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Workshop => Review My Work => Topic started by: MiaMi13 on April 09, 2018, 07:13:41 PM

Title: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: MiaMi13 on April 09, 2018, 07:13:41 PM
(Synopsis – Either 1 or 2)
 
1.  ‘The Kaleidoscope Girl,’ is around 220,000 words, divided between the POV’s of two sisters, Arabella and Rose. Rose was crowned as a local hero before she was old enough to reach the top of a door, going through many traumas and tragedies as she journeys on in her years with scrutinizing eyes, yet is determined to not let it defeat her, keeping up with her admired persona and attracting many friends and lovers, until she dies suddenly at 19.
Arabella, who was always prudent and fascinated by her beautiful, charismatic older sister, doesn’t accept the town’s glamorization of her death or the slowing pace in which the case is being solved, still undetermined as suicide or homicide. Eager for the truth, she takes to her own investigation, meeting Rose’s strange friends, varied lovers and figuring out the deception that lies in her very own family.
Arabella remains 16 throughout the most part, piecing together many clues and trying to hide from those sly and curious with schemes of their own. Rose varies from a young age and leads up to 19, showing how everything happened so fast and that you can’t trust anybody just because they smile, not even the person telling you the story.

2.  The focus is divided between two sisters, the older one, Rose and Arabella. Rose had always been known as the pretty, local hero after suffering through a tragedy at a young age and gained unwanted fame which affected her, in the sense that she looked to quite a few coping methods, hiding under illusions and forcing herself to drown under the affection of adoring friends and plentiful lovers. As well as that, Rose always tried to convince others of her villainy, despising the curse of her title.
Arabella always admired her, wishing she could be as daring, charming and unconventional. She desired a similar kind of love, one where she wouldn’t have to shy away in herself.
When Rose dies unexpectedly, Arabella refuses to settle at the pace in which the case is being investigated, determined to find out whether her death was a result of suicide or a murder. She ventures out, tracking and trailing over two towns, cracking at the fine, smooth glass of Rose’s life or so she always saw it.
 As Arabella scraps around the shards, she discovers well-kept family secrets, that Rose’s friends are quite strange, questioning their adoration, and that the lovers all had swift changing emotions of her, making it difficult to decide how each one actually felt. Even more perplexing, Arabella finds that Rose’s life wasn’t as pleasant as it was always depicted it to be, soon realizing that Rose suffered greatly, fracturing herself as she developed into a woman, struggling to be sane after all that’s ever happened to her. Arabella, however, tries to keep just as sane, tireless when trying to answer the pending question.

BEGINNING
ROSE

Have you ever tried to grasp a rose? Have you ever wrapped your nimble fingers just above the root, merging your flesh with its thorns, averting your eyes from the blood that drips, and pulling, ever so tightly, just to smell that sweet euphoria it breathes? Have you then separated the stems, tossed the petals into a small pot, and ignored the screams it emits once it crinkles into itself, drowning under the bubbles of boiling water, later cooled for your lips to touch? I always eagerly poured rather than sipped, all while the steam still danced, often forgetting it takes a few minutes more before its cool enough to not burn your tongue.
That was me, always in a jittery rush. It’s because I realized I was doomed in a dreaded luxury no other could ever enjoy. This is how it started. I couldn’t quite understand whether the illusions appeared first or the loss. Maybe the loss created the illusions yet the illusions may have well appeared to compensate for all that loss. I couldn’t have been certain yet I knew that both components are embedded within me like a tragedy. Everyone seems to assume that was the cause of my destruction. The fact that I hallucinate often to disguise all that’s harming me. I can’t source it, how it was all created.
I just know that the world had already disappointed me and I needed some way to believe there was much more magic in it all. The colors in which I viewed the world changed into an astronomical canvas in which dripped of varied paints, drawing Utopian epitomes as well as Dystopian to balance and create a medium.
I truly believe everything, every decision I’ve ever made, was based off some illusory encouragement I was foolish enough to imagine to be honestly, entirely and ridiculously real. Yes, blaming something for all I’m judged to be might look like I’m hiding from being horrid. I’m not. I can tell you exactly how my acts have come to fruition in three, thick layers.
The first was to have gained and lost many throughout the years, rippling much disaster and chaos in my mind. The second was of family, friends and lovers. Family, who I never really knew, but wanted to. I also took many kinds of company in the forms of friendships and found that no person can always identify with the same person for the rest of their years. Once all that is left to give has been awarded, it is best to evacuate your association before gradual strain sets in. As with lovers, I’m too shy to speak now.
The third was my attempt to become ripe before my years and travel without any former pathway. All I can say is that it’s been a rutted, rugged walk and my feet are gravely swollen.
As I understood it, I’ve been greedy for so much and expect all in such minimal time, that when I force myself to receive all, it becomes overwhelming. And all that’s left from fattening up on this hedonism is the debris of someone as young, strange and reckless as I. So I binged until my ego became stout, my mind became sated and my spirit was plumped. It may have been a realization that arrived too late, yet to end my story, let me tell you exactly where I began.

