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Old 31st May 2011, 10:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Short Action Piece

This is a short 460 or so words excerpt from a later chapter in my WIP. The scene is of Heskarians and Kalnordians battling against the Conerax on a fortress built on a bridge spanning a massive river. I know it is short, but I would greatly appreciate comments on pacing.



From atop the North Tower Bluebeard looked on in horror as Milton threw his life and that of his men away. Below he could hear the thud of the ram as it battered the gate behind him. This is going far too quickly, he thought. The arrival of the Kalnordians had thrown all his plans up in the air and now he was in danger of losing the battle. Before him all along the length Catar he could see units of Conerax soldiers converging on the central plaza. On the plaza itself Del Brioc had managed to gather enough men to form a ragged line and for now he seemed to have stemmed the tide of Kalnordians. But that could only last so long. He had but a couple of hundred men and the Kalnordians were feeding men in to the fight faster than the Conerax were arriving to bolster Del Brioc's battle line. He was giving ground, slowly, but he was being pushed back. The Kalnordians were widening the gap between the harbour and the Conerax.

Bluebeard could see the ships skimming across the river to take on Heskarians from the northern bank. It would not be long before they would have thousands of men assaulting the fortress from within. It was vital that Del Brioc push the Kalnordians back to the gate and out onto the jetty. Even from this distance he could hear the roar of the battle, the crash of steel on steel and the loud shouts of men trying to mask their fear. Below he heard wood splinter and he spun about.

“Report!” he roared to the far wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back.

Men all along the tower wall began to redouble their efforts in casting missiles down on the Heskarians. Turning back to Catar, Bluebeard reflected that the god’s were really ******** on them now. He saw Del Brioc leap on to an abandoned cart; his coats of mail tarnished with dark stains, and begin to wave his sword in the air. He was directing the arriving Conerax in to the shield wall and Bluebeard witnessed him bellow at a group of soldiers who formed a column and began to run off down a side alley. That’s it; flank the bastards, thought Bluebeard applauding the cool head and bravery of Del Brioc. He was an open target on the cart and missiles flew past him. Del Brioc ignored the danger to his self and continued to order the battle about him.

“The gate is down!” the cry went up.

Calmly Bluebeard walked to the centre of the tower.

“Lock the doors to the lower levels,” he ordered.

Lambert was below with two battalions and he had his orders. He would do what was needed.
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Old 1st June 2011, 05:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post




From atop the North Tower, Bluebeard looked on in horror as Milton threw his life and that of his men away. Below, he could hear the thud of the ram as it battered the gate behind him. This is going far too quickly, he thought. The arrival of the Kalnordians had thrown all his plans up in the air and now he was in danger of losing the battle. New paragraph

Before him, all along the length of the (?) Catar, he could see units of Conerax soldiers converging on the central plaza. On the plaza itself Del Brioc had managed to gather enough men to form a ragged line and for now he seemed to have stemmed the tide of Kalnordians. But that could only last so long. He had but a couple of hundred men and the Kalnordians were feeding men in to the fight faster than the Conerax were arriving to bolster Del Brioc's battle line. He was giving ground, slowly, but he was being pushed back. The Kalnordians were widening the gap between the harbour and the Conerax.

Bluebeard could see the ships skimming across the river to take on the Heskarians from the northern bank. It would not be long before they would have thousands of men assaulting the fortress from within. It was vital that Del Brioc push the Kalnordians back to the gate and out onto the jetty. Even from this distance he could hear the roar of the battle, the crash of steel on steel and the loud shouts of men trying to mask their fear. Below, he heard wood splinter and he spun about.

“Report!” he roared to the far wall. I'm curious as to whether he expected a reply from the wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back.

Men all along the tower wall began to redouble their efforts in casting missiles down on the Heskarians. Turning back to Catar, Bluebeard reflected that the god’s were really ******** on them now. He saw Del Brioc leap on to an abandoned cart; his coats of mail tarnished with dark stains, and begin to wave his sword in the air. He was directing the arriving Conerax in to the shield wall and Bluebeard witnessed him bellow at a group of soldiers who formed a column and began to run off down a side alley. That’s it; flank the bastards, thought Bluebeard, applauding the cool head and bravery of Del Brioc. He was an open target on the cart and missiles flew past him. Del Brioc ignored the danger to his self and continued to order the battle about him.

“The gate is down!” the cry went up.

Calmly, Bluebeard walked to the centre of the tower.

“Lock the doors to the lower levels,” he ordered.

Lambert was below with two battalions and he had his orders. He would do what was needed.
Hey mate

Had a look through it. To be honest, for an action scene, it doesn't feel particularly actiony. I think the problem is that the viewpoint is from a character sitting away from the action and observing it, a bit like an omnipresent viewpoint. I didn't feel like this was a good choice of POV as it seems diconnecting from the overall action. I would like to see what you could come up with if you wrote this piece from the viewpoint of someone in the thick of the action.

