Language sometimes runs opposite to math. Where in math 1000 > 1, in Language Land one may actually be worth more than a thousand. One word - one powerful word - caught my attention and kept it. In writing, often the more you say with few words, the better.
The followup to the first sentence is amazing. You gradually explained what 'leukemia' means to the story, to the twins, and to the reader. The language was very personal, not just in the intro, but throughout the story. "...to hate it, and so have you
." It speaks directly to the reader and draws them in.
Bringing the reader's thoughts and feelings to the story is very important, as this story relies heavily on emotions. You need the reader to be into it or they are going to walk away feeling a little sad, maybe confused, but overall detached from all They Called Us Twins
has to offer.
You succeeded in communicating the depths of Allie's feelings to the reader -this reader, anyway - whilst also engrossing them in the twins relationship.
On the surface, your grammar and spelling is very good. But there is always room for improvement. A few tweaks here, a twork there and a couple nuts tightened...
The easiest and biggest area you can improve is unnecessary words. Strunk's Elements of Style
says "Omit needless words." Rule thirteen, simple as that.
Originally Posted by They Called Us Twins
"...past the white sheets and puke-green..."
The second 'past' doesn't emphasize much, not to mention the reasons to emphasize that particular sentence are few to begin with.
Originally Posted by They Called Us Twins
"...any poison man could ever create..."
Originally Posted by They Us Twins
(it should be 'looked' anyway because you're talking about the past, not the present).
And so on & so forth.
By now, you should realize this isn't all critique on my part. Some of it is critique, some is praise and some is simply observation. Like I observed that the whole style of writing is a bit dramatic )which fits pretty well) and is at times very elegant. "From once great trees..." I mean, we're getting pretty poetic here. Which works 'cause otherwise you might risk turning this story into a blunt and bland version of "simple" (yet completely complicated) sibling jealously, grief and insecurity.
Another thing before I wrap this section up: similes. They are great and I loved all of your similes. But there is such a thing as too much. I counted six similes in the first three paragraphs. I didn't mind them at all when I first started reading though. It wasn't until I was about 2/3 through that the sheer amount of them began to annoy the bejeevies out of me. I just began to count them and I gave up around the 15th b/c I wasn't even halfway through the story.
Your similes give way to some great imagery and they are wonderful in the sense of their creativity and strong use of adjectives (example: I loved the beginning paragraph, "like the tendrils of death..."). But respect the simile. Aka, don't just throw it out there, everywhere.
Oh and one more thing. There were a few randomly placed commas and a couple awkward sentences. Nothing big, just keep an eye out for them when proof reading. For example, ctrl + F this in your story: "how they know how". I'm not going to copy+paste the whole paragraph, but say it out loud. Bit clunky, isn't it? How do you think you could make it smoother? (this is your writing, so I'd rather you answer this particular question than me).
If you get nothing else from this, come away with the fact that you're doing great, but you could be better.
Allie: Contractions and formality
- I noticed that up until 1/3 of the story, Allie doesn't use contractions. She says "It has been..." instead of "It's been..." and so on. But after several paragraphs, she abruptly starts popping out the "aren't", "it's" and "she'd"'s. She still uses big words and talks educated, but no longer is she so stiff and formal.
Allie comes across as very self conscious, dependent and obsessed with competition. We see her transform from a bright and ambitious young girl to a turmoil filled teen. She loves Lei, but is jealous of her. She relies on her sister and hates that fact so much she turns some of that hate towards Lei. To talk of Allie is to almost talk of Lei too b/c Allie bases so much of herself on Lei. How could leukemia kill Lei? It's Allie that's the older, less pretty and generally less worthy one. She
should have the disease - it would make sense, it would garner attention, it would just make things "right", or so she thinks. A very strong character.
- You filled in enough details to give a strong general picture, while still allowing the reader to utilize some of their own memories and experiences and relationships. Sweet.
When I think of Lei, I think of a girl who is a little more quiet and relaxed than her sister. At first I thought she was oblivious to her sister's mind set, but actually she seems pretty aware of it. She covers for her sister at school. Why I don't know - maybe to make herself feel better, to "win" or maybe/probably b/c she loves her sister and knows some of what is going on in Allie's mind. But she's a teenage girl, she doesn't know how to fix it. Sad :(
Approx. 56,000. 40k min. for Larv and 10k min. for Petil. = 50k minimum.
The essence of the plot is not so much the events, but the people the events affect. It's not about a disease, it's not about rushing off to the Wizard to find a cure before its too late. It's about people, especially Allie. It's intense, it's emotional, it's even a little scary.
On the surface it's simple - sibling rivalry and a dying girl. But you brought out the complexities that make up human relations and the depths that the mind has. The ways it can bend, twist and how far it can go before it actually snaps.
I don't have any criticism here. The plot is about the characters and you stayed true to the characters. There doesn't seem to be a classic rise-climax-fall as much as a steady rise and then a sharp drop off as we see Allie standing at the grave, coming to terms with Lei's death.
As for the language - the cuss words were barely noticeable. In the future, I'd suggest just putting a "Mild language" warning at the start of the story. You weren't just swearing to be swearing. it fit the characters and the story. I mean most
teens are not going to run around saying "Oh snap!" They are going to say "Shit!" or just a good 'ole "Damn!"
Flit. Flit x 6. That was how many times I counted the word "flit" within a fairly short period of time. I think you're <3'ing that particular word. You could have substituted "flutter" or "dash" or whatnot, but yeah, just watch out for repetitive words (unless they serve as a great plot base or whatnot).
And I believe that is it. Wow. I already covered bits of the description/details and you seem to have a great handle on description anyway. I guess the only thing I have left to say is that yes, the story is a bit depressing. But it's more than that. it also serves another purpose.
To those who are dealing with the thrust of competition, of rivarly and of losing a little bit of themselves, of their identity
to another, it's a help. A wake-up call, or perhaps it serves them better as a connection. They aren't the only ones who have felt like Allie (perhaps not to the extent or intensity that Allie is, but something similar). Yeah, it's a story, but all good fiction has some truth to it.