When horoscopes go wrongUh.. you sort of forgot to critique mine... above you before you posted.
"Only women and cats are allowed inside my armor!"
I don't know, I actually quite liked the snippet. I'm not sure if you would leave it alone. It seems like a part of a larger piece though. I want an opinion on if this is too much for the first paragraph:
TG: I never really thought that a consequence of the zombie apocalypse would be perfect wifi. GG: No? TG: I mean, it kind of makes sense, if all the power is still on, that there's not thousands of people trying to use the bandwidth around here. But that was just not what I was expecting. TG: It's kind of nice, though. TG: I guess when you're being lectured about how touching the dead bodies in the street will turn you into one of them, and how your rations will slowly run out and you'll starve to death waiting for help, that's not really something you think about. GG: I guess not. But. Besides the wifi. How are you holding out? TG: I have enough cans to last for at least another week and a half, more if I keep stretching them. I still have plenty of bullets. I managed to board up all of the bottom story windows. TG: I've been burning a lot of incense but it doesn't help. GG: Incense? TG: With the smell. TG: It's really bad. GG: Oh. TG: Yeah. TG: I'm really, really fucking bored. TG: I've just been playing scrabble online all day. GG: Are you okay? TG: The house hasn't been attacked for a few days. I've been keeping the lights low. I think maybe they've stopped noticing this place. GG: I mean. Are you okay. TG: I'm fine. GG: Fine fine? TG: What, are you asking if I'm about to have a mental breakdown due to the fact that everyone I know in this city is probably dead by now? GG: Well, yes. GG: I don't think it's an unreasonable question to ask at this point. TG: I'm fine. GG: Still in shock, I'm guessing. TG: Please don't assume things about me. GG: All right. GG: I won't. GG: I'm just asking because I think I might have some very bad news. GG: What city do you live in? TG: I'm in St. Paul. GG: Okay. So I was right. TG: Why? What? GG: St. Paul is on the list of cities to be razed. GG: You have five days. TG: I have five days. GG: Right. You have five days to get out of the city before it's razed. TG: What the fuck? TG: The zombies are going to freeze in a month or two! They've already been mostly pecked to death by birds! TG: You're supposed to wait out a plague like this, not just raze everything willy-nilly! GG: I'm sorry. I think because my dad has the technology to do shit like this, it gives him the right to destroy whole cities from space. TG: Well.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves." Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Thunder, Perfect MindI want to read this story. Hooked, line and sinker.
Thanks! Though to be honest I would like some recommendations on formatting. Currently the story is a slurry different colors and fonts and I'm pretty sure I can't leave it like that :/
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves." Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Is this going to be all text? The dialogue itself is good, but there are a few pitfalls for chat-only in this setting. First, we can't see any of the action; second, there's only so much the characters can reasonably do at their computers without the reader getting suspicious.
Sure I remember it. I remember it as well as I remember bein' born. Oh, don't look at me like that. You know I'm just messin' with you. God, you people and your precautions. Just loosen my arms, willya? What, you think I'm gonna kill you? With four guards in the room? Alright, take it easy. I'm gonna tell it. Bren taught me how to spin a good one, too-shame he's not here to hear it, huh? I know it. Okay, here goes. So we were just walking out of the movies, arguing over who played the better Cleanser in this particular picture. Bii'lu was munching down the last of his popcorn before Rez could took it from him, and I was just shoving Rez, thinking, you know, maybe Bii'lu would share if I helped him out. And Bren was yelling at us to shut up, people were looking at us, and that was the last thing we needed right now. What? Oh, yeah. Well, Bii'lu, he's the darker one with the scar under the eye, 'cept you can hardly seen it if he's not in the light. Rez is the short dude with all the hair, and Bren is the big guy, older'n all of us. Short blond hair, with the Band on his ear. Uh-uh. No, I'm the tallest one out of us four, but Bren's the biggest.
edited 8th Feb '13 5:37:09 PM by BrainSewage
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or feltHmm, interesting start for me. I generally enjoy starting in the middle of action or feel things are in motion, so that gets my seal of approval. The narrator voice itself I’m personally not the biggest fan of, though it’s not knocking it. The opening line alone makes me wonder “Remember what?”, which is good. I’m also curious as to what situation he is in as things progressively develop from the sentences. Overall, you hooked me. Going to go for a twofer it seems in here. I re-wrote opening addressing a few factors I wished to better than I feel did in last copy. Let’s see how this one comes across.
