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Oh my gosh I'm so excited! This is my VERY FIRST post on AD forums and my VERY FIRST story! Aaaah! So anyways, before I burst, I would like to say you'll definitely be hearing more from me, both from here in the bull pen (before submitting for posting of course) and in the poets corner (be prepared...). As for now, enjoy the first chapter of Transient. Please be objective, blunt, and critical! No sugar coating or pity pats! Thank-You.



When we are young, we dream. When we are young, we are fools. Such are we, the young, foolish dreamers. We do stupid things just to do them, and believe our selves invincible. We believe anything can happen, so long as we believe in ourselves. You can't exactly blame us for trying. It's drummed into our heads from the beginning; "This is America! This is where dreams come true!" Once we are out there, however, we discover it's not as easy as it seems. Sometimes, plans don't work out. Sometimes, it's not so simple. Sometimes, dreams don't come true.

And then we are old, and we realize the trip was wasted. We wish we could have the years back. To do things differently. To change the outcome of what our lives have summed up to be. To try, one last time, to follow our dreams. Those days, however, will never be given back.

Then, hopefully, we'll realize that it isn't about failure or success. It's about the journey. It's about the people we've connected with. It's about the places we've been. It's about the stories and the memories we make. Most of all, it's about taking a chance! About making a move toward our dreams, and whether or not we at least tried.

This is a story of hope. This is a story of dreams. This is a story, of wasted youth.


Chapter 1

He walked down the street of this unknown town with his bag on his back. The wind gently blew, stirring up the fall leaves, and causing him to turn up his collar so to keep warm from the autumn air. It had been five days so far. Five days since he packed some clothes and just left. He wondered what everyone back home was thinking. Hell, he wondered what he was thinking, leaving home at eight-teen with no plan, no money, and evidently no sense of direction. He figured that out when he rode into a town where it's inhabitants spoke with an accent that told him he was a little too close to Canada. He still didn't know where exactly he was, but he knew he was very close to his destination, since he'd finally made it to Washington.

There was a small restaurant up ahead. Opening it's door, the tinkle of a bell let the people know that he had entered. A waitress came up to him with a smile and asked, "What can I do for you sir?"

"Hello, mam," he said, "I was wondering if you could tell me which direction Seattle is in?"

"Sure thing, if you order our special today," she said, smiling broadly.

"How much is it?"

"It's 2.95, and very good."

Chuckling he said, "Alright then mam, I'll take the special."

"Please, stop calling me mam, you make me feel so old. My name is Stacy," she said, pointing out her name tag, "and you are?"

"I'm Jake. Jake Collins," he said.

"Pleasure to meet you Jake Collins, it will be about ten minutes, so have a seat and I'll bring it out when it's ready."

"Thank-You," he responded, taking a seat on a stool at the bar. Jake glanced around at the pictures and tapped on the counter to pass the time by. He noticed some of the pictures to be really old, probably taken when the town was first founded. The room was filled with the chatter of friends and relatives discussing the local news.

It wasn't long when the waitress came back with his food. She set the bowl down and left to go about her business and chat with the locals. Jake looked at the bowl, trying to discern what was so special about this soup. Well, food is food, he guessed, and promptly started to devour it. It had been the first meal since yesterday, and even that was just two granola bars and some water.

After a while, with half of his food gone, the waitress made her way over to him.

"So how you liking the special?" she asked.

"Pretty good mam, thank-you," Jake said, shoveling another mouthful in.

"Your definitely not from around here, where's that accent from?"

"Alabama, mam."

"Ah. That explains why you won't quit calling me mam," she said, playfully hitting him in the arm with her rag.

"Yes mam, southern hospitality and such." Jake explained, chuckling.

"I guess I owe you some directions for ordering the special, huh?" she asked.

"That would be much appreciated mam."

"So, what's in Seattle, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Well, hopefully destiny is waiting for me there. But I won't know till I get there I guess," he responded, unsure if he even thought that to be a logical explanation as to why he wanted to go to Seattle.

The waitress gave him a puzzled look, then resigned to pointing out the general direction he needed to go. After some more small chat, Jake got up, and dug into his pockets for what little money he had. He pulled out and counted thirty dollars. After paying the bill, he ended up with 27 dollars and some change. How can anyone survive in a new city with no home, no job, and no plan what-so-ever with only 27 dollars.

"Oh well," he mumbled tucking the remaining bills back into his pocket, "guess it's just part of the adventure."

Jake picked up his bag and walked out the door. He followed the route Stacy and told him to the outskirts of the town. He waited at a stop-light, going with same mode of transport since his first day on his own. He waited for a few minutes until finally a semi-truck rolled to a stop. Seizing his opportunity, he hopped on to the back and settled in for the ride. It would only take him four more hours to get to Seattle, if everything went right. Just four more hours, and he'd be one happy guy.

