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Old 27th April 2011, 03:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

I realise that it's a bit long to ask for a critique, but I just couldn't bring myself to divide it. It's one of the earliest scenes in the novel, being preceded by only a 'historical text' excerpt, so it's kind of an introduction.

Anyway I'll be most appreciative of any critiques.

***

The figure spasmed, briefly, yet did not wake. It was male. Slumped forwards, his weight was wholly supported by the iron shackles upon his wrists and the thick collar around his neck. A woman stood in the arched entranceway to the chamber, surrounded by shadows, admiring the newest addition to her house. Though the room was shrouded almost entirely in darkness, the woman had no difficulty perceiving her inanimate prisoner. She watched him in silence, admiring his naked form. He was truly a beautiful specimen, slender, muscular, his pale skin unmarred by the presence of scars. Thick black hair, as dark the obsidian to which he was bound, fell just below the captive' shoulders, perfectly framing his slim, angular face. The woman sighed in admiration, it was almost a shame that he would soon gain consciousness thus spoiling the image of perfection, which she gazed longingly upon. She sighed again, then leant back against the arched entrance, waiting. A chime passed, then two, with the tremors that wracked the body increasing in frequency, duration and violence.

As the woman watched, the form began to thrash once more, overcome by convulsions so violent that those prior seemed mere shivers. Ah, this is the one. Her thought had barely reached completion, when a bloodcurdling shriek pierced the night. Born of pure anguish, the sound, which had originated from the shackled creature's pale, bloodless lips, echoed eerily throughout the chamber, yet she showed no response, this was all to be expected.

Calmly, she stood, observing him, a hint of satisfaction in her eyes, as he fought against the chains which bound him. So predictable, I almost wish- Her thought was interrupted as the struggling suddenly ceased, filling the room with an uncanny silence.

‘Curious’. It was barely a murmur, yet the chained oddity perceived it. His head shot up and she watched in fascination as his piercing blue eyes scoured the darkness, finally settling upon her. Her eyes closed briefly, and she shook her head, steadying herself.

Impossible, the adaptions never occur so quickly.

Meeting that unwavering gaze, she lifted her arm, a signal to those waiting silently in the hallway beyond. Almost instantly a slave entered the chamber, swiftly crossing the distance to the chained man and placing his burden, another slave, this one drugged to senselessness, upon the cold stone, at the prisoner's feet. His duties now complete, the slave rapidly retreated to the far side of the room, where he stood, motionless as the pillar by his side, awaiting the commands of his mistress.

The attention of his mistress, however, was elsewhere, staring into those haunting blue eyes, which had remained fixed upon her, even as the slave completed his task. 'Feed' she spoke softly, intent upon her captive, indeed she was not even fully aware she had spoken. It was almost instinctive, a reaction to her curiosity regarding this newborn. The captives eyes flicked downwards inquisitively, examining the body lain before him. It was a young girl, just come of age and untouched. Her blood would have been considered a true delicacy were it offered to any other, yet the prisoner, after only a brief inspection returned his stare to meet that of the woman's.

The woman was stunned, her emotions caught somewhere between surprise and irritation. Never before had she experienced a newborn that refused to feed. Irritation won out and slipped into her voice as as a second time she repeated herself, an air of command now present in her voice.

‘No.’

‘It was not a suggestion child. You will obey me. Now feed.’ He seemed almost amused, the only response he offered was to casually rest his head against the obsidian to which he was bound. Speechless, she stared at him incredulously, it had been centuries since anyone had last dared to disobey her.

He smiled, seemingly delighted by her shocked reaction. His confidence bolstered, he chose, foolishly, to goad her further. ‘I refuse.’

Reacting to his taunts, she acted, revealing her inhuman speed. To the captives eyes, it would be as if she had vanished, only to reappear an instant later, directly before him, her hand somehow around his throat. The desire to tear the smile from his face was evident in her stance. Slowly, she tightened her grip, her long claw-like nails piercing his skin, drawing blood. He met her glare stubbornly, though this was quickly replaced with an expression of shock and pain as she raised her arm, easily bearing the his full weight in one hand, increasing the flow of blood as her nails cut deeper. Distracted by the scent of his blood, she cast him down, bringing blood stained fingers to her lips, tasting the strength within.

Prompted by the power she tasted, the woman leant in close, examining his features. It must be...one of his parents must have been a high noble. This innate strength of his, it rivals that of most purebloods. And his features, they are entirely Sai'rim. Even those turned centuries ago have more humanity, evident in their appearance, than this one.

