Excerpt from chapter 1 of a supernatural based story

DAgent

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Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
So this is a work in progress I shelved about a year ago to concentrate on another WIP which I've now completed a second draft on. I'm giving that a rest and thought I would go back to this one. It represents a good deal of my first chapter, but not all of it as that was around 4000 words. This is 1392.

The glass window panes of the mini bus were frosted over almost completely on the outside, distorting what little light the large crescent moon gave off in the nighttime sky through the unique ice patterns that had grown both on the panels. On the inside they were coated in condensation from the breath and body heat of the passengers. Outside the snow that was already piled up around the small vehicle's wheel arches, had more height added to it as the snow storm raged ever onwards, endless and relentless in the darkness of the night, and so thick that the sky was whitewashed with snarling, fast flowing powder, hitting with a heaviness that made the vehicle rock on it’s side like an exhausted elephant.

The lightning struck once more, illuminating everything for a few brief seconds before the roar of thunder followed, like barrels rolling down a flight of steps, added to the orchestra of the wind. And then the eerie darkness of the snowstorm snapped back, leaving only the chilling whistling of the howling wind for company.

There was some light in the sky, but it was a trick. The snow lying on the ground reflected what light there was, as did the snow in the air which hung as heavy as fog, but danced in the sky like a group of drunken sailors and their partners, with neither member of any pairing being sure, or caring, who was leading.

Not that any of the three occupants could really tell it was night, the storm had robbed them of any real sights, all they had was the erry illusion of light, and they’d all lost track of time when the bus broke down after the lightning started. Then realised not one of their smartphones or smart watches were working. All they knew was it had been getting dark when the storm hit and only got darker again when the bus had stopped working, and as the storm raged ever on they were getting colder. And the storm, ever unrelenting, had just been hitting harder since then, rocking the bus with ever stronger gusts, lending a turbulent feeling of being at sea in waves no sailor would be comfortable with embracing.

And with no chance of rescue, and no way to go back.

They all sat in their seats, surrounded in equal parts darkness and what passed for self imposed silence. Whatever had caused the bus to breakdown had also killed it’s battery, no light, no radio, no heat, and conversation had run out some time ago. The closest thing they had to music was the howling of the wind as it smashed into their shelter, or the chattering of their teeth as they sat shivering in their seats. Even wrapped up in their extra clothes from their suitcases, they were still colder than any of them felt comfortable with, and no one felt comfortable to snuggle up with strangers.

Chloe Black was sat near the back, absentmindedly playing with a strand of her long dark hair, her stark blue eyes stared into nothingness, intently avoiding any chance to make eye contact with the other passengers. She was somewhere in her early twenties, mixed race with some obvious south east Asian and European features and a slightly sing-song quality to her voice, and had seemed pleasant company when she had first met the others at the airport. But that pleasantness had faded faster than the light once the troubles hit, preferring her own company, as far from the others as she could be over the last few hours.

Near the middle of the bus sat Mark Davies, an older man in his mid thirties with a scruffy looking dirty blonde beard with hints of ginger and red visible over his pale skin when the light hit it just right. He’d drifted in and out of sleep since the bus had broken down, his head had been resting on the window pane while he was off in never never land, contributing to his share of the “mist” on the window. Occasionally when he woke up (treating any onlookers to the most emerald like eyes they could imagine) he would wipe it clear, and try half heartedly to look out of the window for any sign of improvement. Never getting anything but the opposite, he tried to settle for more sleep instead.

The third passenger, Ellen Morgan, had sat behind the driver's seat. She was slightly older than Chloe and lacked her more exotic beauty or mean demeanour but had almost auburn hair filled with all the colours of autumn, and in the right light it would look like an artist had taken the colours of all the most vividly red and orange leaves and had painted them into her hair. She decided to break the long held silence between the audience, bar the winds operatics.

“What do you think happened to the driver?” He’d long since left them to go and try to get help, despite the protest from the passengers about the danger that the weather posed and the fast approaching darkness. But having checked the bus and not being able to find any fault or get the radio to work, he’d insisted he’d be able to get back to the service station they had passed a mile or two back and get help. “It’s not like his little lamp was working, I can’t see how he could have made it to the station in this weather.”

