Just a little expansion on guerrilla tactics to give you some ideas, and then some questions.
The value of guerrilla tactics in the current situation is the following (and Fenrick's father would know this). You attack weak points that cause high damage. You go in, attack and run away, having planned an escape. You can get temporary number superiority at the locations of attack, increasing your odds of winning the skirmish. You have home ground advantage, knowing the terraine. Very importantly, you can blood (and teach) new recruits, getting them to learn to trust their team members and leaders despite injuries etc, making them battle hardened very quickly. The opposition needs to protect their supply lines, which means dispersing troops along that line, thus reducing them from the frontal attack. The fear caused by days and weeks of potential attacks can cause bad decisions to be made during main battles. Despite this, it is a rare war that is won by guerilla tactics, although some spectacular examples do exist. The reason is usually there is some jugular that the enemy can attack that changes it from a guerilla war to a mopping up operation, where the enemy can establish a self sustaining base.
Now for the questions. I am fascinated in how the godlike powers could be used in battle. Do they work best on concentrated troops (thus making value for pitched battles)? How can they be integrated into guerilla tactics? What is it about them that the Empire sees as such a threat? And how do they plan to make use of them/capture the ability? Or do they simply want to eliminate it?
How does Fenrick's surrender give a sense of accomplishment to the story? Why wouldn't he just escape? Why wouldn't the generals of his army do all they can for him to escape (even if he wants to do the noble thing)? They would, even more than the Empire, know the value of his abilities and have schemes in place to keep him away from the enemy. Can Fenrick have many children that all share the powers?
Yes the Godlike powers would work best in concentrated troops. They mostly include power of weather and some earthquake type things. Though the crops in Fenrich's kingdom grow exceedingly well and there are no disease breakouts. Also the Godkings can see everything that goes on in the kingdom and so there are no surprise attacks or secret groups that the Godking isn't aware of. They are limited in how much lightning they can do though and they can't just do a huge earthquake since that would devastate not just the army but the entire surrounding countryside. What they have employed is a constant heavy thunderstorm with strong winds over the enemy with intermittent lightning strikes and occasional earth rumbles usually at key points of the battle.
Using the powers in guerilla tactics would be difficult since these powers aren't good at locating specific spots and are more broad. They could be used though as a distraction, such as sudden heavy lightning or earthquake while the army goes for an important supply line.
The Empire is scared of what they don't know and can't control. They want either to have the power or eliminate it. They don't realize they wouldn't be able to control it until they had at least one heir dead who was loyal to their cause. Fenrich wouldn't use the powers on behalf of the Empire.
Fenrich's surrender is the price of peace. It's how he saves his people from death and constant warfare. He can't just escape because the Empire will continue the war until he is captured. It says it in the surrender treaty they give him. They want Fenrich preferably alive because the Empress wants a child by him though I don't get into that in this story. The powers are controlled by the most recently deceased King. So right now it is controlled by Fenrich's father. When Fenrich dies he will control the power and be able watch and communicate with any children that he has. He can have many children but only the dead control the power. If there are no heirs then the powers die.
Thanks for your questions Brendan.
[This message has been edited by satate (edited April 08, 2010).]
I thought this was a fun story. I liked how Brull didn't do to well on his first attempt and was overconfident. The description of how the sword of spells worked was good too. I didn't love any of the characters though. Brull seemed to be a bit of a brute with his drinking and arrogance. The princess seemed like a ditz and the wizard was just evil. I do like how they lose a bit of their soul with each spell. I feel like this story needs more, maybe something driving it more. I actually think the princess's POV might be more interesting. She's the one with the most to lose and goes through the most change. Her story is the one packed with the most drama. Brull is just out doing his job, an exciting job, but still, just another day on the job, where as the princess is coming to terms with her life and her role in it.
That is an impressive array of powers. It would work well for defeating an army like that, even one with overwhealming odds. Perhaps you could have them win the battle, defeat the invading army by using the ragtag new recruits (having now changed battle plan to that of guerilla tactics and finally a decisive battle against a demoralised enemy at the place of your choosing) only to have a bigger army pour over the border. That way you could have your feel good, protagonist grow to take control of the situation, storyline, but still have him have to surrender at the end.
