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diaz9943
January 25th, 2013, 09:40 AM
I've never written anything to just write, before. The last week I've had this idea spinning in my head, and I finally wrote it down tonight. I'm not really experienced at all, as most of what I have written before (school assignments, pretty much) are usually essays.

I'd appreciate any feedback.. Is this any good at all? I've not had a story of mine critiqued by anyone since I was about 12, so I have no idea if what I'm writing is good or not.

Like I said, any feedback would be great. Be it language, structure, or anything else. The story continues, if anyone is wondering. Also, what impression do you have of Brandons character after reading this? This is "chapter 1", if I ever write anything more..


Updated version here:
http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/136141-walk-1225-words-fantasy.html#post1596817




Chapter 1:

A walk


Brandon was walking along the Malay Road, towards the village he knew would be about a kilometer further on. Although dusk had come, and it would be dark in less than an hour, he was confident he would reach it before nightfall. I’ve walked farther in less time before, he thought to himself while readjusting the leather straps of his pack. It was not heavy, really, and Brandon considered himself stronger than the average man, but it had been rubbing against his already sore shoulders all day. Despite his good cloak of fine wool, and his thick trousers, night would be cold at this time of the year. Besides, you could never know what kinds of people were out and about in the darkness, supposedly. Looking around, he realized he had the road all to himself. The superstitious farmers must believe the tales of dark creatures lurking in the night. Brandon himself held to no such tales. He knew better. He was a well-educated man after all; his father’s book collection had been twice the size of any other in the village. Brandon had counted several times as a child, and there were exactly seventeen books. His father had been the wealthiest man in all of Voras Fields! Resting a hand on Plump, his brown mare, carrying the rest of his things, he shrugged, thinking of his warm bed back home. Although, he supposed, he should not really call it home anymore. He would likely not be welcomed back. Not after running off, only leaving a short note for his mother, and taking one of his father’s three horses. Brandon had wanted to go on an adventure and see the world for years, but when prompted, his father had only laughed.

“You are not old enough to ‘go adventuring yet’, son,” he would say. “When you stop daydreaming about such silly things, then maybe I can consider you a man.”
His father was only having a jape, of course, as Brandon knew well. He had been given his dagger last summer, marking the transition into manhood. It hung from his belt now, next to a small pouch of money. Brandon had been saving all the money he could get his hands on for well over a year, planning ahead for this adventure. He had read his father’s books again too, to make sure he remembered all the facts and the geography. His father even had an old map of Eulion, where Voras Fields was a little cross in the eastern edge. He’d never been outside the village before this adventure. Come to think of it, now that he was doing it, it did not really feel like an adventure at all. That would change once he got to one of the big cities, and got to see the wonders of the world. Of this, he was certain. He had read about it in the books, after all.

