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1
Shugo-Shi's avatar

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Chapter one

“Get down!” The man yelled over the nearby explosion. The man jumped down into a nearby rut in the ground as fragments of the boulder flew overhead. “Up! Get up! Now! We can’t spare any men right now, and we don’t need our soldiers to be lazying around, especially the fresh men! So get up! Up now, Dask!” The first man yelled into Dask's ear. He - Dask - jumped up and ran towards the approaching army. He ran with his sword’s blade pointing dead ahead. He shouted his signature battle-cry as his blade pierced a soldier’s chest. Withdrawing the blade, he spun and cut another man’s hand. Dask stood there, examining what he just got himself into, as a pain shot up his left shoulder. He fell to one knee, paused, and got up. As Dask stood, he got hit again, in the side. He fell while shouting in pain. A soldier walked up, grinned, and stabbed his sword into Dask’s throat. He started to cough up blood and collapsed.

* * *

“Mmph... Get out, thing...” Dask muttered into his pillow as a banging came from the wall. He bashes his fist into the wall, half awake. “Quit having sex, you crazy witches...” Dask said quietly as he sat up. His hotel room, as he opened his eyes, seemed a bit more dirty then when he fell asleep. The wardrobe sat in splinters, the mirror shattered, and the complimentary hand-made soaps were now just foam coming from the table’s drawers. He heard horses whinnying coming from the outside. He got up, naked, and walked over to the splintered wardrobe.Grabbed a robe, put it on, and examined himself in a cracked mirror. His brown hair covered his forehead and nearly his left eye. He looked about 18-ish, but was roughly 22. His blue eyes shone in a eerie way, in comparison to the room and its trash. He grinned, then posed, and walked out the door.

The long-ignored town of Kilian was just waking from its slumber. A local youth walked past, drinking some kind of substance. The town itself was very uncared for. Roofs collapsed and horse manure lined the street. Obviously not a great place to be living, but a fantastic place to hide. This is exactly what Dask thought as he stepped out into the neglected town. He leisurely strolled towards a nearby store.

Dask walked into an argument between the shop owner and a rowdy customer. “Just shut up and take my money!” The customer yelled at the owner.

“Listen, you crazy cow, I don’t have any more alcohol! Someone stole my store of it last night! If I had any, I’d sell it to you!” The owner finished. She looked over to see Dask, standing there, amused. “There he is!” She said, ignoring the customer’s complaints. “How are you, brother? I heard your party last night from here. Pretty loud, if ya’ ask me. And, coincidentally, all of my beer, wine, and ale are all gone on the night of a loud, obnoxious party. You know anything about that?” The owner looked at Dask accusingly.

“Alright, Vanessa, calm down,” Dask responded, slightly hurt by his sister’s accusations. “Look under the box labeled ‘bananas’. The cash is under there. Granted, a little less than what it is wo--” Dask stopped, being interrupted by a fist hitting him in the gut. By now, the other customer had left. Vanessa stood over him, gritting her teeth.

“Listen, this town, and shop, mind you, are going underwater. I need as much money as possible before this town becomes a ghost town. You and I need to get out of here so we don’t end up as dead as everyone else. I’ve loaned you enough money to buy a new house on the coast. And what did you do with it? You bought alcohol and a horse. The horse wasn’t even a good one! It is literally a crap-carrier. So just get your s**t together and get a goddamn job!” She vented to Dask, who was still on the ground, grabbing his chest.

“Don’t forget that prostitute,” Dask groaned from the ground.
“How could I forget? You told her to read a book about the history of warfare. Five-hundred ******** dollars down the drain!” Vanessa screamed.

