View Full Version : London Fiction

December 3rd, 2011, 04:39 PM
I'm working on this on a very tight schedule. Harsh critique would be appreciated, please tell me what doesn't work. I've read it over too many times to see it clearly now. Thanks.


The entire sky was gray. A haze of rain fell angrily onto the busy streets of London. Claire sat in the back seat of the old blue Honda, watching rays of light from the entire city reflect onto the shiny roads in bright colours. She usually loved watching the rain at night, but right now she felt miserable. Her parents were sending her away to boarding School. Claire listened with a frown frosted onto her face, as they attempted to reassure themselves that they were doing the right thing.

“It’s one of the best Boarding schools in the state” dad was telling mom.
“Yes”, mom agreed, “over one thousand recommendations, very impressive”
“It will do you good” they chattered in unison.

Claire ignored them.

Mom turned to smile at her, “You need friends” she said.
“Exactly. Real friends” dad repeated gruffly, fixing the tie of his worn down mismatched suit.

She was not convinced.

“Real friends?” thought Claire, “what was real about snotty children who didn’t have anything interesting to say or do?”

Her nail-bitten fingers were wrapped protectively over a teddy bear sitting on her lap. It was gray, with half a smile stitched onto its face in red thread, and two navy button eyes. His name was Rupert, and he was her friend.

Her parents thought she was too old for Rupert, they wanted her to throw him away.

“Don’t worry Rupert,” she whispered sulkily, “ If they throw you away, then I’ll throw them away.

Dad noticed Claire talking to Rupert. Irritated, he exclaimed, “it’s not normal, talking to a stuffed toy. You’re twelve now Clair, beginning your GCSE’s soon. It’s time you start thinking and acting as one should in the adult working world. You can’t stay a child forever.”

She wished they would understand: there was nothing wrong with a little imagination.

“Talking to bears is not normal.” Dad continued, bubbles of spit splattered onto the windshield as he spoke.

“His name is Rupert” Claire answered coldly “and you’re the only mad ones here”.
“Well, others would see it as mad, talking to a bear” Dad repeated“and we don’t want to invest our life in raising a mad child”

A plane roared loudly overhead, they were getting closer to the airport.

Shutting her eyes, Claire wished that something would happen. Something that would stop her from going to that dull strict boarding box that would ‘educate, inspire, and discipline’ her, as the brochure said. She must have wished really hard, because the roar kept getting louder, and was soon followed by a mass of screams, and a really big bang. Her tummy tickled, and she thought the world had turned upside down. ‘Wow’ thought Claire, her eyes still shut, ‘wishing works’.

Claire opened her eyes to find a thick cloud of dust had filled the air. It was different because it glittered, like the rain. And it stung her face. Below her, the ground felt grainy. There were little rocks and pebbles that dug into her as she crawled along. She made out the shadows of people running behind the dust, but she could not see anyone clearly enough to follow. Then she saw a shoelace below her, worn down and dusty. It was moving. She didn’t know what else to do and in a panic held onto its edge and followed it, crawling through the heavy glittering dust.

Eventually the dust cleared, and Claire finally saw a shoe behind the lace. It belonged to a boy who looked about her age. He had a small face, framed with large pointy ears that stuck out beneath a mass of short dusty hair. They were in an Alleyway she had not seen before. The street felt isolated; the buildings on either side seemed empty, and most of the windows were either missing or broken. Above them the sky shone a strange faint shimmering gold.. She followed the boy’s intent gaze across the road, and horrifically discovered her Rupert alert, alive, and viciously locked in battle with a transformer’s car robot.

Rupert was dressed in a smart red jacket and was ravishing a sword at the blue transformer car which appeared to be trying to run him over.

“STOP THEM” she yelled frantically, rushing over to the duo.

“Ouch”. Rupert lashed her knee with the sword. Claire, although pleasantly surprised to have Rupert alive and real, was not impressed by his lack of hospitality.

“Stay back”, the strange boy said , “he’s hostile”

“Who did he think he was? Calling her Rupert hostile” thought Claire

“He’s not hostile. He belongs to me" She said angrily "He might get hurt!"

“Don’t worry” He said, distracted. “Mortor always wins, he’s a natural-see? we catch and kill all
toy scum in these parts, like superheroes"

“Scum! Rupert’s not scum!” yelled Claire, she glanced over at the toys, Rupert had now pierced Mortor’s right arm, and was being run over by its left. “stop them, quick! I’ve never even met Rupert properly yet, he's always been a bear.. now he's alive! I want to meet him, oh.. Rupert!" Claire yelled indignantly, hoping to catch his attention.

