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CrystalDreamer59
January 22nd, 2012, 08:38 PM
I have done a rough draft of a short story I've been working on. I need someone to critique without being too harsh and help me edit it since I'm not the best at grammar. A few things to note first this story is meant for people of all ages, second it is a fantasy story, but I tried not to go too heavy on the fantasy as that is not the focus of the story, third my writing style is not the best and could use vast room for improvement. I'm no professional writer. I merely write as a hobby.

Olly Buckle
January 22nd, 2012, 09:13 PM
Don't be shy, post the story and it will get looked at. My advice would be to get it into as good shape as you can and not precede it by anything like the above, simply post it as is without explanation and let people make their own minds up. If you feel you must say something I should put it at the end, so people don't approach it with preconceptions, but really you are better off without.

CrystalDreamer59
January 22nd, 2012, 09:18 PM
OK. I was just nervous since this is the first time I've shared my work with people. Hopefully no one will have any critiques that are too harsh. I can take a little criticism, but only so much.

Olly Buckle
January 22nd, 2012, 09:56 PM
Nervous of what? Words on a screen? It's okay, nobody knows who you are, unless CrystalDreamer59 happens to be your real name. There is very little point in writing unless you share it. Copy and paste below and I'll promise to come back for a look, but please don't put it all up if it's hugely long.

CrystalDreamer59
January 22nd, 2012, 11:14 PM
I think the story is too long to post in one thread so I'll break it up.

Sixteen year old Ann Thomas walked down the hallways of Columbia City High School. At first glance Ann looked like your typical teenage girl with her long golden blonde hair and blueish purple eyes. But there was one thing very different about Ann. She was a witch and had magical powers. Ann arrived to her first period science class. As usual Ann sat at the front table where hardly any one sat. “Sitting at the nerd table again?” said Mackenzie Peters as she entered the room. Ann started to get tense and felt like yelling back at her. “Calm down.” Ann heard a voice say. Ann turned around. It was Jim Benjamin, a boy in the class that usually sat to the right of Ann. Ann felt herself somehow calm down. Later in the hallway Ann overheard Mackenzie talking to one of her friends. “That Ann Thomas is such a freak. She'll never make it in life” said Mackenzie to her friend. Ann began getting tense again. If she knew of a way to use her powers on Mackenzie she would right now. Angry Ann went up to Mackenzie and pushed her. Unfortunately for Ann Mrs. Summers the principal happened to be walking by and had seen Ann push Mackenzie. “Ann you should know that violence is not tolerated here. I'll have to give you a week of detention for that.” “But...” started Ann. “Do you want me to give you more detention?” asked Mrs. Summers. Ann kept quiet. That afternoon Ann arrived home surprised to see her father in front of the door looking angry. “Don't think I don't know about you're detention.” Said Ann's father. That was one bad thing about having a wizard for a father he seemed to know everything. “I have no choice, but to ground you. So go strait to your room and do your homework.” Said her father. Ann reluctantly did as she ordered. Ann eventually began getting tired of being in her room with nothing to do but homework, so that night while her parents where asleep Ann sneaked out of the house and ran off to the near by woods. “Hello there young lady.” Ann heard someone say. Ann turned around. It was a tall dark haired man. “Who are you?” asked Ann. “The name's Vince.” said the man “I can sense that you've been bullied and no one cares for you.” said Vince. “How did you know?” asked Ann. “I have magical powers too and I can show you how to use your powers to get back at those bullies.” said Vince. “I don't know.” said Ann. Ann felt someone grab her hand. Ann turned around. It was Jim.“Don't listen to him.” said Jim. “But don't you want to get back at the kids that bully you.” said Vince. “I guess so.” said Ann. “then come join me.” said Vince. Ann released her hand from Jim's grip. “I'll join you.” said Ann. “Good come back to the woods tomorrow night.” The next night Ann sneaked out of her room again and met up with Vince in the woods. “Come follow me.” said Vince. Ann went with him. They arrived at a small cabin and went inside.“You probably know that you can use your powers to move things with your mind, but what you probably don't know is that you can also control another person's body with your mind too. You can use this power to get back at the people who bully you.” said Vince. “But shouldn't people have free will?” asked Ann. “People aren't deserving of free will. They don't know what's best for them and need to be controlled.” said Vince. “So then how do I control people with my mind?” said Ann. “All you have to do is focus your angry energy on controlling the person,” said Vince, “How about you try controlling me.” Ann focused on Vince and began thinking about how angry she was at Mackenzie for bullying her and how much she wanted to control her. Vince began feeling his arm move uncontrollably. “Your doing good,” said Vince, “Keep thinking those angry thoughts.” Monday morning Jim was walking down the hallway when he noticed a huge crowd. “What's going on?” asked Jim. “Ann's going to fight Mackenzie.” said a boy. Jim pushed his way toward the center where he noticed Ann and Mackenzie facing each other angrily. “Okay let's get this done and over with.” said Mackenzie. Mackenzie was about to go up to hit Ann when she began feeling some kind of energy taking over her body making her move uncontrollably. “What's going on?” asked a girl in the crowd. “That girl's got some kind of magical control power.” said a boy. “Let this be a lesson to all those who bully me. I'm not to be messed with.” said Ann. Suddenly Mrs. Summers the principal came and made her way through the crowd. “Ann stop this instant.” said Mrs. Summers. Ann turned around and with her energy pinned Mrs. Summers against the wall “Your out of control,” said Mrs. Summers, “I have no choice but to give you another week of detention.” “You can't give me a detention. I'm in charge here.” said Ann. After school Ann went back to the woods where she met up with Vince. Ann felt a presence. “There's someone here.” said Ann. Jim appeared from behind the bushes.

