My first thousand words story.

Ian Fortytwo

I'm not crazy, my reality is tnereffid than yours.
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This is my first attempt at a thousand words story. Can you give me some light criticism, thank you in advance.


Heroes Can Be Normal.

Last Day of Holiday.

It had been such a nice holiday, and today would be our last full day. Me, my wife of nine years and our lovely eight year old daughter had planned a walk to the top of the cliffs.

As we started out, I lifted my daughter onto my shoulders, where she giggled with delight. She was pretending to be a princess riding a white horse. She was so cute and we loved her so much.

The walk was very scenic and we passed an old barge on a flat top loader. It was in quite a bad condition and needed repair.

We got talking to two elderly people, and apparently they were selling the old barge, to pay towards a retirement bungalow in this area. They had a bit of luck recently and had won quite a bit on the lottery, so it was a perfect time to retire.

We shared a couple of cans of soft drink with them that we had packed in a backpack. And they were generous with some chocolate biscuits. They adored our daughter's manners, she was being shy as usual.

We left them and soon came to the top of the cliff, there was a bench and a flagpole with a flag flying from the top. There were plenty of daisies and buttercups surrounding the bench.

I sat on bench, while my wife started playing with our daughter. I got out my binoculars and concentrated on a boat out at sea, gulls were circling the boat overhead. On the deck a man was sitting mending one of the nets. A young woman was watching closely at his progress.

The sea was quite choppy, yet none of the crew seemed very concerned. I looked up at the clouds, they were white and puffy, no sign of rain.

I looked to see what my wife and daughter were doing, they were making a daisy and buttercup chain. How sweet and cute was that.

I turned my attention back to the boat at sea, only to discover that the young woman had fallen overboard. She was struggling with the undercurrent. I was too far away to be of any help. But through my binoculars I could see that one of the crew was on a radio, presumably calling for a lifeboat.

My wife had noticed the incident, but was keeping our daughter occupied. Especially as the gulls were screeching very loudly, which was quite scary.

Soon a lifeboat was on the scene and were rescuing the young woman. As she was being pulled out I could see she was wearing a life jacket.

Suddenly a scream shattered the scene, our daughter was watching two gulls pecking a seal's eyes. I got up and chased the birds away, while my wife comforted our daughter.

Luckily two men pushing a barrow came by, and between us we put the seal in the barrow. I then noticed I was covered in blood. So I removed my coat and rolled it up.

My daughter came up and put the daisy/buttercup chain around my neck. Then declared that I was her hero. All tears forgotten, with three hearty smiles.


First Day After Holiday.

After the holiday I used public transport to get to my workplace in the city. I got on at my usual station on the underground which happened to be overground to start with.

The carriage soon filled up as we soon went underground, however I was one of the lucky one's, I had a seat. Most people were relaxed as they read up on the current news, or scanned social media on their phones.

Suddenly the train lurched to a stop, and then an explosion was heard from somewhere ahead. Soon smoke was filling the carriage, and then panic ensued. The situation would soon be out of control and I tried to remain calm.

A second and then third explosion, started to unsettle even me. Invariably as we were underground the signals on phones would be almost nonexistent. I looked at mine and there was two bars.

I dialled 999 and as carefully as I could, explained the situation. I was to keep the line open and keep up a running commentary of what was happening.

Two men were trying to open the doors, however I was to tell them to remain on the train if the doors opened. Quite sensible I thought as the line could be still live.

Somehow my calming influence kept them inside the train. All the while the person at the other end of the line reassured me help was on the way. They also advised us to use scarves or handkerchiefs dampened with water around our nose and mouth.

At first the smoke worsened, however as more doors were forced open, the smoke soon lessened.

It seemed like hours before any rescue came, but apparently it was only ninety minutes.

The fire crew evacuated us one carriage at a time, and as we the sixth and last carriage, we had to wait quite a while.

Afterwards.

Unbeknown to me in each carriage one person had kept calm in a crisis and managed to avert any danger from the passengers. The six of us became heroes overnight and the papers were full of our stories. Of course I mentioned my holiday and our last day.

Several weeks later the six of us were awarded bravery medals from Prince William and his wife Kate.

Kate had special talk with me afterwards, because I had mentioned my daughter's daisy/buttercup chain, and that I was her special hero.

When I got home my wife and daughter were all smiles, and my daughter Charlotte hugged me.
 

sule

This Space for Lease
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Feb 14, 2020
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I like the message of your story, but for me the telling of it was a bit strange. The narrator felt distant--relating to us a series of events that he has no emotional ties to and isn't really bothered by anything that happens--but perhaps that was intentional on your part, because he does behave in a very calming fashion. I also felt the story started in the wrong place. It starts with them on vacation, then they climb the mountain and talk with some people. In my opinion, you should start on the train--because the events there seem to be most of the conflict--then revisit the important parts of the last day of holiday as flashback. To be honest, except for the part with the daisy chain I had struggles understanding why we even had that first part of the story, since the conflict mostly centers around the train accident. There are some very interesting visuals going on in the first part, but again I think they would serve the story more if you instead visited them through the character's recollections after we've already been introduced to what I thought was the main conflict: Will he get off the train? (Unless that isn't the main conflict).
 

