Aid - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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  1. #1
    Illustrator Extraordinair Adrian MalSeraph's Avatar
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    Aid

    I need help.

    I've been 40k related stories for a while now, and whenever I write them, I always end up lacking the dark, brooding nature that is often found in most 40k short stories (Dan Abnett is king! )

    So, I'm looking to see what sort of structure or word choice that elicits a more sinister feel.

    This is what I was hoping to work with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian MalSeraph
    Despite the fact that he became an Inquisitor, Dominic Morentez has found difficulty gaining respect amongst many of his peers. It is not because of his manner or personality. It's because of his teeth.

    Since his childhood, Morentez's canine teeth were unnaturally sharp and long. He notice this quickly and hid it from others in his community. The villagers thought he was odd, as he never smiled nor laughed. He was shunned and ignored, viewed as strange. To make up for this, he showed unshakable faith in the Emperor. He was often seen, long after services had concluded, praying that the Emperor would take away his defect.

    Another thing that Morentez kept hidden was an unusual bloodlust. Oftentimes, he'd disappear into the woods near his village to sate this lust. He'd stalk an animal, sometimes for days, waiting for the right moment to strike. When it came, he'd quickly and efficiently kill the animal, and promptly drank its blood. This could keep him sated for about two weeks, which when he'd return to the woods to continue the ritual.

    He managed to keep all this hidden until his fifteenth year.

    On the day that his ritual was due, an Eldar Pirate raid struck his village. With this imminent threat and loyalty to the village first, he'd have to refrain from his expedition to repel the raiders. It was a vicious fight, but many Eldar were defeated, until just one remained.

    Morentez was alone with the Eldar. Morentez readied his sword for the attack, the pirate readied his pistol. As he prepared for the charge, Morentez felt a pressure on his chest. His bloodlust was overtaking him. He tried desperately to control it, as he could see others from his village watching him. But it was too much to bear.

    With unnatural speed, Morentez charged the pirate, teeth bared, fangs glistening in the twilight. The Eldar was too shocked to react. Morentez saw the terrified look on the Eldar's face, and it only feuled his crazed manner. Dropping his blade, he leapt at the pirate from ten feet away, landing on the raider's shoulders. From there, Morentez sunk his teeth into the slender neck.

    Thick red gore filled Morentez's mouth, and he drank deep of the ichor. When his thirst was finally sated, he looked up to find an equally shocked look on each of the villager's that had watched him. Realizing his situation, Morentez quickly got up and fled for the woods.

    He hid in the woods for several hours, ashamed of himself fro his actions. He knew that he would never be allowed back into the village. He had nowhere to go...

    "I know where you can go..." said a voice behind him. Morentez spun around.

    Above him stood an old man. He wore plain clothes, but they did not seem to suit him. He looked as if he belonged in more elaborate clothing.

    "You're not from around here, are you?" asked Morentez skeptically.

    "You are perceptive as you are vicious, young one," said the old man.

    It was true, he was an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, responding to reports of pirate raids. He came on the right day, it seemed.

    "I can use your skills, child," said the old man. "I care not about your 'gift.'"

    Morentez got up and agreed. Any place is better than here, now.
    *****

    While training at the Schola Progenium, Morentez was shunned again. This continued as he apprenticed under the venerable Inquistor, until he met a young woman by the name of Samantha Valerio. She wasn't frightened by Morentez teeth, in fact, she was fascinated by them. They became fast friends, always seen together, even through graduation.

    Today, both Valerio and Morentez are always working together, complementing each others skills and mentalities. There are rumors that they are romantically involved, but that has not yet been confirmed.

    Normally, Valerio, being of the Ordo Hereticus, would hunt down someone like Morentez, but the nature of their relationship is that one will not betray the other's loyalty.

    As such, they often come under investigation by more Puritan inquistors, but so far, none have been able to bring them in.


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  3. #2
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    Okay it’s a tricky thing to try to help to ‘sculpt’ someone else’ writing style, but I’ll give it a shot.

    In my opinion, there are two basic things you can address to make your prose more ‘gritty’ and brooding. These are your vocabulary and the structure of your sentences and paragraphs.

    Vocabulary first: whatever else your readers can or cannot envisage within your story, they can ‘picture’ (and hear) your characters speaking when they read dialog in quotation marks. And people being people, they like to have ‘clues’ as to the mental state of the characters so they can empathise with them, or react accordingly. So, do not think you can put all the emotive ‘burden’ of the characters utterances actually into the quotation marks. Lets have some interesting and evocative verbs for ‘speaking’ to get the message across.

    Example:

    “You scum, that village your troops destroyed was my ancestral home? said Norinthrax
    “An unfortunate necessity, but our scryers had detected that it contained the taint of Chaos? said Inquisitor Moxel in reply.


    Or

    “You scum? shrieked Nothinthrax, his voice nearly a scream “that village your troops destroyed was my ancestral home?

    “An unfortunate necessity, but our scryers had detected that it contained the taint of Chaos? was Inquisitor Moxel’s oily reply.


    Obviously, match the content of the speech to the adjective that you use to describe the utterance.

    You can also see that I am playing with the sentence structure to add emphasis, and make it more ‘intuitive’ and flowing. With character actions in real life, sometimes they are over before you have mentally processed them. So, if I slapped you unexpectedly on the face, you would mentally register the pain of the slap BEFORE you saw my hand move and that would be before you could apply any kind of emotional reaction to it – such as swearing or asking why I did that.

    So we could represent that like this:

    A sharp electric pain suddenly shot into my left cheek, and the impact made my left eye see bright sparks for a brief instant. A second later my eyes could focus again and I caught his grim expression as he lowered the hand he had slapped my face with. “Why did you do that?? I gasped as the hot pain filled the side of my face…

    My point here is that it makes sense to add the adjective describing the retort AFTER the content of the retort, as that’s the order in which people mentally process snappy comments.

    “Hellfire…? his victim gasped.
    “Die, Traitorous Scum? snarled Moxel, as he raised the pistol…
    etc.


    If you write spontaneously like this, trying to get a believable flow of events going on, you can represent moderately complicated activities without having to write long complex paragraphs to give every single detail -which is boring and difficult for your readers. Do use short sentences when you can, and when there is a lot of action going on.

    It’s the equivalent of ‘impressionistic’ art, but in narrative terms.

    Sometimes it’s worth bringing the readers viewpoint to a very subjective level, even when there are world-shattering events going on elsewhere in the scene. If someone was shooting at you, I think you would probably ignore the Zeppellins crashing in flames in the next field while you rapidly sought cover. You can do that with your readers. Take them 'inside' a character under stress for a moment, and then open out the viewfinder and tell us whats going on around him again. Do be careful about mixing 'internal dialog' with your own narrative though, that can get confusing unless its obvious what is what.

    The ‘art’ of good writing is in creating a believable situation in as few words as necessary.

    Oh, and with Warhammer40K-style fiction, its worth collecting a vocabulary of standard ‘Gothic’ words and phrases to pepper your work with. You know the sort of thing. “Snarled? is one good start… but don’t forget to startle people by surprising them now and then…

    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

  4. #3
    Illustrator Extraordinair Adrian MalSeraph's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips Aun.

    I know that I can't expect other's to help make my writing style, but I just needed help on terms and some slight style changes.

  5. #4
    Ayatollah Moomintroll Hard A**'s Avatar
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    I notice you have a LOT of non-sequiteurs in your story above. They make it difficult to follow whats going on, frankly. I'll have another look when I get back from Games Night.

    Aun.

    Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?

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