Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drop the Needle: EXPLOSIONS! #11

TITLE: The Legend of Dan
GENRE: Paranormal Thriller

Daniel, the One Who Sees the Unseen, can see the supernatural world—a world where the first salvo of the war of good versus evil is aimed at him. In this scene, he isn’t yet fully aware of his gift and its power or the danger it brings.


The giant being spoke to me, “Do not be afraid. I am Ratel. I have come with your guardian.”

A guardian. Just hours ago that enforcer asked where my guardian was.

“The Great One is starting the battle sooner than we planned,” Ratel said. “Gather the things that are important to you, and I’ll explain—”

A brilliant red flash followed by a chest-vibrating blast turned bricks and mortar into pellet-sized missiles that peppered my face and body and drove me backwards into the wall. Stunned and with ears ringing, I staggered forward. My foot grazed the edge of the circular stairs to the floor below, and I tumbled around the first curve. I lost consciousness, my body’s life blood stopped flowing, and everything went, if it had a color, a flat, dull gray. Color returned as I popped back into consciousness on the landing above. Ratel released my arm and disappeared with a muffled snap.

A second muffled snap heralded the appearance of another giant being who said, “I’m Paz—your guardian. You have to come with me now.”

“Where’s Ratel?”

“He’s leading the fight.”

“What fight?”

Paz turned to face away from me toward the… holy s***, where’s my wall?

Ionized night air wafted through the floor-to-ceiling hole framed by warped re-bar, and sparks crackled at the ends of dangling wires. The churning grit of an enforcer pulsated in the opening.

I inched backwards. Thankfully, my Sarquettes was stymied by my inability to form words.

11 comments:

  1. Interesting premise. :)

    I really loved this line: "A brilliant red flash followed by a chest-vibrating blast turned bricks and mortar into pellet-sized missiles that peppered my face and body and drove me backwards into the wall."

    In terms of what could use a little work, I'd take out "ears ringing" and try to describe that instead.

    I also found this line awkward "everything went, if it had a color, a flat, dull gray."

    First, it is awkward construction-wise, and second, I wasn't entirely sure what you meant. Do you mean that he saw in black and white for awhile? If so, is this part of the magical element or is it just part of his physical reaction. (I wrote a scifi and had similar problems, using metaphors that people took literally as part of a new power she had...it is challenging!)

    Anyway, good job and good luck! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This explosion was a felt experience since the writer calls on almost all the senses. I agree with the previous poster that 'ears ringing' and the world going gray should be rewritten to be as effective as the explosion. I wonder what sarquettes are (if that's the right spelling.) I guess the giant beings were described earlier - wondered what they look like. Sounds like a good action adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a great idea, I love the concept and how it's playing out. Great job conveying action and intensity and making us see and experience what was going on. Woohoo!

    However. (You knew that was coming.)

    "I lost consciousness, my body’s life blood stopped flowing, and everything went, if it had a color, a flat, dull gray."

    This is one of my pet peeves. He can't tell us what happened in reality while he's unconscious. Whatever he dreams or visions, sure. But he was unconscious. No reporting of what happened around him. Not in this POV. Nope. None.

    "disappeared with a muffled snap.

    A second muffled snap "

    The repetition here didn't work.

    Fix errors like that and this thing is great. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The explosion works well. The effects on Daniel are well described and easily foisted onto the reader. Great work here.

    Some of the dialog and surrounding moments are confused, mostly by awkward constructions, but those won't be hard to spiff up to a brilliant shine.

    A great, engaging little moment.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the name Miracle! Your storyline suggests a great opportunity for voice, but I'm not feeling it too much. You use first person so everything--narration, desciption--has to be expressed the way your MC would say it. Example:

    "We arrived at the pond as a geyser of water shot high into the air around a lone figure. My mouth went dry as the water rained down on him and the boat rocked violently."

    First, both these sentences have "as" phrases in them. And they both sound too "adult." Same with: "His calm voice was raised to be heard across the water", which is also passive.

    "He threw something out into the water." (If the MC already knows Miracle's going to blow himself to bits, why doesn't s/he know what the "something" is?

    Tighten the last two paragraphs. Among other things, you could delete: "Miracle was wrong" and change "Fish were floating up everywhere" to "Fish floated everywhere." Deleting "It was like watching some bizarre dance ritual of the dead" and rearranging so you end with "...all had one thing in common--they were dead" would make a better mini-cliffhanger.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You've got some good "explosion language" going on here -- things like "chest-vibrating blast" and "pellet-sized missiles".

