Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chapter 1

Everyone, here is the first rough draft chapter of my novel.. there may be some spelling mistakes and a few grammer mistakes, so just bear with me..


It all started with an idea; an idea to find myself. I was on the road, just me and myself. The wide-open road was the only thing I knew and I had no limits. I was free and alone, and I was content.
I never really fit in anywhere. I was a loner, even in my own home. My mother and I always fought, and my father was just oblivious to the bad vibes that went on.
I came from a small town just outside of Philadelphia, a town that is so small that anyone who lives outside of the crop limit has never heard of it. It is an old, crappy little town dating back to the turn of the century; I am not really sure of the correct year that this town was founded.
People have a good reason not to have ever heard of this place because nothing ever happens here. There are no big radio stations or television stations, no big malls or museums, not even a hotel. No one ever comes here to see the sites or to tour the town (not that there are any sites to see).
The biggest thing that has ever happened here is the rumor that the chief of the police department was accused of stealing money. Everyone was all excited that something big was happening in this God forsaken town; someone even had a party to celebrate. The chief was taken to court and charged with embezzling over one hundred thousand dollars from the police department. Of course, to everyone’s disappointed, the accusations turned out to be false, just a rumor going wild and traveling fast (which always happens in a small town like this), which just goes to show how boring this town really is. Even the biggest scandal to hit this town got bored and ran away, leaving the old ladies in the local hair salon nothing to gossip about while they got their hair done.
On top of everything else, everything in this town is as old as freaking dirt. I mean, these buildings were built during the turn of the century, when the town was founded (or before that, because I really do not have any idea on when this town was founded), and not much has been done to them since then. The doors and windows all are original, as are the floors and walls. Thankfully, the mayor decided that in order to try to attract some day tourists to our town we should paint every building on Main Street, so everything has a nice, cozy feel to it. The mayor also decided to plant flowers down the sidewalks of Main Street.
Everyone in town is trying so hard to fix up the town to make it more attractive, but I personally think that there is only so much you can do to help a sad place like this town. And even though the town now has a very cozy feel to it, there is still the sense of death to every corner. The lost souls of the people who died here either because of war or natural causes still wander the streets.
Needless to say, I hate this stupid, decrypted old town. I hate everything about it. I hate the simplicity of it, the sameness. I hate the quietness of the day, the simple laid back atmosphere that the adults of this town seem to love so much.
The adults who have lived here all of their lives would never give this life up; they also hate change. They hate the generation that I belong to, and in their opinion, my generation is evil and the cause of everything bad in this world.
I have always hated this small town, even as a young girl. In fact, when I was just in middle school, I ran away from home and ended up in New York City. I just felt that I had to get out of this stupid town before I became just like my parents, a fate, that at the time, I thought was just as bad as death.
I always knew that I was destined for greatness that was beyond reach as long as I was in this town, so I hopped on a bus in Philadelphia and was on my way to the greatest city in the world, New York City. I wanted to become a famous actress. I wanted nothing more than to be on film and to have all the fame and fortune that came with it. Of course, at the time, I never realized how impossible it would be for a young girl to live on her own with a little more than a hundred dollars to her name.
I lived on the streets for a little more than a week and then was taken in by an elderly woman who had no husband or children to keep her company. She told me that she would not hurt me and that she would take care of me; my lie had worked. Now that I think about it I feel regretful about lying to this sweet lady who was so lonely, but at the time I decided that I would be better off telling her that I was an orphan. My world came falling down when she died a month after she had taken me in, and I found myself back on the streets of New York City.
The police eventually found me and called my parents. When my mother saw me, she ran to me and scooped me up into her arms and cried. She told me how worried she had been about me and how much she missed me. She thought that she would never see me again. But then she got real mad. As soon as we got into the car to start the drive home, she started yelling at me and telling me how much I had hurt her and my father. She told me about how when she was a young girl, her best friend had gone missing and then she turned up dead two weeks later. My mother said she had been so heartbroken that she went through a whole phase of depression; my mother even tried to commit suicide, but she was not successful. My mother went on to tell me about how hard it was for her friend’s parents to move on and how they are still trying to move on, even after forty years.
