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Old 9th June 2011, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Revenge

A short action piece from the second book in my WIP. It is pretty raw and I would appreciate suggestions for it.

“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you?” The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice. It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan. He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had being in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke. Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back. Dark eyes bore into those of Jordan’s.

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men. Greb looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him. He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. At that moment Greb felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed.

“So many…” the Weapons-Master said, producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.”

Jordan was sweating now, the cold and wet of the night forgotten. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand. “Kill him!” the Earl suddenly shouted. He had a glimpse of his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting crouch, before he turned and fled. The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard. Turning left he bolted for the stables, a mere ten yards away. The doors were open and he found the two men he had left to care for the mounts.

“Saddle my horse, any horse!” he roared, the fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria.

Mutely one of the men pointed to a horse that was still saddled. Jordan rushed for it.

“What the …” the other soldier said and Greb heard swords being drawn. He reached the horse and placed his hand on its back, ready to vault into the saddle. Screams echoed behind him and suddenly he was falling back from the horse. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ leering down at him.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post
A short action piece from the second book in my WIP. It is pretty raw and I would appreciate suggestions for it.

“Give me a good reason why I should not (change to shouldn't?) kill you?” The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice.(cut last sentance?)
(New para maybe)

It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan (After cutting other part, change to - It wasn't what the stanger had said that frightened Greb Jordan, but the way he had said it; without emotion.)? He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had (had been caught off gaurd whilst removing his cloak) being in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke. Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back. Dark eyes bore into those of Jordan’s. (bore down on him, Jordan almost unable to hold his gaze.)

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men.
(new para)
Greb looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him (make it more clear that Greb has men, ragnar doesn't.) He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face (saw a smile creep onto ragnar's face). At that moment, Greb felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed. (Why would a leader of men, ten men **** his pants? Or trump, get scared... if ragnar was so deadly, then i think one would have this reaction the moment he heard the voice?)

“So many…" (feels like the cut the sentance short, rather than trying to get the desired affect of the "...") the Weapons-Master said, producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.”

Jordan was sweating now, the cold and wet of the night forgotten. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand. “Kill him!” the Earl suddenly shouted. He had a glimpse of his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting (fighting crouch? how else would you crouch when being attacked? maybe cut that word?) crouch, before he turned and fled (at first i thought ragnat had fled, maybe make it clearer. Also in my head, ragnar was between them and the door.)
(New para)
The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard. Turning left he bolted for the stables, a mere ten yards away. The doors were open and he found the two men he had left to care for the mounts.

“Saddle my horse, any horse!” he roared(he roared? i think "he said" is always better and we as a reader know from what you have wrote what he might be sounding like), the fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria.

Mutely (Mutely seems odd) one of the men pointed to a horse that was still saddled. Jordan rushed for it.

“What the …” the other soldier said and Greb heard swords being drawn.
(new para)
He reached the horse and placed his hand on its back; ready to vault into the saddle. Screams echoed behind him and suddenly he was falling back from the horse. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ (cut toothless) leering down at him. (Or even put, - last thing he saw was Ragnar's gummy smile dripping with blood and spit on him?)
Granted i dont know the character, so some of my points might not be vaild. But i try to apply logic where i dont know the back story.

I have tried to be picky for you because i know from people posting on mine that its that style of feedback that i gain most from. I hope you can do the same.

I liked it over all, and it fits in as a fantasy easily.


Hope i have been of some help and feel free to use / discard as you see fit.

Christian.

Edit - its late and will provide better advice if needed, just re read over it and i can see the tired, sleepy replies ive put. Makes sense still, just. If you want more, just let me know.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

Hi Svalbard, good to see some more of your work. I'll admit to real confusion with the use of names- sometimes Greb, sometimes Jordan, and then the Earl. Stick with Greb, or Jordan, I had to re-read it to understand. And the close proximity of Ranal and Ragnar made me uncertain too Here's my sixpennyworth...
Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post
A short action piece from the second book in my WIP. It is pretty raw and I would appreciate suggestions for it.

“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you?” The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice. It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan. He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had being been in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke. Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back. Dark eyes bore into those of Jordan’s. Nitpicking, but actually it's a statement, not a question... And 'spoken with out any emotion' is enough without saying it's in the voice. Where else would it be? As it's an action piece, and you want bring out the tension, the fear, the fight, maybe consider dropping some of the other bits that could detract from it?
“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you”

Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back.

This way, the opening sentence tells us everything we need to know. It's a great opener and we'll all have a visceral reaction to the threat in it without having to hear about the lack of emotion etc. And Greb/Jordan taking his cloak off adds nothing IMHO.

