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Thread: repost: ch1/pt1

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    repost: ch1/pt1

    posting the whole 1st chapter this time, hope it easier to read

    Dorren was numb to the suffering of his body, lost in his labor to all but the rhythmic swinging of his pick-axe. Clumps of soil and small rocks flew into his face and upper body, stripped bare in the summer heat. For the last two years, since the United Armies of Sarranhold under the command of King Varrel III, Warlord of the Sarran Empire conquered the Kingdom of Ashela; Dorren and every other citizen of the once mighty lands east of the Crying River had been forced into work-camps run by Sarrian Overseers.
    From dawn to dusk the whips of the overseers made certain that the Asheldian people knew who their new masters were. Many did not survive the invasion..many more did not survive the first year of occupation. The constant physical labor took its toll. The constant beatings, torture, and killing at the hands the overseers’ took a larger toll, still. By the end of that first year, almost half of the people of Ashelda were dead...the rest were broken. Like Dorren, their existence had become nothing more than existing...and working. No one knew what the Sarrians wanted in Ashelda, but they seemed willing to destroy all of it lands, and its peoples, to find it.
    All Dorren had found in the last 2 years of back-breaking labor was more back-breaking labor. Whatever they wanted, all he wanted was for the sun to go down so he could rest. He lifted his axe again and drove it deep into the hillside. The whining scrape of a larger stone buried in the hillside signaled a small break while the shovelers cleared it loose, and then he had to help pry it free-and roll it clear...this small break heralded much harder work to come, just as the scrape had heralded the break. The ironies of life and labor were lost on Dorren at that moment as he cast his tired gaze around the work site and saw the water-girl approaching.
    Even as exhausted as he was, he was still a healthy young man coming upon his 17th year. And the thought of her smile was just as invigorating to him as the thought of the refreshing water she also possessed. He hoped she would arrive at his site before the shovelers finished their task. The overseers wouldn’t allow him to stop work for something like water. Perhaps THIS time she would speak to him. This time, he thought, would be different. This time he knew what HE would say to HER...he'd ask for her name, at least.
    She walked rather slowly (or so it seemed to Dorren's burning throat) from the next dig site to his, offering water- and her kind smile( no small luxury since the occupation)- to every person she passed. He remembered seeing her around the palace, the places he was allowed into anyways (and some he WASNT allowed into, but that was life in the palace).
    When there WAS a palace, that is. He also remembered the night it was destroyed by Our Most Supreme High Overlord, Ruler of All, and Most Worshiped(spit!) King Varrel III.
    They all did.
    Something had changed in the people who once lived and worked around the palace after that night, like some part of them had died and been buried amongst the ashes and ruins of stone.
    Maybe it was their pride, he thought, as he looked around at the shabbily dressed workers around him. Workers. That was a lie...they were slaves. Slaves being worked and beaten to into extermination, the rags they now wear being the patched together remnants of their once fine garments. Their pride...and their arrogance. They had certainly changed towards him. Before, when he was growing up in the palace before the war-and even for a time after the fall of the capitol and start of the work camps, he was treated with as one would a beggar or un-wanted house-guest. Never invited, just..tolerated.
    Being the illegitimate son of a king has its advantages and dis-advantages. Dorren grew up well-fed and even got more than a passing education, but was always reminded that he SHOULDNT exist. Politely, of course.
    But when the walls of the great palace came down, so too, it seemed to Dorren, did the walls that separated those who thought themselves separate because of them. But that couldn’t be. Nothing good could come from this much misery.