I have been deemed a fair amount of titles within my life. Some have viewed me as an unholy trickster. Others have made a hero of me. Personally, I’m disinclined to lay claim to either. My take on the concepts alone are that they’re simply labels meant to cast judgment, for better or worse. Whether I’m one, the other, both, or something else entirely relies solely upon the eye of the beholder. At the very least, I can faithfully disclose anything my ventures entail, in addition to the rationale behind my decisions. Whether or not my deeds are to your liking remains another matter entirely. Should you not desire to become acquainted with affairs which you might take issue with – deception, seduction, manipulation, kidnapping, violence, and capers, to name a few – cease now. Perhaps a narrative starring an infallible knight in white who fights for truth and justice, can topple evil with their might alone, rescues damsels in distresses, seldom settles truly difficult quandaries, and so forth would resonate better with you. I’ll make no secret that I’d prefer to live such a tale. I merely refuse to con myself by painting reality black and white, or forge some fabrication to appease anyone. Should you wish to confront the truth, it’s an honor and pleasure to have you along. I am Cassidy Cain: Granddaughter to Edan Cain – a legendary strategist who counseled Emperor Alexandros Arkland the Second throughout The Great Unification, Daughter of Nickolas and Scarlette Cain – the founders & first owners of CAI Nternational (Cain International), and The Grandmaster of Theft – a phantom thief who rendered aid to those helpless against the decadence of the upper echelon. Consequently, I found myself embroiled in affairs far removed from "normal". Some occasions called upon me to network and persuade. Others required me to strategize, lead, and compete. In any event, I addressed any ordeal my standing required – and merrily, no less. While I'm acquainted with the reality that some might lament such standing, I was nothing of the kind. When I was told "Uneasy is the head that wears a crown", I smirked then replied "Worth it. For I am the master of my fate." A case which exemplified this, and more, was when I squared off against one Narcissa Richmond.
There we go, I personally enjoy this one way more, but I'll let you judge. Also, there's a little question I'm curious about from an outsider's perspective. This doesn't have to be answered, but I rather not pass up on a profitable opportunity. I thank you in advance should you answer & shall return the favor by reading & responding to an entire 1st chapter of anybody's work who does this, should they give me the means to. Does this character sketch convey the same attitude as the narration does to you? If so, can you tell me why?◊
edited 14th Feb '13 6:14:13 AM by Prime_of_Perfection
turning and turningI don't like the narrator; she's annoying and obnoxious. The prose is overwritten and the thesaurus overused. Of course, either or both of the above could be a deliberate effect. Alliteration is also overused and comes across as twee and contrived. It's also riddled with grammatical errors, including in the first sentence with the completely inappropriate use of the word 'deemed', which would probably be enough to stop me readng right there. The entire concept of a narrator starting the story by introducing themselves at length is rather dull, in any case, and these days only really works if you are a very good writer and/or have a very good character and/or a very good reason for doing it. Sorry to be so critical, but I think you need to reconsider this piece quite a lot.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
Thunder, Perfect MindYeah, "deemed" is a judgement/decision kind of verb; it comes from the same root as doom, of all things. "Endowed" or some arrangement involving the word "bestowed" would have worked, but "deemed" just looks silly. Also, Narcissa? Are you referencing the flower or the personality disorder here? I mean, really now.
The hook was well-written, but I found myself lacking interest because the intro was basically "Here is this thing. I'm not that thing. Here is another thing. Whoops, I'm not that thing either." Leaving the character open for interpretation only works if we have seen the character in action. And it feels like you're just baiting the readers, which isn't highly agreeable. Also, the reverse-psychology thing (telling the reader to stop if they dislike X thing) only works at the beginning if it is specific. For example, Snicket once gave readers a list of "a harpoon gun, a rooftop bathing salon, two mysterious initials, three unidentifiable triplets, and an unsavory curry". Besides being a parody, it listed things which were both relevant to the story, and unique enough to actually pique the reader's interest. And in general, you're trying way too hard. The character is stealing for justice? So what? Batman does that shit all the time. And Carmen Sandiego just steals whatever the hell she wants whenever the hell she wants, including national landmarks, and people still like her because she's charming and brassy. You're not fooling anyone by calling this new Robin Hood figure morally ambiguous and expecting people to feel affronted by it. Speaking of Batman, Cassidy Cain is rather similar to Cassandra Cain. Not that you have to change it. Just pointing out that people may make the connection.
edited 14th Feb '13 11:19:49 AM by Leradny
Is this going to be all text? The dialogue itself is good, but there are a few pitfalls for chat-only in this setting. First, we can't see any of the action; second, there's only so much the characters can reasonably do at their computers without the reader getting suspicious.It's not all in chat logs, though a significant amount is. At this point I would say maybe 50-60% is chat log, and it might be less as the story goes on and the action gets more intense. However, they don't do everything at their computer. Most of the characters do have smart phones.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves." Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Wolf1066I did stop reading at the inappropriate use of "deemed".
edited 14th Feb '13 5:09:51 PM by Wolf1066
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or feltThank you all for the quick feedback, seems I got ahead of myself in working with that new narrative opening experiment. Only reason not going to reply to each individual thing is because I really don't feel the need to. Still, everything is noted. One of them concluded the wrong things about my objective, but I feel it's my failure in expression instead of anything on audience end in this case. Since I'm a bit of a perfectionist, there's no rule against it that I see, and nobody else posted anything for me to review, time for Take 3.
