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Chapter One-Ghost Town (Fantasy/Supernatural)(Words-2,139) (1 Viewer)

Kitana

Senior Member
Hello my friends. It has been awhile since last I posted but I would greatly appreciate any help anyone could give.
I've been working on this story for a long while. I intend it to be Fantasy/Supernatural based. I'd even say High Fantasy but I'll let others be the judge of that.
This is my first chapter in a book I'm working on. To me it seems a bit short for a chapter but being a novice I just may be overthinking it. I do tend to do that.
If not please feel free to show me what could be improved on. I'm also sure my grammar is not great and that is my one greatest weakness with writing. But I hope I can learn to improve it. With the right guidence that is.
Thank you for your time friends. <^.^>
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A bright noonday sun shone down through the overhanging trees surrounding a quiet village. The soft warm wind of summer usually carrying the sounds of children at play and chatting towns people blew through deserted streets instead. Shop signs on local buildings swung lazily as they displayed their bright lettering, still trying to lure in people from the streets.


Striding alone through the empty streets was a tall woman with short silver hair falling to her shoulders in tiny braids. She was clad in simple white robes trimmed in silver and kept fastened closed with a thick silver sash tied in a tight knot.
With bright silver colored eyes oddly slit much like a cats, she expertly scanned the deserted town surrounding her as she solemnly walked down the dirt packed street.
As she looked around though a cold chill swept through her, she couldn’t help but feel an air of wrongness surrounding her. Something eerie and old. Something she had never felt before. It mystified her but it also scared her.

“I see you received my message.” called a soft gruff voice from under a nearby porch. “Thank you Priestess Ceres for coming.”

Ceres nodded towards the voice her molten gaze turning to face a tall handsome young man with slightly pointed ears and amethyst colored eyes and hair. His thin frame was fair and in the rays of sunlight his skin glistened with an iridescent shimmer. He was dressed in soft fine leathers and wrapped in a thin fur trimmed cloak.

“I did my friend.” Ceres greeted as she walked over to Lexx Sharde and hugged him warmly. “ I know it has been quite awhile since last we met but I did not think it had been that long to turn to such formalities.” she teased gently.

Lexx chuckled shrugging. “ I suppose not but if I didn’t I would forget them entirely. And a position such as mine does frown upon that. I am glad you could come though. I don’t know many others in your Order that would head my call.”

“How could I not? From your message, this was something I can’t ignore. You said there was a plague here a week before?” she asked as once more she turned her gaze to the deserted streets and windows.

“Yes. I was sent here to investigate. I only left for a day and a half. When I came back everyone was gone. No sign of anything aside from normal activity.”

“ So no signs of abduction at all? Though I suppose if there were any slavery group that large the Guardian’s or our Order would of heard of it. This is very strange. And this plague, you said it was different from anything seen before?”

Lexx nodded soberly. “It was like a sleeping sickness. It would weaken the victim until they slip into sleep and never wake. The odd thing is though the people do not waste away. Before they all disappeared the Sister’s tending the sick said some had fallen into sleep over a month ago. I was hoping the Kitsu may be able to know something to cure this sickness.”

“Of that I’m not sure. It does sound like a new sickness even to me.” Ceres said solemnly. “Have there been any other outbreaks?” Ceres asked curiously; her gaze was distant, her mind quickly trying to reason the information she was being given. As she gazed around another cold chill swept over her body even as the warm air surrounded her.

“This is the second as well as the second one to vanish. What more, the first outbreak was on the other side of the southern lands. No signs of outbreak have yet to show in the lands between there and here.”

“ What kind of connection could this plague have between it and the disappearances? This town doesn’t seem large but even for everyone to go missing and with no signs of struggle is perplexing.” she commented turning her silver gaze to Lexx finally. “This area feels of deep foreboding.” she finished her eyes flashing with an inner glow momentarily.

“Yes I felt it too when I came back. I thought perhaps I imagined it at the time.”

“ Sadly I’m afraid not, my friend. I sense it. Even as it grows faint as we speak. Something must of happened in that span you were absent. I can try to commune with this land. My power isn’t as strong as other Speakers but I may at least be able to glimpse the memory of the land.” Ceres paused looking around, “It will take time though. I’ll only get a strong reading through focal points. Places where the most activity is. Perhaps the Sanctuary or town square.”

“Thank you Ceres.” Lexx said gratefully offering Ceres an endearing smile. “Come I’ll take you to the Sanctuary first.” he said beginning to walk down the street.
After another glance around Ceres nodded following after him. She couldn’t help but shiver in a deep chill even in the bright warm sunlight.

