Post by hannahkates on Jan 27, 2017 21:27:10 GMT -5
The sign said, HEYWORTH, POP 2,000, but Patel Patterson was convinced that he had been abandoned in the middle of nowhere. Wide, open fields stretched as far as the eye could see. Patel had never seen so much empty sky.
He shivered and pulled his lone suitcase closer to his knees. The air that whipped across the fields had a different bite than that of Mumbai. Fatima Didi told him that this country was warm during this time of year.
Patel tried not to think about their parting. It had been so sudden and frazzled. After his parents’ death, it was less than a week before they were mourned, buried, and forgotten. It didn’t take much longer for Fatima to be relieved of her duties as governess, and she had wept bitterly as the child she had raised for the last twelve years was tucked away in a long, black Mercedes.
Now he was in Central Illinois, alone on a slab of concrete that was supposed to serve as a station. The train whistled, and the wheels chugged to life as it began its departure. He was not surprised that he was left there alone. Few people had business in the middle of a cornfield.
When Patel gazed up at the faces passing by, he saw that they were staring at him. His cheeks burned as he averted his eyes, past his knobby knees and down to his shoes. His socks were too long. All of the other American boys’ socks were hidden under the lips of their shoes, as if they weren’t wearing any socks at all. Patel’s socks came halfway up his shin.
Wow HannahKate! Great start here! You've got a nice voice, lots of grounding details, I'm already feeling for the poor boy:-)
Patel Patterson sat on the train headed south from Chicago. He was wearing a checked shirt and khaki shorts. The first thing that he noticed was that his socks were too long. All of the other American boys’ socks were hidden under the lips of their shoes, as if they weren’t wearing any socks at all. Patel’s socks came halfway up his shin. It was a minute detail, but it made him burn with shame all the same. Poor kid, I feel his shame. No one wants to be different. Even if it's a minute difference!
But the people on the train were not looking at Patel’s socks. They were looking at the blaring piece of cardstock hung around his neck with a piece of string, stamped in clumsy red lettering: UNACCOMPANIED MINOR. Nice
The train was too spacious. Everything about Chicago, from the streets to the skyline, seemed crowded. The empty train car felt jarringly desolate in comparison. It reminded him of just how alone he was.
Patel kept his suitcase in-between his knees. They were knobby knees, as if the bones inside of them were too big. :-) His father told him that meant that he would be tall one day, but Patel had his doubts. He was short for his age and weighed no more than two bags of rock salt. Love the voice here.
The suitcase was not very big, either, and this was for two reasons. Firstly, if the suitcase were any bigger, Patel would not have been able to carry it. Ha! Secondly, Patel’s Aunt Gillian insisted on him traveling light.
You are to bring no more than one 16x13x9 inch suitcase, she wrote in her letter.
I really enjoyed this opening. I love the voice and how you've used specific details to show how different Patel looks and feels. I feel for him already! My only note is about the first paragraph. I like that he's comparing his socks to the American boys' socks - it's a great way to show how he feels different from them. But I don't think your first two sentences stand out as much as they could. Could you begin right with him noticing the socks, and then make it clear he's on a train?
I think this is a very well-written and interesting intro.
I think I agree though with gmyrthil about the first two sentences. I think you could just take out the bit about "He was wearing a checked shirt and khaki shorts."
and instead go to --> The first thing that he noticed was that his socks were too long. All of the other American boys’ socks were hidden under the lips of their shoes, as if they weren’t wearing any socks at all. Patel’s socks came halfway up his shin (and here bring up his khaki shorts). It was a minute detail, but it made him burn with shame all the same.
Only a suggestion though.
Such an interesting story!
MG HATCHER HOUSE Query: writeonconforums.org/thread/151/mg-hatcher-house First 250 Words: writeonconforums.org/thread/230/mg-gothic-hatcher-house First 5 Pages: writeonconforums.org/thread/287/mg-magical-realism-hatcher-house
PB O'CONNELL V. O'CONNELL Query: writeonconforums.org/thread/353/pb-oconnell First 250 Words: writeonconforums.org/thread/155/pb-oconnell
I LOVE how you start out with Patel worrying about mundane things like socks, and then you hit the reader with the big sign that says UNACCOMPANIED MINOR. It communicates his anxiety and feeling of not fitting in, then shows the reader he's got bigger problems than just socks. And the contrast between crowded Chicago and the empty train car just adds to my sympathy for the poor kid. I agree with above commenters that you could axe the sentence about the checked shirt and khaki shorts--it doesn't add anything and isn't really a striking visual. But all in all, I love it! Really drew me in.
Post by Rockets2Writing on Feb 4, 2017 12:12:33 GMT -5
I love the edits you made I think you've really honed in on the important details.
You've got some of passive voice in a couple places - It didn’t take much longer for Fatima to be relieved of her duties as governess. - he had been abandoned in the middle of nowhere - It was less than a week before they were mourned, buried, and forgotten
Also you can get rid of the filter word saw here: When Patel gazed up at the faces passing by, he saw that they were staring at him. You can just say they stared at him.
Great voice! I am intrigued to read further. You feel for Patel immediately. My imagination is already running wild wondering what his aunt who only allows him to bring a 16x13x9 inch suitcase (to what I surmise) is his new home must be like.