The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

09 April 2010

Blogfest blood

I bet you weren't expecting to hear from me again so soon? I try to post about once a week, but I'm back with a bit of bloodshed for Anne Riley's Murder Scene Blogfest. Australia is a day ahead of most of the Western world, so I get to post now! Head on over to Anne's blog "tomorrow" and see everyone else's contributions. They'll be great.

Sorry to disappoint anyone looking for gore, but I'm a bit squeamish about that stuff and tend to show the aftermath in my writing rather than the murder itself. This is a scene from my very first manuscript (so be kind) and I'd love to hear your comments. Here goes:

Shawn felt a premonitory chill. He moved in front of Lori and turned the knob on the door. It wasn’t locked. He slowly pushed it open.

“Maggie?” Lori called.

He put a finger to his lips to silence her.
What was he doing? He had the urge to run away; instead he kept moving forward. He crept into the hall, wincing as floorboards creaked. He looked into the living room where Maggie’s easel sat. She spent most days working in front of it or tending her garden. She was in front of the easel now, sitting in her rocker. He didn’t relax. There was something wrong.

He inched toward her, looking around the room for any sign of what had put him on edge. Then he noticed the plastic ties that bound her arms to the chair. There was no movement. He remembered what had happened to Barney, and he couldn’t go any closer.

Lori reached her grandmother’s side, and her eyes widened. Shawn waited for her scream but heard tape ripping, followed by Maggie’s pained gasp. She was alive. He hurried to them and saw the bruises on the old woman’s wrists and ankles where the ties dug in. Her head lolled weakly to the side, mouth red where Lori had torn off the gag.

“Dave.” Tears glistened in Maggie’s eyes.

He noticed the chair was angled away from the easel, facing the dining room. He looked through the doorway and saw horror laid out on the formal table. Bright red blood, lots of blood staining the white lace, and the remnants of a person. He looked away before it could sink in. Bile rose in his throat. He saw Maggie’s tormented stare and knew she had been forced to watch as her friend was tortured and killed. He turned her chair away.

“I can’t take them off!” Lori struggled with the plastic ties, growing more frustrated. She kept her back to the dining room; she must have caught a glimpse as well. “I need something sharp.”

“Just a second.” Shawn headed for the kitchen, glad to get some distance from that room.

He opened a drawer and searched for something to cut with. He found a paring knife. As his hand grasped the handle, he felt that chill again. He turned around.
A figure dressed in black jeans, windbreaker, gloves and ski mask stood there, calmly watching him. Shawn jumped and pressed his back against the cabinet. The killer was still here.

Thanks everyone who stopped by! Hope to see you later!


  1. Great job with this, Lorel! I felt connected to your characters right away. Good pacing and tension. And I love the menacing feel and the surprise at the end of your excerpt! :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Excellent, scary scene. It was done so well. Great job, Lorel. I"m glad I dropped by.

  3. Chilling and engaging, loved it!

  4. Creepy ending! Would love to know what happens next.

  5. Great job, Lorel! Thanks for being a part of this!

  6. What an ending! that is a definite hook! I'm dying to know what happens next!

  7. Nice description of the fear and internal struggle of the main character to continue into the room. Loved the ending...

  8. Excellent scene. Great job building the tension. I'd like to see what happens next. :)

  9. Hitchcock proved you didn't need gore and blood to scare your audience. Remember the shower scene in Psycho? The camera never followed the knife's many impacts. The only blood was mingled in the water that swirled down the drain, along with the victim's life.

    Hitchcock would be proud of you.

    If you have the time, please come check out my entry into this murder scene blogfest :


    Thanks from Louisiana, Roland

  10. Great work Lorel. Creepy and tension-filled. Excellent piece for the blogfest!!

  11. ooooh it's good!!! :o)

  12. Nice! Lots of tension! Is the paring knife going to be any help at all???

  13. Wow, I loved the atmospehere of this. What happens next?! I'm on the edge of my seat here :~) Great post

  14. Thanks for all the great comments everybody! It was a nice surprise after working all day to see so many people had visited. You got me motivated to do some writing...after I go and check out everyone else's blog entries. I love how Elizabeth Spann Craig does individual replies, so:

    Elizabeth--Thanks! Pacing is one of the trickiest things, I think. Can't be too fast or too slow.

