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Red
May 24th, 2012, 10:35 PM
Prologue:

Ashley

I’m going to start my story off with the day that I died.


My parents always told me that if I were a good girl, I would go to Heaven. I believed them. And I spent the first few years of my life trying to act like a little angel for my family. Then when I grew older they told me about Hell, and how the bad would go there when they died. I suppose it was their way of trying to convince me to never misbehave.


Then I reached my teenage years, and my good girl streak came to an end. Let's just say I was messed up. Seriously, seriously messed up. Drug addictions will do that to you. And before you make assumptions: it wasn't the drugs that killed me, though they should have.


I lost weight, and my usual clean, shiny hair became dull. My brown curls looked like they hadn’t seen shampoo in weeks. Dark shadows appeared under my eyes even though I slept over sixteen hours a day, refusing to get out of bed unless it meant buying more drugs off my so-called friends. Within a month I had spent all the money saved in my bank account.


Wasn't long before my parents figured out what was going on and, as usual, we argued. But this fight wasn’t like the others. I was swearing at my mom when my father stepped forward and backhanded me across the face. I staggered and dropped to my knees as my father stared at his hand in shock, as if it had acted without his permission.


For a while, none of us moved or made a sound. Then, I looked up at my parents and jumped to my feet, running for the door.


My car sat on the side of the street, unlocked. I got in and grabbed the keys from my pocket, shoved them into the ignition and slammed my foot on the gas, ignoring my parents’ cries as they ran after me. Tears poured down my face and over my swollen cheek as I drove to the outskirts of town. I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t care. Anywhere was better than here.


It was't until I reached the railroad tracks that I noticed the black sedan speeding towards me. But by then it was too late. The car had been driving alongside the tracks, and behind it were the red and blue lights of police vehicles. The driver clearly had no intentions of pulling over, and as far as I could tell, he had decided that my car wasn’t going to stop him and send him to prison. I braced for what was coming, but nothing could really prepare me for what happened next.


The car made impact, and my crushed car was pushed off of the road and into a ditch, where it spun and flipped out of control. I was thrown from the car, and somewhere along the way I thought, Crap, I really should have worn a seatbelt. . . Everything whirled around me in a blur, and continued doing so until my body slammed into a tree. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything at that point; my body had pretty much gone numb as soon as my head snapped back and shattered a window.


From where I lay I could see the other driver’s car. The front of his sedan was completely smashed in and now the guy was trying to make a run for it, but his legs collapsed underneath him. I saw the blood that covered half of his face and felt sick. I would have puked, but my body didn't even have the strength to heave.


Police closed in and cuffed the guy, while other officers headed down the slope towards me. Looking around, I wondered if I managed to land in the city dump; to my right sat a pile of smoking metal. Then I groaned, realizing that smoking pile of metal was my car. Shit, I loved that car. Dad's gonna kill me. I preferred the dump theory. After looking at the sad remains of my vehicle, I decided it was time to check out my own injuries.


Surprisingly, I could move. Barely. My head lifted a bit off the ground so I could get a look at myself. For some reason, what I saw made me laugh. Then my laughter turned into coughing, and blood sprayed from my mouth.


I was beat up. Worse than I had thought, considering I felt nothing. My right arm was gone. All that remained was a bloody stump right below the elbow, and I could see white bone poking through. My pants were torn to shreds, and what I could see of my legs was either bloody or bruised. I raised my left arm and stared at the broken pieces of glass in my hand, then saw my reflection staring back at me. I didn’t even look like myself with all of the blood that covered my face. It was making my vision go red.


When I went to lower my arm, the glass in my hand reflected the top of my head back to me, and what I saw had me whimpering. Most of my scalp had been completely scraped away, and all that was visible beneath the blood was muscle tissue and, underneath that, my skull.


My arm dropped weakly to the ground, and I stared up at the night sky. Then I did something I hadn’t done in years; I prayed. And as I prayed my eyes slowly began to close.


An officer reached my broken body as my eyes lost focus and shut completely. I heard a male voice say “no pulse” and then there was nothing.


