Start of a story I'm thinking of writing

BcRedneck

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Ok, so I typed up the beginning to this story. My idea here is fantasy along side a rapid industrial revolution. I don't know if I will keep going yet.



1.

Aria pushed her bike along the dusty road. She was a about 5 foot 4 with messy blonde hair down to her shoulders and thin, too thin to be considered much of a threat, but the mistake had been made many times. The black two speed motorcycle she pushed was a smaller two stroke model, technology was changing fast and in the five years since it was built it was now obsolete.
She had been pushing it for two days now and the small town, Deserts Edge, loomed before her in the distance. The factory’s siren had blasted twenty minutes ago signalling ten o’clock. Aria had been awake three days now thanks to a relatively new ‘medicine’ she never left home without.

She pushed her bike up the dirt street passed the wood and sheet steel buildings, dust blew through the air as she locked he bike outside her mothers house. Aria pulled a small shard from the paper flap in her pocket before dissolving it under her tongue. Ill advised by her good friend Davy, but as he said it came on quick and lasted long. She slowly walked up the street to Davy’s bar and walked in her exhaustion starting to fade.
Inside the bar was dark and dirty with plain uncovered wood walls, dirt had been ground into the unfinished wood floors and the staff had given up cleaning them many years ago. In the dark back corner was the bars only booth, the red leather seats and fine hardwood table were completely out of place in the otherwise crude establishment, Davy spent most of his days back there handing out jobs and payments. Aria was here for both.
She plopped down on the seat, her overused legs seemingly giving out and looked into Davy’s dark brown eye’s. He smiled and brushed his hand through his long brown hair.
“I’ve been wondering when you would get back, lots of news from out west. What have you been doing?”
Aria waived to the waitress and looked back to Davy.
“There’s no ****ing oil out east, had to push the bike for the last two days.”
Davy nodded and took a drink.
“Ya, we are preparing for the push west, not much has been getting sent east. You get the job done?”
Aria pulled three glass smooth stones from her pocket and placed them on the table, two red and one white with black veins.
The stones were the sacred possessions each mage carried, the very mark of their chosen path. Aria had killed the three mages. One the path of life and the others, path of fire. They had been working together removing life’s energy from people and then burning their remains to feed on what remained.

“Why are they all going the fire route these days? Lazy bastards. More and more fire eaters they all just take the easy path.” Davy asked.
“I don’t care, just pay me and give me the next slip.” She said.
“Fine, fifty fifty as usual?”
She nodded.
Davy reached into his bag, he pulled out a small glass jar half full of glass like shards and a leather pouch of coins.
“Your going west this time, passed the valley.” He told her.
“That’s neutral land we don’t work out there.”
Davy sighed.
“We do now council is sick of the mages wanting to live in the past, crossing the line to try to force us backward. The future is here and we will fight for it now.”
Aria lit a hand rolled cigarette and took a drag.
“So war then?”

“Yes, war.”



Braiden stepped out of his small mud brick house, scratching at his short black hair and looked at the men thatching the roof across the street, each wore a blue armband that represented the paths rejection. For life they would be seen as second class citizens as was Braiden’s mother and father. They had watched as he picked his and was accepted with joy. Braiden had picked the middle path between fire and force, this was not a common route anymore as the elders saw it as the cause of the revolution of the east, Braiden did not share their views on technology as many of those brought up with the paths did. He walked over to his bike and twisted the cylinder head down, with a kick the kerosene, ether engine roared to life and he twisted the head again to lower its compression.
He rode his bike to the center of town and cut the fuel. In the town square many stood around the bonfire that gave off no heat, they fed from it’s energy day and night. Braiden walked up and stood next to his friend Sam.
“Don’t let the elders catch you riding that damned thing around here.” Sam told him.
Braiden sighed.
“It’s fine they even use them outside of town now, you would think they would have relaxed on them in town a bit by now.”
“The metal smashers have crossed the valley north of the lake, the elders speak of war.” Sam said.
That name angered Braiden who’s own father was a sword smith. The elders made every effort to keep down the men and women who created through hard work and skill, only those who followed a path got respect here.
“They always speak of war, ever since the first lathe was built and the metal smashers became metal cutters.” Braiden said.
Sam shook his head.
“It’s serious now they have found new ways to use electricity now, the path of lightning may be in their hands as well.”
“So what? If they feel like making sparks and turning machines let them it is no threat to us.” Braiden said.
Sam turned from the fire and a small blast of heat was felt before another took it away.
“It’s not just that anymore, they found a way to communicate with it, they run copper over miles and use it to speak though paper cones that create sound, I even heard they may have found a way to do it without wire.”
Braiden laughed.
“Your full of it. You cant pass electricity though air without lightning, they would need power they could never control to do that, best not believe in what you have never seen.”