He heard a crunching sound behind him, the sound of hooves on the gravel road, and spotted two men on horseback, perhaps 50 meters behind him. They had not been there when he’d looked earlier, he was sure of that. He thought nothing more of it, going back to reminiscing of his youth. Two honest men traveling along the same road as him were none of his business. He could not help but feel curious though. Were these two adventurers as well? Maybe he had found his traveling companions? Shaking his head at his own childishness, he hitched up the straps of his pack again. And spotted the three men riding the opposite direction of him, only 20 meters ahead of him. I’m sure they were nowhere to be seen, just a minute ago, he thought to himself. It was a clear night, with good visibility, even in the dark. Sure, he was not one of the famous scouts from the stories, but he was confident he could spot three riding men a hundred meters away. He could not help but feel slightly concerned about this. There really were not many reasons to go sneaking up on strangers the way they were. The sounds behind him were louder now, the men getting closer. Brandon reached over to where his bow hung on Plumps’s saddle, trying to attach the bowstring without being too obvious.
“Easy with that boy, you might accidentally hurt someone with it,” a rough voice said behind him. Another man chuckled. Brandon turned, looking at the duo. They both wore torn cloaks over stained shirts. And both had big axes strapped to the fronts of their saddles. Brandon did not really know a lot about horses, but comparing them to what he’d read in the books, he concluded that the men’s horses were certainly trained warhorses, able to outrun his old mare without a problem. Besides, the three men in front of him had halted, blocking the road ahead, forcing him to stop.
“Can I be of help,” he asked politely as the two men came up on his right side.
“Yes, I believe you can,” responded the biggest one of them, the one who had spoken earlier. “See, you’re not really using that horse, and us, we really could need another one.”
Brandon felt his heart pounding in his chest. Had the villagers he spoke to earlier really been right? Was no place safe at night? The notion filled him with anger. Spinning around to face the man, he prepared to lecture him on manners, but something about the man’s smile stopped him.
“Is this a robbery,” he asked instead. All five men laughed.
“It sure is, kid. Now hand over the horse and your pack, and we won’t hurt you,” one said. Brandon’s hand went to the hilt of his dagger, and he turned sideways trying to watch the men on both sides of him as he drew his weapon. He held it out in front of him, his eyes daring them to challenge him. The man sneered as he got off his horse, calmly handing the reins to his accomplice before walking towards Brandon. “I tried to give you a chance, kid, didn’t I,” he said, still smiling. “But I guess we’re going to have to hurt you now.” As Brandon prepared to jump at the man, a pair of strong hands grabbed his arm from behind, holding it in place. He struggled against it, but that arm was like iron. He felt his pack be cut from his back, his pouch and cloak removed, without being able to do anything about it. The man stepped closer, looking at the dagger clutched in Brandon’s hand.
“A knife of poor iron, and with a wooden hilt? A poor weapon for a poor man, I say. We’ll let you keep it.“ He wrestled the dagger out of Brandon’s hand, and, still smiling, drove it into his stomach. His body roared with pain, as the blade sliced its way into him. He slumped over, the iron hand no longer restraining him, and fell over sideways. He saw the men leading Plump away, none sparing him a glance, as he his clothes began to soak in his blood.
At least I still have my dagger, he thought as he closed his eyes, lying in a pool of blood. The books never mentioned dying before the adventure began.

Higurro
January 25th, 2013, 12:03 PM
Okay, getting straight to the good stuff - I liked that he died because it was surprising. It's been done before, so the manner that you go on from here will be crucial in differentiating your story. Also, the SPG was generally pretty good, with a few errors scattered here and there, but I'm sure you'll pick up on those.

As you ask for critique of Brandon's character specifically, I'll happily give you my thoughts on that. It's a mixed bag really, leaning towards the negative. I thought that his background sounded rushed and thrown together, to the point that it sounded illogical. Surely if he's had a yearning for adventure he would have left the village at some point in his life before now. Similarly, you claim he knows little about horses, but his father keeps horses, and if he's been cooped up at home they would to some extent have been a part of his life.

When it came to his first line of dialogue "Can I be of help?" had me in two minds. On the one hand it sounds utterly spineless in the context of a situation that anyone could see isn't friendly. But on the other, perhaps it just highlights his naivety. Either way, my knee-jerk reaction was a sigh of disappointment when I read it, so perhaps it could use some rethinking. However, then Brandon whips out his dagger without thinking twice, and was preparing his bow when they arrived, so he clearly has some spine. That being the case I think his first line of dialogue is inappropriate. He can be polite without being fawning.

Up until the final moments, there was little or nothing that stood out as being imaginative or original. I know it sounds unkind to say it, but this 'young lad, off on adventure with trusty steed and head-full-of-rainbows' thing has been done absolutely to death. I was ready to have a good old whine about it, but I thought his death at the end turned it on its head and was the first moment of even moderate interest in the thing, so a good move there, I'd say!

Apart from those things, you just generally need more practice at writing until it 'sounds right'. One technique that's quite often helpful is to say it out loud to yourself, and suddenly words that look fine in your head will stick out like a sore thumb. You need to be careful to avoid unnecessary detail like "about 50 metres", or dragging out points that are perfectly obvious across two or three sentences. In other places, like when the three riders ahead appear, the pacing is too fast and sounds like a sentence is missing completely. There isn't really any one thing I can point to, style-wise, and say is wrong - it's just getting the feel for it that comes with time. I look back at stuff I wrote five years ago and laugh at how inefficient it is, so it's really nothing to worry about.

Overall, I quite liked it, though I think re-writing it with a careful emphasis on building the tension would be really helpful. Also, the formatting could have used a few more line breaks. Generally, line breaks where the paragraphs/dialogue sit make it easier to read on screen, but that wasn't too much of a problem and is easily fixed. Pay attention to showing, rather than telling. Stick with it and it'll just keep getting better.

diaz9943
January 25th, 2013, 12:24 PM
Right, thanks!
A few notes:
I think paragraphs somehow got removed when I copied it over..
What's "SPG"?

