Necrophilia. How can something so wrong feel so right?

That was my catchy title to get your attention.  This post isn’t really about necrophilia.

Or is it?

Actually, I have been remiss in my blogging.  Not only that, but my posts have not been as bizrotic as I originally intended.  So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone (and then have sex with them before making bird stone soup and feeding it to innocent travelers lost in the woods) I am attempting to illuminate more on the subject of suspenseful writing.

This is meant to help me as well as anyone else who stumbles into this trap I’ve set.  I do occasionally get wordy in my writing.  You see, I love descriptive and emotive writing.  Whenever I come up with a thought-provoking simile or metaphor I get closer to my happy place.  Of course, my editing pal cringes when she hits them.

So, I am trying to tone it down.  And one place where wordiness never works is action/suspense.  It kills it.  In the bad way.

Enough talk.  On to the exercise.  The key point here is that short, concise sentences (or even incomplete sentences) add to the suspense levels.  Long winded crap sucks the action right out of your scene.

First the long-winded business…

The body lay contorted and unnatural on the cobblestone path.  Her arms were up above her head like a ballerina en point, but instead of rod-straight legs, her lower half was alien.  A foot was completely missing on one leg and the other had something like an extra joint between the hip and the knee.  The leg stuck out, arced like the crescent moon that faintly illuminated the scene.

I leaned over the gruesome shape and breathed deeply.  The odor of chloroform assaulted my senses.  But there was another far more sinister scent pervading the body.  The musky smell of dog clung to the dead girl as thickly as the tenacious strings of saliva that dripped from her wounds like mutilated jellyfish.

I looked up in horror as the sound of a low growl rumbled in the still night.  Orange eyes met mine briefly before the wolf leapt through the air.  I watched its snowy underbelly close in on me in slow motion.  I pedaled backward like a crab but the beast was too fast and met its mark.

Air rushed from my lungs like the bellows of an accordion and I felt the beast’s hot breath steam across my cheek.  A runner of drool slid from his yawning maw and slithered down my cheek.

I knew I would share the same fate as the pathetic woman who lay mere feet from me.  Too bad I didn’t get to hit that first. —-There is was, folks.  Just as promised.

Okay, let’s take the last 3 paragraphs and try to tighten them up for better action/suspense pacing.

I looked up.  A low growl rumbled from the beast.  I backpedaled like a crab.

But it was leaping.  Desperate, I pushed myself back.

Too slow.  The wolf collided with my chest.  Air whooshed from my lungs.

Its rancid breath overwhelmed me.

Thick drool slithered down my cheek.

I was a dead man.

————–

So, anyway.  That was the lesson for the day.  My example was crap because I think the first one was better with the mood building/description.  Probably would have worked better with a fighting scene.  Kicking and punching and all that.  POW!  I’ll keep practicing.  Feel free to give it a shot in the comments or to make fun of me.  I’ll look for a good example from a literary master to lay on ya next time.

About Kimber Vale

Author of romance of all stripes. View all posts by Kimber Vale

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