Checkpoint page
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Let's put everything together in a checkpoint piece. Here's the original snippet:

“No way,” Quinn said, shaking his head. “Every adult and older kid in the whole school just disappears? That makes no sense.”

“It’s not just the school,” Astrid said.

“What?” Quinn snapped at her.

“The phones and the TV?” Astrid said.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Quinn said. He was shaking his head, half smiling, like he’d been told a bad joke.

“My mom,” Sam said.

“Man, stop this,” Quinn said. “All right? It’s not funny.”

For the first time Sam felt the edge of panic, like a tingling at the base of his spine. His heart was thumping in his chest, laboring as if he’d been running.

Sam swallowed hard. He sucked at the air, unable to take more than shallow breaths. He looked at his friend’s face. He’d never seen Quinn so scared. Quinn’s eyes were behind shades, but his mouth quivered, and a pink stain was creeping up his neck. Astrid was still calm, though, frowning, concentrating, trying to make sense of it all.

“We have to check it out,” Sam said.

Quinn let loose a sort of sobbing breath. He was already moving, turning away. Sam grabbed his shoulder.

“Get off me, brah,” Quinn snapped. “I have to go home. I have to see.”

“We all have to go see,” Sam said. “But let’s go together.”


Here are the examples we've been building:

“How can it be,” Eve said, rapidly clicking the torch’s switch, “that the lights are off, the phones are off, this torch won’t work, but the music is still playing and I can hear things beeping everywhere? That’s stupid!”

“Maybe it’s not the power. Maybe it’s us,” Heidi said.

“What?” Eve blurted.

“Apart from the fact that things are black, everything works,” Heidi added, simply.

“We’re... blind?” Noah asked.

“B-but that’s stupid,” Eve floundered, her voice nervously rising. “We can’t be… that would be…”

But Noah could tell by how quickly he was breathing that he didn’t think it was stupid at all. A cold sweat covered his body and his legs felt like buckling under him.

Noah leaned weakly against a stand, suddenly acutely aware of the machinery sounds around them. If they’re working, he should see blinking lights, digital readouts, of course. Idiot!

He could still hear Eve muttering to herself between choked back sobs, as if she could talk herself out of the truth. Heidi just stayed quiet, except for a single, long, resigned sigh.

“Let’s go outside,” Noah said.

Eve kept hitting the torch switch, muttering and sobbing. Noah shuffled to where he could hear her, reaching out and fumbling for her hand.

“Can’t be blind...” Eve said quietly. “So stupid…”

“Maybe,” Noah said. “But leaving the shopping centre should prove the theory.”

“It’s like Jurassic Park,” Bronwyn said as they watched a brontosaurus walk through the overhead power lines on the edge of the park. “Someone’s been experimenting with dinosaur DNA and now they’re on the loose.”

“It’s more than that,” said Hunter.

“Oh yeah? What is it then, nerd?” Bronwyn said.

Hunter pointed. “The plants are different. All those weird ferns. The humidity. The smell in the air. The whole atmosphere has changed.”

“What’s your point, Hunter?” snapped Bron. She was getting agitated, her fists balled up like she wanted to punch him for being difficult.

“We’ve gone prehistoric,” said Trixie.

“Cretaceous, to be precise,” Hunter said. “If you can be precise about a period that was 79 million years long.”

Trixie suddenly felt sick, like she’d been on a rollercoaster slowly climbing, and now she’d reached the top and could see just how far they were about to fall. It felt like her stomach wanted to jump out of her mouth.

She staggered back, then held on to Bron’s shoulder to steady herself. She could feel Bronwyn breathing quickly, on the edge of a panic attack. Bron shoved her hands into her hair like she was trying to hold her brain together, so Trixie patted her shoulder to let her know she was there. Meanwhile Hunter seemed unfazed. He checked his phone, looking for internet.

“We need to get organised,” said Trix. “We need to get our families together.”

Bron looked at her like she was nuts. “How are we going to get home? There are dinosaurs everywhere! We’ll get eaten!”

“The dinosaurs don’t know what’s going on either, Bron. We need to move now, while we still can.”

And below is your version, joined together. You might need to delete some excess paragraph breaks.

Is there anything you want to edit? This is your last chance to make improvements before we conclude the lesson!

Do you:

  • have your characters put the clues together and reveal the big picture?
  • make it personal?
  • show everyone's emotional response?
  • have your hero come up with a plan?
Delete excess paragraph breaks and polish your scene.