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Author Topic: Dried Roses(Women's Fiction)  (Read 265 times)
awordshaker
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« on: January 05, 2019, 05:02:09 PM »

Dried Roses- Chapter One
 
“Today the jury found Mike Young guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder in the homicide of his girlfriend Lily Kazawik and 18 year old Bobby Weaver. Young went into Middleton High School last year on November 15th signed into the office where he explained that he was taking his girlfriend out to lunch and preceded to Kazawik’s Grade 12 AP English class. There he locked the door and shot Weaver in the head then Kazawik in the chest using a .32 caliber pistol. Fortunately, he was overtaken by the police before there were any more casualties. He has been sentenced to prison for life without parole and will be moved to a correctional facility in Milwaukee.”
Rosanna looked up from the psychology textbook she had been reading on the ratty old couch in her apartment and turned up the volume to listen to the rest of the newscast on the local news station, but they soon turned to the weather. She lowered the volume again, but didn’t return to her book.
      Mike Young. A name as familiar as her own. The name that haunted her nightmares, the one that kept her awake at night. She hadn’t seen Mike in over 17 years, but still his face remained chiseled into her memory. Those piercing bloodshot green eyes. His Cheshire Cat smile. The sharp laugh that made its way into all of her dreams. And now he was in prison. Mike had always been bad. She always knew he would break one day. She just hadn’t expected it to take so long.
 When she had first heard the news nearly a year ago, she had been afraid he wouldn’t be given a fair sentence. These days killing two innocents lives seemed to mean nothing to the judicial system. This time a fair hand seemed to have been dealt. She had tried to keep her agonizing to a minimum, and had purposefully ignored her Facebook feed, knowing that all of the people back home would be talking about it. Yet Mike always managed to creep back into her mind.
    Thinking of Mike brought up so many familiar feelings: feelings of failure, of regret, but most of all: of doubt. Endless nights spent lying awake replaying her past choices had allowed her to come to terms with everything she had done. But she had thought a lot about it and thinking made her doubt everything. Thinking made her hate herself.
    Rosanna glanced at the clock, surprised to see that it was nearly eleven. She quickly made her nighttime tea, and mechanically went through her bedtime routine. She settled in her creaky bed, letting the darkness wash over her. Sleep had become more and more difficult, but tonight she was able to drift off easily.. Her last thought before she fell completely asleep was of Mike’s family as she wondered if they were okay.

                   
    The first student of the day entered Rosanna’s office, looking back hesitantly as she ran her hair through her greasy blond hair.
     Rosanna looked up from the desk and gave the girl a small smile, looking over her mental files of all the students, trying to place a name to the face.
     “Sit , please.”
The girl looked back at the door one last time before walking slowly towards the chair. When she sat  she slouched considerably, looking  at her lap as if it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen.
“How can I help you…”
When the girl didn’t say anything, Rosanna let out a subtle sigh.
     “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
 The girl glanced up from her lap, looking at Rosanna with new interest as if she hadn’t noticed her before.
 “Maria. My name is Maria,” she whispered
 “Okay Maria, how may I help you?’’
Maria didn’t say anything at first, looking back down at her lap as she wiggled her fingers; clenching and unclenching her fist.
    “I need anti-depressants,” Maria blurted out.
    More and more kids were coming to Rosanna to ask for medications, and by now her explanation felt automatic.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you, I’m not a psychiatrist so I have no legal right to prescribe medication. My job is to help students through talking, not through prescribing meds. If we talk and I see that you need some form of antidepressants, then I could refer you to a psychiatrist.”
    “My mom can’t afford a psychiatrist, that’s why I came to you. I thought you could help me,” Maria looked up at Rosanna, hostility filling her eyes. “I guess not.”
    “I can help you. Just not in the way you want me to.”
    “Well then you’re not really helping, are you?” Maria jolted from her chair, rushing out of the office.
     What Rosanna had expected would be a long session had lasted less than five minutes. She had gotten used to these kinds of outbursts. So many students wanted help, but the help they wanted wasn’t one Rosanna could provide. Lately, it seemed the amount of students who ran outnumbered the ones who stayed.
     It was be expected in her field and yet every student she was unable to help sent her into a funk that she was only able to get out of by helping someone else.
     She went through the rest of the day robotically, but she always had Maria at the back of her mind. All of the things Maria might be going through coursed through her mind, wishing the girl had accepted her help. When she first started her only hope was that with time she’d get used to not being able to help everybody, but as the years went on it had just gotten worse.