Should you not desire to become acquainted with affairs which you might take issue with – deception, seduction, manipulation, kidnapping, violence, and capers, to name a few – cease now. Perhaps a narrative starring an infallible knight in white who fights for truth and justice would be more to your liking. I’ll make no secret that I’d prefer to live such a tale. The line where morality ends and immorality begins is far easier to discern in such backdrops. All of life’s complexities can be remedied by merely adhering to a set of infallible principles, as opposed to having to rifle through every contingency whilst hoping for the best. You seldom have to question whether you’re the hero or the villain. It’s simpler. It’s nicer. And it was not my world. My battle of wits with one Narcissa Richmond proved a telling example of this. It all began one Saturday near noon, after I had settled in at my L shaped desk. Before me was my laptop, which was on one of The Empire’s premiere online news outlet, The Observer. Upon the screen was this message: "I – the GLORIOUS MADAME RICHMOND – will defeat and reveal to the world the face of my great rival: THE GRANDMASTER OF THEFT! The world will soon know what I – the MAGNIFICENT MADAME RICHMOND – has already known: That she is just a GUTLESS, POMPOUS FOOL who is unworthy of her PRETENTIOUS title. To prove she DOESN’T DESERVE anybody’s fear, I’ll stand alone against her and risk one of my treasures: UNDINE’S TEAR! SO COME AT ME, 'NOBLE' THIEF! Face me at THREE PM at Acquiro’s train station to Montello today. I – the SPECTACULAR MADAME RICHMOND – will singlehandedly see to it that the Grandmaster receives an all-expenses paid one way ticket TO JAIL!” Once I finished perusing that, I reclined back into the cushy paradise of my expensive leather desk chair, crossed my legs, and smirked. Not only did the challenge rouse my mind, it proved the cherry on top of an already satisfying morning.
Also, while I may be presuming this will come up, I will answer this ahead of time since I feel it's likely someone will ask about or comment on it. Narcissa's over the topness is intentional. She's just an obnoxious Starter Villain who happens to be an Attention Whore.
edited 15th Feb '13 8:42:35 AM by Prime_of_Perfection
Thunder, Perfect MindYou really don't need either "perused" or "reclined" there. Also, I think you've used "peruse" the wrong way—when you peruse something, you go over it thoroughly; it's the opposite of skimming. My natural style is on the wordy end of things, as are most things that I really like, so it takes a certain special kind of contrivance to make me say that someone is trying too hard. You look like you're trying too hard. You could use simpler words and fewer, but you don't, and the way that you don't looks artificial. Don't fluff. You are fluffing. Normally I would tell you to condense, but in this case you really just need to be direct. Also, "have always known, " not "has always known." Subject-verb agreement. If you're going to try too hard, at least be consistent.
Tolkien freakHilarious. Here's the first chapter of my Urban Fantasy project which I plan to publish one day, basically "Middle earth and Norse mythology meet YA urban fantasy." (Yes, Thorin and Frodo are Tolkien references, although Thorin is descended from a dwarf in Norse Mythology. Andvari is a character from my favourite Norse legend.)
I pulled my blanket off and glanced up at the shut window. I couldn’t tell whether it was morning yet. Outside, it was still completely black, about as dark as a certain dwarf’s skin, or mine - but I wouldn’t say that to his face - and cloudy. The lamp on the bedside table was dim but I could still see around the loft clearly, past the piles of stuff, including a wooden chest, swords, daggers and chainmail coats with gold links that were impossible to pierce. The dawn chorus was everywhere, coming from above ground to this house, which is the closest thing to a dwarven-style hall in this world. The window was shut and the fan was on so the room wouldn’t heat. A small glint of sunlight soaked in through the bars. Not enough to turn anyone to stone, but enough to make me jump out of bed and plop myself down on the floor. Thorin’s harp was leaning against the wall. It was much hotter now than it had been about a hundred years ago, according to him. He said that was why dwarves had come back to this world to live in halls inside caves and underground, and elves had come back to live in the woods and forests; “Humans needed us as guardians, to aid them in this new world.” Yep. It was definitely morning. Something else was happening too. There were footsteps outside. Some of them didn’t sound quite human, but maybe it was because I was sleepy. They were barely able to be heard, even through the grass above our roof. Thorin would be awake. The others wouldn’t wake up for at least four minutes, until they smelt breakfast. They still tossed around on their mattresses. Normally that was when I woke up too, but today was different. In a couple of minutes, someone’s footsteps came upstairs, around the door just as I was climbing back onto the mattress and trying to block out the sounds by covering my face with my arms, showing just a lot of hair. That’s one good thing about being hairy. “Frodo, I need to talk to you.” Thorin said through the door between my room and his forge. In the background the sound of him sharpening his axe on a stone echoed along the stone corridor. He hadn’t done that for two weeks. It’s his favorite defense weapon, less scary than a crossbow. He has one stashed in a cabinet somewhere, with a stock and lots of bolts, which he made himself. Yeah, my name’s Frodo. Blame Thorin. His name is the same as the dwarf king in a book nearly everyone’s heard about, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, one of this world’s most famous writers. He’s Thorin Eikinscialdi, which is Oakshield or Oakenshield in English. Here he goes by Thorin Oakenshield for people who can’t pronounce his name because “it flows better.” Which means that he gets all these jokes. “No, I wasn’t named after the dwarf from The Hobbit. No, I don’t want to get back my treasure hoard. Treasure fills up rooms.” I don’t know why a dwarf called Thorin, whose dad’s Draupnir, or “The Dripper”, decided to name a kid he found – a halfling- Frodo. He found me in a passageway and took me in later after he was approved to be my guardian from Social Services. But he did- and gave me his last name. Once, when I was little, I asked him, “How did I get my name?” and he said this: “Frodo was my great-great-grand-uncle’s name. He was the greatest chief of our tribe, one of the most honorable dwarves of Juravale living under Black Mountain, even though his enemies liked to mention his impure blood- he was part elf, you know- since Eikinscialdi the First, the father of my fathers and forger of elven blades, Lofar, one of the first ancestors of our folk, and Durin the Secondborn.” He always calls Eikinscialdi that when he mentions him, slipping into Middeleardian talk. Talking about names or honour gets him on the subject of elven disloyalty. I guess I don’t mind my name. But unfortunately that means everyone asks me if I have a relative called Bilbo. I want to laugh. I mean, who names their kid Bilbo, except in a Tolkien book? It’s not even a real name. Seriously, Bilbo? The Tolkien thing doesn’t hurt either. Most dwarves I’ve met really like Tolkien, for some reason, since he’s the first human storyteller to give them a good press and