There can be no terror, where there is only courage.
HOW IT RATES
As Dregg of the House of Brute answers the call of the Hero's Council, he must reject his own intentions and face down envious opponents. Only then does he come face to face with his greatest challenge. A chance at love. This is Chapter 2 of a novella told in five parts.
Other Submissions by nick74
The truth is defined by its lies.
Our greatest battle is in rediscovering ourselves.
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Reviews of The Scorned - Chapter II: A Hero's Council 8
by James Blackford on 04/04/2014So, I just started reading and am two paragraphs in ( I like to review to some extent as I read) and the first thing I notice is the sentences are so long and wordy that I’m almost forgetting what they are talking about by the time im done reading them. I completely sympathize with that, because I do the same freakin thing. I think with things like that, although they are... So, I just started reading and am two paragraphs in ( I like to review to some extent as I read) and the first thing I notice is the sentences are so long and wordy that I’m almost forgetting what they are talking about by the time im done reading them. I completely sympathize with that, because I do the same freakin thing. I think with things like that, although they are beautifully written sentences, some of it needs to be cut so it won’t take away from the overall picture. A great writer and poet can spend a dozen pages talking about a man walking from his front door to the car, but if he does that in a story, no matter how beautifully written, he’s going to lose the reader.
So, I’m on page 3, and I get that they are getting close to landing, but it’s almost like sensory overload. There was so much information and description that I can’t really remember anything in particular. Again, even though I can tell so far that you’re a good writer, it’s all just a little too much for a reader to take in.
Okay, so I made it to the point where he is having a flashback. You know how to write, and it’s obvious, but with the amount of detail, description, names, all of it so jam-packed it almost makes this story a slow read. By page 8 the only thing that’s happened is the main character has canoed to a meeting of heroes and watched some of the contestants go before him. This could easily be a 5 star read if you were to trim it down bigtime, keep the action going, don’t spend pages on description, ( again something I myself have to work on ) but at this point I’m having to make myself go on.
Okay, and another thing, so far, almost all of the dialogue is very, very melodramatic. Example…. ““No,” Dregg muttered releasing his sword’s hilt into its scabbard. “I will not do this. Too
much death have I seen, but none in vain. Not until this day. I will not destroy the Borga.””
It’s very, over the top. I understand this may be how the characters play in your mind, but it makes it hard for a reader to connect with the character’s when they talk like that.
Okay, so here’s another part I found myself skipping words,….. Example…. “”Dregg took a slow swig from the jug, his eyes never leaving the melon in his hand, as if he’d given up on opening it without an axe and was content to stare at it with a sense of unexpressed dazzle.”” I skipped over the last half, it’s just too much. Even if you changed it to something like…
“Dregg took a slow swig from the jug and stared at the melon in defeat…..” and that’s it, it’s not as pretty but the reader would every word in the sentence, know what’s happening, and can get onto more important things in the story. Another example…
“”And all the locals within ear shot—those in the central restaurant, those above on the balconies, those outside on the social decks and walkways—took on the chant,
“”All of the locals within earshot took up the chant…” again,…. that’s it. The point is across and the reader moves on.
“”d, “I leave when the sun breaks the far horizon to the east,””
Change to… “I leave at daybreak…” it’s hard to imagine someone talking like you are making him out to be.
“”As he strode passed Blumbah and the heroes’ table, he sensed their eyes stabbing spears
into him—first into his chest as he moved toward them, then his flanks as he passed their table
by, then his back as he sauntered out onto the large, open deckway beyond the tavern“””
Too much, too much…. Even if you changed it to..
“”As he strode passed Blumbah and the hero’s table he could feel their gazes stabbing into him like so many spears.”” and that’s it, same effect, and the reader can move on.
Example… “”They backed away in unison, each taking two long steps back toward the tavern.””
Change to… “They backed away in unison….” leave it at that , two long steps doesn’t add to the story it takes away from what you want the reader to focus on
“”From under his dark hood, buried in the shadow of his cloak, he offered a slow nod.””
Change to, “he gave a nod from beneath his dark hood.” or something, still same effect.
“”There was a figure coming forward as if pealing itself away from the darkness,
gamboling toward him unlike any man””
If it’s coming forward we know it’s peeling from the darkness so just make it simple.
“”A figure peeled itself from the darkness and stepped towards him.”