Hope that helps.
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Old 1st June 2011, 12:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

Ok then here we go!

From atop the North Tower Bluebeard looked on in horror as Milton threw his life and that of his men away. Below he could hear the thud of the ram as it battered (at) the gate behind him. This is going far too quickly, he thought. The arrival of the Kalnordians had thrown all his plans up in the air and now he was in danger of losing the battle. Before him(,) all along the length Catar(,) he could see units of Conerax soldiers converging on the central plaza. On the plaza itself Del Brioc had managed to gather enough men to form a ragged line and for now he seemed to have stemmed the tide of Kalnordians. But that could only last so long.(I normallly would not do this but since this is about pacing. I would put this sentence as an Italic Question 'But How long can that last?' He had but a couple of (take out) hundred men and the Kalnordians were feeding men in to the fight faster than the Conerax were arriving to bolster Del Brioc's battle line. He was giving ground, slowly, but he was being pushed back. The Kalnordians were widening the gap between the harbour and the Conerax.

Bluebeard could see the ships skimming across the river to take on Heskarians from the northern bank. It would not be long before they would have thousands of men assaulting the fortress from within. It was vital that Del Brioc push the Kalnordians back to the gate and out onto the jetty. Even from this distance he could hear the roar of the battle, the crash of steel on steel and the loud shouts of men trying to mask their fear.(loved this sentence) Below he heard wood splinter and he spun about.

“Report!” he roared to the far wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back.

Men all along the tower wall began to redouble their efforts in casting missiles down on the Heskarians. Turning back to Catar, Bluebeard reflected that the god’s were really ******** on them now. He saw Del Brioc leap on to an abandoned cart; his coats of(could remove) mail tarnished with dark stains, and begin to wave his sword in the air. He was directing the arriving Conerax in to the shield wall and Bluebeard witnessed him bellow at a group of soldiers who formed a column and began to run off down a side alley. That’s it; flank the bastards, thought Bluebeard applauding the cool head and bravery of Del Brioc. He was an open target on the cart and missiles flew past him. Del Brioc ignored the danger to his self and continued to order the battle about him.

“The gate is down!” the cry went up.

Calmly Bluebeard walked to the centre of the tower.

“Lock the doors to the lower levels,” he ordered.

Lambert was below with two battalions and he had his orders. He would do what was needed.


Ok, Overall I liked it. I know there is a lot going on here that we don't as readers know about, but.. There is always that word. But in determining the pacing I need to kind of know why it is urgent. Maybe more of a sense of why the buildup. Dont get me wrong, I liked the pacing of the piece and I understood why you did it the way you did. I would like to see a little more emotional pressure later on. These are his men and friends dying. Something like where for ex- “Report!” he roared to the far wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back. He recognized the voice of ... This had to work
Or something. It is well set in the beginning. But later where he he saw the men in the back alley, maybe a growl or a clenched fist to heighten the anxiety of the pacing. That's all I have to say. I liked it like I usually do. Everything is set. The people and scene has been laid down very well, we know who is where and why and what they are to be doing, and you told all of that very well for the upcoming scenes. I want to know what happens next!
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Old 1st June 2011, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

Thanks Luke. Good points and I do have a scene of the battle from Del Brioc's pov. I might put something up from his view.

Hi Damiynn,

Long time no see. Nice to hear from you and I hope everything is good with you. Thanks for the read and pointers. Much appreciated.
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Old 1st June 2011, 11:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

In general, I think this piece is fine. Sometimes you need the bird's-eye view of a battle as well as the worm's-eye view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post

From atop the North Tower Bluebeard looked on in horror as Milton threw his life and that of his men away. Below he could hear the thud of the ram as it battered the gate behind him behind him and below him?. This is going far too quickly, he thought. The arrival of the Kalnordians had thrown all his plans up in the air and now he was in danger of losing the battle. Before him all along the length Catar don't understand this. Should it be "along the length of the Catar?" It needs some commas too he could see units of Conerax soldiers converging on the central plaza. On the plaza itself Del Brioc had managed to gather enough men to form a ragged line and for now he seemed to have stemmed the tide of Kalnordians. might be better as one sentence But that could only last so long. He had but a couple of hundred men and the Kalnordians were feeding men in to the fight faster than the Conerax were arriving to bolster Del Brioc's battle line. He was giving ground, slowly, but he was being pushed back I know what you intend here, but it doesn't sound right. Perhaps italicise "was". The Kalnordians were widening the gap between the harbour and the Conerax.

Bluebeard could see the ships skimming across the river to take on Heskarians from the northern bank. It would not be long before they would have thousands of men assaulting the fortress from within. It was vital that Del Brioc push the Kalnordians back to the gate and out onto the jetty. Even from this distance he could hear the roar of the battle, the crash of steel on steel and the loud shouts of men trying to mask their fear. Below he heard wood splinter and he spun about.

