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End Rising (1 Viewer)

Once_more

Senior Member
End Rising - 1st Chapter - Remarks? Opinions?

This is the prologue and first chapter of a story I have been working on. It is a rough draft so the grammer isn't perfect and I know that in places it stumbles - please point those out because I may not have seen them all and probably need some help to pick out why they don't fit.

I tried to make the first few pages set the theme for the rest of the book so the central idea is contained here.

The main character falls in love with a man who turns out to be less than ideal. When she realizes this she returns home to her parents. But despite time she can not get past the emotional block leaving caused and in a moment of what she sees at the time as desperation, she decides to move across the country. "Running away" she thinks.

There are other characters who begin to appear in the following chapter - the employer, a woman from Georgia, locals who add color and flavor, a pair of old hippies who now run a mercantile and occasionally a betting ring, and a male character who tends to piss of the protagonist a LOT. I haven't fully decided what to do with him yet. He started bothering me one day and demanded a full story of his own so... twenty pages later he has a background. Since then he stopped shouting but still tends to do things I didn't plan on. The protagonist is much easier to deal with since she is still going through a period of transformation.

One of the hardest lessons to learn is life is the difference between running away and cutting your losses. Even then the destruction of the old life, becomes fodder for the new one. Like the mythical phoenix, each ending is also a beginning.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Long ago I dreamed…

In my dreams I ran free and happy through a forest dark with shadows and green with life. The colors flashed by me in a blur – a kaleidoscope of greens and blues and browns and reds.

The ground was soft under my feet. I felt the wind tugging at my hair, caressing my scalp and skin with idle fingers. My mouth stretched wide in a smile and I laughed out loud with the simple joy of being alive.

…and then I grew up, and I put away the toys and dreams of the child. And even though I no longer dreamed, I still remembered in a vague way the feelings of freedom and happiness and completion in the dark, green forest.


Chapter 1: The Reason​

“Just drop me off at the front.”

“Are you sure you are going to be able to handle the luggage?”

“Don’t worry Dad, it’s not that much.”

I look into the backseat of the Toyota Corolla my Dad was driving. A medium size rolling suitcase and duffel bag sat next to a beat up backpack I’d had since high school. The suitcase and duffel were completely full, stuffed with clothes, shoes, all the liquids the airline wouldn’t let me carry on and my pillow.

The green backpack next to it was mostly empty; containing the few things I would want on the coming plane ride or was too afraid to let travel without my supervision: an extra pair of socks, e-book, laptop computer, granny smith apple, sweater and scarf. Although I’d used it to carry school supplies through eight years of high school and college, the bag was actually a hiking pack.

The Eddie Bauer bag – as opposed to the Jansports my contemporaries had preferred – was a daypack. Big enough to carry a day’s worth of hiking supplies and – with the straps extending from the bottom – to tie on a sleeping bag and overnight supplies. A webbed side pocket currently held an empty water bottle; the matching left pocket was empty.

I looked out the window at the pine trees and palmetto scrub characteristic of southern Florida landscape. It was 8 am and already the temperature was a humid 78 and rising rapidly – in the beginning of May. The heat and humidity would only increase as the summer wore on.

I wore a lavender cotton tank top – my favorite with spaghetti straps and ribbed fabric –, denim jeans and Rainbow sandals. In my carryon a long sleeved brown shirt and smart wool socks were tucked inside a pair of old leather boots. The fleece jacket and watch cap were rolled up and tied to the outside of the pack.

When I disembarked at my destination 78 and rising would be far away memory.
“I know but you’ve got a lot packed into those bags. You might need some help carrying them.” He slipped a glance in my direction, possibly checking my reaction to his words or making sure that I wasn’t wavering in my resolve.

I smiled a little to myself. That was my Dad, king of the double entendre.
“I appreciate it Dad but I’ll be okay.” We both knew he wasn’t referring to my suitcases and the clothing filling them.

A few months back I’d been living with a man I’d thought I was in love with – I still argue with myself from time to time if I was really in love with him or if it was the idea of being in love that had been so attractive. I’d known my parents and friends hadn’t liked Erik, but – like so many women before – told myself they just didn’t know him. A smile twitched at the corners of my mouth.

