Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop the Needle: HIGH EMOTION #8

TITLE: Steam Palace
GENRE: Steampunk

Viola has come to kill Sophia, her twin, in her hotel room, for stealing Viola's man.

Viola shivered. Sophia's lips lay just parted, her white upper teeth visible. Viola pressed her lips to her sister's, a loose lock of her blackened hair brushing Sophia's face. Viola held the knife close to the slender throat. "Sophia," she said in a whisper.

Sophia stirred. Small sounds escaped her throat, and her tongue licked her lips. Her eyes fluttered open, unfocused. Her gaze stopped on Viola's face.

"Viola." A breathless whisper.

Wide eyes with green irises and sloping brows contorted into grief, blinking. Her lungs gasped. "Viola!" Her arms reached up but stopped when Viola pushed sharp metal against her throat. She glanced down at the knife, then back up to Viola, her eyes quizzing, questioning.

Viola gazed at her victim, waiting for the perfect moment to spill Sophia's life blood. Sophia glanced at the knife again, then met Viola's gaze.

Viola wanted Sophia to beg for forgiveness, to plead for her miserable life. Perhaps a quick slice of the throat was not sufficient for such a crime. Sophia should suffer, beg for Viola to end her life.

Sophia tilted her head upwards, exposing her throat. "Please," she breathed. "If you are here, with a knife, you must have learned everything. My life is yours. Take it. You shall have your place at Dunstan's side. He has fixed all untoward appearances, he had papers, everything. You may have the life you have always desired with him, as his legal wife. Quickly!" Sophia closed her eyes, denying Viola the window into Sophia's soul.

Viola's knife hand trembled.

That bitch. How dare she deny Viola her moment!

Sophia knew exactly why Viola was here and what she intended to do, yet offered no resistance. A tear streamed down Viola's face. Her throat clenched. Why did Sophia not resist, not beg for her life?


  1. Hello,

    I enjoyed this scene. I am on pins and needles wanting to know if she actually kills her. I respect your choice to have a dark MC, that can be tough, but makes your work stand out. The line "her lungs gasped," sounded weird to me. How about just "she took gasping breaths," or something?

    Good luck!

  2. Wow, that's some good tension! It's obvious Viola's angry (I mean she's there with the knife) but the added desire for Sophia to suffer and beg for her life - nice.
    My only criticism - "her tongue licked her lips" sounds strange to me along with "her lungs gasped".
    Overall though, I liked it and I want to know if she killed her sister or not!

  3. This is good. Lots of tension, both outer and inner. I, too, wasn't that fond of the lip licking and lungs gasping (phrasiology only, if that's a word).

    Good job!

  4. I thought this had a lot of issues. I'm guessing the MC is Viola, but it could be Sophia, too. Your POV goes back and forth, not an issue if you're doing omniscient, but I should know who to identify with.

    Her lungs gasped,
    her arms reached up
    her tongue licked her lips

    Body parts can't do these things. Viola has to gasp, or reach her arms or lick her lips.

    I thought Sophia was speaking much too properly for someone about to die. And can a single tear stream?

    But Viola's emotions certainly did come through, and I especially liked the ending where her desire for revenge turns to confusion because of how Sophia reacts.

    The emotion is there. My suggestion would be to work at improving the writing.

  5. I like this.

    I don't know what it is, but I get a bit lost in the beginning. It really picks up for me at "Viola gazed at her victim" from there on I'm into it.

    Also, perhaps there is a reason that Sophia talks so formal, but it seemed out of step from Viola's thoughts.

  6. I liked the tension in this piece. I understand what Barbara says about the body parts although I have to say it did cause a problem for me when I was reading it. The only word I did stumble over was "quizzing" - it just jarred a little for me. But I was definitely hooked! :-)

  7. I thought the beginning was really great. Tense and creepy.

    "A breathless whisper" gave me pause, because I wondered how someone could whisper without breath. Can you?

    Then the next couple of paragraphs had a lot of redundancies that bothered me. Quizzing/questioning, glances at the knife, begging for her life, etc.

    But I was hooked. This is a really interesting scene, and I'm curious about these two sisters who could have a scene like this.

  8. Good internal and external conflict; and I really like how Sophia steals Viola's moment of vengence by accepting her murder. The scene is well developed, well set up.

    I agree with both Barbara and Adam's feedback - I won't write a repeat. The only thing I'd add is because there are two females in the scene, the use of "she" and "her" so often in the narratives is confusing.

    Each girl's voice is distinctive however. It is an emotionally intense scene. Except for the slow down with all the looks at the knife and into each other's eyes, it was well paced. It has that "climatic moment" feel to it that keeps me engaged and wanting to turn the page.

    Well done.


  9. Thanks everyone!
    Great feedback, glad everyone enjoyed the scene.
    I think I see where the POV broke. The peril of excerpts!
    Definitely a moment of crisis for both sisters. Viola never expected Sophia to say "okay"...