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DOGGONE VOICE EXT: TAGESTRAUM

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
 

 

Title: TAGESTRAUM
Genre: Adult dark fantasy
The Nightmare Man came today.
Adrian could still hear the echo of Nathaniel’s words in his mind – the words the boy had said when he made the drawing.  The sketch now stared up at Adrian from his coffee table with its wide, blank eyes. Though drawn in black crayon, it was still recognizable:  a tall cloaked man with a gaping mouth rimmed in teeth like the maw of some deep-sea fish.
What bothered Adrian about The Nightmare Man wasn’t his menacing appearance or Nathaniel’s insistence on his reality.  It was the nagging feeling of familiarity, the feeling that Adrian had not only seen this creature, he actually knew him in some way.  The first time Nathaniel had shown him the drawing, months ago now, a cold chill had crept up Adrian’s back, a sense of déjà vu that he could not entirely place.  It bothered him.  Now, with Nathaniel missing and the newest drawing staring up from its place on the coffee table, it bothered him a whole lot more.
In his hand, the cell phone was sweaty and the heat of the battery was uncomfortable against his palm.  In his other hand, he turned the detective’s business card over and between his fingers. Outside, the moon was high and pale in the sky.  A dog barked, somewhere, but otherwise all was still.
He had been working with the Weavers for eight months, beginning just after Mr. Weaver was arrested for assaulting a prostitute – the last of many episodes and the first his wife couldn’t forgive him for.

Filed: Misc, Workshops

8 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    Hm. Okay. Put that first line in quotes or italics so that I can “hear” or “remember” it along with the narrator.

    I’m feeling a disconnect with this one, too, for some reason I can’t place. I’m so sorry. Maybe one of my other advisors can be more helpful here. I think it is something about the long paragraphs made up of long sentences – I feel like I have to wade through them, and the rhythm isn’t conducive to drawing me in and letting me “hear” your MC.

    Ah, see? Yes, in the paragraph about the moon we have a bit more flow. Can you try to bring more of that into other paragraphs?

    Really nice writing, and so great to see another 3rd person! Yay!

  • Marieke says:

    First of all, I love this title. I do wonder why it’s not simply “Daydream”, but on ther other hand this is reminiscent of creepy German folklore, so great job there.

    I love the first sentence too, it’s perfect creepy.

    However, from there I think the next two paragraphs fail to deliver. I don’t think the voice is strong enough yet to be really gripping.

    Part of that is because those two paragraphs create an emotional distance between the reader and the story. There are a lot of filler words–could still hear, bothered, bothered, bothered–that explain what is happening without really involving the reader. It doesn’t convince me of Adrian’s feelings either. Or let me put it another way, that creepy sense of urgency isn’t there. When you mention Nathaniel to be missing, it completely took me by surprise.

    The third paragraph is better in that regard, although I believe it’s good to keep the focus tight. The leap from business card to a pale moon doesn’t convince me completely. Moreover, those are details that, if used well and woven into the narrative could actually strengthen the voice. Now it sounds a little too much like a list of details.

    I do love the atmosphere you created, so while I think the voice still requires some work–great job there!

  • callmebecks says:

    I love this opening and this concept. There is some great, chilling description. The only thing is I think it can be trimmed to really highlight those creepy moments. Your strength is in the image – the freaky sketch on the coffee table, the man staring at it in the middle of the night. Keep us there as much as possible.

    IN-LINE CRITS:

    The Nightmare Man came today. (There will never be a time when I get over how awesome this opening line is.)

    Adrian could still hear the echo of Nathaniel’s words in his mind – the words the boy had said when he made the drawing. The sketch now stared up at Adrian from his coffee table with its wide, blank eyes. Though drawn in black crayon, it was still recognizable: (I think “Though drawn…recognizable:” can be cut. It doesn’t strike me as necessary details and it prolongs the time till we get to this:) a tall cloaked man with a gaping mouth rimmed in teeth like the maw of some deep-sea fish. (GREAT description.)

