Author Topic: Fear Me Part 1: ( ~1000words) (YA urban fantasy) Warning : Depections of abuse.  (Read 919 times)

Offline Bajan_Maxrevus

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Hello everyone,

Looking forward to any help you can give in making this piece better.

Chapter 1
Darkness surrounded me; the floor creaked beneath my feet. I was here again.  “Rommel, where are you?” her voice called, its sickening sweetness sending shivers through my body. A light flickered, giving me a glimpse of what surrounded me. But I couldn’t be here, I thought. I couldn’t be home. I felt the familiar clamp of her fingers around my throat, her nails burying themselves in the soft flesh of my neck. The light flickered, allowing me to see her face, adorned with the grin she always had when tearing into me. “Now why you running from me? Mommy only wants to give you a hug.” The light flickered again, revealing my sister’s frozen frame behind my mother’s hand. The fear painted on her face matched my own. “Let’s play together like a good family should.” I swung my arm out towards her face, connecting with…

Crash! The sound of my alarm clock careening into the wall of my room pulled me from my nightmare. I groaned at the loss of my now destroyed alarm clock, and that once again she haunted me.

I pulled off my covers, swinging my feet to the floor. The scent of my guardian’s bakes wafted through my door.  Beep beep. The cleaning bot scurried out of its hiding place in the wardrobe, making light work of the remains of my clock. "Good morning brother!" Jenny yelled bursting into my room like a ray of sunlight. She tackled me back onto my bed, her unkempt hair brushing my face. "Good morning,” I replied, removing her from my body.

"I thought you'd be happier given what today is."

I sighed. "I still have to get through today. Maybe after that, I might celebrate."

"You worry too much. “She struck me on the chin. I cracked a thin smile.

 "That's what I want to see. Now let's go eat special breakfast."

She scampered off the bed and through the door, her hand beckoning me to follow her. I complied.

I squinted at the first sign of sunlight, the bright hallway a stark contrast to my cavern of a bedroom. “Good morning,” Nakita chimed, sliding the plate of bacon to the centre of the table.

“Good morning.” I sat at the end of the table across from Graham. He was already halfway through his breakfast plate; his mouth too full for morning pleasantries. I assembled my plate in short order, trying my best to eat and leave before anyone mentioned anything about today’s significance.
“So,” Graham said. “Can you actually make it through today?” His tone made me groan.
“I guess we’ll find out this evening.” I stuffed the rest of my breakfast into my mouth before leaving the table.
“It’s the last day, just try to avoid any trouble,” Nakita shouted as I entered the bathroom.

    I wanted to avoid all trouble. I thought. I didn’t want to go to school today. But they refused. They spouted something about not running away from your burdens; I lost track after Graham started talking about the good old days. He never missed a chance to remind us young folk of how different, and worse we were compared to his shining generation.  I just wanted to get through the day. Leaving the summer to plan for how I’d survive another year. I showered and dressed quickly, piling into the family car before my sister could finish her hair.  She plopped into the seat next to me, her afro swaying in the morning breeze.

    Traffic was at its usual standstill, the highway pavers laying out the new lanes that would be finished by month end. Looking over the edge of my tablet, I noticed a familiar face standing at the side of the highway. “Graham!" I said. “Can we stop? I think that’s one of my students from my class by the broken down car."

He turned, looking at the curb to our left. It appeared that the car had some problem with its hovering ability as it rested lopsided in the layby. “Good morning,” Nakita chimed, rolling down her window, “Do you guys need some help?”
“Oh, we’re fine,” The middle-aged woman responded. “We’ve called for assistance.”

“Allison,” I whispered from the back.  She turned, her shoulder length locks whipping across her face.
“Rommel?” She said.
“We can give your daughter a ride to school if you like,” Nakita spoke before I could respond.

“Sure,” Allison’s mother replied. “Call us when you get to school.”
Allison nodded, grabbing her bag and tablet from the back seat of the car. She raced to my side of the car, forcing me into the middle.
“Good Morning everyone,” She said smiling. “Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome.” My guardians said in unison. “Rommel, why didn’t you tell me that you had a friend at school?”

I remained silent. I said nothing because they’d want them over. They’d want to speak to them every chance they got; to find out if I was fitting in. Another chain of responsibility around my neck. Being absolutely honest with myself, she was the closest thing to a friend that I had ever had.
“He’s probably embarrassed to speak about me right?”  She jabbed my ribs with her elbow, a cheeky grin creeping across her face. I broke a thin smile.

