Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop the Needle: HIGH EMOTION #12

GENRE: YA Fantasy

The characters are discussing a relatively unknown enemy called the Shadows that only Lacey (the MC) has faced. Lacey claims that the others wouldn't be able fight the Shadows, and the following is Keaton's reaction.

“Did you ever think that maybe it's only you who's so crippled by fear? I mean, you're convinced we'd be decimated by these Shadows, but we've been training here at Cloudbourne, the most prestigious military academy in the country, for years. We know how to fight.”  Keaton stood as he spoke, straightening his breeches and shirt with jerky movements. His indignant rage was a nearly physical presence. In three quick steps, he strode to the door and tugged it open. “But you barely passed your entrance exams. In everything but weapons training, you're in classes with students three or four years younger than you. Being good at a single aspect of war does not a good warrior make. Keep that in mind.” He stormed away. The door slammed in his wake.

Tory leapt to her feet, wringing her hands and rocking anxiously on the balls of her feet. Her eyes darted from Lacey to the door. “He didn't mean any of that, Lacey. I swear, he didn't. I'll go calm him down. Just give him time, okay?” The avi backed toward the door but paused on the threshold, waiting for Lacey's response.

“Just go,” Fin said. Keaton's blowup was ridiculous. Completely unnecessary. There had been no need to remind Lacey of her own shortcomings. Fin was sure she already knew them. “Remind Keaton that he, too, is less than proficient in many of his classes.”

Tory swallowed hard, muttered a goodbye, and disappeared. The door clicked shut behind her.


  1. I think Keaton's tirade shows a lot of his character just by his (your) word choice. It makes me wonder what else is going on with him to make him react that way. I stumbled a little over the sentence "His indignant rage was a nearly physical presence." I'm not sure you even need it. The sentences before and after show his angry actions and his words speak to the level of emotion. I liked how Tory spoke as well. Good dialogue.

  2. The dialogue here was spot-on. I felt Keaton's anger, Tory's anxiety, and Fin's protectiveness of Lacey. I especially love Fin's reaction.

    I agree with B.Lois about cutting the line, "His indignant rage was a nearly physical presence." Maybe you could show us instead of telling us that (veins bulging, red-faced, trembling with anger, and the like).

    Otherwise, this is great!

  3. Good tension and contrast between character reactions. I did stumble over a few of Keaton's phrases like "Did you ever think that maybe it's only you who's so crippled by fear?" I always think short, snappy sentences are more effective to express anger.

    Also, the last bit with Fin's thoughts confused me. Isn't Lacey the MC? Why are we hearing Fin's thoughts instead of hers? I wanted a little more reaction from her.

  4. I thought the anger coming from Keaton was great. I could see him standing there, and I could feel his anger. And yes, I would also suggest cutting - his indignant rage etc.

    I thought Tory wasn't presented half as well as Keaton. She seemed a bit on the cartoony side. And I liked Fin and his attitude, but I did wonder why we were getting his POV.

    My big question, though, is where is Lacey in all this? She's the MC, so we shoud be in her perspective, and she doesn't react at all to Keaton, Tory or Fin. I'd suggest perhaps adding her reactions to the mix, otherwise it does seem a bit like everyone is standing around, waiting for their turn to speak.

  5. Author here: Oops, I think it's my fault that people are confused about Fin vs. Lacey's POV. I use multiple POVs throughout the novel, so while Lacey is the MC, this scene is from Fin's POV.

    Thanks for the feedback! I'll definitely get rid of that line about the tension.