We’re nearing the end. We know something bad has happened, but we still have to see exactly what.

Once again, this passage is all about maintaining tension by drawing out the action.

The speedo is like a clock gone mad. I don't know why, but I feel like I just swallowed a whole egg, shell and all. I can tell something bad's happened—I'm not stupid—but no one has told me yet. I don't know. If my Dad is dead, we just won't live anymore.

The moon sits over the road like a big fat thing. It looks useless as hell tonight. I never felt that about the moon before. As the road goes downhill I can see the pale lights of the city far away. Trees hang all over the road.

"Where's Tegwyn?" I ask.

"She's home looking after Grammar."

"I could've done that."

"I want you... with me," she says. I know she's crying. All the door handles glow in the dark. It's like I can see her face in them and she's crying in all of them. Tegwyn will hate looking after Grammar.

This scene is all about focusing on different details while we wait to get to the destination. 

We begin with a small but vivid detail to anchor the scene, then some first-person commentary and enviromental description that gives us direct insight into the narrator's thoughts and feelings, in this case a sense of panic.

We end with a seemingly mundane conversation about the logistics of the background characters left behind, which is a counterpoint to real emotion under the scene.

  • A mode of transport for your narrator and secondary character
  • A landscape to move through
  • A reason to talk about your background characters from the beginning
  • A sense of your characters’ emotional states and behaviours

You can choose a different secondary character if you want

In the Red Riding Hood story we've been developing in this course, Mother is the secondary character and the Woodsman is a background character. For this snippet, we decided that we wanted the Woodsman in the scene instead of Mother, so we swapped them.