The Alternative: Chapters 1-5

August 11, 2014
By kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.


Summary:

It has been ten years since the incident. Sam Summerton lives alone in misery, existing for nothing, regretting everything, wishing he could take back the past. He is lost in despair, longing to die but at the same time dreaming of redemption. He knows where death will take him, and he knows he is not ready for the final judgment. He wants a second chance.

And that's just what he gets. But little did he know that this second chance would prove to be much more than a dream come true. After he takes the Alternative, Sam is forced to confront his past rather than let go of it, and he must question his conceptions of what life is truly meant to be.


Eric C.

The Alternative: Chapters 1-5


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This book has 22 comments.


ellwist SILVER said...
on May. 30 2015 at 3:00 pm
ellwist SILVER, Surabaya, Other
7 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
"They only let you be this happy when they're preparing to take something from you." -Khaled Hosseini, the Kite Runner.

Was Sam made to be unsympathetic? I know he calls himself out as a jerk, but usually that lets the reader go "oh, no you're not", but all I'm getting is "yeah, you're a real big jerk". If it is, then congratulations--you have successfully made the third jerk protagonist I've read of since Gillian Flynn and Ken Follett, and I absolutely love it. But I guess it really depends on where you stand. I loved the atmosphere of these first few chapters overall, though its a little too wordy for my taste (sorry, I've always stood on the ground of "too much talk kills the meaning"), and I loved all these references to the plot of redemption and these characters and everything in general. I'm intrigued with Parish and his role in the plot, because it'd be a shame if he was only there to give the Alternative. And I have to apologize, the use of the Alternative wasn't too clear to me--is it an immortality potion? Or just a second chance? And was Sam dead in the prologue, or was it not meant to be taken seriously? I had a hunch the Alternative may have just allowed Sam to travel into his own memories of the past, but thats improbable. But I'm rambling now. Good job on this one. I hope you're posting the sixth chapter soon.

on May. 22 2015 at 4:59 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Yeah, I just submitted the more light-hearted story and it should be up soon! I submitted it once before, but TeenInk decided to be stupid and post it without any of the words. -_- Hopefully it doesn't do that again, 'cause if it does, I'll probably kill something. Probably a carrot. The light-hearted story is really hardly light-hearted, though. It's just more light-hearted than The Alternative, but it's definitely not happy overall. Like I said, it has its fair share of sadness and dark themes. Still, it's been a lot of fun to write, and I'm taking a new approach with it that has worked really well so far! I have a REALLY good feeling about this new story!

on May. 19 2015 at 10:43 am
CNBono17 SILVER, Rural, South Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 250 comments

Favorite Quote:
Lego ergo sum (Latin—I read, therefore, I am)
The pen is mightier than the sword—unknown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity—1 Timothy 4:12

I think there's a difference between verbosity and description. Your descriptions are superb, although there are a few points where the fancy words kind of hit you in the face and the reader has to look them up. (I like a few of them, though…) As for the dark themes thing, I actually don't usually like this kind of thing, but after reading your feedback on that forum thread, I looked you up and this was the first thing on the list. And it's well-written enough that I could get into it. I'll be looking for that more light-hearted and adventurous one, sounds more up my alley:) That being said, you did do an incredible job with this.

on May. 18 2015 at 8:51 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

I tried something new. And it's awesome. :D

on May. 18 2015 at 8:42 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Wow! Uh...thanks! I actually stopped writing The Alternative a while ago. I wanted to write something more light-hearted and adventurous, and that's actually what I'm working on right now (although my newest story does have its own fair share of dark themes, I assure you). After seeing how many people liked it, though... I dunno. I might go back to writing it later on in life! There's no doubt that it's a great story! But you don't think it was too descriptive? I've tried to be less overly descriptive recently because I've found that readers don't really understand when you put literally every single big, fancy word you know (or look up on Google) in a story. :P I guess you could say I wrote this at a time when I didn't completely understand the balance between simplicity and verbosity.

