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Personal Narrative for an English Essay that needs reviewing lol

by Maryah


Hello reader! This is an English essay I've written for the prompt "a memorable experience".

It was a pleasant day in March in Dulzura, California. Many people would associate the place as the “middle of nowhere”, but that middle of nowhere was my beautiful neighborhood. Mountains lined the horizon, the sun peeking through the clouds just above them. A fairly nice evening, a bit chilly though, so I had stayed inside most of the day watching a couple movies and laying on my bed looking through my computer. On a day like this where I spent most of my time on my devices meant that my dad wanted to make me do something outside soon. I knew what came when I heard footsteps coming outside my bedroom door. I had expected the usual “Go brush the horses,” or “Go ride your bike,” from my dad but this time it differed.

“Put some jeans on, we’re going on a ride,” my dad commanded, peeking in through my door. He left as abruptly as he came. I shrugged, not thinking much about it. I thought we were just going on a bike ride through the neighborhood. Little did I know that this would be one of my scariest (and most memorable) experiences in my life.

“Where are we going?” I asked him as soon as I got some jeans on.

“We’re going on the quads- go get your helmet and boots,” he replied, putting his own boots on. We normally rode our quads in circles in the field in our backyard so I went outside, not too worried about going on them. I trembled timidly, my mind flashing back to our previous quad ride when my dad made all sorts of twists and turns, at some points popping a couple of wheelies. I’ll just ride mine in a straight line, thank you very much, I thought to myself. 

I went to get my helmet and gloves that had been waiting for someone to use them all year inside the trailer. I shared my helmet with my mom since I did not enjoy the other one we had. Besides, my mom rarely used her quad so the pink helmet with black and gray bulldogs on it was practically mine. Sure, it looked a bit goth, but I thought I looked cool in it. I pulled the heavy helmet on gingerly, trying not to rip my earrings out of my ears in the process, grabbed my gloves, and headed for my dad's workshop where he kept our four wheelers.

My dad filled up the air on the tires of his white and blue quad that seemed rather dirty. Mine waited in the back of the workshop. The loud sound of the air compressor vibrated around the small structure as I went around and opened the massive metal door. The bright yellow color of my quad came into view.

“Hello, Bumblebee,” I murmured, patting the small vehicle. I looked at my hand to find it covered in soot. I stood up on it, not wanting to make any contact with the brown film of dirt and dust that covered the entire quad. I pushed the key into the small hole and turned it. After turning the switch that enabled the quad to use gas, I pulled the choke plug and pressed a small button with a little lightning bolt on it. The quad hummed to life as I twisted the handle for the gas. Vroom, vroom! The noise of both the quad and the compressor now echoed across our backyard. I went into first gear and slowly pulled Bumblebee out of the workshop and into our driveway to do some cleaning. Turning it off, I grabbed the hose and began to wash all the soot off of the bright yellow quad. My sister came outside after hearing the sounds of our quads.

“Me wan’ go too!” she shouted, beginning to come towards my dad who had just pulled up.

“No, we’re gonna go bye-bye today, it’s too long of a ride. You can’t come,” my dad explained to the excited three-year old. My sister’s excitement faded as she went inside glumly. I switched my quad off. We were going for a long ride?

“Where are we really going?” I asked my dad, beginning to get worried.

“Just a ride through Marron Valley,” he replied, smacking his quad with a rag. We lived on Marron Valley Road, so it seems weird for me to never have gone to Marron Valley, but I have never been there. It looked a bit too dangerous for my taste. I went inside while my dad finished up cleaning the quads to grab my small tote bag and sweater. Oh well, no getting out of this one.

We turned on our quads again and revved up, facing the big hill which pointed towards the exit to our property. My dad zoomed across the driveway, already at the top of the hill by the time I had just barely gotten to start going up. He took a right and we drove on for about five minutes until we reached a small gate. My dad got down and opened it and we entered a large plain, the mountains that normally seemed small from our house, now loomed above us like massive sleeping giants. I drove fairly slowly so my dad had a pretty big head start on me. He disappeared around every turn we took, each time my heart raced in fear. I lost him several times until he reappeared when I rounded that turn. I looked to my left to find that we have been riding on a mountain the entire time. I slowed down even more, looking down at the plain dotted with trees and vegetation that now seemed more like a plate full of salad.

