Finally back in business and writing on a regular schedule!
My continuing series on Fridays where I share excerpts of writing that I’ve done in the past through writing prompts, random stream of consciousness, parts of larger works, or as part of my 100-200 daily word exercises.
The point being to attempt to examine what I’ve done for clarity sake and whether or not I can make sense of it…not only to those who read it but to myself as well. Or I highlight something else that I’m interested in that week and want to speak at length about. Vomiting out words if you will.
I was never much of a horror movie fan (the detriment of having an overactive imagination that stays with you long after you left the theater) but I loved reading suspenseful stories when I was younger. It all started with the Goosebumps books that I used to buy every book fair at school (what in the world happened to book fairs?!) and soon evolved into H.P. Lovecraft and his short stories like “Call of Cthulhu” or Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.” Contemporary stories like Girl on the Train currently have my attention (I was completely shocked at how hooked I was to the novel) so much that I’m going to see the movie (and hope that it doesn’t suck).
I’ve never done too much writing in the realm of thrillers or horror but during one of my 100 word exercises back in August, I began what essentially became the cold open for a thriller plot.
“He woke up sweating profusely in a dark and quiet room. The darkness was so overwhelming, he could make out anything. As soon as he came to this conclusion, he desperately fought to put his breathing back underneath his own control, hoping that he hadn’t made too much noise.
How in the world had he been put in this predicament? He was on the floor, stomach first, flat out as if he was swimming. He listened hard for anything, not really sure what he expected to hear. He extended his arms outward, his fingers brushing against something…..hard. It was some type of boundary. Maybe a wall.
He rolled onto his back, his eyes better adjusted to the blanket of black around him. He couldn’t make out a ceiling but he was pretty sure it was above him, probably no more than ten feet up. He then looked forward and extended his sneaker out, feeling the same solidness that was behind him.
Definitely a wall.
He had to be in a small closet? He was certain as he thought it, but not so sure anymore. Why would he be in a closet? He tried his hardest to recall the night before but his head was ringing like an old church and he was at a lost.
His sister’s graduation.
His younger sister had graduated from college. Part of it was coming back to him now. He had taken her to a bar to celebrate after dinner with their parents. She rarely drank so he had looked forward to it. They drank way too much and stumbled back home, luckily it was only about five blocks away from his apartment, where he would crash on the couch and let her have his room for the night, probably nursing a hangover in the morning.
Then everything had gone black. Loud voices. The sound of a car taking off. Something heavy had hit him in the back of the head. At the thought of it, he reached behind his head and felt something sticky. No doubt dried up blood from whatever the blunt object was. Possibly a bat maybe?
Where was his sister?
“Le………..Leah?” his voice cracked, his throat dry and parched. He didn’t realize how thirsty he was until he had started talking. How long had he been in here?
It sounded like a key going in a lock on the other side of the……door? He still couldn’t make out an exit from his makeshift prison.”
Am I in love with it? Actually, it’s growing on me. The first time I read it, I said no. But I’m still surprised at how far I got with it. It’s obviously more than 100 words but I couldn’t stop writing once I started. The main character is somehow in this locked room with no memory of what happened before. But there’s definitely some danger that can literally be outside the door about to come in.
Those type of scenarios have always been fascinating to me in regards to storytelling. With just the character (or multiple characters) in one room for whatever length of time and there being nothing else interesting enough to take the reader’s mind off of the people, you’re forced to develop persons of interest that are worth the time investment. Both you and the character on the page are trying to figure it out together; and while you have the luxury of being an uninvolved bystander seeing these events from “afar,” you’re just as hooked in getting to the bottom of things as the guy or gal in the actual room. At least you should be if it’s compelling enough.
Until next time.
*As always, the credit goes to Amanda Mason for the featured ‘Word Vomit’ image. Copyright 2014 at http://www.creativetake.net/ *