Wednesday, December 16, 2009

35 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Win or Go Home
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense

Bounty hunter Rick Parker has followed a clue that leads him to the Emerald City Detective Agency. He knocks on the door and finds nobody home, so he enters.



Parker walked around behind the desk and tried the door knob. It was locked. He leaned on the desk and looked closely at the legal pad. The borders were filled with elaborate doodles in thick black strokes that depicted not random scribbles but detailed skulls, gallows, guns and bullets. In the center of the paper was a list of phone numbers and dollar amounts. In a few seconds he could tear off the sheet and be out the door. The artist might object, but he had left the room unattended, so what could he expect? Parker's fingers slid under the sheet, ready to tear, when the click of the door opening behind him froze him in place. The next thing he heard was the sound a semi-automatic pistol makes when the slide is racked. Parker let go of the tablet but kept his hands visible on the desk top.

Parker had to decide which door, front or back, presented more danger and had guessed wrong. Now all he could do was wait for the unseen gunman to make a move. He lifted both arms in a gesture of surrender and stood still. The seconds ticked by in his head. He could almost feel the breath of his captor blowing the hairs on the back of his neck. He told himself he would never hear the shot that killed him.

"Find what you need? said a deep voice.

7 comments:

Rissa Watkins said...

This sentence seems awkward to me...
"Parker had to decide which door, front or back, presented more danger and had guessed wrong"

maybe "Parker picked which door" instead? Also drop the had in front of guessed.

This was a good tension filled scene. I found myself holding my breath when the door clicked opened.

The second paragraph isn't as detailed as the first though. I would like a few more details showing his fear.

Overall, I thought this had nice tension to it- heck it's life or death right?

Huntress said...

The aspect of ‘danger’ is here but is submerged in wordiness. Try for a more active voice with less passive, double-verbiage.

Example: “…The borders were filled with elaborate doodles in thick black strokes that depicted not random scribbles but detailed skulls, gallows, guns and bullets…”

Try: “Elaborate doodles in thick, black strokes filled the borders, skulls and gallows, guns and bullets…”
The words give the scene action.

Excellent last sentence. Tension is there but the entire submission needs tightened and punctuation worked over.
Good luck.

Liz S said...

I agree with the earlier posters. There's tons of tension here - especially in the last half of the section - but I think you can get rid of some of the wordiness in the first half.

Like Rissa, I tripped over the sentence, "Parker had to decide which door, front or back, presented more danger and had guessed wrong." It takes me out of the tense moment right after the door clicks open and the pistol is put to his head. I think you can actually just cut that one sentence out all together and it'd work perfectly fine.

Nice work. I'm hooked.

JohnO said...

I didn't think you needed "The artist might object, but he had left the room unattended, so what could he expect?" Who the heck cares what the artist thinks during a B&E?

"He could almost feel the breath of his captor blowing the hairs on the back of his neck." I'd cut "blowing the hairs," unless you want to picture the gunman canoodling with the Parker (which I doubt you do).

Add a closing quotation mark to the last graf, and I think it works.

susiej said...

I agree with the poster who said cut the "Parker had to decide which door" sentence. It didn't make sense but mostly, it's just not necessary. Keep the great tension going. I also agree about the blowing hairs- keep the writing tight to keep the tension. You do have good tension. And I'm intrigued.

Don't know why but I wondered about the sentence about the artist- I liked it but thought- oh, he expects it to be a he, what if its a she. Don't know why I thought that, but thought I'd tell you. I sort of wanted it to be a she- shake up the guys certainty.

One last thing and it not anything to do with the writing. The first para is big. Agents like white space (so I've read. I'm no expert on that). You might want to break it up after the artist line.

DCS said...

Thanks for the feedback and also to Authoress for organizing the event.

Courtney Abruzzo said...

Parker is breaking into this place--yet he seems too nonchalant. I want to root him, not question his smarts. Never turn your back to a door, even a locked one, especially if you have no right to be there. Also, I thought B&E is allowable only if it is the residence of the person they are after? These questions stopped me from enjoying what was otherwise a good read.