Original Writing and Critique

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Wayne Batson, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Wayne Batson

    Wayne Batson Tolkien Disciple

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    Lots of folks who visit here love to write, so I thought it would be nice to give you a place to show off your chops. I can't guarantee that I will personally critique all submissions, but I'm sure someone will. :eek:

    Guidelines:

    1. Submit no more than a chapter (unless the chapters are like James Patterson short) or a short story.

    2. Stories need to be Fantasy/SciFi/SpecFic.

    3. Keep comments constructive. Try to find the good that's there.

    Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword...and a lot easier to write with.

    WtB
     
  2. Pais Charos

    Pais Charos Horse Nut

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    Oh fun! I have to wait till I get home, though. I'm at work, so therefore none of my work is with me. But I do have something to post, and it's part of a short story. When I get around to posting it I'll just edit this post (if it's still the newest one here, which is highly unlikely with this prolific bunch) and I'll explain more when I post it.
     
  3. Roheryn

    Roheryn Xenite

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    'kay! this ish a short story, 'bout my main charrie, Lucy.

    The title ish
    Unicorns don't get Lost... or do they?


    Standing on the forest floor, unusual for the short red head, she looked around. “This is just great,” she muttered, hands on her hips. “I’ve never gotten lost. Before. Where’s Pegasus-boy when you need ‘im?” Seeming to lose her fire, she sighed. Her green eyed gaze scanned the clearing. After almost a complete circle, she latched onto an old oak. Running lightly over to it, she leaped and grabbed onto one of the lower branches.

    “I’ll just climb this here tree, and see if I can get any directional bearings.” With that, Lucy pulled herself higher, using her legs for added push. It wasn’t long before she could push her head above the treetops.

    “Broken horns!” she exclaimed, her gaze roaming the plateau created by the interlocking branches and their leafy covering. She eyed the thick, roiling, grey clouds with distaste.

    “Well… guess I won’t look to see which direction the sun is in. Time to try something else.” She made a slow descent before she was again standing on the forest floor.

    “What to try next…” Lucy mused as she surveyed the remains of her camp. She passed over the dying fire from breakfast, to her bed roll, coming to rest on her pack. “I have my compass magnet!” she exclaimed, slapping her hand to her forehead. She skipped across the short distance and stuck her hand into her pack. She quickly found what she was looking for and pulled it out. But when she help up the string, nothing happened.

    “Broken horns! Don’t tell me I left it too close to my spare. Again.” She threw the compass magnet back into her bag and plopped down onto a log that she had used as a seat the previous night.

    Lucy leapt up a moment later with a noise of surprise. “An old wives’ tale says that moss grows on the north side of a tree.” Her gaze flicked from tree to tree until she caught the tell tale green shading of moss. Crying out in delight, she quickly threw her pack together, rolled up her bedroll, and tied it in place. Kicking dirt over the embers, she said, “North to more familiar lands.” Swinging her pack to her shoulders she set out. Lucy hadn’t been walking for long, when she saw it. Facing north, she saw moss on the south side of the tree. “I guess that’s why they also say that one should take the tales of old wives with a grain of salt.” She sighed and sunk to the ground at the base of a nearby tree.

    After a time, Lucy awoke, not remembering having fallen asleep. “At least that reminded me of the most obvious possibility.” She murmured, a note of disgust in her voice. Standing up, she stretched sore muscles. She unslung her pack and laying on the ground, threw her long, red braid over her shoulder.

    The next instant a majestic unicorn, red tingeing its pure white mane stood where Lucy had been. Picking her bag up in her teeth, Lucy set off at a smart trot at a forty five degree angle to the way she’d been going.

    When she stopped for the night, Lucy was in much more familiar country. She hummed as she built her fire and boiled water for soup. “ I should be home in a day or two,” she whispered.

    An uneven beating rhythm, the likes of which two flying creatures would make, reached her ears. “I know those wing beats!” Lucy exclaimed in surprise when they got a little closer. “Balaon and Magnar,” she confirmed when a pegasus and a silver-winged lion appeared, skimming the treetops. The two landed and Lucy waited for Balaon to assume his human form before running to greet them both.

    “It’s great to see you,” Balaon began, just as Magnar said,
    “Long time no see, Little-one.”
    “It is great,” Lucy agreed with a laugh. “And have I got a story for you.”
     
  4. Pais Charos

    Pais Charos Horse Nut

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    Ok, sorry I'm late. Aw, Roh beat me to it, she gets first dibs at critiques.

    This is only part of my story. The title is called "Amari's Love". I had the story critiqued at the Florida Christian Writer's Conference. One of the suggestions that the person made was to show the friendship between my main character (Amari - a unicorn) and her best human friend (Karel). I had originally just said they were best friends, and he said I the reader is basically taking my word for it, rather than seeing it for themselves.

    So, last night I had a chance to write, and I have two brand new pages that is the new beginning to the story, and I hope it shows well the friendship between Amari and Karel, as well as has some foreshadowing in it. Enjoy!

