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Deafmute
April 3rd, 2015, 08:25 AM
So I wrote this on a whim, completely off the top of my head. Please don't stone me if its completely inaccurate.

Everyone knows November is too cold for a Fair.

This city stinks. Vanessa strolled listlessly through the winding cobblestone streets of London, holding her nose with one hand and dragging a suitcase with the other. Ever since her husband had forced her to move into the city from their estates out in Berkshire, that one thought had been her all consuming obsession.

It wasn't just the people, crammed together like hogs fighting for slop, as they marched their pathetic lives away. It wasn't even the horses, though she could hardly believe it when she saw them …. relieving themselves right there on the street. People would just walk right past it. Like it wasn't even there! But no it wasn't just those things that made Vanessa so disgusted. It was the very air. The new factories were springing up everywhere, and they belched up such awful black smoke. Vanessa could hardly breath.

Vanessa’s husband had recently gone into business with one of the owners of some of those awful smoking monstrosities. He had sworn that the move would only be temporary, but this fine upper class lady could not bear another moment in this hell. She had packed her bag, without even getting help from Shemmie their live in maid.

Vanessa had never traveled alone in the city. She had never really traveled alone anywhere. Since she was little she had always had nannies , maids, and chauffeurs to help her around on the rare occasions in which she needed to leave the estates. So it would be of little surprise that after taking ten steps out of their luxurious highlands high-rise, she was hopelessly lost.

That is why this well dressed lady was currently stomping through the lower west end alone, dragging a poorly closed and woefully overstuffed suitcase.

“Might, I help you Madam?” came a scratchy voice from behind the shade of an awning covered stoop.

Vanessa paused swinging her head left and right in a vain attempt to make out some sort of landmark before huffing and marching over towards what appeared to be a filthy young man drinking something foul from a bottle. “As a matter of fact, you can.” She spoke with the entitled command of a woman with no idea what sort of trouble she was in. “I am looking for the train station, and the damned roads in this city make no sense whatsoever. I need you to show me the way.”

“Need me to, eh?” Vanessa nodded sharply, and the man shrugged. “Sure thing, mum. i got nothing else to do. “ Polishing off the last of his brandy he tossed the bottle and trotted down the steps. “The names, Charlie.” He stuck out a coal smeared hand.

“Charmed, I’m sure.” Vanessa sniffed, lightly shaking his hand with two fingers.

Charlie laughed and made his way down the nearest alley. “Cumon, mum. This is a short cut.”

Vanessa furrowed her brow and clutched her hand bag a little tighter as she followed the dubious character into the dark.
The alleyway let out into a small square, but certainly no closer to any train station. In the center of the square there was a large hightop tent. Audacious reds and yellows seemed to dance around the massive hanging canvas. Hundreds of performers dotted the streets tossing knives high into the air and blowing eye turning fireballs inches above the heads of startled onlookers. A crowd had gathered streaming in to listen to the cryer as he shouted the names and skills of each act, promising everything from marvel to wonder if only you bought a ticket.

“Well I’ll be.” Charlie snuffed, with an exaggerated slap of his knee. “That, ere, high top is blocking my shortcut. Seems we may ‘ave ta head back the other way.” But Vanessa wasn't listening to her rag dressed guide. Her eyes were entranced, by the spectacle. Torn in a hundred direction by sights her sheltered eyes had never seen. “Now, mum wouldn't be interested in a silly old affair like this. Would she?”

Vanessa hesitated. A proper lady would never be caught dead in such a diversion. The jugglers were caked with dirt, and the rope walkers wore such high cut gowns you could see all the way up past her knee! It was unthinkable. She could never …. Out of the crowd a tall man lept into a cannon, popping his upper half out just long enough to pass a humble bow, he retreated into the weapon.
Vanessa gasped at the horrible blast as the weapon fired. She involuntarily dropped her handbag and luggage and clung to Charlie as she watched the tall man fly through the air and crash into a pile of linens perfectly placed to catch him. She was clapping along with the crowds before she knew what she was doing.

“How ‘bout we buy ourselves a ticket, Mum. Trains run all day, we will have plenty of time.” A sly grin crept to his face as he ushered the young woman into the tent.

