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The Hero's Brother (2.2)

by mellifera


The world slowed to a halt for what felt like a lifetime but was probably, in reality, a few moments.

Carter was aware that his mouth has fallen open and he was gawking openly at Gideon, who had narrowed his eyes and was giving Carter a wary look.

Sh-Shiloh?” Carter finally asked, glancing between the two of them, searching for…what? What? Maybe they can explain the note? “Why do- um, why do you- why are you looking for, um. For Shiloh? I-I-” Carter closed his mouth, a hot flush rising over his cheeks.

His stomach squirmed unhappily and Carter wished he could just be normal for once. Not have to trip over his own words and just…

Do you know Shiloh?” Isha asked him, stepping over without making a noise on the cement and offered her hand. Carter stared at it for a moment too long, before realising she was giving him a hand to help him up. The heat spread down his neck, but he took the hand and let her help him to his feet.

The second he stood up he almost pitched sideways again. He caught himself on Villa’s stall, however, and Isha watched him carefully, ready to leap forward and catch him if he took another spill.

Um,” he said, realising how badly he was shaking as he gripped the bars of Villa’s stall to keep himself upright. He felt Villa’s breath hot as she snuffed at his back. “Um, I- um. Why?” he asked, his shoulders hunched so tightly they started to ache.

The two bandits – they couldn’t be bandits. Why would bandits be looking for his sister? – exchanged a glance. “Do you know her?” Gideon asked, repeating Isha’s question, his tone considerably harsher than hers had been.

A knot pulled in Carter’s chest and he clenched and unclenched his fist around the bars. “I, um. I just want to know why you are- why you’re looking for her,” Carter murmured, glancing down at the seal-grey floor. Even looking at it sent chills up his whole body, starting from his feet.

There was a beat of silence before Gideon scoffed, his russet hair falling into a mess around his forehead. “This is a dead end. We’re getting nowhere, and we need to find her before someone else does,” he said, turning on his heel towards the back door.

A jolt shot through Carter as Isha took a step away from him and he let go of the bars. “Looking-looking for her?” When neither of them responded, he took a wobbly step forward. “Wait-wait, please! Is she- is she in trouble? I need, um. Please.” Gideon glanced back as Carter’s voice grew softer in his pleading. “Please. She’s, um, she’s my sister.”

That stopped both Gideon and Isha in their tracks. Gideon’s expression split into one of complete surprise, shattering the scowl on his face that had been there ever since he walked in. Isha looked slightly more composed, but even her eyes were wide after she blinked.

Gideon stepped towards him slowly, as if expecting Carter to pull some other trick out of his sleeve, quickly replacing the surprise with his mighty frown again. “Shiloh never said anything about having any siblings,” he said, but his voice was hesitant now. Carter had caught his attention.

Carter shrugged nervously, rubbing his arm. “Can you, um. Can you just please- please tell me what’s, um. Where is she? What’s- what’s going on?”

They stood in silence for a long few moments, Gideon and Isha giving each other looks that made Carter feel more invisible then he usually did. Or, he supposed, it wasn’t that he felt more invisible, it was just that he was more aware of it. And it bothered him.

That was a new one. Being invisible was something Carter craved like air to breathe. It felt like a necessity. It had never bothered him before.

You’re not Shiloh’s brother,” Gideon said decisively, but he continued to stare at Carter. “Unless you have some way to prove it, we’re done.”

Pausing, Carter blinked a few times. Prove…? He had to prove that his sister was really his sister? He tried to ignore the niggling at the back of his mind that wondered why Shiloh had never mentioned him, wondered if she was too embarrassed to tell anyone about her sad little brother who couldn’t function on his own or-

Gideon, don’t be a jerk,” Isha said, her tone both sweet and commanding. It made Carter straighten his spine a little, glancing over at her. She was holding herself high, not that she wasn’t already tall – nearly as tall as Carter and boy, did that make her all the more intimidating – but there was something sharp in the way she carried herself. Confident.

Must’ve been nice.

Isha’s comment made Gideon’s nostrils flare. “This is a waste of time. Look at him, he looks like he might pass out if a moth startled him at any moment moment. Does that seem like Shiloh’s brother to you?”

