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February 27, 2013
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For the restless, 'home' is a difficult concept; the idea of a physical or hypothetical place we are tied to. That we will always return to. That we will always belong to. Milo has always said that airports are his home, or train stations or motor way service stops. Home is where the heart is, and Milo’s heart is in escape. He dreams of flitting from place to place and belonging to them all, absorbing everything and being absorbed as he runs free. But even those who run are running from somewhere and no one can outrun the primal ache that calls us back.


‘You could have called. Or do hippies not have phones?’

‘I called you to get you here, but it’s good to know you’ve not gotten any funnier,’ Milo murmurs into the cigarette he’s lighting. He inhales deeply, letting his eyelids droop over the patchwork of green and yellow fields.

‘I meant before that, when you were gone? We were still here, thinking about you. We don’t stop existing when you’re gone.’

‘I know.’ Milo wants to say but, but there isn’t one.  He turns to look at Charlotte, who sits with her legs pulled up on the bench and looks anywhere but at him. She’s different, maybe her hair is longer or her face a little thinner – Milo can’t put his finger on it. It gives him the unpleasant and familiar sinking feeling that something is happening, something good, and he is missing it. The feeling makes him want to run.

‘So how was school?’

Charlotte turns to him.

‘Really, Milo? I haven’t seen you in four months and you’re asking about my day?’

‘I don’t know what I’m meant to ask you.’

‘Maybe you would if you were here.’ She looks away again. Milo can’t.

‘You wouldn’t find it interesting,’ Charlotte barely says, her lips still touching. Milo’s mouth opens automatically but when no words come out, he raises his cigarette and pulls slowly.

‘Why didn’t you come straight home?’

‘What?’

‘Home. To the house. Why did I have to meet you here?’ Milo raises his eyebrows and, while he tries to find words for feelings, reaches out to touch Charlotte’s hair. It’s still soft and cool, like he remembers. She bats him away but smiles.

‘I wanted to see you first. Before the questions. I don’t know. I wanted to come somewhere I could breathe for a while, and I thought of here.’ He stops and they both look out over the fields. ‘Do you remember when I used to bring you here on the way back from school?’

‘Yes,’ Charlotte says slowly, as if asking a question.

‘We played adventure games. I’d spend all day in class making up these long, complicated back stories for you. About how we were lost in the jungle or the Australian outback or something and how the ants were weird new species we’d discovered and the sheep were zebras and gazelles. All we had in the world was a bottle of water, a bruised banana at the bottom of your satchel and each other. You used to get so into it, Char. You’d go running through the fields screaming your jungle cry at the top of your voice like you were Tarzan or something.’ Charlotte hasn’t seen him smile like this in a long time, and his eyes glitter with the golden sun that lit the fields of their childhood.

‘I remember.’

‘Don’t you miss it, Char?’

‘Don’t you?’ Milo looks at her blankly.

Charlotte pulls at her necklace.

‘We’re not enough.’

Milo’s mind freezes. Too many things he needs her to know come flooding in at once and none of them can get out. He stares like a man that is drowning, but it’s too late. She looks away.

‘Maybe we should go,’ she says, reaching for her bag.

‘I want to stay.’ Charlotte stops and looks up at him. ‘Please Char, just stay here. With me.’

They look at each other. Neither knows what else to say, so Charlotte unfolds her legs and lays her head on her brother’s shoulder. When Milo smells her hair he’s 12 years old, dragging his little sister through the Serengeti fields of hay.
I don't know why it won't let me edit the title, but it should be called 'Home'.

This is for my sister's website, thecollaborationclub.com. Thought I might as well post it here as well seeing as Milo was born here. I really wanted to develop his character a little, it's really important to me that he sitll comes across as likeable through all of his flaws so I hope I managed that.
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013  Professional Writer
Hello! :wave: I'm Dorian from #SuperWritersHelp, here to fulfill your request for some feedback on this piece! I usually break my critiques down by highlighting certain areas I feel need attention drawn to them, and then give my overall comments at the end. Please bear with me as I go through, as sometimes, my critiques can get rather long. I hope that you can find some of my suggestions and feedback helpful, not only for this piece, but others in the future.

"For the restless, 'home' is a difficult concept; the idea of a physical or hypothetical place we are tied to."

A few small things with this opener. First off, it's definitely a striking line that draws the reader in. For that, great job! The one thing to fix up, however, is "home" being in single quotes when it should be in double-- 'home' changed to "home". If it were a quote within a quote, then the single would be appropriate. Also, the use of the semi-colon here is incorrect. Remember to only use a semi-colon when two complete thoughts are being tied together. In this case, you want to use something that creates that pause and emotional effect (I'd suggest an em-dash). Rewritten, it should look like this:

:bulletblack: For the restless, "home" is a difficult concept-- the idea of a physical or hypothetical place we are tied to.