    The unicorn's gaze scanned the forest glade, and she narrowed her eyes, trying to see between tree trunks and bushes. She moved slowly as she searched for her friend, her hooves soundless on the forest floor. She pushed branches aside with her horn, blinking as leaves fell from the trees.

    A twig snapped. The unicorn pivoted, turning in the direction of the sound. She shook her head, tossing her mane. Where is she?

    Soft laughter floated down from above and the unicorn looked up into the the tree to her right. There sat Karel, the object of her search. The girl in the tree held a hand to her mouth as if trying to hold back an eruption of giggles. Her other hand held a broken twig.

    The unicorn stretched her neck forward as far as it would reach and touched the tip of her crimson horn to the bottom sole of Karel's sandal.

    “Gotcha!”

    Karel lost control and giggles poured out of her, tears streaming down her face. “Amari ... that was priceless!”

    Amari turned and Karel dropped onto her back. She snorted as she began walking. “I don't find anything funny about that.”

    Karel leaned forward. “Did you really think that it was I who snapped the twig?”

    Amari looked back and huffed. “Well ... no. But I--” she nodded and her tone softened. “I guess it was kinda funny!”

    The two friends laughed for a bit, and the sounds of their mirth eventually trailed off into peaceful silence. Karel slid off Amari's back and walked beside her. Amari caught a glimpse of the setting sun and inclined her head slightly to look at her human friend. Usually about this time the two of them would race back to Farron, Karel's home town.

    Karel looked up and met Amari's gaze. There was a hint of mischief in the girl's eyes, and a smile played at her lips.

    Without hesitating Amari quickened her gate and was soon cantering and weaving around the trees. She broke through the edge of the forest into the clearing with a triumphant shout, and slowed her pace. Amari turned around to see how close behind Karel was, but the girl wasn't there.

    “Karel?” No reply.

    Amari walked back into the forest, and soon found Karel leaning against a tree, taking deep breaths as though she were having trouble breathing. The unicorn frowned. Karel had been slightly out of breath most of the day, and whenever Amari asked, Karel just said she didn't get enough sleep that night and was just more tired than usual. But now Amari was worried.

    “Karel ... are you sure you're all right?”

    Karel looked up, her hand pressed against her chest. She took another deep breath and straightened. She gave Amari a small smile. “I guess you won this time, my friend.” She swallowed and took another deep breath, then walked forward to lean against Amari's flank. “Congratulations.”

    Amari reached her neck around and nuzzled Karel's cheek. The girl giggled at the touch. And the unicorn lowered herself to let Karel mount her easier. Karel grabbed a chunk of her mane, and pulled herself up. Amari gave her a little nudge, and once Karel was safely up Amari began walking slowly towards Karel's home.

    Amari turned her head and glanced at Karel. “Do you need any more unicorn medicines? I'm sure we can go see Nerem--”

    Karel waved a hand, dismissing the offer. “I'm sure it's just a bug. It'll be gone in a couple days.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  5. Roheryn

    Roheryn Xenite

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    I like it Pais! you really get a feel of their relationship towards each other. you can see how much of friends they are through how willingly they joke with each other, and how they have something they do on a regular basis.

    and then there ish the touch of mystery that makes you want to keep reading with the 'bug' and how Karel doesn't seem like herself, even to those of us who have only known her through the last couple of paragraphs
     
  6. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    short story

    Hey guys,


    I've got a short story I'd love to have some opinions on. It's on this site
    CLICK HERE: A WORLD WITHIN

    This short story has actually expanded to a full novel now, but this is the original--its been accepted to an upcoming fantasy anthology.

    Love to here what you guys think, WAyne.

    Blessings,
    James
     
  7. fantastyfreak

    fantastyfreak Total Dork

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    ********WARNING***** The below contains graphic violence! This is a working prologue to Book one of the Dragon Bearth Chronicles. I need some input. I believe there to be some major issues with it! Hopefully it is not too bad!