About Brandon. I tried to write him to be a naive, spoiled brat, thats a bit full of himself. He has no idea about horses, as he's never really had to do any work around his fathers farm/the horses. I suppose I should highlight this more.
The reason he havent left home earlier, is related to the society this guy comes from. It is basically unthinkable, and the greatest shame achievable, to not do as your elders say untill you reach adulthood. So he's been looking forward to the day he could go, which would be the summer/spring the following year. I suppose this would become more obvivous if I change it from him reaching manhood "last summer" to "last fall", and then add something about a heavy winter (?)

I see your point on the dialouge now, and I thank you for that.. I can definitly see that it needs some more work. This, again, goes back to the society he came from, where politeness towards strangers is very important.. I wanted him to come off as slightly naive, and polite, in that line, not spineless.. Point taken.

I'm still not sure if I should let Brandon live.. If I did, it would sort of turn it into the tipical "young guy thrown into a travel of dangerous adventures"-type, as you mentioned.. I'm not really sure how I could make it otherwise..
I'm not really sure how to go on if I kill him off..

Any more advice on these points too, would be awesome.

Thanks for your feedback, I apprechaite it!

Higurro
January 25th, 2013, 01:56 PM
Hi there, glad to be of help. SPG means spelling, punctuation and grammar. I completely see what you mean about Brandon's background - but only now you've explained it. If you want to work more on this, you might try building the scene where he's in the village (perhaps showing how he sneaks out), to lead into this. And I'd assumed that the story would carry on, just with Brandon as a dead main character. I'd be tricky, and might turn out rubbish, but then a lot of writing is just playing around. Good luck with it!

diaz9943
January 25th, 2013, 02:01 PM
I think I might kill of Brandon, and let his death introduce something else.. Concidering this, building up more of a story for him seems a bit.. Unneccecary.. Would sneaking in a paragraph, or a few lines, where he is thinking about his father, about how different everybody out in the real world is, in terms of politeness etc, work? (Well, thats a terrible sentence if I ever saw one..)

CharlieParker82
January 25th, 2013, 03:21 PM
This reminded me of the beginning to the movie Stardust, I pictured that type of world.

The ending kind of saved it, as it was a nice little twist and I agree with Higurro with regards to re writes. I think it could be quite a funny little piece. I would play up the kid being spoilt and a little bit unlikable, but if done right it might make him quite funny to the read and almost sympathetic. At the moment the piece tends to go on a bit. Try and make every sentence count, less fluff, more progressing the story and developing the character.

diaz9943
January 25th, 2013, 03:28 PM
I am probably going to kill off Brandon, so I don't think I will put too much work into him. But I'll add in the things that make his actions as they are now, more understandable.

diaz9943
January 25th, 2013, 09:54 PM
Updated version:


Chapter 1:
An adventure


Brandon walked along the Malay Road, towards the village he knew would be behind the next hill. Dusk had come though, and it would be dark in less than an hour, and he wondered if he would reach it before nightfall. I’ve walked farther in less time before, he thought to himself while readjusting the leather straps of his pack, shifting their weight on his sore shoulders. Even his good cloak of fine wool, and his thick trousers, would do him little good in the cold spring night. Besides, one could never know what kinds of people were out and about in the darkness - supposedly. The locals spoke of bandits. Bah, he thought. Bandits in the peaceful countryside? I’ve never heard such a silly notion. Everybody knows groups of bandits only formed when there is war, or shortage of food.

Looking around, he realized he had the road all to himself. The superstitious farmers must believe their own tales of dark creatures lurking in the night, going to hide as soon as dusk fell. The very fact that they spread such tales sickened him, trying to scare strangers into their certainly overpriced inns. Back in his village, being proper was a highly valued trait, and you definitely did not go about telling strangers what to do and what not to, nor tell fables. Brandon did not hold to any such tales. He knew better, he was a well-educated man after all; his father’s book collection had been twice the size of any other in the village. Brandon had counted several times as a child, and there were exactly seventeen books. His father had been the wealthiest man in all of Voras Fields! So wealthy, that Brandon never had to do any work around the farm. Instead, Brandon had gone exploring the forests around the village, hunting with his bow, practicing for when he’d go out on a real adventure. Resting a hand on Plump, his brown mare, carrying the rest of his things, he shrugged, thinking of his warm bed back home. Although, he supposed, he should not really call it home anymore, he would likely not be welcomed back. Not after running off, only leaving a short note for his mother, and taking one of his father’s three horses. Brandon had wanted to go on an adventure and see the world for years, but when prompted, his father had only laughed.

