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Squirrel and Juniper Trees: Chapter 1

by hannah0528


 Raymie trudged through the woods, her over-sized leather Romeos dragging along the forest floor. She was alone in this place, again her parents were arguing loudly. Things had been a lot harder since the war started for her family. Also, the Great Depression made things even worse. Now they had to ration food, but what her parents didn't know about was all of the food she was able to harvest in the forest.

Before the war, children would kick soccer balls around or swing on the metal swing-sets. Now, the street was as quiet as the forest. She had never liked the loud sound of the creaking, but she missed it now. She had never really had any friends in the city. Having Asperger Syndrome didn't really help with that either, but she, according to the doctor was very high functioning. 

Her spot was in a larger juniper tree with an abundance of juniper berries. She built a platform on a spot where there was good shade and enough room. She had cleared some branches from above so she could stand. It was not very hard to do, as she was barely four feet. She loved the woods. It was a nice break from life in London.

A little skittering sound filled the quiet forest-like place. At first Raymie tensed, but when the furry mischief maker came into view, she smiled. It was Smokey. He had taken a liking to her, but still he was a little wary. The little squirrel squeaked when he smelled the nuts in Raymie's pocket that she had been saving. She took one out and reached her hand out slowly. Smokey was hesitant at first but with one quick swipe of his paw he had the nut and fiercely nibbled on it, dropping little bits of the peanut shells on the floor. Raymie softly giggled. She missed a lot of things about the Past but this is one thing that she was glad about. She had never had any friends and Smokey was a funny little companion for her. She was glad to have found this spot. She wouldn't be anywhere else if it were up to her at that particular moment in time.

She climbed up onto her platform. If she looked really far, she could see her parents house. She could definitely hear them. That was an advantage to Asperger Syndrome: You had excellent hearing. Smokey followed her, sniffing for more nuts but she kept the rest to herself. They were her rations, and she didn't want to waste it on a squirrel, no matter how cute he was.

Smokey was a peculiar squirrel. He looked sort of like a chipmunk, because he had a stripe down his back, but Raymie knew that he was a squirrel, for she had read somewhere in a book about the differences between them, and the only thing that made Smokey resemble a chipmunk was his practically invisible stripe. He had little ears and a bushy tail that, Raymie noticed, he shook whenever there was danger. 

Raymie noticed lots of things. She noticed that ants communicate using their antennas and things like that.

She especially noticed a lot of things from her lookout. That was how she first found Smokey. She had gone to her lookout and saw him nibble off a Juniper twig and put it in his nest. Then he looked right at her, smelled the nuts in her pocket, and slowly, warily scampered over to her. She had put a nut for him 6 or 7 feet away from herself and he swiped it and ran back to his perch. He was getting more friendly lately. Raymie let him have a nut every time she went there. 

The little squirrel had a feeling that she needed him. 

And Raymie thought that he needed her.


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Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:31 am
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi hannah0528,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

A solid first chapter with an insight into Raymie and her life. What I like is that you describe a bit about the period in the second paragraph, which helps one find one's way in the story. I rarely read stories that take place in the Great Depression. It gives the chapter a certain uniqueness.

I like your descriptions and the way you do it. It feels real and relaxed. At the beginning it was maybe a little too much info at once, making you feel a little overwhelmed with it.

A great chapter!

Mailice.




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Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:16 am
MapleWay wrote a review...



Hey, Maple Way here, with a review!

This is a great beginning! I can feel the potential flowing through it! I have yet to read your next chapters but I can't wait! I thought that in the mean time I could share some pros and cons I found.

Some pros:

Has a very fun vibe to it.

Has a great aspect of adventure.

It has a squirrel.

It helps people know that your differences don't make you any less than anyone else.


Some cons:

If I had to give it a con a would say that since it takes place during the depression it can make it a little difficult for some people to understand. This could also be looked at as a pro because it can convince people to go research those times.




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Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:15 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hello! Plume here, with a review!

Oooh, this looks quite promising! It has the makings of a type of apocalypse story, doesn't it? I really enjoy the visuals and characters you've introduced in this, and I'm intrigued to read more!!

I think your writing voice is very nice. It's quite formal, and to me, it reads a little like a children's book from back in the day, like kind of... Little Prince-esque. It's very matter-of-fact, but to me, it works really well. Especially since your main character, Raymie, is a little awkward, it fits right in with her character. Speaking of which, I really like your main character. She seems very young and sweet, and I shudder to think of what will happen to her throughout the course of this story.

I also really love your descriptions. You use a lot of great words like "skittering" and the imagery of the children kicking soccer balls and playing on the swing sets. I could picture it in my head clearly and hear the sounds associated with it, so great job!!

Specifics

She was alone in the Ruined City, her foster parents had left her in the middle of the night just a couple months ago.


You've got a comma splice here, and it can be easily fixed by adding where after the comma.

he little squirrel squeaked when he smelled the nuts in Raymies pocket that she had been saving.


"Raymies" should be "Raymie's," since it's referring to the pocket of Raymie rather than multiple Raymies.

Other than that, I couldn't find much else wrong with this! I think it's a great beginning, and I can't wait to see where you go with this!!




hannah0528 says...


Thanks so much for the review!



hannah0528 says...


I decided to change the time setting, just a heads up. I am not really into sci fi so I changed it to the 1930's!



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Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:17 pm
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LUNARGIRL wrote a review...



Hi, LUNARGIRL here with a review!
Let's get straight to it.

Raymie's footsteps scuffed along the ruins of the building. Her leather Romeos were slightly over-sized and her small figure could hardly hold them up. She was small, and not very strong but she was good with a bow and those days that was all she needed. She was alone in the Ruined City, her foster parents had left her in the middle of the night just a couple months ago.


I have to say you have a little info-dump here. In most book the first paragraph doesn't give you her body shape and what she is good at. I think you need to slow it down and work on weaving those tiny details into other parts of the story.

Before, children would kick soccer balls around or swing on the metal swing-sets. Raymie had never liked the noise of them, but she missed people. She had never had social skills, but she missed them. She was glad to be living in the woods. She could have just sheltered in one of the remaining buildings of the unknown city, but she preferred living in the woods.


You use the word before to end the last sentence and start this paragraph, you might want to change that up, but that's just my opinion.

She had traveled miles to get to where she was, although she didn't know exactly. Maybe somehwere in Illinois.


You spelled "somewhere wrong". Will you ever explain why moves around? Why doesn't she just build herself a place to live a settle down?

She lived in a larger juniper tree with an abundance of juniper berries. She built a platform on a spot where there was good shade and enough room. She had cleared some branches from above so she could stand. It was not very hard to do, as she was barely four feet. The berries took years to ripen and had a strong, bitter taste but when cooked right they were alright. She had built a small fire pit below the tree where she cooked them. She would occasionally shoot a bird or come across a dead deer. Seeing them lying on the rocky ground always struck her with grief, but she was excited because deer meat was very good. Especially when she seasoned them with juniper berries.


Good job on this paragraph.

A little skittering sound filled the quiet forest-like place. At first Raymie tensed, but when the furry mischief maker came into view, she smiled. It was Smokey. He had taken a liking to her, but he still was wary of her. The little squirrel squeaked when he smelled the nuts in Raymies pocket that she had been saving. She took one out and reached her hand out slowly. Smokey was hesitant at first but with one quick swipe of his paw he had the nut and fiercely nibbled on it, dropping little bits of the peanut shells on the floor. Raymie giggled. She missed a lot of things about the Past but this is one thing that she was glad about. She had never had any friends and Smokey was a funny little companion for her. She was glad to be here. She wouldn't be anywhere else if it were up to her.


You said the squirrel was a little afraid of her, then why did it not startle when you laughed? Also, in your last sentence about how she would not want to live anywhere else, that doesn't really make sense because she's always moving to different places. Wouldn't she decide to move eventually?

Overall, this was really short chapter so you might want to think about making it longer. You might want to work on that first paragraph too, because you have a little bit of an info-dump there. Can't wait to read what you write next!

Carpe diem,
LUNARGIRL




hannah0528 says...


thanks so much! I will work on all of those.



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Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:12 pm
EtherealGarbage wrote a review...



Hey there!

I haven't reviewed a chapter in a while, but I think I've touched on something you've written before. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I remember a little bit. Now let's get into this review here starting with nitpick things:

Her leather Romeos were slightly over-sized and her small figure could hardly hold them up. She was small, and not very strong but she was good with a bow and those days that was all she needed.


Personally, this sounds a bit info-dumpy. If you can find a way to weave those small things into your writing, it'd help with length and detail. Maybe if something comes a long and you can add that into the action parts, or maybe you can use that to fuel something plot changing if you ever think of an idea you like.

She had traveled miles to get to where she was, although she didn't know exactly. Maybe somehwere in Illinois.


Will we ever learn why? That's a little bit of a hole that should be filled there, and I'd also connect those two thoughts with a semicolon, as that helps strengthen parts of writing. "Somewhere" is also misspelled.

Little thing here, but Raymie sounds a lot like your other character. Was it "Rainee" or something along those lines? I wouldn't say it is a bad thing, but just a thing noticed in your writings here.

I don't have much to say, but good job!

Best,
Max




hannah0528 says...


thanks for the review!




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