December 5th, 2011, 03:52 AM
I'm trying to follow the action here, but I feel like I'm missing the transitions from one place or event to the next. Okay, so she's in the back seat and then- BAM!- she's crawling in the dirt/gravel. Plane crash, explosion or something. I get that. The shoe lace is "below" her?...so she's on her hands and knees or else she's on her belly, anyway, she's crawling...is the lace in front of her?..."moving"... sort of dragging in the dirt? or is it crawling like it's alive, too? She grabs the shoelace with one hand and crawls while holding it ... I'm trying to picture it... sh's being led by it...Is the boy in the shoe upright or crawling too? the "dust" clears and then she realises the dirt has suddenly become pavement, a paved alley? Or was it always paved, and she just felt the gravel or sand on the surface? The boy, with his pointy ears, he must not be part of the accident, because he's already aware of the "fight" going on and who the participants are...or? And is he is standing, while she's hanging onto his shoelace, okay...long shoelace, or is she like, right next to his foot?...

It's maybe not finished, but it's like a dream sequence in that it feels all fuzzy. The details so far, are unclear.
I hope Rupert doesn't lose his arm..

also, small thing, but...he might want to brandish rather than ravish his sword - he might get poked. Sorry...

December 5th, 2011, 08:28 AM
Hm... I was with you until the action. For a start, it was all a tad confusing after things went wrong. And the girl didn't seem to care much that her parents had disappeared into thin air and possibily died. However evil her parents may be, it's unlikely she wouldn't at least feel a bit sad in some way. Or at least concerned for her future, (being put into an orphanage comes to mind) :P

As for the teddy having come alive, wielding a large sword, and fighting a transforming car... I just didn't have the suspension of belief for that one. It was all very sudden and unexpected. It could be an idea to, during the argument with her parents, have the girl insist that she's seen her toy move sometimes when it thinks she's not looking. That it's a real person in there. Build on this insistance in her thoughts. And perhaps have her parents connect the toy's appearence with the start of her poor behaviour. You also need to make sure the fight scene is not as sudden as currently is.

Lastly, have you considered replacing the transforming car's role with a human character instead? Perhaps the boy himself could fight the bear? Or his father? It all works towards compelling your readers to temporarily suspend their rational thoughts and go along with things, and could make for a more interesting plot in my opinion. If you do keep the bear's opponent as bizarre, (and reminiscent of the Transformers movie), as it currently is, then again, as with the bear, make sure the reader isn't thrown off by its sudden appearence.

Most of the above is just suggestions and hopefully I haven't come off as negative here as I did enjoy the story up till the action. I look forward to reading more of your work in future, as I did find the beginning of the story to be an interesting read with good characterisation.

December 6th, 2011, 11:32 PM
Thank you for your comments. I've done my best to take the criticisms into consideration. . . It isn't finished yet but I've changed the first half a great deal.. advice on whether these changes work would be appreciated.. thanks again.
here's the new version:


Claire was feeling miserable. Strapped into the back seat of the old blue Honda, she watched the rain fall angrily over the busy streets of London. Now and then, she heard fragments of her parent’s hushed conversations over the roar of rain and traffic outside.

“Talking to bears isn’t normal” Dad was telling Mom “Some might call it mad, and we don’t want to invest our lifetime raising a mad child”

Dad was driving; Mom sat beside him looking through the Busy Bees boarding school brochure.

Claire watched an Airplane fly into the monstrous gray clouds.

“It’s says here you’ve got a year of scheduled lessons and exciting activities, so you won’t have to worry about being bored, and you wont have any more time to daydream or play with that childish bear of yours” Mom said to Claire.

“His name is Rupert,” Claire replied coldly, wrapping her hands protectively over a gray teddy bear that sat on her lap. She dread the thought of organized activities and busy schedules. She loved to daydream, and would rather spend her mornings sitting in an upturned sofa, surviving storms and pirates with Rupert.

“And we’ve only just lost our Island” Claire said to herself, “we can’t survive those reckless seas for long!”

She tried to convince her parents again.

“I’ll do the dishes every night,” Claire pleaded to her parents. “Just let me stay at home, I don’t want to go to that strict dull boarding box.”

Mom turned and smiled at her, “It won’t be so bad, Claire. You need friends”

“Exactly. Real friends” dad repeated gruffly, fixing the tie of his worn down mismatched suit.

““It’s one of the best Boarding schools in the state”

“Yes”, mom agreed, “over one thousand recommendations, very impressive”
“It will do you good” they chattered in unison.

