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Digiphant
August 21st, 2014, 01:01 PM
Threw this together this morning. Ravage away!


With a barely perceptible whirring and a tinkle like someone screwing up gold leaf, the mecharachnid scuttled along the ceiling. When it neared the gas lamp that hung down over a cluttered work bench, it stopped and focused its single telescopic eye on the mess below.

In the alley behind the workshop, Laverna peered intently through the scope attached to the box which hung around her neck. She deftly fiddled with the knobs on the side of the box and an image of the workbench came in to focus for her. Lying in a small cleared area was a brass cylinder, not unlike a telescope, but with odd protrusions and a large emerald mounted on a bracket at one end. A smirk lifted one corner of Laverna’s mouth as she quickly packed the box away and retrieved a small pouch from her rucksack.

Having already examined the lock on the rear door and come to the conclusion it was hideously over-complicated, Laverna produced a glass cutter and looked at the windows. Unfortunately, the only ones on the ground floor were facing the street and, even given the time of night, she wasn’t willing to risk that. Placing the cutter between her teeth, Laverna rooted around in her rucksack and dug out a grapnel gun. After a small pop and a brief climb, she was hanging in front of one of the upstairs windows. She carefully cut out a pane of glass, then reached in and unlatched the window before gingerly stepping in to the room.

Large objects, all covered in dust sheets, loomed in the gloom. Laverna pulled down the goggles that had been resting on her forehead and wound them up with a tiny key. After a moment, she could see as clear as day and started to move through the first floor of the building. Out on the landing there was a gas lantern turned down low beside one of the other doors. Easing past, Laverna thought she could hear faint snoring from the other side and thanked the gods she didn’t choose that window.

Her progress down the stairs was marred only by the penultimate step, which creaked like a tea clipper in a gale. Laverna froze, held her breath and strained her hearing for any sign of the sleeper stirring. After a long minute she moved again, making a mental note for her return trip.

A corridor ran the length of the building, with rooms off each side and the rear entrance at the end. Slinking along to the last door on the left, Laverna knelt to examine the lock. When she saw the cogs spinning inside the mechanism, she cursed under her breath and studied the floor for a moment, thinking.

The sound of breaking glass woke Dr Erickson with a start. Shuffling in to his slippers and nightgown, and grabbing his blunderbuss from beside the door, he made his way downstairs, retrieving the lantern on the way. There was another crash from the workshop as he reached the bottom of the stairs and he rushed to the door, fumbling his keys from around his neck. With his gun in one hand, Dr Erickson flung open the door and lost consciousness.

Laverna stepped over the recumbent form of the doctor, putting her cosh back in its holder on her belt. She quickly retrieved the device from the work bench and then went over to a set of shelves to carefully pick the mecharachnid from the wreckage of several glass jars. Returning to her hiding place in the room opposite, Laverna packed everything away carefully and headed for the stairs. The doctor was groaning his way back to consciousness as she reached the top, but by the time he had raised the alarm, Laverna was long gone.

Pluralized
August 22nd, 2014, 01:27 AM
I like it. Good writing for the most part, though a bit 'as you know, Bob' at times. There's some confidence in it, though, and I like some of the ideas. It's like steampunkish or something, and the emerald-endowed brass thing, blunderbuss, and general old-timey feel does a good job holding it down. I liked the mecharachnid thing, too.


She carefully cut out a pane of glass,No, no she did not. The mechanics of glass won't let you do this. More likely she cut the putty out and removed the pane of glass, or carved out the rotted wood surrounding it and loosed it that way.


The sound of breaking glass woke Dr Erickson with a start.Couple o' things here: First, eh? I thought she did a stealthy job of cutting out the glass... Maybe I'm misunderstanding your shift in POV and this was different glass. Also, waking with 'a start' -- I've never done that. Have you? Most times, it happens in clichés. :)

The shift felt funky, as you were in her head fairly substantively for most of the piece.

Where you going with this? I like the start, so don't give up on it. Cool concepts at work here. Charge on!

Digiphant
August 22nd, 2014, 10:01 AM
'as you know, Bob'
I had to look this up on TV Tropes as I've never heard it before. Are you referring to the bit about the windows? I take your point, but I didn't want the whole "Here is a house. It has six windows. It has a green front door." rubbish and couldn't think of a better way of explaining there were no accessible windows on the ground floor.


The mechanics of glass won't let you do this.
Heh, you learn something new every day - I didn't even really think about it, I just put it in like you would see a cat burglar in a film get into a display case.


Maybe I'm misunderstanding your shift in POV
Yup. It's entirely unclear as the formatting was lost in the post, but I was trying to keep the whole ambush thing a surprise for the reader. If I mentioned that she tried the door opposite and found it unlocked, the rest would be completely predictable (well more so than it already is). I should make it more clear that the sound of shattering glass is coming from inside the locked room.


waking with 'a start' -- I've never done that. Have you?
I nearly jumped out of bed once, when the ironing board fell over downstairs :) I take your point on the cliché, though.


