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One-Word Answers

by Amabilia


I look at him pleadingly as my friend grabs my hand and starts to lead me to go with her somewhere. I always try to catch his eye and let him know that I just don't want her to feel abandoned, as I had experience with that emotion. This time, though, he isn't even looking as I try to get his attention. His eyes are on Alina, crinkled as he laughs at something she said. A surge of hurt goes through me, as much as I try to shove it down. No. I promised myself I wouldn't be bothered by how much time they spend together. She needs someone who she can talk to, and even if it's not me, I'm not going to take that away from her.

But what about you? You need someone to talk to, too. My inner voice suddenly comes to the front of my mind.

Even if I do, I wouldn't want to put another burden on him like that.

He wants to date you. He has to be willing to put up with you at your worst.

What if I scare him away? I can't lose anyone else right now.

If you don't tell him you'll implode.

Alina's more important.

Then why doesn't he date her?

"Are you okay?" April asks me. I just realized how quiet I was being.

"Yeah," I can only manage a one-word answer through my thoughts as they tighten their hold at me. I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head so slightly that April won't see it. As if that would do anything to relieve the anxiety seeping in.

April starts to hum. I open my eyes. We're almost to my locker. I part away from her to get my stuff for the next hour. I can still hear her humming as she walks past me to her locker. The string of conscious loosens.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders..."

Words escape her lips. My mind focuses solely on the words of the song, the tune, the message. My mind drifts completely from all anxiety.

"Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, And my faith will be made stronger- Are you sure you're okay?" She's already done. She had grabbed her stuff and walked back to my locker while I was just staring at my folders.

"Yeah." One-word answer.

"Ready for Science?"

"Yeah."


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Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:06 pm
TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hello! So, I'm not criticizing the story idea itself, I try not to do that as no idea is a bad idea with good writing and a better cast of characters, but I would like to point out a few things.

"I look at him pleadingly as my friend grabs my hand and starts to lead me to go with her somewhere. I always try to catch his eye and let him know that I just don't want her to feel abandoned, as I had experience with that emotion. This time, though, he isn't even looking as I try to get his attention. His eyes are on Alina, crinkled as he laughs at something she said. A surge of hurt goes through me, as much as I try to shove it down. No. I promised myself I wouldn't be bothered by how much time they spend together. She needs someone who she can talk to, and even if it's not me, I'm not going to take that away from her."

This is your opening paragraph should be the easiest part of a short to read and understand. I had to read it three times. I find it's best not to use pronouns for a first introduction unless the identity of the character is supposed to be a big reveal of some kind later and/or the POV character doesn't know who they are. Neither is true when you introduce "him", and worse, you don't mention his name at all. Maybe that's intentional? I don't see the reason behind it if it is, it adds nothing and it makes "him" into an object of sorts, make me believe he's a person, at least give me an idea of what he looks like.

Alina/April may or may not be different characters, I'm not sure. Try to clear that up with either picking a name for the single character who got a new name for some reason part way through, or give some description of the separate characters so we can differentiate them.

"A surge of hurt goes through me, as much as I try to shove it down."

This line is written in a way that feels really choppy and a little clunky, try "A pang of hurt surges through me. I try to shove it down. I promised myself..." and so on. Try to vary your sentence lengths, this will break up the text and make it flow more easily. I noticed you tend to try to fit as much in one sentence as possible and this is your quick reminder to break it up a bit.

"I can only manage a one-word answer through my thoughts as they tighten their hold at me."

"at" should be "on".

"Words escape her lips."

I don't think "escape" was the best word to use here. It suggests that she tried to hold them back, I would say "She sings the lyrics softly." or something else along those lines.

"I part away from her to get my stuff for the next hour."

The way this is written feels pretty clunky as is, I would try "We part ways, each of us going to our lockers to retrieve our books." There is no need to say that it's for the next hour, as most of your readers will probably either have been to a school like this before or know how they work from movies/other writings/etc. and the added detail is wasted here.

I hope I was helpful, let me know if you continue/edit this, I'd love to read it!




Amabilia says...


Thank you for the review, and the reason that "he" has no description or name is because the narrator already knows who he is, and this is supposed to be set up as a stream of consciousness. Also, Alina and April are two different people. April is the one that leads the narrator away, and Alina is "his" friend(who is kind-of the narrator's friend, too.)





Thank you for the clarification, but it may be easier to understand if you made small changes, like adding a quick descriptor for "him", even just his name and the way his dark hair shines in the light, or the way his green eyes sparkle when he laughs. Our MC is bound to notice these things whether she knows him or not, she IS dating him after all. I would also change either Alina or April's name so they aren't so similar, that way it will be easier to tell them apart and won't be brushed off as a typo or error on your part, and a description for either or both of them would also help on that front. Again, please let me know if you edit or add to this, I would really like to read it.



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Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:44 am
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello hello!!

Okay this is so fitting because Oceans is one of my absolute favorite songs and I heard it on the radio today as I was driving home <3

I totally understand the emotion the narrator is feeling here. I remember high school when I was too anxious to talk to people I was interested in and I was too anxious to ever tell people how I felt about anything so I kept everything in and did plenty of one word answers :)

I get that this is meant to be a short little thing, but there were some aspects that I would like to see expanded. First, where are we? My guess is a high school, but there's no indicators to really show where we are and I'd like some idea about where this is happening. I think backing up a few seconds before where you started would be good to give the reader a little more context about where we are and what's going on and why I should care.

The other thing I'd like more information about is how the song at the end impacts the narrator. Is it comforting? Does it make her more upset? We see the song and we see another one word answer but there's not a lot of indication about how this makes the narrator feel? I want more feelings :)

Overall, I definitely get the idea you were trying to convey here and I'd love to see a deeper exploration of her feelings and more depth with the setting and context. I'll leave things there for now, but let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback about something I didn't mention! :D




Amabilia says...


Thank you!



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Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:28 am
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bloodstring says...



Wow!!




Amabilia says...


Thank you



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Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:00 pm
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HollyM64 wrote a review...



Hi!

This is a really nice little narrative! The structure is good, as is the writing style, both of which fit the piece very well. It's well written and you do convey the tone effectively. My only real criticism is that I would really like it to be longer, or maybe separated into several parts so that it can be a full story, but that is mainly because I greatly enjoy it.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it, nice work!




Amabilia says...


Thank you so much! I might plan to continue it sometime in the future as a side project, but this is it for now, sorry.




If I seem to wander, if I seem to stray, remember that true stories seldom take the straightest way.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind