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NpPaintballer09
October 28th, 2003, 03:31 PM
thanks 4 all the advice w/ my last post.
i made some changes and included a couple more paragraphs to the beginning. o btw this is the right place to post these type of things right?
-------------------------------------

Outwardly, the town of Henshaw was calm, tranquil even. Yet, if one looked deeper, just below the surface, one would find that there were small things, here and there, that were peculiar. For instance there have been a number of animals viciously savaged recently. The local militia (a group of crotchety, old men, long retired from the Emperor?s Service) has been unable to find any predators in the surrounding wilderness capable of such savagery. Also, there was an armed stranger seen wondering around town, as if he was searching for something.

With midnight almost in sight there were very few people in the local tavern, just the heavy drinkers and late-risers. Amidst them sat this newcomer. He had a very threatening appearance. Long black hair that just reached his shoulders and a huge black coat gave him a vagrant look. He was just starting on his soup when the serving woman came over to ask him if he wanted more ale.

"Yeah," he murmured coldly, never looking up. He didn't even bother to lift up his mug. The woman frowned, hurriedly poured him some more and moved on to another table, muttering harshly under her breath. After serving some of the other customers, she retreated to the kitchen, from where she continued to throw glares in his direction.

The man ate his soup. Consisting of 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. His sword rattled against the wooden table as if to let him know it was anxious 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. The noise in the tavern slowly hushed. He noticed that most people were trying not to be obvious about the way they were staring at him. He extended a callused hand and opened it. A few coppers crashed down onto the table like thunder in the silence. As he made his way to the door all the eyes in the room followed him. Most were especially fixed on the dark, intricately designed sheath that was partially concealed by his black overcoat. Dark blue lines were etched into it, and it was adorned by strange symbols. The sheath curved slightly, conforming 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 -- rather 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 village of Henshaw. All the innocents were sleeping peacefully in bed, not knowing of the evil that awaited their town.

As he walked along the heavily wooded road 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 of late and it was troubling him. He needed to focus; the most important part of this mission would take place tomorrow. He could not afford to be swallowed by the past.

He found a nice, big oak tree that overlooked a small creek near the edge of town. It was close to the road, but in small communities like this there was hardly ever bandits to be worrying about. And if his mark came after him, he would know. So he unbuckled his sword, tucked it under his arm, and lay down for a night sure to be full of haunting dreams.

Dawnstorm
October 28th, 2003, 05:21 PM
That's great! :)

I'm getting a much more vivid picture of the setting now, and I especially like how you passed on the information in a sideways manner, without too much exposition.

"The local militia (a group of crotchety, old men, long retired from the Emperor's service)..."

Lots of information in these words, and they go naturally with the flow of the narration!

I also like how you merged smaller sentences into a bigger one:

"Consisting of sparse bits of chicken in a vegetable broth, it was not very good, but it would suffice."

You could do the same to this section:

"Amidst them sat this newcomer. He had a very threatening appearance. Long black hair that just reached his shoulders and a huge black coat gave him a vagrant look." ;)

===

Oh, and as I don't have too many suggestions left I'll just point out what I think is a grammatical error:

"A few arrangements, then the hit, and he was gone." --> "...and he would be gone."

Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not a native speaker...

===

Lastly, a general remark. I think this would have been better posted as areply to your original post, so that if others found this thread interesting in a month or so, they wouldn't have to hunt for the original thread. Perhaps one of the mods can merge the thread, or you can edit your post to include a link?

NpPaintballer09
October 28th, 2003, 05:37 PM
thanks dawnstorm, your words are very encouraging to a new writer. I am currently working on the next bit of the story. Should i continue to post parts of it here before i submit it? I would really like all the advice you guys can give me. And srry about the new post , i am still pretty new to these forums:)

KATS
October 28th, 2003, 06:25 PM
The writing section is a great place to get critiques and it happens often. I don't think there are any specific "rules" regarding putting your work into posts for critiques. However, it is preferred that a link to the piece of work be provided, rather than submitting it in itís entirety as a post.

I donít think anyone cares about short excerpts (such as your introduction), but for larger pieces, please post a link or you can send it to those who request it via Private Message (PM).

Or at least that's what I've seen suggested when other's have asked the same thing.

Kimberly
a/k/a KATS

Dawnstorm
October 28th, 2003, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by NpPaintballer09
Should i continue to post parts of it here before i submit it? I would really like all the advice you guys can give me. And srry about the new post , i am still pretty new to these forums:)

So am I. :) (Pretty new to these forums, that is...)

