Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Teenage Angst (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

yaythisisavailable

Senior Member
Here is the first chapter of a story my friend and I are writing. Neither one of us is into partying, so we are writing from an outsider's perspective. Let me know if this is realistic and if there is anything you should change.

Sloane Blake
There’s not much to say about high school parties. They’re full of horny some-teen year olds looking for a “good time.” I can’t say I’m any different, but I like to think I am. I like to think I’m partying for personal reasons, taking shots to drown my pain, smoking plants to distract my mind.
It’s stupid, really, the things I do to keep my thoughts away from home. Unfortunately, my distractions do nothing but piss off my parents. I like to think my mom isn’t crying about me, to think they’re oblivious to my actions.
Good one, Sloane, I think as I tilt my head back, providing a straight chute for another shot of vodka. Fiery, raw, and fast, it burns down my throat. I’m thirsty, so thirsty, but I’m not done with the alcohol. I can still think through the shitty music and dewy air.
“Damn!” Taggart, the preacher’s kid, exclaims and slams his shot glass down on the table. He whips his head around, an obvious buzz taking hold. Sweaty curls sling perspiration in my direction, and I brush the wetness away with a heavy hand.
Waterlogged limbs raise another shot to my mouth. Numb lips feel for the rim, but they don’t register. I dump an entire shot onto my shirt.
“Shit,” I say. My tongue is a block of lead.
“I think you’re done, Sloane,” the guy pouring the drinks tells me. I don’t recognize his stupid face because the room is foggy.
Am I on a boat? I stand up; my legs wobble from the waves beating on the sides of the cabin. A big one hits, and I stumble forward and fall into a pair of firm, tattooed arms.
“Hey,” he yells over the shitty music.
“Hey,” I reply, straightening my clothes.
“Do you want to dance?” He asks. I eye him suspiciously, wondering how we are going to dance when there is an obvious earthquake shaking the room. Just do it, I tell myself.
”Okay,” I reply. He takes my hand and pulls me into the middle of the room. With a sea of people rubbing against me, it’s difficult to keep my footing. Waves of water, waves of people, they’re the same when you’re drunk.
I’m not sure if it’s the lighting or if it’s the vodka making the room dark and foggy, but it supplies a phantasmagoric feeling, and I love it. I love the effervescence of the disco ball scintillating on the walls. I love the cloud of sweat invading the air and the pair of sensual hands on my hips. I hate the shitty music.
Who made this playlist?
Sleeves, my dance partner, grinds his pelvis against my butt. His hands inch up my waist and grab at my chest, but I brush him away. As if magnetic, his paws return. This time, I slap them away and turn to face him.
Another wave hits, and my knees wobble, but I grab his arm for support. He takes my touch as a signal to keep dancing, but I push him off of me.
“Fuck off!” I yell. It’s barely audible above the voices and the music.
“Bitch,” he mutters and melts into the ocean. I fix my shirt, making sure I am fully covered before leaving the dance floor. Walking in a straight line proves to be extremely difficult, and I use the dancers for support.
By the time I’m back in the kitchen, where the drinking is most prominent, Grey Taggart is standing on the kitchen counter, unbuttoning his shirt in a drunken male striptease.
For my own amusement, I take a seat on a bar stool and watch as he rips off his Oxford. Due to his choice in clothing, I assume his parents don’t know he’s here. He’s dressed for church. Poor kid, I think, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Before he can unbuckle his belt, several of his buddies haul him off of the counter and drag him out of the room. He immediately passes out in their arms. He needs to learn to how hold his alcohol.
. . .
The cold air calms the storm enough for smooth sailing. Half skipping, half tripping, I make my way to the bus station several blocks away. The atmosphere is so surreal. The stars are brighter than the disco ball, and the chirping of the crickets is better than the music.
I can feel my buzz wearing off.
I feel like salad dressing, I think. The kind made out of oil and vinegar. It was all mixed up inside, but now it’s starting to separate.
The cracks in the sidewalk are miles apart, and I try to jump from one to the next. Each hop breaks my mother’s back. From the apartment party to the nearest bus stop is a hundred and fifty-six cracks. It might be two hundred and fifty-six. I can’t remember. I just know my mom is lying in bed with a shattered spine.
. . .
“Are you drunk?” He demands. Broken caterpillars for eyebrows, tomatoes for a face, my father is quite attractive when he is angry. His nostrils are big enough to fit a family of four.
“Why would you ever think that?” I poke his face, trying to be cute, but he grabs my wrist and squeezes.
“You smell like alcohol, and it’s three in the morning,” he spits. This is the second time I’ve been splashed with bodily fluids tonight.
“That doesn’t mean anything,” I reply and pull my wrist. His grip tightens.
“You’re mom and I have been worried sick about you,” he says. His voice is growing in both volume and pitch. If he gets any louder, the windows might shatter.
“I didn’t ask you to wait up for me,” I tell him matter-of-factly.
“Don’t speak to me like that.”
“Like what?”
“Like we’re equal,” he growls. I’m afraid my wrist is going to shatter.
“Let go of me,” I say.
“No.”
“Please, just let go.”
“No!”
His fingernails are growing into long, blackened talons, digging holes into my arm. I scream with my raw, whiskey burned throat and push him away.
“Let go! Let go! Let go!” I cry.
“Listen to me!” He demands and shakes me violently. My mother is quiet during all of this. I hope your back is broken, I think.
My head lolls from side to side, too drunk to make crisp movements. Tears leak out of my eyes, and I suddenly feel nauseated. Out of the corner of my eye, I see one of his fists reel back, gathering potential energy for a solid punch. His college ring rockets into my face and snaps my neck to the other side.
“Stop!” Mother Dear screams, leaps off of the couch and tries to pull him off of me, but he shoves her away.
I’m expecting another hit. I’m expecting him to knock the drunkenness right out of me, beat an apology from my lips. Instead, he slings me on the floor and kicks my bag in my direction.
“You have ten minutes to pack up your stuff and get out,” he says quietly, wiping his bloodied knuckles on his shirt. Without another word, he turns away and stalks into the kitchen. Cabinets bang and utensils clank as he makes himself a sandwich. Beating your daughter must me hard work.
“You should probably get your things,” mom says shakily. She tries to help me up, but I recoil from her touch and pull myself off of the living room floor.
“Get away from me,” I say and storm into my bedroom. Blue walls, white sheets, and dozens of books greet me. This haven is no longer mine. I dig a duffel bag out of my closet, strip the clothes from their hangers, and stuff them into the bag. Due to my minimalistic tendencies, everything fits.
Once my dresser drawers are empty, and my bag is zipped, I heft the strap over my shoulder and grab my backpack. I leave the lights on, tricking my mind into believing I’ll come back tomorrow to turn them off. This is it. There are no more second chances.
 

