The Castle By The River

The Castle By The River

A Story by Zoe
"

Kinda true.

"
    It was just another night. The crescent ruled the sky. Winds blew heavy. The usually-calm river emanated high tides and it's water created a rumpus. With the assistance of the dim moonlight, came into view the huge palatial building that stood imposingly by the river. 
    Seeming more or less like a castle, it was indeed a true epitome of the rich, archaic architectural style. Several turrets adorned the main part of the building; the building which people so dearly addressed as 'Constantia'. The Constantia housed the tomb of its creator, a Major General in the French army, and in later years, the British. Not many people were allowed near the tomb; though the journalists had free access to it. 
    The night maintained it's wonted thick darkness; the only source of artificial light being the riparian street light. The castle was painted a dull shade of yellow. The winds caused the open windows of the castle to bang against its walls; the walls chipping off at places due to their continuous exposure to the agents of weathering for over a century. Saving the noisy flow of the river water, the night had another factor of distinction. A short human figure stood looking out of the window on the turret facing the river. The clock ticked ten and Nigel, like the other boys, was supposed to be in bed. The rumours that had been doing rounds among the occupants of the building since time unknown were getting to him. He was disturbed, deeply disturbed to hear the others talk about their dwelling being patronised by spirits. In his eyes, all his peers had gone berserk. The fact that the matrons were being ignorant towards the rumours irritated him all the more.
    His eyes did not even show a hint of drowsiness as he looked out of the window in deep contemplation. All the rumours went on playing in his head over and over again. He also thought about the new kid who had arrived that very day and who was already mastering the character of his fellows. He had been reciting to Nigel and the others a new set of tales about the place, tales which were unheard of and were, most probably, a creation of his. Nigel just thought him to be another attention seeker and his thoughts again jumped back to the rumours.
    He could not help but move his eyes from the running water that flowed down the river. Before he could comprehend the strangeness of the sight, his mind went numb and he was staring right into a great mass of thick white mist. It seemed to have materialised from the river; it was slowly taking shape, roughly the shape of a human. The mist gently floated along the banks of the river. It seemed forever until the mist finally disappeared into the darkness of the night and Nigel's senses came into being again. He was panting. He took a step back in amazement from the window and felt a sudden urgency to talk to the 'new kid'. It was the moment he realised that his life would never be the same again...

© 2017 Zoe



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Author's Note

Zoe
Not really happy with it. Still, I'd love to know what you all think about it. All feedback appreciated.

My Review

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Featured Review

Why aren't you happy with it? This is very nice. The wonderful way you described everything with just enough detail and your perfect use of words is a strong invitation to continue reading. I don't have any corrections, i think it's really good the way it is.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Aw, thank you, Avia. It means a lot :)



Reviews

I think this is an amazing piece of writing. You have used so many interesting describing words. I even learned a couple of new ones! You built up a great deal of tension and I felt like this could be just chapter one of a great adventure. The sign of a great writer, you left me wanting more. :) Thanks for sharing.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thank you for your kind words, Andronicus. It means a lot :)
*His eyes did not even show a hint of drowsiness as he looked out of the window in deep contemplation.*

I find your writing style to be vivid and flowing...

I will say this... Imagine your readers attention span for each page... Imagine how they would read and intake each sentence... You do not want to "tire-out" your use of descriptive phrases and words...

An example would be:
*The night maintained it's wonted thick darkness; the only source of artificial light being the riparian street light.*

*The night maintained its thick darkness; the only source of light being the riparian street light*

Something along these lines, as I am not saying what is "correct" or "incorrect"... Just suggestions...

Better to focus down and avoid redundant phrasing... As it is already implied the light is artificial ( a street lamp, duh), you do not NEED it, and thus can "save" that word, and make life easier and smoother on the reader... Etc, Etc...

Hope any of that helped... Otherwise a very engaging and pulling read... Mysterious, and makes me want to know more... That cliff-hangar, though... Hah

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

It did help. Thanks for reading and reviewing, Silente! I truly appreciate it
Why aren't you happy with it? This is very nice. The wonderful way you described everything with just enough detail and your perfect use of words is a strong invitation to continue reading. I don't have any corrections, i think it's really good the way it is.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Aw, thank you, Avia. It means a lot :)
I agree with other reviewers who said this seems like it could be the start of a longer work. I like a lot of the descriptions, though I feel they could be connected more.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thanks, Clifford! Hopefully I'll do better in my next write.
The words describing and building the images of the castle are so good. Great job :)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thank you, Suhd! I appreciate it
I agree with Doodley, that this could be the beginning of a much longer story. There are several things that could be developed, bringing the 'intrigue' together.,.. the weather, who is at the castle, the identity of the boy, the 'rumours', the new kid, and the spooky experience of the 'ghost' on the river. And a conclusion!
However, as it is, your story is ok, in fact good. It atmospherically builds up to the end 'his life would never be the same again'. Well done.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

I agree. This didn't come out as well as I wanted it to. I had intended it to be just a short story,.. read more
Great Aunt Astri

1 Month Ago

Give it a try.
Zoe

1 Month Ago

I will. Thanks again.
It was indeed beautiful
The way you described the castle and the Agony of the rumour..........