Reese pawed at the ground in her stall, and Carter nearly walked over. He felt a suddenly impulse to simply squeeze into her stall, lock himself in there, and pretend nothing had happened and Shiloh would be back soon.

Clearly,” Isha raised at eyebrow, drawing her eyes over Gideon’s darkened clothes that had ceased dripping onto the ground. “He…actually looks quite a bit like Shiloh to me. Don’t tell me you don’t see the resemblance there.”

I’m going to need more than the two sharing the same hair colour,” Gideon snapped, turning to meet Isha’s challenging gaze.

It was then that Carter saw the thick, black lines that snaked upwards from underneath Gideon’s shirt. The lines curled into sharp points, three of them Carter can see and who knew how many more. They didn’t quite look like tattoos, the skin was a little too distorted to-

Burns. But they were too specific, they were too precise. What could’ve…brands.

He took a step backwards, a soft noise of alarm wiggling out of his throat. It drew Gideon’s gaze away from Isha, where he instead scrutinised Carter through narrowed eyes. “He can’t be Shiloh’s brother. We’re moving on,” Gideon said with finality.

The barn lights flickered overhead, and Reese whinnied softly from somewhere to Carter’s right. He opened his mouth to speak, heart clenching in his chest as he thought of the note again, but Isha beat him to it.

Wait,” she said, watching Carter for a moment. “Shiloh said we were going to stop to pick something up. What if she meant him?

Why wouldn’t she just tell us that then?” Gideon grumbled. He sent Carter another sharp look, but it was clear he wasn’t talking to him.

Isha was the one to fold her arms across her chest now. “What if she was protecting him? C’mon, Gideon. If you were in the coterie and had a sibling on the outside, would you go around advertising it to anyone? What if that were me?”

Her words started to blur together sometime after she had said coterie, and Carter’s stomach plummeted. He felt like he’d just taken a punch to the gut, had cold water dumped on him like he’d just done to Gideon. Carter whimpered involuntarily.

C-coterie?” he squeaked, his voice trembling now more then before. Gideon and Isha seemed to finally notice his presence again. Isha’s expression softened.

Before she had a chance to respond, Gideon let out a heavy sigh. “We’re talking about the same Shiloh, right? Shiloh Liv?”

Carter slumped his shoulders, his muscles aching now as he released the tension in them. He hadn’t realised how tense he’d been. “Liv’s her-her middle name. I-um.” Carter reached up to scratch at his face, as if trying to wake up from a dream.

In fact, maybe he really did fall off Villa and he hit his head. Maybe this was all some elaborate concussion-induced dream. Maybe there really was no note and Shiloh would be back any-

The note.

Wait, um.” Carter stuffed his hand into his pocket and felt the brush of the parchment run against his fingers. He clasped it in his hand and pulled it out. Gideon’s eyes honed on Carter’s hand with interest, approaching him. “She didn’t- it doesn’t say, um, who-who wrote it but,” Carter wet his lips, “if you, um, if you know Shiloh, you-you should be able to, um. Identify her handwriting. Because-”

-she has that dumb swirly writing,” Gideon finished, stepping into Carter’s personal space. Carter swallowed and hesitated, before handing Gideon the note, all crumpled now. He blinked in surprise at how hot Gideon’s hands were after getting the freezing water dumped on him.

As Gideon started reading the note, a bubble rose in Carter’s chest and his fidgeted. “Do- do you want a towel?” he blurted, wincing the second it came from his mouth.

When Gideon’s hazel eyes rose to give Carter a funny look, Carter flinched back, wincing again. Gideon’s eyes narrowed but returned to the note. Carter felt his cheeks burn.

Bazzoli hated Carter’s timing as, more often than not, he said things – even polite offers of service – out of turn. Carter felt silly for flinching away from Gideon when he’d done nothing but look at Carter, but Bazzoli always moved faster than Carter could ever duck away.

When Gideon remained silent for too long, Isha walked over to lean over his shoulder. Carter took a few shuffling steps back, the soft scuffing noise ringing out far too loud in the stable. As if to compensate for his noise, Reese whinnied.

Hey, kitten,” Isha glanced up, “what’d you say your name was?”

He shook his head, ducking his head again. “I-I didn’t,” he murmured. A sharp silence followed that made Gideon look up at him. Carter sucked in a breath so fast he almost choked on it. “O-oh. I’m, um. Carter. It’s Carter.”

C?” Isha suggested, pointing at the note. “That’s Shiloh’s handwriting. Even you can’t deny that, grumps.” Her mouth twitched upwards. “Might want to take that towel. Better yet, you have a change of clothes?” She glanced at Carter.

He opened his mouth to reply but Gideon folded the note and stuffed it in a side pouch instead. “No. We’re leaving,” he said, stepping away from the two.

What?” Isha turned to Gideon but held her ground. “Gideon! If he’s telling the truth, doesn’t he deserve the same? Or maybe he’d like to, man, I don’t know. Come with us. It’s his sister, after all.”

If he’s telling the truth,” Gideon shot back, his brow set. “Let’s say he is telling the truth and he really is Shiloh’s brother. Look at him,” he gestured to Carter, “do you think he could survive a day out in the wilds? And say he can, just to stack the positives because you like that so much. Do you want to be the one responsible when Corin’s thugs catch up with us for what happens to him?”

Carter wished the ground with swallow him whole. He had never felt so much like there were bugs crawling under his skin as he did in this moment.

He supposed it wasn’t being invisible after all, it was being noticed. It was being discussed like he wasn’t standing right there.

Isha’s lips pursed, but she ducked her head. Gideon sent Carter an unreadable look, before he huffed and set off, leaving the two of them behind. “Come on, Isha,” he called without turning back.

The thud of the side door slamming shut made Carter flinch backwards, as if to prove Gideon’s point. He hung his head, shuffling his feet awkward. His chest tightened when Isha lingered.

A warm hand grasped his shoulder. Carter jerked his head up in surprise to find Isha watching him with something glittering in her pale brown eyes.

The inn in Midvale, Greenwich? We’re leaving tomorrow morning, around ten,” she said, her smile growing softer now. “Gideon’s really wired. He might be cooled off tomorrow.”

He frowned, his nose wrinkling slightly as he did so. “Why-why are you, um. Why are you telling-telling me this?”

She shrugged, pulling away from him and sauntering towards where Gideon had disappeared. “You want answers, don’t you?” Her smirk returned. “You’re not the only one.”

Without another word, Isha disappeared like a shadow. Carter couldn’t even hear the side door open or shut, almost making him wonder if she had left. But what purpose would she have for staying anyway?

Carter stayed still for several drawn out moments before he eased himself over to a bag of shaving and gently sat down, thoughts running through his mind and scalding it in their path.

Coterie? Shiloh could never- would never get tangled up with one of the coteries. They needed the pay, but she’d never do something like that. It was dangerous, not to mention criminal, and Shiloh wasn’t a criminal.

His stomach dropped again and he put his face in his hands. The only problem with it: she would.

word count: 2,176


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Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:44 am
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Querencia wrote a review...



Greetings once more!

“Looking-looking for her?” When neither of them responded, he took a wobbly step forward. “Wait-wait, please! Is she- is she in trouble? I need, um. Please.”

The first question doesn't really seem like a question--plus, he's already asked it like twice? So it might be better for him to lead with the second part (in my opinion).

“Clearly,” Isha raised at eyebrow, drawing her eyes over Gideon’s darkened clothes that had ceased dripping onto the ground.

I'm unsure what exactly in what Gideon said she's responding to here?

OH SNAP a coterie !

The only thing here that I really feel the need to mention is the length. I mean, it's standard chapter (or chapter part) length, but it sort of just drags on. Gideon makes it clear that he wants to leave, and while Isha is being really kind to Carter and is letting him in on their plans to leave, it just feels a little stretched out. It takes a while for Carter to admit to Shiloh being his sister, and then to get from there to taking out the note, and then even for Isha to ask his name to confirm that he's the "C".

I've mentioned before that I like to see Carter processing things, but I feel like this is the time for him to be a little more active, like they start to leave and he decides to bring forward the letter and give his name because he cares about his sister more. I think it might be good for things to move a little quicker here.

