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fearofboredom
June 2nd, 2014, 08:06 PM
So I had a really weird/kindof cool dream that I wrote down in a dream log and recently started turning it into a story. Here's the introduction, let me know if it catches your eye? Thanks


“You looking for something?” Bone asked, watching over her counterpart’s shoulder. Caroline sucked in a breath, startled. She spun around, her chair at the monitoring station squeaking as it swiveled.
“Don’t scare me like that, Bone,” she said. “I didn’t even hear you come up.”
Bone smiled. “Sorry. But don’t let me distract you,” she nodded to the screen.
“I take it my shift’s over?”
“Not quite yet.” Caroline humphed and swiveled back around, placing a hand on the control pad as Bone repeated, “Watcha lookin’ for?”
“Hmmmm? There!” With quick fingers, the older girl froze the screen. “Got a walker.”
“Really?” Bone leaned in.
The young woman in the frame was facing toward the camera, so they had a perfect angle on her. Bone looked closely at her face, and all the sudden, she was remembering-
“You want to go out to eat today? I don’t have a lunch.”
“Sure. I didn’t have time to pack one this morning.”
Bone laughed. “I just plain forgot.”
Her friend – Jennifer, Bone thought – joined in. “How about Taco Bell?”
“Do we have time?” Bone asked.
“If I drive fast.” Both girls laughed again.
“Sounds good.”
Bone blinked, and Caroline was pulling out a pen with which to jot down her sighting. She got to the name column and looked up. “Hmmm. Brunette. A good brunette name… I don’t think we have a Karen, do we?”
“Jennifer.” Bone said.
“No, that’s more of a blonde name. Besides, we already have a Jenny.”
“Jenny’s not the same as Jennifer. Her name’s Jennifer.”
“Who made you the boss?” Caroline bristled.
“You’re shift’s officially over,” Bone said, spinning the chair around forcefully. “My turn.”
The other watcher looked ready to argue, then shrugged, obviously deciding it wasn’t worth the effort. “Fine,” she said, levering herself out of the old office chair. “I wish you the joy of them.”
Bone replaced the other girl at the desk, looking at the clipboard as she picked up the pen. She wrote in graceful script, under the column that read ‘Name’: Jennifer.
It was the watcher-on-duty’s job to name those they spotted. She took that duty seriously, but too many of the watchers didn’t. Victims of the contagion who had recently awakened forgot nearly all of their past before their exposure, names included. The survivors had long since taken to giving those they found new names, for lack of a better option.
Bone sighed. She knew the four-letter word was not her real name. Besides the unlikelihood of it, she knew she would remember more, if only she could recall her name.
At least Caroline picked real names, common ones, for all that she chose by hair color. Not like the lazy watcher who’d spotted Bone, out there wandering when she woke up. She’d asked him once, where he’d come up with the name.
“Well, it was one o’clock when I first saw you.”
Momentarily, Bone was speechless. “And the ‘B’?” she finally managed.
“You were my second walker of the day. The first was ‘A’, and then-hey!” Bone turned on her heel and walked off before he even finished.
How were you ever going to have any chance at all of stumbling upon someone’s real name if you didn’t at least try?
Bone pressed the play button on the console when she finished writing. She watched for a moment as the oddly familiar figure on the monitor turned and beckoned to something off screen. The tall brunette knelt and, seconds later, lifted onto her hip a young girl.
A young girl!
Bone froze in her seat, then leapt up and hurried after Caroline. She had said ‘I wish you the joy of them.’
“Caroline!” Bone called anxiously. “When did you first spot them?”
Caroline stopped and turned, arms akimbo with annoyance written in every line of her posture. “About ten. They walked off-camera really fast, and I didn't know where they were going so I had trouble picking them up again.”
Bone returned to her station and sat back down with a thump. About ten. What time is it now - they been up for, let’s see… at least an hour. Registering that the video still ran, she froze the frame, a perfect angle illuminating the child’s face. She looked to be no older than four and, from the way she leaned against Jennifer’s shoulder, was plainly tired.
Quickly, Bone figured in how long the waking process took, guessed the time that could have elapsed between her wakeup, the two girls finding each other, coming into view of a camera to which Caroline had access, plus the time for actually spotting them; she guessed they could be more than three hours into their second awakening. Jennifer could probably make it eight, nine hours. Children had five, at the most.
If they had to wait another five hours for rescue…
The girl wouldn’t make it. She’d be asleep soon.
And this time, she wouldn’t wake up.



The premise is that there's a toxin that puts everyone into a coma; they start waking up again one by one, & if they seal themselves inside they're fine for a while (I'm thinking because uv rays make the toxin much more active), but if they fall asleep again there heart rate drops too low and they die.

TylerMartin
June 4th, 2014, 01:30 AM
This is a a good story with an interesting concept. It's a really good beginning, and would have kept me reading to find out what was happening and why no one remembered their names. It's well written and I like your characters. The only critique I have is that it's a little rough, which it should be in its rough draft. Maybe it's just me, but I had to read a few sentences a couple of times in order to understand what was happening. But it's a great story already. Going back and smoothing out a few things can make it even better.

Here is one example of what I'm talking about.


Too many of the watchers didn’t, Bone thought. Just look at her name. Bone. What kind of a name is that?

This is some awkward wording which caused me a bit of confusion at first. I think this could be a bit clearer, so the reader knows the "her" is referring to Bone. Once you talk about the four letters, it is very clear that you are talking about Bone, but rewording this sentence might make it a bit smoother, because the reader, at this point, has no idea that Bone was once on the other side of the camera.