It still hurt to think about how I’d bought into the lies he told, how I’d accepted the blame and recriminations, how I’d rolled over for him. The self-help books I’d read told me this wasn’t my fault. That education and intelligence were not factors in abuse. Abusive behavior was built through conditioning over a period of time and wasn’t immediately noticeable. It wasn’t as though the subject woke up one morning and said:

“Today I am going to find someone who talks down to me, diminishes my intelligence, and occasionally forces me to do things that I really don’t want to do. I wonder if there’s a website for that?”

In the end it was an accident that made me wake up. I’d gone out to visit a friend for lunch and shopping, but a phone call from her boss cut the day short. She’d needed to get back to the office so we called it a day and agreed to make new plans for another time. Erik had told me he would be out all day – he’d been unemployed for a while but had been job hunting and finally had a few interviews lined up.

“Don’t worry if I don’t answer my phone, I’ll probably have it on silent during the interviews.”

So I hadn’t tried to call him, worried that he wouldn’t have turned down the ringer and the sound of the phone would interrupt him during the interview and make him angry for later. Since I was expecting him to be out I was surprised when I pulled in the driveway and saw his car. I heard the noise before I’d even opened the front door, but the part of me that hadn’t listened to friends and family wouldn’t shut up until I opened the door and went inside. I exited the house as quietly as I’d entered it, got back in my car and drove away.

The following morning was Sunday. The Patriots were playing the Colts and Erik was going to his friend Steve’s to watch the game. I got up, kissed him goodbye and waved from the front porch as he drove away. Then I packed.

Whatever couldn’t fit in my car stayed behind in the rental house in New Mexico. I called my boss from the road and explained I wouldn’t be in the following morning. The silence at the other end of the line said she understood. She wished me luck and promised to send my last check and a letter of reference. I thanked her for understanding, hung up the phone and kept driving. I called my parents and told them I was on my way home.

It is two thousand miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Citra, Florida. I stopped for gas and nothing else.

When I showed up on the doorstep my parents didn’t ask any questions. They helped me unload my car and store the boxes in the garage. When my mother asked why I left I kept it simple, “There was someone else.”

“Oh, sweetie! I’m sorry! He doesn’t deserve you.” She kissed my cheek and hugged me tightly, my head on her shoulder.

“Oh but you must be so hungry. When is the last time you ate?” She ushered me in to the kitchen, sat me at the corner table and pulled out the ingredients for French Toast.

My mother believes strongly in the power of food to aid a heavy heart. School bullies, a difficult test, my first love and my first break up, all were dealt with at the same table by means of French Toast.

My father stayed silent, just looking at me. He has a way of looking a person that makes them feel as though he were seeing directly into their mind and picking out thoughts. I saw in his eyes that he knew there was something more to the story, but I also knew he would never ask.

A few times over the following months he inquired about my baggage and how the unpacking was going. My mother would look at him strangely, wondering if he was talking about the boxes id left in their garage.

It was winter in Florida and finding work was an easy prospect. The horsemen who could afford the trip always came south for the winter. I found employment on a racing farm grooming horses and cleaning stalls. It was hard, physical work and left me worn out every night. In the beginning the pattern was what got me through the days and kept me from turning around. As the weeks passed the pattern became my life, so long as I walked the same line I didn’t need to think. Although it was easier than the hurt and shame, I started to think that maybe it was time for a change.

The conversation I overheard between my parents cemented the readiness for me. I was always so tired in the evenings that I could pretty well be counted on to go to sleep right after I’d eaten dinner with my parents. I woke up one evening – mouth parched – and went to the kitchen for a glass of water.

My parents in the living room did not hear my bedroom door open. The television muted the sound of their voices until I was at the end of the hallway and nearly in sight. I heard my mother’s voice first.

“I’m worried about Lena.”

I froze.

“She smiles for me, but I haven’t heard her laugh since she arrived.”

“I know,” my father sighed deeply. “I keep waiting and hoping that she’ll open back up but it’s like there is a lock on her emotions.”

