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For Real This Time Chapter One

by KAL


Ake's mom stayed quiet as she drove him to school. He attempted a smile before wincing at the level of awkwardness felt. Instead, the teen unlocked his old iPod touch, scrolling through the music library. Finally landing on a Panic! song, Ake shut his eyes to better focus on the lyrics. His mother's voice brought him back to reality.

"Are you at least a little excited, sweetie?" Her face showed her wrinkles, which crinkled when she smiled.

Ake laughed a little under his breath before replying with a shrug and a drawn-out "Sure."

"Good, because you are going to be here for the next four years of your life! Isn't it just great?"

Her son grinned a little as he rolled his eyes at her enthusiasm. If I'm ever that excited, I'd probably explode from good-feelings overflow.

The teen looked out the passenger window at his neighborhood, as they passed by dozens of different trees. 

The car pulled to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, which wound up to the school, higher up on the hill. Large numbers of high schoolers hung out outside; most wanted to wait until the last minute to have to enter, unhappy at the prospect of eventual homework.

School to Ake was nothing too special. Obviously, I have to do it, so I might as well just get through it.

With that thought, Ake faced his mother once more and noticed her frown. 

"Mom! Why do you look so sad? Don't try to guilt trip me now!" He gave her a hug and a kiss on her check before releasing her with a simple "I love you, and I'll see you later."

As he pulled out his backpack from the trunk, the teen could hear his mom's voice over the music in the form of "Have a great first day! Attack today with enthusiasm unknown to mankind! I love you!"

He smiled in answer, and waved goodbye to the vehicle that drove away. Then, he faced what would be his new semi-home: high school. Lovely.

Ake pulled out his phone to ask his friends where they were. Lat and Nath claimed to be only a few feet in front of him, so he squinted his eyes, contacts and all, to attempt to find them. After a couple of failed tries, he gave up and told them to just go to his position instead.

Within a minute, the twins greeted him with a hug each, then questioned him about everything from his summer break to his non-existent glasses.

"Nice look A!" Lat nearly shouted. 

"Hm. I myself found them rather charming, but oh well," Nath's casual shrug made Ake raise a brow in surprise.

"Really? Huh. I just thought they were annoying," he replied, "they never stayed up, ever."

Lat grabbed onto his arm, as fierce as a needy kitten, "Don't worry! You still look great! Better even!"

"Thanks," his smile lasting only a moment before disappearing. Too many of his friends made fun of him in the past when he showed any sort of emotion, so he morphed all of his feelings in a slightly cold, snarky attitude.

"You want to step in together?" Both of the sisters' eyes shone with such a strong light that Ake couldn't help agreeing. 

"Fine, but this is way too childish, even for you two."

They dragged him up the stairs in their excitement, leaving the teen with feelings of regret. I have to work on that in the future, thanks to these two.

When they reached the top, all three paused for a moment. The buildings around them towered above them, somewhat due to the fact that a few required elevators. Just how big is this place?

Feeling daunted, Lat and Nath linked their arms with Ake's, then tried to stroll through the front gates. They most likely seeemd way more intimated than they intended, but none of them were thinking about that.

All they were able to process was that they were in ninth grade and that school was starting. Alright, high school, here we come!

Author's Note: I haven't really written actual chapters of any sort in probably over a year, so this is probably going to read a little rough. Do you think this is boring? Is the wording awkward in both the story and the dialogue? Am I telling or showing more? If you want to edit my grammar and spelling and all that, then that's fine, but I don't really care if something's a little off unless it distracts the reader. Thanks!


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Sun May 21, 2017 3:56 pm
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BlueAfrica wrote a review...



Hi there!

Do you think this is boring?

It wasn't boring, although it didn't precisely grab me, either. I enjoyed Ake's inner thoughts, which sometimes were kind of sassy, like here.

Her son grinned a little as he rolled his eyes at her enthusiasm. If I'm ever that excited, I'd probably explode from good-feelings overflow.


Then, he faced what would be his new semi-home: high school. Lovely.


It was a normal situation, but I like the way you showed Ake's relationship with his mom. I particularly liked how overly enthusiastic she was ("attack today with enthusiasm unknown to mankind" which I'm totally going to try to use whenever I can from hereon out) and that he paid attention to her wrinkles, but in a nice way.

