Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop the Needle: HIGH EMOTION #3

TITLE: The Chosen
GENRE: YA Fantasy

A teenage boy, James, is being interrogated as the primary suspect of an elementary school massacre.

"You don't realize the evidence against you, boy. Whose blood's on your clothes? Which child's?"

McGrug's nostrils flared as he flipped the table upright and picked up the projector, turning it on. The miniature replica of the reporter phased into existence on the table. A lump rose in James's throat and he turned away. His gaze fell on the plastic cup of water in front of him where something fizzed at the bottom. Truth serum?

"What did you gain from murder?" McGrug's rough voice faded into the background, replaced by the reporter's.

"--and behind me is the location of the brutal massacre. An unidentified man jumped from the second story and fled as police stormed the scene. Minutes later, they vacated the primary school with a teenage boy. No survivors. The village's Watcher, Gordon McGrug, is currently interrogating the suspect. The boy's identity has not been released, and he has yet to be convicted, but many wonder what could have possessed the killer to commit such a sin in the quaint, peaceful village--"

"Turn it off!" James knocked the cup of water across the hologram, but it was useless. The vivid scene played out unaffected before him, stretched across the table in full view. James's stomach churned. He tried to turn away, but McGrug seized him by the hair and shoved his face into the hologram.

"You can wear their blood but you can't even look at the hologram?" McGrug said. "Fourteen little children. Dead."

"No...." James's heart swelled in his throat as he met McGrug's coal black eyes.



James lost himself. He vaguely felt the tingling sensation of McGrug pulling forward memories of the massacre as he flung his body against the classroom door. But the door wouldn't budge. A chilling scream filtered through. Crying--running--pleading. A thump.


  1. This was well written with high tension and high drama. I didn't understand the last paragraph, but I suspect that I might if I knew the world you built. I thought to criticize the reporter in that he said there were no survivors rather than "no other survivors", and he used the word "suspect" rather than "person of interest" so as not to lead the people into believing there was an actual suspect until it could be confirmed, but your mention of the hologram suggested that it's set in a future time and what is applicable now in our current world is not necessarily applicable in the one you created. All this to say, it was very good, and I like how you incorporated so much in a small passage.

  2. Were the emotions vivid?
    James's emotions were. Vague, but strong. I got a sense that he felt strongly... the problem was that I didn't really get what he felt strongly about. Was he angry that he was accused? Upset by what happened? Both? Neither?

    Dialogue: That "Whose blood's" snagged at me. It doesn't really role off the tongue, at least not for me.
    Otherwise, I thought the dialogue was brilliant. I loved this scene. Especially since it doesn't seem like fantasy yet. Makes me really curious. Good job! :)

  3. I loved every parg up until the last one.

    I get the feeling that it's suppost to be confusing, but the run-on sentance "He vaguely...classroom door" threw me from the story completely. Was that suppost to be two sentances? It's completely possible that it makes sense in context with the rest of the story, so I'd recomend asking your crit partners to look at it.

    Other than that, I loved it, and I hope I can see it in print!

  4. I thought the emotion worked well, but I did imagine he was falsely accused and I didn't get a sense of that here, (as Constance asked, why is he upset? Perhaps make that more evident) but it's quite possible that's already known to the reader by what came before this.

    For me the problem was McGrug's dialogue. It did't read smooth, and the reporter's parg, read a bit choppy. Maybe rework those areas a bit. But thumbs up for the emotion.