Okay, so I finished reading it now, and by the end you get used to the dialogue, it’s almost Shakespearean-esk, it can be nice, but I’m not sure how many readers would relate to it nowadays. So, again you are a really good writer, and this story is very much 5-star material. Just trim the fat. I would be very interested in checking out some lighter pieces of writing you have to see a different side to your writing style. And also, by the end of the read I was pulled further into the tale, then at the beginning. read
by writermorris on 02/03/2013Firstly this was a lengthy short story and was obviously a chapter from a longer piece, most likely a book. I found it full of mostly descriptive writing and very little dialogue. You need dialogue to drive a story otherwise it turns into an essay, and however good a descriptive writer you are, this won't entertain your reader. Also because it's part of a book , I didn't know... Firstly this was a lengthy short story and was obviously a chapter from a longer piece, most likely a book. I found it full of mostly descriptive writing and very little dialogue. You need dialogue to drive a story otherwise it turns into an essay, and however good a descriptive writer you are, this won't entertain your reader. Also because it's part of a book , I didn't know the back story, I presume that Chapter one is elsewhere is Trigger Streets reading list. So I'm sorry this didn't work for me. You can certainly write but need to slow down on the descriptive stuff. read
by SNFaucher on 12/23/2012There is lots of good action and intriguing characters -- perhaps a little too many characters, but that's my humble opinion. Do watch word usage as on page 2, line 7, you write: "They pealed slowly..." Bells peal, not boats. Page 3, line 11, you write: "Dregg paid his fair..." I believe the word is 'fare' as opposed to 'fair'. These are only a few examples. Do use a dictionary... There is lots of good action and intriguing characters -- perhaps a little too many characters, but that's my humble opinion.
Do watch word usage as on page 2, line 7, you write: "They pealed slowly..." Bells peal, not boats. Page 3, line 11, you write: "Dregg paid his fair..." I believe the word is 'fare' as opposed to 'fair'. These are only a few examples. Do use a dictionary to assist in correct spelling and words.
At the top of page 6, there are contrasting descriptions of Blumbah: 1)"...he flowed onto the stage bare-bodied from the waste(sic) up..." and in the next sentence:2)"He wore a sandy red tunic that fell to his sandaled feet..." Perhaps the right word is 'kilt' or 'skirt'? A tunic covers a torso.
Some of the language is stilted and passive, though there is great imagery throughout. Much potential in this tale. read
by hepleronline on 12/16/2012A fierce warrior is selected for a quest he doesn't want. A great fantasy setup. I was excited to review this chapter because I haven't read anything like it in a while. So, thanks for the read. I do have a slight disadvantage because I'm starting this story in Chapter II – so if some of these notes don't make sense because of that, my apologies. First, because it's the most... A fierce warrior is selected for a quest he doesn't want. A great fantasy setup. I was excited to review this chapter because I haven't read anything like it in a while. So, thanks for the read. I do have a slight disadvantage because I'm starting this story in Chapter II – so if some of these notes don't make sense because of that, my apologies.
First, because it's the most exciting part of any review, some notes on language mechanics:
I would be careful with the way you arrange your similes and metaphors. In some cases, the nouns can get mixed up on a first read. One example of this kind of thing would be right in the first paragraph: “The bogs and water-wastes of the swamp had opened into a broad, green thoroughfare with a slow and powerful current, like an ancient river, that pushed the boat along.” As a reader, this makes me wonder, is it LIKE an ancient river or IS it, really, an ancient river – since they're both bodies of water.
There are a few 'empty' similes in this chapter. A good example is “like a battleman taking to combat” when talking about Zumbah. He is (literally) a battleman taking to combat, so the “like” simile feels unnecessary. Similarly, on page 19, the figure we assume to be Mernalay doesn't need to move “as if” in silent pursuit of her new hero, because she IS in silent pursuit.
Another general thing to be careful of is switching focus (or tense) within a sentence, especially when using this descriptive language. I do this all the time, especially with longer sentences. The sentence “The man was winning the race, which had been run several times before.” is a terrible example, but it shows how this can make it difficult for the reader to figure out the focus of the sentence (is it the man or the race?).
My last thought on mechanics, and I realize that this comes down to personal taste, is to be mindful of how you use language to create your fantasy world. Again, this is the genre where you can usually get away with as much or as little as you want, as far as detailed cultures, exotic names, and poetic location descriptions that use both. But, a little can go a long way. At times, using a verb like “partook” will add to the story, and at times, doing the same thing will just be distracting. Similarly, at times, we want to know that it's Kalucki wood, and sometimes it should just be wood. I don't think I'm really qualified to tell you which are which (because, like I said, a lot of it is just personal taste), but I did feel like overall, some of the fantasy embellishments did take away from the story. You make some beautiful word choices, and your descriptions are very engaging, but I would keep it in mind, as a thought.
