Monday, February 15, 2010

Entry 24


Rachel peered down the deserted railway track. Not a train in sight. A cold wind swirled around her. She rubbed her arms. Now what?

She glanced at the timetable. The last train should have arrived at eight-thirty pm. Her curfew was nine o’clock. She sighed. Only seven more days until she turned sixteen, then she’d be allowed out later.

The scent of marijuana caught her nose as a tall shadow loomed across the platform. Rachel hugged herself and shivered.

A man stood behind her smoking a cigarette.

Her heart thumping, Rachel crossed her bare legs and pulled her skimpy top across her chest.

“Why, would a young girl be alone at this time of night?” asked the stranger.

“I’m waiting for the train.”

“No trains tonight” The thin wiry man flicked his butt onto the concrete floor. “Last one was cancelled.” He moved closer. “I could drive you home.”

“It’s okay,” said Rachel. “I’ll wait thanks.”

The man grabbed her arm. “Come with me, your parents will worry.” A thick vain pulsed on one side of his bony head.

Rachel screamed as he pushed a strange smelling cloth over her mouth. Oh no! That’s what the dentist uses. It’s ether.


  1. A little sparse and uneven, and IMO the characters don't feel "real" for the way they're described.

  2. I like the way you keep the paragraphs spread out and I was able to picture the girl well. But especially the first two paragraphs are uneven as Josin said. Too many short sentences in a row, and while Lee Child can pull it off, most of us can't. When I edit my stuff, combining sentences is one of the biggest changes I make from first to second draft. I dislike long sentences, but sometimes one can overdo it.

    One other wild thought - maybe start with the "Oh no, that's what the dentist uses. It's either". You'll have to rework obviously, but it's a hell of an initial hook.

  3. For me, the ether comment just didn't seem real. Unfortunately, I can't offer any suggestions, though.

    I cracked up with the comment about him flicking his butt onto the concrete floor. I don't know if it was supposed to be funny, but it was good.

    Not quite hooked, but might be with a bit of tightening.

  4. O.O

    My eyes.. they are wide and full of terror.

    I'm having a hard time with this one.. From potential abduction and rape, and a train that is canceled without any notice going to perspective passengers. There seem to be no guards.. and while I can believe a 15-year-old would be stupid enough to put herself into a situation like that.. I HATE to think of what happens to 15-year-olds who are stupid enough to put themselves into situations like that.

    I don't know if this works as a hook, because I am running away and screaming..

  5. I had to read and re-read while I thought how and why would he flick his butt onto the concrete floor? Then it hit me, LOL, cigarette butt not rear-end!

    Yep! She's in trouble, and I would be hooked except I'm not emotionally invested in the MC yet. I think you could up the hook with a little internal thought or maybe something that will allow the reader to root for the MC.

  6. Is he smoking a cigarette or a joint?

    I think this could really benefit from more showing than telling. We don't need to know it's ether (is that what dentists use?)..tell us what it does. Trust your readers to figure it out.

  7. Dentists don't actually use ether anymore. I believe there have been some recent discoveries about complications due to the use of ether, but I can't remember where I read it.

    I agree with MBee. We don't need to know what it is, we just need to know what it does to her. Plus, would she really be so clear-headed and recognize it that quickly? She probably wouldn't have experienced it often.

    I had a hard time with the canceled train. Why does it need to be canceled? Why can't the man make his move before the train comes? And why does he need to speak first? A good abducter knows how to keep her from creating a scene.

    All that said, the hook is interesting. If we had a stronger connection to the character, and if the events unfolded in a less confusing way, I'd definitely read on.

  8. I liked it. I could identify with the MC and the fear she felt from the stranger. He could just be lying to her about the cancelled train and he doesn't need to worry if she makes a scene because there is no one else around. I agree you could expand more on the MC so we are more vested in her. I would be hooked to read more.

  9. First, why would this stranger conveniently have an ether-soaked cloth? Second, a lot of this is very vivid writing, and I would read on. Do give us more char. depth, though. The whole scenario is a bit contrived, but the writing is quite good, IMO.

  10. Thanks for the helpful comments everyone. I shouldn’t have cut the action out in the beginning. I wanted to get the last sentence into my 200 words. It wasn’t that good a hook anyway. I’ll take out the ether and dentist and add more thoughts and action from the MC.

    I cracked up at the butt comments. I should have said cigarette butt or dog-end. I can’t imagine anyone flicking their bum on the concrete floor. LOL. How would you do that? I’m sorry, but I’m cracking up here. I’m imagining someone flicking nuggets onto the concrete floor.


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