    Prologue

    A dark, cloaked figure staggered out of the woods holding his profusely bleeding arm. Black blood soaked his entire left arm of the midnight blue cloak he was wearing.
    “Nzcafar,” screamed the man and slowly like melting ice his body dissipated within the dark, grimy ground.
    “Where are you? Reveal yourself,” screamed a white cloaked older man with a grizzled Santa Claus beard extending down to his waist. In his arms was a 7 inch dagger with silver casting which radiated a glinting light throughout the dark, smoggy air of the region. Dripping from the end of it was finger length droplets of black blood. When the older man heard no response the hems of his white cloak flew up as he threw the dagger upon the ground and began chanting the language of the old, the holiest of all.
    “Hos Cuos Ich Favror,
    Sckol Nox Ich
    Haskah Nox Iard,“
    The words of his spell whispered throughout the residing lands of Nagabra, the land of Shadow. Each word gave beauty to a very dark region of the old man’s newly created world. The trees and dirt seemed to tear up from the beauty of the soft and echoing voice of the man. The old man slowly picked his sword up and remaining on the ground was a patch of red flowers containing a glowing of gold white light radiating off of it.
    “That is not the first of it,” he spoke as he slowly brought the dagger to his side as he stripped of his white cloak leaving it upon the dark ground. His skinny, frail body consisted of pale yet beautiful clear skin which seemed to show the reflection of the trueness of someone if they were to look upon it. Unlike normal men, this man had no reproductive organs to dispose of waste of, instead in the nether regions of his body was nothing but more of the clear reflective skin.
    For this man was no normal man, this man so powerful yet so loving, was called by the name of Boaz Ichi Savolour Latoro, more commonly known by the name Boaz which in Slavig meant one of great power yet which a forgiving and loving heart. His eyes glistened with tears as he lifted the bloodied dagger to his heart chamber. Slowly his eyes closed and out of his mouth came a beautiful humming which would have brought tears to the eyes of any living being.
    As the humming continued he slowly scrapped the dagger violently across his heart chamber, scraping away the cartilage. Blood and bones spilled upon the ground as he continued to hum a quicker yet even more beautiful tune. In a matter of time a great mass of spherical shaped gunk consisting of ruby red skin and veins spilled upon the great river of cartilage bone and blood. Boaz slowly, bleeding continuously, grabbed the bloodied dagger out of the great mass of blood and licked it clean as he prepared to start to cut off his left arm.
    “With this sacrifice of my arm and the blood of my inners, I will create one in my vision who will have a lovingly relationship with me,” he spoke as he closed his eyes and suddenly the left arm of his fell upon the ground after a violent snap. Blood guzzled like a fountain out of his left arm as the arm of his dissolved within the bloody, bony mess upon the ground. Gracefully, Boaz closed his eyes and suddenly like a snap of lightning, he began humming.
    Grass and trees began growing out of the bloody mess, and then the bones transfigured themselves to fish, deer, and many other various creatures. The left over blood formed rivers, oceans, and lakes. Boaz staggered and crawled his way to the great ball of gunk residing in the middle of his newly created land. Clutching the dagger, he slowly cut across the remaining regions of his left arm. Blood spilled from each of the wounds upon the great gunk of flesh. Gold beams of light shot out of the spherical ball as newly added blood spilled upon the ball.
    Suddenly the ball shot out a blast of radiating gold light as the ball broke apart revealing a vein, gunk covered organism resembling Boaz. Only difference was within the nether regions of the organism appeared reproductive organs and a pair of pointy ears. The creature not moving seeped huge amounts of gunk upon the newly grassed land. Boaz took himself upon the creature and slowly brought his lips to the creatures.
    “You my creation will be called an elf, a creature who will live in harmony with nature and with the one who created you. You are of free at will to enjoy what I have created, but you are not to listen to a certain creature who like a prancing lion will be waiting and offering you all types of awards, do not listen to him, for what I have given to you already is enough for you,” he whispered as he slowly breathed a harsh breath of air into the creature on which he was laying vertically on top of.
    As the last few fragments of air were absorbed into the creature, the creature stood up as Boaz staggered off of him. Boaz realizing he forgot something reached his hand into the heart chamber of the creature and took out his heart. Blood gushed everywhere as he held onto the heart of the creature. With the sharpened edge of his knife he cut the heart into two and kept one half while putting the other back into the chamber of the creature. Boaz this time cut off the other arm of his and threw the arm upon the heart and allowed his blood to gush upon both.
    Out of the mess revealed a creature similar to the elf but with different reproductive organs, the creature had long brown hair, and fiery red eyes, and was beautiful beyond anything of nature. Boaz quickly took himself upon the creature using the remaining arms he had left and put his lips to hers and breathed a great gush of breath into her. After absorbing the last of his breaths, the creature stood up as Boaz backed away.
    “Listen to what I have told the man, also you my pretty are called an elf but one of a different gender, you both are too share your lives with one another, and are to spread the land with your offspring’s which you will left to figure out just how to do that, Goodbye my children, obey my orders , for disobedience will cause withdrawal from this land and a new feeling which I hope you will never experience, “Boaz cried as he flung himself into the life stream, a river which bordered the small newly created land, which was to take him back to his world, a world which for now was held off for him, for he was the creator, the great one, the infinite and the omega.
    The two elves looked upon each other with loving eyes; they quickly exchanged the instructions which Boaz had left for them to follow. Excitedly they ran off to the lake to wash off and to learn more about themselves and just what they were capable of. As splashes and laughing were heard, a dark skinned orcish creature with pointy teeth seeping with black blood crawled his way out of the bush. The creature, hunched over, giggled as his reptilian legs and arms slowly transfigured to a creature who looked like Boaz, except the only difference was the eyes, instead of piercing blue eyes, his eyes were blood red, signifying the evil nature of this creature.
    What was soon to happen was to change and upset Boaz, for his newly created race and land was soon to drift into darkness. Thanks to the disobedience of both creatures, who were soon kicked out of this land and forced to live out in a new land, a land less beautiful. A land with pain and suffering, with new feelings Boaz hoped either of them would ever experience A darkness which was to last a long time. Luckily Boaz more powerful than the shadow brother of his had a plan, a plan which was to change the entire world. A plan he hoped would help revert the world back to its former grandiose. A plan which would send down upon the land, an elf unlike the others who would experience more pain and suffering than any elf on land, and help to change the course of the world of Asikar forever.
    End of Prologue….

