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The Beginning Of A Story

14 days ago

     Elena held her tears in up to the moment when they broke the pen. She was able to hold in her tears when she was told the news, and even when she shared her sorrow with Cassie's parents. But when they broke Cassie’s vivid purple pen, it was as if they were breaking a part of Elena herself. The pen broke with a small flash of purple light, and a sound that seemed very much like Elena’s own heart breaking. It was the pen that Elena saw every weekend for two years, and was always used in conjunction with her own pen. The pen that her best friend wielded for their first two years in the School of Creators, and the pen that her best friend could no longer wield. 
    

 

     Elena wiped at her face with her white funeral sleeve. It was an attempt to stop the flow of tears that had started only moments before, one that failed. She looked through her tears at the casket several feet in front of her. It was white, the color of death, and at the top of the casket  sat the casket’s pen pedestal. The minister solemnly placed Cassie’s pen, now broken in half, onto the pedestal. He placed the glass cover over the pedestal, and as he placed it a heavy silence descended upon the crowd. It was the time for the engraving. 
 

 

   Everyone began to shuffle forward towards the pure white casket, and as per custom, the relatives began to draw and write on the casket first. A mix of drawings and words were soon scattered across the casket in an arrangement of different colors. Following the relatives, friends came forward to engrave the feelings of their soul onto the casket. 

 

     When it was Elena’s turn, she hesitated. Ever since she received the news, she was conflicted on what to draw for Cassie. In the past Elena would draw simple pictures in the air for Cassie. They wouldn't be anything grand, but they always seemed to make Cassie happy. Elena moved aside as she wrestled with what to draw, for she didn't want to hold up the line of friends behind her.
     

 

     She moved to the opposite side of the casket, and let her gaze take her to the pen pedestal. The broken pen was already beginning to change from the vivid purple of Cassie, to the stark white that happened whenever someone passed on. The stark white that symbolized the death of another person on this planet. Elena found tears flowing across her face faster now, and with slow steps she walked away from the casket. She was in no shape to draw, let alone shape for her to draw something that was worthy of Cassie. Elena wasn't sure that she could draw something that did Cassie justice, even if she was in the best shape possible. Elena walked farther and farther away from the casket until she ended up beside a single lonely tree at the edge of the cemetery. 
     

 

     She could feel the wind pressing against her face and tossing her hair in several different directions as she sunk down into a sitting position at the base of the tree. She was probably staining her dress, and in normal circumstances she might have cared, but this wasn't normal. She pulled her knees and dress up against her chest, and let her feelings flow unchecked. She was sure her sobs sounded similar to that of a dying animal, but no one seemed to care. They were all focused on the casket, or on leaving the heavy silence and solemnity that had everyone's heads bowed and shoulders shrugged. 

 

     Maybe it was when Cassie’s mom began to cry even more hysterically than Elena, or maybe it was when Elena’s head ached so much she thought it was splitting. Whichever the case, Elena realized she shouldn't be there. She was crying enough to make the mood even more depressing than it already was, and she was ruining her the reputation she had as an artist. There were several people from school here, and it wouldn't do her any good to allow them to see she had a weakness. It would give them an edge over her in the weekend trials. 
 

 

   Elena rose to her feet with purpose. She would not allow herself to become weak, for that would dishonor Cassie. No, she would come back here later, but only when she was ready to create a drawing that would go above and beyond to do justice for Cassie. She brushed dirt off of her white dress, payed her condolences to Cassie's family once more, then left the cemetery.

 

The Beginning Of A Story

14 days ago

This is the beginning of a book (series) that I'm currently planning on writing. Any feedback in that vein would certainly be appreciated.

 

But specifically...

1. Did it keep your attention? If it didn't, why? 

2. Was it choppy? Did the word choice and sentence structure flow smoothly?

3. My point in these first couple of pages is to establish Elena and her motivation for becoming what she tries to be. So did it feel like her motivation or emotions were fake, or something along those lines? 

4. Chances are, I didn't have any major plot holes, but if there's a question that needs to be answered for the rest of it to make sense then please tell me.

