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June 19th [LOWWC]

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posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 04:00 PM
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In keeping with the "lovey theme" that is in many of the current entries to this contest, here's mine:



The club was noisy, cigarette smoke hovered above the heads of all the fresh faces, music like madness blared and somewhere in the distance at one of the bars, a bartender shattered a glass. 

I paid my 5 marks, stuck out my inner wrist, got stamped and pushed through the crowd, thinking to myself "this would never fly in the states....definitely a fire hazard." The faces all around me were flushed, hair sweaty, and so very young. But I was young too, so it didn't matter, yet there was still this strange sensation as I walked up to the bar and ordered a "Jackie cola" knowing technically I was only supposed to have beer. But no one would ever guess me for a 17 year old anyways, I was almost 18. Besides, I had never looked my age, I fell into the "so mature" category when I was 12. The bartender handed me the whiskey without a thought and he didn't care.

So why should I care? As I waited at the bar, breathing in the smoke and summer sweat, I imagined what I'd be doing if I still lived in America. What did American teens in the states do? Was I missing out on the god given rights of American youth? The great coming of age rites that I would never know? I imagined for a moment that I was still in my small hometown, what would I be doing on a saturday night? I twisted in my bar chair, and sure enough, amongst a sea of pretty faces, there was the prettiest one of all. I flew from my seat, squeezed between some very surly metal heads and flung my arms around my partner in crime. 

Suzanna had this hair, like spun honey and the warmest chocolate eyes so deep you wanted to just forget the world and fall into them. When we were together the two of us were invincible. We glowed like the sun and moon, I was her spice, she was my sugar. An angel and devil if you ever saw it, and on those nights that run down music club might of well have been the most glamorous club in Berlin. We swept through the club arm in arm, laughing and tripping and catching each other, sometimes going off on our own to get another drink, or chat with a few other american friends, but most of all we danced. By the end of our night we were just as sweaty and red faced as everyone else. "what's up with Germans not using AC?"

Suzanna turned to me and said " I have to go find Chris, he isn't in the front bar" 

We were already half way out of the club, squeezed in a tight corridor, carried in the wave of kids drunken, trying to escape the heat of the club. I looked at Suzanna and knew it was no use, she wouldn't leave the club without him. 

"you go back in, check the main floor, I'll go out, check in front, meet me at the rock" I said. All I saw of her was that honey hair melting into the crowd, like liquid gold. 

By the time I got out front, most of the kids were either heading off to the parking lot or hailing taxis. I walked along the sidewalk, hearing words that I did not understand. My German sucked. The sidewalk was littered with broken beer bottles, crushed cigarette packs, and a random jacket someone had left in their intoxicated stupor. I walked looking past all the unknown faces, hoping to see Chris's, or at least hoping to hear someone speaking English, but no dice. Chris was not out front. Maybe in the parking lot? I went out back behind the building. It was so dark and most of the cars had left, I thought for sure I'd spy his beat up obviously US spec jeep, but even it was not there. Had Chris left the club earlier and not said good bye? "no way, he'd tell Suzanna." 

I came around the other side of the building and headed for the rock. I was sure Suzanna would be waiting there for me with Chris drapped around her shoulders. But she wasn't there. I turned and realized it must have been 2am, the doors to the club were shut and the last wave of kids were crowding the sidewalk, yelling, singing, dancing and sure enough, still very much drinking. The party was now officially outside. 

I got nervous, kinda unusual for me. I never felt out of place at the club, never was self conscious about being one of the few "American girls" but that night was different, something was in the air, and Suzanna had been separated from me longer than usual. I scanned the remaining crowd, my head pulsing and spinning from too much alcohol and dancing...dehydration was a old friend but it was worse than usual in the unusual hot night air. There were people surrounding the rock, making it hard for me to see far into the crowd. 

I did something that I would have normally never done. My typical rule while at the club was to not stick out like a sore thumb amongst the Germans, but that night I pulled up my dark red dress and latched onto the side of the rock, shoved myself up, and pushed my 4 inch heels into the side of it. Before I knew it, I was standing on top of the very large rock. And everything was so much better, the air was clear and pure, the smell of beer, vomit and sweat was gone and I could see both sides of the street, the taxi lane and the left side of the building where the parking lot exit was. I calmed down and knew any moment I'd see Suzanna and Chris. 