Jake began to question him-self again. Was this really a smart thing to do? Anything could happen there. It's a big city, and he was from a small quiet town in Alabama. A town where the worst to happen was an accident of some sort. In Seattle there were gangs, robbers, and murderers. He was in way over his head, and he knew it. But he was too close to turn back now. It was all or nothing, a definite gamble on his future. In his mind, though, it was worth the risk. He wanted to take the chance. He wanted the adventure.He wanted the thrill of not knowing what's around the corner. And it was approaching fast.

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Okay, Dustin, let me have a go at commenting on your story, Transient.

This is a really good start, it conveys an excellent sense of atmosphere and establishes an intriguing character that I for one want to hear more about.

So, the first thing to say about this piece is that you have a real talent and should use it! Your writing is good and you describe your scenes clearly, bringing them alive in the reader's imagination.

I don't say this lightly; for an eighteen year old you are a brilliant writer. Don't let that talent go to waste - develop it, exercise it, share it with us!!

I do have two problems with this chapter - and the first is that it's short! This is hardly a chapter, it's only about two pages of typical paperback layout long. So I guess what I'm trying to say is... can we have more, please? And very soon?!

The second problem is not too serious (neither was the first, of course) and it's a problem that most of us share. Scrupulously correct use of grammar, punctuation, syntax, vocabulary, spelling - all the nuts and bolts of writing. In fact most aspects of this you seem to have fully mastered, but we have a coven of pedants here at AD, I am honoured to count myself among their number, and for their sakes I must point out a few traits you have. Firstly you add unnecessary hyphens. I expect you would have put 'un-necessary'!

Eight-teen, Thank-You, what-so-ever, stop-light, semi-truck and him-self are all unnecessary uses of hyphens. Those words should be eighteen, thank you, whatsoever, stop light, semi truck and himself. Not the worst writing crime in the book, but I'm speaking on behalf of the coven, you understand.

You have also fallen foul of the near-universal failing: 'its'. Should it have an apostrophe or not? The answer is, when it is short for 'it is' or 'it has', then it needs a hyphen. But when it is the possessive pronoun, in other words when it means 'belonging to it', it is a word in its own right and doesn't have an apostrophe. So this sentence is correct: It's raining, and my cat is licking its fur.

You have used 'it's' eight times in your prologue, all of them correct.

In chapter one, the first two times you've used it are incorrect, then you use it four more times correctly.

This is extreme pedantry - almost every writer has trouble with this, you're not alone. Other similar problems are your/you're and their/there/they're.

Probably you should write numbers out as words in a story. You correctly gave Jake thirty dollars, but then after paying his bill he was left with 27 dollars. It would have been better as twenty-seven. You can have a hyphen here!

Over on this side of the Atlantic, mam is short for mammy or even mommy or mummy. If you mean the word which is short for madam, it's written ma'am. Looks funny, I know. It may not be so stateside, someone else may weigh in on that one.

The fact that I can't find anything worse to say about your writing says a lot for it - I'm nit-picking here, the overall quality of the passage is very high indeed.

Finally, there are a couple of awkward phrases: 'He noticed some of the pictures to be really old' doesn't work in the UK; we would say 'He noticed that some of the pictures were really old'. It may be okay on your side of the pond, though. And the waitress says 'So how you liking the special?' - but there's a word missing there. It should be 'So how are you liking the special?' or 'So how do you like the special?'. If you want to make it colloquial, to give her a southern accent, you can shorten it to 'So how're you liking the special?' but she'll sound like someone whose first language isn't English if you leave the 'are' out altogether.

Dustin, don't take the above as condemnation of your story. I know it reads like a catalogue of errors. It isn't - it's nit-picking. Most of my own stories could be similarly criticised. I can't say too strongly that your writing is good and you have the potential, I'm sure, to be a really great writer. So I want to encourage you to write, but I also want to set you a very high standard!!

Very well done, Dustin, please keep writing, you will have an eager audience here at AD.

You have my admiration as a young writer of great promise.


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Great first effort.

You can correct all the errors Bruin was generous enough to point out by first using a spell-checker, a writer's best friend, and then by using an editor, those vicious, scurrilous but necessary add-ons that attach themselves to the writing profession like leeches on an otherwise healthy body.

Hey, I is one. I get to call 'em as I see 'em.


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Thanks for the response! And your not nit-picking at all, if anything, be more critical! I loved English class in high school, but it didn't love me. lol.

I was far ahead of my fellow students when it came to devices, but was very poor when it came to GUM. (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics). So now my response to you.

