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 Sagas of Aether (revised opening)

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Shadow Dragon


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PostSubject: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   October 2nd 2008, 9:35 am

I wasn't sure if the revision should get its own thread or if it should be added to my original thread, so if I guessed wrong, go ahead and more this. So basically I changed the tense to past, took out/added scenes to flesh out the characters personalitly, its pace isn't as rushed, took care of all the grammer errors (at least the ones that were caught by microsoft word) and worked on the word repitition. This version of the opening is 1541 words long Warning: Mature content that some might find disturbing
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sagas of Aether
The Ares Saga
Book I: The Revolution Begins


The normally dark night is lit up by fire, as it consumed everything around it. Building after building, collapsed into a pit of flame. He walked among the ashes staring straight ahead of him with a sadistic grin. A of pair crimson eyes glowed from behind the long strands of black hair that hung over his face. The slit, cat like pupils scanned back and forth in search for more prey. With black leather armor and black bladed swords, he blended into the night. This demon of the night gave off an incredible aura of sheer malice and power. He is the Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus.

A town guard in poorly crafted armor comes before him and pulls out his sword. “S…s…stop right there.” His voice cracks several times, revealing the fear in the man. The only response he gets from Lonan is a grin. The guard stepped back, looking for an escape route. The only problem was that several of Lonan‘s followers came upon the guard from behind and pushed him forward. They cheered for their lord to slay the man. The guard slowly stood up. Knowing that he was about to die he charged sword first at Lonan. With no change in expression his left blade blocked the attack, as the right blade came down, removing the man’s arm. Then with inhuman speed the right blade came back, cutting off the man’s head. Lonan put bloody blade up to his mouth and dragged it across his tongue; fully enjoying the taste of his latest victim.

The sound of clapping echoed from behind him. Lonan turns his head to see his raven haired concubine standing there. The light of the nearby fire reflected off of her pale blue eyes. A long black dress clings tightly to her shapely body. Lonan gave a bow to the woman and said “I hope you are enjoying the show so far, my lovely Lovinia.” with a smile.

Lovinia ran up to her lord and kisses him. “Of course I‘m enjoying it; its always fun to watch you in action.” Said the woman in a deep raspy voice, “But please tell me there are others to have fun with in this village. That was a short show. Its like they barely even tried to fight back.”

Lonan looked down upon the headless corpse and said “Yeah, this was too easy. These guards were nothing more than children playing with toys compared to me.”

“Sir, we have some captives here since you said you wanted witnesses.” says one of the raiders, as a family of four stood beside him. The mother and father appeared to have been in their twenties, the young boy looked ten, and the girl was probably only six or seven.

Lovinia’s eyes lit up at the sight of the prisoners. “Please milord, let me deal with the captives.” begged Lovinia, as if she were a child wanting a new toy, as she stepped towards the family.

Lonan stopped her in her tracks by grabbing her hair. “I want some of them left alive. Just kill one.” He looked around and spotted a young blond haired woman in a dark purple cloak. “I have some business to attend to.” said Lonan as he gave her a smile and walked away, followed by the young woman.

Lovenia turned towards her new playthings, and snapped her fingers. The bandits pulled out their swords and placed them at the throat of the family members. “So, who is it going to be? Maybe I’ll go with the father, or possible the mother. Hmmm, this is a tough one.”

The father looked around at his family and said “Please kill me and spare them.”

Lovinia’s eyes glared at the man. “What makes you think that you get to decide who lives and who dies?” She gave him a playful smirk and walked over to the man. “Tell you what, since you want to decide, I’ll let you. You get to decide which one of your children lives and which one dies.” She turned and walked a little away from the man. His eyes, wide with shock, turned towards his children. He could see the tears streaming down their little face and a few tears began to escape from his eyes. Lovinia turned to face him again and said “Oh and if you don’t answer, they both die.” as she let out a small laugh. The man stared at her in disbelief. Though at that moment, he noticed something truly odd about this woman. She didn’t seem to have any malice in her. There was no hatred towards them whatsoever in her voice. To her, this was truly just a game. “So which child are you willing to sacrifice to save the other? You’re running out of time.”