write about them in detail after he met them on his travels to Middle-earth and Veror. Or at least, Thorin does. “At least someone got bits right. We hate dragons and love mining. But we’re mostly not greedy. There’s always a blunt axe in a pile. Andvari is in mine. We don’t usually mention him.” Andvari was his second cousin “on my father’s side” who was much older and had a magic ring that could find gold. He died years ago. I remember Thorin singing and playing a lay about him once, which starts like this: ''Once before the world was old, Deep in a cavern dark and cold, A dwarf dwelt, Andvari called, In a pool within the cavern walls.'' “They called it Andvarinaut, Andvari’s Gift. No-one knows where in the Nine Realms it is now. It was part of a treasure hoard that should’ve been ours. Our great-grandfather was Dwalin Runebringer, who knew a lot about magic. Some people call him Dvalin. Andvari could shapeshift, like Dwalin could. He had many forms, but my parents told me that he used to spend much of his time as a fish in a pool in a cave. Apparently the gift skips a few generations. He was my foster father, because he was a relative. Dwarves prefer relatives to foster their children. When I was living with him and learning the trade, I tried to shapeshift several times. Never succeeded. Tolkien didn’t mention the sunlight thing. Some dwarves can turn to stone in sunlight. They need to stay underground for a few months before they can get back to normal. And the secret language and names? Please. Dwarves only keep their magic runes and smithing techniques secret, nothing else. A Dvergr’s name is his right name, it’s not like with elves. I guess he wanted to create his own stories for this world’s humans.” “What? Thorin, I got school tomorrow. I need to sleep.” “You need to come out of that rabbit hole, ‘cause speakin’ of school, your human friend’s here. Don’t know how she found this place.” Human friend? Who could he be talking about? “She” could be anyone. There were heaps of humans in my classes who hated Orcs. Except the members of the Multicultural Club, who actually didn’t mind eating raw, freshly caught fish or roots and berries from near the creek. “Really?” “Aye. You think I‘d stretch the truth?” He started to walk away. “You don’t want me getting involved. I’d rather fight trolls and frost giants then deal with humans.” “OK then, I’m comin’.” I pushed open the door and shut it behind me before running downstairs and through the passageway. No use waiting, ‘cause Thorin’d probably win the world record for “most impatient person”, if dwarves were allowed in the Guinness Book of World Records. His name means “bold one.” But I think maybe they should have added “impatient” after “bold.” Besides, I wanted to see which friend he meant.
edited 21st Feb '13 1:00:21 AM by MorwenEdhelwen
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Coming For youSeems like a lot of exposition. If there is less exposition or at least more spread out I would want to read it.
Waves rolled against the shore of the beach while the sun glared in anger down on the partially submerged body of a cowboy. John Smith felt the waves brush against his back and the sand that stuck to the slime that had formed in his mouth. Memories of a storm and a wooden boat tickled at his mind, but at the moment he wanted nothing more than to lay there and rest in the heat of the sun and warm ocean water and let the darkness of sleep overtake him again. Sleeping where he was now would end with his demise from drowning. What actually motivated him was the mission he had that tugged at his heart and soul. Opening his eyes he we blinded by the intense light. Slowly he opened them again and began to pull his body up out of water stopping at the edge where the warm water met the searing hot sand where he could rest without risk of drowning. Out of the corner of his vision he saw something. Looking up he could clearly see a tanned, dark haired, woman with a bucket. “You're welcome.” He felt groggy and his face reflected it. “Huh.” “I saved you from drowning. I found you after that storm was dying down and brought you here.” He gave a gruff thank you before going to sleep. When he woke up the woman stood beside him and the sun was lower in the sky. She commented about him sleeping for several hours. He lifted himself up and out of the water; his clothes felt like they had gained twenty to thirty pounds. From his new vantage he noticed the bucket was filled with water. “May I drink of your water?” She gave him a sly smile, “You wouldn't like it.” “I am sure I would like any water now.” “Even sea water?” He let out a sigh before walking towards inland and the palm tree. She followed after him and placed a smooth soft hand on his shoulder. “Wait. You're new. I know you don't know anything about this place. You will need me if you want to survive.” “I've been here before.” He noticed her gazing at his crystal. She seemed almost hypnotized by the green light that radiated from it. “Get your own.” She seemed to take this insult very deep. “I don't need your crystal. I can get as much as I need from the sea.” Slowly a look of deep surprise dawned her face as what he said crossed her mind. “What. What do you mean you've been here before?” “Just that. I left then came back to this land.” Her form shook with raw anger as she gasped for air to feed the fire of her rage. “WHAT WOULD BRING YOU BACK?” “I was sent back to retrieve people.” Her posture drooped as she spoke. “You have no idea what has happened since you were gone, do you. People on land have turned into barbarians. They attack whoever and steal their life force or crystals.” A smile crept on her lips and began to stroke his chest. “If you are looking for people I may be of service. I know where the towns are, where water is, I might know where some of the people are you're looking for, and being a sea nymph I have 'other' talents that you may like. All I ask is that you take me with you when you leave this world.” She licked her lips as she suggestively stroke him. He grabbed her hands and shoved them against her side. “One of the people I am looking for is a dear friend named Kathrine. If you can help me find her and the others I will take you out of this place.” He recited the list of names of the people he was sent for. The nymph led the way into the jungle informing the man that they would need to follow the peninsula until it met with the rest of the land then they would travel to the nearest town where if they were lucky they would find warm bodies that could tell them where some of people on his list had gone. The two stopped with nearly an hour of sunlight left. John pulled empty water guns from his coat and thrust them into the nymph's hands. He left to gather firewood to kindle a fire through the night while she went to fetch water. As he searched for wood he came across albino plants. John knew from experience how fruitless any attempts were to cut through or even push the plants aside. That had been when he had returned with Kathrine. The cowboy's stomach lurched at the thought of forcing him to hold onto a tree until the nausea passed from his stomach. He didn't know where she was or if she was hurt, but he knew she was alive. That was one of the few blessings this accursed land provided. She had been his partner by choice and not because of the group. He body felt cold and in response he buttoned up his jacket, despite his mistake he would find her. John made a silent prayer for Kathrine to be safe and for him to find her.
