Writingforums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

The Beginning of a (hopefully) novel - Needs a title (1 Viewer)

JonEd

Senior Member
Chapter 1 – An Army Gathers

The calls for war echoed round. The cruel, corrupt and caliginous were armed, dangerous and ready for their assault. For years they had formed a cult-like following, hanging on every word of their leader. For years he had promised them untold riches, untold power over the land and most importantly, revenge. Revenge on the citizens of the land, who mocked this fringe element with their peacefulness and prosperity. For years he had promised and preached their siege, and now the time was nigh. Now their fervour had reached its boiling point.
The man they followed so loyally was among the most evil and malicious in the known world.
Khal’Dun was his name, one of the only known half Perkwun and half Ushas hybrids; he was treated like he belonged nowhere. Taunted by men for being a half cast of the other two races. The Ushas abandoned him for the Perkwun blood he had coursing through his dark, black veins. The Perkwun’s treated him with no fondness, for the pure blood of the Ushas also made up his lightly coloured body.
His eyes, a dark shade of brown held a stern look of constant anger and hatred for most living things, with the exception of those that called him master.
Matted and filthy tufts of light brown hair sat perched on his head, so brittle and thin, it seemed a small breeze might blow it off. A strong sturdy jaw line made him even fiercer looking, supporting his maliciously content smile. His teeth were straight and white, but the smile blocked his forked tongue from view, a tongue which spat profanity and propaganda on a regular basis. A large build, he stood at least six feet and four inches tall, muscular and strong, a man to be reckoned with.
He was an outcast, filled with a deep and burning anger for all the peaceful creatures in the world of Pax Erat. Over the past five years he had sequestered himself away from civilization. But he hadn’t been completely alone for long. Word spread and over time throngs made their pilgrimage. They look to him for acceptance and guidance, and for a chance to take back what was once theirs. They called themselves “The Alienated”. They were the outcasts and the criminals. Ferocious, vicious and bloodthirsty, arming themselves for battle, they prepared for a hostile takeover of the Ushas city of Dal’Nothir, a small yet pivotal city in the world. The Alienated lived in a small town, created by Khal’Dun himself, on the outskirts of the known world. It was built from shrapnel, and scavenged materials. It was desolate, and a blight on the world of Pax Erat. But here they lived. Here they plotted. Here they amassed; ready to destroy the growing peace between the three races, ready to spread darkness and war across the lands.

Khal’Dun stood waiting in the only reasonably built structure in the small town, preparing himself for war. He looked at himself in a mirror of fractured glass. He growled, low and ominous at the creature he saw staring back at him. Smashing his fists on the fragile wooden bench beneath the mirror, he strutted out to the balcony, holding his helmet with one arm against his waist. His sword was sheathed, and hanging off his belt, a giant item, which fitted him nicely. Before he reached the balcony, a voice from behind called out to him.

“Sir. Are you ready for this? Is the army truly strong enough?” The voice asked.

“Draug, may I ask you a question?” Khal’Dun asked politely.

“Of course Sir.”

“Does it please you to question my judgement?”

“N-No Sir, I ju-”

“Do not interrupt me, worm.” Khal’Dun shouted.

Draug cowered, hand above his head, he quivered with fear. He was a small, thin, man. His pale skin was almost illuminating the dark room. His eyes were shifty, and beady, darting back and forth. His thin mouth covered his deceitful and lying tongue.
“Now, as I was saying. Is it merely out of your own personal pleasure to question my ideas? Or is it just pure ignorance and stupidity which cloud the poisonous words you have been spitting in my direction of late.”

“I-uh. Of course not, I didn’t mean for any disrespect,” he stammered as he quivered in fear.

Khal’Dun walked over to him; Draug winced and tried to back away from the massive man.

“Why do you cower Draug?” Khal’Dun asked satirically. He leaned down, and gently patted the fearful man’s back. Draug whimpered softly. No words escaped his mouth. Khal’Dun’s face twisted and distorted with furious rage.