Other than that, it's another lovely chapter! I liked Isha calling Carter "kitten" and no one objects to it. XD And I like the hints about the coterie and the ending lines as well. :) I'm anxious to read more, as always!

-Q




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Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:27 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



I am TREMENDOUSLY intrigued by these coteries and the kind of shenanigans they get into. And if they're criminal, that means these two are probably criminals to an extent, and that there's something WORSE out there because Shiloh's involved. ogod

ogodogodogod

There was one point where he finally made the realization to tell them about the note, but I had thought we already made that realization. Let me find the two spots I'm talking about.

The barn lights flickered overhead, and Reese whinnied softly from somewhere to Carter’s right. He opened his mouth to speak, heart clenching in his chest as he thought of the note again, but Isha beat him to it.


Then shortly later:

In fact, maybe he really did fall off Villa and he hit his head. Maybe this was all some elaborate concussion-induced dream. Maybe there really was no note and Shiloh would be back any-

The note.


There was even a point in the way beginning of this section where he mentioned it, but it's early enough to believe he had forgotten about the thought of the note. It's here, though, where he thought about the note as he was about to speak, so I assumed he was going to tell Isha about the note. But because Isha spoke, he didn't. But then later, there's this dramatic realization that Carter should tell Isha about the note. Problem is, I had thought Carter already made that realization, so the dramatic effect wasn't there and was actually underwhelming. So I think it's just a timing issue here that needs addressing.

I was also confused by the last line:

Coterie? Shiloh could never- would never get tangled up with one of the coteries. They needed the pay, but she’d never do something like that. It was dangerous, not to mention criminal, and Shiloh wasn’t a criminal.

His stomach dropped again and he put his face in his hands. The only problem with it: she would.


Reading back, I see now that the "she would" was in response to the earlier part (I bolded the two parts). However, there was a lot of words between those, so when you read it, you don't naturally connect the two. So some rewording would help strengthen this effect.

And this is an AWESOME way to end this chapter 'cause Shiloh was supposed to be perfect and lovely and apparently now she's the kind of person to be involved with criminal gangs?! Even in this very quote around the bolded lines here, it says Shiloh wouldn't do that and then says that she would. It's so very confusing and intriguing at the same time. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO SHILOH.

So now I've also got an idea of who Isha and Gideon are. At first, I thought Gideon was just assisting Isha, but by the end, it seems they're equal partners. I don't know if it's in their representation or not, perhaps the interaction shifted a bit from one relationship to the next. It wasn't really clear at first that these two were on equal ground. I assumed Gideon answered to Isha and followed her orders. It's what made it seem much scarier than it actually is. (Maybe that's intentional?!)

This is a lovely progression to the plot though, and now watching these strangers interact with Carter is fascinating. Isha is such a doll, secretly inviting him to meet them. I wonder if he'll actually do it. I bet he'd do it. He'd totally do it. IT'S FOR SHILOH.

Looking forward to the next chapter!!

Jabber, the One and Only!




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Tue May 07, 2019 11:07 am
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hey mellifera! Back again.

Small Comments

“This is a dead end. We’re getting nowhere, and we need to find her before someone else does,” he said, turning on his heel towards the back door.


Seems like he gives up a bit prematurely. Carter clearly seems to have information; if they're looking for her, I can't see why Gideon would be so willing to walk away from a lead.

It was then that Carter saw the thick, black lines that snaked upwards from underneath Gideon’s shirt. The lines curled into sharp points, three of them Carter can see and who knew how many more.


I don't get how he can see them. Has the water turned his shirt transparent? And why is Carter only noticing them now?

As Gideon started reading the note, a bubble rose in Carter’s chest and his fidgeted. “Do- do you want a towel?” he blurted, wincing the second it came from his mouth.


God, Carter is just the cutest, softest boi. He needs protecting.

They needed the pay, but she’d never do something like that. It was dangerous, not to mention criminal, and Shiloh wasn’t a criminal.

His stomach dropped again and he put his face in his hands. The only problem with it: she would.


I don't get your last line. She would what? She would 'do something like that', i.e. become a criminal? That seems to contradict the previous paragraph. I just didn't understand what this was supposed to mean.