The shortness of the first chapter has a reason. I wanted to use the prologue as a place to give a much deeper introspection behind the story, and use the first chapter as an introductory prologue of sorts. This is why it is so short. I wanted to describe the main character Jake in the first chapter, but for some odd reason I forgot to. :mad: I'll add that in and try to slip in a little more imagery here and there, because I agree, it is a wee bit too short. :icon6:

I'll be sure to fix the hyphen problems, lol my bad. The "it's" problems were merely slip-ups though, and I'll be sure to fix them. The number situation, as far as spelling it out and just putting the number in, I was actually taught that if the number is too long to spell, go ahead and jot it down. Of course I flip-flopped (unnecessary hyphen? :icon6: ) between spelling it out and just writing it down, as I did here, but was never corrected for it. I'll be sure to take note as to not do it again in the future. :icon13: I'll also go back and correct the spellings of ma'am. (See, progress already!)

Now for the phrases. The whole picture thing, I think it's an okay thing here? I dunno, I'll change it any way, since it still says the same thing and is closer to being right some where. lol. The special phrase, though, was entirely my doing. I am actually from the southern U.S. (Arkansas...bleh...), so that phrase was just me actually saying what we say. The irony in that is I was trying to give her a more northern accent than southern colloquialism! So I'll be sure to correct that as well. :icon6:

Don't let the short first chapter fool you, I really am a good writer, you'll see once this picks up. I don't believe in the traditional stories where everything is ok in the end. This is the main reason that "The Cold Eqaution" by Tom Godwin is one of my all time favorites! So expect this one to be a great one! I just gota get my old groove back. The last time I wrote any kind of story was about two years ago, so I have a lot of cobwebs to sift through.

Again, thank you so much for the response and criticism. It's very much appreciated!!!


Dustin Lane.


I'll be sure to correct them, but doubt I would want an editor looking them over. lol And are you saying that I need to replace every I with one? Cause I wasn't taught to do that, only to replace you with one. So...yeah. lol


Dustin Lane

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Hi Spaz-tic. Welcome to the forums. This is a great start to a story and I agree, I'd like to see more. Give us another chapter or more of the first one please! As for comments and nitpicking, well, I think Bruin pretty much covered everything that I noticed as well. Most of what he mentioned is true here in Canada as well as in the UK, and I'm close enough to the US and have been there enough to know that it's true there as well.

One thing that I see a bit differently than Bruin, the waitress's comment "So how you liking the special?" Actually, I know a lot of people, at least around here, that would say it exactly like that, so didn't have any problem with it. With speech, you can get away with a bit more than when writing narrative, though punctuation and spelling errors will still kill you. But, when I say that you can get away with more, that's with some large caveats. If it's too over the top, too colloquial, or, really, too anything, it doesn't work and pulls a reader out of the story.

Bruin's right though, we all have tons of those kinds of errors in our writing, especially before the tenth or twelve round of editing. Ok, hopefully not that many usually, but believe me, sometimes a scene will take a lot more until it seems right. And no matter how many rounds of editing, a few errors seem to squeak by, utterly unnoticed by yourself and your editors until about four seconds after it appears published somewhere, then when you look at it they will all glare out at you like the festering maggoty wounds that they are.

Sorry, a bit of personal venting there. :icon13: Whew.

Keep up the writing. I would love to see more, and I love that you sound so enthusiastic about it.

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The shortness of the first chapter has a reason. I wanted to use the prologue as a place to give a much deeper introspection behind the story, and use the first chapter as an introductory prologue of sorts. This is why it is so short. I wanted to describe the main character Jake in the first chapter, but for some odd reason I forgot to. :icon6: I'll add that in and try to slip in a little more imagery here and there, because I agree, it is a wee bit too short. :icon13:

Careful with the overly narrative physical descriptions of characters early in the story. Some writers seem to be able to get away with this, but it's really hard to do well without pulling the reader right out of the story. It's often better to have the description come out through other means, such as another character noticing something, or commenting on it. Sometimes a physical description isn't necessary at all, though it can help a lot in some stories.

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Thanks Gee. And keep up the good work with The Wish, it's great so far! Also don't worry, I'm not blunt when it comes with descriptions of characters. I'm not an amateur, believe me. :icon13: Again, thanks for the advice and I'll be sure to revise the prologue, first chapter, and add a second chapter for good measure today, then we can see if it's fit for submission. :icon6:


Dustin Lane

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Dustin, I'm so glad you took my nit-picking in good part.

Remember, other people's comments on your stories are just that - other people's. The story belongs to you, not them, certainly not me. So take the comments and criticism you agree with and reject what you don't.

For instance, I thought the waitress's speech was wrong but you know better than me how she would talk so you should keep it as it is.

Like everyone else says, keep writing!

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I'm struck by the Premise you unroll as the basis for this work, for it reveals that there is a poet at work here, hiding behind these lines of fiction. While I could argue with the generalizations you've put forward, I'd rather sit back and enjoy your take on what is after all a universal experience (and one not reserved exclusively for Americans). I'm thinking there's at least twenty-seven dollars and some change worth of adventure left and I hope you'll continue this.

Please consider getting an editor, or at least a good beta reader. Grammatical errors are going to kill you with this crowd. :icon13:


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