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E - Everyone

Fauve Ch 1

by Nymeria


1

The girl stood amongst her classmates. She was the farthest to the right as she was the shortest. Her teacher was giving a speech to the parents in the small audience. It was probably very touching and affectionate, but the girl's eyes were trained on her mother, who was staring into the surrounding farmland with her eyebrows knitted close together. Overall, she looked quite unhappy.

The girl wiped her sweaty hands on her dress. Her light blue frilly one with a flowery pattern swirling at the bottom. Skinny as she was, the dress squeezed the girl around the middle and itched furiously around her shoulders. It was her best dress, though.

She hadn't gotten a new dress in a long time.

Sudden clapping alerted the girl that the ceremony had ended. The kids to her left began wandering into the crowd to look for their parents. The girl followed suit, shuffling to her mother, who gave her a funny little smile as she approached.

"Where is Papa?" the girl asked, entwining her fingers with her mother's. "You said he would be here."

Her mother sighed. She got a sad look on her face as she so often did.

"I thought he would. I guess he was too busy." The girl nodded. Her father was always busy. He was always working.

"Meredith!" the girl called to the dark-haired child walking with her parents. Meredith turned around. "I'll race you home!" The girl released her grip on her mother's hand and started running, hearing her friend's footsteps in close pursuit.

The two girls beelined for their side-by-side houses. They sprinted along the dirt road between the backs of town homes and the vast fields of browning wheat. They jumped gracefully over puddles of mud with their expensive dresses flowing behind them. Meredith began to overtake her friend, who watched unsurprised. Meredith's long legs seemed to beat her every time.

Their houses approached. The smaller girl willed her feet to move faster, but it was hard to run in the poofy dress and stiff shoes. She was concentrating so hard on the yellow ribbons of Meredith's dress that she misjudged the distance over the next puddle. Her hard shoe splashed and slipped, and the girl with it.

Her best dress was ripped and splattered with mud. One of her shoes had gone flying into the field. Her hands were scratched and dirty from using them to break the fall. Her mother would be furious.

Meredith was jogging back to her friend on the ground.

"Are you okay?" She pulled the fallen girl to her feet.

"Yeah. . . Just scratched," the girl replied, attempting to brush some of the dirt from her dress. She looked around and spotted her mother jogging toward them.

As the woman neared, the girl braced herself for a harsh talking-to. Her mother grabbed her arm roughly. She was still panting from her run. Her nails dug fiercely into the girl's skin, but she said nothing. The girl braved a look at her mother's face. She was staring with a hard face in the direction of their home. Several tan colored tents erected on the fringes of their property. Men in matching colors mulled around them.

"Meredith, go home," the girl's mother said evenly, tonelessly. Wordlessly, Meredith turned and jogged toward her house. Wordlessly, the girl's mother started back to their home, her grip still tight on her daughter's arm. The girl felt both anger and protectiveness in it. They gave their yard a wide berth as they made it to the front door.

The entry of their small home led directly to the kitchen table, where the girl's father along with a strange man sat in conversation.

"Go to your room, dear," her mother said in that same flat voice. She didn't take her eyes off her husband as the girl kicked off her muddy shoes and trekked upstairs.

Over the course of the year of the girl's eighth birthday, her small town had changed. It wasn't physical, and it was so subtle that the girl hardly noticed at first. People became agitated for no apparent reason. Mothers held their children on a shorter leash. Pantries filled with non-perishables. One ominous word seemed to hang over every ordinary conversation: war.

The girl wasn't entirely sure what the word meant, but it must have been something bad. She tried asking her parents, but they always found an excuse to not answer.

"Mother, why did the Berkins move?" she had asked. Her mother got that faraway look in her eyes.

"Maybe their house was too small for all those kids," she replied with a false smiled on her face. That was her lying face. Her that's-a-bad-drawing-but-I-have-to-say-I-like-it-anyway face. The girl knew better than to push it, to say that there were plenty of bigger houses in the same neighborhood, but her parents were both grenades always on the verge of exploding. 

The children in the eighth year class didn't seem to know much either. One boy said that war meant fighting, but how could that be true when there was no fighting at all? The girl was kept in the dark, and it ate at her continuously. 


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15 Reviews


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Reviews: 15

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:39 am
Shota wrote a review...



Hey Nymeria! First off I love your user name! That being said i am going to give this a go with a review. Please feel free to ask any questions, and as some of this is my own opinion feel free to consider it and do with it what you please!

My biggest thing first off is "The Girl". You use this statement to relate to the main character at least a dozen times and it begins to detract from the flow and rhythm of your story. I would try to use it less, and allow the paragraphs which contain a single thought to speak about the character who is in reference. For example you said:

Sudden clapping alerted the girl that the ceremony had ended. The kids to her left began wandering into the crowd to look for their parents. The girl followed suit, shuffling to her mother, who gave her a funny little smile as she approached.

"Where is Papa?" the girl asked, entwining her fingers with her mother's. "You said he would be here."


In this little blurb we see it used 3 time, so i would try to change it up to help the flow of the overall piece. For example try, "Where is papa," she asked, entwining her fingers..."'or "the sudden clapping alerted her to the fact that the ceremony...". Little ways like that make it feel less choppy and more fluid in thought and rhythm.

I think it would be even better to give her a name because that would help a lot. Maybe your trying to be vague and mysterious though. This is not a bad thing, you just have to be careful with how you do it

Meredith!" the girl called to the dark-haired child walking with her parents. Meredith turned around. "I'll race you home!" The girl released her grip on her mother's hand and started running, hearing her friend's footsteps in close pursuit.


This paragraph was very confusing for me. I wasn't sure who Meredith was. And since you haven't described to us yet how the mian girl looks, besides the dress she as wearing, I wasn't sure who was calling to who. If the dark haired girl was our protagonist or someone else. I think part of it has to do with "the girl" being the only point of reference we have for your main character.

The two girls beelined for their side-by-side houses. They sprinted along the dirt road between the backs of town homes and the vast fields of browning wheat. They jumped gracefully over puddles of mud with their expensive dresses flowing behind them. Meredith began to overtake her friend, who watched unsurprised. Meredith's long legs seemed to beat her every time.

Their houses approached. The smaller girl willed her feet to move faster, but it was hard to run in the poofy dress and stiff shoes. She was concentrating so hard on the yellow ribbons of Meredith's dress that she misjudged the distance over the next puddle. Her hard shoe splashed and slipped, and the girl with it.


So couple things about this. I like how you describe the town, the brown wheat and all as they run. My biggest point of confusion was how they both jumped gracefully over the puddles. I can understand Meredith doing so, but our main characters dress is so small it made me wonder how she was able to be graceful. Especially since In the next paragraph you referenced that it was hard or her to run in the poofy dress. I think you should change up the graceful part, at least for the main character to help this flow more.

The last part about this is that the last sentence felt choppy for me. Her shoe splashed and slipped, and the girl with it (I'd also change up "the girl" again), but maybe say "The girl fell to the ground with a cry as her shoe slipped in the puddle." This flows better and ties why she is falling with her show, it's my example so I'd play with it a bit.

Her best dress was ripped and splattered with mud. One of her shoes had gone flying into the field. Her hands were scratched and dirty from using them to break the fall. Her mother would be furious.


One of the other things I really desire a little more of is some expression and insight into the girls feelings. She falls here, is all scratched, and is thinking about how mad her mom will be, but we don't get to see any of her emotion. Is she scared about her moms reaction, is she in pain from the fall? These would be great things to add to connect us with the main character more and give us a little insight into her mind. Same with the part about her dad, was she sad he didn't show up? Disappointed? Did she feel let down and lied too? I feel like these important things add depth to the character you are creating.

Meredith, go home," the girl's mother said evenly, tonelessly. Wordlessly, Meredith turned and jogged toward her house. Wordlessly, the girl's mother started back to their home, her grip still tight on her daughter's arm.


Couple things here, the flow from tonelessly to wordlessly feels funny,and I think it is the "lessly" used in both words. Also you start both sentences back to back with "wordlessly". Using the same word like that can make a story feel choppy and disjointed so I'd experiment with some synonyms and have some fun with mixing it up.

The girl wasn't entirely sure what the word meant, but it must have been something bad. She tried asking her parents, but they always found an excuse to not answer.


I'd love to know what we're the feelings she had about people not being honest? Did she notice her mom being worried or agitated, did her dam seem tense because of the word "war". I'd lead us more into why she thinks it is bad, what are the emotions and feelings connected with "war" that makes her think it isn't a good thing.

I do think you did a good job with the mom. I can feel her tension just with how flat she is acting, trying to shut down her emotions.

Overall good job! You got a Great start here and thank you so much for being bold and posting it. I know it can be hard to allow others to critique your work, if you have any questions please let me know!




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68 Reviews


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Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:27 am
Midnightmoon wrote a review...



Hi there!
So I'll start with what I liked. The story is good, and the writing is good. Just a few errors, but I'll get to those later. :). I also like how it's a very basically written, but you capture the detail and the feel without a ton of detail and expressiveness. It's really cool how you did that! Now, just a few corrections.

"Mothers kept their children on a shorter leash." I would say that maybe the children were on a short leash anyway, or that it was shortened. Here, you leave the reader to make their own assumptions, which isn't bad, I just like a little more explanation. In the line where you have the girl calling to Meredith, instead of saying "The dark haired girl walking with her parents," I would put, "to a dark haired girl...etc." When you use the word "The" it implies that the girl has know her for quite a while. I would maybe explain that a little. Something like this; "Meredith had been a friend ever since the two were babies crawling around." Something like that. And I would mention the girls name at some point in here. Very good story, can't wait for more! Hope this helped.
Midnightmoon.





Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
— Helen Keller