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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here's a sneak peek at an untitled unfinished work...

Shadows are everywhere, and you never give them a second thought. You should. They think about you all the time. love this. But I'd like it as the opening line on a page by itself, like a quote. Chapter one starts with

“Did you see that?” I spun to the left, but saw only trees and rocks. The sun glittered through the baby green leaves dancing in the wind. Shadows flickered in and out of the light in a dance for dominance.

“See what?” Toni continued power walking along the forest trail.

I ran to catch up with her. “Nothing.”

We powered our way through two more miles of green tinted spring before reaching my car. The plan was for me to drive Toni back to her car at the trail head, but, well I don’t know what happened. One moment she stood waiting for me to unlock the door. And then she was gone.This is telling. I want to know what happened in real time from the moment they reach the car. I'm sure you can draw this out. In fact, I'd like it all drawn out more. Let us get to know these two characters a little more before this terrible thing happens. Let us see what good friends they are before one of them disappears. That way we'll like them and want to find out what happens next.

There was no sound, no cry. Nothing.

I spun around, but no one was around. The air was eerily quiet. No birds singing. Even the wind had stopped. And yet the shadows danced.

Toni’s car remained in its spot, but no other trace of her could be found. The police impounded my car. To search for traces of blood or something.This bit, too, could be given more details, depending upon how long you intend the work to be.
Hours. I sat in the police station for hours answering questions, but what could I tell them? They wanted me to confess, but in the end they had to let me go because there was no motive. And no body.

Why would I kill my best friend? I couldn’t think of a reason and I’m a writer—I make stuff up all the time. Toni always bailed me out of sticky situations. (reliable or unreliable narrator?) like the time my blind date showed up smelling like formaldehyde and looking every bit like a psychotic serial killer.

I wouldn’t have killed her. But what happened?

This is definitely an intriguing beginning, especially those first lines. I imagine every writer has seen a shadow that looked like something else or moved in a way that creeped them out. I know I have! Anyway, I like it. It has potential and I can see it going either short story or something longer. It just needs to be fleshed out :)

Oh, and you can probably see that I imagine it as a longer work, novel length. But someone else might see this completely differently.

Your turn.


Halli Gomez said...

I love the opening lines. There is a lot of potential to be really scary and keep you reading even though you are hiding under the covers.
I agree that things need to be drawn out. This sounds like a synopsis.
I also see it as a longer work. Great!

Huntress said...

Some of the questions in this narrative are what the writers ask themself. Too many and it gums up the works.

Love the first line and '...The air was eerily quiet. No birds singing. Even the wind had stopped. And yet the shadows danced...' Great depiction! Actual quite chilling.

I agree with Marcy about 'tell' vs 'show'. Every writer must resist the urge to Tell, from the novice to the well known, every single writer.
So you are in good company :)

Brooke R. Busse said...

Your first lines are very intriguing and quirky. They make me want to know more. However, I agree that they don't go with the rest of the story. I also agree that you have a lot of telling and need to give more details.

One thing I would like to point out, though it's not that big, is in the description that Huntress has posted above. And yet the shadows danced. I feel like it would fit better with the mood and tone of the story if it simply started with 'the'.

Tara Tyler said...

love how it takes us from normal to odd to stunned. I want to know what she did while the friend vanished. they seem close and she would know what happened. what distracted her at the fateful moment?

nice piece!

E.R. King said...

I liked this a lot. I agree with a lot of your opinions, but I think the first line would work on the first page just fine. A lot of first lines don't fit perfectly in with the next paragraph, yet they set the mood. This one did that nicely.

Liza said...

I like this idea of shadows being something more! Clever and intriguing.

Lydia Kang said...

Well done crit, thanks for posting. The shadows were very creepy. :)

Mina Burrows said...

Very creepy and great crit. I struggle with the telling part too. Working on it though!

Clarissa Draper said...

I totally agree with you. Love the opening line. It's a great way to get into the story. Your crit is bang on.

Nisa said...

Ooh! That first line really draws us in. That is awesome. Great beginning and suggestions.

RaShelle Workman said...

Yes, the opening lines rock! Great job.

Medeia Sharif said...

Great crit. I agree with others about the awesome opening and potential.

Melissa Sugar said...

Well done. I enjoyed reading it and agree with many of the others. The ending lines have me eager for more. I am intrigued and I love a good mystery. You certainly hooked this reader.