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View Full Version : Wunder - Intro. into Ch. 1



AshtonHadsmith
December 29th, 2012, 03:01 AM
INTRODUCTION:

My father managed to take me away one summer. North Carolina was a quiet place, dampened from sea breeze with hand laid boardwalk and cozy vacation homes. The sand was cool and the people were friendly. Our babysitter came along and joined the family like she has been a member her whole life. That is how my family was, just open arms and warm smiles. We paraded the beach with laughter, hauling rickety beach chairs, chasing down pigeons while imitating their squawk. There was a festival one day where I got to meet some of my favorite super heroes. The ninja turtles were big and strong, just like I wanted to be when I grew up. We stopped at an arcade where a holographic fighting game sat in the front. I played in amazement at the futuristic qualities and blazing speed I could throw my kicks and punches. This vacation was my favorite. It was a piece of time that fit into my mind like a Lego block. Never to be removed unless I wanted to rebuild an entirely new masterpiece. That was the thing about Legos. After putting together intricate creations with time and energy, they only withstood until the room needed to be cleaned. Perhaps the room needed cleaning… Perhaps the masterpiece was not exactly what it should be with all of its shades and imperfections.

Time stops for no one and memories come to pass anyways. With each memory block I carried on my life with every subsequent block leading me on. Some of the blocks were frail, just crumbling away when I go to leverage myself upon them. This half beaten abode of brick and mortar, housing body and mind, seems like just enough to keep the big bad wolf from blowing everything down. Unfortunately a wolf is merely an animal. Much bigger demons are lurking around looking for the opportunity to bring havoc to our community of makeshift shelters. Lucky for me, my family left me many blessings. I can wrap myself with them like thick layers of wool clothing to protect myself from the fires that I travel through. Some have not been so fortunate, gripping to their blessings that have tethered and torn over the years. This is why I survive today and can share the not so ordinary journey I embarked and returned from. Veins filled with ice and eyes filled with blood, but intact like a modern museum piece that draws in crowds as a spectacle. A mummy tells the story of the pharaohs, a knight of the kings, and myself… simply the grim truth that shrouds the planet that we thought we knew. The planet is no longer land, sky, and sea. It is brick, concrete, steel, diamond, and endless abyss. Dismal forests, tragic seas, and falling skies pervade this new state of nature that impoverished men frantically dredge through.

My name is Ashton Wunder Hadsmith, my friends call me Wunder. A classy choice I must admit to my father’s taste. He gave me a proud name, bold yet remarkably elegant like James Bond. On the swim team photo it was not hard to locate me, squatting front and center as the roster designates. The name gave me a reason to be the best at everything I put effort towards. My room was decked with trophies from the swim team and recognition for academic prowess. Everything was going how I had imagined it would from infant to teenager, and my confidence was unparalleled. My plans were to complete my doctorate to throw on a big PHD to the already dominant name I carried. There was nothing to fear but fear itself, and I was headed full speed ahead like the Titanic.

Sometimes being in the fast lane means getting a few tickets however, and I learned a lot of lessons early on. As a teenager I lived a life that my family, teachers, and church members knew nothing about. Like werewolves my friends and I would be out at night terrorizing the town, seeking thrills any which way we could. Car hopping was probably our most favored game. Whoever would come out with the most GPS systems or the most expensive item would win. In my first neighborhood an auto-graveyard laid right beside, across a row of woods. Each friend would have a role: scout, communications, and technicians. Each night we would invade the junkyard to salvage any valuable parts that we could sell. The employees would try to track us down but never succeeded. Our scout already mapped out their patrol route, the communications team sat among the tree tops with walkie-talkies to forewarn the techs, and the techs would already be heading to the rendezvous point before the guards knew what hit the yard. Not a bad hustle at the time. When Travis slipped out of the tree and had a broken branch puncture his leg straight through we realized it was time to move onto bigger and better things.

Needless to say the bad karma caught up to me around the time when my gifted team and I ranked second place in regional knowledge bowl. We returned to school just in time for the final lunch period of the day. Seventh I think. A buddy of mine had been printing counterfeits for a month or so and handed me a few stacks. The currency had been functional all over Philadelphia and New York. Mulberry and Canal seemed to be our new weekend spot where we could go spoil our girlfriends. Mindlessly spending the cash in the school lunch line never concerned us. Little did I know earlier that day Freddie got caught using a twenty that was identical to the one I just handed the cashier. It didn’t take more than five minutes before school Officer Kelly could slap the steel hoops on my wrists. Sitting in the principal’s office had become something familiar as I came close to high school graduation. Ordinary achievements became dull and becoming a smooth criminal was more lustrous. I was capable of kicking either stone and always chose freely. My father had disappeared from my life at this point and my mother wanted nothing to do with me. Not sure if they disowned me before or after I became a hooligan, but it makes no difference. Luckily my wealthy uncle had his lawyer come down and set the board of directors straight. Instead of hitting the Irving Juvenile Detention Facility, I walked.

