taste of porridge. It tasted... greyer. As grey as the dusty plastic of the fold down table in the mess hall. A couple of pilots who'd had a narrow escape with some Messerschmitts yesterday were expressing their giddy love for life by launching the grey lumpiness at each other's faces from dull, slightly bent spoons. Eric was probably supposed to tell them off, but his mind was elsewhere.

His mind was where it had been more and more often over the past few months, ever since his promotion and his prompt loss of close friends thereafter. His mind was in his garden, at home, in the moments before he and his sister Josie had found their dragon.

***

Josie had been playing outside by herself, her friends having gone home for their teas. Eric wasn't sure what she did out there, all on her own, but her imagination seemed to know no bounds. He'd be helping his mum dry dishes in the kitchen, and he'd see her. As he'd reach up with his little twelve-year-old arm to try and get that last glass on the shelf, he'd spot her out the corner of his eye pointing at something with a big, raggedy stick that nearly tipped over with every movement. She'd point it at something else, say something, then put her hands on her hips as if making a decision. Eric had no idea what she was deciding, but it seemed not to be that big a deal because a moment later she'd be running along the garden path again, away from the house.

When they were done with the dishes, Eric's mum, Helen, reached over the kitchen sink and undid the latch of the window. It was a fairly big strain, with her ribcage pressed into the edge of the counter, but she was able to push the window open with the tips of her fingers.

"Josie!" she called. "Josie, it's getting dark. Come inside!"

But there was no answer. Josie had disappeared down behind the line of trees at the bottom of the garden a while ago and she was probably hanging around the burn, maybe jumping back and forth across it. Sometimes she did that as many times as she could before tripping and getting her feet wet. Eric figured he should go get her before she got in trouble for wrecking another pair of shoes.

“Shall I go find her?" Eric asked, draping the tea towel carefully over a chair. The chair back was a spiral of slim iron bars so getting the towel to not fall off one side or the other was a skill Eric had had to perfect over the last few years. Josie, at the age of eight hadn’t started doing chores or getting pocket money yet.

“Yes please, honey,” Helen said, hooking one finger around the window latch and dragging it shut. Her long curly hair was tied back with a large, thick ribbon but it fell forward a bit as she leaned forward, almost dropping into the sink. She grunted. “If you wouldn’t mind.”

Eric took one last look at the tea towel, decided it wasn’t going to fall, and said, “Of course.”

He walked carefully around the table, which if he was honest with himself was more because he’d had a bad knock in the ribs last time he’d run round, rather than any sort of businessman-like dignity. Growing pains indeed. The door had been open to let the steam from the sink escape, but Eric closed it carefully behind him and crossed the thickly carpeted hall to the front entrance.

The front door was locked, but Eric had his own set of keys now that he took from pocket of his school trousers. He slipped outside, passed the living room window across a front garden of small stones with larger stone tiles as a walkway, then began to walk down the side of the house. There were no tiles leading you along this narrow path, with the stone wall of the house on one side and the high hedges and trees hanging over on the other.

As his shoes crunched on the small stones, he heard a call. “Eric?”

The call was whispered, but the caller was nowhere in sight. Still, there was only one person it could be. Eric rolled his eyes and wondered what secret his sister had in store for him.

“Come on,” Eric called back, though he kept walking. “Mum says you’ve to come inside because it’s getting dark.”

She was leaning casually against the back wall of the house, flat against it so there was no way she’d have been seen from someone looking out the kitchen window. When Eric turned the corner, her eyes widened, but quickly settled back into their nonchalant, half-closed pose.

“Hi,” she said, “Want to see something fun?”

Eric frowned at her. Her dirty blonde hair – dirty in shade and in state – was hanging half behind half in front of one shoulder, and he thought he saw a few twigs in it. There was muck all over blouse and skirt, but it was hard to tell how much of it was from today and how much of it was old. It was a good thing their mother made her change out of her school uniform when they got home, otherwise her good pinafore would have been wrecked long since.

“You’re meant to come inside,” he said, beckoning for her to come with him.

“Don’t you want to see something fun first?” she asked.