“You dare ignore me, you dog?” Khal’Dun shouted. “You will learn. Yes. You will learn to ignore your master.” He gripped the small mans shirt, carrying him with ease. Khal’Dun burst through the curtains and out to the balcony, where his army had amassed below. He raised his arms up, still holding Draug by the back of his shirt. The rumbling chants and shouts escalated into raucous cheers from the crowd. The stomps of thousands of feet, the blood curdling roar of the insanely fearless, and the chants of The Alienated erupted as soon as Khal’Dun came into view.

“My brothers...” he started. Silence quickly fell over the massive group of creatures. “Let me introduce to you, Draug. The first traitor to be silenced by The Alienated, and by Khal’Dun!” He shouted. The crowd cheered.

“Are you ready?” He called to the crowd. A collective roar enveloped the air. Khal’Dun drew back, ready to toss Draug off the edge.

“No, please don’t Sir. I am still loyal!” Draug cried.

Khal’Dun didn’t hesitate before he flung his weight forward, sending Draug flying through the air and into the bloodthirsty crowd. The loud thud of his body hitting the earth echoed around the now silent town centre.

“Let those who are loyal feast on the flesh of the traitor!” Khal’Dun shouted. A wicked smile spread across his face. He waited, ready to give the speech that would spark the forward movement of his army.

The sounds of ripping sinew and cracking bones soon vanished from the air, and silence once again came over the crowd, waiting for the words from their master. Khal’Dun looked down at the army at his command, and breathed in preparing to speak.

“Tonight we march. We march to fight. We march to vengeance. And we march to victory! My fellow outcasts and so-called criminals, my shunned brethren, we march to claim our own land, to destroy those who tried to do the same to us. We have congregated, and our combined hatred for the Manu, the Perkwun and the Ushas will fuel our burning desire to see them wiped out to make way for what is to be our world. Fight my kin! We shall have victory; we shall feast on blood tonight! But first, we must march. March to the Ushas city of Dal’Nothir. After today, we will be feared. Men! We leave, make haste for battle!” As he finished, he raised his helmet to the crowd.
A confident roar erupted from the crowd, and the sounds of marching feet were now echoing throughout the small town. A chant exploded from the army as it continued its trek to the city of Dal’Nothir.

Darkness spreads across the land, as we come to claim what’s ours
Stray not from bed or home or place, it’s wise to stay and cower,
Nothing can stop, or even compare, to Khal’Dun’s armies power,
Natural growing’s of bush and flower will all but be devoured,
For darkness comes to take the land, late will be the hour,
Death will rain; destruction will follow, in a heavy caliginous shower,
We come we come, marching strong, from Khal’Dun’s mighty tower.”

The thunderous boom of thousands of feet acted like a beat for their chant. The booming confidence of the collective crowd of criminals all but inspired fear. Dark clouds gathered above Dal’Nothir. War, chaos and death was upon the Ushas city. A great war had now begun.
 

ISeeBull

Senior Member
Hey JonEd,
I read this a few times over a couple days and was hoping I would see some comments before I posted. Since no one is offering feedback yet I'll try and give some ideas. I don't often critique prose so forgive me if I sound harsh.

I love the fantasy genre, even if it doesn't create the best literature, it gives itself to awesome storytelling,. That's what you have here , the beginning of a cool story. As an introduction I think you need to frame your world a little more before you throw your reader right in there. The description of light v. dark skin tones goes a long way towards establishing what the inhabitants look like. More of this would be good, we have a description of the city but its a bit too vague, how is it sustained what is it near for that matter, what is the physical land like? Of course, if you spend too much time "telling" instead of "showing" the reader loses interest. You have a vide range of adverbs/adjectives which is good but don't rely on them exclusively to create images for your reader, have the actions of your character work as a secondary creation device. As far as definite descriptions go I like the way in which you described your characters apart from the specific height. 6'4'' is imposing here on earth but you are working on Pax Erat - no need to give a specific height; let big be big and let your reader establish what big means in your world. OFC that is just my opinion. I think your chant would be more stirring if it was a lot shorter, maybe 4 lines tops. Otherwise it becomes a song or a piece of lore that requires a lot more context, a war chant should be short and sweet imo. Tolkien wrote the best fantasy in my opinion and this was one of the things that made it difficult for his books to reach a lot of readers: extended sequences of lore/song.

I'd like to see where this is going and get a better picture of the rest of the world, both the alienated and others. Best of luck and keep writing.
Ps. Have you played Killzone? Seems like there's a lot of crossover from that world/story.