Everyone knows that London has no fairs in November.

Narhval
April 4th, 2015, 09:02 PM
This is extremely well written for being just off the top of your head and the story really captures your attention already from the first paragraph. Even though it was a short story I felt it pulling me in all directions as I read it and the twists were really well written. I love the ending as well as it makes me hunger for more, but also allowes me to make up hundreds of little stories about what happens next to Vanessa. Wouød øove to read more :)

ShadowEyes
April 5th, 2015, 12:13 AM
Everyone knows November is too cold for a Fair.

This city stinks. Vanessa strolled listlessly through the winding cobblestone streets of London, holding her nose with one hand and dragging a suitcase with the other. Ever since her husband had forced her to move into the city from their estates out in Berkshire, that one thought had been her all consuming obsession.

If she is wealthy enough to have an estate, one would think that she knows enough about London for its smell to not be so surprising. Also, the paragraph doesn’t draw me in because it doesn’t portray one main conflict, but many: the smell, the strolling (with a suitcase, no less), her husband forcing her, and the obsession. Too many conflicts all at once.

It wasn't just the people, crammed together like hogs fighting for slop, Uneffective, because hogs fighting for slop would be focused, not in all directions. as they marched their pathetic lives away. It wasn't even the horses, though she could hardly believe it when she saw them …. relieving themselves right there on the street. Okay, so if she doesn’t even know about the horses, then she has some major culture shock. People would just walk right past it. Like it wasn't even there! But no it wasn't just those things that made Vanessa so disgusted. It was the very air. The new factories were springing up everywhere, and they belched up such awful black smoke. Vanessa could hardly breath. Strains credulity.

Vanessa’s husband had recently gone into business with one of the owners of some of those awful smoking monstrosities. He had sworn that the move would only be temporary, but this fine upper class lady You shouldn’t need to tell me. could not bear another moment in this hell. She had packed her bag, without even getting help from Shemmie their live in maid. This should be the beginning of the story.

Vanessa had never traveled alone in the city. She had never really traveled alone anywhere. Since she was little she had always had nannies , maids, and chauffeurs to help her around on the rare occasions in which she needed to leave the estates. So it would be of little surprise that after taking ten steps out of their luxurious highlands high-rise, she was hopelessly lost. The conflict is illogical. If she hates the city, and will get lost being on her own, then why is she: travelling through the city on her own?

That is why this well dressed lady Repeated. Also doesn’t say much. was currently stomping through the lower west end alone, dragging a poorly closed and woefully overstuffed suitcase. Again, repeated. Should be initial.

“Might, I help you Madam?” came a scratchy voice from behind the shade of an awning covered stoop.

Vanessa paused swinging her head left and right in a vain attempt to make out some sort of landmark Which was she looking for? before huffing and marching over towards what appeared to be a filthy young man drinking something foul How is she aware of this? It’s inside the bottle. from a bottle. “As a matter of fact, you can.” She spoke with the entitled command Now this is interesting because it clashes with her situation. But if this trait is to be blended into the complication (that of being alone), it has to make sense. Furthermore, if she is “commanding,” then why did she let her husband drag her here? of a woman with no idea what sort of trouble she was in. Neither do I. “I am looking for the train station, and the damned roads in this city make no sense whatsoever. I need you to show me the way.”

“Need me to, eh?” Vanessa nodded sharply, and the man shrugged. “Sure thing, mum. i got nothing else to do. “ Polishing off the last of his brandy he tossed the bottle and trotted down the steps. “The names, Charlie.” He stuck out a coal smeared hand.

“Charmed, I’m sure.” Vanessa sniffed, lightly shaking his hand with two fingers. This is cute, but I thought there’d be danger...

Charlie laughed and made his way down the nearest alley. As opposed to…? Where did she meet him? “Cumon, mum. This is a short cut.”

Vanessa furrowed her brow and clutched her hand bag a little tighter as she followed the dubious character into the dark.
The alleyway let out into a small square, but certainly no closer to any train station. In the center of the square there was a large hightop tent. Audacious reds and yellows seemed to dance around the massive hanging canvas. Hundreds of performers dotted the streets All under the canvas? tossing knives high into the air and blowing eye turning fireballs inches above the heads of startled onlookers. A crowd had gathered streaming in to listen to the cryer What’s stopping them from moving in? as he shouted the names and skills of each act, promising everything from marvel to wonder if only you bought a ticket.

