PDA

View Full Version : Freelancer - Chapter 1



Jeko
December 30th, 2011, 05:48 PM
(The prologue is in the writer's workshop; I didn't want to cross post)

The galaxy is in an age of disarray. After the Great War of the Heretic, the Ancients have disbanded from the Higher Assembly of the Luverian Order, the single governing body for all things. Now distant from the central powers, a fledgling Federation was formed in order to keep the peace and maintain order. It is failing.

In response, one man, now only known as ‘The Chairman’, established the Freelancers Guild. Its mission: to find those who possess the power to save the galaxy from the clutches of evil. To discover the heroes and turn them into champions. Now, ten years after its creation, the Guild has struck a heavy blow against the bandits, villains and marauders of the galaxy. But there is still work to be done, and greater enemies now are moving.

These are the adventures of John Carris, a young boy taking his first steps as a Freelancer. These are the trials that he faces, and the wars that he wages against the powers of chaos.

Chapter 1
(now spaced properly. Hooray!)

‘Since when do you need a guide to tell you how to live your life? Shouldn’t you have thought about that before you came here?’
From ‘Saberline’s Guide to Guild and Galaxy’, Preface.

The light burned. The sadistic, merciless light. It scorched its way into his eyes as they cracked open like sacrificial daggers. John felt like he could sleep for a thousand years, but he was forced to painfully awaken. Is this how they treat all their new recruits? He heard groaning around him; the others were waking up too. By the sound of it, there must have been dozens of people there. The air was still and calm with a clean odour, but this was overpowered by the musky scent of a nearby Katorian.

The ever-persistent light still seemed to numb his mind. John looked around him, his sight barely functioning. Drowsiness burdened his body; he hadn’t felt this bad since he’d awoken from cryo-stasis. It was like being drunk, except he was still capable of logical thought – which was why it hurt so badly. Nevertheless, John was soon strengthened as his body naturally recovered. Slowly but surely, his memory returned, and he began to recall recent events. The Trials. They’d said that the medics just needed to check on him before he left. They hadn’t told him that he’d wake up almost blind, with a nearly crippling headache and a complete confusion as to where he was.

John didn’t hold a grudge though, since he had signed up for this sort of job anyway. It hadn’t been easy, but he’d had no other options. The work had paid off.

He was inside the Freelancer’s Guild.

Excitement was still buried with the rest of his feelings, suppressed by a barrage of the new and unknown. John surveyed the large hall they were in, eyeing those he had seen yesterday. A wild assortment of characters were scattered around long, obsidian tables, some of which were already awake. Beside him he saw Teresa’s chestnut-brown hair, and smiled weakly. Teresa had bright but stern eyes, and a moderate and muscular build. She sat uncomfortably in her combat garb – they hadn’t had a chance to change after the Trails – was still basically unconscious, her head collapsed on the table. Obviously, the Guild didn’t want its new recruits knowing the precise location of their headquarters yet. It was a logical step, but a damn irritating one.

There was a rumble, and a flash, and a startling drone that emanated from the large raised area at the front of the hall. The wall began to crack as strange symbols appeared around it. They began at the bottom, spreading along two paths. The image started to glow. Black. It shone like a shadow. Then the real magic happened. All the recruits watched as the symbols came out of the wall in unison, bringing part of the grey stone with them in the same shape they had made on the wall. It was like God had cut two statues for himself. They stood as titans above the people below, like the horns of a wild beast, forty-feet tall. The strange symbols still radiated dark light.
Then, there was fire. The tapered points of the statues combusted in unison. John couldn’t understand how the stone could catch fire. Then again, he didn’t understand how the wall could cut itself apart and move its craftsmanship forward. At present, he didn’t understand anything. He just kept watching as the show continued.
The fire spread to the rocky horns. They intensely heated until the shadowy glow was replaced with red fury, and soon both statues were engulfed in a flaming skin that seemed not to touch the stone at all.

The overlay turned from red to deep purple. Some people started to whisper, make observations. John was mesmerised by the display. Most of his table was. Some of the Katorians were getting distracted, and one Atarn was tapping away on some DataPaper, but other than that, there was little disturbance. It helped John’s concentration as the grand demonstration reached its climax.