    Rosanna locked the office door behind her and walked down the empty school hallway towards her car. Rushing footsteps followed her as she reached the exit. Rosanna expected a student late for the bus to race past her, but instead the footsteps slowed and a soft touch on her shoulder made her stop and turn around. One of the new teachers was smiling up at her. The young woman’s brown hair was held back by a messy ponytail, but still a few loose strands hung near her face, framing her green eyes.
    " Can I help you?" Rosanna tried not to show her annoyance, but she couldn’t help but think of all the cars that were on the highway and how long it would take her to get home if she didn’t hurry.
“ I’m so sorry to bother you just as you’re about to leave. I've been meaning to ask you this since school started and I know that if I don't do it now I may never have the courage. I had a rough childhood and it’s really been negatively affecting me lately and I need help to cope. Money’s a little tight at the moment so I was wondering if you would be able to offer your services to me. I’m not sure what protocol is and I'm sure that what I'm asking you is completely unorthodox, but I thought it was worth a try,” She stopped abruptly, looking flustered as she paused to catch her breath.
    Rosanna studied the woman: at the rigid way she held herself despite her casual attire and couldn’t help but try to guess at what exactly her rough childhood entailed. Maybe she couldn’t help Maria but she could help this woman.
    “I've never really had any teacher ask to see me, but I don't see why it would be a problem. My specialization is in child psychology though so I'm not sure how much help I would be. How about we talk about this some more on Monday and we'll see what I can do to help?” Rosanna glanced at her wristwatch, a line of cars intruding in her thoughts, wishing she could rush out of the building to her Volvo.
    “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it,” the woman said, smiling widely at Rosanna.
    “It’s no problem... Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
    “Leila. Leila Young.”
Rosanna nodded and turned away, but stopped as she processed the name. Such a common name, but there was something about the woman. Something that seemed so familiar. It couldn’t be and yet it was completely possible. She turned back to look for Leila, but found that she was already gone.
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rivergirl
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 07:14:00 PM »

“Today the jury found Mike Young guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder in the homicide of his girlfriend, Lily Kazawik, and 18 year old Bobby Weaver. Young went into Middleton High School last year on November 15th signed into the office where he explained that he was taking his girlfriend out to lunch and preceded to Kazawik’s Grade 12 AP English class. There he locked the door and shot Weaver in the head then Kazawik in the chest using a .32 caliber pistol. Fortunately, he was overtaken by the police before there were any more casualties. He has been sentenced to prison for life without parole and will be moved to a correctional facility in Milwaukee.”
Rosanna looked up from the psychology textbook she had been reading on the ratty old couch in her apartment and turned up the volume to listen to the rest of the newscast on the local news station, but they soon turned to the weather. She lowered the volume again, but didn’t return to her book.
      Mike Young. A name as familiar as her own. The name that haunted her nightmares, the one that kept her awake at night. She hadn’t seen Mike in over 17 years, but still his face remained chiseled into her memory. Those piercing bloodshot green eyes. His Cheshire Cat smile. The sharp laugh that made its way into all of her dreams. And now he was in prison. Mike had always been bad. She always knew he would break one day. She just hadn’t expected it to take so long.
 When she hadonly use 'had' when there's no alternatives. It makes most sentences sound worse. first heard the news nearly a year ago, she had been afraid he wouldn’t be given a fair sentence. These days killing two innocents lives seemed to mean nothing to the judicial system. This time a fair hand seemed to have been dealt. She had tried to keep her agonizing to a minimum, and had purposefully ignored her Facebook feed, knowing that all of the people back home would be talking about it. Yet Mike always managed to creep back into her mind.
    Thinking of Mike brought up so many familiar feelings: feelings of failure, of regret, but most of all: of doubt. Endless nights spent lying awake replaying her past choices had allowed her to come to terms with everything she had done. But she had thought spent a lot of time thinking about it and thinking made her doubt everything. Thinking made her hate herself.
    Rosanna glanced at the clock, surprised to see that it was nearly eleven. She quickly made her nighttime tea, and mechanically went through her bedtime routine. She settled in her creaky bed, letting the darkness wash over her. Sleep had become became more and more difficult, but tonight she was able to drift off easily.. Her last thought before she fell completely asleep was of Mike’s family. as she wondered if they were okay. Were they all okay? (last sentence was a bit clunky)
 [/color]
                   
