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Chapter 5

by shaniac


May 30, 2018

The library was the prime of Ronnie Storkhill's research but the downfall in meeting Shane Napoleon.

It was a warm Wednesday afternoon when the encounter happened and it was over Ronnie's failed attempt in reaching a file folder on the top shelf. She was going to the library to research more about the Benjamin Marcos case and wanted to focus her entire day as this one of the only days she could come in. Jayson wasn't here as he was with their grandma, Patsy, shopping in town.

The library was quaint with bookcases lining the walls, several chairs and desks in the open, and skylights on the ceiling. Ronnie didn't mind the library and had been here a few times in the past with her grandma, but there was always some sort of disappointment that washed over her whenever she walked down the aisles of long bookcases. She continued to dread this disappointment until she had to leave, holding nothing in her hands. This time around Ronnie hoped to gather not just books, but a better understanding of what had happened that night Benjamin was murdered.

She walked into the library that afternoon and went to the counter, where a librarian was causally typing away at her computer.

"Excuse me?" Ronnie asked, resting her elbows on the counter in front of her.

The librarian looked up from her typing and smiled softly. "Hello, what can I help you with?"

"May I have access to the archives?" In the back of Ronnie's mind, regret started to form like thunderclouds. She fiddled with her fingers as the librarian stood from the desk. She disappeared into a room that had squat bookcases and miscellaneous items on the corners. The entire room curved down from under Ronnie as she watched the slow movements of the librarian. Ronnie tried to not overthink what could happen but it seemed hard with worrying about what the librarian would bring back. She bit her cheek, thinking of the different possibilities.

The librarian then returned back to the desk, carrying a leather-bound book in her hand. It was tearing at the binding and pieces of triangle pages were sticking out. She set it on the counter and grabbed a pen from a nearby mug.

"Write your name in the next blank spot provided," the librarian explained slowly. She opened the book and a wave of nostalgic bitter dust hit Ronnie in the face. She choked for a moment before regaining her breath. The thickly bounded pages were coffee stained brown and black scribbles were all over the place on the faint pencil markings. The librarian flipped to the back of the book to a page that was stark white. A few signatures were here and there, but not a lot were neatly written.

Ronnie grabbed a pen and pressed the tip against the page. There was a humorous effect to how she felt when writing out her signature because Ronnie felt like she was selling her soul. Once she was done, Ronnie laid the pen next to the book and the librarian grabbed the book. She then went back into the room and a wave of relief washed over the teenager -- it was partly because she was fearing that something bad would come from signing the book.

The librarian returned with a key that had a white tag hanging off. She smiled and said, "Follow me. I'll show you the way to the archives." Ronnie nodded and followed after the lady. They walked down the side of one of the library walls to a locked door. The librarian pressed the key into the knob and twisted it, which resulted in the door opening up with a click. She then pushed it open slowly and a dark room awaited the two.

The librarian rubbed a hand against the wall and flicked the light switch on. Rows upon rows of bookcases greeted Ronnie and her heart thumped loudly in her chest. Her breath was stuck in her throat like a rock climber as her eyes scanned the scene.

The librarian walked into the room and stood by the far wall, resting her hands on her hips. "Most of the stuff dates back to when Shanesburg was founded. There's a computer on the other side of the room. If you have any questions, well, I'll go get someone, could you hold on for a moment?" She then disappeared out of the room. Ronnie stepped into the room now and looked about the shelves. There were bins and file folders and random objects stacked against each other.

Ronnie attempted to grab a file folder from the top of the shelf but due to her short stature, it was harder. She stood on her tip toes, which unlimately almost caused the shelf to fall over.

"Whoa, whoa, do you need help?" a hearty voice asked. Ronnie fell back onto her heels, immediately recognizing the voice. Turning around slowly, she was faced with tall figure with messy brown locks and gentle hazel eyes. The figure recognized Ronnie and smiled brighter.

"Ronnie Storkhill, what a pleasant surprise."

"Hello, Shane," Ronnie said thickly.

Shane scurried up his eyesbrows. "Why the tone? I thought you'd be happy to see me."

"Since it's summer, I'm not really thrilled to see anyone from our school."

Shane shrugged, crossing his arms. "Fair point. What're you doing here anyway?"

