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Would you look at this piece for me?
5

AbsolutelyFreezing · 22/11/2008 17:10

Can I get some critique on this please? It won't make much sense as it's half way through a story (well, towards the beginning really) but I'm curious as to see if this piece makes you want to find out more? Please tell me if it's boring or badly written. "Ricky" is 10 years old by the way.
-----

With Angela gone and nothing but the tweeting birds outside the window for company, Ricky grabbed at the white sheets covering the window in frustration. With one angry pull, the material ripped from the wooden rail and fell to the floor slowly.

?WHERE AM I??? he shouted out. His voice echoed in a lonely shrill as the birds momentarily stopped singing before resuming their songs casually when the noise had died down.

It was hopeless. It seemed there was nobody around but Angela, who Ricky now assumed to be a social worker. As far as he could see, he could either wait around for ?Gary?, whoever he was and probably be lectured and told off for various things he?d done since he last saw a social worker, or he could simply run away. Naturally, he took the latter option and after securing one more glance across the courtyard to make sure nobody was around, he made his way to the door and twisted the knob. He half expected it to be locked but to his surprise, it opened easily.

He stuck his head into what he now knew to be a long, silent corridor with cream coloured walls, pine wood doors and polished floorboards. There was not a person in sight. This was not how he imaged a children?s home to look. Where were the other kids? The adults in charge? He looked left, and then right before realising the room he was in was in the centre, just as far from either side. Without thinking too much about it, he walked through the door and began to run left, passing identical doors lining the corridor as he ran. As he turned the corner, he saw that another identical corridor led from it so he ran down that too, reaching the corner of that one and then stopping to catch his breath. He had never been a fit child, much preferring an evening of TV to a game of football in the park. His mother never had the money or the knowledge to buy fresh food so an average meal for him would be fish and chips from the local chip shop or a processed, frozen pizza.

He bent down and placed his hands on his thighs as he lifted his head to look down the next corridor. It was exactly the same as the last one. Ricky sighed loudly, he was lost already and he hadn?t even made it out of the building yet. He remembered that he was still wearing the cotton pyjamas, he would have to dump them and get some proper clothes as soon as possible, his life would not be worth living if his mates saw him in such crappy clothes.
He straightened up and walked down the next corridor at a steady pace.

Running seemed to be getting him nowhere fast and a painful stitch had emerged in his side. As he approached the corner, he hoped to see something of interest when he reached it, a way out of the building ideally but as his head peered apprehensively around the wall, he saw the same thing again. An identical corridor with pine wooden doors on either side.

?Oh, for fucks sake? he muttered to himself as he leant his body against one of the walls. It was clear he was simply going around in circles. His only option was to head back to the room he started in and wait for Angela.
He shuffled moodily from the wall and began to walk back the way he had come. Turning corner after corner he saw the same thing each time and more concerning was that he had walked further going back than he had come initially and he had still not found his room. Of course, as all of the doors were the same, it was now impossible to tell which one he had come from in the first place.

Ricky slumped to the floor and with his back against the wall, held his head in his hands. It was like a nightmare. He didn?t know where he was, who was supposed to be looking after him, where his clothes and hair had gone or where anyone was. He felt helpless as he sat on the cold, wooden floor. He tried in vain to remember something about how he had come to be in this place but there were no memories in his head other than his home, his family, his school and friends. He began to wonder if he was in some kind of borstal, after all his mother had threatened him with that for years.

Suddenly, his ears tuned in to the sound of soft footsteps. Ricky looked either way down the corridor but saw no one. He thought about running but where would he go? He?d tried that once and there was no way out. So, with baited breath, he waited for, who he assumed to be Angela to spot him out of his room and tell him off.