By senior year I quit playing sports. The political side of it just made it all seem like a beauty pageant. I practically made friends with everyone in the school so I diverted my energy into being the life of the party. Sunday to Saturday our crew hit cities and vacationed through states having the time of our lives. The future did not matter. It was all about living in the moment. Of course my girlfriend and I played the Bonnie and Clyde card. Nothing could stop us. Crystal was a bit of a loudmouth but had more common sense than any common person. And I loved her. She was sweet as an angel but sly as a devil, not to mention the Irish and Italian mix always got me weak in the knees. I really thought she would be by my waist side until hell froze over. Living together was a nightmare and it felt like we were married for decades. Unfortunately the rebel lifestyle was not what she had imagined. She wanted to be a princess instead of a partner in crime, and I don’t blame her for changing paths. Saying goodbye was one of the most painful moments in my life. I couldn’t stop thinking about her every day for the next year, and when the clouds went away the sun came shining right back through.

I found myself surrounded by friends with no direction and nothing to show but a high school diploma. My parents and teachers used to tell me of all the potential I had. It would be stupid to just waste it on a local nine to five with the same posse I grew up with. They call your hometown stomping grounds for a reason, so I set forth as an aspiring scholar. By banging out a few years of community college I snatched a 3.8 GPA that got me into Glenn Harbor University. It was a top notch business school that I scoped out after recognizing a stellar party scene from previous adventures.

So it began, a new life filled with virtue and purpose. It didn’t take long to make a new set of friends that shared interests and could wingman me Thursday through Saturday. The first weekend my classmates PJ, Gillian, and Nico dragged me out to a few parties. By the end of the first semester we were best buds and decided to get a spot together for the next year of enrollment. I found an apartment on Brick Lane, named for all of the loose bricks that once directed walkthrough traffic but became dislodged from uprooted trees and the test of time. Right through the kitchen was a door linked to a fire escape that led to the roof of the building. Once upon the roof I had the basketball courts far in sight to my left and 1st Avenue of uptown a few blocks up to my right. It was an extremely lively town filled with student housing, bars, and clubs. When the weather was nice we could pregame on the roof and wait to see people walking uptown to go out at the right time. Also, after a long night we could watch people struggling to return on the rough brick path, especially the girls wearing their fashionable high heels. The apartment was in a great spot and had no serious problems at first glance so I shook the landlords hand and signed away.

For being an average apartment in a somewhat rural college town the apartments were expensive. The money I saved up working on boats back in Lynnwood was not nearly enough to cover the next few years at school. Friday is here and my pockets are shallow, looks like another weekend in. There is no class today and my roommate Nico went home for the weekend to see his family. I get up and hit the shower after sleeping in until about noon. The shower didn’t seem to wake me up at all so I got out and sprawled right back into my memory foam bed. My room is screaming lazy at this point and I can’t take it anymore. I fling open the closet doors and begin shuffling through my dress clothes. Most of the shirts no longer fit and the rest haven’t been ironed since I bought them. One nice polo and a pair of khakis remained, so I slipped them on with a clean pair of Sperrys and strolled to the nearest bar. As I enter uptown Glenn Harbor a big oak sign with a skull, barrel, and the words Keeper’s Pub hung in arms reach onto 1st Avenue. I felt a little overdressed for the occasion but decided to wander in anyways to ask for an application. I always wanted to bartend but had no idea what I was getting myself into…

KEEPERS PUB:

The building’s face was olden brick that had greened and mossed over like a shipwrecked boat. I grabbed the large brass handle to the entrance and it nearly took both arms to pull it open and squeeze my body through. SMASH! A beer mug narrowly missed hitting my head.

“What the…” I stammer.

Straight ahead there is a pair of girls that look like gypsies pulling each other’s hair to the ground. The bartender hops over in a brave attempt to break it up and then WHAM, he gets hammered to the ground by an irritated boyfriend. Suddenly from the hallway to the right comes a burly man with tattoos from head to fist that scoops all three up at once and carries them out the door.

