This is a fictional story, and would like advice on the story as a whole, but first 13 is fine aswell. This story is 10 pages long, double spaced, and 2819 words.
World of Fiction:
Roland sat and stared at the walls that loomed around the small city he lived in.The government said the walls were for the peopleís protection from the chemicals, and filled the TVís with replays, saying this city is the last safe haven. He like everyone else in this city seemed to be born after the great chemical war. Roland was told that the chemicals bombs that were dropped drove people into insanity, and thatís why it wiped out most of civilization. But chemicals and old wars seemed like dreams; when one doesnít see it with his own eyes, see it affect him personally. Roland felt that him and his friends lived a regular life in this city. A city that looked like a small metropolis of the year 2004, and him and his friends biggest problem was figuring out how to get there next high.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited March 24, 2007).]
Overall, seems like an interesting idea - I would read on to see where it goes. There are a few punctuation and grammar issues I noticed, so here are some suggestions.
"He like everyone else in this city seemed to be born after the great chemical war."
-This sentence needs a comma after 'he', and you may want to get rid of the 'seemed to be' and make it something like this: "he, like everyone else in this city, was born after the great chemical war." He can't really 'seem to have been' born, he was either born after it or he wasn't.
"Roland was told that the chemical(s) bombs that were dropped drove people into insanity, and thatís why it wiped out most of civilization."
-I would recommend changing 'into' to just 'to' ("..drove people to insanity.."). One more thing - I'd like to know a little bit more (just one extra sentence here, maybe) about how/why chemicals making people "insane" wiped out civilization? What did people actually begin doing, and how did this cause civilization to be wiped out?
"But chemicals and old wars seemed like dreams; when one doesnít see it with his own eyes, see it affect him personally."
-The last part of the sentence doesn't seem complete - if I were to guess, I'd say it was meant to say "he doesn't see it affect him personally" or something similar to that.
"Roland felt that him and his friends lived a regular life in this city. A city that looked like a small metropolis of the year 2004, and him and his friends biggest problem was figuring out how to get there next high."
-I would change 'him' in the first sentence to 'he'. I might also combine these two sentences into one, maybe like this: "Roland felt that he and his friends lived a regular life in this city, a city that resembled a small metropolis from the year 2004, where their biggest problem was figuring out where their next high would come from."
(and remember to use "there" vs. "their" properly!)
"Roland lay back down on a blackened tattered roof with his two friends. The moon cast its unwavering gaze upon them, as they enjoyed the night with a smoke."
-I'd change the 'a' to 'the', add a comma between 'blackened' and 'tattered', and take the comma away from the second sentence: "Roland lay back down on the blackened, tattered roof with his two friends. The moon cast its unwavering gaze upon them as they enjoyed the night with a smoke."
These are just some suggestions I came up with. As I said, I'd want to read on to find out how the story unfolds because it sounds interesting to me. You may just want to keep an eye on those small grammar and punctuation issues. This is my first critique/commenting-on of someone's 13 sentences so I hope it's helpful and appropriate!
Interesting idea, I'm a big fan of dystopian fiction, but I feel distanced from the MC at the moment on this piece.
Personally, I'd like you to mix it up a little more action/sense of place, so far you've told us Roland is just sitting and staring at the walls that loom around the city, then you launch into telling us some facts. Give me some imagery, how high are the walls, what are they made of, are they topped with barbed wire and machine gun nests? Are the streets dark and mean, is there a prevailing sense of 'big brother' watching? Where is MC sitting, in his spartan apartment?
I think if you sucked me in a bit more with details like that I would be more willing to swallow the raw facts.
My advise for what it's worth, take or leave...good luck
[This message has been edited by Zoot (edited March 24, 2007).]
So far we have background info. What is Roland's struggle? Does he want to leave the city? What happens if he tries? I think you should address these issues in the first few sentences as you describe the city/situation.
Posts: 52 | Registered: Mar 2007
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Thank you all for your replies, they 're helpful, but I think I'm just going to scratch this story for now. It's causing me way too many problems at the moment, and half of those problem arise from how the story is told. The first thirteen is just the beginning of the problems, and the ending just doesn't seem to fit.
What I've learned is this - never fully "scratch" a story idea. If you don't know where to go with it (or how to go farther with it), simply put it aside, then re-visit it sometime in the future. The second you read it again, you'll probably get a million new ideas popping into your head, and you'll have a fresh perspective on the whole thing. This has happened to me quite a few times :P
Posts: 7 | Registered: Feb 2007
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In additon the above, you might want to be careful with "seemed". I would say tell it like it is. "But chemicals and old wars were dreams..." and "He like everyone else in this city had been born after the great chemical war."
To me, words like this (seemed, somewhat, sort of, etc.) weaken the description in many cases.
[This message has been edited by lehollis (edited March 29, 2007).]