Other than that, nice work! It's a great introduction and I would love to read more of this once you start developing it further.

aliveatnight
June 4th, 2014, 02:06 AM
I really like this idea! I was thinking it would be about zombies for a moment, and I'm actually kind of glad that it wasn't. I really like the characters, and I love the way Bone got her name.
I don't know if it's just me on this part, but the sentence "She swung around on the swivel backed back chair of the monitoring station" really bothered me. The wording of "the swivel backed back chair" just seemed rather awkward to me. Just thought I'd put that out there you.
I'd definitely love to read more if you ever continue the idea!

thepancreas11
June 5th, 2014, 08:35 PM
What an original idea! I have often overlooked apocalyptic disease stories either for their generic plotline or for the fact that I myself never want to be a part of the epidemic (hint, hint: probably the latter), but I see that I might be limiting myself by not exploring the genre. Not only have you introduced a whole new way of releasing the contagion, but you've left so many open avenues for examining humanist themes, should you choose to. You can look at the cornerstones of human civilization either in the way the society rebuilds itself, focusing on one particular aspect, or you can do it on such a more personal level with a person trying to rediscover themselves. Bravo for including so many thought-provoking, untied ends in your introduction without creating overwhelming plot-confusion.

However, your dialogue definitely confuses me. A rule of thumb: include actions done by the speaker on the same line as the dialogue. If the speaker and the doer are different, separate them into different lines. Never go more than three lines without include a tag that reminds the reader who's speaking (thank Bishop for that one). Let's examine the first part, shall we?



“You looking for something?” Bone asked, watching over her counterpart’s shoulder. Caroline (I'M ASSUMING THIS IS THE COUNTERPART?) sucked in a breath, startled. She swung around on the swivel backed back chair of the monitoring station.
“Don’t scare me like that, Bone,” she said. “I didn’t even hear you come up.”
Bone smiled. “Sorry. But don’t let me distract you.” She (WHO? CAROLINE? THEN THIS SHOULD BE ON THE NEXT LINE) nodded to the screen.
“I take it my shift’s over?”
“Not quite yet.” (I ASSUME THAT BONE WAS THE ONE SAYING THIS? THE ACTION FROM CAROLINE SHOULD BE TIED TO THE NEXT LINE OF DIALOGUE) Caroline humphed and swiveled back around, placing a hand on the control pad.
“Watcha lookin’ for?”
“Hmmmm? There!” With quick fingers, the older (NOW I'M NOT SURE WHO'S SPEAKING SO "OTHER GIRL" MAKES NO SENSE TO ME) girl froze the screen. “Got a walker.”
“Really?” Bone leaned in. Some people had all the luck - she herself never spotted any on her shift.
The girl in the frame was facing toward the camera, so they had a perfect angle on her. Bone looked closely at her face, and all the sudden, she was remembering-

Without this clear distinction, it's virtually impossible to keep track of who's talking. By the time you get to "other girl", I've got all my wires crossed, and I'm not sure who I'm following. You should also use their names whenever possible, which is not a sin in moderation, because when you start introducing pronouns, you start increasing the vagueness of the piece. This is true especially at the end.

Also, it would help you to include more setting here. Are we in a compound? Are we on a ship? Are we in the future or the past? Are we in space or Earth? I understand the roughness of this draft, so I won't harp on it too much, but when going forward, don't hesitate to describe their surrounding, to more specifically describe what they see on the monitors as well. Setting can be a vehicle to introduce theme, characterization, or clarity.

I hate to say this, but without that little bit of explanation at the end, I would have thought the affected people were cured zombies or vampires or something. A thriller should be mysterious, but wisps of detail and exposition are okay. They are essential for science fiction and fantasy stories to clear up confusion. Wisps, though. Not too much.

Hell of a start though. You got a second chapter I should read? Can't imagine what Bone will do next.

fearofboredom
June 5th, 2014, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm making some changes to my draft now based on these suggestions, it's hard to know what's confusing when you're the one who wrote it originally :) I do actually have more written that starts to explain the premise, I was thinking of this more of a flushed-out hook - but I've got some hints I can definitely add here in the beginning. Thanks again!

G. L. Argain
June 10th, 2014, 11:48 PM
I like the conversation between the two girls most of all...it makes the characters amidst the disaster not just easy to relate to but also enjoyable. I did need to read it a second time because I couldn't fully grasp the plot at first. If it wasn't for the note about the premise at the end of the excerpt, and if I found and read more of your story, I wouldn't have enjoyed plowing through the scenes and dialogue just to figure out what was going on. Perhaps you could mention somewhere in the story - or at least explain some more - how this is about a coma-inducing toxin epidemic?

Paulbee
June 13th, 2014, 03:30 PM
This is a really great start to what promises to be a fascinating story. Just a few things that are worth redressing.

"You’re shift’s officially over,” ('Your' not 'you're'. You're is a contraction of 'you are'.)
"the swivel backed back chair of the monitoring station" swivel backed back - (what's a 'swivel backed back'?)
"Caroline was pulling out a pen with which to jot down her sighting". How about "Caroline pulled out a pen to jot down her sighting"?
"arms akimbo with annoyance written in every line of her posture"? try taking out 'arms akimbo with' the phrase 'annoyance written in every line of her posture' works fine.

coraelise
June 13th, 2014, 10:35 PM
Oooooh, I like where this is going!
I also like that this is based on a dream, it makes me think you have quite the story within you..
I like the implications I get from the dialogue between the girls - but I agree with thepancreas11 when he says the dialogue needs new structure.
I look forward to reading more!