Any other feedback is certainly appreciated, and please, if this piece of writing is trash then tell me it is. I'd rather be told I'm the worst writer on the planet and be true, then the best writer on the planet and be false. 

Remember that this is for a book, so it is not a CYOA. Thanks all who've read.

 

The Beginning Of A Story

14 days ago

Alright, I'm delighted to read another piece in your magic pens-verse (you should name them something distinct). This wasn't as engaging a read as your previous one, this one was a bit too cut and dry (everything was overt, there was little sub-text). The structure was fine, it just was fairly simple text (read Romulus' entries in the 300 word contest to see complex text). On the same line, Elena's motivations felt simplistic, more backstory would be needed to flesh her out to make her more belieavable.

I suspect this writeup would fit better in a larger story which wasn't all moody, and I look forward to reading more. However, play it careful - don't go JK Rowling on us (invent items in later books which if existed in earlier ones - as they should have - would have changed how the earlier stories happened)

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago

I was just thinking of keeping them called pens, because it really fits the rest of the story. If I find something more distinct then I will check it out. 

Read my reply to mizal. That's where my line of thinking is, because it is only the first couple pages of a chapter that's fourteen pages long. If posting the rest might help in your analysis, then I'll post the rest. It might add a lot more. 

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago
If you feel comfortable sharing a bit more, yeah, I would like to read more. As for pen names (which I strongly recommend you do), how about Flairs?

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago

Alright, I'll have it up within the next couple of hours. It takes forever to format. I'll think about the name only after you read the the rest, because I use the pen much more frequently. If I change the name I'll also have to explain what on earth a Flair (for example) is. I'd rather not have to go through that process just yet. Or at least until I've thought of a good way to do it. 

I'm going to post the above excerpt again when I post the rest of the story, so it feels a lot more like how it's supposed to. 

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago
Pro tip > Word > Save as html (filtered) > open in chrome > inspect source > copy paste everything from STYLE tag down till BODY tag at end to CYS

Also, every word editor has a find and replace feature

The Beginning Of A Story

14 days ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 3/16/2017 12:32:24 AM
Setting-wise, the magic system you've got going on here is interesting and I like the way the drawings are incorporated into funerals and presumably other traditions, but you IMO you hurt yourself making the decision to start the story right up this brick wall of SAD. An entire scene and nearly a thousand words in and we don't know anything about Elena herself except how SAD and overflowing with tears she is over this person who wasn't even in the story.

I'm sure there are other places this could start out that would do more to establish Elena as an individual, flesh out her relationship with others in this community, etc. If the whole point of this is to get her filled with resolve or whatever so the events of the story can transpire, why not just start where things are happening, and explore her background and motivations later when you're at the point people actually care about this character?

Though at this point, despite all the words about the funeral and the pen and the pen and pen and the sadness and the tears, the strongest piece of characterization that jumped out at me is that Elena is REALLY sensitive about her image, and thinks being upset at the death of a friend would be seen as a weakness others might exploit. The one line, 'It would give them an edge over her in weekend trials.' does more than the 750 words prior to grab my attention and establish the environment and her personality, except the problem is I'm not sure if such a cutthroat setting or emotionally guarded protagonist is what you were going for in the first place.

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago

You're right that three are probably other places that it might allow it to start much better, although, at this second I'm drawing a blank. My only solution would be to throw it into a flashback, which I could very well do, but then it would move the rest chapter yo the beginning of the book. I'm not sure how well that would stand as it's own chapter portion. 

Would it help if I put the rest of the chapter on here? It might feel a little more complete, or it may simply add several more problems. I'll ask Stryker too, because I believe he was talking about it being apart of a much larger piece. 

The Beginning Of A Story

13 days ago

Elena held her tears in up to the moment when they broke the pen. She was able to hold in her tears when she was told the news, and even when she shared her sorrow with Cassie's parents. But when they broke Cassie’s vivid purple pen, it was as if they were breaking a part of Elena herself. The pen broke with a small flash of purple light, and a sound that seemed very much like Elena’s own heart breaking. It was the pen that Elena saw every weekend for two years, and was always used in conjunction with her own pen. The pen that her best friend wielded for their first two years in the School of Creators, and the pen that her best friend could no longer wield. 

