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NpPaintballer09
October 26th, 2003, 07:18 PM
just want some friendly advice on this.
i am new at writing and would just like some feed back. thx.
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INTRO TO The Fallen

"You look like you've had a rough day there, stranger." The cook said as she poured more soup into his bowl. Her fat face had an inquisitive look on it, staring down at his ruffled clothing and callused hands. She was probably not used to seeing strangers in this small, out-of-the-way town.

"Yeah," he murmured coldly, never looking up. The cook frowned and moved on to another table, muttering harshly under her breath. After servicing some of the other
customers, she retreated to her kitchen, from where she continued to throw glares in his direction.

The man ate his soup. It was sparse bits of chicken in a vegetable broth. It was not very good, but it would suffice. His work in this village would be quick. He already knew that his mark was somewhere on the east side of town. A few arrangements, then the hit, and he was gone.

He shifted in his seat, and his sword rattled against the wooden table, as if to let him know it was anxious and willing to be put to use. His sword was his only friend in this world. Human relationships were a thing of the past, yet they lingered in his memory, constantly reaching out to him, like a drowning child full of life refusing to die. But he cared not. His work was meant for loners, and the solitude suited him.

He stood up, finished with his meal, and loudly dropped some coppers on the table. As he made his way to the door all the eyes in the room followed him. Most were especially fixed on the intricately designed sheath that hung below his black overcoat. The sheath was also black. It had dark blue lines etched into it, and other strange symbols adorned it. The sheath curve slightly, to conform to the curved blade it hid from view.

Normally, the man with the sword would never have attracted so much attention to himself, but his mission ...well his plan for the mission, required that he was seen by the common folk, so that they would pin the deaths on him. Of course he would be gone by then, but nonetheless it was necessary. He walked outside, leaving the peasants to their gossip.

It was a cold and cloudy night. Being well past sundown there was little activity in the quaint town of Henshaw. All the innocents were sleeping peacefully in bed, not
knowing of the evil that roamed this town.

As he walked along the path that led to the outskirts of Henshaw, he thought of the past and what could have been. He had found himself doing this more and more as of
late and it was troubling him. He needed to focus, the most important part of this mission would take place tomorrow. He couldn?t afford to be swallowed by the past.

He found a nice, big oak tree on the edge of town. It was close to the path, but in places like this there was hardly ever trouble. And if his target came after him, he would know. So he unbuckled his sword, tucked it under his arm, and laid down for a night sure
to be full of haunting dreams.
THE FALLEN

milamber_reborn
October 26th, 2003, 10:25 PM
This a great start. Keep up the writing. The best thing to learn early on is how to do a good, thorough edit. Trimming the fat is a skill that must be learned. Here are my suggestions for improving this piece.


"You look like you've had a rough day there, stranger." The cook said as she poured more soup into his bowl. > "You look like you've had a rough day there, stranger," the cook said as she poured more soup into his bowl.
(It's still the same sentence, so you can't separate it with a period. This is a common mistake made by new writers.)

Her fat face had an inquisitive look on it > Her fat face looked inquisitive.
(It's essential to keep the prose tight where possible; the less words you can use to convey your intended meaning, the better.)

servicing > serving

It was not very good, but it would suffice. > Not very good, but it would suffice.
(You started consecutive sentences with 'It was,' which is repetition.)

He shifted in his seat, and his sword rattled against the wooden table, as if to let him know it was anxious and willing to be put to use. > He shifted in his seat. His sword rattled against the wooden table as if to let him know it was anxious to be put to use. (I trimmed it of a little fat and took out a misplaced comma.)

constantly reaching out to him, like a drowning child . . . (shouldn't be a comma)

... the intricately designed sheath that hung below his black overcoat. The sheath was also black. It had dark blue lines etched into it, and other strange symbols adorned it. > ... the dark, intricately designed sheath that hung below his black overcoat. Dark blue lines were etched into it, and it was adorned by strange symbols. (Again I trimmed these sentences of repetition by restructuring them.)

but his mission ...well his plan for the mission, required that he was seen
> but his mission -- well his plan for the mission -- required that he was seen
> but his mission (well his plan for the mission) required that he was seen
(you have a choice here how you want to separate the the clause)

roamed this town > roamed their town (also, you might want to avoid repetition of 'town' by using an alternative like 'hamlet')

as of late > of late

He needed to focus, the most important part > He needed to focus; the most important part

couldn't > could not

Bardos
October 27th, 2003, 02:12 AM
by using an alternative like 'hamlet')

Milamber, I would disagree here. If I'm not mistaken (and it's possible that I am :D), hamlet is a smaller community than a town, much smaller than even a village indeed.

Jacquin
October 27th, 2003, 04:13 AM
Hi there, this is a piece that has potential, you have the ability to put an idea into my mind and make me curious about where it is going. That being said it could stand a bit of tidying. I have only critiqued a short section here, if you want my opinion on the whole piece feel free to PM me.

