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I wrote this, as an experiment. Could you please tell me if anything stands out as special, I would deerly love to know..

Besides the river, were a unique collection of dolls. Within the dolls, were hidden some marijuana, which were foreign to the boy’s hands, and he sat there a while, thinking upon it, as he held the plastic bag in his hands.

He used to walk the dog here, and at his eleventh birthday, he sat by the river, thinking upon his old dog. He walked home with the bag, and put it away inside his bottom drawer, but at the river there were a funny confrontation. The man were elderly, to his eyes, at a learned glance, about middle age. He held in his hand, the grasp of a young girls, and she struggled against him in tears. She wore a purple floral dress, the flowers of white.

She seemed to be swearing, and her tears were that of a gargled cry. As she released her grasp, he slapped her across the face, asking where it were. The boy crept off into the darkness, but he recognised the two as his new neighbours, the following day, and in the following weeks, he knew the household to be full of tears, and in the next few years he knew himself to be in love with the girl, but for the common day, he knew her to be that girl whom caught the bus to school alongside him, and he grew in temptation of the herb he looked up upon the internet, and knew to be weed, smoked in silence, in front of the television, or curled up in bed with a book. The possession of the bag, held within it, enough to last him a good long time, and creeping into her father’s room, held a secret stealing that went on, until he were old enough to search out the substance for himself, as he grew in fondness with the girl, visiting her each day and becoming one with her.

But at the river, he took up his smoke, and began to blow in recumbent silence. The cool rushing water tickled his feet, and he saw the tadpoles writhe, and looked for a yabby hole. The summer, had been long, and it were New Year’s Eve, the hour of two o’clock, and his birthday were on the first, so he had been eleven for two hours, and as he were drunk, the lights shone with a blue halo. He had been reclining upon the trampoline in a neighbouring kid’s yard, drinking light beers from the icy barrel. The reason he had left, were he had been punched by an older kid, and he were crying his head off, as he had struck him with a cricket bat, and had run for his life. Inside his pocket, had been the smoke and the lighter, and he had his father’s jacket on. 

Feeling brave, before he had left, he had scaled the old rope tree, and watched the issue, his cigarette glowing like a possum’s eyes. The girl, he had not seen at the cul-de-sac party. A cul-de-sac, were a circle at the end of a road. It were a good place for a neighbourhood to gather. The light, were the shine of the moon, and he watched the man glanced up at him, as he hurriedly snuffed the smoke, and sat cheekily pursing his lips, but it did not stop there. 

The realisation came, that the man were looking for the bag amongst the dolls, days later, as he searched for plants that germinated in plastic bags. He searched the dolls as he tried to discover the nature of the ploy, but he decided that the girl were trying to hide the bag from the man, and he did not talk to her, as if it were a secret to keep from her, like she were in leagues with the flowers, that would warn him like a tree to be chopped down. At this point, he were sneaking around corners, and jumping at shadows, like they were batteries come to charge his fear into flame.

Up in the tree, he saw the whole show. The man, were dressed in his night gown, which were navy blue or black, the boy could not determine in the light, as it were paltry. The girl, had purple and white, which the boy could make out, in the moon beam she stood in. It were the dead of night, but as the stars shone brightly, and the lights from across the road were in full effect, the boy could make out the purple, though not the navy blue, as it were almost black anyhow. The man had long dark hair, and his nose were long, like a bird’s beak. He were tall, and she were a mysterious sort of buxom and flounce, quite a lot shorter than the man’s shoulders. 

The violence the boy witnessed, were like the tales they told behind closed doors, something you’d expect to appear on the news. The boy’s father, had slapped him, and his mother had lectured to her wits end, but he had never been the victim of domestic abuse. The subject in question, could stand testimony in a court of law, and could make out the clean bull bar of a police vehicle. It were sad in a way, but this display held the boy’s mirth, like he watched a pantomime, or a sideshow clown. He had long since determined that it were not the bully come to chase him, but at moments like these he knew with a cat’s practice the need for fire in his belly and a knotty fist at hand.

