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Thread: A prologue.

  1. #1
    Veteran Enthusiast Slashed's Avatar



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    A prologue.

    This is the prologue to my ongoing work. It's working title is "Beasts & Blood" and it's set in a world I've been designing with a good friend of mine for about 5 years. The book is set to be around 40,000 words and will be designed as the first part of a trilogy.

    Just to let you know, this glimpse is from a part of the story you won't really see in the book, so there aren't really any spoilers. The character in this section is not the main character of the book, and this actually wraps up his storyline, which is far away from the focus of the rest of the book, but gives a good example of what the second and third books will contain.

    Without further adieu...


    The thick stench of sulphur burnt the lungs. The blood red sky rained streaks of blue, rapturous fire. Magical explosions seared the atmosphere with their visceral power, shaking the earth below and releasing shockwaves powerful enough to break a man to pieces. Screams filled the blood torn air with a piercing screech of death.
    Ossilan felt bile twist at the pit of his stomach as men before him exploded with the wrath of the dark gods. Good men. Brave men. As he moved to stand, the waves of power still clawing at his legs, he let go of the churning in and emptied his unappetising load onto the ground. He shivered and stumbled before feeling a hand clasp his shoulder.
    “Brother!” Screamed Kardis, his words hard to grasp through the streaming cries of pain and gorefire around them. “We must move! The trebuchets fire!” As he screamed into Ossilans pain-ridden ear, enormous wooden arms swung overhead, heaving boulders toward the enemy, earth shuddering as they made impact at a distance invisible through the ash-torn battleground.
    They made their way forward through the treacherous ground, helping those living and praying for those dead with haste. In the distance Ossilan could hear the screech of bloodthirsty demons, and the screams of their unwitting prey. Such pain as those men were suffering he daren’t imagine, for fear that he would befall the same unholy punishment.
    Slowly more men surrounded the two knights, all moving forth hastily through the dust and ash of a thousand searing fireballs. They drew their weapons and readied themselves for the monstrosities of pandemonic lore to befall them, as it did their fallen comrades. Kardis’ blade was alight with magical flame, his stern and battle-scarred face was easier to make out than that of the other men. He looked powerful, angry. As though the sacred flames surrounding his blade could well engulf his body and create a monster. He couldn’t help but think that a monster was exactly what they would need.

    Hungry cries smashed into the forethought of Ossilans mind and what he saw break free from the cover of the dull atmosphere shook his very being. Large hound-like creatures sprang forward, spines stabbed from their backs and their faces were warped, with tusks surrounding their pus-ridden jaws. They made noises as though an eagle were losing itself to a storm of acidic rain; their skin bubbled and rippled as a demon, not fully manifest or material.
    Leaping at the men the beasts impaled and tore at them, Ossilan brought his great sword down upon them – beheading the first before kicking the next in its repulsive, moulding face and cutting it in two. He could see Kardis slicing through the monstrosities, and saving men from their insatiable thirst for blood. Through all of the bloodshed and ear-wrenching screams, both of the demonic hounds and his own men, Ossilan could only wonder how swords, axes and bows would be enough to destroy such horrifying creatures.

    As the last hound was slain, its throat cut and its head trampled, the men looked into the silent abyss ahead. Before any of them had seen it, a black, swirling cloud burst forth and sent Ossilan and several other men toppling away. He called out in agony as he skidded across the blood-soaked ground, mail and flesh being torn away, his shoulder snapped. The demon cried a deep, horrible sound. One which reminded Ossilan of his loss of stomach earlier, but a hundred times over.
    “Brother!” Kardis had screamed, only to regret his call. The demonic, cloud-swarmed entity shot toward him and its empyreal form became manifest. His screaming voice was muffled in moments, a massive talon smashing its way through his skull. He went limp and dropped his burning sword to the floor. Its incandescent light blurring through the tears in Ossilans eyes.
    Men screamed and ran toward the gigantic, black-skinned monster. Its scrawny legs more than made up for by its size and gigantic wingspan. A deep, guttural laugh, Ossilan thought, erupted from its bat-like, poisonous face. It swatted the soldiers aside as it cackled away. One of them, a man Ossilan knew as Conrad Teflour, landed beside him with a smash of his armour. Blood ran from his orifices, tears of red poured from his despairing, dead face. Emperor, why have you forsaken us?

    Once the creature had bitten the head from its last, wriggling victim, it turned toward Ossilan, who froze in immediate fear. It threw the man to the ground, his body snapping on impact and bouncing away like a ragdoll. Baring its massive teeth the huge beast stalked its way toward him. He cried out the words of warding. The demon reached him, and swiftly, all Ossilan could think of was the stench of sulphur…


    Let me know what you think.

  2. #2
    Enthusiast Attelis's Avatar

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    Re: A prologue.

    Fucking COOLEST names out.
    Easily.

    Anyway;
    Nice pacing, but there's something off with your use of descriptive language. You haven't said what the aim of this prologue is other than to obviously introduce the reader to the scene, however I suspect you're trying to give some context to one of the characters; probably Kardis or Ossilan. That would explain why you've used so much description; to let the reader know how the scene feels to the brothers, and the hopelessness they feel. However, some of the description doesn't affect this construct enough, and it just ultimately feels like unnecessary text. For example,

    As he moved to stand, the waves of power still clawing at his legs, he let go of the churning in his stomach and emptied its unappetising load onto the ground. He shivered and stumbled before feeling a hand clasp his shoulder.
    Here I can see you're trying to convey that Ossilan is feeling sick and thus weak, possibly afraid and without a lot of hope, if not for Kardis. However we've already established that context thanks to his previous haul of half-digest.

    Some description also reads a bit unusually. You seem to like formal description, so stuff like this:
    They made noises like an eagle losing itself to a storm of acidic rain.
    Seems a little... informal? Folk-ly? I dunno. I thought the fact you used a similie was weird, though that's just me I think.

    Lastly, you used 'dog-like' somewhere, but it might be a bit stronger to use a phrase like 'canine incarnate'. I dunno, I think it would sound more ominous.

    I liked this sentence by the way:
    Blood ran from his orifices, tears of red poured from his despairing, dead face.
    Felt very powerful, gave an obvious effect on Ossilan and was brief and strong. Nice work.

    Overall, you did a great job, too. Keep it up man.
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  3. #3
    Mother Russia Cavolia's Avatar

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    Re: A prologue.

    The scene description is really good, after the third sentence I felt like i was absorbed by the story already, the environment is touchable. I feel that some essential things are left out though, how did they attack? did the ran forward swinging their swords? Do they have spears? I filled it in for myself but if you would actually add them the picture would be complete.


    They made noises like an eagle losing itself to a storm of acidic rain.
    I actually thought this was kind of cool. The sound doesn't really matter itself, it's more about how you can imagine the eagle would feel and you create an imagine of it.
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  4. #4
    Veteran Enthusiast Slashed's Avatar



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    Re: A prologue.

    Thought I should answer some of the stuff

    Fucking COOLEST names out.
    Easily.
    Aahh, thanks. I struggle with names most of the time so that's pretty reassuring

    Anyway;
    Nice pacing, but there's something off with your use of descriptive language. You haven't said what the aim of this prologue is other than to obviously introduce the reader to the scene, however I suspect you're trying to give some context to one of the characters; probably Kardis or Ossilan. That would explain why you've used so much description; to let the reader know how the scene feels to the brothers, and the hopelessness they feel.
    I already spoke to you abut this; but yeah. The characters in this extract aren't the main characters of the book. Nor will their story be a big part of what's going on. This prologue actually wraps up their story arc (I admit, I pulled a bit of a Pulp Fiction here). They will be introduced a way into the book as pretty minor characters, but will have most of their backstory and mannerisms filled in then.
    This prologue is here to cause a sense of absolute mayhem. It's a crazy battle in which you aren't quite sure of what is going to happen

    Here I can see you're trying to convey that Ossilan is feeling sick and thus weak, possibly afraid and without a lot of hope, if not for Kardis. However we've already established that context thanks to his previous haul of half-digest.
    While I'll take this into consideration I'm not sure if you totally understood my attempt to make him seem as though he was kind of phasing out of reality in his head, the sounds of men popping and their gruesome cries causing him a lot of trouble, until he finally gives up and pukes everywhere...

    Some description also reads a bit unusually. You seem to like formal description, so stuff like this:
    [quote:17rpcosq]They made noises like an eagle losing itself to a storm of acidic rain.
    Seems a little... informal? Folk-ly? I dunno. I thought the fact you used a similie was weird, though that's just me I think.[/quote:17rpcosq]

    I get where you're coming from with this as I've considered re-wording it often, however I kinda like it as an imaginative attempt to make people just THINK about what that would be like :P

    Lastly, you used 'dog-like' somewhere, but it might be a bit stronger to use a phrase like 'canine incarnate'. I dunno, I think it would sound more ominous.
    Ooo, snazzy, I like it.


    Cavolia: The weapons?
    Kardis’ blade
    Kind of assumed people would understand that it was your run-of-the-mill flaming sword...
    Ossilan brought his great sword down upon them – beheading the first before kicking the next in its repulsive, moulding face and cutting it in two.
    Ossilan carries a Great Sword as I've mentioned there, also describing how he used it in clean sweep to remove heads/body parts.
    As for the other men, if that's what you mean, they are kind of the last-men-standing of numerous broken squads, so their weapons would be entirely random. Think swords, spears, maces, knives and bows.

    Thanks guys!