Some page-by-page critiques:
Bottom of Page 2: Who are “people” here? You have a lot of specifics going, so we'll probably want to know who this is.
Bottom of Page 5: The sentence that starts “A very unhappy man from Zardabaway . . .” has a great idea going for it, but I had to read it a couple times before I understood it, just because it's split up with so many commas. It's a great thought, he's potentially dangerous if his pride is hurt, I just had to go over it a couple times.
By about a third of the way through the chapter, you've really got some great forward momentum going. Very nice job.
The moment where Mernalay 'falls' for Dregg feels a bit shallow. Of course, if there's any genre where a character like that can fall for a Warrior at first sight, it's this one, but the reader (in my opinion) has no real idea why Mernalay would be so entranced. It's not like you can't establish their connection this way, but it may be a missed opportunity to develop the characters and really give them a connection we can relate to. And of course, a more detailed scene comes later, but it gets physical quickly, and in this first scene, the connection feels a bit pushed.
Imple is a great name.
Page 12: It's a bit weird to have the words “restaurant” and “mead” in the same sentence, since one is fairly modern, and one is fairly not. Maybe the whole area is part of a 'tavern' or maybe even a 'roundhouse'?
I love the idea of the un-open-able murk-reed, but isn't he carrying a sword that would do the trick? To be fair, I'm not completely sure if Carver has special limitations, but I had assumed it was a fairly normal sword.
The other thing I keep wondering about, which I may have just missed because this is chapter two, is why all these Heroes want this mission. Is there a concrete reward, a status increase associated with it? Maybe it's mandatory, somehow? It seems natural for heroes to want quests, but I keep wondering if there are more specifics, especially if Dregg is so reluctant, but still shows up and gets the job. Especially when he says “I never claimed to be [a hero]” and yet, here he is, at a gathering reserved only for heroes.
I love the idea of the the Heroes' Parade before the Council. It a great chance to distinguish your characters and your protagonist. I was also really intrigued by the reluctant fight between Dregg and the Borga, although I didn't get to find out how it ended completely.
I love Imple's lines when they find out Dregg has been chosen.
When Dregg kills Zumbah, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, you did an excellent job of making Zumbah the kind of character you know deserves to die, and you kind of want him to. On the other hand, I kind of stopped believing what Dregg keeps saying about wanting peace. Obviously, he's on the defensive, but he seems more than capable of stopping Zumbah without killing him, so why doesn't he? Why doesn't the arrow end up lodged in his sword hand? Of course, he does regret his actions later, but when that internal conflict comes, he may not have the reader on his side. I definitely like that he already has another arrow up immediately, and it is gratifying to see the “presenter” free of Zumbah.
I don't think you should “call out” the 'sword' to 'tool' innuendo. I think Dregg's next line about his bed makes it pretty obvious that he understands what she's getting at now. If you don't point at the innuendo, the reader might feel more like they're in on the joke if and when they get it. The same (I think) applies to the Dregg-murk-reed metaphor. I think when you have another character call the comparison out directly, you lose the strength of the metaphor that Mernalay is already making.
In any case, it was a fun, engaging read, and it definitely kept me interested. Thanks for putting it up. read
by steven b on 12/15/2012It terms of critique my only comment was on a misspelled word early in story. "continued passed a" should be "continued past a". I also noted only once are the townsfolk called Izzics instead of I-Zaks. Beyond that I find no fault in this tale. Having said that I also didn't find a story that grabbed my attention. The available hooks were not developed. The woman didn't seem... It terms of critique my only comment was on a misspelled word early in story. "continued passed a" should be "continued past a". I also noted only once are the townsfolk called Izzics instead of I-Zaks. Beyond that I find no fault in this tale.
Having said that I also didn't find a story that grabbed my attention. The available hooks were not developed. The woman didn't seem mysterious enough. Not enough character development. Unless the book picks up the pace or adds some twists it would be hard to keep reading the full tale. read
by Crispim on 11/13/2012First of all, kudos on the imagination put on this. The writer creates a completely different world, with catchy names and characters. The first 6 pages or so, are very confusing. The writer fails to put his made up world on paper. When creating this type of fiction, the first pages need to be dedicated solely to the purpose of transporting the reader to this new world. While... First of all, kudos on the imagination put on this. The writer creates a completely different world, with catchy names and characters.
