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Untitled Young adult Sci-fi fantasy novel first draft 1st chapter ROUGH DRAFT (1 Viewer)

tlchap

Senior Member
Okay, this is a first draft of a Young Adult Sci-fi fantasy novel I am currently writing. I know my punctuation and grammar can be atrocious. Take in that I have only been focusing on the general story at this point. The refinement will come later ;-).


This is the first chapter after the prologue which is still being tweeked. Sorry I didn't include it.



Log Number One:
Izzy Clark
Mt. Stalemont, Ky
October 2, 2012


I wish I could tell you that today started off like every other day of my life. But that would be a simple lie. My names Izzy Clark. Maybe you've heard of me. No? Well, even for me waking up in your pajamas on the cold damp floor of the basement, with no recollection of how I got there definitely wasn't a good start to the morning.
In my dad’s house, it was pretty much fair game for anything. He is one of those cool "modern dads” that double as a friend as well as a parent. Like letting me stay out with my best friend Tommy as late as we wanted, no questions asked. As long as I called and said we were safe, he trusted me. The best was when dad would sign me out of school to go to the beach for an early weekend vacation.


At 42, my dad was your standard middle aged guy. But had the spirit of a college kid always on spring break. No matter what business he had to take care of or problems came by he always smiled and said “Just another card in the deck, im just happy to still be playing the game.”
But he always had one major no matter what rule tho, “Never go into the basement without my permission Izzy. I don’t want you to get hurt.” That’s all he would say when I would bring up the mysterious place I've never seen. The thing was, I had never been given permission. All I know is that the basement was his main work space when he wasn't molding the minds of hung over college students over at KTU. He always had it locked with a key code and enough dead bolts to give Fort Knox a run for its money. I'm not saying the man was paranoid but he made sure you couldn't get in with just a screw driver. Trust me, I tried.


As I slowly got up, feeling the cramping and soreness from sleeping on the tile floor, I looked around the dimly lit room to notice I was in a world of trouble. At first I had no idea where i was. I looked around the vast area surrounding me and it was clearly a larger space than the small cabin style home we lived in above it. The only light in the area came from an assortment of computers and server towers running the length of the 20 ft wall to my left. Between me and the wall I was facing was a lab table with an abundance of beakers and bunsen burners with strange glass containers I've only seen in science class. Just behind it was a large black and white structure that resembled a Volkswagen Beetle in size and shape if there were no tires or windows ,but flush metal. The minimal light from the computers only illuminated a fraction of the basement lab, but just enough to reveal there was even more depth to the space beyond my view. For a moment I panicked thinking I had been kidnapped, until I saw the make shift statue of a bird I made for my dad when I was 8 at summer camp. Id rather be kidnapped cause now I am dead. I'm in dads workshop. As much as I wanted to explore I knew it was only a matter of time before I was caught down there. My dad would kill me for somehow ,while asleep, breaking into the one place in his house he forbid me to go. It wouldn't be the first time I didn't have an explanation for breaking some rule without trying. I ran up the old wooden stairs to my right only to burst into the kitchen to a sight that will forever be etched into my memories.


Any worry of being in trouble for being in the basement was driven out by the haunting site in front of me. The home I had grown up in was in ashes. With the exception of the walls barley withstanding the urge to cave in the house was in ruins. The entire roof was missing as if a giant had ripped it away, leaving a couple beams with the morning ligh streaming through onto the remains. The early morning sun crushed down on me like a tidal wave as I took in the destruction. The floor and walls looked as if a blow torched had been drug across every inch of my home. The kitchen table, fridge and even the stove was torched.


Finally, the shock wore off enough for me to realize I needed to find my dad to make sure he was okay. As I exited the kitchen into living room, if you can even call it that with every piece of furniture in piles of ashes , including the only phone we had was now a puddle of plastic on pile of wood that was once and end table. Half the roof caved in blocking the front door, I realized something wasn't right. The floor was cold, as if no flames had ever touched it. There was a faint smell of ash in the air but not strong like when you just burned a fire. Just as the realization hit me that something was off, I heard a shuffling sound coming from the direction of my dads bedroom. Immediately I took off sprinting to his door. Now I know I'm fast, I've played all my school's sports for the past 6 years, but I shouldn't have reached the door as quickly as I did. In my head I tried to chuck it up to still being in shock and half awake, but i still don't remember the trip from the living room, around the corner past my room and the 15 ft down the hall to my dads door.But, I had bigger things to worry about tho, so without more than a second of thought I opened the door to to my dads room. I was expecting to walk in on any scenario from more destruction to even my father injured or even less fortunate circumstances, but not what I found.


