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yaythisisavailable
March 6th, 2014, 04:37 PM
This is a short story I started a few weeks ago. I'm planning for it to be about 10,000 words, and this is the very beginning. The next section jumps into the action and it escalates from there. Do you think it is too much of an exposition, or do you think it's too little for background information?

Reseda
By: A.D. Wilde
She walks with a perpetual limp derived from a childhood injury. Some mistake it for a gait of arrogance; others determine it is an emotional block. Despite the speculation, she knows she does not have to please anyone. She needs to do what is best for her.
This afternoon, she limps through the grass with books in her arms, words of love: Shakespeare, Keats, and Wilde; devastating dramas, heartbreaking songs, and cynical satires. She holds the world in her arms. Raw emotions pent up in words, just waiting to explode.
She carries her loves to the helipad located in the midst of the field. Helicopter blades force the grass to bow. They wrap around her legs like humble beggars. The land dreads her departure.
“Roma, wait!” the masculine voice is drowned by the noise of the engines. Roma turns to find Berkley wading through the grass, an oxygen tank strapped to his back. A duffle bag is slung across his frail body.
A small group of people is gathered around the foot of the chopper. There are only four passengers on the flight, but parents have come to see their children off. Berkley and Roma approach the scene together, hoping they can slip through unnoticed.
“How long is the flight?” Berkley wheezes. The trek through the field strained his lungs, and he rests his hands on his knees, breathing heavily.
“About forty-five minutes,” Roma replies. Her fingers absently caress the yellowed edges of Julius Caesar.
“Fantastic!” He exclaims, straightening up excitedly and clapping his hands. Several of the adults jump from his sudden, spastic movement. Stifling a laugh, Roma sets her stack of books in the cabin of the aircraft. “I can’t wait to breathe the Resedian air.”
“Can you give me a hand up?” She asks. He nods and rushes to her aide. Quickly and shakily, she climbs into the helicopter before stumbling to her seat. Berkley hefts himself in and collapses on the bench next to her.
“Hopefully you’ll be able to breathe without your oxygen tank,” she states, pulling her books into her lap.
“Yeah,” is all he can muster. The hike through the reluctant field thoroughly winded him and literally took his breath away. The pair sits and waits for the two other children to be loaded. A young girl in a wheelchair is buckled into a seat by her father. Her hands curl close to her sides, and her mouth holds a crooked smile.
“You’ll be better soon,” her dad tells her before kissing her on the forehead. She can’t respond. Her dark eyes blink a few times in response.
The other fiddles with the seatbelt straps for a few seconds before his mother impatiently rips the straps from his hands. Still jittering, he lets her take control of the procedure, and she straps him in quickly and efficiently.
“Th-, thank y- you,” he stutters. His body is in a chronic state of movement. Head bobbing, fingers twitching, and eyes blinking.
Roma pretends to read as the final goodbyes are spoken. She wonders if Reseda is the place for her. Will it have any effect on her disease? The others passengers have an obvious ailment. All she has to offer is a slight limp.
The parents retreat from the helipad and stand in the sea of grass. As the helicopter lifts from the ground, her stomach drops to her knees. Berkley grabs her arm for support. Julius Caesar slides from the top of the stack and tumbles to the floor. The sides of the vehicle are open, and as they ascend into the sky, the paperback slides towards the edge of the cabin. Her damaged leg scrambles to catch the book, but it drops over the edge and into oblivion.
“I’m sure you can get another copy,” Berkley assures her.
“Yeah,” the stack of books feels significantly smaller. “I’m sure I can.” Gliding through the air, she can see everything. The tops of the trees resemble clouds. She’s viewing the earth from the perspective of the sky.
A voice breaks over the intercom in the headrests of the seats. “Estimated flight time is forty minutes. If you all with sit back and relax, we will arrive shortly.” The pilot cranes his head over his shoulder and offers a smile to the four nervous passengers.
There is nothing left for you, Roma thinks. This is going to be a good change. After a few minutes, the feeling of the aircraft sinks in. It’s almost comforting, a savior taking her to a place of refuge. Berkley leans back, eyes closed, chest rising softly. The screaming of the engines and the chopping of the massive blades becomes white noise, so stifling it’s almost inaudible.
She falls asleep during the ride, along with the other patients. The intercom clicks on once more, and crackling static yanks her from sleep.
“If you will look to your right, you will see the beautiful island of Reseda,” the pilot says. Her weary eyes see only the outline at first, a massive, lush clump of greenery drifting in the middle of blue. The topography of the place is exquisite, rising to extreme heights and dipping into bottomless caverns.
As they approach the land mass, the details sharpen. A variety of vegetation intermingles with the green: flowers, fruits, and mosses. Beautiful trees stretch into the sky and catch the breeze from the chopper. A melodious rustle creeps into the background of the engines. The leaves are singing, welcoming them to the island.
“Are we here?” Berkley asks, rubbing sleep from his eyes and adjusting his oxygen nubs.
“I think so,” Roma answers. She strains in her seat to get a better view of Reseda, her books clutched tightly to her chest. Berkley catches a glimpse and sighs.
“It’s beautiful,” he whispers, “absolutely stunning.”
The pilot begins descending onto the helipad located on the top of the recovery center. The face of the building is a still a mystery, but it is bound to be as beautiful as the surroundings. Finally, the feet of the chopper touch the ground, and the blades slow.
“If you will all stay in your seats, we will have staff to assist you shortly.” The pilot finishes powering down before slipping off his headset and exiting the vehicle.
“Screw that,” Berkley unclasps his seat straps, stands up, and slings his oxygen tank on his back.
“Come on,” he takes Roma’s stack of books, and she unfastens herself before taking them back. “I want to take a whiff of the air.” She hurries after him, but it is not an easy task. He might have bad lungs, but his legs are fine, and he jumps onto the roof excitedly.
“Where are we going?” She calls after him.
“I don’t know,” he yells over his shoulder. “This is beautiful!” Roma’s heart pounds; Berkley shouldn’t be doing this. He’s going to get out of breath running around.
Finally, he picks a spot on the edge of the roof and sits down. She hesitantly joins him, hoping he is still in high spirits and not asphyxiating.
“Are you okay?” She asks concernedly, putting a hand on his arm.
“I’m fantastic. Why do you ask?” He turns to her, his black hair billowing in the warm breeze.
“No reason,” she replies absently.
“Well, if you’re okay, and I’m fantastic, I think it is the perfect time for my first breath.” He grins mischievously.
“You’re breathing the air right now,” Roma tells him. She doesn’t understand his implications.
“No, my first breath without this.” He gestures to his oxygen tank.
“Berk, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She can’t stop him. He pulls the nubs out of his nose and sucks in a lungful of air. He’s not used to breathing on his own, and immediately falls into a fit of coughing. It sounds awful, like he’s drowning from the air, and she quickly stuffs the nubs back into his nostrils.
“I told you,” she says quietly, after his coughing has settled down a bit.
“I hate it when you’re right.” He offers a tender smile, but she doesn’t see. Her eyes are fixed on the tree line, watching the leaves rustle. Something catches her eye for a fraction of a second, but it vanishes before the image of the face registers in her mind.

