Liliana, a 17 year old Nashville girl, falls in love with Miach, a boy whose spirit is tied to an ancient oak that sits on the neglected English estate her family recently inherited. She has 13 days to learn how to use what Miach calls her White Shine so that she may free him before the woodland god destroys what is left of the his humanity, turning him into the Oak King, a soulless monster that will uproot the cities of Britain and create a new Eden.
Up til the chapter you're about to read:
Ch 1: Lili trains in Muay Thai kickboxing with her best friend, Anna. Her mother arrives and informs her that they've inherited an English estate Lili visited once as a child. The woods there had really creeped her out but also intrigued her. Her mom says they're to leave soon to see the place and attend the funeral.
Ch 2: Plane ride. Discussion about selling the estate to help pay for mom's hospital bills. She had surgery two years back for stomach cancer. The cancer hasn't returned but of course Lili constantly worries about it. Lili has weird feeling on the plane. She sees a news report about freaky plant growth.
Ch 3: Lili visits the manor house and then the woods. She sees somebody for just a second among some seriously old oak trees. A vine grabs her ankle and she escapes, thinking she's hallucinated.
Thanks for looking at all of this! I will return the favor!
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Okay, Alisha, I've come over to see if I can help with your chapter..I'll put my comments in caps so you can find them...and I'll post the rest of my first chapter to see if you'll help me...
Waa waa waa. AT FIRST I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BABY CRYING.The pure evil of an alarm clock jerked me from my sweet, sweet sleep. YOU ARE AWARE THAT WAKING UP SCENES ARE CONSIDERED CLICHED BY SOME AGENTS, RIGHT? ALTHOUGH, YOURS IS PRETTY INGENIOUS, SO CANCEL THAT...
My eyelids flapped open like overpulled window shades. THIS SOUNDS WACKY, IS THAT THE TONE YOU'RE GOING FOR WITH THIS NOVEL Where was the dang thing? Ah. The
corner of the alarm peeked THIS GIVES HUMAN QUALITIES TO AN INANIMATE OBJECT; IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE GOING FOR?out all innocent-like from behind the nightstand lamp. Scooting it
toward me, I smashed it with my fist. Hard. THIS MAKES HER LOOK OUT OF CONTROL AND DESTRUCTIVE, BUT I LOVE THE GREAT DETAIL! The front of the thing popped off and fell with a
click clack to the wood floor of the one bedroom in Greneley House. Alarm clocks and I could
not occupy the same room. I bet Dulcie set that beast. Pain in the butt punctual Englishwoman.
Stretching, I looked around the wide, calming room. I imagined my late Aunt Vic
choosing the soft blue shade that graced the four walls. Wish I could have known her. Aside
from the pretty color, her room actually brought to mind a monk’s cell. HOW IS THIS CALMING? Twin bed. Bare floor.
One window. I’d always thought monks had a great idea with the whole peace, simplicity, and
quiet set up. Anna would have draped the place in sequined pillows and black silk sheets. But
me, I appreciated the clean environment. It allowed one ME to think.
And I needed to do some of that because I was obviously well on my way to Nutsville.
I tumbled out of bed, beeDASH HERE lining it to my green canvas purse. The quilt, which I’d kicked
off during the night, caught my sock. Waving my arms, I hopped, freaking out much more than
was necessary. The quilt’s grab had felt a little too much like that damn vine around my ankle
yesterday. I took a deep breath as my fingers found what I was looking for.
Thank God COMMA I had the smarts last night to nick—I grinned at my new Englishy word—two
of Mom’s little peach pills to calm my nerves. I had gulped one down last night and it was
definitely time for the second. My heart was going bananas. Thudding, not fast, but loud.
Now that I thought about it, my heart had been pounding like an axe on a tree since
sundown yesterday. That was also when I’d taken that last pill. Surely it was a coincidence.
I held a hand to my chest. The rhythm was my own. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes with
my thumbs. Hoping I wasn’t doing something really terrible, I placed the pill on my tongue.
And, before I could change my mind, I took a swallow of lukewarm water from the cup on the
bedside table. SEEMS TO TAKE A BIT LONG TO GET HER OUT OF HER BEDROOM
“I’ve got a bit here for you, miss!” Dulcie called up the stairs. The smell of bacon
crawled under the door.
