Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drop the Needle: Action Scenes (Round 2) #24

TITLE: Who's the Money's Daddy?
GENRE: Mystery

Sophie has been harassed several times by three punks when she walks her black Lab mix, Boris. The last time, the largest one hit Boris with a stick. Since she lives in a lousy part of town, she knows the cops won't help. She has to handle this herself.

Some things are just meant to happen. Hidden in the night by the black color of my car, I paused at the corner by the taco stand and watched the three punks unloaded good-sized boxes from a rented truck. The largest one, the one who hit Boris, carried them across the road and into the old store.

I turned the corner and started down the street slowly. The big one watched me come as he crossed, figuring he could make it to the other side before I got close. When he was a third of the way, I hit the gas and caught the front edge of his box with my left fender, sending it into orbit and knocking him backwards. I whipped around the next corner and down the side street to idle again by the taco stand. Panicked, two of the punks were picking up brick-sized packages as fast as they could and throwing them into the back of the truck.

Finally the big one was ready to try again. After looking carefully in both directions, he picked up a box and quickly walked across the street. I gave him three trips. Fourth trip, whap! I nailed him again. This time I could hear the yells of anger and, looking back, saw he was sprawled against the truck’s back tire. I pounded on the steering wheel and laughed as I dialed 911 to report a hit-and-run. The cops would come if a pedestrian was down.


  1. I can feel Sophie's fury here!

    In paragraph one, the text should read either "watched the three punks UNLOAD" or "watched AS the three punks unloaded."

    I imagined Sophie was on foot (because of the lead in) so was confused when her "left fender" hit the man. I'll assume this is made clear in the text preceding this excerpt.

    At first they are unloading "good-sized boxes" and then later picking up "brick-sized packages." Are the smaller packages inside the larger box? Might want to make that more clear with a line about the box breaking or ripping open.

    Are the punks under a streetlight? If not, be careful with what Sophie can see if it's dark. Are her headlights on while driving?

    I might take out the "laughed" as she dialed 911. it sounds cold/callous, unless you've done a great job of setting us up for this being a righteous mission and we're hoping she'll put the punks out of commission.

    This entry caught my attention right away and has a strong voice, especially in the final paragraph. Nice job.

  2. Ouch! Sophie sounds primed for revenge with a dark streak of her own!

    Its well written and shows Sophie's emotions quite well. I am just not sure about the last line. It sounds better and darker without it.

  3. I was going to point out the verb confusion in paragraph one but it is already noted above. Quick fix.

    "figuring he could" this doesn't work for me because your MC is assuming something about the big kid and we aren't inside his head/pov.

    What I really like about this scene is the set up of the mystery and the fact that your MC is catching a bully doing something he should not be doing.

    What doesn't work for me right now is the idea of your MC doing hit and run drive bys (plural). I can't quite picture how the boys wouldn't be able to ID her or her car by the second pass. I would suggest considering her side swiping the big kid once and make sure you point out if her headlights are on etc. to help obscure their view of her.

    The story is very intriguing though. What's in the boxes!?

  4. I like the attitude here. The MC is out for revenge and she is toying with her prey. Good! This definitely needs a bit of editing though - as already noted: 'as' unloaded for example, 'good-sized' vs. 'brick-sized'. And if 'brick-sized', none of the punks threw one at her? It seems they might...

    'Hidden by the black color of my car' is a long way to say it. I think it could be more concise. You don't have to say 'color'.

    Other than that, interesting!

  5. This definitely holds my interest. Here's some nits.

    1st para. The largest one reads largest box.

    2nd para. brick-sized boxes? Where those inside the larger boxes?

    3rd para. ...was ready to try what again? Too many unnecessary adverbs. Carefully. (He looked in both...) Quickly (use hurried). Could hear (heard)

    Good luck

  6. I assumed the brick sized packages (drugs?)had fallen out of the box she knocked over. If that's the case you could do a quick fix to make it clearer.

    My only problem with this is the multiple drive bys. If these thugs are doing something illegal, which I assume they are, I doubt they'd resume immediately after spilling the contents on the street for all to see. Or just ignore her as she comes back to toy with them.

    Maybe have her back up over him after she clips the box and laugh into the rearview mirror as she dials 911?

  7. I think you have set up the action well. I'm not as bothered as some of the others by Sophie's driveby revenge. If someone hit my dog with a stick, well...

    However, I'd like some description of the "punks." Make your scene more vivid. And that goes how the succession of adverns--quickly, slowly,carefully. You're telling too much here.

  8. ..and watched as the three punks unloaded.... (I think you need to as)
    generally - an interesting scene which I feel could benefit from some context. Perhaps, the three punks have been terrors in the neighborhood.
    As it reads now, however, the MC sounds like she has a screw loose and I'm not sure that's what you want. I mean, regardless of what THEY did or ARE doing - she's running human beings down in the street then laughing uproariously about it. I mean - really? Her revenge seems a tad excessive and on the edge of 'oh my god this chick is nuts' side. But, perhaps that is context - maybe there is more that justifies this wackadoodle behavior.

  9. To me, the sentences are too long. Action needs short, choppy sentences to keep the flow going. I get lost in the description.

  10. Aside from what the others have said that a bit of editing would cure I say, Sophie, you go girl! I'm sure in context with the rest of the story she is probably not a wacko but more like a female Dirty Harry. :)

  11. Chiming in with the above. I think you can increase the tension and the flow with some simple clean-up. Take out the unnecessary adverbs, as mentioned, "slowly," and "quickly." Also, avoid passive actions. "Panicked, the two punks WERE picking..." Instead try, "Panicked, the two punks picked up brick-sized..." Again in the last paragraph, "This time I could hear..." As an alternative, try, "He screamed out in anger..." I think if you make these changes for your entire MS, you'll notice a positive difference. Good luck!