lasm
March 6th, 2014, 06:23 PM
Hi yay,
I'm not sure you necessarily need to start out with a fast pace; the scenes here don't seem to call for one. However, I did feel like there were some unnecessary or redundant lines that you could cut, some things you could rearrange. For example:
This afternoon, she limps through the grass with books in her arms, words of love: Shakespeare, Keats, and Wilde; devastating dramas, heartbreaking songs, and cynical satires. She holds the world in her arms. Raw emotions pent up in words, just waiting to explode.
She carries her loves to the helipad located in the midst of the field. Helicopter blades force the grass to bow. They wrap around her legs like humble beggars. The land dreads her departure.
the bolded phrase is one I like, that I think would make a better opening sentence and paragraph, which to be honest I would cut--there's something compelling to me about the common, simple image of a girl carrying books through the grass, combined with the little mystery of her limp.

the struck-out phrases are ones I find a little too purple or overwrought, or too much explanation. The grass bending around her legs I could take, but not in combination with the land dreading her departure, which seems a bit much... the land, generally, is indifferent.

Another thing you could maybe work on is the dialogue. First, it seems like maybe you're trying to find words that aren't "says" for the dialogue tags. This often feels clumsy; it's usually better to just write "says". If you feel like you're repeating too much, there are probably tags you can eliminate altogether; as long as it's clear who's speaking. Second, you're adding some action to accompany every statement, and this feels overdone; unless the action is telling us something important, I'd leave it out. So I think you could reduce from what you've got to something like:

“Roma, wait!” the masculine Berkley's voice is drowned by the noise of the engines. Roma turns to find Berkley wading through the grass, an oxygen tank strapped to his back. A duffle bag is slung across his frail body.
A small group of people is gathered around the foot of the chopper. There are only four passengers on the flight, but parents have come to see their children off. Berkley and Roma approach the scene together, hoping they can slip through unnoticed.
“How long is the flight?” Berkley wheezes. The trek through the field strained his lungs, and he rests his hands on his knees, breathing heavily.
“About forty-five minutes.”
“Fantastic! I can’t wait to breathe the Resedian air." [note also that his jumping and clapping here (which I've deleted) contradicted the idea of him wheezing and sick in the other tags]
“Can you give me a hand up?” He nods and rushes to her aide. Quickly and shakily, she climbs into the helicopter before stumbling to her seat. “Hopefully you’ll be able to breathe without your oxygen tank."
“Yeah.” Berkley hefts himself in and collapses on the bench next to her. [moving this sentence so it can act in place of a tag] The hike through the reluctant field thoroughly winded him and literally took his breath away. [redundant, you said this a few lines ago]

So there's some ideas for the kind of problems you could look for throughout. Also--unfortunately it's impossible to indent paragraphs on this website. Your work will be easier for people to read if you put an empty line inbetween paragraphs to separate them.

Hope this helps! :)

SonneLore
March 7th, 2014, 12:27 AM
I think the pace is a tad fast, but it's navigable and doesn't detract from the piece at all. I've never been terribly keen on first person present tense prose but it seems to work for this story, and you've kept it up quite well. Your characters are good so far; solid and well thought out. I'd have to read nore to get a handle on your development though. It's all a little whimsical though, and fro just this little piece it is hard to get an idea of the story lr the background or even the setting really. I thunk you could take a little more time and really set the scene a bit more. Give it more meat, more description, more background information. Things like; How did she get her limp? Who is Berkley to Roma? What is reseda and what is the importance of the island to the characters you have created? Without that infornation it goes nowhere quickly.

iron_aufschlag
March 7th, 2014, 05:48 PM
Hi, so it seems they are going to a Kurort, which, in German, mean a healing place. I kept on wondering why she was carting around a stack of books. I keep feeling that they are irrelevant and only a set piece. For a start of a story everything must play a role and I feel like there is a deeper meaning to why she is carting around books on a fantastical helicopter journey to a Pandora like place from the Avatar movie. That's how I envision it anyway.
Unfortunately I am not a fan of the third person narrative. If I had picked up a book like this at Barnes and Nobles I would have placed it back after reading the first paragraph. It reads like a theater script. Anywho, there may be a market for such prose, but I do not know the target-audience who would read it.