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The Internal Battle chapters 1-3

by CharlotteS


The large airy living room didn't seem so bright to Pearl. The tension was so thick you could cut it. Settled at the edge of a large mahogany chair, she glanced up at her father whose face looked like thunder. Her mother was sitting dejectedly on the sofa opposite her, clutching a creamy piece of card in her claw like hands. Her father sighed, then turned to her; Pearl instinctively shied away from him, nestling deeper into her chair.

Her father let out a sigh again. He was so close Pearl could smell the whiskey on his breath, having just arrived home from clubbing; Pearl was wearing a vibrant, short, low cut cocktail dress her parents had specifically forbidden, paired daringly with killer high heels and a gold clutch. She was becoming increasingly fearful of the silence that hung in the air.

Finally her mother, who was wearing an old fashioned nighty and a fluffy dressing gown, spoke up,

"Your headmistress called today to congratulate you on your A levels." Her voice was soft but carried a tone of disappointment that added an edge to it.

Pearl's heart dropped to her knees, and then leapt to her throat. She acted cool about it though, determined not to appear weak in front of her parents.

"And?" Pearl hoped she sounded like she really couldn't care less what people thought of her. It was at that point Pearl realized her dad would have a go if she didn't escape soon. Too late, she saw her father turn to the fire, viciously stabbing the embers with the poker stick.

"You were given four A's and a B! His tone of voice sliced her confidence to shreds; she felt tears well up in her eyes.

"But I..." Her father's wrathful glare cut her short.

"It was also brought to our attention that you spent a large amount of last year bullying other people on the school. Maybe this was the reason you didn't get five A's. I am very displeased with you!"

Tears spilled over the edges of Pearl's eyes smearing her smoky eye make-up. Her lower lip trembled but she plowed on, “I obtained high enough marks to get into Cambridge, that is what you wanted wasn't it!'

The tears came spilling out in torrents, Pearl's father looked on disgusted muttering,

"I had to have a gormless girl, no boy, just a simpering good for nothing girl!" Pearl's mom rose to try to cushion the blow of his outburst. Pearl pushed her well meaning intentions away, wondering why she was never good enough no matter how hard she tried. Rising she ran from the room sobbing. As a final show of rebellion she yelled over her shoulder,

"I hate you!" Pearl's voice cracked, preventing her from saying more.

After she had changed and taken her fury out on the door, Pearl felt a bit calmer. As she washed her smeared makeup away she could hear her parents talking. As the final smudge of makeup came off, Pearl looked in the mirror hating the face that stared back at her.

Her mother's brown eyes. Her father's high cheekbones and chiseled looks. Pearl felt the fury building up inside her once again. Finally she threw a rock at the mirror. Ignoring the shattered glass that littered the floor she walked slowly back to the bedroom.

Pearl's room was very large and her walls were covered with posters, pictures, lyrics and lights. Flopping onto her bed, pearl donned some headphones, her mind swirling with thoughts. She must have dropped off as when she woke it was 2:00 in the morning. Sleep eluded her so Pearl stepped out onto her balcony dialing her boyfriend's number.

"Hello?" Pearl smiled as she heard Clancy's voice.

ClancyBay. The teenage heartthrob. Tall, muscular, tattoos and blonde hair. To top it all off he was a famous musician.

"Hey. Can we talk? My parents are being idiots again."


When Clancy heard his ring tone he knew it had to be Pearl. He rose quickly and answered, not a minute to soon. His father poked his head through the door saying,

"Clancy! Stop the incessant ringing."

"Sorry dad." Clancy remained silent until he heard his fathers foot steps recede down the hall.

"Hello?" As Pearl ranted about her parents, Clancy decided now was the perfect time to put his plan into motion.

"There's an all night ice cream parlor down the road. I'll pick you up and we can talk."

Pearl agreed readily, suspecting nothing. Clancy grabbed his jeans and a hoody, and then ran down the stairs, his feet pattered on the carpet like soft rain drops hitting the leaves.

Grabbing his parent’s car keys Clancy slipped out the door. Within seconds he was backing out the drive in his parent’s new mini.