    The first student of the day entered Rosanna’s office, looking back hesitantly (I can't see her looking back as she's going forward) as she ran her hair through her greasy blond hair.
     Rosanna looked up from theher desk and gave the girl a small smile,(totally nitpicking here. but the small is not needed because I can already see the small smile based on the sedate setting. also the double "S" is clunky.  looking over her mental files of all the students, trying to place a name to the face. She looked up from the desk and then looked up from the files. It doesn't flow. I'd just say that the girl's mental health files was stacked on her lap or something.
     “Sit , please.”
The girl looked back at the door one last time before walking slowly towards the chair. When she sat  she slouched considerably, looking  at her lap as if it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen.
“How can I help you…”
When the girl didn’t say anything, Rosanna let out a subtle sigh.
     “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
 The girl glanced up from her lap, looking at Rosanna with new interest as if she hadn’t noticed her before. (clunky)The girl glanced up as if she hadn't notice Rosanna sitting there before.
 “Maria. My name is Maria,” she whispered
 “Okay Maria, how may I help you?’’
Maria didn’t say anything at first, looking back down at her lap as she wiggled her fingers; clenching and unclenching her fist.
    “I need anti-depressants,” Maria blurted out. (all good imagery and dialogue)
    More and more kids were coming to Rosanna to ask for medications, and by now her explanation felt automatic.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you, I’m not a psychiatrist so I have no legal right to prescribe medication. My job is to help students through talking, not through prescribing meds. If we talk and I see that you need some form of antidepressants, then I could refer you to a psychiatrist.”
    “My mom can’t afford a psychiatrist, that’s why I came to you. I thought you could help me,” Maria looked up at Rosanna, hostility filling her eyes. “I guess not.”
    “I can help you. Just not in the way you want me to.”
    “Well then you’re not really helping, are you?” Maria jolted from her chair, rushing out of the office.
     What Rosanna had expected would be a long session had lasted less than five minutes. She had gotten used to these kinds of outbursts. So many students wanted help, but the help they wanted wasn’t one Rosanna could provide. Lately, it seemed the amount of students who ran outnumbered the ones who stayed.
     It was to be expected in her field and yet every student she was unable to help sent her into a funk that she was only able to get out of by helping someone else.
     She went through the rest of the day robotically, but she always had Maria was always at the back of her mind. All of the things Maria might be going through coursed through her mind, wishing the girl had accepted her help. When she first started, started what?I know, but spell it out so not to give your reader pause her only hope was that with time she’d get used to not being able to help everybody, but as the years went on it had just gotten worse.

    Rosanna locked the office door behind her and walked down the empty school hallway towards her car. Rushing footsteps followed her as she reached the exit. Rosanna expected a student late for the bus to race past her, but instead the footsteps slowed and a soft touch on her shoulder made her stop and turn around.(resist the urge to explain every movement. A few key verbs and your reader will see it without you saying every little move. "to race past her but instead there was a soft touch on her shoulder. Rosanna was surprised to see..." One of the new teachers was smiling up at her. The young woman’s brown hair was held back by a messy ponytail, but still a few loose strands hung near her face, framing her green eyes. (good description without going overkill)
    " Can I help you?" Is this what she really says? She's a counselor for heavens sake. how about "Oh, hi." Rosanna tried not to show her annoyance, but she couldn’t help but think of all the cars that were on the highway and how long it would take her to get home if she didn’t hurry. The annoyance in her head is perfect!
I’m so sorry to bother you just as you’re about to leave. I've been meaning to ask you this since school started, and I know that if I don't do it now I may never have the courage. I had a rough childhood and it’s really been negatively affecting me lately and I need help to cope. Money’s a little tight at the moment so I was wondering if you would be able to offer your services to me. I’m not sure what protocol is and I'm sure that what I'm asking you is completely unorthodox, but I thought it was worth a try,” She stopped abruptly, looking flustered as she paused to catch her breath. Nitpicking again, but I'm having trouble visualizing this scene. The whole speech without a breath feels very unrealistic. maybe the teacher asks her if she has a moment. Rosanna responds and then the teacher asks about private therapy. The explanation about her childhood should come last, not something she blurts out first. (all my opinion) I think this would make a huge difference in feeling realistic if Rosanna says a word or two.
    Rosanna studied the woman: at the rigid way she held herself despite her casual attire and couldn’t help but try to guess at what exactly her rough childhood entailed. Maybe she couldn’t help Maria but she could help this woman.
    “I've never really had any teacher ask to see me, but I don't see why it would be a problem. My specialization is in child psychology though so I'm not sure how much help I would be. How about we talk about this some more on Monday and we'll see what I can do to help?” Rosanna glanced at her wristwatch, a line of cars intruding in her thoughts, wishing she could rush out of the building to her Volvo. The fact that she looked at her watch tells us everything what Rosanna is thinking. you did a good job of showing us without telling us. don't need to do both.
    “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it,” the woman said with a wide smile. , smiling widely at Rosanna.
    “It’s no problem... Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
    “Leila. Leila Young.”
Rosanna nodded and turned away, but stopped as she processed the name. Such a common name, but there was something about the woman. Something that seemed so familiar. It couldn’t be and yet it was completely possible. She turned back to look for Leila, but found that she was already gone.

Great mystery, both at the beginning and the end! Nice job. Mostly nitpicking above. use what you find helpful and ignore the rest and get rid of about half of your "had"s!!
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kaperton
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 12:00:07 PM »

Dried Roses- Chapter One
 
“Today the jury found Mike Young guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder in the homicide of his girlfriend Lily Kazawik and 18 year old Bobby Weaver. Young went into Middleton High School last year on November 15th signed into the office where he explained that he was taking his girlfriend out to lunch and preceded proceeded to Kazawik’s Grade 12 AP English class. There he locked the door and shot Weaver in the head then Kazawik in the chest using a .32 caliber pistol.

