Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Indy 500 #1

TITLE: Tears of the Children
GENRE: Contemporary/Fantasy

Douglas Butler knew the time had come, and he released his daughter. He held her by the shoulders and looked into her jewel-green eyes, knowing it’d be the last time. “No matter what comes, I want you to know I’ll be here for you, okay?”
She didn’t respond, and only blinked at his cryptic message. “Okay, An?” he repeated, his brown eyes boring into hers until she nodded her acceptance of his promise.
“Good. Now,” he said, willing the thickness of his throat to go away so he could get through this moment he’d been dreading the last 18 years. “What I want to show you is right here.”
Analisa watched as he walked to the edge of the clearing, next to an old, nearly decrepit oak tree. All the trees around them were hundreds of years old, as the forest seemed to never have been touched by an axe nor a chainsaw. It seemed, Analisa wondered, completely untouched.
The tree her father motioned her over to seemed like one of many, tall, so wide around that she knew she couldn’t get her arms fully around. Its base was slightly cracked open, moss and old bark and exposed roots creating a bowl. Her dad was pointing into that depression, so she followed his direction and crouched next to the hollow of the tree.
“Dad,” she said, not turning her head, “What am I supposed to be looking at?” He didn’t answer, and Analisa reached her hand out. The early morning and swirling fog made the shadowed hollow dark. She was hesitant to just stick her hand in, but then, as her fingertips touched the edge of the bark as it curled back into itself, a spark of light  lit inside the hollow.
Analisa sunk to her knees at the base of the tree, the knees of her jeans dampening on the cool moss. The teardrop of dew winked again at her, the flash of light seemingly coming within.
“Dad,” Analisa breathed, “Did you see that?”
When her dad didn’t respond, she turned around to look at him. But he was gone.
“Dad?” she asked, looking around the clearing. He wasn’t there. “Dad!”
She thought she heard a faint crunching of retreating footsteps, and opened her mouth to shout for him again, but another sound came to her, one that froze her to the core.
A child’s scream. She knew it was a child’s scream. Whether it was from pain or fright or just a general squeal, she couldn’t tell. The teardrop. She begged it to come again, to dispel the thought that it was real, and maybe just a figment of her imagination.  It came again, and as Analisa was staring directly into the shadowed crevice, she saw the teardrop pulse with light as the scream came again, echoing and faint, for sure, but definite.
It called to her, the light and the voices, and before she knew it, before she could stop herself, second guess herself, Analisa reached out to the teardrop.


  1. Very intriguing! You've got me wanting to read more.

    There's a bit of head hopping, we're seeing from her dad's point of view, and then Analisa's. For example: Douglas Butler knew the time had come... The reader is now in on the dad's thoughts. Try something like this: The time had come. Her dad held her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. Analisa knew it would be the last time. Release Day. (or whatever your fictional world calls it.)

    Another example: ... willing the thickness of his throat to go away so he could get through this moment he’d been dreading the last 18 years... The reader is again inside the dad's head as he wills the thickness in his throat and dreads. Switch it around: Her dad's voice sounded thick. Analisa knew he must have been dreading this moment for the last 18 years.

  2. I didn't actually mind the jumping from the dad's POV to the daughters. I kinda enjoyed it.:) This piece was wonderful. My only suggestion would be to remove the following sentence: "It seemed, Analisa wondered, completely untouched." In the previous sentence you mention how the trees are untouched. You don't need to mention it again.

    Nice job!

  3. I agree with skywriter and would like to see the initial head hop removed, as it is only one paragraph of the Dad's POV then jumps to the daughters. Then we get one sentence of his POV.

    You repeat a few words in sentences, and by culling them it will tighten your writing, eg: "Analisa sunk to her knees at the base of the tree, the knees of her jeans dampening on the cool moss." You've mentioned knees twice, and removing the "the knees of" part will still convey the same information.

    However after 500 words I am intrigued and would still read on just to see what happens when she touches the teardrop.

  4. I love this genre so I'd definitely read on. However I think it could work even better with some nitpicking. e.g. In the first line he releases his daughter and in the second he holds her, so that's a little jarring. Two uses of 'comes' in such a short paragraph really stand out as repetitive, as do the two uses of around in the same sentence a little later. Then there are some clumsy phrases e.g. What I want to show you is right here - why not just say I want to show you this - and have him walk away. Cut extra words wherever possible and I think you'll be left with something gold. This reads like a relatively early draft but it's bursting with potential through the vivid scenery and the way you've paid attention to the little things like the texture of the tree and moss.

    And I'm really, really curious to know where it's going.

    Good job. :D

  5. Interesting story line. This brings to mind a strange twist on Alice in Wonderland. I would love to read more to see where it goes form here. As far as I could see you have a good start. The only thing i would want to see is some more interaction between father and daughter to show their relationship a little better. Great job so far keep up the good work!