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Hemingway
March 26th, 2003, 08:38 PM
I'm not sure if this has been done before, but I'd like everyone to submit an excerpt from one of their novels. Currently I'm constructing a new novel, which I believe will be leaps and bounds ahead of my previous creations. Anyways, post a small excerpt of some work you've done, and let me or anyone else who chooses to do so give you some constructive criticism.

Excerpt from a novel I did about a year ago....

The colonel called for the war horn's signal, immediately a large man with a silver helm sculpted into the shape of a demon placed his lips upon the brass fitting of a bull's horn, resin sealed the interior of ringed rivets, and a large opening at the end with a silver cup exuded a thunderous bellow. The drums followed in a fixed beat tattooing all ears within the valley.

In unison a swarm of swords unsheathed from their scabbards, and the central force marched resolutely, trampling through high stalks of soaking weeds. Spearmen held their lengthy weapons high, metal points like sharks teeth, shields slung to their backs with sturdy straps of tan leather. To the rear quarters archers held held quivers of spiked beeswax tips designed to pierce plate armor at the ready between calloused fingers, one hand folded tightly till their knuckles turned white over their monstrously large wooden longbows of ash with ivory horn caps holding the hemp string entwined with linen taut. The ground underfoot rumbled a tremulous pulse, mixing with the grinding shift of armor. Warscreams stung the air like poisonous venom, and a torrent of arrows suddenly shielded the sky like several flocks of ravens taken flight.

Aurellian looked to the sky as the hail of arrows rained down upon them, their murderous whining whistle accompanying screams.

Keep in mind it was a year ago, so I've gotten better, hopefully much better.:) I hope to see some other excerpts.

DecKrash
March 27th, 2003, 12:05 AM
Okay, I'm game. Here's my exerpt from a story I call, "Eden." Enjoy!

“Look,” he told B’Edonna, yelling over the thunderous roar of the waterfall below. He then pointed in the direction of the pathway and the grate. “It’s our way out, if we can find a way to take out the grating.”
They approached the grate, and looked outside. Suspended on a cliff face, it gave a good overview of the expansive dunes of the Great desert. Since they were still close to the city, they could still see the heavy commuter traffic going in and out of Eblana, both on land and air. The suns’ light above halfway blinded and roasted them, and it soon became uncomfortable to stand directly in its way. They moved back onto the shielded part of the precipice, and hunched down, both of them wiping the large amounts of sweat off of their brows.
“That grating’s made of safe metal,” B’Edonna said. “Nothing short of a plastic explosive will be able to take it out, and I don’t think we have anything strong enough to take its place.”
Rudigan would have normally choked in discouragement right about now, but now just happened to be a moment of one of his few bright ideas. Maybe they didn’t have plastic explosives (heavy ammo was strictly limited by the General during this mission, for in case they were caught, the Resistance didn’t want the Empire to properly guess their level of technology), but they did have their wits, which came in handy, along with (hopefully)a healthy dose of luck. Now was one of those times he hoped luck would be on their side.
“We won’t need plastic explosives,” Rudigan said. “We’ll just need your dragon gun.”
“If your looking to fire it, I’d like to know how with no ammo,” she answered. “I used up my last two charges on the sanddragon, remem... oh!”
Rudigan had in his hands, a dragon gun charge.
“How did you...?”
“I found it lying on the ground when we backed out of that tight squeeze path we wormed our way into,” he answered. “‘Knew it was a charge, and a powerful one at that, but I didn’t really know what it was for at the time.”
Rudigan ordered her to reassemble her gun; after she did, they made their way back to the blistering hot sunlight of the grate, where he explained his plan.
“It won’t do any good,” B’Edonna instantly answered. Bars are inset into the cavern walls and welded shut to make grating of this kind. Even if I were to shoot through the wall above or below the bars, we wouldn’t be able to clear out enough of the wall to make a path.”
Not unless you fire at point-blank range,” Rudigan said. “I’ve seen what that dragon gun can do. It’ll be enough. Trust me.” He took her hands, tightly gripping the dragon gun, and positioned them to fire directly at the wall. “You have the charge primed for delayed detonation?”
B’Edonna nodded. “Once I fire this thing, you’d better haul train to that staircase, or you’ll be taking a nice refreshing dip.”
“Thanks for the warning,” Rudigan answered. “You ready?”
“Always, o fearless leader.”
“Fire!”


