Nathan Bransford, an agent for Curtis Brown Ltd., is insanely running a contest for writers. Submit your first 500 words and he’ll… Well, his blog entry doesn’t exactly spell out whether he’ll critique each one or what, but the finalists win some pretty nifty – for writers – prizes, including a query critique, partial critique, and so on.
When I last checked, he had 649 comments, mostly entries. I feel sorry for the guy. 🙂
Because I’m insane, I entered.
And, because my first 500 words are now showing up on the Internet, I figured I might as well put those same first 500 words here, too. So you can read them. And hopefully not weep, but rather enjoy them. I hope…
Feel free to comment. Tell me what you like, tell me what you don’t, tell me what does or does not work for you.
Basement of the Universe (science fiction) by L. M. Ashton
She was gone. He stared at the empty kitchen where Tracy had stood not a minute before. Alarms on and unbreached, doors and windows still locked, and no sign of how she might have left.
Peter’s heart sank as he wondered with panic what had happened to her.
Just five minutes ago, they were drinking their morning coffee in the bright kitchen, Tracy still in her nightgown.
He yelled back at her. “What do you want to do in the evening? Game for some black market stuff?” His coat pocket yielded nothing but an old candy wrapper. He muttered under his breath, cursed those elusive keys, then checked the pockets in the pants he wore yesterday. “Not here, either. Hey, Trace, what do you want to do?” he repeated, a little bit louder. He glanced over the crowded dresser top with Trace’s arsenal of beauty products. No keys.
“Tracy?” He reached into the pockets of the pants he wore, and found his keys in the right pocket. “Ah, here all the time.” He walked back into the kitchen.
“Tracy? Where are you?” Nothing. “Tracy, this is no time for painting.” He walked into her studio, a tiny room crammed with her painting paraphernalia and easel. The huge windows had been an incentive, at least for Tracy, for them to get the apartment. Not for the view – it looked over the soot-stained city walls on the bare, pock-marked terrain outside – but Tracy had been adamant that the lighting was absolutely perfect for her work.
“Tracy?” He felt uneasy. The apartment was so small that there was no way she couldn’t hear him or he’d miss her. He went quickly through the bedroom, the kitchen, living room, and bathroom again. No Tracy.
He checked the doors. Still bolted on the inside. The windows were closed as well, not that she’d jump from a second-story apartment on to the crowded streets, but where else could she have gone? He felt his mind race around like a cat gone crazy trying to unravel a ball of string. No, no, she couldn’t have disappeared like the others. He couldn’t believe it.
He raced back into the kitchen, half-hoping that perhaps she was playing a joke on him and would spring out from some hidey-hole that he’d missed. But no, even her coffee mug was gone.
He checked the bedroom again, thinking she could be lying unconscious behind the bed. At this point, he would have taken even that rather than Tracy just disappearing. His heart hammered away like a race-horse galloping towards the winning post and his brain felt as if it was trying to claw its way through thick sticky mush. The world crawled to a black standstill while his thoughts went round and round, shying away from the one possibility that remained.
His mind finally capitulated. There was no explanation but the one he didn’t want to think about. His heart sank.
She was gone. Disappeared. Just like the others.