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View Full Version : Book Report Story (PEACH) (ANYONE?!)



Vaynor
2006-10-08, 02:37 PM
I had to do a book report recently, and I chose to add a chapter to the end of my book. I read The Great and Secret Show, by Clive Barker. This story is supposed to make sense without reading the book, so if you don't get anything, please tell me!

Thanks in advance,
Vaynor
[hr]


NINE


Howie awakened to the sound of lapping waves gracefully crashing on the sparkling crystal shore. He opened his eyes to the bitter smell of sea-salt and rose quietly out of bed, hoping not to waken Jo-Beth. The sand crunched under his feet as he walked the dismal shore. A sea like no other lay before him, Quiddity, and out in its never-ending waves lay everything, including Ephemeris, the island that lay in the middle. He had been there twice before, and dreaded the last time, because that visit would occur on his deathbed. He continued strolling along the shore for a while, and then headed back to where Jo-Beth lay on the beach.

“Wake up Jo-Beth,” Howie whispered quietly in her ear.

She awakened slowly, murmuring quietly and turning over before lifting herself off of the fine, soft sand. She smiled as she got up, looking at Howie sleepily before standing up completely.

“Quiddity’s still here,” she smiled, grinning.

“Yes it is,” he replied. “I guess it didn’t want to take us last night. I’m a little relieved, I guess. You’ve seen what that sea can do to the body.”

“It wouldn’t have been so bad,” Jo Beth remarked silently to herself. “Like an adventure…”

“Well, if your idea of an adventure is being poisoned by a radioactive sea, then go ahead, be my guest,” he smiled jokingly.

Quiddity loomed off in the distance before them, an ever-present figure in everyone’s lives. The smooth blue waves were calming, yet inspired a great fear. Existence in the great sea meant certain death.

Howie sat down once again next to Jo-Beth and laid himself quietly on the forgotten shore. He lay back looking up at the sky and sighed sleepily, it was still very early in the morning. He drifted off; the waves continued to swell peacefully on the lustrous strand.

———

Howie woke to the fierce sound of majestically crashing waves. The waves had gotten bigger, even to the point of gently spraying his legs and feet. He turned over, the sand sticking to his clothes, and looked over at the sea. It was well past noon now, and the brilliant shore was sweltering. Sweat was beading up on his brow as he opened his eyes to the midday sun. Jo-Beth was still sleeping he observed. He looked away from her and back at the ocean just in time to see the wave crashing down on them.

Jo-Beth awoke to a swirling mass of blue and white, circling around her head like a giant whirling azure tempest. She screamed a silent scream, yet received only a mouthful of cold water. A dark shape brushed against her side and then proceeded to grab her arm. She squirmed unknowingly as her head broke the surface of the water, a rush of cold water breezing past her drenched scalp. The dark shape revealed itself, Howie, who grabbed her close, treading water and clearing his eyes of water. Their mouths were filled with foul tasting salt-water, leaving a rancid aftertaste in their mouth. They were in a constant sea, everlasting in all directions. Jo-Beth gulped air, coughing out water vigorously.

“It took us,” she gasped. “Can you see the shore?”

“Yes,” Howie replied. “But it’s not our own.”

He pointed off to the east, where a large island was in view, covered in trees and lakes.

“Ephemeris,” Jo-Beth whispered.

She started swimming towards the shore, not wanting to be in that deadly water for long. Her partner followed along shortly.

The small, lolling waves of the deep-sea transformed into the larger breakers near the shore. The pair huddled up onto the sizzling sand, and threw themselves upon the drying warmth. They lay, sprawled like that on the sand for many minutes, uncountable minutes, until their clothes were near dry. Howie arose first, walking up past the high-water mark and glancing to either side of him. The island was flat on the sides, with marshes and lakes amongst large copses of trees. In the center rose a majestic mountain, topped with a swirling cyclone of clouds, and a snow peaked top. The island was strangely silent, as if absent of all wildlife. A look around confirmed this. The island, he realized, was not meant for creatures of the mundane world, and its fauna existed only on the spiritual side of the island. These could be seen, of course, but neither heard nor touched.

Jo-Beth tapped him on his shoulder, taking him by surprise. The water had dried from her clothes. Howie smiled at her and walked off in the direction of the nearest lake, Jo-Beth following. The lake appeared larger on the horizon line, while it in truth was just wide, looking more extensive from the beach. They walked along the newfound shore, and then came to rest at a large, flat rock. It looked like a good place to sit, so they did. The blue-gray water was filled with many multi-colored fish. These fish were strange, and not like the ones you would expect to see in a pet shop. They had long ineffective arms trailing behind their gills, like whiskers on a cat. The arms ended something like a flower, but pulsing with lime-green blood, as though it was functional in the body.

Along with the strange fish included the inhabitants of the top of the water, strange water-skidders, with suction cup-like feet and large bulbous heads. They plopped silently along the surface of the water scooping up a green moss-like plant from the surface of the still lake. Their heads contained a light purple liquid, which sloshed around as they moved, the liquid inside expanding as they went.