    "Hi, Dorren. Thirsty?', was the sound that brought him back to the present. Dorren didn’t even have to answer, for she had already poured the drinking cup with her bucket full to the top with clear, cool-looking water. He nodded and smiled and took the cup in both hands, licking his dried lips with his equally dry tongue. Slowly he let the cool liquid pour into his mouth and let it spread like a flood, then slide down his throat..waiting to swallow so as to let the moisture linger. His sigh of satisfaction was soon replaced by a look of sadness at realizing he had emptied the cup.
    "I guess a big guy like you needs alil more, eh?", she said as she smiled and took the now empty cup from his hands. Dorren knew that if the guards saw her give more than one cup of water to someone, either she, or he, or probably both, would be punished severely. He put his hand out to stop her as she tilted the bucket to refill the cup, and accidentally knocked the bucket from her small hands.
    Time slowed as the bucket fell to the chopped ground. Time enough for Dorren to realize what he had just done..what would happen when the overseer saw she had wasted the water. Dry throats for the rest of the people would be the least of the suffering this night would bring, and Dorren knew it.
    She knew it too.
    Dorren made a grab for the bucket before it could hit the ground, but just as time had slowed the buckets decent, so had its cruel hands slowed his own. He heard the girl gasp as the bucket landed on its side and rolled, the remaining water spilling down the hillside and soaking into the summer-dried dirt.
    At the bottom of the hill, an overseer stood upon a large stone that had been cleared from the opposite hillside. Its whip was still in its hands from 'encouraging' the workers who had just moved it. That must have been what had kept its attention away from Dorren and the water-girl before, he thought. Its back was still facing away from him, and the bucket, cursing at the workers that now lay bloodied and exhausted at the bottom of the hill.
    Dorren began to sneak down his own hillside in an ill-begotten effort to regain the lost bucket from under the nose, as it were, of the overseer when a small hand grabbed his wrist; "Please!," she whispered, "Don't! I will say that I dropped it.." But Dorren just took her small hands into his and shook his head. Before she could say anything else, he turned and started slowly down the hillside, making his way from dirt pile to dirt pile to large stone.
    He stopped behind a small outcropping at the base of a large rock pile. From here, he could see the bucket...and the overseer. The water bucket had come to rest at the base of the rock.
    "Just my luck", Dorren thought. He looked back up the hill and wondered if he could make it back without being seen. Then he saw the water-girl(what was her name?) cowering behind a small earth mound. No, he couldn’t go back up. If she returned without it, she would be punished. Dorren couldn’t allow that. He wouldn’t..not for something that was his fault, especially.
    He could see and hear the overseer quite clearly from this spot and tell that it was engrossed in the suffering of its current charges, but still faced too far his way for him to take any kind of move towards the bucket. Dorren took this time to study a Sarrian up close for the first time.
    They were, on a whole, taller and thinner than Asheldians, but they had extraordinary strength and senses. The overseers and soldiers he had seen all worn armor on their forearms, shins, and chests..with helmets that covered their faces, making them more intimidating. The Sarrains black hair gleamed in the sunlight. It’s long braid trailing down its back and ended in the ceremonial dueling blade that all of the Sarrians Dorren had seen, wore.
    He wondered how many men it would take to overpower it and maybe make an escape, but to where? The Sarrians were everywhere now, even the low countries. No one seemed able to fight them, not even one of them. Dorren knew this day would not end well for him. He shook his head and looked again at the overseer, waiting for any chance.
    At last the overseer jumped down from the rock on the other side, away from Dorren, to give more 'encouragement' no doubt to the workers who were just getting to their feet again. Dorren couldn’t do anything to help them no matter how much he wanted to, but he did use the opportunity to move quickly from his hiding spot to make a grab for the water bucket and hopefully make it back up the hill without being seen. He knew it was hopeless, but hopelessness can be motivating in its own way. When you pass the point of caring for consequences, sometime you can do the impossible. So it seemed with Dorren as he made his mad dash to the relative safety of the rock without raising any alarm.



