Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drop The Needle 32

Title: Red Moon
Genre: Historical

The captain inserted himself between her and the scene. "Abby, please. Your father will have my hide, and you don't want to see this."

Abby stepped around him. "He's a savage, isn't he? What has he done?" She knew she should turn away, but she couldn't.

"He's an Apache. They took a settler's son and we want him back. The men are trying to find out where the boy is. Now please, come away."

She ignored the hand he placed on her arm. "Beating him will make him tell you?"

"We hope so."

Abby's voice threatened to disappear as she raised her gaze to his. "On whose orders? My father's?"

Rigid above a sea of blue wool, brass buttons and braid, the face she encountered no longer resembled the elegant young officer whose easy laugh had charmed her moments earlier. This man was all hard lines and grim eyes. He was her father, three decades younger.

"Mine. Now come with me. Please."

"Yours? Your orders?" A crack of the whip drew her attention back across the parade ground. Red welts streaked across the Indian's skin. "I don't understand. You…?"

The voice no longer belonged to the man Abby knew, either. "This isn't St. Louis, Abigail. I can't afford to be young and idealistic anymore. I was naïve. Both of us were."

"I was quite fond of your young, idealistic naiveté."

The Army had claimed Jim too. One by one, everyone she loved had fallen beneath the hooves of a beast that devoured souls.


  1. Very nice job conveying Jim. I got a real sense of his hardened officiousness, and it contrasted well with the MC's reminiscense of how he was before.

  2. Is Jim the same as the captain? That confused me a moment. Overall, well written. And I think the situation and the dialogue portray Jim very well/

  3. Nicely done. I felt sad about how Jim had changed, which made me realize that I was drawn in by his character and the MC's sadness as well.

  4. okay, characters are well done, setting is descriptive, but I'm not sure I love the reference to the military being a soul eating beast. On one hand I don't agree with beatings but on the other... meh... if the girl is your MC I don't like her.

  5. Not a genre I read at all, but I think Jim makes an excellent SC. You depicted the changes in his demeanor well. He comes across as serious and bound to his duties.

  6. I really only got a sense of who Jim was/was becomming after the comment about his voice being different. Although I could pick him out as the SC right away, he just didn't seem unique or engaging to me until the end of the section.

  7. Jim comes across as hardened and we do get a good sense of loss from the MC. Well written, and we can feel for her.

  8. I'm thinking the captain is the SC.

    I get a sense from this scene that he has two persona: one in St. Louis and one out here in the rough world. I get a hint that perhaps he's not completely happy with having had to make that change.

  9. Completely unrelated to the task at hand, I have to say this passage really drew me into a genre that I don't ever read on purpose. :-) I really liked Abby's character, and the overall voice.

    But on to the SC assessment... This post actually made me think really hard about what we're trying to do with our secondary characters, how we flesh them out and make them stand out, etc. I do get a very good sense of who Jim is, how he's changed, and all that. But I get it all from Abby's reaction to him, and practically none of it from HIS actions or dialogue. Are we trying to build dynamic secondary characters solely through those characters' actions and words? Or are we trying to portray our SC's through the actions and reactions of the MC's around them?

    I think both is the best goal. The way other characters react to the SC (or your MC for that matter)is certainly a good way to paint all the nuances of their personality, but I think that should shine through in the concrete things they say or do as well. In this passage, if you strip away most or all of Abby's thought process, I don't know that I'd be able to glean much about Jim's character strictly from his dialogue and actions. Probably just that he cares enough for Abby to try to spare her a horrific sight. But like I said, I really really liked this! And you've done a great job of portraying Jim through Abby's observations.

    I'll stop rambling now and let you have your thread back. :-)

  10. "One by one, everyone she loved had fallen beneath the hooves of a beast that devoured souls."

    LOVE that sentence. It's her opinion, and it is very telling about her feelings toward the military.

    Good job.

    :) Terri

  11. I think the Captain is the SC, and I feel that Abby trusted him, until now. I no longer like him.

    I'd love to read more of this!

  12. I'm guessing the Captain was the SC. I thought it was a great scene and both characters really communicated. I almost felt a bit tearful - not just for the beating but for how the character of the captain has changed.

  13. This is a good example of character development via another character. I like this style, I like your work here.

    I don't have much sense of the captain's personality, but that it's changed so significantly - and he recognizes that it needed to be so - makes me like him.

    Good work.