But instead, I heard a voice. A strange voice. I turned in the direction of it, and looked down at a boy. Was he talking to me? Wait...he was talking in English. I don't know this kid...what the....?

I looked him straight in the eye and for a moment only silence was between us, and all around me the faces dissolved and faded into the night. It was just me and him, starring as though we were the last two people on earth. A terrible sense of wonder washed over me as this boy said quite clearly in perfect English "what are you doing up there?" and my insanely clever response was "trying to be taller." Yep, that was the best I could do...not one of my finer moments. I still blame the heat and dehydration to this day. 

"how tall are you?" 

And without a moment of hesitation I jumped, heels and all and landed soundly right in front of him. And I never once took my eyes off him. I couldn't at that point, because I had never seen a boy as beautiful as him. Suzannas hair was spun honey, but his was winter wheat, smooth and thick. I refocused my eyes on his mouth and saw this smile a mile wide forming on his ruddy lips. 

"oh, you are not so tall!" 

he was staring at my four inch heels with amusement in his sky blue eyes. 

He was laughing now. Perplexed and slightly disorientated still from it all, I cocked my head, gave him a sideways stare and said, 

"how do you know me, how do you know I speak English?" 

The smile turned into a grin. 

"I am Chris's friend, Johannes. We had left to go get more beer at the gas station before it closed for the night. It took longer than we thought. We got back to the club, but it was very crowded and so Chris went to go find Suzanna and her friend, but I stayed out and waited."

"Then I saw you on the rock and knew you must be the friend of Suzanna. I know every girl in this club, and you were not familiar to me. I thought it was you, am I right?" I nodded speechless. "so are you coming out with us tonight?" 

Continued...

edit on 21-2-2013 by Mijamija because: Subject addition




posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 04:04 PM
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What was this? Who planned this? Me and Suzanna had not discussed going any where after the club, Chris had said nothing to us about it earlier that evening, and I  had spent most of my time with Suzanna and Chris, but I never saw this German guy anywhere near Chris...who was he? Was this some joke? Mess with the dumb American? Wtf? 

Suddenly I felt the slip of silk down the front of my dress, and behind me a warm embrace tightened around my waist, in my ear I could hear Suzanna's soft voice purring..."oh, so you met Johannes" as if she had known all along what was going on. Had she? Did she just forget to mention Chris's German friend? I turned and hugged her and whispered back in her ear "who the hell is this guy?" 

Suzanna unhooked herself from me and just smiled as wide as she could, clearly much more drunk than I was, or needed to be at that moment. Her smile was so full and mischievous, I was really left to wonder if I was dreaming it all. 

"Sara, this is Johannes. He's a friend of mine. Sorry about the confusion, but while you and Suzanna were at the main bar, we decided to make a beer run. Johannes has invited us to a after party and I wanted to tell you guys we were heading out, but it was so packed in there, I just figured you wouldn't notice me missing for awhile. We had to drive all the way to the autobahn exit just to find a gas station that was still open. So are you coming with us tonight?" Chris was clearly not drunk, but wore the same wide smile. 

Chris. Chris....the the terribly gorgeous American soldier, three years older than Suzanna and not her usual cup of tea. Still she adored him, and he was completely addicted to her. They made the perfect couple.

So this wasn't a joke. This was real. 3 am after party? Bunch of Germans I did not know? Chris's "friend" I had never met before, or even heard him mention....again that strange feeling of anxiety flooded me, I had never ventured so far astray before. Never went into the unknown territory of the local natives. I had always either hung out on post, downtown shopping, or at that club. Never with Germans. Germans speaking German....me not understanding anything, having no clue what could go down. 

