Wednesday, October 29, 2008

20 Drop The Needle TENSION

Title: Travelers
Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
Joan was approaching the bed, the syringe held out in front of her, a smile on her face as she drew closer to Eleanor's sleeping form.

I was next to the small table. The little vials of liquid caught and refracted the morning light. Next to them, the bulky silver gun rested. I knew I only had a second to grab it, but just the sight of it made me grimace.

Joan must have heard me breathing because she whipped around. Before she could say anything, I grabbed the gun and awkwardly pointed it at her.

"Drop the needle, Joan." I was amazed at how calm my voice sounded; the gun shook as I pointed it at her.

"Drop the gun, Sienna, or I inject her." Joan said, giving me a 'you must be stupid' look I recognized from our reality. She'd loved to use it when I did worse than her on tests.

"Don't you dare. I'll shoot you, I swear I will!" Again, I sounded more like I meant it than I felt. Drawing some small confidence from that, I stepped closer to her.

Shooting her was not what I wanted to do, but her standing there, eager needle hovering too close to my great-grandmother's arm, I knew I could do it if I had to. Confidence flowed through me, stilling the shaking and forcing my mind to focus.

"You couldn't hit me if you tried. Put the gun down. There's nothing you can do to stop me."


  1. " me a 'you must be stupid' look I recognized from our reality. She'd loved to use it when I did worse than her on tests."

    I think it would read better as one sentence: " me her 'you must be stupid' look she loved to use when I did worse than her on tests."

    There's definitely tension here. Will she have the guts to kill Joan and save her great-grandma? Interesting.

  2. Definite tension, yes. Very interesting. I'm wondering who will blink first and who will give in. I also wonder, if she knows Joan's coming to inject her g-gma why she doesn't sit with the gun.
    Good job.

  3. Sooo, I'm a total dork and forgot the lead-in (what's there isn't actually it). Anyhow, Joan has altered reality by killing Sienna's grandmother (by time-traveling), and Sienna must therefore stop Joan. Sienna has just arrive on the scene seconds before and it struggling with the notion of killing her best friend, even though it's the only way to save her family.

    Thanks for your comments!

  4. This was good. I would read on to find out what happened.

    I didn't like the 'you must be stupid look' though. Maybe you could shw the look instead of telling.

    Good tension though.

  5. There's potential here, which I think will shine out more if you cut some of the unnecessary additions (like the bit about test taking) and shorten the sentences. Also, towards the end, the internal monologuing got a bit tedious. I just wanted to see the standoff between the two of them, with minimal musings going on.

  6. There's definitely tension here. Interesting story, too.

    A couple of small nits? "Next to them, the bulky silver gun rested." What about making this more active and shortening it a tad by saying "The bulky silver gun rested next to them." Similarly, "Shooting her was not what I wanted to do" could become "I didn't want to shoot her." Like I said, just little things. :-)

  7. There's some tension here and some excellent potential for a heart-stopping scene. I think some of the dialogue needs a little work, a little pruning. An overall tightening will bring this scene into crisp focus and give it the "sharp edge" it needs.

    I definitely am intrigued and want to know what will happen.