Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Buyer's Remorse #8

TITLE: Raptor Snatch
GENRE: Commercial fiction

The window smells like sweet vomit with a hint of pine scented ammonia. I was already nauseated when I boarded the plane – my stomach full of overcooked bacon, and undercooked eggs. My attempt to drown them in coffee as bitter as my ex hadn't remedied the situation. The noxious vapours radiating from the window don't help matters either. You can't force me to call what I choked down 'breakfast.' I hope that my only souvenir from this town won't be food poisoning. My mouth starts watering, but not in a good way. I swallow hard, and breathe shallowly.

Blending with the puke scented aroma of the window on my right, is the smell of the man sitting on my left. Stale sweat, stale cigarette smoke, stale coffee breath, I wonder if his life is as stale as he smells. Even his suit looks defeated – the fabric starting to wear thin on his elbows and knees, the material becoming shiny where the rest of him is dull.

I am keeping my face in the sweet spot. Facing directly forward, the smell of the man and the window cancel each other out, and my nostrils are safe. I am in the eye of the smell.

From the eye of the smell I can see a chip in the plane's windshield. Strangely, this doesn't fill me with fear – on the contrary, the longer I look at it, the more reassured I feel.


  1. The last line makes me really curious to keep reading, as I'm wondering why in the world that makes the protag more reassured. I noticed a couple punctuation mistakes, such as:

    "overcooked bacon, and undercooked eggs" (delete the comma)
    "swallow hard, and breathe shallowly" (delete comma)
    "window on my right, is the smell" (delete comma)

    Other than that, nice job.

  2. The first paragraph kinda throws me off. It reads a tad wordy, and very descriptive. If you can break it up a bit or condense it, it might read a bit easier.

    And as Stephanie already said, the last line really did a great job of piquing my interest. I'm assuming she's on a personal plane rather than a major airline if she can see the windshield. This concept has promise, I just might cut out all the smells in the beginning and cut to the good part.:)

  3. The first paragraph weighs me down. I'd try to condense that as much as possible and get right into the second.

    I'm picturing a small plane, one seat on each side of the aisle, and with the explanation that the MC feels assured I get the feeling he/she wants to die for some reason.

  4. Echoing others a bit, the first paragraph is a lot to take in. And the mention of coffee "as bitter as my ex" is a bit heavy handed to me. Is the ex going to be someone in this story? I assume so, since he/she's mentioned right away. But it's such a quick flash in the pan, that it throws me off a bit.

    I'm a sucker for repetitive wording and clever turn of phrase, and I think some places it works really well (eg. eggs/bacon) and even the use of 'stale'. But other places, I'm not sure it is adding value - for example, "eye of the smell"

    Definitely the part that compelled me the most was teh description of the guy next to the narrator. I think you can almost lead with it immediately, then build off that.

  5. Excellent closing paragraph! I'd make the defect a bit more alarming than simply a chip. Maybe, a chip the size of a baseball would do. Or 'I see a chip in the plane's windshield from which spidery lines emanate out.' Your other paragraphs are also great. You just need to cut, cut, cut. And I mean a lot. Keep only the gems and get on with the story.

  6. This is so easy to relate to that it builds a strong connection to the MC. Just cut it down - especially in the first paragraph. A way to build characters not just through their speech and actions but also through narration is to only describe what they would notice, and describe it in their voice. So all that stuff about the man's suit will come later - right now the MC is focused only on her stomach. eg The window smells like sweet vomit with a hint of pine scented ammonia. It blends with the stench of the man on my left - stale sweat, stale cigarette smoke, stale coffee breath. My mouth waters for all the wrong reasons. I should have known that drowning a questionable breakfast in coffee as bitter as my ex (the mention of the ex could go - seems a bit sudden and then immediately forgotten again)was a bad idea.