Tuesday, December 15, 2009

14 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Morning Mist
GENRE: Speculative YA Fiction

After two full moon cycles alone and weaponless in the wilderness, Talyn and Acacia are returning from completing a required journey of engagement, a test to prove their love and worthiness to be joined in marriage Standing at the top of a hillside, looking down at the temple where their family and friends cheer and await to celebrate their union, the ground begins to shake and fall apart around them.....


Acacia screamed out his name as they fought to reach each other, but the ground slipped out from under her feet and quickly plummeted down--taking her with it. He grappled at her reached out hand, barely brushing her fingertips.

On his knees, he watched her disappear in the debris, hearing what must have been himself, crying out her name… pleading with the God’s… but they couldn't hear him over the thunderous roar of the earth falling apart all around him. Overcome with anguish, he looked out at the quickly darkening sky, swirling with threatening clouds.

A towering wave of wreckage, once an aqua blue ocean, melded with the dusty charcoal sky. The approaching nothingness was hungrily consuming what was left of the island and any other living being left to face the unavoidable end of their existence.

The breeze grew into a violent wind. He struggled to his feet. Raging drops of rain pelted his skin. He heard crashing and the roar of rolling boulders. He looked down into the valley.

His friends and family were screaming in terror! The temple crumbled down upon them. He cried out in madness! His knees failed him. There was no hope of escape.

An immense swell of roaring water sped towards him. The ledge, on which he lay, began to crumble. He cursed the heartless predator at the top of his lungs. Then he opened his arms to embrace his impending death… and tragically… surrendered to the darkness.


  1. I like this mostly. I do think that lines like "He cried out in madness!" are a bit overdramatic, as was the last couple lines. I'd personally would be curling up in a protective ball, struggling for life to the end. Even when people are in anguish and despair, I have to imagine that there is a certain instinct to save their lives... o_O

  2. I especially liked your details, like the raging drops of rain, and your verbs--grappled, struggled, crumbled--those are very effective.

    Now, my inner editor's turn...

    I don't think you actually switched viewpoints, but the first paragraph sounds like it's from Acacia's point of view. I don't know if that's unclear because it's a fragment, or if you want to modify that.

    "pleading with the God's"--should be "gods."

    "Overcome with anguish"--you don't really need this, I think the images in the rest of the paragraph communicate it better.

    "Swirling with threatening clouds"--sounds like Talyn is swirling, not the sky.

    "His friends and family were screaming in terror!" This and the other sentence in the paragraph don't need exclamation points. Also, screaming generally implies terror, so you probably don't need to say "in terror."

    At the end of the same paragraph, you could drop "there was no hope of escape." I think it's clear from the other details.

    "and tragically"--I don't think you need that, either.

    Hope I helped!

  3. This scene has the potential to be breathtaking! However, right now it is rife with errors -- spelling and otherwise.

    "God's" should be "gods."

    The second-last paragraph doesn't need the exclamation points. Exclamation points should be used rarely--and even then, mostly in dialogue.

    I had to read the opening lines twice to decide whose point of view we were in. I imagine that wouldn't be a problem had I read the chapter from the beginning (one of the unfortunate snafus of drop-the-needle).

    Your writing needs some cleaning and tightening; because I felt like I was stumbling a bit through the narrative, I didn't feel the terror you wanted me to feel. This can be fixed! Tighten, clean, tighten some more.

    The last sentence needs to be rewritten without the "...'s".

    Then, opening his arms to embrace impending death, he surrendered to the darkness.

    Press on!

  4. I got a good feel for what was happening, except for some confusion at the beginning as to who was speaking.

    One other comment: I think you do a great job with your narrative, but it is sometimes a bit too much. Sometimes less is more. You might experiment in being a little more frugal in your descriptions and letting the reader "read between the lines" so to speak.

    For example:

    An immense swell of roaring water sped towards him.

    An immense swell of water sped towards him.

    A swell of roaring water sped towards him.

    A roaring swell of water sped towards him.

    A wall of water sped towards him.

    Hope that's helpful.

  5. A few grammatical problems yanked me out of the narrative early:

    "He grappled at her reached out hand" - I don't think grapple means what you think it means.

    "pleading with the God's" - With the God's...what? His name? His beach towel? I suspect you mean "pleading with the Gods," no apostrophe, but only you can know for sure.

    "The approaching nothingness was hungrily consuming what was left of the island and any other living being left to face the unavoidable end of their existence" - Nothing wrong with this, per se, but I'm pretty sure there's a more economical way to say it. Keep in mind that every word you add to a sentence diminishes the punch and overall effectiveness of the rest, so try to use the fewest words possible to express yourself.

    And after noticing these easy-to-fix problems, I had a hard time reengaging. Clean this up and you'll have a spectacular scene. As it is, I probably wouldn't want to read more.

  6. I see her falling away from him--I actually would like more description of this--how does she look as she's falling and only when she totally disappears should he look up. I get a little confused about the ocean coming at him and the nothingness but this is probably just because I haven't read the stuff that came before. Again more description of the temple coming down on his friends and family.

    I think with some revision for clarity this scene will end up really exciting.

  7. Lots of exciting things are happening here, but they don't seem exciting or dangerous because they're just there. We don't see how they affect Talyn. It's not enough to see the image. Show us its affect.

    Acacia just got swallowed up by the earth. He doesn't think of her then, or for the rest of the 250 words. Did he care about her? Is he sorry to see her go? Is he glad? What's his reaction.

    Perhaps you could do the second parg in dialogue. Let us hear what he has to say to the gods. Hearing his words will allow the reader to feel his anguish.

    Show the wave swamping the land and let us see houses/people being washed out to sea. Show trees bending in the wind, debris flying about, and again, how does Talyn react to it all? What's his reaction when he feels the ledge beneath him start to crumble?

    There is a lot of good stuff here. Show it, rather than tell it. And let us see how Talyn reacts to it all.

  8. I think you did a really good job of communicating Talyn's despair. So now it's just a matter of more economical writing. For me, a suspenseful scene works best when the sentences are short, snappy and convey tension. You are almost there. Good luck!

  9. I liked the descriptions, but I felt the scene lacked suspense because it's mostly description. Shorter sentences would add to the tension.

    I'm not going to add anything else, since everyone else has already covered it. Nice voice, though.