My last thought was, Where’s the light? I hadn’t been too bad of a girl, so why was I not seeing a light to guide me to Heaven? There was no way I wasn’t going to Heaven. No freaking way. I told myself that if death were pure nothingness, I would somehow find a way to kill myself. Even though that made zero sense, it was better than thinking I was stuck in this darkness for eternity. Then, suddenly, I did know that I was going to Heaven.


What I didn’t know was that I would have to endure Hell first.

Red
May 25th, 2012, 12:26 AM
Chapter One:

Ashley

“Hey you, wake up.” Someone tapped my shoulder, but I ignored it. I was having an interesting dream; no way I could wake up now. “Hey! You need to wake up!” The tapping turned into shaking.

“Stop,” I mumbled groggily. Just five more minutes, please? I begged silently. I have to know what’ll happen next in my dream.

“Ashley, wake up!”

At the sound of my name I darted up into a sitting position and smacked heads with the person in front of me.

“Ouch!” they shouted. I cried out something similar as our foreheads collided painfully.

I groaned and rubbed the bump forming above my eye before looking up at the boy who had interrupted my dream, and then coiled back in fear. “Who the hell are you?!” I shouted. My eyes went wide. “And what are you doing in my room?!”

The boy removed his hand from a bump similar to mine that had appeared along his eyebrow. Before he spoke, he shook his head slightly, causing his dyed hair to fall in a tangled heap over his eyes. It wasn’t even a realistic looking dye; his hair was so black that at the right angle it became blue. From the looks of his pale skin and black attire I guessed that he had to be emo. That or gothic. I guarantee his iPod is filled with screamo bands that sing about how unfair life is. But as far as depressed teenagers go, I had to admit that the dark style worked on him. A chain fell from the waistband of his tight black jeans, and he wore a black button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Just from what I could see of his forearms told me that he had a muscular body hidden under all that black. “Wow,” he said, smiling slightly. “You new animas are all alike, aren’t you?”

“Excuse me?” I spun around, searching for the exit to my room and preparing my lungs to scream bloody murder. But it wasn’t my room I saw around me. It was Mars. If not that, a pretty good idea of what it would be like to step on the red planet. Looking down, I noticed that I was sitting on orange sand. Or dirt. Or something vaguely in between. Either way, the orange surface spread out around me. Behind the boy I could make out distant mountains that varied in height. On either side of me there was nothing but the sand; it was like sitting in the middle of the Sahara desert. I looked up, shading my eyes with my hand. High above me the sky swirled with red-tinted clouds that barely blocked out the blinding sun. I glanced over my shoulder to see what lay behind me and felt my eyes widen as I took in the ginormous trees that stretched for miles to my left and right. A freakin’ forest on Mars, who knew? “Where am I?” I narrowed my eyes at the boy.

“Before you go crazy with questions . . .” He stood and bowed clumsily, then made things even creepier by winking at me. I scooted farther away from him. I don’t know if he didn’t notice or didn’t care, but a huge grin spread across his face from ear to ear. “My name is Tate, pleasure to meet you. And you are Ashley, or Ash, correct?”

“Yeah. . .” I eyed him uneasily. “Are you some sort of stalker?” His chuckle should have allowed me to relax, but I only tensed more.

“No worries, I’m not a stalker. I just get curious whenever the new animas arrive.” There was that word again.

“Why do you keep calling me an anima? What is it?”

“You are, of course,” he answered. “Same as me, and pretty much everyone else you find walking around here.”

I frowned. Clearly, this was one of those stubborn teenage boys who liked the fact that they were smarter than the girl in front of them. “And we are . . .?”

“I just told you, you’re an anima.” Yep, the boy was even slower than I had originally thought.

“No, I mean, like, what’s the definition of an anima?” I held my breath, worrying he’d respond with a simple “you”, but luckily he didn’t.

“Well, I think it’s a different language. Latin maybe? It might mean soul. It might mean human. Heck, it might even mean walrus cock.”

“You’re not right in the head, are you?” I asked him seriously. The boy smiled slyly and nodded. “Wonderful. My stalker rides the short bus. So tell me, anima, why do you keep calling us that?”

