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The Lost Dragon 2.2

by soundofmind


Chapter Two Part 2: Leapin' Lizards!

Clandestine had spent a large portion of their trip talking and engaging Matt in conversation. Matt respectfully obliged out of obligation, but if he was being completely honest with himself, he was exhausted by the time night fell. At least, socially.

They'd stopped for the night to make camp at a rocky clearing not far from the road, and as the sky shifted from the bright blues of day to the deep blues of night, the stars began to shine clearly as little diamonds in the sky. As Matt sparked a fire into their hand-made fire pit, he glanced up to see them, before their view was even slightly obscured by smoke and flame. That was why he liked the desert. For the open sky, and the crisp outline of the pale moon as the evening cooled.

He blew into the fire, fanning it until it caught and started to rise, warming their small camp. Clandestine, coming back from the horses, plopped down across from him and the fire.

"You think we'll get there around midday tomorrow?" She asked, sticking out her legs as she leaned against a big boulder.

"If the sheriff ain't a liar, we ought to," he said, sitting down himself.

"Yeah... I guess," Clandestine pondered as she flicked something into the fire. He couldn't tell what it was.

"You ever tell ghost stories with your cowboy friends?" she asked.

"I do more listenin' of 'em than I do the tellin'," he replied, giving a small shrug. She was already assuming a lot based on the wording of the question, but he wasn't going to correct her.

"Really? You don't know any ghost stories?" she asked with genuine incredulity. "Wow. That's a shame."

"And I don't suppose you know any?" he asked, already predicting her response.

Clandestine's lips upturned into a mischievous grin, and she leaned forward, so that the fire would cast off shadows on her face as she brushed her hands together.

"Ohohoho, that, I do," she replied with a big smile, and an attempt to lower her voice a few pitches. It... sort of worked.

"One night, I had been asked to check out a graveyard. The town had said there were some strange goings on there, but I was skeptical. What they were describing didn't really sound like monster activity, but I was just doing my job. They'd said something was... lurking in the area, but I couldn't find a single thing except for the old graves. But then - the oddest thing started happening. As I was looking at them one by one, I started to recognize the names of the people on the tombstones." She paused dramatically, giving him what he assumed was meant to be an ominous look.

"So I kept looking through them. I kept reading the names. And it was so surreal. I started to panic. The people's name on the stones weren't dead yet! They weren't supposed to be dead! Some of them I'd seen that morning! I thought I was going insane! I couldn't believe the graves were real! But then... finally, when I reached the end of the graveyard, I looked at the last tombstone... and the ground was open beside it, with an open casket in the ditch. On that tombstone, my own name was written. And in the casket... was me."

She stared into the fire with wide eyes, as if reliving the experience.

"I looked at my own lifeless face and I lost it. I tried to run, but when I looked behind me, all of the other graves had disappeared, and instead I saw a horde of people in black robes surrounding me, with their heads in their hands, weeping. But they were like shadows. Like what was left behind of the people who were there before." She mimicked their position, hiding her face for just a moment, before her head suddenly shot back up.

"After that, I blacked out and woke up back in the village that asked me to take a look. They said I came stumbling back to the village stuttering 'never come back, only the dead drift there' and then I passed out."

She let out a small sigh, shaking her head. "I left moments after I came to and I never went back." She laughed, as if to lighten the mood. "I fight monsters, but I do not mess with the dead."

Matt looked at her with eyebrows raised and a small grin on his face. He was... impressed. Not only was it a good scary story but she'd proven herself to be quite the storyteller. But before he could reply, she looked up at him, suddenly remembering something.

"Wait! I remember... I... I think I actually saw your name in there. Matt. And the day of death was... today!" Her voice raised with the last word and she wiggled her fingers, laughing. "BOO!"

Matt let out a quiet breath and smirked. "Oh yeah, and I'm sure all of this story is completely and entirely factual as well," he said facetiously.

Clandestine replied with a solemn nod of her head. "Of course! I wouldn't lie. I swear on my own grave." Then her stoic face cracked, and she smiled at her own joke. "Get it?" She giggled. "'Cause I saw my own grave!"

Matt only smiled and shook his head.

"Aw, c'mon! You gotta at least act a little spooked! Don't ruin the fun!"

