Peer Review by seaomelette (United Arab Emirates)

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The Witch and The Mouse | Prologue (Title ideas and feedback needed)

By: HelpMe512


FREE WRITING

The last thing Sam expected to find hiding in the back of her shop was most definitely not a child. But there it was, a bright-eyed little boy huddled beside a crate full of furniture. He looked to be asleep, and Sam gently jostled his shoulder.
    The boy's eyes snapped open and he looked at Sam dead in the eyes. Sam was overwhelmed by the emotions the boy radiated. Anger, grief, and blood-curdling fear. I don't trust you! the boy's eyes seemed to scream. He scurried back from Sam's touch like her hand was a hot iron.
    After a brief moment of shock, Sam whispered in a comforting voice, "Do you need help, little one?"
    The boy's hands shook, and he pressed his back against a crate, getting as far away from Sam as he could. He said nothing, but his expression spoke volumes. Sam had never had anyone look at her with such genuine fear, and it made her heart break that this boy did. He must have gone through hell and back to be this wary of people.
    "I won't hurt you," Sam promised, her voice low so she wouldn't scare the boy. "Do you have a name? Mine's Sam."
    The boy froze at her words. She didn't know what it was, but something she said must have hit a nerve, because he just sat there, back pressed against the crate. Sam inched closer to him, and he flinched, throwing his hands up to protect his face from a blow that would never come.
    Sam's heart cracked just a little more for the boy. "I'll call you Mouse, then," she decided. When she had first heard him, she thought he was a mouse, and he certainly looked the part. He was perhaps the tiniest boy Sam had ever seen. "You can stay here if you want. Here," she offered him a cookie she had stowed in her apron.
    Mouse lowered his hands, but didn't move. Sam considered this progress. He looked at Sam, as if expecting a trick, and then slowly reached out his tiny hand. Sam tried to hold her own hand still. Mouse was incredibly jumpy, and she didn't want to startle him. With a flick of his hand, he grabbed the cookie and scurried back to his little corner.
    "What's a little kid like you doing here?" Sam wondered aloud. Obviously, Mouse wasn't going to respond, but she hadn't had someone to talk to in ages. "I wonder where your family's gone."
    The boy cocked his head at the word family, as if he was trying to puzzle out its meaning. He nibbled on his cookie, his intelligent eyes trained on Sam's lips as she spoke.
    "Such a tiny little thing," Sam rambled mindlessly, the words spilling out of her after years of isolation. "It's a wonder you survived so long. It's a wonder you decided to come here. I haven't had a visitor in three years, and that was just a passing warrior. I suppose no one wants to visit a little old witch anymore," Sam sighed.
    Mouse's eyes widened. He stopped eating the cookie and studied it with a piercing gaze. Sam regretted her words immediately; everyone was skittish of witches. Why shouldn't they be?
    "Don't worry. I'm not that kind of witch," she assured Mouse. "Simple spells and potions is all. I made this shop to try to teach young ones like you the art, but us witches were condemned for no reason at all."
    Mouse gave her a sympathetic glance and went back to eating his cookie. Although he didn't speak, Sam could tell what he was feeling through those eyes of his. Sam didn't know if he couldn't talk, or if he was just scared.
    Sam fell silent, thinking about what she should do with this boy. She wouldn't mind a companion for a little while, and she didn't want Mouse to have to go back to whatever it was that made him so jumpy. But she also knew nothing of caring for a child. Though Mouse was older, perhaps six or seven, Sam had no idea what she was doing.
    Finally, her compassion overtook her. "Would you like to stay here, Mouse? I can give you food and protection. It's not much around here, but I've learned to love it."
    Mouse again studied Sam. He considered her words and gave a slight nod. For the first time since she had seen him, and probably long before that, Mouse's mouth turned upward in a half-smile.
    Sam smiled back and offered her hand to him. Mouse didn't take it, but he stood and took a step toward her. Progress.

I shouldn't be starting more projects but here we are. Title idea would be greatly appreciated since "The WItch and The Mouse" is a bit generic. Also should I continue with this or should I make another draft? Also also this is supposed to be mysterious since it's only a prologue, but is it too mysterious? is it not mysterious enough?

Message to Readers

My brain: don't start another project. you haven't finished your four other ones
Me: *starts another project* .-.
My brain: *facepalm*


Peer Review

Prologues are the mildly to super mysterious intros to stories that either whack you upside the head with a shocking happenstance you barely understand, or begin the story with just enough background information to get you real interested in it, or somewhere in between, of course. I think this prologue really gave me great background information--introduction to Sam the witch, the Mouse, their basic personalities and attributes, what they're doing... I really like the idea of a lonely witch adopting this boy, who seems to have a tough past to him. It seems like the start to something magical! I get the feeling of starting too many projects. I'm always starting ideas of new novels and writing beginning chapters and abandoning them. I think this story would be amazing if you continued to expand on it. Don't abandon it like I've done with so many scraps! However, if you feel like you have way too many projects on your hands and you want to work on them first, I suggest you could stow this away for a bit and ruminate on it while you write the others. ^-^


Considering this is a prologue, and it's supposed to be mysterious to pique readers' interest and curiosity, I don't think you really have to add any more details to it.


Reviewer Comments

I really enjoyed reading this piece! I'm not the best at titles, but I think "The Witch and the Mouse", though generic, keeps up the nice fairytale vibe you have going throughout the story. If not, maybe consider the overall plot of the story to come and pick out a great, catchy title from there. An example would be Phillip Pullman's series His Dark Materials. The first book of the series is called Northern Lights, cos those play a huge, magical role in the book, and it sounds really nice.

Just remember that it's alright if you can't think up a title immediately.

In conclusion, keep up the awesome writing, and I wish you all the best with your projects. :3