ARABELLA
May 13th 2016

There is a correlation between the lies we tell and the lies that are told to us. That’s what I had learnt. We are as stars, stiff and sad, lying in an abyss of mismatched desires made compact to show delusive beauty for eyes too young to know the truth. I had not seen the beauty in astrology the way I should, as by following the stars, what was found was cruel and crushing.
The usually still waters were disturbed and this town would never allow it. At this time you’d be in church, regardless of your religion. At this time after, you’d be preparing a huge lunch, regardless of how much affection you have for your family.
I remember a Sunday like this years ago, I had just come back from church, Rose had just come back. Where from? As a kid you’d ask, but if they were older, they’d sway the topic elsewhere or create a magical fable to distract you. She was beautifully chaotic; her hair in messy blond plait whereas mine was strictly tied. She said she liked my hazelnut features but I didn’t understand why.
She started a fresh batch of pancakes with the coconut oil sizzling pan and allowed the batter to drip into a swirl. I curl into my chair, pulling my church sundress over my knees, capping into them, watching her as I flip cards.
“Abnegation?” I ask.
“Denying comfort for oneself.”
“Absolution?”
“That’s an easy one,” she flips the fluffed pancake. “To be free of blame and guilt.”
“Correct. Accessible?”
“Obtainable.”
“Yes, correct.”
“Arabella, darling, could you move onto the next list?”
“List B?” I say, accepting the honey-drowned pancakes.
“Perfect.”
“Anachronistic?”
“You tell me.”
“Uh…well…not being in the chrone-oh-logic-lee correct order.”
“Of course, keep that card aside for me. Next word.”
“Ack-weez.”
“Ack-weez? That’s an interesting one, what does it mean?”
“I said ack-weez.”
“Spell it, darling.”
“A. C. Q. U. I. E. S. E.”
“Oh,” she clasps her hands, “Acquiesce! Agreeing without argument or protest.”
“Correct. You’re really smart, Rose, like really, really smart.”
“And you’re,” she cups my chin. “Really adorable. Like really, really adorable.”
“No, I’m not,” I blush, hiding my face.
A doorbell ring interrupts us.
“I’ll beat you!” I yell, already racing.
I stop after a few seconds, nearly tripping when I notice she is still.
“Aren’t you going to race me?”
“Not today, dear, I have to clear up. You go for it.”
I do so without question, I just assumed I was winning. Familiarity washed over as I rounded my hand on the doorknob as I now did, older, alone. The same two cops were standing there or maybe they just looked similar to when I was a kid.
“Hello,” the round, pudgy, older one greets, the same coo he used all those years ago.
“Is this the Tate residence?” the decidedly new skinny cop asks.
As a child I’d chirpily say so, yet now I just nodded, waiting for more words. I knew the procedure already.
“Are your parents home?”
Nowadays, they could only ask, “Is your mother home?”
I let him pass through into the lounge, the elder already knowing his way. I offer coffee as I always do, they say yes as if it eases the tension. They won’t speak to me yet, they usually waited. I glided to the kitchen, strutting with faux confidence to see my past of a tall, proud and nonchalant Rose.
“Ara, darling, what’s wrong?”
“There’s cops in the lounge.”
“I’ll prepare the coffee,” she starts the kettle, pursing her scarlet lips.
“You’re not worried?” I tug at the seams of my dress.
“Of course not, why would I be worried?”
“I don’t know. It’s just that—”
“That?”
“I don’t think the cops want mom or dad. Maybe me, but probably not, I hope not.”
“Don’t be silly. Sugar?”
“Two for the one cup and some milk for the other.”
“Cold milk?”
“I don’t know,” I start playing around with my plait, loosening the ends. “Rose, did you do something? If you did, please tell me. What if they take you away again?”
She gives a smirk, a devilish trademark all greatly admired, and plants two perfectly steamed coffees in my hands. She gazes softly before kissing my forehead and opening the kitchen window, glancing at the garden.
“I’ll see you soon, I just have to do something. Tell Maman I’ll be home by dinner.”
She doesn’t wait on my pleas, escaping through the window, disappearing as she often did. Before I knew it, I only had a light swaying scent of her delicate perfume. The air becomes empty, leaving me to add extra sugar to the elder cop’s coffee; I had grown to know he liked it. Down the stairs appears my mother, patterned by chiffon, probably for a fancy brunch as her work inspired ample amounts of them.
“Arabella?”
“You going somewhere?”
“A meeting, actually. You’re still in your church wear?”
“Oh,” I look down. “I was going to change, after the coffee.”
“Studying too?” she picks it up only to drop it just as soon. “With Rose’s old deck of cards? Ok…You called me earlier?”
“I did?”
“Yes, you did,” she said condescendingly.
She wasn’t as harsh as she seemed, only rushed. That’s what I learnt and continue to learn how to not be a bother or how not to be bothered.
“There are people in the lounge.”
“People?”
“With blue suits.”
She pauses, folds creasing her face, she doesn’t inch her petite body at all. When recovering she inhales deeply and then pushes the door into full exposure. She leads, motioning them to stay seated as they lift, seating herself as I hand over the coffees. In their uneasy shifts, she stays poised, a face of indifference and a stare of authority. She pats for me to sit beside her, yet I can’t control my hunched shoulders. Not when the silence on their lips and the worry in their eyes demand a dread-aired contagion. The skinny boy rolls his eyes several times over the room, although there’s not much to see. The walls are stripped to a blue, modest color and one plant framed besides a hung clock. The elder squints, heaving his chest inwards and out, waiting.
“Well,” she says, crushing into the soundless atmosphere.
“Mrs. Tate,” the elder murmurs.
“Please, you know to call me Christa, John. Or Ms. Somers, if you like.”
“Ms. Somers, I’m afraid, I have some unfortunate news.”
“Alright,” she nods, both of our eyes straining. “Go on.”
“I’m sorry,” he sighs, “I’m afraid your daughter, Rose, has passed away.”
Sound left me; I couldn’t make out the rest of his words. Inwardly, I could hear my heart, looping on a rapid beat, slowing as it sunk. Statue I became, I couldn’t look. The piano started or so I imagined, Rose playing a tune she always knew. It lulled as I fell, faint to the air, not conscious to breathing. The tune played on until I was shaken. She was no longer playing. And suddenly, the whole world fell silent.

Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: Tytanica on August 02, 2018, 06:01:14 PM
Your writing is good. You have a way with words, and you know it. I think that's part of the problem though. What I mean is... Your work was a little too much, too fast. It's like you were trying to be "deep" and "clever" in every sentence. That can make for difficult reading, especially when the reader just starts your book and hasn't a clue what's going on. So, yes, I found your first chapter pretty confusing. I realize that I'm only reading a short portion of your book, so, undoubtedly, that's part of the issue. But I think some clarity would help.
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: geethr75 on August 19, 2018, 06:27:22 AM
The way you use language is amazing. And the story itself is intriguing. Good work. Hoping to see more. All the best.
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 22, 2018, 11:58:00 AM
First of all, 220k words for a novel, especially a first by an unknown writer is way too long. Most publishers would advise 80k as a manageable size (a standard 320-350 page paperback). The more words there are, the more paper needed - all pushing up the price of publication.

Your synopsis illustrates the problem only too clearly. You over-write, and often end up tying yourself in knots.

Quote
Rose was past tense crowned as a local hero before she was old enough to reach the top of a door, going through many traumas and tragedies as she journeys present tense on in her years with scrutinizing eyes, yet is determined to not let it what's IT? defeat her, keeping up with her admired persona and attracting many friends and lovers, until she dies suddenly at 19.

Arabella, who was always prudent and fascinated by her beautiful, charismatic older sister, doesn’t accept the town’s glamorization of her death or the slowing pace in which the case what case? is being solved, still undetermined as suicide or homicide. Eager for the truth, she takes to her own investigation, meeting Rose’s strange friends, varied lovers and figuring out the deception that lies in her very own family.

In a nutshell (53 words):

Rose is the more popular sister, determined to overcome any obstacles in her life, until she dies under mysterious circumstances aged just 19. Her younger sister, Arabella, refuses to accept that Rose's death was accidental or suicide, and as she investigates further she is forced to face the deceptions within her own family.

This paragraph can be safely deleted:

Arabella remains 16 throughout the most part, piecing together many clues and trying to hide from those sly and curious with schemes of their own. Rose varies from a young age and leads up to 19, showing how everything happened so fast and that you can’t trust anybody just because they smile, not even the person telling you the story.

Let the story reveal the intricacies of Rose's mindset and how Arabella goes about gathering the evidence.

As for the novel itself, you write well enough but it seems on the surface that you're trying to show the reader you're writing instead of simply getting on with telling the story. Again, you get yourself in a muddle by trying to be too clever.