Elena wiped at her face with her white funeral sleeve. It was an attempt to stop the flow of tears that had started only moments before, one that failed. She looked through her tears at the casket several feet in front of her. It was white, the color of death, and at the top of the casket  sat the casket’s pen pedestal. The minister solemnly placed Cassie’s pen, now broken in half, onto the pedestal. He placed the glass cover over the pedestal, and as he placed it a heavy silence descended upon the crowd. It was the time for the engraving. 

Everyone began to shuffle forward towards the pure white casket, and as per custom, the relatives began to draw and write on the casket first. A mix of drawings and words were soon scattered across the casket in an arrangement of different colors. Following the relatives, friends came forward to engrave the feelings of their soul onto the casket. 

When it was Elena’s turn, she hesitated. Ever since she received the news, she was conflicted on what to draw for Cassie. In the past Elena would draw simple pictures in the air for Cassie. They wouldn't be anything grand, but they always seemed to make Cassie happy. Elena moved aside as she wrestled with what to draw, for she didn't want to hold up the line of friends behind her.

She moved to the opposite side of the casket, and let her gaze take her to the pen pedestal. The broken pen was already beginning to change from the vivid purple of Cassie, to the stark white that happened whenever someone passed on. The stark white that symbolized the death of another person on this planet. Elena found tears flowing across her face faster now, and with slow steps she walked away from the casket. She was in no shape to draw, let alone shape for her to draw something that was worthy of Cassie. Elena wasn't sure that she could draw something that did Cassie justice, even if she was in the best shape possible. Elena walked farther and farther away from the casket until she ended up beside a single lonely tree at the edge of the cemetery. 

She could feel the wind pressing against her face and tossing her hair in several different directions as she sunk down into a sitting position at the base of the tree. She was probably staining her dress, and in normal circumstances she might have cared, but this wasn't normal. She pulled her knees and dress up against her chest, and let her feelings flow unchecked. She was sure her sobs sounded similar to that of a dying animal, but no one seemed to care. They were all focused on the casket, or on leaving the heavy silence and solemnity that had everyone's heads bowed and shoulders shrugged. 

Maybe it was when Cassie’s mom began to cry even more hysterically than Elena, or maybe it was when Elena’s head ached so much she thought it was splitting. Whichever the case, Elena realized she shouldn't be there. She was crying enough to make the mood even more depressing than it already was, and she was ruining her the reputation she had as an artist. There were several people from school here, and it wouldn't do her any good to allow them to see she had a weakness. It would give them an edge over her in the weekend trials. 

Elena rose to her feet with purpose. She would not allow herself to become weak, for that would dishonor Cassie. No, she would come back here later, but only when she was ready to create a drawing that would go above and beyond to do justice for Cassie. She brushed dirt off of her white dress, payed her condolences to Cassie's family once more, then left the cemetery. 

~

“A picture is NOT worth a thousand words,” was the first thing that greeted Cyrus's eyes when he stepped onto the School of Creators campus. It was only after he saw the massive banner splayed across the top of the building to his left that he noticed the rest of his surroundings. 

His feet stood planted at the top of grand staircase. To his right was a building that was mostly identical to the one on the left. Grey and black color adorned the buildings in intricate patterns that would take lifetimes, it seemed, to follow. The difference, Cyrus noticed, was that the building on the left had their patterns made of words, whereas the building on the right had theirs made of pictures. It took another moment or so for Cyrus to decide to look at the patterns as a whole, instead as individual contributions. When he did this, he noticed that all of the words on the left building created a a massive ‘W’ across the side off it. The building on the right didn't have a letter, and instead had the image of a girl drawing in the air with a pen. At the top of each building were silvery railings which followed along the edges until they met the building that stood as a wall between the two buildings. 