He threw his hands in the air in exasperation. “What’s so fun that you can’t show me inside? You’re just going to pull up the waistband of my pants again aren’t you.”

Josie pouted. “That doesn’t sound very fun, does it?”

“That’s what I said!” Eric exclaimed. “You said you had great fun!”

Josie shook her head and her eyes opened fully again. This time they stayed like that. “It’s not like that. But you have to come down to the burn.”

“But-”

“I’ll come inside if you come look,” she offered, reaching out her hand to him.

“And if I don’t?” Eric eyed her hand suspiciously.

She shrugged, grinning slightly. “I’ll still come inside, but you have to catch me first.”

He groaned, remembering the way his very being had burned with what his encylopaedia called lactic acid after the last time he’d tried to keep up with Josie. If he didn’t want to fail in his mission he was going to have to do what she wanted. He took her hand and shook it. “Fine. But let’s hurry.”

Josie nodded and led him swiftly down the garden path between patches of decorative bark and slate. The garden was huge and circular, like a courtyard. And at the very bottom was a little gate that led behind a treeline boundary. Josie always argued it wasn’t a real boundary because it had a gate to get through so their mum saying they couldn’t go past the treeline made no sense. Their mum had stopped arguing against this long ago.

The burn was closed off from the sky by a canopy of pine trees, and the soft dirt of the burn’s banks was perpetually cluttered by a blanket of needles. It did smell rather nice.

Josie leapt across the burn and padded up to a tree whose roots were embedded in the steep opposite bank in a way that made them into a sort of staircase. But instead of ascending, Josie crouched and sat on one of the roots, fixing her gaze on something hidden from view by a point in the next root up that hung out a bit. All Eric could see was a little orange sparkle.

“I think it’s like a fairy or something,” Josie said.

“Oh, Josie, you know there’s no such thing as fairies.”

Josie shrugged. “Then come over here and prove I’m wrong.”

“You didn’t say I’d have to cross the burn!” Eric groaned. “I’d have changed my shoes.”

Josie laughed out loud. “I knew you were going to say that! But you’ve got big long legs!”

It was true, Eric reflected. He had indeed had a bit of a growth spurt recently. But when he’d claimed as much to Josie she’d just challenged him to a jumping competition to see who was really taller. She was definitely making fun of him. Still, whether she meant it or not, he probably was tall enough to cross the burn in one step now.

He edged up as close as he could get to the water, then carefully reached one leg out. But the slower, more carefully he went, the longer he was standing one foot for. He yelped and pushed off with his back leg but his weight had shifted too far forward and the extra air he got only just got him past the water. The back of his heel impacted on a stone, and the back of his trousers got a hefty splash. To make matters worse, in trying to keep his balance, his back leg shifted forward a bit and the toe of his shoe poked straight into the muddy water.

“No!” he cried, and immediately leapt forward, taking off from his front foot and swinging his back leg all the way up onto the third root.

“Why didn’t you go that far the first time?” Josie frowned, seeming genuinely confused.

“Just show me whatever it is.” Eric glowered at her and tried to wipe some of the mud off his shoe with a handkerchief from his school blazer pocket.

Josie beckoned him over and made a little room on her root. He slid in between her and whatever she’d been looking at, took a deep breath and turned his head to see.


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Sat May 04, 2019 8:36 pm
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RandomVanGloboii wrote a review...



Hi!
So, what I can say is, the first part until the flashback captured my attention and makes me hope for a lot of things. The character's dreamy feeling, and the simplicity of the last sentence before the flashback feels good.

Aftyer that, I got lost in the details though. Mianly because I can't wait for the moment they see this dragon, but in the end I acquired again my attention with the speech about fairies and the final cliffhanger.

Will keep reading.




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Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:17 am
Magestorrow wrote a review...



Hello again!

Small Comments


"Oh, Josie, you know there's no such thing as fairies."

Eric thought of them as famous last words these days, though luckily he was still yet to encounter one of the fey folk.


I love how this implies he believes in things like fairies now, and that there was something that caused a change in opinion. Plus, it's one of the more interesting first few lines I've read in awhile - I can't fully explain why, but I just know that it's a unique one.