Lovely Piece!
Keep it up!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thanks, Pragati! I appreciate the comment.
• It was just another night.

With this, you kill the story. If it’s true, and it’s a nothing special night, you’re starting the story in the wrong place. Readers are seeking to be entertaining, and “just another night” can’t entertain.

But more then that, you tell the reader, with this, that we’re not with the character. Instead, a storyteller we can’t either see or here is talking to us ABOUT the story instead of making us feel as if we are living it.

Readers aren’t seeking to learn what happened. That’s history, and history is boring. When we read fiction we’re seeking to be entertained by being made to experience the events. A reader doesn’t want to know the protagonist has fallen in love, they want to be made to fall in love for the same reason the protagonist does. A horror reader wants to be made to be afraid to turn off the lights, not learn that the character feels fear.

Why do I spend so much time on this? Because this is the single point that trips most hopeful writers. An acquiring editor, seeing this as an opening line will stop reading right there, because it shows that you’re telling the story as if the reader can hear the emotion in your voice. But they can neither hear that, nor see your expression, gesture, or body language.

• The crescent ruled the sky. Winds blew heavy. The usually-calm river emanated high tides and it's water created a rumpus

At this point, the reader doesn’t know where we are in time and space. They don’t know who we are, or what’s going on. They don’t know if we’re inside and looking out, or outside—male of female, young or old. So why would they want to know the weather and the state of the tide of an unknown place?

What you’re doing is setting the scene as a storyteller. In person, it’s necessary. But on the page, where you have actors who are ready and willing to live the story, what matters to a reader isn’t what you visualize. It’s what matters to-the-protagonist. It is, after all, their story.

So stop talking about generalities, like “A short human figure stood looking out of the window.” If we don’t know who it is, why they’re there, and why it matters; if we don’t know who’s noticing him/her and how they react, there’s no reason to mention them.

Story happens. And it happens in real-time. It’s not talked about by an invisible someone whose voice we can’t hear. Authors of reports and histories talk about the highlights, and present overview. They explain. You need to entertain the reader, and facts can’t do that, they only inform.

The problem you face is that the writing skills you own are the ones we’re all given in school, coupled with the storytelling skills you use when someone says, “So how was your day?” But they can’t work on the page, because we learn only nonfiction skills in our school days, and storytelling is a performance art, where how you speak the words of the story, and things like facial expression, gesture, and body language matter just as much as what you say. But on the page there is only the wording, so a different skill-set is needed. As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And we all leave school with a whole lot of “just ain’t so,” when it comes to fiction. Our medium is very different from film, stage, and verbal storytelling. So we need to learn what those differences are, and how to make them work for us.

This article, a condensation of one technique for presenting a strong viewpoint, is just one of the issues we need to know about:
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php

Chew on it for a time, till it makes sense. Used well, the technique can make the writing so real that when someone swings at our protagonist the reader will duck. And if you think the trick is worth knowing more about pick up the book it was condensed from: Dwight Swain’s, Techniques of the Selling Writer. It’s filled with such things, and is the best book on writing technique I’ve found.

Why does viewpoint matter so much? Look at the same scene as seen from different viewpoints, to see how the story changes as the needs and perception of the protagonist change:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-grumpy-writing-coach-8/

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

I understand. Thank you for your time and the constructive review. Means a lot!
A great start, Zoe!

Makes for a thrilling prologue for a much longer story. It made me think of my time staring at the Taj Mahal, with the river behind it and the unfinished foundations of the mysterious 'Second Taj' on the opposite bank. Your castle is full of mystery just like the story of the 'Second Taj'.

I enjoyed this one very much. Your vocabulary and use of description is getting even better with every passing story you write. I hope to read about what the 'New Kid' has to reveal.

Wonderful work.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Haha, it's not very famous. Hang on, I'll just send you the name of the place. I don't really want t.. read more
Doodley

1 Month Ago

Aha! Not the Constantia.....makes sense now.
Zoe

1 Month Ago

The building is called Constantia. But the place collectively is called something else.
sounds beautiful zoe,a castle on the beach,the light,it all blended well

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thank you, wordman! I truly appreciate the review.
 wordman

1 Month Ago

my pleasure zoe

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Added on October 21, 2017
Last Updated on October 22, 2017

Author

Zoe
Zoe

India



About
Hey there! I am a fourteen-year old girl, a fantasist, an aspiring fiction writer and yes, how can I forget, a proud Martinian! I love to read and write fiction. It makes me jump with enthusiasm when .. more..

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