View Full Version : Confusion Excerpt

September 1st, 2016, 12:23 PM
Does it follow in a confused, hazy tone?

Okay, don’t panic.

Which was an odd thought. At that moment, no, I wasn’t panicking. That idea stroked the fire, though, ensuring a swelling panic inside me.

Where am I?

Cold, definitely cold. An arctic breeze across my bare arms prickled my flesh. Which hurt. Why did it hurt? On closer inspection, a lot of me hurt, not just the arm, but my chest as well. And I had a killer headache, that, though, seemed to be the least of my worries.

Again, cold. Cold and on a hard surface. Not outside because that would conform, have some sort of shape to it. Not this, this flat, concrete surface that ached sensitive points on my back. Since I had been laying there for some time. Good, good, I was getting somewhere.

Cold, hurt, hard place, bitter… bitter? What was bitter? My throat. Bitter of vomit. I had puked somewhere along the line of my stay here; the picture of perfect was slowly fading. This was not a cordial visit I bet. Real panic stabbed the fog of my mind. Real fear. I hurt, it was cold, I was in a bad place. A bad, bad place, and Tony had captured me.

That was it. Tony had captured me in the cave with Xander and Kelven.

My eyes wrenched opened. Shut again. It wasn’t too bright, not even painful, but what I saw made me want to forget it and go back to my earlier haze. That was safe and sound, that ignorance pure. Not the cracked and soaked wall of a cave. Gray, dripping in moisture with bars at the entrance. That did not have too much appeal to me at the moment.

Yet I knew I had to get up, square up with the situation, the pain. Figure out my circumstance.

Why the hell did it hurt so much anyway?

I groaned. My other arm felt A-okay.

Because I was shot, then sliced by Tony. It was all coming together now.

“You’re up,” whispered a sweet voice far from my initial recognition of the place. “Nice, I thought you were going to die.”

Good to know the pain reflected well. This time my eyes stayed open. Slowly, in an excruciating impeded process, I cast my sight left, then right. Guessed correctly, in a cave. Bars. Good, good, now the voice? Behind me, perhaps? Not in front, by my toes, that was an empty wall with a barred window. Ah, the coldness. Making clearer and clearer sense the longer I pieced it together.

But the God damn pain. It hitched in my mind, whirlwinding at every wrong breath. At my novel discoveries, the pain kept lodging itself like a thorn in my side.

Where was that voice?

I attempted to shift my bad arm, my right arm, yet a scalding, tight pain enticed it. Better save that one for last. I rolled to the other arm, lifting inches off the ground before giving up in a heap of displaced dirt and grime.

“Wait!” said the hurried voice and soon two feathery soft fingers pushed me to stay still.

My gaze strayed up the arm covered in a short stubble of white and starting at her elbows actual feathers sprouted to her shoulder. Higher, to the face. A pretty female, subdued in her beauty. The white stubble stopped short of her chin. She wore a flimsy smudged brown t-shirt and shorts. Flowing brown hair capped off at her lower back.

“You’re like a Harpy,” I said.

Her forehead creased and she shook her head. “You’re hurt. I think they shot you and cut you.”

“Right.” I could’ve told her that much.

“Can you wiggle your fingers?”

Such a feat, did she think me a wizard or something? I concentrated on the action at hand. Without too much motion, it seemed plausible. Forcing the rest of the arm to stay put, I began to flex that single muscle on my index finger. I bit my lip and squinted at the pesky finger.

Come on.

I gasped and it moved. Smiling, my chest puffed in pride. No biggie.

She also smiled. “I’m surprised. The energy levels must’ve been low. The highest beam would’ve blasted your arm off. You’re lucky.”

“Wanted me alive,” I murmured.

She dipped closer. “What?”

My lips hurt, cracked and bleeding. I shook my head no. Maybe another time. Now I was tired. Weight dropped my eyelids.

Her grip loosened. “Okay, just… just don’t die.”

Never intended to.

September 1st, 2016, 02:12 PM
I loved the scene, its seems lazy and hazy at the same time. The only thing that pricked me is the opening. "Don't panic" seems a bit of a weird thought when you are in that state, though you use it well as a catalyst in the first sentence, but I feel no sense of panic in the rest of the scene. I don't think it would do any harm to cut it..

September 2nd, 2016, 09:35 AM

In my opinion, the first para, up to where he realises Tony has caught him, is pretty good. You deploy some legitimate grammar abuse to get that sense of disconnect across - a mix of short, choppy sentence fragments, some free indirect speech to trap his fleeting, half-formed thoughts. Then when the tone changes to panic, the pace increases accordingly.

I think panic or other moments of extremis form those moments in writing where you can bend the rules of grammar, because it will tend to be close up point-of-view where people don't think or experience their immediate surroundings in coherent sentences. Meanwhile, I would still say other gotchas apply - watch for repetition; things that break the tone; and generally ensure you write the appropriate way for the moment; eg:

Okay, don’t panic.

Which was an odd thought. At that moment, no, I wasn’t panicking. That idea stroked the fire, though, ensuring a swelling panic inside me.

^ self explanatory, really. It can work but maybe in small doses - perhaps swap out that second "panicking" for something else, some other way of dedscribing his mental state.

Setting the tone:
Okay, don’t panic.

That was an odd thought. Why should I panic? Should I be? Had something terrible happened? But no - I was - I couldn't say - thoughts seemed disconnected, ephemeral - yet there was something, something ...

^ here I have tried to convey with grammar abuse the sense of disconnect. It many not work per se but might give you some further ideas

Breaking the tone:
Okay, don’t panic.

Which was an odd thought. At that moment, no, I wasn’t panicking. That idea str?oked the fire, though, ensuring a swelling panic inside me.

^ here, for me, the issue is that words like stoked (not stroked), ensuring, inside me don't convey panic. They're not panicky words. But then again, you are looking for confused and hazy. The "Which was" seems to be a bit too coherent for that frame of mind.

Hope this helps :)