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  1. #1
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    Cool THE SIEGE OF EREMUS (YA Fantasy)

    Hey guys! I was wondering if you could take a look at the intro of my manuscript here and critique it.

    IT WILL BE SPLIT INTO TWO POSTS. THE NEXT HALF IS IN THE FOLLOWING POST

    Any comments at all welcome. If your critique is good, I'll be happy to return the favor. Thanks!

    -

    CHAPTER I
    Sparring
    [LEFT]
    Hunter Ashdown panted heavily, his shoulder throbbing with pain. His head ached from where it had struck the grassy turf. Perspiration dripped off his forehead as he struggled to stand
    His fingers scrabbled for his blade, curling reassuring around the hilt. He rose unsteadily to his feet and glared at his foe. His opponent gazed back smugly, holding his weapon in a loose grip.
    Hunter lunged at his foe, aiming to end the bout quickly. His adversary batted his blade aside and launched a quick jab in retaliation. Hunter shuffled to the left, but felt the tip of the blade nick his side. Grimacing, he launched a forehand strike.
    His opponent caught the blade on his forearm, the edge bouncing off his skin. He whirled and dispatched Hunter with a strong punch to the stomach.
    Hunter crumpled to the ground, the air knocked out of him. He flopped onto his back. He massaged his stomach where it had been struck and scowled at his enemy.
    Max Lambkin gave an easygoing grin in reply. “If you had abs, you could have easily taken that punch.”
    Hunter reached for his wooden sword and rose to his feet, woozy. “Sparring is supposed to be fair. You can’t just sock me in the belly.” He frowned. “Or, for that matter, deflect my sword with your arm.”
    Max ran a hand through his mop of brown hair. “Why not? It’s made of wood.”
    Hunter bit back a retort as he noticed a figure walk up to them. He snapped to attention, squinting as sunlight filled his eyes.
    “Is there an issue?” asked Alexander Faber, beady eyes trained on Hunter. The hawkish instructor was always eager to punish trainees for the smallest infractions.
    Hunter tried not to squirm under his gaze. “No, sir.”
    Alexander scoffed. “You’ve been standing here for a while now. Look at the other boys; they’re training hard.”
    Pairs of boys fought each other on the practice field. Each held a wooden blade, exchanging blows. Hunter winced as a boy crumpled to the ground after receiving a blow to the head. Though the weapons they used were not made of steel, they still hurt.
    Many of the boys were, in fact, chatting with one another rather than fighting. Rather than voice his thoughts, however, he nodded. “We’ll continue to spar, sir.”
    Without a word, the instructor turned around and strode away. Max made a rude gesture behind his back.
    A month ago, Hunter and Max had been inaugurated into the Barrack, the local term for the academy where soldiers were trained. It was a large fort located in the province of Bluecliff. The Barrack housed over two hundred students; some, like Hunter, were newly initiated, while others had been training for years. For generations, the Barrack had produced some of the finest soldiers in the Empire of Arisia.
    Hunter ran a hand through his jet-black hair. Though training at the Barrack was taxing, it was definitely paying off. His sparring, once dismal, was now far better. New muscles snaked up his arms, the result of hours of practicing drills with weighted wooden blades. His stamina had improved noticeably; he was able to run for miles and spar for hours at a time. Plus, he was able to return home at the end of every week.
    Hunter held his practice blade at the ready, eyes narrowed at his best friend. Max was a good swordsman, one of the best in their group. Yet, his cockiness would be his downfall.
    “You ready?” asked Hunter, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
    “Always,” said Max. He yawned loudly.
    Hunter buffeted Max with a barrage of sword strokes. After a chop to the wrist, Max dropped his blade with a curse. Hunter quickly slugged Max in the abdomen.
    Max doubled over, clutching at his stomach. After several moments, he slowly straightened. “I guess I deserved that.” He cocked an eyebrow at Hunter. “You’ve been holding back on me.”
    “No, you just suck. If this sword were made of metal, you would’ve lost your hand.”
    Max snorted. “I can live without a hand.”
    Hunter continued to spar with Max for the remainder of the evening. He was exhausted, hours of training having sapped his energy. Numerous welts and bruises discolored his body. With every step he took, he could feel his wounds, both new and old, flare with pain. Max had no problem in winning each subsequent round of sparring.
