WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Message

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

The Collective

7 months ago

I know English is not my first language, but I just literally translated it, and it may not be good I don't know. But this is my prologue of my story.

                                                                Image result for Brazil teenager

              PROLOGUE

My name is Alyssa,  I am 14 years old. I have spent my whole entire life on a boat with my parents. Mary and Mike, 32 and 36 years old. My parents recently had died from lack of vitamin C, or other known as Scurvy. My parents have traveled the sea for years.

    I soon realize that there isn’t just life on sea. There are other people in the world, and they live on land. I knew my parents had originated somewhere, probably on land. So I searched in my parents stuff till I found my answer, Venezuela, Brazil. I don’t know how this seemed familiar to me. But I sought out to find it.

When I found what I was looking for. In a few months I reach land. I made my way around, until I got lost. I had no idea where to go. I had to ask for some help. So I did just that, then I found some pretty cool friends.  When I was talking with my friends, Savannah, Vale, and Miguel. I told them where I have been all my life, on sea.

They showed me around, and gave me an experience of a lifetime. But when they found out I was going to be 15, they told me to leave as soon as possible before it hits midnight. Which is in 30 minutes. They told me what happened to 15-17 years old.

The Collective only sought after teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17. No one knows what happens to them really. They disappear for those years, till they turn 18. Then they come back, different than from before. Will I be able to leave before it gets to midnight. Or will I be stuck here in Brazil, for the rest of my life.

The Collective

7 months ago
Commended by EndMaster on 3/21/2017 11:12:45 PM
This has more details than the original version, but it still reads less a chapter of a story and more like plot notes you'd write for yourself while working out an outline.

Like the first thread, what I'm seeing here are still just events being summarized after the fact, in a very bland and straightforward manner. These are all huge, pivotal events in this girl's life, enough to fill several chapters, and you just sort of gloss over them all in about 300 words.

1.) Alyssa's feelings and fears as her parents die long, drawn out deaths, likely for reasons she doesn't understand. (Not sure how realistic scurvy itself is with no further explanation tbh, if they survived 14 years they must have some way to get supplies regardless of whether they'd landed the boat anywhere. Which, in it's own way is difficult to believe. I'd buy them having never taken her anywhere inhabited over never having once been in sight of land or other people...)

2.) Alyssa is completely alone at sea and has to figure out what to do next. She searches her parents things for clues about their past and makes a decision to sail to Brazil.

3.) Her first time on land, surrounded by masses of strange people all going about their lives. Things everyone else thinks of as ordinary she's seeing for the first time or doesn't understand. HUGE culture shock, and she's completely alone in all this.

4.) Meeting and befriending Savannah, Vale, and Miguel. They may not know what to make of the strange, bewildered girl from the sea at first, and presumably she'd become somewhat dependent on them while learning her way around.

5.) What exactly does 'an experience of a lifetime' entail? In any case, they progress from first meetings and impressions to having some kind of meaningful friendship.

6.) The reveal about the Collective. Since arriving in Brazil there have likely been hints sprinkled throughout the story that something's just a bit off and slightly sinister beneath the surface.

7.) There needs to be some reason established why Alyssa wouldn't just sail away again, because obviously she's going to get pulled into whatever the Collective's doing. Otherwise there'd be no story. (Maybe the obstacle involves her not being willing to go unless all four of them can escape together?)

Or however you decide to handle this, things need to be actively happening. What you've written is pretty much the definition of telling instead of showing. A story needs an immediate hook to catch the reader and draw them in and make them care. Paragraphs of backstory don't do this.

Of course it's not completely necessary to lay out story events in straight chronological order. If you want to start the story with the attempts to dodge the Collective, that's fine. That's action and tension and raises questions for the reader to want to keep reading to answer. The backstory about the loss of her parents and life of sea etc can be revealed a bit at a time when needed (IF needed), and will have a higher chance of actually meaning something to the reader once they've been given a reason to care about Alyssa and what she's going through.

Last question: This backstory about living at sea. You've planned for it to have some kind of purpose or connection to the overall plot, right? It's not just unusual for the sake of being unusual? Because it all stretches belief a bit and unless it eventually ties into the rest of the story somehow, I'm not sure why she couldn't have wound up as a teenager alone in a strange land through other means.

The Collective

7 months ago
Well, there's very little feedback left to give after that, and I must say that it's appreciable how generously you give meaningful feedback. Yes, you also skewer young ones for sport (or do they impale themselves willingly?), but it's hard not to respect a person who gives this kinda feedback. Good on ya, mate.

The Collective

7 months ago

     My name is Alyssa,  I am 14 years old. I have spent my whole  life on a boat with my parents. Mary and Michael, 32 and 36 years old. My parents have traveled the sea for years, collecting deep-sea treasure.


All I could do is run. 

 

     I soon realize that there isn’t just life on sea. There are other people in the world, and they live on land. So I sought out to find it. 


There isn’t anywhere to go.


     When I found what I was looking for. It took a few months till I reached land. I made my way around, until I got lost. I had no idea where to go. I had to ask for some help. So I did just that, then I found some pretty cool friends. 


You cannot escape them.


     They showed me around, and gave me a nice welcome. But when they found out I was going to be 15, they told me to leave as soon as possible before it hits midnight. 


They are the Collective...


     The Collective only sought after teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17. No one knows what happens to them really. They disappear for those years, until they are 18. Then they come back, completely different.


You will soon realize, the real cruelty of the world. You cannot escape. Once you're in the system, you’re stuck there. There is no escaping. You can run as long as you want, but they always find you.