Ronnie hesitated and responsed, "I'm solving a murder mystery."

"Murder mystery? I didn't know you were into that stuff." There was the undertone of "girls can't like that stuff" that hung in the air but Ronnie didn't think much about it. There was an awkward silence between the two before Shane cut it by saying, "Do you still need help with grabbing that file folder?"

Ronnie snapped her view to the folder and then turned to smile awkwardly. "Uh, if you wouldn't mind?"

Shane nodded and moved next to Ronnie. His body was an inch away from Ronnie's as he reached up to the shelf. He then gave it to her and smiled. "You're welcome."

Ronnie frowned and looked down at the file folder. "This isn't what I thought it was."

Shane was taken back as if Ronnie had just stepped on his foot. "Oh, I'm sorry. Let me put it back up for you." He then grabbed the file from her hand and stuffed if back on shelf. Ronne stepped back this time, not wanting to cause trouble to Shane. She wandered away from him to another part of the archives, hoping that this alone would create some distance between the two.

Of course, Shane didn't leave Ronnie alone and followed her to the next aisle.

"So, are you doing anything after this?" he asked causally, leaning against the wall.

"Not-," Ronnie cut off as she dug into her back jean pocket. She then turned on her phone and gasped loudly. "My cat is giving birth to kittens! I have to go!" Ronnie ran out of archives, leaving Shane by himself. Though, this part of the plan was a lie as Ronnie skidded into the library and texted her grandma that she was done at the library.

Ronnie began to wonder if Shane was the person the librarian was talking about. If that was the case, she thought of the possiblities of going to a different library. 


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Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:41 pm
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello again!!

As soon as I saw the name Shane I thought could this be the start of a romantic subplot???? I don't know if you know this about me, but I love me a good love story - romance subplot/romance mainplot doesn't matter. But, the encounter went so quickly that now I have no idea if a love story could be brewing.

I think the main event of the chapter and what moves the plot forward is meeting Shane, but I'm not sure what the purpose of her meeting Shane was or how it moved the plot forward. Are we supposed to like him or not? Why did she run away so fast without really even talking to him? I thought their whole interaction was weird because I couldn't tell what we were supposed to think of him and I couldn't figure out if he was flirting or why he was there and what he wanted.

I don't have much else to say about this chapter because not much else happened (which is fine! you're still finding your way in this story cause it's a first draft!) I think this interaction could be expanded upon with more of her thoughts and feelings about him and what he's saying and what she thinks he wants and what she thinks of that, etc.

If he's a decent guy I wouldn't be opposed to a romantic subplot if that's your jam ;) Like I said in the last chapter, I'm looking forward to seeing how all of these little strings will end up working together! Let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback about something I didn't mention! :D




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Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:17 pm
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scribbleinks wrote a review...



Hey shan!! <3 you know the drill :)


The library was the prime of Ronnie Storkhill's research but the down in meeting Shane Napoleon.


Quick nitpick is that I don't think you need to include Ronnie's surname? There's been a lot of instances where you sort of add it in, even when it's not necessary.
also yES there he is!! I've been waiting for this.


Is there a particular reason Ronnie feels such a sense of disappointment about when she walks down the aisles? There isn't much explanation to this other than "she feels disappointed" and I feel a little lost? Also, you say she often leaves with no books ("holding nothing in her hands.") but then in the next sentence, it says "This time around Ronnie hoped to gather not just books, but a better understanding of what happened that night Benjamin was murdered." and that clashes with itself? Like "Ronnie doesn't get books" but then "Where Ronnie would normally get books, she's looking for This instead". Which isn't...hugely important but I felt it was worth bringing up


This is somewhat of an addition to that last point, but I'm also wondering why Ronnie just suddenly feels such strong regret and anxiety about asking for the archives? I mean, there are lovely descriptions about it don't get me wrong, I love those, but...she's doing this because she wants to. She loves crime and she wants to try to solve something. So why is she suddenly like "oh...I have Regrets."? The way I'm reading it seems like she's worried about what it is the librarian is going to bring back for her (which makes me ask: the wrong information? Or something else?), or that she's worried about...maybe somebody finding out what she's doing? I'm a little bit in the dark for this, and I'm not sure if there was meant to be a specific intention for bringing it up for not (but, like I said, I love the descriptions)


a wave of nostalgic bitter dust hit Ronnie in the face.


