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This will be entered into a fluff contest on another site. The topic is a soldier's first battle. It must be at least 2,000 words, so I will be adding some more battle description, to help flesh out the character more and hopefully gain empathy for him. Please let me know what you think!
Covered with dark, foul smelling blood, the young warrior dropped to his knees. He was beyond the limits of his endurance, every muscle within cried for rest, for release. With a pained expression he drove himself forward onto his hands, cut in a score of places. Wincing he drug himself forward and leaned on a long, slender rifle. With a wrench, he tore his protesting body from the ground and swayed to his feet. His light armor was scorched and dented, in one place an ugly tear revealed a grievous wound, angry and already drawing small flies. With a groan he pulled his oversized shoulder pad off and cast it down. This gave a far too brief respite, but slightly less burdened, he stumbled forward. Overhead a raucous flock of oily black birds glared at the slight intruder broken and dying below them. Ahead he saw a glade thick with overgrowth, its beauty lost as his training took over. With one of his keen eyes still clear, he saw natural bunkers of moss and lichen-covered stone, jutting up like giants among the verdigris tree trunks. Scrambling over, he landed hard on the other side, a dozen new cuts and scrapes raw in the crisp air. Resting back against the cool stone, he took little time in checking his rifle. An almost elegant weapon, it was thin, 30 centimeters wide and a full meter long. A scant few moments later, and he was ready. Over the low hum of the wildlife around him, the first of low, guttural cries reached his ears. Reaching into a small compartment on his belt, he withdrew a small discus, bright silver in the leaf-dappled sunlight. Immediately it sprung from his bruised palm and hovered before him. Closing his rheumy eyes, he tenderly placed his head back on a mossy patch and spoke aloud:
:Transmission: Record: Shas'la For'ven
"Greetings Shas'o. I am reporting on our efforts against the horde discovered at Outpost Kal'eth'n. We have been overrun. Our initial drone reports revealed a 300 strong Ork horde. Pathfinder team Kor' bath confirmed this, and began a Marking Sequence on their armored vehicles. The sent in a last transmission 14 MINUTES (can't remember "Tau time" at the moment) before we were attacked by the original 300. Our stealth teams were overun in a matter of MINUTES, driven from cover by the flamethrowers of the Orks. Commander Del'at'tyr sent in 3 full teams of Crisis Suits, which managed to flank and destroy many of the horde, but they in turn were ambushed by the Ork rokkits, set further out to our flanks. In all, I estimate that 1000 to 1200 Orks filled the forests around us. We were ill-prepared to face them, as our contingent held a mere 150 Tau brethren." For'ven's voice cracked as he tried to continue, wave of nausea overtaking him he leaned to his side and vomitted, blood mixing with the remains of a hastily eaten piece of fruit, taken while running from the slaugther. Retching, he struggled to continue. "My brothers fought courageously," Again nausea overtook him, as shudders began to rack his frail form. The memories of what he had seen in his first skirmish flooded back into his brain, the scenes of carnage and horror were almost too much to recall. He had heard of the > Kroot, which his Commander never employed, how they would stop to gorge themselves on fallen prey. Disgusted then, he could barely countenance the thoughts of the Orks' desecration and savagery with the fallen of his fellow Warriors. Terrible howls of bloodlust seemed closer now, and shook him from his morbid thoughts. Fighting back his anguish, he managed to carry on with his report: "My, my brothers fought with honor. Our lines held, and we dropped three and four times our numbers before the crashed into our lines. Shas'o Del'at'tyr fell beneath the Orks handaxes, and his team was, was...destroyed soon after. You will be proud to know, we stood firm to fight them. A few seemed surprised see us fight, but most were defeated in short order. Shas'o, I-" For'ven paused, "I ran from them, from my squad. Your training was, not enough to forge my resolve and I fled my unit. I ran se> veral kilometers before coming to rest here, where I shall perish. I know that my end is near, and I am afraid. And I know that I go to my death with the darkest stain on my honor, on your honor. I will account for myself here as best I am able. I know that I, that none of us stood much chance of surviving, however I will make my end to be a sacrifice for those I abandoned, for those I-" For'ven opened his eyes, staring at the cold metal disk floating silently before him. With his transmitter shattered and useless, he had to use his assistant drone to relay this final report to his commanders. They needed to know what they will be facing, as he was the sole survivor of the slaughter. "left behind. I hope that you will find forgiveness for my weakness in my final moments.
Transmission: Conclusion: For'ven.
A stiff breeze brought the noxious odor of the horde to For'ven. He said a low word to the drone, and it sped off without a sound, leaving For'ven truly alone in the glade that would become his tomb. Biting back another spasm of nausea and pain, he rose. Stripped of his armor and vestments, he withdrew his Taliseera knife, and set about the grisly work of peeling away the scar that had been his bonding mark. To fail your brethren was the ultimate of sins, according to For'ven's mighty Shas'o, known to the gue'va as Farsight. For'ven felt no pain, his shame and grisly wounds numbing his body.
With a surge of desperate strength, For'ven raised his weapon and found a small cleft of rock from which he could see the first Orks to break through the clearing he had just traversed. Forsaking the safety of the rocks, For'ven pulled himself painfully to the top of boulder, where his field of vision allowed him to see the might of the forces against him. Again raising his weapon, he fired calmly into the scrambling Orks. In an instant, three dropped with clean, neat holes in their scabby foreheads. The mass of Ork was such that even blind, For'ven could've felled many. But his shame drove him to account for each of the Tau is his squad. Each would be avenged before he fell. Six more fell even as they closed, with little more than 50 meters between them and the smallish Tau that stood defiant on the rocks ahead. As bullets slammed into the stone around him, two more were stopped, their bodies crushed beneath the uncaring horde rushing behind them. For'ven allowed himself a faint smile as the distance closed, and shot round after round into the heads and faces of the greenskins. Twenty meters, fifteen, ten, and still more Orks were hurled aside, dead on their feet, by their kin rushing to stomp this lone defender. An errant round drilled deep through For'ven's side, with such power that he neither felt, nor recoiled. A second shot tore through his knee and he fell to his good leg, all the while firing. He felt no more pain, and rained death on all who dared thunder forward. The indefatigble rush was slowed only a bit, as Ork stumbled over Ork, viciously throwing aside the dead to clamber forward. An Ork jumped into the air, bringing down his cruel weapon, only to crash to For'ven's side, dying with a look of shock on his hideous face. For'ven's rifle slid from his grasp, clattering among the rocks soaked with the blood of his horrendous wounds as the unending tide swept over him.
It's written completely in past/passive tense.
This is a basic error that is hard to overcome in most forms of writing.
I still have serious problems keeping my writing in the "active" tense.
"Covered with dark, foul smelling blood, the young warrior dropped to his knees. He was beyond the limits of his endurance, every muscle within cried for rest, for release. With a pained expression he drove himself forward onto his hands, cut in a score of places."
Cover-ed implies he "was."
Dropp-ed implies past tense.
He "was", he "drove."
It's very difficult to overcome the passive writing style, that's why not everyone can be a writer. Try to make everything in the "present." Remember, -ing is a present tense suffix,
-ed is a past tense. I don't know you, I don't know how much schooling you have had. The writing is solid, it's just plagued with passivity. This leads to a very "boring" read.
I'm really not trying to insult you man, it's just what I have heard from my teachers for a long, long time.
The writing is very solid, as good or even better than anything I've written, just the tense is bad in teh beggining and end, although you get closer and closer to an active style at the end. The past tense for the report is appropriate, because, hey, its a report, on things that happened in the past!
Sigh, I don't know where I'm going with this, I keep looking at it and I can't really form the sentences in a better way without a complete rewrite, and I doubt you want to do that. Still, you said it needed more, including sensory input, so you may be willing to do a rewrite. First person and active writing go together so well IMO, so if that is what you are willing to do, I'm sure it will be great.
Let me know how you do in the contest,
Originally Posted by Shas'o Tau Dev'n Kauyon
No man, your advice kicks @$$, I didn't realize I was doing that! I've never had formal writing instruction, so I didn't even think of that stuff! Yes I will be doing some rewriting, that's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Looking over it again now, I see what you mean. Thanks O'Dev'n, for real, that advice is very good!
I'll let you know what happens.
*wipes sweat from browOriginally Posted by FistofManheim
Awesome, thanks. I get nervous critiquing other peoples writing. :ph34r:
It's what I would want to hear from people though. If everyone says "It's fine/good."
I worry that they didn't really try to read it, as I can always find problems in my writing.
I'm also very guilty of never rewriting anything, this is something else my teachers have drilled into me. So you've got one up on me there too. Don't be afraid to rewrite, just keep an old copy around.
I look forward to the "final" product.
(Writing is never finished IMO, even though I harldy ever rewrite >,<)
Ohhh, only one problem though, it's due tomorrow (OOPS). I opened it this morning, fully ready to rewrite it as necessary, then realized that it would be quite a task, one which I would gladly do, except that I'm at work. :mad:
I didn't realize it would take such amounts of rewriting, and of course I waited until yesterday to start it (at work, hee hee).
But, that advice was sound, and I will take it to heart. Since you are a student of writing, can I ask (cuz I don't know), if you're writing in third person, do you still NOT want to write in past tense, like I'm relaying the story to a crowd? I don't know the technical ins and outs of writing!
I actually much prefer first person, as it makes active writing that much easier. My friend is a big fan of third person though. If it's someone telling a story to a crowd, and they are supposed to be some "great" story teller, than they will have a style all their own to capture the crowds attention. This will most likely be in a very active style as well, otherwise the crowd would get bored. As for technical writing in third person, it is pretty hard, but you want to keep it as active as possible.Ack! Sounds like all my papers at college...done the day before or day of! lolOriginally Posted by FistofManheim
And yeah, it's a huge task to undertake. Good luck...
One tip, the way "I" do it, is to make sure I'm really into the character. Imagine how you would percieve things. IF you look at something, or do something, you don't really "think" about it. Things just happen. Even if you do think about it, it is always in the future or present tense. "I'm going to take out the trash." "I have to take out the trash." "I am taking out the trash." Only later is is "I have taken out the trash." or "Why yes, I did take out the trash." Think of things in this manner, but if it doesn't work out pretty quickly, don't worry about it, it is only how I do things, and you really can write on your own just fine.
Note, although I write in first person, I hardly ever use "I." This is something else that has been drilled into me by my highschool teachers (Not so much the college proffesors...). Not using "I" tends to force you to really think every sentence through, every sensory detail HAS to come from the character and make sense, not just "I could feel the pain in my arms."
This becomes, "For'ven's vision became blurry, pain shooting up his arms as he tried to support himself..."
See? Vision, to why, to situation. The character knows his is trying to support himself, but the first thing that really comes into your mind is "I can't see! My arm hurts!" And then you realize it is "because" you are supporting yourself on injured arms. Pain localization and all that. Although all of this occurs in an instance, the steps are still there within your mind, and within writing, must be conveyed. IMO at least.
Alright, enough rambling,