edited 20th Feb '13 11:54:58 PM by Philosopher
Science and magic... It's Ugly. Ugly!
MadmanI think some of your opening sentences could be broken up as they are a little wordy, but I do like the idea of a guy ending up on a strange tropical beach and am curious about whom the nymph is. Anyway, this whole scene below is the opening to a coming-of-age tale about a black tribeswoman who must slay an Allosaurus as part of her "Sweet Sixteen" rite of passage. The story's working title is in fact Womanhood. Unfortunately, while I do know how the story's main conflict will be resolved, I am undecided about how long I should stretch it or exactly how much should happen between the start and the ending. As for this opening scene, I wrote it because I wanted to provide a little exposition on the heroine's culture, but another part of me wonders if I shouldn't cut to the hunt immediately. If this doesn't hook people in, I shall choose the latter option.
Mukondi Djata crawled out of her hide tent. A golden sliver of sun crept over the eastern hills and stained the early morning sky red. Though the twilight balminess would burn up any moment soon, streams colder than spring water coursed within Mukondi's veins. She held her spear in clammy hands while a machete's icy blade rested against her thigh. The spear's iron point stretched thrice as long as her hand, and she would need every inch of it for her upcoming womanhood. Most of the Djata camp remained asleep in silence. Not even the most excitable of the boy-children scampered between the tents after waking up before their mothers and sisters. Come to think of it, Mukondi would have enjoyed an easier life as a boy. She would have then moved to the safety of a men's village back when she came of age and grown harmless crops for the rest of her life. Boys never knew how much dumb luck favored their sex. "Mukondi? Are you ready, daughter?" Mukondi jogged up to the plump baobab which sprouted on the camp's northern edge. Two women, her mother Dyese and cousin Azande, awaited her below the tree's shade. Having reached womanhood six rains ago, Azande now looked exactly as Mukondi and every other young Djata girl wished to look: tall and lithe, with firm muscles and a full rump underneath obsidian-black skin. Rings of fangs from Azande's kills hung under her gold neck-bands. Both Mukondi and Azande covered their breasts and crotches with leopard-skin strips whereas withered old Dyese donned an elder's gazelle shawl. Dyese smiled as she patted Mukondi on the shoulder. "You can do it, my precious, " Dyese said. "Oyosi Herself sees to it that you will." Mukondi pulled her mother's hand off. "You must have told Nzinge the same thing." "Don't mention her again!" Azande banged her spear's butt against the dirt. "You are wiser than your sister ever was. You shall succeed where she failed, trust me." Mukondi shrugged. "All right, now did you see any Sambu on your scouting?" "I saw one drinking at the river to the south, early last night." Azande pointed to the southern horizon. "He might still prowl there, or he might rest around the lone mountain on the other side." She laid her own hand on Mukondi's shoulder. "When you meet him, you know what to do: aim for the breast or brain. Good luck, kinswoman." Mukondi nodded to her cousin and sucked in a gust of air to swell her chest upward. She curved her mouth into a slight smile. "One more thing before you leave, daughter." Dyese pulled out from her belt a hollowed antelope horn and handed it to Mukondi. "This goes back to my mother's mother. Blow through it, and Sambu shall come." "Isn't that really cheating?" Mukondi asked. "Not at all, it only makes tracking easier, " Azande said. "But use it sparingly. Blow it too often and Sambu will know what you're up to." Mukondi slipped the horn underneath her own belt and bowed her head to Dyese. "I owe you so much for the gift, mother." Dyese wrapped her arms around her daughter in a gentle embrace. "Not at all. Now you may go forth on the hunt, Mukondi. You leave our camp a girl, but you shall come back a woman, with the teeth of Sambu in your hands. May Oyosi bless you, Mukondi Djata." After her mother let her go from warm arms, the chill returned to sting Mukondi's blood.