:) :)

milamber_reborn
March 27th, 2003, 12:28 AM
He then pointed in the direction of the pathway and the grate.

THEN should be left out. Sounds like you're listing all his actions using this word. Also, have the pathway and grate been established before this excerpt. If so, delete IN THE DIRECTION.

juzzza
March 27th, 2003, 04:19 AM
Originally posted by Hemingway

Keep in mind it was a year ago, so I've gotten better, hopefully much better.:) I hope to see some other excerpts.

I liked it, my only critiscism is that the sentences are a little too long. Read some of them out loud and try not to pass out.

What does this mean? "tattooing all ears within the valley." And I apologise, I am not a wordy so if it has genuine meaning ignore me.

DecKrash - Dragon guns sound interesting.

This was a bit confusing "but now just happened to be a moment of one of his few bright ideas"

Both good examples. It's only fair to post a segment of mine to be ripped, I will come back to this thread, thanks Hemingway.

juzzza
March 27th, 2003, 04:32 AM
In the large bedroom, Rouan paced back and forth cursing and clenching her fists. She hated living in this Kingdom, hated her husband but most of all, she hated this predicament that prevented her from slicing the smirk from King Diator's face.

The lady pulled her boots from her feet as she walked. Each boot took two hops to pull free. She threw them across the room one by one. The first boot thumped into the mound of red and gold pillows that adorned the four-poster bed and the second bounced off the mattress and smashed the mirror on the dressing table.

The bedroom door crashed open and King Diator stormed into the room with his hands on his hips.

"Again you embarrass me Rouan, why can't you conduct yourself in a manner befitting..." The King took a step back as his queen stormed towards him with clenched fists.

"Leave me alone I warn you," she screamed. "I'm in the mood to befit your head from your befitting shoulders."

"Please," he replied. "Let's not lower ourselves to your people's level." Diator turned his back on Rouan and slammed the door shut.

"If it wasn't for my people, your Kingdom would be destroyed by the Eastern armies within months you arrogant little man. Our army is the only thing preventing a full invasion. Whilst generations of your men concentrated on perfecting etiquette and how to groom themselves like little girls, our men and women have been training in the arts of war." Diator laughed and stepped forward before responding.

"Hah! That's why we call you barbarians darling, all brawn and no class. Believe me, if this treaty between your father's lands and Isris did not exist, you wouldn't be fit for the stable boys, let alone my supposed queen." Rouan's shoulders sagged a little and she laughed but there was no humour there.

Holbrook
March 27th, 2003, 08:24 AM
Hemingway:

I like the feel you gave of the preparations. You caught the urgency of the moment.

Though I did notice that you used a lot of "run on" sentences. Your first paragraph is only two sentences, the first of which had me gasping for breath.

Also this.To the rear quarters archers held held quivers of spiked beeswax tips designed to pierce plate armor

I had the thought, heck what are the bees like if their wax can pierce armour. I am not sure you meant that the arrows were made of wax or the steel was coated in them....
:D

DecKrash:

The speech was well done save for here Rudigan ordered her to reassemble her gun; after she did, they made their way back to the blistering hot sunlight of the grate, where he explained his plan.

You slipped from showing to telling and back to showing and it stood out.

Also a bit too much about the dragon gun and it's use, usually an officer doesn't explain that much *g*


Ok Juzzza *g*

A few rambling thoughts.... don't hit me....

The lady pulled her boots from her feet as she walked just wondering walking and removing boots.... maybe struggled out or kicked off.... Or stopped pulled off and threw...

