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What If... Prolouge

by saint1y


8-year-old Clara Croft smoothed her brand new dress down in front of the mirror. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a French braid and a few daisies dotted around in her hair. Her eldest brother, Jordan, was coming back home from university today. Clara had written to him all year telling him how she couldn't wait for him to come home so they could play together again. She adored her older brother and she looked almost the same as him. Sometimes she could've sworn they were twins, but she was smart enough to know that you couldn't be twins if you were born 11 years apart. Her brother was her idol, she was always copying him and trying to do things he could do. Her mother and father swore that they'd made a duplicate of Jordan Croft. 

Clara had the same blonde hair and green eyes as her older brother, the only difference between their face was that Clara's eye colour tended to change from green, to blue, then to grey. She had the same personality, the same smile... she wishes it could have stayed that way.

Clara skipped away from the mirror and made her way downstairs,

"Mummy, I'm ready!" She called, appearing in the doorway of the lounge. Her mother’s face lit up in a charming smile, the kind of smile that could fool anyone into thinking she was a perfect woman. This wasn’t a lie. Alexandra Croft was probably the most beautiful woman to have ever graced the planet, even at her age of 39, she was still beautiful. 

"Darling, you look beautiful!" Alexandra exclaimed, rushing over to crouch in front of her youngest daughter, "You will break many hearts when you come of age."

Clara grinned and wrapped her small arms around her mother’s neck. "I love you, mummy." she whispered.

"I love you too, Clara. Now run along and go watch for your brother at the door, call us when he has arrived." Her mother ordered, releasing Clara from her warm embrace and ushering her over to the doorway. "I'll finish getting the others ready."

Clara reluctantly left her mother and trudged outside to the door, her small arm reached up to tap the doorman,

"Excuse me sir, but could you please open the door for me? Mummy said I can wait outside for Jordan to come home." Clara asked, as sweetly as possible. It worked. The old doorman smiled at her and unlocked the door for her, opening it slowly.

"Careful, little lady. Only do what your mother told you to do." He warned her. Clara nodded and stepped outside, she waited for the door to shut behind her before she started taking small steps to the edge of the garden. She clambered up a small wall that enclosed their rich looking garden and perched on the edge of it, waiting for the moment her brother would arrive.

After what seemed like hours, Clara finally heard the sound of an engine rumble up the drive, she looked up and her gaze met a large black car that had made a halt about 5 feet away from her. She jumped down from the wall, eager to see her older brother, but she fell and scraped her knee.

"Ow!" She mumbled as she stood up and brushed herself off. Ignoring the stinging of her knee, she made her way over to the car slowly as the door slid open. Instead of her brother stepping out, a body tumbled out before the door was slammed shut and the car sped away.

Clara froze in horror at the lump that had just tumbled out of the car. Was this another one of Jordan's pranks? Was he trying to scare her in return for her freezing a spider in an ice-cube and putting it in his drink. Was it real?

She took small steps towards the body and the closer she got the more she noticed. That was her brother Jordan, with a hole in the middle of his head. Clara's stomach churned at the sight but she pushed down the feeling and crouched down near the body, rolling it over. She gasped at the sight in front of her. Her brother’s skin was pale, he looked almost ghostly. His lips were turning blue and his eyes were wide open, he seemed to be staring into space. 

Clara knew what this meant, she was only 8 but she wasn't stupid. She had been brought up the right way... or so she had believed all her life. As she touched a finger to her older brother's face, she felt herself start to sob.

"Jordie..." She cried, shaking him violently, "Wake up Jordie! Please wake up!" Her quiet sobbing, turned into crying screams, as she tried to wake up her dead brother. She collapsed on top of him screaming and crying his name.

She didn't notice her mother and father come running outside along with the doorman and a crowd of other people. She just remembered being lifted off of him and being put in the back of a car while she was still crying. She was only 8 years old, a little girl excitedly waiting for her older brother to come home. How could that have changed around so quickly? How could her brother that used to play hide and seek with her, the brother that pranked her when she was sleeping, the brother that wrote letters to her, telling her that he was coming home soon to come and see her... how could he be dead? How could he be gone?

Clara didn't realize that a whole week had gone by. It was the day of his funeral. Clara hadn't moved from her room since that day, she hadn't eaten or slept and it showed. She had grown thin and under her eyes had turned dark. She almost looked like a homeless child. 

