Dream Walker-Chapter One

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Gina Frost
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Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by Gina Frost » June 28th, 2010, 10:58 pm

Hey y'all, I thought that since you were so helpful with The Last Highway, I would put up the first part of another story I have been working on for a while now. This is actually the beginning of another story that I have started, a story that has already gone through many rewrites and will have to go through even more after this beginning. I must say that for the past six months, Kendra has given me quite a bit of difficulty, she is constantly changing her mind about how she wants her story told, but maybe starting a little sooner is helping to shape her thoughts a little better. As this story progresses, we will get to learn how it all started, but for now, she just wanted to begin with some of those awful teenage years and how she became the woman that she was when she first came to me. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I am enjoying writing it and if there are things here that you think need fixing or that you would like some elaboration on, please let me know.




I always knew I was different. Ever since I was a child, my dad told me I was unique, gifted, special. He had no idea just how unique I really was. Everyone else just called me a freak.

If it was just the telepathy or the telekinesis, it would not be so bad. Those abilities, though rare, were not unheard of. The telepathy was the only one of my many “gifts” that were difficult to control.

It was for this reason that I spent my entire summer vacation in solitude. While my peers were spending their time at the river, camping out and having fun, I was in the backyard reading a book or in the basement working out or arguing with my father about my lack of friends.

“Kendra, you really should get out more, spend time with kids your own age,” he would say.

For which I would always respond, “They wouldn't want to spend time with me, trust me.”

He never seemed to understand and I was disinclined to explain to him the reasons for my actions. I was a teenage girl, about to start my junior year in high school, and talking to my father was almost as bad as pulling my own teeth out with a pair of rusty pliers.

I always dreaded the beginning of a new year. Too many voices buzzing in my head all at once. It usually took at least the first quarter before I could lower them to a dull hum in my head. With the headaches caused by the constant mental chatter, concentration would be nearly impossible, and the other students would once again be whispering behind my back, “hey look, there's Kendra, the freak.”

I could only think every time I heard it that they were just lucky my head was pounding too much for me to respond to their ignorance. By the end of the first quarter though, the insults, the voices and the headaches would all become easier to bear.

Maybe this year would be different. I had changed a little over the summer. I had worked more extensively on my meditation and took up yoga, which seemed to help with the attitude anyway. Who was I kidding though? I had been saying this since middle school. You'd think I would know better by now.

I walked to school, we didn't live far and it gave me a few extra minutes of peace before the incessant chatter started in my head. My first hour class would have to be history, the most boring subject in high school. They never could seem to find a teacher that was able to make it seem more exciting. Of course, it was difficult to tell on the first day of school, there were no lectures, just seat assignments, introductions and textbooks. The teacher was young, well, younger than most history teachers anyway and the incessant chatter I had heard this whole hour was the girls in the class going all gaga over him. Mr. Jones was his name, at least I got that much out of what he said. The pain in my head was already near unbearable.

Second hour English was a little better. Mrs. Cornell was an older lady, maybe in her mid forties, not dull at all and she did a good job of keeping the class focused on what she was saying. We would begin this school year with creative writing, always my favorite.

Third hour science, another young teacher, a woman, and this time it was the guys lewd comments that I got to hear in my head through the whole class. If she hadn't had her name on the board I was sure I would have missed it, Mrs. Dunham, it read.

Fourth hour was math class, another lesson in the intricacies of the high school students minds on this first day of school. It was the last class before lunch, it was a beautiful day. I could get my lunch and find a nice deserted section outside where I could tone the voices down a little, hopefully. I never would have guessed that someone would be bold enough to join me.

Hmm, she must be new, I thought. Every one here knew better than to approach me. I saw her with the other girls, saw them look my direction and tell her that I was a freak. Yep, there it was, the first time I had heard it today. It would likely be worse in gym class when I would run laps around them. I would always laugh to myself when I saw them struggle for breath or give up and just walk, thinking themselves too good for exertion. Heaven forbid they broke a sweat.

Still, she ignored their warnings and approached me anyway. I looked up at her, ready for the onslaught of insults. Instead she cheerily introduced herself.

“Nice to meet you Maria,” I replied in a dismissive tone, hoping she would get the hint. I didn't bother telling her my name. The other girls had already done that for me.

“You're Kendra?” she asked, ignoring my tone. “Why do they call you a freak?” She didn't ask the question rudely. I could hear in her thoughts she was truly curious.

“Because I am,” I answered her in warning. I probably shouldn't be speaking so rudely to her. I was sure she was nice enough but I couldn't be having this new girl ostracized for affiliating with me.