A smile began to grow across Cyrus’s face as he drew his gaze to the iridescent tower that rose as a spear between the two buildings. At first the building seemed to reflect the light of the sun and take on a gold yellow sheen, but when he looked again, it switched colors to a reddish orange. ‘Parchment,’ he thought impressed. Such a building could only be made with a material like Parchment, and large quantities of it. 

It was this building that Cyrus headed to, and after moments of looking, Cyrus found a sign just above the doors to the tower that read, ‘Office.’ It shocked Cyrus for a moment to find so simple a word in such a grandiose place, but the shock passed and was once again replaced with subdued awe as he entered the first floor of the tower. The inside of the tower was lined with dark stained wood for the walls, and cream tile for the floor. One long desk stretched across the middle of the room, and behind it stood several attendants in their work uniforms. Behind them were three elevators in a row, and beside each outside elevator was a staircase that led up to the next floor. Most of the attendants were busy taking calls or were otherwise occupied, but Cyrus saw at least one attendant free, so he took the opportunity and approached. 

One of the free attendants greeted him at the desk, “Hello, my name is Amelia. How may I help you?” His eyes drifted to her golden name tag, and saw that her name was in fact Amelia. 

With an almost real smile Cyrus responded, “Yes, I'm here to have a meeting with the Head Proctor. I might be a little early…” Cyrus trailed off when he saw Amelia lean toward an attendant on her left with a questioning expression. They had a brief exchange before Amelia turned back toward Cyrus. 

“Cyrus C. Rusyn?” Amelia asked. Cyrus held back a cringe that threatened to show across his face. She pronounced it Rus-in, instead of Roo-sin like most people did when they tried pronouncing it for the first time. 

“Roo-sin,” Cyrus corrected her, “But yes that's me.” 

Amelia muttered a quick apology then led Cyrus to a small gate that broke the elegant curve of the desk. Cyrus stepped through and followed Amelia as she led him to the center elevator in the back of the room. 

“Head to the top floor. He's expecting you,” was all she said before leaving his side and heading back to the desk. 

Cyrus promptly stepped into the elevator and selected the top floor. Unlike the buildings on either side, this tower rose several stories higher. So much taller in fact, that Cyrus thought that if he leaned to either side of the elevator he might be the weight that pushes the top of the tower to the limit. A brief image of the tower falling over and causing destruction to everything in its path passed through Cyrus’s mind, just before he dismissed the idea as impossible. ‘No one would allow such a structurally unstable thing to exist,’ he convinced himself.

The elevator opened in front of him, and he let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He stepped out hesitantly, but after the first step his usual confidence returned and he stepped into the Head Proctor’s office. 

Unlike the office at the bottom of the tower, this one was meant to be grand. To his left and right, the walls were lined with bookshelves. From the center of the ceiling, a crystal chandelier hung suspended. Like the tower itself, it was iridescent in that it would change colors almost constantly. 

Directly in front of Cyrus was another impressive desk. Although this one didn't extend all the way across the room, it was still seemed to command just as much presence as the one on the first floor. The desk was in the shape of a semi-circle, and seated in a chair at the desk, was the Head Proctor. 

Faded brown curly hair fell across the man’s forehead, and almost brushed the tops of his eyebrows. A pair of worn grey glasses adorned the Proctor’s forehead, and brown stubble lay scattered across his face. He was young for his position, but more than a few wrinkles laid claim to his face. No doubt some were caused from the stress of running the most prestigious school in the nation. He gave a typical messy bookworm impression, but that was when the Head Proctor stood up. While his face made it seem that he spent hours upon hours in his studies, the rest of his body showed that he must not only do that. He wore a black Proctor uniform that looked similar to the suits of those in the business world, however his outer coat extended downward like a trench coat. Behind his outer coat he wore a charcoal grey vest companioned by a simple white long sleeve dress shirt. His slacks matched his outer coat in color, but matched a typical suit in that the slacks clung comfortably to the wearer’s legs. His maroon red pen sheathe was strapped around his left shoulder, and it was that which his presence radiated from. Without it the Head Proctor wouldn't command nearly as much attention. 