Pearl was waiting in the drive way when he arrived wearing short denim shorts and a tight fitting crop top. Hopping into the car she smiled radiantly at him. Once again he was astounded by her beauty, the same way he was when he saw her from stage three years ago.

They arrived at Paoli's all night ice cream parlor at quarter to three am. Clancy ordered ice cream then sat at the counter with Pearl

"Pearl I...I wanted to ask you something."

"Go on then. Don't be afraid to ask me anything, I am very easy going." Clancy was getting nervous, his ears were buzzing the way they did when he was under pressure, steeling him self he took her hand. His feelings showed in the shine in his eyes,

"I was......"

"Is that May? It is May. Hey! May come join us." Soon many of their friends had joined them and Clancy lost his moment. At 4:00Pearl told everyone she must get home, refusing offers of lifts she walked out of the parlor, a smile on her face. But when she reached the curb she threw up violently.

Calling her own private chauffeur she went straight home. Climbing into bed she fell into a fitful sleep, a sleep that filled her mind with pictures. The most astounding of which she recorded in her diary the next day.

'Dear diary. Last night I dreamt about me, my self and I.

I arrived at home at 4:15 and went straight to bed. Whilst I slept I saw myself, with Clancy, in a club drinking and laughing and having fun. Suddenly my vision went straight to the mind of the clubbing me. My mind was filled with thoughts of clothes, shoes and diamond rings. Then I heard a voice tell me to stop with the material things and to concentrate on more important matters. I don't know what to make of it.' Hearing her phone ding Pearl left her diary. It was a text from Clancy.

[Hey, prty and sleepovr @ mine 2night. Can u make it?] Without thinking much of it Pearl replied immediately,

[Sure, wat do I wear? Do u want me to bring anything?] Running down stairs she walked into her fathers study respectfully.

"Dad, may I go to Clancy's for a sleepover party tonight please?" She asked in a voice sweet as sugar.

"No." Her father barely looked at her as he answered. It took all of Pearl's will power to restrain her self from losing her temper.

"Why not?" Her father looked up from his work this time.

"Are you questioning my judgment?" Pearl shook her head, afraid to talk, "Well?"

"No." She answered in a voice barely audible.

"Good. Then you shouldn't need an answer." This time she flipped. Turning, Pearl stalked out of the room slamming the door violently behind her. Running upstairs she threw herself onto her bed, seething. A plan began to form in her mind.

Ten minutes before the party a dark figure could be seen sneaking out of one of the top floor windows of Pearls house. Stealing along the patio, Pearl succeeded in escaping the dark brooding house to which she had been confined. She met some of her friends just outside the gate.

They arrived at the party right on time. Clancy's house was filled with people drinking and talking. Pearl made her way through the crowd, which parted like the Red Sea in front of her. She located Clancy by a stage chatting with some of his back up dancers.

"Clancy." He swiveled when he heard his name come from her lips.

"Pearl? I received a text from your dad. He said that he regretted to inform me of this piece of vital information but it was his duty. He then went on to say you were unable to make it due to your behavior."

"He lied." Short but simple the untruth slid from her lips without her even having to think about it.

She was rocking it on the dance floor when Clancy grabbed her arm and dragged her away.

"Clancy!" She was mad at him until she saw his face. It had gone the color of chalk and his eyes flitted back and forth like those of a captured fox.

"Your parents are here! Quick go upstairs, third bedroom on the left, there is a spy hole. I'll hold them off." Giving him a look of gratitude Pearl wasted no time in ascending the stairs.

From her place she could see Clancy welcoming her parents to his house. She could see her father eying him with disdain and her mother looking around in awe.

"We're here for Pearl." She could see Clancy hesitate in his answer but he hid it well.

"I'm afraid I haven't seen her."

"Then you won't mind if we have a look around." Her father’s suggestion brought a gasp to her lips.

"Actually I would. This is my house and as a legal adult I can ask you to leave or suffer the consequences." She knew they would leave after that. Her father was a tyrant but he knew when he was beaten. Spinning on his heel he marched out of house, his eyes showing the cold fury in his heart, though his face showed every sign of a complying citizen.