    Roxy--I'm glad you stopped by too. Thanks for the kind words!

    Heather--I'm glad you liked it! Chilling and engaging is what I was going for, but you never know if it will actually work out. whew!

    Heather--Maybe someday it will be published and you can find out :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Anne--Thanks for hosting. It was a terrific idea!

    Amalia--I'm glad I got you interested. Now I just need to hook an agent :) Thanks for stopping by!

    Raquel--Thanks! I imagined myself in the same situation, so the fear and inner struggle was pretty easy. I think it would take more effort to write someone fearless.

    sarajayne--Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Roland--That's the best compliment I've ever gotten! I'm proud to be even thought of in relation to Hitchcock. Thanks so much!! I'm going to check out your blog next.

    DL--Thanks! I like being called creepy...oh, you meant the scene, right? :-)

    Niki--I'm so thrilled whenever I elicit an "ooooh" from you!

    Jemi--Thanks! I used a paring knife so you'd get the sense the chracter's thinking, "I could use this to defend byself, but...really, I'm screwed."

    Mia--Thanks!! I'd love to tell you what happens next, but I need a crowd of people out there pressuring an editor to buy the whole novel first :)

  15. Thanks for dropping by my blog and even more thanks for the comments. Roland

  16. I'm a huge fan of less is more to create tension. This is a brilliant example! And a great ending to boot.

  17. I enjoyed this greatly!

    You left us hanging off the hook, and I'm dying to know what happens next. If I were Shawn, I'd be reaching for forks, spoons, anything else I could gouge him with... Fork him!

  18. Roland--You're welcome!

    Tara--Thanks so much! The more I practice writing, the more words I ruthlessly cut when I revise.

    Lola--Hee hee, "fork him!". I love it! Thanks so much.

  19. Lorel, I read your earlier post about a wimpy main character and just had to direct you to this youtube link of a hilarious reading of parts of TWILIGHT by a British teenager who hates Bella. Don't drink a fizzy while watching, you'll snort it out your nose laughing. I hope.


    I hope it works. If not, blame me not Bane. Roland

  20. Thanks, Roland. That was so funny!

    I actually don't mind Twilight (the first book anyway). It's a romance, and I don't expect it to be "The Old Man and the Sea". Besides, Bella is nowhere as wimpy as the character I'm reading now. Bella fights long and hard to get that idiot Edward to turn her into an immortal vampire. She could put up with the stalking, acting girly and helpless, even endure that cold dead skinny body and give up hunky werewolf for a shot at eternal life...I don't think she was expecting what happened in the fourth book though. Oh well, at least she got a happy ending, and she's immortal, so she can always dump him :)

  21. Hello! I came by after a comment you left on Wool'n'Nuts lovely blog made me smile - think it was about the bra fence "Traffic hazard" indeed! Only if you're male. :)

    I enjoyed reading this snippet of a story. It's the small throwaway details that make writing a joy to read - things like Maggie being an artist if she has an easel, whatever had happened to Barney, Maggie being Lori's grandmother, and then of course the shock of the killer still on the premises. I'd read more (and am now following!)

  22. Hi Jayne! Thanks so much for following! I'm glad I made you smile with the bra thing, and it's great you liked the scene above. It's those little details and questions that draw me into a story too. I have a few funny ideas for my next blog post, so I hope I can make you smile again :)

  23. Great job with this! I'm one of the squeamish ones- I avoided this blogfest, as a matter of fact. But I liked your scene!

  24. I love that you alluded to bloodshed, but didn't completely describe it...In fact, I would describe it more...Don't tell us that the grandmother saw her friend slaughtered YET--talk about the look of horror still on her face, the blood on the table, and leave the actual event for later. Leave us wondering what actually happened.

    That's my only critique! I love the story! Great job, Lorel. I hope you share more with us soon.


  25. Stephanie--Glad you stopped by!

    Michele--Great idea! Just describe the blood, the look of horror still on her face, and so you maintain the creepy feel a bit longer before learning what happened. I think my original goal was to make it clear someone was dead, coldly butchered, and the person responsible was now a few steps away from our hero...