Despite all of the layers of clothing he wore, it was still evident that he was physically capable. At least to an eye as trained as Cyrus’s. The subtle stretching of his vest and shirt, and even the way he stood, pointed towards a natural inclination of coordination. While Cyrus was certainly expecting someone impressive to be the Head of the School of Creators, he had not imagined that he would be this impressed. 

Cyrus was so caught up in his analysis of the Proctor, that he nearly failed to notice the massive glass wall. The wall on his left, right, and directly behind him were like the walls on the first floor, dark stained wood, but the wall directly behind the Head Proctor was made of glass. The midday sunlight melted through the glass wall, and provided light all throughout the office. He looked beyond the glass wall, and saw a balcony made of the same material as the rest of the tower. Parchment. 

The Head Proctor rose to his full height, which was only an inch or so taller than Cyrus. Then a clearly intelligent voice spoke out from him. “You have quite the sponsor Cyrus.” He walked around his desk and extended a hand to Cyrus, which Cyrus promptly took. After the handshake was over the Head Proctor continued speaking.

“If you did not, then we may have accepted someone other than you,” the he spoke plainly. “As it happens, your transfer forms were top tier, and your sponsor only reiterated that. Even so, we would not have accepted you, but…” the Head Proctor reached up and took his glasses off of his face, “…there was a death of a student recently. Let's just say it a spot opened up.” 

His eyes were a muted blue, Cyrus noticed. “I'm sorry sir. I did not mean to remind you…” 

The Head Proctor shook his head quickly, “You're fine. Accidents happen all the time. No need to apologize for something that wasn't your fault.” A moment of silence ensued, for a moment before the Proctor spoke again. “I saw you looking at my balcony a moment ago, would you like to take a look?” He patted Cyrus’s shoulder in friendly manner, but with underlying notions of authority. 

Cyrus knew it wasn't really and invitation, but rather an expectation. Not that he was against going to the balcony. After all, he was interested in taking in the view. Had the Proctor not invited him, then he would asked himself. 

The pair passed through the glass doors and onto the rather large balcony overlooking the School grounds. It was breathtaking. The two buildings he saw first weren’t even half of the buildings that he could see now. He could see a lot clearer now. The first two buildings were only two pieces of a four piece structure. One that formed a massive circle. Between each of the four pieces was a tower exactly like the one he was standing on now, complete with even the same iridescence. It appeared to be perfectly symmetrical from above.

“To our left,” the Head Proctor gestured the the very first building Cyrus laid his eyes on, “is the female Writers’ dormitory. To our right is the female Artists’ dormitory. If you follow the circle from the right,” he pointed again to the Artists dorms again, “and continue going right, then you'll hit the male Writers’ dorms. That's where you'll be staying,” he added in before continuing with his explanation. “The last one is the male Artists’ dorms.” 

Cyrus noted that the Artists’ dorms were across the circle from each other, and the Writers’ dorms followed the same pattern. 

“Those buildings outside of the Coliseum are our teaching facilities,” the Head Proctor said as he pointed directly past the tower opposite of them. Several different buildings were standing outside the circle, but Cyrus couldn't see them that clearly from this distance. 

“Coliseum?” Cyrus’s gaze drifted back to the circle that was formed by the dormitories. At ground level, in the very center of that massive circle, sat a circular platform that was around ten feet in height. Its radius was probably close to fifty feet in length. There was a walkway starting at ten feet from each of the towers directly to the platform. Those walkways served as continued dividers between each of the dormitories, and through that, dividers for each dorms’ stands. It was a coliseum. Complete with a sizable arena, and stands for the spectators. It was another reason that Cyrus was beginning to like this place.

“Yes, the Coliseum. That's what we call this area.” A smile crept onto the Head Proctor’s face. “It's used for the the weekend trials.” Seeing that Cyrus had a question waiting to be asked, the Head Proctor continued. “Our school here, the School of Creators, is meant to train young Writers and Artists into becoming the next leaders of our nation. There’s a quote…,” he paused for effect, “ ‘Competition breeds Success.’ Our weekend Trials are meant to exemplify this quote. It's the same reason we have a ranking system here. The top five people from each grade level may have some exams exempted. That's enough incentive for the majority of the students here.” 

