VIEW LEADERBOARD

Conundrum Chapter 1

Conundrum Chapter 1

What price would you pay to move through time and space?

0

Paranormal fiction / Magic realism


Author Image

Bobby W Lee (United States)


Conundrum



Chapter 1:
Birds sat frozen in the sky as I walked between the raindrops. The air smelled of ripe watermelon and the space between time had the most curious effect on my skin. It felt like sliding through thin oil.
Truly I had mastered the black art of astral projection.

But what to do with my newfound talent? The possibilities were endless, they made my head hurt to contemplate them. I dare not share my secret with the world, I would never be at peace again. Silence I must keep.

I wandered in and around people. They never knew I was there. I moved one elderly lady from the path of a bus. I didn't know how this would affect time and space but I couldn't bear the thought of what would happen if I just let it be. I was doing the work of gods without their permission.

I turned a street corner and from the side of my eye, I saw movement. Someone, or something else, was here. I turned to look, but it was gone. Whether hidden or just moved on, I had no way to tell. It felt wrong.

I flew as fast as I could back to my physical body. Fear washed over me like a cold waterfall in the dog-days of summer. I spoke the words in my mind to let myself back in, and the shock of returning to warm flesh made me lightheaded and slightly nauseous.

My nerves were shot. Even though I vowed not to do it again, I knew in my heart I would return. I was hooked on the power of magic as had been my ancestors before me. But at what price?

I had been taught from a child that all magic comes with a price, and this was magic of the highest variety. The law of three would be in effect, but what was the root sum? I perhaps had been too eager, too oblivious to the obvious. What I was happy to ignore before, now weighed heavily on my mind.

I must speak to someone. Granny Black Fox came to mind. If I were very careful with my words, she might not guess what I had done. Then again, she might have felt my presence in the aether. Only one way to tell. I would go and see her when the moon waned. Her (Granny Black Fox's) shining would be at it's weakest then.

One had to be very careful dealing with the ancient. They had keen senses and their magic was strong. They held to the old ways. Granny was a bit more on the hippy side, said she had been to the original Woodstock, though few knew what that was.

I just wanted to find out what I could about what price others had paid for astral travel. Then, I could fully decide if I wanted to go back into that peculiar dimension or not. I admit, I didn't want to pay if the price was too steep. I could, if I had too, live without the traveling experience. But it was so enticing!


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

SEE MORE LIKE THIS



Read Reviews

Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line and hook
  • Your strong opening and compelling hook was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
I got it after the second read. I like your first line and the premise and I can see your characters goal, motivation and conflict. I know the 1500 word limit is tough, but I would rather see fewer things done and more detail given in description and emotion. If this was his first time the slowing of time and the walking between raindrops, birds frozen in air would have caused most of us to stare in recognition and perhaps explain Astral Projection and how he has it earlier on. I want to feel more as he moved the lady from the uncoming bus. What were his thoughts? Was he scared and of what? Just wanted more detail. To me, the pace was to fast, but I did become curious about the action. Overall, I liked the story and premise but I would slow it down to reflect the slowing of time in the Astral Projection.

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line and hook
  • Your strong opening and compelling hook was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 2:
I'm really interested in where this goes. I feel like I could connect more with the main character, but that must be more in the chapters to come. Above all, this is an amazing story.

Review 3:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Character conflict
  • The reader’s experience of the story is heightened when the characters’ goals, conflicts and purpose are clear. Perhaps giving this aspect of the story further attention could be worthwhile.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • Point of view helps the reader identify whose perspective we are engaging with, i.e. who is narrating the story. It can sometimes be helpful to double check that the point of view in the story is successfully handled. Ensure you consistently use the same point of view and tense throughout.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line and hook
  • Your strong opening and compelling hook was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 3:
Her (Granny Black Fox's) - Best not to do this. if it's confusing rearrange the words to make it clear or use the character's name. A good opening overall