The King stormed in then she stormed towards him, maybe change one of the stormed...

Diator laughed and stepped forward before responding.

Maybe Diator laughed at her words and stepped forward before responding.

I wasn't sure it was Rouan speaking for a second.

Also and this is a suggestion and you can tell me to go place it somewhere dark but.... Both seem to be doing a lot of banging storming and smashing. Maybe have her doing that and he, being very controlled, doing everything the opposite of her, but hinting that his temper is tightly controlled and he is not going to stoop to her type of displays.

Holbrook
March 27th, 2003, 08:36 AM
Ok.... A little bit of Albert in the night *g*

“What? Noooo. I don’t believe it!” Mage Thomason’s voice boomed in the stern cabin of the deep-sea trading vessel. “I don't think that...did you cheat? You must have cheated!”

“Not this time,” Albert drawled as he leaned back in his chair and took a long draft from his glass.

King Henry chuckled into his beard as he gazed out of the small paned window at the lights of his home. The ship was riding at anchor in the harbour of his capitol, Heartshome. He could hear the crew on deck readying the vessel to catch the late night tide. The King drew in a breath and savoured the sights and sounds. This was what he loved...the normal, plain everyday life of his people.

“I think you did,” Mage Thomason repeated.

Henry turned and looked at the object under discussion. The chessboard was littered with the overturned victims of the battle. Yet it was not the mountain of lost pieces that were the subject of his companions’ small disagreement. It was the lone pawn of Albert's that had somehow found its way across the board.

“Well, m’dear,” Albert began, a smile creeping over his face. “Sometimes during a major battle one can lose sight of a small insignificant pawn. The problem is that said pawn can sneak across the board and get queened.”

“In other words, you are a sneaky bastard,” Henry quipped as he reached out and picked up a slice of cheese from amidst the debris of their meal.

“Never claimed to be anything other,” Albert said softly, his hooded eyes twinkling.

“I concede then," Mage Thomason sighed. “I can’t fight two queens.”

“Aye. That’s like being between a rock and a hard place,” Henry laughed between his bites of cheese.

“Speaking of which, I thought Prince Arthur was to have joined us. I knew he had some questions for Albert, before he left us for his little adventure,” Mage Thomason said and helped himself to some wine.

“Oh, he is still between the rock and the hard place.” Henry’s laughter deepened. He coughed, half choked on his mouthful of cheese and then thanked Albert with a nod of his head as the man leaned over and swatted him on the back.

“I would not refer to the queen and the princess as such," Mage Thomason huffed. “Besides, the young prince, your grandson, could have come to harm.”

“He was with his father and grandfather,” Henry retorted.

“Exactly,” Albert agreed, picking up his hat and placing the large brown contraption on his head as he rose from his seat.

“It was only a little hunting,” Henry added, watching Albert as the man moved to the window and looked out over the dark mass of water. Of late Albert had been preoccupied with something. Henry had been hard pressed not to inquire about it, but he ultimately knew that if Albert wished him to know he would have told him.

“How come you were not subject to the same accounting as your son?” Thomason asked, a small smile twitching his lips.

“My wife and daughter-in-law are well aware I am a lost cause. Arthur, on the other hand, they believe they can instruct.”

“Can they?” Albert asked sharply as he spun round, his eyes dark with the reflected night sky.

“No. Arthur is his own man.”

“Good, good,” Albert murmured. “Well, gentlemen, I think it is time you left. The tide will soon rise.”

Hemingway
March 27th, 2003, 11:59 AM
Deckrash-Just to make a further notation of some unnecessary words (as stated by Milamber), try to eliminate as many articles and prepositions as possible (like “for in case they were caught” could easily be, “in case they were caught”, this way your writing seems to dictate a more fluid action. I think you should narrate the sound of the characters voice when he’s trying to speak over the roar of the waterfall, or perhaps have the listener yell back at him to speak louder, whirl him around by the shoulder, and yell directly into his ear---something to that extent. I hope a previous scene depicted Rudigan picking up a charger, otherwise it would seem overtly convenient and seem like we has missed a scene of the story.