Near the edge of the lagoon was a small group of fruit-bearing trees, which reminded the couple that they were hungry. They wandered over to the large trees, and looked them over. They resembled toothpicks, perfectly straight and very tall. The fruit hung off in groups of four, like baskets with the fruit growing inside. The fruit itself was a ripe purple fruit that looked like a perfectly round rock with small white spots. They picked a basket’s worth of fruit, four, and each ate two. The tender fruit reminded them of raspberries and mango, a strange combination, but it proved itself delicious.

Howie and Jo-Beth soon finished their small meal, relieving them of their hunger. They then ventured on towards the mountains, hiking a small natural trail. The open fields became sparser as they went and the copses became larger. They continued their trek up the mountain, it’s slope slowly increasing as they continued.

“It’s getting dark, do you think we should make camp soon?” Howie asked Jo-Beth.

“Well, we should probably sleep on the flatter part of the island, more area to relax. The forest up the mountain is a little bit too crowded,” she replied.

Howie started clearing an area in the light brush, flattening it down to make a more comfortable sleeping spot. His back was already slightly sore from sleeping on the beach. They slipped into the small sanctuary, closing their eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep.

———


Dawn crept over the high mountain, brightening the huddled pair’s eyes with a flash of morning light. The morning dew clung to their now damp clothes, glistening in the newborn sunlight. Jo-Beth stretched and wiped herself of dew. She was still damp, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. She shook Howie’s shoulder, wakening him. He grumbled at first, but then opened his eyes and turned over, getting up.

“Good morning Howie,” she whispered.

He smiled at her, “Good morning to you too, even though it is a bit wet,” he added. He wiped the dew from his body, an act he was now used to.

They walked up the slope for a while, until they came upon a stream. The stream curved along the path they were following, twisting like a crawling worm. After refreshing themselves with water, and eating some more of the same fruit they had found the day before, they continued on.

It was an interesting experience to see all of the spirit animals, the ones that existed only in dreams. They scurried along like normal ones, but always lacked a necessary body part, or had one they didn’t actually need. They even saw a bear once; it’s smoky body drifting past them, not realizing that the pair was there. It could not see them of course, but it was still a fearsome sight. Ten-foot bears can easily inspire fear in people, even if they do not exist physically.

The slope got continually steeper, until they were almost climbing up the sharp, jutting rocks. Their hands were sore and scraped, but they persisted on. They knew not why, yet they still went. It was what they felt they must do. No words were spoken, none were needed. They continued to climb.

The top was getting closer, and the temperature dropped. They were almost upon the cloud-topped peak. Their clothes were damp with cold. They could no longer see each other, but they knew they were there. The swarming clouds misted around the pair, still climbing. The rocks were soaking wet now, and it was hard to continue ascending the treacherous slope. Their hands were bloody from climbing. But finally, the top was reached. They pulled themselves over the side, and stretched their sore arms. They lay there for a while, just letting the exhaustion take over. They could not fall asleep, for they may have fallen, or froze to death.

Howie and Jo-Beth held each other, so as not to fall, for the top was small. They looked around their surroundings as they turned over and pushed themselves up. The top of the mountain was clear of clouds. The clouds were surrounding the tip about a yard out from the top, and filled the sky above. Surprisingly, the only other inhabitant of the mountain tip was a tree. No sun could reach the peak because of the dense clouds, so the limbs were frozen, and all leaves were absent from its boughs. On the tree sat one of the ghost animals, in the form of a squirrel. It looked up, saw them, and ran scampering down into a hole in the tree. Howie looked over at Jo-Beth, shrugged and walked towards the tree.
A bright blue light erupted from the hole, blasting Howie and Jo-Beth. The blue light then started to suck in everything around it. Jo-Beth screamed, and tried to hold herself away from the hole. Howie did the same. Despite their efforts, the blue light shrank down, disappeared. The tree was alone again.

[hr]

Ok, another question. For the cover page, should I use the blue word art with this (http://neutrino.kek.jp/~melissa/Images/background/ocean.jpg) picture in the background, or use just the blue word-art printed on this (http://www.masterpiecestudios.com/Horizon/Catalog.cfm/iParentId/0/iCatID/27386) paper? (which is the paper the rest of the story will be printed on)

ZombieRockStar
2006-10-08, 10:39 PM
Blue word art on the paper the rest of the story will be prited on. Blue on the sea background will be kind of hard to read and won't attract the eye the way the other one will.

Don't take this the wrong way, please, but be aware that as I make the following critique, I am keeping in mind that I'm reading something by a writer who's six years younger than me. That doesn't mean my expectations for the piece are lower, but it does alter the way I look at the piece, just to let you know.

I liked it, first of all. It has a sense of mystery and has the surrealist nature that I always enjoy. The fact that it's more surrealist than most fantasy allows you to show off your imagination, and I think you do a good job of it.