After her parents had left, Pearl ran down the stairs, her heart racing. Clancy met her at the last step.

"Clancy, I have to get home before them! Can you take me down the back roads?" Pearl breathlessly gasped to him. Clancy readily agreed, seeing that it would probably work to his advantages if he complied to her wishes.

As they drove along Pearls fear became greatly augmented. She began to hurry Clancy along, distracting him from driving. He had turned to calm her down when she screamed,

"Look out!"

Clancy turned his eyes back to road and swerved, just in time to miss a man wandering aimlessly across the road. The man fell to the ground. Clancy and Pearl waited apprehensively to see if he moved. When he didn't they became increasingly fearful of the outcome of their careless actions.

Ducking out of the car, they made their way through the tall grasses on the side of the road. Pearl, being the braver one, knelt down beside him. Checking his pulse she realized, her heart racing with relief, that he wasn't dead. She also noticed his odd assortment of clothes, similar to those of a homeless man. Suddenly he sat up. Pearl screamed as his grimy hand grasped her arm with a grip of iron.

"Do you know God?" Pearl, who had never held much for religion, put his strange question down to derangement from lack of nourishment. The smell coming from him confirmed her suspicions of him being homeless. Handing Clancy ten pounds, she sent him to McDonald's. She sat listening to the man rave about the Good News whilst waiting for Clancy returned. Finally he arrived with food, meaning Pearl could exit as quickly as possible. It was only when she and Clancy were on the road again that she remembered her predicament. Urging Clancy on she clutched the arms of her seat, her heart sinking in despair.

When they arrived at her house she didn't even say goodbye. Running to the door Pearl tried to let herself in but she was shaking. Cursing she fumbled with her key for two minutes before finally hearing the promising click as the lock slid out of place. Locking the door behind her, she dashed upstairs. Hearing the door unlock and her fathers angry voice she ran, terrified, to her room. She could hear her father's heavy footfalls on the stairs. Diving through her door she flopped into her bed, trying to slow the beat of her rushing heart. A knock on the door brought back the fear she jade just managed to downsize. Standing up she poked her head out the door. There were her parents waiting to enter.

“Can I help you?" Pearl asked, expecting no answer. She was in for a surprise.

"What do you think you’re doing locked in your room and not showing your face?" Pearl was shocked. Did her father not trust her? She thought quickly saying,

“I was packing for Cambridge. I am leaving tomorrow.” Her father visibly relaxed. He and his wife ambled down the hall. Pearl closed her door and frantically started throwing things onto her bed. She had been so caught up in the party she had forgotten she was leaving the next day!

Turning back to her bed she saw an assortment of clothes lying piled in a disorganized mess. Deciding the best strategy was to find her acceptance letter and see what they wanted her to bring, Pearl started rummaging around for said letter. Finally locating it under her bed she sank onto a chair and began to read,

'Dear Miss Blossom,

We are very glad you have chosen to study music at our University. Below you will find a list of things you need to bring.'

Pearl looked over the list and inwardly thanked who ever provided had her with her brain.

Pulling a set of suitcases out from her wardrobe she began to pack. In went a duvet and blankets. Pillows were added alongside bath towels. Posters were pulled off her wall and folded neatly to fit into the little nooks and crannies. Fairy lights were sneaked into an empty pocket. Opening another suitcase she began to pack clothes: sweatpants, shorts and jeans were folded neatly and placed in their correct places. T-shirts and hoodies were set down on top of them. Underwear and socks were placed into pockets and shoes were stowed away. By midnightPearl was almost there. Finally she finished up by putting her electronics into a large black bag.

She was asleep by one am. The next morning she was woken by her mother yelling,

"Pearl! The taxi’s here!"

Pearl jumped up. Running to her bathroom she jumped into the shower while her dad started taking her things downstairs. When she arrived downstairs ten minutes later wearing shorts with an over sized hoody and Vans, her hair pulled back into a ponytail with a bandanna. Smiling at the taxi driver she turned to say a cold goodbye to her parents. Her father was standing like a statue. Her mother on the other hand was breaking down tears poured from her eyes and she noisily blew her nose on a lacy handkerchief ever few minutes.

