January 4, 2012
Here's the start of my new story. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Chapter 1 – Andy
I hate this school already, Andrew Ross thought as he followed Daniel Hutton, the student who'd been assigned to give him a guided tour. And I've only been here ten minutes.
"So…where are we going first, Daniel?" he asked his guide.
"I dunno, where d'you wanna go, Andy?" was the reply. "Call me Dan, by the way. Everyone does."
"OK, Dan." Andy though for a moment. "Umm…can we go to the dormitories first? I'd like to leave my bag there."
Dan looked confused for a moment. "Huh? Oh…you mean the pits. Right. Not used to people using proper names for stuff. Don't worry, you'll soon pick up the lingo."
Pits. They call dormitories "pits". I need to know things like that, Andy thought to himself as they walked. I wonder what else they have different names for? I don't want to be made fun of for not knowing the "lingo", as Dan calls it. He asked Dan, who couldn't think of any, not surprisingly. Oh well…I'll just have to pick it up as I go along.
Andy was exhausted, and according to Dan, they hadn't even seen half the school yet. This place is massive! What on earth do they need all this space for? There can't possibly be enough students to fill all those classrooms…can there?
"Where next?" he asked wearily.
"I think -" Whatever Dan had been about to say was interrupted by a deafening high-pitched note that seemed to come from every direction at once.
"Great, grub time! This way, we're going to the mess hall!"
Grub? Mess? I'm not sure I like the sound of that, Andy thought.
To Andy's relief, "grub" turned out to be "food" or "dinner", with the "mess hall" being the dining hall. The very full dining hall. There were kids everywhere! Andy felt very small and lost in the great, noisy mass. He stuck close to Dan.
That's all for now…let me know what you think of it so far!
February 18, 2012
January 4, 2012
Thanks Writer! Here's the next bit for you.
Monday, 5 September – Day 1 of hell
I hate this place. Why did Mum and Dad have to send me here? Why can't they take me with them to Africa? I could help them, I know what to do.
It's not fair. They get to go to warm, sunny, exciting Africa and I'm stuck in a stupid boarding school in wet, cold, windy, boring Yorkshire, a.k.a the middle of nowhere.
I wish I was in Africa. I wish I was anywhere but this horrible school full of strange people.
I have to start lessons tomorrow. I hope my classmates aren't too badly behaved.
I hope I can get to sleep with all the other boys snoring.
Tuesday, 6 September – Day 2 of hell
I think Daniel is mad. And most of the other students. You'd have to be, to actually like this place.
Lessons went OK. I found out I'm a lot better at reading and writing than most of the others in Year 7. (That's what they call the first year of secondary school, the year I'm in. I think they should call it "Year 1", or just "the 11-year-olds".)
I'm not so good at PE, though. I suppose it's because I've never really had anyone to play ball games with, that I'm bad at them. Mum and Dad just let me sit and read, write or draw, and sometimes got me to do some math or science. I got really teased about it by the class. Do they think all Americans are supposed to be amazing at sports or something?
Why did I have to come to an English school? Why couldn't I stay in America? For one thing, it was warmer.
Wednesday, 7 September – Day 3 of hell
I was wrong about most of the students being mad. Everyone in this whole school is mad, even the teachers. I'm the only sane one for miles.
This isn't a school; it's a dumping ground for kids whose parents either can't look after them, or just don't want to. And me. I'm the odd one out. My parents are coming back for me as soon as they can, and they'll take me out to Kenya with them.
I can't wait.
February 24, 2012
January 4, 2012
Thanks Trekkie! I'm just deciding what to do for the next bit. Be warned: I edit compulsively. I may at any point go back and edit any section, but I'll try to remember to tell you if I have. Hey, we could make a game of it: first one to spot what I've changed!
