Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A literary agent's action contest

Nathan Bransford, a literary agent, is holding a fun little contest he calls The ROCK PAPER TIGER Chase/Action Writing Contest Extravaganza!! Writers may submit a 500 word "chase and/or action and/or suspenseful sequence" to be judged by Nathan Bransford. Finalists are voted on by his blog readers.

If you're a writer, hurry. The deadline is Thursday at 4 PM Pacific Time. Click here to visit Nathan Bransford's blog, where you can enter if you're so inclined.

I entered an action/suspense sequence from my novel Daeva, a paranormal thriller. Because there are already so many entries on Nathan's blog, you'd probably never find mine if you went looking for it, so I posted it below. If you read it, let me know what you think. Suspenseful?

The demon shadows nested in the far corner, twisting and churning in continual motion. Chris heard their movements clearly tonight: muffled ripping when a large shape tore itself in two, dry papers lightly rubbed together as shapes folded or stretched, wet smacking sounds as two or more shapes combined to form one larger shadow. Faces appeared in the black shadows and spoke to him between hisses.

"Chris," they said. "Don't you want to sssleep? Open the door in your mind. Then you can ressst."

Chris's head bobbed. Despite the hissing, he drifted near sleep.

The mattress compressed under new weight. Chris's eyelids sprang open. A demon shadow perched on the foot of his bed.

He jerked back. The shadow swayed side-to-side as if dancing. Its movements rocked the mattress. He stared at it, reevaluating the shadows. He'd never considered they might have mass. The dim light of the room shone through gaps in the shadow's blackness to outline eyes and a mouth full of jagged teeth, frozen in a sneer.

The shadow lunged. Chris scrambled back against the wall, but he wasn't quick enough. It caught his left earlobe in its jagged teeth then pulled back with a hiss.

"What the hell?" Chris yelled, clamping his hand to his burning ear. The shadows took up their chorus, sounding like high-pressure steam escaping a ruptured pipeline. Chris covered his ears, but it did him no good. Hands couldn't block sound that came from inside his head.

The fingers over his injured ear were sticky from blood, but the room was too dark to see how much flowed. There was just enough light to contrast against the total darkness of the demon shadows. There were maybe a dozen of them now, all moving in frenzied, undirected motion. Excited from the smell of my blood? He tried to follow their jerky motions. They blended into the darkness when he looked directly at them, but he could catch glimpses of them out of his peripheral vision.

Then they became quiet.

His mattress moved as a shadow leapt onto the foot of his bed. Another joined it. For just a moment, he saw their outlines. A third landed.

"What the hell?" Chris yelled again. He scooted back until he sat with his back pressed into the corner of the room. He banged his right elbow against the wall and listened to hear if he woke his neighbors. His bed creaked. He felt the shifting weight of their movement.

They were approaching.

He pulled his legs in close and pounded the wall with his elbow again.

"Chris," the shadows hissed in unison. "Open the door. Let Rothsirge back into your mind. Or deal with us. It's your choice."

Darkness was absolute. The shadows fell silent again, but the mattress continued to shift and creak. His skin tingled with anticipated contact. He was afraid to move. Further retreat might quicken their attack. Something cold brushed his ankle.

Chris opened his mouth to scream.


  1. Here's to you winning, Keith! Your sub is terrific. Best of luck.

  2. Too bad I missed the deadline for this contest. I think that would have been so much fun. Hope you win, place, or something.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be not working? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


  4. Hi Peter. That contest was over back in June, and now the agent who sponsored it no longer works as an agent. I'll post any other agent contests I stumble across on the blog.