PDA

View Full Version : The Motorola Error: Sandy's Summer Fright



Abishai100
June 1st, 2016, 09:05 AM
Sandy was driving cross-country for Summer 1998 and for the first time in her life. She just completed her junior year at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) and wanted to do something unusual before beginning her senior year. Sandy packed her things and intended to drive from her parents' home in Maine to her friend's house in San Diego, California. The trip would take about ten days Sandy estimated, and her estimate afforded her a degree of laissez-faire comfort. She remembered to take her GSM-enabled mobile phone.

Sandy made a stop in Detroit, Michigan to visit a boy-friend from Dartmouth who was a junior like her and whom Sandy dated for about one year. His name was Alex and he was a varsity tennis player for Dartmouth's team. Sandy went to Alex's parents' home and stayed with him there for one night. She told him that they should consider getting married after graduating if their paths crossed in an amenable way, and he surprisingly agreed with her. Alex told Sandy to be sure not to lose sight of her mobile phone (it was a Motorola), since it would make things like roadside assistance much more accessible for her cross-country drive, which she was doing alone.

Sandy left Detroit and got back on the road and was excited to see more of America driving. She stopped at a few quaint diners in Indiana and Colorado before deciding to make a little detour to Texas. The detour would delay her arrival in San Diego for about three days, but Sandy believed it would be worth it. Her car (a Lincoln Mercury) gave out while she was driving across Ohio and she had to use her Motorola to contact roadside assistance (Sandy had a AAA auto-care membership her father purchased for her). Sandy was grateful her mobile phone saved the day and now she felt confident enough to make the little detour to Texas before completing her cross-country drive.

Sandy wanted to see the two cities Austin and Dallas and decide what to make of Texas culture. Texas was a strange state to Sandy, since she was an East Coast non-cowboy girl who liked jazz and the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. Texas seemed offbeat, 'strange-American,' and oddly other-worldly to Sandy. People wore cowboy hats, listened to country music, and worshiped the NFL Cowboys. Texas was also home to numerous strange criminality and was the setting for the iconic American horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, featuring a chainsaw-wielding cannibal named Leatherface who simple ripped up any American passerby who crossed his terrible path.

Sandy drove around Texas and visited the empty Dallas Cowboys football stadium, went to a popular BBQ restaurant in Austin, and generally drove around and took many pictures of Texans and Texas traffic. While driving back from Austin to Dallas, Sandy's car broke down, but Sandy had not charged her Motorola and her battery was drained. She could not call for roadside assistance easily this time, and her car broke down on a strip of road next to no landmark or servicing areas. A pick-up truck was driving by and Sandy hailed it to hitch-hike to town to find help. The truck-driver let her in and agreed to take her into town. He was a strange gristly Caucasian white-bearded man (about 60 years of-age) who introduced himself as Grandpa Moses. He told Sandy he needed to make a quick stop to his house before driving them into town.

Sandy got out of the truck and followed Grandpa Moses into his house, which was a rather disheveled looking white wooden house standing in the middle of a barren field. She needed to use the bathroom, so Moses showed her where it was, and it was a normal-enough looking working bathroom with a toilet and sink. Sandy was using the bathroom and finished her business and was washing her face in the sink when she realized she heard the sound of a chainsaw coming from the basement. Sandy wondered why a house in the middle of nowhere with no tree density around would have a man in the basement working a chainsaw. Sandy got very frightened and ran out of the house and hailed a car which happened to be driving by and jumped in and hitch-hiked into town to get help.

Sandy got help soon enough and had a tow-truck haul her car to a service center where it was repaired. She then promptly made her way to San Diego, completing her nifty but then bizarre cross-country drive from Maine to California. She believed her Summer of 1998 was rewarding intellectually and emotionally, but she also always believed that somewhere in Texas, between Austin and Dallas, a strange family with a strange member who was mimicking the behaviors of Leatherface, was creating undetected evil. She was not sure if her guess was correct, so she never worked up the courage to inform the police about the chainsaw-noise she heard in that gristly house of 'Grandpa Moses.' Sandy was sure never again to let her Motorola drain in power before recharging it fully. Sandy wondered what her first Motorola blunder could have taken her in Texas. After graduating from Dartmouth, Sandy got a well-paying job working for a Motorola marketing-and-sales office in Chicago, Illinois.




:eek:



14240

StoneFrog
June 1st, 2016, 10:33 AM
It felt like reading from a list, actions and events. It would have been nice, to see more sentences like:

Texas was a strange state to Sandy, since she was an East Coast non-cowboy girl who liked jazz and the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. Texas seemed offbeat, 'strange-American,' and oddly other-worldly to Sandy.

