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Peter - true story from young writter

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Old 05-26-2014, 02:35 PM
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Default Peter - true story from young writter


It's times like this I think of Peter. Exam stress. He would be going through the same things as me, if he was still alive. He would be doing his Junior Cert too. Who knows, maybe we'd still be best of friends.

I find it strange that I still think back to a friend i had for a couple of months when i was 8 years old, even when there are important things going on in my life right now. I think it's because he allows me to put my life in perspective. He shows me how lucky I am, and makes me question how important these things I think are important really are, like this Junior Cert.

It was 2006 when my sister was diagnosed with scheie syndrome, there's a reason you haven't heard of it, it only affects 1 in 20 million. She was sent to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin. An 8 year old me, along with my brother and parents, stayed in The Ronald McDonald House. It was a place where the family's of sick children stayed, located directly across from the hospital.

As you can imagine, it was a miserable place. There was no joy. It was often I walked in on mothers crying about their dying children. There were no other children my age in the house, so i mainly stuck with my brother. To this day I still associate that building with hell. I shrivel at the thought of it.

It was only on my visits to my sister in the hospital that i met anybody my own age, one of whom was Peter.

We first met in the playroom. He was taller than me, and much thinner. He always appeared to be pale, with blonde hair and blue eyes. We both had an extreme love for poker, which was unique for 8 year old's, we also loved soccer, and both supported Liverpool. We could spend hours on end discussing Preimiership matches.

The days were long in the Ronald McDonald house, and I longed to spend more time with Peter. We had developed a special bond over the time we spent together. Neither of us were where we wanted to be, but we had each other. When we were together there was a calm in the storm that our lives had become.

However this brief but powerful friendship was soon to draw to a close. As my sister began to get better, Peter's health deteriorated. The cancer was taking it's toll on him. He had lost more weight, and he told me the treatment he was getting wasn't making a difference. An innocent and naive 8 year old couldn't foresee what was going to happen to Peter.

It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was showing Peter the new Match Magazine that I had just bought. This happened every Tuesday and peter loved reading it. But this time was different. He wasn't able to pay attention. He had become so weak that the simple task of reading a magazine was a struggle. I was afraid of touching him for fear of hurting him. His eyes then closed fully. He was still breathing with the help of several machines. I ran out and got the nurses. They kept me away from Peter after that.

It was one week later my mother approached me while I was playing on my own. My mother knew of my friendship with Peter. She knew how close we were and how lonely I was without him. She told me that Peter had passed away earlier that day, that the cancer had won. I burst into tears, as any child would after loosing their best friend. I couldn't imagine a world without Peter, he was the only thing getting me through Dublin. He was like a brother to me and I loved him more than anyone else in the world.

The days went by and i struggled to cope with Peters death. His funeral was one of the hardest thing's I've had to go through. His parents thanked me for being there for Peter when he was ill. They told me he said i was his best friend, and that I was one of the main people who inspired him to fight his battle with cancer.

Years have passed since Peter's death. I still stay in contact with his parents and his sister via Facebook. I often think of him in times of happiness, or heartbreak. I think of him when someone dies or when I see Steven Gerard on T.V. Peter was my best friend, and I'll never forget our friendship.

I love you Peter.


Last edited by fightingirish; 06-24-2014 at 03:35 PM..
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:41 PM
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Moving. A very mature piece for a fifteen-year-old.

You have a lot of spelling issues, but your grammar is damn near impeccable.

Write on, Brother. I have had cancer myself and watched many people not make it as I found a cure. You spoke of the loss most eloquently.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:31 PM
fightingirish (Offline)
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Thanks Ed,
I wish you the best of health in the future.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:21 PM
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Try reviewing other people's work, earnestly, if you want people to review yours, instead of giving lame one-liners to pad your own count and bumping your own post. Both of which are against forum rules.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:39 PM
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You have to understand that I only joined this site yesterday, and I still find it confusing. Sorry if I broke a rule, honest mistake.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:54 PM
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No worries man.

Beautifully written piece. Heart-wrenching to the core, the permanence of your bond contrasted with the impermanence of your bodies. It was sweetly written, urgent, desperate and innocent. Deeply heartfelt; as if there could be any other way to tell a story like this.

Thank you for sharing, it isn't often I get to read a story like this, one that forces the perspective open, that throws light into a dark place.

I appreciate you capturing and communicating this powerful part of your life.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:50 PM
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Hello Tom,

This is more advice than critique, more about story telling and technique than your story.

First, let me say that age fifteen is a very good time to start writing. By the time you're twenty-five, maybe you'll be a wordsmith and a professional writer. Perhaps by age thirty-five, you'll have a best-seller to your credit. Just remember, grocery lists and letters to mother are written, stories are constructed.

For instance, your story is about Peter, and a first paragraph should introduce your protagonist (that's Peter) by full name, state where and when the story is happening (location and period) and make a transition to the story beginning. It should be done in about three sentences. This is to let the reader know who the story is about, when and where the story takes place, and move the reader on to the first story event.

The story beginning starts the process of introducing the important story characters, and establishes the story premise ,that's the problem/conflict facing the protagonist, Peter. Peter is dying.

If the story is about Peter, and you are the narrator telling the story, then the story is not about you, but what happens is told from your viewpoint.

Now, your story is mostly about you, your feelings and experiences, so you should be the protagonist telling how you were affected by Peter.

