Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drop the Needle: Action Scenes (Round 2) #21

TITLE: Froth
GENRE: YA horror

Ayako has stumbled upon what is killing the other passengers on her train.

​"Rarr," said the walking corpse.

​Whack went the big, fat biology textbook as it collided with icky, slimy corpse flesh, smacking it right in the chest.

​I needed something better than a book.


​Book. These creatures weren't mentioned in any books, were they?


​Zombies. Hmm. That held possibilities. But would I really need to let it bite me to see if it wanted to eat my flesh or drink my blood? Blood?


​Blood? Where did that come from? What drank blood? Zombies didn't.




​Vampires! Vampires drank blood. Were these vampires? I stopped and looked at them. How would I tell if they were vampires and not zombies?


​Thwack. Thwack. Yeah, double whammy. I didn't know how much longer I'd be able to keep this up.

​That's it! Vampires had bite marks. Or, well, left bite marks. Did these things have bite marks? Hmm. I thought I remembered seeing them. I just needed to look a little closer.

​I looked at the walking corpse closest to me. Okay, Mr. Corpse, I thought, trying to use telepathy, my hopefully newly discovered ability, on the walking corpse, just lean in a little closer to me. Let me see your bite marks. The first corpse leaned in closer to me. There's a good little corpse. Oh, he even had bite marks. You know what that makes you? I thought to him, That makes you a vampire. Yup, that's right. A vampire.

​I smiled, proud of my deductive reasoning skills.


​"Ah! Eep!" The vampire was a little closer than I had expected and I quickly ran away from him. This time careful not to run into a walking corpse, I mean vampire, that had snuck up behind me.


  1. I like the way Ayako reasons this out. I'm not sure about the hmm's though. It feels more like a comedy than a horror. In the first line I thought there was only one creature, but later in the piece it sounds like there is several.

    I think you could delete quickly in the last paragraph, because ran usually means fast. The vampire trod closer, his stench filled my nostrils. I turned to run and evaded another that had snuck up behind me.

    Just a different way to write it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good writing! Im a sucker for shot, choppy, one word sentences. I liked it a lot!

    My only problem is that, I think the humor gets in the way of the intensity of the action. Especially if your genre is supposed to be horror. Maybe try to re-word so its more scary then funny?

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Interesting, but it did seem more like thoughtful analysis than action. Just a couple smacks with a book - and that hardly seems enough to hold off even the wimpiest vampires or zombies.

  4. This is an intriguing idea but I feel that the humor interrupts the action and horror(unless your intention was for it to be comedic horror?) I think it's okay if your character has a few sarcastic/humorous thoughts, but not so many that it overpowers the mood. If your genre is horror, show us that she's scared more through her physical behavior than her thoughts.

  5. The zombie-like vampires are hilarious. One thing though, this reads like comedy, and your genre says horror. If you're going for tongue-in-cheek funny then just change your genre.

    Bu if you're going for scary you really need to think about your word choice. Onomatopoeias are funny. Words like rarr and thwack don't instill fear. Ditto with words like icky and whammy.

  6. This really didn't read like horror so much to me, although I did like it. More in a humorous way. The book bashing person is just too calm for me to feel horror in the scene.

    I liked all of it, but I would like to see you reword the hopefully newly discovered ability sentence. Too many ly's running together for my tastes. Good look with it.

  7. Like @SueJay said, maybe it's just your genre that's off; this scene is definitely more comedy and lighter fare than horror. Having monsters of any type actually say "Rarr" is funny, and I assume you know this and realize it's not scary.

    If you're going for funny, I think a send-up of zombies and vampires could work, I know both are rather exhausted in pop culture these days. Good luck with your writing!

  8. This is more funny than scary and well, frankly it works. If you manage to keep a dark funny voice throughout your novel, it might do wonders.

    Just one comment- Telepathy isn't the word to be used for shifting bodies - its telekinesis.

  9. Haha I love the character's voice. Voice you have much of! Description, not so much. I need more than "walking corpse" to get me going. Her thought process slows this down a little. I feel like you could describe some actions (beyond THWACK) and bring my interest in a little more. But only one or two. Thwack is quite effective, I think.

    All that is strictly opinion, of course. = ) Thank-you for sharing!

  10. It's an ok scene, but needs tightening up.

    For example, the whole passage is first person present, which is up-close and personal. You detail her thoughts and deductions as they happen. Therefore, you dont need the italics to indicate her internal dialogue. Quotation marks might be better, but nothng at all would work.

    Also, watch for the overuse of adjectives in para 2. and the repetiton of "walking corpse" in the para forth from last. We know she's trying to communicate to it, you have already said so.

  11. The first thing that strikes me is the language being younger than what I consider young adult language.

    I like the reasoning as well but as this is an action scene I am not seeing a lot of action. I am being told through thoughts but there is no action described. What are the physical actions of these creatures and how are they acting reacting to the MC's actions. How does it feel are the book hits wet, or hard, or dry, do bits of skin fly off? What do the walking dead move like?

    I like the tone and truly do like the reasoning but I can't see what the MC sees and she is not describing it to me.

  12. The way it's written sounds like a children's book to me. "'Rarr,' said the walking corpse." It's almost like, "Bark," said the dog. I can see you're trying to do something different, but per the above, I'm not sure it works for this type of book.

  13. I agree that this has a children's book feel to it and if that were the case this excerpt does hold a certain charm. It's a difficult thing to scare children while simultaneously making them feel safe. I think the internal life of the narrator accomplishes that because she/he (I have no idea if Ayako is a male or female name) is in control during the encounter. Rethink your genre and you may have a real good project.