Lacunae: Chapter 1

Lacunae: Chapter 1

Around two years ago, I began writing this story and then, just like GRRM, I lost momentum and everything went on the back burner. Unlike GRRM, it will be nowhere near his calibre of literary achievement but I’ve decided to start posting it a chapter at a time with the hope that this will force me to finish it.

I’d describe it as YA science fiction (I have shared what was intended as the prologue before) so I realise it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But any feedback, good or bad, would be appreciated! Thanks (in advance) for reading… I guess I should go and write some more installments!


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ONE

FRIDAY.

‘Seismic activity continues this morning around Mount Ludlow. Reports state that readings on the Richter scale ranging from 2.2 to 3.8 have been logged, following tremors throughout the night. Emergency services were called to several residents in Romanside after the largest tremor, occurring around 1.15am, dislodged a communication tower, causing it to crash through the roof of a neighbouring apartment block. Casualties include a young woman who was trapped beneath debris for a number of hours. She is now recovering in St. Austen’s infirmary and said to be in a stable condition. No further injuries were reported, but many residents have been treated for shock. We go now to Ben Danton who is at the scene in Romanside…’

“I felt it.” Iris bounced onto the sofa, tucking her feet underneath herself.

“Felt what?”

“The tremor, it woke me up. It was like I’d been shifted sideways. How did you not feel it?”

“Because we are over hundred miles away, I was mid-way through my date-dream with J-Law, oh and you’re a total loser who imagines things!”

“You’re such a dick Cooper. I didn’t imagine it. You know I’m in tune with the environment. That’s why I get headaches before a thunder storm!”

Cooper noted his sister glowering from beneath her fringe, hurt and defiance all mixed together into her statement pout. He knew he was a dick sometimes, especially to her, but prodding Iris’ emotional buttons came so naturally that he often failed to see why she felt so wounded.

His sibling audibly exhaled and headed to the kitchen. “Where’s Mom?” she asked, her tone still clipped.

“Already in bed. Rough night in admissions apparently.” Cooper flicked off the TV, following her to make his second mug of tea.

Brightening, Iris forgot her anger. “Ooh, because of all the tremors?”

“No you weirdo, in fact Mom never even mentioned that woman from the news. No, some freak was picked up on College Street banging on about ‘fire water’ and ‘demons of the sky’. Police brought him in after he looked like he was having a seizure in the cells. Anyway, they tried to sedate him and he was having none of it. Grabbed one of the orderlies and took a chunk out his ear!”

“Jesus! Is he okay?” Iris’ eyes widened, something that always amazed Cooper. His sister had huge eyes and seeing them visibly enlarge transfixed him – he secretly still believed one day they would fall out.

“The orderly or your mate the freak? They finally managed to pin him down and he’s under police custody until they can transfer him to the nut house. Mom had to give statements and yes, the victim will live. He just might not hear too well.”

Iris returned to her cereal, her brow furrowed. “Poor Mom. She’s seen worse though. What do you think it all means?”

“Huh? What does what mean?” Cooper suspected something far-fetched was hatching in Iris’ little head and quite frankly, it was too early to deal with her imagination.

“The fire water and sky demons. And the tremors. Mount Ludlow has been dormant for almost fifty years. Maybe that man had a vision and he saw it erupt, that could explain demons in the sky and the fire water reference. Maybe it’s an end of days thing. You know there was an eruption about two hundred years ago and there were loads of unexplai-“

A commanding index finger to her mouth cut her off.

“Hush now my dear little sister, who reads too many books and has never stepped into the real world for more than a minute a day.” He adopted his ‘superior’ tone, the one he knew annoyed her the most, rendering his sibling speechless except for some pointless insult. She could never argue with him.

“What it all means is that man had a skinful at O’Rourkes, likely mixed with a myriad of meds and was found wandering the streets spouting nonsense, a bit like yourself. His level of crazy had obviously gone past redemption. However, I still hold out hope for you. Now eat your cereal, little one, you’ll be late for class.”

