Hi darling! I'm here to review!
First, I'd like to say that this was utterly brilliant. It was wonderful! I wanted to go ahead and get that out of the way so that I can focus on analyzing/critiquing the piece - I really want to examine what you asked me to, so don't get discouraged okay? Because it is BRILLIANT in its own right.
Imagery and style, especially when writing about pain and darkness, is all about diction, diction, diction. Have you ever seen Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams? Well, at one point he says, don't use 'very sad', use 'morose' because language was invented to woo women (haha). Although you aren't talking about happy and bubbly things, the same applies to this kind of story - you've got to be very specific with your word choices. Each word has to count, has to bring the reader closer to the emotions of the story.
For example, look at this particular sentence: "A ten-year-old angel, full of hope despite the darkness of her reality." - Look specifically at the word "darkness." Darkness can be allegorically significant and diverse based on the context of the story. Darkness isn't necessarily a bad word or not adequate enough, but utilize the /idea/ of darkness to highlight the turmoil she's experiencing. This may sound elementary, but use a thesaurus. You know what you want to say in this sentence, right? But to really convey the idea of darkness, metaphorically, emotionally, and literally, expand that sentence - make it two sentences or turn it into a compound-complex or just complex sentence. Use words like obscurity, murkiness, smokiness, tenebrous, sombre, lurid. Now, your style (and it's fantastic!) is different from mine, but as an example, here's what I would do: A ten year old angel, brimming with the luster of hope despite the murky corners, the creeping reality of a decrepit veil settling heavily upon me. Do you see how in my example I utilize the idea of darkness and how it reverberates throughout the entire sentence? That's just one way to bring imagery and style together to convey emotion.
I'm going to point out a few places where I think you should really give us more of your beautiful prose in a manner similar to the description above, okay?
-"The furious wind whistled louder until its rage..."
-"That night, Astoria's father shattered. All the good inside him disintegrated and died alongside his wife."
-"She tried because she wanted to drown the bad and force the good to surface."
-"But nothing could shelter her from the father who, despite all of his cruelties, part of her still loved."
-"It was storming again, a terrifying summer storm that broke the earth." (This paragraph in particular I really wanted you to elicit the /idea/ of it as her fault, you know?).
-"The wind and rain battered the house..."
Those are some of the major places I noticed would really benefit from some ministrations in your very capable hands!
I'd also like to give you another piece of writerly advice I've come across over the years. When you grow as a writer, you are going to find your niche. What works for me, JKR, or whoever, won't work for you are your stye. Write as much as possible. Natural, real, TRUE style only emerges when you've written so much that the words just sort of appear. Okay, now another piece of advice. I've found that when you want to convey a certain emotion or idea in writing and want that to show through very strongly (without being overpowering) in your imagery and style, you've got to consider the senses. They always tell you to write the five senses, but I've learned you've go to give it MORE. Write the five senses, but give us emotional detail, give us detail about nature. Intertwine nature (the outside, physical, tangible descriptions) with emotional outpouring. Here, I'll use an example: "Hope lingers in every other rain drop." Now, if you'd read the essay of mine that that line came from, you'd understand that hope is my emotion and in my interpretation, my mind, my reality, it mingles with the drops of rain. I know that you said I conveyed darkness in "Come, Sugar" without really maxing out on the descriptions - that's because every word is precious. Most people don't like purple prose (think Victorian era writings like Jane Eyre) and most writers don't compose like that anymore. Words are precious and should hold gravity over the reader. Every adjective, adverb, verb, noun, phrase, and clause should bring the reader, in this type of story, closer to the theme, the emotions, the essence of the story.
I suggest that when you edit, don't just look for grammar mistakes, look at re-VISION. Do you think that readers will be inexplicably drawn into the story? If not, how do you add characterization, plot, description, dialogue, emotion, narrative sequence, etc. to make it so? All those things that you did in this story, bring them to the next level. Now, don't get me wrong, I think your story is fabulous. It's got a dark sort of charisma about it - it actually made me cringe thinking about what Astoria was going through. You made it realistic and tangible and accessible for the reader. Good. Gracious. Alive. - it was wonderful. I definitely think that you've portrayed the abuse and Astoria's reaction with elegance.
If you need any clarification or more help, or you just want to yell at me for being mean (I hope I wasn't!), then PM me! I'm here to help you in any way that I can! It's so hard to help when I've only got 6000 characters to do so in a review! I want you to reach your full potential because, frankly, you've got a great style and I think you've got so much charisma and spunk as a writer.
I hope I helped, my dear! And remember, make every word count.
Author's Response: I'm not ever sure how to start responding to this.
Except for THANK YOU! Your CC have been amazing, I am so excited to work on the parts you pointed out.
I really love the placed you pointed out to enhance and I already have little circling ideas!
I wish I could adequately respond to this, but I just don't know how. I'm so happy you still found this story alluring, I really wanted to put it in between understandable and eerie, and make sure that Astoria's sufferings weren't being minimized but that they were realistic to be coming from the mind of this monsters daughter.
Blah. Seriously. I just don't know how to thank you enough for all your amazing help ♥