Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy

E - Everyone

The Chosen Grandma - Draft 2 - Chapter 1.1

by BlueAfrica


a/n: I'm posting chapter one of my second draft in two parts to get some reviews and revise it before I submit it for a scholarship! Any feedback - big-picture or line-by-line - is appreciated, since this particular chapter needs to be as good as it can be. I'm going for a third-person omniscient viewpoint, so let me know if you think the viewpoint is effective!

CHAPTER ONE

Centius the Wise had the flu.

People uneducated in magic assume wizards can’t get the flu or that, having caught it, they can banish it with the right word or a tap of their staff. Which is nonsense, of course. There is no cure for the flu, magical or otherwise.

If there were—if Centius had been in Washington that day, to name the Chosen One as he was supposed to—things would have been different. No doubt Edna Fisher would have gone on living at Golden Years Senior Home until she died of old age, or possibly boredom.

But Centius the Wise had the flu.

#

It was her son's birthday, but Edna was stuck at the nursing home, playing bingo. Or rather not playing bingo. Or rather trying not to play bingo. Jeanine, the activities director, was making it difficult.

“Are you sure you won't join the game?” she wheedled as she passed by the television on her third circuit around the room.

Edna looked up from the scarf she was knitting and smiled as sweetly as she could, which was not very sweetly since she'd already had to stave off so many of Jeanine's advances this morning. “Completely sure, thank you.”

Jeanine smiled back, less sweet. “Now, now, Mrs. Fisher, you really should consider participating. At your time of life, it's important to...”

Edna tuned out as Jeanine droned on. She liked to wax poetical about the importance of making an effort to have a Social Life at Golden Years. Which was all good and well, but Bingo Day wasn't exactly the epitome of a social life. The old folks slumped at the cafeteria tables in the generously-named lounge, which was stark and white and not conducive to lounging. Half of them had fallen asleep. The other half played with the air of people getting something necessary but unpleasant out of the way—except for the crowd at the front table, closest to the orderly calling out numbers, who were generally far more enthusiastic about Jeanine's activities than Edna felt was warranted. If Golden Years had been a magical or even a hybrid home, with classes on spellwork and enchanted board games, Edna would have been more interested.

At last Jeanine finished her lecture and moved on to see how the nearest table of bingo players was getting on. Edna let out a long and rather rude breath. She shouldn't have been there anyway; she should have been in Benjamin's van, on her way to the cemetery. But Jeanine had roped him into helping out with bingo, so Edna was stuck here until the game was over. At least she could sit in an armchair in front of the television and knit and watch television instead of playing what was quite possibly the most boring card game known to man.

Benjamin, sitting at the nearest cafeteria table to help another resident with their bingo card, leaned over and said, “It wouldn't kill you to get in on the action.”

Edna snorted and lost count of her stitches. “Bingo isn't action, young man. Tell me when they get a blackjack table in here.”

Benjamin adjusted his glasses and showed the resident beside him which box to mark off on her bingo card. He was in his early thirties and had broad shoulders and brown skin and big doe eyes that made Edna want to take care of him, although of course it usually went the other way around because she was a resident and he was an orderly.

Not for much longer, she reminded herself gloomily. He had given his two weeks' notice and now had only another week left until it took effect. She tried to be proud of him. She'd never gone to college, but he'd gotten into a doctorate program at a university out in California. The program didn’t start until the end of August, but he wanted to take some time off to make arrangements and enjoy the summer before he went back to school. He’d certainly earned it.

But he was just about the only thing she liked about the nursing home.

“I could be wrong,” he said, “but I don't think people would like it if we let their parents gamble.”

“Bingo is gambling. In a manner of speaking.”

“I'm just saying, we can't go until this is done anyway.”

“As if I didn't have better things to do than play bingo,” Edna said, and she turned up the volume on the television.

A jingle for a magical weight-loss system crackled out of the speakers. Edna winced and adjusted her hearing aid and turned the volume off before Jeanine could return to berate her for the noise. She wished she could afford a hybrid nursing home, where they treated their patients with magic as well as medicine, but Golden Years was the best she could do.

Then again, it was only ten minutes from the cemetery.

Edna hummed tunelessly to herself, knitted the scarf to keep her hands busy, and kept half an eye on the television. It had switched over from a game show to the news. The closed captions said something about another dragon attack. There had been a lot of dragon attacks lately. Not anywhere remotely nearby, which should have relieved Edna. Instead she thought a dragon attack might liven things up.