My father, who had not said a word since my parents came to get me at the police station in New York City, finally spoke up. He looked at me and told me that he was very disappointed with me and what I did was very wrong. He told me that I was going to be grounded for a very long time. I would only be allowed to go to school and the back home again. He also made it very clear that there would be no discussion about my punishment; I was to take it like an adult since I thought that I was one.
I took my punishment in silence. I knew that I had messed up, and I did whatever my parents asked of me. I wanted to show them that I was more mature than they thought.
The fact that I tried to get out of this town once before, and was not successful at doing so, did not cure me of ever wanting to get out of this place; in fact it made me want to get out of here more. I became addicted to life in the big city and I knew that once I was older, life in the big city would be even better. So I began working my ass off in school and at my job at the local general store because I knew that it would be my ticket out of that hellhole.
The day that I planned to leave started out normal enough. My mother yelled at me while I was getting dressed, but about what I am not quite sure. I think it had to do with the fact that she had a long night at work (she has worked nights since I was born) and I was running late because I over slept again. So while I was trying to run out the door to go to school my mother was standing behind me, yelling.
“I do not understand why you cannot set your alarm!” she yelled. “I worked so hard last night so I wanted to sleep in. But of course you are running late and I had to get you up. You are twenty years old! Why can’t you act like it?”
“Just leave me alone! I hate it when you act like this! You are so ridiculous sometimes!” I yelled right back. I always hate it when she acts like this, which is most of the time. She is always in such a bad mood. And the fact that I was already late for school didn’t help, either. “I work just as hard as you do, at both work and at school. I really wish that you could realize how hard I work. I also wish that you would realize how you think that you are the only one that has to work hard to live!” That’s the thing about my mom. She thinks that she is the only one of us that works hard to make ends meet. Sometimes it seems to me that our roles have been reversed; like she is the teenager and I am the adult. She never wants to take responsibility for her own actions, and she is almost fifty years old. I mean I am the one who should be irresponsible, not her.
I was getting tried of this whole fake image that my family put on for other people, mostly because, like me, they can see through it. Everyone in the town knew how my mother was, a little eccentric and neurotic, but really and truly she was not a bad mother. She loved us kids more than we could ever know or ever want to know. I guess she acted that way, overprotective and pushy, just so we could get everything out of our lives. In other words she just wanted what was best for us, just like any other mother.
Even if this was true, I didn’t care at that point in time. I just wanted her to drop it so I could get out of the door to school, the place that I always felt like I fit in.
“Why can’t you just let it drop, mom? You are making me very late!”
“Is it my fault that you are always running late for school?”
“Everything bad that happens to me is always your fault! You are the worse mother ever!”
“How can you say that to me?” she shirked at me.
“Because it is the truth!”
“Why can’t you be more like Lilly? Your sister would never talk to me like that!”
“Well I am not Lilly am I? And at least I am not pregnant at the age of twenty-four, either.”
“Why can’t you be more mature like your sister?”
“So, you want me to get pregnant at the age of twenty, without a husband?”
“You know that’s not what I meant. I want you to act more like your sister, attitude wise.”
“Maybe her attitude is better because she is the oldest and I am the middle child. And in fact, you and dad have always loved her and Tyler more than me.”
“You know that that’s not true. Your father and I love both of you girls and your little brother the same. There is no divide between our loves for you two girls. And Lilly is not better than you, Elizabeth. You know this also. Lilly has her own talents and you have your own set of talents.”
“You can save the bullshit, mom, and tell it to somebody who cares!” I yelled at her. I made the mistake to look at her then; she looked like she had been punched in the gut, not that I cared at that point. “And you know what else? I cannot wait to get out of this town! I cannot wait to be away from all of your drama and your constant shunning of your responsibilities off on your own kids. You need to grow up before you start telling me that I need to. You are acting just like a child!”
“How can you say that to me?”
“Because it is the truth and I do not care if it hurts you.” I hate when I have to repeat myself to my mother. If she really loved me, she would listen to me the first time instead of making me repeat myself ten thousand times. “You should hear what the rest of the town thinks about you, if you think that what your own daughter says about you is bad.”
“So what do they say about me?” she asked me as I walked out of the front door, ready to get away from her and all of her drama.

Outbursts like that where my mother would act like a complete and total tyrant is one of the reasons why I left. The other reason why I left was because I was twenty-two years old and I was still living at home with my mother and father, an older sister, a little brother, and my sister’s two-year-old daughter.
I got on the open road to see the sights. I was doing what I wanted to do, with no interference from my parents. My parents worried about me, of course, but they trusted me. They trusted me to take care of myself and to keep myself safe so they let me go.
There was no set plan of where or when I was going to be in a certain place. I just went where I felt like going, just to simply go there. I had free will for the first time in my life.
Back home, I had to help my older sister, Lilly, raise our younger brother and my sister’s young daughter. My brother was an active four year old and my niece was a two-year-old, so my life was pretty hectic. I never had a break between college, work, and my home life. That’s another reason why I left. My life never seemed to stop moving; it just flew by.
The day that I decided to leave, my mother cried. “Why are you doing this, Elizabeth? Why are you leaving us?” my mother had asked me. “You don’t have to do this, Elizabeth. In fact, there is no reason for you to do this.”
“Mom, I am doing this for myself. I am doing this for a reason that you will never understand.” I knew that when I decided to leave, my mom was never going to understand my reasoning for me leaving. My mom never knew how hard my sister and I worked to raise my younger brother and my niece. My mom was never home to help us. “I just need to get away for a while, to be alone. I am doing this for me and for no one else.”
“Well, I completely understand, Elizabeth,” my sister said. “We do work hard and you shouldn’t be carrying other people’s problems on your shoulders, at least not a twenty-two years old. You should be able to have a life of your own, and I wished I had realized that when I asked you to help me to raise Chelsea. I am so sorry, Elizabeth.” My sister had tears in her eyes. My sister finally saw things through my eyes.
“Lilly, you just needed help raising Chelsea and I agreed to help you. I will never regret that choice. I love Chelsea, Tyler, and you but I can’t stay here and let my whole life pass me by while I just watch. I have always had plans to travel since I was a little girl. I am not getting any younger and I just need time to think.” I smiled at her. “I need to start my own life, Lilly. I hope you understand.”
“I do, Elizabeth. I am so proud of you for taking control of your life and now you are going to do something with it.” She smiled back at me. “Chelsea is lucky to have an aunt like you, Elizabeth.”
“Thanks, Lilly. That means a lot to me.” Lilly reached over to hug me. “And I will come home someday. I am not going to stay away from my family forever.”
“I know you will come back, Elizabeth. I know you will.”
“Thank you, Lilly.”
“We are sisters. We have to stick together.” Lilly’s tears were flowing freely now. “Go upstairs and pack. I will take care of mom.”
I went upstairs, got my suitcase and began to pack. About an hour later, my mother came up to talk to me.
“Elizabeth, your father, sister and I had a long discussion about your plans. I still don’t like the idea of you going out on your own, but your father and sister think it would be a good learning experience for you, so we, your father and I, decided that you can go.”
My parents gave me some money and told me to be careful. I was supposed to call at every place I stopped to tell my parents that I was safe, but that only lasted about a week into my trip. My parents knew that I was safe.
My life had finally begun.


  1. I've decided to take it upon myself to be your unofficial editor :D because I care!

    So anything I say should not be taken personally or as offensive! I'm only trying to help.

    Hopefully I'll be able to find time to do a more thorough analysis, but for now I only have a few comments to make:

    1. We need to know the character's name sooner. I pasted this into Word, and it was five pages long. The first time the name "Elizabeth" appears is on page 4, and before that, we've already learned the names of her two siblings!
    2. On that note, I feel like you could characterize her more thoroughly. You say she wants to be an actress, and that she feels comfortable at school, but you never explain why. Elaborate! We want to know more. What sort of classes does she take? Does she have friends? How do her teachers feel about her? Has she ever been in a play before? Where does she go to college? How does she get there? What conditions have her still living with her parents at the age of 22? How does she relate to her siblings? Stuff like that. It's these details that make a character come alive.
    3. Name the town, please. It doesn't have to be a brilliant name. It just seriously needs something.... and maybe tell us a bit more about it. Is it rural? Or is it more urban? Why does Elizabeth find its quiet atmosphere to be so intolerable? Remember, this is your first chapter. The reader is trying to understand your character; background information like this is essential.
    4. I find myself disliking Elizabeth. I think it's 'cause you emphasize this great conflict between her and her mom, while the image you give of her mother just doesn't seem as terrible as you want it to be. Mom actually seems pretty typical. So when Elizabeth, at the age of 22, is shouting "You're the worst mother ever!", it makes Elizabeth look like a whiny brat. I'd recommend either making mom look more horrible, or making Elizabeth less cruel.
    5. I think you should slip in earlier the fact that Elizabeth has siblings. Throughout the story of her New York excursion, I was sure she was an only child. When I read the name "Lilly", I went, "wait, what?"
    6. Elizabeth's trip. Nothing major, I just think you should mention her passing by a landmark of some kind so the reader gets a sense of distance (in contrast to the Philadelphia town). If she's been driving for more than a week, she could be anywhere... Texas, Missouri, Florida, Canada, California. Just throw a name in there, so when you finally do place her in an established setting, it won't feel like she teleported there.

    If you need something clarified, or want me to explain one of my points in more detail, just ask.

    best of luck with the rest of your book! I know it'll be great!

  2. Thanks so much Lindsey! That's excatly what I need for you to. I post my stuff to get reader's responses, so the fact that you took it upon yourself to read the whole thing and give me your thoughts was wonderful.

    Now I am going to explain some stuff..
    1. The part where Elizabeth has the confrontation with her mother is purely flashback, from when she was younger. As I stated before, this is an extremly early copy, since I haven't gotten to finish the book, there are no corrections done yet. So what you get is the rough stage work, later on I will post a more complete copy.
    2. I wanted to write about characters who have problems, not perfect ones, such as Edward Cullen or whatever. (sorry about the anology, I am currently listening to Robert Pattinson's music so, yea.)When I introduce Josh in the next couple chapters, you will see that he has problems too. This is more about young people trying to find themselves, not about perfect goody-goodies.
    3. I have no idea what to name the town where Elizabeth is from, so maybe you can help me there.
    4. I do agree with the character names being introduced sooner, so I'll fix that when I get a chance.

    I didn't want to bash your opinions, however I thought some of them could be explained. Thank you again for your input!

  3. 1. I understood that the confrontations were a flashback, but I didn't realize that it was a significantly long time ago-- so maybe you could specify how old she was at the time, to make it more clear? You sort of weave in and out of time a lot, and it's a little hard to place things, chronologically... But I understand if it's just a rough sketch thus far.
    2. I definitely support characters with problems. I guess what I meant to say is Elizabeth's problems seem largely... generic... or like they chiefly exist in her mind? They could use more fleshing out. Like my case with the mom. In this account, nothing the mom does seems very irrational or "drama"-filled. So if Elizabeth resents her mom's drama, you should probably make a clearer case as to why.
    3. I dunno, anything general and/or obscure. It's a town, and it's near Philadelphia... so maybe something based on an obscure colonial-sounding name... Like "South Williamsburg." Is there a North Williamsburg? Who cares! xD have fun with it... Names based on the founding fathers tend to be safe, because there's so many of them, and they're "ordinary"-sounding .... Just don't choose a real tiny town near Philadelphia, because you may offend someone o.O

    and you're welcome <3 I'm glad to help.