Author Topic: Beginning of a Story  (Read 430 times)

Offline RiderWriter11

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Beginning of a Story
« on: July 18, 2020, 05:41:32 PM »
I've attached the opening clip from a story that could be expanded on. Let me know your thoughts.

The Town

The rain falls on the trees deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. A family lives in the woods with a community of people. The family thrives within the compound they have created. The town is deeply secluded in the woods. The rainforests in the northwest are extremely dense. A person can only see a few feet in front of them when walking through the woods. Trees tower above ferns, briar bushes, grass, and other fauna. Modern society collapsed years ago. Some people were forced into a new way of society and culture filled with technology beyond comprehension. Others retreated to the woods to live off the grid. These people only wish for a peaceful life where they can raise their families. They want water to drink, food to eat, shelter, safety, and other people to bond with.   
A bell rings from atop a hill where a white church sits. The woman and mother of the family, Sage, sees her son and daughter off to the schoolhouse. As Clay and Autumn walk down the dirt road, more people trickle out of their small, timber built houses with tin roofs. It is a new day within the town, and all the people have a job to do. Sage’s husband, Hunter, is leaving with a small group of men to perform routine maintenance on the hydroelectric dam a few miles away from the compound. The dam provides a limited supply of electricity to the town. Sage is on her way to the livestock barn to help tend to the animals. Everyone in the town is required to help with chores. Summer is right around the corner. All the townspeople will be busy tending to crops, canning vegetables, and gathering and chopping firewood in preparation for a long rainy winter. 
   After a long day of work and school the family attends a church service where the town minister updates everyone on happenings within the town. Many townspeople are concerned with a set of footprints seen along the outskirts of the farm fields. The last rains before the summer begins softened the ground and created the very visible track of large footprints. The footprints are larger than a human footprint. Whomever or whatever made the footprints had been travelling barefoot.   
   “If anyone is playing a prank you better speak up now!” shouts an angry townsman.
   “We have enough to deal with. We don’t need people worrying about a monster too,” adds a townswoman.
   “The prints were probably made by a brown bear,” says Hunter. “Everyone needs to be extra careful now while outside, because obviously we are being visited by a bear.”
   “The tracks were made by a creature who walks with a bipedal movement,” states Alan, the lead tracker and hunter within the town.
   “Sometimes bears walk on their hind legs,” argues Hunter.
   “Alright everyone, lets calm down,” the minister says. “The important takeaway from these footprints is for us all to be reminded that there are predators in the woods. We all need to be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Keep a close eye on our children. We are not alone in these woods.”    
   After the meeting, all the townspeople retreat to their homes for dinner. Hunter, Sage, and their children prepare dinner and eat peacefully at their little table. Their family dog, Jasper, sits begging by the table. He already scarfed down his share of the meat. They eat a simple meal of a small slab of venison and vegetables from the can. There was once another son in their family. He is no longer with them.
A loud cry is heard in the distance. The sound is indistinguishable. It sounds like a human cry, yet not exactly. The family stops eating and freezes. They hear the sound again…. The cries have been happening more frequently. The sounds have also been getting closer to the town. The sounds are soon drowned out by the barking of dogs. Jasper rushes to the door and barks loudly in alarm. Hunter tells him to be quiet. He wishes he did not when the human like screams echo through the trees and into their home. A look of terror shows on Clay and Autumn’s faces. The screams stop as quickly as they began. The family is able to enjoy the rest of their evening in quiet peace, yet still aware of their surroundings. In this new life, they are at the mercy of nature.
The sun rises on a new day in the town. The morning dew is dripping off the leaves, sticks of grass, and ferns. The day is Saturday and the kids have no school. Hunter and Sage are free from their usual town responsibilities today. However, they still have chores to do around the home. On Saturdays the family has more spare time. Sage and Autumn are often found working with the horses in the town. The horses are used for packing, hunting, and recreation. Hunter and Clay do maintenance repairs around the home. For fun the family goes for walks and plays board and card games. They all enjoy keeping their shooting skills sharp by target practicing with their bows and arrows. The town has a small supply of guns that are only used for emergencies. Each home is equipped with a rifle. The supply of bullets is not infinite anymore. Therefore, the townspeople use bow and arrows and traps for hunting.
Hunter and Clay busy themselves on the roof of their house. They are struggling to make a repair to the tin that was damaged by wind. Sage and Autumn leave for the horse stable a few hundred yards down the dirt road. At the stable, Sage stands in the center of a training round pen lunging a young horse. Autumn retrieves her dappled gray horse, Rain, from the pasture. She ties her to the hitching post and begins brushing and saddling her.   
“Autumn, I do not want you going far until we know more about what kind of predator is in the woods,” says Sage.
Autumn rolls her eyes as she tightens her horse’s cinch. “Mom, I’m not a child anymore. I’ll be just fine. You said the screams from last night were probably from a mountain lion.”
    “I mean it, young lady. Stay within the compound,” Sage warns once again.
Autumn swings up onto her horse and defiantly takes off galloping out of the town. She passes the white church on the hill, and gallops along the edge of the farm fields full of corn and grain and into the trees. Once in the trees, she slows her horse down to a walk. For an hour they meander through the woods, listening to the birds sing, and every once in a while spot a deer bounding through the bushes in the opposite direction of them.
When they arrive at the bank of a creek, Autumn dismounts from her horse. She lets her horse drink, while she sips the purified water from her canteen. Suddenly, her horse spooks and almost yanks the reins from her fingers. “Whoa! Easy, Rain,” she says to her dapple gray horse. Rain stands at a stop, but she is not calm. Her eyes are fixated at something in the distance. Autumn follows the direction of her horse’s gaze. At the other side of the creek, a large, hairy creature on two legs emerges out of the bushes. It kneels down by the creek, laps up some water into its palm, and sips the water out of its enormous hand. Rain snorts loudly. The beast looks up in their direction. It locks eyes with Autumn. Autumn is frozen in fear and confusion.
She lets out a scream. The creature lets out a scream. Instantly she recognizes the sound from the night before. She leaps onto her horse, turns her around, and takes off at a gallop. Trees, bushes and leaves whizz past her in a blur. Her horse’s hooves pound into the dirt. Her breaths are loud and frantic.  They gallop down the main road of their town and come to a sliding stop at her family’s house.
“Autumn what have I said about running your horse home?!” Sage yells.
“There was…there was…,” she stammers as she tries to catch her breath. “There was a bigfoot! A bigfoot by Fern Creek.”
Hunter stops rummaging with the wood and tin for a moment when he hears his daughter’s words.
“A bigfoot?” Clay says sarcastically. “You really are crazy, Autumn.”
“It was a tall, hairy creature that walked on its hind legs!” Autumn cries.
Sage sighs. “There is no such thing as a bigfoot. It is completely implausible.”
“Now hold on,” Hunter says. “Are you sure it wasn’t a brown bear? There are a lot of them in these woods now.”
“It was a bigfoot, I swear. I know what I saw! I know what I saw….”