“So how have you been Ceres? As you said it has been quite awhile since last we spoke. I take you have been well?” Lexx asked conversely as he led Ceres through the streets.

“ Yes. The Order keeps me busy and when I’m not on errand I tend to keep to myself, mostly in a library.”

Lexx chuckled softly. “Aye. That sounds like a friend we both know. Have you spoke to her lately?”

Laughing softly Ceres shook her head. “Akkia? No. Not since her clans fall. Though I hear she has taken to joining the Guardians of Alaria.”

“Oh? Well I suppose that is better then the alternative. I wonder why she chose them though and not to join with her fellow kin in your Order?”

Ceres shrugged benignly. “ I wondered that myself. I had guessed though it would be to painful for her still. Her sister was highly regarded among the Sisters of the Order. So in essence we are all just a painful reminder of what she had lost.”

“Ah. Yes that is true I suppose. I was gravely saddened when I had heard of her Clans fall. To lose ones family and clan in just one night…I can’t even begin to imagine how that must feel. I had wished to be at her side when she was found. But I am glad you were with her.”

“Yes I owe thanks to Saphira for that. She was the one who found Akkia and sent word to me. I only wish she would of listened to me instead of wandering off so soon after healing.” Ceres said distantly as her mind momentarily turned to her friend. “But what of you Lexx? How have you been fairing?”

“Ah fine. Same as you really. The Library has been keeping me busy. In fact it was because of them I was sent here to see about this plague. I was to catalog it and see if any help could be found. This is most definitely turning into quite a task. I only hope we can find a solution and soon.”

“ As am I. These circumstances are quite perplexing. And neither can I shake the feeling of a great foreboding.” Ceres commented. “My only hope is that my speaking with the land will tell us anything important.”


After bringing Ceres to the towns small Sanctuary Lexx took a seat on a nearby bench watching her silently as she began to prepare herself for meditation.
When she first entered the area Ceres began to wander aimlessly about the room with her eyes half closed and her right hand reaching out as if searching for something. Finally after long minutes stretched by Ceres walked to the front of the small room and sat directly in front of the altar.
Sitting on the floor with her legs crossed Ceres began the process of meditation with deep calming breaths, her silver eyes closed peacefully and her slim robed frame sat as still as a statue. With her mind closing to the world around her Ceres easily slipped into her trance.
Willing the energy around her Ceres started the process of projecting her questions in her mind hoping the answers would come to her from the energies still lingering in the buildings and land of the town.
It took several attempts at first to commune with the land but without hesitation on her eighth attempt her surrounding was suddenly filled with bright images of various people around her. Some she recognized as the Sister’s, their bright auras calming and cool. Mingling with the Sister’s were more varied auras of the townspeople. Some cool like the Sister’s others more mellow and even electrifying as they hurried about.
Slowly Ceres brought forth the question most on her mind, that of the plague and disappearances.
In answer to her projected question the bright lit images were quickly replaced by dimmer versions that appeared sullen, their once livid auras matching their sullen looks. Ceres also noticed that there were few mingling about. A pang of solemn sadness twisted through her middle as she saw the once happy people before her turn quiet and dreary.
Then like puffs of smoke the images faded entirely, leaving only a shadowed silence filling the air around her. Ceres was just starting to wonder if that was all the trance could see when suddenly her vision was struck with a deep pitch black that blotted out not only light but sound as well. Leaving a feeling of drifting in a silent vault of space.
For a long moment Ceres tried to strain all her senses until a flash of bright red orbs appeared in the darkness followed by more appearing all around her.
Soon Ceres startled gaze found herself suddenly surrounded by double sets of red glowing eyes.
Out of the silence and following the haunting gaze was a low vicious growling followed by the stench of sulfur.
Abruptly a pair of eyes lunged at Ceres causing a sharp hot pain to shot through her arm. Cringing from the pain Ceres looked down in shock and saw a pair of ethereal jaws wrapped around her arm.
Her astral eyes widened as Ceres let out a startled yelp, shaking her arm to try to dislodge the creature.
‘How can this be?!’ she thought quickly as her gaze turned to the rest of the eyes and startlingly glowing maws began to open below the eyes. In a flash the maws pounced onto Ceres form and began to tear at her body.
Pain erupted in Ceres mind as she let loose an agonizing howl her body quickly leaping off the floor as if it were hot lava.

“Ceres!” Lexx cried out at the sound of her anguished howl, his slim form darting to her side.
Still bristling from the ordeal Ceres silver gaze darted around as if expecting the red eyes to still be around her as Lexx tried to sooth her with his calming voice.