Before now, there was nothing between the two horns; just air. They had stood apart, but John soon realised that they were one. One structure. His thoughts were proved true as beams of energy shot out of each horn at the other, making a purple spider web between them. It stayed like that for some time, as if someone was building suspense. Like on those rubbish game shows he used to watch. They would always get to the pivotal moment, and then wait. They would get the audience begging for a conclusion before they finish. John had always hated that. He hated it as much as he hated the Media. Back in the days when he was on Earth, he’d thought that entertainment couldn’t have gotten any worse. He had been sadly mistaken.

There was a crack. A crack? Yes, a crack, like glass or plastic splitting. It was a small sound, like a chip appearing on your window. John’s attention snapped back the structure before them. The web was no longer two-dimensional. Its form was breaking apart.

It smashed. The whole web gave way, sending purple shards flying towards the recruits. A few girls screamed, but they were not in danger. The shards faded out of existence seconds after breaking from the portal. That’s what it was. John remembered a few books he’d read back on New Aeorias. A portal. A construct used to transport energy and matter to or from an alternate dimension, or to connect with a portal of congruent origin and detail. Why was there a portal in the hall? John thought of a worse question.

What is coming through?

His answer came quickly. With the shards gone, the portal raged with unstable energy. What emerged dwarfed the gigantic portal in grandeur. The first heavy step sent shivers down every spine. The next cracked the floor. Standing tall and wide, like a demon demonstrating, was a Shingle.

Its skin was noted first; like uncut crystal, jagged and clear, covering its entire body in splendour. The beast was humanoid in shape, but grotesquely disproportionate. It had stocky legs, long arms, and fingers that swelled beyond any useful size. A head was lodged into the massive torso, with no neck to speak of. While the monster’s main body was crude, its head was far finer cut, with a hairless scalp that reflected the dim light of the hall beautifully. The eyes were cold and dead; just holes in its face. The Shingle had no nose, and its mouth was little more than carved into the head. Suffice to say, it had no jaw. John was unsure if it had any bones at all. The Shingles were a species cast out long ago to the sullen depths of the Shattered Entity, back when the Ancients had been in charge. They were beast of true power that could not be shaken. The recruits gasped as it moved, sluggishly but powerfully, towards them. John then noticed that it was carrying something in its hand. It was small, and upright, and very well dressed. A man.

The man seemed illuminated by unnatural light. All eyes were now on him as he stood there. ‘Proud’ didn’t even come close to how he looked. How all this looked. The recruits began to clap; it was all an entrance. A grand unveiling, of himself. John didn’t clap. He just groaned.

The man in the hand bowed, and the Shingle lowered him to the ground. He leapt off like a feather, making no sound as he hit the floor. The applause ceased.

He took a few steps forward, opened his mouth, and vigorously said ‘Welcome, to the Guild of Freelancers!’

More applause.

‘It gives me great honour to welcome you here. I commend you for your skill, and I believe that there are people among us who will become the heroes of tomorrow.’

Fat chance, John thought. Strangely, the Chairman seemed to smile at his pessimism before continuing.

‘I am the Chairman of the Guild, and you shall know me as such. Many of you will have an illustriously grand assortment of questions, so let me answer a few of them now. Firstly, this is not a school.’

Relief shot through the recruits.

‘However, this is not a country club either. This installation was not constructed to please your inner desire to demonstrate your multitude of skills and talents. The Guild is here to take what greatness you have, and let it blossom. Training is a fundamental part of life, as is battle. If you cannot train, how can you fight for your life? And if you cannot fight for your life, how can you become the sworn protectors of our galaxy? You will have months of preliminary training before we grant you reign over this galaxy, for your own safety, and for those who shall come to rely on you alone for their ongoing peace. Believe me – it will be intense. The steps to greatness are never easy. But you shall prevail over your fears. As Freelancers, it is your solemn duty to guard your protectorate, our galaxy. Darkness could be around any turn, so you must be vigilant.