He slams the door shut and turns to me, “Behave” he says, and carries on.

At this point I debated on tucking my tail between my legs and running back to my memory foam bed. Then I hear a soft voice coming from behind a small stack of wooden barrels they seemed to be using as a host stand.

“Look a bit lost handsome” says a young girl. She looked a bit Italian, and a bit Irish. I knew I was in trouble.

“Well” I start “that’s because I am. Can you help me?”

“Well what can I do ya’ for? Got a name?”

“My names Ashton but friends call me Wunder. My friend Gillian mentioned this place and I am looking for a part-time gig.”

Her face blushed when I mentioned Gillian, and something told me they knew each other quite well. She threw back her hair and I noticed sporadic green strands and a few feathers styled in. What a hippie I thought. But then her green eyes pierced into me and I realized this girl could spot bullshit with a blindfold.

“Okay Wunder, I’m Bella. If you wait right over at that table I can see if the manager can stomach another person looking for work. Can’t promise anything,” she says as she fades into a fog of pipe smoke coming from deep inside the pub.

I nervously make my way over to a large iron woven table with sunken cedar chairs. Grabbing a seat I notice the high quality and craftsmanship of the set. A lightly encrusted symbol of a broken heart filled with some sort of scripture is placed in the center, barely legible. I lean in and try to make out what it reads…

“Hello there!” a bearded man with a young gut shouts.

I stand up and put out my hand, “Hello, my name is Ashton but my friends call me…”

I didn’t get through the sentence when he speaks back up. “Wunder, I have heard all about you!”

Looking over to Bella she gives me an eerie smirk and sneaks her way back around the host stand.

“Have a seat my friend. My name is Sabin and I manage this hole of stench and drunkery.”

With confidence I reply, “Nice to meet you. I would like to help out around here if you have any positions open.”

He breaks out into full laughter and even tears up. At this point I feel somewhat uncomfortable and can’t make out if I am being mocked or not.

“Oh man… I’m sorry. It’s not you,” he assures me,” It just surprises me how many people actually want to join this lifestyle. The late nights, the intoxicated patrons, and then of course….” Stopping suddenly.

His face turns grim in an instant and his eyes fill with darkness. A cold wind surrounds the table and I tighten up my hoodie to block it out.

He finishes, “waking up!”

“Wha…” I begin.

Sabin cocks his head slightly towards his shoulder taking a peek behind me. I feel something come closer and then he nods. I now find myself in a state of dream. I began dreaming about my ornate room at home. All of my friends were there, including Crystal. Everyone was celebrating and we toasted with champagne. After the champagne was gone my friends turned into these ghoulish figures and tore down all of the shelves holding my trophies. Crystal grew large fangs and darted towards me like a bloodthirsty vampire. It was a dream full of pain, emotion, and chaos that seemed all too real. Slowly coming to, in a cold sweat, I opened my eyes. Still sitting in the sunken cedar chair, my head is just resting upon the iron woven table. My body is exhausted and my mind is dazed. The sounds of bar chatter and clanking of glasses transformed into workshop noises of steam and old gears. Opening one eye cautiously I notice that the table had travelled down an elaborate chute into an underground factory. Sabin stood about fifty feet from the table directing orders to a handful of broad-shouldered men, among them was the colossal man that ordered me to behave.

To be continued...=D>

empresstheresa
December 29th, 2012, 05:03 PM
Organization is the key to success, unless your thoughts aren't organized. Then you give a paragraph thirteen ideas instead of one like a paragraph is supposed to have.

INTRODUCTION:

My father managed to take me away one summer.
Idea 1: parental influence
North Carolina was a quiet place, dampened from sea breeze with hand laid boardwalk and cozy vacation homes.
Idea 2: description of a place
The sand was cool and the people were friendly.
Idea 3: description of the ambience there
Our babysitter came along and joined the family like she has been a member her whole life.
Idea 4: outsider incorporated into family
That is how my family was, just open arms and warm smiles.
Idea 5: description of family dynamics
We paraded the beach with laughter, hauling rickety beach chairs, chasing down pigeons while imitating their squawk.
Idea 6: description of family activity
There was a festival one day where I got to meet some of my favorite super heroes.
Idea 7: narrator's activity and interest
The ninja turtles were big and strong, just like I wanted to be when I grew up.
Idea 8: reference to something or other ?
We stopped at an arcade where a holographic fighting game sat in the front.
Idea 9: description of another place
I played in amazement at the futuristic qualities and blazing speed I could throw my kicks and punches.
Idea 10: description of another narrator's activity
This vacation was my favorite. It was a piece of time that fit into my mind like a Lego block. Never to be removed unless I wanted to rebuild an entirely new masterpiece.
Idea 11: narrator loves this activity
That was the thing about Legos. After putting together intricate creations with time and energy, they only withstood until the room needed to be cleaned.
Idea 12: description of toy
Perhaps the room needed cleaning… Perhaps the masterpiece was not exactly what it should be with all of its shades and imperfections.
Idea 13: comments about something built with Legos ???