Overall Thoughts

The plot thickens! I knew that the coteries were going to be important from the moment they were mentioned, but I like that you're still holding back on telling us what they are. You're revealing titbits of information piece by piece - the best way to do it. Looks like I was right that Shiloh had got herself involved in some shady stuff. I wonder if she's had to go on the run from some thugs. I'm really intrigued to find out more about how she knows Isha and Gideon, because they don't seem to have malicious intentions towards her. It seems like they want to help her. It's also interesting that she failed to mention her brother to them, but if she is involved in criminal stuff, it's not hugely surprising.

Story-wise, mystery-wise and character-wise, you get 10/10 from me so far. The stakes are clear, you characterise well, I'm desperate to get answers, and I can't easily predict where the narrative is going. As expected for a first draft, it's mostly just the execution that's shaky in places. Pacing seems to be the biggest issue. I think you draw out the whole 'you're not Shiloh's brother thing' a bit too long, and I don't really get why Gideon is so adamant that Carter isn't who he says he is. As Isha points out, it's hardly unbelievable that Shiloh would fail to mention him, given that she's mixed up in criminal stuff. His bone-headedness gets a bit grating. I feel like he could still be dismissive without being so frustratingly distrusting. He might accept that Carter is Shiloh's brother, but resolve that he clearly knows even less than they do about where she's gone, and he'd also be a complete liability if they took him with them. He does mention the latter point, but I think you could lean harder on it, because it's a much more valid reason for Gideon to not want anything to do with him.

I also think you could stand to focus less on Carter's internal thoughts and reactions. It is good that you get into his head and give us a sense of his anxiety, but sometimes it feels like you describe his response to every little thing in painstaking detail. You can let us fill the gaps. We know Carter's an anxious boi by this point, so he doesn't need to stammer every word. You also don't need to state that Carter flinches and shuffles his feet and feels his chest tighten when something alarming happens. Often you only need to hone in on one aspect of a character's body language to communicate their emotional state. And there's no need to keep reminding us of it, either - just trust your reader a little more.

Other than those details, though, I really enjoyed this. The story is getting so interesting. I can't wait to read more and get sucked fully into the mystery of where Shiloh has gone.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:28 pm
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elysian wrote a review...



heyyyy wife I miss you bunches but here I am to review, finally :p I now am reviewing only 7 novels and maybe 6 because I think someone stopped adding chapters, so I've cut back on ones I wasn't enjoying as much. I'm going to see how much I can get through in a row during my eb.

**disclaimer: I will most likely focus on negative aspects more so than positive aspects when reviewing, and this is just to help you grow as a writer! It is totally okay not to agree with something I say! Also, If I repeat anything already said, it's probably because it needs to be changed!**

Burns. But they were too specific, they were too precise. What could’ve…brands.


I don't know why but this strikes me as odd. I think it's because it seems rather observant and intelligent when I've gathered Carter isn't those things. I don't know, he might be observant, but would he be able to make these connections about the markings?

so, not gonna lie, I forget what the paper said so maybe after this review I'll go back and refresh my memory to figure out why this note made allllll the difference? and what is the Coterie? like, the way you introduced it is like everyone should already know what it is, but it may help to make Carter unsure of what it is as well so we can learn with him instead of him already knowing and us having no idea.

I think that's really all I have for you, I thought this chapter flowed very well together and that you did a really nice job :-) I'm interested to see what happens next, and hopefully it won't take me like five years to get to the next chapter xD

I luhhhh youuuu <3

- ur wifey




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Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:35 pm
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Messenger wrote a review...



Hey Scribs, finally got to one of your chapters. Feel awful about taking so loooong but NO REGRETS MOVE FORWARD

So. I absolutely adored this chapter. Your conversations feel very real and very natural/fluid. The Gideon to Carter/Isha to Carter and the Gideon to Isha dynamics all work great. We really understand each one's personality and motivations in some ways as well. I think Isha is cool, but she sort of has this vibe that she's not actually as friendly as she seems. But that might just be me. Maybe these people aren't good and with Shiloh. Maybe this is a double switcheroo. Maybe I should keep reading.