I'll mostly be making little changes, hardly noticeable unless you have a really good memory; things like adding extra detail, clarifying things. While I'm on the subject of clarification, does anyone have any questions about things (in the story) they would like to have explained? I tend to jump straight into the situation without giving enough background. For example, I haven't even got to the place I originally started the story yet. I read it to a friend and she was really confused, so I thought I'd better pull back a bit and explain a little about Andy and where he is.
So, thoughts? I'd really like some constructive feedback on this sort of stuff, that's the reason I'm posting the story on here instead of just writing it on a Word document and showing it to my (very supportive) family!
January 4, 2012
OK, here we go! Next bit!
Chapter 2 – Andy
Andy soon got used to school, although he quickly discovered that his education had been very spotty. His parents, who had decided to homeschool their son rather than making him change schools every time they moved, had focused on the subjects they knew best: reading, writing, history and science. As a result, Andy was miles ahead of his classmates in some subjects, but a long way behind in others.
A week after starting, Andy was moved down a group for Maths, and was immediately intrigued by one of his new classmates.
[And this is where I originally started. Really bad place, I know.]
"Who is that guy?" he asked Dan.
Dan was confused. "Who?"
When Andy pointed out the boy, Dan burst out laughing, and it was a whole minute before he'd calmed down enough to explain.
"See, 'That guy' is actually a girl. Her name's Sara Kagé."
Sara? A girl? With hair that short? Andy was fascinated, and wanted to go and talk to Sara, but Dan pulled him back.
"I wouldn't if I was you. Sara's pretty weird."
"Weird how?" Andy wondered. If someone in a crazy school is called "weird" by the mad students, does that mean they're actually normal?
"She never talks. Not ever. And no-one knows why."
Andy had to agree, that was weird. He was even more curious about Sara Kagé than he had been before he knew her name, and decided that finding out why Sara never spoke would keep him occupied until his parents came to fetch him.
March 25, 2012
I like this story. I especially like how its written in Journal Format after changing from first person narrative. I Hope to see some more of this story.
Keep up the good work
April 12, 2012
Your internal dialogue is very well done. If there is a fault here, it is probably in your transitions--hard to edit for unless you do it all at once for consistency.
January 4, 2012
Yeah, I noticed that. I've changed the way the chapter headings are done, and I've taken out the diary entries in my later drafts. Probably going to leave this alone, though.
January 17, 2012
The story is going well so far. From a linguistic view, an American kid, even the most isolated home-schooler, would know the terms "grub" and "mess." Especially given that his parents travel for work. They might be military or former military themselves. At the very least, they would come in contact with service personnel abroad and learn to "speak soldier."
January 4, 2012
Actually, they're archaeologists…I need to remember to put that in to the story at some point.
February 28, 2012
Liking the writerly piece you've started here, hope to read more of it. I would just like to draw your attention to the following:
""I think -" Whatever Dan had been about to say was interrupted by a deafening high-pitched note that seemed to come from every direction at once."
When you see it happen in your imagination, as it would in a movie, it's a very dynamic scene. It's a startling scene, i.e. quick and surprising, as shown by your use of the dash to suggest, well, the sudden interruption of the character's speech. But when the narrator takes over to *tell* what's happening, the tempo introduced by the dash is lost to the leisurely pace of the narratorial takeover, so to speak. For a better sense of what i'm saying, compare it with the following rewrite suggestion:
"I think -- " and a buzz blared in from everywhere.
To sum up:
1) *Show, don't tell* (= let the characters live out their stories via action and dialogue, don't have the narrator butt in to caption things for the reader. Unless of course you really want to make a (post-post-modern) point that particular way).
2) When it comes to adjectives and adverbs, *less is more* (or, as Einstein put it, "make things as simple as possible but no simpler": when you've figured that one out, the Pulitzer should be halfway yours )
( 3) for some reason, people these days no longer appreciate alliteration -___- )
January 4, 2012
Thanks for the suggestion, Ximero. I'm currently in the process of completely rewriting the opening, so I'll think about that section when I get to it.
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