Tate’s smile left his face and he stared at me for a second before doubling over in laughter, like I had just told a joke at a party. “You’re kidding, right?” When I didn’t respond, he stood up straight and the smile left his face. “Sorry, I keep forgetting you just got here. Anima is what we call all the dead people who arrive here. Don’t ask me why. As far as I know, the title was given to us hundreds of thousands of years ago.”

I held up my hands to silence him. He talked too much. “Stop,” I told him slowly. “Just . . . stop.” I took a deep breath. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Tate tilted his head to the side like a lost puppy. “I know, I know. Life sucks so let’s all die, blah, blah, blah. But I can assure you, you’re not dead yet. We’re not dead yet.”

The boy scratched his head uncomfortably. “Damn,” he whispered to himself. “This is the hard part. Why must there always be a hard part? Why can’t they ever―?”

“Tide,” I interrupted. “Or whatever your name is.”

“Tate,” he corrected.

“Right. Tate.” I stood up and brushed the orange dirt off of my backside before continuing. “I’m going to be honest for a second, okay? You’re freaking me out. Where the hell am I? What the hell am I doing here? And who the hell do you think you are to think it’s alright to kidnap me?!” My voice rose to a shout.

His eyes looked to the ground, refusing to meet mine. “Er, I know you’re confused. There’s a lot you don’t understand yet. But I can’t explain anything to you until you know you’re . . . well, until you know you’re dead.” He grinned weakly.

I remained silent for a minute and watched his eyes flicker over me, watching for any sign of a breakdown. Dead? That was ridiculous. I couldn’t be dead. I’d know if I were dead. God would be standing in front of me instead of this insane kid. I raised my eyebrows and burst out laughing.

When he noticed my reaction, he let out a hysterical giggle that turned into rolling on the ground laughter. Then I laughed even harder and fell to the ground, rolling around beside him in the orange sand.

“Why . . . are we . . . laughing?” Tate gasped between his chuckles. “I just told you that you’re dead. Do you find that humorous?”

I wiped a tear from my eye and laughed even harder. “No. The funny part is that you’re trying to make me believe that I’m dead.”

In a flash, Tate stopped laughing and his smile disappeared. “Um, about that . . . I wasn’t kidding.”

I stopped laughing and sat up. “Of course you are,” I said, looking at him. “I’m not dead. I think I’d know if I was dead.”

“Hmm.” Tate murmured in thought. “Yeah, that’s not exactly true.”

“Whatever you say, Tide.” I tried to hold back from laughing even more by biting my tongue. Tate stood up beside me and gave me a helping hand, pulling me up. He put his hands on my shoulders and leaned in to the point that I shifted uncomfortably.

“Let me guess,” he began seriously. “Your death was just a dream, right? You’d know if you were dead because your life would have flashed before your eyes and God would be greeting you into Heaven right now.”

The laughter in my stomach slowly vanished. The boy was right; I had died in my dream. But if I were truly dead, God would be taking me into his arms right now. And unless Tate was God, then this was no Heaven. “It was a dream though. And I know you aren’t God, so this can’t be Heaven. And it can’t be Hell because I was a good girl.”

Tate smirked. “A good girl, huh? Yes, well, I don’t think so.”

“You don’t know me,” I protested. “I was better than good; I was great.”

He shook his head and sighed. “No, sorry. The only reason you would have come here instead of going to Heaven is if you had committed at least seven sins during your time on Earth. And I don’t mean a little white lie; I’m talking about something major.”

“Well, yeah I’ve made mistakes, but I was still good.”

“Then why do you think you’re here?”

I gave him the most obvious answer. “Because I’m not dead.”

“Uh-huh. But the last time I checked, anyone who went to Hell was dead.”

“Stop,” I said. “I’ve had enough of this crap. Just take me home.”

“You can’t go back home, Ashley. None of us can,” he said with sad eyes.

“Why not? Why can’t I go back?”

“Because this is your home now.”

I frowned. “Is this rehab? Are my parents punishing me?”

Tate raised an eyebrow. “Rehab? No, no, no. Just Hell; simple as that.” I glared at him in annoyance. “Still don’t believe me?”

“No.”

