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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > December 2017 > UNDER THE microscope

UNDER THE microscope

James McCreet considers a reader’s historical thriller opening


36 DECEMBER 2017


Mel awoke.1 Or at least he thought he was awake.2 Something seemed strange and unfamiliar, yet not completely alien.3 He tried to look around, but there was only darkness.4 He tried to move, but could only shift his limbs and body an inch or two by pushing against the slightly-yielding envelope that surrounded him.5 Despite this, he felt warm and protected6 and, somewhat to his surprise,7 not on the verge of a panic attack.8

Unable to deduce where he was and what he was doing,9 Mel thought it might become clear if he could attract somebody’s attention.10 He tried to shout out,11 “Is anybody there?”12 Although he mouthed the words, the sound that emerged was muffled.13 It was as if there was no air passing his vocal chords to generate any resonance.14 Only then did it dawn on him15 that he was not actually breathing.16 Mel managed to suppress the first signs of anxiety that were now starting to gather,17 by a first stab at an explanation.18 Could I be dead?19 Is this what it would be like when you shed your mortal coil, and commenced the journey to whatever lay beyond?20 If so, and despite his mild panic, at least for the moment it was not unbearable.21

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About Writing Magazine

Free your mind! In the new issue of Writing Magazine we look at finding new ways to expand your creative horizons. We also take a look at editing, and offer a practical plan to take your work from messy manuscript to a clean draft that will impress editors. In our star interview, Joanne Harris talks about folklore, fairy tales and sprinkling magic into your fiction. Plus inspiring ideas, practical exercises, success stories, writing prizes to win and much, much more!

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