Author Topic: YA Fantasy/Gothic Horror  (Read 414 times)

Offline Lorettakate

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YA Fantasy/Gothic Horror
« on: August 22, 2022, 01:50:48 PM »
Chapter 1

My breath was ragged as I tore through the underbrush. Branches ripped at my skirt.

Why did I have to wear a cursed skirt? Spirits knew it was a terrible decision. But I wanted to feel fancy today. I wanted to feel like I was one of the elders, one of those brave souls who settled this ice block of an island centuries ago.

There was a reason we didn’t wear skirts anymore.

A string of curses slipped from my lips, foul enough to curdle milk. My legs caught on a root, the heavy wood slamming into my shins. The ground fell out from beneath me, spinning and spinning. For a moment, the world stopped and I replaced the turning.

And then it all came crashing back.

I hit the ground with a crisp, frozen thud, shattering the brittle remnants of autumn. Familiar heat beat at my knees and I didn’t need to look at them to know that blood welled there. Curses, more creative than the first, continued to slip from my tongue.

My cheeks flushed red, the embarrassment a harsher bite than the pain. I was all alone in the frozen forest, but the trees were just as vicious a crowd. I could practically hear their jeering.
A howl, great and broken, rent the air. I forgot the burning of my cheeks and steady trickle of blood. The sound ricocheted off the winter-dead trees, echoing through the forest like the bay of a hundred wolves.

But it was only one.

I knew it.

And he was dying.

My eyes burned in anger as I grit my teeth and forced myself to my feet. Knees screaming and muscles howling, I stumbled back to a run. My feet fumbled across the roots, but I wouldn’t be kept down.

Another howl.

Quieter this time.

Like the sun fading in the sky above me, he was losing strength.

Hold on, I begged. Just hold on.

Terror nipped at my heels, its slimy voice whispering in my ear. “How do you think you will find him? The forest is wide and you are small.”

I batted the whisper away, focusing instead on the air flowing into my throat and through my chest. It was getting colder. Much too quickly, the shadows were getting longer.

I begged the sun to stay just a little longer.

Another more terrifying thought slid into my mind. I could live without my beloved dog, but I would not live at all if I was out here when night fell.

All around me, trees rose into the gloom, like massive spears piercing the sky. Their needles were grayish green in the late winter, coated in a thick layer of brilliant snow. Quiet, thicker than mud, filled the forest.

Snow has a way of absorbing sound, making loud things quiet and silencing screams and pleas. I thanked the spirits Uri was too wild to be silenced.

Not that it would make a difference if I didn’t find him.

Even wolves couldn’t stand alone against the dead of winter night.

I wished it had all gone differently. He had never bolted like this before. Even when the rabbits were running wild from their burrows, he kept close. There had been no signs, nothing to spook the poor creature.

So why had he run?

I hadn’t even questioned it as I leaped from the woodpile, my splitting maul still lodged in a particularly nasty knot of wood. He didn’t seem to even hear me as he raced into the frozen forest.

Hours later, air had been replaced by knife-sharp ice scraping down my throat. I tried to swallow it down, but it refused. Beneath me, my legs wobbled, unsure of themselves as I forced them to carry me through the trees. So far out, they were packed thick and as my eyes scanned around me, I realized I could no longer tell the difference between them.

My legs sighed in relief as I came to a sudden halt, or tried to at least. My feet slid along the snow, casting a spray of powder wide along the trees. My eyes shot wide as I flailed my arms, trying to regain balance.

A tree decided to provide assistance, though it felt more like a smack. I hit the trunk hard and slid to the ground with a groan.

My head spun as I took in the forest around me and my racing heart picked up speed.

I didn’t recognize anything.

The trees were nearly identical. THe only option I had was to backtrack over my own steps before they disappeared, but I would never find my way back here again. If I left now, I would lose Uri.

A strangled cry squeaked from my chest, frustrated tears bubbling to the surface.

It was him or me.

I knew who I wanted to pick, though logic told me otherwise. If on the impossible chance I found him, how would we find our way back? Overhead, clouds were already building, the threatenings of what looked to be a hideous storm. There was no way we would survive that.