She regretted thinking it immediately and focused back on the news report. You'd think magical assistance at media companies would make captions better than they'd been in her youth, but they were as spotty and questionable as ever.

A spokesperson for the Knights reported earlier today that the latest attack was on the town of San Ignacio but claims it is unlikely this attack...

...is related to the recent spate of attacks by the sorcerer known as Redway.

Flames flickered onscreen, consuming shops and houses.

spokesperson: San Ignacio is the center of magical industry in southern Texas, so with that much magic in one place, we're going to see—what we're going to see is a lot of magical creatures, including dragons, they're going to be attracted to it...

A cheer went up from the front table. Edna leaned back toward Benjamin and said, “Mrs. Macready?”

“Yep.”

It was always Mrs. Macready. There was hardly a point in anyone else playing. She'd won two rounds already this morning.

The front table went on for far longer than they needed to in congratulating the winner, who demurely claimed her prize of an inspirational poster with a kitten on it.

Then, with a small pop, the wizard appeared.

He was clearly a wizard, even if you'd never seen one before, which Edna had. He had purple robes like members of the Council of Wizards all wore, and a lengthy but well-groomed beard, and a staff, and flashing eyes. Edna's first thought was one of admiration. You'd never suggest to him that he ought to move into a nursing home.

Her next thought was to wonder if his staff was purely for magic, or if he really needed it to walk the way she needed her cane.

The front table hadn't yet noticed him, now cooing over Mrs. Macready's new poster, but around the room the other seniors were perking up. A nonagenarian asleep not far from Benjamin jerked awake and looked around blearily.

“It's a wizard,” her neighbor shouted into her ear. “No, dear, a wizard.”

The room filled with whispers and murmurs as the seniors speculated with each other about what a wizard might want with a nursing home, and a nonmagical one, at that. Benjamin leaned closer to Edna with his mouth open, about to comment on the wizard's appearance, but at that moment the wizard spoke in thunderous tones, as wizards were wont to do.

“Where is the one they call Edna Fisher?”

Well! You could have knocked her over with a feather. Before she could process the fact that it was her name that had come out of the wizard's mouth, Jeanine was on the move.

“Excuse me,” she called, “you can't just pop in here like that. All visitors must sign in at the front desk.”

The wizard deflated. Jeanine had that effect on people.

“But,” he said, “I'm a wizard.”

Jeanine put her hands on her hips, looking down her nose at him like a stern librarian. “Be that as it may, our rules don't say 'all visitors must sign in unless they're wizards.' You can go to the front desk and sign in like you're supposed to, or I can have you escorted out.”

The wizard reddened.

“I've come on a matter of great importance,” he tried, but Jeanine cut him off.

“So important you've forgotten your manners, I see. Which will it be?”

He stood there a moment longer, with his bushy eyebrows low over his eyes as if he'd never seen the likes of Jeanine before—which he hadn't. In more than nine hundred years, no one had ever greeted him with “go sign in at the front desk.”

Finally, with another small pop, he vanished.

Benjamin was still staring, open-mouthed, at the spot where he'd been. The resident beside him was happily employed with filling in random squares on her bingo card. Edna gazed down at her knitting needles, hoping they might perhaps come to life and confirm that she had indeed heard what she thought she'd heard.

Jeanine clapped her hands for attention, pulled another number, and read it out with a dramatic flourish.

“B6!”

The seniors turned, with a sigh, back to bingo.

To Jeanine's annoyance, however, the wizard hadn't given up. He popped into the lobby, signed in with the receptionist, and traipsed back into the lounge. A sticker reading hello my name is Methodius the Just was stuck to his robes.

He glanced at Jeanine and then looked around the room and said, “...Edna Fisher?”

Edna stuffed her knitting in her handbag and stood up before Jeanine could say anything else. “That would be me. Let's talk out here.”

Leaning on her cane, she stumped into the lobby with Methodius the Just, visitor, in tow, muttering all the while under his breath, “In all my centuries—never expected—the disrespect—I ask you—”

The receptionist, listening to a podcast on her computer, glared at the wizard as he entered and turned up the volume on her speakers. Edna sank with a slight groan into the faded loveseat by the desk, which was meant to make the sleek professionalism of the receptionist's domain feel homely but mostly looked like someone had been confused about where to dispose of their old sofa. Her hip ached, the result of a botched hip replacement. Her knees, too, although the reason for that was far less dramatic, just your standard old age.

“Sorry about that,” she said. “Jeanine's just mad about rules and regulations.”

Methodius stopped muttering and said stiffly, “So it would seem.”

