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SubZero61992
January 21st, 2005, 06:24 AM
This is the last chapter I want critiqued and any feedback would be appreciated. And I am congratulating myself since this is the long chapter I have ever wrote, ( three pages in the average book)

Chapter 2

Ryu balanced himself high above the ground on the branch of a tree.
His black and gray cloak slithered to the motion of the wind. He stood with his eyes closed, trusting his instincts and balance to guide him at a relaxing time such as this one. His unusual silver hair stood untidy making his dark black eyebrows show boldly. At his waist was a sword sheath tied neatly with a gray sash.
His senses were attuned to every normal sound of the mountain's forest. Birds chirping, the slightest sound of a leaf falling, anything that fell or moved he could hear. But of course there is always something greater that can overcome things such as these.
Ryu opened his eyes as he felt the cold wood of a training sword at the base of his neck.
It wasn't worth turning around to see who it was, in fact it was pointless. Only one person in the Kentaro village could move so silently, Genjo.
" I told you not to dishonor me again. Why do you have to ruin a relaxful day?" Ryu asked. His pale gray eyes were very light, almost as if a swirl of silver clouds were in them as he looked straight ahead.
" You told me to practice every day, you're the only person at my rank." said the bold voice of Genjo. Ryu turned around and stared the teen in the eyes.
" You still have a wooden sword! Until you acheive the steel you are never going to be my rank!" Ryu corrected him. Genjo sighed and slipped the wooden sword through the sash on his waist. He too was dressed in black and gray. His hair was silver like Ryu's, and he had the same pale eyes. " Go back to the village and leave me to the forest.".
Genjo nodded and hastely descended the tree and in a few seconds there was nothing to see but the trail of leaves left behind from his light feet. " Damn boy." fussed Ryu closing his eyes again. But he knew the relaxing was over now that it had been interrupted.
Feeling fury he drew his long sword and jumped from the branch. At seven feet above the ground he stabbed the sword in the tree and slid to the ground. With a swift flick of his wrist the sword was pulled from the tree and he sheathed it. But he noticed something alarming as he stood straight. The birds had stopped chirping, even the leaves had stopped falling. He searched the wind to find any disturbance but he could find nothing. He put his hand on his swords hilt. Then he felt it. It was a slight motion of the air on his head. It had came from above to his right. He drew his sword and held it to where the wind had come from and there was a mightly clang.
He turned around with his muscles exposing the veins in his skin. He faced the opposing figure. It was in all black and had its face hidden behind a black face mask. It was a ninja. The ninja hissed, tempting Ryu to cripple in fear but he knew better. Then he was alarmed yet again as another wind bounced off of his head. " Now it is my time to die." he thought to himself. It was pointless to try and fight two ninjas when just one was too much for him to hold. He closed his eyes but when the wind was barely five feet away from him there was a loud bust of wood. Genjo!
" Genjo what the hell do you think you're doing!?!" Ryu asked. He was grateful he lived another day but was mad he had endangered someone else's life.
" Seemed like you needed a hand." Genjo said. Ryu still had his sword clashed with the ninjas. The ninja glanced at Genjo and then he spun out of Ryu's sword range and darted away. Genjo's mouth dropped at the speed of the ninja's feet while Ryu acted as if he knew they ran that fast. Ryu turned around. Genjo's wooden sword had a deep chunk of wood missing and crippled by the tree behind him was the ninja he had struck down with a purple and black bruise on his exposed neck.
" Help me carry him Genjo. The Elders will want to question him." Ryu commanded. Genjo nodded and he grabbed the feet of the ninja while Ryu fastened a sash across the ninja's eyes.
" You did not do that so he couldn't see, I can feel it." Genjo stated. Ryu said nothing as grabbed the ninja by the underarms and carried him.
As they walked Genjo wouldn't stop asking questions. The wind was calm now and everything was back to normal. The sun made slight patches of light here and there on the forest floor. " Why would someone try to assassinate you, Ryu?" he asked. Ryu chuckled.
" You have alot to learn Genjo. They clearly weren't there to kill me, I could feel it. Did you not see their swords? They were reverse blades." Ryu had proved his point. Anyone who carried reverse blade swords didn't want to kill their opposers but stun them. Genjo noddingly approved Ryu's point. They walked the dirt trail for a while resting whenever they had time to spare. The ninja was now a burden to carry for his body was jerking as his neck muscles were fatally swollen.
" We must move faster! The village is only about five hundred steps away now, if we take long strides then we can walk atleast four steps at a time." Ryu said. They hastened their walk as the sun slowly descened behind the far away trees. When the night chill arrived they had just reached the village's huts. When they were safely within the village Ryu gave a sharp and piercing whistle. Two large men named Jiro and Saburo came to his call. Jiro and Saburo were twins, Jiro was the second son and Saburo the third. They both had brown hair and goatees but Jiro had blue eyes and Saburo had green eyes.
" Humph! Ruddy ninja you have there!" Jiro said. His brown skin shined in the moon's light. Ryu dismissed Genjo and left the ninja with Jiro and Saburo. " Take him to the Elders, they will question him. I will rest in my hut until they summon me for my story." he said. The two twins nodded and carried the ninja towards the huge temple at the foot of the near by Gargoyle Mountain. Ryu walked the dirt road to his small hut. The huts were lined in a circumferece of one mile around the temple and its beautiful garden. Sons and daughters had huts between their parents. Ryu walked inside his own and sat upon the wood floor that kept ever hut dry for sleeping. His two soft blankets lay folded neatly against the wall meaning his mother had come earlier. Hanging on wooden plank that was on one wall were three different clothing garments.
He was wearing his combat clothing and his village, special occasion, and work clothes hung neatly on the wood. He barely touched any of them except when the day was hot he wore his village clothes. He picked up a piece of what they called spark rocks and took a small metal nail and lit a fire in the metal cabinent that was half buried underground. The hut immediately felt warm. He removed all of his clothing leaving just a gray shirt and loin cloth revealed. Then he took one blanket and spread it on the floor then wrapped himself in the other.
Lying down he tried to rest, but he was anxious to find out more about the ninja.