Matt put on an entirely fake frown. "Oh no, I'm going to die," he replied in monotone.

"Pshhhh," Clandestine waved a hand at him as if to push him away, were there not a fire between them. "Okay, whatever. So you don't get scared easily. At least that'll come in handy when we run into them giant sand worms and their big pointy teeth," she said, lifting up a few fingers around her mouth to pretend they were fangs. "But for now let's get some rest for tomorrow."

"I'll take first watch," Matt replied as she turned to pull her blanket off her saddle. She turned around, looking a little confused.

"You wanna sleep in shifts?"

"If there are sandworms around-"

"OH, you meant because of that. Right, right. I thought you just didn't like getting a full night's sleep," she said as she threw out her blanket, letting it flutter to the ground as she held the corners. Matt looked away and half-rolled his eyes, away from her view. Even if there weren't sand worms sleeping in shifts was a good idea when you were out in the open.

"Well, I'll have some nice, deep sleep, while you watch," she continued as she laid down by the fire, back turned to him. Then she suddenly turned around. "I mean, like, don't watch me. That'd be creepy. Just watch for things. And stuff. You know. Uh. Yeah," and she turned back around, curling up on her blanket and folding it over her.

Matt sighed.

"Will do."

--

Matt leaned up against one of the rocks beside the feet of his horse, looking up at it as it brought its head down beside him for him to pet. He began to stroke the stripe on its muzzle affectionately as his eyes slowly drifted to Clandestine, who had long since fallen fast asleep. Matt pressed his face against his horse's.

"What did I get myself into this time, Elliot?" he whispered. Elliot only flicked his tail and nudged his face with his snout before nudging his hand again to encourage petting.

"You don't have to tell me that it's my fault," he muttered, "I know it is."

Elliot let out a breath through his nostrils, essentially sniffing in Matt's face. Matt pulled away at the same time Elliot did, but Elliot did for a different reason. Matt looked up at his horse, seeing Elliot's head elevated, alert and his ears flicking slightly. He heard something. When Matt looked over to Billy he saw similar signs that they sensed the presence of something or someone drawing near.

Matt slowly got up, giving Elliot slow strokes on the neck.

"Don't go running off on me, now," he said quietly, as he reached into his jacket and began to pull out his gun. It was then he began to slowly pull away from Elliot and fell back behind a rock, in the cover of the shadows. Clandestine still laid on the other side of the fire, and Billy and Elliot stood on the other side of the rock. It took him a moment, but he heard it too. The faint shuffling in the dirt and scuffling on the rocks. It didn't sound like a person, but he could never be sure. He cocked his gun.

It was then that the intruder sped into the light.

There, illuminated in the dramatic light of the fire against the sandy stones around them, was a giant, scaly, lizard that looked to be about the size of a small adult. Starting from the crown of its head, large spikes pointed out that circled around its skull, and it's small, deep-set eyes glowed a haunting orange from out of its dusty, brown coloring. It had its mouth cracked open, revealing its yellow, razor teeth from which a small drip of drool leaked down. He had only seen lizards like this from afar, but he knew well that they were predatory - and as he saw its gaze fall on the still sleeping Clandestine, he began to inch forward.

"Clandestine!" he uttered harshly, though he was careful not to say it too loud.

Clandestine turned to the side, half asleep. "Is it time already..." she mumbled, barely understandable before her eyes shot open as she saw the lizard before her. It was at that moment that the lizard went in for the lunge.

And as for what followed, Matt wasn't really sure what he was thinking. But before the lizard could reach Clandestine, he'd grabbed its spiky tail from behind, yanking it back with a forceful tug that elicited a shrieking hiss from the lizard, and as he aimed at its head with his gun, it twisted around with frightening speed and clamped its toothy jaws on his arm. His arm with the gun, which he quickly lost his grip on.

In a panic as he slid to the ground with the lizard, he reached into his boot, pulling out a dagger. As he lifted it with his free hand he heard four words:

"Aim for its head!" And everything else was background noise as he plunged the dagger between the lizard's crown of spikes. Again. And again. And again. And again. And agai -

Clandestine had hurried over and grabbed his hand. "It's dead! It's dead! Oh my gods!"