“You don't look like a freak to me. Those girls are probably just jealous or something.”

Instead of walking back to join them, she plopped down next to me and began eating her lunch. Great, there went my nice peaceful lunch. She ate in silence, meaning only that she did not speak out loud. Her mind would not shut up and the group of girls who had hoped to make her their friend sat closer, adding their thoughts as well. I ate what I could then headed early toward the gym without saying another word to Maria. I hoped for her sake that she got the hint.

Gym was the only class where we actually did something today. We started by doing warm up exercises then running laps around the track. Normally I would have enjoyed this but today the jarring impact of the run was not helping much with my migraine. My next two classes were electives, Choir and Photography. By the end of the day I was nauseous from the pounding in my head and the horrid thoughts that swirled around it all day. The new girl, Maria, was in both classes with me and it seemed that for some strange reason, she chose me to be her new best friend.

I lingered at my desk in Photography class, my last class of the day, to allow the rest of the student body ample time to clear out of the school. Maria stayed behind as well.

“Look, Maria,” I finally said, “I'm sure you're a nice person, trust me, it's not completely personal when I say this, you would do much better if you would hang out with anyone but me. I'm not a people person, my head is pounding, and I really don't want your company.”

“Migraines?”she asked, not at all put off by my attempted rejection of her friendship.

I just nodded, then headed to my locker. I took my books out, put them in my backpack and headed out of the school. When I didn't walk toward the buses, I could feel her eyes on me, questioning my odd behavior but strangely not put off by it. Maybe she understood a little about migraines but I doubted she could possibly understand the reasons for them. It would be nice if I could just have one friend to talk about it with. I couldn't, she would never understand. I would have to try to discourage her even more tomorrow.

That night the dreams began. Dreams of beautiful people and a land that smelled as if it was untouched by pollution. The moon and the stars shone brightly in the night sky, illuminating everything they touched with a magical glow. The people appearing in the distance looked almost like angels to me, perfect and flawless. No one noticed me standing at the edge of the clearing, hiding myself behind the trees. No one except one. A man with blonde hair and eyes that seemed to glow a golden brown was looking my direction, staring right at me. I was lost in his gaze, it seemed like he was staring right into my soul, reading every secret I kept locked inside.

With much effort I closed my eyes. It had seemed too much to me like he was trying to control me, trying to pull me closer to him against my will. I could hear the frustrated words in his mind. Who is this girl? How can she? No girl has every been able to shut me out like that.

He was an arrogant one. Like every normal guy I knew. He wasn't normal though. Everything about him was so beyond normal. The jewel like color of his eyes, the flawless beauty of his face, the aura around him so much more pronounced than any person I had ever seen. He glowed with a magical current.

When I opened my eyes again, I saw the flash of fear in his eyes and felt the fear that he felt. I was unsure why he felt fear. He wasn't looking at me anymore, he was looking past me, to the two men who stood behind me, staring at me in curiosity. They meant me no harm, I could sense that, but he seemed to think they would harm me. I turned around and scanned the darkness just as the two men went to hide again in the safety of the trees.

I saw the eyes of one of them before he disappeared, shining with silver in the moonlight and felt a strange pull toward him. I took one step forward and felt strong hands around me, trying to pull me out of the line of the trees, then I woke up.

I looked around my room, trying my hardest to shake off the dream. It was early, I still had time to get at least another hour of sleep before I had to get up for school. I tried to close my eyes, tried to get that last little bit of sleep to help me get through the day. It was no good. The eyes still haunted me, first the gold, then the silver flashed through my mind like a kaleidoscope. I gave up and allowed myself a longer shower today and still had time to join Dad for a cup of coffee before he left for work.

I didn't usually start my day with coffee and seeing me sit at the table with a cup in front of me made him curious.

“Didn't sleep well,” I explained.

“Nightmares?”

“Something like that,” I answered.


The second day of school wasn't much better than the first. The migraine started up again just after first hour class was over and was making me nauseous by lunch time. I tried again to sit as far away from everyone as I could. Maria hadn't listened to my warning, she still came and sat with me at lunch while I was working hard to quiet the voices of those around me.

Her voice was still loud in my head and when I looked at her and asked her to please be quiet, she looked like she finally figured out why people called me a freak. She hadn't spoken yet. I should have been more careful, I just couldn't help it. I wanted the pounding to stop if even for just a few short minutes. As I sat there with my head cradled in my hands, she just stared. Too curious about my request to leave.

“Headache again?” she asked quietly.

“Worse today,” I answered, trying to sound nice but falling just a little short.

“It's the excitement isn't it? Everyone talking at once, still amped up about bein' at school with all their friends? It bothers you. I wonder why that is.”

She was quite outspoken. Not completely correct but close. I still didn't answer her, just continued holding my head, trying to will the headache away. Please just go away, I thought. To my surprise, she did. The headache was at least reduced to a dull roar by the end of our lunch break. It made gym class more tolerable.

“Hey freak!” Kayla, the girl I just passed on the track, yelled out. I stopped in the middle of the track and turned around to face her. Kayla was captain of the Cheerleading squad, always on the royal court during Homecoming and Prom and I was pretty certain that she thought she really was royalty.

“Yes, your majesty?” I replied with sarcasm.

I wanted to smack that smug look right off her face. Instead, I waited until she got closer, removed my sunglasses and gave her a smug look of my own. It worked better than I thought it would. I wasn't exactly expecting her smug look to turn into a look of fear though.

Kayla backed away from me, yelling “Freak” as she went. I put my sunglasses back on, turned around and eased myself into a run again. What was her problem? She was acting like she had seen a ghost or a monster or something. And she thought I was a freak.

When we were done with gym class and in the showers, I removed the sunglasses again, long enough to take my shower anyway. Kayla had the attention of all the girls in the locker room and pointed at me, saying, “See? I told you.” They all looked at me in astonishment then turned away, just as afraid as she was.

Her eyes! What is wrong with her eyes? It was all I could hear, repeated over and over in every mind. I ignored them and walked to the shower with my towel draped over my arm and my bag of toiletries in my hand, still thinking they were the ones that were freaks. There was nothing wrong with my eyes. They were a dull grayish blue, they always had been.

The sunglasses went back on as soon as I finished showering. Not to cover my eyes because everyone seemed to fear them now but to block out the light that made the migraines worse.

I kept them on when we were settled in choir class. Kayla pointed this out to the teacher, sounding very much like a third grader again.

“Kendra, the sunglasses need to come off in my class,” Mr. Razz said.

“I can't do that,” I told him.

“Can't or won't?”

“Both. Trust me, it is better if I keep them on,” I replied.

“Yeah because she's a freak and she doesn't want people to see her for what she really is.” Kayla chimed in.

“No, Kayla, because my head is pounding, the light hurts it and I would hate to get angry right now. You would be the first one I would take my anger out on and I would hate to mess up your perfect little face so close to Homecoming.”

“Kendra!” The teacher yelled. “That kind of talk is uncalled for in my class!”

I stood up and walked toward the door. Before leaving, I turned to him and said, “I will just show myself to the office then.” I could feel everyone staring at me as I walked out.

I didn't go to the office. I walked to my locker, gathered up my books and headed home. I wasn't sure if Dad would understand why I left school, I didn't really care. I just couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't even make it two days, how was I going to get through another year of school?

Tonight, I would talk to Dad and beg him again to consider home schooling. He wouldn't even have to stay and teach me anything. I could read the books and learn everything I needed to know on my own. I could complete all my classes except choir and P.E. right here at home. I could always find another way to get the credit I needed for those classes.

I was still in the process of figuring out my responses to all the arguments I had heard before when he came through the door. He didn't look happy. Great. The school must have called him.

“Kendra,” he said in his disappointed voice, “it is only the second day of school.”

“Sorry Dad. My head was pounding. I just couldn't deal with it anymore. If you would let me finish school out here at home, we wouldn't keep having this problem.”

“You know how I feel about that Kendra. I don't have time to sit at home and be your teacher. I have a job. A job that I had to leave early today because the school called about your behavior problems. I have a business trip coming up and I can't even trust you to stay at school where you belong.”

“Then take me with you. We could get my school work from my teachers. I can do better on my own than at school anyway.”

“The trip could be a dangerous one. I can't risk it.”

“Dad, please. You've given me that line before. I'm sixteen, I am not a child anymore and I am more than capable of handling myself,” I argued.

He studied me for a moment then said, “I will consider it.”

It was a small victory. Better than nothing.

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wilderness
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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by wilderness » July 2nd, 2010, 6:34 pm

Hi Gina,

I think you're starting too slow and with a voice that is too distant. When you write "he would say" and "I would always respond", it sounds very distant. Writing what is happening in the moment gives the story an immediacy and a feel that we are in the character's head.

Also, we don't really need to know how she dreads school or a rundown of each class. There is a lot of "telling" and not "showing" because you are summing up the class rather than writing exactly what happens. I would suggest starting with the scene in the locker room where the girls notice her eyes are weird. Go into detail and make it a visceral experience.

There is a nice cadence to the your writing voice, the slow pacing, but I would save that for later. Grab 'em at the beginning.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by Kalika » July 3rd, 2010, 2:21 pm

From a reader's perspective, I'd stop reading because it's full of telling instead of showing. It makes me feel like you're talking down to me, explaining everything she thinks.

That's the big problem I see.

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JayceeEA
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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by JayceeEA » July 3rd, 2010, 6:47 pm

The story of a young girl being a "freak" and different from teenagers her age is a good one, and one that young people will be interested in (I'm guessing this is YA). Like the others have said, the problem here is too much telling rather than showing.

Some Suggestions:

1) I think choosing between 'telepathy' and 'telekinesis' might be better. More straight to the point.

2) I think any reader would skip over all the descriptions of first hour, second hour, third hour, and fourth hour classes. Maybe you can focus on only one of those sessions.

3) You wrote, She ate in silence, meaning only that she did not speak out loud. Her mind would not shut up and the group of girls who had hoped to make her their friend sat closer, adding their thoughts as well. There seems to be a change of POV here. How would Kendra recognize the thoughts of other people speaking loudly if they are only thoughts? The sentences are also confusing in meaning.

4) The scenes during the dream and after were so much more interesting than the scenes that started the story. I think you can make the beginning more captivating.

In summary, I think you have a great plot here and you just need to rewrite some parts.

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sbs_mjc1
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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by sbs_mjc1 » July 5th, 2010, 7:58 pm

I like the straightforward writing style, and the authentic teenage voice. Kendra has realistic reactions and relationships, and has problems without being self-pitying.
Good job.
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FORGOTTEN GODS is out September 17th 2011! Check the blog for details.

Sea
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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by Sea » July 9th, 2010, 12:57 am

I agree that Kendra seems quite realistic, which is definitely a good thing! And I am left wondering both why she is like she is, and how she is going to deal with it. I also wonder why Maria is hanging around, though if this is left unexplained too long, I might find it unbelievable.

Aside from working on showing rather than telling as others have mentioned, I noticed that you used "just" a lot, at the start anyway.

The beginning is so key in establishing the story and my trust in you as an author, that it's important to get it right, so I'd recommend proofing it, and getting someone else to go over it too. Though I know you're still trying to work out where to start. I'm afraid I can't help you there, as I don't know where the rest of the story is going. However, I tend to prefer books that start straight into the current story, rather than a chapter of flashback.

Just as an example of what I mean re proofing:

"I always knew I was different. Ever since I was a child, my dad told me I was unique, gifted, special. He had no idea just how unique I really was. Everyone else just called me a freak.

If it was just the telepathy or the telekinesis, it would not be so bad. Those abilities, though rare, were not unheard of. The telepathy was the only one of my many “gifts” that were (should say "was") difficult to control."

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Gina Frost
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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by Gina Frost » July 21st, 2010, 11:14 am

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond here. I am still re-working the story based on some suggestions. I appreciate all of them, still working on that whole showing rather than telling thing though. Sorry that is advice I don't completely understand yet but I am researching it to see how I can best follow it. Hopefully soon, I will post an update to the story that will sound a little more appealing to some.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment and I hope you will enjoy the rewrite a little better when I get it done.

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Re: Dream Walker-Chapter One

Post by Username » July 22nd, 2010, 3:48 pm

Telling:

John was angry and upset that his neighbor's son had just run over his dog...

(The problem here is that I'm telling you that John is angry and upset. Rather, I need to show you that John is angry and upset, really without ever using those two words.)

Showing:

John heard a noise, and looked over and saw his dog lying on the road. He saw his neighbor's son driving away with a look of contempt on his face, as though he had just run over a rat, or driven over a snake instead. John ran over to his dog, hoping against all hope that his dog was still alive. He was wondering if the local veterinarian would be available this late in the day - and if not, where would he take his dog for treatment? Getting down on his knees, however, he saw that his dog was dead. He picked it up, feeling both the warmth of its fur on his skin and the horrifying limpness of its body as it hung in his arms.

He gently put his dog on the cloth covered bench on the front porch, the tears now streaming from his eyes. His wife came out and fell to her knees and tightly hugged the dog and petted it, and began to sob.

John strode to his neighbor's house and pounded on the door. His neighbor opened the door, and John screamed: "Your fucking son just ran over our dog... that fucking little bastard! That fucking little shit!"

(Okay, I'm not saying that this is the greatest prose you'll ever read - but hopefully you get the idea now. You can see that John is angry and upset, but I never actually wrote that he was.)

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