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16+ Language

The Echoes of Summer

by Tenyo


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Sure, I'll be driving up there 
around the 12th, see you then.
Can do. I've got the kids 
but I'm sure they won't mind.
Hey, are going dancing tonight?
It's pretty crazy, there might be 
a bit more space in the pool.
Oops that was meant for my 
mum. I can totally do it again 
tomorrow if you want to?
Lizzy said she told you in person. 
Apparently you volunteered to 
bring custard creams.
By the well at three?
I don't want to go into a room full 
of people and be the only one 
dressed fancy.
Karate is cancelled tonight, so 
we'll be at the gym instead.
You treadmilling or doing track?
Drop me a text I'll meet you there.
We just need to get the contract 
signed and then we'll be good 
to move next month.
I'm not sure. Last I heard Harry 
was heading back from Switz.
Be around eight, not sure how 
much I'll do, just want to make 
the most of it while it's open.
Should probably skip it tonight, 
seeing mum tomorrow, don't want 
to take the chance.
Kids seem to like it, I'd say that's 
a win. Give them two weeks they'll 
be sick of strawberry sponge.
Miss you too.
Gonna be an epic housewarming 
when all this is over.
Like a ghost town. Got some 
great pictures, I'll send them over.
Figured I'd text you whilst I've got 
signal. Good morning!
F--k I was meant to pick those 
books up before they closed. Are 
you sure?
Boarder has been blocked, 
holding out here for the next 
three weeks. Shouldn't be too 
long.
Miss you too.
Come downstairs and look for 
it yourself, lazy sod.
You'd have loved it. We can go 
there again when you're back.
You should call Grandma, she's 
getting pretty lonely.
Completely bust. Better to cut 
our losses now. No use putting 
gold on a sinking boat, y'know.
Hey guys, letting you know the 
wedding has been postponed. 
Probably going to move it to
August but we'll see what happens.
If I have to eat another strawberry 
sponge cake I'm gonna puke.
I don't know where she's planning 
to go, the roads are blocked.
Yeh, he pretends he's fine with 
it but you know what he's like.
Happy Birthday! Can't wait to see 
you in person!
It's fine, just think of summer, 
we're going to be sleeping under 
the stars in a field of daisies.
Not to worry you, I got a call from 
Dad, Grandma is in hospital. Will 
update you soon.
You're kidding me?! What are we 
going to do for another three 
weeks?
Hey open your windows, I've 
got something for you!
Ever feel like you just wanna scream?
I beat my record, shame you couldn't 
see it. I reckon I'll be able to do 
the half marathon by next year.
Pick up your phone, it's important.
Foot bath. FOOT bath. Although. 
Food bath could be interesting too.
Wedding is cancelled till further 
notice. Sorry to anyone who
already booked travel.
Have you seen the latest episode?
F-k it was dark. Genuinely thought 
they where gonna kill the rabbit.
Just checking in, give me a call 
when you're free.
Got out yesterday. She's doing fine 
but Dad's going to stay with her 
for a week or so just to be sure.
What's the weather like out there?
Get some strawberry jam while 
you're out, will you?
Mum? I think we need to talk.
Hey, don't freak out, okay. Is Janey with you?
How far away is switzerland?
Are we allowed outside yet?
You there?
When do we get to go visit Grandma?
Has anyone seen Janey?
Are you coming home soon?
You there?

Hey, pick up your phone. 


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Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:50 pm
Magebird wrote a review...



Hi there, Tenyo! I'm here to review your work - I just had to check it out after I saw that it was a series of text messages. I've actually tried writing a chatfic before and have read a few myself, so I thought it would be cool seeing how an entirely original work handled the medium.

From my initial read-through of this work, it looks like the story is told through a single person's texts to a group people. There's several different issues at hand: an upcoming wedding, the texter's grandma in the hospital, and the disappearance of Janey at the very end. It also looks like the conversations take place in both private messages and group chats, since some of them are much more personal while others reference large groups. You mentioned on your wall that it's a fragmented narrative, and I can definitely see that - it's like miniature snapshots of a person's life.

This is honestly one of the coolest works that I've seen on YWS. Experimental styles are always fun things to read, but this work was especially enjoyable! I love how I started reading it with absolutely no context and finished it with a very good idea of one person's life - as well as their interactions with the people around them. I'm also really desperate to see more of their life, even though I know this is probably a one-off piece.

My one critique of it is something that both @RavenLord and @StudentAH mentioned in their reviews: the current formatting makes it a little hard to determine just who is sending the messages. I know you intended for this to be in a list format, but I think it might be a good idea to change up the formatting so it's a little easier to read. You can also have some fun to try copying the style of text messages, If you do the formatting right, you don't even have to reveal the names of the characters besides Janey's at the very end - you can have the texter have nicknames for all of their contacts/their group chats.