“Yesterday I came in and caught her staring out a window. When I asked how long she’d been there she didn’t know. I thought she was getting better. She’d always loved the horses and I’d hoped when she started working at the farm that being out there would help heal whatever was damaged.

“But she’s still stuck in her mind. She never talks about what happened and I wonder if there is more to the story than she told us.

“Maybe – Do you think -? Should we take her to a therapist?”

I backed quietly, slowly down the hallway; the water I'd sought forgotten. My mother wouldn't be thinking merely of a single doctor, but an entire platoon of medical professionals, all whose sole purpose would be my health and mental well-being. Extreme's aside, that made sense considering how much I was worrying my parents. I worried myself as well.

My mother was wrong; the horses had helped me to come to terms with my shame but still I agreed with my father’s assessment. It felt like there was a lock or a dam inside me that things were getting caught behind. I’d returned home and everything inside of me had stopped. The pattern of each day made it easy to wake up and force myself to continue on the same steps. If I wasn’t getting better where I was, maybe a change of scenery would make the difference.

It was a simple thing to start up the computer and open the internet browser. I chose my location by looking at the globe and picking the farthest place I could get to and still remain on the continent: Washington.

The search parameters were simple. I needed an employer who could provide housing, wanted a full time plus employee, in a location that was not quickly reached. I focused on the Olympic Peninsula.

A quick internet search turned up a number of positions open for the summer mostly volunteer openings that would be working together to clean hiking trails, straighten camp sites, or work in visitor centers. I wasn’t looking to form any “life-long friendships” as the posting said and instead focused on a single opening in an outdoors shop.

The owner was looking for a full-time plus clerk to work for mostly room and board. She was hoping for someone with a computer background – she was trying to expand and wanted to keep up the website –who could also mind the store.

When I called the number listed with the position the southern accent at the other of the line gave me pause, but it also gave me the job. I’d never thought being from Florida would bring me anything except a tan but this time it brought me a job. We agreed on a salary, a trial period and a starting date. The next day I booked my ticket and sat down to tell my parents what I was doing and why.

The voice of my father reminds me that the airport is up ahead. I would say that this is my last chance to turn around but it doesn’t feel like it. I know if things don’t suit in Washington I will always have a place to come back too.

“Your mother worries but I’ll keep her under three calls a day. Just be sure to let us know when you land and when you get where you are going.” He smiles at me and pats my arm before saying “I know you’ll be okay kid. You take after me.” I smile back at him and briefly rest my head on his shoulder. Neither of us are in for big displays of emotion, we both go with the school of thought that says “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t care.”

The scrub out the window has given way to carefully manicured medians and sidewalks. The airport looms up ahead and the signs directing incoming visitors to airline, parking garage and rental car flash overhead. Neither of us look up, after all isn’t the first time we’ve been to the airport. My dad was right. Although I’d been on road trips and done little vacations with my friends, this move was different. This time I traveled alone.

I had picked up maps and a book on hiking trails in the peninsula from the AAA store a few days ago and had a book of local history downloaded to my e-reader. I’d spent the past week reading about the Washington climate and regional topography and tried to pack accordingly.

All in all I liked to think I would be better prepared for this trip than I had ever been for any of the others. However when I got to my destination I would be arriving there with one thing less than I had ever traveled with: someone who knew me. This fact was precisely the reason I had accepted the job in Lake Quinault.
 
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Sir Roberts

Senior Member
Wonderfully written. One finds oneself empathising with the protagonist, despite the fact that I haven't experienced anything she has.

The fact that it is written in the first-person helps dramatically, almost as if you are reading this person's diary. You can't help feeling a certain willingness to read on, an almost incontrovertible need to find out more about the tragedy that was merely touched upon. There is also guilt there, almost as if I have been intruding on her life. Sadly, for me, this only makes it more delicious.

I hungrily await more... seriously, get posting.

And thank you for the read.
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Thanks Sir Roberts! It was really important to me that Lena be someone that could be empathized with. I struggled in the beginning to find a line between her being depressed and bland and so completely id driven that she came across as spoiled and self involved. Please let me know if she starts to loose that feeling.
She does develop and "heal" - but thats another part of the story...