on May. 13 2015 at 7:23 pm
CNBono17 SILVER, Rural, South Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 250 comments

Favorite Quote:
Lego ergo sum (Latin—I read, therefore, I am)
The pen is mightier than the sword—unknown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity—1 Timothy 4:12

I'm thoroughly impressed; you had me from the beginning. I know there were comments made about the pacing, but I like the fact that you save a lot of the backstory until later, allowing the reader to learn how to sympathize with the characters first, before what happened is revealed. On a tangent from that, when are you going to finish? Having only six chapters of a novel that clearly is going to build and build and build is nerve-wracking and frustrating for the reader. (Although, as the writer, you're probably going through bouts of evil laughter as you read this comment. But I digress.) It's incredible, explores some of the deepest human emotions out there fearlessly, and isn't afraid to reveal problems for what they are. My only issue would be formatting, on two counts. One, giant block of solid black with no indentations is a bit intimidating and hard to follow. But that's not really your fault. Two, and this is just me, but I would cut the chapters in length. If this were a real, flesh-and-bone (paper-and-binding?) book, it wouldn't be an issue, but considering the fact that it's online, and the formatting for novels on this site isn't great, the length of chapters might scare less-than-avid readers off. Barring that, I couldn't look away; read it in one sitting:) Well done!

on Oct. 26 2014 at 11:08 am
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Yeah...I've tried. It's gotten a lot harder for me to get inspiration for some reason, and I haven't really written in a while. But I REALLY want to start writing again; I just don't know if I wanna keep writing The Alternative or if I want to try something new. :/

on Oct. 24 2014 at 3:06 am
Chrissiana1320 BRONZE, Hypoluxo, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It isn't what you can do with your strength, but how you chose to use."


















-By me, I think.

great! i love all of it! Have u writen any-more books? 

on Oct. 1 2014 at 4:07 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Uuuuuh...about me not overusing adjectives...you'll probably be rethinking that after reading Chapter 2! :P    As for the fact that I repeated a phrase, I was doing that purposefully, but I can see how that might come across as lazy. I wanted to use repetition to make that certain fact more significant, but I don't know. I might change it. Emphasis on the "might".    Then there's the random names I threw around that you obviously knew nothing about; I did that purposefully, too. They will be elaborated in full detail later on; the mystery surrounding them here is meant to draw the reader in.    Overall, I'm really not worried about the first chapter; the later ones bother me. I'm not sure if they're really good or not...

IMSteel BRONZE said...
on Oct. 1 2014 at 1:26 pm
IMSteel BRONZE, Wallhala, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 128 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

"Brevity is the Soul of Wit" - The Which

I've only read the first chapter, but I promise I'll read the rest during the next couple of days. I'll review each chapter as I read it. Now, I would first like to congratulate you on snaring my attention with the first line, and then holding it throughout the chapter. The pace of the story was perfect: slow enough to deliver information without it seeming rushed, and fast enough to keep the plot moving smoothly. Great job on that! You did a fantastic job on the main character; my interest and sympathy was awoken almost instantly. What better character than a self-loathing, miserable, seemingly hopeless man to give the Alternative to! It promises to be a great story of redemption and surprise! The plot is rich in metaphor and human nature, I can't wait to read the rest! It reminded me almost of a Twilight Zone episode the way you set it up. The description and imagery was awesome, and you didn't overuse adjectives at all, which is sometimes what I have a problem with. The dialogue was also very well done, though there were a few phrases that seemed slightly out of place in their wording. Now the problems I noticed in this piece, and don't worry, they are few: you repeated yourself once at the beginning of the chapter, "He had no friends, no acquaintances. He rarely went outside, and lived in seclusion, away from the world-". This same exact statement appears later directly after Parish arrives. You might have done this on purpose, but it comes off as a bit lazy. Always try to find a different way to phrase something, that's our job as writers. This is the only place I noticed that had such a problem, otherwise, all the descriptions were very well done. Now, besides one or two grammatical errors that can easily be fixed in editing, towards the end, some of the dialogue I found to be spoken a bit too casually. And possibly, in the beginning, or even towards the end of the chapter, maybe go into a tiny bit more detail about his past. His relationship with Claire came through clear enough, but the other names mentioned could use some explanation. Give the reader just a bit more specific knowledge of what Sam has to resolve in order to fix what he has done, I think it would build up the importance of the Alternative a bit more. All in all, the dialogue was really the only major thing that could use refining and tightening up, the rest was great! I loved the end of the chapter, and can't wait to see what happens next. Keep writing!