  2. #2
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    Sorry. I'm not going to read it -- it's too hard with no paragraph breaks. But I did spot one problem:"Just my luck," Dorren thought. You don't use quotation marks for thoughts.

  3. #3
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    I think its a good start but needs some work. It would be easier to read if you put spaces between paragraphs. I also get the impression you're gushing information out into a little space. It feels like information overload (ex. Do we have to know he's in love with the water girl right at the beginning, or the son of the king, can we focus on the clash and build in the other stories in time? Not sure what you want upfront but it feels like a lot). Then there are some typos and a tendency to re-use words, so the same word is used twice in a single sentence. Its distracting. I stopped half way through because it was a challenge to read. I'd read more if you clean it up a bit. Sorry if I sound harsh. There's a good story there but I think its buried. See italicized words below.

    Dorren was numb to the suffering of his body, lost in his labor to all but the rhythmic swinging of his pick-axe. Clumps of soil and small rocks flew into his face and upper body, stripped bare in the summer heat. For the last two years, since the United Armies of Sarranhold under the command of King Varrel III, Warlord of the Sarran Empire conquered the Kingdom of Ashela; Dorren and every other citizen of the once mighty lands east of the Crying River had been forced into work-camps run by Sarrian Overseers.

    From dawn to dusk the whips of the overseers made certain that the Asheldian people knew who their new masters were. Many did not survive the invasion. Many more did not survive the first year of occupation. The constant physical labor took its toll. The constant beatings, torture, and killing at the hands the overseers’ took a larger toll, still. By the end of that first year, almost half of the people of Ashelda were dead...the rest were broken. Like Dorren, their existence had become nothing more than existing...and working. No one knew what the Sarrians wanted (were looking for?) in Ashelda, but they seemed willing to destroy all of it (typo) lands, and its peoples, to find it.
    All Dorren had found in the last 2 years of back-breaking labor was more back-breaking labor. (Delete -Whatever they wanted,) All he wanted was for the sun to go down so he could rest. He lifted his axe again and drove it deep into the hillside. The whining scrape of a larger stone buried in the hillside signaled a small break while the shovelers cleared it loose, and then he had to help pry it free-and roll it clear...this small break heralded much harder work to come, just as the scrape had heralded the break. The ironies of life and labor were lost on Dorren at that moment as he cast his tired gaze around the work site and saw the water-girl approaching.
    Even as exhausted as he was, he was still a healthy young man coming upon his 17th year. And the thought of her smile was just as invigorating to him as the thought of the refreshing water she (carried? Did she really possess water?) also possessed. He hoped she would arrive at his site before the shovelers finished their task. The overseers wouldn’t allow him to stop work for something like water. Perhaps THIS time she would speak to him. This time, he thought, would be different. This time he knew what HE would say to HER...he'd ask for her name, at least.
    She walked rather slowly (or so it seemed to Dorren's burning throat) from the next dig site to his, offering water- and her kind smile( no small luxury since the occupation)- to every person she passed. He remembered seeing her around the palace, the places he was allowed into anyways (and some he WASNT allowed into, but that was life in the palace).
    When there WAS a palace, that is. He also remembered the night it was destroyed by Our Most Supreme High Overlord, Ruler of All, and Most Worshiped(spit!) King Varrel III.
    They all did.
    Something had changed in the people who once lived and worked around the palace after that night, like some part of them had died and been buried amongst the ashes and ruins of stone.
    Maybe it was their pride, he thought, as he looked around at the shabbily dressed workers around him. Workers. That was a lie...they were slaves. Slaves being worked and beaten to into (typo) extermination, the rags they now wear (wore?) being the (were) patched together remnants of their once fine garments. Their pride...and their arrogance. They had certainly changed towards him. Before, when he was growing up in the palace before the war-and even for a time after the fall of the capitol and start of the work camps, he was treated with as one would a beggar or un-wanted house-guest. Never invited, just..tolerated.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Well, I read it all, but yeah, that's a chunk. What you want is something less than a thousand words. I can't run through this whole thing, but I'll give you a few random things that popped into my head.

    Overall, not horrible as far as story. It moved along for the most part, but lots of parts need a diet - often caught myself wanting to skip sentences to make it go faster. That means you have quite a bit of dead wood and information dumping.

    You repeat words and phrases often, either exactly or variants. That’s part of the dead wood all through the piece...pretty annoying. Look at these examples:

    Many did not survive the invasion..many more did not survive the first year of occupation.

    The constant physical labor took its toll. The constant beatings, torture, and killing at the hands the overseers’ took a larger toll, still.

    Like Dorren, their existence had become nothing more than existing...and working.

    All Dorren had found in the last 2 years of back-breaking labor was more back-breaking labor.

    Whatever they wanted, all he wanted was for the sun to go down so he could rest.

    The whining scrape of a larger stone buried in the hillside signaled a small break while the shovelers cleared it loose, and then he had to help pry it free-and roll it clear...this small break heralded much harder work to come, just as the scrape had heralded the break.



    I don’t know that you should refer to a being that talks as “it”, unless of course, the being is sexless. Are Sarrians genderless and reproduce asexually?

    She knows Dorren’s name, and seems pretty darn familiar with him, but he doesn’t know her name? How does that work? It doesn’t.

    He’s spent two years under the lash of the Sarrians who are everywhere, even in the low countries, and Dorren is going to take time to study a Sarrian for the FIRST time? Sorry, that doesn’t wash. After two years, he’s well aware of what they look like, and his main objective is to conceal his presence and get the bucket, nothing else. Find another way to inject the Sarrian description. I'd do it piecemeal through action, instead of that lump of description right before the action. You can sneak in quite a lot of Sarrian description during the bucket confrontation.

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