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Lost in Freedom (working Title)

by Writingislife 

Posted: 24 March 2010
Word Count: 901
Summary: Started writing this novel 2 years ago. I finished the 1st chapter then, but keep eding the darn thing. I Need help! I keep doubting it's any good.This the start of Chapter 1-will add rest when chapter completed. Critiques please!!My concern is that it may not have a strong enough 'hook'. I'm trying for 500 words per day, now. Wrote 600 yesterday. Thanks G

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Lost in Freedom- Chapter One (partial)

Laila and I had shared most things throughout our lives, but who we were meeting here and why, were not among them...yet; but I did have to tell her... soon. I sat on a concrete bench outside a motorway cafe, waiting for her to return with our drinks. The sun was bright, the light was pleasant, not harsh or blinding and not directly overhead yet. From where I sat I could see the heat haze warp my view of the cars in the distance. 'Anya!' Laila pushed the ice cold cola bottle onto my bare arm, and jolted me from my deep thoughts. She smiled at the fact that she'd startled me. I didn't smile back.
' What?' she asked as she handed me the bottle.

I didn't answer, I just took the bottle. She shrugged, then sat down beside me.
'You should stop thinking' she said. You think too much. We're going to Auntie Haava's, we're gonna enjoy ourselves Annie. Why so serious?'
I shrugged, and took a slug of my cola.
'It's that job isn't it? You're worried I won't let you finish that assignment they set you. Haava should be here soon, cheer up for Goodness sake.'
She was wrong, I couldn't tell her that though, not yet.
We should have been sitting there deeply contented that there was only one pleasant intent and purpose to our journey, but now because of my orders from her father and that letter, that was no longer possible. We should have been on our way to stay with her Aunt Haava, as we had done countless times as children.

We sipped our drinks in silence and I watched intently as the other customers rushed by us; some filling up their cars with fuel, some quenching their thirst and satisfying their hunger, and some doing both or neither, just answering nature's call. They all moved with purpose, busy in their own little worlds. I felt disconnected from them somehow, even though they were only metres away, they didn't seem to see us. We watched them as one watches ants, and they like ants, ignored us. I sneaked a glance at her from the corner of my eye, Laila Rhamani, Tall dark, wealthy, everything I wasn't, and the daughter of an Iranian diplomat. At that moment I really wished we were going to Havva's house. My mind was using avoidance tactics, taking me there, I could almost see it , smell it. Daydreaming was a much better choice than the reality of today.
Haava had definitely created a a customized living space, which she'd started in the late 1980's, and which was still a work in progress. The hallway appeared endless with room after room leading from it, each one more surprising than the last one. The one I liked the most was the one she called the 'yoga' room. The high ceiling had brightly coloured festoons of Persian silk hung across it, criss-crossed in alternate red, gold and tangerine ribbons. The wall that faced the garden narrowly framed the window. A very pale yellow, sheer shimmering gauze like fabric hung from the top to the bottom. As a child the gauze reminded me of a dragonfly's wings. As a young child I loved watching the old willow tree sway, with my nose pressed up against the fabric, which smelled like the incense that she sometimes burned. The whole room looked like a Persian palace I'd once seen a picture of. Thinking of the house was comforting.
'Annie, Anya!' Laila's voice interrupted my musings. 'What on earth is wrong with you? You're on another bloody planet today, I might as well be sitting here on my own. Going to browse the shops in there.' She pointed towards the huge complex that was billed as Motorway Services.'You coming?'

'Nope, I'll go to the loo in a minute.'

'Ok. Please yourself, and for petes sake, cheer up!

Three days earlier I'd had a phone call from her father. When the phone rang I was scribbling in my notepad, as most writers do, and wasn't happy that the ringing stopped my train of thought. I ran downstairs to the phone,
'Oh, hi Mr. Rhamani, mums not here, remember she gone to see her sister.' I'd assumed it was mum he wanted as she was his housekeeper.
'Hello Anya, no, I know where your mother is, I need to speak to you. If your free?'
'What now?'
'No, can you come here, later, some time this afternoon - about three?'
'Anything wrong?, Laila okay? The trip to Auntie Haava's still on?'
'Please don't worry Anya, I just need a favour from you. Can you come?'
'Yes. I'll see you at three then.'

'Oh, and Anya, your mother knows about this, but could I ask you ot to mention it to Laila? You'll understand why when you hear the favour.'
It was all very strange. What was that all about? I remember thinking. I felt like I'd been 'summoned'. I couldn't settle back to my writing, so I carried on packing for the trip to Haava's. All the time, trying to guess what favour Mr. Rhamani could possibly ask of me.

Two o'clock came and I left the house to walk to the bus-stop. As I walked along the tree lined avenue where Laila's house was I felt nervous without knowing why.

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Comments by other Members

debac at 15:51 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Writingislife,

We don't critique in this group. You might find the FAQ useful to read, which is in my Upload Work section in this group.

I think every other group on WW is for critique, but this one isn't - sorry. The idea of this group is to write a fast first draft without critique and to post word counts and encourage each other. I really don't want us to start critiquing in this group because it's distracting and is not what the group is for. There are many other groups on WW where you can go for critique, and still remain a member of this group and upload your word counts here (but please not your work).

Hope you understand. Any questions, please ask me. And do read the FAQ.

Best, Deb

Writingislife at 17:13 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Hi deb,
I'm sorry, I thought I was just posting my work in'my 'work' section of my profile. Need to keep on track with my word counts, to keep going and not look back. I was surprised when it appeared on this forum. I was going out at the time so left it. Sorry again. How and where do just post this partial chapter for critique.
G x

Writingislife at 17:14 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks for critique Steve, very helpful.
G x

Forbes at 18:12 on 24 March 2010  Report this post

You could post it up in beginners group - I see you are a member. Or you could join the General Friction challenge group. I just have, and they seem a very friendly bunch. It really depends what you see your WIP as - ChickLit, Women's Fiction - what? Join that group and post it in there for crits there.

The way to remove this upload from THIS group is to go in to owner edit scroll down to the bopttom of the file, look at the buttons at the bottom you will have one for each group you belong to, the one for THIS group will be checked for this file, uncheck it bad say you don't want to upload it into any group and then return at the bottom - y'know? the system will then leave the file uploaded in your log and take it out of this group.

THEN in two day's time (there's a 2 day spacing between uploads) start another file called.... oooh I don't know Fast First Draft Log? and tag that one as the one to upload in this group. Then you'll have a reporting file to tell us how you are doing with the writing totals.

I hope this makes sense to you, if not either reply here or WW-mail me and I'll try and break it down more.

There are lots of groups,some are more active than others. I suggest you review how active they are before you plump for one for critiquing help.


Writingislife at 18:15 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks for useful helpful advice Avis,much appreciated. It's a thriller.

Writingislife at 18:19 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Here it is in the this forum for critiquing. Please help!

Writingislife at 18:22 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
The comments directly below my 'piece' were posted on the 'First Draft' groupo where they don't critique, so I've moved it here, in the hopes it will here.

Albatross at 22:36 on 24 March 2010  Report this post
Hi G,

Thanks for posting your work. I really enjoyed reading it - nice pace and I want to know what's next! I tend to agree with Steve's comments (first reply) I think I'd just try to keep writing and drive the whole story forward, even just as a rough draft, then go back to flesh it out and strip it back again! I suspect that this chapter won't really be finished until you've written the last one? A five hundred word target sounds good to me!

Good luck - keep writing!


Writingislife at 10:10 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks so much Ian. I feel like such a novice. Your comment about the pace and wanting to know what's next is very re-assuring. I've no idea if what I'm doing is okay or not. I'll keep going though.
I will have to submit my first Chapter (and synopsis) for 'homework' to a tutor by the end of April (for workshop I'm attending) so I will have to have finished it. That's why I'm so nervous.
G x


ps. I have written the last scene in the book, and some scenes for the middle. I just couldn't seem to let the beginning go! I think I will now though, I know how important the first chapter is when submitting to agents/publishers; I suppose that's the reason.

NMott at 11:32 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
I like the start; I don't think you should worry about it. Concentrate on getting the rest of it written and then see if it still works, or if it would be better to start further into the book.
Just a couple of minor suggestions:

'It's that job isn't it? You're worried I won't let you finish that assignment they set you. Haava should be here soon, cheer up for Goodness sake.'

- There are several places in this line of dialogue where you could have included the other character's reactions. Maybe non-verbal actions, or protestations, or something, especially after the initial couple of questions, if Lalia had paused to wait for an answer.

Similarly, in the phone conversation towards the bottom, maybe there are some non-verbal actions you could include, as your character reacts to what she's being told on the phone.

Lastly, a tip about point of view (pov). Which ever character has the pov, will be our main character. This means being in that character's shoes as your write it; viewing the world through their eyes. Near the beginning you have We watched them as one watches ants, and they like ants, ignored us. I sneaked a glance at her from the corner of my eye, Laila Rhamani, In the first part of the sentence, the main character presumes to know what Laila is doing (ie, the same as her), but she doesn't really, because she has to sneak a glance at Laila to see what she's actually doing. So maybe change the 'we' to 'I'.

