|10th November 2007, 08:52 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2007
Critique of an Action Scene
This is a rather important scene from my book, The Fallen: The Mysteries of Ergael. Please let me know what you think.
At that time, Izuki remembered the words of his uncle, Sajin, before the battle. "If you are forced to cross swords with Sommaset, only do so with more than one ally." Izuki did not have the luxury of waiting for additional allies. Could the Field Marshal truly be as dangerous a swordsman as the rumors said? Izuki could only have faith that his own swordsmanship would prevail over Sommaset's Recatate at that moment.
With a scream, Izuki finally closed to within a few yards of the two. All around him, there were Axe Knights who had not yet noticed his presence. They turned around as the Asteerian charged toward the Field Marshal. Unable to finish his death strike, Kimmard quickly whipped around to face his new opponent. Izuki lunged at him with a double, overhead cross-strike. The master swordsman blocked both attacks by raising his blade up above his head and swiftly spun around into a back kick that sent Izuki back a pace. By now, the other Axe Knights were rushing to aid their military leader.
Frighteningly close to Izuki's head, two Firebolts trailing thick black smoke roared overhead. The spells smashed into two oncoming horse and rider combinations, sending them backward aflame. Behind Izuki, Gallant and Alexander rode at full speed atop Queen and Anvil. Gallant went to Izuki's right while Alexander rode to the left. Queen rammed a horse and rider at full speed, sending both sprawling to the ground. She continued over the fallen man and beast, trampling the rider in the process. Gallant thrust at anything within reach of him, his steel lance a blur.
Alexander stayed mounted on Anvil. True to his name, Anvil smashed through several Axe Knights without slowing down. Any soldiers that Anvil missed, Alexander's rapier found with deadly precision.
Izuki, still about two yards away from his opponent, silently thanked his brave comrades. He watched as Kimmard raised his free hand high into the air. He snapped it down toward the ground in front of him, calling down a Lightning Strike from the sky directly upon Izuki's head. At the last possible moment, Alexander turned to cast his most powerful Soft Shield atop Izuki's head. It held together as the bolt quickly dissipated. The blue-haired man again thanked his trusted comrade silently, praying that he would learn magic one day soon.
Izuki did not wait for another spell. He attacked Kimmard with all his speed and might, both blades whirling. Kimmard expertly dodged and parried every blow that Izuki struck with. He retreated straight backward in classic Recatate style. Sommaset was indeed a master swordsman. The Field Marshal came back with an attack sequence of his own. Sommaset drove forward with expertly delivered thrusts and slashes. Izuki barely managed to escape death, struggling to keep up with the former Elite's quick strikes. One cut nearly ended Izuki's life, ducking just underneath it. The slash cut off a lock of his brilliant, deep blue hair as it swept over him. Another strike by Kimmard caught Izuki on the chin with the point of his blade. A small cut opened up and began to drip blood onto Izuki's polished, silver armor. The blood coagulated into frozen, bluish-red drops. Seeing that he needed to attempt something drastic, Izuki stepped back and waited another attack by Sommaset.
The Field Marshal delivered as he quickly thrust at Izuki's unprotected face with his sword. Izuki released both of his own blades and clasped his gauntleted hands on the point of Kimmard's sword before it could strike home. The Field Marshal gave a grunt in startled surprise, Izuki staring him down with his emerald eyes for a fleeting moment. A tug of war of sorts ensued between the two men. Kimmard may have been an expert swordsman, but he did not possess the brute physical strength of Izuki. The Asteerian easily wrested the blade from Kimmard's hands, leaving the Field Marshal unarmed. This was where Kimmard's prized Recatate failed him. With a quick advancing step, Izuki attacked with a powerful, chasing side kick as Kimmard retreated straight backward as Izuki knew he would. The blow knocked the blue-eyed opponent to the ground, hitting him square in the chest. Izuki brought the point of his newly-wrested blade down to the man's throat.
With his jaw clenched in disappointment and shame, the Field Marshal muttered incredulously, "You've beaten me!?"