CrystalDreamer59
January 22nd, 2012, 11:20 PM
“It's that boy. Get rid of him.” said Vince. Ann ran up to Jim and began attacking him. Eventually Ann used her energy to push Jim against a tree. Vince handed Ann a dagger “Finish him.” said Vince. Ann was about to plunge the dagger into Jim's chest. “Come on Ann stop.” said Jim. Ann felt herself start to tremble. “You can stop yourself. You're in control.” continued Jim. Confused and with her thoughts spinning in her head Ann fainted. Next thing Ann knew she was back in the woods. She was walking down a path when she noticed a wolf. The wolf looked like it was about to attack her. “Feed me.” said the wolf. His voice sounded deep and mysterious like Vince's. Ann was shocked that the wolf had just spoke to her. Suddenly from the bushes another wolf came and attacked the wolf. “Don't listen to that wolf. He wants to destroy you.” said the other wolf. His voice sounded like Jim's. Ann watched as the wolves continued to fight. “You can choose which one of us wins.” said the wolf that sounded like Jim. Ann woke up in her bed at home. It had all been a bad dream. “How did I get here?” asked Ann. “Jim carried you here after you fainted.” said her father. Ann tried to sit up but she felt nauseous. “I don't feel so good.” complained Ann.“Your energy is all out of balance” Said Ann's father “There's something you should know about Vince. We use to be best friends as kids. He was a good kid though a bit emotional” said her father. “What happened then?” asked Ann. “He eventually got tired of being bullied and decided to start using his powers to control people.” said her father. “If that's the case then perhaps Vince isn't all bad. He's just hurt.” said Ann. “Yes, I believe there is still good in him, but it's buried beneath all the hurt and anger.” said her father. “And I think it's the same with you Ann. I believe there is good in you, but you too are hurt and angry at the kids that bully you.” Continued Ann's father. Ann began feeling something warm inside her. Suddenly Ann automatically began thinking. There is good inside you. You just have to believe. You have the power within to control the anger. The next morning Ann felt much better. Ann knew what she had to do. Ann went back to the woods. “I was expecting you to come back.” said Vince. “It's over. I'm no longer going to let you control me.” said Ann.“I know all about you. You try to act tough but deep down you're hurt.” said Ann. “No, stop.” said Vince. “You think no one cares for you, but that's not true, I do.” said Ann. “That's impossible no one has ever cared for me before.” said Vince. “Please believe me.” begged Ann.“I don't believe you” said Vince. Ann felt some kind of energy starting to take over her body. Ann remembered that she was in control not him and managed to break free of his control. “I'm in control.” said Ann. “You can't keep resisting me.” said Vince. Suddenly Ann felt the energy control her body again this time causing her to fall to her knees. “You can't give up Ann.” Ann heard a voice say as she struggled to gain back control. Ann recognized the voice it was Jim. “I knew you were in trouble so I came to help you.” “Why did you come to help me after all I put you through?” asked Ann. “Because I believe in you Ann.” Said Jim. With that Ann was able to break free of Vince's control. “You might have been able to escape my control this time. But you will eventually be under my full control.” Said Vince. And with that Vince left. “You did it Ann. You managed to break free from Vince's control.” Said Jim. “I have a feeling this isn't over yet.” Said Ann.