Jeko
December 29th, 2012, 06:31 PM
The first paragraph has one idea - summer, fleshed out very well with a good narrative about the character's past. It's quite an amzing little chunk of text, in my opinion. You get a lot out of a little, but it reads like good YA fiction.

I'll try to get round to doing a more wholesome critique, but until then, I'll just say that I think you're on to something with this.

AshtonHadsmith
December 29th, 2012, 07:07 PM
Thank you both for replying.

Theresa: I understand that there is a lot of ideas stuffed into one paragraph. Should I separate each and express them more fully? How could I go about this without dragging the introduction on so the reader won't lose interest... downsize?

Cadence: Thanks for the positive feedback, looking forward to a little critique in the near future.

Cheers!

empresstheresa
December 30th, 2012, 04:24 PM
Theresa: I understand that there is a lot of ideas stuffed into one paragraph. Should I separate each and express them more fully? How could I go about this without dragging the introduction on so the reader won't lose interest... downsize?


Provide flow between ideas and
edit, :ChainGunSmiley: edit, :ChainGunSmiley: edit. :ChainGunSmiley:

How about this for a first paragraph?
Our whole family including the babysitter came to the North Carolina beach one summer to enjoy the cool sand and friendly people. There was a festival next to the beach with people dressed as my favorite super heroes, the ninja turtles, and close by was an arcade with holographic games, and a commercial display of Legos where I could build things.

So the narrator is at the beach with the family and finds things to do.
Enough said about that ! :razz:



Paragraph two should be rewritten something like this.....




These happy, carefree family memories gave me the strength to survive the trials to come and share my story.



Point made ( if it needed to be :dispirited: ). Time to move on.


When you come to events and situations, you can and probably should spend more time on them. In my story, some situations are so complicated they take up several chapters.

Jeko
December 31st, 2012, 06:33 PM
Hi, AshtonHadsmith.

I usually focus on introductions, but I find this more suited to a more general critique.

First and foremost, don't make your reader tie your words to music. Your words should be the music that gives your work that engrossing feeling. Most people can't read while listening to music anyway. The music could do well to inspire your writing of the story, but it should never be what makes it better to read.

Your paragraph structure is sublime. It all flows so well, all the imagery coming together fantastically. Don't filter out any of the wonderful ideas you have, and definitely don't downsize.

The way you introduce the story, and the character, is also great. Like I siad before, it reads like YA fiction. You clearly have a real connection to your character, and the reader gets that connection too.

Your diagolue is a bit off, both in how it doesn't read too naturally and the punctuation isn't right in places. I'd focus on making your characters sound as wholesome and realistic as you present them through narrative.

Your syntax in the narratvie is almost flawless. Don't worry about changing the way you write to get a more effective tone - the tone you have works very well.

Hope this helps,

Cadence.

Thedancingswan
January 3rd, 2013, 09:54 PM
Overall, I think the story is "flow", but hopefully you can try make them flow to the same direction. :apathy: There are simple words that can reflect deep thought. My favourite one is "Time stops for no one and memories come to pass anyways.". I agree with Cadence that your syntax is brilliant. However, I would like to see smooth transition between each idea/paragraph. Hope this help.But of course, it's up to you to dicide.

AshtonHadsmith
January 4th, 2013, 03:44 AM
Empress Theresa: Thank you for simplifying my thoughts. I find your more logical narration helpful.

Cadence and Thedancingswan: Thank you for your compliments, glad you enjoyed the syntax. I will work on the dialogue for a bit. I was worried that it would not sound natural as I was writing it. There are a few parts after rereading it where the "flow" and transitions are not perfectly clear that I will also spruce up.

All of the feedback is very helpful. Hopefully as you continue reading this story you will see continuous improvement based on your critiques.

Happy New Year!