Some tactics could include induced mudslides at passes through hills (have the army dig weak points into the hills), lightning induced bushfires and grass fires, constant energy-sapping slogging through mud, flash floods when part way across a river ford (followed by a skirmish with the forward enemy troops). Perhaps the entire army could cross the river, only for their food wagons to be halted by the flood. And then there is the psychological warfare, sending the odd incendairy pig into their ranks (poisoned, off course), bamboo growth that creates a maze - making them think its a trap, and the sudden growing in size of venus fly traps to mansized monsters. (Sorry, I'm getting too way out with that last one.)
I think cutting supply lines are not as effective in a medeivel society as they would be now. Most armies at the time lived off the land and ammunition isn't as important. A war liek the one Satate describes would be more of a beating the enemy into submission. For the Empire to win they need to severer the head of the beast (so to speak). If the MC's kingdom has magic it would be logical the other kingdom would as well. Your tactics are sound but I could visualize teh Empire using wizards to counteract much of whta you suggested.
quote:The sun began to smudge the horizon as Brull pulled up at a clearing that had obviously been used as a campsite before.
Not sure about the smudging horizon. In any case, the sentence needs simplified. The fading sunlight smudged the horizon in orange when Brull found the abandoned campsite.
quote:Thank the Gods, he thought, I didn't bust my butt all night following the princess and those who took her from the King for nothing. I can't wait to catch up with them.
This sounds like the people that took the princess bought her in a blue-light special. This needs commas at the very least. I suggest rewording it.
quote:Brull gave himself a crooked grin
try… Brull smiled a crooked grin
quote:He pulled out his sword and put his helmet on. It was polished to a mirror-like finish and had a long blond tail attached to the top, the hair of a former bounty catch.
The sword has a blond pony tail?
quote:Well, I use a different kind of magic that Porto.
Did you mean ‘than’?
Liked the ideas you have for this magical world -- souls used as fuel for magic, a sword that is a defense against spells, aeromancers -- good stuff. The dialog needs work. Not one person in this story comes off as bright. I think you could do without Proto’s men. They add nothing. I think you could fix most of the problems with this piece if you rewrote this in a 1st person POV. The one you have now is too distant and lends to a tendency for you to tell what is happening instead of showing it.
Thanks for the comments, snapper. I've written seven Brull stories. The bit of drunkeness was to take off some of the edge so he could get captured.
The box of air that Brull found himself in would be a death sentence for just about anyone else. I'll have to make that more clear.
The idea that the henchmen can go is a great one. I also need to spend more words to get more character into the piece. 2,000 words just wasn't enough to get the arc complete and spend enough time with the characters.
I'll give a first person POV a try and see how it goes. If it's the princess, getting the worldbuilding explained will be more difficult, but she really is the focal character.
Sorry. Last Monday I went to the library and returned with way too many books that took over my life. I get in these reading kicks and I can't do much of anything else. I'm really sorry.
Snapper - a burden of purity. Because you gave the character my name I had a stronger immersion than I expected to, and because if this I had some thoughts on her character. First off, what is the whole burden of purity thing all about. I don't think that was explained well enough. I want there to be a reason she has a gift of purity. Did a fairy give it to her when she was born? Also when the girl calls her a B**** she should get more offended. What is the cost to her if she was to lose her purity? What makes her more pure than any other maiden girl? Your line, "Sheena bristled by his compliment but wasn’t..." made me think she was physically punished magically whenever she thought about taking a step closer to losing her purity. I think that is an interesting idea you might want to explore. I really like the story, though the beginning seems to be more telly than I usually like, and do think it has promise. Just add more weight to the cost.
RillSoji-Life and Death. I like this concept a lot. It feels to me though to be a synopsis of a novel more than a story. I agree with the others, dig in deeper. Show us more. What does the line, "She longed to learn more and become more adept at her chosen school of magic.", look like? How do they dress? What does the land smell like? I suggest beginning when they first meet each other and Clair heals Roland. You can always add their motivations, and longings through their actions, and though how others treat them. Just a suggestion, good luck with it.
Satate - Gods and Kings I think this one is my favorite. I love Fenrich. He is such a sympathetic character, this king who has to lead his army to defeat, and can't think of a way to stop it. I love how his father can talk to him and the subtle way you told us that. I do think the relationship between Fenrich and Elizabeth could be developed more. If she could just talk once, and show she is a match for him, then I would believe that relationship better. I suggest giving them some word play before Thane interrupts them. I think the stronger you make the relationship, the more powerful the ending will be, because it's not just a child and an heir that he would leave behind, but a family. Also I would suggest at the end adding a scene where the child enters into the temple room, and Fenrich has a chance to talk with him.
Brendan- In the Fullness of Time. I really like the concept on this one and look forward to reading it when you finish. Some things you want to think about when writing the relationship with the daughter is about their history. What kind of a dad was he? What is the mother like? Are the parents still together, and if not, what influence would that have on the daughter, and how the father treats his daughter? What does Henry feel guilty about in relationship to his daughter? What need does the aliens fulfill for Anna? What is something that only Anna and Henry know, and she could keep from the aliens to make sure she is still human? Is Anna afraid? If you show these things in the flashbacks, then the need for characterization will be met. Maybe you could use the flashbacks in a more clear way, like maybe the aliens could read his thoughts through Anna. If you make the flashbacks come in a violent way then there will be no confusing the story. And what if every time the Aliens suck a memory from Henry, Anna loses a bit of her functioning. Oh that's an interesting idea.
Owasm - The fugitive princess. It doesn't surprise me that you have the highest word count, Mr Speed Demon. Are you planning on trying to publish all the Brull stories in like a novel as a collection? I find Brull really interesting, what with his drinking and his loss of power, and loyalty. In this story I think you need to add more descriptions, more visual clues to what people are thinking to explain their actions. The story has promise, but it seems open ended, and a bit muddy. I think some clarification would help. Also it made me wonder if the princess would fall for him on the way back to the kingdom. I think Brull could shut that idea down with one sentence, and it might help, if that is where you are going, to end the story.
Thanks Sheena, I think your right about Elizabeth. Her character actually bothered me for days after I wrote it. Your post made me think more about her though and I think I know who she is now.
Posts: 968 | Registered: Jul 2008
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My humblest apologies to all the participants. I'm going to have to withdraw from this challenge. I'm sure you know how life goes. >.< Good luck to everyone!
Posts: 125 | Registered: Feb 2004
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I'm still finishing mine and I'm getting nervous because I still want to go back over it and edit it too. I was feeling rather uninspired and only got in a hundred words yesterday but today I had to drive 45 minutes to a reception and now I am feeling better about the whole thing.
Yes, repost the new thirteen under the old thirteen.
Running this has given me a new appreciation for skadder and every one else who runs these things. It is a lot harder than I thought. Sorry everyone for my lack of clarity in running this. I've learned that, just like I am in my writing, I'm good at idea's, and bad at execution.
Anyway edit your original thirteen post and add you new thirteen. We can comment on the thirteen, but we're not voting. As soon as you are finished with your edit send your story to me through email, and when I've got everyones, I'll send the new versions around. Just vote for your favorite not top three.
My story is finished, Owasm already sent me his new version, and Frank and Sara look like they are about finished. The deadline is the thirtieth, but if you need an extension, Frank or Sara, email me, and I am happy to oblige.
Most improved story - A Burden of Purity by Snapper I really like the changes you made in it and having it completed helps a lot too. I thought it was funny. I love how you made unicorns dumb. The main character was good too. I just really liked it overall and any issues that I had with the first one were resolved and it ended up a really strong story. I envy your ability to edit. Oh, and no fair using my screen name.
I would publish - A Burden of Purity by Snapper Mostly for the reasons stated above and I thought it was the best overall.
Blue Light Special by Shimiqua I liked the first draft of this story and I still like it. I liked the anger management joke and I like that you took out the invisible bunny joke. I think the story is smoother and better, but just in small ways. I didn't vote for it in most improved because it doesn't seem that different, but then maybe it didn't need a big overhaul.
