Character Introduction (Currently ~320 words, Warning for light sexual activity)

Karn's Return

I'm a pineapple
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#1
I don't post here in Critiques too often, but this is an important project, and I need just a little guidance with how to go about laying a solid foundation for this character. A warning







Phazira treaded the plush carpet of the halls. Portraits of ancestors lined both walls, their glowing red, green, and orange eyes seeming to pierce the souls of those they looked upon, but these, and the other decorations, she ignored. She heard loud sounds coming from her mother’s room, and, grasping a doll tightly in her hand, she approached, slowly heading down the hall to investigate.

“Mama, are you alright?” she asked softly. She pushed the door to her mother’s room open a crack and peered inside.

The girl’s mother was on her back, letting out moans as a strange man laid on top of her. Both of them had their clothes off, and they were holding each other, letting out moans as the man on top made strange thrusting movements.

“Mama, what are you doing?” the girl asked, pushing the door open.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!” her mother screamed. The man on top of the woman let out a yelp and jumped off, covering himself with a pillow and backing up to the wall.

“Why are you naked Mama? What’s going on!?!” the girl shouted.

“GET OUT!!!” Her mother shrieked. She grabbed a large crystal off the nightstand nearby, throwing it at the girl. It hit the girl in the nose and the child let out a scream, crying. Dark, thick ichor oozed from her nose, eliciting a cry from the girl. She stared at her mother in horror and took off back to her room, sobbing.


“Phazira, who did that to you?” a kind, quiet voice asked in concern.

“What?” The dark elf girl looked up at the old cook.

“Who hurt you?”

“Oh…” Phazira clenched her doll with a death hug. “Mama…I…” Tears came to her eyes.

“Your mother did that to you?” The cook’s eyes widened. “Here. Let’s go wash your face off and I’ll see about getting you some cookies or something, alright?”
 

Brian G Turner

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#2
We're very distant from everything - the descriptions are objective, and there's no character insight here. If the girl is a POV character, might she not think the man was hurting mama? How much she feel when she's chased from the room? How might she feel when the cook gives her sympathy?
 

janeoreilly

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#4
I would also look at the use of POV - this isn't a close enough POV, so the reader isn't really inside the child's head (which echoes Brian's point). It reads a bit like the POV is an external observer.
 

Kerrybuchanan

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#5
Echoing both the above. You could bring the POV closer by getting rid of filter words and phrases, such as, “she heard loud sounds”. It would be more immediate if you said, for example, “A scream sent icy fingers of fear down the girl’s spine, and the deep moan that followed had her running towards her mother’s room, clutching her doll tight to her chest...”

Yeah, I know. Melodramatic crap, but you get the gist?

BUT I did want to find out more about the dark elf child, so I would have read on. I would have liked to know the girl’s name though, I think.
 

Karn's Return

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#7
Some light revision here...





Phazira hummed to herself as she brushed back the hair on her dolly, singing a soft song as she looked down at the toy. “Now, Tiki, you have to remember to wash your hair every day so it can be nice and clean for braids,” she told the doll softly, wrapping the doll’s hair into tight double braids. She smiled widely at her handiwork briefly, as a loud, high-pitched scream echoing from her mother‘s room caused her to jolt and she let out a small yelp of surprise at the sound. Clutching her doll tightly in one hand, she approached slowly, heading down the hall to investigate, treading the plush carpet of the halls softly.

“Mama?” she asked softly. She pushed the door to her mother’s room open a crack and peered inside.

The girl’s mother was on her back, letting out moans as a strange man laid on top of her. Both of them had their clothes off, and they were holding each other, letting out moans as the man on top made strange thrusting movements.

“What are you doing? What’s going on here? What are you doing to Mama?!?” she shrieked, shoving the door open. She raced inside, letting out a cry as she jumped at the strange man, hammering on him with her fists.

“Get off me, you little bitch!” the man yelled. He shoved Phazira back, causing her to fall back into the wall. Phazira howled in pain and jumped back at him, resuming her assault on the man.

“What are you doing to Mama!?!” she repeated as she pounded on him.

“GET OUT!!!” Her mother shrieked. She grabbed a large crystal off the nightstand nearby, throwing it at the girl. It hit the girl in the nose and the child let out a scream, crying. Dark, thick ichor oozed from her nose, eliciting a cry of pain from the girl. She stared at her mother in horror and took off back to her room, sobbing.



“Phazira, who did that to you?” a kind, quiet voice asked in concern.

Phazira didn’t answer, instead burying her face in the old woman’s apron, sobbing as the cook wrapped her arms around the girl.

“Who hurt you?” the old woman asked.

Phazira clenched the old woman in a death hug. “Mama…she…I heard…” Tears came to her eyes.

“Your mother did that to you?” The cook’s eyes widened. “Here, Miss Phazira, let’s go wash your face off and I’ll see about getting you some cookies or something, alright?” She gently led the young girl into the kitchen.