Firstly what is this the intro to? Is it for a full length novel, a series of novels or a short story? This affects the amount of detail you give out, you can easily give us enough to hook us without revealing too much of the plot...


"You look like you've had a rough day there, stranger." The cook said as she poured more soup into his bowl. Her fat face had an inquisitive look on it, staring down at his ruffled clothing and callused hands. She was probably not used to seeing strangers in this small, out-of-the-way town.


Personally I'm not a fan of starting with dialogue, it can work if the dialogue is snappy and catchy but to me this sounds a little too cliched for me, it brings to mind Stephen King's Gunslinger series. It also raises a couple of questions, why is the cook also serving? If she routinely does both then she probably isn't a cook... Also you refer to your character as "Stranger" twice in rapid succession. You can afford to trim dialogue quite drastically without loosing the meaning, in fact the briefer it is the more your readers will thank you, after all dialogue is only there because it serves a purpose, if it isn't absolutely necessary, get rid of it. This also works with the word "said" I know it was said as it is in quotation marks, I only need the qualifier if it could be confusing as to who said it.

Simple adjectives should be avoided at all times, telling me her face is fat doesn't actually add to the picture in my mind, she is a cook, I'd expect her to be a little overweight, though even if she isn't does it matter? If not cut it out.

The description of him is better, you are showing us more than telling us, but it could still be a little cleaner, probably down to how you show us. We find out soon enough that he is a stranger, you don't actually have to tell us that just yet, calloused hands is a nice touch though, perhaps have him holding out his bowl with calloused hands, maybe even slopping some soup onto his clothes and not caring, they would both give you a similar picture without you having to tell us anything. Also remember that as the writer you are God in this world. You know whether the cook is used to seeing strangers, and if you aren't telling us one way or the other cut it out.

Anyway I have gone on enough for one post, if you want me say more then let me know. Please don't lose heart, this piece works and with a little editing could be pretty good.

J

Dawnstorm
October 27th, 2003, 03:06 PM
Your good with characters, psychological and social dynamics. However, you could give us more information about the setting.

On my first time through the story I wondered about the setting 3 times:

1. I imagined a modern type of inn or something (cars parked before it; electrical stove in the kitchen etc.); I took it for granted that this was the setting, until you mentioned the sword. As you mention "peasants" further down, it is quite clear that I was wrong.

2. When the man "loudly dropped some coppers on the table", I realized that I didn't know anything about the noise level of the tavern(?). There's a limit to how loudly you can drop coins, and in an average tavern the white noise level of the conversation will drown out the sound of coins dropping, unless you're close to the coins (neighbouring tables).

3. I had problems with imagining the scene of the last paragraph: "the path" (what path?, why a path and no road?). "Places like this" (what places? Edge of town? near oaktrees at the side of a path? near a town like this?) "If his target came after him" (his target is close by?)

For me, setting is one of the hardest things to write: too much description and you bore your audience, too little and you run risk of omitting important information.

NpPaintballer09
October 27th, 2003, 04:20 PM
Thank you guys alot. I didnt expect so much advice in a day. Ill try to follow ur guys' advice as best i can and put a revised version on in a couple days , wen i can find the time in my busy life :)

o yea to answer the question about the lenght of this story... hmmm...Im not exactly sure. Maybe Ill make it a series of short stories or just one big novel.

milamber_reborn
October 27th, 2003, 10:19 PM
'hamlet' was just a suggestion. The point was to cut out the repetition.

Fist
October 29th, 2003, 07:51 AM
Great writing and great advice from everyone. Dawnstorm said exactly what I was thinking. There was little or no setting. I'd imagine that instead of starting with dialogue(as mentioned by someone else) you could give just a a paragraph or two setting the scene. Here's a vague example and by no means perfect and maybe a little cliched but her goes anyway:

Since he had quietly walked into the tavern 30 minutes earlier, the unusual stranger had barely looked up from his bowl. The other patrons, emboldened by his seeming lack of awareness of them continued to watch him, curious as to the origin of this dangerous looking man. To them this man represented trouble and trouble was not welcome in [insert village name here].
The man himself seemed oblivious to the curiosity he was causing around the tavern. The patrons watched as the cook, true to her inquisitive nature, hitched up her skirts and with soup pot and ladle in hand waddled through the tables in the strangers direction. She plonked the iron pot onto his table and smiled broadly at the brooding man as she mentally prepared what she was going to say.
"You look like you've had a rough day there, stranger." ...etc....


EDIT: Damn, too late I just noticed your OTHER thread with the revised intro. Oh well....

pcarney
October 29th, 2003, 03:44 PM
Good intro, I look forward to reading more!

One thing that stuck out to me was the word 'hit'. Reminds me too much of mob movies...

KATS
October 29th, 2003, 06:39 PM
Since this thread is still getting replies that should be in the other thread and I can see some confusion starting, I am going to close this thread and post a link to the new thread. Any problems with this, please give me a PM.

If you would like to reply to this thread, please post under THIS THREAD (http://www.sffworld.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6726) .

Kimberly
a/k/a KATS