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brian_o
January 18th, 2011, 08:21 AM
This is my first post in the fiction area, and first post in a while. I came up with this concept during my ill-fated attempt at NaNoWriMo.


The general concept of the story is that a man who has developed a new, very addictive drug named Whimsical (which enhances the senses), is trying to come to terms with what he has done when his life takes a very dramatic turn. I'm not going to go much more in-depth than that, but this is the beginning of the story. I want to portray him as an selfish prick who thinks the world has dealt him a bad hand.


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The smell of stale donuts and burned coffee are assaulting my nostrils. The clock in the back of the room is booming “THUNK! THUNK! THUNK!” with every movement of the second hand. And the lady at the front of the room is droning on about how her life was destroyed ever since she took her first Whimsical tablet.


I would ask myself what I’m doing here, but it seems painfully obvious. I deserve this. In truth I deserve much worse, but for now I’ll settle for this emotional H-bomb.
Her sniffles sound like someone trying to suck up a marsh through a massive straw, and I’m not even going to get started on the lights.


My head is pounding and my skin is crawling.


“When Charlie found my stash, he seemed so disappointed. He’s never had an addiction—other than porn.”


The lady—Judy, I think her name is—is blaming her whole life going down the tubes on my drug. I’ve heard these stories before, and they always end up the same: had everything, became dependant, lost everything, and is now here either because of some stupid legal requirement or over-controlling family member or romantic interest.


These people never take accountability for their problems. It’s always the person who first introduced them to the drug’s fault. Or their distant father. Perhaps even their alcoholic mother’s fault. But it’s never their fault. Heaven forbid.


Heaven. Shit. Clichéd religious bullshit. Even IF it’s real—and that’s a big, big IF—I have no chance of seeing it.


Judy If-that-is-her-name manages to make eye contact with me and I quickly look away. I doubt she notices. I don’t see torches or pitchforks anywhere, so it’s a safe bet my secret’s still safe. But now it seems as though she’s staring.


Is this fucking meeting over with yet?


THUNK! THUNK! THUNK!


“So here I am. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it through the week. But I am going to try. Charlie’s worth it. I’m worth it.”


I know what’s coming next. Applause. This lady has no self control, and they’re going to applaud her for letting it destroy her life. Smart, people. Real smart.


The applause rings out, and my head feels like it’s about to explode. I can’t take this, but I’m not going to let myself leave. I may not be anything like these people, but in other ways, I’m more like them than I’d care to admit.


I lower my head and close my eyes, trying desperately to disregard the thundering pounding in my head, when I hear Judy’s voice ever so quietly rise above the roar.



“You’re using right now, aren’t you?”


The applause seems to disappear instantly, and I open my eyes. She’s staring right at me.


Moments pass, and our gaze is unbroken.


“And we’re going to wrap up with the serenity prayer. Do I have a volunteer?” Alan, the leader of the group, and, surprise, surprise, an addict, speaks up, and Judy breaks my gaze to raise her hand.


Alan nods at her and in a brief moment, she jerks her head slightly in my direction. I see Alan’s eyes fly over in my direction.


FUCK!


Judy gathers the group into a circle and gets everyone to join hands, while Alan grabs his coat and starts walking towards me.


I grab my coat off the back of my chair, and put it on as quickly as I can.


Alan is about 20 feet away from me as I get to the door. Running seems like a bad idea—it would only serve to bring more attention to me, however, walking quickly is a very real option.


Alan seems to speed up to match my speed, but not to overtake me.


“Sir? Sir!” he calls out a few times, to which I don’t respond and start walking even faster.


“Sir. Please stop. Don’t make me do this!”


I keep walking until a shrill screaming in my ears forces me to stop and cower in pain.


The noise stops moments later, but by the time I’ve got my bearing, Alan is standing next to me.


“What… what was that?” I manage to choke out between the throbs in my head and my racing heart.


“Dog whistle,” Alan responds with a faint shrug. “You have about 15 minutes until the ringing fully goes away, assuming you’re on a typical dose. Let’s go get some coffee until then. It doesn’t make it hurt less, but it does give us a chance to talk.”


“Go to Hell, asshole.”


“Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. Not again.”


Even with the pounding head, I manage to choke out, “What do you mean by ‘again’?”


“Let’s get some coffee. Maybe I’ll explain further.”

RyeCatcher24
January 18th, 2011, 06:03 PM
This piece definitely piqued my interest. I want to know more about this "Whimsical" and this Alan character. You've done a good job in making your MC a bit of a prick. I would love to see where this goes.

PMB
April 17th, 2012, 09:29 AM
If the MC is supposed to be coming down from his addiction, with his mind still in a state of incoherent, jumbled, confusion, then you've done a supperb job of conveying it.

CJ Tomlinson
April 25th, 2012, 03:04 AM
For some reason, until he mentioned the meeting I visualized the MC as waking up in a hotel room or something. Hmmm.

Anyways, I liked it, and sounds like a good plot could come from this. The ending was kind of telling of what was to come, but I assume it's not the end of the first chapter so that's cool.

Other than that I double use of "speed up" caught my attention, but the rest read pretty easily.

Not bad at all!

(Especially compared to my own NaNo attempt)

monkey44
April 29th, 2012, 06:44 AM
Interesting idea - gets the reader engaged immediately, and get right to the meat. Some tips on action writing ...

Quote: "My head is pounding and my skin is crawling."

Why the weak verbs? - action speaks for itself ...

Try this: My head pounds, my skin crawls, I can't control it.


QUOTE: The lady—Judy, I think her name is—is blaming her whole life going down the tubes on my drug. I’ve heard these stories before, and they always end up the same: had everything, became dependant, lost everything, and is now here either because of some stupid legal requirement or over-controlling family member or romantic interest.

Awkward phrasing - try: The lady - Judy, I think - blames my drug for her whole life dropping down the tubes.


Quote: Judy If-that-is-her-name manages to make eye contact with me and I quickly look away. I doubt she notices. I don’t see torches or pitchforks anywhere, so it’s a safe bet my secret’s still safe. But now it seems as though she’s staring.

Awkward again: Judy makes eye contact, but I quickly look away. I doubt she notices. I don’t see torches or pitchforks anywhere, so it’s a safe bet my secret’s still safe. But now, she's staring.



The next sentences - phrases - words show action, and how you should always write ... action, recommend you show it, don't tell it, like you do below.

***
I know what’s coming next. Applause. This lady has no self control, and they’re going to applaud her for letting it destroy her life. Smart, people. Real smart.


The applause rings out, and my head feels like it’s about to explode. I can’t take this, but I’m not going to let myself leave. I may not be anything like these people, but in other ways, I’m more like them than I’d care to admit.


I lower my head and close my eyes, trying desperately to disregard the thundering pounding in my head, when I hear Judy’s voice ever so quietly rise above the roar.



“You’re using right now, aren’t you?”

***
Right on above - this shows us what's happening - I'd already like to read more ... but recommend losing the weak verbs, each time you see "is, was, seems', turn the sentence around and lose "is" or "go" ... show us the action with strong verbs, and action phrasing. Strong verbs tighten the language, and shorten the story, but keep us engaged.


I may run, walk, ride my bike, pinwheel, skip, hop, or fly to the store, but I never just "go" to the store. "GO" never 'shows' us anything ... good luck with it ... M 44