Claire ignored them, looking out the window at the pouring rain.

“Real friends?” thought Claire, “what was real about snotty children who didn’t have anything interesting to say or do?”

“I wish you could save me from this ” Claire said to Rupert, just then a flash of lightening froze the city underneath an eerie brightness.

At that same moment there was an increasingly loud roar from the sky, followed by a mass of screams, and a big bang. Claire’s tummy tickled, and it felt like the world had turned upside down.

She opened her eyes to find herself upside-down and still strapped into her seat. Through the car’s broken windows she saw it was dusty outside and surprisingly quiet.
“How odd,” said Claire to herself. “It’s stopped raining”.

Using all her strength, she unclipped her seatbelt and fell suddenly onto the car’s roof of shattered glass. The front seats were empty so she crawled through the window to look for her parents outside.

They were nowhere in sight.

“Mom and Dad must have gone to get help.” Thought Claire.
Heavy orange clouds of dust filled the air. It was different because it glittered, like the rain. And it stung her eyes.

She made out faint shadows flickering through the thick dust.

“Hello!” she called out.

No one replied.

Claire put her head on the ground and discovered that the thick dust hovered only above her knees: below her, she noticed the streets were paved in bright red tiles.

She noticed a pair of dusty feet that seemed to belong to a little boy. They were moving. She didn’t know what else to do, and decided to follow them through the glittering dust.

Eventually the dust cleared, and Claire finally saw the boy attached to the feet. He looked about her age, with a small face framed in a mass of short dusty hair and large pointy ears. They were in the most colourful alleyway Claire had ever seen. It was filled with toyshops for every kind of toy from bear to bricks, and steamengines to airoplanes.

The boy did not notice her there. He was staring intently at a disturbance across the road.

She followed his gaze to discover her very own Rupert brandishing a sword at a robot. Stranger still, he was dressed in the finest little red jacket!

“STOP” she yelled at the top of her voice, worried that Rupert might get hurt.

“I knew he was real,” she whispered to herself excitedly watching in horror and amazement as Rupert skillfully defended himself against the metal beast.

The boy leant against the wall lazily, watching the two toys fight. He didn’t move to stop them. “Stay back”, he advised, “Yours is hostile”.

“Nonsense” Claire replied. Who did he think he was? Calling her Rupert hostile. “
“Rupert, stop fighting!" Claire yelled indignantly, unsuccessfully trying to catch his attention.
She glanced over at the toys, Rupert had now pierced the robot’s right arm, and was being hit by its left.
“Stop them, please!” she pleaded, beginning to cry.

December 7th, 2011, 02:54 AM
airoplane : alternate name for a fixed wing aircraft. (aeroplane) Cool! It sounds so..brit-tish. We just say "airplane" over here. Boring, huh?
she undoes her seatbelt and tumbles/falls to the roof(or is it a ceiling?) all covered with broken window glass...the car's empty, there's no rain falling...that's good, spookey.

She starts crying. Bit sudden I thought, so I went back and there was an earlier sentence where she whispered, and watched in amazement and horror. I didn't catch all that the first time.

June 2nd, 2012, 05:02 PM
I thought it was good, an interesting story line. Although I agree with Kevin on how i couldn't really understand what was happening, but maybe it was supost to be like that, as if Claire was in a daze, and couldn't think straight. When the Bear was fighting the transformer, I got lost, and didn't understand how thee was a transformer there. Finally, if this was the begging of the book, maybe a bit more character development would have been necessary. What did claire look like? what did she mean by;"Real friends?” thought Claire, “what was real about snotty children who didn’t have anything interesting to say or do?” Were the people in her old school snotty, or the school she was going to? Over all, I think you should run with the storyline, and add more.

June 2nd, 2012, 05:07 PM
Acctually, I didn't see this edit of the story, it's much better, a lot more clear. I actually enjoyed it a lot. Great job!

June 2nd, 2012, 08:45 PM
Like someone else said, there were a couple fuzzy areas as far as flow goes, and there were a couple times when it would have been better for you to show rather than tell (like you could get rid of the sentence "Her parents were sending her away to boarding School," altogether.) Also, your dialogue was a bit choppy; try recording yourself saying what you want your characters to communicate as if you were talking to a friend or family member, then write down the recording. You'll probably have to edit some parts, but you'll find that flow will be much better.

As far as grammar goes, there were just a few mistakes, most of them being capitalization errors. Like in the quote above; "school" shouldn't be capitalized, as it isn't a proper noun.

I liked the storyline a lot, though; I really want to keep reading and find out what happened, exactly.