Blood splattered his face, and his jacket, and dripped off of his dagger and he slowly drew it away from the lizard's punctured cranium. Clandestine pried it from his hands as he tried to pry the lizard's mouth off of his forearm, but its jaws were locked. Clandestine came around the other side, grabbing the top and bottom jaw with either hand.

"Okay. We're gonna pry this off of you on the count of three. One, two, three!"


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Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:43 am
Omnom wrote a review...



Is there a term for being fashionably late to being fashionably late? Because that’s me lol ANYWAYS hello it’s me mr. Fashionably fashionably late here to review this chapter that you probably don’t care about anymore LOL still doing it anyways

Matt respectfully obliged out of obligation, but if he was being completely honest with himself, he was exhausted by the time night fell. At least, socially.


Boy, have I been there! A lot of people who are extroverts don’t seem to understand that while there are social introverts (I consider myself one), we get tired by a lot of conversation and need to take time to recoup, y’know? Also, side note, I was going to totally say something about skipping the conversations at the beginning, but since this is in the perspective of Matt, it makes sense.

Not only was it a good scary story but she'd proven herself to be quite the storyteller.


Was she, though? From what I gathered of Matt’s reactions, it seemed like he wasn’t sold on it until that point, which was like the end of the story lol. You’re giving me conflicting messages over here lol

"Wait! I remember... I... I think I actually saw your name in there. Matt. And the day of death was... today!" Her voice raised with the last word and she wiggled her fingers, laughing. "BoOOoOOoOoOO."


So, while it is totally in character, I would warn you about stretching words like the boo there, especially with ooOoOO like that lol, it makes me think of soundomind the person on YWS that I talk to instead of soundofmind the author who’s writing a novel. Also, like, joking about someone dying that day is kind of weird, Clandestine! What if it actually happens? Now you’re just gonna feel bad lol

Matt let out a quiet breath and smirked. "Oh yeah, and I'm sure all of this story is completely and entirely factual as well," he said facetiously.


Why would he let out a breath here? Was he keeping it in for some reason? I do have to say that I feel like this joke has a mediocre landing for me. I totally get that Clandestine is a funny character, but I would’ve like to see an actually serious part of her here, instead of ruining it for a joke. Maybe I’ll get one later this chapter, buuut I still think this would have been a good part.

Then her stoic face cracked, and she smiled at her own joke. "Get it?" She giggled. "'Cause I saw my own grave!"


Okay, this joke was funny xD, and landed much better than the last one.

"OH, you meant because of that. Right, right. I thought you just didn't like getting a full night's sleep," she said as she threw out her blanket, letting it flutter to the ground as she held the corners. Matt looked away and half-rolled his eyes, away from her view. Even if there weren't sand worms sleeping in shifts was a good idea when you were out in the open.


This seems like a weird thing for Clandestine not to know about. Like, of course I know about it because of my knowledge as a reader and a military brat, but like, she’s a monster hunter. I refuse to believe that she has never had another partner who’s slept in shifts because they were in precarious situations. My suspension of disbelief has been broken FOREVER, jk but still, this seems like another moment that’s been made into a joke for no reason. Be pretty careful of that, because your story can seem one-note if everything’s a joke. Also, the stakes just won’t be there if that happens!

Also, I agree with Matt here. Sleeping in shifts was a good idea at that time period! C’mon Clandestine XD

"Well, I'll have some nice, deep sleep, while you watch," she continued as she laid down by the fire, back turned to him. Then she suddenly turned around. "I mean, like, don't watch me. That'd be creepy. Just watch for things. And stuff. You know. Uh. Yeah," and she turned back around, curling up on her blanket and folding it over her.


I like this. Feels much more natural than the joke before it (even if it does kind of build from it).

"What did I get myself into this time, Elliot?" he whispered. Elliot only flicked his tail and nudged his face with his snout before pulling nudging his hand again to encourage petting.


Uh oh, which one is it! I feel like horses usually nudge, whereas dogs (more undomesticated ones) would softly grab hands with their mouths. I’ve been doing a lot of research about dogs lately xD

Clandestine still laid on the other side of the fire, and Billy and Elliot stood on the other side of the rock.


