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Yukinara
March 13th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Hi guys, this is my first novel. I just need some feedback and critique. Just tell me what you like/dislike and how to make it better :) I'm an ESL student, English is not my 1st language. I know my own limitation, that's why I'm here, asking for help.
This is the prologue. Feel free to tear it down and tell me what you think. I can take critism very well and I appreciate every single feedback. If you say it's garbage, I won't be offended because, chances are, it will be garbage to other people too. I love my work but it need to be fixed where it's broken.

Fallen Empire
What would one do if one controlled the galaxy?

A long time ago, on planet Turion-9, resided an intergalactic empire. The head of this empire, Emperor Kraus, was a strong and powerful man. He had unified many planets in the galaxy under his rule. In his time, there was no equal in terms of power and wealth.

But all would be happier if he were a good emperor.

People say that the thirst for power is something not easy to satisfy. A dictator he was, and Kraus preferred to use force to control the country and its people. After many years under his ruthless regime, the people were outraged and wanted to dethrone him. An opportunity finally came when his good friend decided to join them.

That night was to be like any other night, peaceful—until the whole palace was shaken by the sound of explosion.

And people screaming.

Thousands of soldiers were marching to the palace to remove the emperor from his position. Inside, two men stood facing each other. Each of them had a fierce look on his face; the kind of look only a person who went to the battlefield countless times in his life could know.

“So, even you betray me now?” said Kraus. “And I thought you were the last person I could trust in the whole galaxy.”

“No, I have not,” said the other. He was Rosas, the High General in charge of the army of Turion-9, and a close friend of Kraus from the old times. “You have betrayed yourself. I’m always your comrade. Why such a ruthless leader, Kraus? Do you not remember what we vowed in the past? We sought to erase war and bring peace to the people. But look at what you have done. You made our people suffer, and now they do not want you anymore.”

“That is the only way one can achieve peace, Rosas. The citizen just needs to obey and follow the leader. Only by that we can truly live in peace,” said Kraus.
“That is not what they want! There is no peace without freedom.”

“That kind of freedom brings only madness! Do you not remember what happened before? I for one will not allow such a mistake again!”

“Then,” Rosas bowed sadly, “there is no point to this conversation. If I cannot make you understand, I will bring you down myself.” Grimacing, Rosas pulled his weapon.

“Good! Good!” the Emperor laughed. “It has been such a long time since we sparred with each other, Rosas! Let’s see if we can make it like the old times or not.” Unleashing his sword, Krause prepared for the fight.
The Emperor rushed forward and attacked Rosas, his sword glowing, legendary. The sound of two weapons clashed against each other and echoed in the empty palace. Most of Klaus’s personal guards were already dispatched to fight against the Coup d’état force, and no one would guess that his own great general was also a part of it.

The Emperor fought fiercely. Even after so many years, he was still the kind of person one couldn’t take down easily. He slashed, his sword creating an air strike before his opponent.
“Aeris illisus.”

The air blasted directly to the front of the general. He was fast enough to deploy his force shield, but it still pushed him several feet away from his enemy.

“Looks like you are still a tough guy,” Rosas recovered. “So like the past. I will have to use everything I have here.”

“Ha ha! Who told you to hold back on me? Just because I’m Emperor doesn’t mean I’m weak!”

Rosas concentrated his power into the weapon. He unleashed another attack to his foe.

“Flamma illisus.”

A huge fire ball hurled toward the emperor. Kraus jumped up and dodged it at the last second. The fire ball flew to the back of the room and punched through the wall.

Rosas dashed at the emperor, who was still in mid-air. Kraus knew for a fact that there was nothing he could do while in the air except land—easy, open territory for his enemy. As a result, his right arm fell, chopped off by Rosas, and Kraus fell, but steady on his feet. Although still a powerful opponent, Kraus knew his power had decreased significantly since he began his reign as emperor. On the other hand, Rosas trained daily; the army keeps a man in good shape.

“Surrender now, Kraus. We can still do it all over again,” offered Rosas as he pointed his sword into Kraus’s chest.

“Ha! You think you’ve won?” Kraus spewed. “No, my friend. As long as my heir is still alive, as long as someone who may continue my throne is out there, my empire will live forever. And I, too, will live forever!”
As his bellow echoed, Kraus plunged toward Rosas, the Emperor’s last attempt to bring down his general. “Together, we die!”

But Rosas’s sword pierced his chest as his own blade went wide. Falling into the arms of his friend, Klaus could no longer say anything.