    Relief flooded Hunter as dinnertime was announced. He and the other boys in his group eagerly rushed to the mess hall.
    Hunter marveled at the size of the mess hall every time he entered it. It could easily accommodate one hundred trainees at once. Wooden walls and candlelight created a cozy atmosphere. The interior housed a long table from where trainees could grab their dinner, and several gnarled, wooden tables were arranged in the center of the hall.
    Hunter sat across from Max, eyeing the hearty lamb stew before him. He dug in voraciously while listening to Max’s never-ending chatter.
    “At the start of next week, we’ll start classroom instruction here,” said Max. “I’m sure you’re relieved. Learning, sitting down, that’s more of your thing.”
    Hunter nodded, his face full of stew. He swallowed the broth and said, “True. You’re more into swinging a sword around.” He coughed, lowering his voice. “Others have said that war with Bluecliff is inevitable. That, soon, the rebellion will reach our province.”
    An uprising in a distant province had blown up into a civil war. The war, once seeming to be a minor inconvenience to the Empire, now threatened Hunter’s remote town and the rest of Arisia. True, Bluecliff was militaristic, but it had little chance against an army that greatly outnumbered it. Hunter knew that the kingdom would need every man possible to fight against the insurgents, and so he trained earnestly. They would not take Bluecliff from him.
    Max smiled. “Good for us. We’ll crush them with ease.” After Hunter raised an eyebrow, he added, “Maybe not with ease, but we’ll beat them. No need to worry.”
    Tales claimed that the leader of the rebellion, dubbed Maelstrom, possessed extraordinary powers. Hunter did not know if the stories were true, but most of Bluecliff’s inhabitants seemed deathly afraid of the name.
    “Do you believe in this Maelstrom figure?” asked Hunter between bites. “About his abilities, at least. That he can destroy armies in a heartbeat.”
    Max snorted. “I doubt he even exists. Just a figurehead the rebels use to cause fear. There’s no way anyone can have those kinds of powers.”
    Hunter nodded, still unsure. Other trainees whispered that the Arisian Empire, which had stood for millennia, would finally fall to Maelstrom’s attacks. Deciding to change the topic, he swallowed a spoonful of stew and asked, “How’s your mother doing?”
    Max shrugged wearily. “She’s doing alright. It’s been tough, considering I only see her each weeks’ end. Before I joined the Barrack, it was hard enough hiding the ale from her. Now, with me gone for most of the week, I know she spends most of her time drunk.”
    Max’s father had been an archer, often placed as a sentry in mutinous provinces of the Empire. He had been stationed in a town far to the north six years back. There, a riot had broken out. The rioting had eventually been stifled, but not without a few casualties. Max’s father had been found dead, his head caved inwards from a large stone.
    Max’s mother turned to alcohol after her husband’s passing, finding peace through tankards of ale. Ashamed of her alcoholism, she rarely ventured outside. She relied on her son to pay for her addiction. As such, Max had always been burdened with odd jobs, struggling to bring home enough money. Hunter had convinced his friend to join the Barrack; upon graduation, Max would earn more in wages than he ever had.
    “Stupid Faber,” uttered Max. “He knows my situation, yet he still doesn’t let me see her during the week.” His voice grew louder. “What kind of sick, twisted person would stop someone from taking care of his-”
    “Shut up,” hissed Hunter. Max’s outburst had gathered a lot of attention from the other trainees in the hall. “Your ranting won’t accomplish anything.”
    Calm only moments early, Max was now seething. Slowly, his shoulders drooped and his fists unclenched. He nervously looked around the room, searching for instructors who may have heard his outburst.
    Hunter knew that Max was emotionally unhinged as well. Ever since his father’s death, Max had been prone to fits of anger. Even though he had known Max all his life, Hunter could never tell when Max was about to explode.
    As Hunter polished off his stew, a figure walked into the room. The boys, save for Max, grew silent as they noticed Hayk Harold, drillmaster of the Barrack. Hunter kicked Max under the table, cocking his head towards Harold.
    “I assume you boys had a hearty dinner?” asked Drillmaster Harold. After a few tentative nods, he smiled. “Good. It’s getting late, but I figured we could go for a run. All of the trainees.”