Quote
Have you ever tried to grasp a rose? Have you ever wrapped your nimble fingers just above the root, merging your flesh with its thorns, averting your eyes from the blood that drips, and pulling, ever so tightly, just to smell that sweet euphoria it breathes nonsensical - what's breathing? The root? The blood? How can you breathe euphoria?? Have you then separated the stems, tossed the petals into a small pot, and ignored the screams it the pot? I see no other 'it' in this sentence emits once it crinkles into itself, drowning under the bubbles of boiling water, later cooled for your lips to touch? I always eagerly poured rather than sipped, all while the steam still danced, often forgetting it takes a few minutes more before its cool enough to not burn your tongue.

And on and on it goes to no apparent purpose as far as the plot is concerned. It's impossible after reading the opening page to tell where this story is heading and whether or not I would want to continue reading the musings of an invisible narrator who makes such a big deal of making a cup of 'rose tea' (?). Most readers will make an instant value judgement on the basis of this opening and find something else in which to invest their valuable time.

By all means continue if you are merely writing this for your own amusement. But if you're serious about releasing this into the big wide world you have to ruthlessly trim and tighten the narrative. Think of your readers.

Quote
It may have been a realization that arrived too late, yet to end my story, let me tell you exactly where I began.

But you haven't!!!!!

H3K
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: Thair on September 23, 2018, 01:13:30 PM
Synopsis – This a huge novel, but I think its best that it’s huge because it gives an editor more than enough to work with before tightening this up for readers.


Synopsis #2 is my choice, but I still think there is minimal work to be done. An editor can clean this up in no time. Sidebar, although I know it’s possible for a younger person under 19 to have a slew of lovers, it stands out as odd in this short description.


The description in the first paragraph, I had to read twice. I wondered if it made sense to me. Try to be straightforward at the beginning, because it takes more persistence on the part of the reader to continue if they’re not immediately drawn in. If it’s about drinking rose tea, just state that. Reading your work became more about interpretation. 


Example: I can’t source it, how it was created. – Write what you mean.
Consider cutting out unnecessary words and shorting your sentence. It makes an easier read.


1.   For instance, “I just know that the world had already disappointed me and I needed some way to believe there was much more magic in it all.

Consider: The world had already disappointed me. I needed to believe in magic.



2.   I truly believe everything, every decision I’ve ever made, was based off some illusory encouragement I was foolish enough to imagine to be honestly, entirely and ridiculously real.

Consider: Everything I believed in was based off some illusory encouragement, which I accepted as real.


Your sentences are too long. Again, I like how you use metaphors, but when I have to dissect everything it’s discouraging.
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: Adsixnine on September 24, 2018, 12:49:46 AM
Great work. Hoping to see more.
thank you.
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: JWHMarshall on September 24, 2018, 07:33:33 AM
Hi MiaMi13,

Congrats on getting this far with the book!

I second much of what Hillwalker 3000 has written. Continue to write, and continue to develop your 'voice' and the precision of thought that comes with exercising your writing faculties.

I would recommend looking up 'motivation-reaction' units - I found this principle to be really helpful in conceptualising how the human mind understands fiction.

Also, if you're at all interested, three works in particular which I found helpful in my own development were 'On Writing' by Stephen King and the essays 'Politics and the English Language' and 'Why I Write' by George Orwell. I assume these are mentioned elsewhere on the forum.

Additionally, I would urge any aspiring writer to follow the maxims of good writing: show, don't tell; write in the active voice; write as simply as you can to convey your idea; and linger when selecting words to make sure the words you choose mean what you intend.

I hope that's at least somewhat helpful! Keep with it!
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: hillwalker3000 on September 24, 2018, 09:18:38 AM
Synopsis – This a huge novel, but I think its best that it’s huge because it gives an editor more than enough to work with before tightening this up for readers.

Unfortunately, it's not the editor's job to tackle over-writing on this scale. Any publishing house will tell you that editing costs money - and if a project requires too much work it will be automatically rejected on economic grounds if nothing else.

H3K
Title: Re: The Kaleidoscope Girl (New Novel)
Post by: Mark T on September 24, 2018, 10:53:12 AM

I used to free-lance edit these awfully written novels that a self-publishing house used to farm out to me as part of their deal for writers. I used to wade through the things but trust me I was getting paid a lot less than the client was paying so I could only do so much, and if the basics are bad, there is no time or budget for the refinement that writers have in mind when they bang away, thinking an editor will fix it and make them look brilliant. Sorry, doesn't work that way. Get your MS into the best possible shape you can before handing it over, to get any real value out of the process.