A first draft of the Young Writer of the Year ‘Silver’ story. Initial comments from teacher. Please add your feedback below to help Jacy develop her story further.
Ebony wandered down the old stone [U1] path, her arms roping herself tightly shut. Frost entangled itself in her hair and the icy wind that whipped around her legs caused her coat to billow out behind her. She paused only momentarily to appreciate the sweet fragrance of the jasmine [U2] before continuing on. Reaching the prestigious wrought iron gates she swivelled and gazed at the property before her. An impressive Victorian mansion surrounded by sweeping manicured gardens to say the least[U3] . To Ebony though, it was much, much more. Between every wall and behind every Rhododendron bush which encircled the house, a secret was hidden, a story was lying, a skeleton was lurking just waiting to rip her life apart. [U4]
Sugary memories too rushed back to Ebony as she gazed at the house, a concoction of emotions old and long forgotten. Those of safety, happiness, love and trust flushed through her bringing a slight flush to her pale cheeks. It was not as effortless to experience these pleasant feelings as it had been in the past. The feelings were shrouded by unwanted truths and there was no easy escape[U5] . A bit like the children’s book where they go on a bear hunt she thought. In the book they meet obstacles which block their path but they discover ways to get around them without too much effort until finally they are left with no option except to go through the mud. [U6] That is where I am stuck now she reflected and it sure was going[U7] to be a sticky and sluggish crawl through.
The court case would begin in almost exactly [U8] [U9] a week. The state was preparing to take on her family, her family’s history. She was the only one left to defend the Tomberstone name, their legacy and her future. It would be a war to end all battles[U10] . Stricken by the thought of what was to come, Ebony shuffled one hundred and eighty degrees so she was facing the gate once more. Now though the gate seemed oddly ominous and overbearing starring down at her below. [U11] Shaking her head she gave the sturdy gate a strong push. It swung reluctantly open letting out a deep hollow groan. Perturbed, Ebony stood perfectly still for a moment.
The air quivered around her as she propelled her unwilling body through its invisible resistance. Hands reached out and caressed her legs. She was encased in a tunnel of heat as she abruptly broke into a trot. She pulled up at her black Volvo. Her hand fumbled with the lock, sweat dibbling[U12] down her back, until finally with a wave of relief the catch released and the car door creaked open. She dove into the car and slammed it shut with a resounding thud. Her eyes flicked disobediently across the divider to the opposite seat. Surrendering she gazed at the seat, stupefied and frozen.
Ebony watched as a hand stretched out towards the tattered old leather bound book which lay there. She looked on in horror as the hand stroked the cover. She waited terrified as the hand slipped itself around the book’s shell and lifted it across the divide. She screamed and recoiled as the hand, her hand, dropped the book from directly above her lap. The book plummeted yet floated light as a feather, towards her. It thudded into her lap and she swallowed the last of her cries, choking on them as they skinned her throat. The sandpaper settled in her stomach and, breathing rhythmically, Ebony read the name, Jemima Tomberstone and the inscription below, Confessions before the Tomb.
Her finger grazed the edge of the paper making her skin crawl[U13] . She hastily flicked the book open. It wobbled before splaying open upon her lap. A legion of silverfish scuttled about on their many legs and raced from their hidey hole among the pages. [U14] Fuzzy numbness penetrated her mind as she stared at the silverfish fretting in search of an escape. Snapping out of the mindless gaze, she lifted the handle and swinging the door open, she freed the distressed bugs. Previously running like headless chooks they suddenly spied freedom and took on a perfect military procession. Swiftly they marched towards the door exiting one by one. Relieved for their sake she pulled the door shut once more on the chilling world. [U15] As the door banged closed she noticed a single distressed silverfish pointlessly head-butting the door in despair. She reached once more for the door, her hand settling on the handle and then rapidly lifted her foot and stomped down on the little creature putting it out of its misery. [U16]
Her eyes fell once more upon the book which lay in her now clammy hands. The truths it held she could not face. She’d rather run forever than turn and face reality. Each unforgiving fact a hot needle through her delicate skin. Together they collided to become an alien hand which mercilessly plunged its way into her soul and ripped her heart from within, leaving nothing but a black hole. An absence of emotion. An absence of life. Images circulated her mind and burning in fury she flung open the car door and stormed her way around the it until she reached the petrol hub. Releasing the lock she thrust her left hand into the tank and splashed the horrid book again and again. She threw the book onto the road where it tumbled across the ground coming to an abrupt halt.
Flustered she hurriedly grappled with her pocket searching for the matches. In a frenzied state she drew the matches from her pocket and removed a single one. In one fluid movement she flicked the match across the side striking a flame. Breathing in the newly found oxygen the flame bloomed into life. A glimmer of hope as it flared in the reflection of her glassy eyes. Her lips contracted as her hand lingered not over the damaged book but instead over the opening in the petrol hub. A tremor ran through her once steady hands and they began to shake the match slipping alight into the deep dark [U17] cavity. For a moment her eyes flashed as if taking a photograph and then it blew. Lifted by the force she span in the air pulled in the direction of the Tomberstone house. Debris was thrown into the air swirling around her body. Floating like a leaf towards the ground she left out a final sigh before crumpling upon the pavement like a crushed and crumpled leaf[U18] . Ebony was now nothing more than a corpse.[U19] The debris fell around her each thud echoing the past.
[U1]Use a better adjective than ‘old’ – it’s too open to interpretation.
[U2]Where is this smell coming from?
[U3]Get rid of this – it doesn’t add anything to your narrative.
[U4]Could you use a more original image here?
[U6]I think this sentence os too long. Break it up.
[U7]Your register seems to be changing from formal to informal. Best to try to stick to one, or if you change ensure it is done to define the character.
[U9]Is it almost or exactly? Two very different levels of modality.
[U10]Use a more original image here.
[U11]?? Can you re-write this sentence. It doesn’t seem to capture where she is or why the gate seems daunting for her at this point.
[U12]This a new word?
[U13]This is present tense, yeah? I think you should rewrite this part of the sentence.
[U14]I love this image!
[U15]Cut this part – it’s not necessary.
[U16]Work on this sentence. You need to create some tension here and make your reader really dislike her for her action.
[U17]Find a couple of better adjectives here.
[U18]Can you fix this – try not to include two similes in the one sentence, OK?
[U19]This is bad, lol – she is a corpse! Could you be a little more creative?