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Author Topic: Maniacs, Sci Fi  (Read 354 times)
leewise
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« on: October 02, 2018, 04:28:58 PM »

CHAPTER  1
   It was a typical trip to the store. We went to one of those big box stores that have everything. 
Summer vacation had just begun.  While my husband waited for us, I went with my two daughters Sarah
who is 9, and Megan age 6, to the bathroom.  Sarah went in the stall by herself.  She is independent
and likes to show that she is.  She is the spitting image of me.  She has short, wavy brown hair and
brown eyes. Her sister Megan isn’t quite as independent as her. Megan has long brown hair that she
never wants to cut.  She has blue eyes like her daddy.  Megan had me go in the stall with her.  I was
grabbing my purse down from the hook on the door when the lights suddenly turned off. 
   Sarah, who was in the stall right next to us, started screaming.  “Hang on honey!” I shouted as I
grabbed my cell phone out for the flashlight app I had on it.  The emergency lights hadn’t come on yet.  I
fumbled the latch open and held Megan’s hand as we left the stall.  I flashed the light into the crack in
the stall where Sarah was.  “Unlock the door babe.”  She was crying but managed to unlock the door. 
   “Come on girls!”  I put hand sanitizer on both of their hands.  It seems funny now that I was in
the state of mind to do that, but I didn’t know what I was about to face.
   I opened the bathroom door and my husband John was waiting out there.  The emergency lights
came on at that time.  “It’s about time!”  He said.
   ”What’s going on?”   I asked.
   “I’m not sure.  Maybe a squirrel on a transformer.   Who knows!”
   That’s when the screaming began.  We were in the back of the store luckily.  The girls
immediately clutched my arms.  The screaming began from the front of the store.  People started
running our way.  “What the Hell?”  John said.
   The sound of gunshots echoed throughout the store.  “Emergency exit!” John cried while
pointing at the exit sign nearby.
   We ran out the emergency exit.  The sun was shining outside and it looked like a beautiful day. 
We got ready to run to the front of the store to our car.  “Wait!” My husband shouted.  We heard
shouting in front of the store. 
Two people came running from the side of the store.  “The woods!  Hurry!”  They said.  “Run to
the woods!”
   We didn’t think twice.  There were walking trails behind the store.  We ran to those.  When we
were safely on the trails, I asked one of the ladies who had told us to run, “What’s going on?"
   “I don’t know!”  She said crying.
   “We were walking to our car when suddenly there were all kinds of people that just started
attacking other people.” The lady exclaimed.
   “How many people?  Did they all have guns?”  My husband asked.  Meanwhile, Megan and
Sarah were crying.  I had them collect some pinecones to keep them busy since I figured that the cops
should be there at any minute.
   “We didn’t see any guns, except for the one guy who ran in the store trying to protect himself
from them.  There were at least twelve of them outside.  I don’t know how many were inside.  The
strange thing is that they were all different.” The lady said.
   “What do you mean different?”  I asked.
   “There were old men, teenagers, ladies with kids.  People like that.” She explained.
   “Maybe a cult?” I said.
   Maniacal laughter came from the store area.  “Let’s move further into the woods.”  I suggested.
   “We definitely should.”  One of the ladies agreed.  My phone rang.  It was my sister Cathy.
   I answered.  “Oh Thank God!” She said hysterically.  “Are you guys okay?”
   “We are.   Wow this got on the news quickly.”  I said.  “Do you know what’s going on?  We were
guessing that it’s a cult.”   
   “Aleisha, this is going on everywhere.  The world’s gone crazy.  It’s all over the news.  It’s like a
bunch of people just snapped and started killing everyone around them.” Cathy cried.
   “Is it terrorists?”  I asked.
   “I don’t know.  It’s everyday people: Cops, doctors, cashiers, mothers, fathers, grandparents,
people that don’t seem to know each other.  It’s all over the news. “Oh my God!”  She gasped.
   “What?” I asked, afraid to know the answer, but knowing I needed to.
   “It’s showing pictures, there are so many deaths!”
   “Wow!”  I said.  I was at a loss for words.
   “Hurry home, but be careful.  I think that others with weapons may be working with them.”
   “We definitely will be careful.”  I promised.  “Love you.”
   “Love you too.”  I hung up.  I turned to everyone.  They were all staring at me waiting for the
news.  I relayed the information.  I told the girls also, because I wanted them to know what we were up
against.  I needed them to know how serious this was since they had been fighting while I was on the
phone and we couldn’t have any of that.  Megan began to cry.  I was about to comfort her when we
heard a branch snap near the beginning of the trail.  We all got really quiet, including Megan.
   “We should keep going.”  One of the ladies we were with said.  I’m assuming they were mother
and daughter.  I never did ask them that or their names.
   “I think we should hide.  They’re coming too quickly.”  John said.  I agreed.  There was no way
the girls could outrun whoever was coming down that hill at that speed.  We hid.  To my relief, the girls
stayed completely quiet.
   Meanwhile, the ladies we had been with started running down the trail.  We could hear the
branches and leaves crackling under their feet.  Suddenly, a sound I will never forget came barreling
down the trail, feet away from where we hid.  It was a sound of crazy laughter.  The sound of animals
excited over chasing their prey.  A man in a business suit and a girl who looked around 16 rushed by us
hurrying towards the ladies who were not too far ahead.  Soon after we heard screaming and more
laughter then silence.  My daughters had their hands over their ears and were crying.  I was also crying. 
“Put your phone on silent.”  I whispered to John quickly as we both silenced our phones.
   We waited around two hours in that spot.  That was the longest two hours ever!  We wanted to
get the girls calmed down and give the place time to clear out.  We discussed going to get the car but
decided that it would be too dangerous.  Finally, my husband said that he would go have a peek down
the trail a little ways.  I really didn’t want him to have to go alone, but we had to make sure it was safe
for the girls and someone had to stay with them and keep them safe and quiet. 
   Soon he returned.  I had barely heard him walking.  “I think it’s safe to go.”  He whispered.  “We
have to be completely quiet.  Watch every step.  No talking.  If we hear ANY sound, we hide again. 
Everyone understand the plan?” We all agreed.
   Getting down the trail seemed to take forever, with the careful footsteps and our hearts
pounding.  Having done that trail before though, it was probably just a 20 minute walk.  We reached the
end of the trail which came out into a parking lot.  Once again, my husband had us hide while he
checked out the parking lot.  I noticed my phone light up in my pocket, indicating that I was getting a
phone call.  I answered quietly while the girls did a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.  It was my
sister once again checking on us.  I told her that we were at that parking lot and may take a car home. 
We lived 30 minutes away from the spot that we were stranded. 
“No!”  She shouted.  Even the girls heard her.  They stopped their game and stared at me.  It
actually startled me and I jumped in the air.  “They’re attracted to sounds.  Remember I told you that
people with guns are working with them?  They will shoot at you! It’s too loud of a sound.”
   “How are we supposed to get home?”  I asked.
   “Sneak out of the city.”  She said.  “Call me when you get to Plumington.”  Plumington was the
next town over.  It was a small country town just like the one we lived in.   “It’s the only way.”  Just then
I heard the sound of leaves crunching.
   “I’ll call you back.”  I hung up the phone and laid down with my girls.  John came into sight. 
“Who were you talking to?”  He asked quietly when he got next to me.  “I could hear you as soon as I
came into the woods.”
   I hadn’t realized that I was talking so loudly to my sister.  I vowed to myself that I would be
quieter and told my husband what Cathy had said.  His face turned pale.  “What do you think?”  He
asked. 
   I told him that she knew more than either of us what was going on so maybe we should listen to
her.  So, of course, we both consulted the internet.  The internet confirmed what she had said, along
with thousands of conspiracy theories. I looked up what some others were doing to stay safe and the
main thing people were saying was to stay inside. That was some great advice if you were already at
home!
   John sighed and handed a water bottle to the girls.  “Drink this.”  Megan drank first and handed
the bottle to me.  I handed it to Sarah.  “Eww, I don’t want Megan’s germs!” 
   “Seriously?”  I said wiping the bottle opening off with my shirt.  “That’s what you’re worried
about right now?”  She took a drink, then I did and finally John. 
   “That was actually the only water I could find that was unopened.  I didn’t take any of the open
ones just in case what’s happening around us is contagious.”
   “What is happening daddy?”  Megan asked.
   “I don’t know honey.  I do know we need to start moving so we can get home before nighttime. 
Let’s start walking.” 
   Of course, this was followed by: “I have to go to the bathroom!”  Megan said. 
Also, “You always have to go to the bathroom!”  Said by Sarah.
   “I’m hungry!”  My oldest daughter stated.  My husband and I looked at each other.  “One thing
at a time.”  I said.  First, we took care of the bathroom problem.   I made both of them go to the
bathroom.  Sarah protested saying that she didn’t have to go to the bathroom, but she did.
   “Okay,” John began.  “I’ll check in the cars quickly for a snack, but I have to be quick.  I don’t
want to be out in the open that long.” 
   While John checked the cars, the girls and I ran to the front of the parking lot where there was a
tiny area of woods near the street.  I listened for any sounds then we ducked into the woods to wait for
Logged
Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 06:37:56 AM »