“Report!” he roared to the far wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back.

Men all along the tower wall began to suggest drop "began to" redouble their efforts in casting missiles down on the Heskarians. Turning back to Catar, Bluebeard reflected that the god’s were really ******** on them now. He saw Del Brioc leap on to an abandoned cart; his coats of mail tarnished with dark stains, and begin suggest drop "begin"...again to wave his sword in the air. He was directing the arriving Conerax in to the shield wall and maybe make these two sentences. would flow better Bluebeard witnessed him bellow at a group of soldiers who formed a column and began more beginning; maybe you could get away with one to run off down a side alley. That’s it; flank the bastards, thought Bluebeard applauding the cool head and bravery of Del Brioc. He was an open target on the cart and missiles flew past him. Del Brioc ignored the danger to his self and continued to order the battle about him.

“The gate is down!” the cry went up "down" and "up" clash, being so close.

Calmly Bluebeard walked to the centre of the tower.

“Lock the doors to the lower levels,” he ordered.

Lambert was below with two battalions and he had his orders. He would do what was needed.
Sure, it's not close POV with all the sweat and blood, but it's fulfilling its function. It's good.
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Old 1st June 2011, 11:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

I found it very interesting. Good work!
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Old 2nd June 2011, 07:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

I think you're a very creative writer, I liked it, for the most part it was good.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 04:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

From atop the North Tower, Bluebeard looked on in horror as Milton threw his life, and that of his men away. Below, he could hear the thud of the ram as it battered the gate behind him. This is going far too quickly, he thought. The arrival of the Kalnordians had thrown all his plans up in the air, and now he was in danger of losing the battle.

(New paragraph.)

Before him, all along the length Catar, he could see units of Conerax soldiers converging on the central plaza. On the plaza itself, Del Brioc – explain who he is - had managed to gather enough men to form a ragged line and for now, he seemed to have stemmed the tide of Kalnordians. But that could only last so long. He had but a couple of hundred men, and the Kalnordians were feeding men in to the fight faster than the Conerax were arriving to bolster Del Brioc's battle line. He was giving ground, slowly, but he was being pushed back (isn’t giving ground and being pushed back the same thing?). The Kalnordians were widening the gap between the harbour and the Conerax.

Bluebeard could see the ships skimming across the river to take on Heskarians from the northern bank. It
wouldn’t be long before they would have thousands of men assaulting the fortress from within. It was vital that Del Brioc push the Kalnordians back to the gate and out onto the jetty. Even from this distance, he could hear the roar of the battle, the crash of steel on steel,
and the loud shouts of men trying to mask their fear. Below he heard wood splinter and he spun about.

“Report!” he roared to the far wall.

“The gate is breached,” a soldier cried back.

Men all along the tower wall began to redouble their efforts
; in (remove “in”)casting missiles down on the Heskarians. Turning back to Catar (sounds like a person but its the place) , Bluebeard reflected that the god’s were really ******** on them now. He saw Del Brioc leap on to an abandoned cart; his coats of mail (coats of mail?) tarnished with dark stains, and begin to wave his sword in the air. He was directing the arriving Conerax into (joined in to together) the shield wall, and Bluebeard witnessed him bellow at a group of soldiers who formed a column and began to run off down a side alley. (re work last sentence.)


(New paragraph.)

That’s it; flank the bastards (added italics), thought Bluebeard, applauding the cool head and bravery of Del Brioc. He was an open target on the cart and missiles flew past him (Bluebeard applauds him but then you follow with a sentence that makes him seem foolish and stupid.). Del Brioc ignored the danger to his self and continued to order the battle about him.

“The gate is down!” the cry went up.

Calmly Bluebeard walked to the centre of the tower.

“Lock the doors to the lower levels,” he ordered.

Lambert was below with two battalions and he had his orders. He would do what was needed.


This whole scene feels distant and static. I think it would come across better if he was in the thick of things. It seems formal in its approach and I found it hard to read. Throw in some character names and personality.

If you read very slowly its good but not the easiest of reads. I think the phrase I’m looking for is “potential”
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Old 3rd June 2011, 04:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

Thanks Alchemist. Good suggestions. A few of your points are the same as Christian's critique which suggests I need some more work on this. Catar is the name of the fortress.

Christian,

It is a later chapter so there is no need to explain Del Brioc's character, he is already well established. Good spot on the applauding and stupidity of his actions. It actually ties in with his character. Thanks for the detailed critique.
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Old 5th June 2011, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Short Action Piece

Hi. I thought it was really good, I got a good impression of the battle and the detail was very good and as for the pace, I thought it was fine, it wasn't too fast so the reader didn't have time to take it in but it didn't drag on for ages and ages which makes stories boring.
I also thought it was really well written.
Good job
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