But he didn’t come down from the tree. In the end, the girl went over to the dolls, and searched, and he searched. The way the man bent down to hug the girl in the end, were reminiscent of gift bearing, or drifting off to sleep. Like a cat in the night, the boy were gone, as he shimmied down the tree, and walked home. He had waited for the two to leave first, and he left a wide gap, up there in the canopy, and watched the full moon, shining in the sky. The girl had left the dolls there, and the pile which beneath the boy had found the bag, were kicked apart by the old soul, as he searched for his treasure, the one which presumably made it so hard to make out a glimmer of hope, and through the decades the boy began to grow suspicious of what went on, in that motherless abode, but he had other worries.

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Replies (5)
  • I really like this, Samaulle. The voice is very good and creates a compelling story and atmosphere. Your descriptions are excellent. "... began to blow in recumbent silence." That's marvellous. There are a lot of equally good phrases like this.  I think the whole piece is special.

     A couple of small things tripped me up. You use 'were' when standard English would be 'was', and I wasn't sure if this was intentional or not. This could be my problem not yours - I don't have enough experience with reading in different voices. For example, ' ...it were New Year’s Eve, the hour of two o’clock, and his birthday were on the first, so he had been eleven for two hours, and as he were drunk, the lights shone with a blue halo.'  I love the blue halo, by the way.

    I got a bit lost when I wasn't sure if you were telling us the character's memories or what was actually happening to him in the story's present.

    Finally, "victim of domestic abuse" sounds like a cliche and I wondered if you could write it differently to sound fresher.

    The writing, taken as a whole, is definitely special. 

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    • Hi Samaulle,

      I really like many things about the way you write: you create a distinctive voice and I find your descriptions (of settings and characters) to be vivid and evocative with the use of just a few very well chosen details.

      I was getting distracted by the grammatical 'errors', though. Like Libby just mentioned, these errors might be an intentional feature of the narrative voice, but if so, they seemed at odds with the broad and complex vocab range, so it didn't really work for me.

      I was also left unsure about 'when' and 'where' we were... I was initially under the impression that the MC (the boy) is by the river with the dolls, aged 11, at the moment when he finds the bag of marijuana. Also in the same scene, the older man and girl seem to be there, too, fighting. Yet, further down in the piece the narrator references how the boy learns these two are his neighbours, falls in love with the girl, and himself becomes hooked on marijuana. So then I wasn't clear if the opening scene was a flashback, or if the other references were 'predictions' the boy was making as he sat by the river.

      Those things aside, as Libby said, there is a LOT that is really really good about this piece - you have some incredible talent here in how you use language to convey ideas. I love this line, for example:

      ...at moments like these he knew with a cat’s practice the need for fire in his belly and a knotty fist at hand.

      Thank you for sharing!

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      • Thankyou for commenting. It's not how I usually write, but I thought it would be nice to share. I have little understanding what goes on in a boys mind in these more violent circumstances, but I was inspired by lately watching The King on Netflix, and tried to imagine myself in a realistic environment where the lines between good and evil were blurred.

        It jumps back and forward between tense, which is something I never got the hang of either, and using "were" was a suggestion from a girlfriend, whom said it would sound more archaic. Thanks for commenting!

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        • I absolutely loved this, and well done for experimenting! I found the use of 'were' rather than 'was' intriguing and it somehow added to the atmosphere. The storyline was slightly confusing but, because of that, it really made me think about what was happening. The only thing I would suggest is that you use a few more full stops. I have no objection to sentences with lots of phrases and commas (in fact I rather like them), but  I found the sentence in para 2 starting 'The boy crept into the darkness..' a bit long and covering too many things - even just one full stop after '...as his new neighbours' would have made it more impactful for me.

          As Libby and Emma have said, your descriptions are great - vivid and evocative, and it felt that you had taken a lot of time to find just the right words for what you wanted to say. 

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          • Thankyou Julia. I did a little more experimenting, and found that this style I'm experimenting with most likely came about from the flow of description coming more abruptly than usual, as I use details in a sort of hodgepodge way in it. I glad you liked it. I sometimes find myself writing something that inspires me to take it to pieces, and see what I meant, because sometimes I have writer's block, and cannot come out with anything useful at all. It has a lot to do with the context of the book at the time, but it also has a lot to do with learning, I feel, but I wanted to mention that a lack of description and later rehashing lead to what I believe makes it work for me.

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