Olly Buckle
January 23rd, 2012, 10:24 AM
Hi, it is first thing and I need to get out of the door to do things, but at a quick glance my first impression is to say "This certainly does not look irredeemable, I have seen far worse", and "Check out how often you have used Anne's name". I'll come back to it when I get home, have a good day.

BabaYaga
January 23rd, 2012, 11:09 AM
Hi Crystal,

Thanks for posting it in the thread. I think you'd get more feedback if you edited the post and just chopped it up into paragraphs, makes it easier to read on a screen. I like your idea, I'm working on something similar myself- only much darker and not really meant for kids- but I like that you've managed to do the whole 'young girl is a witch at school' story without it feeling like an HP rip-off (which there are a lot of out there).

I would say read it again for spelling (straight instead of strait) and punctuation (Unfortunately for Ann, Mrs. Summers the principal happened to be walking by and had seen Ann push Mackenzie) and like Olly said, the use of Ann's name.

Otherwise keep writing, it looks from the ending that you already have the continuation of the story in your mind.

CrystalDreamer59
January 23rd, 2012, 05:07 PM
Thanks I'll make sure I use Ann's name less and look for small spelling errors. And yes I have plans for another short story that goes after this one. I also have plans for a prequel short story that goes more into detail about Vince when he was younger. I also might do another short story in which Ann and Jim are all grown up and have a son. I plan on putting the stories together as a collection of short stories. By the way I could use a title for my short story collection. I'm thinking of crossroads because of how the main character has to make a choice.

Fallen
January 25th, 2012, 08:28 AM
Hi, Crystal, there's a little help below with formating: new speaker, new line, punctuation (remember to use punctuation inside dialogue (speech), deleting some of the repetition. Sorry it's not much, but I'm pushed for time.




I think the story is too long to post in one thread so I'll break it up.

Sixteen(hyphenate)year(hyphenate)old (Sixteen-year-old) Ann Thomas walked down the hallways of Columbia City High School. At first glance(,) Ann looked like your typical teenage girl with her long golden blonde hair and blueish purple eyes (this doesn't sound too typical). But there was one thing very different about Ann.

She was a witch and had magical powers (Just a suggestion, but to keep the intrigue, try and keep and show this diffrence through her abilities). Ann arrived to her first period science class. As usual Ann and sat alone at the front table where hardly any one sat.

“Sitting at the nerd table again Even the nerds avoid you,” said Mackenzie Peters as she entered the room. (You're trying to build that sense that she's different from everyone else)

Ann started to get tense and felt like yelling back at her tensed.

“Calm down.” Ann heard a voice say. Ann She turned around. It was as Jim Benjamin, a boy in the class that usually sat to the right of Ann next to her/her table. Ann felt herself somehow calm down relaxed (to erase repetition of 'calm down). You could also do with a little more here, maybe explain why Jim always managed to calm her down.

Later in the hallway(,) Ann overheard Mackenzie talking to one of her friends.

“That Ann Thomas is such a freak. She'll never make it in life(.)” said Mackenzie to her friend.

Ann began getting tense again. If she knew of a way to use her powers on Mackenzie she would right now She wondered what she would look like bald, or with huge puss-leaking warts, which was becoming more and more tempting to do. Angry(,) Ann went up to Mackenzie and pushed her.
.

Olly Buckle
January 25th, 2012, 10:44 AM
I see you got a couple of good responses already, here's my two pennyworth.

You said this is a rough draft, and it reads a bit like the sort of plot line that I might work from (quite a good one by the way), however I feel it needs filling out, let me give you an example.

"Ann eventually began getting tired of being in her room with nothing to do but homework, so that night while her parents where asleep Ann sneaked out of the house and ran off to the near by woods."

