Home > Writing > So Far Untitled – Critque Wanted.

So Far Untitled – Critque Wanted.

I had a day off yesterday and took some more time to read through my existing chapters for SFU. I came to the conclusion that I’m pretty happy with “Chapter One” but Chapter two needs a complete rewrite.

Over the last few weeks I have toyed with the Idea of posting “Chapter One” here on the Blog, and I feel I am somewhat procrastinating, even going so far as to post an unrelated page of another Idea that I have been thinking off, over letting people see what was my initial idea and the reason for starting this blog in the first place.

As I mentioned in my post Stereotypical Fantasy, my concern is that I’m not brining anything new to the table. With this in mind I took some time out yesterday to look up some fellow writers and read some of the advice that they gave on their own Blogs/websites about the craft.

Doing this I found some really interesting sites, with some interesting points of view and helpful hints and tips, in no particular order they can be found below.

http://mythicscribes.com/

http://novelisthq.com/2012/03/23/the-flow-of-fantasy/

http://www.kateelliott.com/default.asp?cmsnumber=1&page_id=70

http://whitneycarter.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/10-types-of-writers-block/

http://fantasyinmotion.wordpress.com/

Anyways despite all this advice the conclusion that I have come to is that I could spend the next X amount of days, weeks, or years, reading and re-reading and tweaking what I have got already; and most likely never move on from where I am. OR I could just go for it, put it out there get some constructive feedback, listen to it, implement or ignore it in equal measure and then get on with the next chapter.

I feel I have perhaps got to the point that a fresh pair of eyes is very much needed, when my own editing consists of moving a full stop or trying to work out if the page layout is correct (I’m pretty sure it’s not,) I feel it’s time to bite the bullet and let someone else have a go.

It could fairly accurately be said that this pre-amble in itself is just another form putting off the inevitable, me simply rambling whilst I try to find a better reason than “the dog ate it” to not hand in my homework.

So here it is, I hope you like it and more importantly I hope you take a few minutes of your time to post a comment, make a suggestion or at very least advise me of an alternative career path.

1

 

Flames roared through the settlement, scorching the village of Tendril from the world. By morning, nothing would stand that resembled this small collection of homes. Only the charred remains would mark it’s passing into history.

Swept up by the mountain winds, the flames climbed for the heavens, their heat palpable even on the hill from where Jezzrael stood, overlooking this tortured place. He could see the silhouettes of his men scattered around the edges of the blaze, trying vainly to drag the bodies of the villagers away from the furious flames. They had long since ceased trying to put the fires out. They had got here too late for that.

            As he stood staring into the flames, Jezzrael thought about what had happened. The flickering shadows leapt across his strong jaw and angled face, falling deep in the furrow on his brow. His golden hair appeared a ruddy brown in the leaping light, and his broad armoured chest dimly reflected the flames from its engraved crimson surface.

            It wouldn’t have taken many to cause such damage to a place like this, he thought to himself. Tendril was a remote village, high in the hills, and far removed from any conflict. They would have had no guards out, merely a few farm hands watching the flocks of sheep as they grazed. While Jezzrael had never heard of Tendril before this evening, he could tell from the close cropped grass on which he stood that this village had been based on a wool producing economy.

            The reports that he had been given over the night had made it clear no one survived. From what could be gathered, it seemed that all the women of the village had been subject to many horrors before finally being put to the sword. Of the men, there were no sign. However, the communal hall in the centre of the village had been barricaded shut from the outside. It had collapsed with a shuddering crash not more than half an hour ago, and still no one could get near the wreckage due to the heat. No one wanted to.

            As far a Jezzrael could see, there was no evidence towards a reason for such a vicious attack. Raiders wouldn’t have hit such a small place, for there would have been precious little wealth. A force of ChoSi may have had reason to, but this place was surely too far from the mountainous border for the ChoSi to warrant the effort required. The ChoSi frequently broke through the borders of The Nations, but never penetrated this far into their enemy’s territory before announcing their presence. It was Jezzrael’s duty to hold that line, and plug any breeches. He knew the ChoSi well, and couldn’t see how they would have managed this without him hearing sooner. As another large building collapsed, sending up a searing wall of sparks and flame, Jezzrael heard a soft noise behind him. His hand reached for the long handle of his sword, even as he turned to face the new arrival.

A slender form dismounted and strode towards him, the soft evening light masking their identity. Jezzrael strained his eyes trying to focus on the figure. As the stranger reached him, the face became recognisable. A smile spread across his face and his body visibly relaxed.

   Ishwana removed her helm, her hair falling about her shoulders, her gaze shifted past him to the destruction below.

“Tragic, seemingly pointless and unprovoked isn’t it?” she said.

Jezzrael turned away.

“I can see no reason behind this and no signs of who would commit such an atrocity, perhaps Tairn can shed some light on this, we’ll make camp here and investigate this further in the morning.”

