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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Suspense Technique #4, Frustration. And the Winner is:

Whew! A plethora of authors entered the contest on Suspense Technique 4: Frustration. {Uh, El Guapo, I do not think plethora is the right word.} Nevertheless, I've debated the winner of this one over and over. One of the potential winners was dripping with powerful suspense. I was reading it and everything got quiet around me...that's when you know you've got something good. But its main competitor made the best use of the actual technique.

So, it gives me great pleasure to announce the winner:
Pais Charos!

Pais, email me your snailmail and what book you'd like signed, and I'll get one to you as soon as possible.

Here's Pais' winning entry:

Laura raced down the stairs, envelope in her hand.

“Mom! I'm going to the post office, I'll be back in a few minutes.”

Her mom walked out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. “The post office? Why don't you just put it in the mail box and let the mail man get it tomorrow.”

“Because,” she grabbed her keys and purse from the table beside the front door, “It needs to be postmarked by today, or....” she glanced at her watch. 3:50! The post office closes in ten minutes! “I gotta go!” She turned, giving her mom a hurried wave and flew out the door.

She threw her purse and the envelope into the passenger seat of her car, strapped herself in, put the key in the ignition, and turned it.

Nothing.

Laura narrowed her eyes, and turned the ignition again. The car still wouldn't start. She sighed heavily and popped the hood , then flung the door open and walked towards the front of the car. Reaching in she grabbed the oil dipstick and pulled it out, looking at it. She scowled and rammed it back in, then slammed the hood closed. She looked at her watch again. 3:52.

Laura grabbed her purse and the envelope and ran back to the front door. She opened the door a crack and popped her head in. “Mom, my car won't start, can I take yours?”

Her mom's voice floated out of the kitchen. “Sure, honey! The keys are right there on the table.”

Laura grabbed her mom's keys and slammed the door shut behind her, running full speed towards her mother's car, parked right beside hers.

She sat down, buckled in again, and turned the ignition. The car purred to life and Laura smiled. She put the car in gear, and backed out of the driveway, then turned around and took off down the road.

A few minutes later, Laura sat at the second red traffic light. She ran her hands through her hair and rubbed the back of her neck. Only two traffic lights between my house and the post office, and they both had to be red. Her eyes darted to the clock. 3:57.

She scowled again, and glared at the red light. Turn green, turn green, turn green!

The traffic light changed to green, and Laura waited impatiently for the person in front of her to move, then followed it. She was on the homestretch, the final leg of this race to the post office! She smiled again. I might actually make it in time.

She turned the final corner, and pulled into the parking lot, just as her clock ticked to 4:00pm. She parked in front of the post office and looked up at the door with a heavy heart.

Closed.

Pais Charos: Using the time limit mechanism was genius. Nothing ups the frustration like feeling time slipping away. Every obstacle--each one annoying by itself--was amped to the next level with the addition of time. Cool.

Honorable mentions go to:

Patrick: devastating story hook. I was all over this. I'm still wondering how the king was beheaded. Hmmm...

Cecilia: If you'd given your protag something besides a birthday, something that she REALLY wanted or needed--something the readers could buy into--yours might have won. If she was looking forward to that night because her mother was at last due to be back in the castle after years of separation, and it happened to fall on the night of the attack--now what would have been gut-wrenching frustration. Still splendid work.

Amy: Brilliant stuff. He was trying so hard to get out of the kingdom and then to run into the boy with the mysterious past...awesome.

23 comments:

Amy Browning said...

Congratulations Pais!

I loved the time aspect and how you let the character, and therefore, the reader, see the time as it passed. By the end it's a desperate situation, that is very frustrating. Great Job!

Wayne - thanks for the honorable mention. This was a fun one. Tormenting the characters is pretty fun in a sadistic sort of way. :)

Josh said...

Congrats Pais ... well done

Pais Charos said...

I'm ... I'm stunned. Thank you!! I ... wow, didn't think I'd actually win this one. :D

*gets hit with a sudden realization* Isle of Swords will now be MINE!! Haha! Without the arrow stuck in it.... Thank you Wayne!!

everlastingscribe said...

Huzzah! Congrats Pais! *bows with a flourish* It is well deserved indeed!

Justin B. said...

Yay! Go Pais! I loved your entry. My hearty was nearly nailing against my chest, as I read your entry! Awesome stuff!

Sarmjornn said...

Pais congrats! Talk about a time crunch.

Roheryn said...

that's awsomeful PaisY! *Tackle huggles*
Good job!

Pais Charos said...

*blushes* Thanks guys, I'm flattered :D Patrick ... I really thought you were going to win, bro. I loved your entry!

Kare Alethieas said...

Marvelous job my dear! Bravo!

You'll have to show me the prize next we meet.

sarmjornn said...

I posted my first entry for #5. Finally....

Pais Charos said...

Hehe ... I need to write one for #6, but I can't come up with anything.

You know, Wayne. This is ironic timing. My birthday is this coming Sunday.

sarmjornn said...

*shuffles feet* This is my first one since number 4. I was just getting frustrated with the others. :)

Ah Isle of Swords for a birthday gift. And from the Capt'n too!

Brett said...

HOORAY PAIS!!!

*rolls out a cannon and blasts confetti everywhere*

Crystal said...

CONGRATS!!

Lystar said...

Yay! *huggles Pais* That was awesome. :) And I'm sure everybody else did a great job, too.

LotRgeek said...

Hmm, this is ironic, I just started archery today at school...

Eve said...

Pais! Congrats! Swing by my blog for more winnings!

aravis1212 said...

If anyone is interested, I've started a writing forum. The purpose was to get a smaller group of writers who could be close-knit and constructive, unlike the mega forums you'll see on the internet.

http://fathoms.forumup.com/?mforum=fathoms

aravis1212 said...

Pais, you had me hoping, but the post office was closed. How cruel : )

Patrick said...

Great job Pais!!! Thank you also for your encouraging comments!!! Mr. Batson, thank you for all the writing tequniques as well!!!

Pais Charos said...

Aravis - after all of that, do you think I would have made it a happy ending? Muahaha

Patrick - Thanks! I still liked your entry a lot, is that part of an actual story you're writing? I'd love to read the rest of it!

Kare - Of course I'll show it to you! But nooo touchy...tee hee. MY Isle of Swords!

Pais Charos said...

Everyone, journey over to my blog. I am sporting a new blog template that Eve *hugs Eve* made for me! Isn't it GORGEOUS?!?!

LotRgeek said...

YAAAY!!! Congrats Pais Charos!!!