The darkness is absolute. For a moment I’m not sure if my eyes are open or closed. I strain to push the lids up, but they’re already wide. Not a pinpoint of light penetrates the space I’m in. Something covers my mouth and nose, making breathing difficult. My lungs burn for air, but I can only suck in tiny mouthfuls through whatever smothers my face.
I turn my head, crying out as a savage bolt of pain shoots through it. For a moment I waver on the edge of consciousness, wavy grey lines wafting across the blank space before my eyes. I struggle to keep my wits about me - what’s left of them - fighting the the darkness threatening to drown me. I gasp for breath, certain now I won’t pass out. Reaching out my left hand, I try to find something to hold onto. My fingers scrabble over some small objects, pebbles perhaps, that skitter away beneath my touch. I reach further, wrapping my fingers around them. Pain prickles through my fingertips. Not pebbles. Glass. Small, sharp shards of glass.
Using my scored digits, I drag myself forward, an inch, maybe two. A huge weight pins my legs to the ground. I can’t move them, can’t even feel them. Raising my head, I see light. Not a lot of light, but light. Red light, bright at one end, dull at the other. I know what this is. I do. My heart thumps at the side of my head and I can almost hear the gears of my brain creaking to make sense of this weird red glow.
I let my throbbing head drop as a reward, a surge of relief passing through me at this small achievement. It’s a taillight. But why is it up there? What is up there? And if that’s there, where am I? The questions whirl dizzying circles around my skull. What day is it? I struggle to remember. What did I have for breakfast? My eyes fix on the taillight, broken I realize, staring into it as if hypnotized. That’s why it’s brighter at one end.
More light. White this time, sweeping in an arc across me. I blink, dazzled by the flood of brightness. All around me I see fragments glinting in the beam, tiny jewels strewn across what I can now see is a road. The yellow line is inches from my nose. Why am I lying in the middle of the road? Ghostly music drifts in my direction. A song I know, an oldie, The Beach Boys. It makes no sense here, must be in my head. I try to drag my other arm forward, wanting to raise myself onto my elbows for a better perspective. It won’t move. Pain rocks through my shoulder, my chest and courses up my neck to my still-aching head. The heavy, metallic scent of blood hangs over me. When I glance back down at the road, I see the yellow line is smeared red.
The slamming of a car door breaks through the dull thumping in my skull, chases the music away for a moment. Footsteps scuff across the gravel, heading away from where I lie.
“I’m here!” I cry, unsure if the voice I hear is my own.
I love how vivid this scene is. How you use the intensity of the moment to incorporate all of the senses and slowly let the reader in on what's happening while your character figures it out as well.ReplyDelete
I'm hooked, for sure.
This is a great scene, but I felt like I was in the middle of the book instead of at the beginning. I like that you started with a car accident, though. It would feel more natural if you made it clear it was an accident much earlier: it was hard to enjoy the first four paragraphs because I wasn't grounded in the setting.ReplyDelete
I really felt transported by this scene. Lots of action and intensity. I thought it was great.ReplyDelete
I like your opening scene, but you need to grab your reader. I would use the last sentence as the first sentence.ReplyDelete
“I’m here!” I cry, unsure if the voice I hear is my own.
The darkness is absolute. For a moment I’m not sure if my eyes are open or closed. I strain to push the lids up, but they’re already wide. Not a pinpoint of light penetrates the space I’m in. Something covers my mouth and nose, making breathing difficult. My lungs burn for air, but I can only suck in tiny mouthfuls through whatever smothers my face
Debra's idea isn't bad. It immediately brings in the helplessness of the MC. Then we follow her through this prolonged discovery of where she is and what's happened to her. I loved the pacing and the "moment in time" of this scene. Well done.ReplyDelete
Yours is my favorite 550 words so far. Loved them. I was drawn in easily. The words flowed, your story made sense, leaving my mind free to enjoy your images rather than figure out what you were trying to say.ReplyDelete
And thanks for your comments. I found them very helpful.
Thanks for the comments everyone! Glad you like my beginning.ReplyDelete
If only I could get the rest of the book to work as well as my first chapter...
I like Debra's idea too -- I think the reveal is a little long -- but then, I read a lot of fantasy, so I'm imagining all sorts of bizarre scenarios your character could be in -- and then, oh. An accident. In contrast, it feels so mundane - of course, it isn't. An accident is anything but, which your description makes clear.ReplyDelete
I think my main issue was that I didn't know enough about her yet to care that she was in such distress. Yet your descriptions are so potent -- and the sense of her being trapped -- and vulnerable -- is very strong. I'd certainly read more -- but I'd want to know more about her very soon!
I definitely have shivers. A hit and run, maybe? Your descriptions create every detail for me. Really lovely. I'm just wondering where this is going, though. Why should I care about this girl (I think it's a girl) lying in the road (that sounds callous, but don't take it that way)? I'd keep reading out of curiosity.ReplyDelete
Beautiful. Keep writing!
This. Is. Awesome. I'm so hooked. Great voice, awesome tension, perfect pacing. I love how the setting unfolds. I want more. You made a fan out of me, literally. I'm following you now. :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing, Natasha Hanova
Excellent descriptive words. I particularly enjoyed the wavy grey lines wafting... Nice.ReplyDelete
The pacing was a little slow for me. I kept jumping ahead, and if I wasn't reading to offer comments, I would have started to skim until I found dialogue.
I certainly would keep reading!
I actually really enjoyed the reveal--the details, slowly adding up to a big picture. It's amazingly intense.ReplyDelete
I'd keep reading :)