Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Help needed for Critique

I first started writing a novel about 8 years ago, set out some plans and started a first draft, but then I had GCSE exams so I put it on hold. I did a bit more about a year later, but then had A-Levels to work towards so put it off again.

Over the last few years I have picked it up and dropped it so many times, that each time I go back to it, I have to re-read what I've already done, and have ended up changing a lot of what I'd already written nearly every time, therefore never really getting any further and having some writing that seems very forced to me now.

In the meantime, last November I wrote a whole other novel and have sent that off to a publisher, I'm waiting to hear back, it's very nerve-racking.
I decided I had got back into writing and I wanted to go back to my original story, I always thought I had something good with it, I just need to make myself focus and get on with it.

But as I have re-written it so many times, I'm not sure it flows right, So, I was wondering dear fellow bloggers, could you read my prologue and give me some feedback on it. I think my story gets stronger as it goes on, but the prologue needs to hook you in, and get you interested. I would be very grateful if you could tell me what you think, but please only constructive criticism.
Thank you in advanced. here it is:

‘All Alone’

          It’s strange how a place that had always felt safe, warm and welcoming could all of a sudden feel so dangerous, dark and cold. Nothing had really changed, only now I sat all alone, jumping at every little noise and rustle of the leaves. The trees seemed to be whispering and reaching out, the insects seemed bigger and more menacing. Nothing had changed, but nothing was the same.
         I have lived in the ‘Frightful Forest’ for as long as I can remember, with my mum Sandra and twin brother Luke, it had always seemed so perfect, no one else to interfere and tell us what to do. Our lives to live how we wanted to.
          But then it all went wrong.
         It happened in an instant, we were all sat round the fire eating a bowl of root vegetable broth, when Luke fell sideways and started an ear-splitting scream, then a burst of pure white light shot from him setting a bush on fire, the sparks jumped up and caught me on the leg leaving a few big blisters that sent searing pain up my leg.
Then, just as soon as he had started, Luke stopped screaming and fell unconscious. With the bush fire put out, mum ran over to Luke to see what she could do.
“I will have to leave for help, and take Luke with me, he needs immediate care that I can’t give him.” Sandra said, turning to me. “You will have to wait here Katie, with those blisters on your leg you won’t be able to walk far and I’m afraid Luke needs every second. Do not worry, I will return for you in about five days, stay here, put some of my herbal poultice on your leg, it should clear up in no time, keep out of sight and don’t talk to anyone.”
“But Mum, I want to know what’s wrong with Luke, and I don’t want to stay here by myself.” I looked up at her trying to fight back the tears I could feel welling up inside me.
“My brave little girl, I will be back so quickly you won’t notice I’m gone. I don’t want to leave you, but I must, for Luke’s sake. Just remember everything I taught you. And… I love you”
“I love you too mum, please be quick” I replied trying to keep my voice steady and strong.
         Being on my own didn’t seem bad at first, I rubbed my leg in herbs until the pain went away, did all my normal chores and then got ready for bed, but as the night began to close in, owls stirred and hooted and all the noises of the forest seemed to intensify, knowing I couldn’t sleep I got up and went to sit by the fire, I don’t know how long I sat there just staring at the flames, but I couldn’t look away, and I couldn’t stop my thoughts from focusing on my mum and brother, worrying about whether they would be ok, and thinking over everything I had been through with them.
         The only thing I really knew about my mum’s past was that she used to be a Healer in service to the great Queen Sarah, she was the one everyone went to with problems, and of course she could always provide a cure. She had never told us why she had left the Queen, but I knew that when she wanted us to know, she would tell us, but if that was true, why couldn’t she help Luke, who else would be able to, he couldn’t die, he just couldn’t.
         At last after what felt like a lifetime, night turned into day again, but even that didn’t bring the usual comfort, after all, I knew that many more nights were to come before mum would be back. The forest felt so big and I was only small, and all Alone.

So that's it. Any feedback you can give would be a great help. It will be a fantasy novel aimed at about age 9+/young adult.
All the above is copyrighted to me. Thanks again in advance for your help.

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