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Critique on an opening section for a book I'm writing watch

    • Thread Starter

    Right, so firstly, I just want to mention I'm 15, making a first attempt at writing a full length novel. Very little happens in this section, and it's not a chapter or even a full scene, just a first draft at where I've got to so far. Please be kind! I'm just wanting comments on which bits you think are too self indulgent, any points that are too clunky or you don't understand, and what you think of the characters so far. I'm not wanting to be an author or anything - I just enjoy creative writing. The section doesn't finish at any specific point either, this is just what I've found time to write so far.
    Here is the first section:
    I stare out of the window. Past the camel’s hump of the couch-side and the frosted slat of glass, Autumn is burning itself out, a frenzied inferno of gnarled oaks and drab, grey-scale skies. The leaves, russet and ochre in colour, have gathered into clusters and puddles; the air is pregnant with moisture, and a faint odour – the smell of rotten, damp leaves – has filtered through the walls: it bothers me now, too heady and dank for the pale light of morning. There’s a clattering upstairs, plodding footsteps as Lily gets ready for school, and in the kitchen, the clatter of pots and pans and cutlery is excessively loud – I think Jess is transferring all the anger, the frustration,she assumes I’m unaware she feels, onto the washing up.
    Her voice is muffled by the walls, and it can’t carry my interest for that long. She’ll just be waffling on, spouting some rubbish about‘keeping myself busy’ or discussing the length of her runner beans.Interesting. She’s always been like that, my sister, the first to fill a thick silence with messy scrawls of syllables and scrappy sentences. Her voice drifts in, and I can’t be bothered listening anymore, so I pull myself under the soft,threadbare comfort of my blanket, and dig my toes, elongated digits, into the nooks and crevices of the sofa. Enveloped in the darkness, shadows swarm and bulge, shifting before I can figure out their shape; their colour; their texture.
    “Hannah, are you listening?”
    For God’s sake.
    “What did I just say then?”
    She stomps in, a thinly veiled expression of contempt – no,not contempt, more a swirling mix of pity, disgust and mild irritation- disdain on her face. I hate that about her – her directness, her inability to cover her emotions. Her eyes – dense pools as languid and liquid as melting, silky chocolate – slip up, revealing her feelings before she can rearrange her face;place on that stock smile I’d had enough of years ago.
    Past words elude me – I can’t quite fathom them, it’s as if they lie, dust sheathed and just forgotten, behind an impenetrable wall.
    She’s there, straight in front of me, seeking me out and hungry for answers. I latch onto her eyes, so laden they are with worry and frustration and bitterness, and then turn away again, nuzzling into the fabric of the settee and throwing the blanket over my head.
    “You’ll try and do something today, won’t you? Keep yourself busy?”
    She waits. I don’t think she’s expecting an answer, but she’s bound, a slave of social niceties, to wait anyway, shuffling around,harried and anxious to be off. Probably wants to say something else. Some other regurgitation of a cliché.
    “No point moping about.”
    Oh, thank you. I focus on breathing – deep refreshing inhalations that ease my soul and calm me: I'm not going to scream; I'm not going to run; I'm not going to cry or shout or make a scene. Under the blanket here,it’s too warm; the air is dense and hazy and humid, an intensifying thunderstorm, muggy greyness illuminated by the silver light filtering through the fabric.
    One potato. Two potato.
    Footsteps; a call of ‘Lily!’; frantic plodding; hurried goodbyes.
    Finally. Peace.I resurface. For of all her normal nonsense, she’s got a point. I feel like I’ve wallowed here for days – I suppose I have – and suddenly I’m overcome with the desire to move; be free from the nest; rise from this squalid state. Urgh. My head is misty, foggy, overwhelmed by thickening, sickening clarity. I leech myself up,steady myself onto brittle bones, thin reedy limbs as weak as bird’s legs. God. How can moving hurt so much?
    Being vertical is a new state. From this height, I can see morning’s lazy light pepper pearly patterns across the wall, alighting the dust on the carpet in the corner of the room. Not bad dust; my sister cleans the place both often and thoroughly, but family dust, the sort gathered by business and work and general living. Anyway, I can hardly complain about it, it’s not like I’ve been helping out recently, invading her living room and slumping on the sofa all day.
    The place seems unnaturally quiet now, until the silence itself becomes heavy and leaden with unuttered words. Louder than sound itself.
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