    -

    Again, it is continued on the next post.



  2. #2
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    continued...

    Hunter’s face fell. Harold was considered to be kind, especially compared to instructors such as Faber, but even he could torment the trainees. Hunter rose from his seat and exited the mess hall with the other trainees. The chill evening mist bit into his skin.
    “Sadistic old fool,” muttered Max under his breath. “We’ve been training nonstop since daybreak. Least he could do is send us to our quarters.”
    Hunter shrugged, squinting to see Max in the darkness. “The drillmaster isn’t so bad.” He sighed. “My body is aching, though. And we all know we’re going to be running for hours.” They reached the entrance of the outdoor trail, which snaked outside the Barrack into the wilderness.
    Hunter began to walk down the trail, taking in the scenery. Shafts of moonlight shone through holes in the canopy of trees above. Leaves crunched underfoot. Though Bluecliff was warm most of the year, a chill, biting wind swirled around him. He breathed deeply and gazed at his surroundings once again.
    At once, he stopped, peering into the dense foliage to the left edge of the trail. A shadow seemed to creep out of the trees. With a start, he realized it was a man clad in black clothing.
    Hunter jostled Max, pointing to the newcomer. “Who’s that?”
    His mouth grew dry as he noticed a glint of steel. The man was armed. Without waiting for Max to respond, Hunter sprinted towards the intruder.
    He dashed across the path, pushing aside several trainees. His eyes were locked on the trespasser. The intruder held a large knife, sidling up to the thicket of trainees walking down the path. Hunter came to realize who the assassin was after.
    Drillmaster Hayk Harold walked alongside Alexander Faber, oblivious to the assassin now sprinting up to him. Hunter let out a hoarse cry, attempting to warn the drillmaster before it was too late.
    The assassin raised his arm, ready to plunge his knife deep into the drillmaster’s back. Just as he stabbed downwards, Hunter tackled him to the ground.
    He rolled reflexively and sprang to his feet. The assassin rose just as quickly, eyeing his discarded knife. Hunter dove towards the knife, but the assassin scooped it up before Hunter could.
    Hunter tried to scrabble to his feet, but the layer of dead leaves under him slid and he crashed back to the ground. Pain blossomed in his side as the assassin kicked him in the ribs. He flopped onto his back, eyeing the the assassin standing above him. He winced in preparation as his assailant raised his knife.
    Alexander Faber’s sinewy arms clamped around the man’s neck. The assassin struggled, but froze as a knife danced across his throat. A spurt of blood jettisoned onto Hunter’s chest.
    Hunter scrambled away, eyes wide as the assassin convulsed into his death throes. The intruder clutched at his maimed throat, growing still after several moments.
    Hunter shuddered, eyeing the crimson that now soaked his shirtfront. Max quickly ran up to him, helping him rise to his feet. Hunter shivered, averting his eyes from the corpse.
    “Are you hurt?” asked Faber. He bent down and wiped his bloodstained dagger on the dead leaves below.
    Hunter ignored the question and retched, the contents of his dinner spewing onto the field. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and asked, “Who was that?”
    Drillmaster Harold walked up to him, several of the trainees in tow. “My guess is as good as yours. He could be an agent of Maelstrom, or a deranged madman.” He offered a weak smile. “But it doesn’t matter. He did not succeed, for I’m still alive. Thanks to you.”
    Hunter nodded mutely. The other trainees stared at him in awe. He slowly turned to face the corpse, stomaching the grisly slight.
    Faber reached down and tore the mask off the assassin. He looked up at the drillmaster. “We need to find out who he worked for. Permission to take the body to the medics?”
    Harold nodded. After thanking Hunter once again, he walked back to the Barrack with Faber and the other trainees in tow.
    Hunter stayed in the same spot, shivering as the shock wore off. The sight of the assassin’s lifeless face, revealed after Faber took the mask off, stayed imprinted in his mind. He sunk back to the ground, gazing at the bloodstained leaves in front of him.

    -

    So... Was it riveting? Do you want to read more? And are you getting a sense of the characters? Again, any input welcome. If you give a good critique, I'll be sure to reciprocate. Thanks guys!


  3. #3
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    It'd be more riveting if you put an extra space between paragraphs. Most people who critique here have nothing you can critique back so your attempt to offer an incentive is meaningless.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    It'd be more riveting if you put an extra space between paragraphs. Most people who critique here have nothing you can critique back so your attempt to offer an incentive is meaningless.
    Well nice to meet you too.

    Either way, incentives are nice, and I will reciprocate. But yeah, I'll put spaces in there (I'm surprised it didn't keep all my tab formatting in there)

  5. #5
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    Join Date
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    THE SIEGE OF EREMUS (YA Fantasy)

    Hey guys! I was wondering if you could take a look at the intro of my manuscript here and critique it.

    IT WILL BE SPLIT INTO TWO POSTS. THE NEXT HALF IS IN THE FOLLOWING POST

    Any comments at all welcome. If your critique is good, I'll be happy to return the favor. Thanks!

    -

    CHAPTER I
    Sparring

    Hunter Ashdown panted heavily, his shoulder throbbing with pain. His head ached from where it had struck the grassy turf. Perspiration dripped off his forehead as he struggled to stand.

    His fingers scrabbled for his blade, curling reassuring around the hilt. He rose unsteadily to his feet and glared at his foe. His opponent gazed back smugly, holding his weapon in a loose grip.

    Hunter lunged at his foe, aiming to end the bout quickly. His adversary batted his blade aside and launched a quick jab in retaliation. Hunter shuffled to the left, but felt the tip of the blade nick his side. Grimacing, he launched a forehand strike.

    His opponent caught the blade on his forearm, the edge bouncing off his skin. He whirled and dispatched Hunter with a strong punch to the stomach.

    Hunter crumpled to the ground, the air knocked out of him. He flopped onto his back. He massaged his stomach where it had been struck and scowled at his enemy.

    Max Lambkin gave an easygoing grin in reply. “If you had abs, you could have easily taken that punch.”

    Hunter reached for his wooden sword and rose to his feet, woozy. “Sparring is supposed to be fair. You can’t just sock me in the belly.” He frowned. “Or, for that matter, deflect my sword with your arm.”

    Max ran a hand through his mop of brown hair. “Why not? It’s made of wood.”

    Hunter bit back a retort as he noticed a figure walk up to them. He snapped to attention, squinting as sunlight filled his eyes.

    “Is there an issue?” asked Alexander Faber, beady eyes trained on Hunter. The hawkish instructor was always eager to punish trainees for the smallest infractions.

    Hunter tried not to squirm under his gaze. “No, sir.”

    Alexander scoffed. “You’ve been standing here for a while now. Look at the other boys; they’re training hard.”

    Pairs of boys fought each other on the practice field. Each held a wooden blade, exchanging blows. Hunter winced as a boy crumpled to the ground after receiving a blow to the head. Though the weapons they used were not made of steel, they still hurt.

    Many of the boys were, in fact, chatting with one another rather than fighting. Rather than voice his thoughts, however, he nodded. “We’ll continue to spar, sir.”

    Without a word, the instructor turned around and strode away. Max made a rude gesture behind his back.

    A month ago, Hunter and Max had been inaugurated into the Barrack, the local term for the academy where soldiers were trained. It was a large fort located in the province of Bluecliff. The Barrack housed over two hundred students; some, like Hunter, were newly initiated, while others had been training for years. For generations, the Barrack had produced some of the finest soldiers in the Empire of Arisia.

    Hunter ran a hand through his jet-black hair. Though training at the Barrack was taxing, it was definitely paying off. His sparring, once dismal, was now far better. New muscles snaked up his arms, the result of hours of practicing drills with weighted wooden blades. His stamina had improved noticeably; he was able to run for miles and spar for hours at a time. Plus, he was able to return home at the end of every week.

    Hunter held his practice blade at the ready, eyes narrowed at his best friend. Max was a good swordsman, one of the best in their group. Yet, his cockiness would be his downfall.

    “You ready?” asked Hunter, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

    “Always,” said Max. He yawned loudly.

    Hunter buffeted Max with a barrage of sword strokes. After a chop to the wrist, Max dropped his blade with a curse. Hunter quickly slugged Max in the abdomen.

    Max doubled over, clutching at his stomach. After several moments, he slowly straightened. “I guess I deserved that.” He cocked an eyebrow at Hunter. “You’ve been holding back on me.”

    “No, you just suck. If this sword were made of metal, you would’ve lost your hand.”

    Max snorted. “I can live without a hand.”

    Hunter continued to spar with Max for the remainder of the evening. He was exhausted, hours of training having sapped his energy. Numerous welts and bruises discolored his body. With every step he took, he could feel his wounds, both new and old, flare with pain. Max had no problem in winning each subsequent round of sparring.

    Relief flooded Hunter as dinnertime was announced. He and the other boys in his group eagerly rushed to the mess hall.

    Hunter marveled at the size of the mess hall every time he entered it. It could easily accommodate one hundred trainees at once. Wooden walls and candlelight created a cozy atmosphere. The interior housed a long table from where trainees could grab their dinner, and several gnarled, wooden tables were arranged in the center of the hall.

    Hunter sat across from Max, eyeing the hearty lamb stew before him. He dug in voraciously while listening to Max’s never-ending chatter.

    “At the start of next week, we’ll start classroom instruction here,” said Max. “I’m sure you’re relieved. Learning, sitting down, that’s more of your thing.”

    Hunter nodded, his face full of stew. He swallowed the broth and said, “True. You’re more into swinging a sword around.” He coughed, lowering his voice. “Others have said that war with Bluecliff is inevitable. That, soon, the rebellion will reach our province.”

    An uprising in a distant province had blown up into a civil war. The war, once seeming to be a minor inconvenience to the Empire, now threatened Hunter’s remote town and the rest of Arisia. True, Bluecliff was militaristic, but it had little chance against an army that greatly outnumbered it. Hunter knew that the kingdom would need every man possible to fight against the insurgents, and so he trained earnestly. They would not take Bluecliff from him.

    Max smiled. “Good for us. We’ll crush them with ease.” After Hunter raised an eyebrow, he added, “Maybe not with ease, but we’ll beat them. No need to worry.”

    Tales claimed that the leader of the rebellion, dubbed Maelstrom, possessed extraordinary powers. Hunter did not know if the stories were true, but most of Bluecliff’s inhabitants seemed deathly afraid of the name.

    “Do you believe in this Maelstrom figure?” asked Hunter between bites. “About his abilities, at least. That he can destroy armies in a heartbeat.”

    Max snorted. “I doubt he even exists. Just a figurehead the rebels use to cause fear. There’s no way anyone can have those kinds of powers.”

    Hunter nodded, still unsure. Other trainees whispered that the Arisian Empire, which had stood for millennia, would finally fall to Maelstrom’s attacks. Deciding to change the topic, he swallowed a spoonful of stew and asked, “How’s your mother doing?”

    Max shrugged wearily. “She’s doing alright. It’s been tough, considering I only see her each weeks’ end. Before I joined the Barrack, it was hard enough hiding the ale from her. Now, with me gone for most of the week, I know she spends most of her time drunk.”

    Max’s father had been an archer, often placed as a sentry in mutinous provinces of the Empire. He had been stationed in a town far to the north six years back. There, a riot had broken out. The rioting had eventually been stifled, but not without a few casualties. Max’s father had been found dead, his head caved inwards from a large stone.

    Max’s mother turned to alcohol after her husband’s passing, finding peace through tankards of ale. Ashamed of her alcoholism, she rarely ventured outside. She relied on her son to pay for her addiction. As such, Max had always been burdened with odd jobs, struggling to bring home enough money. Hunter had convinced his friend to join the Barrack; upon graduation, Max would earn more in wages than he ever had.

    “Stupid Faber,” uttered Max. “He knows my situation, yet he still doesn’t let me see her during the week.” His voice grew louder. “What kind of sick, twisted person would stop someone from taking care of his-”

    “Shut up,” hissed Hunter. Max’s outburst had gathered a lot of attention from the other trainees in the hall. “Your ranting won’t accomplish anything.”

    Calm only moments early, Max was now seething. Slowly, his shoulders drooped and his fists unclenched. He nervously looked around the room, searching for instructors who may have heard his outburst.

    Hunter knew that Max was emotionally unhinged as well. Ever since his father’s death, Max had been prone to fits of anger. Even though he had known Max all his life, Hunter could never tell when Max was about to explode.

