Writing

Chapter 1: New School

I’m starting off with the first chapter because I know that the introduction needs a lot of change. For the first chapter I just need little pieces of feedback on things that may be confusing or maybe things that you think should be added.

 

She stood at the edge of the street waiting for the bus to pick her up and take her away. Her family watched from the windows of the newly built house, they didn’t want to be near her. She glanced back only to see them quickly walk away from her view. The bus pulls up and she gets on with her three bags. There are only a few other people on the bus so she has her choice of seating. She takes the front row and sets her bags in the seat next to her as she lays her head against the window.

“Miss? This is your stop.” The bus driver wakes her up about 2 hours later. She sits up and rubs her eyes. She grabs her bags and quickly gets off the bus. The driver pulls away quickly leaving her to stare at the giant wrought iron gate standing above her. There is a sign with the name written on it: ‘Black Crow Correctional School’.

“Here goes nothing.” She sighs as she picks up her bags again and walks through the smaller pedestrian gate on the side. The sidewalk from the pedestrian gate leads directly to the administration building which is an awful puke green color. She can see a huge swarm of students standing inside and starts to get nervous. She wrings her wrists a bit before finally opening the door and walking in. She quietly stands at the back of the crowd careful not to brush against anyone.

“Alright! New kids, throw your phones in this box and move through to the sign in desk!” An mean old woman yells from the front of the group. The girl winces as the sound reaches her ears. The students start to grumble and shuffle forward, each one throwing their phone in the box before moving forward to pick up a folder. The girl stops in front of the woman but doesn’t say anything.

“What do you want?” The woman growls in annoyance.

“I wasn’t here when you went over the rules. Could you tell me again?” She asks nicely. The woman glares down at her.

“I don’t repeat myself. You will just have to find out the hard way. Now, put your phone in the box and fall in line.” The woman answers. The girl gladly throws her phone in the box, it’s not like anyone talks to her anyway, and she falls in line with all of the other students. The students ahead of her look like they are just here to go to regular school, maybe their parents saw early signs of violence. She on the other hand is here because of disciplinary issues and will be watched rather closely.

“Excuse me.” The woman says snapping the girl from her thoughts.

“I’m sorry, what?” The girl asks. The woman rolls her eyes.

“Name?” The woman asks.

“Ivy.” The girl answers. The woman looks through her files until she finds one with a shock collar wrapped around it.

“Ah. You’re a troublemaker.” The woman smirks as she hands the collar and folder over to Ivy. “Better not make any problems for us here.” She finishes and hands Ivy a few more pieces of paper and a key. “I hope you like your new home.” She sneers as Ivy walks away to find the new building that she will be living in.

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6 thoughts on “Chapter 1: New School

  1. Consider adding some more physical details — Ivy’s appearance, the reactions of the other students, the sound of the older woman’s voice. The tone of this opening chapter is very gritty, emphasizing the threats Ivy faces both in her past and current lives, and physical details will amplify this tone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here’s a list of recommendations. By all means feel free to ignore as you wish. I don’t intend to come across as harsh, or rude in creating this list(please don’t judge me on this). If you think I am please tell me, and I will leave my apology in advance. Just remember that this list is because you asked for it and I do intend it for your benefit.

    If you would like further pointers and advice, feel free to contact me. I hope you find it helpful.

    Speech tags

    asks yells, answers can all be replaced with the word said. I used to write like this too, but by removing speech tags you actually make your peace simpler. Also, it adds nothing to the narrative.
    Is she asking a question? Perhaps it’s better to show not tell, why not a tilt of the head or a frowning of the eyes. Is she angry? A clench of the hands, a toil of the soil.

    Narration

    Ask yourself the question, who is narrating the story. You wrote your narrative in present tense, that would suggest that the narrator is experiencing these events simultaneously to the protagonist. Is the narrator a friend? A stalker? Or perhaps the narrator is omniscient and plays no conscious role in the story.

    An omniscient narrator would mean the narrator is intimately aware of details within the story.
    it would justify how you can narrate with clarity. e.g. the girl sits, the boys grumble.
    But then you have this line here that says, “The bus driver wakes her up about 2 hours later.” about two hours? The narrator doesn’t know, which means the narrator is unreliable and therefore not omniscient. In turn means your prose would have to change to reflect this more prominently otherwise it’s inconsistent. Did the boys grumble? She thought she heard grumblings, but to do that would detract from the story. I recommend scrapping any line that suggests the narrator is unsure itself. Without having read more, I cannot recommend you rewrite the story in past tense as it might serve some plot dynamic down the track.

    The opening line.

    “She stood at the edge of the street waiting for the bus to pick her up and take her away.” isn’t a particularly interesting opener and you need one if you wish to catch the audience’ attention.
    Try, the bus crushed me and left my family behind. They didn’t wave goodbye – they had never cared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback! Everything you said is very helpful for me in starting to rewrite my novel. I’ve always had some trouble with tenses and this is the first story I’ve written in a third person voice and I’m still trying to decide whether I should keep it in the third person or switch points of view throughout the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you have multiple view points or does the protagonist have thoughts you want to keep from the reader? Those are probably the best reasons to write from third person. It’s very hard to surprise readers with plot twists in first person.
    Best of luck with your rewriting. Don’t feel afraid to keep in touch 🙂

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  4. I like the ambiguity of the first chapter. I expect Ivy to be a good person because she is probably the protagonist, but her background makes her mysterious. I would definitely read chapter 2 to find out more about her!

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