“Nothing on this bus is working.” Chloe pointed out in a dull tone, not turning her head at all to face the other woman. “The second the bus died it’s like everything else died, except us.”

“Like some weird kind of curse?” There was a bit of excitement in Ellen's voice, contrary to the boredom in the tones of Chloes.

“Hah, if you believe that kind of stuff.”

“What do you think happened then?”

“I’ve no idea, no way to know, electricals aren’t my thing, I just plug 'em in and use ‘em.”

“Be weird if it turned out to be some kind of voodoo curse or a witch doctor or something.”

“Yeah, it would,” Chloe said flatly, finally turning to face the other woman to see what she was doing. “Because for one thing this is Canada, and for another, stuff like that doesn’t exist.”

“Imagine if it did.”

“It doesn’t. It’s just an excuse to drink weird sh*t and get high and go on weird trips.”

“So, what do you think caused the bus to break?”

“I told you, I don’t know, all I do know is the expensive week away from everything I’d booked is barely one day in and for some stupid reason I’m stuck in a broken bus, in a blizzard, on a moutain road up the side of a cliff.” Chloe snapped back in annoyance. “I’m just glad he’d been driving slowly on a straight bit of road and we weren’t on any bends or corners or something.”

“Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this wonderful conversation?” Ellen said in her cheerful manner. There seemed to be little that could get her down, even the glare coming from Chloe, directed right at her like a gun primed and ready to fire, didn’t seem to have much effect on her good mood. Mark finally felt awake enough to add his two pennies to the pot of conversation as he finished rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Electrical storm,” he stated calmly and matter of factly. “That's what did it.”

“An electrical storm?” Ellen asked. “You mean all that lightning we saw before the snow hit us?”

“Yeah, that’s right, just another name for the same thing. But do you recall seeing one that hit close by? Just off to our right?”

“Yeah, yeah I do, it was pretty close, I could see the sparks from where it hit the ground. They looked like little flames from a fire. But how would that knock out the bus?”

“Lightning strikes give off an electromagnetic pulse, if they’re large enough they knock out electrics.” Mark explained while rubbing his eyes free of sleep. He looked far more awake then he had before. “I’m an engineer back home, we’ve had to do a load of R&D for the company on them lately. Long story.”
 
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Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
576
I like how one of them knows what an EMP is. I'm not sure I've seen much lightning in a blizzard; does that happen in Canada? My mind is going to alien invasion. I think you've got the start of an interesting story.

The glass window panes of the mini bus were frosted over almost completely on the outside, distorting what little light the large crescent moon gave off in the nighttime sky through the unique ice patterns that had grown both on the panels.
I think that what your story suffers from the most is trying to overload the sentences with detail/information. I don't know if you should trim back the detail or just break it up into multiple sentences.
and no one felt comfortable to snuggle up with strangers.
I think that's a missing word?
 

Please Be Nice

Active Member
Joined
May 14, 2022
Messages
41
So this is a work in progress I shelved about a year ago to concentrate on another WIP which I've now completed a second draft on. I'm giving that a rest and thought I would go back to this one. It represents a good deal of my first chapter, but not all of it as that was around 4000 words. This is 1392.