I pulled my hair into a low ponytail, threw on my bare-in-spots robe, and pattered down
the whiney CREAKY? NOT SURE STAIRS WHINE stairs to the kitchen. I was trying very hard not to think about what had happened in
the woods yesterday or my frightening lack of mental stability. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE WOODS YESTERDAY? THIS IS THE FIRST EXTRAORDINARY THING IN THIS CHAPTER; I'D DELETE THE ABOVE AND START THE CHAPTER HERE.
WHEN DID SHE GET INTO THE KITCHEN? With a mouthful of salty bacon, I watched Dulcie fry an egg for me. I sniffed. Everything
really did smell different in this foreign country. More metallic. Even eggs. But maybe it was
just the oldness of the house screwing with my nose.
A warmth spread through my belly and my brain. Little peachie was doing its job. Thank
you, thank you.
“Did you sleep well?” Dulcie asked as she slipped the egg onto my toast. Right on top of
it. Weird. It was funny, even though her question was nice and polite, it held the edge of a
challenge I didn’t understand. I wasn’t sure if I liked her or not. SO NOW, IT'S BACK TO THE MUNDANE. I'D ADD MORE ABOUT YESTERDAY AND HER REACTION TO IT INSTEAD.
“The men from the conservation association are coming today.” The backs of Dulcie’s
arms wobbled as she scrubbed out the frying pan. She was tremendous at it. Every swipe of the
plastic flipper cleared a neat road of black. My chores at home would be cake if I were Dulcie.
“What are they going to do?” I asked. “Do I need to take them around or something?” In
the window’s reflection, my face frowned at me. This conservation association thing was Dad’s
After I’d returned from the woods yesterday, sweating and trying not to act like I was as
cracked as Aunt Vic had been, I had showered and traveled with Mom and Dad to the funeral.
On the way, Dad explained that a rare bird and some endangered butterfly lived in the woods at
Greneley. He believed that the conservation association, Green England, might be able to
purchase the manor with the aid of its wealthy supporters.
I didn’t think any conservation association would find the big bucks we required for
Mom’s hospital bills. I didn’t want her or Dad worrying after the sale, regretting what we’d
done. We needed to court some uber rich, old chick much like my aunt had been. May she rest in
peace. One who wanted to redo the place in proper period materials so she could live out the rest
of her cobweb life in BBC style. But Dad was still Dad even though I was seventeen. I would do
what he told me to do. For now.
Dulcie gave me a smirk over her round shoulder. “Yes, love. The conservationists will
want to see the house, both sides. And the fields and that little bit of forest we have here. Though
they’ll most likely send a proper study group in for that.”
“You know, it’s really more than a bit of trees. I was pretty surprised to see…” I stopped
talking because Dulcie was staring at me like I’d just told her I’d killed someone.
“When did you go into the wood?” She twirled the flipper between her pudgy fingers,
eyeing me like a smudged surface she wasn’t sure how to clean.
“Right after we arrived yesterday. In the morning.”
“And what did you do?”
“Nothing. I ran a little.” Did she know something?
With her hands on her hips, she became decidedly interested in the ceiling. I thought she
was gearing up for a good lecture, but she just started whistling and went back to the sink.
“What is it? Am I not supposed to go out there?” I asked. “It’s my family’s place after
all…” I felt like a tool saying that—all snotty rich girl; even though I totally wasn’t—but I didn’t
know how else to say it. I wasn’t about to act like she was my babysitter. I was seventeen for
Her whistling continued.
“Really, what is it?” I wasn’t about to let this go. Maybe she knew something about that
grove of oaks? Perhaps I wasn’t losing what little brain I had?
“Now don’t you go thinking I’m dim, but there are odd things about Greneley. Things
that can’t be explained.”
“The Green Man.”
She started whistling again. I’d offended her. Why couldn’t I just be polite?
“I’m sorry. Tell me, please. I believe you. I want to know.”
Her whistling ceased and she turned to face me, wiping her hands on her apron. “The
Green Man. Most Englishmen will tell you it’s an old myth. Part man, part tree. Vegetation
sprouting from his mouth and nose and all sorts of nonsense. Most think he’s a harmless story
from our pagan past.” THIS STARTS GETTING INTERESTING AGAIN WITH THE GREEN MAN STUFF.
That face I’d seen had appeared right out of that ginormous oak tree in the grove. But he
didn’t have leaves coming out of his face or anything.
Had I actually seen someone or not?
And about that vine… I looked toward the door, wondering if I should find Mom at the
inn where her and Dad were staying—what a weird situation that was—and snag another pill.
Perhaps a dose wouldn’t hurt ole Dulc either. WOULDN'T SHE WANT TO GO BACK THERE AND INVESTIGATE, NOT JUST TAKE A PILL?
