Chapter one : Real or Fiction?

Chapter one : Real or Fiction?

A Chapter by Tali Katzman

I am confused, I have no idea where I am or what time it is. I try looking around but my vision is blurry, the only thing I can make out are large dark shapes up ahead.  As I try to squint out the blurriness and get a proper understanding of where I am, I use my hearing as a guide.

Honking and yelling

 Must be somewhere near a busy road. Wait, honking, cars, highway?  This can't be home

Finally my vision got clearer, and so did the mental picture in my head.

Its night

I thought as I looked up at the dark sky dotted with bright stars, the light of the moon illuminating various shops scattered along streets lighted by tall street lights.

Its downtown

I thought as a mischievous smile spread across my face.

No way

I'm not the kind of kid who lives in a big city, no; I live in a small boring totally ordinary suburban neighborhood smack in the middle of USA.

 So, I don't get the chance to visit other places much, that's why downtown is one of my favorite places.

I have been here more times than I can count, but still I can't get over the excitement of being here, which I'm experiencing right now.

Wow, the place looks so different at night

I thought as I looked around with a dreamy gaze spread across my face, my parents would kill me if they found out I was here, not to mention at night.

This is awesome!

I thought as I walked along the street, a few people passing by giving worried glances in my direction, probably thinking what is a kid like me doing here so late with no parents in sight. Ignoring them I looked around the various shops, stopping in front of one which looked familier,remembering bits and pieces of good memories.

All of a sudden the street became busy, busting with people coming in all directions. Before I had the chance to react I got knocked aside a few times and got a few grumpy threatens to step aside.

Yeah, that's downtown alright

I decided I didn't want to take a risk of getting run over so I began walking aimlessly, looking for a less busy part of the street.

As I made my way through I felt a cold breeze brush against my face sending a chill through me, so I pulled the cuffs of my jacket over my hands. I instinctively rummaged around the left pocket, looking for my mp3 player.

Found it

I made my way  to a less busy section of the street and suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks.

I remember this place

I thought, as I looked through the murky glass window of an old looking library, barely making out the dusty wooden floor, the antique furniture, and books. Piles and piles of books stacked on top of shelves that reached almost all the way to the ceiling.

I wanted to come inside, but suddenly I caught a reflection of a weird dark shadow through the glass.

What in the world…..

I thought as the weird shadow passed right by and made its way through the street. A sudden urge built inside me.

I have to follow it and found out what it is

I started walking in its direction, as if noticing me it increased it's speed, I quickened mine. It increased its speed again, I started a light jog. Suddenly I found myself in the busy street again, the shadow simply going through people, making its way through the crowd.

I started to run ignoring people's shouts and complaints and I pushed them aside, trying to catch up with the shadow, which was very persistent in not getting captured.

Suddenly I ended up in an abandoned alleyway looking around frantically for the masteries shadow. I walked deeper into the alleyway   , trash bins and garbage scattered around, suddenly I caught sight of it.

There you are

I thought, as I ended up at the end of the alleyway, the shadow just floating a foot away from me. I just took one step before it smacked itself into the wall, startled I looked at its flat shape, becoming bigger and bigger.

What did I get myself into?

I thought as I scrambled away hurriedly away from the wall, retracing my steps, but catching a few glances back, looking as the shadow was coming at me, stretching out huge claw like hands at me, I ran as fast as I could. So fast that I crossed the street and ended in the middle of the road, a busy road filled with passing cars.

My eyes widened with shock.

I have to get out of here

I screamed inside my head, but my body wouldn’t listen, my legs were locked dead on the asphalt.

A bus was rapidly approaching, I gasped. Before the driver could respond he was heading dead at me.

30 feet

20

I screamed, trying to will my legs to move, nothing.

I closed my eyes, crying.

10

And then…..

NOOO!

I screamed as I opened my eyes, realizing I was tangling more and more inside the blanket with every movement I was made.

Ahhh!

I growled in frustration trying to get out. Finally I managed to coax my head out, breathing heavily from struggling; the dream was still fresh in my mind.

"Oh my god that was a hell of a dream, more like a nightmare" I murmured to myself as I sat in bad, flustered and weak, but fully awake. As my breathing got even I looked around.

Everything looked in its usual disarray, piles of papers with sketches on them were scattered around the wooden floor, including a few comic books and some dirty cloths.

I closed my eyes, giving out a huge sigh of relief, happy that the nightmare was over.

 I would never wish this experience on my worst enemy, wait, scratch that last part, of course I would.

I rummaged inside the blanket and found my flashlight and my favorite horror book.

No more horror stories for you before bed, I thought to myself as I placed the book on the cabinet next to my bed, catching a glance at the clock.

Wait, what time is it?!

8:15?!

Oh, no, no, no!

I started complaining in frustration as I clumsily got out of bed, nearly tripping over as the blanket tanged at one of my feet, running towards my dresser.

No way am I going to be late for school again, mom would kill me!

I thought panickly as I threw out shirt after shirt, looking for something clean to wear

Finally!

I got dressed as quickly as I could and ran to the bathroom to wash my face, got out, grabbed my backpack and stormed out of the room, shutting the door behind me with a loud bang.

Morning!

I yelled as I practically slided down the stairs, running towards the kitchen.

Morning sweetie", my mom said while standing near the stove making eggs."

Are you not going to be late for school?"  She asked with concern."

"Nope", I said confidently as I rummaged through the fridge, took out the orange juice and drank it straight from the carton.

"Randy honey what about some real breakfast?", my mom asked in concern pointing at the eggs she was cooking.

No can do mom, can't be late remember?""

I told her as I heard the toaster popping a few fresh toasts out, I grabbed one with the edge of my fingers.

"Ouch, hot hot"

I complained as I blew on it, gave my mom a kiss, put the toast in my mouth and ran out the door.

Right when I came out I saw the school bus driving right by, I nearly dropped my toast.

"Great" I said in exasperation," What a great way to start the day."

I dropped my arms in frustration.

I guess I'm riding my bike to school than.

I went to the garage, opened the tinted door and fetched out my bicycle, mounted on them and got on my way to school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



© 2010 Tali Katzman


My Review

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When I was reading this I was intrigued right from the very beginning with the whole thoughts being added into the story to show what the character is thinking. But on that same note that style is better executed when they flow naturally, because at times they almost seemed tagged on rather than a normal reaction from the character. It it most likely from the format of the story. For an example:
"Finally my vision got clearer, and so did the mental picture in my head.

Its night

I thought as I looked up at the dark sky dotted with bright stars, the light of the moon illuminating various shops scattered along streets lighted by tall street lights.

Its downtown."
When I read that passage it felt slightly robotic with the "Its Night" and "Its Downtown" not only because they where separated by what appeared to be completely new paragraphs, but because it seemed like an unnatural response for someone who just appeared in a completely new setting.
A suggestion I can make to help you fix this, is to put more emotion into the characters thoughts. So instead of "Its night" you could put something as simple as "It must be night because I can see the stars, and the streetlights are on" (Even though I do admit that suggestion is sloppy but it is just an idea =P). But next to some dialogue that sounded slightly unnatural I really liked the suspense you developed right at the end of the chapter with the simple phrase "And then...." This makes a great stopping point for this chapter because it keeps the reader intrigued, as well as makes them want to continue reading.
As I said great chapter and I can`t wait to see what happens next =P.

p.s. One of the rules my teacher told me to follow when writing dialogue was to warm up by writing a short little blurb on a separate piece of paper, in which you are talking to the character. If you want I can send you an example, where I was warming up to write a chapter xD.

p.p.s Another thing my teacher told me (Sorry I was to lazy to go back and find where this would fit nicely into the little blurb...) Tell it, don`t write it. So when your character notices it is night time, show it through their eyes rather then explaining it to the reader, Unless you are doing a third person omniscient narrator which I don`t think you are.

p.p.p.s I like your story xD (Sorry now I`m just bored. But really I like your story so far =P, and I can`t wait to see what happens next.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

"Missing Purple Power!" (Nothing to do with the story, just admiring that it be Touhou with Sukia.)
I like how you did this one, with the 'Off Thoughts' about the situation.
Hell I didn't like it, I loved it.

Posted 8 Years Ago


[send message][befriend] Subscribe
-K
Heyyyyyyy, sorry I know I've been a bad friend...Finally got my internet connection straight! ( Yayyyyyy meeee! Personal party!!) Okay now back to business. The story sounds great! I can feel the anticipation building, I'm just waiting for something to say "BAMM!" I can feel it coming. Im so excited for you and the whole story. I love that your character talks to him/herself?? Me, I'm crazy so I got like six to twelve conversations going on at once soooooo, props to you for making me feel just a little less psychotic! Anyway, rambling sorry, great start. I promise I'll keep reading since I got my crap together now :) Good job though. Me likie. Me likie a lott. Keep writing!

Posted 8 Years Ago


I was surprised at how well this was written.
As for criticism, the grammar needs a little attention, notably one line stuck out for me.
I have to follow it and found out what it is
find out what it is. And some other parts just need a quick read through with a red pen. Also, I think the thoughts in italics came a bit too often, leading to the story becoming a tad bit disjointed. Also, the short bits of written dialogue seem like the could use a little more work.
The opening was a bit cliche but worked great for what I'm guessing is a children's fantasy novel. I'm hoping that the shadow in the dream is foreshadowing and plays it's way somehow into the future chapters of the story.
The detailing was pretty amazing. And I could truly tell that it was from a child's point of view.
Don't take the critiques as something bad, just some things that need some work. It seems like there's a lot of imagination in the story, and that's the most important part, getting the details of the writing are only the icing on the proverbial cake.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Great job. Wonderful way to keep the reader interested. There were a couple of grammatical errors, and some sentences need a bit of rephrasing, but overall, great job!

Posted 8 Years Ago


very good as always tali

Posted 8 Years Ago


Very good so far

I like it

Posted 8 Years Ago


"Randy honey what about some real breakfast?", my mom asked in concern pointing at the eggs she was cooking. (no comma needed after the quotations)

There is nothing I can say that hasn't been said already. I would heed the advice of previous reviewers. This is much better than before. I can't say much, as my latest post of the Crimson KNights is the roughest draft I have posted ever lol.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Please do not be offended by anything in this critique, it is not a personal attack and is not intended to be defamatory to you or your writing. It’s sole purpose is to help you improve and broaden your abilities as a writer, and to all intents and purposes, it is merely one persons opinion.

The opener: It starts out with a strong example of ‘tell’. It’s mentioned in an earlier review, and you should try at all costs to avoid ‘tell’, even with omniscient narration. For a reader, ‘tell’ is very hard to picture, it tends to be quite ambiguous so the reader interprets in their own way, not how you intend it to be. This can lead to confusion further down the line as what they imagined suddenly doesn’t fit with what you’ve written. Also, it tends to read like a list, which is quite tiring mentally. With ‘show’, the details tend to blend into the background and the information and descriptions they offer are absorbed subconsciously, this helps to maintain the pace and fluidity of the piece and draws the reader in, making them a part of the book. This is a difficult area to master and often there are times when it can’t be avoided. Beyond this, the opener is good, I feel it needs a little rearranging and trimming to make it perfect.

‘I am confused, I have no idea where I am or what time it is’ both sections of this sentence add up to the same meaning; confusion. I would lose the outright ‘I am confused’ and keep the second half. I would try opening with something closer to the action, ‘All I can see are large dark shapes, I try to clear my blurred vision by squinting...’ or similar. This drops the reader straight in the action, they want to know why you can’t see, what the shapes are and what you’re feeling, instead of just telling them you’re confused and taking away some mystery and suspense opportunities.

‘so did the mental picture in my head’ The adjective ‘mental’ denotes something pertaining to the mind, hence ‘in my head’ is redundant and a little overkill. I would stick with just ‘mental picture’ to trim it down. Also this sentence is in past tense, ‘My vision got clearer’, but the first paragraph is in present tense, ‘I am confused’. I would stick with one tense.

‘I'm not the kind of kid who lives in a big city, no; I live in a small boring totally ordinary suburban neighborhood smack in the middle of USA.’ The semi-colon is quite a strong piece of punctuation, a little too strong for here, a simple comma or conjunction would suit.

‘ I live in a small boring totally ordinary suburban neighborhood smack in the middle of USA’ There are too many adjectives in the first half of the sentence, it’s quite hard to get past them smoothly, get rid of ‘totally ordinary’ would help. ‘In the middle of USA’ is very vague, it could be numerous places, this is where you need to fit in some ‘show’ and use it to put across some detail. Comparing where the protagonist is with aspects of where they live, you can get details of the location without ‘tell’ and also put some character information without ‘info-dump’.

‘stopping in front of one which looked familier,remembering bits and pieces of good memories.’ Another good opportunity to show the reader some details and information, why is it familiar? What good memories?

‘I got knocked aside a few times and got a few grumpy threatens to step aside.’ The repetition of ‘aside’ is too close together, it gives the impression he was knocked aside and then knocked further aside.

‘barely making out the dusty wooden floor’ Try to avoid using half-phrases like this, e.g., barely, almost, not quite. It’s like ‘half dead’, you’re either dead, or you’re not, there’s no ‘half’ about it. It adds more conviction to your writing and gives the reader a more solid and definite view.

‘So fast that I crossed the street and ended in the middle of the road, a busy road filled with passing cars.’ The first part of this sentence is quite definite ‘I crossed the street’ so for him to then be in the middle of the road, with no explanation for how he got there is confusing. Also, a busy road, it goes without saying it will be filled with cars so ‘filled with passing cars’ is redundant.

‘nearly tripping over as the blanket tanged at one of my feet, running towards my dresser.’ This sounds like one of his feet, the one tangled in the blanket, ran towards the dresser. I fully see what you’re getting at and it’s a common thing among all writers to write as we think. Not much you can do about it at the time, more a proofreaders area.

‘I yelled as I practically slided down the stairs’ > ‘...slid down the stairs’ I would consider changing it to banister ,as I imagine he didn’t slide down the actual stairs.

There is a little confusion over verbs and adjectives, this will work itself out as you learn and grow as a writer. The more you read and write the larger your vocabulary will become. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

The intermittent thoughts-in italics-are a little distracting, often they are disconnected completely form the main story. Set on their own line in italics I kept overlooking them, not intentionally, and missing key parts of the story. This resulted in ‘look-back’, constantly looking over previous paragraphs whilst still reading, this confuses a reader immensely and can mean a lot of your hard work on the main pros is lost because people are skipping back to read the italics. I’m unfortunately unsure how you could rectify this fully, my only suggestion would be to eliminate the idea of having his thoughts on a separate line altogether and integrate them as part of the main prose.

The ‘show/tell’ issue is quite prominent but easily fixed, searching goggle for ‘how to show in creative writing’ or similar will produce many links to help and advice.

Beyond that it’s a very nice piece, well written with some original and intriguing ideas and concepts. I really look forward to watching this grow and have full faith in it becoming quite a masterful piece of literature form a very talented writer with a quite distinct and fresh voice.

Hope this helps, all the best, Max.





Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I thought this was good Tali.
You switch from past to present tense too much though and it's a little annoying.
I think you have too much inner dialogue going on and you need more descriptive storytelling to draw the reader in. Also, even though it is first person writing, you should try to avoid using I to start out a sentence. I ran, I saw, I reacted.
You should use the surrounding story to draw the character into the sentence.
Much improved though I must say from your last book.

Posted 9 Years Ago


I really loved the suspense in this chapter! Especially the ending.

The only thing I didn't like was the thoughts of the main character, not only were they abrupt like Dawns said, they were kind of... unrealistic I suppose. Like "I have to follow it and found out what it is" seems... well fake, I think if you created a good reason for the main character to follow this shadow then it might play out better (like it steals something from him or something). Its just that logically, some of this chapter doesn't make sense, but maybe its just me, and maybe you have an explanation for all of this in the next chapter... just giving input :)

Other than that I liked the descriptions of things, the pace, and the suspension.

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on July 15, 2010
Last Updated on July 16, 2010


Author

Tali Katzman
Tali Katzman

About
I am a writer. Images race inside my mind and I just try to get them on paper.Music is my escape,helps me think and create a fantasy world. I write sci-fi/adventure/fantasy/fiction short stories.. more..

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