erinranning

Senior Member
this is very angsty for an opening, yep. I personally think you could get to your first key story event (which I assume is being kicked out of the house) an easier and more hard-hitting way. First, what direction i the story going in?
 

qwertyportne

Senior Member
Lots of dialog. Gave me presence. But not easy to grasp the direction of the story, yet. Are you working on a revision?
 

ShadowVafel

Senior Member
plantey of dialogue, but it feels kind of stubbed and unatural...its not flowing like a heavy dialogue piece should be, makes the entire conversation feel kind of forced.
 

Paulbee

Senior Member
Certainly revision is needed. But I was impressed by the description of how it feels to be drunk. I spent a few years in the same dark place. Seems like a lifetime ago but in early 70s us kids were just as messed as the characters in your story. Brits or Americans we seem to go through same rites of passage. Carry on but keep trimming and redrafting.
 
Your description of the physical feelings are very well written and realistic. It made it easy for me to picture. I think some of the dialogue is a little unnecessary, but it's a good start! I'd definitely read more.
 

Augustus Maximus

Senior Member
I feel like the story got muddled in certain places among all the dialogue.

However, I do like that the story put me in the same haze as the main character.

Good beginning, and as others have said, I want to read more!
 

JamesR

Senior Member
I like how the narration flows as if you were really within the mind of the characters. It's short, choppy, and directionless. But it works because that is how our thoughts often flow. I would however like to see some more foreshadowing of the direction that the story is going to go in.
 

LadyGrumps

Senior Member
I'd like to see more narrative myself, a bit more of a feeling for who we're looking at and what they're thinking as the events and the words are being said to them. May just be my personal preference but too much one liner dialogue makes me go back and forth like a ping pong ball.
 

NineShadowEyes

Senior Member
I liked it. It put me in the same space as other YA teen angsty stories have put me in. That grabbed me write away. I liked the consistent tone.

I agree with others that this is pretty well written, but just lacks a certain something. I think you have the same problem as me with narrative. It's short and choppy, like we're just writing a summary instead of the actual piece. I felt like I wanted to read more about each little experience, more of her thoughts. Maybe it's just because she's drunk - that would make more sense, but if so, I think there should be something to put you in that frame of mind.

I really liked the salad dressing bit. That was good.

