Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drop the Needle: Action Scenes (Round 2) #5

TITLE: White Phoenix
GENRE: YA Dark Fantasy

Silas and Cassandra are being hunted by ghouls, the undead spawn of the Underworld. Because they find themselves outnumbered, they decide not to test their luck in a fight in favor of losing their pursuers in the storm.

The rain licked at his face, cold and sharp tongues. The wind was erratic but powerful, pulling him and pushing him and pulling him again. The ground trembled as thunder boomed and roared in the darkness, as the rain hissed its violent hymn. Lightning struck the forest, and trees parted in the brief light with the sound of cracking bones.

After hours of jumping and ducking, prying his feet from the clutches of the mud and fallen branches, jerking his body away from jutting limbs, his legs went numb beneath him. His lungs hurt with every labored breath he took, the fear within his chest hot one moment then deathly cold the next. The air was abrasive against his eyes and cheeks. Through the dark sheet of rain, he could hardly see the path ahead. Only when the lightning flickered was the entire forest illuminated, and when the light went out, he couldn't trust the ground beneath him.

All Silas could believe was the sound of the ghouls thrashing through the slush behind him, and Cassandra, whose white cloak led him through even the darkness. He didn't know how close the ghouls were, just that it was impossible not to imagine the heat of their breath creeping across the nape of his neck.

And then Cassandra's white cloak vanished.

Her scream made his body go cold.


  1. Great descriptions! I can really feel and see the atmosphere. I like the set up.

    This feels more like a sequel than a scene, and the action is more remembered than current. So as set-up, it works great. As an action scene, no so much. But I did enjoy reading it. :)

  2. The atmosphere of this scene is truly its strength. It is very stylized but for YA dark fantasy I'd expect nothing less. I enjoyed reading it but I do agree that it seems like the lead in to an action scene, instead of an action scene itself. Nice job though!

  3. Like the others, I feel like we're on the cusp of action. Otherwise, this is a great scene. The suspense is there, maybe build it up a bit more?

  4. Silas is definitely in a very bad spot here. You do a good job with the weather and the set-up. If I had any criticism, it would be to intersperse Silas's thoughts with all the weather. You have two rather long paragraphs where Silas is somewhat absent as a character.

    The third sentence has 'as thunder boomed', followed by 'as the rain hissed'. This should be streamlined. One 'as' is enough I think.

    I like the hot and cold through out and I like the fact that the ghouls are 'hot'. It makes them more hellish.

    Good luck!

  5. This is beautifully written! I actually don't mind that we have two paragraphs without his thoughts, because they were so well written I blew right through them. The only thing I wish was that there was a little more description of how her cloak ahead of him vanished so I could picture it, and I wish you had something other than "made his body go cold" at the end. It's a little too similar to "made his blood run cold," and, also, given that they're in a windy, rain storm, his body is probably already cold. After reading the whole section, I know you can do better! Overall, I love it. Great job!

  6. There's a lot of description here to the point of seeming overwritten. If this were an action scene, I'd want you to "get to the point" sooner. But as someone mentioned above, this feels more like a sequel/set up to what's to come. And as such, the amount of description might be just right.

  7. This could be a really good action scene if you showed us instead of told us what happened and fed in the description among showing us the action.