spider dust

The thickly bounded pages were coffee stained brown and black scribbles were all over the place on the faint pencil markings.


my cameo
I like the description, but it also reads a little...clunkily. I think "with" would work better than "and", since when I first read it I thought you meant there were brown and black coffee stains and I was very confused haha. But when I realised you mean black scribbles, I imagine pen markings? Because graphite of a pencil is more grey/silver and if the book is as old/disused as the dust and the librarian having to go collect it makes it sound, I imagine some of the colour has faded? So uh, yeah that was a random detail I noticed.

it was partly because she was fearing that something bad would come from signing the book.


you mean like selling your soul? I mean, that would go under my classifications of "something bad" but to each their own.
also don't worry Ronnie, contracts signed by a minor are not legally binding (;

"Whoa, whoa, do you need help?" a hearty voice asked. Ronnie fell back onto her heels, immediately recognizing the voice. Turning around slowly, she was faced with a tall figure with messy brown locks and gentle hazel eyes. The figure recognized Ronnie and smiled brighter.


see, you've said he's a jerk before but he sounds like a sweetheart, shan what is the truth

"Ronnie Storkhill, what a pleasant surprise."


This can be attached to the last line, just because Shane is still the one talking (unless a wild New Character appeared out of nowhere with him but, y'know).
okay is there more than one Ronnie though? Maybe I'm just being Picky but I...don't greet people and attach their last name onto it and since Ronnie just addresses him as Shane it feels stilted.

Shane scurried up his eyesbrows.


darn eyebrow caterpillars
also, eyebrows*



I noticed that several of the lines begin with "Shane" or "Ronnie" towards the end there? Like, it kinda reads "Ronnie", "Hello," Shane, "Since, Shane, Ronnie, "Murder?, Ronnie, Shane, Ronnie, Shane, etc. Ah, I hope that makes sense? But I think there could be ways to alternate the lines so they aren't repetitive like that?


Any Shane = tall boi


Shane was taken back as if Ronnie had just stepped on his foot.


How could he know this wasn't what she wanted since she only told him she was looking into a murder mystery? I feel like the downtrodden part could have been earlier when Ronnie seemed unhappy to see him and he noticed?


Also, how big is this town? If Ronnie uses the excuse that she doesn't really want to see anyone from school, and Shane believes her, is there something that would make her not run into anyone from school? I mean, I really don't know how probable this is since I have never gone to school and know Very Little about it, but I feel like it'd be pretty hard not to run into anybody??

"My cat is giving birth to kittens! I have to go!"


oh my gOD you actually used this xD ily that's hilarious <33 I love Ronnie even though I also really like Shane so far and feel bad for him haha


What did this boy DO to you Ronnie?? Who hurt you?? sorry but really, there are plenty of reasons for feelings not to be reciprocated and such, but is there any particular reason Ronnie just seems to really dislike him so much? Or does she just Not Like him because? UGH I know we'll probably find out later but tbh I wouldn't mind seeing him as like, a partner in crime just for the banter.


also I want more Natalia because I also really like her I want! a murder mystery gang!! natalia and ronnie and shane!! adorable. but also I don't know how rude shane is going to get so maybe I'll wait this out a bit longer lol. I'm really excited for when these stories start to intertwine with each other? Not much has happened too far and I really like Ronnie, but I also feel like the pacing is starting to get a little bit slow? But I also know you said that there's going to be Stuff happening in the next chapter so I guess I'm just going to have to sit back and wait to find out.


I did sort of skim the other reviews (usually I don't but I wanted to see other reactions) and I do have to agree that some of the descriptions felt a bit purple prose-y? I think the chunky paragraphs are started to get better, but there is some room for improvement in sentence structuring (which, obviously isn't too important right now since First Draft Shenanigans and everything but it is something to keep it mind :) )


Okay!! there we go <3 I hope there's something in there useful for you!! You already know I'm hyped up for this and to be honest, I don't think I mentioned it but I really love alternating timelines, especially when it comes to crime. I know it's probably not for everybody? But I really like seeing the different generations and how they're doing everything (Patsy vs. Ronnie. y'know?)

