So... I promised...

…Myself more than anyone else, and since I’ve been bolstered by mindless entertainment and the screamings of the TV in the other room… Why not!

This offering, which will most likely be destroyed before my very eyes by talent or prejudice, whatever you want to define skill as, is an attempt at a very loose dystopian novel. Loose because I only stuck to the genre when it suited me, and because really there isn’t much apocolyptic transactions that usually pepper dystopias.

I’m not so proud that I think I’ve now arrived at genius level, and truth be told it is my beginning attempt at 1st person narration, so don’t cringe too much… it’s a humble offering, but it means a lot to me, which I guess is the real goal of writing anyway, after that comes the desire to push your pleasure onto other unsuspecting fools…

All that to say that this is the first draft and I’m looking to better it immensely, hopefully you all help… and won’t be too disappointed if I did’nt meet your expectations, I’m trying to get better…

“Well, are we doing better?” I start at the chipper voice and then feel like I’m going to throw up again. It’s cruel to startle someone who feels this terrible. But the owner of the chipper voice, whom I can’t see doesn’t seem fazed. I hear a mumbling noise, half distinct words, I think a few curses… I can’t be certain. I realize then that she… it is a she, I can tell from her voice. That she’s not talking to me but to the patient next to me. There is someone in the other bed. My ears prick up, trying to listen from sheer boredom and pain, both of those are pretty powerful motivators. Maybe she’ll come to me next… maybe I can ask for Jean. I prepare a miserable begging look for the occasion, it can’t be too bad because if it is she’ll say I’m too sick, just bad enough… There’s shuffling from the other side of the machinery, and then a steel on steel sound and I see a dark hand rise up above the top of the forest, pulling over the curtain, so my roommate and me are even farther apart. In a second more the whole nurse appears, around the corner, dressed in generic green scrubs and white tennis shoes that look like they haven’t been anywhere but the clean hospital floors. Whenever I think of nurses I always think of them in those tight, shapely dresses, cinched up like a corset in the middle, and short, showing some nice leg or whatnot, and then the hair all up on their heads with one of those little triangle hats perched on top. It’s a stupid thing to think because nurses haven’t worn that for like… a thousand years… OK, maybe the number is more in the high hundreds but still. This nurse, like all real nurses… has scrubs that fit like a pair of drapes would, and her hair is pulled back in a tight, abrasive ponytail. She is pretty. Her skin is a rich almond color and her complexion is very clear… she probably does have a nice figure, somewhere under the curtains. I feel a twinge of guiltiness. Jean is prettier. Jean is much prettier than everyone. She smiles at me and shows a set of even white teeth that shine out contrastingly with her skin.
“And how are we?” Why do all nurses talk in we’s? I’m terrible thank you, however you might feel all right. I don’t go out on this sarcastic tune though, I notice just before I do that she looks a little tired. Someone else probably cares for her, not like I care for Jean… because we have something better than most, but someone who loves her who wouldn’t want the patients she’s trying to help to beat up on her. I wonder if that person loves her enough… I stop myself, partly because I need to answer, more because… I just don’t want to think about that, if I can help it.
“I’m OK.” My voice comes out surprisingly weak. I didn’t think it’d be like that. Her expression immediately softens and I sense that her smile is a little more real.
“That’s a pretty brave thing to say considering the evening you’ve had.” She comes over to my bedside, straightening the sheets absently and then leaning over me a little to check some kind of monitor above my head. I feel claustrophobic with her so close, it would be better if I was laying down.
“Um…” I say after a minute pause, she stops looking at the monitor and returns her attention to me. “What did happen?” I manage, even though my tongue feels like its stuck to my throat with peanut butter. Peanut butter and sewage. My stomach is a piece of paper and it just crumpled into a twisted ball of disgust and revulsion. My face must look it because she doesn’t answer me just at first.
“If you’re going to vomit.” Her voice is completely business like, but I feel my face flush a little. “Please use the tray to your right.” She points and I look over at a brightly colored tray, it reminds me of one of those section plates you can get, with the different holes. I nod. Mumbling a thanks, I feel like a sick little kid, being told that if I feel it coming I need to head for the bathroom. She smiles a little, my face is obviously a canvas and she can see the red just as well as she saw the green.
“Don’t worry, I won’t be mad if you miss, I won’t have to clean it up.” I smile, but I’m still a little embarrassed. She’s not leaving, but she isn’t doing anything either.
“So… what am I here for?” I ask after a pause.
“Oh, yeah.” She remembers. At least she wasn’t trying to hide it from me, if she was trying to hide it I might as well call the undertaker.
“You got food poisoning, looks like, we already pumped your stomach, you were awake for some of that.” I shrug my shoulders, I don’t remember anything. “It was…” She makes a face and I mirror it. Obviously disgusting. “But don’t worry,” she adds. “You didn’t really need to come to the hospital, you would have been OK, a little crappy feeling but not dead.”
“Oh.” I nod. So why am I here? She’s still not going. I was under the impression that all nurses were busy all the time. I guess it’s just another misconception, like the outfits. I wonder if Jean… well, I wonder what happened to her.
“Did I… did I come with anyone?” A smile instantly decorates her face, thick and knowing, like most girls. I take that as a good sign.
“You mean the girl?” I nod, I can’t help but feel a little flushed, I don’t know why, I just get excited about the idea that Jean is waiting for me, that she brought me here… that… well, everything.
“And she had brown eyes right?”
“Yeah, real brown.” That twinkling smile doesn’t leave her face as I comment enthusiastically.

I know this is really way too long… so, I’m sorry… don’t get bored, and… I guess I’ll figure a way to not post so long next time, what do you do?

It needs editing, but so do all first drafts. So do most tenth drafts, come to think of it.


There is a real voice here, carrying a character, to whom something has happened, and with someone else. I’m ready to hear, to read what comes next.

Good handling of sights and sounds and physical sensations, very realistic presentation of hospital setting and routine.

Keep going.


I realized, as I was selecting something to share, that this work is really long,

We’re talking above 140,000 words.

To some that may be small but for this forum I think it’s a little much. Does anyone have any recommendations for writing forums that might support larger works? Just wondering.

Thanks for the comment by the way! :smiley:

sorry for not responding sooner.

my main comments would be…

avoid starting any passage, and certainly starting a book, with unattributed dialogue. it,s considered one of those things new writers do. basically you think it,s adding an air of mystery, but it,s not it,s just withholding information. there are plenty of ways of raising questions in an opening without adding ,who the hell is speaking, to the mix.

in fact, why not skip the whole bit about the patient next door completely. and start with what,s actually impacting our protagonist.

you can always fold some of the colour from the earlier paragraphs - especially the stuff about jean - back in below this point.

I’ve had my eye on, but haven’t tried it out yet.