CHAPTER  1
   It was a typical trip to the store. We went to one of those big box stores that have everything. 
Summer vacation had just begun.  While my husband waited for us, I went with my two daughters Sarah
who is 9, and Megan age 6, to the bathroom.
  ( This writing is too plain. I think you need to refer to the books you read and study them closer - see how the authors bring characters and setting and narrative to life, and learn lots of tools. If the whole manuscript like this, I think you have some work to do ) Sarah went in the stall by herself.  She is independent and likes to show that she is.  She is the spitting image of me. (these aren't bad as the voice of character works for me. And we do get characterization for the little girl but the following description is pretty plain > )   She has short, wavy brown hair and brown eyes. Her sister Megan isn’t quite as independent as her. Megan has long brown hair that she never wants to cut.  She has blue eyes like her daddy.  Megan had me go in the stall with her.  I was grabbing my purse down from the hook on the door when the lights suddenly turned off.  My own ragged gasp was all I could hear for one moment then
   Sarah, who was in the stall right next to us, started screaming. ( The acoustics of the tile and concrete room making her voice deafening. My eardrums vibrated painfully with the screeching soprano tones, but I was used to it. ) “Hang on honey!” I shouted as I
grabbed fished around in my handbag ( Need some more interesting verbs)  for my cell phone out for the flashlight app I had on it. ( Did she turn the flashlight app on? Describe he beam of welcome white light bouncing off the stainless steel of the  half and full flush button or similar ) The emergency lights hadn’t come on yet.  I fumbled the latch open and held Megan’s hand as we left the stall.  I flashed the light into the crack in the stall where Sarah was.  “Unlock the door babe.”  She was crying ( wailing sobbing, sniffing, etc with something else added will give reader a stronger , more vivid experience. It's very plain language ) but managed to unlock the door. 
   “Come on girls!”  I put hand sanitizer on both of their hands.  It seems funny now that I was in
the state of mind to do that, but I didn’t know what I was about to face.
( Past tense doesn't mean you need to tell the story as if you're really telling it in the future. It does break the reader out of the scene imho. And kind of breaks the 4th wall. If you have a good reason for talking to reader , fair enough but most people don't have a reason - they just naturally do this thing , not as a choice but as a first draft error of judgement. I have done it then thought better of it. So I'd think hard about whether it's right for the story / has a purpose , because right now it doesn't add anything positive to the writing, only takes away the sense of things happening 'now'. )