He smoothed his beard and rearranged his robes and made a great fuss over the exact placement of his staff at his side. Edna pulled her knitting back out of her handbag and returned to her scarf. He stopped fidgeting.

“What are you doing?”

“Knitting,” Edna said.

He frowned. His face looked like it was most comfortable with that particular expression.

“I'm a wizard,” he said.

“Yes, so you mentioned. It's nothing personal. I like to keep my fingers busy.”

He didn't know what to say to that, so he merely stood there, tugging at his beard.

“What's this about?” Edna asked. “I'm not a witch. I don't have a first-born son to offer you. And if you need virgin's blood for some sort of spell, well, I'm afraid I haven't been able to provide that in a very, very long time. What could you possibly want with me?”


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
111 Reviews


Points: 8277
Reviews: 111

Donate
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:33 pm
View Likes
Zoom wrote a review...



Yay, a good 2nd draft to follow. How rare. Congrats on finishing. I'm new to this story but I've seen it posted a lot.

Centius the Wise had the flu.

People uneducated in magic assume wizards can’t get the flu or that, having caught it, they can banish it with the right word or a tap of their staff. Which is nonsense, of course. There is no cure for the flu, magical or otherwise.

If there were—if Centius had been in Washington that day, to name the Chosen One as he was supposed to—things would have been different. No doubt Edna Fisher would have gone on living at Golden Years Senior Home until she died of old age, or possibly boredom.

But Centius the Wise had the flu.


Punchy start. I like the immediate tone you’re setting here. I love how you have captured the premise of your story right off the bat. And I love the way you circled back around to the same sentiment to really round this opening off.

I’d suggest to revise the second paragraph as per below. I don’t like the word “people” at the beginning, it doesn’t flow well. Also you can trim the last sentence of the second paragraph:

Spoiler! :
Centius the Wise had the flu.

Those uneducated in magic assume wizards can’t get the flu or that, having caught it, they can banish it with the right word or a tap of their staff. Which is nonsense, of course. There is no cure.

If there were—if Centius had been in Washington that day, to name the Chosen One as he was supposed to—things would have been different. No doubt Edna Fisher would have gone on living at Golden Years Senior Home until she died of old age, or possibly boredom.

But Centius the Wise had the flu.


Jeanine smiled back, less sweet. “Now, now, Mrs. Fisher, you really should consider participating. At your time of life, it's important to...”

Edna tuned out as Jeanine droned on. She liked to wax poetical about the importance of making an effort to have a Social Life at Golden Years. Which was all good and well, but Bingo Day wasn't exactly the epitome of a social life. The old folks slumped at the cafeteria tables in the generously-named lounge, which was stark and white and not conducive to lounging. Half of them had fallen asleep. The other half played with the air of people getting something necessary but unpleasant out of the way—except for the crowd at the front table, closest to the orderly calling out numbers, who were generally far more enthusiastic about Jeanine's activities than Edna felt was warranted. If Golden Years had been a magical or even a hybrid home, with classes on spellwork and enchanted board games, Edna would have been more interested.


I like how quickly you’re stating the theme. Right away we know that Edna doesn’t get out much, which is soon going to be very much the opposite. You’re really hitting beats at a fast, natural pace. As a side note, is the phrase not “well and good”?

He was in his early thirties and had broad shoulders and brown skin and big doe eyes that made Edna want to take care of him, although of course it usually went the other way around because she was a resident and he was an orderly.


You’ve overstated this a bit. You could literally swap the part in bold for the word “instead”.

But he was just about the only thing she liked about the nursing home.


You’ve echoed the word “about”.

A jingle for a magical weight-loss system crackled out of the speakers. Edna winced and adjusted her hearing aid and turned the volume off before Jeanine could return to berate her for the noise. She wished she could afford a hybrid nursing home, where they treated their patients with magic as well as medicine, but Golden Years was the best she could do.


Okay good, glad you stated that magic is known to this world early on.

Edna hummed tunelessly to herself, knitted the scarf to keep her hands busy, and kept half an eye on the television. It had switched over from a game show to the news. The closed captions said something about another dragon attack. There had been a lot of dragon attacks lately. Not anywhere remotely nearby, which should have relieved Edna. Instead she thought a dragon attack might liven things up.


This paragraph needs work. First of all, “half an eye” is a bit of an awkward phrase. Could you maybe switch to “and half kept an eye on the television” or something similar? The more pressing issue, however, is that you have echoed the phrase “dragon attack” in quick succession and ruined your flow. And you’ve overstated the build up to the punchline of this joke. I would suggest this revision:

Spoiler! :
Edna hummed tunelessly to herself, knitted the scarf to keep her hands busy, and half kept an eye on the television. It had switched over from a game show to the news. The closed captions said something about another dragon attack. There had been a lot of those lately. Not anywhere remotely nearby, which should have relieved Edna—a dragon attack might liven things up.


She regretted thinking it immediately and focused back on the news report. You'd think magical assistance at media companies would make captions better than they'd been in her youth, but they were as spotty and questionable as ever.


Would suggest some revision:

Spoiler! :
She regretted this thought immediately and refocused on the news report. You'd think magical assistance at media companies would make captions better than they’d been in her youth, but they were as spotty and questionable as ever.


A spokesperson for the Knights reported earlier today that the latest attack was on the town of San Ignacio but claims it is unlikely this attack...

...is related to the recent spate of attacks by the sorcerer known as Redway.


Again you’ve echoed the word attack. I suggest using the word incident.

Then, with a small pop, the wizard appeared.


Literally flawless timing for your inciting incident. You’ve perfectly set up that Edna needs some excitement and delivered it at the right moment. Kudos.

Benjamin leaned closer to Edna with his mouth open, about to comment on the wizard's appearance, but at that moment the wizard spoke in thunderous tones, as wizards were wont to do.


Slight error here.

Well! You could have knocked her over with a feather.


Can I just say you’re really nailing the voice of the narration, keeping it in line with the linguistics of an elderly protagonist. Your third person view point is well executed, I wouldn’t have it any other way, personally! You’re delivering enough insight into Edna’s mindset that I don’t yearn for first person in the slightest. And this way we can know things about the wizard (such as he’s never been asked to sign in at a welcome desk before LOL).

“But,” he said, “I'm a wizard.”


LMAO this is my favourite joke so far.

***

I breezed through the rest. It was just too enthralling to stop (I don’t think there was actually anything negative to comment on, though).

Overall, this is an extremely effective opening to a story. It just does everything you would want it to. Turns a boring trope on its head. Gives you interesting characters that promise a story of adventure and humour.

Your writing is very clean (it’s clear this is draft 2, put it that way). There were times you stumbled a bit and over worked your prose, but these instances were few and far between.

I’m particularly intrigued by the challenge you’ve taken on, which is working with a protagonist that isn’t very able bodied. I wonder how you work around this going forward. That must have presented problems (or perhaps hilarious situations to take advantage of).

All I can say right now is that I’m intrigued and I don’t have any concerns at all. I would absolutely read on if I picked this book up (if you know what I mean).

What do you mean by submitting this for a scholarship?

-Zoom




BlueAfrica says...


There's a scholarship each fall and spring through this self-publishing company that also offers editing services, so you submit your first chapter (up to 7,000 words iirc) and...I think a biography or intro or something where you kind of introduce yourself to the judges? Which,,,I should probably also work on *cough* but I'll worry about that later. Anyway, for grad school in fall I need to submit by the 26th of this month or something I should probably also double-check the date otherwise I'll have to submit next round for spring.

As a side note, is the phrase not %u201Cwell and good%u201D?


Do you know, I actually noticed this myself when I started my read-through of Draft 2 last week, and I honestly have no clue why I said "good and well" instead of "well and good."

I'm relieved to see your reaction to the magic, because in Draft 1 a major problem I had was not setting up the kind of world we were in early enough - it seemed like the real world, but then a wizard shows up, and while the seniors were surprised to see him here, they weren't like, "wizards exist???" and all the readers were thrown off by that. But based on feedback of this draft so far, it seems like I did a better job getting across the fact that this is basically the real world, but magic exists and everyone knows about it. Early on, I mean. In Draft 1 I think it eventually became clear, but it was kind of jarring for people when Methodius first showed up.

I'm actually not planning on posting the whole draft, just this chapter because I needed feedback on it in particular for this scholarship, but I'm glad it seems like something you'd keep reading! My revision schedule has fallen behind because of school, but I'm still planning to start Draft 3 sooner than I really could if I posted all of Draft 2 and waited for reviews.



User avatar
693 Reviews


Points: 23650
Reviews: 693

Donate
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:48 pm
View Likes
LadyBird wrote a review...



Now while I am a bit rusty when it comes to reviewing the work of the Lady Blue, I did not forget the most important detail.

Image


Centius the Wise had the flu.

People uneducated in magic assume wizards can’t get the flu or that, having caught it, they can banish it with the right word or a tap of their staff. Which is nonsense, of course. There is no cure for the flu, magical or otherwise.