Before I could answer, Suzanna grasped my hand in hers, lead me behind her and walked toward the street behind us where I saw Chris's jeep, hidden behind the hedge of a smaller parking lot. The top was down, I climbed in the back, Suzanna slid into the passengers seat, flipped her hair back, grabbed it, twisted it in front and smiled the same full smile and said, " I know you are going to have fun tonight...this will be great" 

I felt like I was breaking a taboo, going on an adventure that I wasn't sure I was meant to go on, crossing into another world. I looked at the German shops, the signs, the cars...I had lived there for so long, but I had spent all my time dreaming of America. I had never really gave Germany a chance. I thought again about what I was missing out on back in the states...how different I had become. How I would never get to live as a "normal" American teen, all those missed experiences, how l would never really understand that world either, I had been gone too long. I was in this world...this strange beautiful world that was just as beautiful as the boy sitting beside me, and I finally accepted it.   

And as we drove through the dark quiet town, further past the city lights, out onto a country road and finally through the dirt road of a farmers field, I looked at the stars in the clear night sky, millions of them smiling at me, the brightest stars I have ever seen. 



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 11:03 AM
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First of all, that was great. You have talent and mustn't let any actual or perceived lack of interest make you doubt yourself. That's a hole I have already fallen into and it really isn't nice. I think you probably have to earn your spurs in this forum first, regardless of the quality of your work. I simply can't conceive any other reason for how some stories have done so well while other better ones have done so badly. Maybe the dark subject matter of the main site means people want the opposite in the writing forums.

After reading your opening comment about the 'lovey theme' my heart sank a little. However, I was relieved to find your story wasn't schmaltzy or too sentimental. I haven't lurked in this forum for a few years so I don't know whether this is now normal, or due to Valentines Day or just because of the theme. Almost everyone seems to have been on the same page in regards of subject matter. Personally I like more variety.

Right now for the criticism, hopefully constructively given. I have to be as honest and true to myself as possible in this regard and expect nothing less from anyone critiquing anything I write. However, please remember that anything I say is only my opinion and that you'll definitely find people with opposing views, besides rules are meant for breaking anyway.

I think you started at exactly the right point - entering the club. This is an issue I've raised before and one that was very prevalent during my degree. I was taught and enthusiastically agreed that you should always start a story as close to the end of it as you possibly can. 'In medias res' is a phrase that's always rattling around in my head when I begin a story. I think many short story writers do this naturally anyway due to the limitations of the format, but it's something that becomes incredibly important in longer pieces.

I believe you got the level of description and scene setting (or scaffolding as I see it) exactly right. Too much description, verbosity and purple prose can destroy otherwise good writing. If you provide the scaffold of description, the imagination of the reader automatically fills in the blanks usually with their own unconscious bias. If there is too much description the reader's imagination can on occasion be at loggerheads with the author's.

You seem to suffer from a problem that I also have. Too many commas. Often a full stop and a new sentence is the best course of action. There could also have been some semi-colons in there, but I can't criticise you for that because I haven't got a clue when it's correct to use them. I often use commas when I'm trying to make a piece of prose fiction sound like rhythmic verse. However, when I later read the work out aloud I often have to abandon that attempt.

There are a few places where you could have cut words out. Every word must earn it's place. If it doesn't push the story further along or impart important info cut cut cut. For example:-

"But no one would ever guess me for a 17 year old anyways, I was almost 18." You could have cut out every word after 17. I think the same applies when you introduce the jeep. Everyone already knows jeeps are american.

I was taught to avoid wherever possible the use of the same word or derivative of that word in close proximity. Here's an example:-

"...at one of the bars, a bartender shattered a glass." Perhaps "...at one of the clubs, a bartender..."

I absolutely loved this line:-

"We glowed like the sun and the moon, I was her spice, she was my sugar." I would however have dropped the word 'was'.

I had difficulty with this line:

"...dehydration was an old friend..." could "an old foe" have worked better.

What follows that is another example of re-using the same/derived word too closely together:


"...it was worse than usual in the unusual hot night air." Perhaps "...it was worse in the unusually hot night air."

I also loved the Germans and AC line. It made me chuckle.

This line was great too. "...the last wave of kids were crowding the sidewalk, yelling, singing, dancing and sure enough, still very much drinking." However, if your American characters are from a US base (I could be wrong but that's the impression I got) there's very likely to be some aggravation by the locals. So I'd be inclined to add 'fighting' after 'dancing'.