    My silence continued for the duration of the car ride, Nakita and Graham using this rare chance to mine any information they could from Allison. She handled herself well, giving them information which appeared insightful, but was worthless. We exited the car, my guardians mouthing the same warning they had for the entire school year: Stay out of trouble.

Offline saaedwrites

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Hi Bajan_Maxrevus!

So I think, overall, this is a really great start. The emotions are vivid and I'm dying to know what the backstory with Rommel's mother is and why this day specifically is so special.

I think the main thing that I struggled with here was how impersonal some of your descriptions seem. It seems like Rommel is telling us about his day, instead of a natural narrative with thought and action. For example, I understand this may just be part of the dialogue that the characters of your world use, but the first use of the word "guardian" sounds a little clinical. I'm guessing from context that Graham and Nakita are now taking care of your main character and his sister, and so I would personally start off referring to them as their real names, since that's most likely how your character would think of them naturally. I think their significance can be assumed at least for the very beginning of your story, and maybe you could explain their formal role, title, and how they came to be with them later. "Graham and Nakita had been taking care of us since that horrible day..." or what have you. Same with the student on the side of the road. The wording of that sequence of sentences is a little bulky. "I think that's one of my students from my class..." My student would imply that she's in his class, so it could simply be, "Oh hey, that's one of my students!" Or "Hey, that's Allison. She's one of my students. Could we pull over and make sure they're ok?" If they're both students, then he would instead say, "I think that's one of my classmates. Over there, by the broken down car."

Sometimes I have that problem too, and what I usually do is go through what I've written and put myself in my character's shoes. If my character is interacting with their sibling and the relationship is loving and healthy, then I usually think about how I think of my siblings, and how I speak to them to make the narrative sound as natural and as organic as possible.

I hope that was helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Offline dnbrookswrites

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  • YA Fantasy writer; looking for beta readers!
    • Devin Brooks Website
Hey Bajan_Maxrevus,

Thanks for sharing! I think overall, there's a good sense of mystery when it comes to Rommel's problems. It leaves a good story question to be answered later!

I did feel that it was hard to follow. Sometimes I didn't know who was speaking or taking action. For example,

“Allison,” I whispered from the back.  She turned, her shoulder length locks whipping across her face.
“Rommel?” She said.

There's no introduction to Allison in terms of physical space. Where is she, exactly? In the car? I think establishing characters with a bit more detail would help make spatial sense of the scene.

I also felt the writing to be a little impersonal. This could be part of Rommel's psyche, but sometimes I felt there was room for more action and emotion over telling. I felt this especially in your opening paragraph. For example,

"I felt the familiar clamp of her fingers around my throat, her nails burying themselves in the soft flesh of my neck."

I think there's room to make this more dramatic and emotionally-charged. Saying "I felt", to me, is redundant, because the fact that her fingers "clamp" on his neck tells the reader he's feeling it. Finally, I also agree with saaedwrites about some of the confusing wording, such as when Rommel refers to Allison as "my student," which implies Rommel is a teacher and not a classmate.

Hope this helps! Good luck!!!

Devin Brooks

Offline bboops23

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Hi Bajan_Maxrevus,

Thanks for sharing. I think there's a good start to an interesting story. First I'd like to make a few speculations based on genre and what's written. Since it's a YA book/Urban Fantasy I assume that Rommel is special in some way and today is a day linked to whatever special thing happens in this universe. I'm also going to guess that Allison will either play a role as a love interest or friend. I assume that the story will fall into the dystopian type genre similar to Divergent or Hunger Games. Which can be great when done well.
Now I think there's a bit of room for improvement in the dialogue as certain parts of it just felt somewhat impersonal. Rommel breezed through his morning and if it's such an important day I assume he'd be describing everything. A lot of thing can be fixed by making the dialogue more natural. I believe another critique mentioned the line about Rommel seeing Allison and saying she's a student from his class. I agree completely with them.

I think you've got the good bones though for this genre and I'd just love to see some added details and improvements to the dialogue.

Offline Zaheer547

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Really enjoyed reading this!

The descriptions and Rommel’s view are very vivid and can easily take me into the story. Loved the enticing start leading into a morning before school.

One thing I’d just want to say is that I think a deeper dive into Rommel’s thoughts should come. Like specifically why the word “guardian” was used instead of their names. Is that how Rommel sees them? If so, then it should be specified maybe through his thoughts or connections with them.

Overall really good and would love to see the rest. Have a good day and happy writing!