Here's an example of how I did the formatting in a texting chapter I wrote of a fic last year, since I think it might be the kind of thing you were looking for:

Spoiler! :
Peter → Ian
[Text]


7:21 AM

Peter
hey!! i hope you like ur new phone

Ian
I do.

Peter
yay :)

7:37 AM

Peter

have you traded phone numbers with anyone yet??
if timmy has a phone u should get his


(The original texter, if you don't want to name them, can be called me. You can also get rid of that part up at the top; I just needed that in the story because I wanted to clarify that someone was using a messaging app as opposed to Discord.)

Adding in the time the message is sent might also add a fun element to the story, too - it helps gives another little insight into your character's lives, without them outright saying if they're morning, afternoon or evening texters.

Other than that, I really love this work! If you post anything else like it, please tag me. This is a really cool way of storytelling, and I'd love to see more of it!

Image




Tenyo says...


Hey Mage!
Thank you for the review! I'm glad you liked some parts of it. It looks like I fell short a lot by not defining the characters better so I think I'm going to give it a full rework but put a lot more focus on the individuals involved. I'll also do my best to try and keep that progression from having no context to having that idea of someone's life, that's probably one of the things I like most too!



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Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:49 am
StudentAH says...



I agree with RavenLord's review. Sometimes when I write stories, I want to keep it ambiguous and see if anyone can figure it out. I intentionally leave out a lot of stuff that would otherwise clue the reader in. But what I don't often realize is that while it seems "figure-out-able" to me, its because I have the information in my head that the readers wouldn't have.

So overall, I read through it and tried to figure out, but couldn't make sense of much of it at all. Maybe different fonts, font colors, or positions on the screen would help us determine who is talking without explicitly giving it away or using something silly like "Person A."

Because the ending made my hair stand up on end. I really wish I knew where the story was going so I could be prepared for that. I can't tell if the two people are lovers, if its their wedding (though I doubt it because they would know if their own wedding is cancelled!), if they were going to a wedding and were each other's dates. Who has kids, and do the children like to hang out with the other person? I really would have liked to get to know these characters more.

It also seemed like a third person entered the chat for a little bit. If you had maybe had left-justified and right-justified text, they could have been center.

I really like the idea behind this, though, and I would have liked to know what the story behind it is!




Tenyo says...


Hey StudentAH,
Thank you for the review! I do really like that idea of having the different messages in different font colours, that could be really cool to play with aesthetically, especially if I put them in different positions.
I put more thought into the overall theme- the almost disintegration of plans falling apart- at the detriment of having clearly defined characters. I guess I thought that part was less important, so I'll take your suggestions and try re-doing it but with better defined characters.



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Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:23 am
RavenLord wrote a review...



Hi, Tenyo! RavenLord here with a review for ya.
So I love how you told this story through texts. There aren't a lot of text message works out there; that kind of thing is really hard to pull off well. There's definitely some stuff to improve on with this piece, and I'll get into that now.

First, it's very, very difficult to tell who is talking/texting. Because of this and the fact that you jump through time a bit, the story is lost as the reader scrambles to identify what exactly is going on. It would help if you put just an initial and colon before the text, plus a date every now and then to show time passing. Stories told through text messages need very specific formatting to work well.

Second, there is a vernacular in texting, which often tells you something about the character's personality. For example, you could transform "Just checking in, give me a call when you're free" into "just chckin in, gv me a call when ur free :)" or remove punctuation. Without texting vernacular, the texts feel more like a simple stream of dialogue. Don't be afraid to play around with emojis and gifs! Those are popular forms of text communication nowadays.

Those are my main critiques for you. My last one is that I think you could fill out these echoes and give them a bit more substance; while there's definitely a compelling story in there, the time jumps are so common that we don't see a lot of the really important moments. I understand that this often comes with the format of a text-story, but clarity is very important when you only have so many words to work with.

Like I said, text message stories are very hard to pull off. You gave this one a valiant effort, and I'd love to read a revision of this story to get the full scoop on what happened that summer. There's definitely a lot of chemistry and compelling emotion being shown even through these texts, and I believe you could really brush this up if you took the time! I hope you found my feedback helpful :D Happy RevMo and happy writing!

Wishing you the very best,
RavenLord




Tenyo says...


Hey RavenLord
Thank you for the review! I hadn't actually considered the specific writers of each message to be important, I guess it was meant to be more of an echo chamber of loosely connected messages, but by the general feedback it looks like actually this is something I should have paid more attention to. I'll give it another go with your suggestions and hopefully come out with something more coherent.




A ruler leads by example, not force.
— Sun Tzu