“You are not old enough to ‘go adventuring yet’, son,” he would say. “When you stop daydreaming about such silly things, then maybe I can consider you a man.”

His father was only having a jape, of course, as Brandon knew well. He had considered going off on his adventure earlier, but decided against it. To disobey his father before reaching manhood would bring shame beyond belief to his family.

Then, last fall, he had been given his dagger and bronze pendant, passed down from father to oldest son for generations, marking the transition into manhood. The dagger hung from his belt now, next to a small pouch of money, which also held the pendant. Brandon had been saving all the money he could get his hands on for well over a year, planning ahead for this adventure, and he’d read his father’s books again too, to make sure he remembered all the facts and the geography. His father even had an old map of Eulion, where Voras Fields was a little cross in the eastern edge. This adventure was his first time outside of Voras Fields. Come to think of it, now that he was doing it, it did not really feel like an adventure at all. That would change once he got to one of the big cities, and got to see the wonders of the world. Of this, he was certain; he had read about it in the books, after all.

He heard the sound of hooves on the gravel road, and spotted two men on horseback, perhaps a rock’s throw behind him. They had not been there when he’d looked earlier, he was sure of that. He could not help but feel curious; were these two adventurers as well? Maybe he had found his traveling companions? Shaking his head at his own childishness, he hitched up the straps of his pack again. He thought nothing more of it, going back to reminiscing of his youth. Two honest men traveling along the same road as him were none of his business, and like his father always said, getting involved in other people’s business will often lead to trouble. The thoughts of home made him realize how tired he was, reminding him it would be nice to have a warm meal, and a good night’s sleep. He looked up, and spotted another three men riding towards him, close enough that he could make out their bearded faces. I’m sure they were nowhere to be seen just a minute ago, he thought to himself. Sure, he was no scout, but he was confident he could spot three riding men from a hundred meters off. He could not help but feel slightly concerned about this; there really were not many reasons to go sneaking up on strangers the way they were. The sounds behind him were louder now, and Brandon reached over to where his bow hung on Plump’s saddle, trying to attach the bowstring without being too obvious.

“Easy with that, boy, you might hurt someone with it,” a rough voice said behind him and another man chuckled. Brandon turned, looking at the duo. They both wore torn cloaks over stained shirts, and both had big axes strapped to the fronts of their saddles. He could smell their sweaty bodies in the cool air. Brandon did not really know a lot about horses, but comparing theirs to what he’d read in the books, he concluded that the men’s horses were certainly trained warhorses, able to outrun his old mare without a problem. Besides, the other three men had halted, blocking the road ahead, forcing him to stop.

“Can I be of help?” he asked politely, as the two men came up on his right side. His father had always said that the best way to stay out of trouble was to be polite and friendly, and to Brandon, his father’s word was equal to even the greatest of books.

“Yes, I believe you can,” responded the biggest one of them, the one who had spoken earlier. “See, you’re not really using that horse, and us, we really could need another one.”

Brandon felt his heart pounding in his chest. Had the villagers he spoke to earlier really been right? Was no place safe at night? The notion filled him with anger. Spinning around to face the man, he prepared to lecture him on manners, but something about the man’s smile stopped him.

“Is this a robbery,” he asked instead. All five men laughed.

“It sure is, kid. Now hand over the horse and your pack, and we won’t hurt you,” one said. Brandon’s hand went to the hilt of his dagger, and he turned sideways trying to watch the men on both sides of him as he drew his weapon. He held it out in front of him, his eyes daring them to challenge him. The man sneered as he got off his horse, calmly handing the reins to his accomplice before walking towards Brandon.

“I tried to give you a chance, kid, didn’t I,” he said, still smiling. “But I guess we’re going to have to hurt you now.” As Brandon prepared to jump at the man, a pair of strong hands grabbed his arm from behind, holding it in place. He struggled against it, but those hands were like iron. He felt his pack be cut from his back, his pouch and cloak removed, without being able to do anything about it. The man stepped closer, looking at the dagger clutched in Brandon’s hand.