Guttersnipe

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I liked it. The only problem I have with it is its faulty grammar (unless it was intentional)--there are a lot of commas where new sentences should begin. Other than that, I think that maybe this would read better in a stream-of-consciousness style, rather than saying "then this, then that." Overall, still a good story.
 

CTRandall

I have my very own plant pot!
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It's a nice premise for a story but I agree with @sule about the style. A huge portion of the story is told through sentences that start "There was..." or "I/he/she/we was/were doing..." Despite the use of first person, this highly descriptive style reduces the emotional impact of events (except for the seal getting its eyes pecked out--that is an image that many readers might find too strong). The narrator has almost no emotional reaction to anything, making it difficult for the reader to have an emotional reaction.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
I like the flat tone and the terse sentences. It would be good to see it sustained over a longer piece. It has a rhythm that draws you into the story.
This is kind of me and I normally like a much closer story. I don’t think I could read a longer piece though.
to clarify - is this deliberately distant?
 

BT Jones

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I have to agree with a lot of the other comments in that this felt a little aloof and the descriptions and some of the sentences were a little robotic.
If you are interested, I've put some examples of how I might have changed a line or too below.

This is my first attempt at a thousand words story. Can you give me some light criticism, thank you in advance.


Heroes Can Be Normal.

Last Day of Holiday.

It had been such a nice holiday, and today would be our last full day. Me, my wife of nine years and our lovely eight year old daughter had planned a walk to the top of the cliffs.

It was the last day of our holiday, so I suggested to Annette, my wife of nine years, and Louise, our cherubic eight year old, that we take a clifftop walk to sign-off in style.

As we started out, I lifted my daughter onto my shoulders, where she giggled with delight. She was pretending to be a princess riding a white horse. She was so cute and we loved her so much.

The morning was fresh and bright, and there were giggles galore, especially from the crown princess atop my shoulders, riding her trusted steed through her fantasy kingdom.

The walk was very scenic and we passed an old barge on a flat top loader. It was in quite a bad condition and needed repair.

She directed the royal party to two elderly 'townsfolk' stood by a decrepit old barge on a flat top loader.

We got talking to two elderly people, and apparently they were selling the old barge, to pay towards a retirement bungalow in this area. They had a bit of luck recently and had won quite a bit on the lottery, so it was a perfect time to retire.

"Let me be Daddy for a minute, okay", I told Louise, as Annette and I got talking to the old couple. They were trying to sell the barge as a recent lottery win meant they could finally afford a retirement home.


I sat on bench, while my wife started playing with our daughter. I got out my binoculars and concentrated on a boat out at sea, gulls were circling the boat overhead. On the deck a man was sitting mending one of the nets. A young woman was watching closely at his progress.

Annette and Louise made daisy chains while I rested my aching calves on an old bench and whipped out my binoculars for some horizon gazing. Straight away, I noticed gulls circling a boat where a man stood mending a net, beside an attentive young woman - experienced seafarers judging by their indifference to the choppy sea.

The sea was quite choppy, yet none of the crew seemed very concerned. I looked up at the clouds, they were white and puffy, no sign of rain.
I guess it's all about narrative taste. As you will see from the comments, some people like the flat, terse style of the sentences. For my tastes, I'm sorry to say it didn't really flow well for me. There feels like a palpable definite disconnect between the narrator and the events he is describing, almost like he didn't actually experience them himself. I'm with @Jo Zebedee in that I would probably struggle to read anything longer than this. For me, your narrator needs to really sell his experience of the events to the audience, in colours and sounds and feelings.

As always, apologies if I am being overcritical here. You should always write what you want to write, the way you want to write it.
 

Brian G Turner

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I think what you're missing here is a sense of Point of view (POV), because what you have is a very ordered list of things - what he saw, what he did, etc, but I don't get much sense of a character experience which brings everything together to make it flow better.
 

Droflet

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Ian, ever time you rewrite, whatever you write, it gets better. My advice would be to take the advice given and start rewriting. You'll be surprised how soon the improvement will come. Good luck with it.
 

msstice

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I'm struggling to critique this.

I find the style intriguing. I find the two sentence paragraphs taut. They work, to an extent. They create in me an impression of dulled affect, or a dissociative disorder. This is especially true of the train episode and the meeting with the royals. Is this on purpose? Is the narrator a person with schizophrenia or some other disorder? If so, perhaps a hint at the end that something is not quite right with the narrator, perhaps including mention of a therapist or something.

If the intent is not to convey dulled affect, then I wonder if it would be better to write in a more normal pace, and add some more emotional depth to the narration.

I really like it when people write with their own styles, so go for it!

One of the reasons I like Philip K Dick is because his writing induces a strange mood in me, because he breaks common narrative rules on purpose.
 

Ian Fortytwo

I'm not crazy, my reality is tnereffid than yours.
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Somewhere on this mortal coil.
Thank you. I have started trying to rewrite it, and finding it quite hard to do. However I will persist at it and slowly gain the experience of editing the story, perhaps it will go beyond 1000 words.
 

Capricorn42

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The slightly cold and distant voice drew me in to begin with. After a few sentences I was expecting a big shock, something horrific, but it never happened so I felt just a tad disappointed. The first scene, on the cliff, worked better for me than the second. If that was my story I would ditch the second scene on the train, and instead give that first scene a shock ending, which it really did seem to need.
 
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