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: Beginning of a Story
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2020, 08:25:33 PM »
I'm sorry but this is not really a story, is it? At least, it doesn't read like any story I've ever come across.
All you have given us is a series of statements - a list of random facts that may be relevant to the plot once it appears - but so far every sentence follows exactly the same pattern as the one before it.
If you don't believe me, here's your opening paragraph: 12 declarative sentences all displaying an almost identical grammatical template.

Quote
1 The rain falls on the trees deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

2 A family lives in the woods with a community of people.

3 The family thrives within the compound they have created.

4 The town is deeply secluded in the woods.

5 The rainforests in the northwest are extremely dense.

6 A person can only see a few feet in front of them when walking through the woods.

7 Trees tower above ferns, briar bushes, grass, and other fauna.

8 Modern society collapsed years ago.

9 Some people were forced into a new way of society and culture filled with technology beyond comprehension.

10 Others retreated to the woods to live off the grid.

11 These people only wish for a peaceful life where they can raise their families.

12 They want water to drink, food to eat, shelter, safety, and other people to bond with.

It's almost as if it was written by a robot. Did you try reading it out loud to hear how it sounds? Or maybe it's meant to be the text for a graphic novel - in which case it is simply unreadable without a picture to accompany each statement. But I don't believe that's the case here.

You may have an interesting tale to tell, but if it continues with the same monotonous pattern as your opening, it's unlikely anyone will continue reading to find out. On the strength of this excerpt, I'd guess you don't read much. My advice, read as many books as you can find to see how established writers tell a story. If you don't read, you cannot hope to succeed as a writer.

Offline Olesia

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Re: Beginning of a Story
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2020, 04:55:39 AM »
Hey RiderWriter11,

Welcome to My Writers Circle, we appreciate you sharing some of your work with us!

To make things more personal we would love to learn more about you, please post an intro on the Welcome Board. Let us know what part of the world you're in, some background on your writing journey and how you found us.

The forum is give and take and the more you review and critiques others writings the more feedback you’ll get on your own writings.

Looking forward to having you as part of the community!

Offline Nora

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Re: Beginning of a Story
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2020, 07:51:12 PM »
It's too hard to read: lots of continuous text with no paragraph breaks