Per your request I am posting the second chapter and if I can get it up tonight part of the third.
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Chapter 2: The Decision

CHAPTER 2: The Decision​

The trip by air was uneventful. I had a connection to make in Chicago and was grateful I’d checked my duffel bag in Florida as I raced off the plane to a display monitor.

I found my flight quickly and followed the line across the screen to the gater number and the word “DELAYED” flashing in red. I looked for the new departure time – an extra half an hour. Not too late then.

I used the opportunity to scout around for food options. I walked – slowly this time – through the terminal past the security gate check point and then paused underneath the giant fossilized skeleton of a brachiosaurus. I stared upwards both surprised and entertained. My lips turned upwards into a smile and my mind wandered over some absurdities.

Chicago must be very serious about security, I mused as I considered several humorous scenarios.

…Maybe the dinosaur had looked suspicious and a “FULL” strip had been ordered.

…This was an “it could be worse” scenario aimed at people who complained the new security measures were invasive.

…It was a commentary on the speed of the security lines.

…If you missed a flight here, you would have a long wait to get another out.

I giggled a little to myself and look around. The only person observing my moment of levity was a little girl in pigtails. I smiled at her and pointed at the bone head to far above my own. She smiled back at me – probably enjoying the pictures her imagination was procuring.

I grabbed a smoothie from the Jamba juice, a slice of pizza from a place called Reggio’s, and made my way back to the gate. I took a seat up against the wall next to an outlet and turned on my computer. Fortunately the airport offered free wi fi service so I was up and running quickly.

I sent an email to my parents, letting them know my flight had been delayed. It was easier to be positive when the only interaction with someone was written, so I gave them an upbeat report on my small meal and described the dinosaur by the security gates. I knew they would be entertained so I included some of my goofier observations.

When that one was away I stared at the inbox – 46 new messages. They were all from Erik and they were all unopened. After the patriot’s game he’d called my phone to let me know he’d be out late. I’d let the voicemail get his call, I was already 300 miles and a tank of gas down the road. By the time he’d returned to a dark house I was halfway through Texas.

I hadn’t reached the eastern border of Texas before I’d turned off my phone. He left voice mail messages and text messages and when that didn’t work he starting sending emails. I’d listened to the first few voice mail messages and deleted the rest; I wasn’t interested in discussing with him infidelity and abusive behaviors. Any conversation would immediately be turned around on me. I knew that eventually he would hear about my shortened lunch date with Susan and would probably put the times together and figure out that he’d been caught. I figured he could deal with the rest of the questions himself.

Eventually the fear I felt by just seeing his name would ease its grip and I would consider opening those messages - at least that's what I hoped. For now I ran through the shut down process and closed the laptop. A disembodied voice announced the boarding of my flight to Seattle.

***​

The trip to Lake Quinault was nearly as long as the flight across country. After disembarking the airplane and retrieving my checked bags, I followed the directions I’d printed off this morning – along with the detailed instructions I’d received by email – and took a bus cross town to the Amtrak station.

I quickly purchased a ticket and began to wait for train to Olympia. My new employer would meet me there and drive me the rest of the way.

We’d worked out the details for my travel plans earlier in the week. “It’s just inconvenient,” she told me in an email, “to drive all the way out to Seattle and then have to drive back when season is nearly upon us. I can’t take that much time so early in the year. You just take the train out and I’ll meet you in Olympia.”

I looked around as unobtrusively as possible and noted that my worn jeans and scuffed boots didn’t stand out here. The fleece jacket I had carried on was no different than half of the people who stood on the platform with me. The other half were wearing business attire – my flight had arrived at 4pm and this was obviously the start of the commuting crowd – and carrying attaché cases and Jansport backpacks.

The train arrived shortly and we all filed on board. I was surprised that there wasn’t more jostling involved in the movement. I’d spent a good portion of my youth in New York City and was used to the mad rush of people as soon as the subway doors opened. People would be attempting to exit at the same time new travelers were attempting to board. There the mess of humanity was done quietly, accompanied by a few grunts from people who were pushed a bit harder than others, rapid breathing from those who had to rush to beat the closing doors, and the low curses form those who missed the doors.