The glower had returned. “Cooper you’re such a…”

“Fabulous brother who talks many a word of truth and wisdom! Don’t go on about this at school if you want to keep the few friends you have. Although, it might give you and your brainiac buddies the allusion of being more entertaining than your regular discussions on the beauty of Trig equations. Just remember to communicate in Morse Code if you want to keep things on the down-low!”

Cooper ruffled her fringe, turning towards the door as a bleeping escaped his back pocket.

“I’m off, shift starts at eleven, but I told Jenna I’d swing by and help her out with something. That was probably her.”

Iris rolled her eyes. “You do realise she’s just using your intelligence? God I hate having to admit you actually have some. You ignore the fact she’s a user because you’re ruled by your penis demon.”

“Many a brave knight has sacrificed his penis for the greater good – I am dedicated to the cause. See ya!”

With a flourish of his hand, Cooper bowed then spun on his heel. Grabbing his bag, he shoved in his earphones, shutting out any retorts his sister cared to throw his way.

Continue to CHAPTER 2…


Credits: All words copyright of Aloada Bobbins. Image via LATimes.

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34 thoughts on “Lacunae: Chapter 1

  1. Oooht his is off to a good start! I don’t usually read YA or science fiction, but this is intriguing πŸ™‚ I also get headaches before a thunderstorm, so maybe I am in tune with nature too πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good plan. When you know you have readers waiting for the next installment, it gives great impetus to keep going and see it through to the end. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you will end up with a decent body of work that you can always go over again and turn into something really quite fabulous! Good luck, I’m really enjoying it so far πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read both Flash Flood and Chapter 1. I like the formality of the Prologue, and the sense of the rain water having its own consciousness. I’d like a bit clearer description of the Lacunae, but I love the “liquid amber eyes”. (Did you realize there’s a tree called “liquid amber”?)

    Chapter 1 has a quick pace and mostly natural tone. I think the POV is supposed to be Cooper’s, but the paragraph beginning, “Cooper’s sister glowered…” was a little confusing. To say, “He was a dick…” (Always? Then the reader probably won’t like him.) seems to be Iris’s POV, and “…Cooper wasn’t even aware he’d done anything wrong” seems to be the author’s observation. If he wasn’t aware, then his POV won’t even aim in that direction. Maybe something along the lines of “Cooper knew he was a dick sometimes…” and “…he couldn’t understand why she seemed to think he’d done something wrong” would be closer to what I think you mean.

    Iris comes across as young (my impression was 11 or 12), a bit airy-fairy (her headache symptoms sound like air pressure headaches, but her equating that to being in tune with the environment makes me think of middle school magical thinking), more defiant than confident, and not particularly serious or intellectual. Cooper’s comment about trigonometry comes out of nowhere. If she’d expressed some mathematical pre-occupation, I’d believe it.

    Overall, I want to like both of them, I want to know more, and I’m really curious about what havoc the Lacunae are going to wreak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the in-depth feedback Sue! I’m pleased you liked the difference in tone between the prologue (that I’m not sure I still want to keep in that position) and the chapter.

      I see what you mean about the POV – in all honesty, it is an area I sometimes struggle with and thinking about passive / active voice. However, I have re-edited after reading your notes and hopefully it reads a little better this time.

      As for Iris, she is actually at end of high school age, 17ish. It is intended that she seems a little airy-fairy, as you say, as she can be quite a fantasist but is actually very book smart. I guess she’s loosely based on myself at that age – possibly what I’m still like now!!

      Again, I’ve re-written part of that paragraph to add more context and hopefully hint at her being within a little geeky circle.

      Seriously appreciate the feedback though – always good to have others eyes on it. I should hire you as my editor!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those edits clarified the characters nicely!

        I’m glad you found my little critique helpful. I try to offer the kind of comments I like to receive — detailed and helpful, but not brutal. I think that’s difficult for a lot of people to do for several reasons. They don’t want to hurt the author’s feelings by being critical. They don’t really have an editor’s eye when they’re reading. They might not have any expectation of excellence or clear sense of what that might look like — or what it doesn’t look like.