The scene with her parents needs more. I got the sense that she's used to that sort of treatment, but I kind of felt like she should have a stronger reaction. She just didn't really seem that upset about it. Her reaction at being thrown out of her home felt too casual. And maybe some thoughts about previous beatings? A hint at some history? I think someone mentioned foreshadowing.

I definitely wanted to know more and would enjoy reading more.
 
Last edited:

avestHom

Senior Member
There is nothing wrong with your writing skills or this chapter. It's just that something has happened to Solana and she's not willing to tell us. Instead she has taken us astray into a bar, where she's only drinking.
 

patskywriter

WF Veterans
I enjoyed reading this. Don’t make revisions—keep going. Too many people try to please everyone and end up revising and tweaking the first chapter ad nauseum and then get stuck. Get the story down first and then revise.
 

avestHom

Senior Member
Here's the problem: you're writing from your real experience. So you are your protagonist to some extent. AS a result whatever you remember, think, or plan or do or feel... you just add it to the story right away. So your story becomes tangled. To solve the problem your story should be a single thread with no knots or tangles. Otherwise it will twist the reader into a confusion.
 

Sebald

Senior Member
I think your writing is very good, and rings true. Unfortunately, I didn't feel you'd found a fresh angle on the subject. What is different about your story that forces us to read on? For example, if the drinker was very young. Or partially-sighted. A wheelchair-user. Has a baby with her. Or anything that's totally original, and makes us think NO. I don't mean to belittle how dramatic addiction is, and I'm very sorry if you've had personal experience of this. Great prose. Well done.
 

CanadaJay

Senior Member
I read your story - or the beginning of it! - and it's an interesting start. I'd want to read on and see what happens. That said, you're doing a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. That's a really common criticism. Instead of saying "I feel sick," for example, you might say something like "my stomach dropped and the familiar taste of acid and alcohol filled my mouth." I don't do a lot of story writing but you know what I mean! I had a few more thoughts as I was reading and I'll post them below.

Numb lips feel for the rim, but they don’t register. I dump an entire shot onto my shirt.
Reminds me of this scene from an old movie. Spillage is one thing but I can't say I've ever completely missed my mouth.

Am I on a boat? I stand up; my legs wobble from the waves beating on the sides of the cabin.
I'm not sure whether the party is actually on a boat or whether it's a metaphor.

”Okay,” I reply. He takes my hand and pulls me into the middle of the room. With a sea of people rubbing against me, it’s difficult to keep my footing.
What happened to the boat? Bigger boats - ships, really - have dance floors but they wouldn't be near cabins. When you wrote "cabin" above, I was thinking it was a relatively small sailboat. Or maybe the boat is a metaphor!

I’m not sure if it’s the lighting or if it’s the vodka making the room dark and foggy, but it supplies a phantasmagoric feeling, and I love it.
"phantasmagoric" seems pretty awkward and heavy here but maybe it's just me.

Sleeves, my dance partner, grinds his pelvis against my butt.
"pelvis" is pretty medical and matter-of-fact for something sexy.

The cold air calms the storm enough for smooth sailing. Half skipping, half tripping, I make my way to the bus station several blocks away.
So, we are on a boat? If so, it seems like we teleported from sailing to dock. I could just lost but keep in mind others might get lost, too.

Broken caterpillars for eyebrows, tomatoes for a face, my father is quite attractive when he is angry.
This struck me as creepy, especially given his behaviour later.


Overall, I enjoyed reading your story. Please keep in mind that I don't write much fiction myself - please take my advice with a few grains of salt!
 

Pyromanic

Senior Member
Yup, totally realistic here:

"Sleeves, my dance partner, grinds his pelvis against my butt. His hands inch up my waist and grab at my chest, but I brush him away. As if magnetic, his paws return. This time, I slap them away and turn to face him."

As far as the music and the dance floor, from the vibe of the story I got more of a club feel, like that's exactly how a club in the city feels, maybe a house party could have music that loud though if someone had some super nice speakers and their own equipment or perhaps a dj, but then someone would probably call the cops and they would shut that ish down, especially if it was in the heart of the city....

 

Noelle

Senior Member
I thought they were on a boat, then you mentioned an apartment party. Storms and crashing waves. The boats at a dock in a mariner?
The cold air calms the storm enough for smooth sailing - I like this, I'm wondering if you're writing abstractly rather than concretely? You're referring to the storm in her head, the storm of emotions inside her, or the storm of drunkenness, maybe? The cold air of night calming you down so you can walk more smoothly (smooth sailing), that's how I chose to take it but it's a little confusing bec. she actually was on a boat (at least I thought she was).
I enjoyed reading it; I'd read further.
Keep writing.

Phantasmagoria is one of my favourite words
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top