Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #2

TITLE: Lightstorm
GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Irina has been abducted by a man and his vaporous sidekick, who claim she is descended from elementals and must save the human race. They're going to her grandparents' ranch to get a map. She thinks they're delusional.

(Irina's POV, continued from last scene.)

A little over twenty-four hours after they started, Fontaine pulled into the dirt and gravel driveway of her grandparents’ farm in West Texas. The hellish road trip had ended and other than get as far away from her companions as she could, the promise of a real bed beckoned. Even with an entire backseat to herself, sleeping in the car was subpar.

Her grandmother rushed out to meet them, wrapping Irina in a hug. “I wasn't expecting you. Did you drive all the way down?”


“Why didn't you call—?” Her gaze locked onto Fontaine, and she paled. “What's happened?”

Irina opened her mouth to introduce him and explain, but he spoke first.

“Aiden is recruiting an army.”

“Inside. Now.” Irina's grandmother scanned the area, then held the door open for them. “You too, Levara.”

Aether semi-materialized and floated inside, and Fontaine followed, though he stopped in the doorway to wait for Irina.

Irina didn't move. Gram not only understood what Fontaine was talking about, she didn't question it.
Her knees gave out and she sank to the ground while her heart felt as though it was about to break her ribs. Breathing was a challenge. Sure, she’d humored them in the car, but the hope of going home and forgetting everything had been squashed. On the dirt beneath her, ants paraded past, oblivious to the turmoil she was experiencing. Dusty, scuffed black shoes stepped into her line of vision and she looked up. Sunlight framed Fontaine with a halo, as though he were some guardian angel.


  1. Interesting.
    Realizing a truth through another's reaction is a cool moment. I'd love to see more description of Gram!

  2. I really like a lot of this, the voice is kind of charming and I'm a total sucker for awesome grandparents. The only thing that turned me off was Irina sinking to her knees: it's a big epiphany, sure, but falling to her knees seems a tad overdramatic. Fontaine's appearance immediately after Irina's collapse also feels just a little overly done. If Irina must save the human race, it seems like she needs to be more resilient than she appears to be in the last paragraph.

  3. Interesting! As a previous commenter said, it's cool for a character to realize something is true when someone they know and trust believes it. I'd only suggest more of a description of Gram if this is the first time she appears. My only real suggestion: I thought the sentence, "The hellish road trip had ended and other than get as far away from her companions as she could, the promise of a real bed beckoned," should maybe be phrased a little differently.

  4. I'm not sure I buy that someone would be trusting enough to fall asleep in a car being driven around by people they're convinced are delusional. I feel like Irina might be more likely (unless she knew these people or something-- there might be something that I as a reader don't know) to feel like she's being kidnapped.

    I was a little confused at who Levara was-- the air spirit? -- since Gram mentions that name but then it doesn't show up again. Aether could be the spirit, but it's also common that that word is used more often as a name than as a noun for air, so I'd be aware of that. :)

    I thought that the last paragraph was pretty good, but I would caution you to show more than tell. You say that she's going through inner turmoil-- tell us more about how her stomach has turned backflips, how her palms are sweating, etc. Don't just say that she's flipping out because Gram has verified these people's identities-- show us! We'll get more into the scene and feel more of a connection with your character.

  5. I found the names distracting, but it might be an issue of not reading from the beginning. Good voice.

  6. I don't understand why Irina is not concerned over Gram's safety, if she thinks her companions are delusional. Also, we need more of a description of Gram, told in terms of facial expression or body language.

  7. Overall, I like it. I'd like to read more. Here are my suggestions to tighten it up.
    I've ridden all night with two 'people' I don't trust, have gotten little sleep and I finally connect with someone I trust- all I want to do is to get her and myself away from these other delusional beings. Something needs to happen to heighten the meeting between Irina and Grandma. (I really like the sentence, "Her grandmother rushed out to meet them, wrapping Irina in a hug.) Irina needs to try to get grandma away, but Grandma holds fast when she sees Fontaine- this increases the tension before you drop the "Grandma knows" bomb.
    If you're going to name the spirit and make her an entity capable of affecting the story, don't diminition her by making her seem like milieu- use her name and have the other characters interact more definitively.
    Irina falling to her knees after her epiphany seems out of place. If she's tough enough to be passively resistant on the car ride then she's not going to collapse. Shout it out, to show her inner turmoil, turn and hit the car or get back in it? I'm not sure how you have her set up before this but if she's going to give in this easily to some surprising news, she's going to make a shallow hero.