Monday, March 07, 2011

Catch Me If You Can!

And why would you want to catch me? That's what I'm here to find out. Yes, me.

This blogfest is centered around whether or not your WIP catches people's attention and makes them want to read more. And why? Or why not?

And this is why you are here (I hope). To tell me what you think works, and what you think doesn't in my first 550 words.

Oh, one more thing before we start. I'll be posting the first 550 words to both of my WIPs (cause I'm a cheater). Feel perfectly free to read just one.

The Lullaby
Chapter One: Gone

“Are you sure you can handle them, Maggie?” Rieta hovered in the doorway, “We could always stay.” Her eyes flicked to the top of the stairs where her four-year-old son had stomped to his room, angered at the thought of a baby sitter.

Her husband rolled his eyes and placed his hand on her shoulder, “They’ll be fine, dear. We’re going to be late.”

Maggie smiled and hoisted Cassie higher on her hip, “Don’t worry, Rieta, I’ll take good care of them. Go have a good time.”

Rieta sighed and gave in, “Okay, but I’m going to call when we get there.”

“That’s fine, love. Now shoo!” Maggie made the motion with her free hand then laughed.

Rieta smiled weakly and let her husband guide her, his hand around her waist, to the car. She glanced back over her shoulder and saw Maggie whispering to Cassie, covering Cassie’s small hand with her big one and waving it in the air. “Bye-bye to you, too, sweetheart,” Rieta said softly as she waved back and stepped down into the car.

Rieta frowned and hit the re-dial button, pressing the phone to her ear. Her fingers drummed on the table and she turned her body away from the rest of the table. “Come on. Answer,” she whispered as the ringing stopped and became her own voice, “Hello, you’ve reached the Marks family. We’re not home-” Click. She hung up, hit re-dial again. Dial tone. “Hello, yo-”

“She’s not answering, Bill!” she whispered frantically to her husband.

Her husband dragged his eyes from the performance on stage, “Relax, I’m sure she’s just busy feeding the kids or putting Cassie down. Give her a minute to call back.”

Rieta took a deep breath. Everything was okay. Bill was right. Maggie was probably just upstairs and couldn’t hear the phone, when she saw the missed call she’d call right back.

She tried to concentrate on the stage, hoping it would distract her but the non-ringing phone clasped in her hand was a constant reminder that Maggie still hadn’t called. She gave in and hit re-dial again and this time there was no ringing, just her voice cheerfully repeating the same message over and over.

“Bill, the phone is off! We need to go home!” A cold, dreadful feeling was threatening to overwhelm her.

He sighed but flagged the waiter to ask for their check. Rieta felt awful doing this to him, she knew he’d been anticipating this night for weeks now. She almost told him never mind, that she was sure everything was fine. But she wasn’t, so she didn’t.

She tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the valet to bring around their car. The car wasn’t even at a complete stop before she yanked open the door and jumped inside. She could hear Bill apologizing to the man who had been driving the car before he stepped in and took his sweet time buckling up and starting the car.

She stared out the window anxiously, the feeling of horror threatening to overtake her at any second. She consoled herself that when they got there everything would be fine and they would all laugh about it later.

The first thing she noticed when they pulled up was that Maggie’s car wasn’t parked in the (driveway anymore).
 Thinking of You
Chapter One: I'm In

The Enclosure stood solitary and alone. Waving grass went on forever, only broken by the long road connecting the Enclosure to the rest of the world. It was an almost peaceful scene but it left a nasty taste in my mouth. It was going to be extremely difficult to move across without being spotted. And they knew it. Not that I was worried about the sentries placed around the building; they were easy enough to fool. I grinned over at the watchmen closest to us. They smiled back from their Jeep. No, it was the sensors and cameras that I was worried about.

    My gaze drifted back toward the Enclosure. There had to be a way to get inside. I glanced back at the Jeep. [I wonder if…] “Look,” Tass’s voice broke through my concentration.

    My eyes followed her pointing finger. A delivery truck was coming down the road. About the size of a semi, and probably packed with food. The idiots running this place didn’t have the sense to grow their own food. [Or cover their tracks. I wonder if anyone else has ever found them by tracking their food shipments.]

    Ground flying under my feet, I started to run. My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did. That truck was our way in. I needed on it. It was as simple as that.

    My legs stretched; the muscles pulling taunt. It felt wonderful after squatting in the grass for so long, trying to stay hidden. The wind felt cool and free. Dark hairs flew in my face and I shook my head, trying to clear them out of my field of vision.

