The Broken crown - Chapter 1
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  1. #1
    Member _Koriko_'s Avatar
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    The Broken crown - Chapter 1

    (Thanks to all the wonderful people who responded with criticism!)

    Chapter 1

    Freya began to walk through the forest, making sure to avoid puddles on her way. She came across a small merchant’s stall in the woods. He was selling food and Freya hadn’t eaten in a day, so she went over to him.
    She bought a bag of biscuits and stuffed one in her mouth. The merchant’s eyes widened with amusement when he saw her eat it in one bite. “Woah there! You must be hungry.”
    Freya turned at him and smiled. “Well, I guess so.”
    She gave him the money and was about to turn away and start walking again, but he called out after her. “Hey!”
    Freya turned back around to face the merchant.
    “Are you a bounty hunter?” he yelled out.
    Freya nodded and walked back over to the stall and showed him her bounty hunter pin, which was attached to the sleeve of her left jacket. “What do you need?” she asked.
    “Just wondering if someone could complete a task for me as a favor.”
    She nodded and pulled out a piece of paper from her bag. “I’m too busy right now to accept another mission, so just write your address on this piece of paper and I’ll come find you when I’m ready.”
    He nodded and wrote down a long address. Freya quickly glanced at the paper. It looked like he lived near the coast, out in Harkam Town.
    The merchant looked back at Freya. “Thank you!” he said.
    Freya smiled and began walking again. It felt good to help out someone. As she walked through the forest, she made sure her ponytail was still up. Unlike other girls her age, who spent large amounts of gold to make their hair beautiful, Freya just put her up into a ponytail using some thread.
    She never really cared for beauty or money. She learnt that when she was a homeless street orphan.
    She just had to focus on getting the job done most of the time, and she didn’t have the time for such vanity.
    Her bounty hunter pin, which was a simple sword brooch, reflected the sunlight. The red laces on her black boots reminded her of Helga’s blood, when Freya beat her in a intense fight.
    Helga wasn’t a easy opponent to fight, being the representative of the Official Guild. Being on the street teaches you how to fight.
    Growing up on the street teaches you that the world is cold and that your only instinct should be to fight.
    To survive.
    That fight with Helga was the start. The start of Freya proving to everyone that she would survive. People had believed in her then and she believed in herself now. As she walked, she eventually came to a large area filled with buildings. She recognized this as the Official Guild.
    Being a bounty hunter, Freya needed a place to accept bounties from. Sometimes they were from regular people, but most of the time missions were issued out by the Official Guild.
    Very few bounty hunters could do anything without interacting with the Official Guild in some way. Freya wished this wasn’t the case. She wanted to be in control of what she did.
    As she approached the main centre, she saw a person wave her over.
    It was Julian, her best friend. Julian was usually her partner on missions, but this time he had to stay behind to finish paperwork. When he hugged her, she nearly fell over. His short blue hair flew in her face when he reached her.
    “How was the mission?” he asked. His gray eyes were filled with curiosity, and his long-sleeved shirt looked a little too big on him. “Um, good. I guess,” she replied.
    He smiled and turned behind him and waved someone over. Freya almost immediately saw that person. It was Helga, the representative of the Official Guild.
    Helga’s brown hair rolled down her back almost to her waistline and her sweater dress reached down to her knees, and her boots went just up to under her knees. Her eyes looked like a predator who was about to pounce, hungry and alert.
    Her glasses were perfectly positioned on her nose, and her perfect face didn’t look any different than the last time Freya saw her.
    Freya turned away from Helga and rolled her eyes. Freya found Helga extremely annoying, because she always acted like she was above everyone else. As Helga got closer, Freya saw Helga wrinkle her nose for just a second, and then returned to her extremely bland face.
    “Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise, Freya Morrison?” she said.
    Freya gave Helga her an annoyed look and replied with, “Yes, I’m back. Thank you for acknowledging that.”
    Helga wrinkled her nose again, this time with a more noticeable sense of disgust. "Well, I hope you made sure to be professional about doing your job.”
    That was another thing about Helga that annoyed Freya. Helga was obsessed with the reputation of the Official Guild, always trying to make sure that they always looked good in the public’s eyes.