“Totally worth it...”
Vanessa kicked him in the ribs. “You stupid s**t-faced d**k!” She screamed. “You used to be an intelligent person, but since you came back from the army a year ago, you’ve been a lazy a*****e!”
Dask sat up, grunting in pain. “I applied for a position as a body guard, you p***k! I’m becoming a body guard for one of the magic users!” He shouted at Vanessa. At that, Dask, who is still in pain from being punched and kicked, stood up, using the wall as a support, hobbled out of the store, swearing under his breath.
The writing isn't at all clear in the intro, slightly better in the main bit. You seem to have switched characters completely in the intro as well, going from someone yelling at Dask, to Dask being the one yelling being described by the person he's yelling at, to more of a third person omniscient of Dask attacking another army on his own. Dask is hiding but his sister also lives in the town he's hiding in and owns the liquor store, why? This doesn't catch me as a reader, these characters are unlikeable enough that I don't really care what happens to them nor do I know enough about them to make me forgive their unlikeability and want to find out more. Don't get why Dask's sister uses language like that where the few other characters that have been introduced don't seem to, more character development is needed desperately.

It could be good, but it needs more work, possibly a complete rewrite.
Starry Starry Fright's avatar

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It's not a bad foundation for a story, but it is confusing. I'll list you some of the main concerns.

1. The introduction is confusing. Who is Dask? You're going from first-person to third-person - we hear someone calling the first-person character "Dask" and then a third-person character named Dask jumps up and fights. It reads as if there are two people named Dask in the trench and one is watching the other fight.

2. The setting is confusing. For one, you describe Dask as waking up in a hotel room with complimentary soap, so I'm thinking "Okay, this is modern times." But then all of a sudden we have horses everywhere. When, exactly, does this take place? The word "hotel" has only existed since the mid-1600s, so if this story takes place before then, "inn" might be a more appropriate term. I'm also a little confused about the living arrangements - Dask and his sister have evidently been living in this town for some time, seeing how she owns a shop and he's looking for jobs. So why is he living in a hotel? Seeing the character wake up in a hotel, we assume that he's on some sort of journey, or he's arrived there for a purpose, only to find out that he's a long-time resident.

3. The characters. There is nothing sympathetic about either of them. Dask and Vanessa see each other and start cussing and punching each other. There's no relationship between them. Vanessa comes off as a screeching harpy and Dask comes off as a childish moron. These sorts of over-the-top personalities and brother-sister conflicts look like something out of an anime, not something that belongs in literature.

4. The language here really makes your age glaringly obvious. Expressions like "18ish" can be written out properly, as in "he looked to be about eighteen years old". Also, the plethora of cursing is really over-done. Instead of adding maturity to your work, it makes you seem younger. Yes, an f-bomb here and there from certain characters, in certain situations, is believable and makes the whole thing seem more adult, but you have two characters putting together childish strings of curse words to insult each other in the middle of the street over what is ultimately a stupid quarrel. You need to tone it down; if we can see a brother and sister have a dispute that is outwardly civil, but laced with subtle digs at one another, that builds depth. When we see a brother and sister launching cartoonishly overblown attacks at one another, we just stop caring.

5. Is the reader omnipresent or not? We get some things directly from Dask's intimate perspective - his dream, his perception of the room. Other things are told from a totally outside view, like when you say Dask is "roughly 22", or when we only find out that the shopkeeper is Dask's sister halfway through the conversation. Does Dask not know his own age? If we are getting everything through Dask's perspective, we should know his age, and recognize his sister when he sees her.

6.The tense. You switch between past and present tense in some sentences. You must choose a tense and stick to it.


Overall, it's not a bad effort, but there is a definite need for this to be re-worked and refined. Sit down and plan out this story for a bit, and think of the logistics of this. Why is Dask in a hotel? How is he affording that without a job? Why doesn't he help his sister with the shop? Why do they fight so much? Plan the details well beyond what will be included in the final story, to help you shape your story's universe.
Shugo-Shi's avatar

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Tympest
The writing isn't at all clear in the intro, slightly better in the main bit. You seem to have switched characters completely in the intro as well, going from someone yelling at Dask, to Dask being the one yelling being described by the person he's yelling at, to more of a third person omniscient of Dask attacking another army on his own. Dask is hiding but his sister also lives in the town he's hiding in and owns the liquor store, why? This doesn't catch me as a reader, these characters are unlikeable enough that I don't really care what happens to them nor do I know enough about them to make me forgive their unlikeability and want to find out more. Don't get why Dask's sister uses language like that where the few other characters that have been introduced don't seem to, more character development is needed desperately.

It could be good, but it needs more work, possibly a complete rewrite.