“Calm down. Your safe now.” he said soothingly as he noted Ceres defensive stature, his eyes creasing in concern.
At the sound of Lexx’s familiar voice Ceres slowly began to calm down, her long sharpened nails; extending defensively when she was endangered, shortened and rounded as she calmed.

“Thank you.” she said softly laying a still shaking hand on Lexx’s arm.

“Your very Welcome. What happened? Are you alright?” he inquired after a long moment as Ceres calmed down.

Nodding Ceres softly began to explain. “It was odd..The first visions were mundane and matched your descriptions. But,” Ceres hesitated looking about nervously. “I was met with hundreds of pairs of red glowing eyes. Then suddenly I was assaulted with vicious maws and the strong smell of sulfur.”

“Demons?” Lexx started his eyes widening in surprise.

“ So says this land. Yet there are no signs of struggle. How could Demons make hundreds of people disappear? Quietly at that. This is very dark. Can you take me to the first outbreak? If it fortells the same there we must be watchful of more outbreaks. And if another happens we need to warn the councils.” Ceres said starting as she slowly began to steady herself nodding to Lexx assuring him she was okay.

“Of course. We can set out tomorrow morning. Come, I’ve set camp just outside of town. We can rest there for the night and you can regain your strength. I even hunted some venison earlier, and if I remember correctly you love venison. I know you must be famished from that ordeal, too.” Lexx offered turning a knowing gaze to Ceres.
“Thank you, my friend. I am very grateful.” Ceres replied gratefully as she started towards Lexx, her movements still slow and shaky.

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MousePot

Senior Member
Hi kitana

This is very impressive and a wonderful start for the story. You obviously have a clear idea of your world and it feels fleshed out even though this is just the start, and I feel your characters have a lot of potential.

I will say though that I was somewhat overwhelmed by your adjectives and adverbs throughout the piece, but especially towards the start. I do appreciate the importance of setting the scene, but too much descriptive text can hinder the flow of the narrative.

I thought your dialogue was good, but that there may be some space for a bit more to help show the relationship between the two characters? Maybe Ceres snapping at lex for telling her her own races history at the start, or whatever you feel appropriate. ^^

I thought your description of the trance sequence was absolutely superb, and the whole section with the ghosts and demons was well paced and really quite exciting! Before that though, while Ceres is preparing for her meditation, you only refer to her action with "ceres did something".

In a situation where there is only a boy and a girl you can use she and we will know who you are talking about. Even in situations where there are many people, it's very important that you can describe the action in a way that the reader knows who you are talking about without having to use their name all the time.

But I really enjoyed this, as I said I thought the trance scene was excellent writing, the 'threat' seems interesting and pretty scary, and I immediately want to know what happens next and how the story develops.

Thanks so much for sharing this :)
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Thank you Mousepot for reading. <^.^> I'm very glad you enjoyed it and thank you again for your input. It is greatly appreciated.
I'm glad to see I've not totally botched it either :p . I was afraid I've added to much description. I think aside from my misuse of grammar that is also my weakness.

I thought your dialogue was good, but that there may be some space for a bit more to help show the relationship between the two characters?

This is one thing I especially am glad you pointed out as this is mostly the reason I posted in the first place. I felt that the characters interaction was a bit to lacking as well. Though I couldn't place on how I could make it better. Ofcourse I will try to revise it. And try to study up on my use of adjectives and adverbs.
Gods I wish I had better paid attention in my English classes. <^.^>
 

MousePot

Senior Member
I'm glad to see I've not totally botched it either :razz:

Not even close to botching it! In fact if you have any new edits or new chapters I would love to read them! So please feel free to send them my way anytime =D
 

Nippon Devil

Senior Member
The story has potential, as do the characters. The way the characters talk and behave reminds me of Japanese cinema and anime. <3

As mousepot said, you use a dizzying number of adjectives. Your sentences also seem a little busy, but that could be from the sheer number of adjectives. I think you could remove most of the adjectives without hurting the scenes. usually describing the sensation, mood, or look is far more effective than relying on a single word to do all of your work. Your word count might go up, but I think it'll read better.

I wasn't a huge fan of the dialog in the beginning. I think you were trying to do a soft introduction, but the dialog didn't feel natural. I think you could get away with a small info dump that describes the interesting and important tid-bits about these two characters, and then they can talk about the "outbreak" without trying to introduce themselves to the reader at the same time.


And a few tips that will make you a bit more popular on the forum (and hopefully increase commenters):

Word count: people like to know how long it is before they click on the topic. When I saw the word "chapter" I almost didn't click because I was expecting a 5-7K word read. This is closer to 1800 words.