Her face showed her wrinkles, which crinkled when she smiled.


(I know, that's a weird thing to take notice of, but it was kind of nice.)

Is the wording awkward in both the story and the dialogue?

Sometimes, but not to the point where I had trouble understanding it or got too focused on that. Something to worry about in future drafts, but I didn't think it was an immediate concern.

Am I telling or showing more?

Showing, but I think you could do more of it! A particular example that comes to mind is this bit.

The teen looked out the passenger window at his neighborhood, as they passed by dozens of different trees.


Since Ake was looking out the window at the neighborhood, I expected us to get a description of some of the things he saw at that point, but all we got was "dozens of different trees." Characterize the town for us! Is it a quiet little place? Big and exciting? Does Ake love it, hate it, not really care one way or the other? Does the school fit right in, or is it different than what you'd expect, given the way the town is?

So I think you could stand to do more showing, but at the same time I don't think you did too much telling and there wasn't any infodump at all.




KAL says...


Hi! Thanks so much for the review!
Yeah, I need to figure out a better opening line, but I have no idea of where to start haha.
I'm glad you like Ake's sassiness - his thoughts were fun to write. For some reason, I like that line about the wrinkles too; I'm glad you liked it!
I'll be sure to go over this again sometime, probably once I've written the second chapter.
Okay! I'll try to add in more showing XD. I was trying to avoid lots of info, so I'm glad I got that part down.
Thanks for the advice!



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Sat May 20, 2017 4:37 pm
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JuneIparis wrote a review...



this is quite good for a draft that came together after a year off-writing. but, as i think you would agree, there are some flaws.
your first paragraph, which should be the hook to your readers, is fairly weak. Relatabiity is good, but too much of a good thing is bad. you are trying to distinguish said main character from real life, and providing a little costume readers can wear.
the part in which you say 'He attempted a smile before wincing at the level of awkwardness felt. Instead, the teen unlocked his old iPod touch, scrolling through the music library. Finally landing on a Panic! song, Ake shut his eyes to better focus on the lyrics.' could be rewritten as 'Ake found an undeniable comfort between the lyrics of a Panic! at the disco song, a comfort which managed to take him away from the dreaded awkwardness of the car ride'
i like the use of abrupt change in sentence length in
'...semi-home: High school. lovely.

a sin terms of characters, i enjoyed the cheerful personality of the twins and how true (?) Ake feels




KAL says...


Yeah this definitely isn't perfect, but thanks for the review!
I wasn't sure at all at how to start off this story, so I will eventually be working on a better opener.
Thanks for the advice!



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Fri May 19, 2017 5:14 pm
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PrincessInk wrote a review...



Hey KAL. Just Ink dropping by for a review.

Rough? Well, any first drafts are rough, whether you've written a chapter really recently or not ;) So I'll be just going to answer your questions and perhaps add my own comments afterwards.

A) Do you think this is boring? Well, despite the typical "first-day-of-school" scene, I enjoyed the character interactions between Ake and the twins. I really liked the bubbly nature of the twins. The only concern I have is that, in my opinion, they rub off like "little girls"--like the ones still in elementary and tugging at the bigger boy. The only other note I have relative to dullness is that the school scene reads a little bland because I don't really know how Ake feels like to go to high school. Is he excited? bored? nonchalant? anxious? a mix? I'm guessing maybe a mix of bored and nonchalant (judging from the casual sarcasm sprinkled in his thoughts) but I'm not too sure.

B) Is the wording awkward in both the story and the dialogue? Well, if I want to make a few comments, I'd say there are quite a few adverbs here. I do like adverbs and they pack a punch if used sparingly, but if not--uh uh. If you want to later run through some line edits later, you might consider cutting a few adverbs and replacing a few with stronger verbs. This article may be useful. As a grammar issue, I also want to talk a little about tense switching, because they're one of my pet peeves when it comes to writing:

They nearly dragged him up the stairs in their excitement, leaving the teen to regret giving his consent. I have to work on that in the future, thanks to these two.

Finally feeling a little daunted, the three wordlessly decide to link arms and walk slowly through the front gates. Here we are, get ready ninth grade.