   I opened the bathroom door and my husband John was waiting out there( Another example of super plain language. You need to think of using the five senses, etc, ways to make the reader see the scene and be in it. Like, wht I imagine would be 'I hold my phone out, shining the beam at the door way as I open it. The doors howl is extra loud in the hush of the building. The light swings into the blackness and I see a figure and my heart flips beneath my ribs. But the light now on the persons face, I see it's John cheeky grin. etc )

The emergency lights
came on at that time.  “It’s about time!”  He said.
   ”What’s going on?”   I asked.
   “I’m not sure.  Maybe a squirrel on a transformer.   Who knows!”
   That’s when the screaming began.  ( Plain language telling and 4th wall issue talking to reader. 'High pitched scream pierces a murmuring of voices and the sound of shuffling feet from the store. More horrified cries burst over the other sounds  and riding them like a surfer balancing a wave etc Not a great metaphor from me but it's just an example of how to make this scene feel real ) We were in the back of the store luckily.  The girls
immediately clutched my arms.  The screaming began from the front of the store.  People started
running our way.  “What the Hell?”  John said.
   The sound of gunshots echoed throughout the store.  “Emergency exit!” John cried while
pointing at the exit sign nearby.
   We ran out the emergency exit. ( We bolted for that glowing green exit light, me holding stuffing the phone into my bag and dragging Megan along by her tiny wrist, and john pulling ( forgotten other daughters name ) along.  )  The sun was shining blinding after the near pitch of the bathrooms hallway ) outside and it looked like a beautiful day( We can't really see what a beautiful day looks like. I mean we can, but you haven't given us anything here , like a feeling or observation to make that bland description have depth. Like, 'It looked like a beautiful day. Whatever was going on inside hadn't yet affected the peaceful carpark )
 
We got ready to run to the front of the store to our car.  “Wait!” My husband shouted.  We heard
shouting in front of the store. 
Two people ( An elderly man with a cane, and a young woman with a black pixie cut and a long skirt came running from the side of the store, breathless and their eyes wide.  “The woods!  Hurry!”  They said.  “Run to
the woods!”
   We didn’t think twice.  There were walking trails behind the store.  We ran to those.  When we
were safely on the trails ( concealed in the shadows of the woods, I asked one of the ladies who had told us to run, “What’s going on?"
   “I don’t know!”  She said crying.
   “We were walking to our car when suddenly there were all kinds of people that just started
attacking other people.” The lady exclaimed.
   “How many people?  Did they all have guns?”  My husband asked.  Meanwhile, Megan and
Sarah were crying.  I had them collect some pinecones to keep them busy since I figured that the cops
should be there at any minute.
   “We didn’t see any guns, except for the one guy who ran in the store trying to protect himself
from them.  There were at least twelve of them outside.  I don’t know how many were inside.  The
strange thing is that they were all different.” The lady said.
   “What do you mean different?”  I asked.
   “There were old men, teenagers, ladies with kids.  People like that.” She explained.
   “Maybe a cult?” I said.
   Maniacal laughter came from the store area.  “Let’s move further into the woods.”  I suggested.
   “We definitely should.”  One of the ladies agreed.  My phone rang.  It was my sister Cathy.
   I answered.  “Oh Thank God!” She said hysterically.  “Are you guys okay?”
   “We are.   Wow this got on the news quickly.”  I said.  “Do you know what’s going on?  We were
guessing that it’s a cult.”   
   “Aleisha, this is going on everywhere.  The world’s gone crazy.  It’s all over the news.  It’s like a
bunch of people just snapped and started killing everyone around them.” Cathy cried.
   “Is it terrorists?”  I asked.
   “I don’t know.  It’s everyday people: Cops, doctors, cashiers, mothers, fathers, grandparents,
people that don’t seem to know each other.  It’s all over the news. “Oh my God!”  She gasped.
   “What?” I asked, afraid to know the answer, but knowing I needed to.
   “It’s showing pictures, there are so many deaths!”
   “Wow!”  I said.  I was at a loss for words.
   “Hurry home, but be careful.  I think that others with weapons may be working with them.”
   “We definitely will be careful.”  I promised.  “Love you.”
   “Love you too.”  I hung up.  I turned to everyone.  They were all staring at me waiting for the
news.  I relayed the information.  I told the girls also, because I wanted them to know what we were up
against.  I needed them to know how serious this was since they had been fighting while I was on the
phone and we couldn’t have any of that.  Megan began to cry.  I was about to comfort her when we
heard a branch snap near the beginning of the trail.  We all got really quiet, including Megan.
   “We should keep going.”  One of the ladies we were with said.  I’m assuming they were mother
and daughter.  I never did ask them that or their names.
   “I think we should hide.  They’re coming too quickly.”  John said.  I agreed.  There was no way
the girls could outrun whoever was coming down that hill at that speed.  We hid.  To my relief, the girls
stayed completely quiet.
   Meanwhile, the ladies we had been with started running down the trail.  We could hear the
branches and leaves crackling under their feet.  Suddenly, a sound I will never forget came barreling
down the trail, feet away from where we hid.  It was a sound of crazy laughter.  The sound of animals
excited over chasing their prey.  A man in a business suit and a girl who looked around 16 rushed by us
hurrying towards the ladies who were not too far ahead.  Soon after we heard screaming and more
laughter then silence.  My daughters had their hands over their ears and were crying.  I was also crying. 
“Put your phone on silent.”  I whispered to John quickly as we both silenced our phones.
   We waited around two hours in that spot.  That was the longest two hours ever!  We wanted to
get the girls calmed down and give the place time to clear out.  We discussed going to get the car but
decided that it would be too dangerous.  Finally, my husband said that he would go have a peek down
the trail a little ways.  I really didn’t want him to have to go alone, but we had to make sure it was safe
for the girls and someone had to stay with them and keep them safe and quiet. 
   Soon he returned.  I had barely heard him walking.  “I think it’s safe to go.”  He whispered.  “We
have to be completely quiet.  Watch every step.  No talking.  If we hear ANY sound, we hide again. 
Everyone understand the plan?” We all agreed.
   Getting down the trail seemed to take forever, with the careful footsteps and our hearts
pounding.  Having done that trail before though, it was probably just a 20 minute walk.  We reached the
end of the trail which came out into a parking lot.  Once again, my husband had us hide while he
checked out the parking lot.  I noticed my phone light up in my pocket, indicating that I was getting a
phone call.  I answered quietly while the girls did a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.  It was my
sister once again checking on us.  I told her that we were at that ( say where it is, etc. Too Plain )parking lot and may take a car home. 