I would fill it out thus,

"Ann sat in her room doing her homework, it was tedious biology, learning all the names of groups of animals in their phylum and genera, and after a while she got very bored with it. The little room seemed close and warm in the summer evening and she longed to be outside in the cooler air. Eventually she heard her parents going to bed and, after leaving it a little longer, until she could hear her father's snores and knew they were asleep, she decided to sneak out of the house.
Carefully she crept down the stairs, keeping to the edges where they didn't squeak and avoiding the wide stair on the turn all together, she had been caught out there before. Outside there was a tremendous sense of release, with the midnight blue sky, full of stars, seeming to stretch above her forever. Looking around she noticed the dark hump of the woods against the horizon, and overtaken by a sudden sense of curiosity, she headed that way.

I have tried to imagine myself in Ann's shoes, doing what she did and looking around me, of course you can go too far and start describing things that are not important to the plot, but I find myself curious, where does she live? It must be fairly rural. What is the school like? Is it new or old? Large or small? All sorts of details beyond whether people have blonde hair are there to be exploited and make it come alive a bit more.

When you do this other things come up, notice I have given Ann a reason for going outside, "the little room seemed close and warm in the summer evening and she longed to be outside in the cooler air."

If you have trouble expanding a scene remember there are five senses, try not to stick to describing things in only one of them, so outside is cooler and the sky is midnight blue, there could also be the scent of a night scented flower, there are night sounds, and she could touch things.

This is an excellent start to work from, good luck and keep going, Olly.

CrystalDreamer59
January 29th, 2012, 08:06 PM
Thanks for your suggestions Olly. I felt as though the story was lacking detail too. I'll work on adding more detail.

Olly Buckle
January 29th, 2012, 10:15 PM
It is quite important to decide what are the important factors, those are the ones you want to embellish most, people don't want to get too involved with a side issue and then find it simply gets dropped. Having the story written out as you have can be a useful tool for that, It is a bit like the way film makers use storyboards, I think partly I say that because I like to 'see' the scene in my head. The danger then is that authors tend to assume that others can see what they do. It is best to assume your readers are audience, not creatives, they will only see what you show them.

LaughinJim
January 31st, 2012, 12:55 AM
Hi CD,

As Olly pointed out, this is more of an outline than a story. He gave you a few tips on how to flesh it out that should prove helpful. When I first started writing fiction, I did the same as you thinking my plotline was the story. Kind readers to whom I showed the first draft of my first story were swift to point it out. Now that you have the nascent story, consider dealing with some internal questions that may come to the reader as they did to me.

If Ann’s father is a wizard, why hasn’t he helped her more? He knows that Ann has the powers to deal with the bullies darkly but surely prefers that she does not use them at her age. Why hasn’t he given her the emotional tools to ignore the bullying: i.e. the strongest boy in a class is rarely belligerent because he knows he has no reason to be so.

I was a little surprised that she was not suspicious of Vince whom you describe as a “man with dark hair.” Why would she be so quick to meet him in the woods that night? Did the story take place in a time or in a world where children need not be as suspicious of adults (especially lone men)? If Vince is a shapeshifter as he appears to be, then perhaps he might appear to her in a more innocuous form. If you were presented with a police line-up and told to pick out the devil among the group, simply pick out the most attractive man (or woman) there.

Is this a world where people readily believe in magic? When Ann was fighting MacKenzie, a boy in the crowd was quick to point out that Ann had magical powers. You need to deal with what kind of world you have created in relation to the wider practice and knowledge of magic.

None of these are insurmountable problems. They should simply be handled as you expand your story. I liked your idea. Keep working on it.

Peace

Philip Smith
February 1st, 2012, 10:54 PM
I look forward to reading it. I agree with some of the other comments. Don't be shy and dive it. I just joined today and look forward to added some of my works. As we say in Canada "Lace Up"

Philip Smith
February 1st, 2012, 10:56 PM
nice clean up on Crystal's part. Great suggestions.

Philip Smith
February 1st, 2012, 10:57 PM
Oop's I should have said nice clean up by Fallen. Sorry

Philip Smith
February 1st, 2012, 10:59 PM
I'm new and I see a lot of positive people helping each other. This looks to be a great place for me to get helpful hints. I'm excited to get going.