Attention once more, fully, upon her captive, she abandoned her attempts to make him feed. Time, after all, was not an issue. Besides, even were he somehow able to resist his baser desires, he would eventually give in, for until he had fed, he would remain shackled to the stone, utterly isolated.

‘What is your name, child?’ It was a simple query, yet in his shifting features, she saw him briefly contemplate defiance, only to abruptly reconsider as he met her gaze.

‘Keir.’ A sour grimace dominated his visage as he spat out the word.
She grinned in pleasure. The first step, there is no turning back from here, no matter what you may believe.

Suddenly inspired, she raised her hand, slowly, to caress his cheek with a foreign tenderness, studying him whilst she fed upon his confusion. Carefully, she observed him, waiting for that pristine moment. There. The newborn relaxation of Keir’s features was shattered in a sickening crunch as she lashed out, fist connecting with pitiless force, caving in the right side of his face. A shiver of pleasure ran through her spine as she saw Keir’s attempts to contain his cry fail, saw the first spark of defeat come to life as he truly came to comprehend his situation. A glimmer of rebellion emerged returned to the ruined face as he struggled to stand tall, to stare her down. This broken creature actually dared to challenge her rights as his maker, dared to contest her rightful dominance over his heart, his mind, even his very soul.

Alas she thought, you, dear Keir are no god, immune to the pain of mortals. Moments later her prediction came true as he succumbed, his body buckling, his weight supported by only the bindings upon his wrists, each laboured gasp bringing in its wake another wave of torment.

Well, she corrected herself, as she looked upon the wreck of a man before her, recalling the power she had tasted, at least not yet.

It appeared that her blow had inflicted more damage than intended, for wretched, broken Keir had begun his plunge into the escape of unconsciousness. Seeing this, the woman stepped close, her face brushing softly against his undamaged cheek.

‘My name, dear boy, is Myrrana and you, Keir, you are mine.’ She turned away from his sagging form, but hesitated for a moment when she heard him groan, ‘Don’t worry pet, you should recover soon enough,’ an ironic smile spread onto her face, ‘and the next time we meet, I trust you won't be quite so reticent, when I ask you to feed.’

Laughter echoed through the room as she strode away, leaving Keir to be claimed by the abyss.
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Old 27th April 2011, 09:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaoticheart View Post
I realise that it's a bit long to ask for a critique, but I just couldn't bring myself to divide it. It's one of the earliest scenes in the novel, being preceded by only a 'historical text' excerpt, so it's kind of an introduction.

Anyway I'll be most appreciative of any critiques.

***

The figure spasmed, briefly, yet did not wake. It was male. Slumped forwards, his weight was wholly supported by the iron shackles upon his wrists and the thick collar around his neck. A woman stood in the arched entranceway to the chamber, surrounded by shadows, admiring the newest addition to her house. Though the room was shrouded almost entirely in darkness, the woman had no difficulty perceiving her inanimate prisoner. She watched him in silence, admiring his naked form. He was truly a beautiful specimen, slender, muscular, his pale skin unmarred by the presence of scars. Thick black hair, as dark the obsidian to which he was bound, fell just below the captive'
captive's; I know, simple typo.
Quote:
shoulders, perfectly framing his slim, angular face. The woman sighed in admiration,
comma splice; probably semicolon.
Quote:
it was almost a shame that he would soon gain consciousness
comma
Quote:
thus spoiling the image of perfection, which she gazed longingly upon.
A preposition is something one should never end a sentence with? Oh, never mind, it was a long time ago.
Quote:
She sighed again, then leant back against the arched entrance, waiting. A chime passed, then two, with the tremors that wracked the body increasing in frequency, duration and violence.

As the woman watched, the form began to thrash once more, overcome by convulsions so violent that those prior seemed mere shivers. Ah, this is the one. Her thought had barely reached completion,
no comma
Quote:
when a bloodcurdling shriek pierced the night. Born of pure anguish, the sound, which had originated from the shackled creature's pale, bloodless lips, echoed eerily throughout the chamber, yet she showed no response,
Comma splice; semicolon.
Quote:
this was all to be expected.

Calmly, she stood, observing him, a hint of satisfaction in her eyes, as he fought against the chains which bound him. So predictable, I almost wish- Her thought was interrupted as the struggling suddenly ceased, filling the room with an uncanny silence.