Dulcie turned the water off, wiped the pan with a ragged dishcloth, and set it on the
counter to finish drying.
Or because she didn’t want to wait to tell me more.
With a screech, she pulled out the chair opposite me and sat. Her fat yet somehow
muscley arms formed an X over her chest. Her eyes narrowed. “Three or four girls have
disappeared into that wood.” GOOD, MAYBE START WITH THEM DISCUSSING THE GREEN MAN AND LOSE ALL THE WAKING UP STUFF TOTALLY
I swallowed. No way. My heart continued to thump like the bass in one of Anna’s
favorite little hip hop ditties. “When? Like, recently?”
“No,” she conceded, “over time. The last just after World War II. Girl your age went for
a picnic. All they found of her was a shoe. Two meters up a Scots Pine.”
A shiver rattled my joints. HOW OLD IS SHE? NOT SURE TEENS ARE EVEN AWARE OF THEIR JOINTS, ARE THEY? I bit my lip, trying to listen and not freak out. Maybe I really
had seen that guy? I clenched my freezing fists to stop my shaking.
“Now, tell me,” Dulcie said. “How did that shoe get there? The girl was no monkey.” She
looked down her nose at me. Well, she tried to. I was a good head taller than Dulcie. “Girls
didn’t clamber about like you do now.”
My heart continued its pumping, through my legs, in my bare feet. It was wild. I couldn’t
even think about disappearing girls and shoes and the face in the forest with all of its thwopping
around. “Do you hear that? Can you feel that?”
I knew I was crazy lady again asking her the question, but I couldn’t stand it. And I
should probably find out if I was experiencing some sort of nasty reaction to Mom’s peach pills.
Dulcie scowled at me and pursed her lips. “No. No, I…” She gazed out the window,
forgetting about me altogether.
Well, fantastic. I was about the spend the first week of a lovely summer as the neighbor
of an admittedly hot, yet psycho forest killer who just happened to enjoy going after girls the
same age as me. Oh, and, to top that all off, everyone had a pet name for Mr. Killer.
The Green Man.
Okay, if he was real, which I was not completely convinced of yet, I wasn’t about to wait
around to see if he snatched me up like I was in some stupid teen horror flick. I licked the egg off
my lip and headed for my room.
Thanks so much, Carolyn. I think I'm going to open the chapter with a different poem or excerpt so readers don't have to be hit with a rough switch from serious to "wacky." Thanks again!
Hi, Alisha. This is my first go at "Pimp My Scene". I'm in "First Pages" mode, which could be why I agree with CCC about the opening. I love the descriptions but they don't really get the plot moving -- which is probably more acceptable by chapter four, but still, this is a bit slow. Plus, since I haven't read your anything else from the MS, I thought the tone here was definitely light and funny, so if you're going for "serious"
as you say above, this could really pull your readers out of that. Still, I like it. I'm confused about whether the Green Man freaked the girl out so much she's popping pills or whether she is determined to get to the bottom of the this whole thing and is ready to go investigate. And he's "hot" -- well, you have something decidedly interesting here!
Thanks for your comments, Stephanie. I'm going to rework the beginning of this chapter bc while I think it's okay to be a little more relaxed in this area of the story, I don't want any superfluous chunks floating about. The mood moves in and out of serious and I think that's one thing that's difficult to crit in these circumstances. I have to run now, but thanks again!!Alisha
Sorry it took me so long to get here. I really love your premise! It's very fresh in such a saturated genre :)
I agree with Carolyn's comment about cutting out the 'wake up' part. I would work on your character's actions. Some of the lines read more like she's observing herself rather than actually doing it eg My eyelids flapped open like overpulled window shades. It's a great line but it feels a bit distant to me.
I'm also a bit confused about the 'pill' thing but i'm sure it makes sense in context :)
Thanks for looking at my chapter, Trinity. I'll rewrite that first part--I do agree with you ladies. And I'll fix my POV slips too. Thanks for noting that. Can you maybe tell me what confused you about the pill part? I just had her take a couple of her mom's anxiety pills bc that's what I would do if I saw something that completely freaked me out. Were you wondering how she got the pills or why she was taking them or something else entirely?
Thank you again for your help!
I think what confused me was the line about her heart pounding so hard she was glad for the pills but then she wondered if her heart was pounding so hard because of the pills then she takes more pills to stop her heart pounding that morning. Does that make sense?
Gotcha. I might just take that whole thing out. On to revisions! Thanks again!