Princess on the Lam I like the princess point of view but I don't think you took full advantage of it. Her character was still a little weak. I think delving more into her thoughts really protraying the story through her unique attitude would help. I may help to write a scene in first person as an exercise just to flesh out her voice personality. The dialog didn't always sound natural either. I think the story arc works better with the princess as the POV but I think you are more comfortable writing in Brull's POV.
Liked the idea you have here. I think this still needs some trimming and reworking but I do like the story. I suggest you really sell to the reader that Fenrich's army is going to defeat the empire in teh battle. That may require a deeper plan. The shock of seeing Fenrich's forces defeated just might be the thing that will make that twist to work.
Princess on the Lam by Owasm Biggest Change
Quite a shift in tactics, completely change the MC of the story. I agree with Satate on this one, especially the first person POV. I really like the Sword of Spells in the story.
Blue Light Special by Shimiqua My choice
How could I not pick this one? Of course, I am partial to humor and this one was funny. Loved the story. Congrats, you have earned a spot in the pages of Speculative Snapper. It pays 1/1000th of a cent a word.
A Burden of Purity
Can't this guy think of his own names to use? And why did he leave Owasm out? Poor guy.
God's and Kings - most improved. I really liked this story, the fantasy concept felt original, and I just ached for Fenrick. The relationship with Elizabeth seemed much better, but felt a bit too informal at the beginning. Overall, the story felt satisfying, however, I wonder if this is a prologue to a great novel. Fenrick's child would grow up outside of the kingdom, with a sibling, in an evil empire. He (or she, make it a she!) wouldn't know that they were royalty, or that they could hear voices, or have the help of their father (who just happens to be a god and could make lightning and earthquakes to help them overthrow the evil Empire, and bring justice and closer to Fenricks death.)Just add a love interest and you got a winner. There is just to much coolness to stop here. But that is just my opinion. Great job!
Burden of Purity. my choice. I would pick this one because I'm a vain person and I like to see my name in print. I noticed, Frank, you too have the same weakness. Actually I just really liked this one, I like the relationship of the heroine and the eye slit dude. And Munchum is so obnoxious, that she took the turn into likable. (although I don't mind at all she gets her come-up-ance.) It's just all around good.
Princess on the Lamb- I think you need to change the princess's name. Princess Jasmine, doesn't work for me, I think I was raised on Disney video's. Also I thought that Brull won too quickly and easily. He seems a bit too powerful for me to root for, but then again I like an underdog. I do really like how you showed the aramancors love spell over Jasmine, but I think I actually liked the story in Brull's perspective better.
Good Job everyone, Most of you sent me crits for everyones stories, and I will email them around to you today. ~Sheena
Most Improved Story: I can't vote for snapper's because he didn't really have much of one top start. I think the one that was most improved was God & Kings. She had to changed the story arc to make the relationship with the peasant girl weave better in the story. It gained a bit of weight, but I think it the most improved.
The Story I Would Publish Vote: I liked the voice and humor of A Burden of Purity. It had a good story arc, although the ending is perhaps prematurely drawn. I wasn't a fan of the Michael Jackson part (peace be upon him), it was a bit too close, but I'm a sucker for satire.
Final tally of Votes.
Most Improved Story Burden of Purity one vote God's and Kings three votes.
Most Improved Story- God's and Kings by satate
Story I'd publish Burden of Purity three votes Blue light special one vote
story that would be published - Burden of Purity by snapper
This was fun, congrats to the winners, and thank you everyone who played. ~Sheena
[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited May 10, 2010).]
Thanks everyone. Great stories by everyone. I am honored that you would pick mine the best. So encouraged was I that I submitted it to 'Swords and Sorceress'. Got a rejection in less than a day, Harumph!Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007
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Thanks everyone, this was fun and I liked all the stories.
Sheena, I do want to expand the story into a novel, after I get the short story a little cleaner. I'm going to try and do what Snapper said and cut 500 words and I like the idea of letting there be a greater chance that they will win the battle.