Six friends sought refuge from an extreme heat wave that had descended on the southern coast of Spain, they did so at their favourite Tetería, a type of arabic tea-lounge, it was a dark room with dim lighting, the walls were white with hanging wooden panels decorated with intricate patterns, on one side of the room low level tables were sat on colorful patterned rugs surrounded by small wooden stalls, the other side had several booths separated by richly coloured light fabric drapings, inside of which there were also low tables on rugs but this time surrounded by small low leather bean bags. The group of friends claimed their favourite spot in the corner booth, after they had all ordered, Anna used the menu to fan herself, the rest used whatever they had at hand, quite literally, as Dylan and Tara both used their hands as fans.
“So!” Emma said “After talking last week I found this guide book” She said pulling something out of her bag “It has loads of places to stay, I thought we could go to one of these campsites” she opened the booklet on the table at a page marked by an overturned corner “We’ll need tents, or we could stay in a cabin.
“Lets see this guide book then.” Liam said stretching out his arm.
“Can we stay in a cabin? I would love to do that!” Cloe said enthusiastically, as she wasn’t really into camping.
“I take it you spoke to your mom about it Cloe?” Dylan asked.
“I did, at first she wasn’t too sure but I took her to the restaurant where Emma works and after meeting her she said I could come.”
“I think tents are much more fun and loads cheaper” Tara said.
“It won’t be that bad Cloe” Liam said as she looked slightly put out by the thought, then leaning in the younger girls ear he whispered “Besides you can always have a nice pink tent.”
“But what if I get bitten by bugs or worse poisoned”
Everyone burst out laughing.
“Don’t be stupid, nothing poisonous lives in these parts” Anna said sarcastically. Showing maturity Cloe briefly stuck her tongue out in response then immediately popped a freshly unwrapped lollipop in her mouth before Anna could see.
The waiter returned interrupting the conversation “Who ordered the ice tea?” He asked with an argentinean accent as he pulled back the fabric that covered their booth. He was a tall, broad shouldered man, with brown hair, it was short on the side and back but long and wavy on top, stubble covered his chin giving him that rugged look some girls love so much.
“That would be I,” Anna answered in a cold manner.
Before long Tara was the only one without a tea, “And the Mage’s love is for you I presume?” he said bending over the table to reach her.
“Oh, yes please.” Tara added with a slightly nervous stutter as she looked into the waiters dreamy brown eyes, then as in a daze watched him walk away. She stayed in a daze for some time till she startled herself by spilling her tea.
“All sorted” Emma said “We just need a date.”
“That’s not going to be easy” Liam pointed out as he returned the booklet “We have to synchronize our work holidays.”
“Just one of the advantages of studying” Dylan said factually “Holidays during the whole summer.
“We can second that right Tara?” Cloe added. Tara gave no response as she was still half distracted by her tea.
“We three should have no problems then” Dylan replied “Hold on, I’m just going to the loo I’ll be right back.”
“Oh! good idea, I need to wash my hands this teas got me all sticky” Tara said getting up.
“Don’t be long, we have a holiday to plan” Liam said.
The rest sat at the table in silence for a minute until they excitedly started chatting about their holiday.
“This lake looks good” Emma said.
“But it’s still near the city, and I thought the idea was to see different places” Anna said “Besides, that lake is just an over glorified puddle in the centre of a park.”
“Anna has a point” Emma said “But if not there then where?”
“I think we should… Sorry?” Anna started to say, followed by an abrupt silent pause, she looked at Liam strangely “Did you say something?”
“What me? No” He answered surprised.
“You didn’t? That’s strange” Anna said thoughtfully “Well as I was saying… That’s it! You’re not speaking, you’re singing!.”
“No I’m not” He chuckled “Anna I think the heat is getting to you, you’re having hallucinations.”
“There is someone singing” Anna said convinced.
“She’s right, someone is singing over the music, but it’s a different song” Emma added straining to hear “If you listen carefully you can make out a male voice.”
After a couple of seconds listening to the music they’re amazement became bigger.
“Cloe your the closest, why don’t you check behind the curtain to see who it is?” Liam asked with a cheeky grin.
Cloe sighed and reluctantly got up to see.
