Author Topic: First Impressions (800 words quirky romance)  (Read 231 times)

Offline ireneconter

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First Impressions (800 words quirky romance)
« on: November 09, 2019, 12:02:45 PM »
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2. Unclear sentences
3. What would you like to know about the characters?


First Impressions

HER
I’ve been staring at the fridge for five minutes: a Greek yogurt, a package of Norwegian smoked salmon, and a Fuji apple. I am going to have the umpteenth standing dinner in my kitchen, without plates and fork, to minimize the cleaning effort. My hand is nabbing the apple when I hear the buzz of my phone from the marble surface of the kitchen counter.
“Last minute offer! Do you want to have pizza with us tonight?” A message from Francesca pops on the screen.
My attention shifts from the fridge to the screen of my phone. I weight the effort required to evade my state of lethargy. My skin doesn’t feel ready to be unwounded from the pure cotton wrap of my pajamas that I am still wearing from the morning.
Have I even heard the sound of my voice today? I have not.
I should go out and have some social life.

HIM
I’ve been wandering around Westfield food court for five minutes: Chicken Teriyaki, Sushi, Tacos. I am going to have the umpteenth fast food dinner, sitting by myself on one of the greasy tables of the food court. I am in line at Chipotle when I hear the vibration of the phone in my jeans’ front pocket.
“Last minute offer! Do you want to have pizza with us tonight?” A message from Claudio pops on the screen.
Sure. I do want pizza with some company tonight. I am still wearing the same clothes from this morning, and I feel a little bit sweaty after a day of walking around San Francisco. Did I even stop and rest today? I did not.
I should join them for dinner and sit in the same place for a couple of hours.

HER
Francesca picked a modern pizzeria in Little Italy with minimalist interiors and no fake fresco paintings. Fake Italian restaurants are funny: do people really think we have those paintings in Italy? Forks and knives are inside peeled tomatoes cans, and recycled paper placemats are in front of each seat. I like it.
We are waiting for another person, Enrico, an Italian guy who moved to San Francisco a month ago, as I did.
He arrives a couple of minutes after me. His hair is honey blonde and has sprightly hazelnut eyes with curled eyelashes and slight strabismus of Venus. I think I saw him before, but I might be wrong because, since I moved to California, every Italian looks familiar.
While we are waiting for our pizzas, I told him my precooked story of what brought me to San Francisco. I am bored by hearing myself saying the same things over and over to any new person I meet.
The fragrance of baked bread and fresh basil announces our pizzas.

HIM
When I step into the restaurant, I see Claudio and Francesca sitting on a tall table with a brunette woman. I didn’t know that there was another person.
I reach them, moving my eyes from table to table to scan other people’s dishes. The pizzas’ appearances look promising: they have a thick irregular crust with small burnt bubbles and are seasoned with typical Italian flag ingredients.
While we are waiting for our pizzas, Sofia, Francesca’s friend, gives me a report of her last year, with a lot of details that I pretend to pay attention to. She laughs nervously from time to time, unveiling a line of regular white teeth that, I bet, I saw before.
The waiter arrives with our pizzas. Sofia asked me if I want to try a slice of her anchovies and capers one, audacious choice. I refuse: I don’t want my mouth to become a fishing boat.

HER
I pour spicy oil on my anchovies and capers pizza.
Ouch. The melted mozzarella burns my palate as I bite the first slice, but doesn’t prevent me from relishing the saltiness of the anchovies contrasting the sweetness of the tomato sauce. Is there anything better than pizza with anchovies?
At home, I keep thinking where I saw Enrico before, with no success.

HIM

“It was a pleasant dinner, after all.” I think on my Uber ride back home.
Facebook notifies me that I have "memories to look back today." It’s a photograph of four years ago, during a class of my master's degree. My friends and I are posing with puzzled faces looking at our notebooks. A brunette woman in the background catches my attention. I zoom in: it’s Sofia.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 08:21:30 AM by ireneconter »

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: First Impressions (800 words quirky romance)
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2019, 08:47:18 AM »
I'm not sure what you mean by 'High Level Feedback' and your list of demands suggests we're being given a school assignment on how to critique but I'll let that pass.

Parts of this are good; nicely observed and indeed 'quirky'. Both main characters have a distinctive voice.
But other parts don't work so well. The mirroring was a little too artificial by the end. And the device of constantly switching between 'him' and 'her' a little too contrived - a case of style over content. This is a writing exercise rather than an attempt to tell us a story.

But regarding what you have written, some of your phrases are a little unconventional and I'm not sure whether it's a determined attempt on your part to be 'different' or simply an inability to express yourself clearly. I'm guessing from this extract that maybe Italian is your first language.

My hand is nabbing the apple = I grab the apple

My skin doesn’t feel ready to be unwound(ed) from the pure cotton wrap of my pajamas.

His hair is honey blonde and he has sprightly hazelnut eyes with curled eyelashes and slight strabismus of Venus
It reads as if his hair has hazelnut eyes - and most readers won't know what this expression means.

When I step into the restaurant, I see Claudio and Francesca sitting on at a tall table with a brunette woman. I didn’t know that there was another person.
I assume they are not sitting on top of the table. And he knows there is another person because he has just told us about her. Maybe 'I didn't realise someone else was joining us' makes more sense.

The pizzas’ appearances look promising = The pizzas look promising

She laughs nervously from time to time, unveiling a line of regular white teeth that, I bet, I saw before.
Rather odd - maybe he thinks he might have seen the same smile before.

And finally, your use of present tense narrative isn't consistent.
While we are waiting for our pizzas, I told him my precooked story of what brought me to San Francisco.

I don't care enough about Sofia or Enrico to want to know any more about them even though their story has barely begun. But I'm not a fan of romantic fiction, so that's my bad. Thanks for sharing.