“A knife of crude iron, and with a wooden hilt? A poor weapon for a poor man, I say. We’ll let you keep it.“ He wrestled the dagger out of Brandon’s hand, and, still smiling, drove it into his stomach. Brandon’s body roared with pain, as the blade sliced its way into him. He slumped over, the iron hand no longer restraining him, and fell over sideways. He saw the men leading Plump away, none sparing him a glance, as his clothes began to soak into his blood.

At least I still have my dagger, he thought as he closed his eyes, lying in a pool of blood. The books never mentioned dying before the adventure began.


--
Again, please critique this.

Higurro
January 26th, 2013, 01:33 PM
I really think this is loads better! Although the same things happened as in the first one, they were written so they made a lot more sense, and I think the pacing was better too. Brandon's character is immediately stronger in this version because how he acts seems logical. Would be looking forward to read more this good!

diaz9943
January 26th, 2013, 01:36 PM
Wow, thanks :)

I've actually started plotting more of the story.. This whole chapter was pretty much just an idea spinning in my head for a few days, without any regard for "what comes next".

Anyways, I'll probably edit it some more, but not for a while. I suppose what I need is a bit of distance from it.

rave
February 4th, 2013, 02:34 AM
im guessing your a huge martin fan haha

drwood
February 7th, 2013, 02:37 PM
What a tragic end for poor Brandon.

helpful comment: maybe a line or two at the end about what he thought of his father, or what his father thought? You seemed to introduce the father very well, creating an interesting voice of experience to Brandons inexperience but then seemed to forget about him at the end. ....Maybe it is not necessary after all

Nemesis
February 7th, 2013, 03:19 PM
Loved the last the line especialy ^^

diaz9943
February 7th, 2013, 06:54 PM
Loved the last the line especialy ^^
Thanks! any other comments on it? :)

Nemesis
February 7th, 2013, 07:16 PM
A couple paragraphs in it got a little slow (to me at least) and I started losing interest, felt like a lot of information all at once, so by the time I got to the scene with the bandits I didn't really want to keep reading. Perhaps going through and picking out what information is pertinent to the story and what can be taken out?

diaz9943
February 7th, 2013, 07:19 PM
A couple paragraphs in it got a little slow (to me at least) and I started losing interest, felt like a lot of information all at once, so by the time I got to the scene with the bandits I didn't really want to keep reading. Perhaps going through and picking out what information is pertinent to the story and what can be taken out?

When I wrote this, I didn't really know where I was going with the story. Now I do. Brandon dies, and has no impact on the story (sorta), so I suppose I can remove a lot of information. ^^

AshenhartKrie
February 10th, 2013, 01:33 AM
What do you accomplish by killing Brandon off?
Personally it makes no sense to me, as it sounds like he ought to play a big role in this story. How is the reader going to find out why the pendant is so important, or why it is passed on from father to son, each generation? Do the bandits somehow know its value? Or do they leave it behind? And if they leave it behind, doesn’t that make it too easy for Lavi?
Another thing I noticed was the lack of question marks here and there.
It’s the one thing that annoys the nuggets out of me.
“Is this a robbery,”<-- Question Mark!
“I tried to give you a chance, kid, didn’t I,” <-- Question Mark!
All in all, still a great piece. I’m definitely going to continue reading your posts with this one.

diaz9943
February 10th, 2013, 12:03 PM
What do you accomplish by killing Brandon off?
Personally it makes no sense to me, as it sounds like he ought to play a big role in this story. How is the reader going to find out why the pendant is so important, or why it is passed on from father to son, each generation? Do the bandits somehow know its value? Or do they leave it behind? And if they leave it behind, doesn’t that make it too easy for Lavi?
Another thing I noticed was the lack of question marks here and there.
It’s the one thing that annoys the nuggets out of me.
“Is this a robbery,”<-- Question Mark!
“I tried to give you a chance, kid, didn’t I,” <-- Question Mark!
All in all, still a great piece. I’m definitely going to continue reading your posts with this one.

I see why you're confused. The pendant is in Brandons pouch (I've fixed it in my version, just not got around to fixing the forum posts). So the bandits do end up with the pendant.

When I started writing the story, I pictured Brandon as the main character. Hence all the backstory. But, I changed my mind. When I revise this chapter, I'll probably remove some of the backstory.