-I
 

M. Cull

Senior Member
Hi there. I think you have the beginnings of a good story here. Really, I see no difficulty turning this into a novel. Here's what I thought of chapter 1:

Liked:
1) the use of poetry/song. As long as it's not too long, I'm a fan of poetry/song in fantasy. It gives an added air of authenticity and realism by helping lay the foundations of a culture. Literature, including poetry, has been a key catalyst in the creation and nurture of cultures across the ages, so tapping that phenomenon in your books, in my opinion, is a smart move.

2) the fact that you started the story with the bad guy. The reason I think this is cool is that fairly often, at least in the books I've read, people start their story with the protagonist. This is understandable, of course, since you want your readers to get to know your MC, but at the same time it's fun to see a different approach. From a narrative perspective I think you could really make this work to your favor, as well; if you give your readers a clear enough idea of the antagonist and the conflict in chapter 1, by the time your main character comes along they'll know why they want him/her to succeed. They'll know what your protagonist is up against, and so could begin their journey already cheering the hero on, in a manner of speaking.

What I think needs some work:
1) I struggled a bit with the setting. On the one hand you name a different planet, or at least I assume it's a different planet because of the different name. It may be that it's the same planet, our Earth, just at some different time in its history, past or future, which is supported by the metaphorical use of dog and worm, creatures we have here. But then on the other hand you have these different races with varying physical attributes that seem designed to set them apart from what we might consider normal humans. In short, one of the best ways to really grab your reader is to illustrate quickly where they are, what's around them, and to a certain extent, what to expect.

2) The antagonist, Khal'dun, is too one-dimensional to be believable for me. This is definitely fixable, but still worth noting. Specifically: A) The most evil and malicious man/creature in the whole world does not gain a following just by being evil and malicious, even if he physically imposing. Cult-like followings occur based not just on the law of the jungle, but on an idea, and what I would like to have seen more of is you connecting your antagonist to that idea (in your story, revenge for being alienated). What you did demonstrated of him is that he is wantonly cruel, and enjoys killing his subjects. The way that Draug reacted also indicates that this is a common and known phenomenon, at least among Khal'dun's servants. If Khal'dun makes it a habit of killing off those who consider themselves faithful, it seems unrealistic that he would have retained a following for long, his hybrid status notwithstanding. B) His rage, violence, and passion all seem like they lack a basis. What exactly is he so absolutely furious about? He didn't kill Draug dispassionately, he did it in fury. If you want a character to be believable and authentic, you need to give your readers a way to understand him or her. A specific event from his past, for example, could help that, or a series of events. Something more than, "he was really alienated, and hated it." Like I said, the idea is there, that they're alienated and want revenge, but currently that's too general a reason without giving us something else to go off of.

There are a couple more word choice things, which I can detail if you'd like. But all in all, I can easily see how this chapter could turn into a novel. A lot will also depend on who you choose as your protagonist and how they fit in this war, but the beginnings are there. And like I said, if you're looking for word choice discussion, let me know and I'll share what I found.

Keep writing! :)
 

JonEd

Senior Member
The entire idea of why Khal'dun is so angry and furious is the basis of why he was alienated. - It's something I had planned to introduce further into the story. Have him bring this malicious and evil man, but later change the readers perspective and show why he came to be like this.
As for his followers, the idea they are rallied for is to inhabit the world themselves. They're the outcasts of society, and they want to take back the lands they were born in, and ostracised from. They despise all that the world is doing, and wish to change it. - Another thing that will be introduced further into the story.

They are races, but they're more strands of humans, rather than differing species all together. I have chopped and changed this idea, I had a publisher who was interested and tried changing everything, so this particular part is a hybrid of my original idea, with her attempt to interfering with what I was doing.

And no, I haven't played Killzone :)

Thanks so much for your comments. Means a lot.
 

Kepharel

Senior Member
Hi JonEd,

As this will be the opening chapter I have the same issue outlined by ISeeBull. You seem to have done some planning and structure on the world giving you the advantage of context and foreknowledge. It would be nice if you could share some sense of time and space with the reader and maybe a sentence or two on contextual history to make him feel a little more comfortable with the roller coaster action that kicks it all off.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top