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Rules Of Engagement

Short StoryAderia High School

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#1 Offline Aderia

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Posted Jun 13 2012 - 01:33 AM

Rules of Engagement“Oh my god. Can you seriously believe it?” Lea let out an exasperated sigh as she dropped her bookbag on the empty chair beside her.“Shhh,” Jay looked around as Lea’s words echoed in the empty cafeteria that was slowly filling up. “Save it for when the rest of the table gets here.” He advised.“Come on, Jay, don’t tell me it wasn’t all over your newsfeed last night,” Lea prompted as she waded against oncoming students on her way back out of the cafeteria to get to the lunch line. She had to stop and wait for her friend as he awkwardly danced around a rowdy group of freshman guys in his path. “I hate freshmen,” He muttered, shooting them a dirty look. “We weren’t that bad, were we? You know, back in the day.” “It was last year we were freshies,” She sighed. They walked slowly, letting other rushing students make the line before them. And she still wouldn’t let the subject drop. “Tiffany Sinclair…” She shook her head. “Tiffany who?” “Tiffany Sinclair. The girl who used to go to school here?” Lea cocked her head. Almost every guy she knew of in her grade had gone out with, or wished they’d gone out with, the fabulous Tiffany. “She switched over to cybershooling halfway through freshman year, remember? Her commercial filming was too time consuming.” The girl made a face, scoffing at the idea. “Oh, yeah. That Tiffany. What’s wrong with her?” Jay asked. Lea looked around. They had a good five to ten minutes to wait in the line, and the kids around them were absorbed in their own conversations, whether they be over texting or not. “You really haven’t heard yet? It was all over my newsfeed last night.” Jay shrugged, and Lea muttered something about chronic stupor and boys. “She’s engaged.” “Hey, well good for her!” He congratulated. “Jay. You are missing the point. The girl is sixteen. Sixteen and engaged. To be married.” Lea emphasized the last bit with a flourish of her arms, then tossed an apology to the bystander she’d almost smacked. “To that soccer star that graduated last year? Really?” “Mhm. I mean, she’s got her whole life ahead of her, and she wants to spend it tied to a dolt like that,” She rolled her eyes. “What kind of sick manipulation is this?” “Hey, you’re asking the wrong guy,” Jay raised a hand in defense. “I’m not getting a girl until I’ve got a car.” The two of them shuffled forwards in the line. “Yeah. You have fun with that, bud,” She was clearly uninterested in his opinion at the moment. “But I mean really. You have your whole life to be married, why worry about it now? You know, if he really loved her, he’d let her live a bit of life before latching on and leeching off of her and her daddy’s wallet for years and years. Let her grow up a bit, grow into herself, you know?” Jay nodded absently, pulling out his iPhone to answer some text or another. “And have you seen the statistics on teen marriages?” Lea continued, pulling out her own phone, which wasn’t as fancy as Jay’s. But while she was talking, she pecked out a message to him and sent it. “Like 95% of teen marriages end before the age of 25. What makes them think they’re any different?” The entrance to the food court came slowly closer and closer. Jay’s phone went off again, and he looked at Lea’s message, raising a skeptically bemused eyebrow as he read it aloud. “ ’Are you even listening to me?’ Aha, of course I am. When do I ever not listen?” “Do you really want me to answer that? But that’s not the point. What I was saying was-“ “Look, Lea,” He interrupted, “I know you and Tiffany used to be like best friends back in, like, second grade, but is it really that hard to just take a step back and let them make their own mistakes?” The line stopped again, leaving the two of them right outside the food door. “Well I…wait, what?” “It’s a cruel world nowadays. You learned that when you got ditched in middle school for a commercial-acting career. Let queen Tiffany learn her lesson the hard way,” Lea was silent for a few seconds, until the lunch aide waved them inside. “You’re heartless, you know that?” She called as the two split into separate lunch lines.A/N: Well, just a bit of dialogue practice that I wrote up at 2:30 AM, I thought it might be a bit too long to go in my blog. Prompted by a mix of real life events, I thought it would make for a nice story and good COT writing practice.
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The Whip Hand