If there were—if Centius had been in Washington that day, to name the Chosen One as he was supposed to—things would have been different. No doubt Edna Fisher would have gone on living at Golden Years Senior Home until she died of old age, or possibly boredom.

But Centius the Wise had the flu.


I decided to go ahead and quote this section even with the commentary explanation that I already gave before. Text messages and writer feed pad jokes won't count for today.

It took me quite the flashback to the original prologue/chapter one to remember the critique everyone had. If I'm remembering correctly, there was the major issue over your prologue with all of the details it was giving. Not an info dump but certainly laying it on a bit thick. How you worked it into this draft was a good move because we need to know why Methodius is there. However we don't need to know how many sugars Emmanuel takes in his coffee or how many creamers Ezekiel takes in his coffee.

Just the right amount of information to add the appropriate mystery.

It was her son's birthday, but Edna was stuck at the nursing home, playing bingo. Or rather not playing bingo. Or rather trying not to play bingo. Jeanine, the activities director, was making it difficult.

Considering the fact I've given you more than fifty reviews, you know that I usually don't pick line by line unless I'm making a dick joke. However since you have other reviewers doing that for you now I guess I have to step my game up a bit.
Even if I wasn't quoting massive walls, this set of lines puts me off in the wording where Edna's thoughts are just stumbling for the reader. I get part of the process in explaining the difficulty of her situation and dealing with the person at hand, but it doesn't sound right? Like if this were happening in a conversation it wouldn't come out like that.
But I don't want to say too much when I don't have a way to suggest an edit.

“Are you sure you won't join the game?” she wheedled as she passed by the television on her third circuit around the room.

Edna looked up from the scarf she was knitting and smiled as sweetly as she could, which was not very sweetly since she'd already had to stave off so many of Jeanine's advances this morning. “Completely sure, thank you.”

Jeanine smiled back, less sweet. “Now, now, Mrs. Fisher, you really should consider participating. At your time of life, it's important to...”

God Jeanine. You complain about other people's state of manners and those are the words you choose to say to someone in a nursing home? But Blue if you're going for realistic dialogue from nursing home administrators, right on point.

I think an issue that I always have with your wording is how it's always sounding like too much? There's a need to explain the points but then it just has a dragging feeling, like with the "sweet but not that sweet" smile explanation. I, as a reader, am getting the vibe over the kind of person that Jeanine is. Like throwing a bone to a hell hound in Satan's cage, she ain't letting go anytime soon...

Edna's knitting is one of the most important things to include and I am already laughing about how long her scarf is going to be by the end of the story. See they probably should have used her scarf to climb up the mountain versus Kiernan having to carry everyone. Save the poor guy's strength for later on in the night.

Edna tuned out as Jeanine droned on. She liked to wax poetical about the importance of making an effort to have a Social Life at Golden Years. Which was all good and well, but Bingo Day wasn't exactly the epitome of a social life. The old folks slumped at the cafeteria tables in the generously-named lounge, which was stark and white and not conducive to lounging. Half of them had fallen asleep. The other half played with the air of people getting something necessary but unpleasant out of the way—except for the crowd at the front table, closest to the orderly calling out numbers, who were generally far more enthusiastic about Jeanine's activities than Edna felt was warranted. If Golden Years had been a magical or even a hybrid home, with classes on spellwork and enchanted board games, Edna would have been more interested.

"the generously-named lounge"
Hey Edna! Tell me how you really feel about this place and the lack of jive in the atmosphere. Serious side, it actually took me a few reads to figure out exactly what you meant with "generously-named" because I thought I was missing the name early on in the paragraph? On one confusing read through, I was under the impression that "Social Life" might have been the name they were referring to this lounge as.
Obviously that's not what you meant. Maybe I just got all turned around in this part...

I'm somewhat mixed on the inclusion of this paragraph with the borderline on being an info dump. There's some need to describe the level of depression in Edna's environment, and surely she's always thinking about the bleak scene. I'm wondering if this was included more for the purpose of giving her a reason to so easily accept a quest that would get away...from all of *vague reaching gestures* this. Or to make the readers aware of what it's like to sit in a nursing home?
There's surely a lot of potential reasonings for this but I didn't know if you had a particular one or not.

At last Jeanine finished her lecture and moved on to see how the nearest table of bingo players was getting on. Edna let out a long and rather rude breath. She shouldn't have been there anyway; she should have been in Benjamin's van, on her way to the cemetery. But Jeanine had roped him into helping out with bingo, so Edna was stuck here until the game was over. At least she could sit in an armchair in front of the television and knit and watch television instead of playing what was quite possibly the most boring card game known to man.

