Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #27

TITLE: Beautiful Imperfection
GENRE: Romantic Suspense

"I don't know what I'll do if he doesn't make it." Linda fidgeted with a tissue.

"Let's not think about that now. We'll take it one day at a time. One moment at a time."Teddy took hold of Linda's hand.

A slight smile came over her face. "That's what I told you when we found out about the cancer. It's a lot easier said than done, isn't it?"

"But I made it and so will you, no matter what."

"I thought we could all use some coffee." Claire held three Styrofoam cups in a cup holder. Her face was pale. It didn't take much to tell it was from be accosted in the hallway.

The coffee had a rich aroma and good flavor considering it was from the hospital cafeteria. All three women sat in silence, the only sounds were Phillip's deep breathing and the blip from the monitor. Teddy's eyes slowly closed. The buzzer startled her awake. Linda was up, pressing the nurse's button. Hospital personnel rushed into the room, shooing the women to the outer corridor. Teddy and Claire each took hold of one of Linda's hands, wrapping a spare arm around her. After what seemed like hours, but were in fact only minutes, a doctor walked from the room, his face drawn. The sympathy in his eyes told Teddy the results. The doctor didn't say a word, just shook his head as Linda collapsed in hysterics on the hospital floor.


  1. This doesn't mesh well for me. Maybe if I had read a little bit from earlier, to know what the situation was. I was lost at the beginning, trying to figure out what they were all doing. Then, to go from drinking coffee to a monitor beeping seems a little to contrasty for me.

  2. I like this, but I also think it needs a fair amount of editing. Too much, too fast - talking, drinking coffee, falling asleep, the guy dying? In 250 words? Unless there's a specific purpose as to why this happens so fast (it's a small subplot or it's just how the pace of the novel is) you should maybe slow it down. Also check for sentence fluency.
    I hope that doesn't sound harsh - I really did like it. It sounded a bit like a first draft though.

  3. This sets the scene pretty well, though some detail could be added to let the reader know where the people are. At first it seemed they were talking in a void, and then further on I realized they were in a hospital.

    The coffee used as a buffer before the death is a nice touch, as it eases the tension.

    The scene where the hospital personnel rush in to answer the buzzer wouldn't 'shoo' the visitors out. They would be asked to leave in an official tone. This scene could have been intensified by describing what went on in the room with Phillip. Doctors always say something when they've lost a patient or something dreadful has occurred. A description of what the physician's face looked like could reveal his emotions over losing a patient.

    This has real promise, and I would have liked to read the remainder of the story.

    The last paragraph needs to be divided into other paragraphs.

  4. Cancer ... hospital ...all good.

    You might consider beginning the scene with the last paragraph. The dialogue is in danger of sounding cliche'ish. May I suggest you show more body language. The tissue is good. It shows that she was crying.

    Play up emotions with all that you got as a writer. This scene has a great potential.

    Good luck.

  5. This has the potential to be a really tragic scene, but there are details that distract the reader from the matter at hand (e.g. the coffee). I'd replace those details with more relevant descriptions (such as one showing how bad the patient's condition is).

    You've set the scene. Just get all of the emotion out of it that you can.

    Good luck! :)

  6. The scene seemed detached from me. I wasn't as drawn in as you intended, I think. Part of it was the dialog that needs some voice distinction, part of it was the action around the dialog that could have shown me so much more of what the characters were feeling inside.

    Your description in the last paragraph was much better and was pointed at the reason for the scene.

    Just one thing really hit me as un-necessary and distracting, "After what seemed like hours, but were in fact only minutes" First this is fairly common description, but it also blows your tension you are building here. Sometimes a simple "Later" can convey much better to keep the beats moving here.

    I believe your story telling is exciting, but your technique is still working to catch up. Hang in there. Your instincts are good!

  7. I agree with Bethany Elizabeth that it felt rushed. I think you'll have a top-notch scene if you slow down a bit and describe the character's reactions in a lot more detail.

  8. I think slowing it down and watching some of the cliche moments, like coming in shaking his head didn't sit well with me.
    'Coffee had a rich aroma and good flavor considering it was from the hospital cafeteria' I didn't find a necessary contribution to the scene.
    I think the way you've run the scene is good, but you need to climb inside a bit more to get us more emotionally involved.
    Good luck with it all.