“I….I…I ch…ch…cho…choose…” His whole body was shaking as a stream of tears was released from his eyes. He finally managed to blurt out “I choose to save my son.”

The girl began to loudly cry out “No. Daddy, please don’t let them kill me. I don’t want to die. Please save me daddy.”

All the father could do was whisper “I’m sorry.”, though it was inaudible over the girl’s begging.

Though right as the bandit was about the slice into the girl, Lovinia ordered him to stop. “Make him kneel and give her a sword.” The bandits obeyed her commands. The little girl grabbed the hilt of the short, wide bladed sword, as Lovinia said “Here is your only chance to save your life. All you have to do is kill the one that condemned you. You’re father.” The girl looked over at her father, who seemed somewhat relieved that she would live.

Her hands tightly gripped the sword as they began to shake. “Daddy, what should I do? You said that killing was wrong. But then why were you going to let them hurt me?” The father had no answers; he simply hung his head and prepared for his demise.

Lovinia kneeled down next to the girl and whispered into her ear “Do it. After all, he was going to let you die. That makes him an evil person and it’s good to punish evil people.” The girl simply stared at her father, not knowing what to do. She finally runs straight at him and plunges the sword into his neck. A thick crimson mist sprayed out and covered the little girl’s body. The son and mother simply stared at the gruesome scene, too horrified to speak.

The mother finally managed to spit out a single word “Why?”

Lovinia simply smiled at her and said “Its fun. Ok, you three are free to go. Tell anyone you meet about what happened here.” What’s left of the family runs off. “They were fun. As for the rest of you, impale the bodies over the ash of the houses. I want this place to look nice for when Lord Lonan returns.”

Meanwhile, Lonan had followed the young woman to a tree about a couple hundred feet away from the ashes of the village. “So, do you have the information I wanted?” he asked.

“Of course.” said the scout as she leaned against the tree, “Well as you know Convallis’s territory is completely surrounded by mountains. The only way in or out is a valley road that goes through Fort Buckler. However, they haven’t had to really defend it in over a century. So as you could imagine their army has grown weak due to peace. Against their army alone, your followers could easily overrun the fort and destroy the kingdom. They have become aware that you’re heading in their direction and have hired a small army of mercenaries. Now most of them are simple berserkers that don’t know the meaning of strategy and teamwork. There is one thing that you should be a little concerned though, they have hired the Knights of Justice. They are heavily armored and know how to work together. Your advantage is in numbers but they are used to fighting while outnumbered. Their leader is a man named Celeres. He is a little over seven feet tall, has inhuman strength and fights with a lance that is rumored to be blessed by the god of war, Visis.”

He grinned and tossed her a small pouch full of gold coins. “You did well. This Celeres sounds interesting indeed.” He turned and began to walk away.

Lonan stopped when he heard the scout ask “Why do you kill so many people?”

Lonan suddenly turns his head and pierced the scout with his gaze. She felt her body stiffen as all the air seemed to leave her lungs. Lonan smiled and calmly said “I’m looking for the one that can kill me. The one that will push me to by absolute limit and make me feel truly alive once more. Until I find that person, I will destroy all in my path.” He returned to walking back to the village.

The scout could feel her body loosen, as she took a couple deep breaths. She smirked and whispered “You are an interesting man, Lord Lonan. I wonder who will win.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   October 2nd 2008, 5:02 pm

I want to impress upon you that what I am going to say is just my personal feelings on this chapter. These are only suggestions that I am giving freely regarding my personal opinion of your work as a person that would consider reading your story. Nothing more then that.

