Thursday, May 3, 2012

Drop the Needle: Action Scenes #2

TITLE: Sol of a Gladiator
GENRE: Epic Fantasy

Dagger in hand Lysik carved a path through the unarmed rabble, making his way toward an exit. Most of the mob gave him a wide until two men stepped into his path, clearly singling him out for trouble. Undoubtedly brothers, the huge men were most likely twins; one differing from the other only by a well-aged scar cutting diagonal across his bearded face. The easy way they carried themselves told of countless barroom brawls.

“Where do you think your goin’ pretty boy?” the scarred brute asked.

The other laughed at his brother’s wit. “Yeah pretty boy, where you goin’?”

“Charming.” Lysik mumbled to himself. In an instant the dagger left his hand and planted deeply into the latter’s eye socket. The big man stopped mid-laugh and dropped to the ground, dead. His brother followed him down with a mournful howl, cradling his fallen sibling.

“Coward!” the brute blurted. “You didn’t give him a chance!”

Lysik smiled at the naivety of the accusation. He unsheathed his second dagger. “True.” he agreed. “But what chance did he really have?”

Outraged, the growling brute charged Lysik full force. The swift assassin deftly side stepped the charge, ducking below the outstretched arms of his assailant while at the same time drawing the razor sharp dagger across the man’s unprotected abdomen. He stood as the brute stumbled past, clutching his belly in a vain attempt to keep his bowels on the inside of his skin.

Lysik moved to the first fallen brother, retrieving his other dagger. “Sorry I can’t stay and play but I’m in a bit of a hurry.” No answer came from his other attacker, now on his knees staring blankly at the entrails draped over his hands. Lysik continued once again toward the door, this time completely unopposed.


  1. I'm embarrassed but for the record:

    -The first line should not have a comma.

    -The second sentence should read, "Most of the mob gave him a berth wide until two men stepped into his path, clearly singling him out for trouble."

    Thank you to Authoress for the opportunity and thanks to everyone for your comments!

  2. I like Lysik's attitude, but think the action itself could be tightened. You have a lot of long sentences. Generally, shorter sentences are better for action to keep a quicker pace.

    Couple nitpicks:

    Regarding the first line, I think you *do* need the comma. Otherwise, it sounds like the rabble is making its way to the exit, not Lysik.

    First line of dialogue, your should be you're

    There should be a comma after "Charming".

    Example of a sentence you could tighten:
    In the second sentence of the second to last paragraph, you could cut repetitive or implied phrases like the charge and at the same time (implied by while). So it would read: The swift assassin deftly side-stepped, ducking below the outstretched arms of his assailant while drawing the razor sharp dagger across the man's unprotected abdomen. Still a long sentence, but a bit tighter.

    I do think this has potential. Nothing was confusing or illogical. The excerpt definitely feels like it fits in an epic fantasy. :)

  3. Seriously, what is wrong with me. I meant that the second line should read:

    ""Most of the mob gave him a wide berth until two men stepped into his path, clearly singling him out for trouble."

    Thanks for the comments Feywriter!

  4. I don't think you need to say the men were undoubtedly brothers if you also say they were most likely twins.

    When you say "the swift assassin deftly stepped aside" it took me a minute to realize you were talking about Lysik. If this story is from his point of view (hard to tell with excerpt), I wouldn't refer to him with another monniker.

    Love the vain attempt to keep the bowels on the inside of his skin! Gruesome!

    Lysik definitely comes across as a cold hearted badass. You can give him more depth by changing his last dialogue line. It struck me as a little cliche. I want him to be a bit more clever than that.

    Good flow to the scene and clearly written. I didn't even feel like I needed a lead in with this.

  5. I liked this excerpt. *Pretty boy* popped me as it doesn't seem fitting to the time period.

    Think you need to drop "Outraged" because that signals a POV change.

    Agree with the commenter above that "the swift assassin" doesn't work if being told from Lysik's viewpoint.

    Use the term *brute* four times. Might find a different way to describe these men.

    I'd read on!

  6. Agree w/others re: brothers/twins, berth, you're.

    I had to reread to clarify who was doing what to whom. Some shorter sentences would keep the action going at a quicker pace.

    Lysik's comments: 'Pretty boy' and the last, 'Sorry I can't stay...' struck me as very James Bondish and therefore anachronistic. But fine if you're going for the humor.

  7. I like the title - a nice pun on sol/ soul.

    I think it can be tightened in some places, author.

    "Clearly singling him out for trouble" is unneccesary telling. Cut the line and the narrative emerges unscathed. If you replace it with something about their expressions or body language (baring teeth, punching palm with fist), you will take the reader in to the scene, and your narrative will be strengthened.

    There's a continuity problem at the end of para 4, where you seem to have hm simultaneously following his fallen brother and cradling him.

    Slicing him open with a dagger is far-fetched as that would require one heck of a lot of strength, but suitable if you're aiming for over-the-top fantasy.