Wednesday, October 29, 2008

26 Drop The Needle TENSION

TITLE: Point of Origin
GENRE: "Young" YA Fantasy

Kate has just used a "special power" (to avoid going into too much detail here) to remove the disembodied spirit that was possessing Camille. In the aftermath, Kate is exhausted from the experience, and worried that she's gone too far -- that Camille is dead.

“Rufe, it doesn’t look like she’s breathing. I think she’s dead.” Devin sounded vulnerable, traumatized – not like himself at all.

Camille! Devin had to be talking about Camille. Kate fought a wave of nausea as she commanded her eyes to open, forced herself to lift her head from Rufus’s shoulder.

“Where is she?” Kate’s voice felt frayed, like an old rag.

Rufus’s grip tightened around Kate’s shoulders. “Let it be. You’re not ready to move, I think.”

“Rufus, let me go. Let me go to her.”

Rufus looked into Kate’s eyes as though trying to read them, his expression tortured, conflicted. But in a few moments he released Kate, nodding his consent. She pulled away from him and looked to where Devin was sitting, roughly ten yards away. There, on the ground beside him, Camille lay supine, her chin raised so that Kate couldn’t see her face.

Kate tried to stand, but her legs revolted. So she crawled slowly across the rough, stone-strewn ground, her eyes never leaving Camille until she had reached her. Devin was fixed, immovable, staring at Camille’s motionless body until Kate placed her hand on his leg and gave it a small shake. He slid back then, wiping his eyes with his forearm.

Kate took his place beside Camille, whose eyes were half-closed in her pale face. I did this to you. The thought came unbidden, and Kate pushed it away as she reached her hand toward Camille’s forehead. The skin was cool and moist, and Camille did not respond to Kate’s touch.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting story! I think this passage is good, but could use some tightening. I'd start with ditching "Devin had to be talking about Camille."--you don't need it. I'd also replace "revolted"--the word has too many connotations.

  2. Yes, very tense. I wonder if Devin might stare at Kate a bit accusingly if Kate has done something to bring Camille to this state?

  3. I sense a bit of tension here, but it seems like everyone is behaving as though Camille is already dead.

    I think it would be more tense if there was some kind of effort to revive Camille.

  4. I agree with fairchild. No one tried to revive Camille.

    Otherwise it is tense.

  5. Hmm.... I think I have to agree about someone at least attempting to revive poor Camille. That's not really so much tension-related as it is plot-related. There's tension here, but in my case it arose from me wondering who was going to make the first move on Camille, and that just seemed a bit off. Unless, of course, there's some rule in this world that says only the almost-killer can touch the possibly-dead person to see whether he or she actually has expired.

    Good on ya, BTW, for using the word "supine" in a YA story! :-)

  6. Not tense so much as emotional. To heighten it, maybe add more of Kate's POV about Camille, rather than analyzing Devin. Some, "OMG what have I done? Is she all right?" goes a long way and would probably work very well here.

  7. This looks great....

    I do wonder about some word choices in spots "revolting" legs, for example.

    Also, how do you give a person's leg a shake?

    And "whose eyes were half-closed in her pale face" <- I had two reactions to this. "Where else would her eyes be?" and "Her pale face is eating her eyes."


    But overall, this does make me curious about what is going on. I didn't feel particularly tense, but that could have been just because I kept getting distracted by the way things/actions were phrased...

  8. I agree that there could be more tension about Camille's death. It seems that she already is and that as you read you're just waiting to confirm it. Although I'm dying to read on and find out if she really is dead or not. (hope not!)

  9. The last two sentences... cutting the "and" and replacing with a period would tighten this just a touch. Short and choppy is good to have in tense action scenes.

    I understood this better because I read the background on another post. I think it's good though.