Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch Me if You Can Blogfest Entry

Thank you to Kristina at KayKay's Corner for hosting the Catch Me if You Can Blogfest. Check out this link for the rules, to sign up or to read the other entries!

Here is my entry from a work in progress called Maguire's Corner. This is the first 500ish words of Chapter #1.

“Emily? It’s Maggie. I just saw a guy hit someone and keep driving. You need to send an ambulance to Main Street,” Maggie Maguire said into her cell phone.

“Will do, wait one sec,” Emily said, putting her on hold for a moment. “Okay, they are on their way. What happened?”

“Everything happened so fast. This guy came out of nowhere. I can barely keep up with him.”

Maggie’s voice shook with excitement and fear but, at the moment, excitement was keeping her foot on the gas pedal.

“You’re following him? Just tell me what kind of vehicle it is and I’ll send a patrol car out there,” her cousin responded with disapproval.

“I wouldn’t have been able to tell you it was a big black SUV with Jersey plates if I hadn’t followed him now would I?”

The truck was far enough ahead that Maggie had to squint to read off the plate numbers to Emily.

“Where are you now?”

“Driving down Oak Lane passing Uncle Timmy’s garage.”

Maggie tried to maintain her high speed. It was easy to follow the SUV’s taillights in the dark but her car definitely didn’t have the kind of horsepower the truck possessed.

“And he hit the other car on Main?” Emily asked.

“No, he hit a man walking across the street.”

“Heavens! Maybe you should back off. I’m sending out a couple cars.”

“By the time anyone gets out here this guy will be long gone. He’s flying out of town. I’ll just stay with him until they catch up.”

“Just wait - just hold on.”

Maggie absently listened to the hold message for a second time from the Town of Maguire’s Corner Police Department. Something about ‘your call is important to us; remember to store your firearms safely’.

“Maggie, I have two cars heading your way.”

“Okay, but he’s slowing down. Wait, what’s he doing now? He’s pulling into a driveway. I think he may know I’m following him. I’ve got to put my phone down.”

Nervous fingers fumbled with the buttons on the phone before she threw it down on the passenger seat.

“I put you on speaker. I drove past him but he pulled out behind me. He’s catching up.”

Maggie didn’t get a response from Emily. She must not have pushed the speaker button after all.

“If your advice is to drive faster I’m on it.”

She rammed the accelerator all the way to the floor but the old, used subcompact was at maximum speed. The SUV’s headlights filled her rearview mirror with blinding light then disappeared before the bigger vehicle smashed into the back of her car with a sickening crunch.

“Damn, he hit me,” Maggie shouted, holding tight to the steering wheel trying to control the car.

The other vehicle was speeding up behind her again and she braced for another hit. The SUV all but pushed her car down the road. Everything from the passenger seat went flying under the dashboard, including her phone.

“What the hell?”

Her earlier excitement had turned to real icy panic and her hands clenched the wheel harder dreading the next strike.

 So...want to finish the rest of this chapter? Click here.

Page 99 is available from a different blogfest here.

And a little smooching is over here.

Thanks so much for coming by! 


  1. I felt her sense of panic. Good job.

  2. Wow! That's a fast-paced start, Heather. I'm reeling a little with it. I wonder if she's just made that fatal stupid error that so many people make. What's going to happen? ; )

  3. Great expert. My only suggestion, work in some of the other senses. Sound would be a great one, especially if you went beyond 'sickening crunch'. Oh, and don't forget squealing tires, which also has a smell. :-)

    Thanks for posting. Natasha Hanova

  4. A great opening, really got me hooked. Great use of dialogue too.
    Thanks for having a look at my entry and for following along with me :)

  5. You had me hooked. I want to read more. I agree with Natasha.
    Thanks for stopping by Writing with Debra.

  6. Murees - Thank you. That's good news!

    Zan Marie - I'm glad you want to know more.

    Natasha - Sounds are good. I'll see what I can do.

    Holly - Thank you for your comments. I'm pleased you're hooked!

    Debra - Good to know! Thanks so much!

    Thank you all for stopping in and commenting.

  7. Riveting- really exciting.
    The only thing I tripped up on was "her cousin responded with disapproval".
    Is there a way to show the disapproval without using the dialog tag.
    I love this, you hooked me.

  8. Thanks for looking at my entry! Your comments were very helpful.

    I was confused at first about whether or not the main character was a police officer, and it threw me a little that she knew the person in the emergency line because I wasn't sure at first that she dialed 911. I like that the pacing is fast, but it doesn't have to be THAT fast: you can slow down and give us an idea of what she sees, what the inside of the car looks like, how her body feels, what's outside the car (we only know it's at night), etc. Also, you didn't mention the other car until it hit her, so that confused me. Other than that, great hook!