    As Hunter polished off his stew, a figure walked into the room. The boys, save for Max, grew silent as they noticed Hayk Harold, drillmaster of the Barrack. Hunter kicked Max under the table, cocking his head towards Harold.

    “I assume you boys had a hearty dinner?” asked Drillmaster Harold. After a few tentative nods, he smiled. “Good. It’s getting late, but I figured we could go for a run. All of the trainees.”

    -

    Again, it is continued on the next post.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    6
    continued...

    Hunter’s face fell. Harold was considered to be kind, especially compared to instructors such as Faber, but even he could torment the trainees. Hunter rose from his seat and exited the mess hall with the other trainees. The chill evening mist bit into his skin.

    “Sadistic old fool,” muttered Max under his breath. “We’ve been training nonstop since daybreak. Least he could do is send us to our quarters.”

    Hunter shrugged, squinting to see Max in the darkness. “The drillmaster isn’t so bad.” He sighed. “My body is aching, though. And we all know we’re going to be running for hours.” They reached the entrance of the outdoor trail, which snaked outside the Barrack into the wilderness.

    Hunter began to walk down the trail, taking in the scenery. Shafts of moonlight shone through holes in the canopy of trees above. Leaves crunched underfoot. Though Bluecliff was warm most of the year, a chill, biting wind swirled around him. He breathed deeply and gazed at his surroundings once again.

    At once, he stopped, peering into the dense foliage to the left edge of the trail. A shadow seemed to creep out of the trees. With a start, he realized it was a man clad in black clothing.
    Hunter jostled Max, pointing to the newcomer. “Who’s that?”

    His mouth grew dry as he noticed a glint of steel. The man was armed. Without waiting for Max to respond, Hunter sprinted towards the intruder.

    He dashed across the path, pushing aside several trainees. His eyes were locked on the trespasser. The intruder held a large knife, sidling up to the thicket of trainees walking down the path. Hunter came to realize who the assassin was after.

    Drillmaster Hayk Harold walked alongside Alexander Faber, oblivious to the assassin now sprinting up to him. Hunter let out a hoarse cry, attempting to warn the drillmaster before it was too late.
    The assassin raised his arm, ready to plunge his knife deep into the drillmaster’s back. Just as he stabbed downwards, Hunter tackled him to the ground.

    He rolled reflexively and sprang to his feet. The assassin rose just as quickly, eyeing his discarded knife. Hunter dove towards the knife, but the assassin scooped it up before Hunter could.
    Hunter tried to scrabble to his feet, but the layer of dead leaves under him slid and he crashed back to the ground. Pain blossomed in his side as the assassin kicked him in the ribs. He flopped onto his back, eyeing the the assassin standing above him. He winced in preparation as his assailant raised his knife.

    Alexander Faber’s sinewy arms clamped around the man’s neck. The assassin struggled, but froze as a knife danced across his throat. A spurt of blood jettisoned onto Hunter’s chest.

    Hunter scrambled away, eyes wide as the assassin convulsed into his death throes. The intruder clutched at his maimed throat, growing still after several moments.

    Hunter shuddered, eyeing the crimson that now soaked his shirtfront. Max quickly ran up to him, helping him rise to his feet. Hunter shivered, averting his eyes from the corpse.

    “Are you hurt?” asked Faber. He bent down and wiped his bloodstained dagger on the dead leaves below.

    Hunter ignored the question and retched, the contents of his dinner spewing onto the field. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and asked, “Who was that?”

    Drillmaster Harold walked up to him, several of the trainees in tow. “My guess is as good as yours. He could be an agent of Maelstrom, or a deranged madman.” He offered a weak smile. “But it doesn’t matter. He did not succeed, for I’m still alive. Thanks to you.”

    Hunter nodded mutely. The other trainees stared at him in awe. He slowly turned to face the corpse, stomaching the grisly slight.

    Faber reached down and tore the mask off the assassin. He looked up at the drillmaster. “We need to find out who he worked for. Permission to take the body to the medics?”

    Harold nodded. After thanking Hunter once again, he walked back to the Barrack with Faber and the other trainees in tow.

    Hunter stayed in the same spot, shivering as the shock wore off. The sight of the assassin’s lifeless face, revealed after Faber took the mask off, stayed imprinted in his mind. He sunk back to the ground, gazing at the bloodstained leaves in front of him.

