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marrow
January 7th, 2012, 09:56 AM
(this story is a bit different from what i'm used to writing so hopefully ill get some good feedback)

Absently Kale Rolled the small piece of tattered grey thread between his thumb and finger. Grimacing at the sight of grey ash caked under his nails, he sighed, it was impossible to escape the ash. Sitting high atop a jagged mesa he could feel the electric flow of the rift strengthen suddenly. Its subtle vibration made the hair on his neck stand up with a surge of adrenaline. The wind howled in his ears as waves crashed against the cliffs below like some long forgotten god. Letting the thread fly off into the wind he looked at his digital watch, the numbers lit up in a pale blue light letting him know it was 10am. A black sea twisted and turned violently at his back as he scanned the vast barren wasteland before him. Years spent in Primal had made his senses sharp and his mind hard. Raising his nose to the sky he caught a hint of sulfur; Another player was entering.

Off into the distance a sudden electric crackle roiled through the air. Blue energy began to twist and turn in a chaotic dance like a cloud of fire collapsing in and out of itself. The rift began to gather the energy needed for the transport. Standing up Kale unsheathed his daggers. He felt the wind pull violently at his grey tattered cloak. Without hesitation he jumped from the narrow cliff. The wind roared in his ears as he plummeted towards the fire scarred wasteland hundreds of feet below. Just as the ground was fast approaching Kale felt weightless. Closing his eyes he drew into himself, this was the only time that he ever felt alive. His mind grabbed at the invisible electric current that flowed all around. Grasping them he weaved the energy tightly around himself like a cocoon. The energy felt peaceful as his mind brushed softly against it. His mind branched out in hundreds of tiny little fingers plucking the energy currents with the skill of a master musician. Instantly his momentum slowed. Pulling from his fall he landed with a jolt. An ashy plume erupted as he turned his momentum into a forward roll and sprinted towards the rift. He knew the other players would have seen the rift by now. Skillfully he Moved through the treacherous terrain, navigating ravins and jumping bottomless pits and crumbling shelves with ease.

The rift was just over the rise, its blue energy began to pulse signaling that it was just about finished. Rising over the top of a jagged shelf he spotted the rift below. With deceptive strength Kale leapt high into the air. Everything slowed down around him as it always did right before the kill. Light flakes of ash drifted past him as he sailed through the air, his body arching and both daggers raised.
Blue energy began to take form below its shape rapidly progressing into the head and body of a new player that smiled dumbly. It was obvious that he was feeling the surge of power that Primal offered rushing into him. Kale wanted that power, his body tightened like a spring.

Just as the player took full shape his smile turned to terror as he looked up into Kale's hardened eyes and saw his death.

Kale slammed the blades of both daggers deep into the players chest delivering a brutal killing blow. His momentum toppled them both over. With incredible agility Kale used his momentum to spring forward. Flipping into the air he wrenched his blades free.

A thick black shafted arrow slammed into the dead players body right where Kale would have been if he hadn't kept moving.

Looking over his shoulder he could see a gold level player glaring as he quickly loaded another arrow. Kale could feel the intoxicating rush of energy surge into him from the dead player. Quickly he turned and dove sideways avoiding the next arrow by mere inches. Sharpening his mind like a blade Kale severed the energy around the gold player and quickly began manipulating the flow.

The gold player seeing that Kale wore only a grey cloak threw aside his bow and drew a wicked looking scimitar.

Still in a ready crouch Kale looked up at the oncoming gold with a wolfish smile, “Fuck your an ugly bastard.”

The gold laughed mercilessly as he stalked closer, “you should watch your mouth grey.” He stepped forward, twisting powerfully to deliver a viscous thrust that would have impaled him if Kale had actually been crouching there.

The gold stopped suddenly as he felt Kales hot breath on the nape of his neck. One dagger placed against his back as the other snaked around to rest its razor's edge against his neck. “your dead,” Kale whispered softly.

“wait,” the gold said in a shaken voice.

Kale stayed his hand for a moment.

Unable to move and knowing his death was immanent the gold asked, “who are you.” He tried to turn but Kales knife cut into his neck. Frustrated the gold whimpered, “your the trickster aren’t you.”

Laughing with cold humor Kale put his mouth close to the golds ear. “That's a lie.”

The gold stiffened at Kale's cold reply, “then who are you?”

With a little pressure from his knives he pulled the gold closer, embracing him. “I'm Death.” With a quick jerk he released his embrace letting the gold fall to the ground in a lifeless heap. Both players bodies suddenly expired into a burst of energy that left nothing but a scorched spot in the already burnt earth and another pile of ash to add to the rest of the ash that littered Primal. "A grey world indeed," Kale whispered softly.

j.w.olson
January 7th, 2012, 08:21 PM
Interesting. I usually don't go for pieces that are just action, but this one does have some interesting concepts beneath the surface. The whole time I was hoping to find out whether this was just a virtual reality type of game, or whether it was an actual death match fight. I could very easily see it being written within the world of the game "Unreal Tournament," where fighters actually fight, actually die, but are brought back to life in new bodies each time. A bloody spectator sport.

That said, I found it a little too shallow for my tastes in the end. The main character doesn't really have much conflict -- he's a great fighter, he knows he's a great fighter, and even though there is a relatively even challenger at one point, he still only proves that he's a great fighter. No inner conflict, no turmoil, and not a very novel external conflict.

That said, it did keep my attention nicely, and wasn't drawn out too long. Well done!

I found a lot of typos, and the teacher in me couldn't help but copy a lot of them down. Let me know if you have any more specific questions or areas you want feedback on.

----

Rolled = rolled

A black sea twisted and turned violently at his back --- from the description, I could have sworn he was sitting on a cliff facing the sea (and apparently fly fishing?).

Raising his nose to the sky he caught a hint of sulfur --- I want this to have a comma after the word "sky", but I'm not sure if that's just my preference.

Standing up Kale unsheathed his daggers. --- I definitely want a comma after "up" in this one.

Closing his eyes he drew into himself, this was the only time that he ever felt alive. --- comma after eyes, semicolon after himself.

Grasping them = grasping it

hundreds of tiny little fingers = redundant. get rid of "tiny" and/or "little"

Pulling from his fall he landed with a jolt = Pulling from his fall, he landed with a jolt (I'm not going to point out lacking commas anymore, but ... I'm a comma person. The lack is bothering some deep and central part of my being.)

Skillfully he Moved = Skillfully he moved

navigating ravins --- ravin and ravine are very different words

The rift was just over the rise, its blue energy began to pulse signaling that it was just about finished. --- comma splice (run-on sentence). Use a semi-colon, transition word, or period.

Blue energy began to take form below its shape rapidly progressing into the head and body of a new player that smiled dumbly. --- Okay, I will point out the lacking comma after the word "below" as it is necessary for easy parsing of this sentence. Otherwise I assume that the energy is taking form "below its shape."

deep into the players chest = deep into the player's chest

into the dead players body = into the dead player's body

wolfish smile, “Fuck your an ugly bastard.” = wolfish smile. “Fuck you're an ugly bastard.”

as he stalked closer, “you should watch your mouth grey.” = as he stalked closer. “You should watch your mouth, grey.”

viscous --- a very different word than vicious

as he felt Kales = as he felt Kale's

“your dead,” = “You're dead,”

“wait,” = “Wait,”

“who are you.” = “Who are you?”

but Kales knife = but Kale's knife

“your the trickster aren’t you.” = “You're the trickster, aren’t you?”

close to the golds ear = close to the gold's ear

at Kale's cold reply, “then who are you?” = at Kale's cold reply. “Then who are you?”

Both players bodies = Both players' bodies

Kevin
January 7th, 2012, 08:47 PM
He was ontop of a cliff. There were waves crashing into the cliffs below him. A black sea at his back. That means he's looking away from the ocean. Then, he's gazing out at a wasteland from a "narrow cliff." What's a narrow cliff? I'm not following the scenery here. Is there an ocean at the bottom of the cliffs or what. All the cliffs I've ever been looking down from are either level or hilly terrain on top, with a sharp, verticle, escarpment dropping off on one side. Is he on a mesa? There's water/sea below, yet when he jumps off he lands on the vast wasteland...I'm sure you'll be able to clear it all up.

"F**k__ your an ugly bastard"...shouldn't there be either an ! or at least a , after F***?

marrow
January 7th, 2012, 11:34 PM
Thank you for the feed back. im sorry i did not clarify that this is in fact a rough draft and i was really wanting feedback on if the idea was good enough to go with. again thank you for taking the time to respond :)

marrow
January 7th, 2012, 11:38 PM
i think the direction i wanted to go with the MC as far as depth isn't the combat part but more situational. maybe despite his fighting prowess he was stuck in a situation that he could not fight out of or something more internal.

marrow
January 7th, 2012, 11:46 PM
yeah i was thinking of it more like a mesa but i wasnt sure people would understand the word mesa so i put cliff instead. i wanted the the setting to be almost like a canyon type of landscape with an ocean at his back.

Jeko
January 8th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Once again, you excite me Marrow. A great introduction to a strange but enthralling world.


Absently Kale Rolled the small piece of tattered grey thread between his thumb and finger.

I read this, feeling a solemn power in the line, but only near the end. 'Absently' doesn't quite come in with the punchyness I am used to from you, which was slightly disappointing. Also, 'Rolled' should not be capitalised.


Blue energy began to twist and turn in a chaotic dance like a cloud of fire collapsing in and out of itself.

Didn't really get this image. A chaotic dance entails multiple parts changing rapidly, but the cloud of fire seems to be one object. It seems to contradict. Lovely images, though.


Skillfully he Moved through the treacherous terrain, navigating ravins and jumping bottomless pits and crumbling shelves with ease

'Moved should be 'moved', but my problem with this is the use of verbs. He is 'navigating' the ravins (ravines? Or a word unique to your world?). He is also 'jumping' the bottomless pits. Is he also 'crumbling' the shelves? I know he's jumping them, but it read a bit weirdly for me.


The rift was just over the rise, its blue energy began to pulse signaling that it was just about finished. Rising over the top of a jagged shelf he spotted the rift below.

You describe the rift, and then he spots it? I would mould these two sentences into one: 'Rising over the top of a jagged shelf he spotted the rift below, just over the rise, its blue energy began to pulse signaling that it was just about finished.'


“**** your an ugly bastard."

Ouch. I used to have respect for this guy - he was a dark, badass, cool, skillful guy with daggers and agility I would only dream of. Could you convey a vicious character without the swearing?


With a little pressure from his knives he pulled the gold closer, embracing him. “I'm Death.” With a quick jerk he released his embrace letting the gold fall to the ground in a lifeless heap.

Two sentences that start with 'with' here. It softens the effect of the dramatic actions. Also, you mention the action 'embrace' twice. It has the same issue with lessening the power of your words.


“who are you.”

It's a question. Needs a question mark.


“your the trickster aren’t you.”

This line is really falling apart; 'your' should be 'You're'. I think if 'Death' is capitalised then 'Trickster' should be too. A comma after 'Trickster' would be useful, as would a question mark at the end.

'You're the Trickster, aren't you?'


"A grey world indeed," Kale whispered softly.

If this is the end of this section, an ellipsis would be quite useful, or at least a full stop. A comma tells me that he's going to say something else, which he doesn't.


I might be repeating other people, but that's because I don't read other peoples' views until I've made my own, to remain impartial while commenting. Good job, Marrow. This world has my attention for sure.

Higurro
January 8th, 2012, 02:43 PM
This is interesting. I found the introduction to the character, toying with a piece of grey thread, rather captivating, but the premise seems to get a little thin after that. I appreciate the grammatical and spelling errors are a product of rough-draft, so I won't insult you by pointing them out again. I was really waiting to find a little more about the main character during this. One way of deciding whether this passage is compelling enough is to imagine what the character's diary might look like for the day. If it was just, "Played death-match again; everyone else is rubbish so I won easily. I'm awesome!" then that's probably not enough. I apologise if that seems patronising, and I assure you it's not meant to, but there seems to be a lack of motive, or tension, or conflict, which is slightly at odds with the setting of a death match type thing. Some of the phrasing towards the middle of the piece seemed a bit awkward and hampered the fast pace.

Naturally, I don't know what you're intending for the plot and character, but to me it would have been more interesting if, having shown such bravado and skill, Kale was bested by the gold player instead, or something happened to challenge his own image of himself. That said, this isn't a bad start at all, and could be polished easily. I don't want to attach too much importance to the plot here, as this is both quite short and quite fast-paced, so perhaps Kale's conflict or drive is explored in a following passage.

Grape Juice Vampire
January 10th, 2012, 03:51 AM
This is interesting though i am not quite sure I grasp the whole point of it. What are the players exactly? Is this a hunting ground of some sort? I may just be over thinking it, but those were my thoughts. Anyway for a rough draft it is decent, and i say keep fiddling with it.

mightyblues78
January 10th, 2012, 03:39 PM
Hi marrow,

As an opening structure, I would have preferred to see a little more scene-setting and introductory prose regarding Kale before launching into the action. It felt like this section could have been quite easily spread over a couple of chapters. We know that Kale is wearing a tattered, grey cloak, but what else? What is his physical appearance? His surroundings could have been described in more detail It seems to me that the first paragraph itself could have formed the first chapter, ending with "Another player was entering"; but then maybe that's just me. I'm aware this is a rough draft, and you wouldn't want to paste pages upon pages of text to the forum, so if you feel that I'm stating the obvious then I apologise!

Taking your extract as a premise, it certainly is an interesting construct; the idea being that you could take the reader in any one of several directions regarding the basis for this 'World'.

In summary: A nice idea in principle that feels like it could easily be fleshed out. I'm intrigued to see where this would go, and surely that's what every writer is looking for, am I right?

lawrencewalls
January 11th, 2012, 03:30 AM
aside from some grammatical errors, and some confusion in setting the scene, it grabbed me immediately! some might not like jumping right into the action, but i personally like a little blood in my first few pages. Like others have said, im not sure exactly whats going on as far as the "players" are concerned {is it a bloodsport? a VR thing? just how they pass time in this world they inhabit?) if you make this into a longer story, i'd hash out those details. otherwise, great rough draft! could idea, from what i could make of it.

cactuskitty
January 16th, 2012, 10:57 PM
i've enjoyed all your writing.

LaughinJim
January 17th, 2012, 05:34 PM
Good stuff. The action kept me in the story even though the typos, capitalization, punctuation and grammatical errors were driving me away. I wanted to care more about the protagonist, but I'm sure that would come soon if there were more to read. I especially liked the way you left key things out: the nature of the game that was being played, the relationships between the different rankings of players, a very sparse description of his shielding for the leap, and I am sure there are others. You do that very well. I hope that a central conflict develops somehow because where you left off, the grey fighter is invulnerable. That's pretty boring. Heroes and anti-heroes need foils. It humanizes them to help the reader relate.

I was very disappointed to see that it might be derivative of a video game called Unreal Tournament. Is this true? If so, you should probably start making up your own stuff.

Jeko
January 17th, 2012, 05:48 PM
I'd be happy if someone was using Unreal Tournament. It doesn't get noticed enough nowadays.

The Jaded
January 18th, 2012, 04:32 AM
All right. Let's start with what this does well - set a scene, paint a picture. I had no trouble visualizing anything you put forward here.

There were a few typo-level things wrong with it, but that's been covered. My major concern is not the ambiguity (Is this a virtual reality? Some sort of meta-existence?), that seems to hold itself well. What I am concerned about is that there isn't once where the end is in doubt. The MC wins, yes, but if it doesn't even look like a challenge why was this particular set of moments any more worthwhile to observe than any other in the existence of gray ash?

There were three places (or more, I counted at least three) where I stopped at the end of a sentence and said in my head "Okay, here's where the wrench gets thrown in. Here's where things stop being routine." But each time, nothing. No complications. To be honest, that was rather a letdown.

If you're using this to set the scene for further story-telling in this vein, where your readers need to know about your MC to get context, then it might work well, but as a standalone it's a little flat, in that it lacks serious rising action and is more than a little anticlimactic. I expected someone to put up a fight, and it just really never materialized.

That's my thoughts, anyway. Hope that helps.

marrow
January 18th, 2012, 06:01 PM
i want to thank everyone for taking the time to read and respond to my excerpt. First i want to say that the setting is not unreal tournament. What i want to do is make a world that mixes fantasy and our world in a way that seems real. The biggest struggle that the MC will face is a situation that he cannot get out of no matter how powerful he is. There will be characters in the world that are more powerful than the MC such as the the game designers and a character that i like to call Doc. Anyways the story is set in the future and the game is a little bit of a mystery on how it works. The game is actually designed as a punishment for people who have committed a crime of some sort. The severity of the crime tells how long they will be in Primal. the game is a way for prison to make a whole lot of money in the entertainment world. The problem with the MC is that the crime he committed was against the game designer who has taken it personally and has put him in Primal and erased all his info so he has been stuck in Primal for years. Anyways that is a very simplified version of my outline i hope that answers some of the questions. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions or further questions.

RedSky
March 14th, 2012, 07:41 PM
This is pretty good and I like the writing style of it.

FastChapter
March 17th, 2012, 02:52 AM
Since the grammatical and spelling errors have already been listed, I thought I'd jump into the meat of what I liked and what made me stumble.

I thoroughly enjoyed the momentum you built with Kale from the start. There was a clear, no-nonsense goal and he knew right off the bat that he wanted it. Strangely enough, I liked that I didn't know why he wanted or possibly needed to attempt this kill. Additionally I enjoyed not having a clear view of the setting or any real knowledge other than this was a game and these were its players. It adds a level of mystery that makes short stories so enjoyable. Science fiction has a tendency to die on the operating table if it spends too much time being dissected. High marks for that!

While the spelling and grammar bits did give me pause, my main concern is that the intro to the world may have been a bit too wordy. You spent a good amount of time setting up Kale's personality for us, but it seemed redundant when you consider we learn a lot of what you explained just by being spectators to his actions. I'd suggest dedicating a bit more page space to what Kale is doing on the way to the new player and in his encounter with the gold player. Try throwing us into the story just as Kale detects the rift and sets off after the new player and see if that helps it along. It'll definitely give the story more forward momentum right from the start!

Overall, definitely an enjoyable short. I look forward to seeing more!

marrow
March 31st, 2012, 11:50 PM
i think that you are right fast about being redundant in the beginning. i will go back and see how i can redo some of the beginning. thanx for reading.

lowprofile300
April 15th, 2012, 09:09 PM
A great piece, and excellent attention to detail in terms of your description. I am just curious, was the concept from a particular First Person Shooter game? I am quite a gamer myself:orange: