Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drop the Needle: Action Scenes (Round 2) #7

TITLE: Pop Travel
GENRE: Thriller

In 2080 Cooper, a mild mannered detective, is investigating a possible glitch with pop travel laser teleportation, which he despises. When the supervisor bringing him a backup video of the glitch is late for their meeting, Cooper and his buddy go racing through the travelport looking for her.

Cooper pushed passed travelers, keeping an eye out for Audrey’s face. He stopped when he reached Concourse A. Through the glass doors on his left he spied a small door on the wall across the tracks. Gordy opened the door and peeked out.

“Nothing at Concourse A track,” Gordy radioed to him.

“Here either,” Cooper answered.

Cooper took off running again, slaloming through travelers, his sense of urgency increasing. He slowed as he approached Concourse B, still hoping to identify Audrey in the crowd. When he arrived, the trains had just pulled in. Passengers exited and more got on. The ones that left clogged the escalators going up. Cooper desperately searched the masses on tip toes. He checked in with Joel and Gordy. “Anything at Concourse B? or on the trains?”

“No,” said Joel.

“Nothing. And the train on my side is headed for Concourse A,” Gordy reported.

Cooper continued his watchful dash to the next stop at Concourse C.

As he closed in on the waiting area he heard a piercing scream and his heart dropped.

He fought his way through a distraught crowd, gathered at the glass doors that protected the public from the high voltage train tracks. As Cooper pushed his way to the front, he saw Gordy on the opposite ledge staring down, his jaw dangling in shock. Cooper followed his gaze and saw the mangled body of Audrey Baumer sprawled on the tracks.


  1. I enjoyed this scene but a couple elements tripped me up while reading.

    This story takes place in 2080 but the main characters are still using radios to communicate...That seems a bit dated even now. Granted, I don't know the world you've set up but it still struck me as a device that should be updated for a futuristic story.

    I felt the same about the use of trains, although by the end you do point out that they are "high voltage." Still, I'm not sure that detail sells the use of trains for me. Basically, I definitely enjoyed reading, the pace of the scene works well, and I think if the terminology was more futuristic I would be really drawn in.

  2. The pace was good, and I do wonder who Audrey was, but I didn't sense it was particularly in the future.

    The scene works well.


  3. I admit, I also was taken back by the trains, when I read teleportation in the intro I assumed something more sci-fi than a high speed train. But, since this is a just a snippet, I' guessing this is explained in greater detail elsewhere.

    This scene is well written, and while there's nothing technically wrong with it, I did feel like something was missing. This might sum it up: "Cooper took off running again, slaloming through travelers, his sense of urgency increasing." I'm reading there's urgency, but I don't feel it. Cooper and Gordy seem very calm and collected, even their dialogue is very matter-of-fact. Maybe that's their thing and they don't freak out. If so, it might help to enhance that, by showing even in the bustling train station he stayed calm and focused.

    Here's another instance: "Cooper continued his watchful dash to the next stop at Concourse C." He may have dashed watchfully, but it doesn't grip me with the action. Maybe you could show him dashing, nearly tripping over someone, his eyes darting, seeing a flash of someone with similar physique, etc.

    As all critiques are subjective, take what you will. You're clearly a capable writer, so I hope the feedback you receive helps :)

  4. Strong action. Clear and concise details. Nice work.

    I agree with Stephsco that there may be something missing. Perhaps adding some of the concern into the mix as he's dashing around the concourses. Remind the reader why there's such urgency.

    "Cooper took off running again, slaloming through travelers, his sense of urgency increasing. YADA... he didn't want to think about what they'd do to her if indeed they had gotten to her..YADA."

    It also bugged me a little that he was looking for her face among the travelers/ crowd. Does Cooper think she's just going to be hanging out? Is he thinking she's being abducted and she'll be there with her captors? Kind of a small thing, but perhaps worth a mention.

    Solid work. All the best.

  5. IN the intro you said raced, here it's pushed past (not passed); maybe shoved or an equally strong verb?

    Why does he stop? This stops the action for me as he spies a small door. Maybe he burst out of a hidden door on concourse A?
    Then add an obstacle that prevents him from seeing the face of a woman who could be the person he's after?

    THe talking on the radio slows down the action too. He could think some of these things while he's racing to find his target, but not talk on a radio.

    Again, he slows, the train slows; both detract from the action; keep up a high tension wire throughout and shorter sentences would help, too.

    Good idea, though, just needs tightening.