You can continiue reading the story here, if you'd like:
http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/136404-life-bandit.html


Thanks,
Diaz

RJA
February 14th, 2013, 06:47 AM
Updated version:


Chapter 1:
An adventure


Brandon walked along the Malay Road, towards the village he knew would be behind the next hill. Dusk had come though, and it would be dark in less than an hour, and he wondered if he would reach it before nightfall. I’ve walked farther in less time before, he thought to himself while readjusting the leather straps of his pack, shifting their weight on his sore shoulders. Even his good cloak of fine wool, and his thick trousers, would do him little good in the cold spring night. Besides, one could never know what kinds of people were out and about in the darkness - supposedly. The locals spoke of bandits. Bah, he thought. Bandits in the peaceful countryside? I’ve never heard such a silly notion. Everybody knows groups of bandits only formed when there is war, or shortage of food.

Looking around, he realized he had the road all to himself. The superstitious farmers must believe their own tales of dark creatures lurking in the night, going to hide as soon as dusk fell. The very fact that they spread such tales sickened him, trying to scare strangers into their certainly overpriced inns. Back in his village, being proper was a highly valued trait, and you definitely did not go about telling strangers what to do and what not to, nor tell fables. Brandon did not hold to any such tales. He knew better, he was a well-educated man after all; his father’s book collection had been twice the size of any other in the village. Brandon had counted several times as a child, and there were exactly seventeen books. His father had been the wealthiest man in all of Voras Fields! So wealthy, that Brandon never had to do any work around the farm. Instead, Brandon had gone exploring the forests around the village, hunting with his bow, practicing for when he’d go out on a real adventure. Resting a hand on Plump, his brown mare, carrying the rest of his things, he shrugged, thinking of his warm bed back home. Although, he supposed, he should not really call it home anymore, he would likely not be welcomed back. Not after running off, only leaving a short note for his mother, and taking one of his father’s three horses. Brandon had wanted to go on an adventure and see the world for years, but when prompted, his father had only laughed.

“You are not old enough to ‘go adventuring yet’, son,” he would say. “When you stop daydreaming about such silly things, then maybe I can consider you a man.”

His father was only having a jape, of course, as Brandon knew well. He had considered going off on his adventure earlier, but decided against it. To disobey his father before reaching manhood would bring shame beyond belief to his family.

Then, last fall, he had been given his dagger and bronze pendant, passed down from father to oldest son for generations, marking the transition into manhood. The dagger hung from his belt now, next to a small pouch of money, which also held the pendant. Brandon had been saving all the money he could get his hands on for well over a year, planning ahead for this adventure, and he’d read his father’s books again too, to make sure he remembered all the facts and the geography. His father even had an old map of Eulion, where Voras Fields was a little cross in the eastern edge. This adventure was his first time outside of Voras Fields. Come to think of it, now that he was doing it, it did not really feel like an adventure at all. That would change once he got to one of the big cities, and got to see the wonders of the world. Of this, he was certain; he had read about it in the books, after all.

He heard the sound of hooves on the gravel road, and spotted two men on horseback, perhaps a rock’s throw behind him. They had not been there when he’d looked earlier, he was sure of that. He could not help but feel curious; were these two adventurers as well? Maybe he had found his traveling companions? Shaking his head at his own childishness, he hitched up the straps of his pack again. He thought nothing more of it, going back to reminiscing of his youth. Two honest men traveling along the same road as him were none of his business, and like his father always said, getting involved in other people’s business will often lead to trouble. The thoughts of home made him realize how tired he was, reminding him it would be nice to have a warm meal, and a good night’s sleep. He looked up, and spotted another three men riding towards him, close enough that he could make out their bearded faces. I’m sure they were nowhere to be seen just a minute ago, he thought to himself. Sure, he was no scout, but he was confident he could spot three riding men from a hundred meters off. He could not help but feel slightly concerned about this; there really were not many reasons to go sneaking up on strangers the way they were. The sounds behind him were louder now, and Brandon reached over to where his bow hung on Plump’s saddle, trying to attach the bowstring without being too obvious.

“Easy with that, boy, you might hurt someone with it,” a rough voice said behind him and another man chuckled. Brandon turned, looking at the duo. They both wore torn cloaks over stained shirts, and both had big axes strapped to the fronts of their saddles. He could smell their sweaty bodies in the cool air. Brandon did not really know a lot about horses, but comparing theirs to what he’d read in the books, he concluded that the men’s horses were certainly trained warhorses, able to outrun his old mare without a problem. Besides, the other three men had halted, blocking the road ahead, forcing him to stop.

