Author Topic: First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)  (Read 220 times)

Offline Aaliyah

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First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)
« on: April 09, 2020, 04:29:40 PM »
Hey, I need some feedback on my first chapter, my family and friends are just being too nice lol!
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My music is blasting in my ears as I breathe in and out trying to calm myself enough to fall asleep; but Devonte has yet to text me that he’s okay. If he isn’t home by eleven, he always texts me to let me know that he’s safe, and that I should stop worrying, but what if he isn’t safe? What if tonight's the night that someone decided to take my brother away from me? I already lost my mom, and our dad walked out on us when Devonte was ten. I wasn’t even born yet. I used to cry to Mom about how Devonte would die if he didn’t stop selling drugs, or hanging out with gangbanggers; and every time she'd wipe my tears away and smile ever so slightly and say, “Your brother will be okay baby, he’s bringing us money. He’ll be okay.” 

I was so young, so naive, and I believed her. I believed that everything would be okay, but everything is not okay. My mom is dead because of fucking cancer, and my brother is always out and doing shit that can make him end up dead. My brother should be looking out for me, but instead I’m looking out for him. He’s twenty five, and I’m fifteen, sometimes I feel like I am the only adult around; even when my mom was alive. 

My bedroom door swings open, and I jolt up, and quickly take out my earbuds. “Z, we gotta go. I gotta now, they’re after me.” Devonte says. 

My eyebrows furrow, “What? Who’s after you?” 

His eyes dart around my room, as if I’m holding something, or someone hostage that could get him into trouble, “The cops.” 

Drugs. It has to be drugs. “What did you do?” 

Tears begin to roll off his cheek,and he leans against the wall to steady himself. “It was an accident, I swear. You know I’d never intentionally hurt someone, let alone kill a person.” 

Kill someone? No, not my brother he couldn’t, he wouldn’t; but he did, and I have to help him, but how? My heart is beating a mile a minute and I begin to feel dizzy. “Who? Who did you kill?” 

“It doesn’t matter Xianna, but we gotta go.” He croaks. 

“Yes it does fucking matter, if I have to leave with you it does. Tell me or I won’t help you.” 

He looks down, “Josh Baker.” He whispers. 

Fuck. Out of all the people in the goddamn world, he chooses to murder Josh fucking Baker. There is no amount of help on Earth that can help my brother right now. Josh was Officer Baker’s son. My stupid ass brother killed Josh Baker. Screwed is the only word that comes to mind right now, we’re fucking screwed. “Idiot.” I tell him, “You’re a fucking idiot. What the hell are we supposed to do? They probably have ten squad cars looking for you and I wouln’t be suprised if your fucking face is all over the news.” 

“I didn’t mean to, he was talking about moms, and I pulled out my gun to scare him, but when he lunged to punch me my- my finger slipped and then he was just dead.” 

I shake my head, “What are we going to do?” 

“Mexico, lets go to Mexico. I doubt they’ll find me there, and if they do we’ll just run again. To Canada maybe, you’ll like it there, new start or whatever.” 

I sigh, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life running from cops because Devonte decided to play with a gun. I should just let him go himself, I should stay out of it, but he’s my brother and if roles were reversed I know he wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever needs to be done in order to protect me. “Okay, lets go to Mexico.” 

We live thirty minutes from Tijauana, and once we arrive we can figure out where in Mexico we’ll be safest; damn I’m a freshman in high school and starting now my future is my brother, and only my brother. I may as well say goodbye to being a doctor, a mother, or even a teenager. I don’t have the chance to live a normal life, I guess I never did.  

……………………..

We sit in silence for ten minutes before I finally say, “I love you, and I believe you.” 

He looks up, and his eyes meet mine in the rearview mirror, “You do? You really believe it was an accident?” 

I nod, “I’ve known you my whole life Dev, I know that you’re not as tough as you look and that you care more about others than yourself. I got you, okay? We’ll get through this together.” 

“Sometimes, I swear you were meant to be the oldest, but thank you. You’re the best lil sis anyone could ask for. I wouldn't trade you for anything.” 

“Not even to clear your name?” I joke. 

He pretends to think about it and says, “Well…”

I shoot him a glare, and raise my eyebrow as if to warn him not to say the wrong thing. 

“I’m just kidding, of course I wouldn’t trade you to clear my name. If I don’t have you, I don’t have anything.” 

……………….

Blue and red start flashing, and a siren begins to wail. Shit, of course the cops are going to pull me over now. “Try to cover your face or something Dev.” 

“Drive faster, don’t pull over.” He begs. 

“I have to.” I say as I pull right and roll down my window. I’m ready for whatever comes nexts. “No matter what happens Devonte, I love you.” I say as I turn towards him. 

“I love you too Xianna, stay strong.” He says as he opens the backseat door and runs. 

What is he doing? He’s asking to get shot. Shit, shit, shit. “Devonte! Come back!.” 

Bang. Bang. Bang. His body falls to the floor and I let out a scream. I jump out of my car and start to run towards my fallen brother, but a deep voice tells me to put my hands up, and slowly turn around. I do as he says, and I come face to face with Officer Baker. Shit. 

“Was that your brother?” He nods towards Devonte. 

I nod, as tears fall down my cheek. “Yes.” I croak. 