As she stood in the rain, under the death coloured umbrella, waiting for the priest to finish his speech of nonsense about how Jordan would be dearly missed, she grew angry. Nobody knew anything! Especially not this priest, this priest that had never met Jordan in his life. How dare he be the one that spoke at his funeral! It should have been her. 

She remembered standing still in rage while they lowered his body into the ground and filled in the hole. After the ceremony had finished and almost everyone had gone; 8 year old Clara knelt on the ground in front of her brother’s gravestone. Her finger traced over her brother’s name. She felt another tear fall from her eye as she said goodbye to her brother for the last time.


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Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:37 am
Carlito wrote a review...



Hello hello!! You get my 1100th review!! I saw the most recent chapter in the green room and since there hasn't been much posted yet I figured I'd come all the way back to the beginning. I'm a big fan of realistic novels :)

Okay! So you may have heard before that prologues are often not necessary in novels because they end up being lot of info dumping and not a lot of content. They have to have a true purpose and get the plot started. I think there is a lot of potential with this prologue!!

As you were setting it up and describing the family and how much she was looking forward to seeing her brother, I found myself waiting for something to happen and waiting to see how things were going to get twisty or dramatic. I was worried that it would end up being a lot of exposition and describing the family and just a nice little interaction with the sister and brother. I liked the twist of him showing up dead. Yikes!!

I think where you started to lose me was after the dead body was dropped and the reality portion of it all. Does she notice the car at all or who else was in the car? Especially once she realizes what happened to him, does she have any thought to look at the car? (I wouldn't blame her if not as she's 8). With her being 8, I was a little surprised she reacted the way she did. I would expect nothing but terror/fear to see her brother that way. Running for mom, screaming, being too scared to touch him. I would also like to see more of the parent's reaction too. And then the very end with the funeral and everything felt rushed. Maybe do less exposition at the beginning so you have more time at the end to show her reaction and the funeral (if it's important to show the funeral right now at all, maybe we can flash back to it later if it's important?)

Overall though, I'm intrigued!! I want to know who did this and why, how this is going to impact everyone going forward. I'll definitely be reading on! But in the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback on something I didn't mention! :D

Happy #RevMo !




saint1y says...


OMG you just gave me the best idea. I want to put a flashback to the funeral and what happened after that later on. But thankyou for the review it means a lottt



Carlito says...


You%u2019re so welcome!!



Carlito says...


You%u2019re so welcome!!



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Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:00 pm
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Dreamy wrote a review...



Hello! Dreamy here to review.

I saw the first chapter of this story posted and when I clicked on it to review, I noticed that there's a prologue so here I am.

Before I get into the story, let me point some things to you:

Clara reluctantly left her mother and trudged outside to the door, her small arm reached up to tap the doorman,

"Excuse me sir, but could you please open the door for me? Mummy said I can wait outside for Jordan to come home." Clara asked, as sweetly as possible. It worked. The old doorman smiled at her and unlocked the door for her, opening it slowly.


So I'm guessing this a typo, otherwise, you need a full stop at the end of the doorman. I would have understood if you were trying to separate them to show distinction between a description and a dialogue but since the descriptions do follow the dialogue in the same sentence I'd suggest that.

Her mother’s face lit up in a charming smile, the kind of smile that could fool anyone into thinking she was a perfect woman. This wasn’t a lie.


So her mother is actually a perfect woman? Or is her smile really that charming that it could fool anyone?! This is confusing!

Was he trying to scare her in return for her freezing a spider in an ice-cube and putting it in his drink. Was it real?


The first sentence was a bit hard to read and comprehend, and what's what real? Freezing the spider part?

She took small steps towards the body and the closer she got the more she noticed. That was her brother Jordan, with a hole in the middle of his head.


I'd suggest you to combine these sentences. They'll do better than being apart, I believe.

She had grown thin and under her eyes had turned dark. She almost looked like a homeless child.


Under her eyes had turned dark? It doesn't quite sound right. And I'm not big fan of this comparison. It doesn't sound right.

On with the story: I have to tell you that you have a very strong start. I'm interested and I'd like to know more. One thing I did notice in your writing is that you say mention Clara's age way too often. You began the prologue with her age and ended with it. Even if her age plays a significant role, mentioning it once would suffice, I believe.

I'm guessing she's going to avenge her brother's death since she almost looks like her brother? haha! We'll wait and see, I guess.

I loved reading this. Keep up the good work! Feel free to PM me if you have any doubts or clarifications.

Keep writing!

Cheers!

:D




saint1y says...