Shadow Dragon wrote:

Sagas of Aether
The Ares Saga
Book I: The Revolution Begins


The normally dark night is was lit up by fire, as it consumed everything around it. Building after building, collapsed into a pit of flame. He walked among the ashes staring straight ahead of him with a sadistic grin. A of pair crimson eyes glowed from behind the long strands of black hair that hung over his face. The slit, cat like pupils scanned back and forth in search for more prey. With black leather armor and black bladed swords, he blended into the night. This demon of the night gave off an incredible aura of sheer malice and power. He is the Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus.

A town guard in poorly crafted armor comes before him and pulls out his sword. “S…s…stop right there.” His voice cracks several times, revealing the fear in the man. The only response he gets from Lonan is a grin (Lonan is already grinning, perhaps shifting his eyes to gaze at the guard, something to acknowledge the guard). The guard stepped back, looking for an escape route. The only problem was that several of Lonan‘s followers came upon the guard from behind and pushed him forward. They cheered for their lord to slay the man. The guard slowly stood up. Knowing that he was about to die he charged sword first at Lonan. With no change in expression his left blade blocked the attack, as the right blade came down, removing the man’s arm. Then with inhuman speed the right blade came back, cutting off the man’s head. Lonan put bloody blade up to his mouth and dragged it across his tongue; fully enjoying the taste of his latest victim.

The sound of clapping echoed from behind him. Lonan turns his head to see his raven haired concubine standing there. The light of the nearby fire reflected off of her pale blue eyes. A long black dress clings tightly to her shapely body. Lonan gave a bow to the woman and said “I hope you are enjoying the show so far, my lovely Lovinia.” with a smile.

Lovinia ran up to her lord and kisses him (This feels odd, she is clapping, and then she runs to him, I imagined a more, proper or even aloof kind of display from the two out in the open). “Of course I‘m enjoying it; its always fun to watch you in action.” Said the woman Lovina said in a deep raspy voice, “But please tell me there are others to have fun with in this village. That was a short show. Its like they barely even tried to fight back.”

Lonan looked down upon the headless corpse and said “Yeah, this was too easy. These guards were nothing more than children playing with toys compared to me.”

“Sir, we have some captives here since you said you wanted witnesses.” says one of the raiders, as a family of four stood beside him. The mother and father appeared to have been in their twenties, the young boy looked ten, and the girl was probably only six or seven.

Lovinia’s eyes lit up at the sight of the prisoners. “Please milord, let me deal with the captives.” begged Lovinia, as if she were a child wanting a new toy, as she stepped towards the family.

Lonan stopped her in her tracks by grabbing her hair. “I want some of them left alive. Just kill one.” He looked around and spotted a young blond haired woman in a dark purple cloak. “I have some business to attend to.” said Lonan as he gave her a smile and walked away, followed by the young woman.

Lovenia turned towards her new playthings, and snapped her fingers. The bandits pulled out their swords and placed them at the throat of the family members. “So, who is it going to be? Maybe I’ll go with the father, or possible the mother. Hmmm, this is a tough one.”

The father looked around at his family and said “Please kill me and spare them.”

Lovinia’s eyes glared at the man. “What makes you think that you get to decide who lives and who dies?” She gave him a playful smirk and walked over to the man. “Tell you what, since you want to decide, I’ll let you. You get to decide which one of your children lives and which one dies.” She turned and walked a little away from the man. His eyes, wide with shock, turned towards his children. He could see the tears streaming down their little face and a few tears began to escape from his eyes. Lovinia turned to face him again and said “Oh and if you don’t answer, they both die.” as she let out a small laugh. The man stared at her in disbelief. Though at that moment, he noticed something truly odd about this woman. She didn’t seem to have any malice in her. There was no hatred towards them whatsoever in her voice. To her, this was truly just a game. “So which child are you willing to sacrifice to save the other? You’re running out of time.”

“I….I…I ch…ch…cho…choose…” His whole body was shaking as a stream of tears was released from his eyes. He finally managed to blurt out “I choose to save my son.”