I like the characters. Someone else may disagree with me and say that we need to see more of them, to get to know them better. But I think the sparse characterization makes them seem more 3 dimensional. It also emphasizes they're role in the story, where they're lost in a strange place. So the emphasis should definitely be on the place around them instead of on the characters themselves.

Which is where I think you need a bit of improvement. The important parts of this story are the images and the descriptions. You need to create a vivid image of this island in the reader's mind. So what you can do is you can either go into a greater detail, or you can start using metaphors and similes more often. Probably both, a little. The best description you give is of the fruit trees and the fruit. I especially like the line of how the trees "resembled toothpicks."

Otherwise, you show a good level of development in your writing. You have a very good imagination, which is always the most important asset for a writer. Just keep working on technique, which is such an easy thing to learn.

And there's a story by Ursula K. Le Guin called "Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight" that I think you might enjoy, if you ever have the time to read it.

Vaynor
2006-10-08, 10:46 PM
Blue word art on the paper the rest of the story will be prited on. Blue on the sea background will be kind of hard to read and won't attract the eye the way the other one will.

Don't take this the wrong way, please, but be aware that as I make the following critique, I am keeping in mind that I'm reading something by a writer who's six years younger than me. That doesn't mean my expectations for the piece are lower, but it does alter the way I look at the piece, just to let you know.

I liked it, first of all. It has a sense of mystery and has the surrealist nature that I always enjoy. The fact that it's more surrealist than most fantasy allows you to show off your imagination, and I think you do a good job of it.

I like the characters. Someone else may disagree with me and say that we need to see more of them, to get to know them better. But I think the sparse characterization makes them seem more 3 dimensional. It also emphasizes they're role in the story, where they're lost in a strange place. So the emphasis should definitely be on the place around them instead of on the characters themselves.

Which is where I think you need a bit of improvement. The important parts of this story are the images and the descriptions. You need to create a vivid image of this island in the reader's mind. So what you can do is you can either go into a greater detail, or you can start using metaphors and similes more often. Probably both, a little. *The best description you give is of the fruit trees and the fruit. I especially like the line of how the trees "resembled toothpicks."

Otherwise, you show a good level of development in your writing. You have a very good imagination, which is always the most important asset for a writer. Just keep working on technique, which is such an easy thing to learn.

And there's a story by Ursula K. Le Guin called "Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight" that I think you might enjoy, if you ever have the time to read it.
1. I already chose, based on printing it out, for the same reasons. ;D
2. Thanks! That's what I was looking for.
3. That is characterization I was doing, if not subtle. They have just been through a huge hardship at the end of the book.
4. Hmm, I thought I did a fairly good job on that, cause most of the story is description. But I'll go back through it and see what I can add in.
5. Thanks again.
6. I'll have to look into that...

ZombieRockStar
2006-10-08, 11:11 PM
4. Hmm, I thought I did a fairly good job on that, cause most of the story is description. But I'll go back through it and see what I can add in.

It's there, to be sure, but it needs to be developed a bit more. I'm having a hard time seeing the island beyond a few generalities. Was this island described earlier in the book and you just didn't want to re-describe it?

Some random suggestions...I wouldn't acutally use these, just look at them as examples...

They wake up in an ocean and get mouth-fulls of water. Salt-water tastes terrible, so I'd just give a sentence or so of that.

The island is full of creatures you can see but not hear. Maybe you could emphasize the silence with the fact that you can see these things, creating a sense of confusion.

You could maybe pick one sense, smell might be a good one, and emphasize it above all others, always making reference to how something smells as you describe how it looks as well.


Detail is always a tricky thing, knowing how much is too much or not enough, and knowing exactly what to describe. There's also a question of personal style, which you are probably still developing.

As for characters, I haven't read the book, so I don't really know these characters as you know them as the writer, but I get enough from them for this story.

Of course, if this is for marks, the thing is it will probably come down to the teacher's taste, especially in high school. Just because I say I like it doesn't neccessarily mean that your teacher will like it. But, in my opinion, it is a well crafted story and I think you can be confident in a good mark.


And sorry this took so long to reply. The server problems are driving me nuts...

Vaynor
2006-10-08, 11:35 PM
Yeah, the problems are annoying. ::)

Updated...

ZombieRockStar
2006-10-08, 11:55 PM
Better, I think. I'm seeing the setting in my head more clearly now. I still think it could use more detail, but that's probably a matter of personal taste on my part. You might want to get a second opinion from someone you trust to be knowledgable and objective.

Vaynor
2006-10-09, 12:01 AM
Better, I think. I'm seeing the setting in my head more clearly now. I still think it could use more detail, but that's probably a matter of personal taste on my part. You might want to get a second opinion from someone you trust to be knowledgable and objective.
Thanks. I think it's good enough, but I agree, it could use some work. :D

Vaynor
2006-10-19, 11:52 PM
Hey everyone, just bumping the thread to say I got an A+ (100%) on the project, so thanks everyone who helped!