In comparison the commuters here were positively genteel. They waited patiently while travelers exited the train and filed on slowly one person at a time. I even witnessed the line of people stop to let a woman with her two children move ahead in the line. The man who followed behind her in line carried the stroller on board and set it down next to the set of four seats – two on either side facing each other – before accepting her thanks and casually moving down to take a stand at the far end of the train. Everywhere I looked people were chatting with one another in a way usually reserved for suburban neighborhoods.

In spite of my initial shock the remaining trip to Olympia was fairly mundane. I watched the skyline of Seattle – a major metropolitan by anyone’s standards – slowly fade into suburban neighborhoods and then to more sparsely populated towns.

We passed through Tacoma. The cranes at the harbor towered over the nearby buildings and hung out over partially full barges. The Puget Sound behind glinted in the afternoon light.

The city built off the harbor is mostly hills dotted with homes at every conceivable point possible. The downtown area is clearly defined by the concrete skyscrapers and glass office buildings. As the train continued its travel towards point south the residential areas continued to come into view between pastures and acres of neatly planted farm land.

I watched as the mountains crept closer to us and wondered what the range was I could see to the east. Everywhere I looked another vista appeared, and the outline of Mt. Rainer stood sentient on the horizon. The train tracks did not approach a major developed area until shortly before arriving in the Olympia station.
 
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Once_more

Senior Member
Chapter 3: First Impressions

CHAPTER 3: FIRST IMPRESSIONS​

I firmly believe two things. The first: that no person should be judged before they have an opportunity to introduce themselves. The second: that stereotyping is an evil that escaped from Pandora’s Box. Both of these fall under my Never-Make-Assumptions rule.

I stood five feet one inch at my last doctor’s visit. My face is oval and - despite my years of playing outside in the sun and entire lack of a skin care regimen – does not show my age. Add in the dimple and curly hair… I had a fifty-fifty chance when I walked in a bar I would find myself answering questions about my Driver’s License. On more than one occasion my ID was returned and I was escorted out of the establishment. Someone could be forgiven for asking what I was doing ditching school in the middle of the week.

Somewhere in between accepting the job and arriving in Olympia, WA I forgot that most important of rules.

I got off the train and looked around me. Searching for someone who looked like they were looking for a person traveling cross country or a new employee; I examined each person for a woman who resembled the delicate southern belle I’d pictured to go along with the roses and magnolia accent I’d heard on the phone. I glanced over the tall, dark haired figure leaning back against the chain link fence smoking a cigarette.

It probably would have been a smart idea to come up with some kind of signal before I left Florida. Someway to know who I was supposed to meet.

“You must be Helena,” the magnolia voice came from behind me.

“Lena,” I replied and turned to look up at the dark haired figure I’d noticed.

“I’m Margueritte Jones. What do you say we get your bags into the car and get on the road? It’ll take us about 2 hours to get to the store, we can talk on the way.”

***​

Margueritte Jones was nothing like I had imagined she would be.

When I’d heard her speak, the accent and word choices had filled my mind with images of Gone With the Wind, Tara and Georgia belles. I’d pictured a woman not much taller than my five feet one inches, with blonde hair, makeup, manicured nails… Someone not used to hard labor. The completed mental image was of a woman who was not necessarily fat but round and soft.

The woman driving the forest green Jeep Grand Cherokee was about as far from the southern belle stereotype as I could have imagined.

Standing next to her at the train station I’d gauged her height to be around five feet seven or eight inches in her Merrell hiking shoes. Dark brown hair was held back at the nape of her neck with a silver barrette, the resulting pony tail waved down her back. Her make up – I had that much right at least – was light, some sort of base or tinted cream with eyeliner and mascara.

As we drove Margueritte told me about herself.

She moved out to Washington in the late 60s with her first husband Stan. He’d heard that the logging companies were paying good money and thought this would be a way to earn some quick money.

