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Starting a short story and could use any kind of constructive critisism (1 Viewer)

stevenmw

Senior Member
I COULDN'T GET THE INDENTS TO DISPLAY RIGHT SO I JUST ADDED A BLANK LINE BEFORE TEXT THAT WAS MEANT TO BE INDENTED.
I'M LOOKING FOR ANYTHING I DID WRONG OR COULD DO BETTER
I JUST WROTE AND DIDN'T STOP SO IT'S VERY ROUGH
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I was eighteen when I made the decision.

Think of all of the perks, I told myself, the free room and board, the medical, and the dental. You can save money while deciding what to do with your life. That’s your problem. You’ve got no direction.

I had graduated boot camp, turned nineteen, and there I was. I was standing in front of Naval Station Pine Bough, in the middle of Pine Bough, Washington. The shuttle driver wished me luck and was on his way.

I approached the main gate wearing my dress blues with my lonely National Defense Ribbon pinned to the left side of my chest. I was wearing a single white hash on my left sleeve with a single white anchor. Announcing to the world know that the Navy didn’t see fit to assign me a rate. Everything I owned was crammed into a plump olive drab sea bag. The only other thing I had with me was a large manila envelope with my orders and records inside, but those belonged to the U.S. navy.

A Master at Arms whose name tag read, ‘Wallace’, stepped out in front of me. I presented my ID as he asked, “Are you new?”

“Yes, I’m new.”

“What ship?”

“The Carter, CVN 68.”

He turned to a second MA who had just finished waiving a car through and asked, “Isn’t the Carter deploying soon?” His colleague responded, “Yeah, on the 23[SUP]rd[/SUP].” Wallace turned back to me and told me I had gotten there just in time. I understood it was a joke, but I didn’t laugh.

Wallace told me it was kind of a hike to the ship so he’d see if he could get a duty van to give me a ride. Somehow I lucked out and a duty van pulled up to the gate. MA Wallace asked the driver if he could give me a ride, and the driver told me to get in. So I climbed into the van with my sea-bag and manila envelope and we were on our way.

The driver looked at me through the rear view mirror and said, “We call this the whip.” I understood the fact that he was comparing the beat up old van to a fine automobile in order to be sarcastic, but I really didn’t know how to respond. I understood it was meant for humor but just didn’t see the need to force a laugh. I just sat and thought about the shuttle driver. I imagined him going home to a big family. I could see him walking into his house and kissing his wife and kids. I imagined him sitting down to dinner with his family, complimenting his wife on a well cooked meal, and asking his children about their days at school were. It depressed me because I had made the decision to put my everything on hold for the next four years.

You’re not here to meet a girl, I told myself, you’re not here to find romance. This is your chance to get ahead in life. A chance put money in your pocket, earn the G.I. Bill. What do you need a woman for right now? To nag you, and to spend all of your money on? You can’t be soft here, Luke. This is the Navy.

At that moment we pulled up to a second gate that sat directly in front of a pier.

“This is your stop”, the driver announced.

“Thank you”, I said.

“Have fun, man.”

I got out of the van and the driver started to drive back towards the main gate. I presented my ID to another MA standing at a gate that sat just at the edge of the pier where several ships were docked. Now I was on the pier. The first thing I noticed how large the Carter was. I wondered why something so large was allowed to operate.

As I walked down the pier, I pictured the carrier broken down in the middle of the ocean. I imagined smaller ships trying to tow it into shore but all of them failing. I could just see the large boat just drifting aimlessly lost at sea.

There were two more ships docked on the same pier. They were across from the Carter. One was a Frigate and the other was a Destroyer. Both ships put together still didn’t match the length of the Carter.
 

Child_Alchemist

Senior Member
I was eighteen when I made the decision.

