Thursday, February 26, 2009

41 Drop the Needle: Chapter Endings

TITLE: In the Shadows of Darkness (working title)
GENRE: Science Fiction

Archon is a rogue member of a disbanded military project called "Dark." In chapter five, she recieves a message from the Castellan (the head of the Gaian Allaince and the creature responsible for organizing an asassination attempt on her lover Jacob six years ago) telling her the location of Jessari (the asassin that almost killed Jacob six years ago, who is also a fellow Dark).

Archon forced the breath out of her lungs, the air hard and stale as it left her lips. Her memory was eternal; she forgot nothing, not even the smallest of details. The day they almost took Jacob away reverberated through her existence. It had a taste, a flavor that she was unable to ignore. Had she her way, she would have razed an empire to ash and dust. Killed all of them.

But Jacob denied her, asking something of her for first time. Begging her as he bled.

Run. Leave. Abandon, and live outer rim. When the bubble of blood had broken across his lips, Archon was compelled by a force she still found difficult to understand. For him, she let them live. Because of Jacob's compassion, the Gaian Alliance won the Tetrin War instead of being plunged back into spaces between three shattered planets.

Now his words were less compelling. Here, direct from the Castellan, the very conductor of the plot against Jacob's life, was an offering vengeance. The manner was backhanded and laced with masked and silent motives - Archon would be a fool to think otherwise. Yet the com told her that the Dark, the assassin Jessari, was marked for execution. The Castellan called for her head. There was no reward, no other direction. Simply a location, a where and a who. If nothing else, the Castellan knew Archon would not ignore this information.

The Castellan knew Jessari would die.


  1. Ooo, the first chapter ending of the day and it's a good one! Loved the complexity of the MC, Dark (sorry couldn't resist) but still able to love. I thought the writing was beautiful.

    And just to nitpick: The wording in following sentence seemed a little off.

    "The day they almost took Jacob away reverberated through her existence."

    Maybe change "reverberated" to "defined"? That not quite it, but "reverberated through her existence." felt overwritten.

    Great job, though. I would definitely read on!

  2. I would read on. Great complex set up but some of the sentence structure was awkward. I don't know if you were trying for a futuristic, broken down language or if you missed some words.

    "...asking some of her for first time."

    Seems like there should be a 'the' in there. If this was a longer segment, I'm sure I'd be able to tell if it's a different way of speaking or something else.

    Good read. Keep it up.

  3. Great writing here! There were a few awkward lines because of missing words (example: "was an offering vengeance"). It just needs more editing; the writing is solid, and that's what counts most.

    Archon's emotions come across clearly. I LOVE how her grief has a taste. That feels very real and profound to me.

    I would want to read on.

  4. Intriguing and compelling...

    I love that you have reversed the stereotypical gender roles without making it feel like a cheap "schtick."

    I agree, though, that the writing needs to be cleaned up a little. It's solid, but the missing words were a bit jarring.

    Also, is she reacting to a physical message? Is she looking at it? Having her interact with/react to it a little more might amp up the visual quality of this scene. Just a suggestion.

    Great job and good luck!

  5. This sounds funny, I'm sure, but in para. 1 I wanted to know what kind of taste that awful day had. Bitter? Harsh? Intoxicating? (Although that's not really a taste, is it?)

  6. This isn't usually my genre, but I really liked it! Your writing is good. Sometimes you add things that could be left out because what you wrote is already so compelling.

    For instance, the last sentence in the first paragraph could be cut because if an entire empire is razed to ash, I would assume everyone is dead. The "razed" sentence is already so strong.

    I connected with Archon--I think you have something here!

  7. You have a nice storytelling style that drew me in.

    I find myself wanting to know more about what happened and what will happen.

    But Jacob denied her, asking something of her for first time. I think you're missing the word "the" in this sentence.

    Some really good moments here! A final polish and this baby will shine. I would read on.

  8. This is intriguing – I would read on. I like some of the vocabulary, and actually I quite like the shorter, choppier sentences: that’s where I get a sense of how your protag is feeling.

    Some editing is needed. There’s some confusion of verb tenses (at least, I was confused) – it’s not clear (though maybe it would be with more context) when the various events mentioned (Jacob’s death, Archon letting somebody live at his request, the Tetrin War, the victory of the Gaian Alliance) happened in relation to each other or in relation to the present situation. There are also some places where words seem to be missing (“was an offering vengeance”; “Abandon, and live outer rim”; “asking something of her for first time”).

    In general there’s some tightening up to be done (always easier to see in someone else’s work than in your own … I’m terrible about this in my own writing!): you could profitably cut, for instance, “If nothing else”; do you need “a taste, a flavor” or would one of them be enough?; having said “razed an empire to ash and dust”, do you need “Killed all of them”?; having said “she forgot nothing”, do you need “even the smallest of details”?

    “The manner was backhanded and laced with masked and silent motives - Archon would be a fool to think otherwise” – here we’ve got some confusion (at least, I was confused). The manner of what? Do you mean the manner in which the vengeance is offered? The manner in which the Castellan speaks/writes/whatever? Better not to stall the action here, where the text is otherwise tense and exciting.

    Like the premise, like the background, like the language – just needs some careful pruning. I would definitely read on!

  9. This is so not my genre, but I wanted to add my $0.02.

    I really like your voice - I am definitely picking up on her emotions when she remembers what happened earlier. As stated above, you could probably cut a few of the descriptives if you find yourself exceeding planned word count. But you still do it with style.

    However, I did become a little lost at the end. That's probably due to lack of adequate backstory or my own lack of knowledge for this genre.

    But I would turn the page.

  10. You've set up an interesting scenario! I want to know what happens when Archon avenges Jacob's death.

    Towards the end, it seemed to have more "telling" than "showing." (Starting with "Yet the com..."). It's like a lot of information got dumped into those last few sentences; it would probably be more dramatic if they were more drawn out.

    Also, it looks like words were omitted here or there (e.g., Abandon, and live [in] outer rim), but a good proofreading would take care of that.

    I want to know what happens!

  11. I had to read over it twice to grasp what was going on, but I thought it was well played. The emotions come through clearly.

    I also wondered what the day tasted like, there was such an emphasis on it.

    A few missing words tripped me up and it took me a second read to figure that the 'she' the Castellan wanted dead was the assassin, not Archon.

    Overall, I'd read a few more pages to get a better idea of what's going on.