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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Submission #4--The Key Collective

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Title: The Key Collective
Genre: Steampunk

She found the key under his bed. Not that she was looking. She didn’t even know the guy. Why would she be looking under his bed, for crying out loud. Assignations are odd like that. One minute you’re locked in the most intimate of embraces, the next you’re crawling around on his floor, ass in the air, looking for your sock. Instead you find this key. It was just a key. Nothing special about it. But when her fingers touched it she automatically grasped it, glanced over her shoulder and hid it in her fist like a child sneaking away with stolen candy.

Twenty minutes, money exchanged, and an awkward hug/cheek kiss good-bye she was finally able to get a good look at her stolen treasure. She leaned against a battered guard rail under a flickering fluorescent light in the building’s basement parking garage, and slowly unfurled her tightly clasped fist.

The weird pinkish yellow light seemed to be absorbed by the thick brass key cupped in her hand, giving it an odd greenish color.  It was about three inches long, fairly freshly cut, or rather, not used much. She felt the raw edges scrape over her callused fingertips as she twisted it around and around.  There weren't any distinguishing markings on it but she couldn’t seem to put it away, turning it over and over in her chilled fingers. Anoria raked her long, tangled hair out of her eyes and hunched her shoulders deeper into her threadbare navy pea coat.  Idly, her fingers twisted the key around again, rubbing it between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand. What was that groove in the head? She brought the key closer to her eyes, moving directly under the unsteady light.

In the pocket of her coat her cell buzzed. Startled,she jumped and almost dropped the key on the damp pavement.

“Goddamn it!” She muttered halfheartedly, “ What the hell can you possibly want at this time of night, Braedon?”

She shoved the key deep in her pocket and wrenched the phone out, flipping it open. Text message.  Sender Blocked.  “What the hell…?”  Curious, she hit the open key.  Two words blipped onto the screen. 

“Look Up.” 

Look up?  She looked around the dim basement parking garage.

A hazard, if you could call it that, of her job required her to be very aware of her surroundings. Consequently she had already done a quick sweep of this garage before ‘accidentally meeting’ her john in the bar. But, when she had scoped it out for exit routes earlier in the day it was, admittedly, quite a bit emptier.  Now, as it was almost 1am, and presumably most sane people were in bed, it was fairly full, if the heavy smell of stale exhaust was any indication. There were a decent number of high end sports cars (posers), a few mid-range suv’s (for those that need to go off-roading in the city) and one or two beaters (Employee-mobiles).

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Huntress said...

I've read this before.
Truly an OutFreakin'Standing first paragraph. Filled with Voice, tension, and one massive Hook.

Love this with all my soul.

*did I say I liked it?*

Huntress said...

and the survey worked for me

mshatch said...

I'll be critting this on my other blog so I'm not going to say much about it here - except that I would most definitely be turning the page.

blankenship.louise said...

I got nothin' except to complain about the gap between "Look up." and the character doing it. Mostly because the sample ended before we got there... I don't care about the parking garage, girl, look up!


Sarah Allen said...

So cool! Great work.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Thanks! :) I'm still working on it. Thought the anonymous feedback would be interesting!

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I know! I'm nervous about that! Hope you guys tear into it! Glad people seem to be enjoying it though...

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Now see this is interesting because that paragraph has bugged me...though it's kinda where the 400 ended (odd spot)...but that paragraph in particular has driven me nuts. I want to set the Place. That seemed to be the best time to do it. She does move on pretty quickly..but I can't seem to rework that paragraph to have it flow the way I want it to...gah. I should just ditch it.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

G said...

Thought it was really spot on!

blankenship.louise said...

FWIW, that paragraph doesn't tell me anything I could not have guessed about a parking garage. I know the genre is "steampunk" but so far it's not looking very steampunk-y...

Amber said...

I still can't get the survey to work for me...but it must be my laptop because I can log on with my phone and have no troubles at all...so I'll do that in just a minute.

I really like this and would def. read on. I have a couple of questions/comments.

I would begin with 'Assignations are a funny bussiness.' or something along tat line, and then keep everything the same. You start that paragraph with the key, and then kind of repeat at the end of the paragraph with the key. So for numbers sake, in contest I would cut your first 3 sentences, and just reword the 'assignation' sentence to be your opener. then you get some more room to tell us more at the bottom :)

Other things I noticed were the socks....if she's a prostitute I was wondering why she was wearing socks...personally I picture stockings or something along those lines. But then you mentioned callused hands and it really got me thinking. I wondered what a 'working' girl is doing with callused hands. But it also makes me wonder if those words 'socks' and 'calluses' are clues that she is one unique 'working' woman. Either way I would def. read on. I'm I'm yelling at my computer 'LOOK UP!'

Great job!

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Thanks for the suggestions Amber...All I'm going to say is, good eye on the details. :) Bwahahahah! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Good point. And the steampunk comes in about a paragraph or two later. *Shakes fist at word count limit!*