Hey guys, this is a short GTA-Fanfic. It's pretty much an idea I had about. It's about Roman coming to America in 1998 seeking the American dream. Note that all conversations are in Serbian:
You should never have to say this in a story. There are small things you can do, such as saying "he said in his native tongue" but mostly, throw in the odd serbian word here and there.
Today is the day. I leave my family, my cousin, my country in search for every mortal mans thirst, the American Dream.
My first issue is this: Roman currently lives in Serbia, with the war and all that. So how does he know about the American Dream? Has he learned it from TV? Magazines? Friends? I think a little elaboration would be nice here, but i guess it's a small niggle.
This was the only thought that rolled through Roman Bellic's brain, like a slow tape-record. He felt both excitement and fear. It was a new place, new soil, new people, new everything.
They say it is the land of opportunity, thought Roman as the boat neared the land, the skyline becoming clearer and clearer. They say it is called Liberty City. They say it is the American dream every man has!
Separate Roman's thoughts from narration. Usually with italics. It makes it easier to read. Remember your voice here - is it the narrator or is is Roman's monologue?
He then remembered his mother, his aunt, his cousin. He had left them, back in his war-torn country. He had promised to keep in touch, but he had also promised that he would never return.
It was a sickening feeling that crashed into his stomach but he pushed it away. What choice did he have? He had to leave, he couldn't stay back there. His cousin would be coming after the war, but that could be months, years, decades. After all he could have died by then, but no he said hitting himself hard on his head, he should push that thought away from his head.
At last, the skyline became clearer than ever, the port was also clearly visible.
Too vague for my liking. You said earlier it was getting clearer, but here show it to us. What, is it foggy? Are towering cranes reaching out to him through the fog, golden speckles of light glowing from distant buildings, the long, concrete dock coming into focus, men in high-vis jackets scuttling around like worker ants? Show us the scene in detail - put us in Roman's shoes, and show this new place as a character. Roman's excited and scared, but the reader can't be when you say "the skyline" - personify the city; does it look intimidating, with buildings clawing at the foggy sky? Or welcoming?
He felt the excitement and fear running up his chest. He soon began clearing out his room, taking all his things, he was going to set foot on American soil at last.
I changed this, simply because "set foot on america" doesn't work for me.
"Hey Roman, we're going to dock any minute now. You ready?" asked a voice in Serbian.
"I'm coming Stefan."
Stefan was Roman's friend from Serbia. He had come with him to America, also in search of the American dream. He was a thin but tall man with a goatee. He had brown hair but there was a bald spot in the middle.
Now if you remember the start of IV, there's a brief conversation between Niko and another shipmate, where Niko explains Roman and stuff. It's a good way of showing some detail without describing it - having Roman comment: "There she is, Stefan, the land of opportunity. The statue of happiness."
"Liberty City - let us hope we find freedom here."
"We will. We will have mansions, fast cars, ladies with big, firm american titties! That is the american dream!"
It might, however, not be the style choice you want, and that's find, but you could through a little more character into the dialogue here, and get some information over to the reader at the same time. Nothing wrong here technically, however.
Roman packed up all his things and gave the room one last look just as Stefan came bursting into the room.
"Are you even done yet?
"Hey, I was just giving one last look before.."
"Before we set foot in America of course"
"Ah, yes, very clear and informational, I thought I'd figured that out myself. Come on now, else we'll be going back on the boat back to Serbia"
I don't quite understand this bit....
Roman knew that Stefan was slightly annoyed by the delay and nodded and followed him through the door.
They walked through the ship to the top-deck. Every second Roman kept turning his head to look at the massive, yet beautiful, Liberty City skyline. He felt that he could not hold that excitement anymore.
Again, we're focusing on the skyline. I can't help but feel you're missing a shedload of detail here. If they're about to dock, they'd be close enough to see the streets, cars, maybe pedestrians, the distant bridges (a sentence about how the bridges are opportunistic, perhaps?), the dock itself. The skyline is something that youd see from a distance, but now we're obviously close, show us the other details!
As they walked on the top-deck, Roman turned to Stefan:
A simple full stop will suffice here.
"Hey you have any idea what you are going to do in Liberty City?" Roman asked Stefan. Unneeded - "he said" would work or have Roman say "Stefan, have you any idea what you are going to do here?"
"I don't know, I haven't thought about it yet," replied Stefan.
"They say it is the land of opportunity."
"It sure does look like it."
"I'm thinking of living the dream, you know? Get a nice mansion, live the life!"
"I suppose that would be nice but I have other plans."
"I'd like to keep them to myself. Now we should really move on." Remember your fullstops! Good little conversation here - as i said previously. Having roman SAY it's the land of opportunity works more than telling us it through narration, and there's no need to repeat is as both.
They picked up their luggage and came down the steps. At long last the two of them took their first steps in America. Roman had another feeling mixing with is excitement and fear. It felt different and that feeling could not be described.
Anti climax. This is a monumental event. Their first steps on american soil. Think of the start of Carlito's way: when he's released from jail he shouts "Free at last, free at last! Thank god almighty, i am free at last!" Why am i saying this? Because you see the joy, the relief. In this passage, it's too matter of fact, like a cold blooded assassin coming to do a simple job. Make us feel the moment. Have Roman act accordingly. Write it as he walks down the ramp. The sights and sounds of the dock - show us how they differ to Serbia. That first step onto the concrete - that should be a big moment. "It felt different and that feeling could not be described." Yes, it can, and you should be pulling out all the stops to make us FEEL it! You don't have to say "it felt great" but put us IN roman - as i said about the smells, the sights, the sounds - what about his heart? Is it racing? Is he breathing fast? Sweating? it is cold? Colder than he imagined, or warmer? How does he feel, walking down that ramp? Like that last day of school, walking to the doors. When you're out. Make use feel it! This is a big moment, and as the reader, i feel i've missed it.
Roman looked around. There was their ship neatly docked. He spotted some workers chatting to each other next to a big crane. But he had no idea what to do next, but he was still grinning and he turned to Stefan who was wearing a smile on his face.
"Well what do we now?" Roman asked Stefan.
Stefan turned to him, still grinning. He said "One of the guys in the ship said that the place we are right now in is called Broker. There is a man here who can find us some jobs. The guy on the ship gave me the directions. Come on."