Cyrus took a short moment to process this. “What's the incentive for those other students?” 

The Head Proctor gazed over the school grounds. “We have a system in place, the Socius. Every Artist is paired with a Writer, and to determine who each person is paired best with, we have every student take the Socius test. We even had you take the Socius test, even though there is only one spot open right now.” Cyrus had been wondering about that. If there was only one spot open, then why have him take the test at all?

“There was talk of us swapping Socius partners around because you may have scored really well in regards to someone else on the test. After all, the better you score with someone else the better Socius you can become.” The Head Proctor turned back to Cyrus. “Most first years find out about this piece of information at the end of their first year, but since you're coming in as a third year, I suppose I'll go ahead and tell you.” Cyrus nodded once apprehensively.

“The Socius test is scored through percentages. If a pair scored a zero percent on this test then they would be perfectly compatible. We try to pair people with a high percentage score together. That way, they will have to overcome more to get the most sought after reward in our school.” The Proctor flashed his pearly whites at Cyrus. “The Socius reward. It grants the winning pair entry to the World Trials, which I'm sure you are well acquainted with,” he said this pointedly, and with just a touch of sarcasm. 

Everyone knew what the World Trials were, and you were treated as crazy otherwise. It was only the largest competition across the world. No Artist or Writer Laureate was ever chosen that hadn't been to the World Trials. Of course, the Head Proctor was most likely talking about the Collegial World Trials, which were only a step down from the actual world trials. But still very prestigious. To qualify for the CWT would guarantee that person a full ride to whatever they wanted to pursue. For a school to be offering this…it was sensational. 

Cyrus could feel that nerve bending feeling going throughout his fingers. It cast feelings of apprehension all throughout his body, but those feelings were dwarfed by a different feeling. A feeling that seemed to consume his entire being, and that was entirely unprecedented. It seemed to have to no relation at all with his thoughts about the school. It resonated over his chest, and caused his heart to skip a beat. 

“Are you okay?” The Head Proctor creased his eyebrows with worry and patted Cyrus on his shoulder. 

Cyrus took a moment to catch his breath. “Yeah I'm fine, it's just the height. I can usually ignore it, but I guess it just hit me pretty hard this time,” Cyrus lied. There was no way that feeling came from something as simple as height, but the Head Proctor nodded and spoke. 

“Want me to give you a moment?” A quick nod from Cyrus and the Head Proctor resumed his stance of gazing out across the school grounds. 

The feeling that dominated Cyrus a moment prior was already receding, and replacing it was wonder. It was rare for Cyrus to have a feeling that stopped him just as much as the air being knocked out of him. 

Cyrus used the moment of silence given by the Proctor to look back down to the Coliseum. It was empty when the Proctor was showing Cyrus the different buildings, but oddly enough there were now three people in the center of the coliseum. It was the middle of summer break after all, who in their right mind would want to be at school? Whatever the  reason, there were two people standing at opposite ends of the circle in the center. The third person was about halfway in between the first two people, and seemed to be standing in as a referee of sorts. Cyrus couldn't see that many details, but when he squinted he saw that the first person was a girl, and the one standing opposite of her, a guy. 

“Right on time,” the Head Proctor commented when he saw where Cyrus was looking. Cyrus turned to the Head Proctor with a question apparent on his face. 

The Proctor answered by reaching his right hand across to his pen sheathe, and drawing his maroon pen. His movements were quick and precise, and in a short moment the Head Proctor had a red rectangle drawn. The rectangle was facing downwards towards the center of the coliseum, and with another quick movement of his hand, the Head Proctor made the image within the lines of the rectangle zoom in. 

Cyrus didn't have much time to admire the Proctor’s handiwork, for the pair in the coliseum began to move. 

The girl he saw earlier had long platinum blonde hair, that was pulled up into a ponytail, and a starlight silver pen sheathe. She wore a mask of that same color that covered the top half of her face. Her pen was held still in her right hand, and upon closer inspection, Cyrus could see her fingers clutching it in an art style handgrip. Wrapped around her left arm was a sheet of iridescent parchment. 