They had been high school sweethearts in a small town in Georgia. She’d been the homecoming queen and he’d been the captain of the football team. Classic story.

At her parents’ request, Margueritte had been set to attend to Georgia Tech although the plan was to attend only long enough to get her MRS degree. Her parents had liked Stan but didn’t think his potential as a bread winner was high. They’d hoped she would find someone in college with breeding and money and access to social circles they craved.

Marguerite never made it college. In the last semester of high school her parents were driving home from dinner when their car was hit by a drunk driver; neither survived. Without them to hold her back, when Stan asked her to run away to Washington with him she’d agreed without hesitation.

It was a dual plan he’d explained. He’d heard good things about the money he could make working for the logging companies - he wanted to marry her and give her a good life. The second part was sparked by the war in Vietnam.

The draft was coming and as much as he’d been a warrior on the football field, Stan couldn’t imagine himself as a warrior on the battle field. Washington was close to Canada he said. If his number was called they would be close enough to slip over the border quickly.

Everything had gone smoothly. The move to Washington was uneventful. Stan found work with a logging company out of Port Angeles and they were married a month later in a civil ceremony. A year later, Stan was crushed under a falling log.

The logging company gave her a settlement and for a brief time Margueritte had considered returning to Georgia. But Stan’s parents had never liked her and as an only child she had no siblings and no parents to return to. Rather than have to return to the town she’d happily left, Margueritte decided to stay in Washington and accepted the offer of a job in the office of a logging company in Forks, a little town further west of Port Angeles.

She married the second time a boy who decided he’d rather she work while he enjoyed the “good weed” from right over the border. That lasted six months before she kicked him out and filed for divorce. Husband number three was a much better choice.

Martin Jones had been a widower and was 15 years her senior. By the time he’d met Margueritte his youngest child was a sophomore in college and the two older sons had moved on to careers on the mainland. He’d passed away a few years back, but they’d set up this store together and she’d kept it running.

Since Martin’s departure to “the great hereafter”, as Margueritte said, she’d taken the business from a store selling memorabilia and variable outdoor supplies tourists, to a point of interest for all outdoor enthusiasts. Tours, camping trips, and backpacking expeditions were organized from her small shop and marketed through various travel agencies.

Currently there were several projects ongoing.

She is working with a national company to build a “Tour the Olympic Peninsula” package that would come through the Quinault Rainforest as one of its stops.

In past years Margueritte had handled the business herself. Martin’s children, her step-children, helped out some but they all had their own lives and jobs. It wasn’t a problem until this year.

With the extra business coming in from tour groups, the new projects in the works, and the new website that her youngest step-son had set up, she’d figured it might be a good idea to bring in some help.

There had been talk about hiring one of the local kids but there wasn’t many of that group to start with. Most of the Quinault teens already had summer jobs, and those that didn’t weren’t interested in the number of hours required and payment that came in partial board.

The store might have benefited from someone with hiking and camping experience, but this too had its drawbacks. Anyone who had experience who wanted to come out to the Olympic Forest would be more likely to be out with the tour and backpacking groups. If they weren’t with one of those groups, it was likely that on they’d go running off and leave her when the weather was fine.

Her eldest son recommended she try and post the job online – and that’s how she found me.

***​

And this is the biggest problem with assumptions.

I’d expected my new employer to be soft spoken and laid back. Florida was technically the south but so many of the current residents came from somewhere else that it was only due to physical location. My dealings with people from other small southern towns – or in the northern part of the state, also referred to as Southern Georgia and Southern Alabama – had impressed upon me a vision of small minds and heavy accents.

The women wore make up, tight clothes and spent nearly as much time talking about their hair as their manicures. The men wore camouflage, held hunting permits, and told stories of “The Big One” that got away. The local drink was Budweiser and the desire to travel didn’t extend beyond the county line.

The town mayor was inevitably the high school football hero from a past year, and ran on the local ballot as “Bubba” or “Jimbo”. I’d driven through a town once where “Dave the Dwarf” was running in the local election for a Commissioner seat.
Intellectually I knew before the first meeting Margueritte wasn’t going to be a stereotypical small town girl. She had broken the cardinal rule of small town southern women – NEVER LEAVE HOME.