Other than every dresser being open with the contents spilled across the floor and his desk tipped over and its contents in the same condition, his room was untouched. No ashes, burns or any sign a flame had even been near the room, even the ceiling was intact. Also, no sign of my father. Just a cat that was jumping out of the small circular port hole style window just above my fathers bed. Probably another one of his research animals form the school. I walked around in a daze trying to figure out how the room was untouched from whatever had destroyed the rest of the house. Thinking it was yet just another mystery to solve so far I frantically searched what was left of the house just to find more burnt memories but no sign of my dad. When I arrived at my room all I could do was put my hand on the handle. The No trespassing sign, my father had bought me at a flea market, was melted down the door. I refused to go inside and be hit with anymore loss. I eventually ended up back at my dads mysteriously preserved room. Feeling the last grains of hope fall out of my body I decided to try and find somethig, anything. I crossed to the desk to search for any clues, but had no idea what I was looking for so turned up zilch. On the floor I found the one picture that still remained of my father and mother together. Encased in the same brass frame it was always in. l would sneak in to look at the photo when I was little. There she was staring back at me through the cracked glass as always. After she past a way giving birth to me, apparently my dad decided to keep only one picture of her so he could move on with life but not forget her. " I lost you before I even knew you, I cant have lost him too." I said softly letting the possibility that something terrible has happened to my father finally sink in.


"He's not here kid." came a deep voice with a southern drawl rough enough to polish diamonds on.


The sound of someone behind me shocked me so much that I dropped the picture and broke the glass across the scattered papers on the floor. When I turned to face the intruder ,that was a little more than 5 feet or so away leaning on the door frame, I could have fell over with shock. Because for a brief moment I thought it was my dad, well if my dad grew 6 more inches to stand at around 6'3" and had a orange goatee that reached the top of his chest. Other than that in the face he could have passed for him with dark grey eyes that had deep dark sockets that look as if they could hold both compassion or great anger at the drop of a hat. As bald as Mr. Clean, the stranger wore a leather jacket with an assortment of patches on it like most of those guys you see in biker movies wear, blue jeans and sturdy looking boots.


It only took a millisecond to realize it wasn't my father, but a full minute before I could blurt out " Who are you ? What are you doing in my house? " The question came out in a shockingly louder manner than I wanted.
This guy may resemble my dad slightly but definitely didn't look like the kinda guy you wanna make angry. Even at that, I dont retreat from anyone. For all I know this guy is the one who burnt my house down. Maybe, he is the reason I was in the basement. This guy could have taken my dad ! Just as I started to accuse him of all the horror around me, something strange happened. A smile went across his face.


"I'm Eli Jacobs, but you can call me EJ, Eli or uncle EJ its up to you." That statement whip lashed me with even more alien information, i wasn't ready for.


"Why would I call you uncle ?" Slid out out my mouth ,as if my brain was melting after this overload of confusion in the past 15 minutes.
"I don't have an uncle. My dad was an only child."


I didn't mean to come off so bitter, but all the emotions of the past discoveries just came rushing out. I mean my house is burned down ,my fathers missing and this guy breaks in and claims to be family. To much to process at once. It didn't even seem to faze the big guy at all.
He just stood with that smirk and calmly said " Well, it sucks you never heard about me, but I guess your dad was right when he said you have your mom's attitude. But, it doesn't look like you have your pops smarts walking around this dirt heap with no shoes slick."

I couldn't help but look at my bare feet covered in soot and feel like an embarrassed little kid. This dude just walks into my house claiming to be family then insults me? This is a great family reunion.
The words came out before I could filter them, " You don't know anything about me." like and insulted child.


" True, I dont know much about you. But what I do know is one; I gotta get you outta here and like now." he stated firmly, as he kicked a peice of burnt wood across the floor. Without looking up from the rubble he said " And two you better watch that temper before one of us gets hurt."


There was no way I was going anywhere with this guy, even if he claimed to be related to me. "Where is my dad? " came out through gritted teeth. All the anger I had for this day was now pointed at the man that insists on insulting me.
" Gone," is all he said simply before standing up straight and looking me right in the eye and saying " and its a good thing from the looks of what you did to the place. I'm surprised you didn't take him out too before he locked your tail in the basement."

Confusion rushed over me. What I did to the place ? How could I be blamed for this destruction ? "There's no way I could have done this. I've been asleep dude ! I just woke up and found the house like this." The anger was easily coming out now with no holding back. Being blamed for something I couldn't have possibly done was crossing the line. I can't stand being wrongfully accused.
" And when the cops finally get out here I hope they lock you up, because I think you did it "uncle"EJ." I said making sure to drag out the uncle part.

Then his smirk was gone and he was now laughing. Seriously, laughing as he chuckled out" There isn't any 5-0 coming out to this part of the woods kid. You torched this place a month ago !" in between gasps for air he continued, " You've been down there for a month since I got the call from your pops telling me to come after ya."
That was the last straw his lies had gone to far and pushed me past my breaking point.

"LIAR! "It was all I managed to scream out before a few very strange things all happend.

The moment was a little to quick to comprehend. I can only recall them now as I am looking back at the moment. The first thing was that I felt the anger build up like heat steaming through every vain in my body. The flow starting at my feet up my legs and chest to my head. Then down my arms to my finger tips. It felt as if someone had the warm glow of a fireplace and injected into my bloodstream. As the sensation overwhelmed my senses I noticed it wasn't just in my head but actual heat. I looked down quickly just in time to see the papers beneath my feet, the tipped over desk and the wall burst into flames. Not a moment later shock set in. I felt a stabbing pain in my chest, not from shock though. I was the result of a huge silver dart about 3 inches long filled with purple liquid sticking outta of my chest, to the left of my chest plate.

I looked up to see EJ holding a strange looking pistol pointed at where the dart hit. The room started to spin and the heat in my body began to trickle away even tho the flames had spread to devour the only remaining contents of the previously untouched room. I bent over and grabbed my mothers photo just as the flames were licking the corners when I lost the ability to hold my self up.
The last moments I remember are of EJ dragging me out of the bedroom while saying " I toldja to watch that temper junior. I can already tell your gonna be a hand full."
With that same smirk on his face as if he just watched a dolphin do a flip at sea world and not a teenager spontaneously combust. I was out like a light within seconds.

When I finally woke up, again, it was revealed to me that things have not always been how they seem and my poor house is the least of my worries right now. But im going to save what I learned from Ej for tomorrows log. He is the one making me do this stupid thing anyways " Your dad said to do it." is all he said. There's nothing else to do in this room anyways. I was brought to a biker club house of Ej's and he wont let me outta my room since I apparently broke a door, I didn't even touch, when I got here. But that story is for the next log. I'm exhausted. Whatever this is Ej calls it a gift, I call it a curse. I guess we will see as the days roll by.
 
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TKent

Retired Chief Media Manager
Hey tlchap,

Based on what you said in the intro, sounds like you are just looking for general impressions vs. spelling/grammar, since you haven't focused on that yet.

So here are my overall impressions:

Storyline - I found this general story to be quite interesting, especially the uncle. I would definitely read on to learn more about the mystery.

Voice - I think your MC has an engaging voice at times (when it isn't being overwhelmed by heavy areas of pure description). The first paragraph was probably where he comes through the strongest.

Description - There is a lot of description going on, both describing the house and the dad. I'd suggest trying to weave more action and dialog into the story as a way of sharing some of this information, otherwise, it starts to drag. I don't know exactly what the right balance is, it is sometimes trial and error to figure out exactly what works for you and your story. Since you are doing this in the form of a 'log,' you'll also have to take that into consideration. If you get a chance, you should check out 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn. At least half the book is in the form of the wife's diary and she does a superb job bringing the diary to life with anecdotes and recounting conversations and actions.

Tense - You switch to present tense in several areas so you need to be careful to be consistent.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. Great start!
 

tlchap

Senior Member
Thanks for the input ! I have noticed I get a little visual heavy. I am working on trimming the fat at the moment. I'm glad you like it so far.
 

Lone Wanderer

Senior Member
Finally! Some goddamn Sci-Fi!

I agree with TKent, your descriptions of the environments do drag on for more than necessary and it took me out of the reading for a bit. The dialogue is nice but hard to read (I know you said grammar was the least of your concerns for now but still) but sometimes you use phrases that seem more ridiculous than funny

I said making sure to drag out the uncle part.

Its rough but I see a lot of potential in the story and your writing style. Honestly, you really should post the work when you clean up the grammar and punctuation a bit, the urge for me to be grammar nazi is overwhelming me! (Plus its in the forum guidelines to post your work with at least some basic grammar and spelling checking)

Good luck writing and may the Force be with you...
 

Mickd

Senior Member
I think your story has a lot of potential. Your characters are interesting and the setting is intriguing. A criticism I have with your story is that there is to much tell and not enough show. Don't just tell the reader your main character is scared or anxious show them. You have an excellent imagination, let the reader discover it. Build on the mystery. When the main character meets his uncle it should be a discovery not an introduction. Draw the story out by letting the reader uncover your plot, you have a lot of good ideas going on. Dole them out a little at a time.

Thanks for sharing your work with us. :cocksure:
 

tlchap

Senior Member
I am sorry about the grammar. O:) I focused on the story and spelling mostly. I am currently going over it with a fine toothed comb. Thanks for pointing out some of the dialogue issues. I wasn't as smooth, in writing, as it was in my heads. I will be paving some speed bumps in the near future.
 
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