I hope you're having a wonderful day and I will see you around for the next part!! ;)




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Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:56 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Hey shaniac! I'm back for another review, as per usual!

I liked the interactions between Ronnie and Shane here. They were just funny. I can't help but feel bad for Shane, since he seems like a fairly nice kid other than being judgmental about the murder mystery thing, and then Ronnie blows him off so completely and it really takes him aback. xD

The library was the prime of Ronnie Storkhill's research but the downfall in meeting Shane Napoleon.

This sentence was really hard for me to understand except at the broadest level - clearly, she's not happy at meeting Shane. But the sentence is just awkward - "prime" and "downfall" really don't feel like the right words to use here. I think it's another example (like what Biscuits pointed out) of where you use words not quite in the right context or use words fancier than you really need to. My advice would be to just write naturally, no thesaurus, no picking your brain for synonyms. Just write with words you feel comfortable with, and your vocabulary will expand naturally as you read and write more.

Ronnie didn't mind the library and had been here a few times in the past with her grandma, but there was always some sort of disappointment that washed over her whenever she walked down the aisles of long bookcases

What???? How can one be disappointed by wonderful, beautiful, amazing libraries? :P Genuinely though, I don't really understand what disappoints her.

I'm also a little confused about why she has such a strong reaction to meeting Shane here in the library, since the only reason given is that he's from her school. Now, while I always agreed as a kid that I didn't want anything reminding me of school during the summer... this seems like overkill. What's their relationship like at school? Nothing that was said made me think they were enemies or anything other than casual acquaintances (though Shane is definitely into Ronnie, judging by his "are you doing anything"). Does she just really not want to be asked out by him? I think showing us a little bit more of her thoughts as she interacts with him and then hurries and rushes out of the library would be really useful.

And I think I'll leave it at that! This part of the story has been a bit slow-moving so far, but I'm guessing with the introduction of Shane it'll pick up, and I look forward to that!




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Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:59 pm
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BiscuitsLeGuin wrote a review...



Hey Shan!

Nit-picks:

Jayson wasn't here as he was with their grandma, Patsy, shopping in town.

Would he really be there anyway? Ronnie is the one who seems to be interested in mysteries.

Ronnie didn't mind the library and had been here a few times in the past with her grandma, but there was always some sort of disappointment that washed over her whenever she walked down the aisles of long bookcases.

I'm not sure what there would be to "mind", since that sounds quite nice. And I also don't understand where this disappointment is coming from.

The thickly bounded pages were coffee stained brown


There was a humorous effect to how she felt when writing out her signature because Ronnie felt like she was selling her soul.

This seems a bit random.

Ronnie attempted to grab a file folder from the top of the shelf but due to her short stature

I wanted to point this out as an example of an issue I think you sometimes have where you use a needlessly fancy word. You could have just said "but she was too short" and I think it would have flowed better.

"Hello, Shane," Ronnie said thickly.

Wait, this is set in a place called Shanesburg and there's a character called Shane?

Though, this part of the plan was a lie as Ronnie skidded into the library and texted her grandma that she was done at the library.

Making up an excuse to escape an annoying guy is part of a plan? That seems improvised to me.

Overall:

I'm not really sure what the point of the Ronnie chapters is. I assume at some point the parallel stories will lead to some moments where I know something that Ronnie doesn't and it'll like, build up suspense or something. But currently I've had Ronnie try to figure out a mystery and not really get anywhere with it, spliced with some really really fun chapters about some sort of murder-club. I'm not saying nothing happened in this chapter, obviously there was an introduction of a new character who has definitely complicated Ronnie's attempts to unfold the mystery, but I don't really know why I should be hooked on Ronnie trying to unfold that mystery. I don't really know that much about Ronnie as a character, or why I should be engaged in her story.

I also can't remember if I've talked about this before, but your sentence structure could do with a bit of work. I think it sometimes feels a bit rushed? I think the way to change this would be a) have more commas and b) have more varied sentence length. It's a teensy bit This Happened and Then This Happened etc etc.

I look forward to more murder club next week?

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)





We think in generalities, but we live in details.
— Alfred North Whitehead