Bingo isn't really a card game though unless you're playing bar bingo.
I guess you don't have that much experience with bar room games though.
Now Benjamin, he definitely does and Edna too.

I feel like there should be one line of dialogue in between those two block paragraphs that give another hint to Jeanine's dialogue. You have her finally moving along after talking Edna's ear off but there's no continuation of the dialogue. Even if it's just a quick little "Well, fine then Mrs. Fisher" before she darts away with her demon eyes.

The mention of the cemetery and the association with her son could be a bit clearer but I'll just leave it for now.

Benjamin, sitting at the nearest cafeteria table to help another resident with their bingo card, leaned over and said, “It wouldn't kill you to get in on the action.”

Edna snorted and lost count of her stitches. “Bingo isn't action, young man. Tell me when they get a blackjack table in here.”

Benjamin adjusted his glasses and showed the resident beside him which box to mark off on her bingo card. He was in his early thirties and had broad shoulders and brown skin and big doe eyes that made Edna want to take care of him, although of course it usually went the other way around because she was a resident and he was an orderly.


Is there a reason that Edna is always describing Benjamin in a slightly sexual way? Like this part is good with Edna wanting to care for him but then she's also sort of focused on his "broad shoulders". That personally feels a bit off for me but maybe that's just from what I've read further on.

Edna playing black jack is such a sight.

"It wouldn't kill you..."
I'm pretty sure it would kill her, Benjamin.

Not for much longer, she reminded herself gloomily. He had given his two weeks' notice and now had only another week left until it took effect. She tried to be proud of him. She'd never gone to college, but he'd gotten into a doctorate program at a university out in California. The program didn’t start until the end of August, but he wanted to take some time off to make arrangements and enjoy the summer before he went back to school. He’d certainly earned it.

But he was just about the only thing she liked about the nursing home.


Edna being all mopey about her only friend leaving the nursing home is a different vibe than I remembered from the last draft. It's sadder but it is so much clearer than before. I see how she keeps reminding herself of the overall issue and how she has such a short amount of time to enjoy him.

Enjoy is the wrong word.

You know what I meant.

“I could be wrong,” he said, “but I don't think people would like it if we let their parents gamble.”

“Bingo is gambling. In a manner of speaking.”

“I'm just saying, we can't go until this is done anyway.”

“As if I didn't have better things to do than play bingo,” Edna said, and she turned up the volume on the television.


Yes, bingo can be gambling but I'm wondering why Edna is viewing it as a gamble in this particular case. I assume the more that Edna talks in this draft, the more we'll find out what kind of wild party animal she was in her 60s. That'll be a trip.

I think Benjamin is also missing out on the point that you could gamble with plastic dinner ware if you wanted to do so.

Turning up the volume. That old trick of avoiding people. Nice move, Edna.

A jingle for a magical weight-loss system crackled out of the speakers. Edna winced and adjusted her hearing aid and turned the volume off before Jeanine could return to berate her for the noise. She wished she could afford a hybrid nursing home, where they treated their patients with magic as well as medicine, but Golden Years was the best she could do.

Then again, it was only ten minutes from the cemetery.

I finally found something good to actually suggest to you and that's how you've mentioned her financial status back to back. This is the second time in this chapter that I've seen her wishing for a magical or hybrid nursing home. it certainly feels like one of the instances will be biting the dust, or at least edging up on the fact. I think this one would be the better place to keep, if you are looking to sell because it's talking about healing versus what board games are on the shelf.

But we come back to the need of the cemetery and still not knowing who is buried there.

Edna hummed tunelessly to herself, knitted the scarf to keep her hands busy, and kept half an eye on the television. It had switched over from a game show to the news. The closed captions said something about another dragon attack. There had been a lot of dragon attacks lately. Not anywhere remotely nearby, which should have relieved Edna. Instead she thought a dragon attack might liven things up.

She regretted thinking it immediately and focused back on the news report. You'd think magical assistance at media companies would make captions better than they'd been in her youth, but they were as spotty and questionable as ever.


Yeah Edna, let's always go wishing for the destruction of Michigan over the destruction of Texas. Fun times in the big city.

I think the line about the captions should probably be shifted down one and into its own space. It's a sort of side joking statement pushed right next to the regret of hoping a dragon would catch fire to the nursing home.

Just spread it apart a little bit.