And that's one of the big pluses of this chapter. There are so many more questions asked than answered in here. Just when we think we're getting somewhere we hear of bandits and Wildlands and all sorts of new and intriguing sounding stuff.

I do have a slight negative. Look, I feel for Carter, I really do, which good job because a lot of times I couldn't care less about characters early on but I have sympathized from the beginning. However, now that we know what he's like, and the nervous energy that he brings, having so much of his stuttering being written out started to drag. We don't need to read ever "um" "er" "w-wh-what" that he says. I already imagine him bumbling about everything both verbally and physically, but actually reading it on paper really makes it hard to keep up the pace. I would suggest that unless there is a going to be a significant moment where he stops stuttering on every word and that it is seen through how his dialogue is written instead of just telling us, that you reduce some of that.

That's really my only criticism. OFf to the next chapter (hopefully)

~Messy




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Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:21 am
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soundofmind wrote a review...



*slides in* AYYYYYY MY HOMIE SCRIBS JUST SLIDIN' INTO YOUR LMS CRIB WITH A REVIEW
Image
Featuring me: hoping and praying Isha and Gideon's good cop/bad cop act turns into a good cop/good cop act for Carter's sake, but knowing it won't happen. Let's jump right in B)

That stopped both Gideon and Isha in their tracks. Gideon’s expression split into one of complete surprise, shattering the scowl on his face that had been there ever since he walked in. Isha looked slightly more composed, but even her eyes were wide after she blinked.

I really like how this... kind of quietly tells me about their character? Like maybe Gideon was just caught off guard, but I like how it hints that he might be more emotive, or just more... passionate, while Isha might be more of a cold, calculating, type? Or just better at hiding her emotions and lying? Maybe it's too soon to tell lol but ANYWAY I like this in general and their reactions.

That was a new one. Being invisible was something Carter craved like air to breathe. It felt like a necessity. It had never bothered him before.

Ooooh I like this. Like a tiny nugget of character development lol. I wanna be like: "hey Carter, maybe it's because there's something of a bigger picture - stakes on the line - your sister is a bigger worry than being seen, and perhaps, that has caused you to forget your lesser worries." But uh, I can't talk to a fictional character so, you can read my minor psycho-analysis for him :,)

“You’re not Shiloh’s brother,” Gideon said decisively, but he continued to stare at Carter. “Unless you have some way to prove it, we’re done.”

WOW GIDEON. R00D

It was then that Carter saw the thick, black lines that snaked upwards from underneath Gideon’s shirt

Uh... potentially and irrelevant question but does that mean Gideon's shirt is somewhat... sheer? Like, Carter can see through it to some degree, so it's not entirely opaque? Or is it 'cause he's wet? Shoot it's 'cause he's wet isn't he. Does that mean he's wearing like, light clothes then I guess? asdfshdlkjf nevermind

“C-coterie?” he squeaked, his voice trembling now more then before.


Okay so... not unlike Carli I guess, I was kind of hoping for a little more description of what the coterie is? I mean, maybe Carter doesn't know all that much, but I felt like maybe when the word first hit him, there could be at least like a "but the coterie are such and such [insert some detail of what they do or their reputation]." And I know you mention it's like!! Criminal later but!! I feel like for readers who are like "coter-what" like me, a dummy just adding a little something like that up closer to its first mention would go a long way????

He blinked in surprise at how hot Gideon’s hands were after getting the freezing water dumped on him.

He must have wonderful blood circulation. Unless somehow magic is involved. Because let's be honest. I'm a sucker for magic. And the lights did flicker a little a bit ago. And I wonder if that's significant or just a detail to add spook factor lol.

He supposed it wasn’t being invisible after all, it was being noticed. It was being discussed like he wasn’t standing right there.

HECK. THAT TOO. MOOD.

OKAY SO this was really entertaining aaah. Gideon seems practical, Isha's more idealistic. Optimistic. WORDS. I know Carter's going to end up with them but I wonder how much courage and thinking it's gonna take for him before he's able to muster up the courage. This is a big change! The coterie sound scary and he doesn't know what he's gonna be jumping into!! I'm worried for your boy.

