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JonEd
May 29th, 2014, 05:33 PM
Chapter 1


The beach was calm and the evening sea breeze was cool on my skin. The smell of salt was fresh in the air, and the sound of waves lapping gently at the shore, topped off by the sparkling of the slowly setting sun on the ocean. The sky was orange and pink, no clouds dotted the shrinking horizon.
I sat on the sun warmed sand, drip drying and salty, with a breathlessness I had not experienced before.
This was my daily routine, this was my life. Every working day finished the same, and would do for as long as I could imagine.


The sun had disappeared, and the cool night had begun to settle in. Flies buzzed and hummed around my face as I walked up the sandy trail, away from the water. The ground was cool and pleasant, the sand shifted eagerly between my toes, and each step I took was bliss. The evening to night change over belongs to the poets and the madmen, which one I was, I could not say. Preferably the former, and not the latter.
It was a short walk home from the beach. The ground was hard and an unwelcome feel after the cushioning sand.
Lethargy began to take over my body once more, and short, raspy breaths escaped my narrowing throat. It felt as though I was choking on the very oxygen needed to survive.


I stopped walking and sat on a wooden pylon, trying to catch my breath. A hundred meters or so from home, but I had no energy to get there.


'You alright Simon?' a voice called out. I looked up to see the smiling face of my neighbour, Tom.


'Yeah mate,' I said, breathless. 'Just out of breath is all.'


Tom began to make his way over towards me. I stood up, stubborn as all hell.
One thing you'll learn about me is I hate to show any weakness. Every and all weakness, can, will and should be hidden.


I stumbled slightly as I stood, my legs were heavy like lead, but weak and unstable like jelly. Tom grabbed my shoulder and held me up.


'Jeez mate,' he started. 'You sure you're ok?'


'Yeah I'm fine,' I said. 'A bit tired, that's all.'


'Well, I'll help you home.'


He grabbed my arm and placed it over his shoulder. Half walking, and half carried by Tom, I made my way to within a few meters of my house.
'What'd you go for a run or something?' he asked. 'Push yourself too hard?'


'Yeah,' I lied. 'You know, just trying to stay fit and healthy.'


'Well you don't look too healthy right now.'


We got to the door, and I took my arm off of Tom's shoulders, and my knees wobbled slightly. My breath had not returned completely, the occasional short and spluttering exhale escaped my lips.
I muttered my thanks to Tom, and he left without a word. The door creaked as it slowly shut behind me, and I collapsed onto the floor, drifting off into the void of shadows and nothingness.

qwertyportne
May 30th, 2014, 11:31 PM
Good beginning. Maybe a bit more scene setting that some readers would like? And I like the first-person narration. Easy to quickly identify with the main character. Sometimes I like to know what the main character's problem is right off the bat. But not knowing can leverage readers into the next chapter. Attention-getting title. A kind of preview of coming attractions? Intentionally ambiguous?

wmgardner
June 1st, 2014, 03:26 AM
A little too wordy. Try to cut out all the unnecessary words (adverbs and adjectives).

TylerMartin
June 1st, 2014, 05:11 AM
I agree that it's a little wordy and that there is a bit more scene setting than some readers would like. But at the same time, the setting is necessary. It's clear that you really want the reader to experience sun setting on the beach the same way that Simon does. Maybe a way you could fix the wordiness could be to use the active voice instead of the passive voice. It makes things a bit more interesting. For instance, maybe instead of "The ground was hard and an unwelcome feel after the cushioning sand," you could say something like, "I stepped on the hard ground; it felt unwelcoming after the cushioning sand." Simon, sitting on the beach, doesn't have to tell himself about the scenery around him. He experiences it, actively, through his senses.

You set up your character well. I am interested in learning more about Simon. What weaknesses is he hiding? What is causing the weakness that he can't hide at the moment? I want to know what it is he does that is the same every day, and I'm interested to see how his daily routine will change as the plot develops.

TylerMartin
June 1st, 2014, 05:23 AM
I agree that it's a little wordy and that there is a bit more scene setting than some readers would like. But at the same time, the setting is necessary. It's clear that you really want the reader to experience sun setting on the beach the same way that Simon does. Maybe a way you could fix the wordiness could be to use the active voice instead of the passive voice. It makes things a bit more interesting. For instance, maybe instead of "The ground was hard and an unwelcome feel after the cushioning sand," you could say something like, "I stepped on the hard ground; it felt unwelcoming after the cushioning sand." Simon, sitting on the beach, doesn't have to tell himself about the scenery around him. He experiences it, actively, through his senses.

You set up your character well. I am interested in learning more about Simon. What weaknesses is he hiding? What is causing the weakness that he can't hide at the moment? I want to know what it is he does that is the same every day, and I'm interested to see how his daily routine will change as the plot develops.