on Sep. 30 2014 at 7:53 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Yeah, I agree with you; Sam's infatuation with Claire is kind of abrupt. As for the reader not having a clear reason why Sam loves Claire so much...that is actually the kind of mindset I wanted to create. I understand that the reader doesn't know why Sam loves Claire; that's 'cause he doesn't really have a reason. He just thinks she looks beautiful, and that's why he loves her and dreams of her every day.    Do you think there's too much sophisticated vocabulary? I kind of fell victim to the misconception that good vocabulary = good writing a little while back. I just recently read Stephen King's memoir, which gave me a whole new perspective on how to use vocabulary and adverbs. It's been really helpful, and now I'm starting to scrutinize my writing a lot more (more than I already was, which is pretty unbelievable...)   I actually omitted a rather dreadful adverb from Chapter 2 a little while ago. "Somnolently." King would cringe...

on Sep. 24 2014 at 7:38 am
Extraterrestrial SILVER, Singapore, Other
9 articles 4 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it's a plan!"

Chapter two! I think I see now why you're worried about later chapters, but not chapter one... chapter one has this tense and foreboding atmosphere that just draws the reader in. Chapter two doesn't have the same feel. However, this isn't a bad thing. I personally feel that a story can't be all flat and one-toned all the way through. It has to change. And even though this story focuses more on character development than plot or suspense, I think you've created enough of a connection between reader and character to make us want to know what happens next. In a sense, the character development becomes the plot. Sam's bullheadedness and (misplaced?) feelings of self-righteousness really shine through in this chapter. Delaying Claire's introduction seems to be a good course of action, since it deepens the mystery and leaves the reader at the edge of their seat, wanting to know more about the girl who got her heart broken by Sam. The flashback is lovely, and it provides some insight about the reasons why Sam chose to languish away in isolation before. Mini-Sam is a right piece of work -- I'm torn between slapping him for being a brat, and feeling sorry for him. I do think that Mini-Sam's fixation on Mini-Claire is too abrupt, though. I get that Claire defies all of Sam's preconceptions about Mr. Blackbourne, what with him having a kid and all, but what is so special about Claire that Sam immediately thinks of her every second of his day? I think you could expand more on why exactly he is so attracted to Claire. Anyway, this is a great chapter -- while not the same as the first one, it is nevertheless on par. Some writers specialize in a certain area, so they do better in... let's say, setting the mood, writing fast-paced action scenes, etc. Yours would be character portrayals / development. I do so love your characters. 

on Sep. 22 2014 at 10:41 am
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Yeah, I'm not really worried about the first chapter; that one is good! It's the later chapters I'm more worried about, especially Chapters 4 and 5, because they're a lot longer and there's a lot more room for error in those chapters. Also, you should probably know that this story is only very loosely a Thriller/Mystery story; it's much more about the characters than the suspense, and that's why I was worried about whether or not readers would be invested in it: it doesn't exist purely to thrill the reader. You seem to like it so far, though, which really boosts my confidence, and I'm glad you want to read more! Thanks so much for taking the time to check this out and give me some feedback! :)

on Sep. 22 2014 at 6:05 am
Extraterrestrial SILVER, Singapore, Other
9 articles 4 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it's a plan!"