Unlike the girl, the guy had his sheet of parchment on the ground before him. He had short fiery red hair, with a mask that was a light forest green across the top half of his face. His pen matched his mask color, and was held at the ready in his left hand. 

The guy standing in between those two had curly dark brown hair, and a fiery red pen sheathe and mask. The color was eerily similar to the other guy’s hair. His pen was still sheathed however, and there wasn't a sheet of parchment near him. 

Aside from the pen sheathes and masks, there was one other similarity. Each of the three wore what seemed like a black full body suit. Over that, each person had a two piece armor set. A fitted tunic that matched the color of their pen, and fitted pants of that same color. 

The two people readying themselves to fight were approximately thirty short paces apart. The guy in red raised his right hand, and for a moment it was as if time was stopped by his hand. The moment was over, and his hand came down fast to signal the beginning of the match. 

Immediately the red haired combatant sank to his knees with his pen in hand, and began writing on the parchment. Less than a second later that piece of parchment erupted into a burst of green flame. The same color of his pen. In a moment, the parchment was gone and in its stead was a green fire that burned without fuel. 

It never ceased to impress Cyrus. A pen, by itself, gave the user a lot of freedom with what they could do. But, that user was limited by the national laws as to what he could draw on. As such, the great majority of people only drew in the air or something that had no long lasting consequence. A sheet of parchment, by itself, had almost no power. It could be used as a decorative object, but that was rare. Only with a pen, could a sheet of parchment use its full potential. Whatever the user wanted the parchment to be, it would be.

That was the situation when the guy with the fiery red hair scooped the green fire into his right hand. It molded around his hand, as if the fire was a trying to become a part of him. If Cyrus didn't know any better than he might've thought that his hand was simply on fire, but Cyrus could tell. No, anyone could tell. The guy walked with a supreme confidence in his pen, and in anything it created. Something he created wouldn't betray him. It was a kind of loyalty that Cyrus had rarely ever seen. He would be a tough opponent to fight.

Cyrus shifted his gaze to the girl to see what she was going to do to defend, but he didn't have to look hard at all. In the few moments the guy used to create the fire that burned around his hand, the girl has already standing within ten paces of him. Her parchment was still wrapped around her left forearm, untouched by her pen. A sheen of silver shone around the bottoms of her feet, and as she continued to move toward the guy, Cyrus saw that she was moving abnormally fast. 

Cyrus wasn't the only one surprised, for the guy jumped back instinctively and flung out his right hand in a wide arc. An arc of green flame came out from his hand horizontally, but the girl was expecting it. Not only did she move abnormally fast, but she also jumped abnormally high. High enough to jump clear above the arc of flame and land within arms length of her opponent. Another moment passed where the guy attempted to cross his arms in front of his chest, but it wasn't enough. The girl thrust her right hand forward and with a quick motion drew a silver mark on his green tunic. 

Immediately the guy acting as referee brought his hand down again, and with a loud whistle signaled the end of the match. 

The girl immediately relaxed her posture and offered her hand to her opponent, who had fallen on his butt prior to the whistle. He smacked her hand away, but the girl didn't look offended. Instead, she started walking away with a degree of satisfaction from her win painting her posture. 

The guy in red was now beside the guy in green. Both looked disappointed with resentment coloring their faces.

Cyrus looked back toward the Head Proctor, who was already looking back toward Cyrus with one eyebrow raised in question. “So what do you think?” the Head Proctor asked curiously.

With a real smile this time, Cyrus answered. “It looks really exciting. I can't wait until I’m-” 

The Head Proctor interrupted him, “I'm sorry. Let me clarify. What do you think of her?” He gestured slightly with his head back toward the girl in the arena. Her hair was now out of its ponytail, and it cascaded in silvery gold waves to her shoulders. 

“Her Socius partner died a couple weeks ago in an accident. She's been here almost everyday since then training with her pen.” He paused for a moment. “That's Elena. Come this new school year, she'll be your partner.”