edited 23rd Feb '13 6:16:22 AM by Jabrosky
Hilarious injokeThe description at the beginning should be cleaned up. I'd omit a good part of it, since it doesn't really do much in the way or setting up the scene. The dialogue I didn't have much of a problem with, however. Something I wrote a few years ago that I happened across today:
Many, many years in the past, the laws of nature worked quite differently than they do today. In fact, one could argue that they weren’t laws as much as they were guidelines that were only loosely followed. There were no constants; absurdities such as physics were scoffed at by celestial bodies that only behaved in certain ways because they felt like it. Gravity? Planets only stuck around stars to leech off the excess energy that really only served as some sort of bizarre social status. Each planet in turn had its own unique society that depended on the different elements on it. For example: places such as Jupiter had gradually grown into overcrowded metropolises due to the abundance of your two garden variety gases, hydrogen and helium, that ironically got along despite their conflicting natures (hyperactively violent and easy-goingly passive, respectively). While places like Mercury tended to be a lot more laid back thanks to the surplus solar energy they were getting. On Earth, things had separated themselves into three separate realms: one of land, one of sea, and one of skies. The elements in the sky and land mostly kept to themselves. The lands gradually but unwaveringly moved about and mingled as time continued to progress. The skies on the other hand loved to clash with themselves and kept a quick pace as they went about their day to day business. The seas operated quite differently from the other two, as their main inhabitant was a peculiar little thing called water. Instead of individual parts having their own free will and determination and acting as part of greater whole, water had a sort of collective intelligence which caused it to act much more uniformly than other entities. In fact it acted so strangely that the sheer measure of liquid water on the surface set Earth apart enough from the other planets that they’d often make jokes about it when he wasn’t listening. Here was another strange thing about water: it would often leave the confines of the seas and clump together as those vaporous masses we know as clouds. Of course, a good number of other things did that too, but the water variety was unique in that it became its own self-aware entity by doing so. Back then clouds weren’t as transient as they are today, so their newfound independence gave way to them creating their own society in the vast expanses of the skies. The original inhabitants of the skies did not mind this at all, in fact the Nitrogens welcomed the first colonial clouds with open ions. Some might say that the skies were a bit too eager for some new blood, since within a relatively short time span clouds had completely overrun them. Clouds now came in every shape and size you could possibly imagine, and even more that you could not. They had their own personalities and aspirations. They formed complex relationships with each other and interacted in unique ways. They were endlessly intriguing but at the same time, to the seas they were leaving and the heavens they were settling, increasingly terrifying.edit: fixed formatting
edited 27th Feb '13 3:10:46 AM by Thelostcup
If you find the text above offensive, don't look at it.
Looks interesting. A little slow, but interesting. Only problem is that the diction is all over the place; you've got the slow speech and strong words you'd expect from a mythological origin story next to laid-back slang. Here's mine. Not actually the first part of the book, but the first thing you see when you land on the site homepage.
Domina City. “The City of the Lady.” Built on a trash island in the West Atlantic by the labor of white-collar criminals, paid for by the United States and the Vatican, Domina was meant to be a beacon of hope and prosperity. A test, proving that criminals could be put to a better use than clogging up prisons. Thirty years after building started, Domina is a blight on the face of the world, soaked in the blood of millions. Death is a fact of daily life. Gangs rule by no other than law their own strength, and entire cultures have arisen built on legends. Angels, demons, vampires and more fight each other for money and control. The fey release their monsters on the streets for no reason other than their own amusement, and bystanders are always caught in the crossfire. Every living soul in the city is a killer. But even so, life goes on. People go to work, fall in love, raise families. The city grinds away, and the people survive. Into this maelstrom of chaos comes Adam Anders, a young man trying to go to college with his friend. He has no idea what he has just stepped into. But then, Domina is in for a few surprises as well...
Dapper GentlemanSeems very, very interesting indeed; I'd want to read more. I couldn't help being reminded of Rapture, but that's probably just me...
