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From State to State: 1.1

by LadyLizz


Warning: This work has been rated 18+.

“Have you seen the well to do, up and down Park Avenue, on that famous thoroughfare, with their noses in the air.”

December 24, 2015

11:30 pm

The past two weeks of my life leading up to this point had meant one thing: planning. Planning for so many more things than the magic Christmas party we were hosting in the basement. In just a few hours, I would be crowned the new champion of the McGrath line and with it, I would be accepting a personal quest to guide me through life. This was a truly rare occasion for the courts because only twice in history had the previous champion willingly resigned from their position. Plenty of times they had to remove people from office because they went off their rocker or weren’t meeting the yearly quota, but this was something special. Mostly champions would keep this job until the day they died, letting their heirs wrestle it out of their cold, dead hands.

Fortunately for me, Emilia had been going strong for 6,000 years and it didn’t really look like she was quitting anytime soon. In the 600 centuries our coven had been alive, her birth starting a new joint bloodline of peace, there had only been 3 heroes before her. All male and all in the 500 years before the new council was founded. Most recognizable among those 3 men is Isaac, chief of the military council and the man who practically raised me. Here in this world he is disguised as her cousin and caretaker but in the past he was also her mentor. He was the one they called a great hero and had led our world through many wars before mortals had ever figured out how to create a stable society.

This was the party that would test my abilities as the head of my family, a role I was far too young to accept and didn’t really want. Every teenage girl wants to be in the spotlight at some point but most of them want to be in it as a singer or actress. They don’t want a job composed mostly of bloodshed and politics. Save that for farther down the road, hopefully never at all.

But this is me. Emily Jean McGrath. Sixteen years lived on a planet called Earth as of a month ago. An adventure novel would call me ‘the Chosen One’ or ‘the Hero’. Everyone thinks that being a hero is a good thing but it’s not, it’s more of a nightmare than anything else, one that keeps repeating and never has an ending. Whenever I try to represent myself under a title, I think of Deadpool. I’m more like ‘the Last One’ and ‘the Anti-Hero’. Still I do on occasion wear a bright colored suit with a cape so I can see where people might get the impression I’m a do-gooder.

“Em, get over here.” A voice called to me from behind the bookcase in the library.

“Stop writing in that god damn notebook and get over here.”

“Shut-up Sherlock. I’m not going back to the party.”

“It’s your duty to go back.”

“Says the man who is supposed to representing the literary characters at this party.”

He stepped further out of the shadows and pulled me off the leather chair. Next to me was a stack of books that tumbled to the ground as my feet swept over them, splitting open the false covers to reveal compartments filled with food.

“Was this really the best survival plan you could come up with?”

“Yes. And if it weren’t for you volunteering me in the first place, I wouldn't have had to deal with these assholes.”

"I hate to swear at you Em, you know I do, but you're just so fucking selfish.  You don't seem to realize what becoming the champion does to all the rest of it.  You're not taking it seriously."

"I'm not taking it serious enough for you?  I'm about to become serial killer Sherlock and if you were still under the manipulation of your book, you would be one of the people trying to stop me, not my right hand man."

My hand motions matched my anger with him. If a mad person’s facial color is described as beet red, mine at that second could be three shades darker. Like the other times this had happened, I suddenly found a blade in my hand, probably summoned by a guardian spirit. The darker side was already starting to take control of me in that moment as the clock ticked down.

And that blade would have gone across my friend’s chest, if it hadn’t of been for the screams that erupted. That echoed. Through all the hallways and levels of the ancient structure, causing the spirits to fly up into the rafters or down further into the cellar. Holmes dropped the bag of crackers he was munching at and my fingers curled farther around the blade. How I managed to get upstairs so quickly, I don’t know, but it was soon enough to see the bloodshed. How with one blow I saw the woman who had finally given me an escape from my past life, fall to the ground in the pool of red like everyone else.

They say that the good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black. Tonight I learned that was the exact opposite of what happens in our world. Those might be the laws that govern the mortal world but in mine, white stands for Callahan covens and black stands for McGrath covens. The in between is called grey, for the people who are in between and can calculate the pros and cons of every kill. The people who exist solely in the grey area are the heroes, the champions and the chosen-ones.

And tonight, I finally succumbed to being one.


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1040 Reviews


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Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:34 am
Kays wrote a review...



Howdy there...partner. I reckoned I'd talk in my cowboy voice for this here review because I'm not convinced that this isn't a cowboy story. Y'all always write cowboy stories although the most I know for sure from memory is werewolves and vampires...isn't that the plot to Twilight or something or that sort? Y'all are crazy with your worlds nowadays and I have trouble keepin' up. No worries there, honey bun, I gotcha covered for that. Let's dig in.

