Under the Microscope extra: Black Ice

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Microscope_icon-71204.jpg Under the Microscope extra

A reader's novel opening goes under the editorial microscope

Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's first 300 words and for the full critique, see the May issue of Writing Magazine.

 

Black Ice, by Deanne Field - original version

Standing up, to open the very faded and grubby curtains, and let the light from the grey February sky into the room, I pondered as to why I did not recognise them as mine; hanging there grubby and worn, gaudy colours clashing together. Not ME at all.

I tutted at myself, then the reality of it all flooded into my mind, I had to lean on the scratched arm of the scruffy chair, to stop myself from falling over, I felt very faint and dizzy. Thoughts sloshed around in my head. My children, my children why weren’t they here? OMG,OMG, of course, I remembered, despite being in a crisis, the authorities had intervened, and they had been taken to school, by the nice lady who worked downstairs in the office of the Refuge. The look of evil my daughter gave me when she left with her brother was so painful, I do not think I will ever forget it. Not only because it hurt like hell, but it felt like it was cutting my insides to pieces. I may be in a deranged state of mind at present, but I can see what my decision is doing to her. Will she ever forgive me? I ask myself again? ( I know if she had a choice she’d leave and go back to her Father, she hated her Step Father from the beginning, it was all wrong anyway, but it was my decision and they got dragged into it). Unfortunately for my daughter, she is trapped also, she scared for me, possibly of me, as I am unpredictable at present, but she wants to protect me and her brother. I can see the pain and anguish in those green, gold flecked eyes so like my own. They should be happy, laughing...

 

Black Ice, by Deanne Field - McCredited version

I opened the faded and grubby curtains, letting in grey February light. Were they my curtains? They weren’t me at all.

I tutted. Then the reality of it all flooded into my mind. I had to lean on the scratched arm of the scruffy chair to stop myself from falling over. I was very dizzy. Thoughts clicked and flickered like shuffled playing cards.

My children, my children – why weren’t they here? My God. My God. No, of course . . . The authorities had intervened. They had been taken to school by the nice lady who worked downstairs in the office of the refuge.

The look of evil my daughter gave me when she left with her brother was so painful, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It was like swallowing cold darkness, heavy darkness.

I can see what my decision is doing to her. Will she ever forgive me? I know if she had a choice, she’d leave and go back to her father. She hated her step-father from the beginning. It was all wrong anyway, but it was my decision and they got dragged into it.

Unfortunately for my daughter, she’s trapped also. She’s scared for me, possibly of me. She wants to protect me and her brother. I can see the pain and anguish in those green, gold flecked eyes so like my own. They should be happy, laughing . . .

For the full critique, see the May issue of Writing Magazine