Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Poetry » Horror

12+ Mature Content

A Gruesome Bildungsroman

by nollibee


annabel alice ames had summoned a monster
right from the depths of Grangrave Lake.

no one was allowed to take a look up close,
not after hunter nash’s recklessness
when it snapped at his nose and crimson flowers
gushed beneath the surface, so
as the children shrieked and splashed
in the murky green waters and the monster
churned boy viscera within its spectacular maw,
annabel watched

               far away from the dock

and listened to the adult chatter that
engulfed her mother like a hungry swarm
of mosquitos, buzzing incessantly,
causing headaches—

     (“we hadn’t expected such talent
     to emerge so

               savagely, so

               ravenously, so

               soon.

     you must be proud, mrs. ames, yes,
     she’s just as promising as her father—!”)

she wrung her hands together, wondering
if anyone was going to think of her differently,
if anyone was going to look at her weird,

and she imagined the whispers and the stares
and the awkward praise from all her teachers,
because who thought annabel could have done it,
right? mousy, unassuming annabel, who
couldn’t bring herself to swat a fly, do you
really deserve such prestige, annabel,

the scholarships and the
six figures, why, you might as well
be set for life, ANNABEL

but—instead of that, it was
a succinct congrats in the morning announcements
and darting glances from first period AP Chem
and the rest of the day was quiet. no fanfare.
no silly celebration. the town stared at her, but
it was proud

and silent.

later that week, as the sun set red in the horizon
and Grangrave Lake ebbed and flowed the same,
annabel alice ames left the dock
with chattering teeth, an affected composure,
and the green, sprouting assurance that

               yes

this monster will be in good hands.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar


Points: 400
Reviews: 4

Donate
Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:58 pm
Wynorrific wrote a review...



First of all, I'm going to go ahead and agree with aaliyah on the structure. I absolutely adore the flow of this poem. It is indeed chaotic, but everything about the story you're telling is also chaotic--- Annabel's emotions, the monster, the mosquito-like chatter, the town's awkward reactions. When you adopt a certain perspective, the use of pacing is an excellent way to convey it to the reader. You speed up, you slow down, you spread things out, you cut them thin. Here, it seems to work for some people, but not for others. It's possible you can fix that. You could try to rein it in on some parts, as an excess will only convolute the narrative.

For example:
"no one was allowed to take a look up close,
not after hunter nash’s recklessness
when it snapped at his nose and crimson flowers
gushed beneath the surface, so
as the children shrieked and splashed
in the murky green waters and the monster
churned boy viscera within its spectacular maw,
annabel watched"

I had to read this stanza twice. It seems clunky to me, perhaps a bit too drawn-out.

That "ANNABEL" had a huge impact since the rest of the story was mostly lower-case as well as fast-paced. The reader stops on that one word for a bit, focusing on it. However, I think it could have gone without the bold, honestly. You don't want to go over the top with effects.

Your title and tagline were both captivating, and I was engaged in the story all the way to the end. Some of the word choices really enhance the story. You do a great job with onomatopoeia. Funnily enough, my favorites are all from the aforementioned stanza: "snapped", "gushed", "shrieked", "splashed", and "churned".

I found it a bit strange that although some words like "AP Chem" and "Grangrave Lake" were capitalized, the names of people like "annabel ames" and "hunter nash" weren't. At first, you seemed to be following the rule of no capitalization even for proper nouns, but that changed later, and I'm not sure if the inconsistency was intentional or not.
((After writing this, I noticed someone pointed that out already))

I have one qualm with this stanza:
"but—instead of that, it was
a succinct congrats in the morning announcements
and darting glances from first period AP Chem
and the rest of the day was quiet. no fanfare.
no silly celebration. the town stared at her, but
it was proud

and silent."

You start with "it was" and give the two objects "a succinct congrats" and "darting glances". The two "and"s at the beginning of the third and fourth lines don't flow very well together, and I think you might want to rephrase this part. Due to your general pacing, it looks like the line "and the rest of the day was quiet" is being included in the list given after "it was", which would be grammatically incorrect. To me, this line just doesn't sit right. Perhaps it would be better to start a new stanza after line three and to cut off the "and" in "and the rest of the day was quiet".

This is a little more subjective, but great use of formatting. I think it's a love it or hate it sort of thing, so if you feel like using these techniques comes naturally to you, keep it up! I find that modern poetry falls flat when it relies *too much* on its structure. As long as this poem can stand without that structure, you should be fine.

Lastly, wow, you're very talented! Keep writing. I'd be delighted to see more from you.




User avatar
915 Reviews


Points: 123561
Reviews: 915

Donate
Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:39 pm
View Likes
alliyah wrote a review...



Woah woah woah, I have to say I disagree with the other two reviewers and really like what you're doing with formatting here - the structure seems intentional and instrumental to communicating the meaning of the poem.