    A/N:I am so lucky to even have written this out! I am extremely unconfident with my writing skills. I think most of my stuff stinks. I have rewriiten things too many times. Ripped up paper in half. Cried in frustration. Sometimes I feel as though I can't write. I learned that anything is not easy and takes practice. I am in no rush to write now! I'm only seventeen. I have many years to improve!
     
  8. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    fantasy freak,

    Everything takes practice to become accomplished, including writing. I've knocked out four novels now and I'm still trying to learn how to do it well.

    I had some trouble following what it is exactly you are trying to say with this passage. I understand the "extremely gorey" way of creating, but it seemed a bit disjointed.

    I'm glad God only had to speak...this sounds like a very painful way to create a world!

    Don't stop trying to improve yourself. I'm sure, even a bestseller like WAYNE is always trying to improve with each new endeavor.

    James
     
  9. fantastyfreak

    fantastyfreak Total Dork

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    Thank you for the tip! there is much more to Boaz, he is not dead, I prob. may since he is a God, make him not bleed. I'm not sure. I am really going for a more different take on creation. I mean, singing things to life (Narnia,The Simmarillion), or speaking things to life have already been done. Also since he is God (well even though he is named Boaz) he does not feel pain, even though he takes on a mortal state. When I reread it, I noticed that you are right it is very disjointed. I hope to rewrite using somewhat of the same ideas in this version. But as you said, I will make it a bit fleshed out and nowhere near as disjointed as this one is! Thanks you for the tips and support! Thank you for being honest! I know it is nowhere near perfect and needs much editing before it is made final
    BTW, I hope to read some of your works, the summary of the novel you published sounds awesome, and I really enjoyed your short story!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  10. flightmom

    flightmom www.questwriter.blogspot.

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    Hi,
    I'm posting my prologue. The purpose of this particular prologue is to give background info necessary to the story. See what you think:

    Prologue​

    In the year 1793, in the heart of London outside the Royal Society of Arts

    "Get out of here you freak!"

    "We don't want your crazy notions here."

    "And, you, nigger, get lost! Your kind aren't allowed here."

    The voices echoed in the two men's heads as they walked along through the quiet streets. They had been thrown together by circumstances and were loath to break that bond, even new as it was.

    "This is where I dwell, my friend," one man said, "but I will walk you to your berth and offer the protection that two bodies provide."

    The other smiled, his teeth flashing in the darkening light. "I am most appreciative. You carry not only intelligence beyond your years, but also a stout heart."

    The first man was deeply touched by this affirmation from on he considered his peer.

    "Yet," the second man continued, "it is I who am privileged to be able to accompany you to your dwelling."

    The first man looked up into the bronzed face illuminated by a gas street lamp and noticed, for the first time, the largeness of the man in front of him and the strength he exuded. He chuckled.

    "My intelligence fails me when my mind is occupied with other matters. Forgive me, my friend. You can certainly hold your own."

    The second man waved his hand, brushing off the apology as inconsequential. "I was quite interested in your dissertation you presented this evening. It is most unfortunate that you were unable to continue."

    "Even if I had, others were intent on not letting you listen along with them." The first man shook his head at the state of affairs in London these days. The whole world seemed to be going mad with the demand for more and more factories. Was it only he who saw the yellowed air, the sickly children in the streets, the dying vegetation, and the gleam of the almighty dollar in the bureaucrat's eyes? How could earth sustain itself like this?

    He sighed. It was the very reason for his presentation tonight. He had tried to show them alternatives, a cleaner and safer ways to create machines. But of course, they didn't want to hear; they wouldn't heed his warnings.
    And they totally shunned his thoughts on the possibilities of voyaging through space and time. Called him a freak and through him out.

    "If you would be willing, I would desire to seek more of your counsel in this matter of space travel. I must confess that I am greatly intrigued," the second man said, brushing off his top hat held absently in his hand.

    The first man looked up in surprise. "Certainly. I would be honored."

    And so began a friendship between Lord Tom Promulous (prodigy, scientist, and inventor) and Candu (freed slave and former tribal prince).

    Because of oppression, these two families bonded together. Being convinced in their minds that the earth's demise was imminent, they planned their departure from earth.

    Word leaked out of a monstrous machine hidden on the grounds of Lord Promulous's summer estate. The people, scared of what they did not understand, surged into a frenzied mob and sought to destroy his life's work.

    Candu forewarned Tom. They gathered their most precious belongings and boarded the Flying Cradle. It was aptly named; the spacecraft housed a wide variety of plant and animal life, Candu and his wife and three daughters, Tom, his wife Bea, and the unborn babe in her womb, and a stowaway-a young street urchin by the name of Wilson.

    Thus, 8 people plus one yet unborn journeyed across space into a new galaxy to land on a hospitable planet, Radonner.
     
  11. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    FFREAK--
    You should see the mess I had made of my first Chronicles of Soone novel: it began in college as just a creative writing story to take my mind away from all the term papers I was having to do at the time--just an escape. I was actually writing a jedi story with my own original characters and then once I had written a great deal, I decided to go for a novel. I changed the star wars theme to an original idea and then proceeded only to go back and change the entire premise once I had nearly finished. I had to all the way back through changing things to the spiritual story I was really wanting to tell. I've grown a great deal as a writer since that novel was published by Breakneck Books and now I have in mind a lot of revisions for that same novel--still trying to make it the best it can be and introduce the allegory that really breaks loose in the second book: Rise of Lucin, from the very beginning of book one...it's just not so obvious in "Heir to the King."

    I'm glad it got published, but it needs a lot of work to be what I intend for the series opener to be. So keep going on your work and don't give up. One thing that has helped me in writing is reading the works of others to see good things and bad things as well. Another good practice is to read your own work aloud and see how it "sounds" to you. Sometimes we tend to gloss over our own work omitting our mistakes unconsciously, but we read aloud at a slower pace, so it forces us to pay attention more.

    Thanks for the compliment on A World Within. The short story version is only the beginning of this tale. The full novel is nearly finished and it will be a trilogy, Lord willing.

    James
     
  12. CoolDog

    CoolDog Orianus Creation Series

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    I wrote this poem for myself and fellow Christian fiction authors. Kevin Lucia had it posted on his old ezine, Dreamscapes and Horizons. I had a short story there also, which I may post later.

    A Kind of Writer --

    I write of the new worlds
    That fill up my daydreams
    I weave stories from my
    Imagination's thread

    I seek to bring your mind
    To a fantastic place
    I desire to pull you
    Down the road untraveled

    I write the essence of
    Intriguing characters
    I make them feel real as
    They tug at your heart strings

    A novel releases
    A fresh world of wonder
    As the chapters unfold
    And the story deepens

    There within the drama
    Are truths manifesting
    They speak to the spirit
    And stir the conscience

    I now pray to the Lord
    His guidance continues
    As I write the words that
    Prompt inner dialogue

    Now, who am I, you ask?
    A struggling author
    But truly I am this--
    A parable writer


    Copyright(c)2006 by D. Shane Burton
     
  13. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    cool dog--


    very cool poem...I really like that and how true, eh?

    james
     
  14. CoolDog

    CoolDog Orianus Creation Series

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    Thanks, James. :)

    I have a ton of poems and several short stories in a thread on the Third Day forums. If you click on my name, and then click on my public profile, you'll see a link to my website. I have a link to that thread in the box on the left side of my home page. If you then click on the "Creative Arts Corner" forum link above the thread, you'll see I have a few new threads with short stories and poems. My name is ChristChild on that forum.

    Please check out my short story in that first thread named Headline: Jesus Dies in Heaven and tell me what you think--and yes, it is a Christian story. It was also posted in Kevin Lucia's old ezine.

    I ordered your novel from Amazon the other day. We both write Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy, so I think I'll enjoy it. Wayne's book had a four to six week delay, so I haven't ordered it yet. I'll get it soon though.

    Shane
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  15. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    Wow, thanks for ordering Chronicles of Soone, Shane...If you like it please leave a review on Amazon.com. I personally think it needs some revision and I'm hoping it will get the chance to have it, if one of these publishers which are looking at Chronicles actually takes on the series.
    I've been told I'm too critical of it, but it was my first and I've just felt it needed to be brought up to the level I'm currently writing at -- some fine tuning I guess.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.:)

    James
     
  16. CoolDog

    CoolDog Orianus Creation Series

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    Actually, James, I feel the same, especially about my first novel. I went over the whole thing at least eight times on my own, and I also had four other people read the manuscript and give commentary--yet there are still typos and the like that slipped past us all. :eek:

    I just received your novel in the mail, and I just found Wayne's first two books at a local Christian bookstore. I'll get to them as soon as I can.

    Shane
     
  17. galacticlord

    galacticlord Registered User

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    Here's my opener to my in-progress novel The World of Rigel Chase: Legend of the Shaper. Sorry the formating is messed up, but I can't get it to work on this board for some reason. *Sigh* Anyway, I've been trying to perfect my opener, so just tell me what you think.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    “You’re going to love this!” The young, tan haired lad tugged at the giant sheet of paper, waving his arms about. “Now I’m finally going to show you it all. I drew the whole planet Fardarean right here, with all the places I told you about! See? Here’s the Whimshade Forest, a big place home to millions of animals and humans. This is the Aquicious Ocean. And this big mountain here is actually Catamountain, the oldest creature in all Fardarean. He’s watched over the forest since the very beginning.
    The Norifolk protect this planet. They’re an army of warriors with neat weapons and super powers. Here’s the ones I drew. Ari, Bo, Arrow, Axe, Pin, Rio, Rip, Antler, and Tom. They’re led by Chief Master Firemountain. And over here in the desert, that’s Nori Castle. That’s the ultimate power in Fardarean. Whoever controls this castle controls the planet!”
    Rigel wouldn’t stop. “The bad guys are the Tree People. They live deep in the forest where nobody can find them. They lie and cheat and steal and kill people!” Rigel’s voice turned dark. “And we also got the monsters. Lots of monsters and creatures. But Ari and the others can fight them. That’s what they’re there for.”
    He cupped his hands as if he was holding a sword hilt, and jumped and spun around, letting go of his map in the process. Rigel got so caught up that he tripped and fell on the floor.
    “Ow!” Rigel looked up at his audience. “So…what do you think?”
    The crowd of kids murmured and chatted among themselves. A boy raised his hand. “So where’d all this come from?”
    “Me!” Rigel said with pride, “I made it all up myself.”
    Rigel sat up. Thankfully, the soft carpet of the library children’s room broke his fall. His audience of twenty-four sat behind him in their small chairs. He really wanted to go for broke, to make a big impression on them with his made-up world and its strange creatures. They seemed okay with it, so far.
    He hurried back to his side of the map and held it up. He then peered at the person holding up the opposite half of the map. “I really…I really want to thank my best friend Madeline. She got me the paper and crayons to draw all this.”
    The not-quite teenage girl standing there looked on with a pleasant smile. Her auburn hair was cut fairly short past her ears. She wore a yellow shirt with black on the shoulders, and a red pleated skirt over her black spandex shorts.
    “Hey!” shouted a boy, probably a new one, “Is she your girlfriend?”
    Several of the kids laughed, while Rigel blushed and slouched behind his map. Madeline just looked away and tried not to laugh.
    “Oh no, you silly. Rigel’s too young for that. The children’s librarian, Mrs. LeBlanc, laughed.
    “And how old are you, Rigel?” a girl asked.
    “Um, nine or ten or eleven or twelve,” he replied.
    “You can’t be all those ages!” another boy shouted, “How come you don’t know?”
    “I just…I really don’t know.”
    “C’mon! Let’s ask Rigel about something else in his map,” Madeline cut in.
    Rigel fielded more questions before Mrs. LeBlanc called time. Rigel and Madeline placed the map against the wall and took their seats.
    The kids then took a vote of all the contest entries. Rigel’s drawing was the winner.
    “Here’s your prize,” Mrs. LeBlanc said, handing Rigel an object bigger than his open palm.
    Its gold was the shiniest, purest gold one could ever hope to lay eyes on. On the top half of the medallion was a golden bird, with its wings forming the frame around the circle of the medallion. A smooth black circle, perhaps made from another gem or stone, rested inside the wings. The head of the bird had three small jewels on it. Each was a different color, red, green and blue.
    Madeline picked it up and fingered the chain that ran through the top of the medallion. “Oooh, that is pretty. It almost looks like real gold!”
    Mrs. LeBlanc laughed. “Oh, it is real.” Her tone was playful.
    Rigel’s eyes widened. “Really?”
    Madeline chuckled. “Yeah, sure.” She handed him his medallion.
     
  18. BrianTubbs

    BrianTubbs New Member

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    The Last Prince

    My opener to my YA fantasy "The Last Prince"....