We lived 30 minutes away from the spot that we were stranded. 
“No!”  She shouted.  Even the girls heard her.  They stopped their game ( hands paused in fists mid air ) and stared gaped  at me with bulging eyes.  It actually startled me and I jumped in the air.  “They’re attracted to sounds.  Remember I told you that people with guns are working with them?  They will shoot at you! It’s too loud of a sound.”
   “How are we supposed to get home?”  I asked.
   “Sneak out of the city.”  She said.  “Call me when you get to Plumington.”  Plumington was the
next town over.  It was a small country town just like the one we lived in.   “It’s the only way.”  Just then
I heard the sound of leaves crunching.
   “I’ll call you back.”  I hung up the phone and laid down with my girls.  John came into sight. 
“Who were you talking to?”  He asked quietly when he got next to me.  “I could hear you as soon as I
came into the woods.”
   I hadn’t realized that I was talking so loudly to my sister.  I vowed to myself that I would be
quieter and told my husband what Cathy had said.  His face turned pale.  Grin ( you can do more of this stuff ) “What do you think?”  He asked. 
   I told him that she knew more than either of us what was going on so maybe we should listen to
her.  So, of course, we both consulted the internet.  The internet confirmed what she had said, along
with thousands of conspiracy theories. I looked up what some others were doing to stay safe and the
main thing people were saying was to stay inside. That was some great advice if you were already at
home!
   John sighed and handed a water bottle to the girls.  “Drink this.”  Megan drank first and handed
the bottle to me.  I handed it to Sarah.  “Eww, I don’t want Megan’s germs!” 
   “Seriously?”  I said wiping the bottle opening off with my shirt. ( good )  “That’s what you’re worried
about right now?”  She took a drink, ( screwing her face up with imaginary distaste )then I did and finally John. 
   “That was actually the only water I could find that was unopened.  I didn’t take any of the open
ones just in case what’s happening around us is contagious.”
   “What is happening daddy?”  Megan asked.
   “I don’t know honey.  I do know we need to start moving so we can get home before nighttime. 
Let’s start walking.” 
   Of course, this was followed by: “I have to go to the bathroom!”  Megan said. 
Also, “You always have to go to the bathroom!”  Said by Sarah.
   “I’m hungry!”  My oldest daughter stated.  My husband and I looked at each other.  “One thing
at a time.”  I said.  First, we took care of the bathroom problem.   I made both of them go to the
bathroom.  Sarah protested saying that she didn’t have to go to the bathroom, but she did.
   “Okay,” John began.  “I’ll check in the cars quickly for a snack, but I have to be quick.  I don’t
want to be out in the open that long.” 
   While John checked the cars, the girls and I ran to the front of the parking lot where there was a
tiny area of woods near the street.  I listened for any sounds then we ducked into the woods to wait for


It's engaging because of what is happening, and I like the action and the story. Only problem for me is the writing. It's plain and amateurish because of the lack of writing tools you have. There's no metaphors or similes, little use of the five senses etc. Description is bare and mostly flat. I believe you have a good story - but just need to learn ways to enrich your writing. I can sense the characters there - behind the emptiness of the plain writing. They want to shine and dance, they just need your help.  I wouldn't query at this stage as it reads like a first draft. But there's no shame in that. The hard part is good, the story. Good luck
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 12:38:57 PM by Pineapplejuice » Logged
leewise
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2018, 09:24:59 AM »

Thanks so much for the input. I will definitely put in some work on my story!!
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leewise
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2018, 12:03:37 PM »

Here are the first 5 pages, revised. I plan to do this for my whole book now that I looked at it through your perspective, thank you!