Phazira sniffled and nodded. “T-thank you, Miss Lorraine,” she answered softly. Tears continued to flow from her eyes and she sniffled, her nose sounding like a saw cutting wood as she sucked blood down her esophagus. She climbed up onto a small stool in front of the sink, with the old cook setting her doll on the counter as Phazira washed the blood off her face.

“Here, sweetie,” Lorraine stated, setting the girl down in a chair. She poured Phazira a small glass of milk and set a plate down, placing a pair of cookies on. “Tell me what happened.”

Phazira wiped her eyes off with the sleeve of her nightgown, smiling up gently at Lorraine as she took a bite of a cookie.
 

tinkerdan

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#8
This is an interesting piece.
I think it might require more to help explain some missing variables.
But first let's address some redundancy.

The girl’s mother was on her back, letting out moans as a strange man laid on top of her. Both of them had their clothes off, and they were holding each other, letting out moans as the man on top made strange thrusting movements.
In the first sentence you have made it clear that the man was on top so saying that again later is a waste of words and not necessary.

I have no sympathy for the mother and I'm not sure what type of impression you mean to give, but there are some questions.

If there is a child in the home then such actions would warrant locking the door. The mothers response seems more likely one that might come after making such precautions and then having them subverted by a child that is clever enough to get past the lock. Either way why is the door unlocked?

With that in mind the response from mom seems over the top as it isn't the child's fault she left her door unlocked.

Just something to think about. There doesn't have to be a reason if your mom is just cruel and unusual.

Depending on the age of the child--the description strange thrusting movements may be considered over the top or even an out of reach description.

Just another thought--I can't account for your character's intelligence at this point in the story.
 

Karn's Return

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#9
Well, there are some reasons for the mother's response, but those are supposed to come into play later...


Good point with the door lock, I might have to have it that the bedroom door doesn't actually have a lock, though I really don't know how I'd put that bit of info in without it sounding clunky or forced, thanks for bringing that up. Edited out the second mention of the man being on top of the mother too there. :)


If all goes to plan, the girl's father won't be any better...as I said, this is a very important project for me, so I'll probably be posting more here as time goes on. :eek: I have big plans for Phazira.
 

Kerrybuchanan

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#10
I do believe I have mentioned the girl's name there...
Oops. So you did! I'm using old age as an excuse...

I think the second piece is stronger, but (and I take responsibility for this. Mea culpa), this time there are maybe too many mentions of her name, at least in the last paragraph. Perhaps you're just making sure the less observant among us don't miss it this time around!

This version feels a bit closer, but be careful not to weaken it with too many adjectives and adverbs. As always, this is just my opinion, and I'm far from being the best writer here.

Phazira hummed to herself as she brushed back the hair on her dolly, singing a soft song as she looked down at the toy. “Now, Tiki, you have to remember to wash your hair every day so it can be nice and clean for braids,”I like this opening she told the doll softly, wrapping the doll’s hair into tight double braids. She smiled widely at her handiwork briefly, as a loud, high-pitched scream echoing from her mother‘s room caused her to jolt and she let out a small yelp of surprise at the sound. Clutching her doll tightly in one hand, she approached slowly, heading down the hall to investigate, treading the plush carpet of the halls softly.

“Mama?” she asked softly. Third 'softly' in a short excerpt She pushed the door to her mother’s room open a crack and peered inside.

The girl’s mother was on her back, letting out moans as a strange man laid on top of her. Both of them had their clothes off, and they were holding each other, letting out moans as the man on top made strange thrusting movements.

“What are you doing? What’s going on here? What are you doing to Mama?!?” she shrieked, shoving the door open. She raced inside, letting out a cry as she jumped at the strange man, hammering on him with her fists.

“Get off me, you little bitch!” the man yelled. He shoved Phazira back, causing her to fall back into the wall. Phazira howled in pain and jumped back at him, resuming her assault on the man.

“What are you doing to Mama!?!” she repeated as she pounded on him.

“GET OUT!!!” Her mother shrieked. She grabbed a large crystal off the nightstand nearby, throwing it at the girl. It hit the girl in the nose and the child let out a scream, crying. Dark, thick ichor oozed from her nose, eliciting a cry of pain from the girl. She stared at her mother in horror and took off back to her room, sobbing.



“Phazira, who did that to you?” a kind, quiet voice asked in concern.

Phazira didn’t answer, instead burying her face in the old woman’s apron, sobbing as the cook wrapped her arms around the girl.

“Who hurt you?” the old woman asked.

Phazira clenched the old woman in a death hug. “Mama…she…I heard…” Tears came to her eyes.

“Your mother did that to you?” The cook’s eyes widened. “Here, Miss Phazira, let’s go wash your face off and I’ll see about getting you some cookies or something, alright?” She gently led the young girl into the kitchen.