I would not say that the structure or organization was mediocre in anyway - narrative-wise this made sense, and the contrast between lengthy stanzas and short ones made it feel more whimsical and added a fast pace to certain parts.

I even kind of liked that aspects of it were more prose-poem and then other aspects really sharp and choppy, I think the whole poem could be a bit shorter, since the long parts were a bit too lengthy for my liking, but I thought the contrast was actually neat.

Not everyone's going to be a fan of poetry that uses more modern poetic conventions, but I hope that doesn't stop you from experimenting with poetry formatting!

Another favorite aspect is how you blended sort of traditional "fairy tale" language with more of a modern twist (like "first period AP Chem")

I thought there were a couple moments when the unconventional formatting was a bit much -> namely when you did bold and italics and all caps for "Annabel" - I'd go with one or the other, but all three is like having a random blue word in the middle of a review, it stands out in an almost silly way.

This was one of my favorite bits of the piece,

" (“we hadn’t expected such talent
to emerge so

savagely, so

ravenously, so

soon."

reminded me a bit of red riding hood and the big bad wolf! :)

Did you have a reason for not capitalizing "anabel" but capitalizing "grangrave lake" - that seemed a little inconsistent too - but perhaps you had a reason behind it to emphasize the setting?

Please keep playing with formatting and being bold in your writing! I see a lot of thoughtfulness in this poem, and think you've got some great skills already, looking forward to reading more of your work.




User avatar
103 Reviews


Points: 268
Reviews: 103

Donate
Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:05 pm
JesseWrites wrote a review...



Annabel had intricate emotions that were amazing. The towns people were rusty, but alright. They could use a touch up. The organization is mediocre.

The stanzas are different sizes and are not structured or anything. The pattern is all off. It gives a half done feeling, but you could do that on purpose. It is the writer's choice not mine, but I don't like it.

This is more of a story than a poem. The stanzas make it feel like that. It could be more organized to help with that.

Keep it up!
~S.M.Locke~




nollibee says...


Thank you for the review!

I mentioned this a lot with whatchamacallit's review, but yes, I realize now that the wildly differing stanzas and lack of structure really detracted from the poem, which wasn't my intention at all! I have never really focused on having a specific structure in my poetry, so reading yours and whatchamacallit's reviews made me realize that organization is important for a reason.

And it really does read more like a story than a poem! I honestly feel that this poem isn't as polished as the one that it's based on. I think I'll try sometime soon to expand this into a short story.

Thank you again for the review%u2014alongside what whatchamacallit said, it helped bring home that there needs to be a balance when writing narrative poetry alongside the importance of organization!



User avatar
153 Reviews


Points: 8148
Reviews: 153

Donate
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:00 pm
whatchamacallit wrote a review...



Hello nollibee! Whatchamacallit here for a review.
First off, I really liked this poem. It captures a lot of emotions, both Annabel's own, and the feelings of the towns people.

I have a couple general comments. The first is the structure and organization. Or, really, there doesn't seem to be much structure. The stanzas are different lengths, and you have italicized lines that don't seem to have a pattern. This could be your artistic choice, to give it a less formal feel, and if so that's totally up to you. However personally, I prefer a more organized, or at least consistent, approach to stanzas and format. But again, you can leave it how it is if that's how you prefer it.

Second, I almost feel like this could be a short story? Maybe you don't really write short stories, so that's why you put it in poetry, but I think it could make a very effective story. It feels like the lines are almost a story, just split up to form stanzas. However it does make a very nice poem as well, so you can of course totally leave it how it is. But it could be interesting to make a parallel short story to complement it?

I just need to tell you, I absolutely love this stanza:
"and listened to the adult chatter that
engulfed her mother like a hungry swarm
of mosquitos, buzzing incessantly,
causing headaches"
The imagery there is so perfect. Good job!

I hope this review was helpful, and you obviously don't have to change anything if you don't want to. I look forward to reading more of your poetry!

Whatchamacallit.




nollibee says...


Thank you for your review!

I agree with your thoughts on the organization. At first, I didn't really notice anything wrong with how I structured the stanzas, but after rereading it I realize that it does make the poem rather chaotic and messy which could act as some reflection toward Annabel's emotions, but when considering yours and SMLocke's reviews, probably just detracts from the reading experience overall. Normally, I don't pay attention to stanza structure at all, so thank you for the insight!

I also agree that maybe I went almost too far with the narrative in this one. This poem was actually written as a sort of "spin-off" on another poem that I wrote much earlier and acted as worldbuilding in a sense (which... maybe isn't meant for poems, lol). I think this time I tried to put in too much substance and, like you said, it just ended up being prose split up as stanzas. Your suggestion of making it a short story piqued my interest, so I'll look into that soon!

Again, thank you for the review! I sincerely appreciate what you said, and I think it will help a lot with future poems!





You're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful.




Facebook is that cockroach that you just can't kill
— Gravity