Okay now to the positive elements (I find negativity is always better to start with). You undoubtedly have a talent. The writing possesses a real clarity, fluency in developing the scene, dialogue is pretty descent (though I would recommend creating a few of your own clichés) and the narration is articulate. Overall I feel you simply need refinement, but you’re well on your way to success, I’m sure of it.


Juzza-The dialogue is a little forced (Although I loved the queens retort “I’m about to befit your head from your befitting shoulders”) so I won’t criticize the dialogue too harshly, but try to make it seem like these are real characters. A trick I use is creating a voice for each character in my head (Can be anyone’s voice, maybe an actor, a friends voice, whatever), another trick to achieving outstanding depth in a character is to pose questions to your character, and then imagine how they would answer (Like---How’s the ale so and so---and so and so replies “It tastes like damned horse piss you oaf!” something like that, just average questions so you feel like not only are you writing this guy’s dialogue, but you are becoming him, you are becoming an actor and you damned well better play the part!). Holbrook gave some excellent advice as well. A fantastic conflict is where both opposing sides offer completely different dispositions.

Okay now the positive—I like the last sentence, it creates illusion of toughness the queen attempts to commonly display, but underneath the slowly dying robustness is fading away (excellent work). There’s a great element of action you’re creating, very dynamic. Watch out for redundancy in words though (like someone mentioned before about the stormed). Try to work on some slow scenes, I am betting you excel in action, but you may be hindered by impatience to abscond into a more exciting scene.


Holbrook-This is really outstanding work, instantly I felt drawn to the characters and their quirky remarks. The repetition of Mage’s accusations really gave a spark to the character, it identified his relentlessness, and of course his disbelief. I felt it really portrayed authentic characters, you’re style reminds me of Raymond Feist. Also I loved the casualness of Albert, the conflict was handled perfectly. The dialogue was very witty, especially the pawn morphing into a queen dialogue. Great narration. It’s really difficult to detect faults here, but I’ve managed to find a few things to gripe about!

The game of chess (Now I’m an avid chess-player myself so this was a very interesting scene for me) but if you’re creating a world I believe the games should also have minor alterations (basically just change the name and maybe the pieces, this was actually done very well in Feist’s Empire series). The cliché “between a rock and a hard place” could also be exchanged for some witty philosophy, that portion of the scene is begging for it!
This is really outstanding work, I loved this line as well “In other words you are a sneaky bastard.” That was lol funny. Characterization is a definite strong-point and that’s half the battle, narration is great, but I speculate upon your ability to create imaginative worlds, that is really the only aspect I see that needs some work.

BTW, The english placed beeswax on the tips of their arrows to help penetrate the thick plated armor that was made in such a way that arrows would commonly glance of the armor, and you would have to directly strike the armor to pierce it. So the beeswax allowed even glancing blows to pierce.

And the "drums beat tatooing all ears within the valley" is kind of an abstract metaphor. I'm really just trying to convey that the drums are so loud they're leaving an incessant permanent ringing in their ears, hence the tatooing because it is meant to be permenent.

Holbrook
March 27th, 2003, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by Hemingway
[B]. The game of chess (Now I’m an avid chess-player myself so this was a very interesting scene for me) but if you’re creating a world I believe the games should also have minor alterations (basically just change the name and maybe the pieces, this was actually done very well in Feist’s Empire series).

If the game was to play a major part in the storyline, then yes I would use the game of chess as a basis for a similar/yet same game. I have in another work created a "sport" based on English stick fighting of the 19th century... This is a major aspect of the work and needed to be done.

But it isn't in this story the section is really just an intro into the chapter.