Phazira sniffled and nodded. “T-thank you, Miss Lorraine,” she answered softly. Tears continued to flow from her eyes and she sniffled, her nose sounding like a saw cutting wood as she sucked blood down her esophagus. She climbed up onto a small stool in front of the sink, with the old cook setting her doll on the counter as Phazira washed the blood off her face.

“Here, sweetie,” Lorraine stated, setting the girl down in a chair. She poured Phazira a small glass of milk and set a plate down, placing a pair of cookies on. “Tell me what happened.”

Phazira wiped her eyes off with the sleeve of her nightgown, smiling up gently at Lorraine as she took a bite of a cookie.
 

Karn's Return

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#11
Yeah, I do tend to overuse adverbs...I know it's one of my flaws in writing, but I get stuck in the editing process by honestly not really knowing what would sound better. XD That's why it's up here, to get more trained eyes upon it.


I do see what you mean with the adverbs...I need to remember the showing not telling part of character development...well, it'll get edited down again. :D Thanks again peeps for the kind criticisms here, exactly what I need. Hmm...


Removed many of the adverbs used, as I looked it over.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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#12
Hi Karn - Long time no crit :)

I haven't read other comments so forgive repetition.

Usual things apply for the R B G comments in the quote.

I don't post here in Critiques too often, but this is an important project, and I need just a little guidance with how to go about laying a solid foundation for this character. A warning


Phazira treaded the plush carpet of the halls. Portraits of ancestors lined both walls, their glowing (do you mean they actually glow) red, green, and orange eyes seeming to pierce the souls of those they looked upon, but these, and the other decorations , she ignored. She heard loud sounds coming from her mother’s room, and, grasping a (her) doll tightly in her hand, she approached, the door slowly heading down the hall to investigate.

“Mama, are you alright?” she asked softly. as She pushed the door to her mother’s room open a crack and peered (peeked maybe) inside.

The girl’s mother was on her back, letting out moans moaning as a strange man laid on top of her (would she be able to see the that the man was a stranger). Both of them had their clothes off, and they were holding grasping each other, letting out moans (established above) as the man on top (as before, established above) made strange thrusting movements.

“Mama, what are you doing?” the girl asked, pushing the door open.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!” (maybe drop the capitals) her mother screamed. The man on top of the woman (established) let out a yelp (seems a bit weak load grunt of frustration would be more like) and jumped off (difficult acrobatics given his position) rolled off her mother, covering himself with a pillow and backing up to the wall.

“Why are you naked Mama? (The usual is "why is that man hurting you") What’s going on!?!” the girl shouted.

“GET OUT!!!”( again drop the capitals the !!! (?) shrieked says it all) Her mother shrieked. She grabbed a large crystal off the nightstand nearby, throwing it at the girl (Unlikely, unless this is a totally loveless relationship - step daughter or the like. Mothers usually want to protect and assure nothing bad is happening). It hit the girl in the nose and the child let out a scream, crying. Dark, thick ichor oozed from her nose, eliciting a cry from the girl. She stared at her mother in horror and took off back to her room, sobbing.

“Phazira, who did that to you?” a kind, quiet voice asked in concern. (more likely to be loudly again protection like)

“What?” The dark elf girl (abit late for descriptions and it detracts here IMO) looked up at the old cook.

“Who hurt you?”

“Oh…” Phazira clenched her doll with a death ( ?? ) hug. “Mama…I…” Tears came to her eyes.

“Your mother did that to you?” The cook’s eyes widened. “Here. Let’s go wash your face off and I’ll see about getting you some cookies or something, alright?” (the relationship here seems more caring a hug and a there there wouldn't be out of place - Cookies - always welcome obviously but a bit odd here :) )
To me this seems a bit distant. The mother/bloke show no signs of embarassment or concern for the girl, which would be the norm in a loving environment. If it isn't the man would ranting about his "disatisfaction" rather than backing up against the wall.

"Get that stinking brat out of here" kind of reaction.

The cook would (unless she's a heartless bitch) also show more concern and ask more questions. Or at least surprise at why the mother chose to hurt her daughter - again IMO.

On the other hand I think as a "dodgy" scene is has just enough to make it acceptable - and is handled well given the tricky business of sex in fiction. So for that I think its quite good.

Not sure what a death hug is for a doll :)

Hope I helped


Tein
 

Karn's Return

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#13
Death hug was the first term I came up with there. XD It sounded appropriate for the kind of bear-clamp squeeze Phazira would place on the doll.


As for "loving environment", that's the thing, context is important, and I specifically want this to be a not loving environment for Phazira. This is meant to be the start of years of physical, emotional, and perhaps even sexual abuse towards her, ultimately culminating in a certain kind of character. I suppose I didn't get far enough, but that's the crux of the thing, balance. I wanted good opinions before going too far, yet the context of what is meant to come later on is what would fit this all together, I suppose...

The cook is a good point here. I shall indeed need to expand on that part. Lorraine here is meant to be the one caring, loving character of everyone who's going to be involved...
 

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