‘As such, you will be trained like no other soldiers. The Federation may have a grip on its people, but the galaxy is slipping from its fingers. It is restricted to tradition and a militant society. But we must be stronger to prevail. That is why you are here. You are strong, but the galaxy is merciless. Some of you may be renowned as legends of your own territory, but that changes now! You shall be legends of the galaxy!’

Big deal. mused John. He had never been one to aspire to great heights. Besides, the more focused on the present he was, the better he would be. Dreams wouldn’t build his muscles. Unfortunately, most of the people around him had soaked in this speech like a deluded sponge. As they mercilessly clapped, their faces showed their aspirations of grandeur, with their images super-imposed on every Hypernet channel and tales of their bravery and heroism spread throughout every system. They could keep dreaming. At least it would keep them focused a bit.

But John did not withhold his respect for these people. They had entered the guild because of their incredible strength, guile and cunning. Moments ago, the Trials at New Aeorias had pushed them to the limit of their abilities. For all the contestants, it had been the most important experience of their lives. For the crowds, it had been merely entertainment. They could never emphasise with the conflict before them; they merely enjoyed it. It was probably those stupid concentration implants keeping their mind away from ‘wasteful’ thought.

Back then, John had made a note of the people that he thought had really stood out; the masterful warriors that seemed to have no fault to the untrained eye. But the Chairman had been watching too, along with his entourage. He would have seen countless flaws, being the leader of the Guild. That was why they were here. To train. To fight. To win. Really, John was here because he’d had nowhere else to go. This was now his life. It was better that he had realised that now rather than later. Homesickness can hit a person hard, whatever species they are...

The Chairman must have left the room, or John had missed something. Everyone was engaged in some sort of conversation, with curiosity abounding in every sentence. There was a change in scenery too; gargantuan walls had emerged from the ground, surrounding each table in privacy. The large hall had become a small room, where each table was sat together. John turned to Teresa Williams, the only person he knew in the room.
‘Have you got a headache as bad as mine?’ she said, massaging her temples.

John responded with a weak nod. ‘It’ll go away in a minute or two. But hey – we’re in, aren’t we?’

‘Yep. This is it.’ She took a deep breath. ‘I never knew I’d get this far? Did you?’

‘Huh?’ John said, failing to hear her over the constant ramblings of his surroundings. ‘Oh, not really. I thought training for this would at least occupy me in New Aeorias. I guess I’ll be occupied even more now.’

Their conversation came to an end quickly. Teresa said that she’d needed to do some catching up with some people she knew, and turned away.

Looking around, John could feel the vibrancy of the room around them. The crisp white walls were pristine in every way, a complete contrast to the dull stone of the great hall. But as picturesque as it was, John knew that there was something else, and underlying truth behind this beauty. They were being watched. He would have to be very careful here.

John preferred to keep his thoughts to himself, but inevitably, someone began to talk to him. As she began to speak, John seemed mesmerised by her face, despite her skin looking like an asteroid. Her presence was strangely spellbinding; it was the first time John had ever seen an Atarn so beautiful. She had a smooth face with crisp lips like burnt flowers hanging in the twilight. Her hairless head gave her form a straightness as if she had been carved by a master sculptor. Her nose was tight, and her ears small and still, unyielding ears that were small and delicate, although John knew that an Atarn’s skin was about as delicate as concrete.

‘Hello? Anybody in there?’

John realised his mistake immediately – she wouldn’t have just sat there, staring at him with her azure eyes and subtle cheeks. He had ignored her completely.

‘I’m sorry. I-‘ he paused. ‘I dozed off there for a second.’ He continued, suddenly nervous.

‘Well, I don’t blame you. Everyone’s feeling the effects of those sedatives.’ Even her voice was beautiful. ‘Too bad it’s the logical step, then. Who would trust a bunch of kids like us with the location of one of the most powerful establishments in the galaxy? Besides, I don’t care where I am, as long as I’m away from the Citadel. I’m Ceris, by the way. Ceris Myan’

‘John Carris. You lived in the Citadel?’ he asked. He had heard great things of the Atarn city, and wished he could visit there himself one day. It was the heart of commerce on Luveria, the planet named ‘centre of the galaxy’ for the way it housed a settlement from every one of the central powers. It now bore a human settlement too; New Aeorias. The Citadel was far more famous though, with its many levels that descended down into the plant giving it a size that could not be judged at a mere glance.

