Feedback Friday – Syzygy 2

It’s that time again! I know you all missed Feedback Friday last week so I’m super thrilled to get you back on track this week.

As you all know, Feedback Friday is that wonderful time of the week where I provide feedback on some writing that was submitted to us at tickledinkblog@gmail.com I read it over, give you some notes, and we all leave as better people.

All you have to do to participate is look over some of the writing prompts posted on the blog here, and find one you think you can work with. Take the prompt and run with it! Really! It’s a great way to get warmed up and think creatively. Then, submit up to 500 words to us and you’ll be featured in the blog!

This week, we have a bit of a conundrum. While we have limited the amount that can be submitted to 500 words, we have received a submission this week that is about twice that! Some have suggested to break it up and do half this week and the other half next week. Others think we should just do the first 500 words and leave off the rest.

What do you all think? Let me know if you want to see the other half!

 

THE PROMPT:

Szygy: noun
An alignment of celestial bodies.

 

THE PIECE:

The pale blue flames turned to saffron tinged as the organics in the building ignited. The fire consumed all three stories of the federation building, its writhing tongues darting profanely out windows exploded from the heat.

I glanced around surreptitiously, wondering if I could spot the culprits. On a day like today, it could be anyone.

“It’s beautiful,” Jana said breathily.

“You think so?” I asked.

“Of course it is! I love Heresy Days…”

I looked over at her to see the ruddy glow reflecting off her pale skin in the darkness.

“You’re always so bold,” I told her.

Even without the Constraints, I would never be so bold as to demonstrate. Even on Heresy Days.

Jana laughed and slipped her arm around me.

“I will be bold for us both.”

Groups of people ran up and down the street around us. Some were drunken revelers, some roving vandals, some were an even more dangerous sort. It seemed they were all shouting, but the silent ones keeping to the shadows were always the most dangerous.

“I wish it was me,” I said. Jana turned and raised a meticulously arched brow at me. “I wish I could fight back. Like The Resistance does.” I gestured to spiraling flames.

Every Heresy Day, more of the city burned, as the ranks of The Resistance grew. I could see no fewer than seven other fires in the distance.

“We fight in a different way,” Jana assured me.

I pulled at Jana to leave as I spotted a group of men coming closer to us. They overtook us before we were more than a few steps away.

“Isn’t it glorious?” a man implored me, his feverish grin threatening to overtake his face.

I nodded my agreement saying, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The man whooped and grabbed me around my waist. He spun me around while shouting, “Heresy!” Jana reached for me, but the other men in the group turned to her. My fingers clutched desperately to the fabric on his shoulders as fear filled my throat. He shoved me back to the ground after a mercifully short demonstration, then pulled my face to his and kissed me. His mouth was sloppy, steeped in illegal alcohol, reeking of salted meats.

He screeched in triumph and swatted me on my hips as he turned to rejoin his friends. I wiped my face clean, gagging from the taste of him, and wrapped my arms around myself. Jana disentangled herself from the men and rushed to my side. Her fingers gentled along my bare spine, fording the trail of sweat that lingered from the evening’s heat. She rushed us farther down the street, away from the confrontation.

My gratitude for her assistance in our extradition was dwarfed by my gratitude for her silence. I could not bear to discuss yet another man’s impropriety. We quickly left him behind as we approached the far side of the building on fire. A crowd of people gathered at the edifice to carouse amongst the destruction.

“There,” I pointed.

“The street with the gray and peach building on the corner?” Jana asked.

“Yes. We can go around the crowd,” I suggested.

“I see a path,” Jana drew a line in the air through the rabble with her finger, then took my hand and led the way.

The crowd around us erupted into a raucous cheer as the roof collapsed, launching an onslaught of sparks into the air. Hundreds of voices pressed against me. Their rage was like a sticky poison on my skin.

 

THE FEEDBACK:

The descriptions, especially the sensory information, are beautiful. I love how you talk about the flames. There’s so much delicious language around the experiences and it absolutely draws me in!

The conversation between the two characters does a really great job of showing us who they are, and what their relationship is like. I’m getting a little bit of an intimate vibe between the two of them, but I might be projecting.  The contrast between what our narrator says, and what she thinks is nice too. It gives the characters depth.

There’s some room for clarification in the section on the assault. It’s a little unclear where she is physically after he shoves her “back to the ground.” I’m pretty sure since she’s returning to the ground, it’s to her feet, where she was before. But because of what’s going on, it could just as easily be that she’s on her back. Also, I’m not sure about the word, “impropriety” here. If it’s accurate, are we supposed to infer that our narrator has been exposed to this sort of behavior and worse often enough that she’s numb?

It’s small, but an editing note for the first paragraph. It looks like you forgot to capitalize “Federation” there but got it the rest of the times!

Overall, this is fantastic. I have so many questions about the world they live in, what their relationship is like, and I need to know more about Heresy Days and the Federation. Having questions about what I’ve read isn’t a bad thing! It means that I’m interested, curious, and drawn into the narrative. I’d love to see this developed further!

Keep up all your hard work!

Remember, there is another 500 words of this I could post next week. Let me know in the comments if you want to see it!

-R/AC

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