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SirThinkALot
December 18th, 2012, 03:40 PM
Alex looked down at his left arm. It wasn’t really an ‘arm’ anymore, it was an arm shaped piece of stone he had used a bit of magic to animate. It had been three years and he still wasn’t quite used to it. He used this arm to hold down the the patient. The patient was a boy, almost a young man of 11 or 12, was lying on a wooden bench Alex had laid several blankets on to provide padding. Alex focused a small amount of magical energy to stitch the wounds on his leg closed. As the leg healed Alex asked him “How exactly did a plow run over your leg?”
“Well, I went out into the fields to find my father, who was out plowing the fields. For some reason the horse got spooked and took off with the plow. I tried to run out of the way, but tripped and the plow ran right over me.” The young man explained.
“Ouch that sounds like it hurt, but you are good to go. I’d avoid running or putting a lot of stress on the leg for a day or so. You owe me 10 silver.”
“Sorry to tell you doc, but we don’t have a lot of money, I’m not sure my parents can afford to pay that, we had a poor harvest last year you see...”
“Its ok” Alex said “I’ll talk to you parents, if nothing else I’ll have them pay me back when this years harvest gets sold. Or...is it your mom who always brings those delicious blueberry pies to the midsummer festival?”
“Yea, but you wouldn’t think a pie is adequate payment for fixing my leg would you?”
“One of your mom’s pies I might. Now head on home, and tell your parents I’ll see them this afternoon.”
“Alright, I’ll let them know” said the young man as he got up and walked, with only the slightest of a limp out the door to the clinic.
Alex had, by most people’s measures, and certainly by the measures of the people in the town he lived in, been very successful. He had shown a natural ability to use magic at quite a young age. Although that would have gotten him admittance to, and probably a full scholarship for, the mage’s academy in the city of Dashorn, Alex had not wanted to leave his family. However he had learned to use magic from Old Man Jackson, the only other mage in the village. He also read books on magic whenever he could get them from traveling merchants, or on family outings to the city. Although his brother, Saul didn’t have a natural talent for magic, Alex had taught him to use magic. A little more than three years ago he’d opened a clinic, wanting to use his talents for magic to help the people in his hometown.
There wern’t any other patients at the moment, so Alex walked to the back of the clinic where his desk sat. He pulled the plain, but solid wooden chair out. Before he could sit down the door to the clinic burst open and in came the last thing Alex ever expected to see: a man, slightly older than Alex, with close cropped blond hair and a neatly trimmed beard, wearing the green and blue dress uniform of a military officer. An ornately decorated short sword hung from his left hip, probably used as much for ceremony as for actual combat. A small, less decorative knife with a wooden handle hung from right hip. His black, standard issue army boots were so shiny Alex swore he could see himself in them.
Alex didn’t know much about military ranks or awards, but the large number of metals on the officer’s uniform suggested that he was fairly high ranking. But Alex was unsure as to why a high ranking officer would be visiting his village. The place barely even qualified as a village, it was more like a collection of farms that happened to be in the same general area. The most military presence they ever saw was the occasional passing squad that would stop at the general store or the tavern for drinks. A visit from a high-ranking officer was unheard of to Alex.
After a few seconds of confused silence Alex said “Hello, can I help you?”
“Yes, you can” the officer replied “I am Major Kirkwell, 31st Battalion 2 Infantry Division. I am looking for a man who goes by the name of Alex, a physician in these parts as I understand it.”
“That would be me,” Alex replied, “I’ll be more than happy to provide you or any of your men with whatever medical assistance may be required.”
Major Kirkwel looked at Alex’s left arm, almost as if he was studying it. “I appreciate that,” he said, “but truthfully I didnt come here because of medical needs. I’ve heard rumors about you, Alex, rumors of your talents as a mage have spread even as far as Thelden’s Capital Hawshore. And judging by that...arm of yours, I can only conclude that those rumors are not entirely without merit.”
“I dont understand, sir, what is it that you want?”
“Ah, directly to the point, I like that, too many people want to pussyfoot around, but they never get anything done. Alright then, I’d like to confirm the rumors about you and your brother.”
“I’d have to know what those rumors are before I can confirm or deny anything.”
“The rumor circulating Dashorn is that you, not even in your 20s yet, managed to construct a golem and performed a successful transference of your brothers spirit into the construct.”
“That would be not quite true then, I had just turned 20 the week before.”
Kirkwel gave a short laugh “Well fair enough then, but I take it the rest of the rumor is accurate?”
“Yes” Alex said.
“Wonderful, I would love to see your brother, where is he? I’d also like to know how you constructed the arm replacement you have.”
“He’s out in some farmer’s field, working as a farmhand. I would prefer if you didn’t look for him though, the circumstances surrounding his....change are not topics we like to discuss, certainly not with military officials.”
Kirkwel’s eyes narrowed, “Listen, Alex, I didn’t just come here out of curiosity, or even to provide intelligence to the army. I came here because the skills and knowledge you clearly possess could be of great value to the military.”
“You mean you want to recruit me?”
“As a state sponsored mage, yes. During peacetime you’d be focused on research and experimentation into new applications for magic. You’d have a surprisingly high level of autonomy and access to books, records and artifacts that are kept sealed from the general public.”
“And during wartime?”
“I won’t lie to you, there is a good chance that if we go to war you will be asked to serve on the battlefield, magic is a necessary part of military strategy after all.”
“I think I’ll pass, I’d rather not see my talents used to harm people.”
A look of anger flashed over Kirkwel’s face for a second, but it quickly subsided into a neutral expression. “Very well,” he said “if you change your mind, you can find me in the barracks at Dashorn, my offer will remain open.” He then turned around and walked out the door.
A little less than a mile from the clinic, in the middle of owned by the Turnbulls, there was a golem. It was made of clay, and like most golems had a vaugely humanoid shape, although to say it was ‘human shaped’ is a bit of stretch. The goelm stood about 10 feet tall, its arms were somewhat longer than any person, and its legs somewhat shorter. Although the golem had 10, slightly large fingers, it had no toes, just flat feet that almost seemed to melt into its legs. Its head was tiny in proportion to the rest of its body, and seemed to just sit directly on the golems shoulders, with no discernible neck to speak of. The golem was tirelessly working to get the Turnbell’s fields plowed when Major Krikwel arrived at the farmhouse, accompanied by a a squad of soldiers.