    Being the official representative, Helga was supposed to be watching over stuff like that, but she always took it to an extreme that wasn’t necessary. Freya shrugged and looked at Helga and said, “Yeah, sure.”
    Helga frowned but thankfully didn’t say anything, which probably would’ve put Freya on the edge.
    Julian tapped Freya on the shoulder and pointed towards the bounty collection office. Julian smiled at Helga and then they were headed for the bounty collection office. Once Julian and Freya were successfully in the waiting line for bounty collection and Helga was no longer behind them, Julian let out a deep sigh.
    “Good god, you don’t know how hard it was to have socialized with her for two days.”
    Freya put her hand on his shoulder and said, “Yeah, I can imagine how that would be hard. I’ve never been alone with her for more than a day, and even that was a disaster.”
    Julian nodded and pointed towards the collection desk.
    “You think this money will cover food for the week?”
    Freya nodded and patted Julian’s shoulder again. “Yeah, I made sure it will.”
    Freya and Julian lived together in one small house on the outskirts of the Official Guild area. It was easier to cover expenses that way.
    Freya was mostly in charge of making the money, and Julian always managed it. They collected her bounty and went to their house. Freya gave Julian the money he needed to go shopping for food and set him on his way. She unpacked her stuff and wandered through the house for a while until someone knocked on her door. She looked through the tiny peephole on the door to see who was there.
    The person standing there was Reimund, Head of Managing Hunters in the Official Guild. His white button-up shirt and gray cardigan matched perfectly. The blue and red pins on his cardigan reflected the bright sunlight that morning. His shiny black dress shoes seemed like they had just been polished recently. His dress pants looked newly ironed. His full moon glasses hung off his nose, just barely holding on.
    He knocked on the door again and Freya opened the door this time. When he saw Freya, he politely smiled and bowed. “Freya. It’s a pleasure to see you again. May I come in?”
    Freya smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll get you a drink.”
    She opened the door further and let Reimund sit at her main table and went to go get him a glass of fresh water from her kitchen. Reimund was pretty nice to Freya most of the time, though he was a bit rigid and wanted everyone to respect the rules.
    Anyone was better than Helga at this point.
    When she put a glass of water with ice in front of him, he politely smiled again and adjusted his collar slightly. He always did that if he was nervous, and Freya knew immediately that nothing good was going to come out of this.
    “So, Freya, normally I would start with small talk, like how the weather is today. However, I believe that this subject is quite, um, urgent.”
    Freya nodded with a curious look and said, “Well, what is it?”
    Reimund stared at her with a serious expression and said, “We need you to take Julian’s place as Vice President of Training.”
    This was the worst subject Reimund could have brought up, and some days, Freya would wonder if she had been too harsh with him that day.
    Julian was the vice president of training new bounty hunters, a job he did quite well. He was always very interested in why someone wanted to become a bounty hunter. The thing was, Julian was two years younger than Freya, and because he was only twenty-five years old, most people in The Official Guild who were higher and older than him didn’t believe he could manage the job.
    Freya thought that was ridiculous, mainly because he was still running the job and doing well. She had told the Official Guild about this before, but they had just suggested she take his place.
    Even though she wasn’t much older than him, she had begun accepting missions much earlier than Julian did, so she did have more experience than him.
    From then on, they kept suggesting she take his place. Reimund seemed to notice she was getting mad, even though she hadn’t spoken yet. “You see, it’s not because the board believes he is inexperienced. There’s another reason.”
    Freya’s anger was suddenly replaced with curiosity. Another reason? The board, which consisted of all the important leaders of the Official Guild, including Helga and Reimund,
    didn’t act like they would have a different reason other than Julian’s age to want to get rid of him. Freya tilted her head and asked, “And what other reason do you have?”
    Reimund adjusted his collar again and sighed. He looked fatigued, probably because Reimund was quite overworked on a regular day, but also what he was about to say had stressed him out all day.
    “Well, I know you won’t believe me, but, the board believes that Julian has stolen some official documents.”
    Freya frowned and got a little closer to Reimund, her face fuming. She tried to calm herself down, but anger steeped in her voice. “What documents? Huh?” she asked.
    Reimund frowned and stared right into Freya’s eyes. “The documents that he says connect us to a terrorist organization, The Time Society.”

    Last edited by _Koriko_; March 15th, 2018 at 06:21 PM.
    "We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - Albus Dumbledore

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  2. #2
    The sun shone through the forest right between all the trees.
    Never begin with a weather report. This line pretty well encapsulates the problems I see, and they're not a matter of talent, or good/bad writing. You're working hard on this, but you're using the nonfiction skill-set we all learn in our schooldays, as we train for our future employer's needs. Remember all the reports and essays you wrote? They were to prepare us to be useful employees. The goal of our writing, then, was to inform clearly. So, we learned fact-based and author-centric style techniques. Look at the progression of this story. We learn the weather. Then we learn how she's dressed. We learn that she's a bounty hunter, then more about her dress. We learn about her hair, her eyes, and what she did before the story began. So...the actual story has not yet begun, and she's not on stage. You are, alone, and talking about her, in general.

    In short, it's a report. Dispassionately informing the reader. I care how she's dressed if I don't yet know her as a person? Can I visualize the setting if I don't know where I am in time and space? Can that small overview give me a fraction of the image you recall when you read the words? No. General visual details of what can be seen—especially things she's ignoring—do little for the reader. And, they'll read like a report.

    What matters isn't what you visualize as being in the film version of the story. The reader wants to know what matters to her, in the moment she calls now. I don't care if the field she walks through is grass and flowers or dirt. She's passing through it, and not reacting to it (and as a minor matter, because you don't mention grazing livestock you imply technology an society that mows areas for show, which seems to clash with the sword). So why do I care about things I can't see if they don't matter to her?
    As she approached the main centre she saw a person wave her over.
    That's your view. She sees Julian waving. Why take one line to say she sees "someone," then another to explain who it is? Why does the reader care that Julian usually went with her? Our protagonist isn't thinking anything but that her friend is waving. And if she is our avatar in the story, we cannot know what she does not. Nor can we know anything she doesn't have reason to think about as part of her reasoning process, because we need to be her, not know about her.

    My point is that there are tricks of the trade of any field, including our own. And while we learn to read and write in school we're not trained in the character-centric and emotion based tricks of writing fiction, any more than are we given the skills of medicine or piloting a ship to dock. They are skills learned as part of preparing ourselves for some specialized task like accounting, screenwriting, engineering, or fiction writing. After all, if we want our readers to enjoy our stories as much as the work of writing pros doesn't if follow that we must own a few of that pro's skills? Given that our readers are seeking to be entertained, we need writing skills designed for that task.

    They're not hard to learn, or find, and well worth the effort of acquiring. You'll find articles here and online, and the library's fiction writing section can give you the views of successful authors, teachers, and publishing pros. Perfecting them is a bitch, yes, but once you have, you'll love the improvement in the flow of words.

    Sorry my news isn't better. But given that it's a problem we all face when we begin recording our stories, it's not a big deal, just an annoyance, And if you are meant to be a writer, you'll find the learning fun. So dig in.

    And while you're doing that, hang in there, and keep on writing.
    Jay Greenstein
    My articles on writing.
    The goal isn't to tell the reader that the protagonist is terrified, it's to terrorize our reader.

  3. #3
    Her jacket was adorned with an official bounty hunter pin. Her boots had bright red laces, which was a direct contrast to the rest of her black boots.
    It doesn't seem necessary to "hold the readers hand" and explain every detail. It is understood that her boots have red laces and saying that they were in contrast to her black boots seems redundant. Maybe say " Bright red laces adorned her knee high black boots."
    Another thing I picked up on was explaining that she is a bounty hunter. She had a bounty hunter pin and was returning from collecting a bounty, it's inferred that she is bounty hunter. There is no need to say that she is in fact a bounty hunter.
    Being a newer writer I to am learning certain ticks and tips to make my stories flow better. One that was suggested to me was using the text to speech function and listen to how your story sounds.
    Hope this helps and by all means keep writing.

  4. #4
    you might want to check this out also, it gives great tips about formatting your story so that it reads smoother on this site.

  5. #5
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Just 2 points:

    1- formatting. It's always a good idea to format your writing for maximum readability. I admit I did not get through this based on that alone. It's possible to edit and preview posts as needed.

    2- the writing: I don't think there is too much to improve upon in things like spelling and grammar. Next you just need to perfect your story-writing skills. That sounds easier than it is because it's not just about enumerating events. It's about creating the experience of them. When we are out in the world, we don't see a pair of shoes and think "wow, the laces are really red", we think "those red-laced shoes are stomping towards ME!" (or something)

    Take this:

    "Her jacket was adorned with an official bounty hunter pin. Her boots had bright red laces, which was a direct contrast to the rest of her black boots."

    First thing is that this is very descriptive. It says "this was this" and "this had that". A few had's and was'es here and there are okay but for the most part we want events to unfold. You could try:

    "Her hand went to the dagger brooch - the official bounty hunter pin, jabbed into the lapel of her jacket - and stroked it. On her black boots, the bright red laces reminded her of Gaussmann's blood when she had kicked the life out of him."

    So here we have (and I know that this all may be toitally irrelevant to your story - there may be no Gaussmann to kick etc) the same things, but presented in a way that shows us more of her, of the situation and world she is in, with the stuff as backdrop. I have tried to convey the impression of a bounty hunter who loves her job probably too much, who has been brutal. I invoke some random person - Gaussmann - whose sole purpose, if you want, can be to frame your character here and show us what a badass she is, and give her some history. You could also replace Gaussmann with someone relevant to your story who may crop up later. Point being, you can depict all that describey stuff alongside actual current events in this way. Give it a try. Good luck

    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"


    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous


    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!

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