The woman sitting next to me would be a prime example for entrepreneurs everywhere and would not look out of place as a contestant in a beauty pageant. When speaking of plans and current projects her eyes glowed with intelligence and fervor. The casual recitation of her history spoke of a strong character and steel backbone.

I was more than a little in awe of her.
 

Jon Prosser

Senior Member
very well done :) i really enjoyed reading this, looking forward to the 4th chapter. there is something about your style of writing, or perhaps the setting, that i find extremely relaxing, despite the negative motivation for Lena's move. despite the pain it cause her, for me reading it it felt more like a vague memory just as soon as she's on her way up north. the piece worked really well as i found myself able to imagine everything you described without feeling that the sentences were over-laden with description. there are only two things that stuck out to me, one is the occasional shifting of tense. most of the time it's past tense but then, it seems spontaneously it'll become present and then back again. this causes the time frames, at least in my mind, to be a bit nonsensical as they don't align properly. the other thing is in the very first chapter when Lena's parents are talking about her and whether or not she needs therapy. it just seemed too obvious, as if they'd hit the nail directly on the head... i just got the impression that the sole purpose of the parent characters was to tell the reader exactly what was going on with Lena, whereas it is already clear from the narrative. i found it also, without trying to offend, quite cliche, particularly the bit about the mother finding her staring from the window. may i suggest, rather than removing the parents conversation as this is the trigger for Lena's move, you whittle it down to make it more unsure and realistic. the parents would know if something was wrong, but not so precisely considering she told them nothing.
other than these two small things though, i really did enjoy the read and i hope you will post more soon!
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Jon - no offense taken at all. I'd gone back and forth on the parental conversation - the first time I wrote it out there was no mention of a therapist just general feeling of malaise. When I posted it here I was trying to emphasize the reasons for her departure, guess it didn't work out! The original argument was more:


“She smiles for me, but its not like she used to, theres something off... and I haven’t heard her laugh since she got back.”

“I know,” my father sighed deeply. “I keep waiting and hoping that she’ll open back up but it’s like there is a lock or a dam that is holding her back.”

“Yesterday I came in and caught her staring out a window. When I asked how long she’d been there she didn’t know. I thought she was getting better. She’d always loved the horses and I’d hoped when she started working at the farm that being out there would help heal whatever was damaged.

“But she’s still stuck in her mind. She never talks about what happened and I wonder if there is more to the story.

“I just don't know what to do anymore...”

At least that's the way I originally wrote it, does the story line fall in a bit better?

As for the tenses problem - yeah, that always was my failing. I've been trying to keep a tight grasp on myself but sometimes I slip up. I appreciate you pointing it out, it'll be important when I go back through for the next draft.

I only posted the first part of chapter three, I intend to post more of it soon.
 

Jon Prosser

Senior Member
perhaps if you edited the sentence "but she's still stuck in her mind. she never talks about what happened and i wonder if there is more to the story"... i don't know it just seems very deliberate. of course thats just me though and my style preferences, so don't feel like you need to correct anything :) i see, i was wondering whether or not it was intentional, but as long as you edit your chapters it's no problem.
well i hope to read the next part soon :)
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Hmmm I'll play with it some, I was hoping to convey a simplicity of thought on the mother's behalf - I'd like to stay away from deliberate. Both parents are very basic. I didn't spend a lot of time on character development with either one of them and when i first wrote this conversation I'd just finished re-reading pride and predjudice and was - once again - bitterly annoyed with the character of Mrs. Bennett. I see Lena's mother as being similarly silly, just hopefully not so dumb. The parents do reappear in the story both in real time and in flash backs and both characters are relatively consistent. The father is a bit more aware and the mother is a bit more emotional. Does that make sense?
Oh no, it was not intentional. What i posted is actually the second revision. The first version had many more variations especially in terms of past tenses.
 