As it stands, your story is mixed up and jumps back and forth between yourself, your sister, your mother, and Peter. You need to think about the story organization so it develops coherently from opening, to beginning, to establishment of premise, to middle story (where obstacles appear and are solved with logical solutions), to the story climax where the protagonist comes face-to-face with the premise conflict/challenge, and conquers it, then the story ends by showing life goes on and leaving the protagonist changed in some way.

So, I suggest you approach your story, not as a personal experience and loss, but as a storytelling task following the process in the paragraph above. Above all, resist the urge to explain! Tell what happened, and the effect it had on the story. Don't describe, show.

Decide who is the protagonist.
What is the central, main, story problem (the premise) affecting the protagonist.
Who are the main characters in the story. Why they are essential to the story (if the story can be told without mentioning a character, the character should be eliminated because unessential characters only confuse the story line).
What should be the first thing in the story (in this story I think it should be the day you met Peter).
What are the obstacles to overcome, and what are the logical solutions.
What is the climax event. How does the protagonist cope with the premise problem.
What is the story end. How does life go on. How is the protagonist changed by story events.

When the above questions are answered, write an opening that orientates the reader and leads into the story. Never open a story with back story, descriptive narrative, explanations of any sort, a dream, waking up, weather. or dialogue. Here is how I would open your story:

"Peter Smith and I met in the playroom of Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin in 2006. We were interested in the same things—cars, soccer, and the Liverpool football club. I was visiting my sister, who was a patient, and didn't know until later that Peter was a patient too."

I would start the story beginning with:
"As my sister improved, Peter's health deteriorated."

When you think your story is finished, it's time to start editing.

Edit your story very, very carefully, ensure grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and story elements are absolutely correct.

When you finish, you should have a good story you are proud of, and can perhaps publish.

Just my opinion,

Tony
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:54 PM
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Formulas are fine but every story doesn't need a formula.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:17 PM
fightingirish (Offline)
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Hey Tony,
Thanks so much for the advice. I completely agree that the story is mixed up, there is no real structure, and in future stories I will be taking that advice into consideration, however I'm not so sure about your method of starting this story. It seems to be a tad stereotypical, most of the good books I've read start with something completely bonkers, I don't believe there should be anything set in stone. Also, being a professional writer is not my ambition. Just a teenager writing about something that shaped my life, and of course, remembering my friend.

Thanks again Tony, much appreciated.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:21 PM
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An anger management councilor once told me that whatever it was that I was doing to maintain my sanity-keep doing it. Writing it all down was what I was doing.
I applaud you, and hope you continue forward, and upward.

M
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:29 PM
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I think Tony has some outstanding advice. However, if it was me receiving that advice when I was beginning, I'd probably have walked away from the creative process.

If structure is what makes your gears turn (sounds like Tony is that kinda guy) do it. If you need to open your emotional floodgates and just ride it out, do it. I think, eventually, you'll need wildness to spice up your structure, or structure to make sense of your wildness, but for me it's a matter of knowing what each moment calls for.

Early on, for me, it's more a matter of keeping the magic from snuffing out, then developing the discipline to keep it growing.

All in all, great advice from everybody I think.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:36 PM
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Before Frank tells me to shut up, I'll concur.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:42 PM
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Wow!

This was an incredibly moving tale.

You can get all the advice in the world, but in the end writing has one true purpose - to move people. Yes it can be informative, but if it doesn't move you in some way you will never remember it.

The advice here is good, structure is extremely important and I agree there is a bit too much flicking around - i.e. lack of focus. But, for me, this is secondary to the purpose of your story. You convey emotion well in this piece and sometimes structure can "sap" that out. Becareful when you go through this not to lose that magic.

Well done.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:40 AM
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Thank you all very much for the kind words.
I especially liked MonseratTheFool's comment on having structure to wildness and wildness to structure. Great advice.

*reposted as the exam was corrected*

Last edited by Elisa/win; 06-25-2014 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:32 AM
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Beautifully direct. You have a very nice way in getting to the reader. The directness made the feelings you have for peter all that more palpable. I know hoy you must feel loosing someone you love, and knowing that there is nothing you can do even if you would give anything.

As far as structure goes, i think for you it's not so much a problem. It's important, but I would say to play around until you have found your preferred style. Sometimes structure is restrictive, so if you do want to also work on it, get your story out first, then go back and fix the structure to make the story stronger. The structure should do that, rather than limiting your writing.

one question as a mod, and you are very welcome to say no. Since this is a nonfiction piece, would you like me to move it to the nonfiction section or do you prefer leaving it here? Either way is totally fine.

Cheers, and enjoy the Beat.
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:24 AM
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Default Peter- true story

The things working well in this draft are the plot and subplot along with the imagery.
The action of the plot takes shape as the narrator's sister enters the ridge between life and death at the Ronald McDonald hospital. Things have changed at home and the family spends more time at the hospital where the subplot also takes form when the narrator meets Peter.

The tension of the plot and subplot holds as Peter's condition worsens. Good decision in writing to let Peter work out as a lead between the life and death gap. It adds the element of surprise- the audience could not predict.

The Match magazine gives the audience a concrete image to focus on that represents the friendship. It works. You don't need several things.

A second draft can include more characterization of the hospital. Let us see why it's hell to the narrator. Maybe even add a scene between Peter's nurse and the narrator. Make the nurse a little offish.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:37 PM
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Very moving. I teared up.
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