Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #11

TITLE: Teen Ecoforce: Rhino Rescue
GENRE: Middle grade

Tyler Lucas has the magical ability to get into animal's heads and see the world from their point of view. In this scene he is in the head of a rhino that has just been shot by poachers.

The mud covering his body felt moist again, running over his hide in all directions. He lifted his head. It wasn't mud. He was covered with holes that were leaking a dark sticky liquid. He didn't have the strength to keep his head up so he let it flop back onto the ground.

He heard a rumbling and felt the thumping of feet on the ground. Human voices surrounded him. One of them reminded him of his father. His mind reeled back to another scene, equally painful though not in a physical sense.

"Look, I don't owe you or your mother an explanation. This is the last chance for me and my band to make it big. And I'm not about to drag you along with me. You'll just hold me back and ruin it for me."

The roar of an engine drowned out the voice. Something vibrated over his head. It had a long blade with lots of sharp teeth.

A searing heat penetrated his nose, cutting jaggedly into his horn. The pain felt like it would go on forever but finally the horn fell off and thumped onto the ground in front of him. His head felt light and it kept getting lighter. As the sound of the chainsaw faded into the distance, the world around him shrank to a pinprick. Then he was floating in darkness.


  1. The piece describes a death scene from the MC's POV, but it doesn't show any of his emotions, IMO. Is he scared? Confused? Angry?

    Aside from the pain of his horn being cut off, I couldn't tell if he could feel what the rhino is feeling throughout the ordeal. If you could work in more of the rhino/MC's emotions I think this scene would really resonate.

  2. Very imaginative--a boy who can get into animals' minds! I like that!

    This scene is very immediate and easy to visualize. I did wonder why the boy/rhino couldn't identify the blood as blood--they've surely had experiences of it before--but could identify the rhino's horn as a horn.

    I liked the resonance between the engine roar when the boy loses his father and the road of the saw when the rhino loses his horn.

    Lovely writing!

  3. I agree that you could make the emotion more visceral - with just a few extra words - but I do love the concept and think the writing is good.

  4. "he was covered with holes that were leaking dark sticky liquid" might be more powerful as something like "holes leaking dark sticky liquid covered his torso."

    Before this starts, does the boy know the rhino has been shot? If not, for MG, I think you might want to make that a bit clearer, a little more concrete.

    other than that, there's nothing that jumps out at me. good job.

  5. I also thought the rhino would know blood.

    I love the idea with this story and the writing is good. More emotion--fear, anger, pain--would really improve this.