Who’s Billy?

and as he saw its gave fall on the still sleeping Clandestine, he began to inch forward.


Gaze*


So, I liked this chapter part, but I feel like not much happened in it. The action was short, and I wished I could have seen more of that towards the end. I do have to say that some of the jokes just didn’t land for me this chapter part. Maybe it’s just me, but I would still be careful of making every situation that isn’t a fight scene a joke for Clandestine. I have that problem as well with my character in Shattered Moons, Bleu. He’s pretty similar to Clandestine (with a bit more ADD sprinkled in, so yikes lol) and I noticed that my writing with him was beginning to sound one note. So, in order to give the jokes more punch, I added some serious scenes to add contrast. Whether it be action or drama or inner turmoil, it still adds contrast. The more humor you have, the more diluted it becomes and the less it lands, like the two instances I mentioned above. That isn’t to say that this was a bad chapter part, quite the opposite honestly, but it’s something to keep note of while you write ^^

Can’t wait to read more :D




soundofmind says...


!!! This is really interesting to hear actually! I didn't realize that Clandestine came off that way as feeling one-beat. I feel like in the next chapter and following ones she really starts feeling more rounded out and less like she's just always telling jokes... maybe? But it's good to know that up 'til this point she's felt that way. Maybe I can sprinkle in a few more serious bits here and there!!

Also bless u for finding my little errors. I feel like I've fixed those before?? IDK IF THEY SAVE???

Also lol I feel u on the sleeping in shifts bit. When writing it, I realized the fault in that Clanny really should just assume they're sleeping in shifts, and that it would come off like she didn't know that, but this is also from Matt's POV and he doesn't really... know that haha. I think it was supposed to be like, she's just messing w/him and teasing but I could obviously write it better/clearer! It's been a minute since I've looked at this chapter lol.

Also, I think Matt's inner congratulations for Clanny being a good story-teller (lol) isn't b/c he was convinced (he's skeptical/cynical as hhheck) but more like "if someone less cynical were listening, they might be inclined to believe it" kind of thing lol. The spook is just... lost on him, unfortunately. Maybe I should just communicate that more lol.

BUT ALSO HECK OMNOM I LOVE ALL YOUR REVIEWS AND THIS WAS HELPFUL AND GAVE ME NEW PERSPECTIVE AND WAS REFRESHING AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR REVIEW <3



soundofmind says...


ALSO BILLY IS CLANNY'S HORSE. It's mentioned a chapter back at LEAST once I know for sure, but ye ah ahsdlgkjsdgn



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Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:28 am
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Oxara wrote a review...



Alright, here for another review, again sorry for being slow to catch up. Well you know how I review by now, but again feel free to ignore all this.



nitpicks
"but if he was being completely honest with himself, he was exhausted by the time night fell. At least, socially."- can't you combine these two sentences into one? Also this wording feels off to me.

"the stars began to shine clearly as little diamonds in the sky."- I don't think you need to add the little diamonds in the sky. I can imagine it perfectly without it. And I was almost taken out of the story with the unneeded imagery.

"hand-made fire pit"- We know it is hand made, they town and are monster hunter's so they must have the skills.

" he glanced up to see them, before their view was even slightly obscured by smoke and flame"- I didn't know what you mean, so the wording was off. You had moved past the starts and onto fire, I thought maybe he was trying to look at the MC. So just say to see the starts, but it was obscured by smoke(because the air was not on fire so adding flame doesn't make sense)

""Ohohoho," I recall you used this phrase before, and I still don't know what it is. Is it just a "oh" it would make sense "oh but I do" but then why not just say that? What is this meant to be?

"What they were describing didn't really sound like monster activity, but I was just doing my job."- you have shown she know's monster's in depth, so she should recognize this is not a monster right? But I guess she could be tempted to go because it might be a new monster or just wanted to do the job? This is fine just something to think about

""After that, I blacked out and woke up back in the village that asked me to take a look. They said I came stumbling back to the village stuttering 'never come back, only the dead drift there' and then I passed out." I assume your going to do something with this. If you don't have a plan to do more with this story you could just say he blocked her out as she told the story though that might not fit with his character so you could say he grew a small grin at her story? But if you plan to do something with this, then it is fine.

