Teaser Park: The Underground Empire of Joseph Wunderkind (Part 5)

I feel like I’ve been letting these introductions run away with me, so today, I’ll keep it short.

Many times, my girlfriend has pointed out to me that I tend to stop my writing for the day at a natural cliffhanger.  And so, today I present you with the cliffhanger that I left myself with after having reached the thirty thousand word mark and then having to take a break to write a play.

I guess I never thought about this habit as a technique for writing, though it’s worked that way.  I know that some people like to stop writing in the middle of a sentence (so they’ll have something they have to finish the next day) while others like to write complete chapters (so they won’t have to worry about losing their momentum for that scene).

The main goal is – whatever mental trick you use to propel yourself forward – is to give yourself a lifeline to pull you into the next day’s writing.  For me, that’s making sure that I have something to write about the next day: if I end with Cindy being scared that Joseph has picked up a scythe, then the next day I have to explain that fear.  The same with today’s selection, where next I have to figure out how Joseph is getting out of this mess.

The background for this scene is that Joseph is about to be auditioned by the chorus, a bodiless group of voices.  The audition is worse than it sounds.  Then again, depending on your own experience, maybe not.

(p.s. to alleviate your fears, I already know.  Sort of.  Which is what makes this job fun, no?)

(p.p.s. don’t answer that.)

“Sing,” said the chorus.

“No,” Joseph said.

“Sing!” commanded the chorus.

“No,” Joseph said.

“Please?” asked the chorus.

“No,” Joseph said.

“You don’t really have a choice,” said the chorus.

“Then why are you giving me one?”

“Auditions go much better when they are voluntary,” said the chorus.  “Are you sure you won’t sing?”

“Yes,” Joseph said.

“Yes you’ll sing, or yes you’re sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure I’m not going to sing,” said Joseph.

“Well,” said the chorus, “you’re wrong.”

The light around Joseph grew brighter.  It was as if the wall of light that hemmed Joseph in was constricting, forcing his body into a tight space like a tunnel.  He wasn’t pushed together.  His arms weren’t smushed to his sides.  But the light shrunk down around his body, all over his body, like a too tight glove.  And because of that pressure, something was rising up again in him, another flood of emotions that Joseph, this time, couldn’t control.  The light tightened around him again and his mouth opened up.  It tightened once more and song poured from his throat.

The song wasn’t made up of words, but was purely sound.  And it was beautiful, so beautiful that Joseph was stunned at himself, at this thing that he was creating.  But it was painful, too, as though the air expelling from his lungs had little hooks in it that caught and tore at his throat as the song came out.  It was physically painful.  The song was full of emotion, pain and longing and sadness, but Joseph didn’t feel that emotion as he sang, all he felt was the pain of the singing.  In the brief pause where the light forced him to take a breath, he tasted blood.

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2 Responses to Teaser Park: The Underground Empire of Joseph Wunderkind (Part 5)

  1. Ellen says:

    WOW! I love this scene! you have some great visuals, and I love the snarkiness of the disembodied chorus, “Auditions go much better when they are voluntary.” Creepy and funny all at once.
    Awesome job! 🙂

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks so much, Ellen! Creepy and funny is exactly what I’m going for. Since most of my stories end up being on the darker side, I feel like there has to be humor somewhere (just like Shakespeare always had to thrown in a clown or two in his tragedies) (Also, just imagine that I’m not comparing myself to Shakespeare).

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