Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #9

TITLE: Cold As Ice
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Lily is an eleven year old girl who begs the neighborhood boys to allow her to play pond ice hockey with them. They are hesitant, especially a boy named Carter Witherspoon.

At least Ben and Tyler will talk to me at school after scoring that goal…

I hear myself scream as I break through the ice and plunge into the water below. It’s so cold! I instinctively begin to kick my legs but my skates slice through the icy water as if it were air. My glasses have fallen off. I can see the light spot above my head where I have fallen through. I’m trying to untie my skates but it’s no use. The hole isn’t very far above me and the pond isn’t very deep. Maybe if I jump from the bottom towards the hole, then the boys can pull me out.

It worked! My head is above the hole. The ice is incredibly slippery. But help is coming. I’ll be okay. I just need to hang on to the side of this ice. I hope they hurry. The ice is slippery and this water is so cold. I can feel my lips shivering. My body aches from the icy water, like razor blades cutting my skin; all of it.

With some focus I can see the boys. They are just standing there. Carter is in the front. He looks so relaxed. Doesn’t he see that I have fallen through the ice? Why aren’t they helping me?

“Help…me! Pleassse!”

The boys don’t move. Only Carter is watching me. The others have their eyes downward. All of them are just standing there in a group with Carter in front.

Why haven’t they gone for help? Don’t they know that I’m freezing to death?

After a few minutes I can’t see them anymore.

And then…there is only darkness.


  1. I want to read more! I love the strange lack of action on the boys part. Very sinister.

    My only suggestion would be to back out of her head a little and show the action. Instead of thinking about kicking up from the bottom. She can say, "My feet hit the bottom of the pond and I push up, hoping my skates won't keep me from reaching the top. The light above my head gets bigger..." something like that.

    Great job!

  2. This is very nice. I like the mystery you're setting up. Your language is clean and I was able to picture the scene clearly.

    I only have a couple of suggestions. The word 'ice' is used a lot in here, and although that is all she's surrounded by, perhaps you can write around at least half of those. For example:

    I just need to hang on to the side of this ice. I hope they hurry. The ice is slippery and this water is so cold. I can feel my lips shivering. My body aches from the icy water

    (4 sentences, 3 'ice's in there)

    Maybe 'I just need to hang on. I hope they hurry. The ice is slippery and this water is so cold. ... My body aches from the frigid water' etc., etc.,

    My other comment is that although you are firmly in this girl's head, you don't give us a clue about what she might be feeling when she realizes the boys will not help her. She would feel something - disbelief, anger, hurt - but something. She would come to the understanding that she is about to die at that point. That needs to be driven home.

    But other than that, excellent!

  3. This is pretty exciting! I'm definitely intrigues to see where it goes.

    Critique-wise, a couple of stylistic notes:

    "I hear myself scream..." It's always so hard to convey the same kind of shock and surprise in writing as is available in visual mediums, but I think you could find a more startling way to show her sudden break through the ice. Maybe, instead of "I heard myself scream" (which has always seemed to me to be far less likely than feeling a scream rip at your throat) something like "I hear a sudden, horrible crack and then felt a drop as I..." etc.

    I also find exclamation points to be difficult at best to use in dialogue, and should be avoided in narration. "Help me!" is a good use, minus the ellipsis, which takes away from the immediacy, and so is "Please!" without the drawn out "s".

  4. The other comments before me are great with critique, so I don't have much to add. I just wanted to let you know what was going through my head as I read.

    "okay,she scored a goal. The boys are angry. Oh no, she fell through the ice. Will she drown? Oh, good, she made it to the surface. Why aren't they helping her. HELP HER! Why are they just standing there!?!?! Move it boys. Now. Wait, no, they're doing it on purpose. Was it all planned? Are they that angry she scored?"

    So yea, you got a reaction out of me.:) I wish I could have continued reading.

  5. I agree that this is a pretty gripping scene, but I would love to feel her emotions as she's frantically clawing at the ice and realizes that the boys aren't going to help her.