“I am sorry, my truest friend. We will meet again,” Rosas murmured, grief-stricken but resolute. The emperor heaved his last breath. The palace burned around them, the general winded, the Emperor lifeless.
A solder rushed inside; he could see his general standing there alone, next to the lifeless body of the emperor.

“Sir, we have the royal family with the prince here,” the man reported.
Not saying anything, Rosas just stood there; a deep silence reigned between the two.
“Sir?”
Letting out a sigh, the great general finally opened his mouth. “Lieutenant, we have gone this far. We can’t afford to have the next generation pay for our mistake today. You know what to do, right?”
“Yes sir.”
“Good, make sure that none of them is left. May God forgive our sin.”
* * * * * * *
On the other side of the palace, a young woman held a baby in her arms and rushed toward an escape shuttle. Fighting her way through the Coup d’état troops, she sustained serious injuries. But she would not stop. The shuttle took off, only to be pursued by a group of fighters. These had been from the Royal air force, but now they had become part of the Coup d’état.

Is this the end? The woman thought as she tried to pull the ship away from the squadron. Such a shuttle was nowhere near as nimble and agile as theirs. Her ship took a few hits in the process.
Suddenly, from up ahead, a cone of missiles swirled past the shuttle. The woman’s head spun as she watched the streaks pass her shuttle and destroy all of the pursuing fighters.
A lone Royal battle cruiser appeared in front of the shuttle. “Unidentified shuttle, what is your course?”

“To the captain of this ship, can you hear me?” answered the woman, “I have my baby with me.”
“Yes, I can hear you. Is the baby safe?”
“Yes. Let me dock onto your ship.”
“No, I can’t do that. That is, it would not be safe for both of you. This ship has already taken much damage. We cannot go very far. I will, however, stay back to block the enemy force.” The voice crackled once, then came back low and resolute. “Please, bring your child to a safe place.”
Hesitating only a moment, the woman replied, “Thank you, Commander. Good luck.”
“Please go as fast as possible. This is all I can do for you now.” The transmissions crackled then went silent.

The woman held the shuttle control firmly and prayed, “Anywhere… anywhere is fine, as long as I can get him out of this place.”
Trusting the power and momentary protection of the Royal cruiser, she punched the drive to send the shuttle into maximum speed, unsure of her destination, except that it would be far, far away.
Waking from a brief time-swirl, she saw the ship’s clock: 10 minutes since she last spoke. Ahead in the fore-window approached a green planet. The shuttle’s stabilizing fins began to fall apart, having just survived the damage it took from the fighters.

She winced. Her injury, too, had gotten worse.
“Just a little bit more. God, please, give me a little bit more time,” she prayed.
Even as she muttered the words, the space shuttle dropped through the atmosphere to the ground. This was a truly beautiful planet—as if she had time to enjoy scenery. The ship roughly landed on the shore of what looked to be a sea.
“Quick, I must find help as soon as possible.”

The words were loud in her head, but her body could go on no longer. She had already lost blood, she knew. As the woman stumbled to her feet, she staggered back to the cargo hold and gave the little child a final look.
“I’m so sorry, my lord. This is my limit. I can’t go on anymore.” Her final words were all but drowned out by the rush of salt surf just outside the ship’s hull.
Blackness descended on the woman, even as the sun was just rising on the southern horizon. She lay as close to the baby as she could, her final gift the heat from her expiring body. The child slept soundly, content in the warmth of her last breath, as unaware of what had gone before as he was of what was yet to come.

bazz cargo
March 13th, 2012, 11:31 PM
Hello Yukinara,
Before I get too involved in this, are you an English as Second Language student?

There is a richness of ideas here. The spelling is excellent and the punctuation is better than mine.

On the down side it reads in a rather stilted style. Almost like you are trying to write a high adventure, sci fi, space opera in a mediaeval romance tone. I'm not sure it will find many enthusiastic readers.


A long time ago, on planet Turion-9, resided an intergalactic empire.
A long time ago a mighty Emperor ruled an intergalactic empire from a magnificent city on the planet Turion-9.
This does remind me of the beginning of Star Wars.

What age group are you aiming for?

Also when posting stuff it pays to break up the text into bite sized chunks, it is less daunting to read and easier to spot errors. There is a useful link in my signature. It has some helpful hints and tips.