"Are you sure you don't want me to come, just until you settle in?" Pearl’s heart softened a little at her mother’s proposal but she still replied in an icy tone,

"No. I'll be fine on my own thanks. Goodbye." Without waiting for a reply Pearl ducked into the taxi. During the journey Pearl listened to music and read, ignoring the driver entirely. When they arrived she went to pay him but he merely said,

"Your dad already paid." And went to take her things out.

Pearl turned and stared at Cambridge. The large, slightly Gothic building stood in front of her, daunting but inspiring. A hubbub of chatter reached her ears. People were starting to mill around, many of them also stopping and staring in awe. Various people of all ages, genders, styles and religions were walking around, talking and laughing. Many of them were holding stacks of books. Pearl smiled. Not the fake, sexy smile she used when out with friends. No. This smile was big and goofy. It lit up her entire face. The corners of her eyes crinkled. She was home. She was exactly where she wanted to be.

"Amazing, isn't it?" Pearl turned and saw a girl standing beside her. The girl saw her staring and spun to face her. Sticking her hand out she said, “Hi I'm Luna. I am here to show you around." Pearl eyed the girl, considering the possibilities this girl could open up for her. She seemed popular, everyone was saying hi, and she was dressed in leather.

"I'm Pearl."

Luna grinned, "Love your name. Do tell me more about yourself."

Pearl stared aghast at the Luna. Sighing she plunged straight in, "I'm 18; I'm here to study music. I have a long term boyfriend called Clancy Bae. You have probably heard of him."

Luna looked bemused then half yelled,

"Nope," then in a normal voice, "let me show you around.

Beckoning to a young man she began to walk, babbling the whole time. By the time her tour was over Pearl had decided to trust Luna. She was pretty, popular, loved reading; was also majoring in music and a bubbly girl who made her laugh all the time. She was a Christian but that could be changed.

Pearl was sitting in her dorm room, wearing sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt when Luna bounced in.

“Hi!" Pearl smiled and nodded her greeting.” So, what are we doing tonight?' Luna laughingly asked,

"Dunno, do you fancy pranking someone? Or we could work on our composition? Or study?" Luna crinkled her nose, something she did when thinking. Then a smile lit her face, "I know! There's a youth group thing on tonight. There will be food and fun, music and friends. I was gonna go but then thought 'hm, Pearl wasn't invited I could invite her to come along' and it had completely left my mind till now!" Pearl gave a small smile and nodded, inwardly shooting at herself.

Later as she was sitting with a group of people saying how blessed they felt to be surrounded by God's good love, Pearl saw how empty she seemed compared to them. But this feeling was only there for a second. Her heart, once so soft and kind turned hard from years of abuse, given a split second to melt remained as hard as ever. Bitter thoughts enveloped her heart. She spent the next half an hour feeling sorry for herself and only perked up when she heard her name.

"Pearl, what are your thoughts on Christianity?"

Pearl saw this as the perfect opportunity to release all her hidden feelings. “I hate Christianity. You all think you are so perfect! Pretending to be adults, telling little children Santa doesn't exist but then going and praying about meaningless rubbish to an old man in the sky who doesn't do anything useful!” Pearl paused for break and noted with satisfaction the looks on the girl’s faces, “You all think you are better than everyone else. You are religious bigots who think that anyone who isn't like you will go to hell! Your 'God' tells you not to murder, to love everyone and then turns around and becomes a mass murderer, blaming us for the way HE created us! He tries to change us. He has brought more evil and death than any other system on earth! Your children are brainwashed. And you, YOU are stupid, arrogant stuck up believers in a fake man who lives in the sky. You think you know so much but really you don't know anything! You were brainwashed when you were children! All you Christians are evil. Evil!"

Pearl finished and looked at the rather satisfactory reaction of the people gathered around her. Tears trembled on the edge of many of the girl’s eyes. The boys were all clenching their fists, their faces like a thunderstorm.

