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The First Law: short excerpt. ACTION SCENE!- warning, a little bloody (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
This is a short excerpt from the third chapter of a book I'm writing, so minor spoilers ahead. I've already posted the first two chapters in an earlier thread.

They were a horror. Their faces were flushed, and their eyes showed nothing but whites. They ran, crawled and leaped, tripping over each other in their eagerness to get to them. Some carried makeshift weapons –hammers, wrenches, mining drills, and saws – while others simply had their hands, reaching before them like claws. They all were covered in cuts and scratches that looked self-inflicted. Many of the marks seemed random, but there was a clear repeating motif of a crude eye, identical to those her mother had cut in the deck and on herself.
[/FONT][FONT=&Verdana] All that was horrible, but it wasn’t the worst. The worst was that Becky knew them. There was Mrs. Nagato, the kindly old woman who taught the small school on board. Her normally-pleasant features were twisted into a rictus of rage. There were David and Li, who had just gotten married a few months earlier. Everyone had remarked what a cute couple the two made. Now Li was trampling David into the deck as he attempted to get closer. Li’s mouth was open in a snarl, drool was hanging from his gums, his face was – gone.
[FONT=&Verdana]Sebastian calmly dragged the shotgun across the front of the mob, a full-auto volley of shells ripping apart the front ranks. Limbs were blown off, torsos shredded, and dozens of crazed crew went down hard. The noise in such a confined space deafened Becky, and she watched what happened next in silence, the only sound the ringing in her ears. After what seemed like an eternity, Sebastian’s gun ran dry. In a smooth motion, he put it over his left shoulder and maglocked it to his back. His right hand then dropped to his hip and drew the strange club that dangled there. He then set himself, left foot and shield forward, right arm cocked, and waded into the mass.
[FONT=&Verdana]Growing up on a mining ship, Becky had seen her share of accidents and maimings. It just happened sometimes. The shotgun had been brutal beyond anything she had ever seen. This was worse. Sebastian moved with a ponderous fluidity and grace utterly at odds with the bulk of his armor. He was efficient and precise, and every part of him was a killing weapon. Armored boots stamped down and finished off crew that had fallen, injured but not dead. Elbows smashed bones and pulverized flesh. His shield was used as a bludgeon, battering bodies into walls or crushing necks with its edge. But the club was the true weapon of slaughter. It's every swing stove in ribs and obliterated skulls, often two or three at a time. Never once did he break stride, and while he blocked or avoided many attacks, he was happy to take them on his armor if needed. Becky began to realize something. He was slowly moving forward, into the mob, but he was keeping them all in front of him. Obviously intent on not being surrounded, he still turned around whenever one tried to slip past. Towards her.
[FONT=&Verdana]“Stay close, girl,” he called, every word punctuated by a killing blow. She realized she could hear again. “I can’t protect you if you stray.”
[FONT=&Verdana]How she was able to move, and not stay rooted to the spot, Becky could not have said. Everything that had happened in the last few minutes had her numb and running on adrenaline. So she began to follow him, trying not to slip on the slick steps, and trying equally hard not to focus on the gory obstacles underfoot. So focused was she on her footing that she was caught by surprise when one of the mangled bodies leaped at her. She went down, the not-corpse on top of her, its blood splattering her, barely held at bay by her crowbar held across its chest. Its face was inches from her, veins distended and eyes wide, it's snarling, ruined mouth drooling bloody spit on her face. It seemed like it was trying to pin her down, and she shrieked. “Sebastian, help me!”
[/FONT][FONT=&Verdana]“Help yourself, girl,” he replied calmly, not turning from his slaughter. Despite the crazy on top of her, she stared at him for a brief eternity, and then she felt something new. Rage. Rage at him, rage at the universe, and, more specifically, rage at the broken thing scrabbling and snarling on top of her. With a snarl of her own, she shoved back at it. She then slid the crowbar so that the hook caught it in the neck and threw it to the side. It flopped over onto its back, and she found herself moving on instinct. In a flash she was straddling it, hammering down with the crowbar again and again. She let out a primal scream of frustration, anger, and sorrow, and the space around her seemed to fade. There was only her and the thing in front of her, and the crowbar she brought down again and again and again.

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
Good action scene. The only part I didn't like was "All that was horrible"
Swap that out with something else and it'd be pretty much perfect.


Senior Member
I liked your scene. I'll certainly search up the other sections you mentioned and give them a read after seeing this.

I agree with Ralph.
"All that was horrible, but it wasn’t the worst. The worst was that Becky knew them." - You could probably cut the first sentence entirely, and just add a couple words to the second sentence to make the transition. "The worst part (of all) was Becky knew them."

"Her normally-pleasant features" - I would cut "normally." The description of a "kindly old woman" invokes an image that makes this implicit.

You use "again and again" twice in two nearby sentences for the final bit. It sounded weird to me. I'd say cut the first one. This is the classic so-lost-in-the-emotion-i-cant-stop-whacking-your-face moment, so I think the "again and again" should be where you end.

(Also, I think "stove in" should just be "stove" because technically the "in" is implied by the word itself. I have seen "stove in" in literature though, so...)