The girl began to loudly cry out “No. Daddy, please don’t let them kill me. I don’t want to die. Please save me daddy.” (This feel very difficult)

All the father could do was whisper “I’m sorry.”, though it was inaudible over the girl’s begging.

Though right as the bandit was about the slice into the girl, Lovinia ordered him to stop. “Make him kneel and give her a sword.” The bandits obeyed her commands. The little girl grabbed the hilt of the short, wide bladed sword, as Lovinia said “Here is your only chance to save your life. All you have to do is kill the one that condemned you. You’re father.” The girl looked over at her father, who seemed somewhat relieved that she would live.

Her hands tightly gripped the sword as they began to shake. “Daddy, what should I do? You said that killing was wrong. But then why were you going to let them hurt me?” The father had no answers; he simply hung his head and prepared for his demise. (Again this feels stiff, almost wooden, consider adding more life to this)

Lovinia kneeled down next to the girl and whispered into her ear “Do it. After all, he was going to let you die. That makes him an evil person and it’s good to punish evil people.” The girl simply stared at her father, not knowing what to do. She finally runs straight at him and plunges the sword into his neck. A thick crimson mist sprayed out and covered the little girl’s body. The son and mother simply stared at the gruesome scene, too horrified to speak.

The mother finally managed to spit out a single word “Why?”

Lovinia simply smiled at her and said “Its fun. Ok, you three are free to go. Tell anyone you meet about what happened here.” What’s left of the family runs off. “They were fun. As for the rest of you, impale the bodies over the ash of the houses. I want this place to look nice for when Lord Lonan returns.”

Meanwhile, Lonan had followed the young woman to a tree about a couple hundred feet away from the ashes of the village. “So, do you have the information I wanted?” he asked.

“Of course.” said the scout as she leaned against the tree, “Well as you know Convallis’s territory is completely surrounded by mountains. The only way in or out is a valley road that goes through Fort Buckler. However, they haven’t had to really defend it in over a century. So as you could imagine their army has grown weak due to peace. Against their army alone, your followers could easily overrun the fort and destroy the kingdom. They have become aware that you’re heading in their direction and have hired a small army of mercenaries. Now most of them are simple berserkers that don’t know the meaning of strategy and teamwork. There is one thing that you should be a little concerned though, they have hired the Knights of Justice. They are heavily armored and know how to work together. Your advantage is in numbers but they are used to fighting while outnumbered. Their leader is a man named Celeres. He is a little over seven feet tall, has inhuman strength and fights with a lance that is rumored to be blessed by the god of war, Visis.”

He grinned and tossed her a small pouch full of gold coins. “You did well. This Celeres sounds interesting indeed.” He turned and began to walk away.

Lonan stopped when he heard the scout ask “Why do you kill so many people?”

Lonan suddenly turns his head and pierced the scout with his gaze. She felt her body stiffen as all the air seemed to leave her lungs. Lonan smiled and calmly said “I’m looking for the one that can kill me. The one that will push me to by absolute limit and make me feel truly alive once more. Until I find that person, I will destroy all in my path.” He returned to walking back to the village.

The scout could feel her body loosen, as she took a couple deep breaths. She smirked and whispered “You are an interesting man, Lord Lonan. I wonder who will win.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment. Smile

I think you should move on from this work on the next chapter.
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Shadow Dragon


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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   October 3rd 2008, 5:50 am

I'm to type of person that has work on it in order. I know that's weird but I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the next part until I finish this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   October 3rd 2008, 8:17 am

Shadow Dragon wrote:
I'm to type of person that has work on it in order. I know that's weird but I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the next part until I finish this one.
You cannot spin your wheels chasing perfection. Move on. Truthfully, you don't know enough about your characters or setting to make a serious edit. I don't even commit to a story until I get about 10,000 words into it. It takes a bit to truly get the personalities of the characters into my head and the setting to feel real to me. I suspect the same is with you. Write more to actually begin to know your characters in a variety of activities and the land that they live in. It will help you plan your drama better and understand where certain previous scenes lack in effectiveness (and reality).