TheEarCollector
January 21st, 2005, 07:09 PM
Internet explorer crashed so I am going from my detailed explanation (which I lost) to a quick and simple.

Dialogue is very stiff, it does not sound like anything that people actually say. On top of that, there is just too much dialogue going back and forth, try to sum up the speeches and give it to us in a few lines of crisp dialogue.

The beginning of this piece drags on far too long trying to describe the character which, quite frankly, is entirely irrelevant to the story. Features only need to be mentioned if they hold some significance... If he was old the gray hair, for example, would be a sign. However, we learn that he has black eyebrows (and therefore is probably not old) and it is actually mentioned later on that he is a teen.

You try to hit the reader over the head with information like "the two twins." Of course there are two twins, and if "twins" nod then it is in fact both of them nodding.

Ryu had proved his point. Anyone who carried reverse blade swords didn't want to kill their opposers but stun them
This is another good example of trying to give too much information and making it blunt. Just say, "Ryu had proved his point, the reverse bladed swords were designed to stun, not to kill." You don't have to hold the reader's hand, it makes them feel like you are calling them stupid.

The sentence structure in this peace needs more variety it feels... bland. Instead of trying to "write" it just put the way you speak on paper (and then clean up the grammar of course).

He was wearing his combat clothing and his village, special occasion, and work clothes hung neatly on the wood.
Maybe I have been in and around the military for too long but I feel like the clothing need better names than "combat clothing" or "special occasion clothing."

And to sum it up, lay off the passive voice. You said, "It was a nija." Ugly, ugly sentence. Why not try to blend it into the story by saying, "He suddenly realized that he was staring into the eyes of a ninja."

Expendable
January 21st, 2005, 08:53 PM
" I told you not to dishonor me again. Why do you have to ruin a relaxful day?" Ryu asked. His pale gray eyes were very light, almost as if a swirl of silver clouds were in them as he looked straight ahead.
There's a space between the " and the first letter in every sentence of dialogue. Take it out. And its 'relaxing', not 'relaxful'. 'Peaceful' would be better. What sort of tree are they in?

" You told me to practice every day, you're the only person at my rank." said the bold voice of Genjo. Turn the period after rank into a comma - or take out 'said the bold voice of Genjo' - we already know who it is.

" You still have a wooden sword! Until you acheive the steel you are never going to be my rank!" Ryu corrected him. Is Ryu angry? Upset? Curt? Uncaring? Who knows? Add some emotion. And its 'achieve', not 'acheive'. I before E except after C.

He too was dressed in black and gray. His hair was silver like Ryu's, and he had the same pale eyes. This could stand a rewrite, its a little clumsy. Find a better way to say this. Was Genjo's hair always silver?

Genjo nodded and hastely descended the tree and in a few seconds there was nothing to see but the trail of leaves left behind from his light feet. " Damn boy." fussed Ryu closing his eyes again. But he knew the relaxing was over now that it had been interrupted. 'Hastily' not 'hastely'. Does he climb down? Slide down? Jumps? How many 'ands' do you need in this sentence? Break it up at the second 'and'.