    This sentence is too long:

    "A brilliant red flash followed by a chest-vibrating blast turned bricks and mortar into pellet-sized missiles that peppered my face and body and drove me backwards into the wall."

    Break it up. Explosions happen FAST, so you don't want a long, cumbersome sentence to slow down the pace.

    "I lost consciousness."

    This takes us out of the moment. When we lose consciousness, we're gone! Out of the picture. It's too removed from the action. Your full sentence is:

    "I lost consciousness, my body’s life blood stopped flowing, and everything went, if it had a color, a flat, dull gray."

    If everything is gray, he is still conscious on some level. If he momentarily blacks out, mention briefly that everything went black (or gray, as the case may be), and then bring him back. Talking about life bloods stopping is too much description. We're not thinking about things like that when we pass out. (Trust me -- I've passed out more than once.)

    Also, be CAREFUL that your dialogue doesn't sound stilted and clunky! It's tricky when you've got supernatural beings and larger-than-life characters to still make their dialogue sound natural.

    'The giant being spoke to me, “Do not be afraid. I am Ratel. I have come with your guardian.”'

    You don't need "spoke to me" -- we know he's speaking to your MC. Just say, "The giant being said."

    Ratel's dialogue would sound more natural if you used contractions. Try it that way and see if it works.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I thought that this was a really neat idea. I agree with the earlier comments about things going on while he's unconscious, but I actually like the idea of unconsciousness being a "flat, dull gray". Just make it clear that that's what is happening inside his head, not in the world around him.
    I felt that the explosion itself was confusing. I liked the descriptions, but I think it needs a transition to give the reader a clear idea of what's going on. I would break up that first sentence and add words like "suddenly" or "out of nowhere". I know those words can be overused, but in a fantasy world with so much happening it's important to let the reader know the character didn't see this coming.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thought the explosion sentence was too long and telling. Everything is jammed into it. SHow us the flash. Let us hear the blast. Then show the building (brick and mortar) collapsing or being blown apart. Then show it peppering him. Then show him being driven back into the wall. Separate all the elements of the explosion, or maybe combine two, but make the explosion an explosion, rather than a sentence.

    Also, you've written the whole explosion parg as a writer would, but this is first person, which means you have to kick the writer to the curb and write it as your MC experiences it. A stunned and staggering person wouldn't say - My foot grazed the edge of the circular stairs to the floor below, and I tumbled around the first curve. He's stunned, he's staggering, he trips and falls down a few stairs.

    And as others have said, if he's unconscious, he has no idea what's going on. It may serve you better to eliminate the unconsciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There are a lot of great details in this scene, but for me, they are jumbled and weakened because you try to pack too much into your sentences. I've seen this problem in a lot of entries in this crit round.

    Others have mentioned this already, but break up that first sentence when the explosion occurs. Make every detail pop. For example: A brilliant red flash burst [where?]. The blast drove me backward into the wall. Pellet-sized missiles of brick and mortar peppered my face and body.

    It would be even better if you added sound and smell.

    The sentence beginning "my foot grazed" is convoluted. Do you mean his foot grazed the edge of the stairs as he stepped onto the floor or does "to the floor" indicate where the stairs lead? If the latter, cut it.

    The second-to-last paragraph also suffers from over-long sentences. Break up that description of the hole in the wall so we can appreciate the details: A floor-to-ceiling hole gaped behind Paz, its edges framed by warped rebar [not hyphenated]. Sparks crackled at the ends of dangling wires. Ionized air [what does that smell like?] wafted [you can probably come up with a stronger verb] through the gap.

    FWIW, I didn't have a problem with the MC passing out, because he pops back into consciousness in the very next sentence. No POV break there. I do think you should switch that sentence around, so that losing consciousness happens after the colors fading and blood flow stopping. I'd also add a paragraph break before he comes to, so that it's clear some time has passed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd try cutting the "A brilliant flash" sentence into at least two. I like the image, but the sentence keeps going so long that I lose sight of what's going on.

    Also I'm curious as to what the giant being looks like. Might've been in the previous scene, but it's something I feel would be helpful if it isn't there already. Also, I might like to see some of the giant's mannerisms as he's talking.

    Does his blood literally stop flowing, or is that how it feels to him?

    The paragraph with "ionized air" felt very science fiction oriented compared to the earlier fantasy feeling the story had. Granted, that might not be so confusing in context with the full story.

    Also, wasn't sure what "Sarquettes" was.

    Good luck with it. :-)

    ReplyDelete