“Yes my lord.”

   Ishwana bowed, turned and strode back to her horse, mounted and rode towards the column of approaching riders. Falling in next to the man known as Tairn, her horse narrowly avoiding trampling the hound darting between its feet, she passed on Jezzrael’s wishes. Tairn barked orders to the rest of the riders and pointed towards a rock outcrop slightly to the east.

   “We make camp there.”

 Jezzrael returned his gaze back to the scene of destruction in front of him and muttered a silent prayer for the souls of the dead. Replacing his helm he turned his horse and galloped after the receding column, his crimson armour glinting from the light of the dying sun.

***

Jezzrael sat cross legged starring into the fire, the flickering light playing over his troubled features giving him an eerie look. His hand rested lightly on Ishwana’s neck as she lay beside him, her head laid gently on his thigh, hair tied in a neat plait curling round her neck, absently caressing his foreleg.  Towards the centre of the camp a huge Oxen turned on a spit, the dripping fat causing the fire to spit regularly. Banners wavered in the night-time breeze and noisy banter filled the air, as games of dice where won and lost.

Jezzrael sighed and looked towards the rest of the camp.

 “We must return soon and the threat here  is no less dangerous than when we came , and we still have no reason for the increased activity along the border.”

 Ishwana looked up into his tired grey eyes,

 “We do what we can.”

 Jezzrael sighed and turned his head back to the fire, deep in thought. A shadow fell across him, he looked up. The face of Tairn looked down, the deep scar running from his chin across his face ending at his bald sun baked head still made Jezzrael wince even though he had known the man for such a long time. 

  “I followed the trail from the village my lord.”

  His voice was thick with the accent of the ChoSi. Bizarre how one of his most loyal friends was one of the very people who threatened the boarders of his land thought Jezzrael.   

 “What did you find?” he said

 “Trail leads two miles to the north back towards the boarder, no horse tracks they are covered fairly well someone other than me would have missed them.”

 Tairn’s response was a statement of fact not arrogance, his skill as a tracker was legendary

  “How many?”

  “I would say about thirty by the tracks, they had the element of surprise and most of the people in the village where either children or old men. No resistance”

  Jezzrael ran his hand through his hair and sighed.

  “Any Idea as to why this village?”

  “No strategic advantage, no resources, nothing just a small village”

  “Yet more mindless killing and for what?”

 Tairn Shrugged and gazed over towards the Oxen in the centre of the camp longingly, Jezzrael Nodded, Tairn bowed turned on his heel and strode off to eat. 

Jezzrael turned to Ishwana,

 “Make sure we are ready to ride at first light they won’t have gone far, they will have camped for the night as we have, in the morning we will find them and avenge our fallen kin”

***

 Jezzrael woke with a start, the nightmares that had haunted him, fled slowly leaving the after image of blood and flames seared to his eye lids flashing every time he blinked, he sat up, lifting Ishwana’s hand from his chest and setting it down slowly beside her so not wake her.

 He got up quietly and left his tent taking his water skin with him, outside he found a wash bowl poured some water and splashed his face trying to wash away nightmares and memories of previous day’s atrocities.

Around him the camp was slowly coming to life, his warriors where in various stages of preparation, the enthusiastic trying to echo there leaders reputation for early rising, stood around ready and willing to leave on the hunt for those responsible for yesterday’s events.

 As Jezzrael gazed east to the rising sun he caught a glimpse of shining metal and a trail of dust as it descended below a nearby hill, he strained his eyes to make sure the early morning light wasn’t playing tricks on him, he was rewarded with the sight of a rider pushing his horse hard crested the hill and started the decent towards the camp.

 “Tairn grab a few men and go meet that horse and find out who he is and what pushes him to ride his horse so hard” he yelled

  Tairn looked around pointed at three of the ready soldiers, they rushed towards their horses mounted and galloped towards the oncoming rider.

 Jezzrael turned and walked back in to the tent.

“ Ishwana we have a visitor” he said, he reached down buckled his sword to his belt, stroked Ishwana’s hair from her face to make sure she had heard him and awoke, and made his way back out of the tent ready to meet his new guest.

Tairn reached the new arrival first and was shocked at what he saw. Where he had expected an official messenger of some sort instead, was a boy clad in blood and dust covered rags, both the riders and the horses exhaustion where easily seen, it was obvious both horse and rider had pushed hard.

 As Tairn pulled his horse alongside, the young boy slumped in his saddle his last reserves of energy leaving him, Tairn reached out his hand to steady the boy and stop him from falling.

 As the other riders arrived, Tairn lifted the boy from his saddle and seated him in front of him on his own steed.

 “Bring the horse” he said, and turned back towards the camp.

  Tairn brought his horse to halt and slid to the ground and grabbed the boy as he started to fall and gently lifted him down. The boy cradled in his arms like an infant, Tairn made his way towards Jezzrael’s tent.