I liked what I read, I'm not sure it is up to publishing standards yet.
Onwards and upwards.
Bazz

Yukinara
March 14th, 2012, 12:04 AM
Hi Bazz, thanks for your feedback. Yes, I'm an ESL student, English is my second language. That is not how I usually write. My writing tone is much more casual and modern. Because I want to hook the reader so I asked my editor to help me with the writing tone of the prologue and he was kinda into medieval stuffs. I was pretty clueless at that time, I can't say I'm much better now, but when I look back, the prologue's tone is different from the rest of the book.

I'm aiming for young adult group. Age 15 and up. There is a little romance here, some intense, but not too bloody fighting scene.

Thanks for your advice, I will cut it down to smaller size.

Just made a little update in the first post

Yukinara
March 14th, 2012, 12:15 AM
The first section of chapter 1

Chapter 1: Masters

Every time I closed my eyes, the universe appeared in front of me. I sensed the vast space, the twinkle stars and the coldness. Looking at the universe is like looking at the depth of my soul.

A boy lay on his bed with his eyes closed, deep in thought. It was another day he dreamed about the stars and the galaxy, a place he wanted to explore someday. The alarm clock went off next to his bed. Reaching his hand out to turn it off, he couldn’t help but think that another day had started.

“Morning already? I guess I will stay in bed a little more before my masters call me,” he said to himself while turning over. “Wait a minute; what’s this?”

His hand had touched something really soft. Trying to open his tired eyes, he knew that he was not alone on this tiny bed. Lying next to him was the familiar figure of a young woman. She had short black hair, and her skin was white and soft to the touch. Now the boy knew the “soft object” he felt just a minute ago. He had placed his palm on her body. Shocked, he withdrew it immediately.
“Wh…wh…what are you doing here, Master? Why are you on my bed?”

The young woman opened her brown eyes. They looked so dreamy in the morning light. Her gaze was alluring. Small pink lips, fair skin, and a body which every man dreamt about; needless to say, the scene could easily make anyone fluster. She leaned over to his side, placed her arm over his shoulder, and whispered softly to his ears.
“Oh, you woke up already? And I thought that I would come to wake you up.”

“It didn’t look like you were trying to do that at all,” the boy replied.
“It was because you slept so soundly. I didn’t have the heart to pull you out of whatever you were dreaming about.”
“I think that totally defeated the whole purpose of coming here in the first place. Why are you on my bed? It’s cramped here.”
“I didn’t want to stand there and wait, so I joined you in your dream. You used to cling to me tightly every time you slept, remember?”
“That was more than ten years ago. It’s different now. I have my own room and would like some privacy.”
The young woman frowned. That line seemed to hurt her.

BAM!
Their conversation was cut short. Pushing her way through the door, another young woman appeared. She had long, curly golden hair. With round face and big eyes, she was also a beauty.
“Hey, Freya, I told you to wake him up, not play around with him,” said the young woman.

“Come on, Diana. He looked so cute while sleeping, so I thought I would join him.” Freya turned her face and stuck out her tongue playfully.
“Next time I will do this myself. I won’t ask you anymore,” Diana sighed. She smiled at the boy. “Breakfast is ready. Let’s finish it and go out for morning practice.”
He jumped out of bed. Her smile alone lightened his mood and gave him enough energy to run around all day. He always felt so warm when he was with her.
Stepping out of the room, Diana mouthed to Freya, “And if you are not hurry, there will be nothing left for you.”
“Hey, wait for me!” she immediately jumped out of the bed.
Missing breakfast was the last thing anyone wanted because of the heavy work and practice. And that was another “normal” morning in this household.

It had been sixteen years since he arrived on this planet, Pisca-3. His masters discovered him one day in a damaged space shuttle, and he had been living with them until now. Because they didn’t know his real name, they named him Kai. That sparked a little argument amongst them, since everyone came up with a different name. In the end, that name was more appropriate because it was short and easy to remember. Since then, he had been under Freya and Diana’s care.
Pisca-3 was a small and beautiful planet covered mostly by a vast ocean. There were many big and small islands scattered all over the planet. Most of the time, people could travel around by sea or air. Kai lived with his masters on a small island covered by trees and isolated from the big communities. They usually traveled to a nearby island that had a bigger community to get food and necessities.
The life here was slow and peaceful. Their house was located near the center of the island, surrounded by the woodland. Whenever Kai felt bored, he just took a little walk outside. The fresh air helped clear his mind. There were not many animals here, and the majority of them were pretty friendly. Visiting the beach was also one of his hobbies. The crystal clear water and white sand made a perfect place for a morning stroll.
“Ahhh, the morning is so refreshing!” Kai said as he stretched in the back yard.