       As I stood in the stall waiting for my daughter Megan to finish using the bathroom, I closed my
eyes. It had been such a long week and this store was the last place I wanted to be. I could hear Megan
rattle on about a sequined skirt she had seen in the clothing section while walking by and how much she
would love it, while my other daughter Sarah complained about how Megan always talked when she
wanted to talk, from the stall beside us. I was ready to get out of there! I sighed and began to lean
against the wall but stopped myself, because although the stall was fairly clean, there were still some
nasty areas. The smell in the bathroom was that of disinfectant and the lighting was bright, a typical big
store bathroom.  Megan was zipping up her pants and I was about to unlatch the door when the lights
went out.
   
      Startled, I quickly grabbed for Megan’s hand. Sarah screamed in terror from her stall.  She
hates the dark. “Hold on honey, I’m coming!” Megan was gripping my hand so tight, I told her that
everything would be alright. “The emergency lights will come on any time.” I assured both girls. “Megan,
hold my purse. I need to use the light on my phone.” It was pitch black in there and I still needed to
unlatch the door. Megan grabbed my purse as I fumbled my phone out of my pocket. I found the
flashlight app and pointed it at the latch. The bright white light was a welcome to the darkness that we
stood in. Finally, Megan and I were free from the stall. I shined the light on Sarah’s door. “Can you see
the latch now honey?”

“Yes mama.” Sarah replied with a cry. She unlatched the door and quickly joined us outside the
stall. I noticed that Megan was still holding my purse, so I shined the light inside. I took out the hand
sanitizer and squirted a dab in each of our hands and then took my purse back and held Megan’s hand
while I had Sarah hook her arm through my purse which was now on my shoulder, so I could use the
phone to find our way out.  We then proceeded to the door to exit and find the last piece of our family,
John, my husband and the girls’ loving daddy. We opened the door and John was right outside of it.

“Finally!” John exclaimed. “I was about to go check on you guys!”

“Daddy, it was so dark and scary in there! I thought I would never find my way out!” Sarah
expressed.

“What’s going on?” I asked John.

“Not sure. Probably a squirrel on a transformer.” He replied.

The emergency lights finally came back on. There was a collective cheer of relief from all of
those around us and myself. “It’s about time.” I commented.

That’s when we heard screaming from the front of the store. The screams were piercing through
all the other sounds and you could hear gasps and people speaking frantically as others began dashing
towards us from the front of the store. The girls immediately clutched my arms almost making me drop
my phone which I hadn’t realized was still in my hand, the flashlight app still on. John grabbed Megan’s
hand as I quickly turned the app off and stuffed the phone into my pocket.  “The exit!” John said
pointing at the orange emergency exit sign. We both ran for the door gripping our daughters’ little
hands. Others followed us out the door. When we exited, the sun was shining so bright that it was a
shock to our eyes. The birds were singing and you could almost believe that what was happening inside
wasn’t really happening. But, I quickly snapped out of that.

We got ready to follow others to the front of the store, but John put out his hand and stopped
me. “Wait!” He demanded. I immediately heard startled screams of terror from the front of the store
where the parking lot was.

 An older and younger lady came running from the side of the store.  “The woods!  Hurry!”  They
shouted.  “Run to the woods!”

   We didn’t think twice.  There were walking trails behind the store.  We ran to those.  When we
were safely hidden amongst the trees on the trails, I asked one of the ladies who had told us to run,
“What’s going on?"

   “I don’t know!”  She cried.

   “We were walking to our car when suddenly there were all kinds of people that just started
attacking other people.” The lady exclaimed.

   “How many people?  Did they all have guns?”  My husband asked.  Meanwhile, Megan and
Sarah were still crying.  I had them collect some pinecones to keep them busy since I figured that the
cops should be there at any minute.

   “We didn’t see any guns, except for the one guy who ran in the store trying to protect himself
from them.  There were at least twelve of them outside.  I don’t know how many were inside.  The
strange thing is that they were all...different.” The lady remarked.

   “What do you mean different?”  I asked.
   
       “There were old men, teenagers, ladies with kids.  People like that.” She explained.
   
       “Maybe a cult?” I said.
   
       Maniacal laughter came from the store area.  “Let’s move further into the woods.”  I suggested.
   
      “We definitely should.”  One of the ladies agreed.  My phone rang.  I took it out of my pocket
and looked at the screen to see who was calling.  It was my sister Cathy.
   
      I answered.  “Oh Thank God!” She responded hysterically.  “Are you guys okay?”
   
     “We are.   Wow! This got on the news quickly.”  I stated.  “Do you know what’s going on?  We
were guessing that it’s a cult.”   
   