Are you guys invested in everything that's going on? Really? Are you even asking us that? Because it should be pretty darn obvious that YES. YES. YES WE ARE. Holy macaroni, I am so invested right now, despite the fact that I've read is the FIRST chapter. This is amazing. You had me hooked from the first sentence. It's short, it's simple, but it manages to convey the fact that having someone at the door is an uncommon event, which awakens curiosity. And your diction -- your descriptions, imagery, choice of adjectives, they all flow so well. The mood is set so nicely with the depiction of Sam's face, lending the chapter an air of doom and gloom. I felt chills upon the introduction of Mr. Parish, and I honestly could almost feel the cold wind blowing across my face. You are raising so many questions about this Mr. Parish the enigma, and what a brilliant character he is! Sam, too -- one can feel how resigned he is with his seemingly worthless life. I love the way you present your characters. Sam is so real, so like an everyday person, so relatable... his breakdown is truly outstanding to behold, and Mr. Parish's detached, clinical personality just contrasts Sam's neuroticism so beautifully. I don't trust Mr. Parish, I would dislike him if I met him in real life, and yet I already love him as a fictional character! It's strange. Claire is someone whom I look forward to being more developed in later chapters. Brilliant use of repetition in the second half of this chapter, they really build up to the climax. It's all very dramatic and one can really sense Sam's inner turmoil. I want to shake him so hard the fluff comes out of his ears, tell him not to trust Mr. Parish, but at the same time can't help but feel sorry for him... I love how your descriptions intensify near the end of the first chapter, only to come to a complete halt on the last sentence. "The hummingbird's wings fell silent." Man, that made me shiver. Really well done. The only thing I'd like to comment on is the fact that... well, most everyone is well acquainted with the problems immortality will bring upon the victim. They leave their friends, family, loved ones behind... Sam would leave Claire eventually. He should be more aware of that scenario, in my opinion. But then again, he is dying from cancer, so I suppose that's why he just wants the immediate solution, wants to live in the present moment. If so, then feel free to ignore my comment. I'd just like to dive right in to the second chapter but I have a truckload of projects due tomorrow, so I'll have to wait until I finish. The horror. There is nothing more I would like to do than continue reading. Yes, it's that good! You are a very talented writer. Self-doubt never really goes away, but I do hope this assures you that you simply must go on!

on Aug. 27 2014 at 11:10 am
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Wow, thank you! I was actually kind of worried about Sam's breakdown, because I thought readers would be kind of overwhelmed by Sam's emotions at that point. I'm glad you liked it though; I really wanted to do a good job of getting Sam's desperation and neurosis across to the reader, because while he wants to repair the damage he's done and become a good person, there's a lot more to him than that.    As for Sandy, I agree that there were multiple times where she suffered from indecision and it did get a little repetitive. It does tell readers more about her character, but it could get a little boring after a while. I'm sure I'll find a way to fix that later on; right now I think it's best that I work with what I've written, because if I don't, I'll probably start doubting myself again and I REALLY don't want that to happen for the fiftieth time...   Seriously, though, thank you so much for your feedback! Chapter 4 was definitely the chapter I was most worried about, and now I can rest easy knowing that it's really not as bad as I'm telling myself it is. It still might be a little too long though...but like I said, I'll fix that later! Right now I've got Chapter 6 to worry about! :D

