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Surreptition

I haven't even thought of a title yet.. ._.

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Hi guys! I have to write a short story for literature class, and I've had the most monumental case of writer's block I've ever had for the past few weeks, so this has been quite a challenge for me. It turned out pretty bad, LOL.

 

Anyways, I decided to settle for an allegory. I was hoping that you guys could read my story, and help me out!! Basically what I'm looking for is..

 

A title (It shouldn't just be cool! It should have significance relative to the story. Like the story "Jane" is about a girl who's anything but ordinary.)

 

Words that can be replaced with better words ([d]mysterious[/d] enigmatic)

 

If I'm doing a good job with themes and motifs and whatnot and suchforth

 

General constructive criticism! I would REALLY love your help guys, from what I've seen, Amaranthia is filled with AMAZING writers! Thank you!!!

 

PS: Keep in mind this is an allegory.. Tell me if it's too vague. LOL

 

--

 

She woke up silently and without movement, staring at the pink and white lace that was draped very particularly over her large, canopy bed as she began to level her breathing. She sat up and looked down, stroking the silken sheets with one hand as she tucked the golden hair which had fallen loosely over one shoulder behind her ear with the other. She sat like that for quite some time, studying the population of glistening tears that was steadily growing on her little white feet. Soon she was not shaking, soon she was not whimpering, and soon, as she was overcome by her usual detachment, all motion ceased and she was as still as a glass doll.

 

She allowed her body to begin it's morning routine, and followed it as it made it's way to the large, walk-in closet daddy had built her in June for her sixteenth birthday. She looked on indifferently as her feet slipped through her favourite pair of high-rise jeans and her hands adjusted the tight midriff blouse she had picked up during her last stay in Milan. She heard a familiar buzz, and hesitantly allowed her legs to make their way to the vanity, where her phone was brightly lit. She tried not to make eye contact with the mirror, but sometimes her body just did not behave.

 

Her legs were long and lean, toned and tanned from volleyball. She had a rather large bust, matched almost in size by her hips, and the shirt she wore flaunted the contrast between these and her tiny little waist.

 

Her lips were small and pink, though her upper lip was slightly larger which created a sort of pout that she did not mean to convey. Her smooth, flawless skin was pulled taut over her high cheekbones and defined chin. This created a sort of eerie perfection, like a porcelain mask. She snorted at this visual, and with a roll of her piercing blue eyes and a bat of her voluptuous lash, she dismissed the sight immediately, turning her attention back to her phone. Twenty-six new text messages and two voicemails.

 

She went through this list rather quickly, multitasking between answering messages from people she did like with monosyllablic acts of recognition and ignoring messages from people she didn't while walking down two hallways and the spiral staircase which led to her own dining room.

 

As she turned the corner and descended the last few steps, she saw daddy making funny faces at her little brother Benjamen, who was giggling madly in his high chair.

 

"Morning, gorgeous! Sleep well?" Her father grinned.

 

She forced out a smile, the pit of her stomach wrenching in disagreement.

"Morning daddy. Hi, Benny-Boo." Her voice was soft and slightly sultry, though she did not mean for it to be. Benjamen screamed giddily at the mention of his own name. "What's for breakfast?"

 

"Bacon and hash browns!" Her mother yelled past the swinging door that led to the kitchen.

 

Her father laughed. "What she said."

 

Breakfast went as usual. Her father entertained Benjamen while she and her mother discussed how excellently school was going and how the business was booming. It took all of her energy to assume her pleasant exterior, and once in awhile she would find herself choking back a tear or covering a whimper, like cracks in a picture frame. Soon they were in and out of the car, and the first bell rang for school to begin.

 

Everyone greeted her when she walked into class. She smiled faintly and sat down in the least occupied area of the class, which quickly would become the most. She doodled unintelligible doodles through a clenched fist until people began to talk to her, at which point she receded farther into herself and allowed her body to, once again, continue with it's usual routine, like some twisted Sleeping Beauty. Within those fifty minutes, she had spoken to everyone.

