Feedback Friday – Agrestic

Feedback Fridays

I’d like to introduce you to a new feature we’re running on the TI blog: Feedback Fridays!

All of us over at TI feel extremely lucky to have found each other and our weekly writing meet ups are a hugely important part of our lives. However, not everyone has a group of people they can meet up with in person to talk about writing and go over their work. That’s where Feedback Fridays comes in!

We’d like to invite you all to take a prompt from our Writing Prompt Wednesdays, and share with us! Take the prompt, work it, and send us 200 – 500 words. We’ll read it over and give you some feedback. This isn’t meant to be a critique or a big writing analysis, just some thoughts on your piece to help you work it!

Sharing the work here for everyone else can be super helpful too. Sometimes seeing what someone else is working on, can help us see things in our own work. I’m so super excited to work on this with all of you!!

 

THE PROMPT:

Agrestic; adj Relating to the country, rural or rustic place

 

THE PIECE:

“You get just a taste to start,” Roach said as he clicked the device against my head before quickly pulling it away.

My hands quivered at my temples, the metal of the import sensors scorching into my flesh.

I coughed violently, falling to the urine crusted floor.

“This can’t be your first time!” Roach shouted as he cackled from across the room. The memory of his oddly charming face, and the black market implant taking up much of the side of his skull became blurry. Was he still on the couch covered in blankets making a patchwork of lies about cleanliness?

I couldn’t see anymore. Not the blackness of sleep, or the dim haziness of night, but an unseeing gaze where objects have no meaning.

The algorithm kicked in.

The smell hit me first. Loamy. That was the word. The turned earth under my fingers was loamy. A breeze skittered across my skin, twisting through my hair.

I pushed myself back up to my feet, legs like crumbling glass, and gulped in the intoxicating concentration of oxygen. I turned my face to the sun and basked in the warm embrace as the radiating heat loosened the rusted chains of my rib cage.

I was afraid to look. Where would I be this time? Would it feel like home?

It was a field. Low laying plants filled in the ancient path at my feet. The expanse before me flowed with grasses, golden along the tops, glinting and shimmering in the sun. Birds I couldn’t identify called to me from the west, velveteen linen billowed around my limbs, and the rustle of leaves in the nearby trees fluttered a song I could almost name.

I trembled as a wave of pleasure flooded me. It was perfect. So soft but crisp at the same time. The colors soaked into my flesh and I gasped.

“So perfect…” I whispered.

Somewhere far away, I thought I heard sardonic laughter. The sensation disappeared so quickly, I questioned having heard it in the first place.

I stumbled a few steps down the path, tripping on something I couldn’t see, and landed in a clutch of tiny, yellow flowers.

Pulling them close to my skin, I giggled as joyful tears slipped from my eyes.

The scent of the flowers overwhelmed me, acrid musk and the tang of ozone. The flower stems and leaves slipped from my fingers, replaced with the crusty edge of a long discarded blanket.

I held my hands in front of my eyes, looking for an explanation of their treachery. Instead, the pale blue sky darkened and fell so low I thought I could touch its gritty scaffolding if I stood.

“I told you it was good,” an intimately close voice said with a chuckle.

“Roach,” my voice identified him a moment before my mind had a chance.

He winked down at me smugly as I lay in his lap, his implant flashing dimly on the side of his skull.

“More,” I pleaded.

The grin that spread across his face was all predator.

“Can you pay for it?” he asked.

 

THE FEEDBACK:

This is so lush and there’s so much information packed into the short prose! I like that you’ve taken a starting point about nature and made such a huge contrast with a futuristic, tech heavy setting. It really illustrates a mood in succinct way. The descriptions are all really interesting and I love how so much of the story ties back to itself like the beginning and the ending.

I know it’s hard when working in flash fiction, but I’d like to have a better sense of who the characters are so they feel like people. They almost feel like archetypes right now. Maybe a few more personal details, like how the narrator feels about things.

Overall, I think there’s a lot of really great things going on here. A little polishing and it can be a fantastic piece of flash fiction. Also, it could definitely be a scene in a gritty, tech-noir book. I want to know more about who they are and what kind of a world they live in!

Keep it up!

 

-R/AC

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