  5. #5
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    Re: A prologue.

    EDITED

    Lemme know what you think of the changes!

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    Re: A prologue.

    I loved it. Imagery was amazing, the way you described the landscape was well done, as well as the horrific scenes that took place. I think there is massive room for character development from this prologue, which is exactly what you want from a prologue. Good work, and I'm glad someone else is fighting to resurrect the literature section

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    Re: A prologue.

    Hope this isn't a bump...

    Anyway, I thought, if you didn't mind, I'd offer some criticism from a student of creative writing (finishing my third year of studies). After all, that's what you asked for.

    I'll be honest; I wasn't a fan of much of it. In fact, I didn't even like the first sentence. In fact-in fact, I didn't read past the fourth paragraph. But here's what I'll say:

    You have a neat idea. Probably ideas similar to this have been written about before, but I feel confident enough that you have a creative mind and can make it distinguishable from other pieces with similar settings or characters. I gathered that from four paragraphs, so kudos there.

    Unfortunately, if this prologue is any indication of what the next few installments will be like... You have a long way to go before this can really be considered for publication, or really even be enjoyed as a whole by most people. Your writing style is -- for lack of a better phrase -- seemingly try-hard and pretty cliche. Even the first sentence:


    The thick stench of sulphur burnt the lungs.
    is bad. The stench is thick? That is likely true, but if that's all you have to say about it, then you aren't really being that detailed with your details. And it burnt "the lungs"? Whose lungs? Everyone's? Just one persons? The opening sentence -- your hook, the time when you should grab your read by the loins and make him read (proverbially) -- is trite and uninformative. What do "the lungs" have to do with the rest of the story? You mention lungs, but in the very next paragraph, switch to a different body part -- this time it's attributed to someone -- and focus on that. Why even mention the damned lungs then? This sentence was written to look pretty and it serves almost no purpose.

    In the next sentence, you describe the sky as "blood red". I understand what you're trying; you're using a descriptor -- "blood" -- to set the tone of the story. These people are dying (Helllloooooo!! Bloooooddd!!), and you want to make sure your readers knows that. But saying "blood red" is just sooooooo cliche. There are plenty of other red things that are just as sinister, or gory, or helpless. Use them instead.

    Magical explosions seared the atmosphere with their visceral power...
    Have you ever thought of using images to offer your reader a clear picture of what you're describing? Yes, on one hand, this is an image -- I can visualize explosions searing the atmosphere. But I can't visual "magical" explosions, or "visceral" power. This image is zoomed out -- way out -- and it feels like you're describing a scene that you don't really even know that much about, which is bad, since you're the one writing the story. If you want your readers to care about the searing of the atmosphere, make it relative somehow; use an image folks can relate to. Here's an example from a short story I'm working on right now:

    Harold saw his throat as an hourglass. It poured heaps of white sand through the narrow passage of his trachea and into the bulb of his lungs, where each heavy breath rubbed coarse grains into the pink sacs above his diaphragm.
    Here, all I'm describing is the panic a particular character -- Harold -- feels when he gets thirsty. I use descriptive language that is easy to relate to -- everyone on the planet can easily image the discomfort of sand pouring down your throat, and that makes it easy to determine just how thirsty Harold is, even though I never actually write "Harold is really, really thirsty." It helps if you use language that is recognizable (the people in your target audience, or most of them, probably couldn't define visceral) and easy to understand.

    Please don't just dismiss this post. I've taken a lot of time to type it out, and I hope that it helps. Most folks on here (no offense) don't know the first thing about writing -- at least not well -- and that probably explains both why you got so many positive comments on this piece and why this board is so inactive. I'm not trying to insult or berate you in anyway here; I really want to help.

    I hope you can see that. Good luck with the piece either way.

  8. #8
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    Re: A prologue.

    No offence taken whatsoever!

    I'm happy to finally have someone who pretty much knows what they are doing tell me what's going wrong with my work. I've been writing for years now and because of a lack of any real communication (even on writing forums) I've ended up just writing the same stuff over and over. It feels refreshing to have someone come and say they genuinely disliked my work... In a weird way :P

    I'm just a humble Games Tech student, I have no fancy writing skills. I actually have a lecture now so I'll be able to re-read and talk to you about what's going wrong with my work afterwards.

    Thank you!

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    Re: A prologue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slashed
    No offence taken whatsoever!

    I'm happy to finally have someone who pretty much knows what they are doing tell me what's going wrong with my work. I've been writing for years now and because of a lack of any real communication (even on writing forums) I've ended up just writing the same stuff over and over. It feels refreshing to have someone come and say they genuinely disliked my work... In a weird way :P

    I'm just a humble Games Tech student, I have no fancy writing skills. I actually have a lecture now so I'll be able to re-read and talk to you about what's going wrong with my work afterwards.

    Thank you!
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