His mind was in his garden, at home, in the moments before he and his sister Josie had found their dragon.


Coming from reading the Tayburn Zoo, where you wait for the reveal, I love how you let the reader know the big secret right on. You could be mysterious and vague, but this adds a mysterious touch to the first few paragraphs: the reader suddenly is left wondering what he could possibly mean.

The chair back was a spiral of slim iron bars so getting the towel to not fall off one side or the other was a skill Eric had had to perfect over the last few years. Josie, at the age of eight hadn’t started doing chores or getting pocket money yet.


These two lines do a great job at describing the family - it seems like Josie, Eric and Helen are the only ones home. Furthermore, it suggests that someone (Eric) needs to help out around the house, but that the family values childhood because Josie hasn't learned how to do any of them yet.

Her dirty blonde hair – dirty in shade and in state – was hanging half behind half in front of one shoulder, and he thought he saw a few twigs in it. There was muck all over blouse and skirt, but it was hard to tell how much of it was from today and how much of it was old. It was a good thing their mother made her change out of her school uniform when they got home, otherwise her good pinafore would have been wrecked long since.


I see someone's a little adventurer. :)

He edged up as close as he could get to the water, then carefully reached one leg out. But the slower, more carefully he went, the longer he was standing one foot for. He yelped and pushed off with his back leg but his weight had shifted too far forward and the extra air he got only just got him past the water. The back of his heel impacted on a stone, and the back of his trousers got a hefty splash. To make matters worse, in trying to keep his balance, his back leg shifted forward a bit and the toe of his shoe poked straight into the muddy water.


Eric trying to act mature but ultimately giving in to his curiosity made me smile.

Josie beckoned him over and made a little room on her root. He slid in between her and whatever she’d been looking at, took a deep breath and turned his head to see.


I'm betting it's either a baby dragon or a dragon egg.

Overall Comments


This is definitely a great start to your story. <3 I loved seeing the juxtaposition between older Eric and younger Eric; both seem done, but the younger Eric seems to have more childish curiosity - which makes sense, seeing that you wanted to show that he's matured since then.

The reveal at the beginning made the rest of the chapter feel slow, but I also think that was something that would have happened even if you didn't include the reveal there - the reader likely will always know about the dragon going into the story because of the book's description. However, I think being able to see the rest of the chapter would change that. Right now, the "chapter" has ended at a point that's not really a suspenseful moment, because the reader already knows what to expect. What they don't know is the reaction that Josie and Eric will have to the surprise, and what they'll do afterwards - things that are probably touched on in the later parts of the chapter.

The description wasn't as quirky as it was in Tayburn, but the more traditional style works better here because of the story's mood. You gave enough information for the reader to visualize what was going on without boring them, so great job with that.

This definitely seems like an interesting start to a story, and I may or may not swing by to check more of it out in the future. <3






Oh wow I literally just came from responding to your other review haha! I think you kind of sum up why I don't keep the dragon a mystery. Like, take Eragon, it has a dragon on the cover, you know what Eragon's going to find xD although, i have attempted to distance myself from Eragon a wee bit, so in case you don't end up coming back:

Spoiler! :
It's a weird swirling form of dust, in a very flat configuration floating around. We later find out that this is a dragon larva and it morphs into a dragon in part 3 of this chapter.


Thanks again for the reviews :D



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Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:43 pm
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, Bisc! Finally got round to reviewing this!

Specific Comments

"Oh, Josie, you know there's no such thing as fairies."

Eric thought of them as famous last words these days, though luckily he was still yet to encounter one of the fey folk. He stared down at his lumpy meal... porridge? It didn't quite taste of porridge. It tasted... greyer. As grey as the dusty plastic of the fold down table in the mess hall. A couple of pilots who'd had a narrow escape with some Messerschmitts yesterday were expressing their giddy love for life by launching the grey lumpiness at each other's faces from dull, slightly bent spoons. Eric was probably supposed to tell them off, but his mind was elsewhere.

His mind was where it had been more and more often over the past few months, ever since his promotion and his prompt loss of close friends thereafter. His mind was in his garden, at home, in the moments before he and his sister Josie had found their dragon.