Luna stepped forward,

"I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm not gonna force my religion on you, but at least give us a chance to defend ourselves. We don't think we are perfect. Indeed, we know we are far from it. We know we aren't adults, we don't know everything. We don't pray about meaningless rubbish, I'm hurt you would think so. We all have been praying for you these past weeks. God does do useful things. He created this world. He saved Sandy," she motioned to a girl in a wheelchair, "from serious damage in a crash. We aren't better than everyone else, we just have noticed we are sinners and are willing to accept that fact. God is not a murderer. How could you think that?" Tears were sliding down Luna's face by this time, “He creates new life everyday. He doesn't blame us. The first humans had a choice over being the way God made them or falling for the devil’s lies and sinning. God had warned them. God does not bring evil and death. He saves lives everyday." Luna stopped, Pearl was sure she could not go on. Her hunch was correct; a boy stepped forward to take over.

"Our children aren't brainwashed, we give them free choice. Think what you like, insult us, but we will believe what we believe. And in regards to us being brainwashed when we were children, I became a Christian a year ago. I was an orphan living in an atheist community. I had been brought up to hate God. Then I found a Bible. I chose to follow the Lord, because He was there when I had nothing." Pearl was gob smacked. Luna smiled through her tears and said,

"Thank you James."

Pearl turned and ran, wishing with all her heart that she had friends who stuck up for her like that. But no one loved her that much, did they? 

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1162 Reviews

Points: 32055
Reviews: 1162

Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:56 pm
Carlito wrote a review...

Hello hello! :D I'm here to bring this out of the green room for you!

In the future, you might get more reviews or reviews faster if you post your work in smaller chunks - instead of three chapters at once, posting each separately as its own chapter. Now I know that doing it this way saves you some precious points, but some readers might get turned off seeing so much at once.

Onward though!

Chapter 1
Overall, I thought it was a good start until the end. You did a nice job showing how unreasonable and frankly cruel her parents are and the drama of her reaction. I thought you opened with an interesting idea - these mean parents and never being good enough for them - and I'm curious to see where you're going to take that. I'm curious to know what this MC wants (her choice of college? her parents approval?), what's standing in her way, an what the stakes are or why it matters.

The ending of this chapter didn't quite work for me because it came upon us so suddenly. We were in this dramatic moment watching her deal with her parents disapproval and then bam she's like imma call my boyfriend an by the way he's famous. It felt a bit abrupt to me. I would have preferred to have more transition from feeling really down, through the decision to call her boyfriend, and then to actually calling him.

Chapter 2
I want to know more about Clancy! He seems like a good guy, listening to her talk about her parental woes, coming to get her and getting her ice cream (<3) when she was upset. I wish we could have seen more of that.

Since your chapters are on the shorter side (which is fine!) I would try to stick to one event per chapter. So in this chapter, you have three events really - Clancy talking to her and taking her for ice cream, the conflict with Pearl and her parents when they didn't want her going to the party, and Pearl going to the party anyway. That's a lot for one little chapter! I would focus in on that first thing - Clancy talking to her and helping her feel better. Show me their relationship and their conversation. Make me fall in love with him and them as a couple :)
Then you can get to those other two events in the following chapter.

Chapter 3
Same thing in this chapter as chapter 2 :) I lost track of how many events happened in this chapter. It was an eventful one! Don't be afraid to slooooow it down. We'll talk about that more in a second.

Overall, I think you could have an interesting story here. There are a lot of elements that I'm drawn to - a girl with a hard past trying to start over, a cool boyfriend (who happens to be musician!). I also think you're doing a nice job describing. You've included a lot of descriptive words and phrases that helped me picture your scenes!

A few things I think you could work on to take your writing to the next level:
1. Slowing down :)
I know this can be hard because you have a lot of cool ideas and you're trying to cover a lot of ground. But, you want your reader to be able to take in and appreciate each awesome moment as it comes. I want to be able to experience each moment and savor each moment, and right now it feels like each cool moment is flying by before I can get a firm grasp on what's happening.

So what can you do? I think one thing that might help, is taking the time to plot out your novel. I'm someone that has never really plotted a novel until recently and it has helped me soooo much in my writing! There is so much to say about plotting, but lucky for us, YWS has a fabulous resource section and there are some fantastic articles in there all about plot. Poke around in there and see if you find anything that's helpful for you!