Think of all of the perks, I told myself, the free room and board, the medical, and the dental. You can save money while deciding what to do with your life. That’s your problem. You’ve got no direction. {1}

I had graduated boot camp, turned nineteen, and there I was. I was standing in front of Naval Station Pine Bough, in the middle of Pine Bough, Washington. {2} The shuttle driver wished me luck and was on his way.

I approached the main gate wearing my dress blues {3} with my lonely National Defense Ribbon pinned to the left side of my chest. I was wearing a single white hash on my left sleeve with a single white anchor. Announcing to the world know that the Navy didn’t see fit to assign me a rate. {4} Everything I owned was crammed into a plump olive drab sea bag.The only other thing I had with me was a large manila envelope with my orders and records inside, but those belonged to the U.S. navy.

A Master at Arms whose name tag read, ‘Wallace’, stepped out in front of me. I presented my ID as he asked, “Are you new?”

“Yes, I’m new.”

“What ship?”

“The Carter, CVN 68.”

He turned to a second MA who had just finished waiving a car through and asked, “Isn’t the Carter deploying soon?” His colleague responded, “Yeah, on the 23[SUP]rd[/SUP].” Wallace turned back to me and told me I had gotten there just in time. I understood it was a joke, but I didn’t laugh. {6}

Wallace told me it was kind of a hike to the ship so he’d see if he could get a duty van to give me a ride. Somehow I lucked out and a duty van pulled up to the gate. MA Wallace asked the driver if he could give me a ride, {7} and the driver told me to get in. So I climbed into the van with my sea-bag and manila envelope and we were on our way.

The driver looked at me through the rear view mirror and said, “We call this the whip.” I understood the fact that he was comparing the beat up old van to a fine automobile in order to be sarcastic, but I really didn’t know how to respond. I understood {8} it was meant for humor but just didn’t see the need to force a laugh. I just sat and thought about the shuttle driver. I imagined him going home to a big family. I could see him walking into his house and kissing his wife and kids. I imagined him sitting down to dinner with his family, complimenting his wife on a well cooked meal, and asking his children about their days at school were. It depressed me because I had made the decision to put my everything on hold for the next four years.

You’re not here to meet a girl, I told myself, you’re not here to find romance. {9} This is your chance to get ahead in life. A chance put money in your pocket, earn the G.I. Bill. What do you need a woman for right now? To nag you, and to spend all of your money on? You can’t be soft here, Luke. This is the Navy.

At that moment we pulled up to a second gate that sat directly in front of a pier.

“This is your stop”, the driver announced.

“Thank you”, I said. {10}

“Have fun, man.”

I got out of the van and the driver started to drive back towards the main gate. I presented my ID to another MA standing at a gate that sat just at the edge of the pier where several ships were docked. Now I was on the pier. The first thing I noticed how large the Carter was{11}. I wondered why something so large was allowed to operate.

As I walked down the pier, I pictured the carrier broken down in the middle of the ocean. I imagined smaller ships trying to tow it into shore but all of them failing. I could just see the large boat just drifting aimlessly lost at sea.

There were two more ships docked on the same pier. They were across from the Carter. One was a Frigate and the other was a Destroyer. Both ships put together still didn’t match the length of the Carter.

{1} Maybe you could indicate that this is your character talking to him/herself with 'These'.
{2} Possibly add something here to indicate a connection between the driver and narrator. or maybe the narrator looks back in hesitation and the driver responds as such. Pretty much gearing towards why this was necessary.
{3} dress blue? is that right?
{4} Were these two sentences supposed to go together?
{6}I'm not sure where the joke was...
{7}maybe rephrase as 'spoke to the driver'? too lengthy.
{8} 'I understood' repeated. maybe rephrase.
{9} same thing as {1}. 'your looking too much into this Oflodor!'... to emphasize that your character is talking to himself. but i really loved this paragraph!
{10} said means said but instead maybe another word. its not anything serious. but maybe... "Thank you," I replied.
{11} maybe you could rephrase this sentence to go a little smoother.