Looking down at his fallen opponent, Izuki yelled, "By the authority of King Orrin, you, Sommaset Kimmard, are now under arrest through the jurisdiction of the Republic of Asteeria! Order your men to stand down and return home if you wish to live!"
Before Field Marshal Kimmard could answer, Sajin rushed over to them at a sprint, limping on his injured leg. He punched his fist into Izuki's blade, driving it into the unprotected throat of the fallen sword master. Kimmard formed a look of surprise as the sword ran through his throat and out the back of his neck. His body went limp and his head slumped to the side.
Utterly shocked, Izuki screamed with wrath, "Damn you, Sajin! There was no need for this man to die! Don't you believe in sparing even a former Elite of Asteeria!?" Sajin replied, intensity in his dark, black eyes, "Sommaset had to die, Izuki! He is too dangerous to be kept alive!" With a small smile of satisfaction, he said, "Come! Without their leader, the Varlanders should be easy to mop up. Show the enemy no quarter!" yelled Sajin at any who could hear. He limped away from Izuki's presence to find his trusted Satchuros and to tend to the still unconscious Archon.
Andy R Marshall
Last edited by dustinzgirl; 11th November 2007 at 04:45 AM.
|11th November 2007, 04:49 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Mod of Awesome
Join Date: Apr 2005
Re: Critique of an Action Scene
"If you are forced to cross swords with Sommaset, only do so with more than one ally." Izuki did not have the luxury of waiting for additional allies.
This does not set the stage very well, and the sentence feels.....unrealistic. Try a different lead in, like "His uncle had warned him about Sommaset, saying the best way to fight that great warlord was not to fight him at all"
With a scream, Izuki finally closed to within a few yards of the two. All around him, there were Axe Knights who had not yet noticed his presence.
He screamed and nobody noticed? Odd.
This 'realism' thing is tricky. I make millions of mistakes myself. I've read it in published books. So one thing I do now is think about if it makes sense in our world or not, even if its a made up world.
Also, we do have a section for press releases. Please use it rather than the critique section. I edited it out.
|12th November 2007, 07:31 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Re: Critique of an Action Scene
"Kimmard formed a look of surprise as the sword ran through his throat and out the back of his neck." --
Sounds too plain. This would be a good spot for some descriptive flare. "His face flashed into an expression of shocked disbelief...", "A look of of total surprise streaked across his face...", "Kimmard's eyes went wide with disbelief and a gurgling choke escaped his lips..."
Maybe something like that.
Some of the other descriptions could use work such as using exact descriptions of numbers, "two horse and rider combinations" and the like. Use phrases like "a few" or "several" or "a pair".
In an action scene like this people aren't going to be thinking in exacts and definitely wouldn't see every detail. For example when Alexander casts the shield on Izuki, give it some more suspense. The way it's written right now just seems kinda like "oh well, I have my awesome shield, no biggy" even though he thanked his friend for saving him, it didn't feel to me like he was in real danger.
Still, a good work in progress. I'm definitely curious as to why these people are fighting and why Sajin hates them so much, maybe betrayers of sorts?
|14th November 2007, 02:22 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Strong Silent Typist
Join Date: Aug 2005
Re: Critique of an Action Scene
In general I think it works pretty well. Definitely action packed.
A couple of problems I had was that your descriptions tend to be a little clunky:
"two oncoming horse and rider combinations", already mentioned by someone, really stood out to me. As well as phrases like this you repeat the same structure for describing things a lot. So much so that it began to get really noticeable and predictable. Over the course of an entire chapter this would probably get annoying!
polished, silver armor
dark, black eyes
frozen, bluish-red drops
brilliant, deep blue hair
Almost every single line of dialog ends in an exclamation mark. Even when it already ends in a question mark. The context of the speech tells us how these words are being said. Relying on exclamation marks to this extent is kind of ramming it down our throat.
Finally, it's hard to say for sure without context, but given the importance of this duel it seems to be over pretty quickly. But that may be intentional.
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