Sheetha: Dark Princess

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  1. #1

    Sheetha: Dark Princess

    I always wanted to generate a story about a dark female warrior, modeled after new age comic book and video-game female combat avatars such as Talia al Ghul (DC Comics) and Kitana (Mortal Kombat), and this is the short-story I came up with.

    This yarn was inspired by the films Red Sonja and Vampire Hunter D.

    Thanks for reading (happy summer),


    Sheetha wandered around a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 3000, as the evil king Osrich ruled over a nefarious place near California called Hell-City. Sheetha was born a princess in the goodly kingdom of Malech, which was ravaged by the forces of Osrich whose yearning for power seemed unending. Sheetha was now a sword-wielding vigilante-crusader, vowing vengeance on the ugly Osrich.

    It was summer, and Sheetha decided to trek to Hell-City finally and assassinate the evil King Osrich. She had sharpened her sword and arrows for this special night-mission! Sheetha trained for 10 years in the Himalayas while worshipping the Hindu god of destruction, Lord Shiva. Under the aura of Shiva's power, Sheetha honed her skills at archery and swordsmanship. She was ready.

    When Sheetha arrived in Hell-City, her first priority was to devise a plan of infiltration and attack. She resolved to track down all the roaming female prostitutes in the dark city and usher them into her hideaway, an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Hell-City. When Osrich would be informed that all the voluptuous hookers of Hell-City were vanishing, he'd demand information.

    As Osrich's minions scoured Hell-City for the whereabouts of the disappearing prostitutes, Sheetha began killing these searching minions. Soon, everyone was saying, "Osrich seems a fool!" Finally, Sheetha surrendered herself to one of Osrich's minions, so she'd be taken to his dark castle. When she arrived and was brought before a contemptuous and snarling Osrich, she yanked out a hidden steel-tipped arrow (fitted with a micro-bomb!) hidden in her leather boot and threw it into Osrich's eye, causing a head-destroying blast that rid Earth of the hellish king, but not before she engaged Osrich in an eye-opening conversation about the value of virtue. This chat was remembered!

    SHEETHA: I came to Hell-City as a messenger, Osrich!
    OSRICH: You kidnapped our hookers, dark princess.
    SHEETHA: I wanted people to witness the limits to your power!
    OSRICH: What's so sacred about corralled prostitutes?
    SHEETHA: Your neglect of humanity is what reveals you as a blind man!
    OSRICH: I'll sever your pretty head and show it to all...
    SHEETHA: Folks are already saying, "Osrich is Narcissus!"
    OSRICH: So your message is one of 'radicalized feminism.'
    SHEETHA: I'll be remembered as a 'woman of tricks.'
    OSRICH: No one cares about the inventiveness of women.
    SHEETHA: You underestimate the true value of gossip.
    OSRICH: Perhaps your cunning can be of use to me.
    SHEETHA: I won't work for you, King Osrich.
    OSRICH: In that case, I'll remember this 'political chat.'
    SHEETHA: Hopefully, your chauvinism will be forgotten...


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  2. #2
    I am not familiar with the films that inspired this short story but I love the descriptions and the connection with India. Did you intend this as a horror story?

  3. #3
    My first thought on this piece is that it is story telling rather than a story to be read. One can imagine the story teller sitting relating it to a group of listeners and as this it works in its way, but a story to be read by a reader in solitude is somewhat different. This distinction is maybe what the old adage "show, don't tell" refers to. My comments here then relate to it as a story to be read, which may not be what you were aiming to produce.

    Initially the reader needs an incentive to keep reading, otherwise the story telling ceases before it has got started. In contrast an actual story teller will keep talking whether his audience listens to everything that he says or not. Your first paragraph provides information that the reader doesn't yet need, but this is easily remedied by changing the sequence. I would suggest that your opening statement should be "It was summer, and Sheetha decided to trek to Hell-City finally and assassinate the evil King Osrich," to use your own words without modification. That triggers the reader's curiosity and gets them asking questions like "Who is this Sheetha? Where is Hell-City? Who is this King Osrich and why is he evil enough to deserve assassination? What ability does Sheetha have to carry this out?" Now you can provide the information in your first paragraph to fill in the blanks in their knowledge that didn't previously exist. Paradoxically readers keep reading because of the things that you haven't told them yet, so the order in which you give them information is important. It is just like the stories of the thousand and one nights; the reader must always be aware that you haven't told them everything yet or else your story telling will be cut off short by them.

    In a way by showing the reader events rather than simply telling them about them the writer enables them to discover the story for themselves. That is quite a different experience for the reader in that they have an active part to play instead of passively being fed the story. There is a similar process involved in the way that animals in captivity are fed. For the less intelligent ones it is sufficient just to pile up the food and let them eat their way through it, but for the more intelligent ones their appetite is increased by making them seek out the food, so it is hidden around their enclosures in small quantities and they must take longer searching for it. For them the simple pile of food is less interesting and while they may digest it they won't give it any thought. In writing terms that means that readers won't remember the writer's name for future reference and seek him out again. Anyway, that's enough on this topic.

    One thing that always niggles me is when a writer uses names too often. You use "Sheetha" more often than you need to where "she" would be quite unambiguous. Through most of this piece there is only one male and one female character, so very little ambiguity about who "she" and "he" might be. Watch out for the exceptions where you must use a name though.

    On the positive side I like your use of varying sentence lengths with short ones for impact, as in "She was ready," and "This chat was remembered!" On the other hand, even though I myself revel in sometimes ludicrously long sentences, I think some of yours are too long and need to be reviewed. The following one virtually contains an entire story in itself, although it does add to the impact of the short sentence following, but I think you've overdone the contrast far too much.

    "When she arrived and was brought before a contemptuous and snarling Osrich, she yanked out a hidden steel-tipped arrow (fitted with a micro-bomb!) hidden in her leather boot and threw it into Osrich's eye, causing a head-destroying blast that rid Earth of the hellish king, but not before she engaged Osrich in an eye-opening conversation about the value of virtue."

    For me the part in parentheses particularly signalled that you were attempting to impart far too much information in one sentence. Also, on the subject of showing rather than telling, I think the reader could deduce that the man's head would be destroyed by a bomb in his eye without your mentioning it explicitly with an unnecessary hyphenated adjective. Why mention this event before the conversation that preceded it though? Putting events temporally out of sequence within one's writing like this just makes them harder for the reader to follow. Doing so on a larger scale with intentional devices like flashbacks is different. Here holding the conversation back doesn't to my mind increase its impact but instead diminishes the impact of the bomb in the eye and also the parrying contained in the conversation as its outcome is already known to the reader.

    Think about the order in which you impart information and how the gaps that you temporarily leave affect the reader's experience.

    I hope these remarks are helpful.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.


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