     “Aleisha, this is going on everywhere.  The world’s gone crazy.  It’s all over the news.  It’s like a
bunch of people just snapped and started killing everyone around them.” Cathy explained.
   
     “Is it terrorists?”  I asked.
   
     “I don’t know.  It’s everyday people: Cops, doctors, cashiers, mothers, fathers, grandparents,
people that don’t seem to know each other.  It’s all over the news. “Oh my God!”  She gasped.
   
     “What?” I asked, afraid to know the answer, but knowing I needed to.
   
     “It’s showing pictures, there are so many deaths!”
   
     “Wow!”  I remarked.  I was at a loss for words.
   
     “Hurry home, but be careful.  I think that others with weapons may be working with them.”
   
     “We definitely will be careful.”  I promised.  “Love you.”
   
     “Love you too.”  I hung up and gathered my thoughts quickly then turned to face everyone. 
They were all staring at me waiting for the news.  I relayed the information.  I told the girls also, because
I wanted them to know what we were up against.  I needed them to know how serious this was since
they had been fighting while I was on the phone and we couldn’t have any of that.  Megan began to cry. 
I was about to comfort her when we heard a branch snap near the beginning of the trail.  We all got
really quiet, including Megan.

   “We should keep going.”  The older lady said to (I’m assuming) her daughter.  I never did ask
them that or their names.

   “I think we should hide.  They’re coming too quickly.”  John replied.  I agreed.  There was no way
the girls could outrun whoever was coming down that hill at that speed.  The four of us quickly hid,
ducking behind an oak tree with a wide base.  To my relief, the girls stayed completely quiet.
Meanwhile, the mother and daughter started running down the trail.  We could hear the
branches and leaves snapping under their feet.  Suddenly, a sound I will never forget came barreling
down the trail, feet away from where we hid.  It was a sound of maniacal laughter and yelps.  The sound
of animals excited over chasing their prey.  A balding man in a business suit and a girl who looked
around 16 rushed by us, hurrying towards the ladies who were not too far ahead.  Soon after, we heard
screaming and more excited laughter, then silence.  My daughters had their hands over their ears and
were crying.  I was also crying. 

        “Put your phone on silent.”  I whispered to John quickly as we both silenced our phones.

   We nervously waited around two hours in that spot.  That was the longest two hours ever!  We
wanted to get the girls calmed down and give the place time to clear out.  We discussed going to get the
car, but decided that it would be too dangerous.  Finally, my husband said that he would go have a peek
down the trail a little ways.  I really didn’t want him to have to go alone, but we had to make sure it was
safe for the girls and someone had to stay with them and keep them safe and quiet. 

   Soon he returned.  I had barely heard him walking.  “I think it’s safe to go.”  He whispered.  “We
have to be completely quiet.  Watch every step.  No talking.  If we hear ANY sound, we hide again. 
Everyone understand the plan?” We all agreed.

       Getting down the trail seemed to take forever, with careful footsteps and our hearts
pounding.  Having done that trail before though, it was probably just a 20 minute walk.  The worst part
was walking by the bodies of the two ladies. John had quietly prepared me for the sight and we had
both covered the girls eyes as we approached their bodies. My plan had been to look away, but I saw
the grisly scene. The ladies laid in 2 pools of blood, eyes wide open. The fear was still written upon their
faces. This was an image that I would not get out of my mind for the longest time and I don’t know if it
has fully left me.  I had never seen a dead body before. 

       We reached the end of the trail which came out into a parking lot.  Once again, my husband had
us hide while he checked out the parking lot.  I noticed my phone light up in my pocket, indicating that I
was getting a phone call.  I answered quietly while the girls did a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.  It was
my sister once again checking on us.  I told her that we were at the parking lot of the Ridge Road trails
behind the grocery store and may take a car home.  We lived 30 minutes away from the spot that we
were stranded. 

       “No!”  She shouted.  Even the girls heard her.  They stopped their game, hands paused in mid air
and stared at me.  It actually startled me also and I jumped in the air.  “They’re attracted to sounds. 
Remember I told you that people with guns are working with them?  They will shoot at you! It’s too loud
of a sound.”

   “Then, how are we supposed to get home?”  I asked.

       “Sneak out of the city.”  She said.  “Call me when you get to Plumington.”  Plumington was the
next town over.  It was a small country town just like the one we lived in.   “It’s the only way.”  Just then
I heard the sound of leaves crunching.

   “I’ll call you back.”  I hung up the phone and laid down with my girls.  John came into sight. 
“Who were you talking to?”  He asked quietly when he got next to me.  “I could hear you as soon as I
came into the woods.”
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Pineapplejuice
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2018, 10:07:03 PM »

Here are the first 5 pages, revised. I plan to do this for my whole book now that I looked at it through your perspective, thank you!

       As I stood in the stall waiting for my daughter Megan to finish using the bathroom, I closed my
eyes. It had been such a long week and this store was the last place I wanted to be. I could hear Megan
rattle on about a sequined skirt she had seen in the clothing section while walking by and how much she
would love it, while my other daughter Sarah complained about how Megan always talked when she
wanted to talk, from the stall beside us. I was ready to get out of there! I sighed and began to lean
against the wall but stopped myself, because although the stall was fairly clean, there were still some
nasty areas. The smell in the bathroom was that of disinfectant and the lighting was bright, a typical big
store bathroom
( this isn't descriptive writing. I can't see the bathroom as you aren't being vivid in your writing. There's no images or sounds coming from this paragraph. It is all telling. ) Megan was zipping up her pants and I was about to unlatch the door when the lights
went out.
   