And it really does suck that Carter will probably feel like he has to prove himself for a while before Gideon respects him, or at least, doesn't see him as a burden or whatever. That's gonna be a sad dynamic to watch BUT I'M SURE IT'LL BE, you know, cause for conflict and growth for them both! OR at least I hope haha!

Anywho I think that's all I have for now? As usual! Ask me questions if you want! :)

-sound




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LanaOverland wrote a review...



Hi,

First a recap to make sure I understand the story: Carter has been approached by Gideon and Isha friends of his sister and members of a dangerous organization. Turns out his sister wants to protect him and at first that meant not dragging him into the coterie, but now...things have definitely changed. Gideon doesn't think it's a great idea, and Carter, the anxious ball of depression he is, agrees, but Isha is positive that he needs to go.

"what felt like a lifetime but was probably, in reality, a few moments."---- cliché, but I’m with it if it’s more literal.

"Carter was aware that his mouth has fallen open and he was gawking openly at Gideon, who had narrowed his eyes and was giving Carter a wary look."---- lot of actions in this sentence, be cautious of repeating words. It’s getting to the point where the sentence will be hard to follow. I would even separate it into two sentences. With Gideon’s actions and Carter’s response, but I don’t want to tell you how to phrase everything.

"His stomach squirmed unhappily "---- I don’t think stomachs are in the habit of squirming happily. :)

"His stomach squirmed unhappily and Carter wished he could just be normal for once. Not have to trip over his own words and just…"---- I like how you’re getting the physical body description of Carter’s feelings in before explaining how Carter is feeling about his speech difficulties.

“'Do you know Shiloh?' Isha asked him, stepping over without making a noise on the cement and offered her hand."---- Point of order, you may have some over use of multitasking in your writing. Most of your actions happen “while feeling this,” “as this other thing happened,” “and this other action.” I mentioned it briefly at the top, but when you have a lot of actions happening concurrently they can step over each other. Like here she’s stepping over something and I’m still thinking on the question. And then of course she’s stepping over “without making a noise” “on the cement” “and offering her hand.” And it’s not bad, I just think it could be better. Forgive me if I add an example: “Isha stepped over without making a noise on the cement, ‘Do you know Shiloh?’” By putting the action first you add this pause as Carter is watching her action, which could add some tension to the question. The way you have it the pause is after the question, which could make sense because Carter is distracted, lost in thought a bit, and he is pausing, but I think perhaps the pause is so long that Isha may be wondering what Carter is thinking, and then I’m wondering what face he’s making that Isha is still waiting for a response. I guess what I’m saying is that with all these actions it’s hard to follow spatially but also temporally as the pace slows down. Splitting up your actions will really help that. Rule of thumb is to be skeptical of character’s reaction to an action in the same sentence, long strings of actions, and actions around dialogue (these aren’t always bad, but these are the places it tends to feel awkward.)

"seal-grey floor."---- BARK! BARK!

"Even looking at it sent chills up his whole body, starting from his feet."---- I’m probably missing it from a previous section, but why is the floor making him scared?

"wondered if she was too embarrassed to tell anyone about her sad little brother who couldn’t function on his own or-"---- No. No or. By saying or you are admitting that your character is smart enough to consider the alternative option that she didn’t want to put him in danger. You essentially lose the right to say that Carter doesn’t think his sister was in a dangerous line of work in which she didn’t want him involved, that he’s so down on himself that he thinks his sister is embarrassed by him, and--- wait. Was the or just going to be another put down on himself?

"nearly as tall as Carter and boy, did that make her all the more intimidating "---- nearly as tall as Carter and boy did that make her all the more intimidating?


"Must’ve been nice."---- Carter, your self put downs are getting a little annoying. I liked it earlier because there was a lot of physical description to it that /showed/ his depression and anxiety rather than just him saying he sucks, which fits better in this scene because he doesn’t really have the time to think about it. You know? Like his main focus should be this mystery, and while he may be perceiving the difference in confidence between him and the others, I don’t think it’s realistic that he’s this focused on it. Like a second ago he was told that he’s not his sister’s brother and he needs to prove that he is, that’s where his mind is. Yes you could argue that he thinks it’s cause he’s not cool enough, but that’s not…interesting? These are Shiloh’s fellow badasses and Shiloh’s missing and Carter is about to pass out from a panic attack. This whole “he’s not cool enough” angle is just not interesting from a character perspective, and it ultimately is distracting from whatever your actual plot is. Don’t think this is “you can’t use this not cool enough plot line,” I think it could be interesting, but not this explicitly. You had a great way of describing Carter’s panic, and how Isha looks confident, and readers can /see/ that. We don’t need it spelled out for us.