I can see that this here chapter's been broken up into two separate parts for convenience of the reader and I have to say that's quite the act of kindness you've done did. I have to say that I'm quite intrigued mostly by how the novel is written and that's the strength here as well as the prologue and I remember makin' a similar comment not too long ago on that subject. That bein' said, I quite liked what you had to offer with the voice of the protagonist or main character and it's a strong point that I hope you end up usin' to your advantage.

It's quite unique and I don't think I've seen anythin' quite like it. I have to say that the fourth paragraph does get a little cheesy though and we use the name trope while staring INTO the eyes of the name trope itself aka "Hello my name is John Johnson and this is my story" and it's kinda contradictory, ya know? The fourth paragraph breaks me out of that immersion I unfortunately have to say. Moving on from that, I hope the thoughts become more balanced with dialogue and scenes because while there is dialogue in this chapter we take four paragraphs of exposition and thoughts and other things that can be better structured and spaced out and all that fun jazz we sure do take awhile to get there.

I do want to suggest adding more onto the dialogue such as perhaps a couple of dialogue tags which can become excess if they're overused but knowing which characters are talking and getting rid of talking heads is important. That's something I felt here--give us more details about the body language and the communication that isn't verbal. Use more of that because--not all language is verbal or vocal. I'm excited to read more though overall I have to say! I'll have to follow this novel to see where this goes because I reckon it'll get interestin'.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day, partner.

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Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:58 pm
BiscuitsLeGuin wrote a review...



Heyo, I guess you know why I'm here (go team revmo!) :P

Nit-picks and nice moments:

Plenty of times they had to remove people from office because they went off their rocker or weren’t meeting the yearly quota

Remember last time when I said that you were good at offsetting infodumping with humour? This paragraph was one of those times. Be caaaaareful though.

Yeah, I think your second paragraph is the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's an awful lot of information before we get the scene set. (I know it's a party but I mean like physically knowing what the scene looks like.)

“Em, get over here.” A voice called to me from behind the bookcase in the library.

So yeah, it would have been good to give the info after we get some character interaction.

"I hate to swear at you Em, you know I do, but you're just so fucking selfish. You don't seem to realize what becoming the champion does to all the rest of it. You're not taking it seriously."

I did not realise that this guy was so angry. I thought they were just joking about. Some description of his facial expressions leading up to and just before this line would be useful.

I'm about to become a serial killer, Sherlock


Overall:

So I think you've got my views on infodumping, so I won't go into that anymore.

I know this is in diary form, so what the character says wouldn't necessarily be what a third person narrator would tell, but I think it would be helpful to caveat in some description of the scenery. It's really hard to picture a scene when all I know is that it's in a library. (Fwiw I'm picturing this tagbook we did once where there was and endless library of books that I think were trying to eat YWSers? I'm generally quite weird with picturing things though, so it going that far is definitely on my end :P)

There is a logical detail that's confusing me a bit. If this current champion has been there for thousands of years and shows no signs of stopping, why is she being crowned champion? Do they have more than one champion? Do certain people automatically become champions and she just means that this other champion is already taking a lot of the responsibility? That's just a little thing but it's nagging at me quite a bit.

See you at the next chapter,
Biscuits :)




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Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:52 pm
DarkPandemonium wrote a review...



Hi, LadyLizzLovelace. I'm Pan and I'll be frying up a revoew for you today. Let's dive straight into it.

Nitpicks

“Have you seen the well to do, up and down Park Avenue, on that famous thoroughfare, with their noses in the air.”

December 24, 2015


1) The first thing I'd recommend is formatting the lyrics with the line breaks still included, as in:

Have you seen the well-to-do
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air


Having commas between the lines isn't really grammatical, so it would read more easily like this. You might want to credit the song, as well.

2) You say this is a flashback, but the date here is the same as the one at the beginning of the prologue, which confused me.

Fortunately for me, Emilia had been going strong for 6,000 years


In literature, you tend to write numbers out as words, as in 'six thousand'.

In the 600 centuries our coven had been alive, her birth starting a new joint bloodline of peace, there had only been 3 heroes before her. All male and all in the 500 years before the new council was founded. Most recognizable among those 3 men is Isaac, chief of the military council and the man who practically raised me. Here in this world he is disguised as her cousin and caretaker but in the past he was also her mentor. He was the one they called a great hero and had led our world through many wars before mortals had ever figured out how to create a stable society.


I'm absolutely not averse to telling and I think you do it well for the most part, but you go overboard in this section. It's too much information to take in at once and it doesn't feel that relevant. Why do we need to know who Isaac is when he's not in the chapter? Can't you tell us this later?

I also think you need to specify who 'her' refers to. I'm guessing it's Emilia, but it's been a few lines since you mentioned her so it doesn't link back to her very easily.

Still I do on occasion wear a bright colored suit


Stick a comma after 'still'.

“Em, get over here.” A voice called to me from behind the bookcase in the library.