My first question is whether you really need this opening. I think it's a risky move to begin with one setting only to dive almost immediately into a flashback. For me, it seems like we've got too much stuff to acclimatise to - fact that fairies exist in this universe, that it's a historical setting, that dragons exist. Before we can really settle into that knowledge, you cut to another scene, so I felt like the rug had been pulled from under me.

I'm guessing this story is going to be mostly set in the 1940s, so I can see why you'd want to start there. But the flashback is where you first grabbed my attention, so I think you should just start there. Cutting these first paragraphs out also means you won't give the game away regarding what's about to happen - because we know they find a dragon, we can guess what Josie wants to show Eric, which takes some of the mystery out of the scene.

He'd be helping his mum dry dishes in the kitchen, and he'd see her. As he'd reach up with his little twelve-year-old arm to try and get that last glass on the shelf, he'd spot her out the corner of his eye pointing at something with a big, raggedy stick that nearly tipped over with every movement.


I get such an immediate sense of Josie's character from this, which is brilliant. That said, you're a bit too repetitive here, because you basically describe the act of Eric seeing her twice, which isn't necessary.

Eric had no idea what she was deciding, but it seemed not to be that big a deal


Did they say 'big deal' in the 1920s? I just checked it in the OED and the first recorded use of 'big deal' (in the sense of 'something important') wasn't until 1943, so it might be worth switching for another phrase.

He groaned, remembering the way his very being had burned with what his encylopaedia[typo] called lactic acid after the last time he’d tried to keep up with Josie.


I love the feel of this line - it completely tells me what kind of person Eric is. It is much too wordy, though, and I think the meaning would come across far better if you could trim it down. I do notice that you tend to pack a lot of words into your sentences, so that's something to look out for.

Overall Thoughts

I think this is a really good start, especially where character is concerned. Eric and Josie are bristling with personality already. I'm always a complete sucker for sibling dynamics, especially when those siblings are like chalk and cheese. I think you capture Eric brilliantly - his trying-to-seem-mature demeanour is completely convincing. Josie seems a delight as well, so far.

I think you paint the setting really well. I remember liking your attention to detail when I read The Drowner, and this story definitely has the same vibe. That said, I'll echo Ink in saying that you can be overly detailed at times. Aside from the first two paragraphs, there are lots of stray lines and moments that could be cut from this chapter. I don't think the pacing is quite there, and that's probably my biggest criticism. It takes Eric too long to get outside, for example, and I agree that the section where he splashes his trousers feels a bit superfluous. There's not quite enough emphasis on the mystery of what Josie wants to show him.

Still, I did enjoy reading this and I definitely want to continue. Aside from the pacing issues, nothing really leapt out to me as needing work. Interesting premise, good characters, good setting. I also learnt what a 'burn' is, which is nice.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan






thanks Pan! hmm... I'll have a think about the flashbacks. This was originally going to be a prologue, with the flashbacks framing the setup of the story, but it all in all comes to 4k words so it feels a bit long to be a prologue.

I'll definitely try and trim down at some point. I think the irony is that for ages I was getting told I wasn't being descriptive enough so I think I've overcompensated xD I'll figure it out!

Thanks again for the review :D



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Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:34 pm
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PrincessInk wrote a review...



Hey Bisc! Sorry for the delay!

I read it earlier and was thinking about it...dragons are so cool. Maybe even more than fairies.

Either way, so I imagine that this story will be a story-in-a-story style with his older pilot him thinking about his adventures with his sister Josie. Or will it be nonlinear? Like there are some scenes as he's a grown-up and scenes when he's still a kid. Anyway, both paths I predict it might take will greatly interest me.

her ribcage pressed into the edge of the counter


"Ribcage" felt strange to me because it sounds as though Eric's mom is a skeleton :P But feel free to disregard.

One thing I really liked about this chapter was the interaction between Eric and Josie. Eric, the elder, more responsible one with still the sense of curiosity and adventure and pride, Josie, clearly, the messy, spirited younger sister. My fave thing here (aside from knowing it! was! a! dragon!) was the character development. We get to know them quite a bit here. It's something that I personally am not very good at (my characters keep waffling over the story) and that I don't often see in the novels I review here. Yay for that! The only suggestion I have is to try tweaking the verbs or adjectives you use for each character to kind of fit their personality. From my study of AP English Literature, diction is important :P

As much as I liked all the development, I would also like to mention that maybe you'd like to be a bit careful about the amount of detail you put here. I know, I know, openings are really hard to balance the amount. I personally thought that maybe you could trim a few sentences here and there and not really affect the story. Such as Josie not helping with chores yet...unless some time later in the story Josie *does* begin to help. Or the fact about her mother's hair. I don't know. Or maybe not. Actually, the part I was most iffy about was the time Eric splashed his trousers. I felt like the explanation wasn't exactly necessary...But I'm not exactly sure, so take it with a grain of salt! (though I'm pretty sure that trimming words/phrases/sentences in final drafts will happen)

All right! That's all I've got to say, so let me know if you need anything :)

-Ink






hmm yeah that description balance is something that bugs me. like, you want to give people an idea of what they're looking at, but why would anyone's internal monologue (even if it is third person) mention their mother's hairstyle. The splash trousers thing, the idea for that is that it's characterisation, Eric being pained by the mess because that's the kind of tidy wee boy he is - but I could definitely trim it a bit.

Thanks for the review! :D you good for me to tag you in the next chapter?



PrincessInk says...


Yes! Tag me please (and cool name change :) Should I still call you Bisc or is there something else you'd prefer? )

I did enjoy his consternation - I know, I'm bad :P Actually the explanation I was talking about was how his action caused stuff like a tip in his center of mass or balance, for instance how the weight made his shoe touch mud etc etc. I thought maybe it could be trimmed a bit because it bogged the pacing down a touch. Haha, hope I'm making sense. Though that's definitely Draft No. 9 issues or something like that.





sweet okay, i'll tag you from now on! for now next chapter is already over here Typhoon - Chapter 1 (2)

I'd still like to go mostly as Biscuits. I guess kind of as if Biscuits is my real name and Dougal/Dougie is a nickname? and thanks :D



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Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:41 pm
LordStar wrote a review...



Hi! Oliver here to review!

First off, this chapter was just a delight to read. The hook was great and got me super interested, and the cliffhanger at the end really makes me want to read the second chapter. The description was sparse enough to not be an info-dump while also being hefty enough to make everything real. The characters seem thoroughly fleshed out and I like that we see not only Eric and Josie's homelife but how they interact with each other; this really helps them seem well-rounded and three dimensional.

It is a bit weird to me how formal Eric speaks? Seems a bit unusual for a twelve year old, but it could be his upbringing and/or a Scottish thing. Idk.

Fun commentary:

You’re just going to pull up the waistband of my pants again aren’t you.”


adlfjad;kfjadl is this a wedgie?? i love it

The burn


Is burn another word for river/creek or am i missing something

Uhhh so yeah. This was good and an interesting, refreshing read. I look forward to the next chapter!

Keep writing,

LordStar






Eric speaking formal: the idea is that he's the kind of child who likes to do things properly, doesn't like getting in trouble, getting mud on his shoes, that kind of thing. I imagined him having a surprisingly formal vocabulary for a child. Do you think an acknowledgement of that being odd at some point would help?

A burn's a stream yeah. I wanna give this a Scottish feel (not sure yet entirely how necessary this is, but i wanted to give it a shot) so there's a couple of scottish words here and there.

That is indeed a wedgie, but i wasn't sure if there would be a word for that in the 1940s xD

Thanks for the review! I'll let you know when the next chapter is up assuming that's alright :)



LordStar says...


Oh, it's set in the 1940's! That also makes Eric's speech a little less odd. Good to know!





Oh oops... hopefully that becomes apparent but I've just realised my only reference to that was the Messerschmitts, which were german planes in ww2 but idk if they're confined to that





so actually given the flashback it's the late 1920s



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Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:05 pm
itsCate says...



I enjoyed this. :D





cron
Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
— Mark Twain