His body was pretty well-built, thanks to all the hard work here. With short spiky hair and black eyes, he was not exceptionally handsome, but his masters commented that he looked cuter than most men they knew. His master, Diana, stood next to him. Her long golden hair shone in the morning light. There were only two words that Kai could use to describe her: gentle and motherly. Knowing about his adoption from early days, he had no idea about his mother, but he could guess that a real one should have all of the qualities like Diana. She was the only one here who could make a decent meal. Every time he was sick, Diana stayed with him all night to make sure that he was okay, even if it was something as small as a cold. Today she put on a short white dress with long sleeves. Her hair was tied up neatly, but she still looked gorgeous in the morning light

“What are we going to do today?” he asked
“We will continue focusing on internal energy,” said Diana. “You need to master the technique I taught you last time, and after that we will go to the forest to gather some materials.”
In this galaxy, all living beings were governed by a special internal energy. Many people could easily manipulate their energy at ease, while the others couldn’t. It took a lot of practice and patience to master one’s own energy. Since the early days, Kai’s masters had taught him different ways to control his energy, but he wasn’t really interested in them. He was smart and a fast learner, but only if he paid more attention. In his mind, there was no point in learning all of those since he spent most of his life on a small isolated island.

“Okay, let’s start! Aeris Scutum.” Kai mumbled.
A blue bee hive, almost transparent barrier, erected between him and Diana.
“Good! You know how to make the shield, but let’s see if it can withstand any attack. Sanctus Impetus.”
A white-blue energy spear appeared above her shoulder, and she pointed her finger at Kai. “Go!”
The spear plunged toward him with high speed and collided with his shield.
“Ugh!”
Using all of his strength to keep the barrier up, Kai felt his muscles tensing. They were working as hard as they could to keep the shield up. A few seconds later, the spear disappeared.
“Good job!” Diana commented “You can keep it up for a longer time now. This is a very hard technique. As long as you can maintain the shield, you can protect yourself from any kind of attack.”
“Thanks! I will try harder.” Kai smiled and looked at his master. She also smiled back at him.

This is going to be a beautiful day, He thought. Every time he saw her smile, it was a beautiful day to him; or maybe it was just her alluring face.
Suddenly, shadow fell from above; a slim figure in a short, sleeveless blouse and skirt. She threw a red energy lance toward him.
“This looks fun. Let me try too. Sanctus Impetus!!!”
“WHAAAA….”
Kai quickly deployed his shield again, but……

KABOOM!
The lance penetrated his defense and created a small explosion, knocking him several feet away.
“FREYA!” Diana screeched at her older sister while rushing to her pupil, now lying unconscious on the ground.
“Oops, sorry. Too much power.” Freya covered her mouth.
“What are you doing? That was way too much for him. He can’t handle that now.” Diana scowled.
“Don’t worry. He will need to do it later anyway. Just consider this an extra lesson for him.”
“But this is not the right time! Kai, are you all right?”
He heard both of his masters’ voices faintly, but somehow, there was no strength in his legs to stand up. That concluded the morning. It should have been more wonderful for him if his playful master didn’t decide to go a little further on her lesson.

RedSky
March 14th, 2012, 07:39 PM
Pretty good writing style

Cefor
March 14th, 2012, 10:07 PM
Hey Yukinara,

You obviously have no issue here with spelling or punctuation... It is truly a testament to your ability that your spelling and grammar surpasses many stories you'd find on this forum, as some people have no patience for spell checking.

I think your main problem, obviously something that is going to be difficult when not writing in your own language, is your choice of sentence structure and word order. For example:

That night was to be like any other night, peaceful—until the whole palace was shaken by the sound of explosion.

And people screaming.
That line break before "And people screaming" totally derailed the pacing of that section. Using 'and' at the beginning there only serves to slow down the action and release some of the tension you were trying to build up. Instead, try to use a sentence which keeps the tension high:


"The peaceful sounds of city night-life drifted on the air like motes of pollen. Not a single sound betrayed the files of troops entering the palace grounds, nor the giant palace doors opening outwards with only silent greetings between comrade-in-arms. The explosion shattered that peace in a millisecond.
Then the screams started."
Okay, that was a longer sentence than yours, but I hope you see how I tried to make the build-up to the conclusion higher and higher... describing the peaceful night, then suggesting that something is wrong... until the explosion. "Then the screams started", has a stronger impact than "And people screaming", don't you think? This is a suggestion of how you could word your sentences to deliver the effect you want your audience to feel. Considering what your audience is thinking is an important step towards great writing (which I don't believe I have attained, yet - we're all working towards the same goal haha).