The shift felt funky
I'll see if I can change things around a bit, but I wanted to just keep it in the plain old omniscient narrator voice so I can do things like change which character I'm following, etc.


Where you going with this?
I was thinking about making it a double caper with eldritch abominations. Laverna's stolen a teleporter/portal device thing. It works well enough for the bigger theft she's going to pull, but then starts to let monsters in to the world. I don't really know, though. It was just a random thought yesterday morning; we'll see what happens. I'm most worried about writing in a Victorian era voice when constructing dialogue; time to dig out The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes again, I think.

Digiphant
August 22nd, 2014, 10:16 AM
Revised after input from Pluralized:


With a barely perceptible whirring and a tinkle like someone screwing up gold leaf, the mecharachnid scuttled along the ceiling. When it neared the gas lamp that hung down over a cluttered work bench, it stopped and focused its single telescopic eye on the mess below.

*******

In the alley behind the workshop, Laverna peered intently through the scope attached to the box which hung around her neck. She deftly fiddled with the knobs on the side of the box and an image of the workbench came in to focus for her. Lying in a small cleared area was a brass cylinder, not unlike a telescope, but with odd protrusions and a large emerald mounted on a bracket at one end. A smirk lifted one corner of Laverna’s mouth as she quickly packed the box away and retrieved a grapnel gun from her rucksack.

Having already examined the lock on the rear door and come to the conclusion it was hideously over-complicated, Laverna looked at the windows. Unfortunately, the only ones on the ground floor were facing the street and, even given the time of night, she wasn’t willing to risk that. Placing the chisel between her teeth, Laverna rooted around in her rucksack and dug out a grapnel gun. After a small pop and a brief climb, she was hanging in front of one of the upstairs windows. She carefully chiselled out the rotten wooden muntins around a pane of glass, then reached in and unlatched the window before gingerly stepping in to the room.

Large objects, all covered in dust sheets, loomed in the gloom. Laverna pulled down the goggles that had been resting on her forehead and wound them up with a tiny key. After a moment, she could see as clear as day and started to move through the first floor of the building. Out on the landing there was a gas lantern turned down low beside one of the other doors. Easing past, Laverna thought she could hear faint snoring from the other side and thanked the gods she didn’t choose that window.

Her progress down the stairs was marred only by the penultimate step, which creaked like a tea clipper in a gale. Laverna froze, held her breath and strained her hearing for any sign of the sleeper stirring. After a long minute she moved again, making a mental note for her return trip.

A corridor ran the length of the building, with rooms off each side and the rear entrance at the end. Slinking along to the last door on the left, Laverna knelt to examine the lock. When she saw the cogs spinning inside the mechanism, she cursed under her breath and studied the floor for a moment, thinking.

*******

The sound of breaking glass woke Dr Erickson. For a moment, he thought it was his imagination and went to doze back off, but another crash from downstairs made him hurry from bed . Shuffling in to his slippers and nightgown, and grabbing his blunderbuss from beside the door, he made his way downstairs, retrieving the lantern on the way. There was more noise of destruction from the workshop as he reached the bottom of the stairs and he rushed to the door, fumbling the keys from around his neck. With his gun in one hand, Dr Erickson flung open the door and lost consciousness.

Laverna stepped over the recumbent form of the doctor, putting her cosh back in its holder on her belt. She quickly retrieved the device from the work bench and then went over to a set of shelves to carefully pick the mecharachnid from the wreckage of several glass jars. Returning to her hiding place in the room opposite, Laverna packed everything away carefully and headed for the stairs. The doctor was groaning his way back to consciousness as she reached the top, but by the time he had raised the alarm, Laverna was long gone.

Digiphant
August 22nd, 2014, 10:29 AM
Accidental double post

Pluralized
August 22nd, 2014, 01:03 PM
I'd recommend if you want to get more in-depth feedback on this piece, place it in the Prose Workshop. There are many members there who can do a way more competent job of helping you with the intricacies of storyline. I'm just a punctuation hack, and still learning m'self. Good luck with it --

mmuscarnera
October 9th, 2014, 09:21 PM
This part, "Dr Erickson flung open the door and lost consciousness." I understand what you are saying but I would maybe add what she did with the "cosh" before the doctor loses consciousness. Or even if you want to keep that part in maybe explain what a cosh is, at this point I have no idea what she did with it. Is it a blunt object and she struck him? Is it a device that causes the loss of conciousness through a trigger?
The story does sound interesting though, I want to find more devices and see what else this world has to offer.

Mat
October 18th, 2014, 07:25 AM
I like the phrase 'flung open the door and lost consciousness.' I think little tricks like that, where a fairly mundane beginning of a sentence is ended unusually, keep a reader engaged. There's probably some complicated name for it, no idea what is though. It was nice to see Laverna using something simple like a cosh; surrounded by all the other gadgets it sticks out more than some special contraption would do.

I'm still not sure where Dr Erickson hears broken glass, though. If she was so careful, what broke? Maybe she could attempt to cut out the putty, fumble it and smash the glass?

'Creaked like a tea clipper in a gale'- love that!