Braiden held his red and brown stone in his pocket and took in some of the fire. He felt the energy build upon the reserves he already had, Braiden did not use his paths for every little thing like the rest of the mages, so he did not need to feed often.
After him and Sam walked over to the bakery to eat sandwiches and. Braiden smiled at the bakers assistant, her name was Helen she had straight blonde hair to her waist, green eye’s and sadly a blue band around her arm. Braiden would never be permitted to be with her, no man of the path could be with a woman rejected, the chance of them bringing another reject into the world was to great, but he could still dream.
 

tinkerdan

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It's an interesting start to an interesting concept.
My one niggle at the moment is whenever you introduce someone you pull me away from the story.
What I mean is things like this:
She was a about 5 foot 4 with messy blonde hair down to her shoulders and thin....
You could get closer to the character and get into their head a bit and work those things in more organically.

For example:
Aria huffed, sweat rolling down her forehead. She drew in a breath that caught the tainted smell of her damp and now scattered dirt blond shoulder length hair; the dust of the road sticking to her face and hands and anywhere else not adequately covered. Her thin arms were numb from propelling the bike along too many miles to keep track of over the last three days. The smell of oil; or maybe the lack of any scent of other fuel created a profound frustration that was only ameliorated by an otherwise successful outing. She stopped for a moment and mused over how vulnerable she might look to the untrained eye; however instead of glancing around in fear she threw back her slender shoulders and stood to her full five foot four, her corded muscles mostly hidden under her jacket. She took a moment to lightly kick at the front tire of her small filthy black two-stroke, two speed motorcycle, now obsolete in less than five years by the pace of burgeoning technology. She hunched her shoulders and pushed onward.

Of course you know your character better than I do so you would do it a bit differently; however, I think that there is a better way to do it than what you are settling for at the moment.

That's just a thought for you to mull over unless you're happy with what you have right now.
 

BcRedneck

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I do agree about pulling out of the story for the descriptions. I don't like how it feels at all, but how do I get her description out before the reader has the mental image already. When I read I hate that.
 

tinkerdan

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Obviously I have failed to demonstrate.
The object is to get the description buried into other parts of the character experience in a way that is more like a light brush stroke than a hammer on the center of the canvas.

Make it look like there is a reason for them to be thinking about their hair or their height or their eyes or what they are wearing.

This is done while using their senses to describe what is happening and their inner thoughts to describe how they feel; which all is supposed to bring the reader closer to the character and while you have them there you pepper in description where it fits organically to what is going on.
.
 

BcRedneck

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Ya I'm going to pull that and do what you say. I went back and put it in knowing it didn't feel right. I'm going to run this out a bit and see how it goes.
 

AnRoinnUltra

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Fair play @BcRedneck , you do some amount of writing -it's putting me to shame!

The post above reads like you're gonna keep going. I thought as an intro it works but there was a lot to take in in one go. It was clear the world is highly structured and it is strictly enforced -people are divvied up into classes and poor Braden can't be with Helen because she's deemed a reject. That stuff was interesting but the why and how was up front in my mind; I think if I was reading on I'd like to see an event where the 'elders', or whoever, demonstrate the power they hold over this structure (doesn't seem like the society that'd naturally steady hold without an iron fist in the mix).

There might be a few technical things to be fixed in there too:
full of glass like shards
read funny for some reason 'full of what looked like shattered glass?'; anyways, there are experts on here for that sort of stuff -it's just what stuck out.

Good start, I reckon ya have something there.
 

AnyaKimlin

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I do agree about pulling out of the story for the descriptions. I don't like how it feels at all, but how do I get her description out before the reader has the mental image already. When I read I hate that.
Do you need it?

Would it make any difference to the story if she was 5ft2 and with dark curly hair?

It really would make me put a book back if I read that in the first line.

As a first draft intro it's actually really good and I would finish the story before making any major changes. The dialogue is confusing - as to who is speaking sometimes.
 

BcRedneck

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Try this out same thing I moved the description to later when she wakes up and looks in a mirror.
Note that copy paste gets rid of indent, and just to be clear this starts out on two different sides of a world


1.

Aria pushed her bike along the dusty road. . The black two speed motorcycle she pushed was a smaller two stroke model, technology was changing fast and in the five years since it was built it was now obsolete.
She had been pushing it for two days now and the small town, Deserts Edge, loomed before her in the distance. The factory’s siren had blasted twenty minutes ago signalling ten o’clock. Aria had been awake three days now thanks to a relatively new ‘medicine’ she never left home without.

She pushed her bike up the dirt street passed the wood and sheet steel buildings, dust blew through the air as she locked he bike outside her mothers house. Aria pulled a small shard from the paper flap in her pocket before dissolving it under her tongue. Ill advised by her good friend Davy, but as he said it came on quick and lasted long. She slowly walked up the street to Davy’s bar and walked in her exhaustion starting to fade.
Inside the bar was dark and dirty with plain uncovered wood walls, dirt had been ground into the unfinished wood floors and the staff had given up cleaning them many years ago. In the dark back corner was the bars only booth, the red leather seats and fine hardwood table were completely out of place in the otherwise crude establishment, Davy spent most of his days back there handing out jobs and payments. Aria was here for both.
She plopped down on the seat, her overused legs seemingly giving out and looked into Davy’s dark brown eye’s. He smiled and brushed his hand through his long brown hair.
“I’ve been wondering when you would get back, lots of news from out west. What have you been doing?”
Aria waived to the waitress and looked back to Davy.
“There’s no ****ing oil out east, had to push the bike for the last two days.”
Davy nodded and took a drink.
“Ya, we are preparing for the push west, not much has been getting sent east. You get the job done?”
Aria pulled three glass smooth stones from her pocket and placed them on the table, two red and one white with black veins.
The stones were the sacred possessions each mage carried, the very mark of their chosen path. Aria had killed the three mages. One the path of life and the others, path of fire. They had been working together removing life’s energy from people and then burning their remains to feed on what remained.

“Why are they all going the fire route these days? Lazy bastards. More and more fire eaters they all just take the easy path.” Davy said.
“I don’t care, just pay me and give me the next slip.” She said.
“Fine, fifty fifty as usual?”
She nodded.
Davy reached into his bag, he pulled out a small glass jar half full of glass like shards and a leather pouch of coins.
“Your going west this time, passed the valley.” He told her.
“That’s neutral land we don’t work out there.”
Davy sighed.
“We do now council is sick of the mages wanting to live in the past, crossing the line to try to force us backward. The future is here and we will fight for it now.”
Aria lit a hand rolled cigarette and took a drag.
“So war then?”

“Yes, war.”



Braiden stepped out of his small mud brick house, scratching at his short black hair and looked at the men thatching the roof across the street, each wore a blue armband that represented the paths rejection. For life they would be seen as second class citizens as was Braiden’s mother and father. They had watched as he picked his and was accepted with joy. Braiden had picked the middle path between fire and force, this was not a common route anymore as the elders saw it as the cause of the revolution of the east, Braiden did not share their views on technology as many of those brought up with the paths did. He walked over to his bike and twisted the cylinder head down, with a kick the kerosene, ether engine roared to life and he twisted the head again to lower its compression.
He rode his bike to the center of town and cut the fuel. In the town square many stood around the bonfire that gave off no heat, they fed from it’s energy day and night. Braiden walked up and stood next to his friend Sam.
“Don’t let the elders catch you riding that damned thing around here.” Sam told him.
Braiden sighed.
“It’s fine they even use them outside of town now, you would think they would have relaxed on them in town a bit by now.”
“The metal smashers have crossed the valley north of the lake, the elders speak of war.” Sam said.
That name angered Braiden who’s own father was a sword smith. The elders made every effort to keep down the men and women who created through hard work and skill, only those who followed a path got respect here.
“They always speak of war, ever since the first lathe was built and the metal smashers became metal cutters.” Braiden said.
Sam shook his head.
“It’s serious now they have found new ways to use electricity now, the path of lightning may be in their hands as well.”
“So what? If they feel like making sparks and turning machines let them it is no threat to us.” Braiden said.
Sam turned from the fire and a small blast of heat was felt before another took it away.
“It’s not just that anymore, they found a way to communicate with it, they run copper over miles and use it to speak though paper cones that create sound, I even heard they may have found a way to do it without wire.”
Braiden laughed.
“Your full of it. You cant pass electricity though air without lightning, they would need power they could never control to do that, best not believe in what you have never seen.”

Braiden held his red and brown stone in his pocket and took in some of the fire. He felt the energy build upon the reserves he already had, Braiden did not use his paths for every little thing like the rest of the mages, so he did not need to feed often.
After him and Sam walked over to the bakery to get sandwiches. Braiden smiled at the bakers assistant, her name was Helen she had straight blonde hair to her waist, green eye’s and sadly a blue band around her arm. Braiden would never be permitted to be with her, no man of the path could be with a woman rejected, the chance of them bringing another reject into the world was to great, but he could still dream. He happily took his food before setting off into town with Sam.
Just down the road a young but blue banded man hammered a sheet of parchment to the news board, already people gathered to find out what information had made it’s journey home. Sam ran up first to gaze upon the sheet he could not read. Braiden let out a short laugh.
“Why do you always do that? It’s not like you can read the damn thing.”
Sam turned.
“It will come to me one day, the more I look at them the sooner I’ll be able to.”
Braiden just shook his head.
“That’s not how it works Sam. Let me take a look.”
Braiden read the sheet as people started to crowd. Sam pulled him back as the others pushed forward to get a look.
“What’s it say?”
“The east pushes west. The pact is dead, and a vicious monster of a woman killed three priest of life in the desert.” Braiden told him.
“War?” Sam asked.

“Yes, war.”



2.

Aria slept for a day and a half, she needed these long rest to keep her mind straight. Lately she noticed herself feeling followed or watched, even miles from civilization and did not know why. The sleep was good, the waking up was hard. She rolled out of bed almost unable to move and pulled herself up to her dresser. She pulled one of the folded paper flaps out of her jacket pocket and gave it a few slams with the handle of the hair brush her mother bought her, it was the only use she had for it. Once she was satisfied she unfolded the paper dumping its contents out, and rolled it into a tube. She snorted the glassy substance into her nose and was greeted with searing pain as her eye’s watered. She smiled into her mirror seeing her messy blonde hair hanging down to her shoulders, and her bloodshot green eye’s.
Within minutes she was awake and ready to face the days ahead. She ran down the stairs and out the door not even bothering to change the clothes she had been wearing a week.
 
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BcRedneck

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@

AnRoinnUltra

That stuff was interesting but the why and how was up front in my mind; I think if I was reading on I'd like to see an event where the 'elders', or whoever, demonstrate the power they hold over this structure (doesn't seem like the society that'd naturally steady hold without an iron fist in the mix).
Actually what I'm going to write next. Unlike Aria, Braiden needs a reason to be forced out into the world and the show of force will push him there.
 

The Judge

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BcR -- the limit here in Critiques is 1500 words. It's OK to put up a revised version of the original, but that revised version must itself remain under the limit. The revised opening you put up was nearly a 1000 more than that. I've edited it to remove the excess, but please stay within the limit next time you post.

I'm pushed for time so can't do a proper critique, but just to comment on your issue over descriptions -- having someone wake up and look at him/herself in the mirror is a big cliche, so really best avoided. Unless her exact height and the colour and length of her hair are important to the plot, there's no need to put them in, but if you want to do so, you need raise it in a way that adds to the story eg

Aria pushed her bike along the dusty road. She was too thin to be considered a threat, too small -- only around 5 foot 4 -- and probably too blond and too messy-haired. Hell, for all she knew, too green-eyed if they thought it made her look safe. But it wasn't a mistake men made twice.​
 

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