Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday: 24 February 2009

This week I have been reading books by Dean Koontz, the master of horror storytelling at a thriller pace. I like his books because they often feature animals, often dogs. Also, he provides just enough description in his sentences to give information while allowing the action to move forward. An example of this are two sentences from "Watchers":

"Over there, a narrow field was choked with waist-high brown grass as crisp as hay, a few bristly clumps of mesquite, and some sprawling oleander bushes with roots deep enough to keep them green. When he stared directly at the field, he saw none of the movement he thought he had caught from the corner of his eye, but he suspected that he had not imagined it."


My two sentences are from my dark fantasy manuscript, Passage:

“Grasping a prominence on the ledge above, he pulled up on it, only to feel it give way and go crashing to the talus slope below.

As his body swung outward, he flung the free arm into the rock, bashing his knuckles but somehow managing to get his hand jammed in the crack.”

For other writers of Two Sentence Tuesdays visit Women of Mystery.

21 comments:

Hagelrat said...

I love Watchers, but i'm so bored with Koontz, they all seem so samey and predicatable now.

David Cranmer said...

I have Koontz's latest YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I like the way he can infuse into his stories, so many elements of various genres. As for your two I love the descriptive "Bashing". I need to use that word more often.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sounds exciting, Barbara. Do you find your writing influenced by what you're currently reading.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Dean always has these great golden retrievers at his house---and don't you love his bio? Something like he had a horrible job and his wife said, hey, go ahead, write that book.....which was a very good idea!

Teresa said...

Well, those are exciting two sentences, Barbara. Is he going to fall down the cliff? When will the book come out, so we can find out what happens? It's not really fair to leave us dangling, so to speak.

ARCHAVIST said...

Watchers was the first Koontz I ever read - back in the day when he was DEAN R KOONTZ

Barbara Martin said...

Hagelrat, Koontz like many others writers tend to follow a successful framework to mould their stories. Though with plot topics there are only so many within a given genre. Unless the writer develops a totally different twist the stories, after awhile, will tend to seem the same. I read each of his books in a mindset that this is a new book to savour while understanding it will be somewhat similar but different than the last.

Those who write book reviews have to be objective about each and every book they read by taking the story on a stand-alone basis. Books belonging in a series should be observed the same way while taking in the similarities and how the tale moves forward.

Koontz has an ability to work carefully on his sentences to evoke the hidden horror within. Some are just dripping with suspense. He will continue to get kudos from me.

Barbara Martin said...

David, Koontz is a master to learn how he keeps the suspense going until the reader can hardly stand it.

We both wrote about characters getting 'owies'.

Barbara Martin said...

Patti, yes I am influenced because I take the author's method of writing their particular scenes or how they set up their chapters. For example, Wilbur Smith has a tendency to mention a particular occurrence early on in the chapter or in a previous chapter and then creates a surprise with it. The brain takes in the information and happily you continue reading the wonderful descriptive narrative momentarily forgetting and then suddenly there it is again, in all its splendour. I have often muttered to myself: 'You did it again, Wilbur!'

Koontz is no different. He sets up his horror well by providing little bits of information that build on each other to form the whole. He and I know dogs very well, down to their mannerisms and how they would probably react at any given moment. I appreciate the detail he puts into the stories with the dogs and the other animals. He does the same with the background and the psyche of each of the characters. Each particle of information fits with the whole. A master writer does that. By reading from the best writers in the genres I'm writing in I'm hoping some of what I learn rubs off into my own. Time will tell.

Barbara Martin said...

Gary, the man loves his dogs, and his last dog, Trixie, passed away in 2007 almost at the same time my mini-poodle did. He had a very difficult time writing which may be reflected in YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME. I will know when I read it being a bit intuitive.

Koontz was fortunate to have a supportive wife in his writing endeavours, to support him for five years while he either made it as a writer or failed. She quit her job in his fifth year to manage his writing business. Very early in his career I had read 'Demon Seed' and hoped there were more stories Koontz had written.

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, sorry two sentences are all you get. As to publication I have been sending out queries. But to pique your curiousity further, a modified chapter from 'Passage' will be appearing on the zine BEAT TO A PULP on March 7th.

Barbara Martin said...

Gary, Koontz has slowly integrated a spiritual element in his books through a connection between humans and animals with intuitive behaviour and telepathic abilities. Each of his books holds this element.

Clare2e said...

Barbara- You go ahead and keep us hanging until we read more in BTAP!

I'm a Koontz fan, too, and I love the Odd Thomases.

Barbara Martin said...

Clare, now that you have many odd pieces that are interesting yet puzzling, the modified chapter will provide a portion of the plot. Another piece to whet your appetite further.

Though there is still another Tuesday.

BernardL said...

I liked your sentences, Barbara. They certainly furthered the action. Dean Koontz is definitely among my top five favorite authors.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I haven't read any Koontz. I look forward to reading more of your book, Barbara!

Cloudia said...

Interesting little lesson in sentence construction. Thank you, Barbara. Aloha-

Barbara Martin said...

Bernard, thanks and your own writing is doing well.

Raph, all of Koontz's books are horror suspense. Sometimes he goes into areas that a few reviewers take exception to, but he is a horror writer. A person's fears may be closer to home than they think.

Cloudia, thank you and I'm more than happy to assist other writers.

Reader Wil said...

I am going to find one of those books written by Koonz. It reminds me of the Birds by Daphne du Maurier or The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. They are both about animals or animal like critters and at once horror stories.
You asked if the Curtain Fig Tree ever grew figs. Well, to be honest I don't know. I have never heard it did. I'll google it!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Two great choices of sentences. I've heard great things about Watchers and I've got to read it one of these days. I'm not really into horror, but I love Golden Retrievers and the book is set right here in Orange County, CA. Koontz spoke to my writers group once, and he was really great and very funny at times. Good luck with your queries. Sounds like an exciting story.

Barbara Martin said...

Wil, Watchers is the best of the Koontz books, and the author says so himself.

Linda, I read Watchers when it first came out in 1987 and I'm refreshing my memory on the story. So far there have been more than a few gaps. Koontz is an expert on the suspense while working on those unknowns the human mind worries about.