Friday, January 20, 2012

January Test Run #6

GENRE: Horror

For the second time Nancy peeked at the rearview mirror and saw the red sports car still behind her.  What the hell.  She’d driven her beat-up Ford truck down the whole length of the North Conway thoroughfare before she realized the car was following her. It mimicked her every move, from lane switches to running a red light.  Her stomach lurched and a bead of sweat broke out on her brow.  Nancy gripped the steering wheel tighter.
For the past fifteen or so miles, it stayed two car lengths behind.  Nancy couldn’t make out the driver; it was to dark to see anyone distinguishable.   ‘Prolly just kids playing around. She switched lanes again. A glance in the mirror showed the red car did too. When the car behind inched closer, Nancy’s heart skipped a beat. Instinctively she pressed on the accelerator pedal and her rattling old truck sped up, as did the car behind her.    

She should pull over, but where? Everything’s closed. It was after two in the morning. Dammit, she didn’t need juvenile games right now. Exhausted physically and mentally she should’ve already been home. The ICU ward had been quiet all night but right at the end of her shift a patient had gone bad. Which sucked as she had to stay until the patient was stabilized then give notes to the next nurse. It was one thirty before she walked out of the hospital and jumped into the truck, now she had to deal with this sonofabitchin stalker behind her.  


  1. Great job. The suspense of it all kinda reminded me of the driving scene in Psycho, even though she technically wasn't being followed in the movie. Anywho, you give the reader quite a bit of information, while adding just as many questions. Who's behind her? What do they want with her? What's going to happen? Love the suspense.

    Only critique - Does "What the hell" need a question mark at the end? I guess it depends on how she's saying it, but I read it as needing a question mark.

  2. Nice job. Good suspense. I would also put a ? after What the hell. "to dark to" should be "too dark to" but those mistakes evade spellcheckers.

    Also I dont happen to like 'Prolly. I know it's slang but it just doesnt work for me.

    This little bit in italics is problematic too. If italics are her thoughts, she shouldn't think "she," but rather I. Or drop the italics and make it descriptive.

    She should pull over, but where? Everything’s closed. It was after two in the morning. Dammit, she didn’t need juvenile games right now. Exhausted physically and mentally she should’ve already been home.

    My suggestion: I should pull over, but where? It's after 2 a.m., everything's closed, dammit. Like I need such childish games right now. I should be home already. (just my off the cuff suggestion, you can do this better.)

    Maybe 1:30 in the next paragraph. And i would use sonofabitch rather than sonofabitchin.

    These are rather nitpicky and should not be discouraging because I would CERTAINLY READ ON. I love the tone and the suspense. (one quick question.. if she was being followed why doesn't she use her cell phone to call the cops?)

  3. Great tone and suspense, but I would rework the last paragraph so that there's not such a large chunk of narrative recall. It stops the pace and could be a lot more engaging if it was told from the character's POV.
    e.g. Typical. Just as you sign out, some patient has to go bad and you have to hang around just to give stupid notes to the next sucker on duty. (Or something which shows character by showing her thoughts on the world).

  4. Great suspense! I felt like I was in the Ford with her. Definitely enjoyed this and would read on.

    Couple of thoughts. I like "prolly"...but, unless this is a YA horror, I don't think I'd use it. Too young sounding. I've gotten dinged on the italics thing before. Use sparingly. Agreed with the "sonofabitch" comment...take off the "in" part.

    The last line hooked me! Stalker. Awesomely creepy!

  5. Very good. I really enjoyed it and would want to read the book. You write well, and it pulls me right through. Not sure I like the word "Prolly," and found myself stuck on it, which is not what you want. But other than that, the writing was great, and I agree that the tone was just right.

    Keep up the good work

  6. There's a lot here I like, but I think rearranging the information would clarify some questions. I suggest using the following sentence as your hook: Exhausted physically and mentally, Nancy should've already been home from work. This gives us an idea how far away she is traveling. The opening was confusing - Nancy is at the end of the North Conway thoroughfare, and she has just noticed for the second time this car following her. Where is she now? The next paragraph we still don't know where she is going. Is she single? Is there a husband at home worrying about her? Why does she assume the car is just kids? The line: She switched lanes again.... (you've already said that.) When the car inched closer, why didn't Nancy try to get a look at the driver? Juvenile games - I'm not convinced juvenile is the best guess. Gives us more... Maybe an upset hospital patient or family member, etc. - just an idea. I would read more to see where this is going. Nice job.