I hope this helps! Not an expert writer or anything. I enjoyed reading it. Hope to hear more about Luke.
 

WechtleinUns

Senior Member
You've written a string of descriptive paragraphs, with some mild hinting at an internal conflict in the character. Aside from that, most of the description is generic and tidy. There's no irregular edges to the pieces of this narrative puzzle. The characters seem mostly mechanical, and none of them are really distinguished from each other, nor even the main character, your protagonist.

It's the kind of writing that makes me think you are a younger man yourself, steven. Granted, I could be dead wrong, and I apologize if that is the case.

At the same time, however, none of this is any reason to be discouraged. It's true that you haven't written a great american novel here, but I think you know that yourself. For what it is, you've written an excellent bare bones structure. You can add to this platform, and make it into a solid foundation. And then, once you've done that, you can really begin to shine.

For the moment, try to focus on creating obstacles for your main characters. For example, perhaps his navy ticket was mixed up with someone elses, and he doesn't realize it? Or perhaps there is an anti-war rally along the corridor where your main character is walking. Maybe a young girl is amongst them, angrily shouting at him. Maybe she's the kind of young woman that your main character would imagine himself dating.

Maybe he has to snap himself out of it. Situations like this are great fodder for internal conflict. Above all, just remember to take your time. Too many writers these days want to rush through their beginnings to get to "the good parts".

But if you make the good part your beginning, then you can start having fun right away. :D
 

stevenmw

Senior Member
You've written a string of descriptive paragraphs, with some mild hinting at an internal conflict in the character. Aside from that, most of the description is generic and tidy. There's no irregular edges to the pieces of this narrative puzzle. The characters seem mostly mechanical, and none of them are really distinguished from each other, nor even the main character, your protagonist.

It's the kind of writing that makes me think you are a younger man yourself, steven. Granted, I could be dead wrong, and I apologize if that is the case.

At the same time, however, none of this is any reason to be discouraged. It's true that you haven't written a great american novel here, but I think you know that yourself. For what it is, you've written an excellent bare bones structure. You can add to this platform, and make it into a solid foundation. And then, once you've done that, you can really begin to shine.

For the moment, try to focus on creating obstacles for your main characters. For example, perhaps his navy ticket was mixed up with someone elses, and he doesn't realize it? Or perhaps there is an anti-war rally along the corridor where your main character is walking. Maybe a young girl is amongst them, angrily shouting at him. Maybe she's the kind of young woman that your main character would imagine himself dating.

Maybe he has to snap himself out of it. Situations like this are great fodder for internal conflict. Above all, just remember to take your time. Too many writers these days want to rush through their beginnings to get to "the good parts".

But if you make the good part your beginning, then you can start having fun right away. :D

Thanks a lot you've given me some ideas. There isn't really room for obstacles. The big thing about it is that he is getting to his permanent duty station. he's 19 and doesn't know anything or what is in store. And on top of that he is deploying in 2 weeks. he has to find out what extra stuff to buy where to buy it, report to the ship, etc.

Thanks!
 

TheGreedyimp

Senior Member
I was eighteen when I made the decision.

Not the best introduction. Unless you decide to change it completely, I would say what that "decision" was in the first sentence or paragraph. The sense of the reader's curiosity from just "the decision" isn't enough get me interested.

A curiosity-piquing first sentence is great, but it can't be too vague. When it's too vague, the reader loses interest.

You could think that stating what the decision is, might not have any mystery behind it. On the contrary, it does. The reader will be wondering why the character made this decision instead of what the decision is. If you replaced "decision" with decision to join the Navythe reader will ask, Why is he joining the Navy? Is it for patriotic reasons? Is there a war going on? What is this Navy like? etc.
 

TheGreedyimp

Senior Member
Overall, I like the premise and introduction. Other than better diction, I think you need to have a better angle with this.

What I mean is that for a first-person narrative story, it's a bit too similar to third-person stories.

I would add more description, since it is Sci-Fi.
 

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