 

At lunch time, she and her best friends Stacy and Elysia sat at their usual table with whatever boys had fought for their limited seats that day. None of them interested her, though they all interested Stacy and Elysia. She never touched her food, and though she heard everything everyone said, she never listened.

 

After school, everyone went to the local burger joint. Usually, she would easily come up with an explanation which would excuse her from this ordeal, but today she could think of nothing. Elated that she was coming along for once, her friends spoke and gossiped and questioned her in what she saw as some sort of fiendish interrogation. Pushed to the darkest catacombs of her mind, forced into a sickening state of meta-cognition, she closed her eyes, powerless to do otherwise.

 

Hours later, she found herself standing at the top of Benji's Cliff, searching for the population of glistening tears which she saw falling into the chasm. She searched more frantically, the buzz of the restaurant fading as she gained concentration.

 

Stacy nudged her gently. "Hey," she furrowed her brow at the lack of response. "You there?"

 

An awkward silence filled the air, and everyone stared at her expectantly. Elysia picked up her chocolate milkshake and pointed it at her, as though it were an offering in return for some measure of normalcy.

 

She heard nothing, entranced by her search for the tears. Suddenly, realisation hit her like a shotgun to the head, forcing her back into an attachment to something so inexplicably real and beyond reality that she found herself lurching forward, twisting her head in all directions searching for the small population of tears.

 

Stacy began to shake her, unnerved by her friend's lack of response. "Hey, can you hear me? Hey!"

 

She took another step forward, continuing her hysterical search, absorbed in her own warped denial at the futility of her efforts.

 

The whole restaurant was silent, and people fidgeted out of nervous confusion. All eyes were on her and Stacy.

 

"C'mon, I know you can hear me! Listen to me!" Stacy raised her voice until she found herself screaming. "Say, something! Emma!"

 

Emma flung herself forward and over the cliff, eyes fixed on the bottom of the chasm as she continued to search for her tears. She fell silently, a snowflake in a desert, melted in the hot sand.

 

--

 

THANKS GUYS WOOT

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Alright, before I unleash my inner critic, I feel I should let you know up front that I am neither going to attack nor baby you. What I say in critique is honest and pointed out because you have asked for critique. Once I have finished with the technical bits, I will go into what I liked and what things you *might* want to change because of style... or even what you could elaborate on should it suit you. I want to help you just as I have been helped in the past. :)

multitasking between answering messages from people she did like with monosyllablic acts of recognition and ignoring messages from people she didn't while walking down two hallways and the spiral staircase which led to her own dining room.

You might want to consider rephrasing this sentence so that her deliberate ignorance of the wants of those people she dislikes be presented first so that the more detailed description of her responses doesn’t swallow the sentence. I had to reread to realize what you were saying because there was so much information between “did like” and “didn’t while” that I was wondering what exactly she “didn’t” do.

An easy fix would be a simple switch with a bit of phrasing touch up:

multitasking between ignoring messages from those she disliked and performing monosyllabic acts of recognition for those she did like while walking [the] two hallways and spiral staircase which led to her own dining room.
.

I’ve changed a bit in there such as switching where you find “the” in the latter part of the sentence and correcting the spelling from “monosyllablic” to “monosyllabic”... but I still have a couple of suggestions for you. instead of saying that she’s “multitasking between” I would suggest using a word such as alternating or switching. If you’re using the verb “multitasking” to emphasize that she’s texting while walking, you’ll want to do a bit of sentence rearranging. However, if the actions you’re emphasizing are those of ignoring and recognizing, then multitasking is not truthfully a suitable word. She has one phone and she is doing one thing with that one object--responding to messages she deems worthy, one at a time.

 

As she turned the corner and descended the last few steps, she saw daddy making funny faces at her little brother Benjamen, who was giggling madly in his high chair.