Jon Prosser

Senior Member
right well i'd suggest toning down their awareness of the situation then. try placing yourself in their position, what would you yourself say? i think just watering down the dialogue with things like pauses, character actions like pacing or things like "i don't know... she just seems like she's keeping a lot to herself." I heard my father sigh. "i think there is definitely something more to this that she isn't telling us." that sort of thing to add realism to it. yeah i understand what you want to do with the characters, i think adding to it in this sense may be a help. and jane austin... my arch nemesis! i can't stand her :p
 

Once_more

Senior Member
EXCELLENT.

I see where you are going with that - it definitely opens the conversation up for a lot more interpretation. And I can see it having more of a ripple effect in the story and on the character when it lacks specificity.

It could have been worse, I could have been re-reading Great Expectations and gone the direction of Miss Haversham.
 

Jon Prosser

Senior Member
yeah, dialogue is difficult in the sense of realism, but there's a lot you can do with it. best thing really is to pay attention to how people talk, next time you see your friends or parents and make a mental note of their body language and nuances, that's what i do.

and i disagree, nothing is worse than romantic novels on high class victorian society :p not even thomas hardy.
 

Boddaert

Senior Member
One small criticism if I may. and then I grew up, and I put away the toys and dreams of the child. is a bit of a cliché and not really required. The first chapter held my interest. Haven't read Ch 2 yet.
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Boddaert - Criticism is good. I promise if I decide to stretch on the floor in a full fledge tantrum you probably won't hear the whining.

I just want to specify: is it just that particular wording that bothers you? Or the similar biblical passage?
 

Boddaert

Senior Member
Hi Once More

Just find 'putting away childish things' a little overused, and having read your work, you can obviously come up with something far far better.

I love the strong images you paint, the line of people at the train, etc. It might pay to rearrange the odd sentence beginning with 'I' as there are rather a lot. Consider for instance - 'Getting off the train, I ...' rather than: 'I got off the train ...'

Keep up the good work.
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Thanks.

You raise an interesting point. When I wrote the introduction I thought the story was going in a direction where the whole putting away childish things made sense. Looking at the characters now and the direction the story has taken , i'm not certain whether the intro fits at all. HOWEVER, I discovered that if I go back and start editing a story before its finished being written I have a harder time remembering what the story was in the first place. That being said until I reach the end, I'm not going back to the beginning. On a positive note, it feels like the characters are really moving along now and the story is probably not too far off from being complete.

I'm trying to post chapters of the work as I got along - the Break Before the Fall - is an example. Its a part of the same story, but is much further along. The main character is going through a number of adjustments in trying to - emotionally - learn how to walk again. I plan to post other sections as well and will have to note chapter numbers so that things don't get out of order.

There are probably more than the one grammatical error you noted. I found a few where I flipped back and forth between present and past tense, but hey, this is the first draft and isn't too bad for all that.
 

froman

Senior Member
Yeah I really enjoyed this. Aside from the fact that the writing style is very realistic and natural it has some similarities to my own life, and that always tends to hook one into a story. I recently left the Puget Sound region and your description of the trip south from Seattle was making me a little homesick (boo hoo). I could tell by the descriptions of the scenery that you are familiar with that area. I wasn't there for very long but I really fell in love with that beautiful part of the country, and one of my greatest regrets is not getting out to the Olympic Penn. Eventually I will find my way back up there but it may take some time.

The story was very fluently written, so much so that I feel that you are writing from some measure of personal experience, and if not then my hat's off to you. I look forward to more.
 

Once_more

Senior Member
Froman, thank you for your kind words. I am actually living in Olympia right now and - due to the current economic state - have been able to spend a good deal of time bumming around the peninsula. It is one of the most vibrant places I have ever been. the colors, the wealth of flora and range of geography is phenomenal. I'm sorry that you missed seeing it, it is definitely an incredible experience, but am glad to hear that my description struck such a chord.
 

Jon Prosser

Senior Member
i haven't no. call my un-cultured but i prefer modern literature. i find the characteristics of novels of those eras quite tedious to read. i'm studying english literature so have read a few.
unrelated, but i have found for some reason i can't reply to your email, so i'll reply on here for now :) i think regarding your characters it's a very good parallel :) how long before you post the next chapters? i want to read more! :)
 
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