Sharon X Wong

Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

lightning strikes

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Analysis, Chapter 8: The Skies to Shake, the Stones to Bleed

In Chapter 8, we get a montage!

Montages are a little harder to pull off in written form. In a movie, all you need is a bunch of scenes and some cool music and you’re ready to go. In writing, you need a little more: reference to time passing, connecting tissue to link the scenes together somehow, a way to signal that we are skipping over many other things. Here, present tense is used as one such signal, which is interesting since present tense is generally used to create the effect of immediacy and immersion. This is the opposite of that—the tense helps us to zoom out and makes the scenes flash by a little faster. The return to past tense hits like a return to real time.

In the Hidden Things

There’s a building that nobody questions. It sits in the middle of the city, squat and grey. Nobody ever has cause to go there, so they don’t, and nobody ever asks why it is there. Sometimes people go in and out, very occasionally, but they are always people you don’t know.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Analysis, Chapter 7: To Fetch a Pail of Water

In Chapter 7, Jack and Jill get their makeover scenes.

Last chapter the twins made their choices on who they wanted to be. This chapter, we get our first glimpse of what that looks like, both in how they are treated, how they behave, and how they are dressed.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Analysis, Chapter 6: The First Night of Safety

In Chapter 6, Jack and Jill choose their roles, their guardians, and their destiny.

More choices are made here. Real choices, this time, not simply choices over what to have for dinner. Both sisters have clear ideas over what they want, and they prioritise that over everything else.

Come and See the Show

Cory and Clarissa turned. ‘Hey Rhys, hurry up!’ 

Rhys caught up. ‘Hurry up,’ he scoffed. ‘You were the ones who left me.’ 

‘Well, the fortune teller might have got us next,’ said Clarissa with a laugh, flicking back her long blonde hair. ‘I didn’t want her grabbing at my palms and warning me of danger.’

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Analysis, Chapter 5: The Roles We Choose Ourselves

In Chapter 5, we are given a proper introduction to the Moors, and dine with the people in power.

Despite the chapter title, neither Jack nor Jill are given a real choice in this chapter, not yet. Their new nicknames were given to them. They get to choose their food, but don’t get to see what it is until after the choice is made. Instead, it is the Master and Dr. Bleak who talk about choosing.

There Is An Eldritch Being At The Bottom Of My Mushroom Bucket

No, really. I’m sure of it.

For some background: I grow mushrooms. Mushrooms are a lot more like people than they are like other plants, as they breathe oxygen and consume stuff like coffee (well, used coffee grounds) and oat bran. They are low-effort to raise, as you can keep them in a sealed bucket and they will eventually poke out mushrooms. However, you do need to top up the coffee, oats and water after every harvest.

Request from a God

We have been here a long time. We don’t remember the beginning, but we were there, in the mix of swirling gases and rock and light. That was us, the light. The energy. The creation.

That is how you should think of us. Think of us like the sun. That ball of heat and light and *power*. That power has to go somewhere, and we put it into shaping the world before us. It started as just another hunk of rock, but we moulded it and added our own touches. Water. Stone. Plants. Animals.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Analysis, Chapter 4: To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Hen

This chapter is the first of Part 2: Jill and Jack into the Black, and fittingly, it deals with the crossing of borders. This chapter marks the short space of time where the girls are free—free from their parents’ expectations, and free from the rules that govern the new world they are in.

They also make their first real choice. That’s not quite true, of course. They chose to go through the door. But that was framed as inevitable, the conclusion of the way they were brought up, with no other way out left to them. Here, they have a choice of where to go, and either by instinct or chance, they choose the Moors.

Dream Fragments

I dreamt a floating city froze in time,
I dreamt its brilliance, glory and its shine.
Its glowing stones, its flashing hues so fine,
Yet the city turned to ashes in the light

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