“Alright,” he said hesitantly. “I didn’t want to have to show you this so soon, but since you’re so freaking stubborn, I really have no choice.” He began to walk toward the forest. I followed a few feet behind curiously. This ought to be good.

“What is it?” I asked. When he stopped I crossed my arms and watched him from a distance as he stood there, staring down into a filthy puddle of God-knows-what that lay at the base of a tree.

“Come and see for yourself.”

I shrugged and took two more steps to the edge of the puddle so that I stood beside Tate. “Now what?”

“Look down.”

I did as I was told and saw my reflection staring back at me with my crazy curls and green eyes. Boring. I looked over at Tate’s reflection and saw his blue eyes looking up at me. “Yeah, it’s us. So what?”

“The first time’s difficult. Just look harder, so that you’re almost squinting. It’s kind of like going to the eye doctor and trying to read the bottom letters of the chart without making a mistake.”

“Okay. . .” I tried again, this time squinting at our images. Nothing changed. “I still don’t—” The water rippled, and his and my image blurred. When the water calmed, I stared in horror at what I saw. “Holy shit!” I gasped, stumbling backwards and tripped over a root, then fell onto my bony butt. “What did you do to the images?” I got up just as quickly as I had fallen and backed away from the puddle carefully so I didn’t have to see what stared up at me.

What I had seen almost made me puke out my leftovers from earlier. The puddle had reflected a monster version of myself. Part of my head was missing, my right arm was completely gone, and blood coated my entire body. I started to shake.

“I didn’t do anything, Ashley. I just showed you what you looked like the moment you died.” I looked up at him and reached for my right arm and touched my scalp with my shaking fingers. “Don’t worry,” he assured me. “You don’t look like that here. The only place you see yourself like that is by reflection.” He smiled suddenly. “Perhaps you were a good girl after all; those who had a really bad life get to look like how they died whether it’s with their reflection or not. Lucky them. Just yesterday I passed by some dude who has to carry his decapitated head around until he get’s out of this hellhole.”

“What did you do to the images?” I repeated in shock, having not understood a word he just said. “Why did I look like that? Why was I all bloody?”

“Just think back,” he said calmly. “How did you die? It will explain what you saw.”

As much as I hated to do so, I thought back and remembered the car accident—the dream—or at least what I had thought was a dream. “There was a crash. Someone pushed my car off the side of the road,” I whispered. “Oh, God.” I felt hot tears roll down my cheeks.

Tate gave me a look of sympathy. “Hey, it’s alright, Ash. Being dead isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s almost not bad at all.”

“I’m dead,” I moaned as realization struck. My knees gave out and I fell onto the sand with my hands covering my face. “I can’t die yet, I’m too young. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’m only eighteen.” Arms wrapped around me, but I barely noticed them.

“Shh,” came Tate’s voice. “It’s okay. I know it doesn’t seem fair. I didn’t think it was fair either; I was only nineteen. That’s not even legal drinking age.”

I just sobbed even more, muttering, “Dead, dead, dead” over and over again as tears filled my cupped hands. “No.” And now to make things worse, a complete stranger was hugging me. “No, no, no.”

“Please don’t cry,” Tate begged quietly. “Please don’t. It will get better at some point. It’s almost like living, except . . . well, except for the fact that you’re dead. Oh crud, that really didn’t help at all, did it? But really, I promise you that things will get better, even though they seem pretty shitty at the moment. Stick with me, and we’ll be out of here in no time.”

“No,” I wept. “No, it won’t get any better. I’m dead, and I’m in Hell; nothing can get any worse than this.” Then the hairs on the back of my neck rose as an inhuman wailing sounded from somewhere behind us. Tate’s arms around me stiffened.

“Crap. You’re wrong about it not getting worse,” he whispered. “It’s about to get a lot worse.” He jumped up and pulled on my hand, dragging me away from the wailing and into the forest. “This way.”

Kyra
May 25th, 2012, 05:11 PM
Wow! Overall, this was a great story. No spelling errors, and no grammar errors I could see. Your attention to the emotions of Ashley during the car crash and when she began to realize she was dead were spot on, I could feel my own heart racing as I read every word! I don't think there is much to say improvement wise, just keep doing what you're doing and I can't wait to read the next part of this story!

