|Hi, laurafu In response to your review request.
I realize this is a painful real story. It's close to your heart. You are feeling the emotion of the visit. This story is going to be a catharsis as you write it. What you have written here are a jumble of thoughts, impressions and experiences. As an outside reader, I'm not getting the feeling of what is going on and what you really want to say. I think you're holding back.
In the beginning You spend a lot of words describing the setting with no emotional connection given. Your purpose for writing this is to share what happened all those years and its effect on your life. I didn't get this from the long laundry list of detail. This section might server better interspersed with the story.
You told in the blurb that this was about PTSD and its effect on you. This didn't come through at the beginning. You always need to state the goal of the story up front. Introduce yourself and tell why you are writing this.
What is the goal of the main character? You
I don't even know your name. SO I'm going to call you Donna
My name is Donna. It's not my real name as I will be talking about real people both alive and dead. I don't want a law suit so all the names of people will be changed.
I was abused as a child. I wasn't alone, I have siblings that went through this period. They have their own story, this is mine. It's going to be in detail so if you're a bit squeamish, I'm sorry. What I experienced should not have happened to anyone. If there is someone who suspects abuse. Don't hesitate to say something. I know it isn't always acted on, but don't ignore it.
Here is where you introduce the characters in your story. It might start like this.
My story starts in (say the city and state) along Richbarn Road. It was a double wide trailer my grandmother had towed to her property so her daughter would be near her. (give me some idea of what this woman was like and how you felt about her) I wish I could say she was a lovely cookie baking woman, but that would be a lie. I learned abuse is passed from generation to generation. (You don't have to say much but give the reader a sense of foreshadowing)
There were four children and my mother occupying that house of horror. (List the birth order and ages of the children, were any born while in the house or did you all move there with the trailer?) This gives a sense of the family dynamic.
Where there others that lived there? What was your mother like?
My mother was once a beautiful girl. She, was abused by(?) men she met? We don't know who our father was or where he (they) went. They were never a part of our lives. She would bathe and dress nice then head into town leaving us to care for ourselves. All in one room, with the door locked. That door had been cut in half like you see in a daycare. They are called dutch doors. We couldn't get out. We would play or fall asleep in that room. What ever food she had lying around was thrown at us. Left over pizza, condiments, and such. For the longest time Morton salt containers triggered (what? tell us), Brown sugar sickened me. (why? tells us) pickle pissed me off and Mountain Dew enraged me. (WHY WHY? what were these items in themselves innocent, the cause of such reactions.)I'll go into more detail when I tell you about our lives.
This is foreshadowing so the reader has all those questions but you are promising to tell details. They will keep turning the page until you do. If it gets too far and you don't fulfill that promise they will shut the book and toss it.
My suggestion like the things I said above is to put in less detailed setting and more step up in the first chapter. You are an adult. Start with your overall purpose for writing this.
What you wrote isn't bad, it's just in the wrong place. It needs to be in maybe chapter 2 or so.
Chapter 1 is the introduction of the character, the goal and the setting.
I'm Donna, I'm (age) This is the story of my life.
I lived in (city, state, road) I have (#) of siblings, I'm the (state your birth order) While we all experienced the same thing, I don't speak for my siblings. They are free to tell their story.
Why are you writing this? What do you hope will happen when others read it?
This is a story of how I was abused from childhood, how it has been a part of my life and how I realized there needed to be a change, to break the cycle. Somethings will never go away, but learning to deal with it and confront the past helps when you move on.
The second half of this piece is a personal experience and I got no emotion from it. I got you telling me about the rooms but there is more going on and you didn't give it to the reader. It's too clinical. When you write this it should be put later in the story.
I'm going to paraphrase a portion and show you what I mean.
The trailer looked more rundown. When I lived here the paint was weathered, now it looked bleached. It almost shimmered. The way waves shimmer off asphalt in the summer heat. I blinked. It was gone, but the rundown trailer still stood there, mocking me. My mind slowly pulled the heavy curtain I'd painstakingly built away and I absorbed the picture and all that happened here.
My chest hurt and I realized my hand clutched the front of my shirt. The folds so tight in my fist I wondered if I'd ever be able to wash and iron them out. They were like the etched memories I was about to to revisit. My feet didn't move. They weren't listening to the order to take the steps to the porch.
(What is Vagus? I didn't get it. I looked it up and there was something about pictures and a nerve in the brain. This isn't a common word so you should either leave it out or explain the reference.)
My feet finally moved up the decking to the door. I shuddered and felt the inner shaking begin. Maybe I should leave. I shouldn't have come, this is far more painful than I thought. I turned away but determination to face that fear overcame the need to run and I put my hand on the door knob. Opening the door felt like the demon behind it waited to consume me.
Do you see how the emotion of the moment drags the reader along with you? They are feeling what you are feeling. You want that dread and fear you felt to be conveyed to the reader.
I hope this helps you as you move forward. Look at what you've written after this and see if you can restart it and move things around to give the reader a more personal view of what you are SHOWING them, not telling them