A spokesperson for the Knights reported earlier today that the latest attack was on the town of San Ignacio but claims it is unlikely this attack...

...is related to the recent spate of attacks by the sorcerer known as Redway.

Flames flickered onscreen, consuming shops and houses.

spokesperson: San Ignacio is the center of magical industry in southern Texas, so with that much magic in one place, we're going to see—what we're going to see is a lot of magical creatures, including dragons, they're going to be attracted to it...


I'm sure all of this shit isn't related to Redway.
I'm sure bud.
Go pack up your PR crap and beat it.

I like the inclusion of this information though about other towns and how the Knights spokeperson is all "this isn't Redway, it's just the magical fairy dust beacon." And then the news turns to the expert who say a bird in an airport once so they personally think that this is at the fault of Redway.

A cheer went up from the front table. Edna leaned back toward Benjamin and said, “Mrs. Macready?”

“Yep.”

It was always Mrs. Macready. There was hardly a point in anyone else playing. She'd won two rounds already this morning.

The front table went on for far longer than they needed to in congratulating the winner, who demurely claimed her prize of an inspirational poster with a kitten on it.

"an inspirational poster with a kitten on it"
To be entirely honest, that's a more upscale budget than I had been expecting from this establishment. Inspirational posters with kittens are nothing to scoff, especially if they're telling you to hang on.

Honestly though my fan fic for these stories is gonna be about Jeanine's girlfriend and the inside system that Mrs. Macready developed to win at bingo. And then she's selling all of these posters on the black market.

Then, with a small pop, the wizard appeared.

He was clearly a wizard, even if you'd never seen one before, which Edna had. He had purple robes like members of the Council of Wizards all wore, and a lengthy but well-groomed beard, and a staff, and flashing eyes. Edna's first thought was one of admiration. You'd never suggest to him that he ought to move into a nursing home.

Her next thought was to wonder if his staff was purely for magic, or if he really needed it to walk the way she needed her cane.


I like how right out of the gate of finding a wizard in this retirement home Edna is just straight up questioning his cane usage. Yes, I am sure he is allll high and mighty but Edna is pretty damn sure that he is using that staff for more than one kind of support. I look forward to more of that behavior within this draft.

The front table hadn't yet noticed him, now cooing over Mrs. Macready's new poster, but around the room the other seniors were perking up. A nonagenarian asleep not far from Benjamin jerked awake and looked around blearily.


I also like how everyone is looking at the cat poster.
But this is further proof that macready is running some sort of ring with those posters.

“It's a wizard,” her neighbor shouted into her ear. “No, dear, a wizard.”

The room filled with whispers and murmurs as the seniors speculated with each other about what a wizard might want with a nursing home, and a nonmagical one, at that. Benjamin leaned closer to Edna with his mouth open, about to comment on the wizard's appearance, but at that moment the wizard spoke in thunderous tones, as wizards were wont to do.

"Why do you think he's here?"
"I don't know, probably a health code violation."

Totally misread 'wont'.

“Where is the one they call Edna Fisher?”

Well! You could have knocked her over with a feather. Before she could process the fact that it was her name that had come out of the wizard's mouth, Jeanine was on the move.


To be honest to Methodius, that is a little bit rude. Regulation or not, you just don't show up a cloud of smoke in a place where a lot of people have breathing problems. That's just not right, bro.

“Excuse me,” she called, “you can't just pop in here like that. All visitors must sign in at the front desk.”

The wizard deflated. Jeanine had that effect on people.


Nope.
I'm not gonna make the joke.
But you know what joke I wanted to make at the word "deflated".

“But,” he said, “I'm a wizard.”

lol I see this statement working out so well.

Jeanine put her hands on her hips, looking down her nose at him like a stern librarian. “Be that as it may, our rules don't say 'all visitors must sign in unless they're wizards.' You can go to the front desk and sign in like you're supposed to, or I can have you escorted out.”


"I can have you escorted out"
I really want to see this smack down.

Jeanine is a really mixed character for me since she only lasts for this one chapter. But the stuff that she manages to pull in such a short amount of time is so important to how the plot develops. I see this thing coming up in a lot of novels and you seem to be pulling it off better in this case, but if i see you slip, I'm gonna let you know.

The wizard reddened.

“I've come on a matter of great importance,” he tried, but Jeanine cut him off.

“So important you've forgotten your manners, I see. Which will it be?”

He stood there a moment longer, with his bushy eyebrows low over his eyes as if he'd never seen the likes of Jeanine before—which he hadn't. In more than nine hundred years, no one had ever greeted him with “go sign in at the front desk.”

