Chapter 2

Written by: MatClarke

The professor’s mind ticked over like a grandfather clock, methodically touching on all the data available to him, his legs moving like dual pendulums sending him further down the mountain through ice and snow.
    A little over 15 miles to base camp, five hours left of daylight, the sun was blanketed by a heavy cloud... again! And would probably stay that way until tomorrow. Three bars of chocolate to keep energy up and reduce use of precious body fat.
    He wouldn’t rest as night fell, too great a chance of never waking. He would continue through and surely reach camp by midday tomorrow, by then the good ol’ rescue team would be out looking for all three of them, now that they were well past their due time. And even before that he would be far enough from the mineral rich soil and rocks to get a clear signal with his two-way radio.
    Alex and Rick would be fine, he had stayed longer than he wanted to yesterday burning the last hours of daylight and constructing the ice cave to make sure they would be safe and warm. No sense in worrying anymore, it was up to them to stay alive and vigilant. They weren’t just any students, these were his two best with minds great enough to be akin to his own.
    He reached around to his front pocket and patted the flare gun, good, if he heard the chopper, which they would no doubt send out tomorrow morning when there was better visibility, he would use it. The breast pocket was where his chocolate bars sat; less a chocolate bar and more a soft glucose-cocoa mix that didn’t require a lot of heat to melt in his mouth. Regular chocolate would be like sucking on a rock.
    He unzipped his pocket and reached in to grab the first bar. Lunchtime at last, he smiled, ice cracked in his beard.
    The smile turned to a frown. He patted his other pockets, frantically clenching each fabric space around his large jacket and insulated pants.
    ‘You stupid asshole!’
    The professor stomped his feet like a delinquent and bellowed out a second time, voice echoing off the sheer faces less than a mile away, still obscured by cloud.
    He wasn’t sure if he was yelling at himself or the circumstance he found himself in. He would be okay. He might get sick or take somewhat longer to recover after this was all over, but he would be okay. Hungry and tired, but okay.
    How could this have happened?
    He felt a rumble and patted his belly.
    ‘Easy, fella.’
    But that wasn’t it. His stomach wasn’t grumbling at lack of food, vibrations were coming from under his feet.  
    ‘Oh no. Don’t.’
    The sound of rushing snow reached his ears. It wouldn’t be long before it was upon him.



Mat Clarke - Australia


Mat, I love the way you build the tension in this chapter. It builds as we see into the professor's mind on how he intends to survive, what his thoughts are about the other two and get a sense of his leadership in that he spent time making sure they would be safe. Then the discovery about the chocolate and we start thinking - how is he going to survive, followed by the cliff hanger of an avalanche. Great follow on and this is really starting to look like an exciting thriller. Well done 'Blue'.
Wow, talk about a cliff hanger. Is the poor professor going to survive the avalanche or not?! Great building of suspense. Two things didn't work for me. The grandfather clock metaphor at the beginning - makes prof seem elderly when in fact he must be around 40s/early 50s (if he's twice Alex's age). And then the prof musing on what a great mind he has - seemed too pompous for the impression I'm building of him. I find him a sympathetic character so I don't think he would "blow his own trumpet" like that. You've made me want to read the next chapter to see what happens.  
I love the set up for the avalanche, Mat! And what great hubris the professor has. First in thinking that they'd have no problems getting to their destination in the balloon and now in taking on the mountain. Fantastic stuff.
I'm still trying to work that out  It does not seem a unique writing style and I find it too wordy.  Cut it back to 300 and make it interesting. 
The specific limit to the number of words in this serial is meaningless. Each author has the option to make their segment move the story as far as they wish. If you find the segments too wordy, then the story didn't move far enough. Fewer words per chapter won't help, only more chapters can, and that isn't an option. However, I do agree that we have three written chapters, 27% of the story, and a story concept which might be to big for the pace we see.  @ the authors. With only eleven total chapters, we owe our readers a story that must move quickly or fail because the final chapter can't possibly pull the whole thing together on its own. Introductions are over so the next few chapters are going to determine the success of this serial. I have one more point for the writers. The first serial was fun because it didn't take itself seriously. This concept necessitates some smart writing to satisfy our readers.
Gregg makes good points. In particular with regard his last comment. Surely, the whole point of this exercise is to showcase our talents as writers by producing an exciting story that moves with pace and ends with a satisfactory conclusion. To do this within 500 words and 48hrs calls for total concentration, inspiration, and attention to grammatical detail. This is a test of all our talents. We may not always get it quite right but this exercise will help sharpen and hone each authors writing abilities.    
@Ken - With 10 different authors, I don't see how to create a single unique voice. Rather the legion of voices creates its own unique result. Gregg offered an excellent analysis of the issue. I have faith that the story will have resolve itself and showcase the talents of the authors to a satisfactory conclusion. That said, not every story is satisfying to every reader. I hope we capture your interest soon!