As for posting something in its entirety:

http://www.sffworld.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3119


originally posted by Erebus in above thread
...I should also remind you that we prefer not to post stories of a large ilk on the forum boards. Rather, we suggest they be submitted or linked from a web site etc. The one you have posted is obviously not over large, but to be consistent with what we have told other members, I have to remind you as well.

Like KATS said...

I certainly want to read the next installment though... :)

milamber_reborn
October 28th, 2003, 10:36 PM
I preferred the original start.

Bardos
October 29th, 2003, 03:26 AM
Your piece is good, friend, but it needs a bit more "tightening", to make the story feel more alive. I'll comment on the first three paraghraphs, to explain what I mean.

Outwardly, the town of Henshaw was calm, tranquil even. Yet, if one looked deeper, just below the surface, one would find that there were small things, here and there, that were peculiar.

Watch for the repetition here. "That were" and "that were".

For instance

Never use expressions like "for example", "for instance", etc, especialy when you --the writer-- are narrating; it makes the piece sound like telling not showing. And, plainly, it has a bad sound to it.

there have been a number of animals viciously savaged recently.

"Small thing," you write before. Is viciously savaged animals a "small thing"? Perhaps it's no war between kingdoms, but I think you could write it better...


The local militia (a group of crotchety, old men, long retired from the Emperor's Service) has been unable to find any predators in the surrounding wilderness capable of such savagery. Also, there was an armed stranger seen wondering around town, as if he was searching for something.

Too much info in a flash. It's like you're in a rush to give us the general picture. But we don't want the general picture (or we would read a newspaper :)); we want the atmosphere you can, as a writer, create!

With midnight almost in sight there were very few people in the local tavern, just the heavy drinkers and late-risers.

That does create a nice picture here.

Amidst them sat this newcomer.

"the" newcomer. You've got only one (being refered before) in your story.

He had a very threatening appearance. Long black hair that just reached his shoulders and a huge black coat gave him a vagrant look. He was just starting on his soup when the serving woman came over to ask him if he wanted more ale.

Another nice scene.


"Yeah," he murmured coldly, never looking up. He didn't even bother to lift up his mug. The woman frowned, hurriedly poured him some more and moved on to another table, muttering harshly under her breath.

OK, up to here.


After serving some of the other customers, she retreated to the kitchen, from where she continued to throw glares in his direction.

But here you're rushing. You tell us (1) she served some of the others, (2) she went back to the kitchen, and (3) she continued to look at him, all in one sentence. That could have been in three sentences, with more showing than telling.

All in all, you tell a good story, but you need a bit of practice making it more alive. Remember: you don't write down facts; you create an atmosphere for the reader to live in.

Sammie
October 29th, 2003, 01:24 PM
Hi there.

There is a lot of promise in this piece. I think the biggest problem with it is that you are using far too many words to give us this information.

What is the word count of your intro? I would suggest you set yourself the aim of rewriting the piece in just half the word count. I think you'll be suprised to find that you can get all the same information across in that amount of words, and really tighten the whole piece up.

If you'd like some pointers on cutting down 'wordieness' of this piece, I'll happily give some (and I'm sure plenty of others will too), but I heartily suggest that you try on your own first, so the piece maintains as much of your own 'feel' as possible.

Best,

Sammie.

KATS
October 29th, 2003, 07:42 PM
Since there seemed to be some confusion, I closed the ORIGINAL THREAD (http://www.sffworld.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6717) and posted a link to this thread.

If anyone has a problem with this action, please PM me.

Kimberly
a/k/a KATS

Jacquin
October 30th, 2003, 03:00 AM
Sammie's idea is great, your second draft shoud always be shorter than your first. That being said I read this more as a summary than an introduction. Take this paragraph for example.

Outwardly, the town of Henshaw was calm, tranquil even. Yet, if one looked deeper, just below the surface, one would find that there were small things, here and there, that were peculiar. For instance there have been a number of animals viciously savaged recently. The local militia (a group of crotchety, old men, long retired from the Emperor?s Service) has been unable to find any predators in the surrounding wilderness capable of such savagery. Also, there was an armed stranger seen wondering around town, as if he was searching for something.

This is an entire chapter's worth of information if you were to show us it rather than just tell us. If we were to follow the local militia on patrol and perhaps even see a local farmer discover his herd after they had been savaged it would give us more empathy with the village. Don't be afraid to start of with something other than your primary character, pretty much all decent stories jump backwards and forwards between two or three different plots that eventually come together.

J