The footsteps grew louder as he waited, ready with an excuse as to why he was in the corridor and before long, Angela appeared from around the corner to the left. Ricky was just about to excuse his presence when she smiled fondly at him.
?Ah, there you are. I expected you to still be running around the corridors? she said calmly.
?What?s the point, there?s no way out!? Ricky complained.
?Of course there is, there is always a way. You just have to know what you?re looking for? Angela explained as she beckoned Ricky to follow her back the way she had come with a flick of her hand.
Ricky gathered himself up from the floor and followed her angrily.
?This place is fucking weird and so are you!? he muttered as he tagged along behind her.
?Sorry, we don?t use the word ?fucking? here, but I can see why you think it?s all a bit weird? Angela spoke softly as she led him around the corner and continued walking down the next corridor.
?I?m gonna keep swearing until you tell me where I am!?
Angela smiled before stopping at one of the identical doors and turning the silver knob. Ricky followed her in to what appeared to be yet another identical corridor.

?Alright, I?m getting sick of this. All these corridors look the same and I?ve been walking around them for ages? Ricky complained.
?Well, I did tell you to stay in your room? Angela replied as she continued to make her way through the labyrinth of corridors. Ricky followed her reluctantly knowing that he had little option since she seemed to know where she was going.

?Well if I wasn?t allowed out of the room, why didn?t you lock me in??
?I never said you were not allowed out of your room. I just advised you not to leave it?.
Ricky sighed loudly. It seemed impossible to annoy Angela or invoke any kind of argument. The woman had a calm response for everything and it was starting to get tiresome. Ricky decided to try a different approach as he tiredly followed behind her.

?Can you please tell me where my hair has gone?? he asked in his most innocent and childish voice.
?It was on the floor last time I saw it? Angela replied sympathetically ?I did think you looked better before it was taken off?.
?So who shaved it off??
?Gary will explain everything? Angela replied as she stopped at another door and beckoned Ricky to follow her through it.

This time, Ricky found himself in a large room. The walls were painted in dark red with green plants hanging from the ceiling corners and a soft, red carpet lined the floor. To the left corner of the room stood a large, silver statue representing some kind of Samurai warrior and in the centre of the room, a tall, red armchair sat proudly with a coffee table by its side.

?Gary isn?t here yet so just sit down somewhere and wait for him? Angela said as she checked her watch and turned on her heel ?Oh, before I leave ? I would advise you not to leave this room? she added with a smile before leaving through the door they had entered by.

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BlaDeBla · 22/11/2008 19:19

It sounds like a terrifying situation for a 10 year old to be in! I was wondering if it might be interesting to write it in the 1st person from the POV of Ricky, who seems to be the main protagonist? The scale of everything is so different when you are young, and he may not know the significance of his surroundings.

I like that you use dialogue. It can be very good for conveying information about the characters in a few words. It is not very clear what relationship Ricky has with Angela. I wonder what kind of conversation they would have under different circumstances?

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NotQuiteCockney · 23/11/2008 07:51

With Angela gone and nothing but the tweeting birds outside the window for company, Ricky grabbed at the white sheets covering the window in frustration. With one angry pull, the material ripped from the wooden rail [was it sewn up there? wouldn't the curtain rail come down instead?] and fell to the floor slowly. [slow fall nice detail]

?WHERE AM I??? he shouted out. His voice echoed in a lonely shrill [lonely shrill what?] as the birds momentarily stopped singing before resuming their songs casually [not a fan of adverbs, also ... how does a bird do something 'casually'?] when the noise had died down.

It was hopeless. It seemed there was nobody around but Angela, who Ricky now assumed to be [guessed was? figured to be?] a social worker. As far as he could see, he could either wait around for ?Gary?, whoever he was and probably be lectured and told off for various things he?d done since he last saw a social worker [awk], or he could simply run away. Naturally [too chatty, doesn't fit with rest of voice], he took the latter option and after securing one more glance [securing a glance is an odd construction] across the courtyard to make sure nobody was around, he made his way to the door and twisted the knob. He half expected it to be locked but to his surprise, it opened easily.