The glass window panes of the mini bus were frosted over almost completely on the outside, distorting what little light the large crescent moon gave off in the nighttime sky through the unique ice patterns that had grown both on the panels. On the inside they were coated in condensation from the breath and body heat of the passengers. Outside the snow that was already piled up around the small vehicle's wheel arches, had more height added to it as the snow storm raged ever onwards, endless and relentless in the darkness of the night, and so thick that the sky was whitewashed with snarling, fast flowing powder, hitting with a heaviness that made the vehicle rock on it’s side like an exhausted elephant.
The lightning struck once more, illuminating everything for a few brief seconds before the roar of thunder followed, like barrels rolling down a flight of steps, added to the orchestra of the wind. And then the eerie darkness of the snowstorm snapped back, leaving only the chilling whistling of the howling wind for company.
There was some light in the sky, but it was a trick. The snow lying on the ground reflected what light there was, as did the snow in the air which hung as heavy as fog, but danced in the sky like a group of drunken sailors and their partners, with neither member of any pairing being sure, or caring, who was leading.
Not that any of the three occupants could really tell it was night, the storm had robbed them of any real sights, all they had was the erry illusion of light, and they’d all lost track of time when the bus broke down after the lightning started. Then realised not one of their smartphones or smart watches were working. All they knew was it had been getting dark when the storm hit and only got darker again when the bus had stopped working, and as the storm raged ever on they were getting colder. And the storm, ever unrelenting, had just been hitting harder since then, rocking the bus with ever stronger gusts, lending a turbulent feeling of being at sea in waves no sailor would be comfortable with embracing.
And with no chance of rescue, and no way to go back.
They all sat in their seats, surrounded in equal parts darkness and what passed for self imposed silence. Whatever had caused the bus to breakdown had also killed it’s battery, no light, no radio, no heat, and conversation had run out some time ago. The closest thing they had to music was the howling of the wind as it smashed into their shelter, or the chattering of their teeth as they sat shivering in their seats. Even wrapped up in their extra clothes from their suitcases, they were still colder than any of them felt comfortable with, and no one felt comfortable to snuggle up with strangers.
Chloe Black was sat near the back, absentmindedly playing with a strand of her long dark hair, her stark blue eyes stared into nothingness, intently avoiding any chance to make eye contact with the other passengers. She was somewhere in her early twenties, mixed race with some obvious south east Asian and European features and a slightly sing-song quality to her voice, and had seemed pleasant company when she had first met the others at the airport. But that pleasantness had faded faster than the light once the troubles hit, preferring her own company, as far from the others as she could be over the last few hours.
Near the middle of the bus sat Mark Davies, an older man in his mid thirties with a scruffy looking dirty blonde beard with hints of ginger and red visible over his pale skin when the light hit it just right. He’d drifted in and out of sleep since the bus had broken down, his head had been resting on the window pane while he was off in never never land, contributing to his share of the “mist” on the window. Occasionally when he woke up (treating any onlookers to the most emerald like eyes they could imagine) he would wipe it clear, and try half heartedly to look out of the window for any sign of improvement. Never getting anything but the opposite, he tried to settle for more sleep instead.
The third passenger, Ellen Morgan, had sat behind the driver's seat. She was slightly older than Chloe and lacked her more exotic beauty or mean demeanour but had almost auburn hair filled with all the colours of autumn, and in the right light it would look like an artist had taken the colours of all the most vividly red and orange leaves and had painted them into her hair. She decided to break the long held silence between the audience, bar the winds operatics.
“What do you think happened to the driver?” He’d long since left them to go and try to get help, despite the protest from the passengers about the danger that the weather posed and the fast approaching darkness. But having checked the bus and not being able to find any fault or get the radio to work, he’d insisted he’d be able to get back to the service station they had passed a mile or two back and get help. “It’s not like his little lamp was working, I can’t see how he could have made it to the station in this weather.”
“Nothing on this bus is working.” Chloe pointed out in a dull tone, not turning her head at all to face the other woman. “The second the bus died it’s like everything else died, except us.”
“Like some weird kind of curse?” There was a bit of excitement in Ellen's voice, contrary to the boredom in the tones of Chloes.
“Hah, if you believe that kind of stuff.”
“What do you think happened then?”
“I’ve no idea, no way to know, electricals aren’t my thing, I just plug 'em in and use ‘em.”
“Be weird if it turned out to be some kind of voodoo curse or a witch doctor or something.”
“Yeah, it would,” Chloe said flatly, finally turning to face the other woman to see what she was doing. “Because for one thing this is Canada, and for another, stuff like that doesn’t exist.”
“Imagine if it did.”
“It doesn’t. It’s just an excuse to drink weird sh*t and get high and go on weird trips.”
“So, what do you think caused the bus to break?”
“I told you, I don’t know, all I do know is the expensive week away from everything I’d booked is barely one day in and for some stupid reason I’m stuck in a broken bus, in a blizzard, on a moutain road up the side of a cliff.” Chloe snapped back in annoyance. “I’m just glad he’d been driving slowly on a straight bit of road and we weren’t on any bends or corners or something.”
“Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this wonderful conversation?” Ellen said in her cheerful manner. There seemed to be little that could get her down, even the glare coming from Chloe, directed right at her like a gun primed and ready to fire, didn’t seem to have much effect on her good mood. Mark finally felt awake enough to add his two pennies to the pot of conversation as he finished rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Electrical storm,” he stated calmly and matter of factly. “That's what did it.”
“An electrical storm?” Ellen asked. “You mean all that lightning we saw before the snow hit us?”
“Yeah, that’s right, just another name for the same thing. But do you recall seeing one that hit close by? Just off to our right?”
“Yeah, yeah I do, it was pretty close, I could see the sparks from where it hit the ground. They looked like little flames from a fire. But how would that knock out the bus?”
“Lightning strikes give off an electromagnetic pulse, if they’re large enough they knock out electrics.” Mark explained while rubbing his eyes free of sleep. He looked far more awake then he had before. “I’m an engineer back home, we’ve had to do a load of R&D for the company on them lately. Long story.”
Umm I feel like I couldn't see this scene at all.