""OH, you meant because of that. Right, right. I thought you just didn't like getting a full night's sleep,"- Would she really say this? she is a monster hunter and someone who would take this seriously even if she joked about it right? maybe she just makes fun of him being a cowboy sleeping in shifts like "do cowboys sleep in shifts too then?" or something?

"There, illuminated in the dramatic light of the fire against the sandy stones around them, was a giant, scaly, lizard that looked to be about the size of a small adult. Starting from the crown of its head, large spikes pointed out that circled around its skull, and it's small, deep set eyes glowed a haunting orange from out of its dusty, brown coloring. It had its mouth cracked open, revealing its yellow, razor teeth from which a small drip of drool leaked down."- Really nice description here, nicely done.

"agai -" it is not a thought do not stop a word unless it is a thought or dialogue. also 5 again's is too many 2 or three will do.

Alright I would like to say nicely done. I really am getting engaged with the story. The only thing I would like to ask for. The last few chapter's still have me confused, is she an official monster hunter or an un-official monster hunter? is she a novice or a professional? I learn toward an official experienced monster hunter but if that was the case, a few things bug me. Anyway other than that and a few minor thing's very well done and I am really liking it. I can't wait to read more.




soundofmind says...


Thank you so much for your review Oxara!!! I'm glad you're getting engaged with the story. And as for whether Clandestine is official or unofficial, that's intended to be in question, and will be answered in a chapter or two I think!! I'm glad you'll keep reading!!



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Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:09 pm
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BlueAfrica wrote a review...



re: "oh no I'm going to bore people with description," because description is something I seriously struggle with 90% of the time even though I really thought I'd figured it out with my last WIP

So first of all, as Stella said, you don't have to just list everything! It seems like that's what you think of with description, so just remember that you don't have to list things. I used to list what every character looked like, eye color, hair color, etc, and now I barely describe characters that way at all. I'm more likely to describe their posture or something.

WHICH TO BE FAIR is like 100% different from setting description, because describing a desert is not necessarily the same as describing a person, but also you can sort of do it that way? Like focus on what's moving. Or what they're hearing or not hearing. Or what they smell.

And don't forget that you can always break up description with action/dialogue/character's reaction. Here's a post I think is really helpful.

OKAY THAT'S OUT OF THE WAY. I didn't want to just echo Stella, but since you seem particularly concerned by description and it's one of my many weaknesses my one weakness...

Can I just say that I love Clandestine (and also her name)? Because I love Clandestine (and also her name). She and Matt seem like such opposites so far that it's really fun to watch them together. Like, I mean.

"Well, I'll have some nice, deep sleep, while you watch," she continued as she laid down by the fire, back turned to him. Then she suddenly turned around. "I mean, like, don't watch me. That'd be creepy. Just watch for things. And stuff. You know. Uh. Yeah," and she turned back around, curling up on her blanket and folding it over her.


Gold. Pure gold.

This is nitpicky, but I've reviewed, like, a lot today and I'm running out of reviewing juice.

"I do more listenin' of 'em than I do the tellin'," he replied, giving a small shrug. She was already assuming a lot based on the wording of the question, but he wasn't going to correct her.

"Really? You don't know any ghost stories?" she asked with genuine incredulity. "Wow. That's a shame."


But this here. Where Matt says he usually listens to stories rather than telling them, but then Clandestine asks, seriously, "You don't know any ghost stories?" which is sort of a weird thing to infer from his statement. Like, it's not necessarily that he doesn't know any - in fact, if he normally listens, he certainly does know some of them now. He just, you know, he doesn't seem like a wordy person.




soundofmind says...


AA THANK U FOR THE REVIEW and I'll have to give that link a look when I get a chance. And btw I'm so glad you like Clandestine!! :,) Most people seem to so far which is encouraging that she's a like-able character. I hope when Matt gets more developed people will like him too... if for different reasons.

AND you're right that... dialogue kinda makes a lot of jumps with Clandestine assuming a lot, so I might have to rework that... I WILL THINK ABOUT HOW TO DO THAT bEst hh

ANYWAY THANKS SO MUCH and <3 gosh you're on fire, thanks for doing so many reviews, man



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Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:38 pm
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StellaThomas wrote a review...