    ***

    A scavenger glided through the cloudless sky. It was as if it anticipated the carnage about to be unleashed below it. As if it knew there would be plenty to flesh upon which to feed.
    Forming up on the lush, green plain below were bands of Malendar warriors, attired in padded leather shirts, a smattering of kilts or leggings, and the occasional helmet or shield. Their faces painted for war, they raised their swords and pikes in defiance of the army above them. They chanted and shouted, banged their shields, and adjusted their positions in response to their warlords.
    On a hill overlooking the sweeping and lush plain stood four horsemen. Resplendent atop their black stallions and in their silver armor and crimson capes, they surveyed what was to be a bloody battlefield.
    Behind them stood a line of at least a thousand infantry and another three hundred archers. Unlike the men on the plain, these men were in crisp uniforms and precise formations. Red Eagle banners flew proudly above the soldiers of Magnar. These were soldiers in the world’s greatest empire.
    “Numbers?” asked one of the horsemen.
    “Our scouts count nearly 2000 rebels, your highness,” replied the cavalry commander, General Lochlan.
    His highness, the crown prince of Magnar, turned to the horsemen closest to him, “Brother, you will command the archers.”
    Nathan, Magnar’s lowest-ranking prince, nodded. He had been thrilled at the prospect of accompanying his brother in battle. His nod was tight, betraying his nervousness.
    “Easy, my brother,” Philip said, placing his arm on his younger brother’s shoulder. “Glory and honor.”
    Nathan unsheathed his sword, bringing it up in front of his face, saluting his brother.
    Philip grinned. Nathan’s horse was not cooperating. It jolted around, causing him to almost drop the sword. Nathan cursed under his breath.
    Philip chuckled lightly. “It’s okay, brother. We’re all full of energy today.”
    Nathan looked on in glowing admiration as his brother cantered forward, whipping his sword from its scabbard in one graceful sweep. He then spun his horse around, bringing it up on its hind legs to face his army.
    “Brothers in arms!” bellowed the crown prince. “Today, we restore justice in this province and bring honor to our Empire!”
    Cheers echoed from the ranks. Nathan’s heart swelled.
    “Places!” shouted Philip. Officers spread out to their respective positions. The army began to ripple with activity, making its pre-battle adjustments.
    Nathan rode to the line of archers behind the infantry. Bringing his horse to a halt before the archer’s senior captain, he thanked the Creator silently that the animal actually stopped.
    “Orders, sire?” asked the captain.
    “Prepare to fire.”
    The captain nodded, turned to his men. “Archers! Prepare to fire!”
    In what was almost a unison movement, the archers all reached into their back satchels, removing two arrows, and notching them into their bows. This was to be a barrage, so they would begin with two arrow volley shots.
    Philip and Lochlan led formed the cavalry up in front of the army. Nathan wondered why Philip didn’t bring the cavalry in from the side to flank the rebels while the infantry engaged them to the front. But he was a low-ranking prince. The lowest, in fact. What did he know?
    With the wave of his sword, Philip and the cavalry began their descent down the hill and into the fertile plain. Trotting their horses at first, they would still be within the rebels’ line of fire in moments.
    Matthew could barely contain his enthusiasm. It was a moment he had dreamed about forever. His first battlefield command. He wanted to make sure he was loud enough to be heard, but not too loud as to shout and break protocol. It was, after all, the archer captain that would relay the order to the men. Nathan would direct his orders to the captain. So caught up in the thought, he almost forgot to the give the command.
    “Fire!” he blurted out.
    Knowing the prince had been a little late, the captain relayed the order instantaneously, finishing the word almost before the prince did.
    Hundreds of arrows flooded the sky, streaking across the field toward the enemy ranks. Most of the rebels crouched down. Some took cover behind their shields. Others just stared defiantly forward, knowing they can do nothing to stop the hellish avalanche.
    And then, the avalanche hit. Dozens of rebels fell, some with multiple arrows skewering their bodies. The rebels remaining screamed their defiance.
    “Again,” ordered Nathan.
    The arrows flooded the sky again, showering death and despair on the rebels in the field below.
    Nathan saw Philip waving his sword and the cavalry charge picked up its pace. The infantry then moved out, advancing in perfect dual lines across the open field.
    Philip’s strategy was simple. The cavalry, led by himself and Lochlan, would hit the front ranks of the rebels, hoping to confuse and frighten them. Then, they would break off, circle around, and hit again. After the second hit, they would break free, and wait for the infantry to close for the death blow.
    Nathan realized that the strategy would not work against a more battle-tested army. Too much risk for the cavalry. But he also knew that, given the disposition of the rebels, it was possible they would lose their courage and flee the field before the infantry even struck.
    The cavalry were too close for a third volley, so Nathan signaled the captain to stand his men down and await further instructions.
    Nathan could see in the distance that Philip’s cavalry was now tangling with the rebel lines. He saw a few of the Magnarian horsemen fall, but far more rebel warriors were dropping. Nathan watched in awe as his brother rode into the middle of a large pack of rebel warriors, slashing and striking his way through them.
    Then, the cavalry withdrew. The rebels, disoriented and bloodied, tried to regroup. Only to be hit again by the cavalry. A large section of the rebel line broke, and what appeared to be several hundred warriors began fleeing from the field. More Magnarian cavalry went down, but again their casualties were minor compared to what was being inflicted on the enemy.
    Nathan was so caught up in the action in the distance that he barely noticed the flicker of movement to his right.
    “Sire!” The captain shouted a warning, just as a spear pierced his upper chest.
    Nathan spun to see a few dozen cavalry burst from the forest, waving swords and hurling spears at his archers. And at him.
    “Horsemen!” screamed one of the archers.
    The horsemen were on them before they could react. The archers closest to the woods were quickly slaughtered. The rest frantically tried to notch arrows as they withdrew, trying to get some distance between them and the rebel cavalry. That, however, was a hopeless fantasy.
    Nathan raised his sword to block a spear thrust toward his face. The spear glanced off the sword, and slammed across his breastplate. Nathan tried to grab his shield, but it was too late.
    A blow to the back of his helmet sent him reeling forward. Nathan hugged his horse’s neck, kicked its sides, trying to gallop away from the chaos. Nathan succeeded only in riding toward a new danger.
    Two spears thudded into his horse’s side. His horse shrieked in pain, and fell to its right, taking Nathan to the ground. Nathan smashed into the ground. The air shot out of his lungs. He couldn’t breathe or speak, but felt nothing but terror as he realized his right leg was trapped under his horse’s now lifeless body.
    His shield had already been lost. His sword was several feet away from him. He could do nothing to defend himself.
    Three barrel-chested, face-painted rebels approached, ready to impale the prince to the ground with their spears. Nathan closed his eyes, felt tears. Then, he heard the whooshing sound of arrows. He opened his eyes to see his three attackers spin lifeless to the ground.
    Five Magnarian archers rushed toward him. “My prince,” once said. Four of them lifted the horse just enough for Nathan to escape.
    He started to thank them, as more rebel horsemen swarmed in, decapitating one archer and disemboweling another.
    Nathan and the remaining archers who saved him ran for their lives. Nathan gave no thought to picking up his sword. If he could, he would have shed his armor. He felt nothing but sheer horror.
    The running archer closest to him was cut down by a horseman, who then came toward Nathan. Nathan anticipated the swing. He ducked just in time, tripped, and rolled on the ground. The horseman cursed as he swept past him.
    Nathan started to rise. Looked around frantically. He saw about a hundred of his archers gathered in a circular formation firing non-stop into the horsemen that circled them. Nathan guessed that over half the archers had been massacred, but now they were putting up a rather spirited fight. There weren’t many horsemen left.
    “Brother! Look out!”
    Nathan fell to the ground at the familiar voice. Just in time too, as one of the last rebel horsemen almost severed the young prince’s head.
    Any hope the rebels had of turning the tide was now gone, for Philip had arrived. Nathan watched as the dozen or so remaining rebel cavalry galloped back into the woods, away from Philip’s cavalry and the archers.
    Philip gestured to the woods with this sword, shouting to Lochlan, “Finish them off, commander!”
    Lochlan didn’t bother to salute or reply. He just galloped into the woods, his loyal cavalry following.
    Nathan rose to his feet, eyed his brother. Philip’s armor was stained with dirt and blood. His sword was drenched in red ooze – a mixture of blood and guts. His shield was gone. His horse was winded and bleeding. And, yet, across Philip’s face was a broad smile. “We did it, brother. The rebels are finished.”
    Nathan surveyed the scene around him. Many of his archers littered the field. Most on the ground were dead. Many would be very soon.
    Nathan knew he should’ve felt joy at the victory, but he felt nothing. Well, that wasn’t true. He felt lucky to be alive. And…..he felt ashamed.
     