I screamed. The snow-drenched forest gobbled up the sound before anyone could hear it. Frozen fingers found my face and wiped away tears before they became ice. A snowflake landed on my nose and I blinked. My trail would be fading fast.

With an aching heart and horror in my mind, I forced myself to start back. Perhaps he would find a way home. He was intelligent. He was strong.

I didn’t believe the lie.

Another howl tore through the air and I froze.

He was close.

The snow cover would have swallowed up the sound if he wasn’t. A voice that sounded eerily similar to my brother screamed in my head. “Leave him! You will die!”

I ignored it, just like I always did. I couldn’t just leave him behind.

And then that voice wasn’t in my head anymore.

“Makatzah!”

I whirled, sure I had imagined the deep timbre of his vocal chords and roughness of a still healing cough.

“Makatzah!”

A shadow stirred in the distance, and I wasn’t sure whether it was frustration or relief that flooded me as Akiva emerged from the snow.

Offline rivergirl

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Re: YA Fantasy/Gothic Horror
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2022, 10:09:36 PM »
This is not a genre I would normally read but let's get you some feedback.

My breath was ragged as I tore through the underbrush. Branches ripped at my skirt.

Why did I have to wear a cursed skirt? Spirits knew it was a terrible decision. But I wanted to feel fancy today. I wanted to feel like I was one of the elders, one of those brave souls who settled this ice block of an island centuries ago.

There was a reason we didn’t wear skirts anymore.

A string of curses slipped from my lips, foul enough to curdle milk. My legs caught on a root, the heavy wood slamming into my shins. The ground fell out from beneath me, spinning and spinning. For a moment, the world stopped and I replaced the turning.These last few sentences give me pause. Roots are usually at foot level so this is unusual to have them mid-shin. I also didn't understand the spinning. She's fallen, right? But then there's no spinning involved in a fall. You might clear this up.

And then it all came crashing back.

I hit the ground with a crisp, frozen thud, having trouble visualizing a crisp thud. They feel like contradictions.Maybe: I hit the frosty ground. shattering the brittle remnants of autumnanother contradiction here. The ground is frozen, right? It sounds like Autumn is long gone. Also I'm wondering if there are even seasons when we are first introduced to an island described as an ice block. If the terrain is really all snowy, let the reader see the white frosty branches, the snow drifts ect... Right now I'm not sure what to visualize and this the time for important scene setting. Familiar heat beat at my knees comma and I didn’t need to look at them to know that blood welled there. Curses, more creative than the first, continued to slipfly from my tongue.

My cheeks flushed redin first person, avoid describing what you look like because one can't see oneself. Just say my cheeks felt hot or whatever, the embarrassment a harsher bite than the pain. I was all alone in the frozen forest, but the trees were just as vicious a crowd. This is odd but I'm going to accept this for now and look for an explanation further down as this is a magical worldI could practically hear their jeering.
A howl, great and broken, rent the air. I forgot the burning of my cheeks and steady trickle of blood. The sound ricocheted off the winter-dead trees, echoing through the forest like the bay of a hundred wolves.

But it was only one.

I knew it.

And he was dying.

My eyes burned in anger is anger the right emotion here? I'm imagining a terrified womanas I grit my teeth and forced myself to my feet. Knees screaming and muscles howlingaching, I stumbled back to a run. My feet fumbled across the roots, but I wouldn’t be kept down.

Another howl.

Quieter this time.

Like the sun fading in the sky above me, he was losing strength.

Hold on, I begged. Just hold on.

Terror nipped at my heels, its slimy voice whispering in my ear. “How do you think you will find him? The forest is wide and you are small.”

I batted the whisper away, focusing instead on the air flowing into my throat and through my chest. It was getting colder. Much too quickly, the shadows were getting longer.

I begged the sun to stay just a little longer.

Another more terrifying thought slid into my mind. I could live without my beloved dog, but I would not live at all if I was out here when night fell. I'm wondering if you are setting the reader up for failure when you leave out too much information. At first I thought a wolf was after her and I got everything wrong. You might add more deets above so everything doesn't make sense in retrospect

All around me, trees rose into the gloom, like massive spears piercing the sky. Their needles were grayish green in the late winter, coated in a thick layer of brilliant snow. Quiet, thicker than mud, filled the forest. lovely

Snow has a way of absorbing sound, making loud things quiet and silencing screams and pleas. I thanked the spirits Uri was too wild to be silenced.

Not that it would make a difference if I didn’t find him.

Even wolves couldn’t stand alone against the dead of winter night.

I wished it had all gone differently. He had never bolted like this before. Even when the rabbits were running wild from their burrows, he kept close. There had been no signs, nothing to spook the poor creature. with eyes of brown and a rusty muzzle. Squeeze in descriptions where you can. (Maybe not here)

So why had he run?

I hadn’t even questioned it questioned what? She leapt from the woodpile so she knew something was up, right? as I leaped from the woodpile, my splitting maul still lodged in a particularly nasty knot of wood. He didn’t seem to even hear me calling?  as he raced into the frozen forest.

Hours later, air had been replaced by knife-sharp ice scraping down my throat. I tried to swallow it down, but it refused. Beneath me, my legs wobbled, unsure of themselves as I forced them to carry me through the trees. So far out, they were packed thick and as my eyes scanned around meI scanned the forest, I realized I could no longer tell the difference between them.can you elaborate here? she can't tell the difference between the oaks and the maples or she can't tell the difference between the familiar trees surrounding her home and the foreign trees deeper int he forest

My legs sighed in relief as I came to a sudden halt, or tried to at least. My feet slid along the snow, casting a spray of powder wide along the trees. My eyes shot wide avoid looking outside yourself in first-person as I flailed my arms, trying to regain balance.

A tree decided to provide assistanceshow the reader what you mean here. this is a fantasy world where the reader doesn't know the rules, though it felt more like a smack. I hit the trunk hard and slid to the ground with a groan.

My head spun as I took in the forest around me and my racing heart picked up speed.Remember it's nighttime so she's not seeing a lot

I didn’t recognize anything.

The trees were nearly identical this is a repeat. THe only option I had was to backtrack over my own steps before they disappeared, but I would never find my way back here again. If I left now, I would lose Uri.Who's Uri. I assume it's a pet dog or pet wolf but this needs to be spelled out more clearly

A strangled cry squeaked from my chest, frustrated tears bubbling to the surface.

It was him or me. Nice predicament. Don't forget to show us her shivering, wet stockings, her trying to keep warm ect...

I knew who I wanted to pick, though logic told me otherwise. If on the impossible chance I found him, how would we find our way back? Overhead, clouds were already building, the threatenings of what looked to be a hideous storm. There was no way we would survive that.this is good but elaborate a bit more. Temperatures in the such and such zone where known to drop to the __

I screamed. The snow-drenched forest gobbled up the sound before anyone could hear it. Frozen fingers found my facethis sounds like a mysterious disembodied hand. You might reword. I like that you are trying to avoid all the "i's" but I think this one is needed and wiped away tears before they became ice. A snowflake landed on my nose and I blinked. My trail would be fading fast. because of a single snowflake? I know what you mean but put us in the character's head more. I studied the sky again as an icy wind lifted my scarf. One snowflake would lead to others. Within the hour, inches would be accumulating on the ground like a snowy grave..

With an aching heart and horror in my mind, I forced myself to start back. Perhaps he would find a way home. He was intelligent. He was strong.

I didn’t believe the lie.

Another howl tore through the air and I froze.

He was close.

The snow cover would have swallowed up the sound if he wasn’t. A voice that sounded eerily similar to my brother screamed in my head. “Leave him! You will die!”

I ignored it, just like I always did. I couldn’t just leave him behind.

And then that voice wasn’t in my head anymore.

“Makatzah!”

I whirled, sure I had imagined the deep timbre of his vocal chords and roughness of a still healing cough.

“Makatzah!”

A shadow stirred in the distance, and I wasn’t sure whether it was frustration or relief that flooded me as Akiva emerged from the snow.

You've got lots of beautiful writing in here. I feel an exciting story emerging but I also feel like I needed more information to fully enjoy this piece. I hope my comments are constructive.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2022, 10:13:58 PM by rivergirl »

Offline Lorettakate

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Re: YA Fantasy/Gothic Horror
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2022, 01:29:03 PM »
Thank you so much for the input!! I really appreciate it!