    -

    So... Was it riveting? Do you want to read more? And are you getting a sense of the characters? Again, any input welcome. If you give a good critique, I'll be sure to reciprocate. Thanks guys!


  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by RVS View Post
    Either way, incentives are nice
    Yeah but this is such a dickish way to put it:
    If you give a good critique, I'll be sure to reciprocate.
    It's like, "Well gee I was going to do a half-arsed critique but now that you promised to reciprocate I'll actually do a good job on it!"

  8. #8
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    curling reassuring around the hilt

    Reassuringly (or just delete it)

    Pairs of boys fought each other on the practice field.

    When you say “boys” how old are they roughly? Twelve? Fifteen? Eighteen?

    another rather than fighting. Rather than voice his thoughts

    You’ve got rather and then another rather a couple words apart. Reword one of them.

    New muscles snaked up his arms

    That makes it sound like muscles are crawling up his arm.

    Plus, he was able to return home at the end of every week.

    You say plus but his being able to go home really has nothing to do with increased stamina.

    caved inwards

    Caved in

    Hunter nodded mutely.

    As opposed to nodding noisily?

    Faber reached down and tore the mask off the assassin.

    Jinkies! Now we’ll find out who he really is! (Couldn’t resist.)

    The sight of the assassin’s lifeless face, revealed after Faber took the mask off, stayed imprinted in his mind.

    Have to take your word for it since you didn’t describe the face under the mask.

    Gosh, was that good enough to earn a reciprocation?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
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    This doesn't work for me. Part I opens with what purports to be two men locked in combat… except we learn they're really a couple of trainees practicing their sword fighting. This is presented as true conflict, but it's false; the tension it creates immediately dissipates. After that, the narrative lurches into backstory and then into a lot of setup, none of which I care about because there are no story questions raised, there's no conflict.

    Part II is more of the same, until--finally--a shadow creeps from the trees. Yo! This may be where your story begins, because at last something is really happening, and I'm not bored anymore!

    There's a much-discussed concept in story telling: open in medea res: in the middle of things.

    As to narrative style, you sometimes repeat words, and you tend to over write, but Mutt's already pointed that out.

    My opinion. FWIW.

  10. #10
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    Hunter Ashdown panted heavily, his shoulder throbbing with pain. His head ached from where it had struck the grassy turf. Perspiration dripped off his forehead as he struggled to stand
    This is a report. It's you, the author, talking about the story, not the story happening as he read. You're focused on describing what you visualize happening. But your protagonist is focused on his opponent and what he needs to do. And fair is fair. It is his story. So why not get off stage and stop blocking the reader's view. Let the actors do their job by living the scene in real-time.

    Why that matters is that for you, your words act as a pointer to images, ideas, and memories in your head. For the reader, though, your words act as a pointer to images, ideas, and memories in your head. So there is no sense of reality for the reader.

    Added to that, while the voice in your head, as you read, holds emotion, carried via the tricks of the storyteller's art, the reader gets a monotone because they can't hear or see you. So they can't know the facial expressions and gestures you would use, either. Telling a story is a performance art. But the page doesn't reproduce either sound or vision.

    My point is that the reader, who comes to us to be entertained, not informed, doesn't want to read a list of what's in the scene and what's happening. They want to be made to live the story, as the protagonist, and in real-time. So they need to know the scene as the protagonist does in their moment of now, not as a historical record. As long as you're giving a report there's no uncertainty because it's an overview. But restrict the reader to the protagonist's now, and the future becomes uncertain, and therefore, interesting.

    It's not a matter of talent, or good/bad writing. it's that the medium we work in has its own constraints and strengths that are unlike those of writing for stage and screen, or for a storyteller. And unless we know what they are, and what the structure of fiction in the page is, we can't write for the medium. We're not told that in our school days because they're focused on preparing us for employment, and the writing needs of employers (which is why we wrote so many essays and reports). Your teachers spend little time on how to handle dialog and tags, scene goals, and the other things the pros take for granted.

    Given that, spending a bit of time "filling in the blanks," and acquiring a few professional tricks would be time well spent. And your local public library's fiction writing department is a great resource.

    Jay Greenstein

    Our goal isn't to make the reader know the character is frightened, it's to terrify the reader.

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