Alright... so far, you’ve been writing in third person. There are two things wrong with your use of “daddy”. The first is that, because you’re using it as a proper noun and not a descriptive noun precceeded by a possessive (her daddy), the word should be capitalized. Secondly, by just saying “Daddy”, it appears that the narrator must actually be a part of that family--a sibling.

This is mainly just a style thing, but this whole sentence is a bit awkward to me. You don’t have to take this advice, obviously... but the way I’d write this sentence goes something like:

Coming down the stairs, she was greeted by the giggling madness of her little brother and her father’s deliberate, goofy faces.

Regardless of which sentence structure you use, you can transition directly from that sentence into the morning greetings. Because her father is entertaining the baby, I would suggest having her greet *them* first. In that way, you can introduce Benjamen’s name through dialog and address the fact that he’s in a high chair without clogging up the first sentence. It also, in my opinion, adds a bit of believability. When people are making faces at babies and entertaining them, they normally don’t notice someone new until that someone makes a noise. :)

 

"Morning, gorgeous! Sleep well?" Her father grinned.

Once again, this is just a stylistic suggestion you can take or leave. instead of saying “grinned” I would suggest being a bit more descriptive. He could be grinning in any way here. Often, when I see a question directly followed by someone grinning, I assume maliciousness or teasing. I don’t think this is the case here... but that’s my first thought because that’s how a lot of people show it subtly. What I would suggest is saying something like:

"Morning, gorgeous! Sleep well?" her father called out brightly, looking up with a smile.

It not only pushes away thoughts of teasing or maliciousness... but it adds a suburban innocence to the tone of the conversation as well. They’re not just a family--they’re one that loves to associate with each other. These parents aren’t too busy for her even though there’s a small child now. :)

 

Her father laughed. "What she said."

I used to do this sort of thing in my writing all the time... then a literature teacher of mine asked me to keep a literal tally of how many times in a MONTH someone said “what he/she said” in response to someone else answering a question. I think my tally was around 2-5. Most people are concerned with getting their own word in... so they’ll acknowledge the other person is right and add something of their own. Changing “What she said.” to something like “Sounds good, doesn’t it?” creates a more realistic dialog. Once again, this is a style issue that you can choose to ignore or follow. :)

 

From there, things get a bit iffy for me. You’ve thrown us into a sea of pre-existence with only half a life raft. Breakfast went on as usual... but she doesn’t seem to be handling things like she normally would. She and her friends always or never do this. It might help if you avoided the absolutes like “every”, “never”, “usually”, etc. Those words are very off-putting to many readers because it’s like you’re giving them rules. Instead of speaking about the past and the present... try things like “Though she heard what her friends said, she couldn’t be sure she’d listened to a single word.”

 

Now... once you get to the burger joint, you’ve lost me. I have no idea what happened to her. I’d suggest a bit more clarity here.

 

Over all, this is a good story. I think, because of the writer’s block, you were forced to try too hard. That’s alright--it’s why you find editors. :) Your story has great potential and I can see you’re a pretty good writer... but trying too hard is the bane of any creative attempt.

I hope I’ve helped. :) If you have any questions or comments, lemme know!

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Thanks for the advice! And nothing literally happened to her. It was an allegory, obviously not meant to be realistic. :3 Thanks for the other comments though, I will definitely use your advice! <3

 

PS: I'm only fourteen, so I really appreciate being called a good writer ^_^

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I know nothing *literal* happened to her... but it's still confusing as to what really happened because you were switching back and forth from allegory to really.

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No problem. :) I am quite happy to help anyone who actually wants to write and wants to improve their writing. Second only to the mistreatment of other beings (human or beast), the thing that pisses me off most in the world is deliberate ignorance and illiteracy. YOU are one of those people who makes me happy with

It'd be better to just separate reality and allegory. Show the allegory in italics or something... and then go back to reality with just the one sentence: "I was hoping that you guys could read my story, and help me out!"

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