WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


Magical Instead Of Artificial

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-03-2016, 02:02 PM
TheRedSharpie's Avatar
TheRedSharpie (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: The universe
Posts: 31
Thanks: 20
Thanks 5
Icon10 Magical Instead Of Artificial


A little extract from my futuristic romance

That evening, there’s a quiz on at the holiday village pub, and maybe we go because we want to and maybe we go to put off sharing a bed. But either way, we go.

The pub’s one of those places that puts the ‘ye olde’ before pretty much anything, but apart from that, it seems like a pretty good place. There’s a nice atmosphere – it’s warm, there’s good music, and we find a nice little table near the back. Tally looks at me through her glass of wine. “I’m so glad you came, Harris.”

“Me too,” I agree, and raise my pint, “To the old times.”

Tally clinks her glass against mine. “The old times.”

“So this article you’re doing for work…” I start, but Tally shakes her head.

“Let’s not talk about work.”
“But…”


“We’re on holiday, Harris!” Tally says, and laughs, “Calm down.”

“Okay, okay. We haven’t seen this other journalist yet, have we? That Wendy woman?”

“So far, so good,” Tally agrees, “But I’m keeping a firm eye out; that woman is gifted at turning up out of nowhere.”

And then a man starts to hand out sheets of paper and the quiz begins.

It is ferocious. I don’t know what we thought it would be like, but everyone takes it way too seriously, with false accusations of cheating flying around between tables.

Tally and I keep to ourselves, working methodically through the question, occasionally ducking to avoid flying missiles.

“Latest single by Daddy Is A Diplomat?” Tally reads aloud in disgust, “Who are they?”

“It’s called Come Back,” I answer, grabbing the pen and scribbling furiously, and she looks at me in disbelief, “It’s a good song. God, who starred in Life of Pi? That was donkey’s years ago.”

“It’s coming to me,” Tally muses, and then exclaims, “Got it! Suraj Sharma!”

“Phew, thought we were lost then. Look at this – what is the world’s smallest fish?”

And so it goes on. Eventually, after an hour, we hand in our papers and the results are counted. We’re Table Number 12.

“And in third place… Table Number 4!” A team of rugby-player men roar loudly in happiness, and down a beer between them.

“In second… Table Number 15!” A group of middle-aged ladies, who look like they all go to the same book club, pat each other affectionately. It’s very sweet.

And then quite suddenly I look down and Tally is holding my hand, her fingers tight with tension. There is no romance there, only hope, but the strange thing is that I remember so well what it felt like to hold that same hand in an entirely different way. And I remember it felt good.

“And in first place…” an expectant drumroll rises from the audience, “Is Table Number 6!”

Tally sighs, and releases my hand. “Never mind.”

I smile at her. “It could’ve been worse.”

The corners of her mouth start to turn upwards. “You always were good at making the best of a bad situation, Harris.”

“Mm,” I say, thinking of her and Luke and me and Melanie and how despite all of that, I’m sat here right now with Tally, “Yes, I suppose I am.”

***
We leave the pub when it shuts, which is at one o’clock in the morning. Neither of us are drunk – we made that one of our rules – but we’ve just been talking for so long we lost track of time. Perhaps, though, drunk or not, one o'clock in the morning is never a good time for making decisions.

“Want to go to the pool?” Tally suggests, yawning.

“It won’t be open, will it?” I match, “And we’re going to go tomorrow anyway.”
“We could break in.” Tally says breathlessly, and for some reason that sounds like the best thing either of us has said all evening.


The pool is at the other end of the camp, and it takes us an age to walk up the hill, the dark only punctured by lights from inside other lodges. I can see my breath in front of me. “I love doing things like this.”

“Me too. You see, with Luke…” Tally stops, probably because she’d been about to say something she shouldn’t. But I still wish she’d said it anyway, because I think I know exactly what she means. Luke is, perhaps, one of the good guys – he would never, ever even dream of breaking into a swimming pool in the early hours of the morning. But here we are.

Eventually we turn off, and take the woodland track that leads us to the pool. It’s totally dark now we’ve left the cabins behind, and we have to feel our way forward.
And then we clear the trees, and the pool is ahead of us. It’s a huge dome structure, and it’s lit from inside, though it’s definitely closed. We can see the tendrils of outdoor water slides snaking around the complex. The lights from inside make it appear some kind of gigantic hub, and it makes everything around it glow.


“Wow.” Tally breathes, and somehow, she’s right. Without the commotion of families and little children and cars coming and going, the place seems magical instead of artificial.

“How are we going to get in?” I whisper – we’re the only ones here, but you’re never too old for a bit of excitement, are you?