    What bothered Adrian about The Nightmare Man wasn’t his menacing appearance or Nathaniel’s insistence on his reality. It was the nagging feeling of familiarity, the feeling that Adrian had not only seen this creature, he actually knew him in some way. (I think you can cut these sentences, too. Most of what you want to convey is clear in the following sentence.) The first time Nathaniel had shown him the drawing, months ago now, a cold chill had crept up Adrian’s back, a sense of déjà vu that he could not entirely place. It bothered him. Now, with Nathaniel missing and the newest drawing staring up from its place on the coffee table, it bothered him a whole lot more.

    In his hand, the cell phone was sweaty and the heat of the battery was uncomfortable against his palm. In his other hand, he turned the detective’s business card over and between his fingers. (This strikes me as getting a little too down n’ dirty with the description details. It could probably be condensed into one sentence.) Outside, the moon was high and pale in the sky. A dog barked, somewhere, but otherwise all was still.

    He had been working with the Weavers for eight months, beginning just after Mr. Weaver was arrested for assaulting a prostitute – the last of many episodes and the first his wife couldn’t forgive him for. (I kind of want to stay in the present instead of getting some backstory here. Not sure what comes after this, but I’m more compelled by this image of Adrian sitting alone with the Nightmare Man staring up at him.)

  • T.L. Bodine says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • T.L. Bodine says:

    *whistles innocently* I fail at leaving comments properly. Let me try this again, only WITH what I meant to post.
    —-

    You guys rock. Thanks for the crits. If I want to revise, I can just re-post it here, right? Here — try this on for size. *hopes I’m doing this right*
    ———-

    The Nightmare Man came today.

    Adrian could still hear the echo of Nathaniel’s words in his mind – the words the boy had said when he made the drawing. The sketch now stared up at Adrian with wide, blank eyes. Though drawn in black crayon, it was still recognizable: a tall cloaked man with a gaping mouth rimmed in teeth like the maw of some deep-sea fish.

    The first time Nathaniel had shown him the drawing, months ago now, a cold chill had crept up Adrian’s back, a sense of déjà vu that he could not entirely place. It bothered him. Now, with Nathaniel missing and the picture staring up from its place on the coffee table, it bothered him a whole lot more.

    The heat of the cell phone’s battery was uncomfortable against his sweaty palm. In his other hand, he turned the detective’s business card over and between his fingers. Outside, the moon was high and pale in the sky. A dog barked, somewhere, but otherwise all was still.

    The phone clicked in his ear as the voice mail picked up. Adrian waited for the beep, then said, “Hey, Detective Roark? It’s Adrian Montgomery again, from Social Services, about the Weaver case? I’m not sure if my last call went through…you didn’t call me back. I just wanted to –“

    The phone beeped, and the call disconnected.

    Adrian dialed it again. It took longer to connect this time. Finally, the line picked up, and a woman’s electronic monotone said, “We’re sorry. The voice mailbox you are calling is full. Goodbye.”

  • Brenda Drake says:

    That first line is awesome. I love this. It’s so creepy. I only have two small, nit-picky suggestions. If the drawing is “drawn” in crayon, I think it would be recognizable. That is, unless it was scribbled. You could just say –> Drawn in black crayon…

    Does that woman’s electronic voice say goodbye? Or does she say “We’re sorry. The voice mailbox you are calling is full. Please try your call again later.” I can’t remember, cause I never let my voice mail get full, but I seem to recall that. Just checking. LOL

    I’m not happy that I read this before bedtime – I’m totally a wimp and now I’m creeped out. Great job!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Oh, P.S. I’d italicize that first line since it’s a memory of something Nathaniel said.

  • T.L. Bodine says:

    Hah. I think there’s a few different recordings. When I was working for a call center, I made a whole bunch of phone calls and got an astonishing array of voicemails. I always thought the one that ended in “good bye” sounded so snobbily cheerful.

    And y’know, I don’t know how to add italics in the comment. It’s that way in the manuscript but I failed at formatting here -_-

    I hope you have no nightmares. (well, actually, I /kind of/ hope you do, but not really because that would be mean)

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