    The truck sped closer. I could see the driver’s face, every detail down to the pulsing zit on his chin; he was nothing but another young hot shot who took the job to have a car. His eyes were closed as his head bobbed to the music blaring from his speakers. Even so I launched a wave at him. [Look at that jogger. Man, she’s hot.] He peeled his eyes open to stare at me. I waved. I knew exactly how minds like his worked.

    The old engine revved, the vibrations pounding through my feet, as he tried to impress me. His face disappeared from my line of sight as he zoomed down the asphalt. Which was fine by me. It was much simpler without having to deal with his greedy eyes.

    The surface under my feet turned hard as I made it to the road. My footsteps added to the clatter of the truck, making my ears pound. Breathe rasped through my throat as I ran and ran, waiting for my chance. The vehicle slowed, the driver probably craning his neck to find me, and I leaped, my legs propelling me beyond normal human heights.

    My knees fell against the metal container and I resisted the urge to curse, biting my lip. The huge boom was already too much noise. I waited for the second one, but it didn’t come. My neck swiveled, searching. Tass crouched right behind me, her eyes shining from the adrenaline.

    Reassured, I turned my attention to the cab. The music was so loud, I could hear every word, even out there. That meant nothing. The punk-ass kid in (in the front seat might have heard something).


  1. Thoughts on "Lullaby". I once heard a Psychologist explain to me the difference between how men and women think of things. A man sees a wounded child and thinks, "Let's get him to the hospital". A woman sees a wounded child and thinks, "Who did this? Who is responsible?" I like how that shows up in your writing. There is no answer to the phone...the man dismisses it as nothing. The woman reacts emotionally and senses there is something wrong. However, I also think that's where the suspense kind of fails too. In order for there to be suspense that carries through a little earlier than the last sentence of the car not being there in the driveway, I think there should be some kind of apprehension on part of the guy as well. Afterall, this is his offspring too. So I'm suggesting that there be more profound evidence for him to buy into "there's something wrong" than just a phone going to voice mail. It's well written, but I think the suspense could come up a notch.

  2. Thoughts on "Thinking of You". This is good. Everything seems to be in the right portion here. The only bone I have to pick is the sentence where you swap me out of the narrator's head and into the head of the kid that's driving so that he can compliment the narrator in that she's hot. In first person, I say stay in the point of view of the narrator for the entire story or write it in such a way that the point of view switch isn't as startling.

  3. Hmm... I didn't mean it as in, it was from his point of view. It's supposed to be her, putting a thought into his head, because that's what she does, that's what her 'waves' do. I've been trying to figure out a way to show what the waves are naturally without telling but it's not clicking right.

  4. ...your attention to detail is what makes your writing strong.

    Well done:)


  5. I liked lullaby, I wanted to read more and find out what happened to the only comment was that there wasn't a transition between paragraphs 5 and 6. Perhaps another paragraph or something indicating there's a scene change would be useful.

  6. Both of these are interesting.
    I think the second one hooked me more because I want to see where they are trying to go.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. In the first story, the tension mounts and mounts. Great start. Could you put a catchy line at the beginning, something to reel me in? There's no grab yet. I'd keep reading to find out what happened, though!


  8. Hi - I have a suprise for you over at my place

  9. @Yves My document has an extra enter space there to show that and I thought I put it in my post but it appears to have not shown up.

    @Marie Catchy line. Got it.

    @Alberta I'll go check it out right away. ^^

    Thanks to everyone for their comments.

  10. I liked Thinking Of You's opening, because I'm familiar with it. I do really like the opening to The Lullaby, I don't remember it, and I'm extremely curious as to what happens next. Awesome job, Brooke! I felt like there were a lot of names at the beginning of The Lullaby though - I did get a bit confused. xD

  11. I've brought up to you before my fear of having too many characters. XD It's hard not to. People are just diverse and awesome.

  12. Hey Brooke, I enjoyed reading both of these :) The second caught my attention a little more I think, and I was intrigued to find out what was going on. Though I did struggle a bit with the bits in brackets and POV (hopefully you can come up with another way to do this). I agree with Michael's and Marie's comments about The Lullaby too :)



  13. Oh those were divine reads. Now I want to know where the heck Maggie is...waiting, waiting, now I'm becoming agitated like Rieta. Really enjoyed them both. Great job!

  14. I need to work on defining how things work, I know, Rachel. The brackets are to show her direct thoughts as well as the thoughts she hears and gives to others.

    Thank you so much, Regina. I feel encouraged enough to finish this short story now. XD

    I like how everyone is drawn in. This has definitely given me something to think over since I've been considering cutting The Lullaby's first chapter. I'm also glad people could be drawn in by both of them.