“The slides. We’ll have to.” Tally says, and gestures towards the slides, which look like pipes with the top cut off. I can hear the gush of running water – they must leave the power on overnight, to help keep the water moving constantly.

“But how are we going to get up there?” The slides cling to the structure at least halfway up.

But Tally’s eyes gleam with determination. “Easy, we’ll climb.”

“Tally, it’s really high up. And how are we going to climb in the slides?”

“Wait and see,” she says, and starts running across the glass towards the building. I don’t follow her for a moment or two. I just watch.

In so many ways, she is exactly the same as she was years ago. In the semi-dark, I can easily kid myself her red hair is blue. The thing is, I was wrong before when I said there was no attraction between us now. Well, perhaps she feels nothing for me but in the time we’ve known each other again I’ve realised how much I missed her. I always was in love with Tally, and I worry the longer I spend with her, the more I always will be.

“Harris! Come on!” she yells, and in that instant I forget about everything between us, and run after her.

“Got you!” I pant a few moments later as I catch her up. I don’t feel like I’m twenty-six at all. I feel like I’m seventeen again.

She laughs, the sound carried across by the wind. “I think you were right. God knows how we’re going to get up here.”

And then, I’m not quite sure what comes over me, but I’m certain it has something to do with it being two o’clock in the morning and the fact I can pretend I’m a teenager and the truth that I’m with the girl I always wanted. All I know is that suddenly I’m grabbing Tally’s hand and we’re climbing up the side of the dome, gripping onto supports and helping each other. And then we are level with the slide, just a few metres to the right of the opening. We sit together, side by side, on the support, our legs dangling. We’re high up. Very high up.

I stare up at the sky. “Don’t look down.” I say to Tally.

“Never,” she says, and I get the sense that this is forbidden, not only because we’re halfway up a building but because my hand is still warm from hers.

“Are you ready?” I look at the slide. We have to speak loudly now, as the water’s noise is so tremendous.

“We’re going to get soaking. I should’ve brought my swimming stuff.”

“Mm, me too,” I say, and before she can argue I stand up on the support feeling more brave than ever in my life, “Well, it’s too late now.”

Then I do the most stupid and the most wonderful thing I have ever done in my entire life.

I run along the edge of the support and throw myself into the water slide.

__________________
"The functional disenchantment, the sweet habit of each other, had begun to put lines around her mouth, lines that looked like quotation marks - as if everything she said had already been said before."
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-03-2016, 08:31 PM
daes13's Avatar
daes13 (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: At 1040 MPH... So I'm not sure
Posts: 1,334
Thanks: 328
Thanks 342
Default

Dialogue's a fascinating creature, especially in prose. There's the whole disadvantage compared to Drama of not having speaker names, but implication can be an asset. Speech tags as well as action tags work quite well... But if you use them both and forget about implication it becomes a leg with more bone than meat.
__________________
I'd rather feel the prick of a thorn than smell the sweetness of a rose...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-04-2016, 05:14 AM
TheRedSharpie's Avatar
TheRedSharpie (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: The universe
Posts: 31
Thanks: 20
Thanks 5
Default

Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
Dialogue's a fascinating creature, especially in prose. There's the whole disadvantage compared to Drama of not having speaker names, but implication can be an asset. Speech tags as well as action tags work quite well... But if you use them both and forget about implication it becomes a leg with more bone than meat.
Thanks for taking a look.

Please could you be a bit clearer on what you mean so I can work on your feedback?
__________________
"The functional disenchantment, the sweet habit of each other, had begun to put lines around her mouth, lines that looked like quotation marks - as if everything she said had already been said before."
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-05-2016, 07:36 AM
monkeyrock (Offline)
Let me introduce myself
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 10
Thanks: 2
Thanks 4
Default

Just my opinions. I don't know the correct jargon. I'm trying. If I'm horribly
wrong someone, anyone, please argue the points.

There are things I love about this.
and
The dialog feels a little dry to me.

You could give the dialog a little punch.
Lose some dialog to prose.
Lose/Combine some dialog altogether.

For example;
“Never,” she says, and I get the sense that this is forbidden, not only because
we’re halfway up a building, but because my hand is still warm from hers.
I love this. It makes me jealous, I wish I had written it. Her response ties in
with his sense of forbidden (and the real reason its forbidden, for him at least)
in a exellant sub-liminal way.

But changing her response “Never” to “I'll try, but...,” gives the otherwise
drier response a little conflict and mystery, and I think enhances the sub-text
tie in with the rest of this paragraph (that I really love overall)
“I'll try, but...,” she says. I get the sense that this is forbidden, not only
because we’re halfway up a building but because my hand is still warm from hers.


and for example;

“Are you ready?” I look at the slide. We have to speak loudly now, as the
water’s noise is so tremendous.

“We’re going to get soaked. I should’ve brought my swimming stuff.”

“Mm, me too,” I say, and before she can argue I stand up on the support feeling
more brave than ever in my life, “Well, it’s too late now.”

Then I do the most stupid and the most wonderful thing I have ever done in my
entire life.

I run along the edge of the support and throw myself into the water slide.


could be;

“Are you ready?” I asked.

She looked down the slide, then back at me, “We’ll get soaked. I wish I was
wearing my swimsuit.”

“Mm, me too,” I stand up on the support, feeling more brave than ever in my
life, “I'll see you at the bottom.”

Then I do the most stupid and wonderful thing I have ever done in my
life; I run along the edge of the support and throw myself into the water
slide.


Here, they were nearing the climax of this scene. They made it this far without
having to yell, it isn't needed and slows things down. I would lose that
aspect.

She also wasn't going to argue, it was her idea in the 1st place. I would
lose that.

“Well, it’s too late now.” vs "I'll see you at the bottom"

"I'll see you" as opposed to "too late now" helps keeps that dialog
in the moment and on the characters..

Changing “We’re going to get soaked." to " We’ll get soaked." loses a word and
flows a little better.

"I should’ve brought my swimming stuff" vs "I wish I was wearing my
swimsuit.”

"wish" and "wearing" as opposed to "should" and "brought" helps keeps that
dialog in the moment and on the characters.

In the last paragraph, the second "the most" could be inferred and can be dropped.



This is small stuff, and just what I would think of if it was me writing it. But
applied throughout would make it read a little smoother to me.



mr
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to monkeyrock For This Useful Post:
TheRedSharpie (06-05-2016)
  #5  
Old 06-06-2016, 05:41 AM
Binx B
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ah, unrequited love. Who can't relate to that? And you've done a fine job capturing it.The story is both wistful and hopeful. I think you ended it on just the right note—the possibility that this might develop into something more. Good job leaving well enough alone.

Even with no description or back story to speak of, the characters feel very real to me. I can relate to both of them, but especially your M.C. You get the feeling that even though this guy is in love, he's not going let it get pathetic if things don't pan out. I've let it happen both ways, so this resonates with me and probably a lot of other people.

The dialog is quite good, but watch the alternative and descriptive dialog tags like "I match" and "says breathlessly." "Said" will suffice most of the time if you even need any attribution at all. I'd go back and clean all those up.

I really like the simple little asides and observations like "one o'clock in the morning is never a good time for making decisions." Those can really come off as contrived and pull you out of the story if they're not "true" and well placed.

The setting may be unfamiliar to readers outside the U.K., but any explanation might seem forced, so it's probably fine as is.

The bit about the journalist Wendy is never explained. When I read short stories, I like to fill in the blanks, but there's not enough to let me do that. I might also want you to at least hint at what would make these two decide to go off on holiday together and put themselves in a situation where they have to share a bed. I think there are circumstance that could make that plausible, but without any clues it seems a little off. So it makes this feel a little more like a chapter or part of story. And maybe it is, but it could easily stand alone.

I'm having a bit of trouble getting the configuration of the slides and the whole structure. Feels like something you've seen and know, but I'm having trouble visualizing it. Could be just me.

I'm not going to nitpick. This needs a good edit, but from what I see here, you fix can things on your own, maybe after you've given it a little rest.

Not being any kind of expert and for what it's worth, I think you're a writer. You've got what it takes—that elusive thing that allows you to make the words flow and make people and events come alive on the page.

Truly enjoyed the read. Good job!

Last edited by Binx B; 06-06-2016 at 08:37 AM..
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to For This Useful Post:
TheRedSharpie (06-07-2016)
  #6  
Old 06-07-2016, 11:38 AM
leila
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

The narrative voice is strong and consistent here, good work. I can easily picture the characters and the situation. (Your MC doesn't need to feel so old at only 26, though, lol)
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to For This Useful Post:
TheRedSharpie (06-08-2016)
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
extent of magical beings? PearlA Writing Help & Issues 6 03-28-2016 11:16 AM
The Artificial Selection Project - Mastead Issue Call for Submissions TheASProject Writing Markets 0 05-30-2013 03:32 PM
Artificial Unintelligence TimH Free Writing 6 02-23-2009 01:51 PM
The Magical Kingdom of Writer's Beat - A User's Tale Winterbite Members' Feedback 8 09-27-2008 06:47 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:15 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.