As if she heard her name being called, she turned and looked up towards the pair at the tower. The feeling that caused Cyrus to stop dead in his tracks earlier came back, but Cyrus refused to let it stop him like it did earlier. The Head Proctor’s screen melted away into the air, but Cyrus kept his eyes on Elena. Despite the distance, they found each other’s gaze. It was in that moment that Cyrus thought he recognized her, but before he could remember from where, that vague feeling of déjà vu disappeared. 

 

The Beginning Of A Story

11 days ago
Alright, finally got a chance to sit down and go through this. Final verdict: It's really good, and I'd say worthy of a Commendation. With polish, this story could develop into something really special. The first half is fairly slow, but the moment the Socius concept is brought up, the plot races forward like a rabbit in a race. The rising action thereon is excellent, and the ending for this write up is also very poignant. However, you have troubles in four main areas; you need to work on prepositions, descriptors, emoting, and brevity

Detailed feedback follows:
held her tears in /till/ the moment they broke the pen.
She had /held them in/
Consider a different descriptor than vivid
as if they > make it more personal (as if a part of her was breaking with it)
in conjunction with > try a different word here, conjunction slows the flow (too technical/mechanical feel to a sentence meant to be emotive)
could no longer wield > to weak, something like 'the pen that would never draw ever again'

wiped at her face > wiped her tears on her white
only moments ago > unneccessary, delete
and as he placed it > and as it settled into its final resting place/case

Ever since she received the news > (She'd have to get over the loss before she starts thinking what to draw) After the shock had worn off, her mind had wandered towards thoughts of how to remember her, what words or thoughts to engrave
, but this wasn't normal > not emotive enough
knees and dress > delete 'and dress', it's redundant

'A banner blaring " " was the first thing that caught his eyes.'
side OF it

their work uniforms (consider describing then in more details, it'll help build the setting)
weight that pushes the top of the tower to the limit > clumsy phrasing, consider a better image

The elevator opened in front of him, and he let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. > Nice, I liked this

another impressive desk. > describe it's construction and look more, 'another impressive' is very generic and detracts from building the setting

capable. At least to an eye as trained as Cyrus’s. (Abrupt, merge the two sentences)
Then a clearly intelligent voice spoke out from him > How does a voice sound intelligent? It can sound regal or majestic or booming or sagely or wise, but I'm not so sure about intelligent. The words may be intelligent.

“If you did not, then we may have accepted someone other than you,” the he s > too mechanical. Also, typo (the he)

transfer forms were top tier > what's a top tier transfer form? His records may have been top tier, but not his transfer forms. It sounds like the paperwork itself was good, not the details in the paperwork (e.g. having a good looking tax return vs having a rich income)
say it a spot opened up.” >It opened up a spot / a spot opened up

He patted Cyrus’s shoulder in friendly manner, but with underlying notions of authority. > Nice

and > an invitation

It was breathtaking. > Be more specific than 'it' > the view / vista / buildings of the campus from that angle

“Our school here, the School of Creators, > The School of Creators' Goal is...

The Socius concept was an excellent hook for me, reminded me a bit of the Jaeger pilots back in Pacific Rim (I loved the concept there as well)

girl and guy > avoid using guy, the word has become far too pedestrian. Before boy / man / male student

national laws > did you mean natural laws?

The Beginning Of A Story

11 days ago

That's more or less what I was expecting in terms of ways to improve. It might just be me, but whenever I write a piece I don't actually read it over until a day or so later. All of this is really helpful, and when I do sit down to edit/revise this I'll apply it. A few follow up questions first...

You read the first part with Elena as a stand alone, so is the first part better when put together with the second part?

What did you think of "the feeling" that Cyrus was plagued by? 

Overall, which POV was written better? 

Thanks again.

 

 

The Beginning Of A Story

11 days ago
TBH, I re-read the whole as one piece, so no preconceived notions there. The combined piece made sense for the payoff in the middle and the end (also, the overall tone became less melancholic that way).

Didn't make too much of it, tbh

The POVs were again, roughly equal. It was the difference in the content of the story, and how parts came together into an interesting whole that made it interesting