"And every life is a special story of its own." —The Stargazer, Mass Effect 3
Heresiarch Command@Discar: As I read this I'm already imagining the trailer for a summer blockbuster complete with the panning cameras, sharp cuts to very short scenes of visceral violence and mutant monstrosities, all the while somewhat with a deeply resonant pseudo Morgan Freeman like voice narrates (with Johnny Cash in the background). It feels familiar but it's well done enough to the extent that I don't really care if any of it has been done before. Sounds like it would make for a really good video game as well. — Here's my own that I wrote quite a while back now, so it might be inconsistent if compared with my later writing. It was a wonder how he could stay relatively good natured and even sane within these bizarre corridors. They were not the clean chrome of conventional star-ship passageways. In fact, they did not even seem to be corridors in the first place but rather the massive veins of some ancient, planet-sized plant, buried underneath immense clumped layers of corroded metal and detritus. All throughout its hollowed form, the hive ship breathed the breath of centuries and of whole peoples; innumerable forms lived and died beneath the rough-hewn surface. Even the organic mesh that coated the surfaces shifted under his weight as he crept, crawled, and walked, contorting to best disperse his weight. Emerging from beneath its forest-green, swollen lumps with their goggle-eyed surveillance mounts watched every move he made, smelled every scent trail he left, and triangulated his position constantly. These winding veins were not deserted; its security systems had been watching others long before he'd entered. Every hole and crevice was occupied, their inhabitants obscured beneath creeping mossy growth. Fist-sized black blurs of skittering legs and unblinking eye clusters darted through what some would assume were un-repaired cracks, relaying information and running the technicalities of maintenance on the planet-sized ship. Looming over them were far more advanced creatures - his own people. Some of them were over his six foot height, a few bending forth slightly or hanging from walls and ceiling to better accommodate their great size. He heard snippets of "conversation" as he passed them by. To most ears it was little more than a chittering and inharmonious cacophony. To a xzul, this was a sort of code-speech, incomprehensible to all but their own, unlocking its precise meaning like engrams within his mind and bereft of the need for conventional syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. Whatever they passed amongst themselves or the organic communication networks of their home was not of importance to him. It was hard to tell if they were aiming some of it at him due to their dome-like eyes often lacking recognizable pupils. Regardless, he knew many of them were trying to ignore or otherwise look away from him. He was not reviled or despised but the way he was regarded had with it an air of dreadfully moribund certainty. It was less hostility in their eyes and more of a tense, subdued body language, implying barely suppressed pity and empathy as he passed them by. Many of them wanted to warn him with the words he'd expect of the older drones, the dangers of a doomed youth or a stagnant middle age but they already knew that all ears had heard them a thousand times by now. Ten days ago, his kind had been asked by theirs for another black task. It was a one way question, the sort whose optional status remained so only on paperwork rather than actual practice. This was not the first time their coalition had come to them nor the last time his war swarm would be attached to their joint task forces. As the door to the meeting room peeled its hardened membrane back into the ship, he let the few minutes he had before their arrival be used for silently cursing their names as he slumped over on the octagonal table. This was the last of the meetings for some time, merely a form of courtesy as well as an opportunity for them to review and finalize the rewards and restate what had been agreed to. It was hard for him to care about these things, contradictory as apathy was to his job. He had only been commanding an entire detachment for five or so years and "history repeats itself" suddenly became the most unpleasant summation of his career thus far. Having looked at the rest of the room a thousandfold previously, his eyes merely settled on the fleshy door. Merely waiting for it to pull itself apart had a death-row atmosphere to it. He likened it to what he imagined time on a death-row was like, only one where the whole xzul race-collective was condemned.
edited 28th Feb '13 5:23:29 PM by StillbirthMachine
Only Death Is Real
Tolkien freakEstablishes the genre quite nicely. I like sci-fi, so I have to say I'm intrigued. Here's the first few pages of something I got a compulsion to put down a while ago, even though I'm working on Fafnir's Bane. It's a draft of a steampunk retelling of Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, the Norse saga which inspired the show Vikings, with elements of Cap O'Rushes. The title is Kraka, after the name the heroine Aslaug was raised under, which means "crow."
Kraka Prologue This story begins like so many others. It starts a long time ago- from my birth and before it. I heard it when I was three years old, and never forgot it, even though I’ve almost forgotten my second father, who told it to me. ''I remember being three, clinging to the front of his long dark red tunic, which I thought made him look like a knight, and sitting while he told it. My nanny tried to pull me off and tuck me into bed, and Father Number One- his name, Heimir, is the other thing I remember- laughed and said, “Leave her for a bit, Arndis.” I call him that to distinguish him from the other father I remember. The one I have now. I just call him “Dad.” Arndis, who wore a white shawl draped over a cloak the same colour covering a long blue dress and whose high brown buttoned boots stuck out under her hooped skirt, loosened her grip. “No, Arndis! I want to hear the rest!” I wailed. '' “She’s truly her mother’s daughter.” Heimir said. “Nilda was exactly like this when she was that age. Obsessed with swordfighting. I think I might have another Valkyrie on my hands.” He was smiling, but it was strained, not a real smile. “Did you hear, she pretended I was an Orc today. Gave me a Hel of a fright. She’ll be a shieldmaiden when she’s grown, for sure.” He looked down into my eyes and smiled. “Won’t you, Aslaug?” “C’mon, Aslaug.” Arndis bent down and wrapped her arms around my waist, lifting me into her arms. “It’s getting late.” '' Aslaug. My name before this one. Here’s the story. My birth parents were young when they had me. They met when my mother, Brunilda, was sleeping in Hindfell Mansion, up on the top of the cliffs southward of the Glittering Heath, miles away from here. She’d been placed there by the order of Odin himself, because she let the wrong man live in battle. Put to sleep, deactivated, out of commission “until someone without fear could wake her.” Wouldn’t you know it, that person was my father, Sigurd, who was just