Weekend Writing Warriors: “Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Me?”

It’s Weekend Writing Warriors. The place to share eight sentences from your writing masterpieces every Sunday. Today, I’m offering an eight from my short story, The Burning Night, a YA horror. Some of you will remember I shared eights from this back in September (Melissa and Ashley being tortured in that chamber). Since then, I’ve changed part of the plot and have edited the story. Basically, the set up is two teenage sisters are spending a weekend with their parents at an old country house in Upstate New York.

This eight happens before Melissa and Ashley are thrown into the torture chamber. Here, Melissa has been hearing disturbing noises in her room and races downstairs in search of her younger sister, Ashley. As Melissa enters the living room, she discovers something wrong. The POV is from Melissa. Here’s the eight:

My stomach churned as I shuffled into the lifeless living room. Gaping at my surroundings, the air suddenly felt hot and stuffy as I fanned my face as a drop of sweat came trickling down my cheek. I went over to the thermostat mounted on the wall and my jaw dropped when I saw that it was reading 73 degrees. I backed away, covering my mouth as my heart sprang back against my spine. With the sweltering air, it must have been at least 90. Moving into the kitchen, I tried to open the window but it wouldn’t budge. Straining my face, I pulled harder but it was like trying to pull a fire hydrant out of the ground. Letting out a defeatist groan, I finally gave up and my tank top was sticking to my back as more sweat came down my face.

I’m also participating in Facebook’s Snippet Sunday. Your comments are most welcome and appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll continue this snippet in two weeks time (I’ll be on a snowshoeing trip next Sunday). Click on the Weekend Writing Warriors link above for the full list of participating authors.


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31 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: “Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Me?”

  1. Scary stuff, Frank…I can really picture it. And I hate fires–I’ve been in two so it was very realistic to me.

  2. Oh it’s getting hot in there! Well described.

  3. This is spooky as hell, Frank—maybe even literally?

    Great snippet!

    • It is. At first the reader would wonder why this is happening, but later when Melissa meets the puppet-master the reader connects the dots.

  4. Thermostats usually show two temperatures: the room temperature and the set temperature. Clarify which. If room temperature, something’s wrong with her perception (is she dreaming?); if set temperature, something other than the heating system is warming the room up.

    • it’s both. Something else is meant to heat the room up. Sorry I didn’t make that more clear, thanks for the feedback.

  5. Nice sense of fear in this line “I backed away, covering my mouth as my heart sprang back against my spine.” but I wonder what it is she’s afraid of.

  6. Very foreboding indeed. Sets the tone for all the things to come – great excerpt!

  7. I definitely get the feeling of doom. I think some of your adjectives could be left out or changed. For example, why is the living room lifeless? Are there dead people in there? Or do you mean it’s empty? And a groan is usually emitted when someone is exasperated, so defeatist might be superfluous.
    Sorry if this is too nitpicky – I did enjoy reading, and you definitely set up the danger to come!

  8. burnsmillie

    Oh boy, I remember this story…this is just a taste of things to come…get the heck outta that house girls!

    • I knew you would. I intend to revisit that scene, since I’ve edited it. Melissa wants to get out, but her sister is oblivious to what’s happening.

  9. Careful with using ‘as I’ too much. It’s more interesting to change the structure of the sentences. Good concept and I remember the other part of the story. Also , ‘I strained my face’-consider arms, shoulders etc. instead of face.
    Constructive critique is what we’re all about, Frank. Good work.

    • Thanks for that. You’re right, constructive critique is always helpful, even if it’s not what we want to hear.

  10. Snowshoeing and night time skiing? You lucky dog! My brother and his family are up in the mountains this weekend and I’m supremely jealous.

    Scary snippet. I’ve always loved reading horror.

    If you don’t mind the suggestion, I’d cut the sentences and reduce the ‘ing’s to ramp up the tension. Ex: Letting out a defeatist groan, I finally gave up and my tank top was sticking to my back as more sweat came down my face. to: I groaned and gave up. My tank top stuck to my back as more sweat rolled down my face.

    • Both sports are how I make the most of winter.

      Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve already made the changes. I don’t know how I make mistakes like that.

  11. I remember this story! it was pure evil torture. The floor was scorching hot! Good to see you posting this again.

    I agree with much of what has been commented.. It’s one of the best things about 8sunday, I think–getting all of this good and well-intended advice. 🙂

    Enjoy your winter getaway. We’ve had a touch of spring here, but the temp has dropped back down to freezing. Looks to stay there through at least, early March. 🙂

    • Thanks for that input and glad you remembered the story – yes the scorching floor was a kicker. I will share more of that. My winter getaway is how I make the most of the winter in Canada.

  12. This is a great excerpt, I love the kind-of-subtle tension you’ve got going. I do remember that other excerpt, I was hoping to see more from that story!

  13. Love all the description, I can really feel the heat. The comparison to trying to pull a hydrant out of the ground is quite original–and makes me think of the nice, cool water contained in there that she’s probably longing for!

    I think it’s a “defeated groan,” though.

  14. Sherry Gloag

    I wanted out of there. It’s scary.

  15. As any Boy Wonder would say, “Holy hot flashes Batman.” But the tank top makes me think it is not hot flashes. Crossing my finger on this end of the internets. 🙂

  16. You manage to convey the sweltering air and the horror of the thermostat that’s wrong very well.It seems very supernatural and creepy. Good job on the atmospheric!

    • Thanks, describing that wasn’t easy for me at first. I had to rewrite that scene several times before I got it right.

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