My dad stopped ahead of me as I pulled up next to him. I pushed my foot down and went into neutral. “You have to keep up!” he shouted over the loud buzzing of our engines, “You can’t go so slowly, not even in first gear, it’s bad for the quad!” Oops. This was it… I had to go fast now. My dad began to go as I gripped the handlebars tightly. The strong odor of gasoline wafted up my nose as I put my foot under the small lever that switched the gears. Slowly, I started accelerating until I began catching up with my dad. I stuck to the side of the mountain, not wanting to accidentally fall off.

For five minutes the ride was pretty easy going. That is until the dirt stopped being solid. Heck, this is not dirt, it is sand! I thought to myself. The tires began rumbling beneath me, shaking the quad. The handle bars pulled me in a different direction - towards the mountain. I slammed my foot on the brakes just as I began to collide with the curb. I panted, my heart practically jumping out of my chest. I pulled the handlebars away and began to go again. Please God, do not let me crash. Let me get home safely please, I began murmuring frantically to myself. My quad began to start going in the direction of the mountain again. No, no, no. My dad stopped this time, turning off the quad and walking towards me. I turned mine off as well. Did I break it? Was this because I went too slow?

“Maryah, calm down.” His voice muffled due to the large helmet he had on his own head, “You’re in control here. The only problem is you don’t know how,” he said to me.

“T-the quad keeps pulling me into the ditch and into the curb--” I began.

“That’s because you’re riding in the sand. You have to go in the middle of the path where it’s not as loose,” he explained. Oh. Seriously? We both turned our quads back on and resumed our voyage. My hands shook as I struggled to stay in the center of the road. Just a little bit longer and we would be back home. I found myself singing one of my favorite songs before long. Through the tears, through the pain comes a new day, we rounded another curve, this time I did not get pulled in as much. Blown away, still amazed You pursue me, ain’t no limit to the way you love. We seemed to be getting pretty high, but I did not notice over the breeze that refreshed the musty air inside my helmet. Oh but you know me so well, I can be a little punk sometimes, I smiled, now singing the chorus of the song with renewed confidence. Everything zipped past me in a blur of black, brown and the occasional magenta wildflowers.

So don't leave me, leave me alone, bust down the door to my heart like it's Your home, don't need no keys, I'm on my knees begging You please. I've gotta settle this thing once and for all, You got my heart, my soul, You can have it all. I'm on my knees beggin' You please, beggin' You please Lord, don't leave me alone!

My heart raced, but this time, not from fear, but from absolute exhilaration and excitement. So much I did not even realize that we reached the top of the mountain.

“Whoa…” I murmured in awe, taking my helmet off to get a better view. Grass and trees - everywhere - the entire landscape was green! Purple and orange splotches surrounded the area. I looked down at a large lake that sat at the edge of the mountain. The perfect image of the mountain we stood on reflected in the lake. Like a gigantic mirror lying at the bottom of the valley, the lake sat there, not a single ripple in sight.. A small breeze blew through the area, carrying the pleasing scents of sage and other wild flowers. It is amazing! I exclaimed to myself. Suddenly, it seemed ridiculous for me to have been so afraid on the way here. I was just overthinking everything!

The sun was beginning to set, barely peeking above another mountain. The sky, now tinted pink, began to dim as the stars finally came into view. Me and my dad stayed in Marron Valley for about fifteen more minutes.

My dad got up, putting out his hand to help me up, “We should leave, it’s getting dark.” The fifteen minute ride back had to be the best one I have ever taken. Bumblebee buzzed cheerfully as I whooped happily. I took my goggles off the helmet, letting the fresh evening air fill my helmet up. Best. Quad ride. Ever!

Sure, at first that ride was a bit traumatic, but afterwards I began to look forward to our next quad ride. I realized that I should not have been freaking out so much and overthinking everything. I just had to take a moment to stop, think, and proceed -with caution if necessary. After this experience, we started doing more rides in unknown areas and I enjoyed them more each time. I still do get a little scared to begin with, but I just remember (as cliche as it sounds) you’ve just gotta keep calm and carry on.


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Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:50 pm
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Maryah says...






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Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:39 pm
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Maryah says...



OKAY! Thank you @IcyFlame and @FictionalDare for your reviews! I think I got all of the stuff you guys suggested. Please let me know if I left anything out!




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Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:33 pm
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Fictional Dare wrote a review...



Hey so I think this is a really good essay, just a few things here and there that could use some thought. (This is my first review so I don't fully understand the mechanics of quoting... just bear with me)

"I had expected the usual “Go brush the horses,” or “Go ride your bike,” from my dad but this time it differed."

Maybe think of saying 'it was different'. 'It differed' is a little too formal for the context. It's like a jigsaw piece that could fit if you made it but isn't actually meant to.

"“Put some jeans on, we’re going on a ride,” my dad commanded, leaving as soon as he came inside my room."

I think you could be a little more colorful here. Your word choice, but mainly the order of it, when he entered then left the room can be considered conflicting. Not a big issue but I'm going to stick a flag in it nonetheless. I'll pin a suggestion: '... leaving the room before you could say he entered...' Something along those lines (Please don't use use my suggestion directly, it's just a way for me to explain what I'm trying to say).

"I shared my helmet with my mom since I didn’t really like the other one we had."

A very exhausted use of the word really. Once again, not a major problem, but we're aiming for the moon... right?

"I mounted the quad in a way so I could make the least amount of contact with the dirty seat and handles."

Once again, word choice and order. It's as though your sentence isn't quite complete in the middle. I'll pin another suggestion: 'I mounted the quad in a [insert adjective] way to make the least amount of contact with the dirty seat and handles.' Something along those lines.

"I pushed the key into the small hole and turned it. After turning the switch that enabled the quad to use gas, I pulled the choke plug (a plug that lets the gas flow through) and pressed a small button with a little lightning bolt on it."

The brackets are unnecessary. If it's an essay, the teacher probably won't appreciate the explanation as it interrupts the flow of the story. Let the reader take the time to find out what it is themselves.

"An insane amount of noise with the quad and the compressor now making the same sounds now echoed across our backyard."

Try not to repeat words too many times, such as the word 'now' in this sentence. Find a new word/synonym to replace it in the second instance.

"He disappeared around every turn we took, each time my heart raced in the fear."

I don't now if the 'the' before 'fear' is intentional or just a typo but it's not supposed to be there as fear is not a tangible object in this case.

"My dad stopped ahead of me as I pulled up next to him. I pushed my foot down and went into neutral. “You have to keep up!” he shouted over the loud buzzing of our engines, “You can’t go so slowly, not even in first gear, it’s bad for the quad!” Oops. This was it… I had to go fast now. My dad began to go as I gripped the handlebars tightly. The strong odor of gasoline wafted up my nose as I put my foot under the small lever that switched the gears. Slowly, I started accelerating until I began catching up with my dad. I stuck to the side of the mountain, not wanting to accidentally fall off."

A very descriptive and well-crafted paragraph. I love it! It's especially brilliant when you are descriptive, e.g. with the smell of the gasoline.

"Heck, this isn’t dirt, it’s sand! I thought to myself."

There should be a comma not a full stop between the two sentences. It breaks the flow if there's a full stop. Think of it as a quote of what someone said with a comma, except, there are no quotation marks as it's not spoken out loud.

"I found myself singing one of my favorite songs before long. Through the tears, through the pain comes a new day, we rounded another curve, this time I did not get pulled in as much. Blown away, still amazed You pursue me, ain’t no limit to the way you love. we seemed to be getting pretty high, but I didn’t notice over the breeze that refreshed the musty air inside my helmet. Oh but you know me so well, I can be a little punk sometimes, I smiled, now singing the chorus of the song with renewed confidence. Everything zipped past me in a blur of black, brown and the occasional magenta wildflowers. So don't leave me, leave me alone, bust down the door to my heart like it's Your home, don't need no keys, I'm on my knees begging You please. I've gotta settle this thing once and for all, You got my heart, my soul, You can have it all. I'm on my knees beggin' You please, beggin' You please Lord, don't leave me alone!"

It would be best if the song lyrics are in different paragraphs each so as not to confuse the events with the song.

"Like a gigantic mirror laying at the bottom of the valley, the lake sat there, not a single ripple in sight."

Lying, not laying, would be the correct word use here.

"Bumblebee buzzed happily as I whooped happily."

Again, try not to repeat words when you can use synonyms.

"I just had to take a moment to stop, think, and proceed (sometimes with caution); do something that calms me down."

The semicolon is unnecessary and the placement isn't right, try to rethink your sentence to omit it.


Wonderful essay. Well done. I left out quite a few things since I didn't want this to be another essay and I also didn't want to be too picky as I don't really know what level is required of you. The styles you use in America may be different from where I live but I hope that my input was helpful. Keep writing, you clearly have talent!




Maryah says...


Thanks for the review! Also, one of the reasons I put "differed" instead of "was different" is because our English teacher doesn't want us to use the word "was" if possible. It's kinda a weird rule IMO and I do realize I have like seven more "was's" in there that I couldn't figure out how to get rid of LOL. I'll be sure to put in what I have after the edits.



Maryah says...