‘Curious’. It was barely a murmur, yet the chained oddity perceived it. His head shot up and she watched in fascination as his piercing blue eyes scoured the darkness, finally settling upon her. Her eyes closed briefly, and she shook her head, steadying herself.

Impossible, the adaptions never occur so quickly.

Meeting that unwavering gaze, she lifted her arm, a signal to those waiting silently in the hallway beyond. Almost instantly a slave entered the chamber, swiftly crossing the distance to the chained man and placing his burden, another slave, this one drugged to senselessness, upon the cold stone, at the prisoner's feet. His duties now complete,
No comma?
Quote:
the slave rapidly retreated to the far side of the room, where he stood, motionless as the pillar by his side, awaiting the commands of his mistress.

The attention of his mistress, however, was elsewhere, staring into those haunting blue eyes, which had remained fixed upon her, even as the slave completed his task. 'Feed'
If you consider "spoke" as direct speech attribution, then "'Feed,' she spoke softly". However if, like me, you consider it merely a descriptive "'Feed.' She spoke softly"
Quote:
she spoke softly, intent upon her captive,
Comma splice, semicolon
Quote:
indeed she was not even fully aware she had spoken. It was almost instinctive, a reaction to her curiosity regarding this newborn. The captives
captive's
Quote:
eyes flicked downwards inquisitively, examining the body lain before him. It was a young girl, just come of age and untouched. Her blood would have been considered a true delicacy were it offered to any other, yet the prisoner, after only a brief inspection
comma
Quote:
returned his stare to meet that of the woman's.

The woman was stunned, her emotions caught somewhere between surprise and irritation. Never before had she experienced a newborn that refused to feed. Irritation won out and slipped into her voice as as a second time she repeated herself,
All right. If she repeated herself a second time, she said the word three times.
Quote:
an air of command now present in her voice.

‘No.’

‘It was not a suggestion
Comma
Quote:
child. You will obey me. Now feed.’ He seemed almost amused,
Comma splice; probably full stop (period)
Quote:
the only response he offered was to casually rest his head against the obsidian to which he was bound. Speechless, she stared at him incredulously,
comma splice; probably semicolon.
Quote:
it had been centuries since anyone had last dared to disobey her.

He smiled, seemingly delighted by her shocked reaction. His confidence bolstered, he chose, foolishly, to goad her further. ‘I refuse.’

Reacting to his taunts, she acted, revealing her inhuman speed. To the captives
captive's
Quote:
eyes,
No comma
Quote:
it would be as if she had vanished, only to reappear an instant later, directly before him, her hand somehow around his throat. The desire to tear the smile from his face was evident in her stance. Slowly, she tightened her grip, her long claw-like nails piercing his skin, drawing blood. He met her glare stubbornly, though this was quickly replaced with an expression of shock and pain as she raised her arm, easily bearing the his full weight in one hand, increasing the flow of blood as her nails cut deeper. Distracted by the scent of his blood, she cast him down, bringing blood stained fingers to her lips, tasting the strength within.

Prompted by the power she tasted, the woman leant in close, examining his features. It must be...one of his parents must have been a high noble. This innate strength of his, it rivals that of most purebloods. And his features, they are entirely Sai'rim. Even those turned centuries ago have more humanity, evident in their appearance, than this one.

Attention once more, fully,
do you need those two commas?
Quote:
upon her captive, she abandoned her attempts to make him feed. Time, after all, was not an issue. Besides, even were he somehow able to resist his baser desires, he would eventually give in, for until he had fed, he would remain shackled to the stone, utterly isolated.

‘What is your name, child?’ It was a simple query, yet in his shifting features, she saw him briefly contemplate defiance, only to abruptly reconsider as he met her gaze.

‘Keir.’ A sour grimace dominated his visage as he spat out the word.
She grinned in pleasure. The first step, there is no turning back from here, no matter what you may believe.

Suddenly inspired, she raised her hand, slowly, to caress his cheek with a foreign tenderness, studying him whilst she fed upon his confusion. Carefully, she observed him, waiting for that pristine moment. There. The newborn relaxation of Keir’s features was shattered in a sickening crunch as she lashed out, fist connecting with pitiless force, caving in the right side of his face. A shiver of pleasure ran through her spine as she saw Keir’s attempts to contain his cry fail, saw the first spark of defeat come to life as he truly came to comprehend his situation. A glimmer of rebellion emerged returned
Either one of the verbs "emerged returned ", but not both.
Quote:
to the ruined face as he struggled to stand tall, to stare her down. This broken creature actually dared to challenge her rights as his maker, dared to contest her rightful dominance over his heart, his mind, even his very soul.

Alas she thought,
Surely the italics should start here?
Quote:
you, dear Keir
comma
Quote:
are no god, immune to the pain of mortals.
Quote:
Moments later her prediction came true as he succumbed, his body buckling, his weight supported by only the bindings upon his wrists, each laboured gasp bringing in its wake another wave of torment.

Well, she corrected herself, as she looked upon the wreck of a man before her, recalling the power she had tasted, at least not yet.

It appeared that her blow had inflicted more damage than intended, for wretched, broken Keir had begun his plunge into the escape of unconsciousness. Seeing this, the woman stepped close, her face brushing softly against his undamaged cheek.

‘My name, dear boy, is Myrrana and you, Keir, you are mine.’ She turned away from his sagging form, but hesitated for a moment when she heard him groan, ‘Don’t worry pet, you should recover soon enough,’ an ironic smile spread onto her face, ‘and the next time we meet, I trust you won't be quite so reticent,
No comma
Quote:
when I ask you to feed.’

Laughter echoed through the room as she strode away, leaving Keir to be claimed by the abyss.
Quite a lot of commas I didn't stop to mention which, while not actually wrong, add extra, to my mind unnecessary, pauses.
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Old 27th April 2011, 10:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

Thanks for the feedback

It looks like the main issue is comma/semicolon usage. I had a feeling it would be. I'll just have to increase my efforts to fix it.

The 'as a second time' and 'emerged' were where I had changed my mind about what I was writing. Apparently I forgot to delete the original parts.

Oh and yes the italics was meant to start at 'you'.
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Old 27th April 2011, 11:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

Well, I liked it. Quite horrific, and quite intriguing. The woman's surprise and inner monologue is excellent. One small carp: would it be better to call her Myranna from the start, rather than 'the woman'? We are fixed in her pov, after all, not a narrator's - just a small point for a small pov, I guess.

Good work.
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Old 27th April 2011, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaoticheart View Post
Slumped forwards, his weight was wholly supported by the iron shackles upon his wrists and the thick collar around his neck.

<><>

... only to reappear an instant later, directly before him, her hand somehow around his throat. The desire to tear the smile from his face was evident in her stance. Slowly, she tightened her grip, her long claw-like nails piercing his skin, drawing blood.
This jumped out as me as being inconsistent. He has a thick collar around his neck, yet her hand is somehow around his throat and piercing skin.

I will leave the critiques to those more knowledgeable than my newbie self, but as a mere reader this detail left me confused as to what you were trying to convey. Meaning, was her hand physically achieving this action, or was it a Darth Vader using the force type of thing?

I did enjoy the read, it certainly pulled me in.
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Old 27th April 2011, 02:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

The Darth Vader force analogy is actually a good way to explain it, not in that shes magically doing it, but in the hand positioning. The collar, covers a little over half the length of his neck (obviously due to its weight, the bottom half). Myrrana's grip is located just below the back of the jaw, the thumb and top two fingers piercing into this area. The third finger rests casually upon the collar, whilst the pinky is pointing out, like in the cliche British tea-cup hold.

Hope that helps

You're right though about it being unclear, I'll modify it somehow to specify that only the upper fingers pierced his skin/bore the brunt of the weight.

(Oh and some lore also affects the scene - though theres no way anyone could at this point know it. The Sai'rim and the half breed's with only slightly diluted blood, tend towards a height of just below 7 ft, and have naturally slender builds. So Keir's neck would have been a bit longer proportionately than your average person. And Myrrana's narrow fingers could easily gain a grip in the afore mentioned method.)

@ Boneman. I'm kind of in two minds about that. Whilst it would fit, given the PoV, I also feel that it emphasises well the situation Keir is in, without really detracting too much from the scene. So I'm a bit unsure which way to go.
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Old 29th April 2011, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Innocence excerpt - (1296 words)

I also found this intriguing and found M's voice compelling.

In the final sentence, I'd change ask to tell - she didn't ask him to feed, she told him to. She doesn't seem like a woman who asks for much.

I also stumbled over "even his very soul." Maybe - even his soul should she desire it.
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