[Workshop] Engage me quickly!

Discussion in 'Workshop' started by Brian Turner, Nov 4, 2010.

  1.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    I've noticed that some of the best fiction I've read recently continues with a strong pace, and consisently leaves the reader with questions unanswered to push the story forward.

    Therefore in my own unpublished fiction I've experimented with different starts and introductions to help set pace and tempo as required.

    A good start does not require a great cataclysm - dramatic events do not necessarily translate into dramatic pace, and if disaster is the only thing driving the pace, when that fizzles out, what next?

    Therefore I'm going to set a simple workshop challenge in this thread - engage the reader quickly.

    And to prevent people tapping into their own stores so easily, I'll pick a topic:

    - Somebody walks into a room.

    It can be any genre, any background, but there *must* be a sense of tension driving this.

    Additionally, you may write no more than 50 words to convey that tension!

    If you feel up to it, feel free to post on this thread and hopefully we can all explore the different pro's and cons of the openings posted. :)
  2.  
    vector7

    vector7 sunny side up!

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    Sorry. I don't have Any tension driven story to post. Maybe, this can be developed as another monthly challenge. An offshoot of the main challenge, maybe? I like the idea. A tension driven, 50 word storyline based on the single word given in the main challenge. Anyone like this idea? Sorry, brian. I could not help but post this idea. Regards, V.
  3.  
    Moonbat

    Moonbat Luna tick

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    I'm not sure if this is engaging enough, but here is an attempt.

    Tucking in Time

    Jenny awoke with a shiver; coldness caressed the flesh of her lower back. She embraced the warmth her body generated by rolling up in her duvet. The floorboard outside her door creaked. She wished it was just another nightmare. The doorknob slowly turned and the door, creaking, began to open...


    50 words is very hard to include any real discriptive text, I had to cut this down to fit it to 50 and maybe it lost some tension, I certainly feel it could benefit from a few more similies.
  4.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    vector, the intention is to create something, experiment with tension. :)
  5.  
    Boneman

    Boneman Active Member

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    It was only when she walked into the room she noticed how cold it was. How could her breath cause condensation when the heating was on? She shivered and reached for a sweater. As she pulled it over her head, she heard the noise. It was only a small noise.
  6.  
    2ndchance

    2ndchance Face book, Stephen Davis

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    There was a peculiar look on her face. The way she was staring at me was beginning to freak me out. It was as if she was inside my head, somehow reading my thoughts. When she glanced at my briefcase that was it, I was spooked. But how could she know?
    Steve

    PS, Jeff, I like that, brrrrr...
    PSS, i didn't read it was 50 words, whoops, mine is 51, what's tha chances of that, spooky... Jeff's influance I guess.
  7.  
    Leisha

    Leisha Tennis-ball Robin

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    I feel the same as Moonbat. I had to trim some vital description. With only 50 words, the prose feels flat...

    The robed strangers around me were concealed in shadow. Fear stilled our tongues, fear of each other and the night ahead. I’d asked for the impossible, and He granted it.

    In return for my soul.

    A soul had seemed such a trifle thing. Invisible.

    The door opened. Death glided in.


    I prefer the longer version:


    We gathered in the torch-lit hall. The strangers around me were concealed in shadow, swathed in robes. Fear stilled our tongues, fear of each other and the night ahead. I’d asked for the impossible, and He granted it.

    In return for my soul.

    It had seemed such a trifle thing, a soul. Now its void pressed against me, pounding on my ribcage.

    The door opened. Death glided in.
  8.  
    Boneman

    Boneman Active Member

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    ooh, I'm engaged - it is the opening only, innit, Brian? The story will progress on from here? Just effectively the first 50 words of a story, no? [Can you see I'm in an enquiring mood tonight?:eek:]
  9.  
    2ndchance

    2ndchance Face book, Stephen Davis

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    I hope not, Jeff, 'coz I don't have a clue what's in the briefcase...:confused:
  10.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    As they walked into the room, she suddenly hesitated. Only for a fraction of a second, it's true, but long enough for his hand that had seemed so agreeable resting on her shoulder to slide down to the small of her back and push hard...
  11.  
    Leisha

    Leisha Tennis-ball Robin

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    I like that, Py. That does make me want to read on, to discover where she's been pushed into and who he is...
  12.  
    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    Where's the topic?...:confused:
  13.  
    2ndchance

    2ndchance Face book, Stephen Davis

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    It didn't actually say what room, it could be the room in his head. Then again...:p

    Maybe they both were in the room permanantly.

    Steve;)
  14.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    I hope mosaix will forgive me linking to one of his posts, but his entry in this month's 75-word Challenge, http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/1440916-post20.html, (almost) fits I, Brian's requirements and definitely creates high tension (based on a potential difference, if you'll forgive the puns).

    (If you read it, you'll see why I say almost.)



    For those tempted to enter the Challenge, here's the thread you want: http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/529320-november-writing-challenge-75-words-read-first-post.html.
  15.  
    Perpetual Man

    Perpetual Man Former Comment Giver

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    I thought I might give it a go, I managed to cut it back to 50 words, but I could so easily have done more. A lot more.

    The rope bites into my neck.
    I'm choking, can't breathe. My feet feel like lead at the bottom of my kicking legs.
    Black spots obstruct my blurred vision.
    Fingers claw, draw blood from my palms.
    Who did this?
    The door creaks as it opens, and he walks into the room.
  16.  
    J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    "This is the room, Mr. Krannigan.

    Fritz Krannigan walked into the most haunted room in the world. His first impression was of.... nothing. Nothing at all.... and that was a very bad sign. Krannigan could always pick up something - some trace of the history of virtually any place he went.

    50505050505050505050505005050505050505050505050505050505050505050505050

    But this room - was dead. For the first time in over twenty years as a psychic detective, Krannigan felt a cold chill travel up his spine. He sat down and began the vigil.
  17.  
    2ndchance

    2ndchance Face book, Stephen Davis

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    As I have had it pointed out to that, the theme is somebody walks into a room, I thought I would re-word mine slightly. I hope this is okay.
    As she entered the room, she had a strange, apprehensive look on her face. She was staring at me, almost as if she was inside my head, somehow reading my thoughts. When she gazed intently at my briefcase, that was it, I was spooked. But, but how could she know?
  18.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    The doctor entered the waiting room.

    "Next," he said.

    One patient made to rise from his seat but then paused, staring at the floor. My eyes followed his gaze.

    A trail of bloody footprints led from the surgery door to the doctor's shoes.
  19.  
    GreenKidx

    GreenKidx New Member

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    Min burst into the classroom flailing her lanky arms, stuttering apologies.

    "S-s-sorry I'm l-l-late..."Her voice trailed off. The room was empty. Like the hall had been. And the streets. And her house.

    "Heellooo?"
    +++

    I'm horrible with tension hahaha. Let me know if this works!
  20.  
    2ndchance

    2ndchance Face book, Stephen Davis

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    Not sure if I can have another go, nevertheless...;)
    Ursula peered into the pitch-black room. Instantly, that all too familiar odour harassed her memories. She held the door with one hand, and leant forward trying to focus. There was something on the far side of the room.
    ‘Did it move?’ she uttered, as the door slipped from her grasp.

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