‘Lived is hardly the word I’d use.’ Ceris said. ‘More like survived. The up-top bigots have no consideration for innocent, vulnerable people like us in the slums. I lost everything to the raiders down there.’

John placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘I’m so sorry.’ he whispered. She was nearly tearful. ‘How did you escape?’

‘I found transport.’ She said, her voice neutral again.

‘But most ships cost a fortune!’

‘Well,’ she whispered, a smile spreading across her face, ‘It wasn’t exactly legal.’

John was about to pry further when suddenly, the long table was silent. In unison, almost a hundred excited children had been shut up. Remarkable.

The cause of this must have been the arrival of the Atarn pointing an Axoph ’56 Zerridan at the group. His sly smile sent shivers down many spines, and his blue armour reflected their faces with perfection.

‘Long has it been said that the man with the gun is in power.’ He said softly. ‘Let me inform you that I currently have the gun. Now, STAND!’

His military boom came like an explosion, and instantly, all of the new Freelancers were standing to attention.

‘My name is Jsathu D’Vall Freelancer Elite of the honourable Guild but you shall address me as ‘Sir’ and you shall bear respect in your tone or by Aes’Geth I shall have you scrubbing the hull for the rest of your miserable lives! Is that clear?’

‘Sir, yes Sir!’ they all replied

John found it hard to keep up with him. Obviously, the man had some mental acceleration implants, or he would not have spoken so fast. His style was definitely unexpected among the recruits, but it was wise.

‘I have been assigned as administrator for this division of the Guild and it is my duty and honour to watch over you lot as you evolve into the peacekeepers of tomorrow. I have no time for chaos. I have no care for disorder. You will learn respect, or you’ll wish you’d never been born. No man in my division will set a foot out of this establishment unless you can stride out there with the pride of you position evident to all. The Guild is not a rabble. Other societies do not know the values of a leader. They are collapsing. Only the Federation is keeping us together, and even they are pressured. So if you can’t hold yourself in a dignified manner, how the hell are you going to hold the galaxy together?’

He holstered his pistol almost mechanically, marching closer to the table.

‘As you are in my division, you shall be the finest Freelancers that ever lived, or there’ll be hell to pay. Is that clear?’

‘Sir, yes Sir!’ came the reply.

‘Is that clear?’

‘Sir, yes Sir!’

John’s voice was about to break, as were his eardrums.

‘Good.’ Jsathu said, his voice suddenly softer. ‘Now we can begin. If you would follow me, it is time you were given a tour of the facilities we have available at this establishment.’

Lining up behind the profound Atarn soldier, the recruits had no idea what to except. Although the Guild had become famous to a galactic scale, the location of its facility had always been kept under wraps, as was the interior of its headquarters. The scenery around them was both classic and modern, with the technology surging through the corridors demonstrating the depth of their new home, intertwined with columns and murals styled by the ancient culture. Terminals at every corner displayed a wide variety of unknown functions, all of which John guessed he would need to adapt to.

Ceris was far in front of him in the line. Her slim, fine build reminded him that not everyone had made their way into the guild out of brute strength. The trials also welcomed those with unique talents. John guessed that her opponent must have been dazed by her serene presence. He smiled at the thought of a massive Katorian being all but paralysed by her charms...

The group had passed through many corridors by the time Jsathu called them to halt. The sights they had seen passing through the Guild were quite remarkable; John had guessed that the route had been constructed in such a way that it would leave most of the children amazed. Yet, he was hardly any different. Seeing the speed of their most trained warriors was certainly incredible.

‘First, we shall get you fitted with armour. The Guild has no strict uniform, but the togs you wear now will do you no good.’ He gestured them inside the chamber, which had many adjacent rooms for changing and fitting. But he saw no attendants in the room. Just one, central pillar of red crystal, illuminated by mounted spotlights.

‘Saberline?’

‘Well, if it isn’t Mr D’vall himself.’ A voice said. Suddenly, the pillar flashed, and the strangest thing happened. A man seemed to appear beside it, bathed in intense red light; a hologram, walking around the room, in the perfect form of a thirty year-old man. He seemed to be smiling.

‘Saberline, these new recruits need suitable apparel. Please begin protocol 45f7 for fitting and organisation of armour distribution.’

‘Yes, Sir. It’s not like I’ve done this thing before.’ He turned to the crowd of children. ‘Good afternoon, kids. My name is Saberline, Axunian Paragon-class 3645 Artificial Intelligence Mark 72.519. And no, I do not speak like most of the crap models they’re dishing out nowadays. I may be synthetic, but I’m no call centre worker or anything like that. So if you don’t like my tone, you can stuff your opinion down your tiny-‘
‘That’s enough, Saberline. Just engage the protocol for us. We have a lot to do.’

‘Sure you do. I’m currently holding forty conversations at once, and that’s not even mentioning the maintenance checks and clearance evaluations I do 24/7.’ His hologram reclined against a wall. ‘It’s not like I’m busy or anything, is it?’

‘Your job is to operate this station. Don’t complain like a spoilt child about it.’

‘I’m not complaining. I’m ranting.’ He said, ‘And this is only my job after you installed me. It’s not like I had much of a choice.’

‘Saberline, your contract dictates that-’ Jsathu paused. ‘Haven’t we had this conversation before?’

‘Ten times.’ Saberline groaned.

‘Just get on with it.’

Saberline’s eyes flashed an eerie purple, his body stuttering slightly. He then moved to the centre of the room.
‘Right.’ He began. ‘Let’s get this done quickly. I have seven meetings to attend in five minutes and I don’t want to have to juggle more than I need to. Please step into one of the adjoining chambers of this room and we will fit you some new armour.’

John made his way to an empty booth, the door automatically sliding open as he walked up to it. Silently, it shut itself once he was inside, and was locked.

Thank goodness for that, John thought, I don’t want people seeing more of me than they need too.

The room was small, with a screen and small, sliding door at his side. Saberline appeared on a screen, his mischievous grin widening as he stared at John.

‘By your build, I guess you’d want the recon set.’ He said, laughing. John didn’t like that– it was a common joke to say that someone could only wear light armour, a simple way of insulting someone for being too weak. But Saberline was right; he wouldn’t even be able to move in heavier stuff.

‘Fine. Do you need my measurements?’

‘Already got ‘em.’ Said Saberline. ‘Human-type bodywork?’

‘Whatever.’ John said, sighing. He’d never liked clothes shopping.

‘Colour?’

‘Royal Blue.’ He replied. It reminded him of the soldiers back in New Aeorias. If their armour got respect, then maybe his would too.

As a compartment opened to supply him with his new outfit, John couldn’t help but think about the past, before he had come to the Guild. Why was he even here? What was he trying to prove? At the time, it had seen the only window of opportunity available to him. A shabby, cracked window that may have been his only hope. Now, he seemed completely out of place. What was wrong?

John pushed his past to the back of his mind and concentrated on fitting his new armour. The mesh underlay clung to his skin like a warm, cosy blanket. Although, John doubted that any blankets were made of fibre-weaved Karculium and enhanced Derenium. He attached the armour plates, astounded at how lightweight they all were. Teresa had been right; you really could do anything in this stuff.

Another memory. Teresa. She had been there for him, when no-one else was. He really owed all this to her.
Tightening his shining boots, John scanned himself in the mirror. The armour still made him look rather slim, and it would give him maximum manoeuvrability. There was no helmet, though. Perhaps they’d issue those later. He also studied something that was either a wrist computer or a very large watch. Or both. Probably both.
Before he could exit, Saberline appeared on his monitor again.

‘I’m confused, John. By my scans, you do not seem to carry all the mandatory and essential human implants, especially those given from birth. Any reason for this I could know?’

‘Nope.’ John said, not even looking at the screen. He didn’t want to be reminded any more of his past.

As the doors slid apart, John walked out to meet the rest of his division. It was like an orphanage on Christmas day. They were all still bubbling with excitement.. Well, most of them were. John eyed a young Katorian sitting on a bench, clad in a brilliantly dark suit of purple armour. He had chosen the recon set too, which was surprising for a Katorian.

John remembered the Katorians. Bold, fearless warriors of the galaxy. Massive. Just massive. Their frame was as subtle as a brick, but it wasn’t because of fat. They could lift trucks and planes if they wanted. Thinking about it, they probably did during the war.

Another thought for the back of his mind. The war. Don’t remember the war! But the more he resisted it, the more images came back to him. Zack! His mind cried in pain. He should’ve done something. He should have known they would come. He hadn’t been quick enough! Damn it!

‘Are you okay?’ the Katorian said. John looked up to see the slender warrior stare at him with youthful eyes; his dark, purple face –wrinkled less than most of his kind – did not seem threatening. His voice was as rough as any Katorian’s, yet soothing. John managed a smile.

‘Yeah. Bad memories.’

‘You don’t know the half of it, friend.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Oh, it’s none of your concern. I don’t want to add more worries. What’s your name, friend?’

John heard him say it again. He called him a friend. Why was it that the nicest face he had seen all day belonged to on eof the most evil civilizations in the galaxy?

‘John.’ He said, sitting down on the bench. ‘You?’

‘Kiresh Av’Khall.’

Royal Blood...

‘Nice to meet you.’ John said calmly, shoving his prejudice to the back of his mind. ‘You know anything more about this than me?’

‘I’m as dumbstruck by the complexity of it as you are. Training’s going to last a long time; we ain’t even real Freelancers yet. Recruits.’ He spat that word out. ‘We’ll probably see a sliver of what this place is really like. Well, until we rise up through the ranks.’

‘It’ll be hard.’

‘Of course. That’s life, ‘eh? That’s what we signed up for. From what I’ve seen in my years, this galaxy needs some real heroes to get it back on its feet. Apparently, we’re to fill that gap. I don’t buy it. I think this is all just to make more soldiers.’

‘I’ve seen the skills you need to get in here though; I have most of them myself. We all know a lot more that the average soldier, and with training... I have no idea what’ll happen.’

‘Me neither. I’m still unsure about it all. But I’ve heard they have some of the best instructors in the galax, so I’m patiently excited. Rumours say there are even some Orv aboard.’

‘Some what?’ started John, but their conversation was cut off by the entrance of Jsathu. His presence was truly intimidating, yet welcoming at the same time. It was rather odd having him around.

‘Come along now, children. I need to show you where you’ll be staying...’

SeaBee1
January 1st, 2012, 02:32 AM
Hi Cadence! I see that you posted this yesterday and up to this point, you have had no response. Odd... your story has potential, at least to me. It is a bit lengthy for a detailed critique, I think, but I am new to the forum and new to this critique thing, so take what I say with the proverbial grain of salt. At any rate, to make your POST more inviting, consider working on some of the mechanics (I noticed some technical errors, typos, words missing, etc...). Also some indentation would sure help with readability. Actually, I have seen this indentation problem in a few other posts, so it may just be a quirk of the forum or something. All in all, the STORY has potential. I am certainly up to reading more!

Best regards

CB

archer88iv
January 2nd, 2012, 11:33 AM
Not sure what "constant awareness" means.

Nit: Don't use commas to join a complete sentence to an incomplete sentence. "Beside him he saw Teresa’s chestnut-brown hair, and smiled weakly."

The "eye-opening experience" is actually a pretty common trope in writing, and as such it is often frowned upon--much like the whole "looking in the mirror" thing, when used for describing a point of view character. I'm not certain why it's so common; maybe it's just an easy way to describe things slowly when the writer isn't certain how else to set the scene. Maybe that's appropriate, but keep in mind that you're doing to your reader exactly what you're doing to your character, and your reader *really* wants to know what's going on here and might not enjoy being blind for the first paragraph.

As long as I'm being nitpicky, "there was a wild assortment" is not a the best way to introduce a wild assortment of characters. "A wild assortment of characters [verb]" might work better, because otherwise you're just showing us a still photograph. Movement doesn't cost anything in writing; it's only anime that needs to save money on drawings.

I got to the part where the main character chases a bit of a rabbit regarding how much he hates the media and how bad entertainment is (isn't this entertainment?), but at that point I kind of decided that, if you couldn't concentrate on the story, neither could I.

Try adding an extra space in between each paragraph when posting here, especially for longer excerpts (this one is like 4600 words, which is almost twice as long as my average scene, and everyone complains about the length of my scenes). Makes it easier to read.

Megatron840
January 2nd, 2012, 05:21 PM
So far, pretty good.

Jeko
January 3rd, 2012, 03:27 PM
Thanks for all the feedback.

This is actually two scenes which I put together (I wanted to do the complete chapter, rather than half of it). I might go over it and add paragraph spacing. 'Constant awareness' is intended to tell the reader that the character is too busy trying to absorb the images before him to get all emotional over things.

I included the entertainment commentary because it gives the character a link to his world. Otherwise, John is just a random human. But now, he is a human with opninion on his past, aware of his history, letting the reader see him better overall. It is concentrating on the story, because the narrative of Freelancer isn't linear. John is always building upon himself - past, present and future. I don't think that you have to stay completely focused on what you're talking about, because without changes in direction your story is just a line of events.

I'll go over it some time and fix up the errors. Problem is, I'm currently working on another project called Warzone, which I am much more excited about. Freelancer is being put on hold slightly (I'm working on it, but it isn't the centre of my attetntion). I'll post some more soon.

archer88iv
January 4th, 2012, 06:53 AM
John inhabits his world, so he is inherently connected to it. Perhaps it would be better to provide such a link for the reader? We do not share his context: we've not watched the same television shows or heard the same music or anything of the kind. We don't even know John all that well yet, so unless we join him in chorus in his complaint, there is little in that bit to draw us in.

I would suggest being a little more explicit. "Constant awareness" struck me as being vague enough to be impossible to interpret. Perhaps making the same point with a different set of symbols would be appropriate. "He felt worn down by a constant barrage of the new and unknown..." Something like that. More words aren't always bad.

Jeko
January 4th, 2012, 12:32 PM
I agree. At times I write things that have a meaning and purpose, but they are vague - hence, the meaning is lost. I'll rerally think about that in future. Thanks, archer88iv.

'a constant barrage of the new and unknown'; I love that. It has a feeling of power, yet also of intrigue.

More of John is exposed in later chapters. I'll look over the whole thing to see how much of history/how many connections I have written in. It's something I'm really considering at the moment; how much exposition I give charcters/concepts/anything else. I've written around half of the story, which comes to about 250 pages in total, which is why I keep wondering if I'm writing too much. But whenever I think about cutting bits off, I find that I can't, because they're important. I think I've just planned to write a massive story.

Jeko
January 4th, 2012, 01:16 PM
The extract is now spaced properly! That didn't actually take too long...

bazz cargo
January 4th, 2012, 10:20 PM
Hi Cadence,
I caught your 'lack of response' thread and decided to seek you out.
There is an awful lot of stuff out there and I only get to read a tiny fraction.

Freelancer is an interesting project. A good test-bed for all sorts of writing. Creating a complex, lived in universe, with fully rounded characters. A lot of it seems to be fairly standard: rebellion, boot camp, new friends, interesting species. How you blend them is the key to making the whole thing work.

Your MC is likeable, his journey from start to crisis point will capture a readers attention. There are still a few typo's, but don't go back and fix them yet. A story like this needs to be written, left to mature, then given three or four edits.

Some people will tell you to read a lot, it will help you to write. My own opinion is; write a lot, try different genres. Practice short stories, jokes, anecdotes, even poetry. Writing is like sport, the more you do, the fitter you get, and cross-pollination adds style.

See you round.
Bazz

Jeko
January 5th, 2012, 05:13 PM
Thanks Bazz.

The one thing I always worry about is my main character, because I never feel that I'm fleshing him out enough. It's a problem that's sourced from the way the galaxy of Freelancer (and all my other sci-fi stuff) is set; I created it with my brother. He would craft a fantastic character, and I would create things around him that were fantastic. Hence, I have much experience making plotlines and aliens and all that jazz, but I struggle to make a main character. Even now, with my new work-in-progress Warzone, I was only able to mould my main character with the help of my brother. It's one of the flaws I have that I'm working on.

And yes, Freelancer has been a perfect ground for experimentation while I've been writing it (250 pages/50,00o words so far). Generally, I'm losing interest in it because I feel that it lacks a sense of creativity; I feel I am just filling in my plot. I might try reading some accessable sci-fi to get me inspired.

bazz cargo
January 5th, 2012, 10:57 PM
Hi again,
On a long project like a book the MC usually starts off a bit bland and gains layers of experience. That is why the surrounding characters seem so much more interesting at first.

A book is a long haul. I have yet to start anything so large, I am still educating myself in spag. And hammering ideas together, seeing where I go. I have the urge, but not the tool-kit or the clarity of vision.

I tip my hat to you.

Have you tried Lois Mcmaster Bujold? Her Vorkosigan series.

Jeko
January 6th, 2012, 12:46 PM
I always thought it would be bad for a character to start bland. Maybe I'm doing better than I think I am...

The only issue with the length of Freelancer is, well, the length. I often lose track of things because there is so much going on, whether it's what I've written, what I am writing, or what I will write later. With my new project, I'm constantly inventing new ways to keep track of things, but Freelancer doesn't have that yet. It's overall quite intimidating.

Unfortunately, I have never even heard of Lois Mcmaster Bujold. Googling her, I see that she is an acclaimed fantasy and sci-fi author - I might try to find her in my local library. I haven't read any good sci-fi in months.

archer88iv
January 7th, 2012, 01:14 AM
Honestly, I don't think anything should ever be bland in fiction. That kind of thing is too good an excuse to shove in a bookmark and never take it out again. Of course, you can't start out with the reader knowing everything about a character, but if you have to pick one thing, don't let it be any kind of run-of-the-mill factoid.

Make it a question instead. Something the reader has to have answered.

marrow
January 7th, 2012, 04:40 AM
personally i think you have a good story. good job Cadence!

Jeko
January 7th, 2012, 01:55 PM
Make it a question instead. Something the reader has to have answered.

I think I have one of those; it's a mystery of his past, something he is troubled with and wants to forget, which is quite critical to the overall story of the Freelancer saga. It's given me a good foundation to work with, but now I've mostly exploited it completely, so I'm having to take him in new directions. I've got the sort to thing going where he is forced to enter a new world, but metaphorically (he doesn't change location, but everything feels different). He has to struggle with things a boy of his age shouldn't have to, and thus matures beyond his years. Is this too typical? It feels a bit basic.

Also, I'll put Chapter 2 up soon, or at least half of it. It's scaring me a little at the moment, what with the number of things that happens in it. The chapters of Freelancer have ended up being quite long...

lawrencewalls
January 11th, 2012, 03:43 AM
well, it took me two sittings to get through its length, but overall, this story has great potential. i commend you for taking on the task of creating a rich world for the reader to indulge themselves, its the calling card of a true storyteller.

Quandaryangel
January 11th, 2012, 06:25 PM
I really like it, hope to see more soon

QDOS
January 11th, 2012, 08:47 PM
Hi Cadence
Read and commented on your prologue. Having now read your first Chapter I see the depth of the challenge.
At this stage keep the flow, editing is the action to fill those spaces when creative spirit needs to take a rest.

QDOS :smile:

Jeko
January 12th, 2012, 02:35 PM
Thanks for all the comments. I'm thinking of not leaving Freelancer for now; I'm getting more ideas, and my mental block is crumbling under the pressure of a newfound resolve