on Aug. 26 2014 at 9:48 pm
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

This is for chapter 4 - things have been really busy so I haven't had a chance to read 5 quite yet but I will try to get it in soon. Again, your writing is very professional and uniformed, and you have created characters so real I could imagine walking into them on the street. This isn't a story I would ever want to miss! The whirlpool of emotions you created in this chapter was wonderful, enticing, and most importantly, believable. Your portrayal of those emotions was also quite unique and fun to read.  However, there were a few small details I noticed that you might consider changing. And trust me, I'm being a picky when I say this first one. I didn't count how many times Sandy was caught with her indescision on whether to leave or not, but at times it felt like you took one scene - their reunion - and tried it a few different ways before concluding the full scene. It was a little repetitive, but at the same time I don't think you should break it into multiple scenes. Maybe play with the formatting and the turbulance of the conversation a little more to add variety? It's a tough one to edit, but don't worry too much; even as is I wasn't bothered much at all. This next one is probably one of my strange editorial things, but the dialogue in the the first portion of the chapter didn't seem as realistic as what you had done in your first three. The only reason I'm saying this is because it was very casual at first, using words that seemed a little light for the situation - but then again, it started as a casual conversation, and when I changed the tonology I read in they worked perfectly fine. So that's only a minor issue - decide for yourself if you think it needs changing. On the other hand, one portion of dialogue I thought you did remarkabley well was when Sam had his breakdown. Lots of writers - me included - have trouble writing believable scenes where the characters get fed up and go through the motions that Sam did. The repeated use of 'Tightening' not only brought you back to Claire's incident - something that the reader should be reminded of often - but gave the imagery of the noose around Sam's neck, adding to the desperate tension of the scene. It gave the reader a deeper insight to his past and what is truly bothering him, and it's these moments of exposure that can really make a good character great - or a great character magnificent. So in summary, you did a very good job on this chapter. Only a few things need editing, and those aren't really major. Well done!

on Aug. 25 2014 at 10:53 am
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

Thank you so much! You're awesome! :D I gotta warn you though, Chapter 4 in particular is REALLY long, and probably will need the most feedback out of the five chapters... :P

on Aug. 25 2014 at 9:47 am
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

I'm so glad I can help! Later today I am planning on reading chapters 4 and 5, and I will be sure to send you my feedback when I do:)

on Aug. 24 2014 at 9:59 pm
kingofwriters BRONZE, DeWitt, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

I love books, and I love technology, but I don't want to see the latter overwhelm the former. I just think books are meant to be pages you turn, not screens you scroll through.

You have NO IDEA how much your comment means to me. Thank you so much for reading, and while I hope you decide to look at Chapters 4 and 5 (those are the ones that I think need the most work) I think this comment is more than enough to help me out. I do agree with you about my overusing the vocabulary a bit; I've been rereading and working on omitting needless big words so that it's more accessible to readers who don't have a giant vocabulary, like...you know, most people. :P Again, I just have to say that your comment really did help me out substantially, and I think that if I ever have writer's block again in the future, I'll look back at it, 'cause it was that meaningful to me. I think this might be all I need to get back to writing; thank you. :)

on Aug. 24 2014 at 9:02 pm
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

This was an incredible read! Though I only had time to read the first three chapters, they were thoroughly rewarding. Your vocabulary was beautiful and combined with how well you used it truly impressed me. Sometimes - though only rarely - there were almost too many of your wonderful words in a single sentence, breaking the flow of the words and making it a hassle to get through. I only noticed this a few times, however, and they only minorly distracted from the story itself. Also, it's possible your vocabulary might scare away some readers who aren't accustomed to that deep of a lexicon. However, I wouldn't stress about that; you chose this writing style because it suits you, and the writing will suit the unique audience that you write to. Aside from that, the only thing that caught me negatively was the repeated usage of 'joke' in the first chapter. It's possible that was just me being in a fickle mood, but perhaps consider some other synonym to replace it in a few circumstances. Likely there really isn't a problem at all and I merely had one of my strange editorial moments that pick on things that need not be picked on. You can decide for yourself. Now for the positives. As said before, your vocabulary was really quite astounding, and allowed the story to flow in such a more cohesive and profound language than some of the writing I have seen published. Your characters were very three dimensional and each intruiging in their own way - something I've always struggled with. How you introduced each one of them was brilliant, enticing, and honestly masterful. They made the story much more relatable and realistic. As for the story itself... Emotional, believable, enticing, poetic. If you ever publish this, I think I could easily find myself curled up reading this book for hours on end! You absolutely have something golden here! There are so many directions it could go, and almost all of them lead to success. I don't see any reason to stop working on this - rather, I see plenty to continue! Definitely keep writing!!!


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