Finally, with another small pop, he vanished.


We should have asked Jeanine to slay Redway.
That would have gotten this crap done in the first five minutes.
Just air drop her to slice some throats.

Again with the manners though? That is still feeling a bit off to this poor hunter in plaid.

Benjamin was still staring, open-mouthed, at the spot where he'd been. The resident beside him was happily employed with filling in random squares on her bingo card. Edna gazed down at her knitting needles, hoping they might perhaps come to life and confirm that she had indeed heard what she thought she'd heard.


I like this resident who knows when the game is up and when the time to properly cheat is. It's not like any of the orderlies are really going to be double checking those scores. If anything they want to make sure that Macready stops winning so much.

Edna expecting her knitting needles to talk is like the sanest thing in the entire god damn story.

Jeanine clapped her hands for attention, pulled another number, and read it out with a dramatic flourish.

“B6!”

The seniors turned, with a sigh, back to bingo.


Pardon me but what?

She just goes back to work.

I have some complaints about that but you don't need them. You're already tired of me and my typing at this point in the review.

To Jeanine's annoyance, however, the wizard hadn't given up. He popped into the lobby, signed in with the receptionist, and traipsed back into the lounge. A sticker reading hello my name is Methodius the Just was stuck to his robes.


He's like a bad penny...he always turns up.

He glanced at Jeanine and then looked around the room and said, “...Edna Fisher?”

Edna stuffed her knitting in her handbag and stood up before Jeanine could say anything else. “That would be me. Let's talk out here.”

Leaning on her cane, she stumped into the lobby with Methodius the Just, visitor, in tow, muttering all the while under his breath, “In all my centuries—never expected—the disrespect—I ask you—”


So he's half on a mission from god and half distracted by making sure Edna knows just how much of a bitty Jeanine is? That sounds about right though.

The dialogue where he's trying to get the words out looks a bit off to me with all of the dashes thrown in there but I'm sure you know what you're doing.

So that had no critique.

Good thing you like random commentary.

The receptionist, listening to a podcast on her computer, glared at the wizard as he entered and turned up the volume on her speakers. Edna sank with a slight groan into the faded loveseat by the desk, which was meant to make the sleek professionalism of the receptionist's domain feel homely but mostly looked like someone had been confused about where to dispose of their old sofa. Her hip ached, the result of a botched hip replacement. Her knees, too, although the reason for that was far less dramatic, just your standard old age.


"botched hip replacement"
Just got major flashbacks to reality television shows.

I'd love to know what kind of podcasts they have in this magical world. Surely a lot of true crime and "science behind the magic" kind of shows.

Re: the sofa
I mean funds are a bit low.

“Sorry about that,” she said. “Jeanine's just mad about rules and regulations.”

Methodius stopped muttering and said stiffly, “So it would seem.”


"stiff" is still not one of the best words to be using in this case.

I didn't make the joke.

I just pointed out the chance.

He smoothed his beard and rearranged his robes and made a great fuss over the exact placement of his staff at his side. Edna pulled her knitting back out of her handbag and returned to her scarf. He stopped fidgeting.


Nothing sexual going on with his beard now?
How disappointing.

I love how Edna is just so casual about knitting anywhere and everywhere.

“What are you doing?”

“Knitting,” Edna said.

He frowned. His face looked like it was most comfortable with that particular expression.

“I'm a wizard,” he said.

“Yes, so you mentioned. It's nothing personal. I like to keep my fingers busy.”


Sassy and casual knitting. A two for one special.

One thing I don't exactly understand is how his justification for everything is "I'm a wizard." It's like when the town council people come into the Saint Vincent's office and I'm just like "So what. Do you have an appointment or not?"

I'm sure there's more expressions and positions that methodius would care to be in.

He didn't know what to say to that, so he merely stood there, tugging at his beard.

“What's this about?” Edna asked. “I'm not a witch. I don't have a first-born son to offer you. And if you need virgin's blood for some sort of spell, well, I'm afraid I haven't been able to provide that in a very, very long time. What could you possibly want with me?”


"Hope you don't need a virgin because that ain't happening."
That mood is the entire novel summed up.

Alright I think that's all I have because I just kept zoning out while doing this and homework. If I missed anything, just let me know.

Good job and good luck.
-Lizz <3





"You, who have all the passion for life that I have not? You, who can love and hate with a violence impossible to me? Why you are as elemental as fire and wind and wild things..."
— Gone With the Wind