“Can I be of help?” he asked politely, as the two men came up on his right side. His father had always said that the best way to stay out of trouble was to be polite and friendly, and to Brandon, his father’s word was equal to even the greatest of books.

“Yes, I believe you can,” responded the biggest one of them, the one who had spoken earlier. “See, you’re not really using that horse, and us, we really could need another one.”

Brandon felt his heart pounding in his chest. Had the villagers he spoke to earlier really been right? Was no place safe at night? The notion filled him with anger. Spinning around to face the man, he prepared to lecture him on manners, but something about the man’s smile stopped him.

“Is this a robbery,” he asked instead. All five men laughed.

“It sure is, kid. Now hand over the horse and your pack, and we won’t hurt you,” one said. Brandon’s hand went to the hilt of his dagger, and he turned sideways trying to watch the men on both sides of him as he drew his weapon. He held it out in front of him, his eyes daring them to challenge him. The man sneered as he got off his horse, calmly handing the reins to his accomplice before walking towards Brandon.

“I tried to give you a chance, kid, didn’t I,” he said, still smiling. “But I guess we’re going to have to hurt you now.” As Brandon prepared to jump at the man, a pair of strong hands grabbed his arm from behind, holding it in place. He struggled against it, but those hands were like iron. He felt his pack be cut from his back, his pouch and cloak removed, without being able to do anything about it. The man stepped closer, looking at the dagger clutched in Brandon’s hand.

“A knife of crude iron, and with a wooden hilt? A poor weapon for a poor man, I say. We’ll let you keep it.“ He wrestled the dagger out of Brandon’s hand, and, still smiling, drove it into his stomach. Brandon’s body roared with pain, as the blade sliced its way into him. He slumped over, the iron hand no longer restraining him, and fell over sideways. He saw the men leading Plump away, none sparing him a glance, as his clothes began to soak into his blood.

At least I still have my dagger, he thought as he closed his eyes, lying in a pool of blood. The books never mentioned dying before the adventure began.


--
Again, please critique this.

I really think this is excellent. I know this is pretty far after you posted this, but I wanted to go over this part before the next one. So, basically, my only piece of advice is that you have some wasted words. You do a nice job pacing the story and building suspense, I can't emphasize that last part enough, the suspense is truly fantastic. There are some sentences that are a bit wordy though, "He wrestled the dagger out of Brandon’s hand, and, still smiling, drove it into his stomach." As much as that line made my eyes shoot open (I was quite surprised) the 'still smiling' seems like an unnecessary way to make the bad guys seem even more evil and gives away what is about to happen moments later!

Another small example, and this is more just kind of awkward phrasing for me, personally, was, "He felt his pack be cut from his back, his pouch and cloak removed, without being able to do anything about it." I think the 'without being able to do anything about it." is a bit on the long side and that the beginning of the sentence is kind of awkwardly phrased.

These are rather small things, and ultimately I am excited to see where this story goes. As far as Brandon, I think he's a bit brash and clearly naive, but certainly there are parts where he has some obvious intelligence. Anyways, like I said, I really liked it, and these are my two cents! :D

diaz9943
February 14th, 2013, 10:50 AM
I really think this is excellent. I know this is pretty far after you posted this, but I wanted to go over this part before the next one. So, basically, my only piece of advice is that you have some wasted words. You do a nice job pacing the story and building suspense, I can't emphasize that last part enough, the suspense is truly fantastic. There are some sentences that are a bit wordy though, "He wrestled the dagger out of Brandon’s hand, and, still smiling, drove it into his stomach." As much as that line made my eyes shoot open (I was quite surprised) the 'still smiling' seems like an unnecessary way to make the bad guys seem even more evil and gives away what is about to happen moments later!

Another small example, and this is more just kind of awkward phrasing for me, personally, was, "He felt his pack be cut from his back, his pouch and cloak removed, without being able to do anything about it." I think the 'without being able to do anything about it." is a bit on the long side and that the beginning of the sentence is kind of awkwardly phrased.

These are rather small things, and ultimately I am excited to see where this story goes. As far as Brandon, I think he's a bit brash and clearly naive, but certainly there are parts where he has some obvious intelligence. Anyways, like I said, I really liked it, and these are my two cents! :D


Thanks for the feedback!
The next part of the story is here, if you're interested: http://www.writingforums.com/prose-writers-workshop/136673-captivity-2300-words.html#post1603403

Thanks,
Diaz