“Can you give me a hand up please” Emma asked politely whilst grabbing the young girls arm “I want to see too”
As Cloe was taking her time pulling Emma up, Anna decided to look herself, and climbed over where Tara had been sitting earlier slipping on some tea Tara had missed, her feet flew higher than her head as she landed with an almighty thud.
“Huh” she said confused for a moment “Is this grass?”
5 thoughts on “Those Who Were”
I noticed one issue right away: the first sentence is way too long. There should be a period after “Spain” and one after “tea-lounge” (Also, I don’t think tea lounge need to be hyphenated). I’m afraid that an agent seeing this grammar issue would view this as an immediate turn off, so I would suggest you re-work your writing with extra attention paid to grammar, esp. run-on-sentances. If you feel grammar is not your strength, find a friend who is good with it to review your work.
Best of luck!
Ps. love the setting. Spain is cool!
Hello, thank you for your feedback, this story is in the process of being written and as such we (it has two authors) know there will be some gramatical mistakes as it’s only a first draft and once we have written the whole thing we´ll go back and try to correct the mistakes.
Thank you for pointing those two out we’ll keep them in mind.
Glad you like the setting, as we live in Spain we thought it would be easier to start there 🙂
In this short passage, I counted at least 90 punctuation errors. Yes, ninety. It was so off-putting I had trouble concentrating on the story. Please know whenever a character speaks using quotation marks, you must use either a comma or period in addition to the quotation marks. Also, in many cases, you have used a comma in lieu of a period, (or full stop). I suggest you brush up on punctuation before submitting more work for others to view.
I do more copy editing than content editing, so this is a glaring issue for me perhaps more than the average beta reader.
Here are some copy editing suggestions, (i.e., technical fixes),
In your opening paragraph, I suggest you delete the following:
1. it was (a dark…)
2. were (white with…)
3. there (were also low…)
4. but this time (surrounded…)
In the second paragraph:
5. After talking last week
In the paragraph beginning with “The waiter returned…”
6. it was (short on the side…)
In dialogue tags throughout the rest of the text:
You really don’t need dialogue tags at all, but these specific ones definitely should go.
Also the following words are misspelled as per their meaning in your text:
1. they’re (amazement became…) — They’re should be their.
2. your (the closest….) — Your should be you’re.
Expressions you need to rephrase or clarify:
1. …leaning in (the younger girl’s ear…) — He’s not inside her ear, so, yeah. Please rephrase.
2. …till (she startled herself) — Till should be until.
3. …amazement became bigger.– Try: amazement grew.
4. …whilst (grabbing the young girl’s arm.) — You can either throw this word out or use the word while. Whilst is an archaic word that does not fit the contemporary atmosphere of the scene.
The age of the group of friends is never clear. Are they adolescents? Older teens? College kids? Adults? A mixture? At least one is a student, but another says they need to synchronize their work holidays, so it’s confusing.
The line that reads: “And the Mage’s love is for you I presume?” he said bending over the table to reach her. — This needs to be a separate paragraph from the line before it, but what does it mean? If Mage’s love is the name of a drink, both words should be capitalized. If it is a drink, you should clarify that.
Based on the conversation, I get an overall impression of how the group of friends interacts as a whole, but no sense of their individual identities or any interpersonal dynamics within the group beyond superficial behavior and conversation. I don’t care about these people or what they care about yet. Maybe add a few character details to bring a couple of the group members to life. The only one you really describe is the waiter, and he’s not part of the group at all. (Also Argentinian and Arabic need to be capitalized.)
Thank you for your feedback and your help I will keep your suggestions in mind for once we have finished the first draft and go back to modify what we are not happy with.
We will try to make the ages clearer and are working towards character development.
I had trouble keeping up only because it didn’t feel like the story was progressing. Just characters hanging out talking. Other than that, I didn’t feel like anything big was happening. I especially think the prologue should go, it’s like the opening of a play where the narrator tells us exactly what’s going on and then we have a close up on the scene. I’d suggest a rewrite and start the scene in a more climatic point. A bestselling writer once gave me some advice to which I always take use and it is one of the best things anyone has ever told me. “Start the scene in the most climatic portion and end it with them wanting more.” While it doesn’t work for all genres, I love his tips.