  9. KO - Thank you. That is a good point. I will try to work out that comment so that it reads smoother.

    Teralyn - Thank you. You gave me a good idea to help the reader in the beginning understand that Maggie called the police. I'm concerned that you didn't pick up any of the info about the other car until it hit Maggie's. I mentioned it a few times.
    Thanks for coming by.

  10. I have to admit I had some of the same concerns about pacing and confusion that Teralyn already mentioned. And I agree with Natasha about including the other 5 senses.

    I've read--and we all know we should break the rules, so take this with a grain of salt--that the opening shouldn't begin with dialogue. It sent up a red flare when I saw the first quote mark. I don't necessarily dislike it here, but you might be able to start with something else, too. *shrug* It's your call.

    Overall, though, I'm hooked and want to read more. Nice job :)

  11. Thank you for your comments on mine.

    I like yours i really sense the panic and I like the fast pace, but like other have said I think the very beginning needs a little more info. But I what to read what comes next! I want to know what happens to her.

  12. I like the fast start. It pulled me in immediately.

    I generally struggle as a reader when stories start with dialogue because it is hard to get an idea of the POV. Am I with Maggie or Emily? Slowing down the pacing might help this--inserting more setting and taking the time to build tension.

    Overall, great start. Happy writing!

  13. RosieC - Thank you. I think one simple line, that was taken out in another draft, will fix the problem in the beginning.
    Interestingly enough, I have read the opposite of what you have read about dialogue and 2 out of 3 new library books I picked up today start with dialogue. But, I understand how that can jar a reader as well. Thanks for your comments.

    Alexis - Thanks for coming by. I'm glad you liked it.

    Heidi - I appreciate your comments and will think about your suggestions. Thanks for taking the time.

  14. I love the storyline and I loved the pacing. Things to look at: we speak in fragments and contractions. Especially in times of high intensity. Proper grammar just flies out the window. This will help support the adrenaline of your story.

  15. Why haven't you been published yet? That was one of the most exciting openings I've read--ever! I'd buy the book to read more.

  16. So exciting! It really did have my heart racing. I just wish I had a better sense of the MC and her voice. If you could inject a little more of that, this would be close to perfect!

    Other than that, though, this is great. Very riveting.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. I liked how you weaved dialogue into the action. What a tense cliffhanger! I'm definitely hooked! Having said that, I also agree with the others about trying to incorporate the other senses and slowing down the pacing a bit, also to perhaps address how your MC knows Emily, the 911 dispatch person (whatever they're called!).

  18. dawnall - Yes, I agree about the language. I can take another look at that. Thanks for coming by.

    L.A. - You are sweet to say so but I guess all the other comments are why I'm not published yet. Always more work to do. Thank you. I appreciate it.

    Kristina - That is so nice to hear. I'll be taking everyone's suggestions into consideration and see what I can do to make this better. Thanks for stopping in and for hosting the blogfest.

    J.C. - I believe I can fix that initial problem. As for the rest, we shall see. Thanks for your time.

    And the editing.

  19. Like the others, I liked the intensity and panic there at the end. And I kinda had a sense when he slowed down to turn, she was in trouble ;) Here are my suggestions:

    --I kinda feel like you started a moment too late--why not start with her witnessing the accident? It would be a great hook, something like:

    From out of nowhere, the hulking SUV screeched around the corner and slammed into the man crossing the street. The man's body crumpled upon impact and flew like a ragdoll. He landed several feet away, still, legs bent at odd angles. Maggie Maguire swallowed her scream and her whole body erupted in goosebumps. From the opposite side of the intersection, she stared, hands in a death grip on her steering wheel, disbelieving what she'd just witnessed.

    The big truck didn't stop. Disbelief turned into outrage. Maggie slammed her foot down on the accelerator and peeled out after the SUV. A quick glance in her rear view mirror revealed other passersby attending the victim. One eye on the fast-moving truck, she fished her cell phone from her purse and dialed her cousin Emily, Maguire's Corner's 911 dispatch officer.

    And then dive into the conversation--that way your scene would start with the same intensity which with it ends, plus we'd know right away whose POV we were in. I agree there are books that start with dialogue, but I also began the excerpt a little confused at first.

    Watch telling, like this: her cousin responded with disapproval. Showing would be something like: her cousin huffed.

    I would remove or considerably shorten the paragraph about her listening to the recorded police department message, it lessens the intensity of the moment. Similarly, in this paragraph, I think some better word choices and more description would heighten the intensity even more:

    The other vehicle [tank of an SUV] was speeding [raced] up behind her again and she braced for another hit [telling, show us the bracing]. The SUV all but pushed [shoved] her car down the road [what sound did it make?]. Everything from the passenger seat went flying under the dashboard [with a crash?], including her phone.

    I'm definitely curious to read more! Good luck! And thanks for coming over to read mine! :)

  20. Laura - Wow. Did you just write all of that this morning? That's stunning.
    Thank you for all of your suggestions.

  21. :) You're welcome! And I liked your post about how hard it is to receive feedback--I feel the same way!


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