      Startled, I quickly grabbed for Megan’s hand. Sarah screamed in terror from her stall.  She
hates the dark. “Hold on honey, I’m coming!” Megan was gripping my hand so tight, ( I felt my knuckles grinding together = use the five senses to show instead of tell )  I told her that
everything would be alright. “The emergency lights will come on any time.” I assured both girls. “Megan,
hold my purse. I need to use the light on my phone.” It was pitch black in there and I still needed to
unlatch the door. Megan grabbed my purse as I fumbled my phone out of my pocket. I found the
flashlight app and pointed it at the latch. The bright white light was a welcome to the darkness that we
stood in. Finally, Megan and I were free from the stall. I shined the light on Sarah’s door. “Can you see
the latch now honey?”

“Yes mama.” Sarah replied with a cry. She unlatched the door and quickly joined us outside the
stall. I noticed that Megan was still holding my purse, so I shined the light inside. I took out the hand
sanitizer and squirted a dab in each of our hands and then took my purse back and held Megan’s hand
while I had Sarah hook her arm through my purse which was now on my shoulder, so I could use the
phone to find our way out.  We then proceeded to the door to exit and find the last piece of our family,
John, my husband and the girls’ loving daddy. We opened the door and John was right outside of it.

“Finally!” John exclaimed. “I was about to go check on you guys!”

“Daddy, it was so dark and scary in there! I thought I would never find my way out!” Sarah
expressed.

“What’s going on?” I asked John.

“Not sure. Probably a squirrel on a transformer.” He replied.

The emergency lights finally came back on. There was a collective cheer of relief from all of
those around us and myself. “It’s about time.” I commented.

That’s when we heard screaming from the front of the store. The screams were piercing through
all the other sounds and you could hear gasps and people speaking frantically as others began dashing
towards us from the front of the store. The girls immediately clutched my arms almost making me drop
my phone which I hadn’t realized was still in my hand, the flashlight app still on. John grabbed Megan’s
hand as I quickly turned the app off and stuffed the phone into my pocket.  “The exit!” John said
pointing at the orange emergency exit sign. We both ran for the door gripping our daughters’ little
hands. Others followed us out the door. When we exited, the sun was shining so bright that it was a
shock to our eyes. The birds were singing and you could almost believe that what was happening inside
wasn’t really happening. But, I quickly snapped out of that.

We got ready to follow others to the front of the store, but John put out his hand and stopped
me. “Wait!” He demanded. I immediately heard startled screams of terror from the front of the store
where the parking lot was.

 An older and younger lady ( this isn't much of an improvement on 'two people'. Give them some specific, unique and identifying attributes so that our own imagination can bounce off your description. Like Stephen King say, 'good description starts on the page and ends in the mind of the reader' but there has to be something on the page. I'm not saying this particular detail of two people needs to be described in detail, just that it is way too basic to picture anything. Try to find a book that you've read, one which introduces a character , a stranger or passerby, and see how the writer adds something specific , body language, colour, mannerism to make this detail stand out and not read as black and white and two a dimensional fact . I just plucked a book off my shelf to give an example.

In The Girl On The Train, the MC is on a train and she describes a complete stranger behind her

'Someone in the seat behind me gives a sigh of helpless irritation.' ( We all can recall hearing a sigh like that, so it makes us believe what we are reading is real.

With the basic writing you're using this would be written as

'Someone behind me sighs.'




) came running from the side of the store.  “The woods!  Hurry!”  They
shouted.  “Run to the woods!”


   We didn’t think twice.  There were walking trails behind the store.  We ran to those.  When we
were safely hidden amongst the trees on the trails, I asked one of the ladies who had told us to run,
“What’s going on?"

   “I don’t know!”  She cried.

   “We were walking to our car when suddenly there were all kinds of people that just started
attacking other people.” The lady exclaimed.

   “How many people?  Did they all have guns?”  My husband asked.  Meanwhile, Megan and
Sarah were still crying.  I had them collect some pinecones to keep them busy since I figured that the
cops should be there at any minute.

   “We didn’t see any guns, except for the one guy who ran in the store trying to protect himself
from them.  There were at least twelve of them outside.  I don’t know how many were inside.  The
strange thing is that they were all...different.” The lady remarked.

   “What do you mean different?”  I asked.
   
       “There were old men, teenagers, ladies with kids.  People like that.” She explained.
   
       “Maybe a cult?” I said.
   
       Maniacal laughter came from the store area.  “Let’s move further into the woods.”  I suggested.
   
      “We definitely should.”  One of the ladies agreed.  My phone rang.  I took it out of my pocket
and looked at the screen to see who was calling.  It was my sister Cathy.
   
      I answered.  “Oh Thank God!” She responded hysterically.  “Are you guys okay?”
   
     “We are.   Wow! This got on the news quickly.”  I stated.  “Do you know what’s going on?  We
were guessing that it’s a cult.”   
   
     “Aleisha, this is going on everywhere.  The world’s gone crazy.  It’s all over the news.  It’s like a
bunch of people just snapped and started killing everyone around them.” Cathy explained.
   
