First Chapter from a budding novelist-Opinions wanted. Watch

Unruly Marmite
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#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
I might get a bit sulky following criticism, but I will take it seriously. Thanks in advance. Also, some spaces have vanished during pasting, so apologies for that.
Redeemer
The windgusted miserably, blowing cold and rain laden across the derelict remains of adeserted city. Outwardly deserted, for in the darkness, among the fallen housesand the toppled rubble, strange creatures lurked, skittering and scavenging,and with their own politics, intricate, yet blind and instinctive. An old city, this one, built upon the banks of a river that ran sluggish to the sea, carrying its load of bodies, left over from the internecine conflicts of the small creatures that lived among the ruin. The city had been beautiful once, filled with graceful buildings, light and laughter, but now the light was lost, the laughter swallowed by silence, and the buildings blackened by flame and scarred by bullets and shells. The great artillery pieces that had caused so much of the devastation lay to the north, behind ugly lines of earthworks, raw earth and stark metal, trenches and barbed wire, but those lines were empty, the men who had once manned them fled, all but those who could not flee, and who left their bones to bleach in the sun. The scavengers who infested those grim defences had no notion of their purpose, save as a home, to be fought over as they fought over all else, but even the feral and savage creatures who waged endless war on each other stayed far away from a group of dark figures who waited in an open plaza, near to the river bank. There were thirteen men, all identically dressed in long black overcoats, with gloved hands and heavy boots, and masks to cover their faces. Twelve of those men had masks the colour of copper, and had powerful bolt-action rifles slung across their backs, and long, razor scythes in their gloved hands, and they stood still, formed into a line, like an honour guard. The thirteenth stood apart, closer to the river, and he was clearly different. His mask was silver, and the only weapon he had visible was a sapphire hilted rapier hung at his left hip. He stood quite still, his hands clasped behind his back, as though waiting for someone, in eerie silence. The silence was broken by a soft scuff of a boot on concrete, as another black dressed figure came onto the open plaza, masked in copper like the others, but clearly female, and also with a rapier. The silver masked man looked around, and saw her nod, and returned his gaze to the river as six other men came onto the plaza. Those were different, their movement stiff and jerky, lacking the stealth of those already there, and they wore long robes that covered them entirely. A seventh man followed those six, in a blue uniform, covered by a black cavalry cloak, with a flag embroidered on the breast pocket- a flag composed of white and red stripes, with a blue upper left quadrant filled with stars. He too was gloved, and his face was concealed by a uniform collar pulled high,and a navy blue scarf. His steel grey hair was cropped short, and his eyes were palest blue.
“Don’t you think this is beautiful, Colonel? So different to your industrial wastelands.”said the silver masked man, his English with no discernible accent, and with just a touch of mockery in his tone.
“I didn’t come here for social talk. If you have something to say, say it.” snapped the uniformed man, his accent bearing the flat vowels of the American Union, but with a harsh, metallic edge. The masked man didn’t move.
“I would advise you to watch your tone, Colonel. This is Paris, not your precious Union, and if I want to take a roundabout route to the topic, you’ll just have to indulge me.” he said smoothly, his voice acquiring just a hint of threat. The Americans’ fist clenched, but he kept his mouth shut.
“Did you know,” the masked man continued conversationally, that the ruin of this city was caused almost entirely by its' defenders? Oh, yes. The newspapers, the propaganda, all insisted that the opening of the Voidgate in the city centre caused the destruction, but in fact the artillery bombardment was to blame. A case of, ‘if we can’t have it you can’t have it’ from the French military. The bombardment was, however, quickly halted, as the batteries were overwhelmed.”
“Is there any point to this?” demanded the American, his temper visibly fraying, and the silver masked man shrugged fractionally.
“Polite small talk is usually seen as a mark of civilisation. However, if you would rather I moved on, I shall. Quite simply put, I believe that we can be of use to one another. There are certain…resources I need that you can provide, and in return, I will help upgrade your automatons. I’m sure that your leaders will appreciate the presence of a group of more powerful automatons, ones that outclass the Confederate machines.” he said. The Colonel didn’t move, and he was silent for a minute, before eventually speaking again.
“What do you need?” he asked. The masked man tilted his head to one side, and turned, seeming distracted suddenly.
“Just a few small services, nothing more. Nothing too dangerous or difficult, unless…”
A sudden scraping noise sounded, as the masked woman drew her rapier, immediately followed by a flurry of movement.
“Unless we’re being watched,” snarled the masked man, as a figure took off running from a building.
“Reapers, give chase! Colonel, come with me… unless you wish to refuse my offer?”
The Colonel watched the Reapers vanish after the spy, then held out his hand.
“You’ve convinced me, Reaper. What do you need me to do?”
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Spongebob'sPants
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#2
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Firstly, its hard to read as its not formatted appropriately.

The striking thing for me is there is too much use of the comma, and a lot of time incorrectly so. You're inserting too many clauses into a sentence, making it more difficult to read and making it very difficult for the words to flow effortlessly.

I enjoyed your dialogue more than the descriptions at the beginning.

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Unruly Marmite
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#3
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Yes. Bit unfortunate that formatting, just copied it straight from Word and half the spaces went missing. Appreciate the opinion. Just worked through and replaced the spaces as best as I could.
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Spongebob'sPants
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#4
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I may have been slightly harsh with my original critique.

I'm not sure if you've changed much, but I just read it again. And liked it a whole lot more.

I still maintain that you could probably remove some commas that you've placed, but actually, your descriptions were quite eloquent at places.

It has a historical feel to it.
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Unruly Marmite
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#5
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(Original post by Spongebob'sPants)
I may have been slightly harsh with my original critique.

I'm not sure if you've changed much, but I just read it again. And liked it a whole lot more.

I still maintain that you could probably remove some commas that you've placed, but actually, your descriptions were quite eloquent at places.

It has a historical feel to it.
Thanks. Its kind of a sci-fi alternate history thing. The only thing I changed was replacing all the spaces that got cut out when I pasted it.
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