Red
May 25th, 2012, 08:40 PM
*bows* Thanks for the comment, Kyra. And I've decided that you deserve an extra thanks for being the first person to give me feedback - so go you!

I won't add any more of the story until I get more feedback from other people because I worry that they will find it too much to read and just give up on it.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Abdul-fattah
May 26th, 2012, 12:22 AM
Very interesting storyline
Perhaps one thing:
I get why you want to go over the whole evolution from innocent girl to troubled teenager, but it's a big chunk to start off with, and it kind of gives the impression that the whole story will be a self-pitty story (which later turns out it isn't). So instead, how about just giving a small intro, progressing to the car accident, and then later on in the story, you could work in the history as she explains her past to Tate. You could use flashbacks, or she could be arguing that she doesn't belong in hell, or certain events in hell could confront her with her past. It also gives an extra touch of mystery; with the reader trying to figure out what she's in hell for.

Red
May 26th, 2012, 03:32 AM
Finally, some useful feedback! Thank you Abdul-fattah. I did as you said, so let me know if it helped. I knew there was something wrong with the intro, but until you put it into words I didn't quite know what to do with it. Hopefully this helps.

Gonzalothethird
May 26th, 2012, 05:02 AM
Wow intense! When I scrolled to the next reply I saw you posted a Chapter 1 (which I have yet to read) and I was like, what!? I thought the Prologue was a stand-alone short story! It reminded me of a short story I wrote years ago about experiencing death; something intriguing about it. Great work!

Potty
May 26th, 2012, 05:37 AM
Prologue:


Ashley


Iím going to start my story off with the day that I died. Good catchy start.

My parents always told me that if I were a good girl, I would go to Heaven. I believed them. And I spent the first few years of my life trying to act like a little angel for my family. Then when I grew older they told me about Hell, and how the bad would go there when they died. I suppose it was their way of trying to get me to stop misbehaving. Hold on, You just said she is acting like an angel, but they are still trying to get her to stop misbehaving? Maybe: "I suppose it was their way of weeding out what few bad habits I still had."

Then I reached my teenage years, and my good girl streak came to an end. But this isnít a self-pity tale, so Iíll get back to my breakdown later. Not really sure this is needed. Maybe "...good girl streak came to an end. More details later, all you need to know right now:" All you need to know right now: I was messed up. Seriously, seriously messed up. Drug addictions will do that to you.


I lost weight, and my usual clean, shiny hair became dull. My brown curls looked like they hadnít seen shampoo in weeks. Dark shadows appeared under my eyes even though I slept over sixteen hours a day, More likley out on the street selling her body/stealing for money to buy the drugs. It's actually hard work being a drug addict... not that I would know of course. refusing to get out of bed.


Then one night my parents and I got into a fight, but this fight wasnít like the others. I was swearing at my parents, and my father suddenly stepped forward and backhanded me across the face. I flew back, Not sure I like the image this beings up. Flew back would be more akin to being pushed hard or something. If it was me I would edit this down to "...backhanded me across the face. I dropped to the floor clutching my cheek. My father stared at his hand..." stunned, and dropped to the ground. My father had stared at his hand in surprise, as if it had acted without his permission. There was an awkward silence between all of us.


I took one last look at my parents and jumped up, running for the door. I was going to run away. I could no longer take this life. I was done with it; it was time to start fresh. I don't really buy into this. It seems she had some rather decent parents from what we've heard so far. I don't think one argument would make her hate her life so much to run away from a loving family? Even if it was the drugs she was running from, chances are she would run to her family. Not away. My point being, we don't really have much build up to explain why she reacted so harshly...


My car sat on the side of the street. I hopped in and slammed on the gas as I turned the keys in the ignition damage you engine, revving it like that from cold. the silly girl. , ignoring my parentsí cries as they ran after me. Tears poured down my face and over my swollen cheek as I drove my car to the outskirts of town. I didnít know where I was going and I didnít care. Anywhere was better than here. See above, I get the impresson her home life was pretty supportive, I don;t understand why she is feeling this way.