     “Is it terrorists?”  I asked.
   
     “I don’t know.  It’s everyday people: Cops, doctors, cashiers, mothers, fathers, grandparents,
people that don’t seem to know each other.  It’s all over the news. “Oh my God!”  She gasped.
   
     “What?” I asked, afraid to know the answer, but knowing I needed to.
   
     “It’s showing pictures, there are so many deaths!”
   
     “Wow!”  I remarked.  I was at a loss for words.
   
     “Hurry home, but be careful.  I think that others with weapons may be working with them.”
   
     “We definitely will be careful.”  I promised.  “Love you.”
   
     “Love you too.”  I hung up and gathered my thoughts quickly then turned to face everyone. 
They were all staring at me waiting for the news.  I relayed the information.  I told the girls also, because
I wanted them to know what we were up against.  I needed them to know how serious this was since
they had been fighting while I was on the phone and we couldn’t have any of that.  Megan began to cry. 
I was about to comfort her when we heard a branch snap near the beginning of the trail.  We all got
really quiet, including Megan.
My breath caught in my throat, adrenaline like ice water trickling through my veins. My girls froze in their place, mimicking me, their wide eyes pinned in the direction of the startling snap.

   “We should keep going.”  The older lady said to (I’m assuming) her daughter.  I never did ask
them that or their names.

   “I think we should hide.  They’re coming too quickly.”  John replied.  I agreed.  There was no way
the girls could outrun whoever was coming down that hill at that speed.  The four of us quickly hid,
ducking behind an oak tree with a wide base.  To my relief, the girls stayed completely quiet.
Meanwhile, the mother and daughter started running down the trail.  We could hear the
branches and leaves snapping under their feet.  Suddenly, a sound I will never forget came barreling
down the trail, feet away from where we hid.  It was a sound of maniacal laughter and yelps.  The sound
of animals excited over chasing their prey.  A balding man in a business suit and a girl who looked
around 16 rushed by us, hurrying towards the ladies who were not too far ahead.  Soon after, we heard
screaming and more excited laughter, then silence.  My daughters had their hands over their ears and
were crying.  I was also crying. 

        “Put your phone on silent.”  I whispered to John quickly as we both silenced our phones.

   We nervously waited around two hours in that spot.  That was the longest two hours ever!  We
wanted to get the girls calmed down and give the place time to clear out.  We discussed going to get the
car, but decided that it would be too dangerous.  Finally, my husband said that he would go have a peek
down the trail a little ways.  I really didn’t want him to have to go alone, but we had to make sure it was
safe for the girls and someone had to stay with them and keep them safe and quiet. 

   Soon he returned.  I had barely heard him walking.  “I think it’s safe to go.”  He whispered.  “We
have to be completely quiet.  Watch every step.  No talking.  If we hear ANY sound, we hide again. 
Everyone understand the plan?” We all agreed.

       Getting down the trail seemed to take forever, with careful footsteps and our hearts
pounding.  Having done that trail before though, it was probably just a 20 minute walk.  The worst part
was walking by the bodies of the two ladies. John had quietly prepared me for the sight and we had
both covered the girls eyes as we approached their bodies. My plan had been to look away, but I saw
the grisly scene. The ladies laid in 2 pools of blood, eyes wide open. The fear was still written upon their
faces. This was an image that I would not get out of my mind for the longest time and I don’t know if it
has fully left me.  I had never seen a dead body before. 

       We reached the end of the trail which came out into a parking lot.  Once again, my husband had
us hide while he checked out the parking lot.  I noticed my phone light up in my pocket, indicating that I
was getting a phone call.  I answered quietly while the girls did a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.  It was
my sister once again checking on us.  I told her that we were at the parking lot of the Ridge Road trails
behind the grocery store and may take a car home.  We lived 30 minutes away from the spot that we
were stranded. 

       “No!”  She shouted.  Even the girls heard her.  They stopped their game, hands paused in mid air
and stared at me.  It actually startled me also and I jumped in the air.  “They’re attracted to sounds. 
Remember I told you that people with guns are working with them?  They will shoot at you! It’s too loud
of a sound.”

   “Then, how are we supposed to get home?”  I asked.

       “Sneak out of the city.”  She said.  “Call me when you get to Plumington.”  Plumington was the
next town over.  It was a small country town just like the one we lived in.   “It’s the only way.”  Just then
I heard the sound of leaves crunching.

   “I’ll call you back.”  I hung up the phone and laid down with my girls.  John came into sight. 
“Who were you talking to?”  He asked quietly when he got next to me.  “I could hear you as soon as I
came into the woods.”


It's not much different from before unfortunately.
I think a good idea is for you to read 10 books and take notes on descriptions that help you 'see' and imagine what is happening. I do this by jotting down the page number and writing the quote on a peice of carboard. The story is good but I just think you don't have many 'tools' yet, to make your writing transportive for the reader. On Writing by Stephen King is a good book to learn about the 'tools', that help enrich writing. It's a long journey to develop style - I'm still on mine. I can feel a strong voice here in your writing and a good story, but thte actual writing is very basic and doesn't give reader the ability to experience the fictional reality. Maybe others will have some more helpful ideas

I think part of the problem is you forget the reader can't see what you see. We also can't feel like we are there unless you describe the five senses and use other tools to spark relatability and imagery in our minds.
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