  19. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    The only thing about COS: Heir to the King is that this was edited by a professional editor...at least they claimed to be. Let's just say, they were way slack on the job...Breakneck Books was paying them and this person let alot of things get by on their first two fiction titles. Mine and J. Robinson's "Raising the Past."

    I'm currently about halfway through the revision of COS: Heir to the King and I've done lots and lots of corrections and fine tuning to the novel so far. Phrases that seem better said another way, lots of grammatical stuff and so on. I really don't think I'm being too critical here...It amazes me that it got the great reviews which it has received. I've been laboring to bring it up to the level that I'm writing at now and there have been lots of things to fine tune in order to get it there. Even if a larger publisher doesn't pick up "Heir to the King" I may see about having Breakneck Books re-release the revised version. It would put my mind at ease anyway.

    I hope you'll be able to enjoy the story, Shane. There are actually a few plot points I changed to bring in the main villian, Lucin, at the very beginning of the story, instead of late in it as you'll find it in the in-print version.

    I've recently plotted out books 3 & 4 of COS just in case Rise of Lucin gets the chance with a publisher to debut in the market as a First book. Rise of Lucin is technically book 2, but since Heir to the King was already under contract with small independent Breakneck Books, my agent decided to go to these larger publishers with Rise of Lucin as Book 1 of the series...so if I can get a contract for a trilogy I would need those other two books (3&4)...praise the Lord, He gave me the outlines...I wasn't sure how I was going to bring out two more novels from it.

    Don't forget to review Heir to the King on Amazon if you enjoy the story, Shane...every little bit helps.

    If any of you guys get the chance then go over and review my short story version of my latest novel, A WORLD WITHIN. This one is being released in short story form in an upcoming anthology, "Legends & Fables" from Gallery Seven Books in a month or two. The novel version will hopefully get a chance with a large publisher at some point.http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/2564p0.html

    this is the basic version for the anthology...everything is expanded in the novel. I was sort of under a word count with the short story in order to submit it.;)

    James
     
  20. James Somers

    James Somers author:chroniclesofsoone

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    Brian--

    A well done battle scene: I especially like the fact that you take the reader into the battle rather than a passing view. You get the reader down deep into the particular movements of the battle and those involving the protag are focused so close one might bob or weave to duck the spear coming at you.:eek:

    That's the way I personally like to read action: move for move--the nitty gritty of it.

    Did you know, you can load up your short stories on this board? I loaded up A WORLD WITHIN already. Check it out if you get the chance and review it.

    James