NaNoWriMo Day 4: Intensity

Sometimes writing is intense because it involves a great expenditure of effort. Other times it is intense because the complex swirl of thoughts, emotions, and creativity that make a particular scene resonate as if it is real threaten to overwhelm the person wielding them.

Today was the latter kind of day. The scene I wrote today rushed out, all 2,400 words of it, in about an hour. For that hour, I was immersed in what was happening, seeing what my characters were seeing in real time as something happened to them that changed their lives forever. Along with the change for the characters came the change in the story I was looking for.

That kind of intensity and flow is something I think most writer’s live for. It’s those moments that I think we believe most that we can succeed at what we are doing, and it is those moments that help us weather the times when writing is far more like the first kind of intensity I mentioned at the beginning.

For me, that ebb and flow is what writing is all about. It is what I live for, after a fashion, and when it pops, it leaves me giddy.

The last two figures crouched in the night. He could hear one of them crying, and the other hissing for him to shut up. Caleb stopped behind a big tree on the other side of Alisha’s position.

“Surrender or I’ll keep shooting,” he said, trying to conceal the quiver in his own voice.

The reply was three quick pops. Small caliber, Caleb though, probably a .22. He swore and dropped to his belly, waiting for the shooter to do it again. A few seconds later, his adversary fired again, and Caleb fired two shots into the shadow. There was no scream this time, but he heard the shadow topple over.

The last man began to sob. “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot. Just let me go.”

He started to run, but Caleb shouted. “On your knees! Hands on your head! Cross your feet!”

The man collapsed, and Caleb sprinted out to him. He knew it was dangerous because the others might still be able to shoot, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t let this one get away. He grabbed the man by the collar and dragged him back to the fire pit.

“Holy shit, dude,” Charlie said as Caleb pulled out his paracord and started tying their prisoner to a tree, “you shot those people! What if the cops come?”

“Charlie, shut up and sit down,” Caleb said. “I don’t think you get this: there are no cops and these son-of-a-bitches are bandits preying on refugees like us. This is what the world is coming to: there are killers and there are the killed. Which do you want to be?”