And chess is, least to me a good comfortable link between "our real world" and Albert's. There are many pun's and references to "our world" and digs at standard "fantasy clichés" Albert's adventures are very tongue in cheek. His stories are not "deep" "heavy" fantasy they are light, with a dark centre like my favourite chocolates...


The cliché “between a rock and a hard place” could also be exchanged for some witty philosophy, that portion of the scene is begging for it!

Thing is this is taken from a maybe number three Albert story and "rocks and hard places take on another meaning if you have read the first. *g* Though I will bear in mind what you have said.


but I speculate upon your ability to create imaginative worlds, that is really the only aspect I see that needs some work.

Actually I deliberately placed a section up that contained little or no details of Albert's world. In fact this is the only piece of Albert's adventures now on the Web and it is from a follow up story which might not be finished at all. The orginal work, Albert's first adventure is at the moment being seriously considered by an agent.


BTW, The english placed beeswax on the tips of their arrows to help penetrate the thick plated armor that was made in such a way that arrows would commonly glance of the armor, and you would have to directly strike the armor to pierce it. So the beeswax allowed even glancing blows to pierce.

Yes, I knew ;) but your sentence reads a bit like the arrow tip was made of beeswax..... *g*

IaNo
March 27th, 2003, 03:06 PM
OK. My turn. Keep in mind that I am experimenting with a very strange and different style of writing. In no way is this an example of how I usually write. I'm curious as to what you all may think of it. It's from my current WIP, Ano218. Well, here goes:

“What do you have to say for yourself?” querryelled Cretyniscka as the poor No huddled down defensively.
“Nothing,” muttered the No whose number Ano didn’t know.
“That’s what you are, but what do all of you know?” continued the chief in his bizarre style of cross-examination. Ano could tell by the No’s expression that he wasn’t that bright and didn’t understand.
“I know nothing, sir, but I only speak for myself.”
“That’s not what I’ve heard,” said the chief, almost giddily as he knowingly glanced at 096 who was grinning evilly in his appointed seat next to the chief’s own. The grin got wider upon hearing the twisted tongue of his lord continue. “There’s a rumor that you’ve been talking to yourself.”
“No, I never, I, I haven’t” stammered the No as 096 returned another knowing glance back to the chief. He was clearly the one who had started the rumors; it was his job to do so. Ano knew that the No would be punished regardless of validation because all rumors were true unto themselves. They functioned as a way of showing others what not to do.
“A no cannot consort with any of themselves at any times. It is dangerous to all of you. I have changed the program so that this error is no longer possible. Your program is corrupt or you are not built with enough memory to follow it. Either way, you will be eliminated during the next reboot. If I hear any more rumors before then I’ll have your mouth removed,” said Cretynishka and excused the No.
The No turned and left, passing Ano’s left as he left the chamber. There was no use in responding to the chief when he didn’t riddle, Ano knew – he was next.
He stood.
“What do you know of doing?” querryelled Cretyniscka, as the council was arriving, discussing, and leaving as it had been, was, and will be.
Ano wasn’t unpuzzled so he said the right answer that wasn’t right at all, or wouldn’t have been if he had thought too deeply about it. He stated purely, “I know that I am.”
“But you cannot be!” informscolded the chief.
“I am as in doing, and oh so fortunate to be, but I as I am is the not that is me,” sang Ano.
“Your speechtaste is sweet; your seed has thus grown to a tree. You see deep, that is right, and you’d like to proceed. What you know as a No is all right but you’d like to agree. You may rest with my wife if it has been chosen to be,” sang back Cretynishka.
“So it has,” Ano said, “and I hold this to be; more than myself I am owing and molded to thee. That that I do shall no more than just be, double not doing but chosen by me.”
“Who has told you of choosing and how can it be? You are still a No, and know, a No should know nothing of free. Will you grow up to be as your father to flee? Mark my words.” The chief paused forcefully, his powerful glaring gaze riddling holes into Ano’s soft brain. “Was it he who has pressed and has brought this to be?”

###
I'm ready to be slammed for this one!