2. Showing versus telling
This kind of goes along with slowing down. While you do a nice job of writing descriptions, I noticed that you tell a lot more than you show. It stood out to me, especially in the second two chapters, because it felt like you were describing one event after the other - first we did this, then this happened, then we did this, then this happened, etc. That's telling us what happened.

On the flip side, showing us what happened takes the reader into the moment with your characters. It connects us to the senses and what your characters are perceiving, thinking, and feeling. It ends up being a richer reading experience because we as readers feel as if we're there with the characters. Check out the section on description in the knowledge base for much more information!

I hope you keep working on this story because I think it has promise! Please let me know if you have any questions or if anything I said was confusing, or if I can help you out with anything in the future! :D

CharlotteS says...

Thank you. This all does make sense and I am working on the things you have mentioned. Thank you for your critique.

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41 Reviews

Points: 2856
Reviews: 41

Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:08 am
SteppeVesteffi wrote a review...


This one's gonna be tough to review. I'll try, though.

Firstly, I'm going to be honest with you: it needs some work. Generally I give a story the benefit of the doubt, but in this case, you posted three chapters and each one feels about the same. As such, I'm going to be a bit harder on it than I would for just the first chapter. But I'll start with the positives.

Some of your descriptions are really quite lovely, and I get the sense you have a strong feel for your characters. Pearl's interesting—she starts off a bit flat, but by the end there's almost a mischief to her, a spark, and I want to know more. Clancy's another one that has me curious, and Luna, although she doesn't come in until the very end, seems like she could be a good foil for Pearl. The relationship between Pearl and her parents, while very close to being over the top or melodramatic, manages to stay in the land of realism enough for it to feel grounded, compelling, and not eye-roll-inducing. That's very important.

As for what could use some work, I have to say I was a little disappointed that nothing really happened in any of these chapters. It felt kind of like a lot of running around—Pearl goes here, there, everywhere, but nothing of consequence really takes place. What does transpire also seem so disjointed; none of the events seem to be connected with one another, or progress the plot at all.

Then, at the very end, all the sudden the story takes a turn for the religious. That felt weird and inorganic; maybe if you'd set up Pearl's feelings for religion earlier in the story (which, evidently, are pretty strong), her enraged speech might've felt more earned, more natural. As it stands, her sudden hatred for Christianity just felt... sudden? Like you were making things up and deciding the plot while you went along. And I'm sure that's not the case, but the fact that it came from left field made it feel that way. Also, the aforementioned speech was so ridiculous. Real anti-religion/anti-Christian speeches usually aren't so melodramatic and absurd. They're more grounded, more concise, even when the person giving the speech is in an emotional state. Pearl's monologue kind of felt like a speech the villain in one of those God's Not Dead movies would give—and that's a bad thing. Baaaddddd. Likewise with the former atheist at the end (James), talking about how religion saved him.

All in all, the story felt kind of all over the map. And my other gripe is that it read like an overview—there was no meat to it, no insight to Pearl or beautiful interludes of thoughts and descriptions to break up the monotony. And, on a technical note, the comma usage—or lack thereof—was... not great, to say the least. The amount of times you left out a comma were so innumerable that I gave up on mentioning them all, realizing it would take wayyyy too much time. You also seem to struggle when it comes to apostrophes and the proper usage of those, as well as when something is one word or two, and when to use a hyphen. I couldn't point out every error you made, again—it would've taken me years—but I tried to point out a solid amount.

Which brings us to—that's right—nitpicks!

in her claw like hands

Should be "claw-like," with a dash.

had specifically forbidden, paired daringly with killer high heels and a gold clutch. She was becoming increasingly fearful of the silence

Lots of adverbs here. Too many.

Pearl was wearing a vibrant, short, low cut cocktail dress...
...her mother, who was wearing an old fashioned nighty and a fluffy dressing gown

You describe their outfits almost back-to-back, and right at the start of the story. Work these descriptions into the story more subtly, organically, and not as soon as the chapter begins.

Pearl hoped she sounded like she really couldn't care less what people thought of her. It was at that point Pearl realized

"Pearl" is repetitive. You can just use "she" the second time; we know who you're referring to.

"You were given four A's and a B! His tone of voice sliced her confidence to shreds

You forgot the closing quotation marks after "B."

bullying other people on the school.

"On" the school? I believe that should be "at."

“I obtained high enough marks to get into Cambridge, that is what you wanted wasn't it!'

Change the comma after Cambridge to a period (or exclamation point, if you'd prefer), or a dash. Add a comma after "wanted." I know you ended the line "wasn't it" with an exclamation point instead of a question mark on purpose, and I respect that choice, but it really does look odd—perhaps change it to a question mark followed by an exclamation point, so that'll she still be shouting but the fact that it's a question will be made clearer? Just a thought.

The tears came spilling out in torrents, Pearl's father looked on disgusted muttering,

Lots wrong with this bit. First, the comma after "torrents" should either be a semicolon or period. "Looked on disgusted muttering" is completely incorrect, but you have a couple of options of what you can change it to. You could go with, "Pearl's father looked on, disgusted, muttering," or you could go with "Pearl's father looked on in disgust," or you could go with "Pearl's father looked on disgustedly." Your call.

Pearl pushed her well meaning intentions away, wondering why she was never good enough no matter how hard she tried. Rising she ran from the room sobbing. As a final show of rebellion she yelled

"Well meaning" should be "well-meaning," with a dash. There should be a comma after "good enough," and a comma after "rising," as well as a comma after "the room" and before "sobbing." Speaking of which, you have the words "rising" and "sobbing" awfully close together. Sounds pretty odd; you may want to change that. Lastly, add a comma after "rebellion."

As she washed her smeared makeup away she could hear her parents talking. As the final smudge of makeup came off, Pearl looked in the mirror hating the face that stared back at her.

Comma after "away," and the word "as" is repetitive here. There should also be a comma after "mirror."

Finally she threw a rock at the mirror.

What? Where'd she get the rock from? I know her parents are terrible, but jeez—are they actually making her live in a cave??

Pearl's room was very large and her walls were covered with posters, pictures, lyrics and lights.

Are you familiar with CinemaSins? Assuming you're not, these snarky movie-reviewers have a term for when set decorators go crazy and fill up a teenager/child's room with an excess of items they think teens or children would own. The term? "An orgy of evidence this is a [teenager/child's] bedroom." In this case, I feel like this perfunctory and bland description is a by-the-book orgy of evidence that this is a teenaged girl's bedroom.


Why is this all one word? (Also, I'm giggling just a bit at the idea of a heartthrob being named "Clancy.")

not a minute to soon.

In this case, it should be "too."

"Sorry dad."

The D in "dad" should be capitalized here. This is the rule: if mom/dad/nana/auntie/etc is preceded by, say, a possessive pronoun (e.g., "my dad"), the first letter is lowercase; if, however, you're referring to a character as mom/dad/nana/auntie/etc, in place of their actual name (e.g., "Sorry, Dad"), the first letter should be capitalized.

he heard his fathers foot steps

There should be an apostrophe here in the word "father's," and "footsteps" is one word.

and then ran down the stairs, his feet pattered on the carpet

Either change the comma to a semicolon, or change "pattered" to "pattering."

...his parent’s car keys...
...his parent’s new mini

So it seems you're referring to his parents here, as in plural, and not just his father here, as in singular ("parent"). If so, this should be possessive-plural: parents', with the apostrophe following the S.

waiting in the drive way

"Driveway"—one word.

he saw her from stage

"From stage"? Looks like you forgot the "the."

steeling him self

"Himself"—one word.

"I was......"

You only need three dots. More than that isn't necessary, and the thing is, whether it's three dots or twenty, the pause you're signifying is probably going to be the same length in the reader's mind.

At 4:00Pearl told

You need a space between "4:00" and "Pearl."

Last night I dreamt about me, my self and I.

"Myself" is one word. Also, this line makes me physically angry. It's insufferable, and I can't imagine any girl actually writing this in her diary. Then again, I've never kept one, so what do I know?