#2 Offline Velox

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Posted Oct 26 2012 - 01:43 PM

Official SSCC Charity ReviewOkay, so, for a little bit of dialogue practice, this really wasn't bad. Not bad at all, actually, and I really enjoyed it. You accomplished a lot through just this little scene -- well done. One of the things I really liked was the description placed throughout the dialogue. Far too often writers will have just a big chuck of dialogue. Possibly very well written dialogue, sure, but still -- only dialogue. You didn't do that here. There were really only a few lines where all you said was "he said" (or some variant thereof), and that's an extremely good thing -- you payed attention to how they saw other people, what their actions were while talking, etc. It really just makes the scene a lot more realistic. I was able to picture things very clearly in my mind which really added to the story. Another thing I liked, whether you consciously did it or not, was the fact that you didn't spend a lot of time on the descriptions of the school, the most being that it has a cafeteria. Usually I'm all for descriptions, and many, but for this I think it was good without -- it felt like this was written from the perspective of these two students, and as such, having no descriptions really fits. After all, if you've been going to a school for over a year (even a month or a week), you're probably not going to be observing the actual building around you. When I walk around my house, I don't notice "oh look, there's that wall with this photo, and that, and then there's the bookshelf over there", etc. I don't know, it's hard to explain, I guess, but I just felt like considering the type of story you were writing (a scene between two high schoolers), it just really fit to keep the focus completely on the dialogue and their personal actions. Sure, a little more description could've been added here and there ("she looked over at a group of friends crowded around a green table, eating...." etc. etc.), but it definitely wasn't needed, especially since this was (I assume) just a little exercise in dialogue -- a very well-done one at that.Maybe it's because I just graduated high school, I don't know, but I could really relate to this story. The things people talk about, whether just while eating lunch, or in a lunch line, etc. -- it just all felt very realistic. I can't say that this particular thing has happened to me, but there's definitely been similar events that have caused a lot of "oh my gosh can you believe it"-type reactions, and a lot of gossiping. I also liked the attention you put on their phones. I went to a Catholic school, and we weren't allowed to use our phones during school, but just from hanging out with people outside of school, etc., this, too, was definitely extremely realistic. And it's sad, really, that modern young society is focused so much on their phones rather than each other. But let's not get into a rant about that right now, haha. The important thing is that you portrayed modern teenagers well. I only have a couple of nitpicks:

“Oh my god.

Should be capitalized. and:

“She switched over to cybershooling halfway through freshman year, remember?

Forgot a "c" there, between the "s" and "h" in "cyberschooling". (and I think that should be two words)The only other thing is capitalization for dialogue. I'll quote a few lines and try to give some basic rules, rather than pointing out every single time:

“Shhh,” Jay looked around as Lea’s words echoed in the empty cafeteria that was slowly filling up.

The comma after "shhh" should be a period, because you're not saying "he said" (or variation thereof) afterward.

“Save it for when the rest of the table gets here.” He advised.

The period after "here" should be a comma, and "He" should be "he".

“I hate freshmen,” He muttered, shooting them a dirty look.

The "He" should be "he" (uncapitalized). So, basically, whenever you use "he said" or any variation of that, there should be a comma ending the quotation, and the "he said" should be uncapitalized. The exception, of course, is if it's a proper noun. If the dialogue ends in a question mark or exclamation point, you don't use a comma, but the "he said" is still uncapitalized. And, if you have dialogue, and then switch to just an action, instead of saying "he said", then you would use a period inside the quotation marks (for example, the first one I quoted -- because Jay is "looking" instead of "saying", you'd just put a period. If you had said "Jay said, looking around..." then you would use the comma. But because you're not saying any variant of "he said", you would just use a period). Other than that, as I said, this was a good story. It was a very well-written exercise, and I enjoyed reading it. Keep up the great work, Aderia!Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender





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