Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #20

GENRE: YA Suspense/Action

Alexa wakes in a strange apartment, her body in throbbing pain. A familiar voice in the next room talks on the phone in a seemingly threatening manner. She flees the apartment, but still doesn't understand how she got there or who was in the apartment with her. Here is the revelation at the chapter's end:

As she reached to open the glass door, she glanced inside the lobby area. What she saw sent a chill racing down her spine. On a small sofa, Mr. Devries comforted his girlfriend Marie whose eyes were red and puffy, a tissue at her nose. But it wasn’t the sight of them that left her glued to the sidewalk as fear shot through her veins like an illegal drug. No, it was the sight of someone else entirely. He stood across the small lobby leaning casually against the front counter, speaking with the girl working reception. She saw it all now. The puzzle was complete.

It was the voice, both voices actually – the one with the edge and the gentler, almost caring one. Of course they belonged to the same person; the person with the magnetic blue eyes, the strong jaw, that confident, easy smile. He was here, at the hostel, standing in the lobby, feet from where she stood. Alexa let out a small, pitiable laugh that got stuck in her throat.

Ryan – he’d said his name was Ryan.

Alexa gasped for air, gently let go of the door, and backed slowly away. She looked down at her feet and, for the second time that morning, was thankful for her faithful Supernovas – thankful because she felt like running – far, far, away. But she didn’t run, not this time. He was on her territory after all. Those were her friends inside, he couldn’t hurt her now. But all the same, she needed a minute.


  1. In this high drama scene, you might consider shortening some of your sentences to add more punch. Your writing is lovely - variation would only add to it. There's also a bit of "throat clearing" like "She saw it all now." Those don't tell the reader anything.

    Be more specific about the "illegal drug" but only if the mc has actual experience here, otherwise you might consider leaving that off.

    I find it distracting and confusing to talk about "voices" so long before giving the name "Ryan." It feels like a tease.

    How does the mc put together the mystery of the voices? Ryan doesn't speak here. This needs a little more clarity which clues she's actually using.

    The grateful bit for the shoes doesn't quite work since it doesn't really matter. She could still look at them and consider running - but only if she literally considers sprinting off.

    Nice work!

  2. This is well written. The only snag I hit was like an illegal drug. If she isn't a regular drug user, I'd take this out. If she is a drug user, then maybe specify which drug. Why would she use the word illegal vs. drug?

    I agree with the previous comment about the shorter sentence. It feels almost relaxed but it should still feel tense. Shorter sentences and removing the "throat clearing" statements should take care of that.

    All in all - great job.

  3. In the first parg, she sees something that sends chills up and down her spine, but instead of telling us what that is, you tell us about Mr. Devries. Perhaps cut that and tell us what it is that is so shocking.

    The blurb says she hears a voice talking on the phone in the next room, and she flees, yet when she gets downstairs, the man who was talking on the phone is already there. How did he get there before her?

    And should it be - he was IN her territory, rather than on it?

    I also thought the drug sentence didn't work. It ran on too long, and the word illegal somehow made it feel unbelievable, like she didn't know what she was talking about.

    But I did feel the emotion here. I felt her fear and panic. I did feel like she calmed down a bit too easily in the last parg. That read a bit too-matter-of-fact, but overall, I thought it worked.

  4. Agree with the drug reference, because it made me wonder if she was a drug user. But I really liked that last line! Nice...