Hey @soundofmind and welcome to my 1100th review!!!

This was fun. Now that I'm used to the rhythm of your PoV changes, I'm liking them a lot more. I would, maybe, like them even more if you used a closer third person, at present you're a pretty omniscient narrator. Which is fine! It's probably more personal preference than anything, but when you stay close then it's easier to remember through whose eyes we're seeing all of this.

She let out a small sigh, shaking her head. "I left moments after I came to and I never went back." She laughed, as if to lighten the mood. "I fight monsters, but I do not mess with the dead."


This line was so good that, to be perfectly honest, if they don't come across some undead people and this isn't foreshadowing, not gonna lie, I'm going to be a little upset.

James sighed.

"Will do."


Wait, um, who's this James guy?? ;)

"Aim for it's head!"


He's, she's, it's, his, hers, its. Now never forget it ;)

The action at the end was well written, but overall, I think it wouldn't harm you to spend a little bit more time on description. I really loved your opening lines about the desert and the sky and the fire, and I wish that we could have actually spent some time on it, on building atmosphere, on getting us to feel at home in your setting and in your story. Whenever I read your description, I get this distinct feeling like you're trying to cut yourself short because you're worried that we're going to get bored. Maybe that's not it, but that's what it feels like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a paragraph or two to build atmosphere, or to make us feel fear about the sand worm. The other thing with your description is don't be afraid to mix up your sentence form, and to also inject a little bit more emotion into it. Take the sand worm for example:

There, illuminated in the dramatic light of the fire against the sand stones around them, was a giant, scaly, lizard that looked to be about the size of a small adult. Starting from the crown of its head, large spikes pointed out that circled around its skull, and it's small, deep set eyes glowed a haunting orange from out of its dusty, brown coloring. It had its mouth cracked open, revealing its yellow, razor teeth from which a small drip of drool leaked down. He had only seen lizards like this from afar, but he knew well that they were predatory - and as he saw its gave fall on the still sleeping Clandestine, he began to inch forward.


This is terrifying. Is this not terrifying?! Remember that we are experiencing this through Matt/James's eyes - we get the adjective "haunting" but otherwise, I'd love to see more of his emotional reaction to it. Does he shudder at the sight of the spikes? Wince at the pooling drool? When it sets its sights on Clandestine, does his heart speed up? Even if he's not an emotional guy, this is a brand new experience. Your point of view character is there as a tool to help us remember how we feel in this moment. Are we meant to be scared? Or are we just meant to be a bit like, "yeah, whatever?"

I think what I'm trying to say is, description doesn't have to be factual. It doesn't have to be a list of features. It can be a hundred different things. And I think giving yourself free rein to do that is going to give you a lot of freedom in the story overall.

Looking forward to Chapter 3!

- Stella x




soundofmind says...


I will try to get in a little closer to the characters in upcoming chapters!! I think,, that's what I'm TRYING to go for but I'm struggling lol. IDK

This line was so good that, to be perfectly honest, if they don't come across some undead people and this isn't foreshadowing, not gonna lie, I'm going to be a little upset.

Okay so...... .. . .... I didn't ...... ... have any plans to do that to be honest .... but you just gave me a great idea so thanks LOL BLESS

ALSO OMG I KEPT SAYING JAMES INSTEAD OF MATT WOW I'M A MESS THanks fOR CATching that AND THE OTHER ERRORS HHHhhH I FIXED TheM!!

Also WOW
I get this distinct feeling like you're trying to cut yourself short because you're worried that we're going to get bored.

ARE YOU READING MY MAIL BECAUSE U RIGHT LOL

I guess I'm just... so afraid of boring the reader that I'm like "boom. trees. grass. desert. it's pretty. OKAy HAHAHAHA WELL THAT WAS BORING UHHH MOVING ON SORRY" but I know that's NOT HOW IT HAS TO GOOOO LOL I'm just a nervous writer haaaaaaaaa

SO ALL OF YOUR FEEDBACK ABOUT DESCRIPTION?? OMG IT's so helpful!! I'll try my best to add more emotions and other types of description in there too!! Building atmosphere is one of my weaknesses. So This. IS. HELPFUL !!!! BLESS




Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
— Ann Landers