“Stop writing in that god damn notebook and get over here.”

“Shut-up Sherlock. I’m not going back to the party.”

“It’s your duty to go back.”

“Says the man who is supposed to representing the literary characters at this party.”


This exchange was really hard to follow for me because I couldn't work out who was saying what. It's set up like Emily is the one saying 'stop writing in that god damn notebook' but I have to assume she says the line after as well, so it just gets really tangled. You need a few more dialogue tags.

Also, picky point, but I've never heard of 'shut up' being hyphenated. And you need a comma before 'Sherlock'.

If a mad person’s facial color is described as beet red, mine at that second could be three shades darker.


I think the correct tense here would be 'could have been'. You'd also get away with something like 'mine at that second was three shades darker than that'.

And that blade would have gone across my friend’s chest


'Gone' is a bit of a nothing verb. Slashed across, maybe? Swiped across?

if it hadn’t of been for the screams


How with one blow I saw the woman who had finally given me an escape from my past life, fall to the ground in the pool of red like everyone else


Don't need the comma.

the chosen-ones


Don't need the hyphen here. I also have a habit of hyphenating things that don't need hyphenating - you're probably the first person I've come across who also does it. Nice to know I'm not alone!

Overall Thoughts

1) You've got a really distinct writing style. There's something irresistible about it. I can't place what it is I like so much about it, but there's a note off oddness and unpredictability to your delivery that I find really charming.

2) The dialogue itself is good, but you could definitely do with sticking a few more dialogue tags. It can sometimes be hard to keep track of who is saying what. Also be mindful that you usually need a comma before the name when a character is addressing someone, as in:

"Shut up, Lisa."

"Stop it, you idiot!"

"Can you help me with this, Shirley?"


I noticed a couple of missing commas, so look out for those when you edit.

3) My biggest concern for this chapter is that it's pretty confusing. You chuck a lot of information the reader's way and don't give us much space to digest it. Is Sherlock literally Sherlock Holmes? I'd like to see a bit of description of him and maybe the briefest bit of explanation as to how Em is, well, literally talking to a book character.

I also found the ending confusing. You mention Em seeing a woman being...murdered? Presumably? But I don't know which woman she's actually referring to and I actually completely missed that bit on a first read through. It needs a bit more time dedicated to it and more of a signposted build up. I found all of the stuff with the spirits and the knife quite puzzling too, and I don't understand why the screams stopped Em from slashing Sherlock with the knife. And who was even doing the screaming?

I'm going to leave the review here or I'll never shut up. Overall impressions: I'm very confused but very intrigued. I like your writing style and I feel like you're injecting a lot of originality into an idea that, as MJ says, has been used quite a lot. I'll definitely be looking out for more.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:22 pm
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MJTucker wrote a review...



Hey there! MJ back for another review :)

Here in this world, he is disguised as her cousin and caretaker[color=red], but in the past he was also her mentor


Every teenage girl wants to be in the spotlight at some point, but most of them want to be in it as a singer or actress.


I'm about to become aserial killer ,Sherlock, and if you were still under the manipulation of your book


For my general comments, I wanted to suggest that you should probably put this as 18+ because of the use of the f word. That, I think, pushes it up to 18+, but that's just my perosnal opinion. I do appreciate you putting a warning, though. Also, there were a lot of small typos that I think you would catch if you just looked through it, mostly missing commas. I corrected some of them, but there were others I let slide.

I did like your comment towards the end about how white was good and black was bad, but sometimes it was the opposite of that in their world, but it interrupted the flow. You cut off the action and didn't provide a good resolution there, which I didn't like, and it was a bit of a let-down to see that you dropped the quick pace and suspense just to deliver that one philosophical statement.

And as my second critique, I think that you should have described more of Em's friend(was it Sherlock?) and his tone, motions, and other actions to make it clear that he wasn't just offhandedly like "You're being a little selfish", if he stood up and made a scene and yelled in her face, her anger would have been more understandable. You really emphasized how angry she got, and I think it's important to justify that, especially when it's not clear.

But overall, I'd like to keep reading this and see where it goes! The action/adventure and fantasy idea of two warring clans can get old, but I trust that you'll have your own spins to put on it. Em has a couple of traits that sets her apart from the typical fantasy hero, to the point where she's almost an antihero, especially because of her anger. I'd like to see some more characters introduced here and a little less background next time, but I think that's all I have for you today! If you have any questions or concerns, let me know. I'd be happy to help in whatever way I can.

Best wishes and RevMo cheer,
MJ




LadyLizz says...


Whoops forgot I ended up using f instead of s there.

I started explaining the concept of this to Bisc and these are journal entries slanted towards Em's perspective. There will be journals form other characters that haven't been properly introduced.
If you want me to give the explanation which includes spoilers, shoot me a PM and I'll send you the the link to wfp which has the concept maps.




It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind