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Sunrise, Sunset (critique this please!)

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Sunrise, Sunset (critique this please!)

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  • #35465
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    Hello everyone! Long time no see!

    If you don’t know me (there’s a lot of new people who probably don’t) hi, I’m Elizabeth, and I’m a superhero nerd. Thus the following snippet.

    I saw Infinity War a few weeks ago, and Black Panther last week, which prompted me to go on an all-out Marvel movie binge. In the last week, I watched all 3 Captain America movies, plus Doctor Strange, and a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

    The snippet below won’t make total sense to y’all, but to understand it a bit, here’s what you need to know: Summer, my Marvel MC, is another one of Hydra’s pet-projects, and is the direct opposition–the failsafe–to the Winter Soldier program. This little one-shot type deal is the beginning of her story.

    The reason I’m writing this is because I’m currently stuck on a short story, and some people *cough* @kate are refusing to help me on it in lieu of actually reading the thing, so I wrote something else to help fix whatever errors I might have in my current writing style.

    Feel free to ask questions about the snippet if you’d like, but really, if you could just point out errors in the writing style itself (does it make sense? Flow well? Completely fail to be cool and epic?) that would be great.

    …and now that I’m done talking, here’s the actual snippet, in all its almost completed glory.

    ~

    The sunrise is early.

    From the rooftop, she stands, searching the horizon. Clouds blend together in a blur of fluffy pastels. Scarlet red and amber mar a subtle blue.

    Behind a rising building, the sun ascends, bathing the world in gold. She shields her eyes, the light not unwelcome but blinding all the same.

    How long has it been since she stood like this, stood still and admired the sun?

    There was a time when moments like were mutinous, rebellious, forbidden. But on this rooftop, she is free, free as the gulls that fly parallel to the clouds far above.

    It is the gulls that steal her attention, with their loud, pealing cries and the quick, fierce beats of their downy gray wings. They soar, squawking, and rejoice amidst empty skies.

    She has not known her freedom for long, but now that it is within her grasp, she would rather die than have it taken away. It burns powerfully inside her, heavy on her mind. How long can she stand here, silent, without opening her mouth and shouting for herself, screaming triumphantly at this open world that took so much from her for so long?

    It builds in her lungs, a war cry, barren of joy but full of longing, and it takes both hands against a thin, cold, frail guard rail to steady the frenzied sound at her lips. Be still, she tells herself, desperate for calmness against the roiling cloud of emotions inside her.

    She shuts her eyes.

    “Come out here to think?”

    She flinches, tensing, whirling around with a hand grasping at a knife, gun—something, nothing—that isn’t there. “You-”

    “Live here.” Brenna leans against the rail. “You okay? After everything yesterday…”

    Concern sticks in her eyes, narrow green irises unblinking, thin hands bearing white knuckles, calloused skin as she grips icy steel.

    “I’m fine,” she answers, knowing full well that her bright-haired friend won’t believe her, not for a second.

    Brenna’s expression is unwavering as she turns, back towards the cityscape. “You never told me your name.”

    All she can do is shrug. “I’d give it to you, if I knew what it was.”

    “Fair enough,” hums Brenna, “but you don’t have anything? No memories at all?”

    He was the sun and she the moon, the shadows, the silence in the dark. He was the sun but he was cold, frozen, a star lost in the depths of space and time. She was the moon but bright and glowing, constant and always there.

    He was winter incarnate, and she, summer, wind and storms, lightning and waning twilight in human form.

    “Summer,” she finally says, sighing. “You can call me Summer.”

    Brenna grins. “I like it. Let me-”

    But at that moment, buzzing static sounds from her earpiece. She flinches, a familiar rigidity in her shoulders as she nods. “Got it. I’ll bring her in.” Then, with eyes focused on the wall in front of her, “Director Hill is here.”

    They move, wordlessly, into the gray depths of the rooftop stairwell, nervously awaiting what lies below.

     

    ~

     

    Hill’s eyes are on her immediately, orbs of brown penetrating her very soul—or at least, what she has left of one—and she is careful to meet her gaze, sit down, and stare at the mug presented to her.

    Brown liquid, hot and sloshing gently over the lip of the cup. It burns her hand.

    Belatedly, she acknowledges the flash of pain that grips her palm and sets the mug down, allowing herself a wince as she looks at Brenna, who watches the exchange with obvious bewilderment.

    “So,” says Hill, taking a sip of tea, “you’re the one I’ve heard so much about.”

    The blank space—one what?—in her words is full of possibility and subtle hesitancy.

    “Her name is Summer,” Brenna interjects, radiating pride.

    She—Summer, that’s her name now—gives Brenna a look, and the redhead goes silent.

    “I know who you are, Maria Hill,” she says leaning forward. “You mind telling me why I’m here?”

    “It’s really a nice story. One second, I’m away on vacation, the next, I’m back in my office reading a file about some program I didn’t know existed, all because some kid came out of the Arctic and immediately infiltrated one of our safe houses—so you tell me, Summer. Who are you?”

    “I was the failsafe,” she says slowly, “they were the focus. I was only the—the shield.” A wry smile twists her lips at the irony of it all. Hill’s blank face shows no sign of reciprocating her amusement.

    Brenna sits down on a chair across from Hill, her brows furrowed. “Who is ‘they’?”

    She opens her mouth once, closes it, and stares at her mug, at the steam curling into the air. “The Winter Soldier program,” she murmurs, “involved much more than just one man.”

    “And you were…what, a guard?”

    “I protected the scientists, important members, politicians. And when I was done protecting, they threw me away, like trash.”

    Hill’s eyes widen, slowly. “Hanes,” she snaps, standing, Brenna rising with her, “let’s go.”

    “But ma’am, she-” Brenna’s gaze flits helplessly towards Summer. “I- where are we going?”

    “We,” Hill says, sending a glare her way, “are going to D.C. We,” dark eyes narrow, she stands, command implicit in her words. “We will be discussing this on the plane.”

    She glances back down at her mug before following the two agents out of the room.

    It’s not steaming anymore.

     

    ~

     

    The thing about questions is that they need an answer.

    She has none to give.

    Her mind is a tangle of memories, threads thrown and tossed together without time to straighten out. This, tells Hill, is what she remembers:

    There is a sixteen year old girl in her head, full of heartache and promise and heat and life and hope. There is a girl in her memories who lost something, someone, and it changed the way she saw her world and forced her on her own.

    Loneliness is hard. She shouldn’t have been alone but she is, and she is taken in the night by men with bigger plans. They tell her they’ve been watching her, that she can do great things for the world, and she believes them, because her dreams are bigger than the sky itself, and she yearns to be a star.

    She doesn’t fight back.

    She hasn’t been that girl in a long time.

    In the plane, in cushioned seats and staring at a cloud-covered sky, she tells the story of how her program was started, with her as the sole participant. She tells Hill, slowly, without emotion—there is no room for that here, none—of the experiments, how they made her into their perfect soldier, their failsafe.

    Hate coils like a viper in her chest, venom burning in her throat as she finishes the tale. “Hydra created me to kill him, to kill their ace. The Winter Soldier.”

    Hill’s face is void of emotion, her eyes—flickering back and forth, back and forth—the only sign of anything going on inside.

    “And the Winter Soldier?” She leans forward. “How well did you know him?”

    She snorts. “No one ever really knew him.” She says. “They didn’t give him the choice. He got his mission, completed it, and went under the ice. That’s it. No room for relationships.”

    The notion is childish, and foreign. Must be nice, she thinks, to live in a world connected to people.

    Hill leans back, looks out the window. Beside her, Brenna is silent, deep in thought.

    She takes a sip of coffee—not really a tea person, I guess—and looks out the window for just a moment before shutting her eyes.

    “And you…” Brenna cuts off, sighing. “What do you want to do now?”

    “Now?” She opens her eyes. Hill’s eyes are on her again, burning brown along with Brenna’s dazzling green ones. “Now…I want to rebuild what I helped break. And make sure that Hydra stays out of our way.”

    Hill smiles, a strange expression on her frigid features. “I think that can be arranged.”

     

    ~

     

     

     

     

     

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #35466
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    This is so, so long…sorry.

    Tags: @kate @daeus-lamb @morreafirebird @ethryndal @anyone-else

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #35469
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    Poor @kate, who can’t save everyone and help with everything, no matter how hard she tries. 😛

    Over all prose… It’s good. There are a few things that could be shown instead of told (like Concern sticks in her eyes, or knowing full well that her bright-haired friend won’t believe her).

    It’s a lot of thinking though. There is room for that at times in a book, but you want to get as much movement as possible in your story. Action, yes. But even a character pacing as they think or talk.

    The first part was pretty clear. The second two parts were a little confusing because I think you were going between various people’s minds. I’d figure out who’s head I was supposed to be in, then it would switch on me.

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #35471
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    Yep, a lot of thinking. Since this isn’t the actual story, just a bit of working around to get in Summer’s head, I emphasized how she feels about things.

    Thanks for the comments on prose. I’ve always struggled with showing/telling. @hope

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #35655
    NCStokes
    @ncstokes

    @Elizabeth Neat concept. *finger guns* I just had a little trouble with the pronouns. You used “she” for Summer, and I would get confused about which “she” you were talking about, since there were at least three people who could be referred to that way.

    *shameless self promotion* https://weridasusual.home.blog/

    #35656
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    @ncstokes Yeah. I’ve gone back and fixed that a bit since posting this.

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #35796

    @elizabeth it’s got a really subtle but consistent mood/aura about it that I really like. It’s kind of like white experiment labs with scarlet acid spilled on the table, and Japanese flags and snow on red tiles, or black and white photos of a girl in a red dress with a gun behind her back.

    Not being a Marvel geek, I missed most of the references, I think, so it probably confused me a great deal more than it should have. The biggest problem was what others have mentioned— I had a really hard time keeping track of whose head I was in.

    I wasn’t bothered by the amount of thinking there was, because I felt it fit Summer as a very taciturn, silent person who lives mostly in her head due to what they did to her. That said, a few concrete physical details thrown in to break up the thoughts (body language, signals from any of the five senses, etc.) would go a long way towards grounding the reader.

    INFP-A. If you can't be brilliant, odd will do.

    #35958
    Tess
    @thetessinator

    There needs to be more Marvel fanfic like this! I think you did a great job. It was a bit confusing in places (I think people have already mentioned the pronouns) but the concept is great. If you’ve got any more, send it this way! 😀

    I'm an ENFP - fluent in English, jokes, confusing art teminology, MBTI, and maniacal screaming.

    #35959
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    Will do! @thetessinator Thank you!

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #36310
    Sarah Baran
    @ethryndal

    @Elizabeth I concur with what they all said.

    Also, this is really pretty. I don’t really read fanfiction, but I’m pretty sure this is way better than 90% of it.

    Also, hello fellow Winter Soldier fan.

    INTJ ➸ https://thesarcasticelf.wordpress.com/

    #36332
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    HI. @ethryndal

    yes. That is me, lover of all things Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes.

    Thank you! Love writing fanfiction.

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #36549
    WarrenLuther04
    @warrenluther04

    @elizabeth If you open this thing for alpha/beta/charlie reading, PLEASE ENLIST ME AND SHARE IT! I am a Marvel nerd. XD

    How’d you like Infinity War? I found it a little weird…especially that Thanos part at the end. *mysteriousness as he tries not to spoil the epic movie*

    If I may ask, when does this take place? As in, at what point in the MCU timeline does this story fall? Thanks!

    I am totally gonna geek out then write a fanfiction for MCU as well. *thinks* The Young Avengers have yet to be inducted into the MCU… *thinks* *vanishes*

    House Vizsla, Clan Avis
    Member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Phoenix Squadron
    ENFJ-T

    #36550
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    Loosely speaking…somewhere in between CA:TWS and CA:CW.  @warrenluther04

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

    #36551
    WarrenLuther04
    @warrenluther04

    @elizabeth Okie then! Thanks!

     

    Hey, I wrote a SP:H fanfic once. I can post/share it through Google with you if you’d like. 🙂

    House Vizsla, Clan Avis
    Member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Phoenix Squadron
    ENFJ-T

    #36557
    Elizabeth
    @elizabeth

    Ooh, I’d love to!

    INTP. Writer of fantasy and sci-fi. Wannabe artist. Anime geek. Merakian.

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