Wednesday, October 29, 2008

21 Drop The Needle TENSION

Title: Book of the Baba Yaga
Genre: Middle reader adventure/fantasy

Lead-in: Sam has been taken to a room where she is told she will begin to learn about herself. She then has the following experience.

Sam saw that her chair had changed into an intricately carved wooden throne. She ran her finger over the bumps and grooves of the armrest.

"Ouch!" Pain shot up her finger as though it had been stabbed with a needle. Then another, more animal-like cry escaped her - the carvings were now tiny snakes, each one writhing in place. The snake that had bitten her twisted its tiny head to look at her through glowing emerald eyes. Sam lept to her feet, clutching her throbbing finger.

"Your life is the dream, Samantha Liffey," the snake hissed. "When you gonna wake up?"

Then the throne melted away, turning into a pool of ice on the floor. It spread under her feet, making them ache with cold. Sam slipped and fell against the wall as the room lurched and the pen dropped from the table, rolling down the floor and coming to rest at her feet.

It floated up to arm level in front of her. She quivered, otherwise unmoving. What do I do?

"Draw!" A voice boomed through the room and Sam looked down and saw Will in the ice as if he were on the other side of a window. But he’d changed. He had two clocks where his eyes had been and his mouth looked like a black hole, spinning away into nothing like the line in the Salem Boundary. The clocks in his eyes showed 11:27. The drumbeat quickened, taking her heart with it.


  1. I'm not sure what I'm feeling as I read this is Sam's tension, but it's hella weird and I definitely want to read more!

  2. This gave me goosebumps. I love all of the showing, rather than telling in this scene. The clocks in the eyes reading 11:27 was a nice touch. Well done!

  3. Not sure if this is tense, but it is creepy.

    Everytime we get a sample of this story it's always something kooky weird! Great imagery, as usual.

  4. This has a really creepy feel and subtle tension. I really liked it, especially the snakes coming to life and her feet aching with cold.

  5. Loved this, especially the ending.

    Great tension.

  6. Creepy tension galore. Great use of showing here.

  7. It's a great dream scene with wonderful imagery, but I'm on the fence about tension. This is a dream, which kind of robs it of its tension. It's not real, so there are no risks and no danger.

  8. Interesting. Good tension, and it's okay that we don't quite know what's going on.

    Question: what time period is this taking place in? I think I read a previous chapter elsewhere, and remember it being pseudo-medieval. If so, then the pen rolling off a table bit can't work, as the round pen design didn't become popular until the mid 1800s. In medieval times, they still used quills and the occasional charcoal.

  9. Thanks for all the comments, everyone - I appreciate it. Glad it's creepy! Lori, to answer your question - the story takes place in current times in another world (setup is based on Hopi mythology) that can import stuff from ours, like the pen.
    Also, it's not a dream, the snake says her life is a dream because just before this she has been trying to convince herself it's just a dream.
    Thanks again for all the comments and feedback. I love this site.

  10. Good writing, good descriptions.

    I'm not sure I felt tension but I did feel fear and confusion.

  11. This is definitely... strange. :)

    There is a dreamlike quality in this scene... it might mess with the tension, because I don't feel like the character is in danger at any point.

    That said, it really makes me curious about what will happen next. If she's going to either grab the pen or be squirted by it. And what she is going to learn about herself. And what the time "11:27" means....

  12. I really liked this, though the tension was more of the goosebumps kind :-) Also, the snake using the word "gonna" really threw me--I guess I always thought snakes would use more formal language.

  13. This reminds me of a Dali painting -- very, very vivid, creepy imagery. Nice job! The tension is subtle but nicely handled. :-)

  14. This is wonderfully bizarre. :) I'm not sure "tension" describes my reaction, but I absolutely enjoyed the scene; it's well written.

    Good work!