 “So?” asked Jezzrael.

 “I’m not sure but before we get any answers the poor lad is going to need food, water and sleep” said Tairn.

    Enord awoke with a scream, cold sweat bathing his shivering body, he glanced round and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings, the last thing he remembered was seeing the smoke from the camp and heading towards it in the hope that he could share food and water with those camped there. The tent flapped swept open and a giant of a man a huge scar dominating his face strode in. Enord screamed again and scrambled as far back into the tent as he could, his knees pulled tight to his chest, tears streaming down his face. The ChoSi came closer towards him, a blank look on his face as he did so.

 Another figure entered the tent clad in crimson armour concern wrought on every contour of his face.

“Tairn you scarring the boy move back” he said

The ChoSi nodded his head and backed away from the boy.

“It’s alright we are friends, we not going to hurt you”

 Jezzrael offered the boy a flask of water.

“drink”

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  1. Alan
    April 18, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Well im liking it enough that i want to read more so far. I was able to picture the scene in my head. Just want to know more about this Jezzrael at the moment.

    • April 18, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Cheers, well he is the main man, so a lot more about him to come.

  2. Baz
    April 18, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I like it!
    bit of spelling / grammar (thats the operations in me!)
    Also the last paragraph, I think you’ve given the boy 2 names?

    • April 18, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Yeah, missed that on the uptenth read through, definatly needed those fresh eyes. Crokus was the original name of the boy, but then I realised I had taken that straight from another book so changed it, but missed the second mention of his name. Thanks for the feedback!

    • April 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      I have now corrected aforementioned naming issue. thanks!

  3. April 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I really liked your chapter and definitely encourage you to continue. Seems to me you just are really unsure about your writing like most authors starting out. I suggest you read a post on Rebecca Scarberry’s blog which addresses that issue. It is written by authorScott Bury, http://scarberryfieldsforever.blogspot.com where he give. some very good advice. Then…get back to your manuscript and write the rest of that fascinating story! Also, if you are really unsure of what you are doing you could put out a request on your blog and on Twitter asking for Beta readers. You’d be surprised how many people are happy to assist an author by reading his work, giving suggestions and pointing out errors/inconsistencies and so forth.

    • April 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks!
      Have checked out the link you suggested and is as you say good advice. Just need to get on and get Chapter 2 down now and after the response to this one so far I think I will continue to post as I go along. As I mentioned above I had a second chapter, but not sure I like it, I might make it in somewhere else but not sure its the right place for it.

      • April 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        I’ve read about authors who write their chapters as they come to them and then put them together where they seem to fit, so that’s not a bad notion. I’m glad you have decided to continue writing, judging from what you’ve done so far, you definitely have talent and other people agree…so go for it!

  4. E. A. Hughes
    May 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Amen. I’d say write more, get your teeth into the story and characters, then go back and change what you don’t like. I re-wrote my first chapter at least 10 times (barring minor corrections) before I was even halfway happy with it.

    But it is a good beginning. Gripping, an element of mystery, and characters who look like they’ll be fun. More, please!

    • May 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      thanks a lot, I guess its always hard to critique your own work. I find that I am either never happy with it, or due to the amount of fantasy reading that I do, feel it is eaither to similar or just blatent plagiarism of what ever the most recent book I have read is and then end up re doing the entire thing!

      • E. A. Hughes
        May 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm

        I wouldn’t worry. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all. At this point, every piece of advice I’ve seen says, “Bash it out, have fun, and don’t worry about anyone but yourself. Write the book you want to read. The rest will come later.”

  5. Cathie
    May 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Yep, definitely want some more back story on the main character… But I guess that means I’m hooked! (If you want to e-mail me a copy I’ll happily proof-read at any point, I can’t help reading with a mental red pen even if I haven’t got one in my hand!)

  6. June 4, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I really like what I am reading. I don’t think you should be worried about how fresh your story is because all the stories we tell are formed around the same basic truths and you are bringing something new to the table. your own experience and emotions will color your writing as it should. Keep writing.

  7. Len
    March 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    “Taim’s response was a statement of fact not arrogance, his skill as a tracker was legendary”
    It looks like it is Taim here instead of Tairn. I really enjoy the story so far. Tairn being my favorite. Looking forward to reading more.

    • March 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read, Its been a while since I have written anything new and i’ve struggled for a little bit of inspiration! Getting feedback from people on what I have posted however gives me that extra little push that I need to get on with it!!
      Ive fixed the Taim issues as well! thanks for pointing it out!

      • Len
        March 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Anytime. I also could use some input on my story, if you find the time. It will be under the Snippets from The Council of Therian. Not really been given much feedback, think people are wary of judging others, but it is what I need.

  8. April 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I hope to see more soon! I agree with some above comments, just keep writing your next chapters, get more on paper then you can look back and fix.

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