I think it would be better to have the line "Rosanna looked up..." after the first sentence of the news report. Otherwise it makes it sound like she didn't look up until the end of that whole news report.

     
            
    The first student of the day entered Rosanna’s office, looking back hesitantly as she ran her hair through her greasy blond hair.
     Rosanna looked up from the desk and gave the girl a small smile, looking over her mental files of all the students, trying to place a name to the face.
     “Sit , please.”
The girl looked back at the door one last time before walking slowly towards the chair. When she sat  she slouched considerably, looking  at her lap as if it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen.
“How can I help you…”
When the girl didn’t say anything, Rosanna let out a subtle sigh.
     “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
 The girl glanced up from her lap, looking at Rosanna with new interest as if she hadn’t noticed her before.
 “Maria. My name is Maria,” she whispered
 “Okay Maria, how may I help you?’’

Not that all counselors/psychologists are the same, but most wouldn't say "How may I help you?" unless they really are done with people and their job. And since Rosanna is still reading psych textbooks at home, I don't think she's one of those people. She'd be more likely to say something like, "Hi!" or "What's up?" or "What's going on?" or "Do you want to sit down?" and then she'd close the door for privacy.


   “My mom can’t afford a psychiatrist, that’s why I came to you. I thought you could help me,” Maria looked up at Rosanna, hostility filling her eyes. “I guess not.”
    “I can help you. Just not in the way you want me to.”
    “Well then you’re not really helping, are you?” Maria jolted from her chair, rushing out of the office.


It's a little odd to me that Maria would go from whispering to being hostile.

     
    Rosanna studied the woman: at the rigid way she held herself despite her casual attire and couldn’t help but try to guess at what exactly her rough childhood entailed. Maybe she couldn’t help Maria but she could help this woman.
    “I've never really had any teacher ask to see me, but I don't see why it would be a problem."
   

I was a school counselor for several years, so I can speak to this--yay, finally a way I can be useful! Counseling a teacher would be considered a multiple relationship, which goes against the APA code of ethics.  https://www.apa.org/monitor/jan04/ethics.aspx
That doesn't mean you can't use that in your book - in fact, that Rosanna is knowingly violating the code of ethics adds an interesting angle to the story. But she would not say "I've never really had any teacher ask to see me." Trust me, she has! Now they wouldn't ask formally like Leila did--they'd just sit down and start talking about their problems. And there's nothing unethical about talking to a teacher the way you'd talk to any friend. But to knowingly enter into a counseling relationship with a teacher would be dicey.

Rosanna nodded and turned away, but stopped as she processed the name. Such a common name, but there was something about the woman. Something that seemed so familiar. It couldn’t be and yet it was completely possible. She turned back to look for Leila, but found that she was already gone.

This is kind of weird to me. Of course she would recognize the woman and her name--they're colleagues. They've been to lots of faculty meetings together. She may have never been formally introduced to her if Leila is new, but she would at least know her name and face. A 2,000-person high school would probably have about 150 teachers. I work at a school with about 125 faculty and office staff and I certainly know them all. 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 12:17:08 PM by kaperton » Logged
awordshaker
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 02:39:40 PM »

Thanks for the feedback! It was really helpful!
“Today the jury found Mike Young guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder in the homicide of his girlfriend, Lily Kazawik, and 18 year old Bobby Weaver. Young went into Middleton High School last year on November 15th signed into the office where he explained that he was taking his girlfriend out to lunch and preceded to Kazawik’s Grade 12 AP English class. There he locked the door and shot Weaver in the head then Kazawik in the chest using a .32 caliber pistol. Fortunately, he was overtaken by the police before there were any more casualties. He has been sentenced to prison for life without parole and will be moved to a correctional facility in Milwaukee.”
Rosanna looked up from the psychology textbook she had been reading on the ratty old couch in her apartment and turned up the volume to listen to the rest of the newscast on the local news station, but they soon turned to the weather. She lowered the volume again, but didn’t return to her book.
     
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awordshaker
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 02:40:31 PM »

Thanks for the feedback! I rlly appreciate it1
Dried Roses- Chapter One
 
“Today the jury found Mike Young guilty of two counts of First Degree Murder in the homicide of his girlfriend Lily Kazawik and 18 year old Bobby Weaver. Young went into Middleton High School last year on November 15th signed into the office where he explained that he was taking his girlfriend out to lunch and preceded proceeded to Kazawik’s Grade 12 AP English class. There he locked the door and shot Weaver in the head then Kazawik in the chest using a .32 caliber pistol.

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