a year or two older than me, about fifteen, and had just killed the dragon Fafnir armed with an elven sword and wearing a mithril byrnie which his own foster father, the dwarf Regin, had made for him. They say when he and my mother met after he’d ridden through the gas flames, he lifted off her helmet and fell in love with her instantly. He cut off her byrnie, which had almost molded itself to her flesh, worse than the tightest corset. She was probably wearing it for five years while she slept. Like Sleeping Beauty, but for a shorter period of time. They were together for half a year. In March the next year, he left, leaving my mother pregnant. Her nanny, Caridad, who was a midwife, helped deliver me. She kept her promise to my father and named me Aslaug after his great-great-great grandmother. That was before I became Kraka. Chapter 1. Kraka I stared at the palms of my hands and dusted at them with both sets of fingers. The ashes flew off my hands with a sweep off my fingers. Stooping low, I held the coal scuttle away from my chest and towards the fireplace. My clothes don’t need to be dirtier than they already are. Glancing down at the front of my dress, I took in the row of the patches running from the breast onwards. They were in different colors, and I could still see the stitches holding them on. My skirt was frayed and tattered at its edges, exposing my brown knees and my underwear. This is why I’m grateful for my hooded coat- even if I’m never allowed to take it off and it gets sweaty in the summer. I emptied the contents. Then waited. One… two… The flames grew, red and bright, shooting up inside the grate. That’s good. One chore done. Only a bit more to do around here. “Kraka!” Mom called just as I picked up the dustpan and brush and began to sweep up the ashes, moving the broom from corner to corner. “Yeah?” I answered, turning to face her as she walked slowly into the room, her slippers scuffling the wooden floorboards. “I’m sweepin’ the hearth like you told me to.” She turned and looked at me from under her bonnet. Me and her couldn’t look more different. Her face is round and worn, with lines around it, and she looks like an old woman with her hunched back and wrinkles. People say she’s ugly. By that I mean people she knew in the past, when she lived in Lindesnes, the nearest village. Not people here. There ain’t any people in this place who’d take much notice of a peasant woman and her family. Spangarheid’s so far away from anywhere that people don’t come here. Even the owners’ relatives hardly ever come. “Just an old ragged hag. Even when I was young and had all my teeth, I was homely. Everyone said so, and by the Aesir if I didn’t see it myself every time I looked in the mirror. Ugly Gríma Krakasdottir, daughter of Kraka Bjørnsdottir, who was just as ugly. She married me to the ugliest man in town. No-one else would have me…” At this point in her rant she usually glared at my foster father. That was if he was even there. He usually spent all his time in the corner, drinking or working on chairs or carvings. “Åke, you damned fool! Can’t you fix the stove? If it breaks how’re we going to get our meals?” Me though- whenever I just take the hood of my jacket off, people stare at me, even though I’m just as brown as she is, and was like that even before I came here to live. I bet it was from my mother, Nilda. Their mouths stay open so long, I’m surprised they don’t get flies in there. Especially when it’s summer. She says, “It’s ‘cause you’re young, girl. An’ beautiful.” Her voice was strange when she said the last word. Not exactly sad. But something else- bitterness. I could tell, because her face hardened as she looked at me. “Don’t take off your hood, ” she said the last time I went to town with the goat’s milk. I wondered why she had to remind me of it. “And don’t talk to anyone you meet. Especially men.” “What happens if I do, Ma?” I wasn’t really planning on doing it, just asking out of curiosity. She gave me that hard look again. “They’ll take advantage of you, Kraka. Don’t take it off.” I managed to avoid doing it for the first time that day, even though I could feel the sweat in my scalp under the shawl. Weirdly that’s the only time I felt like taking it off. “Have ya cleaned out the washtub yet? Those goats need milkin’ too. Get to it.” Her voice was sharp, jolting me back to the present. “That father of yours did something right.”
edited 17th May '13 11:37:07 PM by MorwenEdhelwen
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
The use of quotation marks is a bit confusing; I think you might have messed up some of them. There's nothing here that really wows me for an opening, but I'm getting a very consistent feel from all of your writing, Morwen, and I'm beginning to like that feel. The characterization here is relatively strong. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13222861930A15033700&page=11#251 Here's mine.
I'd say I'm being refined Into the web I descend Killing those I've left behind I have been Endarkened
Tolkien freakQuotation marks: I'll probably fix that. What do you mean by consistent and relatively strong? Thanks for the comment about characterisation! (Aslaug/Kraka is about 13 in this version and Ragnar is 17. And they get married) BTW, can I PM you about my stories/drafts?
edited 18th May '13 2:07:53 AM by MorwenEdhelwen
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Wolf1066DA Student, the exposition in your excerpt seemed to jump around a lot of topics and any time it looked like it was going somewhere, it veered away again. Here's one of mine - still in first draft, lacking refinement.
“I don't like the look of this job.” Densor Williams shifted forward in his seat and looked straight into the recorder. “For a start, it ain't a proper job. We should be findin' some nice little war somewhere and get some decent pay, not baby-sitting some stupid geezer what can't even buy a proper ship. Of all the shitty jobs we've 'ad in the last few months, this is the shittiest yet.” He rubbed the skin beneath his right eye. “To make matters worse, we're 'avin' to split up the crew because the stupid flatlander don't like xenos. The Prof is right fucked off because that means no Kitarr food for the whole of the trip, but me, I'll be missin' 'anging out with Ter i'San 'n' Grau 'n' all the others. “An' I'm going to miss my cabin, 'cause we're the ones what 'ave to crew this poxy ship. An' look at it, ” he picked up the recorder and used it to do a sweep of the cabin, taking in the pastel-coloured walls and his small pack lying on the single bed. “An' it looks even worse from the outside. It's some sort of poncy yacht, not a proper ship. Not a patch on the Septic Death. What sort of pillock would buy this 'eap o' shit?” He set the recorder down again and rubbed under his right eye.
edited 18th May '13 3:55:54 AM by Wolf1066
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Tolkien freakAre you actually referring to DA or me? You wrote DA's handle but use two up arrows. EDIT: Never mind, looked more closely. Seems to be DA.
edited 18th May '13 6:12:12 AM by MorwenEdhelwen
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
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