        After 3 or 4 edits, my writing partner and I had a total of 8 beta readers read the first version of our YA Scifi. We used the comments and suggestions to guide us through 2 more edits, then had 5 beta readers (2 of whom had read the 1st version) read the second version. There have been 2 more edits since then, and now I’m getting ready to re-write what has been the first part of a trilogy into a stand alone with the intention of becoming a series — because I’ve finally accepted that unknown authors can’t sell the first part of a trilogy to any agent on earth. Lol!

        As for being your editor, I’m not certain I’m truly qualified to function in that capacity, but i would love to be a beta reader for you. If you’d like to give that a go, it would be helpful to link all the chapters together in one uninterrupted thread. They can still link as previous and next posts to everything else if you want them to, but as you add chapters, they’ll be easier to reference if they link directly to each other, too. I know you’re undecided about the possible prologue, but I think it works very well as a teaser, and it hints as to what the story’s actually going to be about. You might link that one in, too.

        You probably already knew that. I finally figured it out after the A to Z Challenge when Elliot’s Adventures continued and I wanted readers to have friendly access to the serial from the beginning.

        No pressure on you to write, of course, but if that’s what you want to do, I think it sometimes helps to know someone’s waiting for your creation. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Sue (again!) – I’m glad the updated version read better. I’m not sure I’d be as dedicated as you when it comes re-writes but then I think I’ve accepted that it takes a lot of time and effort to even think about publishing, let alone it being a success! So for me, sharing on the blog will perhaps be better than lofty aspirations I’m not qualified to be thinking about!!
        That said, your offer of being a beta reader would be greatly appreciated – would you read it before I shared on the site? (I’m not sure how these things work). The whole reason I’ve decided to start sharing the tale is to give me the incentive to actually finish it. Whether that comes to fruition is another story! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’d be happy to read each chapter before you post it. Is a 24 hour turnaround time good for you? You can email them to me and we’ll work off-blog. (You have my email address, but it turns out I don’t have yours yet.)

        I hear about authors who pound out two or three books a year, and have to wonder if the end products are worth reading. Granted, it takes longer if you also have a full time job, but even if I wrote for 4 hours a day, I’m not sure I could finish one book in a year. Robb and I took three years to write and edit the first version of Enhanced. It took two more years to finish the second version. We decided before we even started writing that we wouldn’t self-publish, which means finding an agent. So far we’ve queried five of them and received non-responses and form letters. That’s what finally got me to commit to re-writing the first part of our planned trilogy as a stand alone.

        It’s motivating to have a partner, especially one with an editor’s eye. That’s Robb’s greatest contribution — plus, he has more ideas than anyone I’ve ever known. lol. I hope I can help keep you motivated whether you eventually decide to pursue professional publication or not. Just knowing you’ve written an entire book does give a person a pretty great feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wow, that’s a long time to be hammering out the same story – I would have honestly given up. So I can see why having someone to work alongside would be a benefit.

        You’re right though, even if it wasn’t to be published officially, I’d like to think I could achieve completion at least. For me, just compiling and (self) publishing my set of 6-word stories was an achievement!

        24 hours works for me, so long as you’re sure – I’m thinking of posting a chapter weekly to both give myself time to write and push myself to do it (as you say, working full time makes it difficult). I don’t think I do have your email. Mine’s easy to remember though – aloadabobbins@gmail.com πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Sue, I don’t mean to hijack Haylee’s post but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind anyway – we are birthday twins after all! Anyway, I recently wrote an intro to a story I want to continue with and would love to hear your feedback if you had the time?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi, Steve — I’d be happy to take a look. I see you’ve left the link below, and I have your email address, so I’ll send a general kind of critique to you by the end of Sunday. (Bear in mind, if you’re in the UK, I’m 7 hours behind you! Lol) If you’d like something more detailed, just let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeanne! Nope, all the locations are fictional, to my knowledge anyway – I guess there’s chance of somewhere in the world having the same name.

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed reading your first chapter. I do read a lot of YA Science Fiction, and will be looking forward to seeing each new installment of your story. (I haven’t seen the prologue you mentioned…where can I find it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad it got off to a good start for you πŸ™‚ The prologue is in the 6 word / flash fiction menu (titled flash flood fiction) on the blog – I can’t decide if I want to leave it as prologue or add it in as a chapter.

      Liked by 1 person

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