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men. Greb looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him. He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. At that moment Greb felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed.

See what I mean about Jordan/Greb? And I wasn't sure who the Earl was - I fully accept we'd know this from previous chapters, and I'm only going on what you've posted, but that's the third descriptive tag you've hung on him I'm not sure you need Jordan to look around - we all know he'd have done that the moment he entered, it's the most natural thing to do. And telling us the Earl did not lack courage is almost repetitious in the second part of the sentence. And I'm sorry, but beer and wine and cooking meat have heady aromas, poo has a foul smell. Aroma doesn't fit... Does he poo his pants from fear, or is he ill? I'd expect some shame if it was fear, when he's just ordered his men forward. Whatif:

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him. He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin. He would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. Backing away he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Jordan saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. Jordan was mortified to feel his bowels loosen and the foul smell of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed.

I've cut a few more words, and I'm concerned that a man who has filled his pants would leap onto a horse , but it's life-or-death, I suppose.

“So many…” the Weapons-Master said, producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.”

Jordan was sweating now, the cold and wet of the night forgotten.That's much better than him removing the wet cloak earlier. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand. “Kill him!” the Earl suddenly you don't need 'suddenly' shouted. He had a glimpse of his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting crouch, before he turned and fled.who turned and fled? Because he's now portrayed as a coward, it should be Jordan, but the last person you mentioned in the sentence was Ragnar... The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard. Turning left Delete turning left he bolted for the stables, a mere ten yards away. The doors were open and he found the two men he had left to care for the mounts. This is quite wordy, and 'a mere ten yards away' is almost conversational. Why not leave out the words that aren't action-like? So it would just be: The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard, and bolted for the stables.
We'll know there are horses and men, that's what we'd expect, and his roar confirms it.

“Saddle my horse, any horse!” he roared at the two men, the fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria.I think stop after 'roared at the two men'. He's crapped himself, left his men to deal with the weapon-master, I don't think fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria is necessary - it's actually telling, when his actions are showing so much better.

Mutely one of the men pointed to a horse that was still saddled. Jordan rushed for it.

“What the …” the other soldier said and Greb heard swords being drawn. He reached the horse and placed his hand on its back, ready to vault into the saddle. Screams echoed behind him and suddenly he was falling back from the horse. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ leering down at him
Erm, are all the men on alert, or did they just arrive at the tavern to stay? Their commander's rushed out, they'd see his fear, smelling of poo and the soldiers reaction is 'what the..' I think it might be more realistic (unless they're used to his continual cowardice) if there's not just a startled exclamation of 'My lord!' then back into the action. I know you want to show us he's just reached the horse and the super-assassin is cutting through his men like butter, but him placing his hand on his back, ready to vault into the saddle sounds like he's stopped all movement. Summat like:
"My Lord!" Jordan heard swords being drawn. Screams echoed and he tried to vault onto the horse's back. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ leering down at him


And that's it. We know what's gone on because the 'bad' guy's got him. And I'm not sure you need the 'toothless' either. You had it earlier... Hope this helps.
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Old 10th June 2011, 03:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

I think you have established a good mood and tone. It's easy to envision the setting and the action. Both Christian and Boneman have given you detailed critiques, so I'm just going to touch on a few things.

On the sentence,

The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice.

I agree with Christian. You don't need "in the voice," because if it's spoken, it has to be voiced.

This sentence,

He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had being in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke.

is too long and needs to be broken into two. Also,

He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm...

is what's known as dangling modification. It's hard to tell if it's Greb Jordan or the tavern that's drenched. That should be tigthened. On a similar note, in a section this short, I'd refer to this character by one name, either Greb or Jordan. I had to remind myself that this was one person, not two different characters.

I'm also not sure what I'm supposed to make of Greb Jordan's character. At one point you say the Earl (meaning Jordan) did not lack courage, but his bowels loosen at the start of a fight, he has his men fight for him, he runs for a horse while they do the fighting, and apparently he has betrayed his prince for which he has only brief regret.

This is not exactly a sympathetic character. If your intention is to make the reader dislike Greb, you have succeeded in that. If the reader is supposed to identify with Greb, then I'd like to see him actually do something courageous. He can't both possess courage and then be filled with fear rising to hysteria as he runs away.

What you have here is a good scene and a good idea. I'd edit it for wordiness, clarity, and for characterization. Greb either needs to be a hero or a coward, right he's leaning towards the latter. I don't think he can be both simultaneously.

I hope this is useful and I wish you good luck with your story.
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Old 11th June 2011, 01:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

Usual things

Remove
Suggest
Comment

Only opinions.