"Reese pawed at the ground in her stall"---- GAH! The f*ck Reese come from?

"Isha raised at eyebrow, drawing her eyes over Gideon’s darkened clothes that had ceased dripping onto the ground." ---- weird place for that description of Gideon’s clothes? It distracts from Isha’s point which is that we’re looking at Carter.

“'He…actually looks quite a bit like Shiloh to me. Don’t tell me you don’t see the resemblance there.'”---- Gideon looks like a real d*ck you know that right? Like an unrealistic amount of a**hole-ness, and very unprofessional whatever his mission is.

"'-she has that dumb swirly writing,' Gideon finished,"---- lol

"When Gideon’s hazel eyes "---- weird place to tell me his eyes are hazel

"'Let’s say he is telling the truth and he really is Shiloh’s brother. Look at him,' he gestured to Carter, 'do you think he could survive a day out in the wilds?'---- see this, THIS is an interesting use of the “not cool enough” plot line that doesn’t make Gideon look like a d*ck. He’s pragmatic, protecting the kid.

"thoughts running through his mind and scalding it in their path."---- I just flat out don’t know what this sentence means

Overall, I'm uncertain how I feel. I really liked the start of it, I like that you weren't ignoring how Carter's anxiety would feel physically, but you only do it for that. There's a lot of places that would benefit from a closer view, and a lot more show than tell, which I think you just need to figure out for yourself. You have some places where it's too close (i.e. eye color, which is not a concern in this scene). Which tells me you could spend some time thinking on what is important to the scene and what the readers should focus on. I think the story you're setting up is interesting, I'm always for a main character boy who's not the "hero type," I am concerned about your reasoning why he's not a hero type. Is he like this because of trauma? is he not good with people? Does he have speech problems by nature? I don't think "he doesn't have self confidence" is a good enough reason, it's certainly an accurate description, but it's not a character background. I don't know the rest of your story, but I really hope that he's always like this. The juxtaposition between what he can think and how he can actually enact his thoughts is so strong and good and it really lends itself to interesting situations and interactions with other characters that I don't want to just have him become more brave. There's a reason his sister can be a badass and he can't that's more than just "right place right time."




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Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:10 pm
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello again!!

How interesting that Shiloh didn't tell these guys about her brother. I'm sure there's a reason, but it's kind of sad for him that he has to prove himself to these people when he's already such an anxious mess <3

I'm wondering if this conversation could be condensed down a little bit. It starts to feel a little long, especially the parts when they're talking about him and he's just standing there trying to figure out what to think. I love that we see his anxiety, and I love that this isn't easy for him and he doesn't get answers or information easily, but I think it could be parsed down a little bit.

I wasn't sure when they mentioned the coteries if Carter was familiar with what they are, and then by the end it's clear that he does and he's not thrilled she's part of it. I have no idea what that is or why it's significant. I think when it's mentioned there at the end, you give a little bit of a description of what it's about and how it's dangerous and criminal so I have a vague understanding of what it is. I think that could be a good place though to go into a little more description about what it is and why it's significant, maybe one or two more sentences then what you have right now would be helpful.

And then at the end there's a very quick shift from "oh she would never do that" to "yeah she would" and I'd be curious to know how he made that leap so quickly. Why would she? How does he know? We don't have her here and we haven't met her yet so everything we know is going to be funneled through Carter. Tell me more about her :)

Overall I'm still very intrigued and I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops in the next chapter! Until then, let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback about something I didn't mention! :D





No, it's not that you didn't succeed. You accomplished a lot, but, if you want to touch people, don't concentrate so much on rhyme and metre. Think more about what you want to say instead of how you're saying it.
— LCDR Geordi La Forge