Thank you for the review, it means a lot. I put everything people have said about it into a word document so when I edit I can go back and see how I can help this. So your help will be used. Thankyou so much again!



Dreamy says...


Glad I could be of help! :)



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Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:37 pm
Asith wrote a review...



I enjoyed the premise, and the writing was generally sound - but reviews are meant to point out potential room for improvement, so we'll jump into the constructive criticism.

To start, I'd recommend that you proof-read your work. Perhaps this is just an unrevised draft, but seeing as you put it here for people to read, proof-reading it yourself is the best way to avoid errors that could throw off readers. You appear to have a good understanding of the general use of the English language, including sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation, but there are quite a handful of obvious mistakes. Proof-reading (slowly, as a first-time reader would read it) also helps identify clunky sentences that could be smoothed out, which the first half of the story is littered with. It also helps locate ugly changes in tense - especially regarding verbs such as "was" and "had been" - which come across as unappealing to read. It's worth noting that while some discrepancies are acceptable in spoken language, they are much worse in the written tongue, and make for jarring narration.

Regarding the actual story, I must say that the character of Clara has been developed very well. I do think the way she reacted at the very end, kneeling down at the grave, is very strange behaviour for an 8 year old - especially one who had been mourning so solemnly that she did not notice the passing of a week - but the way that anger was described to fill her up during the funeral was excellent.

I enjoy your way of describing surroundings and atmosphere ("under the death coloured umbrella") mixed in with a focus on the characters themselves. It shows experience in narration, and is a skill that many writers struggle with, as simple as it may seem.

The scene with the doorman actually came across as a surprise to me. Perhaps I missed something, but I was not aware that Clara came from a family so wealthy. It might be worth hinting at this in less subtle ways early on.


"Darling, you look beautiful!" Alexandra exclaimed, rushing over to crouch in front of her youngest daughter


"Youngest daughter" implies that there are other daughters. Clara should have sisters. It's a bit strange to put this factoid here if the sisters are not even going to be mentioned in the extract. A snippet of Clara's relationship with the sisters couldn't hurt; or perhaps just leave this information out altogether?

"You will break many hearts when you come of age."


A very strange thing indeed to say to an eight year old, followed by an even stranger way for the eight year old to react.

It's apparent that Clara is less childish than your average eight year old, but she is still eight - perhaps you should be wary of overdoing her maturity. Just a thought - you know her character better than I!




saint1y says...


Thankyou for the feedback! Yeah I realized that there are a few things I need to change and expand upon, but once I have finished writing it, I'm going to go through and edit it. Just because I need to get all my ideas down first ya know. But thankyou! Your feedback means a lot



Asith says...


Definitely! The first draft should always just be for fun, it's never going to be perfect. Good luck editing it, and good luck with anything else you write too!



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Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:12 pm
Corvus wrote a review...



this is a promising start for a story. I like the way you didn't explain everything, and how you wrote it with vague details and imagery. it makes it more believable that the main character is a child.

a few things I noticed:

"She adored her older brother and she looked almost the same as him." this feels like a strange set of details to use in a sentence together. consider rephrasing?

the second paragraph seems a little redundant. you already explained what Clara looks like and that she looks almost exactly like Jordan, so this compare and contrast feels unnecessary.

"Clara's eye colour tended to change from green, to blue, then to grey." get rid of the comma after "green"

"You will break many hearts when you come of age." this quote feels strange. then again, I don't know you're characters.

"I'll finish getting the others ready." what others? I would have mentioned them earlier in the story.

"Instead of her brother stepping out, a body tumbled out before the door was slammed shut and the car sped away." the combination of the words "instead of" and "before" make this a sentence a little confusing

""Jordie..." She cried, shaking him violently, "Wake up Jordie! Please wake up!""
you previously stated that she knows he is dead and is not in denial, so begging him to wake up is a little strange

"Clara didn't realize that a whole week had gone by." didn't realize? I know what you are trying to say, but it is a little confusing. perhaps rephrase it as "before she knew it"

"As she stood in the rain, under the death coloured umbrella, waiting for the priest to finish his speech of nonsense" what color is death? this seems like an odd word choice.


overall, I do really like this piece. you did a very good job expressing emotion. as always, my critiques come from a place of caring and wanting to help you improve. I would like to see where this story goes.

Keep writing
~Corvus




saint1y says...


Ahh yes mistakes I made ugh. But thankyou for your feedback, I'm working at trying to better my writing so thankyou again aha.




"There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts."
— Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart