There are no further entries about how his sister felt after the assault of the man, or his fate, or how she reacted to the news of her fathers passing. She could shed some light on the ambiguous assault/rape too.
I'm feeling some serious Mandala Effect vibes. My story entry must’ve edited out too much of a sentence in google docs. Because I know that there’s supposed to be a line where the prisoner has his head chopped off in the throne room. But it isn’t there. I have no idea how this happened, but it frustrates me greatly. I no longer have my original work, so I don’t remember exactly how it was written. But it must have been removed by mistake in my editing and formatting process, and I honestly didn’t realize it until now.
I added in how it basically would've been included and edited out a weak sentence to make it fit the word limit.
My father and I waited alone in the dimly lit throne room for the guards to bring in the possessed, at least that’s what he claimed to be. Like the rest of our prisoners, these phantoms served as the underlying cause for their crimes. But these summoners of lies only want to escape the truth and time as it ticked by. The darkness couldn’t cover up my father’s ghostly pale complexion, or stop him coughing into his golden robes. Despite my mind overflowing with thought, I remained silent as I struggled to find the words that would make my father smile and laugh like he once had. Our last conversation related to me claiming his throne after his inevitable passing. How could I confront someone who shook death’s hand, comfortable with having their last dream?
Interrupted by the clamoring of armor that burst through the front doors, four soldiers carried him in, appropriately trussed like a pig ready to be roasted alive. I remember feeling relief that his hands were tied behind his back and his legs shackled together, but I’d soon learn that wasn’t enough to restrain one’s acts of violence. My father cleared his throat before speaking with an authoritative tone.
“For the evil acts you’ve committed, you’re—” But his words were cut off by screams of indignant passion.
“The phantoms dug their claws inside my brain! They contorted my body with every violent thrust as they penetrated your daughter! The phantoms raped her!”
The incantations slaughtered my father’s innocent spirit like a baby beaten bloody. The destructive fuel caused his pupils to spread like wildfire. Clutching his chest with an agonized cry, the soldiers quickly chopped off the summoner’s head, and my father had collapsed forward. Nothing we did could bring him back…
The summoner had killed my father and had stolen his dream. With the heaviest of hearts that make strong men buckle to their knees, I intend to accept this anchor and refuse to be dragged into the depths of their despair. By my honor, I will eliminate the speech of liars and cover the mouths of kingdoms that let it fester like an open wound. By my hands, I shall bandage the world and end all of its’ suffering.
The story has a funeral scene where it directly explains that this affected his sister enough to make her not talk anymore and stay inside her locked bedroom. She mentioned to the MC that “he came in time” which meant that nothing was done to her.
And while not intended to be a defense for the sentence that should’ve been there. Based on what was actually there, his death and how he would’ve died could’ve easily been implied. But I obviously agree that the fate should be included and moved this statement above the rest because it was important.
April 4th: when doing entries for journals, I don’t think many people will mention the starlit sky as they write, nor does it really matter what time of day it is when the entry is written. An entry of a journal is usually used to write about the most notable events that happened during the day, and most people update their journal in the evening when there is more time for personal affairs.
Okay, so there’s two things about this. One related with how and when most people write journals. And a plot critique about how the time of day being mentioned isn’t relevant to the story.
The time of day is actually necessary to follow the story. As the first entry is directly connected with the second. His sister’s scream in the middle of the night is suppose to be the implicated answer on why his first entry ends in mid-sentence/thought. So that is required.
The idea that people write journals in the afternoon feels a little anecdotal. As I know I used to do a nightly journal before bed myself. So this feels like even if you’ve never heard of a person writing a journal at night before in your life, it could be reasonable to assume that this particular character is too busy in the daytime. I guess my story doesn’t take place in a real world, so I don’t know how many medieval periods had people writing in journals anyway. Considered it good enough for the suspension of disbelief needed for all fiction I suppose.
Not writing about the starry sky when you’re able to see it outside your window also feels anecdotal. The character was writing then while noting it was particularly beautiful. It wasn’t entirely without merit, and its beauty ties in with his sister. I suppose I could see the argument that its implementation is contrived? I did mention that is was midnight already, which I might argue is less likely to be written down. (It did add that at the last minute to better tie it to the second entry.) So I don’t need two things that relate to nighttime.
The best way I could see fixing that in hindsight, is tying his sister’s beauty directly to the night sky outside his window. So it could’ve had a little more impact? I’ll take it as food for thought.
The mention of the perfume on his fingers made me wonder how he got perfume there. When had he touched his sister in a way that perfume would be left on his skin? Or had he handled his perfume bottles in her room? There is an implied intimacy between him and his sister that could use a bit more explanation.
I’ll respectfully disagree here. It is a question that goes unanswered. But the “I wonder how that happened?” is the point and it’s far more interesting to pieces together as a reader than a straight answer can provide. I’m hinting that there may be something more going on. But I don’t think you need an answer to understand the rest of the story. So if you cared enough to want to learn more, that’s good, because that’s what I intended.
April 5th: There are 2 sentences with ‘but’ close to each other. “My sister’s scream chilled my bones, but the silence scared me half to death. But I’d rather be a dead man running than live without her.”
Removing the second ‘but’ wouldn’t change the sentence, so it's unneeded.
It feels like I need something to connect the sentences. Since the scream followed by silence is why he’s running at that moment to find her. Though I agree that I could change it to “And”.
There is also a second implication he and his sister are really close, but this intimacy isn’t really shown after this.
Well the implication not going all the way, is an intentional choice of subtlety. The reason the closeness isn’t explored further is because the main character starts to stray from his path and his sister.
April 5th/6th: There is a bit of inconsistency with the rape. In the entry of april 5th, she said he was on time which implies nothing happened, but on april 6th the man explains quite detailed that he had, in fact, raped her
The inconsistencies you noticed are on purpose. You’re mistaken to what the point of that scene was. The man is lying about the rape taking place. Aside from the fact he’s claiming the “Phantoms” are making him do it, which symbolically represent the criminals own sin and the need to blame others for it. I think I gave enough clues to the reader for them to catch on to the fact that the Phantoms aren’t real.
The woman was fully clothed and said indirectly (directly as possible to the reader) that it hadn’t happened. The man lying about it is doing it to shock and punish the obviously frail looking father who’s about to convict him. (A lot of false claims are incredibly detailed.) The father didn’t even need proof to assume it happened and he died.
This story could have used an additional entry about the main character informing his sister about what had happened in the throneroom and her reactions. Of course there was a word limit in this case, so I can understand why it was left out, but it is something I miss in this story. We know he cares about her, and if he cares enough to mention her perfume, it would be in-character to devote an entry about her reaction to the news he brought. The next thing we read about her is April 9th and then she’s already acting weird, according to the main character, so it feels we’re missing something important.
Could I have used an entry going into exactly how my MC’s sister felt right after the fact? Maybe if she was main character or the focus of the story? But I think it’s something you could piece together, she was heartbroken and obviously cared enough to attend his funeral. Maybe you could imply as a reader whether she was told why he died and if she might’ve blame herself for it. I don’t feel there’s anything crucial missing here.
And for people who read this who had experience assault, attempted rape or rape, they often need closure when confronted with it in fiction, so an additional entry where it’s shown she really is okay and the perpetrator is punished would be helpful in that aspect. She was crying when it happened, she may have put on a brave face at that time, but it couldn’t have been easy for her to deal with.
As mentioned, the perp was supposed to be killed straight away. But I somehow screwed up in editing. So I can’t blame you faulting the story for that.
The intent of the Phantoms/the guy using them in his mad speech vs the girl saying nothing happened is suppose to contradict and serves a point to the story. Nothing happened, but that didn’t stop the lie of it taking place and effecting everyone else. Her dad is dead and she stopped talking after attending his funeral, so she’s clearly not okay for that reason. Especially not by the end, because as a dark story and that’s the closure you get...
April 9th: “So she'd challenge me to arm wrestling match” → It would be better if you’d add ‘an’ in this sentence. “to an arm wrestling match”.
That feels like another thing I swear was already there. It definitely needs that. Thanks.
November 3rd: “relying on my believers guidance” → are there more believers here, or are you referring to the guidance of the believer? Because believers is plural of believer, but if you want the second meaning, I think it should be believer’s. Or if it is meant as plural, believers'.
Yeah, should’ve been believers’. Again, that might’ve been a fault in my editing process in google docs where it saw the correct word as an editing mistake.
And “But how I could I feel satisfied when my sister had ran away from home last night and nobody has found her?” → Grammatically correct would be ‘had run’.
You’re correct, and this time that was just my bad. That sentence was added later in the story, and clearly my last editing process did not serve me well.
The ending, after he remembers the first enemy he killed, was a bit odd. It’s puzzling why he would write down the sneezing and the smelling of the familiar perfume. In the first part of the paragraph he still seemed coherent in his thoughts, so I don’t get the vibe of a rambling madman who writes down everything happening around him and every random thought that pops up.
My suggestion would be to use the earlier implied strong bond he has with his sister, let him ramble about how he misses her and that his mind is playing tricks on him because he can still smell her perfume…
The smell isn’t a trick. The first enemy he killed that day was his sister. And it was bugging him the whole day and he only now realized what he had done. And I think the paragraph still reflects his insanity and why he mentioned it.
Overall, the prompt was executed really good, we followed the man from being a hero to a madman and it was a nice touch doing it through journal entries.
The pacing was good, the sentences weren’t difficult to read and there was proof of a good vocabulary and writing skill at the same time. When people try to make themselves sound eloquent by using a lot of big words, the stories tend to be harder to read. It takes skill to get a perfect mixture vocabulary, making the story not too simple, but also not too hard to read. Well done.
I sincerely appreciate that you read my story and that you gave your time to review it. I wish I could’ve presented a story that didn’t have such a crucial aspect omitted by happenstance. But I’m glad you enjoyed the writing itself. Thank you. I just hope this reply is coherent, because I wrote it while feeling a bit crappy.
Edit: Also while you shouldn't feel obligated to vote. I figured I'd mention that I didn't see you vote for your favorite/most worthy to win. Just wanted to make sure that was intentional. (I also might've just missed it. Forgive me if that's the case.)
I thought his sister had hidden and that he smelled his perfume when she approached him and killed him because he had turned evil. And that his death was the reason the entry was unfinished. As far as I can tell there was no hint in the first paragraph of the last entry that his sister was amongst the people he had executed, so I guess I came to a different conclusion with the information from the last paragraph.
Your explanation does explain why he thought back to his first execution, I mistook it as some rambling.
Unfortunately I have been recently snowed in with the final push to complete university work and cram for my exams. I've had little time for myself, or my writing, and so have just been too exhausted to complete any feedback for the fantastic stories that have been entered. I have a favourite I would like to vote for, I'd love it if someone could let me know if I am allowed to simply vote, and not provide such reviews.
But for those of you who have been so wonderful as to take the time and critique my writing (Along with everyone else's) I would like to say a massive thank you! This is my very first entry and, honestly, even after posting it I reread and rewrote and thought I could have done better. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, I am a critically amateur writer so this is all incredibly helpful to me, and I hope if I partake in any more of these I do so with more time to be able to fully contribute as you all have.