Miss Snark’s First Victim is holding a critique of explosive scenes, to be posted by this Thursday at her site. My scene is below, and you can critique it here or at MSFV’s site.
Ashley is a fairy who has grown to human size. She and her friend Violet are being escorted by an artilleryman named Cutter as they flee to the Thames. They passed an artillery battery on the way.
The ground heaved under my feet.
My wings stirred beneath my blouse, an instinctive reaction to keep my balance. I grabbed someone I thought was Cutter, and that’s how I’m sure of my memory—the vibration through solid ground arrived before the huge explosion that boomed through the air a heartbeat later.
Violet had latched onto Cutter with both hands, fingernails digging in. I looked at the man I had mistakenly grabbed and hoped he hadn’t noticed any stirring beneath my clothes. “I beg your pardon.”
“There they are!” The man pointed. He wore a nice knitted vest, otherwise I could have thought of him as a whaler in Moby Dick spotting a pod of whales, his voice carried so. “Yonder! D’you see? Yonder, yonder!”
Ascending above the treetops, a great cloud of black smoke stained the blue sky—not from normal cannon fire, more like what happened to Cutter when all the powder went off at once and destroyed his gun. Now Cutter himself looked back, his face frozen in anxiety—except for a nervous tic that passed over his left eye.
“Oh heavens!” My hands clawed the air. “All those men—their guns!”
Below the black cloud, through flat meadows and trees that now looked small, a cowled figure strode in a rolling motion. Glittering in the sun, it was a Martian war machine approaching the river. Approaching us.