It was when I crossed the railroad tracks that I noticed the black sedan speeding towards me. But by then it was too late. The car had been driving along side the tracks, and behind it were the red and blue lights of police vehicles. The driver was fleeing from the police and, as far as I could tell, he had decided that my car wasnít going to stop him and send him to prison. I braced for what was coming, but nothing could really prepare me for what happened next.


The car made impact, and my crushed car was pushed off of the road and into a ditch, where it spun and flipped out of control. Iím pretty sure I threw up. Having been in a crash like this myself... throwing up from motion sickness is the last thing your body does. The experience of a crash goes something like this: "Hmmm I seem to have lost control of the car... This is a strange experience... Holy S**T It's rolling over!! Now I'm sliding along the road on the roof! I really really hope the car isn't too badly damaged! Now I've slid into a ditch, I'm still rolling... when will it stop? Finally it's stopped., im upside down but unhurt... the doors are stuck.... how the hell am I supposed to get out? Oh thank god I've made it out in once piece... a bit shakey.... the car's f***ed... The other half is going to murder me. (Seriously, this was my exact train of thought at the time. Maybe it's different for other people... but motionsickness during a crash? Doubt it, your body's too busy sh***ing itself) .I was never a lover of roller coasters, and this was a million times worse than what I had felt in the Dragster at Cedar Point the summer before. Bit random adding the dragster... does she drive one or something?


My seatbelt snapped ― something I never thought could happen She thought right ― and I was ejected from the car. wtf? The world spun around me in a blur, and continued doing so until my body slammed into a tree. oooooh! I get it now, the crash caused her to fly out of the car. for a moment I thought the car had ejector seats. Might need clarifying... To be honest, I didnít feel anything when that happened; my body had pretty much gone numb as soon as my head snapped back and broke my driverís side window.


From on the ground, I could see the other driverís car. The front of his sedan was completely smashed in, and now the guy was trying to make a run for it but his legs collapsed underneath him. I saw the blood that covered half of his face and felt nauseous. I probably would have thrown up again, but I had already gotten rid of everything in my stomach while spinning in the car. Doesn't mean she can't still wretch bile though.


Police closed in and cuffed the guy, while other officers began Began what? Do you mean "While the other officers ran towards me"? off the road and down the slope towards me. I decided it was time to check out my injuries.


I discovered I could move, but barely. My head lifted a bit off the ground so I could get a look at myself. For some reason, what I saw made me laugh. Then my laughter turned into coughing, and blood sprayed from my mouth.


I was beat up. Worse than I had thought, considering I felt nothing. My right arm was gone. You heard me: gone. You don't need this to give the line impact... it was pretty powerful as just "My right arm was gone" All that remained was a bloody stump right below the elbow, and I could see white bone poking through. My pants were torn to shreds, and what I could see of my legs was either bloody or bruised. I raised my left arm and stared at the broken pieces of glass in my hand, then saw my reflection staring back at me. I didnít even look like myself with all of the blood that covered my face. It was making my vision go red.



Yea, OK. I liked it. As mentioned above, mistakes with your spelling and grammar etc are pretty much non exsistant. The only issue I have is with some of the fiddly little details. Overall this was good! I think you can shorten it down a bit to get to the action sooner. I would have quite liked to have the bone in the skull described to me... but I have a morbid curiosity.

Honestly, I'm going to read on, it took until the crash to get there, but you now have my interest.

nice.

Red
May 26th, 2012, 07:43 AM
Potty,
(Ha, potty... Sorry, moving on...) I changed things up a bit, just for you. Let me know if it works or could use more work. Thanks!

Potty
May 26th, 2012, 08:17 AM
Better. But let me stress that my critique was only my opinion. Feel free to disagree with the comments I've made if you don't feel they work for you. But with the changes you've made I think it feels a little tighter. Once you've put the story down for a month or so, then go back to it I think you will spot a few changes that need doing yourself... such is the editing process!

Edit: Again, this is just an opinion... but I'm dubious about the seatbelt snapping. I would maybe mention somwhere that the car is in a bad way... not been maintained as she was too busy shooting up or something. Then the seatbelt could be frayed in places making it plausable that it could snap. Or maybe she just wasn't wearing it, in her hury to get away from her dad she probably forgot to put it on.... again, just an opinion.