See the switch? It was first "dragged" and then "decide". And then just one more wording comment here:

Nath's casual shoulder shrug made Ake raise a brow in surprise.


I think "shoulder" can be removed. How can she shrug without using her shoulders? I don't see too many superfluous words, but I just want to to mention it in case you decide to chop your word count (later).

C) Am I telling or showing more? I think I don't see a humongous infodump somewhere so no problem :) If I want to point something out,

Too many of his friends made fun of him in the past when he showed any sort of emotion, so he morphed all of his feelings in a slightly cold, snarky attitude.


Why not show more of his private side to his "at-home" scenes (and I do see quite a bit of that in the car moment) and then the "snarky" attitude outside?

I also think that the setting could be developed some further. Since I imagine that the school may be an important place in the story, I'd like to know more about its description. Is there something unique about it? What's it's atmosphere? Is it small? big? crowded? Well, perhaps description is unnecessary (especially if everybody knows what a high school looks like), it's just my personal opinion. And I recently read a lovely middle-grade novel with not too much setting, so I don't know if that's just me or not ;)

As a final word, I see a lot of italicized thoughts here so perhaps you could try writing in 1st person POV just for fun! I don't know. Just food for thought. What I really like about Ake is that he isn't that a super-snarky protagonist, but he has a little touch of snark, balanced out by the sweet gesture to kiss his mother's cheek :D

I guess that's all I've got to say in this looong review. I hope it helped, and poke me in my inbox if you want to talk about it!

Image




KAL says...


Thanks so much Ink!

a) I'm glad you like the twins - I sat down and wrote this without any planning, so, yeah, whoops XD. I'm going to try to add more to their personalities, over not just their bubbliness.

I'll be sure to put more of Ake's insight! I didn't really think of that aspect at all, so thanks for the advice.

b) Lol, yeah I use way too many adverbs. I'll be sure to check out that article!

Ah! Sorry for the typo - halfway through this, the tense changes to present and I tried to change all of them back. Sorry I missed that one!

On a side note. Is there a tense that you favor over the others? I'm just curious.

c) I'll be sure to try to incorporate both sides of his personality!

And, darn. I didn't even really think about describing the school ata all. I'm a bit worried though that it'll just seem like an info-dump.

1st person scares me a little for some reason. I always feel that my characters are too bland for all of the focus to be on them, but I'll try to do it with this chapter over, and see how it turns out.

This definitely helped, and I might be sending you a message soon. Thanks so much!



PrincessInk says...


Me? I actually like both. I think it's the effectiveness of the tense. I tend to prefer present for contemporary realistic fiction novels, and past for others especially fantasy or historical fiction. How about you?

Feel free to tag me if you get the next chapter up :)



KAL says...


I like both - I can never decide when I'm writing, so sometimes it naturally goes to the present in the middle of the chapter ach. Huh interesting. Thanks! I'll be sure to!



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Fri May 19, 2017 9:11 am
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Sweetsinger wrote a review...



love it!!!!!!!!!!
when can i read the next chapter or the whole story...
Its got a mystery set about it in the starting that tingles your gut and tells you the hero of the story"Ake" is not a normal person.(love that)
It makes you read more and more and when you come to tell me that best friends are girls and twins, oooohhh..... i guess i smell a romance, it may or may not be. I am not a grammar fan so I cannot judge you on that but with the experience of many books I can tell you that it will really spark readers interest so continue writing and fast for I don't know about oyhers but I definitely want read the next chapter and the next one till the end...Love that you write feelings in italics, it makes understand the hero's mindset, what he actually is feeling.
My suggestion is that you can add a little drama and mystery or an adventure plus combine it with a romantic thriller and you are set for an awesome book, Keep writing for I await the next chapter,...........




KAL says...


Thanks so much! I'm sorry, but this is all I have written so far XD.
If you'd like, I'll let you know when I have chapter two written!
Oh wow, I didn't think this seemed mysterious, but you have a very interesting insight there! Hm, I'm not sure if I'll add in much romance, but that's definitely something to note for he future, thanks! I'll try to write some more soon! Thanks a bunch!



Sweetsinger says...


definitely let me know when you have written chapter 2. I eagerly await it:D



KAL says...


I'll be sure to! Hopefully it'll be up in a couple of days!




I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.
— Sylvia Plath