popsprocket
December 18th, 2012, 11:51 PM
I'll say that this is generally fairly tidily written, but that the dialogue felt very contrived and unnatural. Perhaps it was because I wasn't expecting anything like such casual conversations from anyone in fantasy-land, but the vernacular truly doesn't seem to suit the setting. In particular the young boy's speech felt way beyond his age.

The entire first passage is a bit clumsy in the way it reads and there's an error in the fifth sentence where you say was twice. I would suggest reworking the start until it flows much better. As it stands there is a lot of telling going on and it breaks up any cohesive thoughts that might have gone into writing this.

There are a number of punctuation errors in here. It seems you like commas, but have missed a few that should be there and have added in too many in other places. I want to pick on your use of sentences in this structure:

Although his brother, Saul didn't have a natural talent for magic, Alex had taught him to use magic.
You use this structure fairly often and it becomes tiresome to read. Aside from that this sentence is fairly flawed, missing a comma and has two uses of the word magic.

As an opening I would say this lacks punch. You get to the point quickly enough but there isn't really anything that seems important enough to make me want to keep reading. Judging by the last paragraph this leads into a scene where the Major ransacks a farm house and does something that will force Alex to come and work for him and I'd suggest starting with that instead (assuming that I'm right).

SirThinkALot
December 19th, 2012, 06:48 AM
As an opening I would say this lacks punch. You get to the point quickly enough but there isn't really anything that seems important enough to make me want to keep reading. Judging by the last paragraph this leads into a scene where the Major ransacks a farm house and does something that will force Alex to come and work for him and I'd suggest starting with that instead (assuming that I'm right).

Thanks for the view. I didn't proofread this as thoroughly as I probably should have before posting(I'll try to do better in the future). You are sort-of correct in your prediction, Alex actually stops Kirkwell and becomes a fugitive. I think you are right about it making a better opening though. I'll post it when I'm finished for further criticism.

Veritas
December 31st, 2012, 07:28 AM
+1 to popsprocket's comment on starting with the action scene. Personal preference from me - but think about this. How does a lot of great fantasy/scifi/action-based-stuff-in-general start?
Picture this - Bond movies. Stay with me here... they all start in the middle of the action.

Also, dialogue and story flow (and I only say that because it's where I inner-editor myself to death). Here's a tip or two you MAY want to try with dialogue. Helped me, so you never know.

1) For dialogue, if you have problems with it - read it aloud, in character. Yeah, you'll feel a little weird at first. But it did wonders for my dialogue. Also helps if you need to work on your characters' motivation and so forth.

2) For flow, practice and read stuff that inspires you. Writing is partially talent, sure. But mostly? It's a craft. Learn it, learn it some more, learn it even more, and then do it. It does indeed get easier with time.

Other than technical bits and pieces, I think it's off to a promising start! From what you said in the story and in your post above, it sounds good. Keep at it. :)

***EDIT: Also, did you ever decide on a title?

SirThinkALot
January 3rd, 2013, 06:49 AM
Thanks. I actually I posted my new intro in another topic. It was originally going to follow what I wrote here, but after writing it, I realized this scene is unnecessary and...yea kind of boring. I'll keep in mind your advice on the dialogue, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I have now though.

And, no I dont have a title. I suck at titles, probably wont have one for a while. Possibly not even until I finish the story.


EDIT TO ADD: My new intro is here: http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/135294-next-part-possible-new-intro.html

I just realized that cutting and pasting ruined the formatting, so I fixed that too.

Burlesk
January 3rd, 2013, 10:41 AM
I pretty much agree with the other comments. Regarding the low-level technical aspects of the writing, I find it quite hard to read a narrative with faulty punctuation. The dialogue especially needs its punctuation tidied up. Many novice writers have difficulty with this; to the extent that I wrote a blog post about it: How to punctuate dialogue (http://readthatbackwithout.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/how-to-punctuate-dialogue.html).

ETA: Just noticed that you've posted a revised version; will head over and look at it.

Elvenswordsman
January 3rd, 2013, 11:47 AM
Revised version? I'm on my way. Agree with the comments on this thread, hope you take them and make your piece better. If you don't see a post by me on your other thread, I haven't found it and you should send me a pm with a link. I like the theme, should lead to an interesting read.

Ilasir Maroa
January 4th, 2013, 05:11 AM
Maybe you could put this in the default font and text size of the forum? It's really hard to read, and the lack of formatting is a bit daunting.

SirThinkALot
January 4th, 2013, 05:18 AM
I actually have it in a good format in google doc. Somehow it gets screwed up when I copy and paste here. I'll take extra time to fix it next time I post.