The first person thing was an error, because originally I was gonna make it entirally first person. I just forgot to remove it. The sister thing and all that was going to be revieled later because someone was hunting their entire family, which comes into light in chapter two. You figure stuff out about the characters when you read more of it. Sadly, i'm only half way through chapter 2, and this is only about half way through chapter 1. You read three chapters of a book, and then you decide whether you hate it or not. His sister was going to be introduced later as a person who was physically and emotionally abused by her captivity from the people chasing Dask and Veronica (sister). Right now, it has more of a Beavis and Butthead feel due to the lack of major plot, but it does increase dramatically later.
Shugo-Shi's avatar

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Starry Starry Fright
It's not a bad foundation for a story, but it is confusing. I'll list you some of the main concerns.

1. The introduction is confusing. Who is Dask? You're going from first-person to third-person - we hear someone calling the first-person character "Dask" and then a third-person character named Dask jumps up and fights. It reads as if there are two people named Dask in the trench and one is watching the other fight.

2. The setting is confusing. For one, you describe Dask as waking up in a hotel room with complimentary soap, so I'm thinking "Okay, this is modern times." But then all of a sudden we have horses everywhere. When, exactly, does this take place? The word "hotel" has only existed since the mid-1600s, so if this story takes place before then, "inn" might be a more appropriate term. I'm also a little confused about the living arrangements - Dask and his sister have evidently been living in this town for some time, seeing how she owns a shop and he's looking for jobs. So why is he living in a hotel? Seeing the character wake up in a hotel, we assume that he's on some sort of journey, or he's arrived there for a purpose, only to find out that he's a long-time resident.

3. The characters. There is nothing sympathetic about either of them. Dask and Vanessa see each other and start cussing and punching each other. There's no relationship between them. Vanessa comes off as a screeching harpy and Dask comes off as a childish moron. These sorts of over-the-top personalities and brother-sister conflicts look like something out of an anime, not something that belongs in literature.

4. The language here really makes your age glaringly obvious. Expressions like "18ish" can be written out properly, as in "he looked to be about eighteen years old". Also, the plethora of cursing is really over-done. Instead of adding maturity to your work, it makes you seem younger. Yes, an f-bomb here and there from certain characters, in certain situations, is believable and makes the whole thing seem more adult, but you have two characters putting together childish strings of curse words to insult each other in the middle of the street over what is ultimately a stupid quarrel. You need to tone it down; if we can see a brother and sister have a dispute that is outwardly civil, but laced with subtle digs at one another, that builds depth. When we see a brother and sister launching cartoonishly overblown attacks at one another, we just stop caring.

5. Is the reader omnipresent or not? We get some things directly from Dask's intimate perspective - his dream, his perception of the room. Other things are told from a totally outside view, like when you say Dask is "roughly 22", or when we only find out that the shopkeeper is Dask's sister halfway through the conversation. Does Dask not know his own age? If we are getting everything through Dask's perspective, we should know his age, and recognize his sister when he sees her.

6.The tense. You switch between past and present tense in some sentences. You must choose a tense and stick to it.


Overall, it's not a bad effort, but there is a definite need for this to be re-worked and refined. Sit down and plan out this story for a bit, and think of the logistics of this. Why is Dask in a hotel? How is he affording that without a job? Why doesn't he help his sister with the shop? Why do they fight so much? Plan the details well beyond what will be included in the final story, to help you shape your story's universe.


Think of the world like Trigun. Advanced technology but mostly mediocre (suck at spelling) living conditions in the less stable towns. Different time line, if you will.

The hotel was to show that he doesn't care about where he lives, just where the next drink is from. His sister misunderstood him from when he rescued her (much later flashback). The tenses i've always sucked at, so that is gonna stay until i do a revision.

Brothers and sisters fight like children. It seems more real for them to have the very violent/rude relationship, instead of the obviously planned out digs at each other.

The age thing is something i'll definately fix, thank you for pointing it out.

The over the top thing does change, with Dask progressing through his maturity throughout at a rapid rate when he learns what is important and what is not.

Overall, thank you. I'll definatly fix these things, but some one them will be changed further into the story, such as the maturity.
Shugo-Shi
You read three chapters of a book, and then you decide whether you hate it or not.

That's not a rule everyone goes by. Some people read only the first paragraph or the first sentence. Heck, when I shop for books I sometimes give the blurb three words to catch my interest before deciding if I even want to finish the rest of it.

What I'm trying to say is that you can't just rely on people to be invested for three chapters to like your characters then. You have to give them a reason to like the story right away.
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Eljah_Black
Shugo-Shi
You read three chapters of a book, and then you decide whether you hate it or not.

That's not a rule everyone goes by. Some people read only the first paragraph or the first sentence. Heck, when I shop for books I sometimes give the blurb three words to catch my interest before deciding if I even want to finish the rest of it.

What I'm trying to say is that you can't just rely on people to be invested for three chapters to like your characters then. You have to give them a reason to like the story right away.


Yeah, you're kinda right about that. Yet even if you read the first few paragraphs, to some degree you'll want to read more. Yeah, yeah, i know the rule about assuming. But still, that is how all of my teachers/friends/parents have taught me.
Shugo-Shi
Eljah_Black
Shugo-Shi
You read three chapters of a book, and then you decide whether you hate it or not.

That's not a rule everyone goes by. Some people read only the first paragraph or the first sentence. Heck, when I shop for books I sometimes give the blurb three words to catch my interest before deciding if I even want to finish the rest of it.

What I'm trying to say is that you can't just rely on people to be invested for three chapters to like your characters then. You have to give them a reason to like the story right away.


Yeah, you're kinda right about that. Yet even if you read the first few paragraphs, to some degree you'll want to read more. Yeah, yeah, i know the rule about assuming. But still, that is how all of my teachers/friends/parents have taught me.

That's not true either. Just because I read something doesn't mean I'll want to read more at all. That's also assuming that I even get a few paragraphs in. Like I said, I may not want to even read that much if it doesn't hook me by then.
Shugo-Shi
Tympest
The writing isn't at all clear in the intro, slightly better in the main bit. You seem to have switched characters completely in the intro as well, going from someone yelling at Dask, to Dask being the one yelling being described by the person he's yelling at, to more of a third person omniscient of Dask attacking another army on his own. Dask is hiding but his sister also lives in the town he's hiding in and owns the liquor store, why? This doesn't catch me as a reader, these characters are unlikeable enough that I don't really care what happens to them nor do I know enough about them to make me forgive their unlikeability and want to find out more. Don't get why Dask's sister uses language like that where the few other characters that have been introduced don't seem to, more character development is needed desperately.

It could be good, but it needs more work, possibly a complete rewrite.


The first person thing was an error, because originally I was gonna make it entirally first person. I just forgot to remove it. The sister thing and all that was going to be revieled later because someone was hunting their entire family, which comes into light in chapter two. You figure stuff out about the characters when you read more of it. Sadly, i'm only half way through chapter 2, and this is only about half way through chapter 1. You read three chapters of a book, and then you decide whether you hate it or not. His sister was going to be introduced later as a person who was physically and emotionally abused by her captivity from the people chasing Dask and Veronica (sister). Right now, it has more of a Beavis and Butthead feel due to the lack of major plot, but it does increase dramatically later.
But it's an error that needs to have been fixed before you posted this. Likewise, if the liquor store owner being his sister was supposed to have been reveled later why are you telling us now? But the characters aren't likeable enough for me to want to find out more about them, even if his sister was abused she's got to have something character wise beyond violent harpy to make a reader care what happens to her. Telling me that the plot gets better later doesn't work, I'm looking at what you've posted and seeing only that and it doesn't appeal to me enough that I would stick around for the plot to show up.

You're running on the assumption that a reader would read to chapter three before deciding whether or not they'd finish reading the book, but you can't count on that. You have to make the story good from the start to get your readers to chapter three and further.
I_Write_Ivre's avatar

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1. Don't explain your story. It needs to stand on its own. Explain IN the story. Now go and edit the story and answer the questions you were asked.

2. If you aren't good at spelling, work on it.

3. Don't expect readers to read three whole chapters to judge your story. They'll give you a few paragraphs to catch or lose their interest.

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