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Monday, February 18, 2013

Branded: Chapter 3

So, this week I asked for your chapter threes. (I still have a couple spots open if you want to submit.)  

One of my quirks is I have a hard time reading something with comments. I see the comments and not the substance of the piece. So, my comments are all at the end. 

Our first submission comes from Katie, an excerpt from chapter 3 of Branded:  

[The area was charred, and the small sand beach of the creek was strewn with half burned bodies. Jasmine spun and ran back behind a boulder.]1 “I don’t want to look!” she gasped. “It’s horrific! And what if someone I know is there?”

Andrew rested his hands on his hips. “You three stay here. I’ll go look.”

“I’ll come with you,” I offered.

He swung on me. “No. You stay here in case it’s a trap. I don’t want any of you to get hurt.”

He handed me his bag and wove his way through the trees to the creek. I watched him as Jasmine clung onto Jenna.

He reached the creek and scanned the area. Then he darted across to the closest body. I saw him tilt the head back, [then he covered his mouth to hold back his need to vomit.]2 He checked all the bodies one by one, before he checked the pile of supplies on the edge of the far tree line. He carried several items back up to us and set them down to distribute among our packs.

“There were a few people I recognized; Mr. Davis from primary school, your hairdresser, some kids from one of the other high schools, but no one we really knew well,” he told us.

“What do you think happened?” Jenna asked.

“The enemy thought the same thing we did and took them out,” he answered as he zipped his bag up. “We need a new strategy if we hope to meet up with people. There was a radio that was destroyed, but [beside it was a message.]3 It said: The Kangaroo of Burragorang’s toe has sharp claws and still twitches.”

“What does that mean?” Jenna asked.

Andrew grinned and pulled out our map again. “Burragorang is the lake that Warragamba [dam]4 created.” He flattened the map out and pointed to it. “If you look at it, it’s kinda shaped like a kangaroo mid-bounce.”

We all leaned over to stare at it. “I guess it kinda does,” I muttered.

Andrew continued, “So the toe of the kangaroo…” he pointed to the southernmost tip of the lake, “[Has]5 sharp claws: so it’s armed–and still twitches: there are people still alive there.”

“[You’re]6 nerd factor really pays off sometimes, Drew,” I grinned.

“Shut up,” he grunted. “Now, I think we should follow this creek southwest until we meet this fire trail which goes south and will bring us out just north of Warragamba…”

“Wait,” I muttered. “That’s a long hard way around. Why don’t we just follow the Nepean and stay hidden?”

“Because,” he answered, raising his eyebrows. “We need to move deeper for a while. Around the edge of townships are easy targets. We’ll take a week or so to make that trek, so it’ll give us time for that area to be swept and forgotten about.”

“But what if we take too long and there’s no one there?”

He met my eye. “Then we’ll have survived another massacre.”

Wow, a lot must have happened in chapters 1 & 2. Sounds like they're on the run. And this keeps the tension going. Then the little things: 

  1. Nice image (well, not nice...). Maybe a little more?
  2. Why are we sure that he's holding his mouth to hold back vomit? This would be a more powerful image if this was described instead of stated.
  3. Message? Written in the sand? On a piece of paper?
  4. Should Dam be capitalized (since it's a proper name)?
  5. has doesn't need to be capitalized (since it's in the same sentence as the previous quote). 
  6. Your
Great chapter. Now I want to know what came before this.

Other thoughts?


Em-Musing said...

Love what you're doing here. How do I sign up?

Patchi said...

This is really nice. I like how the scene was set up with just a brief description. I'm assuming there were more details in the previous chapter and the location is not completely unknown to the reader. However, there could be more details inserted once Andrew starts moving towards the bodies. Instead of saying that he felt like vomiting, which is out of POV, think about what smells would be in the air and how the MC might be disgusted from afar. How could Andrew bare to get so close and even touch the bodies without vomiting?

mshatch said...

I agree, looks like a lot happened and I'm curious about what came before and what will happen next.

Huntress said...

Two suggestions about the same attribute, 'I grinned'.

First it struck me that humor came so quickly after viewing this horrific scene. Maybe 'forced grin' might be a better choice.

Also, IMO, this should not be a used at a tag. Suggestion: '"Your nerd factor really pays off sometimes, Drew[period]" I grinned.'

Let the attribute be action and not a tag.
CD Coffelt pontificates at Spirit Called

Katie Teller said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone! When I saw this I thought it looked so fun because it wasn't the normal "fist page" so I had to join in.