It does read better than the first. There IS still a strong presence of present tense. There is still a lot of poorly presented situations and characters. These are problems that will be mostly solved by time as you work with the craft of writing. Thus, keep working.

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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   October 5th 2008, 2:47 pm

yes.. I agree... keep on writing more and then smoothe the edges afterwards. this is not a short story so it takes longer
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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   December 23rd 2008, 5:15 pm

Hello Shadow Dragon,

I think it's absolutely wonderful and inspiring that you posted up your revised copy. It shows that you're working with your writing and accepting the help of other writers. No matter were your current skill level lies, in my book, you are a writer for doing just that.

I generally don't go over pieces with a fine-toothed comb because it's a lot of work on my part, and can get discouraging for the writer having all the mistakes and differences of opinion pointed out, but after noting your strong enthusiasm for improvement, I'm going to go over the first paragraph. I hope that in doing so, the rules may be a little clearer. You may be like me in the sense that someone can tell you a rule and it's confusing, but if they show you, it's clear.

Quote :
The normally dark night is lit up by fire, as it consumed everything around it.[Night is normally dark isn't it? Don't waste time stating the obvious."Fire consumed everything that night." Same meaning but more concise. Work on making your wording concise, think of journalism.] Building after building,[No comma. There are specific rules for the mighty comma but think of it as a pause. You wouldn't say "Building after building....collapsed into a pit of flame," would you?] collapsed into a pit of flame. He walked among the ashes staring straight ahead of him with a sadistic grin [Ashes? I thought buildings were burning. Are the ashes falling, or maybe he's by a building that has burnt down hours ago. Be specific.] A of pair crimson[Eyes usually come in pairs, once again stating the obvious.] eyes glowed from behind the long strands of black hair that hung over his face. The slit, cat-like [Dog-like, animal-like, human-like, computer-like. When "like" becomes part of a quality, use the dash.] pupils scanned back and forth in search for more prey. With black leather armor and black bladed swords, he blended into the night [I know you're going for dark and mysterious, but you can do that without pushing the world"black". By simply stating that he blended into the night, we know he is wearing dark material. So this is where your writing muscle needs to flex because it's your job to state something in a unique way. "Despite the flames licking closely by his side, he was a walking shadow. It was only when the flames caught him just right, did the metallic black clasps on his armor and blade hilt reflect." The best way to describe something as a whole is to describe something small. Instead of going "He had a green shirt" write something like "There were three large clover buttons on the front of his green shirt." You can state the obvious, just do so in a different way.]This demon of the night gave off an incredible aura of sheer malice and power.[Remember that old rule, "show, don't tell." In this case you are telling. The fact that he's walking down a burning street in the middle of the night with a sword and armor, well...he isn't exactly the tooth fairy. Don't under estimate your reader. If you want to mention his strength, his power, show it. Maybe the flames shy away from him as he nears, as if it is even afraid. Find a way to show.] He is the Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus. [I know you're in third person, but in a way you still have to get inside his head. He wouldn't think "he is the Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus." The only real information you provided with that statement was his name, which isn't a good enough reason to have that sentence. Try to add another reason beside the name like the following examples: "Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus was finally home." "After tonight, he was sure no one would forget Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus." "Bandit Lord Lonan Pyrrhus's midnight strolls were never boring." Simply something more.]

I hope that helps you to look at your writing style a little differently. Now, a lot of those comments are a matter of opinion, but every reader has one so I hope in offering mine you'll have a clearer understanding of what your audience is looking for.

The grammar will come with time, but I would strongly suggest working a little more umph in your sentences. You start learning how to do that now, it will come easier down the road.

You have a wonderful drive for improvement, so that road for you shouldn't be too bad.

~New York Bum
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PostSubject: Re: Sagas of Aether (revised opening)   December 24th 2008, 3:56 pm

This is very good and powerful advice!
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