He stuck his head into what he now knew to be a long, silent corridor with cream coloured walls, pine wood doors and polished floorboards. There was not a person in sight. This was not how he imaged [imagined?] a children?s home to look. Where were the other kids? The adults in charge? He looked left, and then right before realising [then realised?] the room he was in was in the centre, just as far from either side. Without thinking too much about it, he walked through the door and began to run left, passing identical doors lining the corridor as he ran. As he turned the corner, he saw that another identical corridor led from it so he ran down that too, reaching the corner of that one and then stopping to catch his breath. He had never been a fit child, much preferring an evening of TV to a game of football in the park. His mother never had the money or the knowledge to buy fresh food so an average meal for him would be fish and chips from the local chip shop or a processed, frozen pizza. [bit awkward, maybe put this more directly, and in terms Ricky would use? 'His mother didn't really cook, so he lived on fish and chips from the local chip shop or frozen pizza.' You're over-stating, going on about fresh food, and processed pizza.]

He bent down and placed his hands on his thighs as he lifted his head to look down the next corridor. It was exactly the same as the last one. [no windows in any of these corridors?] Ricky sighed loudly, he was lost already and he hadn?t even made it out of the building yet. He remembered that he was still wearing the cotton pyjamas, [he looked down at the cotton pyjamas? And are they new, old, stripey, what?] he would have to dump them and get some proper clothes as soon as possible, his life would not be worth living if his mates saw him in such crappy clothes.
He straightened up and walked down the next corridor at a steady pace.

Running seemed to be getting him nowhere fast and a painful stitch had emerged in his side. [put this earlier?] As he approached the corner, he hoped to see something of interest when he reached it, a way out of the building ideally but as his head peered apprehensively around the wall, he saw the same thing again. An identical corridor with pine wooden [repetitive - one or the other] doors on either side.

?Oh, for fucks sake? he muttered to himself as he leant his body against one of the walls. It was clear he was simply going around in circles. [is it clear? maybe he's just worried he's going around in circles?] His only option was to head back to the room he started in and wait for Angela.
He shuffled moodily from the wall and began to walk back the way he had come. Turning corner after corner he saw the same thing each time and more concerning was that he had walked further going back than he had come initially and he had still not found his room. Of course, as all of the doors were the same, it was now impossible to tell which one he had come from in the first place. [nice touch - we see it coming, but that's good]

Ricky slumped to the floor and with his back against the wall, held his head in his hands. It was like a nightmare. He didn?t know where he was, who was supposed to be looking after him, where his clothes and hair had gone or where anyone was. He felt helpless as he sat on the cold, wooden floor. He tried in vain to remember something about how he had come to be in this place but there were no memories in his head other than his home, his family, his school and friends. [repetitive - 'in vain' 'but there were no memories'] He began to wonder if he was in some kind of borstal, after all his mother had threatened him with that for years.

Suddenly, his ears tuned in to the sound of soft footsteps. Ricky looked either way down the corridor but saw no one. He thought about running but where would he go? He?d tried that once and there was no way out. So, with baited breath, he waited for, who he assumed to be Angela to spot him out of his room and tell him off.

The footsteps grew louder as he waited, ready with an excuse as to why he was in the corridor and before long, Angela appeared from around the corner to the left. Ricky was just about to excuse his presence when she smiled fondly at him.
?Ah, there you are. I expected you to still be running around the corridors? she said calmly.
?What?s the point, there?s no way out!? Ricky complained.
?Of course there is, there is always a way. You just have to know what you?re looking for? Angela explained as she beckoned Ricky to follow her back the way she had come with a flick of her hand.
Ricky gathered himself up from the floor and followed her angrily.
?This place is fucking weird and so are you!? he muttered as he tagged along behind her.
?Sorry, we don?t use the word ?fucking? here, but I can see why you think it?s all a bit weird? Angela spoke softly as she led him around the corner and continued walking down the next corridor.
?I?m gonna keep swearing until you tell me where I am!?
Angela smiled before stopping at one of the identical doors and turning the silver knob. Ricky followed her in to what appeared to be yet another identical corridor.
[wait, all the other corridors he got into without going through a door? But this one has a door? And is the knob silver? Or just metal?]

