VIEW LEADERBOARD

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

It's the story of a young adult trying to survive through her last year of high school as well as an abusive relationship. During the course of this she inadvertently meets James and befriends him, her newly founded friendship opens doors for her that she never knew existed.

0

Coming-of-age / Young adult fiction


author-small

Emma Chance (Canada)


When I first saw her, the sun was shining down and bouncing off her long, auburn braid. My thoughts were suddenly captivated by the overwhelming intrigue that usually clouded my abilities when something interests me. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen in my life. I had to double check myself to make sure I wasn’t drooling, but that was when I noticed something odd; she had applied make up heavily to one spot of her face under her left eye. To my eyes, the powdery film was clear as day.
My name is James McArthur, but I have been called many other names during my time in school. Most of the names, I might add, not acceptable to be spoken in public. I don’t really think I am anything special, but apparently my group of friends think otherwise. I am a big hit during Halloween, because well, I do costume make up in my spare time. So what kind of makeup artist would I become, if I didn’t notice?
As the girl walked by, she glared at me. I should have made sure I wasn’t making a spectacle of myself, but I obviously failed. Lavender flowed into my nostrils as she walked by briskly; I had to hold myself up so I wouldn’t swoon. She was stunning.
“Keep moving Bobby,” A guy said gruffly as he shoved her forward to make her walk quicker in front of him and his friends.
She stumbled slightly over the sidewalk, her long braid swinging into her face as she straightened herself up. But she held her head high and continued on walking in front of the guy. She wore faded blue skinny jeans that accented her body and delicate looking black flats that appeared to be very easy to dirty. Clinging to the top half of her torso was a green sweater, one that was very common among the girls at school these days. It was long, almost knee length and buttoned up with wooden buttons trimmed in the same colour green as her sweater. Freckles sprayed across her scantily tanned face, her hazel eyes were framed with thick, black, exotic lashes. Dangling from her ears were small, crystalline earrings that looked exquisite against her auburn hair; like fragile, fiery orbs dancing in the breeze of an early fall day.
“Dude, stop it. You’re staring.”
I snapped out of my daze as Zack punched me in the shoulder. He shot me an ominous glare as he walked by me, not bothering to stop while I collect myself.
“Hey!” I said unintentionally wincing and sneaking in a sideways glance to see if Zack noticed my moment of weakness, I was relieved to see he was staring off into the distance.
“You’re such a princess.” He said making a face at my reaction as he shook his head and paused to bend down and pick up a lumpy, grey rock from the sidewalk, weighing it in his hand as we continued to walk home together.
“I am not!” I shouted, lunging at him.
I could see the consequences of my actions almost immediately as he reacted to my impulsive move.
He easily dodged it and raised his elbow and brought it down in the middle of my back; I went whimpering down like a two year old with a scrapped knee. Lying on the sidewalk for a moment in order to regain my dignity before scrambling to my feet.
“You are such a princess, grow a pair man. Maybe you’ll end up with a pair almost as big as your sisters.” He said, mocking the way my sister teases me at home and doing a pretty spot on impression of my only siblings way of torturing me.
“Oh, come on man that is such a low blow! Macy is a pain in my butt!” I groaned in defeat, not believing that the daily roast had come so quickly. We hadn’t even managed to get home from school yet.
Zack shook his head as we passed the neighbourhood park. He decided to walk over to a bench and sit down, dropping the rock he had picked up along the way. The bench was old and broken. There was so much graffiti on it that no one could read what any of it said anymore.
“I know it is James, that’s why I said it. Macy isn’t even that much older than you; you shouldn’t let her pull the things that she does.” He said, unzipping his bag and pulling out a leftover can of Coke from school today.
“Yeah, I know, but it’s not like I can actually say anything. She would make me regret it for the rest of my life! Did you even see the poster Macy gave me for my birthday? Holy cow, it was amazing, she painted the entire thing. She even wants me to do her make up for Halloween too this year!” I randomly blurted out, not caring how lame I sounded. My sister is kind of cool, I have to admit it, although she does cause headaches most of the time.
Zack just continued to shake his head, “Maybe one day you will finally grow a pair and then you can actually reach puberty!” He punctuated his joke by opening his can of pop.
In an instant my best friends face was soaked with his sweet, sticky pop. I instantly regretted shaking it earlier that day during lunch and didn’t even need to glance at him to tell that he was about to burst into an extreme rage. His face looked like one of those angry characters out of an anime and I almost laughed, almost.
“I’ll give you an extra thirty second head start before I beat you into a pulp, James.” Zack said the malice in his voice clear and pronounced as he stood up from the broken, old bench and stepped forward.
I didn’t waste any time and ran out of the park as fast as my legs would take me. Oh why didn’t I choose a better day to do this? Why didn’t I do it at home where I could actually hide and arm myself with my collection of Nerf guns? Oh god... did I actually admit that?
“I can still see you, run faster you asshat!” Zack shouted from the distance of the park.
I regret not bothering to keep up my reputation in track and field. I used to be a wicked fast runner, but now I felt so sluggish and heavy. I managed to escape from the park, run down the street, and head into the group of nearby stores (it’s not as impressive as it sounds. Everything is close together so it didn’t take that much stamina to escape). A muffled yelp echoed from the alleyway.
Knowing that Zack wasn’t with me I decided to hide instead of investigating. I peeked into the alleyway as a group of oblivious ninth graders walked past on their way to the convenience store to in no doubt pick up energy drinks and smokes. My heart started fluttering in my chest cavity as my nerves started to boil away inside my stomach as my mind whirled around the possibilities of what could have made the yelp that I had just heard. What I saw would forever change the course of the rest of my life...
Bobby, the girl I had been staring at before, was being pinned up against the wall by a big, burly looking guy that I now recognized from school. I could just barely hear their conversation, which was probably a bad idea. I would never be able to forget the scene that followed.
“Who is he Bobby? Tell me!” The burly guy said, holding Bobby up by her green sweater; her feet dangling inches off of the ground.
“I don’t know who he is Daryl! I haven’t seen him before!” She squealed, kicking at his knees with her black flats; but he didn’t budge, not in the least.
“You’re such a liar! Then why were you looking at him you skank?” He said, his voice cold and low as he slammed her against the wall, the fabric of her sweater stretching with his force. One of her black flats slipped off her foot from the impact and hit the ground with a muffled thump.
Her whimper echoed throughout the alleyway. But I remained where I was, too scared to intervene. I continued to watch as he spoke condescendingly to her, until he got fed up and let go of her roughly. I watched as her legs gave out and she fell to the ground, her head smacking against the metal garbage bin. The sound made me wince. That was when he brushed himself off and turned to walk out of the alleyway.


Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1

SEE MORE LIKE THIS



Read Reviews

Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
I believe this story has promise, however, there are some issues. 'My thoughts were suddenly captivated by the overwhelming intrigue that usually clouded my abilities when something interests me.' This is an unnecessary and a bit of a wordy sentence. The first couple of sentences read quite well without it. 'Most of the names, I might add, not acceptable to be spoken in public.' Again the sentence needs trimming. You could just place a semi-colon after the last and shorten it to say ''...better left unspoken in public.' As the saying goes 'less is more'. It's alright, we are all guilty of it from time to time. I liked the story lines but I would have quite liked to have read more about the clearly sado-mosochistic relationship between the boys...it could be quite intriguing. The abuse and violence Bobby experiences is believable and quite well written. My best advice is for you to try and write the scenes again but with less words. Think carefully about what minimum words and sentences are needed to get your message across and just write them down. You can always add later. Choose one scene at a time and analyse each one as seperate entities. Perhaps you already know who the girl is, her name. Perhaps he has seen her around...it might help with the narrative. I think it is interesting that both the relationships described are abusive ones, he and his friend Zach, Bobby and her boyfriend. Is it too much - perhaps it would be better if Zach was a more sympathetic character rather than a bully. Try and think what you might make of an alternative scenario.

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • The protagonist didn’t always respond believably against the backdrop of the story. Ask yourself if people would really answer to a situation in that way. Think about whether the characters’ voices could be more convincing for their age, background, gender, time period, genre, gender and ethnicity. Dialogue should be natural and consistent throughout the story.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
General comments from your fellow writer 2:
I enjoyed reading the beginning and the end of the story, but the piece in the middle seemed irrelevant. You need to check that the tenses are consistent. This has promise - I wonder where it will go!

Review 3:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line and hook
  • Your strong opening and compelling hook was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 3:
A well written piece. I thought the division between narrative and prose was well balanced and the language was right for the age of the people in the story. I got a little lost in the middle because the action seemed to go away from the girl. Have you thought about putting the centre piece, which is good because it gives us an insight into the character of two of the people, first and then carrying on with the girls predicament? Well done. I enjoyed it very much.