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My eyes snapped open. I was in a girl's bedroom. I looked around but didn't see a girl. Where I was and what I was doing here I could only guess. My head felt like I had gone a few rounds in an MMA octagon. I swung my legs out of the bed and noticed they were shorter. My feet were also smaller. Then I noticed what I was wearing. It was a frilly nightgown. I saw some hair on my shoulder and used my hand to follow the brown strands up to my own scalp. I felt my vision get blurry. I ran over to the mirror on the other side of the room. The cute girl I saw in it copied me as I waved and made faces. She was me. My head and heart pounded in a disjointed rhythm. I could feel a scream of panic welling up from my stomach. But before I could there was a knock at the door. I jumped about a foot in the air from the surprise.

"Emily? Are you awake? It's time to leave soon, so get ready to go," a woman's voice said. The owner of the voice sounded like she was used to being in charge.

"I'll be right out," I heard myself saying. My voice was a higher pitch but somehow felt familiar. I realized I was going to have to get ready. Where is this person taking me anyways?

I decided I wasn't going to gain any answers from an almost empty room. That is odd, I decided. There's almost nothing here but it still has a lived in quality to it. There's no dust and the floor is clean. People clearly live here, where ever here is.
I walked over to a large closet and opened it. Inside were some clothes. This should be obvious for anyone who has ever opened a closet. The problem was these clothes were for girls. Until today at least I was not one.  I stared at the closet in the hopes some answers would come to me.

None did.

So I grabbed a pale green blouse and a white skirt. Suddenly it was like my body knew what to do.  Before I knew what was happening I was dressed.  It was like my body had been doing this its entire life.  Maybe it has, I thought shuddering as I did. So, why don't I remember?

"Emily! Get out here now!"

"In a minute! I have to, uh, brush my teeth."

"Well hurry up or you'll miss your flight."

I quickly did what I had to do. Then I walked outside of the room, cautiously.  Clearly someone's fucking with me. This stuff doesn't just happen. Don't say anything to anyone, right? Figure this out and go back to a life where I'm just me again. Good show, old bean! I walked down hall way to a flight of stairs and at the bottom was a woman. She was middle aged with short hair. It wasn't grey yet but I could tell it wanted to go that way. I wondered if she would dye it when it did. She seemed a kind of person who would. Her face was grimacing with impatience and her arms were crossed. She seemed like a self important person. She was stylishly dressed.

"There you are! Let's go! Your father has already left and will meet us at the airport before we have to catch our own flight,"

"Uh, yeah sure. Let's get going," I said giving a thumbs up.

"Glad to see you're coming around on your new school," she said. "I'm sorry your father and I can't take you with us but bringing you with us to another country just wouldn't work. You don't even know the language. " To be fair to this woman she did seem to be genuinely apologetic. I judged this to be a rare show of emotion. Just a hunch.

Oh fuck like I really want to go to a school.

"Oh sure, I guess I don't have much of a choice," I said shrugging.

"Well that's a poor attitude, young lady,"

"Well it's the one you're getting," I said in a mocking tone. As usual the words just slipped right out of my mouth. Typically people like when I'm flip…as long as I'm not doing it to them.

The woman reacted predictably. Her eyes went hard and she gestured to the door. "Get in the car," she said through gritted teeth. I figured I might as well go with the flow. I stepped outside and realized I was in a pretty dang swanky neighborhood.  I saw mountainous hedges. Maybe it was my new smaller stature. The driveway had a loop. A real friggin' loop. And parked right out in front was a limousine. It was black with tinted windows.

"What the fuck," I silently mouthed. A driver was holding the door for me. That didn't happen the last time and only other time I rode in a limo. I got in trying to tell myself this wasn't real this was someone else's life. I ran my hands into my hair like I usually do when frustrated. Of course I wasn't used to the sheer volume of hair. My hand got slightly stuck. The woman got in to the car as well.

"Stop fussing, Emily," she said sitting down across from me.  

I folded my arms on my chest. Or at least tried to. I realized I wouldn't be able to do that either. At least not in a way that made me feel comfortable. I was intensely not comfortable no matter what occurred during this ride or at the end of it. Not that those things wouldn't be uncomfortable. I was riding in a car with a woman who I guess was supposed to be my mother. We were on our way to an airport to meet with a man who I guess was supposed to be my father.

I just hope I can fake it for a while.
I've had this one rattling around in my head for a while...It's taken me a while to write it because the structure of the world it takes place in seems to keep shifting. This should be an interesting story I think. It was a tough one...but I think I learned some from this one.

The best parts are yet to come!

EDIT 12/8/12: Needed to fix the italics.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013   General Artist
BTW- sorry for concentrating on negatives. Doesn't mean I don't find merits. Just faster for me to do it this way, pointing out weaknesses and trusting your ability to know your strengths and use them to advantage.
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! This is the kind of feedback I need. You're pretty good at this.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013   General Artist
Thank you! I appreciate the compliment and you're taking the crit in the spirit it was intended, as helpful feedback. Had lots of time to practice. :)
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013   General Artist
Hits the ground running (in media rez). Slowly rising tension starts with a bang from the start as in a short story, but the slope is gradual and even - goes nowhere - and does not end on a strong dramatic point that justifies reading to the end. That is, the end does not satisfy. In this it sets up a pattern that could prove episodic, which is a red flag.

Of course, if you can string along the reader, convincing him the reward is just over there in the next chapter, hehe, you will have accomplished the writer's main purpose. Have to say, however, you didn't hook me. Why?

1) who is the main character and why should anyone care what is happening to him/her? (Reader identification).
2) story questions - while you posed some, you didn't really answer them - which makes no never mind until the reader identifies with and has compassion for the main character.
3) writing style: a) too much passive voice and non-specific verb-forms. Things like "it was full of girl's clothes" could be made active "girl's clothes filled it." This example also has the advantage of replacing "was" (passive and non-specific) with "filled" (active and specific). b) Too many one sentence paragraphs. This is a form of emphasis. Use it more than once and you deaden the effect. c) genre confusion and genre cues - this opening confuses methods of short story writing with methods of building a novel. If it's a short story and you start in the middle of the story, you have got to be very clever about making your character sympathetic and worthy of attention - fast - because the inciting event is either happening or has already happened. If it is a novel, you have to set the stage well before you plunge into the inciting event.
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Who is the main character is a very good question. I'm glad you asked because it is a central one. I won't be spoiling it for you though. As for why I haven't expressed it in the story...well that's because the main character doesn't know and doesn't realize it. As an outside observer the reader can find the holes that the character creates in their own logic that they don't even know are present. People in unfamiliar situations will fill in the gaps how they can. We are not dealing with an objective narrator here. As a reader of the story one is at the mercy of "Emily"'s opinions and observations. You are seeing the world as she does. What happens from "her" point of view may not be what is actually happening. Or maybe it is...hee hee hee.

As far as genre confusion and cues, I admit I see your point. It is probably due to the fact that I don't spend much time thinking about how different stories are structured. I suppose that makes me undisciplined in my writing styles. I'm not trying to say "Oh look at me I'm a rebel going against the grain. I'm making trouble for the establishment." I just write the way I think a story should go. Or the way the story takes me. It won't be all cliffhangers.

But it doesn't start at the middle, it starts at the beginning. Our narrator wakes up in a bed with fuzzy memories and can't get a handle on their situation before they are whisked away to an airport. The landscape is constantly changing under the feet of the narrator and therefore the reader also has the same issue. I want the reader to keep guessing because the character doesn't know what's going to happen next either.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013   General Artist
I thought for sure that I had sent you the link to Stein on Writing, but can't find it in these comments. So here it is [link]

It's also posted in this weeks journal, with other reference material. It's in my scribd.com WRITING collection. I have several collections for writing and illustration accessible from the resource center in the NEWEST DEVIATIONS module on my profile page.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013   General Artist
It does indeed start in the middle not at the beginning. This has to do with the structure of the dramatic curve, not with anything else.

When a story plunges into a story problem at the outset, it is starting in the middle of the story,or in other words, after the beginning. By this logic, it is possible to start after the beginning as well. So, counting starting at the beginning, as well, there are three kinds of openings: those that start at, before or after the beginning of the story. Sounds a little silly, I know.

The dramatic terminology for starting after the beginning, or in the middle of the story, is "In media rez," as i said. I took it for granted that you would understand the reference.

The arts are divided between knowledge and skill. Performers gravitate to skill and critics, to knowledge. I say both need both. So, take some time to study dramatic fiction and save yourself the effort of re-inventing the wheel. Many have been down the path you're on and have gone way ahead. They have much to offer. There is much to learn from them.

In a previous comment I linked you to Sol Stein's, STEIN on WRITING, which is in my scribd.com collection. One of the most important things he has to say is right up front in the first few pages concerning the purpose or goal of writing and the relationship of the writer and the reader. It's worth reviewing.
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh I know what in media rez is.

Technically yeah there are things that happened before the story but...it should feel like the beginning. Because it is...sort of...technically. Dang it.

I should do more study of dramatic fiction you do have a good point there. Both need both.

I still have the link but thanks for it again. Lots of pages are missing but it is a preview after all...should probably get the whole book some time. Seems like a good one.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013   General Artist
Oh! No. Not a preview! It's complete (I'm reading it now). (I did have another that someone had redacted with yellow marker. Sheesh! I got rid of it. Hope I didn't accidentally link that one to you, originally. If so, my apologies. But the second is all good, promise!)

Anyway, don't take it hard. The writing is good and you obviously enjoy it. All I suggest is that it has greater potential to engage the reader, sooner and stronger, by attending to certain principles. Think of it like making love - consider the readers' pleasure, before your own.
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well it is a preview according to the part that says "pages 5 to 48 are not shown in this preview"...at least that's what it says when I click the link.

Also good point.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013   General Artist
It may be something goofy, as a different view for scribd.com members versus non-members. I wouldn't put it past them. If so, and you are not a member, you can remedy that by signing up. Basic membership is free, as here at DA. It allows you do open collections, copy material to them, and download and print for free. Sometimes you may be asked to upload content before downloading to balance out the give and take. Some material, too, is for sale.

I assure you that the link I'm using enabled me both to view the book on-line in its entirety and download it free of charge. Even the other copy that I found was complete, except for passages being blanked out.

Anyway, this is the only explanation I can come up with to explain the discrepancy.
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:iconsol-caninus:
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013   General Artist
Which link are you clicking?
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:iconjessthemess88:
JessTheMess88 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting...

Oh one thing though, on here the html or bbcode or whatever the heck it's called (I've heard it called different things on different sites) is <> </> not [] [/] so like, there's a bunch of italics parts that aren't italicized right >.<
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Oops! Good call! I will change that soon.
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:iconloadingmarmitelover:
LoadingMarmiteLover Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
Seems interesting. Watched.
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:iconon2xsecretprobation:
On2XSecretProbation Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! I hope you like the rest of it...and I have lots of other stuff too!
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