?Alright, I?m getting sick of this. All these corridors look the same and I?ve been walking around them for ages? Ricky complained.
?Well, I did tell you to stay in your room? Angela replied as she continued to make her way through the labyrinth of corridors. Ricky followed her reluctantly knowing that he had little option since she seemed to know where she was going.

?Well if I wasn?t allowed out of the room, why didn?t you lock me in??
?I never said you were not allowed out of your room. I just advised you not to leave it?.
[nice dialogue]

Ricky sighed loudly. It seemed impossible to annoy Angela or invoke any kind of argument. The woman had a calm response for everything and it was starting to get tiresome. Ricky decided to try a different approach as he tiredly followed behind her.

?Can you please tell me where my hair has gone?? he asked in his most innocent and childish voice.
?It was on the floor last time I saw it? Angela replied sympathetically ?I did think you looked better before it was taken off?.
?So who shaved it off??
?Gary will explain everything? Angela replied as she stopped at another door and beckoned Ricky to follow her through it.

This time, Ricky found himself in a large room. The walls were painted in dark red with green plants hanging from the ceiling corners and a soft, red carpet lined the floor. To [in?] the left corner of the room stood a large, silver statue representing [of?] some kind of Samurai warrior and in the centre of the room, a tall, red armchair sat proudly with a coffee table by its side. [nice details - is there a window?]

?Gary isn?t here yet so just sit down somewhere and wait for him? Angela said as she checked her watch and turned on her heel ?Oh, before I leave ? I would advise you not to leave this room? she added with a smile before leaving through the door they had entered by.

It's a bit of a strange piece. Interesting things happen. Your voice is a bit strange, it sorta sounds to me as if you're trying to write a bit 'posh'. Simple words are often more effective. What would happen if you wrote this from Ricky's point of view, using his language?

What's on Ricky's feet? Are they bare and cold? Do they hurt from the running? Does he expect to get outside and then ... what? with no shoes?

The word 'corridor' is everywhere - can you use hallway, or passage, sometimes?

Ha, just read BlaDeBla's comment - we both want just Ricky's POV. Some of this piece could do with being a bit more concrete, too - details about the floor, his feet, whatever. We don't need long paragraphs of description, but just a few more details scattered in, makes it more real.

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piscesmoon · 23/11/2008 08:19

I also thought it might work better with Ricky in the first person.
I think it was interesting and I would want to read on.
My points are minor.
Birds singing 'casually' jarred on me too.
I wasn't too sure about 'tweeting' birds in the first sentence, it seemed a bit twee for the story.
'Naturally he took the latter option'-why naturally, running away is a big thing to do-I don't think you could assume it would be the choice unless you knew more about Ricky.
I didn't like the sentence about the diet his mother gave him. It is actually much cheaper to make your own pizza or cook from scratch.
If he had decided to run away, would he not have looked for clothes first?
I thought perhaps the hair should have been mentioned earlier.
I liked the idea, the corridors and the interaction with Angela.

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AbsolutelyFreezing · 24/11/2008 10:56

Thaks for the input. It's a bit of an odd story really because at this point, nothing is as it seems. Angela is not a social worker and the building has nothing to do with children's services or the social services. He's not even in the country he think's he's in.

He wakes up to find himself in an odd room, in an odd house with his hair shaved off and wearing odd "pyjamas" (he thinks they're pyjamas, but they're actually a uniform).

I'll post the first bit up in a minute, it may make more sense then.

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Litchick · 24/11/2008 12:19

Hi there.
It's an interesting set up...and yes I'd want to know what happens next.
However I don't think you've nailed the voice of a young person. The language is too complex. If it's from his POV I'd wittle it right down to bare boy bones iykwim.

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