Also, the BBC code for quoting is [#quote] insert whatever you want to quote here [#/quote] except without the # because I would activate it if I didn't put that in there. Oh, I don't think you realized but there should be this little switch that says "this is a comment/review" at the bottom left corner of your text-box. Yours marked as a comment and didn't get points for the review!



Maryah says...


Oh wait, nevermind that was just my computer being weird- that review was marked as a review



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Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:58 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hi Maryah!

Out of interest, what was the task description for this essay? Perhaps you could put it in a spoiler at the beginning/end of your work as this might help people to review as we can check whether you've met the objective - just a thought :)

It was a pleasant day in March in Dulzura, California. Many people would associate the place as the “middle of nowhere”, but that middle of nowhere was my beautiful neighborhood. Mountains lined the horizon, the sun peeking through the clouds just above them. A fairly nice evening, a bit chilly though, so I had stayed inside most of the day watching a couple movies and laying on my bed looking through my computer. On a day like this where I spent most of my time on my devices meant that my dad wanted to make me do something outside soon. I knew what came when I heard footsteps coming outside my bedroom door. I had expected the usual “Go brush the horses,” or “Go ride your bike,” from my dad but this time it differed.

A couple of thoughts on the first paragraph. Firstly I would consider removing the second sentence, or perhaps move it to later on in the narrative. It's a nice sentiment, but putting it where it is takes away from some of your lovely descriptions.
I'd also start 'on a day like this' as a new paragraph.

A ride? Hmm, probably just gonna ride our bikes through the neighborhood, right?

Watch out, you've switched tenses here!

Now, I was overall a timid person, not really the type of person that was all for doing daredevil-ly things. My dad; complete opposite.

Try to show us this throughout the narrative, rather than telling. There's a great article on show not tell here if you want some more detail on this :)

I went to get my helmet and gloves that had been waiting for someone to use them all year inside the trailer.

An interesting fact, but needs a little rewording. Try 'I went to get my helmet and gloves from the trailer. I'd been waiting to use them all year.' That way, it's less of a passive voice.

I pulled the choke plug (a plug that lets the gas flow through) and pressed a small button with a little lightning bolt on it.

I don't think you need to go into quite as much detail here, so I'd remove the section in brackets.

I went inside while my dad finished up cleaning the quads to grab my small tote bag and sweater.

Why start the quad and then turn it off and go inside, wouldn't the bag have been grabbed first?

“That’s because you’re riding in the sand. You have to go in the middle of the path where it’s not as loose,” he explained. Oh. Seriously?! That’s it? We both turned our quads back on and resumed our voyage. My hands shook as I struggled to stay in the center of the road. Just a little bit longer and we would be back home. I found myself singing one of my favorite songs before long. Through the tears, through the pain comes a new day, we rounded another curve, this time I did not get pulled in as much. Blown away, still amazed You pursue me, ain’t no limit to the way you love. we seemed to be getting pretty high, but I didn’t notice over the breeze that refreshed the musty air inside my helmet. Oh but you know me so well, I can be a little punk sometimes, I smiled, now singing the chorus of the song with renewed confidence. Everything zipped past me in a blur of black, brown and the occasional magenta wildflowers. So don't leave me, leave me alone, bust down the door to my heart like it's Your home, don't need no keys, I'm on my knees begging You please. I've gotta settle this thing once and for all, You got my heart, my soul, You can have it all. I'm on my knees beggin' You please, beggin' You please Lord, don't leave me alone!

Ok, this is a massive paragraph! Try splitting it up a bit. I'd also make the lyrics separate and perhaps in italics so it's clear they they aren't part of the story.

Sure, at first that ride was a bit traumatic, but afterwards I began to look forward to our next quad ride. I realized that I shouldn’t have been freaking out so much and overthinking everything. I just had to take a moment to stop, think, and proceed (sometimes with caution); do something that calms me down. After this experience, we started doing more rides in unknown areas and I enjoyed them more each time. I still do get a little scared to begin with, but I just remember (as cliche as it sounds) you’ve just gotta keep calm and carry on.

A nice ending to tie it all together.

A good start here! I think just a few edits to help with the flow and that should help :)

Hope this helped!

Icy




Maryah says...


The prompt of the essay was to write a personal narrative about a memorable experience we had. Also, I did have the lyrics in italics :P it was 11:30 at night where I pasted this in from my google docs and YWS doesn't save the format -_-! Also, it made sense to me that once I found out we were going on a long ride that I realized I should probably grab extra supplies but it probably doesn't make sense to the readers lol




I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest