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Canis
February 6th, 2012, 08:22 AM
Jax had a fleeting glimpse of the material plane before he was cast bodily into Hell. After that glimpse, there was only darkness.

Jax felt himself falling, as if from a great height, and sensed a roaring heat below him, cooking him like a lamb on a spit. As Jax slowly burned, he saw, by the light of the fire, his body blacken and bloat like a corpse in the sun. Soon, horrid winged creatures like twisted children attacked him and began to feed on his rotting flesh.

As Jax fell farther into Hell, the voice of Asmodeus became louder and louder, promising an eternity of pain and torment. The might of the god's voice overwhelmed Jax as first his ears, then his eyes, burst. Jax tried to scream out but his tongue became thousands of maggots which filled his mouth and nostrils, choking him. The maggots slithered down his throat transforming into flesh eating beetles that began devouring him from the inside.

Jax knew that his torment would be everlasting and begged for unconsciousness. Soon, however, the fire beneath him began to diminish and the anguish of the scavenger’s hungry maws left his body. First his hearing was restored, then his sight. Jax found himself, not in a realm of fire and darkness, but in a place of nothingness, as far as the eye could see.

Then, out of the gloom, came a voice saying, "Your time is not yet come, my son. There is still work yet to be done. I will free you from this torment if you but swear fealty to me."

Jax was startled by the voice, his own voice catching in his throat. After some time, perhaps seconds, perhaps minutes, Jax finally spoke, "I'll do whatever it is you wish of me."

The voice began to chant in a language foreign to Jax. Soon the voice ceased chanting and said, “My son, my servant, my right hand, you shall be reborn as an agent of my divine justice. For your sins, you were cast into Hell, a just punishment for a life spent in service to the Lord of the Nine. In the end, however, you were filled with sorrow, not for yourself, but for those you have harmed. Your penitence has spared you from eternal punishment, for the time being. Though you have escaped the fires of Hell, you shall be marked in your second life by Hell’s flames.”

As the voice finished speaking, Jax erupted in white flame. The pain forced Jax into unconsciousness. When he came to, he remembered nothing of his former life or of his time in the afterlife. All Jax knew was that he was naked in a city full of dwarves, ready to kill the demon that had appeared in flame in their midst.

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I'm looking for critiques on style, content, grammar, etc. I'd also like to know whether or not my writing is good. Thanks in advice. Cheers.

MistressM
February 7th, 2012, 08:06 AM
I really loved how as soon as I read the first sentence, I just wanted to keep reading! I find it so much of a letdown if stories just begin with something like "Once upon a time" or similar.
And I think the whole idea was creative and good too. Many people would have him miraculously survive the fall, which could have turned into such a big cliche... But you avoided that and it was great!
But I think his transition from being in Hell to being reborn was a bit sudden. Try being a bit more descriptive. eg: Instead of "As the voice finished speaking, Jax erupted in white flame. The pain forced Jax into unconsciousness"
"After conveying this message, the voice faded into the silence. For a few moments, Jax felt nothing. He was just starting to wonder if he had, merely out of desire, imagined the voice that had promised him his wish. Without warning, with brutal suddenness, he erupted into a ball of blinding white flame. He briefly felt the heat searing every part of his body, devouring him, reducing him to a pile of ash... Through his charred lips, he smiled as he embraced the welcoming darkness."
Then you can start a new paragraph, and then talk about how he was reborn, and maybe give a bit more information about his task and what he's supposed to do.
Overall, excellent!

Jeko
February 7th, 2012, 06:02 PM
Sensational writing. The imagery is vivid, and the pacing is fluid and fast. You don't waste words, but instead you squeeze all the juice out of them.


Niggles:

I did feel that the rebirth was a bit rushed. From a distance, I can't see much, which means that little of it can be used in the future for plot or examination from the reader. I'd extend the scene to incorporate more detail on his return to the world.


"I'll do whatever you ask if you get me out of this place!" Jax screamed.

His style and syntax don't really match his circumstances. I can't imagine anyone screaming those words - they feel a bit robotic. Surrounded by a vague but already brilliant world, this dialogue feels out of place. How about...

"I'll do whatever you ask!" Jax screamed. "Just get me out of this place!"


Soon the might of the god's voice overwhelmed Jax as first his ears, then his eyes burst.

I think there should be a comma after 'eyes'. Might just be me, though. I'm a bit addicted to commas...

Nevermore
February 8th, 2012, 03:30 AM
Your style of writing is very interesting, and you can set a scene incredibly well. However, you could really make the story flow better, transition form one line to the next in a better manner. Perhaps rewrite some of Jax's thoughts?

Canis
February 8th, 2012, 07:07 AM
First off, thanks for the reviews, it brightens my day. Second, thanks so much for the critiques, I am planning on rewriting this a bit to fix the grammatical errors, try to flesh out the story a bit, and attempt to add some transitions, which are my weak spot when it comes to writing.

Once again, thank you all so much.

Nexel
February 11th, 2012, 01:04 AM
That was great! And it was refreshing to see you didn't fall into the increasingly popular trend of making God the antagonist ;) seriously though, your writing style is one that I could easily find myself becoming addicted to, it flowed well and kept me engaged and I can't help but compare it to that of Orson Scott Card, not in manner, but in that I felt completely sucked in and I didn't even notice that I was reading, it was more like the story was unfolding and I was just watching it.

One thing though:

For your sins, you were cast into Hell, a just punishment for a life spent in service to the Lord of the Nine
I'm sorry, I just didn't get that. To me, it sounded like being thrust into hell was a just punishment for a person who spent his life in service to Lord. After reading it again, I noticed the phrase after, "of the Nine". I don't think I really understood the title. I'm not saying this is a correction that needs to be made, because apparently I'm the only one who read this who didn't catch the reference, but just for my sake, what does the title "Lord of the Nine" mean? I'm assuming it's a reference to the Nine Rings of Hell? Regardless, your story was great, I really enjoyed it!

Canis
February 11th, 2012, 01:08 AM
Asmodeus, Duke of the Nine Hells, also called the Lord of the Nine Hells. It's a D&D reference.

Thanks for the review though, check back in a couple days and I should have the story smoothed out a bit and perhaps an addition to the story. Cheers

bazz cargo
February 11th, 2012, 07:46 PM
Hi Canis,
great start. Nicely judged feel to the narration. Very visual.

Five out of eight paragraphs have Jax in the first two words.

I don't have the skill to comment on punctuation but... I think some commas could be left out.

This has engaged my curiosity. Now I want to know more.

Canis
February 11th, 2012, 08:17 PM
@Buzz: I do overuse the name, I will admit. I've just always been irked by one mention of a character's name, then nothing but he afterwards. I don't know why but it bugs me.

I have the world Jax inhabits pretty well fleshed out at this point, I just have to find Jax a place to call his own, so to speak. I've actually been rolling around the idea of trying to advance the stories of Jax and the Marshal, at the same time, because I have a lot invested in my characters.

FrameOfDust
February 12th, 2012, 07:24 PM
I enjoyed this. The primary thing I would say is that it should be longer, more detailed. I found myself wanting to know more. A point I would like to make ( this is something I have been telling myself all morning while editting some of my writing) is 'less is more'. I don't think there is too much of a problem with this, but I find it a good excersize to re read my stuff, looking for words, or phrases, not neccessary and eliminating, or augmenting, them. It makes the whole piece feel tighter. All in all, good stuff.