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The Shades Chapter 2

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Old 04-08-2013, 10:21 AM
GodPoundingWolf (Offline)
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Default The Shades Chapter 2


The second chapter of my work so far. Please say if you want me to also upload my revised chapter one for you to check. Any help would be much appreciated.

After Sebastian had improved his speed back to base with the supplies he had gathered, he had wondered if any of this would stop, or if this was what the world was doomed to become forever. This thinking however, was very short lived.
As he crossed into the alleyway to cut through the estate, which was usually free of bandits, he heard a crunching sound. Not of boots on gravel, but a terrible crunching sound, like someone eating cereal with their mouth open, and looked to see where such a horrible sound was coming from.

In the darkest part of the alley, two bright, hellish eyes stared at him, with a look that seemed to pierce him, and take all the energy from his body. As the stare continued, a gruesome grin appeared where the flickering embers of a fire lit up the creature’s teeth, teeth that were twice as big and twice as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel. As the face began to move, Sebastian realised that he couldn't move due to intense fear, and that he was sweating.

As the creature stepped out of the darkness, Sebastian saw his first Shade.

A hulking mass of flesh, at least seven foot tall, with talons so sharp they could tear a tank to shreds, and lumps of congealed blood all over its face, with more fresh blood dripping from its huge jaw. As it approached him, the creature seemed to limp, as if it was injured, and as Sebastian investigated with his eyes, he realised why.
Balanced on the left foot of the Shade, was a man. A man with no arms, no legs, and an open chest.

The Shade's last meal.

The sight of the destroyed man awoke something in Sebastian, and the fight or flight brain mechanism finally kicked in inside him. He made his decision, and ran.
As he sped through the estate, he stared back to see that the Shade had abandoned its meal, realising there was a fresher one nearby, and was bounding on all fours towards him at speeds he could only dream of, and he realised there was no way he could run.
He stopped, turned, pulled out the pistol he kept on him for emergencies, stared straight into the monster's penetrating eyes, and fired.
The bullet was right on target, and as one of the headlight eyes went out, a wail of which the likes Sebastian had ever heard emanated from the beast, followed by a growl that shook the ground beneath his feet.

It was angry.

It now plodded slowly towards him, one of its talons screeching along the floor, and the gruesome grin returned, now with new meaning. As this struck Sebastian, he fired again, and again, tears streaming from his eyes, for he knew what was going to happen. The bullets simply bounced off the Shade's outer shell, and its grin grew larger and larger, until it took up almost its entire face.

It couldn't have been further than an arm’s length away when it happened.

Out of nowhere, a loud bang sounded, and the Shade dropped to the ground, half of its head now hanging off, but it was still smiling. He looked as to where his saviour was placed, straight into Steph's eyes.
"Go then! That sound will bring more!" She screamed as she pulled up the bipod of her sniper rifle and began to get off the rooftop she was stationed on.
And so, yet again, Sebastian ran for his life.

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Old 04-08-2013, 11:49 AM
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More of a scene that a chapter, but it works well enough. The pacing was brisk; if anything I'd slow it down a touch. Definitely keep going with it.

Originally Posted by GodPoundingWolf View Post
After Sebastian had improved his speed back to base with the supplies he had gathered, he had wondered if any of this would stop, or if this was what the world was doomed to become forever. This thinking however, was very short lived.
As he crossed into the alleyway to cut through the estate, which was usually free of bandits, he heard a crunching sound. Not of boots on gravel, but a terrible crunching sound, like someone eating cereal with their mouth open, and looked to see where such a horrible sound was coming from.
First he wonders if this will go on forever, which makes it sound like the current situation is fairly recent; then we're told the estate was "usually" free of bandits, which implies a longer period of time. Since we're not going to encounter bandits, maybe you could drop that clause.

In the darkest part of the alley, two bright, hellish eyes stared at him, with a look that seemed to pierce him, and take all the energy from his body. As the stare continued, a gruesome grin appeared where the flickering embers of a fire lit up the creature’s teeth, teeth that were twice as big and twice as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel. As the face began to move, Sebastian realised that he couldn't move due to intense fear, and that he was sweating.
Good images here, especially the surprise of a fire in the thing's mouth. Sebastian couldn't know how sharp the teeth were, though. And ditto for the talons further on.

One thing, though. I'm picturing Sebastian entering this alley coming from Point A and heading for Point B. That makes the Shade *between* him and his destination. But when the scene ends it feels like Sebastian is closer to Point B (because Steph has been "stationed" on a rooftop, obviously there to provide cover). Clearly Sebastian has to loop around somehow, but that's problematic because of the Shade's speed. It left me wondering.

A hulking mass of flesh, at least seven foot tall, with talons so sharp they could tear a tank to shreds, and lumps of congealed blood all over its face, with more fresh blood dripping from its huge jaw. As it approached him, the creature seemed to limp, as if it was injured, and as Sebastian investigated with his eyes, he realised why.
Balanced on the left foot of the Shade, was a man. A man with no arms, no legs, and an open chest.
This is a cool image except for the physics. If the Shade is just crouched there in the alley, I can picture a human torso lying across it. But a torso two feet wide and two feet long is not going to balance on anybody's foot. It would just fall off. If you have him sitting, you can have Sebastian notice the body at his feet. You could even have the monster casually tear off a piece, thus making a point about the sharpness of the claws.

The sight of the destroyed man awoke something in Sebastian, and the fight or flight brain mechanism finally kicked in inside him. He made his decision, and ran.
I would compact this a bit: "The sight of the destroyed man [nice image] awoke the fight or flight mechanism in his brain. He considered his options for a single heartbeat then made his decision. He ran."
Something like that?

As he sped through the estate, he stared back to see that the Shade had abandoned its meal, realising there was a fresher one nearby, and was bounding on all fours towards him at speeds he could only dream of, and he realised there was no way he could run.
Wrong verb here. Staring takes too much time. Have him glance back. I don't think "dream of" is right here either, as it implies "aspires to". Maybe: "... was bounding on all fours toward him at such a rate, Sebastian realized he could never outrun it."

I chose the neuter pronoun deliberately here. You can adopt this or not, but when dealing with monsters I like to keep them gender free. There tends to be a lot of close pursuit and combat when monster are around, forcing an extensive use of "he" and "him". By making the monster neutral, you can say "it bit him" and everyone knows who is biting whom.

He stopped, turned, pulled out the pistol he kept on him for emergencies, stared straight into the monster's penetrating eyes, and fired.
The bullet was right on target, and as one of the headlight eyes went out, a wail of which the likes Sebastian had ever heard emanated from the beast, followed by a growl that shook the ground beneath his feet.

It was angry.
We don't need to be told the monster's mental state. He's just been shot in the eye! We can take pissed off as a given. And here's a rewrite of the previous sentence.
"The bullet was right on target, and as one of the headlight eyes went out, a wail emanated from the beast the likes of which he'd never heard. This was followed by an angry growl that shook the ground beneath his feet."

I'd be more likely to believe a roar could literally shake the ground than a growl. Maybe you could have it be more personal and direct, shaking the air in Sebastian's lungs, or deafening his ears, or even rattling his teeth. That keeps the focus on Sebastian rather than on the ground.

It now plodded slowly towards him, one of its talons screeching along the floor and the gruesome grin returned, now with new meaning. As this struck Sebastian, he fired again, and again, tears streaming from his eyes, for he knew what was going to happen. The bullets simply bounced off the Shade's outer shell, and its grin grew larger and larger, until it took up almost its entire face.
This was the only description that didn't work for me. First he was moving faster than anything, and now it's plodding? A shot in the eye makes him limp? Why is the grin (why isn't it merely a gape?) suddenly endowed with a different meaning, especially when we don't really know what the first grin was for? And why does our hero suddenly lose his ability to shoot straight? Just shoot out the other eye! I wanted to yell.

It couldn't have been further than an arm’s length away when it happened.

Out of nowhere, a loud bang sounded, and the Shade dropped to the ground, half of its head now hanging off, but it was still smiling. He looked as to where his saviour was placed, straight into Steph's eyes.
That first sentence distances the reader. We're at a crucial moment so keep us right in the action. Try this: "It was hardly more than an arm's length away when a loud bang sounded and the Shade dropped to the ground, half of its head blown away. But it was still smiling."

I'm not sure "savior" is the right word here. And this is the third time we've looked right into eyes. Couldn't he simply see Steph up on the rooftop? That way we know at once where she is instead of having to wait a few sentences to get oriented.

"Go then! That sound will bring more!" She screamed as she pulled up the bipod of her sniper rifle and began to get off the rooftop she was stationed on.
And so, yet again, Sebastian ran for his life.
Sniper rifle is perhaps more detail than we need. It's a rifle. She's not that far away, and it's on a bipod. Maybe she could yell for him to meet her on the street or at some named location. Otherwise, it's like the two are going to run in random directions.

Anyway, all small stuff. Good scene overall.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:01 PM
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you write very well and have a good enemy and setting here yet I still find it very boring. Your descriptions are incredibly matter of fact and blunt, so much so that it never insights panic or tension for me. Like I said, great setting, great writing, just spead up some of the descriptions during action and try to be more daunting. Like when he pulls out his pistol, instead of throwing in a descrption that its for emergencies, try to capture the tension, like are his palms sweaty, did the pisol come out of its holster smoothly, things of this nature. otherwise I think its a great foundation.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:37 PM
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Thanks guys. Feedback like this really helps me improve in a way I wouldn't have been able to do before, so the fact that you're going into so much detail is great.
As I mentioned before, would you like to see a revised version of this chapter/scene and/or the other one?
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