I noticed that you are favouring the passive voice an awful lot, which is something that is very difficult to do under normal circumstances, and I'm afraid you should probably leave very much alone. I have no idea whether this is due to your native language or down to how you usually write. By the way, I don't want to presume anything, so which language is your first?

If you aren't sure what constitutes as the passive voice, please check this link out - Passive Voice (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/resources/handouts-demos/citation/passive-voice)

Now, other than that - I don't want to continue until you respond - I'll say that you do have the groundwork for something that could read really well, it's going to take some work, though.

Good luck,
Cefor

Yukinara
March 14th, 2012, 11:21 PM
Thank you, Cefor, you hit the nail in the head. Many people said that I tend to overuse passive voice. I know that I should use active voice more, but when I write, it just slipped pass my radar. My native language is Vietnamese. It's just the way I usually write. I did consider using Google translate once but it ended up pretty bad so I have to write everything from scratch, in English. I really like your sentence, it has a better impact on the story. My editors said that same thing. They mentioned that my story is good, but it was held back by my writing style.

and thanks for the link, it really helps

Cefor
March 14th, 2012, 11:37 PM
Thank you, Cefor, you hit the nail in the head. Many people said that I tend to overuse passive voice. I know that I should use active voice more, but when I write, it just slipped pass my radar. My native language is Vietnamese. It's just the way I usually write. I did consider using Google translate once but it ended up pretty bad so I have to write everything from scratch, in English. I really like your sentence, it has a better impact on the story. My editors said that same thing. They mentioned that my story is good, but it was held back by my writing style.

and thanks for the link, it really helps

Okay, well, I hope you can get a handle on the passive voice and I'm very glad you're able to utilise English in such a manner - not many would be able, or inclined, to do so. I'm curious, though, do you read much manga, or watch anime? I get the impression that the style of action you were describing formed from that genre, at least.

I'm glad you liked the sentence I gave as an example, and I hope you'll find my advice in general helpful.

I also wonder how much English fiction you're reading? Your literacy skill seems to be high, so I assume that you are reading at least something? However, if you are not, I strongly recommend that you start straight away. Reading the fiction that is already out there is a great way of improving your sentence structure and helps in finding your own style. Other than that, it's practice, practice, practice. Try to force yourself into writing particular sentence types over and again until it becomes easier to instinctively write that way. Or, go through with a fine tooth comb and remove all of the passive sentences you find, replace them with active sentences and spice it up.

Write something you'd love to read yourself, it's a great rule to go by.

No problem on the link, if you need any other advice, I'd be happy to help. Don't hesitate to ask!
Cefor

Yukinara
March 15th, 2012, 12:35 AM
yes I read manga and watch anime everyday and I was influenced by their style. Every time I tried to describe something, I think about the scene in movie/ anime in my mind and write it down as much as possible. I have had this story for a long time until last year I decided to write it down. I read some English book like Harry Potter and now I'm reading In Her Name, a space opera. I love reading sci-fi and romance stuffs but somehow I hardly find anything that fit between the two. Most of the time I came across military/hard sci-fi. I prefer to have some romance in it. In my story, romance is the driving force. It made the hero travel the galaxy to find his beloved and discover his identity at the same time.

I value all kind of advice you guys give me, from grammar/spelling to writing, general tone. So, just read over it and tell me which part lacks emotion, where I only tell and now show, etc. I have done a lot of research, created a truckload of suspense and twist because I hate to write another generic story about a boy who rescue a princess and overthrow an empire. I believe my story is original enough to keep people reading, as long as I can fix the tone and writing style, that's why I'm here.

oh by the way, one thing I noticed in many novels is that the good guy always wear white, look nice, friendly, while the bad guys wear black and they look......obviously bad. Where is the twist when we all know everything from the beginning? In Harry Potter, I have never guessed that Snape is on the good side until the end. I love that "oh, crap! I totally didn't see that" moment and want to try it out in my book.

Cefor
March 15th, 2012, 10:53 AM
Remember that your characters all have good and evil aspects to live with, it's a world of grey tones, not black and white.

The more your characters seem real, the better your story. Give them goals and ambitions and then throw in road blocks so that they can't quite reach their goal... until eventually they overcome it - if you want a happy story.

Romance is definitely not my forte, but if that's what you want to write, go for it :)

I have to run,
Keep writing, and have fun.
Cefor