No excuses: Why would I read something you wrote if you don't like it? Your avatar may be Marvin the paranoid robot, but that's no reason to tell me what I'm going to think before I read it. You can ask for help, and you can nod in agreement after the fact, but keep your chin up!
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
This chapter was very well written. I did find one typo but that is not big deal at all. I really bad with that kind of stuff. I'll just leave it here so you can find it easy.

“Yes I felt it to when I came back. I thought though perhaps I imagined it at the time.” -I believe you meant Yes I felt it 'too'.

Other than that I rally don't have anything else to say about this. The characters seem very interesting and the threat seem imminent and i would live to find out how this story pans out.

Good work.
 

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
First of all, don't worry about chapter length. If you have ever read 'The Heroes' by Joe Abercrombie you will know some of his chapters are a paragraph or page long. I wouldn't get hung up on chapter, part of POV segment lenghts - it's your story it's as long as it needs to be.

Ok so regarding the actual story I felt the dialouge felt like exposition and setting the scene for the world rather than two people talking at times, more towards the beggining. I'm not trying to be cruel or anything but I think simply tonning down some of that could really help. Other than that it generally flows really well and was an enjoyable read, well played.

Safe,

Daniel.
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Hey guys sorry it took so long to respond back. And again thank you all for your comments they are greatly appreciated and very helpful. I am now trying to work on the best way to write this better and I will take the advice given by many of you to take out many of the adjectives and adverbs.

“Yes I felt it to when I came back. I thought though perhaps I imagined it at the time.” -I believe you meant Yes I felt it 'too'.
as you said here scope you are correct and yes I did miss that as well. Thank you again.

Im also glad that it I'm not the only one who thinks my dialog isn't the best. As I've said this was one thing I thought was very lacking. I've been trying to revise this more but I still seem to be coming up dry(if that's the right word..) Would any like to possibly offer tips on how I could work on better dialog? I have tried searching the forum but so far the matches were not what I was looking for. But perhaps I'm also not looking either in the right places or well enough.
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
Hmm well it depends on the charters the there relationship with each other. Maybe try and think how your characters would greet each other and talk about if there was just sitting down in an empty room and sprinkle some of that between the scene itself. So say if they are long lost friends who are catching up but there where doing so in the mist of the plot then maybe you can have them brop in a question about work is going or some third person they both know.

If they don't really know each other then just having them say something at small at I hope your journey here was alright or however that character will say it if he would bother say it at all can help flush out a character a lot. When they say something image how that character will say it and how the other character will respond. It could be very different from how you or someone else will respond to the same thing. From there you can think back to how and why this character would react like that, what kind of life did they lead to learn to speak and think that way however big or small?

well that is how i go about thinking up who they would speak and act at least, I hope it makes scene and helps even if a little.

Me personally did not feel i was missing anything out on there character even with the lack of background from them. Firstly because it is the like the first chapter and there would not be much story if you knew everything right off the gate and secondly but maybe mostly because I feel that I have met these characters before thanks to the shows i watch and it was enough for me to find no problem with the way you portrayed them. Much like a story basted in the real world you done have to enplane much on how things work because we all live and breve it but in fantasy there are things that will need explaining since it is a concept that the writer created and so not everyone is in the know.

So for me at least I found the pushing of the main plot with no fluff very refreshing but I can see how others will feel that they where cheated off some character development. But i feel all the pieces are in place for you to tell a great story, Just remember that you can add dialogue in sprinkles in-between the plot as to have a balance of both.

I hope this helps.
 

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
I think Sc0pe summed it up right but I thought i'd throw in my advice for what it's worth. For me dialogue is all about getting into the head of the character. Once you know the characters well enough - they take on a life of their own and the dialogue writes itself. For me to get into the swing of how a character talks and to make dialouge work you must know the personality and quirks of said character. To get into the character and their dialogue I always think 'If you approached *enter characters name here* and asked them their name, how would they respond.' I do that alot and if you know the answer straight away you know your character and then dialogue can be applied quite easily. If the answer is harder to come by, try building the character in your mind more. Anyway Iv'e rambled, good luck pal.

Safe,

Daniel.
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Thank you both for your great advice. It already started opening up ideas for me on how I can make the dialogue between them better. And of course work on a few other things, like my word use.

I do have another question. Do you think it would be best if I perhaps made up a type of Character sheet for these characters? Like something that would entail what their quirks, personality and so forth would be like. Instead of jumping into the writing head first as I feel I've done here. I also kinda feel I've made a newbie mistake in that one aspect also but I'm not to sure there.
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
Well up to you really. I do have a list of names from most of the characters in the show but i already had an image of then in my mind before i started. I kind if started the story around the characters before i worried about the plot so i think that helped some. But there are meany ways to do it. I have not really written much on there characters on that although I planed to but now that I have alot of them to keep track of i am finding it coming in more handy. If you feel that will help then go for it.
 

MousePot

Senior Member
Hey Kitana

The character cheat sheets are a nice idea if you think it will help you, but really the only important thing is that you understand your characters. You've put them in a pretty sticky situation here, so you must ask yourself why they are helping, what is their motivation (as cliche as that sounds ^^) and how are they dealing with it? The best way to answer this is to actually take some examples from real life from the people around you ^^.

People deal with stressful situations in many different ways.Some make jokes and try and try to laugh it off. Some get super serious and focused, some get angry, and some people just get sad. Try to picture what sort of people your characters are, and then you can let their personalities bleed into their speech.

For example, how I read your characters would be with Lexx probably being a bit of a joker, and with Ceres being extremely serious and business like. This would set up for some good mock friction between the two of them. Then the really important thing would be to think 'What would my character say here', rather than 'what needs to be said here'. That way the conversations feel more natural, and you avoid sections of pure exposition. That doesn't mean you can't use the dialogue to explain things, just as long as the explanation is in keeping with your character.

As an example, at the moment when Lexx is talking about the healing capabilities of Ceres' race, this feels like exposition because the speech only serves the purpose of telling us something about Ceres, something she no doubt already knows. However, if Lexx was saying it in a slightly mocking way to annoy Ceres, this would explain her background in a natural way and show us what sort of relationship the two have. You could then have her respond in a way to show that this sort of thing happens all the time, and we could see that the two are in fact very good friends.

This is what I try to do anyway, and I'm a very strong believer in letting the characters drive the plot, but that is just a choice of style at the end of the day ^^.

I hope this helps, and can't wait to see your next draft! ^^
 

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
Thank you both for your great advice. It already started opening up ideas for me on how I can make the dialogue between them better. And of course work on a few other things, like my word use.

I do have another question. Do you think it would be best if I perhaps made up a type of Character sheet for these characters? Like something that would entail what their quirks, personality and so forth would be like. Instead of jumping into the writing head first as I feel I've done here. I also kinda feel I've made a newbie mistake in that one aspect also but I'm not to sure there.

MousePot has essentially summed up my feelings on that and I back it 100%. If the character sheet helps you then grand, but me, I'd personally suggest simply getting to know your characters more - do that in your head, make up situations and imagine how they would react. Once that happens they will drive the plot and they will do things almost against your will as daft as that sounds. For example I was writing a novella (got out of hand I meant it to only be seven thousand words lol) and one of the two POV characters did something almost that wasn't of my creation - I knew her so well that her respone to the situation was automatic - that was simply from knowing the character so vividly in my head.

Best of luck again,

Daniel.
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Again thank you both for your advice. My main reasons for doing character sheets is more because my memory is rather weak as well as scattered at times, far to many things float around on a daily basis in the wee noggin. <~.~>
This particular story has been in my mind for far to long and I've even revised it quite a few times. Hence why I've joined the forums here for guidance.
That aside though I plan to post my revised edition hopefully by tomorrow. So if you guys wish to give it another look I'd again be greatly appreciated and in your debt. <^.^>
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
by all means. Your story has caught my interest so i look forward to anything new you put up.
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Okay rewrite is up. I was unsure if I should of started a new thread or not so I just edited my first post. I also couldn't figure out how to add a word count to the thread title so I couldn't do that either. I'm really not to sure if it's an option here or if I'm just over looking it.
Anyway hope you all enjoy. <^.^>
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
I feel as though i know them a lot more now beyond there roles in the story. I did find a line that I felt could have been said better.

"Even as it grows faint as we speak." Maybe try: Even "now" it grows faint as we speak. Could be a number of other ways to go about it but that was the one that came to me so...

Other than that like i said before i really like the premise of the story and now that i know the charters a little that had only gotten better. Look forward to seeing more form you.
 

Kitana

Senior Member
Thanks Scope for reading again. You are right it sounds a bit better to change it to 'Even now it grows faint--' Putting it that way totally slipped my mind as I was rewriting. I knew the first way sounded wrong but for the life of me I couldn't think of another way.
Also glad that I made the characters a bit more fleshed out. Still finding it a wee bit difficult to write dialog so I think I really need to practice more there. <^.^>
 

Sc0pe

Senior Member
Maybe try and imagen them in an bar talking or just someplace none plot driven. Maybe they go bowling in your head. what are the things they get up to in eachothers company when life is mondane?

And no problem when you have a good bit to edit somes lines tend to get overlooked. We all do it... well i know i do atleast.
 

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