Wednesday, February 24, 2010

44 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: The Buried Realm
GENRE: Fantasy
EMOTION: Showcasing

The main character is Yonder, a dwarvish weapons merchant who has just arrived at a border town. He is trying to impress the two guards, Bornel and Renast, so they will let him into the country to sell his wares.

“Okay, see those trees over there? How far would you need to advance before you could hit them?”

“What, those?” asked Bornel, pointing at a grove some twenty paces away. “I bet Renast could hit it from here.”

“And you?”

Bornel shrugged. “Spears aren’t really my thing. They’re hard to aim.”

Yonder nodded. Perfect. “How about it, Renast,” he asked the taller guard.

Renast smirked and hefted his spear, aiming with deliberate nonchalance. Bornel leaned against the wagon and watched. It occurred to Yonder that this might be the most exciting thing that happened to these two all day.

Renast put his whole body into the throw and the spear sailed the full twenty paces to bite deep into the bark of the nearest tree. Bornel whooped and clapped approvingly.

“Not bad. Not bad,” said Yonder rubbing his beard. “But what would you say if I could hit that one over there?” Yonder pointed to a tree some fifty yards away. The guards’ eyebrows went up.

“No one can throw that far,” said Renast. “Not with any accuracy.”

“But a speargun can,” said Yonder, warming to his subject. “And with perfect accuracy, even if you can’t aim a spear.” Yonder dropped to one knee and aimed the gun. “You just line up your target with this notch here, pull the trigger and . . .”

There was a loud crack as the weapon released, and in less than a second slammed directly into the tree. Yonder grinned.

“Magic!” whispered Renast.


  1. Not really a genre I read much of anymore, but I definitely got the vibe you were going for. The salesman pitch was perfect. My only concern would be that some of the phrasing seems modern to me, which is not my experience with traditional fantasy. Not sure it's a big deal, but I thought I should mention it.

  2. I loved this! Yonder is really charming as a character, and I want to know more about him. He definitely knows how to market his wares.

    I like the more modern voice, since it makes traditional fantasy more palatable to the masses, I think. :)

  3. I like this! I think you nailed the purpose of the scene and the dialogue.

  4. Natural and it sounds great. Nothing to make me twich in any of it.

  5. I have one crit. What slammed into the tree? The weapon he was holding or the arrow?

  6. So you know where I come from, I like my dialogue to be fast. And I tend to want to delete too many he saids he asked since asking can also just be a questionmark. If you want to just straighten the dialogue, why not think about putting little statements instead.

    Yonder wasn't happy. Things like that as guides or tags to show who is talking if there are more than an obvious two way conversion between few or more individuals.

    That's all. OTherwise in such a small piece, I don't see any great problems.


  7. I liked this a lot. One thing I noticed - you ten to word your tags as "said he" instead of "he said". I've been given the advice from an editor who said that "he said" is more standard. "Said he" is a bit more nursery rhyme she told me. It does go with a fantasy style to a certain extent, but something to think about I suppose.

    I'm sure others can weigh in. :) Nice job!

  8. It's hard to get hooked in a short excerpt like this when you're dropped in the middle of the story. But I was hooked by this and want to read more about Yonder and his adventures. So you hooked me, which I guess means the dialogue works very well!