I'm working with a new story idea, and wanted to know what you guys thought. Historical/Mythological fiction. Thanks.
“Over my dead body,” it might have been ironic, but the traitor had taken Amaz literally. Damn him to Tartarus! “Brother King or not, sick bastard is older than I am, and he wants my daughter.” He laughed bitterly, but it just came out as a gurgle. His lifeblood already stained the earth, and he sprawled just as he had fallen from that last sword stroke. He grieved as his consciousness slowly faded. His nation lay in twisted heaps all around him, there were no men left to defend her. His beloved Diana, so much like her mother, what would happen to his bright star now? Yet it was neither her life nor her freedom that he feared for. That the women were even more skilled in the arts of war than their men was the Amazon’s greatest secret. He recalled her fierce grin the first time she
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 25, 2011).]
This has a 1930s pulp-fiction style to it, reminiscent of Robert E. Howard and C.L. Moore, which I like. I enjoyed reading what you wrote - your prose is nice and clear and I like the subject matter.
I do think that the scene you chose might not be the right place to start your story. The father dying so early in the story makes it so there is little groundwork for me to care about him or the fate of his daughter. This seems like a preamble of what is to come - a story about the daughter. I do want to stress that I did enjoy the scene, and if you keep it, it just feels as if it should come later in the story when the emotional stakes are high enough for me as a reader to lament his death. Otherwise, you could perhaps shift PoV to the daughter so that the father's death becomes the inciting incident for her story and start from there.
[This message has been edited by redux (edited January 25, 2011).]
I actually thought the first bit was quite unclear. I had to work too hard to figure out who was who, who said what, who was thinking what. By the second half I got it, but those first few sentences needed more than one reading, and that's something to avoid.
Though the comment above was correct in that we don't really care enough about the characters yet to be really emotionally affected by the death, I do think it's the place where the daughter's life changes, and that's often a good place to start. If you cleared the confusion up and drew it out a little (we're talking a few sentences, not pages), so we get a touch more of the father's character, I think it would work.
Perhaps this is better? ----- “Over my dead body,” Amaz had declared, and the traitor Mytil had taken him literally. “Damn him to Tartarus! Neighbor King or not, the sick bastard is older than I am, and he wants my daughter.” He laughed bitterly, but it just came out as a gurgle. His lifeblood already stained the earth, and he sprawled just as he had fallen from that last sword stroke. He grieved as his consciousness slowly faded. His nation lay in twisted heaps all around him. There were no men left to defend her, his beloved Diana, so much like her mother. What would happen to his bright star now? Yet it was neither her life nor her freedom that he feared for. Amazon women surpassed their men in the arts of war. He recalled with pride her fierce grin the first time she had won a sparring match with him, gods how he loved her!
[This message has been edited by Josephine Kait (edited January 31, 2011).]
I like the picture you're painting in this scene, but I have some slight issue with how you're doing it. For a death scene of a king, it feels rushed, and only a cover for an infodump. Let the king die in peace! His dying thoughts should be sufficient to set the stage, so let him.
And your second write is only a little better than the original, in my opinion. I would write something more like this:
quote:“Over my dead body.” It might have been ironic, but the traitor Mytil had taken him literally. Now Amaz lay sprawled where he had fallen, his lifeblood staining the earth. "Damn him to Tartarus! That fool of a king may have been an ally, but that doesn't mean he deserves my daughter. The sick bastard is older than I am!” He laughed bitterly, but all that came out was a gurgle. His consciousness slowly fading, the dying king grieved. His nation lay in twisted heaps around him, and no man was left to defend his beloved Diana. His bright star was so much like her mother. What would happen to her now? He did not fear for her life or her freedom. She was a true Amazon woman, and could take care of herself. He recalled with pride her fierce grin the first time she had won a sparring match with him. Gods, how he loved her!
It's not perfect, but maybe you can get some ideas out of it. Brother/Neighbor/Fellow are all a little awkward. I don't know a good way to phrase that. Also, why is he grieving that no men are left to defend his daughter when she is such a skilled warrior? Her life and freedom are not his fears. What are? Her future? You don't really say.
And redux has a point. It's a good scene, but where you go from here might be a problem.
Hope it helped. -Fahrion
[This message has been edited by Fahrion Kryptov (edited February 01, 2011).]
Wow! Thank you so much! I was really fighting with the phrasing, and I love how you reworded it. The next couple sentences got cut off from the thirteen line rule. -- But there is more to killing than just skill; it damages a man, inside, how much worse for a woman? He would have done anything to spare her such dark times, and took no comfort from the knowledge that he would be avenged, no doubt by nightfall. “Artemis, Athena, be with her!” it was his last thought. -- This scene is meant to be almost a prologue before we meet our MC. Diana’s story is set in the rising of the Amazon legend. She is 16/17 when the Amazon men are killed. She has to cope with the loss of her father, her friends, her prospects. She has to learn to cope with killing and trying to not become bitter/hardened/twisted. Some of the Amazons try to remarry, but the men of the era/region are used to dominating. Eventually they flee to the steppes where strong, honorable men slowly join the tribe and eventually it ceases to be women only. I want to show the Amazons not as man haters, but as strong women who will not be subjugated to lesser men. Posts: 447 | Registered: Aug 2008
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Diana’s blade dripped red. A metallic tang filled the air mixed with the fouler stench of bowels released. The rage pounding in her head all but blinded her. Her vision tinged with red she searched among the heaps of broken bodies and tattered cloth. All that moved or groaned she dispatched without prejudice. She shivered, though the day’s heat was still baked into the stained marble beneath her feet. The columns rising around her echoed with the approaching sound of running feet. She bared her teeth, wiped the sweat from her eyes, and readied her sword once more. She sagged with weary relief at the sight of Amazon armor. “Diana! You must come. Your father…” Her frozen heart shattered at the messenger’s words. She knew. The sons of dogs would not have gotten through if the king lived.
I like it. It shows our hero in action, and leads directly into the explanation of why there was fighting, and her father's death scene. Only problem I had was the second paragraph is a little rough reading. I knew what you were trying to say, but it still took me a second to get it. If you're following this up directly with the finding the king slain, you could probably drop the last sentence and just show it with the following scene, or have her curse Mytil's name as she is spurred on with renewed fury to find out about the betrayal.