Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 8) #AmWriting

This is the penultimate part of chapter one from ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’, a book I started writing eight years ago.

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Help An Author

An update on Part 7

Part seven has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 8

Here are the next 518 words of chapter one. It continues with Danny’s flashback of the breakup between Nick’s and him, but also returns us to the present time of the story. We also get a glimpse of two new characters (a couple), one of whom will become a major character in the story.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

The mark was in precisely the same place to the vodka. Nick had admitted everything to him without having set off the trap.

With the bottle of vodka in his hand, Danny walked to the kitchen and headed for the sink. Unscrewing the top of the bottle, he listened to the ‘gulp gulp’ sound as the liquid disappeared down the plughole. As the last drops vanished, he opened the kitchen waste bin, but something stopped him from letting go of the bottle.

Something red, just to the right of a packet of snacks, caught his eye. Moving the empty pack to one side, five small empty bottles of vodka revealed themselves; the kind found on most flights or in the minibars of hotels. The type of bottles Shaun would have access to with his job as an airline steward.

It wasn’t the trap that had caused Nick to tell the truth, but honesty itself. But that didn’t make what had happened any better. Vodka was the only alcoholic drink Shaun drunk, but how foolish Nick and Shaun had been at not covering their tracks.

As tears began to trickle down Danny’s face again, the sobs from upstairs continued to gently break the silence.

A sudden jerk of his body brought Danny back to the present. Hamble’s voice broke through, as did the current world around him. How long had he been in deep thought about what had happened a few weeks ago?

Dougie’s voice making an announcement made the past disappear entirely.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are all on your way to London. London is the next stop. We will not be calling at any other stations on route, although we will stop for the occasional comfort break. So this is your semi-non stop service to London Victoria. Please respect your fellow passengers by not playing loud music or eating odorous food on the journey…”

Looking down the aisle, Danny chuckled to himself as he watched Dougie enjoying the sound of his own voice while occasionally glancing at the passengers in the rearview mirror. Danny decided to also check out who else was on board.

An older couple sat in front of him had their arms so tightly linked, it looked as if they’d been glued together. Danny’s mind went into overdrive with questions. Where, when and how had they met? Were they childhood sweethearts who had stayed loyal to each other, or had they only just entered each other’s lives? Were they having an affair with each other or with anybody else? Why were they going to London?

Along with a voice from his left, the couple suddenly kissing each other on the lips stopped the questioning.

“Hellooooooo. Earth too–. Hey, I’ve just realised I don’t know your name. I’m Jane, Jane Evans. And you are?”

With a glazed look on his face, Danny turned towards the woman he’d nicknamed Hamble and gave his name.

“So,” announced Jane, who had been talking non-stop to Danny while he’d been thinking about the past. “Did I tell you about the worst thing I ever did to another human being?”


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

27 thoughts

  1. Hi
    I’ve missed a couple of episodes so re read the whole of Chp 1 from the top. I rather think the whole recap of the trap and the break up is overdone as are the forward hints about the impact on their respective lives. Unless the trap features again in some way, it’s irrelevant to the story – the cheating and break up are the relevant bits. It would read better if you referenced the break up and then just dropped in a few images as they would occur to Danny – the bottle as trap, the alarm and granny’s voice dragging him to confront Nick, Nick’s unexpected confession and the heart ache on both sides, the fact the trap hadn’t worked as anticipated yet still the world had fallen apart. You really want to try and show us the emotional impact on them both but describing the tears, the silence in the car rather than telling us all that happened. It doesn’t take the story forward as it needs to. Hope this helps and still intrigued where this is going…

    1. Hi Geoff, thanks again for all the feedback.

      The vodka bottle trap does feature again in the story, however, with another character.

      I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness and support of all of those who have left me feedback. This week, I’ll be published the final part of chapter one. Once I get feedback on it, I’ll be revisiting the whole chapter and making more edits and changes because of what I have learned from doing this entire exercise of publishing bits on my blog and asking for feedback. Of course, I’ll be taking in the feedback you’ve left me here as well.

      Thank you.

  2. Some good feedback in the comments here again, Hugh. As usual, I’m pretty much in agreement. I found the sentence “Hamble’s voice broke through, as did the current world around him” confusing, as it comes right before the bus driver’s voice saying something as well. Later, I realized that Hamble had been talking all along, But maybe you could just skip the quoted sentence in that particular paragraph and just leave the later part about her talking the entire time in.

    My first thought about Danny being ready to toss the bottle in the waste basket was “Why wouldn’t he throw it in a recycle bin?” 🙂

    1. That’s great feedback about that particular sentence, Liesbet. I’ve deleted it.

      I see what you mean about the recycle bin. Here in the UK, we didn’t have such things in 1986 (when the story is set). Sadly, everything was sent to landfill. How I wish it had been different back then.

      Thanks again for all the feedback. It’s the last section of chapter one next week. Then I’ll need to make some decisions.

  3. I’m seeing some tightening in some places. I’m agreeing with Chuck and Darlene for more tightening and some rewording, but I like the pace and I suspect the new upcoming characters you’re observing. 🙂

    1. We’ll learn a little more about the two new characters we glimpsed in this part in the final instalment next week, Debby.

      I’ve defiantly learned a lot from everyone who has submitted feedback to me during these last eight weeks. It’s been a successful exercise, and I will be forever thankful to those you have left me feedback.

      1. Thank you for this and your previous comment, Rob.

        When you get a chance, you can read the first parts of chapter one on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ page. You’ll find a link to it on the menubar. Next week, I’ll be publishing the final part of chapter one. Then we’ll have the whole of chapter one available. The feedback I’ve had has been excellent, and so many have helped with giving me feedback on the story. I hope you enjoy the bits you haven’t read yet.

        1. I have enjoyed it, Hugh. Using your blog to workshop the story is a good idea. My initial impression, from what I read, is the story has the same cinematic style as glimpses.
          I look forward to reading the other sections. I have your blog loaded and ready for the evening. 🙂

  4. I like the paragraph where Danny is mentally asking questions about the older couple and the ending is strong. The middle feels a little choppy – perhaps rethink the size of each paragraph (but then I am always accused of too many run-on sentences). I am behind in my reading but for some reason I’m reminded of Hitchcock whose protagonists often spent a lot of time mentally asking questions.

    1. Hitchcock? Wow! That’s a big compliment. Thank you.

      Thank you for the feedback on the size of some of the paragraphs. I’ve cut some of the repeating sentences out of some of them to make them shorter.

  5. Try this to shorten the paragraphs and eliminate duplication.

    As the last drops vanished, he opened the kitchen waste bin, but something red to the right of a packet of snacks caught his eye. Moving the empty pack aside, he found five small empty bottles of vodka. They were the type found in minibars, and the type Shaun would have access to with his job as an airline steward.

    I liked that we popped back to the train as his daydream ended. I’m not sure the section of the older couple fits in the story unless they play a role in the story later on. I’m still enjoying this journey. Thanks.

  6. I was thinking that “Ladies and gentlemen, you are all on your way to London. London is the next stop”
    Could read “Ladies and gentlemen, we are all on the way, London is the next stop.”
    Also not sure this paragraph reads well
    “Along with a voice from his left, the couple suddenly kissing each other on the lips stopped the questioning.”
    Apart from that I am loving it 😀💜💜

    1. Thanks again for your feedback, Willow.

      Yes, I agree. That paragraph needs rewording. I’ll work on it.

      Glad you’re enjoying the story. We get to the final part of chapter one next week.

  7. Another good episode. I would suggest changing the first line to make it read smoother to: The vodka was at precisely the same place as the mark on the bottle. Other than that it looks great.

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