“Well I’ll be.” Charlie snuffed, with an exaggerated slap of his knee. “That, ere, high top is blocking my shortcut. Seems we may ‘ave ta head back the other way.” But Vanessa wasn't listening to her rag dressed guide. Her eyes were entranced, by the spectacle. Torn in a hundred direction by sights her sheltered eyes had never seen. “Now, mum wouldn't be interested in a silly old affair like this. Would she?”

Vanessa hesitated. A proper lady would never be caught dead in such a diversion. The jugglers were caked with dirt, and the rope walkers wore such high cut gowns you could see all the way up past her knee! You know, you could push this even further... It was unthinkable. She could never …. Out of the crowd a tall man lept into a cannon, popping his upper half out just long enough to pass a humble bow, he retreated into the weapon.
Vanessa gasped at the horrible blast as the weapon fired. She involuntarily dropped her handbag and luggage and clung to Charlie as she watched the tall man fly through the air and crash into a pile of linens perfectly placed to catch him. She was clapping along with the crowds before she knew what she was doing. So… She’s lost, and now she’s not lost? There’s no conflict because not even the escort knew of the faire. In fact, I don’t know what he knew at all, or why he helped. Also, it’s too much of a (happy) coincidence, even for a short scene. Her acceptance of the faire seems contrary to what we know about her. And if we know that she’s a rebel, why is this a problem all of a sudden?

“How ‘bout we buy ourselves a ticket, Mum. Trains run all day, we will have plenty of time.” A sly grin crept to his face as he ushered the young woman into the tent.

Everyone knows that London has no fairs in November. I’m not really sure how this relates.

It was an okay scene. A lot could be improved, but it's decent material for expansion of a character idea (in my opinion, the best idea). I would advise you to push your characters more. The characters are quaint and maybe not defined enough, but I liked the original idea of running away from the husband. Maybe you could make that more of the focus?

Sally Grady
April 10th, 2015, 07:35 AM
I liked this quite a bit. I think the strongest point of the story is the detail of the setting and the moving through the streets; the detail wasn't bogging me down, and the movement felt like an important part of the story and not just a way for her to get to the destination. One minor detail that did pop out as something that bothered me was Vanessa's disgust at horses *ahem* fouling up the street. Whether she had spent her life in the city or the country, she would have been around the waste of horses her whole life. The pure number of horses getting in her way, the horses being dirty, or even how wretchedly the hackney drivers treat the horses might all be things that bother her, though.

I personally don't have any problem with the gaps in logic or constant references to Vanessa as a "fine lady" because I interpreted it as being a reflection on the way Vanessa views herself and this world--of course, this hinges squarely on Vanessa being both very foolhardy and very self-important. If this is the intended effect, I might advise editing out information like the square being "no closer to any train station," because there's no way Vanessa would know that. If she was that thoughtful, she wouldn't have found herself in this situation in the first place.

LOLeah
April 10th, 2015, 07:07 PM
I thought this was really good for being written on a whim. There are some inaccuracies and missteps but I think with a little research and refinery this would be great. I like your overall writing style a lot.

NathanBrazil
April 10th, 2015, 09:20 PM
Very enjoyable. A short trip, but it had the desired effect. I just a few comments and nits.


Vanessa strolled listlessly through the winding cobblestone streets of London, holding her nose with one hand and dragging a suitcase with the other.
Strolled listlessly doesn't give me the sense of urgency, that I would imagine she is feeling.


It wasn't just the people, crammed together like hogs fighting for slop, as they marched their pathetic lives away.
I think that comparing these people to hogs is sufficient here. I might consider dropping off the last bit.


Vanessa could hardly breath.
Should be breathe I think.

I liked the interchange between Vanessa and Charlie. I can definitely imagine a young high-society woman directing that commanding voice at any low-born. I can also see how easily she could be hood winked and corralled into this world of glitzy, risque entertainment.

Overall, I quite enjoyed it. You've done an excellent of pulling us into this little slice of time.