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Carmichael
January 22nd, 2002, 02:34 PM
I too would be interested in some feedback on my fantasy short story, Hand of War.

Much grass

Carmichael

An8el
January 22nd, 2002, 07:44 PM
I wasn't able to find it by title in the fantasy section. But it's hard to winnow out because that section is organized by author's last name.

So, help me find it - what name is the story listed under?

Cadfael
January 23rd, 2002, 03:39 AM
Hand Of War (http://www.sffworld.com/authors/w/wolfe_rick/fiction/handofwar1.html), by Rick Wolfe

Just as a side note, it would be helpful if short story posters did tell us which name they posted under when asking for critical comment.

[This message has been edited by dennizm (edited January 23, 2002).]

Carmichael
January 23rd, 2002, 09:13 AM
Oops, sorry about that. If my brain was functioning, I would have thought of that possiblity. Thanks Dennizm. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Oh, and Sammie? The thesaurus in Word got a serious workout during the rewrite. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Carmichael (edited January 23, 2002).]

An8el
January 24th, 2002, 08:19 PM
I don't usually prefer violent stuff, but I didn't mind this. It was a little like the "praise" stories such as Gilgamesh - where the heroes are all wonderful and especially talented, etc. I'd like a little weakness built into each character because it gives them something to be heroic about. But that's me.
The way to do that and keep the story as it is now might be to "frame" this first part as a scribe writing the "oh-fish-all" historic recount. Then one of the characters steps in and tells the "real" story later. Perhaps the giant has a whole other slant on the historic moments. I really was amused by the giant character.
For me the story started when you introduced Ian the General. What you wrote previous to that for me belonged to a more reflective time with explanations - such as when the General would do his war planning.
Wasn't there a "Davros" in Song of Ice & Fire? I hate it when a character name you picked has already been used in a memorable novel.

estranghero
January 24th, 2002, 09:06 PM
Hmmm, after some thinking about this, lemme give this a shot...

First of all, it's not a bad story. I love reading major battle scenes, those "You shall not pass" action, line-in-the-sand stories. Not too many of those around. I like the battle atmosphere you accounted for. Any inspirations?

Some questions though:

1. What's the background of the story?

At first I thought that this was an epic fantasy tale with the use of names like Avalan, Davros, and Carmichael. But then I thought it was alternative history with the use of the Sumerian empire. And then Camelot came up! So which is it? I'm thinking the use of fantasy names is the question here. What's your basis for 'em?

2. Is this a short story or part of a bigger story?

The ending is a bit abrupt though I can appreciate it, ala "You shall not pass!" kinda thing. I guess a better emphasis of that final action--I'm guessing a 'last stand' act-- would nail the scene in the reader's mind. But if it's part of a bigger story, then that's okay. (Though like I said, I prefer it a short story since I like line-in-the-sand gimmicks like the Alamo.)

Just some thoughts. Keep on writing! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

wastra
January 25th, 2002, 07:44 AM
On the contrary, I didn't find hte need to hear more background. Short stories don't need to be self-contained novels- characters and histories are almost never as well developed.

However, there is a definite lack of proper grammar and punctuation running throughout the story. Every possessive tense word I found lacked it's apostrophe. There wer eseveral sentence fragments that sould have been incorporated in other sentences..

"Hours in which neither side had given an inch."

This is one example from an early paragraph. This is not a complete sentence.


I know, many people don't care that much about grammar- but if you're posting in a writing forum, is SHOULD be addressed. Regardless, this is a solid story that wit ha few mechanical twists could be excellent. You are very talented in painting a picture of a battle scene...something many authors today can't even conceive.

The feeling I got from the story was one of desperation...on one side, desperate men defended their very lives. On the other, a clearly superior foe became desperate when seemingly inferior forces continued to defy what they likely felt would be the inevitable.

I suppose that is exactly the reaction the commanders would have experienced...although I think the average G.I. Joe would feel less concerned with such matters, more concered with not dying.

I like the story. Let us know if it developes into something longer.

Carmichael
January 25th, 2002, 09:47 AM
Let's see if I can address everything brought up all at once. . .


Wasn't there a "Davros" in Song of Ice & Fire? I hate it when a character name you picked has already been used in a memorable novel.
Not having read that book, I hadn't known that. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Oddly enough, Davros and the Magus, Michael Velann, were spur of the moment. I needed some other characters to fill out the storyline and they really just appeared suddenly fully ready to go. Neither man exists outside of this piece. I don't have anything on them anywhere in my research or design notes.
Carmichael on the other hand, I designed him when I was a teenager. He started life as a D&D fighter character named Thrad the Destroyer. I would like to believe he has grown some over the years.

However, there is a definite lack of proper grammar and punctuation running throughout the story. Every possessive tense word I found lacked it's apostrophe. There wer eseveral sentence fragments that sould have been incorporated in other sentences.. Thanks Wastra, I'll have to go look over the copy on my computer and see what I missed when I was checking my punctuation.


The ending is a bit abrupt though I can appreciate it, ala "You shall not pass!" kinda thing. The abrupt ending stems from the original reason this was written. I had a mandatory English Comp course earlier this year and a short story was one project. My problem was trying to fit this into a 7 page limit using the standard college format. Double spaced text tends to limit how much one can put in. I had to chop the intro and ending down to size to fit the specifications given us. When I get the time, I plan to rewrite those sections, hopefully lengthening the ending.

Inspirations. . . I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the battle, but it was a fight between the French and English. The French forces were supposed to be numbering around 20,000 with a majority being cavalry units. The English side was much smaller, comprising about 6000 troops. 5000 of which were archers. I think I have those numbers right. I'll have to go home and check my research. Long story short, the English decimated the French forces. I ran across a brief mention of the battle in Robert Hardy's book on the history of archery, for anybody who is curious. Cannot remember the name of the book though. It is in my research notes at home. SO if ya' want the title let me know, and I will go find it.
If your talking about the inspiration for the battle scenario, blame David Drake for that. His hard-edged military stories are some of my personal favorites. I decided to try my hand at it.

The original idea for this stems from reading Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising. I liked the idea of portraying a theatre-wide action from multiple points of view and was curious to see if I could place the concept into a fantasy setting.
Somewhere I have a science fiction variant working in the same premise.
(Star Wars is the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, aren't they? Crud, my sci-fi is the Vriid Empire vs. The Terran Alliance. Back to the blighted drawing board.)
This is intended to fit inside a much larger(think novel)work. And it is definitely supposed to become an epic fantasy piece. This is actually a fairly small scene within the whole battle between Sumer and Kalador.
Sumer isn't the only place-name out of he history books that I appropriated. Scotia, Dalradia, Italia, Nihon, Mohjen-Daro. . . Just a few of the nations littering my worlds landscape. I just liked the idea of using historical place-names for my characters to live in. Personal preference, what can I say. That and I was to lazy to try and come up with some names of my own. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

That is all I have for now. Thanks for the input peoples. You rock!! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

Of course I think you're funny looking, your a circus clown!

Carmichael
(And now you know where my name comes from. . .)

[This message has been edited by Carmichael (edited January 25, 2002).]

[This message has been edited by Carmichael (edited January 25, 2002).]

estranghero
January 27th, 2002, 03:28 PM
"On the contrary, I didn't find hte need to hear more background. Short stories don't need to be self-contained novels- characters and histories are almost never as well developed."

I know wastra http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif I just wanted to hear from Carmichael his reasoning on the use of his names. For me, naming is an integral part of the story (see the characters and places that Guy Gavriel Kay and Tad Williams use in their stories). The names have to go with the story or else it will sound pretty incongrous. As an example of weird naming, look at ER Eddison's 'Worm Ourobous', wherein he had two human nations (or humanoid races) named Demons and Witches but had no relation at all to what we know of them now.

So based on carmichael's reasoning...

"Sumer isn't the only place-name out of he history books that I appropriated. Scotia, Dalradia, Italia, Nihon, Mohjen-Daro. . . Just a few of the nations littering my worlds landscape. I just liked the idea of using historical place-names for my characters to live in."

True enough, Sumer is far-off from Avalon but based on his reasoning and his name-variation of the places we know, it becomes... more plausible. I think Robert E. Howard does the same with his Conan books though different reason, of course. Carmichael, you can look this up in one of his fan sites.

Of course, the names of the characters are another matter but I think we'll leave that for another day... http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

Carmichael
January 27th, 2002, 04:21 PM
Just thought I would mention that I got the name for Kaladors capital city from a Kenny Loggins track Back to Avalon

See ya', wouldn't wanna be ya'
http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif
Carmichael