Nearly at the end now you'll no doubt be glad to know lol.

There were a number of minor grammatical, punctuation errors, and at least one change of tense.

And finally, I was under the impression that because of the way you described your main protagonists relationship with Suzanna, that she was a he. If this was deliberate then great, and well done. If not you might want to make it more clear.

Wow did I really just write that whole essay? Sorry.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 11:19 AM
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Thank you so much! That was exactly the sort of feedback I was hoping for! Like I said, I don't know if my story got lost in the shuffle, or if people read it, thought it was terrible and didn't have the heart to comment!


I have to go take the kids out, but when I get back, I'll give everything a closer look and see how I can improve. But on first glance, I think everything you said was spot on...I also was unsure about using first person, I know that is kinda a "no no" but for this, it was kinda like a memoir, so I just wrote it as true to the event as possible.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


Right I must get in the shower otherwise I'll be late for a gig, but before I go I just had to respond re first person. I really don't understand why it's being slagged off as a viewpoint. During my writing degree we were encourged to use it because it removes one layer of the barriers between the author/story and the reader. Especially so in my opinion in a story of relationships and future lovers.

First person can also be very useful in stories of supense because you can keep your character and the reader in the dark, whereas the omniscient or gods eye view has a tendency to the opposite.


edit on 23-2-2013 by merkins because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 11:52 AM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


I enjoyed your story. The feedback provided by merkins above is appropriate. If you took a second pass at it for revisions after letting it simmer for awhile, you would certainly be able to improve it with regards to some of the items in his commentary.

Excellent choice of words that evoke imagery; however, some passages are unnecessarily verbose given the topic. But overall, a solid submission.

There are several entries in the contest that have unique qualities, yours included, that I feel have not received due consideration. Thanks for the read and best of luck!



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 01:28 PM
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reply to post by InTheFlesh1980
 


Thank you for taking the time to read it, I realize it is a bit long winded in some areas, I tried to go back and cut a few things out, but then I made a mess of things, so I had to go back again and rewrite. I thought the story was kind of bland, and maybe that was why no one had commented. I also struggled with the description and dialogue, i thought it was too heavy, glad to know I wasnt the only one who saw that. It is hard knowing how much is too much without sacrificing the meaning, I got to work on that. It was a different style for me, so I am not sure I want to take this approach in the future, I'm still trying to find what "fits" for me, so feed back is important. For me it's not really about the competition, but it was the chance for me to use description, to see if it worked, I hope overall it did. Again, thanks.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 02:16 PM
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Alright, let me see if I got all that:

So, use more semi colons and periods, got it.

Tighten up my words for cleaner impact, avoid rundancy and unnecessary fillers. Check.

Yes I agree "old foe" would have been much more appropriate and true!

I didn't think to add in "fighting" because suprisingly that venue didn't really have a problem with fighting. Granted it wasn't a typical "GI hot spot" and really the Germans were for the most part indifferent to the small American presence.

So be more aware of grammar and tense, check.

I kept the relationship with Suzanna vague because I didn't want it to overwhelm the bigger story, but I wanted to express the love I had for her and how close we were. It was a love story on several levels you could say; I wanted them all to come across, but not in a "sappy" way, and that was hard for me.

(did I just use that semi colon right?
)

The things that worked, I'm glad they worked, but I'll never get better if I don't fix my flaws. It's the flaws that keep a okay story from being a good story, so I have a much better idea of where I went wrong now! Thanks so much!



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


I've been thinking more about your story.

Something I forgot to say before. You related the 'beer run' story twice during the text. I think that was unnecessary. Once was enough.

I've being seeing your story in my head as a series of postcards or polaroid snaps which I think was great considering what was stated in the brief. First one was at the club door. The second the honey hair and your partner in crime. The third, the rock. Fourth, jumping off the rock, and finally all four together.

I hope you don't mind these comments but I also think your title may be improved for a later draft. I understand why it was chosen but pehaps the title could be more descriptive or intriguing. Just off the top of my head

The Rock
Berlin on the Rocks
Berlin Nights
Wheat and Honey
Spun Honey & Winter Wheat.

M




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