Running down stairs she walked into her fathers study

"Downstairs" is one word, and there should be an apostrophe in "father's."

please?" She asked

The S in "she" should be lowercase, even if the dialogue that precedes it ends in a question mark—or period, or exclamation point. You make this mistake a few times, but I won't be pointing out the rest because I'll lose my mind.

afraid to talk, "Well?"

Should be a period following "talk." Not a comma. (You and the commas—oy.)

of Pearls house.

You know what? I'm not going to tell you what's wrong with this. I want you to guess. But here's a hint and a word of advice, wrapped up in one: Apostrophes are your friend, not your enemy. Do not fear the apostrophe.

"Then you won't mind if we have a look around." Her father’s suggestion brought a gasp to her lips.

Oh, come on. A gasp? Really? That's hardly shocking. Now, if her father had said "then you wouldn't mind if we rip up your furniture and camp out in your front room," I could see her gasping—but this is not gasp-worthy, this is predictable.

drove along Pearls fear became greatly augmented. She began to hurry Clancy along

"Along" is repetitive. Also, there's a missing apostrophe.

Pearl looked over the list and inwardly thanked who ever provided had her with her brain.


Clancy Bae.

I thought it was "ClancyBay"? Man, this Clancy guy's shifty—between the weird first name, to the last name that changes spelling, to the fact that sometimes there's a space between his first and last name and other times there isn't... WHAT'S THE DEAL, CLANCY?? Pearl better run while she still can.

I have a long term boyfriend called Clancy Bae.

So I guess can get why Pearl would want to mention her boyfriend to Luna. What I can't get is why she phrased it this way. "I have a long-term [you forgot the dash btw] boyfriend"? Seriously? That's so stuffy and formal and, frankly, sounds like something someone a few decades older would say. This girl's eighteen and she just met Luna. I don't buy that she'd be speaking like this. It's also so weird the way she announces it—like, if you're going to #humbebrag about dating a famed musician, you should at least try to be subtle about it; don't just throw that in the face of a stranger.

"let me show you around.

You forgot the closing quotations.

She was a Christian but that could be changed.

Ha! Possibly the best line of the whole story.

Her heart, once so soft and kind turned hard from years of abuse, given a split second to melt remained as hard as ever. Bitter thoughts enveloped her heart.

1. "Heart" is repetitive," 2. "hard" is repetitive, 3. this makes no sense.

telling little children Santa doesn't exist

Wait, they do that? Since when?
Also, dayum, Christians—that's cold.

on the girl’s faces

Props for including an apostrophe, but tragically, that is not where the apostrophe is supposed to go.

Our children aren't brainwashed, we give them free choice.

[insert raucous laughter here]

I became a Christian a year ago. I was an orphan living in an atheist community. I had been brought up to hate God. Then I found a Bible.

Well, praise jeebus and hallelujah! In all seriousness though, this random guy's shoehorned background is pretty trite. (Not to mention absurd...)

Pearl turned and ran, wishing with all her heart that she had friends who stuck up for her like that. But no one loved her that much, did they?


Okay, I know I may've come off harsh, and snarky, and it may seem that I hated this. But I swear I didn't. It's rough, and I felt obliged to let you know that, but it's not terrible; it's not irredeemable, and it's nothing that can't be fixed. If you keep these criticisms in mind with future chapters, I can see this story getting really good. (And I do want to find out what happens to Pearl. Hopefully she'll get away from that supposed heartthrob with the sketchy name...)

CharlotteS says...

Thank you for this. I was struggling with my grammar when I wrote this so you are completely entitled to tell me my grammar is awful. I had to laugh at some of the stuff you said, sometimes because what I did wrong was obvious and sometimes because you said something hilarious. Thank you for thisthis critique. You should be an editor. I'll definitely be asking you to critique my writing again.

SteppeVesteffi says...

You're very welcome! And thank you, as well. That's really kind of you to say.

I was a bit worried after writing this that I came off too harsh, as it's really a perfectly nice story so far, excepting the things I criticized. I'm so glad that you understood what I was trying to convey and were open to the feedback (a rarity!). And of course, I'm also pleased to hear that you appreciated my snarky humor. :D

I'd be more than happy to review any of your work in the future, so just let me know. ^_^

'This must be Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays.'
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy