NOTE: This is the starting page to my new storygame, just a nice little description of the crash site. Hit me with all you have, be brutally honest, insult me and my writing, IDC. I'll take all the responses into account, thanks!
The frost covered peak of an unknown mountain
Pain. Unbelievable pain coursing through you. A splitting headache, churning insides, and lights briefly flashing by your eyes. Every inch of your body, every fiber and strand of your being is being plunged into hell itself. Heat comparable to the hottest of lava burned, turned, and churned within you. You hear ringing by your ear, the sound of flames crackling and sizzling. You feel on your face the heat of fire.
Am I really in hell, dead?
This can't be.
You have children, parents, and friends, waiting on the other side of the ocean, you cannot just die yet.
Your teeth clenched, and with a half-grunt, half-moan, you sit up.
Great coughs racked your body as you struggle to breath in the dust filled air. You try to ignore the piercing pain in your head, and instead stared into the distance, concealed by the snowy winds. Your red and swollen eyes peered intensely, as if you wanted to see past the veil, to the outside.
Another bout of coughing return you to your senses, and you stand, a feat more difficult than the Twelve Herculean Labors, achieved by sheer will.
Your legs threaten to give out, as you scanned the surroundings.
That's when it hit you,
Screams of terror and agony. Creaks and rumbles. The crash, the explosion. You, sitting behind a heavy suitcase, had survived the crash and the explosion afterward.
You grimaced at a sudden jolt in your leg, then looked down. By your foot, a corpse, badly mutilated, laid there, its hands splayed out as if grasping to something, its one good eye open, staring to your left.
A child, swaddled in blankets, laid there, whether it's alive or not was unknown.
You slumped to your knees, legs no longer supporting you. You crawled over, and gingerly unwrapped the blanket wih your trembling fingers. The child lives, with quick breaths coming in and out. You picked up the child in your arms, and searched around for more survivors. None. Most had perished in the crash, and the few that were left were hit with the explosion.
The child had survived thanks to his mother, protecting him with her own body, then throwing him with the last ounce of her strength, as to perhaps escape the flames.
You are not going to last long here, nobody is. The high altitude combined with the bone piercing chills don't descriminate, you could almost hear the footsteps of death himself, coming to claim both you and the baby's life.
You have never believed in destiny. It was not your destiny to die here. You take what is remaining in the crash, a bag with a crushed lunch, a metal pipe to support yourself, and a box of broken matches.
Ah silly me, I was never relly good with tense, as english is my second language.
I'll add things and change according to your comments!
This actually shows a lot of potential. You avoided the mistake of starting with a mile-long exposition and get the reader directly into the scene. Excellent. Also it talks to all the senses. Very good. The inner monologue already starts to convey insights into the POV character. Nice. Overall it is a very promising first draft, with some details to iron out.
Mizal makes a lot of good points and I would like to add some more. Before I get to details, let me point out a general theme. From your writing it is clear that you write very instinctively. Correct me if I am wrong, but I guess when you wrote this you were fully immersed in the scene and fragments of sentences just flowed to the page. This is a great way of writing to achieve deep immersion and an excellent skill that is hard for many people to master. The problem with this sort of writing is that the flow can lead to inconsistencies that can be hard to spot yourself, as the words deeply resonate with your brain. This is likely the source of your problems with tenses, and also some inconsistencies between adjacent phrases or sentences. The only way to fix this is careful revision. You want to do this some days after writing to get the right sort of distance to your own work. Sometimes it also helps reading the piece in reverse sequence, starting with the last sentence and finishing with the first.
A subtle point concerns sentence length. You construct well readable long sentences and you are not afraid to write short ones either. Again this shows great promise. However, you use short and long sentences indiscriminately and it is sending mixed messages. Long sentences create a slow dreamy gliding. If used consciously this is a powerful device. For example the final chapter of James Joyce Ulysses contains only two sentences. One of them is >3500 words long but still intuitively readable. By contrast, short sharp sentences create rapid fast-paced action. Jim Butcher's Dresden File novels are an excellent example. Based on the content I would expect that your intro starts slow as the character regains consciousness, then becomes fast as he/she recognizes the immediate need for action, checks on the child, etc. Then we slow down a bit as we take in the wider environment. At the moment the sentence length conflicts with this impression. Try using longer sentences in the start. Then short sharp ones for the action, then gradually longer ones as the scope widens and we take stock of the surroundings more calmly.
For a bit of added flair consider the difference between words with Romantic and Germanic roots. In English language Germanic words carry a connotation of primal grittiness; They are blunt matter-of-factly, and down to earth. By contrast Romantic-rooted words are more intellectual, poetic, but also pretentious and deceptive. For example consider the Germanic-rooted word 'gut' and its Romantic-rooted equivalent 'intestine'. Some other examples are slaugtherhouse/abattoir, battle/confrontation, last/ultimate. If you are aware of this, you can use it to dial the mood between airy and gritty. For example Zoe Gilbert's book 'Folk' almost entirely avoids Romantic-rooted words. In your penultimate paragraph you use 'discriminate' and 'altitude', but since you want to make a primal, matter-of-life-and-death (not survival!) statement, an equivalent Germanic statement would work for you harder (“The peak does not care. The cold does not care—it seeks no kindness and of gives none.” is a fully Germanic-rooted.)
As a very small matter, you play a lot with typeface variants. This worked to catch my interest in the second paragraph, but I nearly overlooked the first one because the italics make it to weak. In the third paragraph the italics work, but single quotes would have done the trick as well. After that the boldface became a nuisance that distracted from the content.
So, in summary, this is really promising. I would not write such a long reply if it, wasn't. I hope you can finish the story. I am really looking forward to play it. Perhaps post updates in this thread if you want further feedback.
Wow! Thanks for all the feedback, I think that you made some really good points.
I will keep you updated, as I progress and flesh out this story more :)
Again, thank you for writing usch a thoughtful and helpful reply!
I revised it a bit,
The frost covered peak of an unknown mountain...
Pain. Unbelievable pain coursing through you. A splitting headache, churning insides, and lights briefly flashing by your eyes. Every inch of your body, every fiber and strand of your being, plunged into hell itself. Heat comparable to the hottest of lava burned, turned, and churned within you. The ringing in your ears drowns out all sound except the flames crackling and sizzling. The heat of fire singed your face, like the tongue of the devil, flicking to and fro.
You clench your teeth, and with a half-grunt, half-moan, you sit up.
Great coughs rack your body as you struggle to breath in the dust filled air. You try to ignore the piercing pain in your head, and instead stare into the distance, concealed by the snowy winds. Your red and swollen eyes glows with an intense light, as if you want to see past the veil, to the outside, as if your very will can bring you out, safe.
Another bout of coughing returns you to your senses, and you stand, a feat more difficult than the Twelve Herculean Labors, achieved by the sheer desire to survive. You attempt to raise your left arm to wipe of the dry, crusted blood by your lips, but almost fall over from the excruciating pain. It was broken. You let it hang by your side, limp, and checks your condition. A light press to your chest brings waves of pain and dizziness that made your legs buckle. There were probably some minor damage to your internal organs, and several broken ribs.
Your legs threaten to give out, as you scan the surroundings.
You grimace at a sudden jolt in your leg, then looks down. By your foot, a corpse, badly mutilated, lay there, its hands splayed out as if grasping to something, its one good eye open, staring to your left.
The corpse was looking at a child, swaddled in blankets, whether it's alive or not was unknown.
You slump to your knees, legs no longer supporting you, crawling over. Your trembling fingers gingerly unwraps the tatters blanket The child lives, with quick breaths coming in and out. You pick him up, and lay him in your arms, searching around for more survivors. None. Most had perished in the crash, and the few that were left were hit with the explosion.
You are not going to last long here, nobody is. The peak along with its bone piercing cold don't care, it seeks no kindness and gives none. You could almost hear the footsteps of death himself, coming to claim both you and the baby's life.
You've never believed in destiny. It is not destiny that decides whether you die here, its your own willpower and actions. You take what is remaining in the crash, a bag with a crushed lunch, a metal pipe to support yourself, and a box of broken matches.
Almost to hidden by jagged rocks, there is slope down, perhaps you can survive this way.
Ps. I was going to post my ending, but I want it to be a little surprise.
the ending's got you covered :D
And... I'm pretty sure I mentioned that only a few was broken, and organs were only slightly damaged. Crushed, and damaged are 2 words that could mean heaven or hell...
dont worry about it, as I said in the previous comment, the ending's gotchu covered...
P.S. Ambulances are not portable hospitals, they don't have equipment to fix "crushed organs". Also, assuming that the organs were "crushed", your heart would go along with it too...
I think I was thinking that "Maybe you added too many broken things" a while before, when I realized one arm ain't gonna do much, the ending should cover up most inconsistencies, but I will try to make it as realistic as possible.
When people break one rib its usually the lowest one. You can go on with that one for a few hours before the pain really kicks in. More than one broken rib make breathing difficult and very painful. You wouldn't be doing much. With organs it depends a lot on which and how.
More importantly, regarding the writing: If an accident happened to me I would not thinking about it in these terms. In fact I don't think I would actually be thinking very much at all apart from "Need to get up", "Need to walk" etc. So seeing the character think about this rationally is a bit of an immersion breaker.
Hmm, I guess that makes sense,
I mean, the writing is coming from a person who's never broken a bone, or been in an accident of sorts... I'm inexperienced with these sort of things...
Thanks for the suggestions!
I like helping with these! I'm going to point it a few mistakes and try to cover some things not previously mentioned (if I can).
First of all, "That's when it hits you," is incorrect. You seem to just end a paragraph with a comma. I get that you are introducing a flashback, but that sentence (and paragraph?) can't end with a comma. I recommend a colon (this guy ":"). I also would take away the line break. "That's when it hit you: rest of paragraph that is the flashback."
Secondly, you begin a lot of paragraphs with some variation of the word "you." It's noticeable and repetitive. This is easy to fix by changing your sentence structure for the first sentences in each paragraph. Here, I'll do one for you:
"You grimace at a sudden jolt in your leg, then look down." (I fixed this you had 'looks' originally which is just awkward)
"A sudden jolt in your leg causes you to grimace, then you look down."
"Grimacing as your leg jolts, you look down."
This last one removed the unnecessary words while keeping the same meaning. Often less words for the same meaning is better. Also, good strong verbs like "jolt" do not need adverbs like "suddenly." Seriously, can you jolt in a non sudden way? If your leg "suddenly moved" you would need the adverb because the verb is weak. Basically, you are writing really well then gunking your good writing up with repetitive details and sentence structure. Trust your writing and mix it up a bit.
These are the big things I noticed that were not mentioned before (I think). They are more deeper level writing things and less "proofreading." I hope they help though!
I just can't seem to see these errors until someone points them out :P
Alright, I think I see it...
Gonna touch up this page a bit more.