View Full Version : Heavenly Dragon Prologue (428 words) (fantasy)

October 12th, 2016, 04:03 PM
1000 years of war ended on this battlefield. Two humans, the last hope for humanity, faced an unending army. Fur, feathers and scales blanketed the horizon, forming a flood of groans, growls and snorts.

The man, pale, scarred and haggard, wove his way through the crowd.His movements were ritualistic, dance-like. Each swing of his blades slicing through flesh and bone. Black blood poured from his swords and painted a dark trail behind him, littered with pieces of his fallen foes, still emanating their final guttural screams.

The man meandered towards his companion, a woman and the only chance at the survival of their kind. She was younger than him and her inexperience in battle had already resulted in a number of minor injuries. She span, her halberd cutting deep into the wall of enemies surrounding her. It was not enough.

Two wings unfurled from the back of one of the creatures, lifting it off the ground. It sailed over the halberd, which immediately became useless, it's range now posing as a disadvantage. Two claws dug into her neck and shoulder, a fanged beak plunged it's way towards her throat. She writhed in it's grip, trying desperately to avoid the death blow she knew was about to come.

The strike landed directly on it's targets open throat. The man's blade ripping the creatures head off of it's shoulders at the very last moment. The corpse fell from the woman's back, crimson dribbling down from the fresh wounds that it left behind.

Exhaustion,injury and the constant attacks of the enemies added to the weight of the halberd which eventually became to heavy to swing. The creatures seized the opportunity, rushing both warriors. Fangs, claws and tusks ripped into the young woman's dark skin, bringing the death that she had managed to fend off for so long.

The man wept, he had been pinned down by the barrage and had been unable to protect her. He had lost everything to this war, his home, family,friends, lovers. Now, he had lost humanity, he was alone.

A single tear ran down the silver chain around his neck before being absorbed by the jewel that hung from it. The necklace began to glow,enveloping the man in a blinding light. The surrounding foes panicked, the light could mean nothing good for them. They charged into the light.

The light immediately died. The man remained standing for a moment, blood trickling from a few minor wounds yet his eyes were dull and lifeless. His body collapsed to the ground beside his companion.

Thanks for reading. I would appreciate any suggestions and comments.

Jay Greenstein
October 12th, 2016, 05:14 PM
You're presenting this in synopsis, as if a report. Informative? Yes. Entertaining? No, because people aren't looking for information on a fictional character's life, they want to be entertained.

Fair is fair. It's your protagonist's story. Let the poor bastard live it in real-time, as we watch, with him as our avatar, not as someone talked about in overview. Do it well, and when someone swings at your protagonist the reader ducks. And that's what your reader is with you for.

The short version: you're telling the reader a story. Make them live it.

The how: You can't use the tricks of writing you learned in school. Remember all the reports and essays we had to write? That was to teach us skills employers prize. In other words, non-fiction writing. So it's not a matter of talent or potential, it's that you need the writing tricks of fiction, and we learn damn few of them in our school days. But that takes sense when you think about it. We're not taught the tricks of any profession, only given a set of general skills useful to most adults.

So put some time aside to dig through the local library's fiction writing section. Lots of help to be found there. There are a lot of articles on writing available on the Internet, too, even mine.

October 12th, 2016, 07:53 PM
Your first two sentences had me eager to learn more of what happened here, more about these two people who remained ( I would have written out " A thousand" it's looks longer then "1000" and gives it more weight). Then you quickly turn what must have been an epic battle into one line.

Give me more, I was hooked and then you let me down. I wanted to feel like I was there with those two people. What did they feel like after surviving the attacks that left all those bodies? I realize you get more in depth later on but you already threw me out.

Also you told me the war ended but then they were still fighting. Is this the same war? Maybe the was some mixed tense issues throwing me off here.

October 13th, 2016, 03:18 AM
To start you've got a few formatting and spelling issues and I think if you comb the piece over you'll see what I mean.

Also the piece lacks context. What is really happening here? You don't give us, it seems, enough details for the reader to appreciate the gravity of what is going on. How has the character "lost humanity"? What exactly is going on here? Is this a piece of a larger work?

Just some thoughts and considerations. Thanks for sharing and keep on writing!

October 13th, 2016, 10:47 AM
Thank you all for your suggestions.

The story that follows is one in which the main character from the prologue has been revived so I am trying to keep the prologue relatively simple, and a lot of questions unanswered. I will be sure to take your advice Jay, do you think it is caused by unneeded information added to the text?

Grub, I am really happy to hear that I managed to gather your interest in the first couple of lines and I will be sure to develop the battle more, you do bring up a question, at what point should a number stop being written in word form? It is an issue that I have been trying to determine for a while as there are quite a few numbers used later in the story.

Daniel, I will be sure to correct any issues with grammar and spelling, I did notice a few issues with pasting it into the thread and evidently missed a few, I also write in UK English so that may be responsible for some as well. This is the prologue and I do plan on filling in his past as the story progresses. I have to admit, the humanity part was one of my main issues and I will probably remove it.

Thanks again for your feedback

October 13th, 2016, 02:42 PM
Grub, I am really happy to hear that I managed to gather your interest in the first couple of lines and I will be sure to develop the battle more, you do bring up a question, at what point should a number stop being written in word form? It is an issue that I have been trying to determine for a while as there are quite a few numbers used later in the story.

I think most writers write out small numbers ( zero-one hundred), once you get into 101 and up I think the number form is okay. You may make exceptions for thousand, million, etc.. they are "short words".

You will find people that argue it should always be written out, but that's a style argument I think.

And style is where my suggestion came from. writing 1000 there was not wrong, but you were using it in a descriptive way. You wanted your readers to understand this war had been going on for a long long time. To my eye "a thousand" looks longer than "1000"

Ultimately, if you are looking to get this published the choice will probably be made by the publisher,

October 13th, 2016, 03:33 PM
Thanks again Grub, I had gone with a similar style to the one you suggested and it is good to find that it is a reasonable format. I agree with your suggestion of the length and will correct it in the prologue as I update it.

Jay Greenstein
October 13th, 2016, 10:50 PM
I will be sure to take your advice Jay, do you think it is caused by unneeded information added to the text?No, it's caused by the fact that you, like all of us, believe you learned how to write during your schooldays.

Remember all those reports we had to write—the essays? That was done to perfect our report writing skills, to make us useful to our future employers. So of course, when you began writing your stories you thought in terms of the writing style you know, which is meant to inform. Therefore, you open with a description of the scene and the people in it, from the viewpoint of an external observer. We all begin with that mindset because we spent twelve years of school perfecting it.

But reader are looking to be entertained, and while facts can be interesting, in general, they don't entertain. For fiction, the situation is the backdrop, which forces the protagonist to act. And it's the steps leading to the action—the things that motivate the character to act, that matter.
In other words, to write fiction you need to learn the techniques the publishers prize, not our high school teachers.

But doesn't it make sense that to be a professional writer (or write like one) we need to invest a few dollars, and a block of time acquiring and perfecting the necessary skills? Were we to want to write screenplays we would know we need more education. And we don't believe our watching TV teaches us how to write a film. But universally, we leave our schooldays believing our education and reading taught us what we need, to be a fiction writer. We believe that since we know how to read and write, what we need is a good plot idea, a knack for words, and a bit of luck.

If only.

So in reality, it's no big deal, because we have to learn and perfect any profession. And once you have the professional toolkit, and have practiced it till it's as natural to use as the nonfiction skills we already own, who knows how far you'll go?

Hang in there, and keep on writing.