'"Damn boy," fussed Ryu' not '"Damn boy." fussed Ryu'. The last sentence is a bit clumsy.

The birds had stopped chirping, even the leaves had stopped falling. You want a semi-colon, not a comma here.

It had came from above to his right 'It came', not 'It had came'. You're mixing up your tenses.

and there was a mightly clang. 'Mighty' not 'mightly'.

" Genjo what the hell do you think you're doing!?!" Ryu asked. 'Demanded' would be better.

" You have alot to learn Genjo. 'A lot', not 'alot'.

"...didn't want to kill their opposers..." 'Opponent' not 'opposers'.

Genjo noddingly approved Ryu's point 'Noddingly'? Rewrite!

" We must move faster! The village is only about five hundred steps away now, if we take long strides then we can walk atleast four steps at a time." Ryu said. Is that like 500 yards? I like that you're trying to be clever but how do you walk four steps at a time? And its 'at least'.

"...as the sun slowly descened..." 'Descended'.

When the night chill arrived they had just reached the village's huts. When they were safely within the village Ryu gave a sharp and piercing whistle. Just how many Whens are you going to use here? Rewrite the first sentence.

. Two large men named Jiro and Saburo came to his call. Jiro and Saburo were twins, Jiro was the second son and Saburo the third. They both had brown hair and goatees but Jiro had blue eyes and Saburo had green eyes. What did it look like when the twins came to his call? Describe that in more detail. Add comments about the different eye colors to when one of them speaks.

How does Genjo feel about Jiro and Saburo? Or Ryu for that matter?

The huts were lined in a circumferece of one mile around the temple... 'Circumference'. Why not just tell us the village huts are in a big circle around the temple? Don't use big words just for the sake of using them.

Ryu walked inside his own and sat upon the wood floor that kept ever hut dry for sleeping. His two soft blankets lay folded neatly against the wall meaning his mother had come earlier. 'Inside his own' breaks the flow of the sentence. 'He stepped inside his hut' would be better. And its not 'ever' in this case, its 'every'.

How does he feel about his mother cleaning up after him? Is he happy? Upset? How does he show this?

He was wearing his combat clothing and his village, special occasion, and work clothes hung neatly on the wood. He barely touched any of them except when the day was hot he wore his village clothes. What's so special about these clothes? What makes his combat clothes different from his village outfit? If you call attention to them now, people are gonna wonder why. Mention the special clothing only when you need to. Right now its not needed. Maybe what's remarkable is that his clothes are hanging neatly on the pegs.

He picked up a piece of what they called spark rocks and took a small metal nail and lit a fire in the metal cabinent that was half buried underground. 'What they called' isn't needed. Cut it out. So is 'took' and 'metal' in 'metal nail'. How many non-metal nails have you seen? 'Spark Rock' is a little cute but it can stay. 'Metal cabinet' is a stove or a fireplace. Call it that. Mention the hole in your wooden floor. How is it vented? Was there firewood in there? What about tinder? Was everything already laid out ready to light?

He removed all of his clothing leaving just a gray shirt and loin cloth revealed. If he took it all off why is he still wearing a shirt and loincloth? Why not mention what he takes off and if he hangs it up on the pegs or lets them lie on the floor under the pegs?
Isn't he going to eat supper? Is he tired or sore or sweaty from carrying that ninja? Does he want a bath? Is it too cold to take a bath now?

Before you feel like I'm just picking on you, I want to say this is the best work I've seen from you so far. You're improving. But speak out your dialogue, listen to how it sounds. It needs to read naturally. And remember to use words to describe things for the reader so they can see the same thing you do.

Wildeblood
January 21st, 2005, 11:05 PM
"Genjo noddingly approved Ryu's point."

'Noddingly'? Rewrite!
Nothing wrong with "noddingly", it's in the dictionary and all - "approved by nodding" = "noddingly approved". That's what adverbs are for.

I would have written, "Genjo nodded his approval." But I doubt that sounds any better.

Prunesquallor
January 21st, 2005, 11:33 PM
Well, there is always "Genjo nodded" :)

Expendable
January 22nd, 2005, 01:50 AM
Well, there is always "Genjo nodded" :)

And it works. Some things can be simple.

SubZero61992
January 22nd, 2005, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the feedback and thanks Expendable for the compliment.

I feel as if I have confused some of you about Ryu and Genjo. Most of my stories reflected Genjo as the main character, heh heh, not this time.

I knew about my typos but the wrong use of wording in my story is a problem.
It is something I will have to work on.