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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of Oak and Dragons - Urban Fantasy

Then a young, dark-haired man stepped out of the vehicle and stood looking at the house, straight and tall, with the sun behind him, his face in shadow.
I froze, staring through the windows at the stranger. Fear knifed through me, leaving an edge of raw panic.

The back door, I thought in near hysteria, I could run now out the door and maybe get to the trees in time. Shoes…did I have time to slip them on or should I take my chances? Mounting panic was beginning to choke me with indecision.

Ohmygodohmygod…run, run, run…insidious terror drained me of any coherent thought or action.

I stopped myself. What in hell was going on? What in the name of heaven was wrong with me? Humming swords, voices cursing at me; now I had such frantic dread that I turned into a quivering mass at the appearance of a strange man?

There was the sound of a soft knock sounded at the door.

Fear pulsed through me again, clutching at me with cold, icy fingers. I felt an intense desire to run, to hide to find a place where I could curl into a ball, whimper with eyes closed tight, hoping that I would not be found or noticed.

I closed my eyes for a moment, pulled in a broken gulp of air, and willed myself into a calm state. I opened my eyes just as the second knock sounded, and stretched out my hand to open the door. I hesitated when I saw that my hand trembled.

Suddenly I was angry, fire-hot mad. With my lips pursed, my teeth clenched, I fisted my hand, digging my nails into my palm. Then, I lifted my shoulders, smoothed my twisted face, and reached again for the doorknob.

Besides, God hates a coward.

I opened the door and opened my life to meet the blazing new sun.

Now, what do you guys think?

Oh, and I will add that I felt my own heart start to beat faster at the ohmygod. I wanted to look around and see what it was! Excellent job instilling fear and tension :)


Brooke R. Busse said...

I agree with all the of the cuts. The only other thing I might point out is that the MC told us she was angry. It sort of fits, but it's also sort of telling, even though you show us afterwards.

Tara Tyler said...

great! tension builds w/shorter intense phrasing.

Angela Brown said...

I agree with the recommended cuts. They remove some of the passive voice and adds to the tension of the scene.

Huntress said...

Passive?! Hm.

Phrases such as 'hesitates' 'pauses' 'for a moment' pepper my manuscripts like confetti.

Doing a search might ferret them out and smooth the narrative.

mshatch said...

There's nothing wrong with those words but this scene is very tense so shorter sentences and less words work better I think.

Carol Riggs said...

The words running together did really give a sense of tension and fear. Very nice scene in places. Although I'm hesitant about the use of ellipses--they usually show a slower, more ponderous thought or action. I'd use dashes. Or periods. Also, I'm not sure there's a need to Tell that the MC is angry and THEN show it at the end. It's shown well with physical description, and the reader will get that the character is angry. :)