A bus is growing colder and there are some people inside. I read this and get no sense that these are people in a tough situation.

I feel like if it was just one characters point of view on the inside of the bus descirbing what they are seeing with sensory description would let this be a scene at least.
 

DAgent

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Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
I like how one of them knows what an EMP is. I'm not sure I've seen much lightning in a blizzard; does that happen in Canada? My mind is going to alien invasion. I think you've got the start of an interesting story.


I think that what your story suffers from the most is trying to overload the sentences with detail/information. I don't know if you should trim back the detail or just break it up into multiple sentences.

I think that's a missing word?
I've no idea about lightning during blizzards in natural weather, but this is meant to be far from natural in any case. And yes, too much detail in my narration seems to be a recurring issue for me. I'll work on that for sure. Along with the possible missing word because that sentence has always bugged me a bit, I just haven't figured out how to edit out the issue. Yet.
 

DAgent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
Umm I feel like I couldn't see this scene at all.

A bus is growing colder and there are some people inside. I read this and get no sense that these are people in a tough situation.

I feel like if it was just one characters point of view on the inside of the bus descirbing what they are seeing with sensory description would let this be a scene at least.
For the time being I am sticking with just one characters POV, but there are parts where I do go a bit outside that criteria and I need to tighten it up.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
576
I've no idea about lightning during blizzards in natural weather, but this is meant to be far from natural in any case. And yes, too much detail in my narration seems to be a recurring issue for me. I'll work on that for sure. Along with the possible missing word because that sentence has always bugged me a bit, I just haven't figured out how to edit out the issue. Yet.

I keep wanting to read "and no one felt comfortable to snuggle up with strangers" as "no one felt uncomfortable enough to snuggle up to strangers" or perhaps you were going for "no one felt comfortable with snuggling up to strangers."
 

The Judge

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DAgent, don't forget that the forum's software rips out formatting -- although you indented for each new para, that's not visible here, so it's necessary to add in a line's space between paragraphs instead, otherwise it's just a wall of text that's very off-putting. I've edited your post to add the lines for you, to make it easier to read, but do remember to do this next time -- you have a hour to edit after posting as well -- as it would be a shame to discourage members from reading and commenting on your work.
 

DAgent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
I keep wanting to read "and no one felt comfortable to snuggle up with strangers" as "no one felt uncomfortable enough to snuggle up to strangers" or perhaps you were going for "no one felt comfortable with snuggling up to strangers."
It might read better as "but no one felt comfortable snuggling up with strangers"
 

DAgent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
DAgent, don't forget that the forum's software rips out formatting -- although you indented for each new para, that's not visible here, so it's necessary to add in a line's space between paragraphs instead, otherwise it's just a wall of text that's very off-putting. I've edited your post to add the lines for you, to make it easier to read, but do remember to do this next time -- you have a hour to edit after posting as well -- as it would be a shame to discourage members from reading and commenting on your work.
I'll have to remember that in future, thanks.
 

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