Tuesday, December 15, 2009

5 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Flesh Tone
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

Emma is facing a moral dilemma: to give in to her primal zombie urges, or to protect the woman that her brother loves.

Nausea rises from the pit of my stomach up through the back of my throat. Her scent assaults my airway, over-whelming me. My mouth waters from the stench. I blink the stinging from my eyes, as a primal pull courses through my veins.

The thought of eating her tender flesh takes over my head. I clench my fists, trying to re-gain control.

She must see the possessed look in my eyes because her face registers horror. Her breath shoots out in rapid bursts. Her face contorts in an attempt to control her panting.

I strain against my desires. I stand up, and pace back and forth to rid my mind of these revolting thoughts. I’m around dead flesh all the time, why is this suddenly different?

“Do what you have to do, Emma. I’d rather die at your hand then the others.” There is resignation in her voice.

I am stunned by her words, but because of my depraved state, intrigued by them as well. I consider what she is saying.

No one would know. She is dying anyway.

I contemplate what she might taste like. I imagine it being the most mouth-watering and appetizing delicacy ever. I lick my fingers in anticipation. My eyes sting more acutely. My mouth drips with saliva as I look her over, longingly.

Her eyes stare straight through me now, as if I am not even there. As if she cannot consider my existence or relationship to her any longer.

Besides, I am no longer someone she knows. Whom she knew, just minutes ago.


  1. Hmmmm.... o_O

    Ok. Keep in mind I see the word 'zombie' and instantly back away as fast I can. This isn't my thing. :]

    This is very well written though. Strong characterization. I don't know if there is danger, because the immediate assumption is that she is not going to eat her brother's girlfriend. But it is really well written.

  2. Lots of vivid description.

    My constructive criticism: be sure to run the spell check.

    over-whelming should be overwhelming

    re-gain should be regain

  3. Hmm . . . I'm not sure about this at all.

    The further into it I got, the more of a sense of danger I felt. But because of your blurb, I'm assuming Emma isn't gong to eat her, and that kills the suspense.

    I'm thinking I might also gather that even if the blurb wasn't there and I was reading the novel.

    I also wonder how Emma can be in such a 'depraved' state, and yet discoursing so calmly and logically?

    Perhaps that's the issue? Maybe she needs to be narrating in a more depraved state with occasional glimpses of sanity? (think Golem in Lord of the Rings) Then perhaps the reader won't be so certain everything will turn out all right?

  4. Well, this is a pov you don't see very often. That said, this seems more horrific than suspenseful to me. As Barbara mentioned, the dilemma just seems too "she's not going to do it". Maybe since we haven't read the whole thing, we've missed a scene where the mc gives into her depravity, and so it's less obvious she'll do the right thing at this time.

    I might re-write the last two sentences of the third to last paragraph. They are too similar in sentence structure, but not so similar as to sound like intentional repetition.

    I like zombie stories, so I'd be interested in reading more of this.

  5. I love the story line automatically. The classic Jekyll vs Hyde. I'm pulled in right away!
    Yet several things took me out of the story.
    First, the woman's "registers horror, breath shoots out in rapid bursts, face contorts," and it's all exciting.
    Then the next thing I know, she's resigned to her death. In one second. Not happening! Why doesn't she want to fight for her life? I want to read about a conflict!
    The second thing that took me out of the story was when she contemplated how delicious she would taste like. This description showed no insight, no details. You should make the reader want to bite into the woman themselves.

  6. Usually, nausea rising from the pit of my stomach will make me lose my appetite, but maybe for zombies it has the opposite effect? I don't know, this is my first zombie read.

    I found this compelling. But, like Barbara mentioned, she is a bit too rational in describing her depraved state. If this were not present tense, I could buy that rationality.

    Good luck.

  7. Some of the words are wrong. Nausea is a feeling not bile trying to come up. "...eating her flesh takes over my head" Head or Mind/Brain?

    Show me what her face looks like rather than reporting "registers horror"

    We've got two gripping events happening. The zombie fighting his/her humanity and horror at wanting to eat the friend. The other half is the horror of the victim in this process.

    It's an interesting situation to handle, but the stronger pull, the easier sell is the victim's situation. That's why I felt the need to find out about the victim earlier and then maybe balance to two painful situations.

    Combining the two in 250 might be too much for a reader to take in. Like I said an interesting author's decision to wrestle with. You're not quite there yet, but it'll be fun figuring it out!

  8. A few ticky-tack things kept pulling me out of the story (and HollyG already pointed a few of these out):

    "over-whelming" should be "overwhelming"

    "re-gain" should be "regain"

    "I'd rather die at your hand THEN the others" should be "I'd rather die at your hand THAN the others'" (Also, note the apostrophe after "others," since the implication is the others' hands)

    Overall, though, I think this is an intriguing scene. Good luck with it.

  9. "I'm around dead flesh all the time. Why is this suddenly so different?" ----> This line really confused me. Is her brother's girlfriend a zombie, too? I automatically assumed she was human, but maybe I missed something? Some of the dialogue is a bit repetitive, giving off this "I really want to eat her; I really really want to eat her" type of vibe, and zombies still give me the heebie-jeebies, but this is interesting enough that I'd want to read more. Good job.

  10. I know zombies are the next big thing, but smelly, rotting flesh isn't dangerous, it's repulsive.

    Instead of telling us horror registers, show us.

    Some confusion about why she wants to eat this woman.

  11. I felt like I was at a restaurant for zombies and not in a state of danger. There's no suspense. I'm confused more than anything.

    Warning, there's a lot of zombie books being queried lately. Make sure yours stands out.

  12. I did feel a sense of danger somewhat. It would've been more dangerous if we got more horror from the brother's girlfriend and not have her resigned to death so quickly.

    Also, I felt like the descriptions were somehat overdone. For example, the first sentence seems like it could stop at: Nausea rises from the pit of my stomach.

    We know where it's going so you don't need to spell it out. It would make the opening of this flow better. All in all, I liked it. I think it's good to have it come from the zombie's pov which I think WILL make this stand out. Good luck with it!