A smile emerges on his face, how dare he smile at my dead brother, how dare he. “Eye for an eye I guess. You hear what he did to my boy?” 

“Yes, I’m sorry.” I look down at the ground, wishing I was anywhere but here, wishing that I was the one dead and not my brother, wishing I was next to my brother right now. “But he didn’t mean to, he swore he didn’t.” 

“He swore? Yeah, because that means a lot. My son is dead because of your brother and you knowingly tried to help him escape.” 

“I-I didn’t mean to cause any harm towards your family and neither did  my brother. I apologize on my brother’s behalf and I apologize for trying to help him escape. I know that your son is dead because of what Devonte did, but my brother is dead because of what you did. Now can I go see him? Please.” 

He sucks in a deep breath, “Fine, look at your brother, but after five minutes you’re coming with me.”

“Thank you.” I say before I jog over to my brother. 

As Devonte lays on the dead, yellow grass. All I can see is the eleven year old boy who used to push me on the swing, the boy who used to rush into my room at one in the morning because I had a nightmare, the man who came to me earlier tonight and begged for my help. 

I kneel down next to him and grab his hand, “I didn’t want you to die, not like this.” Tears start rolling down my cheeks, the tears turn to sobs, “I love you Dev, I love you so much and you being gone hurts more than anything.” 

I begin to stand up and walk towards Officer Baker, but then I see a piece of paper sticking out of Devonte’s pants. I kneel back down and read what it has to say…

Dear Xianna, 

I predicted this. My death. I knew that it was going to end with us getting caught, and me shot by a cop; I knew that you were going to get caught, but I didn’t want to die alone, I needed you by my side. I know how selfish it sounds, but it’s true. You’re the reason I wanted to live Z, to change. I love you, I hope you know that and I’ll always love you. I want you to promise to live a better life Xianna, be nothing like me. Be the doctor you’ve always wished of being, I need you to change. If not for me, for mom, for you. I hope you’ll forgive me for getting you locked up, but just remember, I love you.

Love, 

Devonte

“I love you,” I whisper, “I’m glad that I was with you. I could never be mad at you.” 

………………

The cold, tight metal wrapped around my wrists is beginning to hurt. Tears are still welled up in my eyes as I think of my brother and how someday I’ll be older than him. Sitting in the back of this cop car, watching the city go by. Who knows how long I’ll be locked up for, or what my life will look like when I get out. I have no one, no friends who really care about me, no family. It’s just me.

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 05:47:38 AM »
On the plus side -

 - events escalate very quickly. You keep the reader on the edge of their seat and I'm assuming there's a lot more action to follow (at least I hope so).

On the minus side -

- I'm not a fan of internal dialogue and reflection - in this example it comes across as a lazy way of bringing the reader up to speed with your main character's family history. Most of that can wait until later. I'd try to tone it down before it takes over the narrative.

- the dialogue at times is terribly cheesy. Dev turns up, having murdered the son of the local cop, and they still have time to conduct a long, drawn-out conversation. Then they spend ten minutes sitting in silence before X tells her brother she loves him. Really? In my opinion this scene needs a major rewrite because the pacing is way too sluggish. We don't get a sense of panic or dread and the premise is too predictable - sensible sister ticking off irresponsible big brother for his behaviour. The decision to head to Mexico is made without a qualm - as if they're popping out to the store.

- the sudden switch from bedroom to getaway car was far too abrupt. It would probably work better if you ended the chapter with the decision to leave - but again we need some build-up before she sees the police car to make the turn of events more dramatic. How did she feel driving off in the middle of the night, leaving her home for good? I think school would be the last thing on her mind. You seem in a hurry to get this part of your story out of the way and it doesn't bode well for the future.

- again the dialogue with the police officer is far too polite and controlled. Her brother has just been shot dead and she's able to say 'Thank you' to the killer. I don't believe in your character so far because she doesn't act the way normal people would act in this situation. Try a little role play. Put yourself in her shoes. Is this what you would do???

Just my own opinion - feel free to ignore.

Offline Aaliyah

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Re: First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 11:30:02 AM »
Thank you so much for your advice! Rereading that chapter after seeing your comment, definitely opened my eyes. My character doesn't seem realistic at all and I will do my best to bring her to life; but thank you for taking the time to read it, and then giving me advice on how to go about it, I appreciate it.

Offline Olesia

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Re: First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2020, 10:32:43 AM »
Hi Aaliyah!

Welcome to My Writers Circle, we’re happy to have you as part of the community!

We appreciate you joining the community and sharing some of your writing with us.

We would love to learn more about you personally, how long you have been writing, what style of writing you appreciate or prefer to write in and things you have learned about yourself and writing along the way.

Looking forward to learning more about you!

Offline scottinjapan

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Re: First draft of Too Soon to Say GoodBye (Chapter 1)
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2020, 09:01:08 PM »
I really enjoyed the punchy, fast pace of your writing and it was actually quite exciting feel a part of each scene. The language seemed realistic, just like the way people would actually talk, however I would have liked to have seen a clearer contrast. It seemed to be too similar and sometimes made me confused about which was the dialogue and which was the narrative. It would be nice to have more variety.
Thanks for sharing and best of luck!