All the best with the writing.

- NaomiM

Writingislife at 15:17 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks Naomi,I spotted that point of view change too,(So maybe change the 'we' to 'I'. and corrected it after I had posted it here(on my copy) in fact I thought I'd done it before i posted here. (obviously not!) But thanks for that, even if I had not noticed it myself, it's nice to know someone else did.
Yes, the addition of non-verbal actions/re-actions is a good point too, I think that may help the reader 'see' the characters in a more realistic way. I will take another look at those parts.
Thanks for taking the time to help.

Forbes at 19:10 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
Ok - read this and I like the immediacy of it. It's easy to read and flows.

I felt disconnected from them somehow, even though they were only metres away, they didn't seem to see us. We watched them as one watches ants, and they like ants, ignored us. I sneaked a glance at her from the corner of my eye, Laila Rhamani, Tall dark, wealthy, everything I wasn't, and the daughter of an Iranian diplomat.

I looked at this passage and have the following comments - and you are free to tell me to sod off!

I felt disconnected from them somehow, even though they were only metres away, they didn't seem to see us.

We watched them as one watches ants, and they like ants, ignored us.

I sneaked a glance at her from the corner of my eye - Laila Rhamani tall, dark, wealthy and the daughter of an Iranian diplomat; everything I wasn't.

I take the point of the switch in POV, but - for me it works. I would separate it like this. Now this will probably bring rains of brimstone down on my head. But I like it with the 'we' kept in.



sahara at 21:42 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
I agree with the others about the immediacy, and I am definitely intrigued by the characters. There is definitely a "hook" in this piece, so no need for you to worry about that. I already want to know more. I particularly like the line "watched them as one watches ants, and they like ants, ignored us".

I look forward to reading more!


Writingislife at 21:49 on 25 March 2010  Report this post

Thanks Avis for taking the time to help me with this. No brimstone; far from it I'm very grateful to anyone who takes the time from their own writing to read mine, let alone critique it.
All opinions welcome. This bit of the passage has been a dilemma for me; if you knew how many times I've re-written this part, changed where it's placed on the page - higher up, lower down.
It had been 'we' for sometime, before I thought, maybe it should be 'I'- Is there a grammatically 'right' way that would settle this dilemma? Anyone?

If not maybe I'll just hand it in to my tutor (going to a workshop in May - they want first chapter) with the changes you made Avis (I like them - reads better) and see what he says.

Writingislife at 21:54 on 25 March 2010  Report this post
Thank you Sahara. I think I'll leave it alone now (after the changes suggested by Avis) and move on. I did miss a line out however, but will amend when I upload more of the chapter.

Joella at 21:28 on 26 March 2010  Report this post
Hi, Glyn
I think you have generally crafted this piece really well. I enjoyed it. Your descriptions are very vivid and enhance the reader's perception and enjoyment of the story. I have empathy over your concern re checking and rewriting a chapter. I used to do that, but it is a good idea to leave it and move on. Curiously, time changes a lot of things and coming back fresh to it after a long, or short while, always tempts you to fiddle with what you've written. The key to success, of course, is not so much that you edit your work, but that you know when to stop! Don't think I'm there yet! Anyway, keep writing and good luck with the course.
Regards, Joella.

Writingislife at 21:40 on 26 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks Joella. I am so worried that my writing isn't as good as it should be (for a novel)so your comments are encouranging.
I agree with your 'key to success'. But I find it so hard to just leave it, I always see a better way to put things. I've already changed and added a few things since this was posted. But I have carried on with the story too.
Regards Glyn

jim60 at 22:22 on 26 March 2010  Report this post
Glyn, sorry I haven't got around to this just yet, but bear with me and I will do over the weekend. Just been a little busy.

jim60 at 16:23 on 27 March 2010  Report this post
Glyn, well done on your first upload. Quite probably the most nerve wracking but it's out of the way now.

Okay, as for the chapter itself, yeah I was interested, I did like the flow and feel of it, so perhaps, leave this alone, get the story written and then take a deep breath, sit back and then go through it, I wouldn't get too nervous about this, easier said than done perhaps, but just wait and you'll see it.

As I say, I did like it and maybe in time, you'll let us see the rest of it.


Writingislife at 21:25 on 27 March 2010  Report this post
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for you positive comments. Yes I have more written (the rest of the chapter) so I will upload more in the future, now that I've got over my first upload, and that you have shown an interest in seeing more. I hope people to choose to critique some more of my work. Thanks again to everyone who has read and critiqued my first upload.

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