Obviously, as Christian (Liked the crit by the way) has pointed out, there are parts when who's who and who's with who is confusing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post
A short action piece from the second book in my WIP. It is pretty raw and I would appreciate suggestions for it.

“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you?” (It's a great line, but unrealistic. If he's really an assassin he isn't here to discuss the whether or listen to arguments for and against his task. He's here to kill the bloke that needs to be killed. So the assassinatee would be dead before he got down from his horse and the killer away on his toes without anyone being the wiser. If he isn't an assassin, then what's this all about?)

//The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice. It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan. He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had being in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke. (assassins do not stand at the bar. They hang/skulk about in the shadows where they can get the lay of the land and decide if this is the time to act or leave well alone. They don't announce to the world that they are trying to arrange the death of the assasinatee. The idea is to get in kill and then get out without anyone asking - "Who was the man in the mask") Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back. Dark eyes bore into those of Jordan’s.

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men. Greb looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone; Jordon and he had ten men with him. He should have known that Ronald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. (Too many names titles for the same person) Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. At that moment Greb felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed. (Doesn't quite work. I assume this Jordon fellow is no stranger to killing. Why he would feel that scared given his apparent upper hand is hard to accept)

“So many…” the Weapons-Master said, and here I am all alone against these fine specimens of the Thirty First ( - or whatever) He produced producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.” (not that confined - empty tavern relatively open)

Jordan was sweating now, the cold and wet of the night forgotten. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand. “Kill him!” the Earl suddenly shouted. He had a glimpse of his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting crouch, before he turned and fled. The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard. Turning left he bolted for the stables, a mere ten yards away. The doors were open and he found the two men he had left to care for the mounts. (This is not the action of a man that would inspire the loyalty shown by his ten men - If he ran they wouldn't delay the assassin IMO. It takes a certain kind of man to make people want to take a bullet for him. Cowardice isn't that quality)

“Saddle my horse, any horse!” he roared, the fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria.

Mutely one of the men pointed to a horse that One of the horses was still saddled. Jordan rushed for it.

“What the …” the other soldier said and Greb heard swords being drawn. (out of sequence - the swords were drawn before Jordon left the tavern) He reached the horse and placed his hand on its back, ready to vaulted into the saddle. Screams echoed behind him and suddenly he was falling back from the horse. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ leering down at him. (Is this in the daylight - If not the darkness would make this unlikely)
OK, some long comments there. I think it has some potential although I would let Jordans men show their disgust at Jordon doing a runner. They don't have to die. It would be nice to expand on just what killed him too. A thrown dagger or something of the kind. The old looking down he saw the dagger protruding from his chest - line, would do any harm.

The atmosphere seemed to hold my attention. You painted quite a good scene and with few words. I liked it on the whole given the above.

Hope I helped

TEiN
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Old 12th June 2011, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

Hello Folks,

I appreciate the detailed critiques. A common theme seems to be the confusion with names. This will be easily fixed. When writing I thought the part with Jordan 'pooing' himself was good and a indicator of Ragnar's reputation, not Jordan's cowardice. Which he is not. Now looking at it I see that I was wrong. Again you all picked up on this.

Good suggestions on tightening up the prose which I will take on board. TEIN, Ragnar is not an assassin, but a famed warrior. He doesn't do hiding. I must bring a from of logic to this to make his actions realistic. In the greater context of the series I hope I do. I also wanted a Sergio Leone moment in the book.

Christian,

Thanks for the detail in your critique. There was nothing tired about them.

Boneman,

Good critique. I will cut out the 'pooing' It does not work and does not fit with Greb Jordan's character.

Terry,

Much appreciated. There is nothing sympathetic about Greb Jordan. He is a grasping nobleman who caught onto more than he could hold.

Thanks again for the effort put in.
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Old 12th June 2011, 05:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

LOL I had every intention, of critiquing this and to my woe, I found out that everyone else had already hit pretty much on the same things I was going to, but still I am just going to give it a quickie.


“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you?” The question was spoken without any emotion in the voice. It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan. He stood in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm and had being in the process of removing his cloak when the hooded man at the tavern’s counter spoke. Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it bawl out commands on the battlefield many times in the past. Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back. Dark eyes bore into those of Jordan’s.

“Give me a good reason why I should not kill you?” He spoke the question without any emotion in his voice. It was that lack which frightened Greb Jordan. Standing in the center of the tavern drenched from the storm, he had been removing his cloak when the hooded man at the counter spoke. Jordan knew that voice. He had heard it (bawling) out commands on the battlefield many times in the past.

Ragnar ‘Toothless’ stepped away from the counter, pushing his hood back, his dark eyes boring into Jordan’s.

(I hope you didn't mind, and it's a short piece so I worked with it a little to offer another view for you to read)

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men. Greb looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him. He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with a Weapons-Master. Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. At that moment Greb felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed.

“My Lord?” asked one of Jordan’s men as he looked about at the empty tavern. Ragnar was alone and he had ten men with him.
He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him. The Earl did not lack courage, but he would be damned if he died in a duel with (could it be his)a Weapons-Master.
Backing away from Ragnar he indicated for his men to step forward. Swords were drawn and Greb saw a flicker of a smile on Ragnar’s face. He felt his bowels loosen and the heady aroma of **** filled the tavern. Ragnar sniffed at the air and laughed.

(again I redid it slightly.)

“So many…” the Weapons-Master said, producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.”

“So many…” the Weapons-Master said with with a deadly smile, producing two long daggers from the folds of his cloak. “I much prefer these in confined spaces.”

Jordan was sweating now, the cold and wet of the night forgotten. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand. “Kill him!” the Earl suddenly shouted. He had a glimpse of his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting crouch, before he turned and fled. The wind screamed into his face as he burst out into the muddy courtyard. Turning left he bolted for the stables, a mere ten yards away. The doors were open and he found the two men he had left to care for the mounts.

Jordan started sweating, the cold, wet night forgotten. A thought crept into his head, a brief regret for his betrayal of Prince Thrand.
"Kill him!" (I would leave out Earl cause it makes me think for a moment another man is in the room). Glimpsing his men rushing forward and Ragnar falling into a fighting crouch, he turned and fled. (I like the rest of this paragraph.)


“Saddle my horse, any horse!” he roared, the fear rising up to be replaced with hysteria.(he roared, his rising fear, now replaced with hysteria)

Mutely one of the men pointed to a horse that was still saddled. Jordan rushed for it.

“What the …” the other soldier said and Greb heard swords being drawn. He reached the horse and placed his hand on its back, ready to vault into the saddle. Screams echoed behind him and suddenly he was falling back from the horse. Searing pain engulfed him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he saw was the smiling face of Ragnar ‘Toothless’ leering down at him.

Love the last part, Hope you see what I did.
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Old 14th June 2011, 06:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by svalbard View Post
...
TEIN, Ragnar is not an assassin, but a famed warrior. He doesn't do hiding...
Quote:
previously:

He should have known that Ranald would send an assassin after him
In which case :-

Quote:
He had expected Ranald would send an assasin. However he had not expected a man of Ragnor's reputation. His prowess as a weapon's master was well known. His only hope was that, given Ragnor's sense of fair play, he would be able to withdraw with his reputation in tact.

'I have no argument with you Ragnor. This is between...

or whatever...
You should then develop it along the lines of accusing/confronting Ragnor with the fact that his presence belittled his reputation whilst somehow not provoking a fight at the insult. they both need to leave this tavern with their heads held high and a measure of mutual respect if not friendship. (I assume)

One way would be to have our hero explain that he couldn't understand why he would do Ranald's bidding . Then have Ragnor query this along the lines of'

"You speak of Ranald. I know nothing of this. Your death today will be because of your foul mouth and it's mention of my sister's good name. Draw and defend yourself, you pig's turd"

"Your sister!"

....
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Old 14th June 2011, 03:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

As well as the above comments, I'd query the motivations. If Greb is an abject coward, he'd likely be made braver with ten men around him, famed warrior or not. This is a convention that we see all too often, and I blame hollywood. No swordsman can best ten men in close quarters. If he has a means of reducing how many he faces at once (such as a doorway) or if he has room to move then he may stand a chance, but in the common room of an inn he's toast, no matter what his skill (assuming, of course, he has no supernatural assistance).

I'd reduce the number of men with Jordan to five, much more realistic.

Finally, if Jordan had a pants related 'accident' such as you described, it adds a new dimension to what might happen if he were to, say, vault onto a horse.
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Old 14th June 2011, 05:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

I see so many difficulties with the passage now. A big glaring one for me was that when I went over other areas of the story, Ragnar is not even there. He is elsewhere. That is a massive mistake on my part. I am having a big re-think on this at the moment. The scene will stay, but it will be a different assassin.

I tend to agree with you on realism, Dubrech. But because it is fantasy I believe there is always room for manouvre. As long as it is not constantly overdone.

TEIN,

Your advice on how the scene could work will fit nicely with the character I am introducing as the assassin.
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Old 20th June 2011, 05:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Revenge

So it turns out that Ragnar had an alibi?

I was too late for this one -- everybody else has already covered it.
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