"‘I know.’ Milo wants to say but, but there isn’t one."

With this sentence, you'll want to break it off into its own paragraph, since it's connected with another chunk of detail afterward. Remember to keep dialogue on its own. Based on the dialogue tag, as well, the period after "know" could possibly be a comma, just to make the flow and appearance work better, since the dialogue tag isn't really a complete thought. It also has some awkward syntax here-- "...but there isn't one." Isn't one what? It's a bit confusing. Perhaps just end it with "Milo wants to say."

"‘You wouldn’t find it interesting,’ Charlotte barely says, her lips still touching. Milo’s mouth opens automatically but when no words come out, he raises his cigarette and pulls slowly."

Watch how many times adverbs are used-- especially so close together. Adverbs are alright to use sparingly, but too many of them start to bog down writing. I mainly pointed this section out just to make it aware that they are so close to each other, and just for awareness of them in the future. I don't know how many more adverbs are written in this piece, but like I said, it's something to be aware of in writing.

"Milo raises his eyebrows and, while he tries to find words for feelings, reaches out to touch Charlotte’s hair. It’s still soft and cool, like he remembers. She bats him away but smiles."

Make this its own paragraph away from the line of dialogue. I had to re-read the section a few times since I got confused over who was speaking since there were no dialogue tags. With this attached to the line that was said by (I believe) Charlotte, the reader may assume that it's Milo speaking. Remember to keep dialogue and description paragraphs apart.

"About how we were lost in the jungle or the Australian outback or something and how the ants were weird new species we’d discovered and the sheep were zebras and gazelles."

Add an "a" after "were" and before "weird". The syntax is a little awkward without something there.

"‘Don’t you miss it, Char?’

‘Don’t you?’ Milo looks at her blankly."


Combine these two paragraphs to one. Since they are both Milo speaking and there's nothing separating them, you want to keep them the same. Having them as two separate ones, it makes it look like two different people are speaking and can cause confusion:

:bulletblack: ‘Don’t you miss it, Char? Don’t you?’ Milo looks at her blankly.

"‘I want to stay.’ Charlotte stops and looks up at him. ‘Please Char, just stay here. With me.’ "

Add a comma before "Char" and after "Please" since Milo is addressing her.

"When Milo smells her hair he’s 12 years old, dragging his little sister through the Serengeti fields of hay."

Add a comma after "hair" here, and remember to type out numericals. "12" should be written "twelve" here.

Now, on to overall comments:

You definitely do a great job in establishing character. Even in this short piece, the reader is able to see and know Milo and Charlotte very well. Their dialogue is very strong with one another (probably your strongest point in this piece) and very natural and real. Nothing about it was forced or cheesy, and every line that was said had a purpose. Very well done!

The only things I think I would like to mention here beside the small things I pointed out above are adverbs again and the ending. Like I said before, adverbs are alright to use sparingly, but there are a lot of them here that could be taken out. Many of them are the same adverb used repeatedly (like "slowly"), and they don't really add much to the writing. As an exercise, go back in and highlight all your adverbs and read your piece aloud once with them in it, and again without them. You'll see how much smoother your writing reads without them-- or at least without so many.

Now, with the ending. I may be the only one here, or if you were going for this, then good on you, but throughout this entire piece, I thought that Milo and Charlotte were lovers or at least childhood crushes. There is no evidence here of them being siblings until the last paragraph, which really threw me off and actually took me out of the story. Everything in this seems to have it set up for childhood crushes who grew up together and became lovers, but things aren't working out because they realize that people change when they grow up and things aren't all fantasy and games anymore. The sibling thing seemed to come out of left field and I think that it's something that if it's that important, you should address it much sooner in this so that the reader doesn't get the wrong idea. (A lot of the actions and words in this indicate a sense of them being "lovers", so watch word choice).

Like I said, overall, this is a very powerful piece. You are great with dialogue and creating characters and situations which really evoke emotion. Just be careful of that ending-- in case that was not the shock you were going for.

Best wishes with revisions and your future writing! You have a great start to a piece here, perhaps even a longer one!
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:iconraaawrli:
Raaawrli Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to critique my piece! I really appreciate your advice and will take it all under consideration :)
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This gorgeous piece has been featured!: [link]

Please consider taking a peek at the other pieces and faving the article to support the other artists :)
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:iconraaawrli:
Raaawrli Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013
Thank you so much!
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:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You're so welcome ^^
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