Grammar needs work, maybe someone else can give you some tips; im not one to talk too much on this :D

Try to not overly repeating the name of the character, 'Sandy' was used 27 times and an average of 4 times per paragraph. I would try to get it to around once per paragraph, if not less.


Sandy got out of the truck and followed Grandpa Moses into his house, which was a rather disheveled looking white wooden house standing in the middle of a barren field. She needed to use the bathroom, so Moses showed her where it was, and it was a normal-enough looking working bathroom with a toilet and sink. Sandy was using the bathroom and finished her business and was washing her face in the sink when she realized she heard the sound of a chainsaw coming from the basement. Sandy wondered why a house in the middle of nowhere with no tree density around would have a man in the basement working a chainsaw. Sandy got very frightened and ran out of the house and hailed a car which happened to be driving by and jumped in and hitch-hiked into town to get help.

I felt this needed to be two paragraphs, splitting the description of the house and her panic. This would also allow more description, and build emotional tension. As it stand everything moves too quickly. If you were to keep it as one, the last sentence need work; its actually two sentences.

Abishai100
June 1st, 2016, 11:06 AM
I'll try to parse and structure better, StoneFrog. I think you're right about that last sentence you mentioned. I was trying to create a sense of whirlwind panic, but the structuring suffered.

I intentionally began each paragraph with the main character's first name (Sandy), but I should've limited how much I used her name within each paragraph. I did this to create a funny whimsical affect, so the spook-story had an irony-tinge to it (like you know how some scary movies are pseudo-silly?).

What did you think about the story itself (concept, atmosphere, etc.)?

Thanks for your tips.

StoneFrog
June 1st, 2016, 11:31 AM
I looked at another piece you did, someone commented, that it read like a synopsis. I think its true of this one as well, its hard to feel the atmosphere. I would suggest starting maybe on the third or forth paragraph, then referring back the the events of the previous ones. Maybe she was hung up on the comment of marriage etc... more emotion from the character gets us connected. Once we're connected then we feel the atmosphere more.

Overall plot i like, especially the reflection at the end.

between Austin and Dallas, a strange family with a strange member who was mimicking the behaviors of Leatherface, was creating undetected evil

Terry D
June 1st, 2016, 02:39 PM
You cover enough time and report about enough events that this could be a short novel rather than seven paragraphs (all beginning with 'Sandy'). Don't tell me about her trip, show it to me. Take me inside her experiences, don't just report on them. Find a story you really, really like and read the first seven paragraphs of it. What makes it different from yours? How did the author get you to care about the story? About the protagonist? Your story covers too much ground far too fast. You need to learn to take your time and let the story unfold. I used to have the same problem, I wanted to get to the 'good stuff' as quickly as possible, but in doing so I ruined the pay-off. I built no tension, I didn't give my readers anyone to care about, or any reason to care about them. Story-telling takes patience. Look at each sentence as its own story. Make every sentence -- hell, every word -- count.

Keep at it. You have plenty of time.

bdcharles
June 1st, 2016, 03:05 PM
To me this is a synopsis. A reasonably workable one, mind, but you need to "storify" it. Why not take this bit:


Sandy was driving cross-country for Summer 1998 and for the first time in her life. She just completed her junior year at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) and wanted to do something unusual before beginning her senior year. Sandy packed her things and intended to drive from her parents' home in Maine to her friend's house in San Diego, California. The trip would take about ten days Sandy estimated, and her estimate afforded her a degree of laissez-faire comfort. She remembered to take her GSM-enabled mobile phone.

And write a story of the events. Then move onto the next bit. Who is Sandy? Describe her. Take us on this journey too. What is she doing at the beginning? Why? Here's a first few lines:

Summer, 1998, and Sandy pulled the battered valise from beneath her dorm-room bed, stuffing beach clothes into it before Jess could stop her. On the CD player, someone sang about how she should take it nice and easy, though she wasn't listening. Instead, sounds from outside, from the campus at Dartmouth where she had just completed her junior year, trickled in, reminding her what she would be missing once she reached California. If she reached California, her mother's voice emphasised. If.

Use or discard at will. Hope it helps.

Abubakar
June 1st, 2016, 06:06 PM
Well for one thing I felt like the name "Sandy" was listed a few too many times .

For another you should/could work on your construction a bit more .Like StoneFrog has said, it's like I'm reading a bunch of facts .