Red
May 26th, 2012, 03:43 PM
No worries. As an art student I know exactly how to disagree with a critique - we pretty much have classes for that. But at the same time, as an Illustration major we're trained to please the client (er, that might have come out a bit dirty... not what I meant).

All that being said, I actually loved your comments, and am very happy with the changes I made based off of what your feedback.

Again, I changed a few things in the prologue. And I will probably continue doing so for months, but your posts are speeding up that process, so thank you very much.

Abdul-fattah
May 26th, 2012, 11:29 PM
curious where you'll take us next...

goette10
May 28th, 2012, 11:02 PM
There are a few spots where I feel as though you've got too much action in a single sentence. It may just be me (since no one else said anything about it), but the action of the car accident is something that is fast and disorienting and the style doesn't really reflect that in places. For example, "The car made impact, and my crushed car was pushed off of the road and into a ditch, where it spun and flipped out of control." You do a great job of painting a vivid picture, but the sentence is almost unwieldy. With all the commas (mental pauses) the action seems drawn out instead of chaotic. What would you be thinking about if you were in a bad accident like this? If you were telling someone what happened to you then I'd think that you'd use a lot of subjective descriptions rather than setting the scene. Maybe make the reader as confused as the spinning narrator and then work on settling out the details as we/she learns she's dead. Another sentence that I felt was a little too detailed was: "Then my laughter turned into coughing, and blood sprayed from my mouth." Maybe drop the conjunction?

I think that if you reread the prologue then maybe you could find some places where you could interject a few short sentences. A light sprinkling of the punchy sentences can not only break up the length but also really emphasize to the reader whatever you added. Use that to your advantage and maybe get out a few really important thoughts in short spurts to make them stick out in the reader's mind for later use.

Other than that I think that this is a really great start. I have to agree with everyone else that I'm eager to see where you take us with this!

Alex614
May 29th, 2012, 07:23 PM
Great work! I love that it's kind of dark and everything! I've only read your first post but I will certainly read more. I love your attention to detail!

rawrritsmanda
May 29th, 2012, 08:35 PM
I love the descriptions of the car accident and how her injuries looked to her. Also how she laughed at her injuries made the 'in shock' vibe present in her emotions. Loved it! I can't wait to read more.

courtneyanne9
May 31st, 2012, 01:18 PM
I really liked your story! Very interesting and a new take on heaven and hell. I can't wait to read more. My only real critique is that it should be "Animas" not "Anima's" because it's plural, not possessive.

Red
May 31st, 2012, 05:36 PM
I would like to thank everyone for their feedback ... *ahem* ... Thank you.

But seriously, thanks - some of these are really helpful and I never could have gotten critiqued like this here at home. You guys rock!

podman36
June 7th, 2012, 08:45 PM
Very interesting and entertaining!

K. Altan
June 9th, 2012, 07:59 PM
Wow, take it from the teenage consumer, this is really great. It's a lot better than some of the already published books out there. Just follow some of the comments people are leaving, and it'll be practically perfect. :D

K. Altan
June 10th, 2012, 04:34 AM
Oh yeah, I forgot what I was getting to. Where did the forest come from? She said something about one giant tree, but nothing about a forest. Ashley seemed to have a good look around, and she made it sound like a desert. I'm a little confused.

K. Altan
June 10th, 2012, 04:37 AM
Grrr, why do I keep messing up, sorry about that. She didn't even talk about a giant tree, my bad. I guess I started making up imaginary parts in my mind.

Red
June 11th, 2012, 12:00 AM
K. Altan:
This...
"Wow, take it from the teenage consumer, this is really great. It's a lot better than some of the already published books out there. Just follow some of the comments people are leaving, and it'll be practically perfect."
...made my day. And I really needed that after spending the night in the hospital (hernia's are evil...) so thanks for making me smile. Well, I grinned actually. Just wanted you to know.

K. Altan
June 11th, 2012, 08:29 PM
Haha, that made me smile. I'm glad to have brightened your day. It's funny how a few words can make such a big difference. :D