The first 6 pages or so, are very confusing. The writer fails to put his made up world on paper. When creating this type of fiction, the first pages need to be dedicated solely to the purpose of transporting the reader to this new world. While the character description is good and believable, the surroundings lack work. It almost feels like the writer assumes we are in his head, making the story very confusing in the beginning.
The transitions need work. The story keeps jumping from one place to another. The arena, the council, Dregg's imagination, making it really hard to keep up.
From page 9 to 12 lies the writer's best work. The Borgas' lair is very enticing, and that was the only part that really grabbed me and kept me reading.
Dialogues and language are extremely good, thou. Medieval language, that never once breaks into modern. You can see that the writer took his time with it.
Rewrite the first pages, describe better what's in your head. If the writer manages to grab the reader right from the beginning, my guess is this story is going to be just fine. read
by f-ceska on 11/02/2012The Saga of the House of Dregg continues! It’s getting very colourful (that's colorful to you) – it’s like a big sweeping poem, with waves crashing on a distant shore in a far away universe. I like the way it sucks me in and makes me want to keep reading, but there are a few things that jump out at me too, and make me say, hold on a minute... (You know me, the red pen comes... The Saga of the House of Dregg continues! It’s getting very colourful (that's colorful to you) – it’s like a big sweeping poem, with waves crashing on a distant shore in a far away universe. I like the way it sucks me in and makes me want to keep reading, but there are a few things that jump out at me too, and make me say, hold on a minute... (You know me, the red pen comes out and I start making notes as soon as I start reading). So here goes…
Let’s see what you’ve done in this chapter: Dregg makes his way to the I-zak people, where he finds the Council of Heroes is already taking place. So-called ‘heroes’ or self-proclaimed heroes at least, are busy strutting their stuff on the stage, flouncing their manliness, and incongruously showing how ‘unheroic’ they actually are. In contrast, Dregg appears modest, unwilling to proclaim himself a hero, and is sickened by what he sees (as are we). For that reason, the I-zak people predictably choose him as their ‘hero’ and, after seeing off a couple of the snubbed heroes who want to stick a spear in him, he sets off on his quest, only to be followed by that Xena-type warrior princess that I’ve been expecting to turn up. She brings a little bit of oestrogen (that’s estrogen to you) to the mix, but only in the sense that she’s a raving sex starved nymph who can’t wait for Dregg to get his phallic symbol – I mean sword – sheathed, so that she can have her lustful way with him.
As before, this is a chapter, not a story in its own right, so I can’t judge it as one. However, many of the issues I mentioned in chapter one are still issues here, perhaps more so, because we haven’t really moved forward in the story. We may have got closer to the ending, but that’s not really the same thing. I still don’t know what reason Dregg has for taking on this quest (he has no goals), I can’t sense any urgency… (how many more children are going to be taken if he doesn’t go today, right now!)... and I don’t know what’s at stake. (His manhood?) All we’ve really established is that he doesn’t like to boast, (but he’ll do the task anyway) and he doesn’t like to kill, (but he will if he has to). We already knew most of this in chapter one. Apart from that, the only other addition to the story is Mernalay, but she doesn’t move the story forward either, because, apart from some throbbing in her loins, she doesn’t seem to have any goals, urgency or stakes either. What’s her role in all this? You also bring us back to his killing of the Borga-Mother, and it’s important because we get to see that Dregg isn’t just a cold killing machine, but a man with a conscience, but I can’t help thinking how much more powerful it would be if we saw this scene in real time, rather than in flashback or dream.
Though I risk repeating what I told you about chapter one, what I think is most clearly missing from this story so far is the ‘goal’ and the ‘urgency’ that we talked about. Think about ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’. Remember how all those children were kidnapped from the Indian village and Indiana had to go off and save them? He didn’t really have any personal motive for wanting to save the children either (at least not until he got there and discovered what was happening), but he was given the incentive of going to retrieve the mystical stone that was taken along with the children. We – the viewers – did get to see the horrific danger to the children though, and that made us care right from the start. Obviously it’s too late to go back and change the structure now, but if you come to rewrite this, at any time, my suggestion would be as follows:
Chapter one: Open with a scene of the glob monster abducting / eating / killing (whatever it does to) an innocent child. Show us what the glob monster is. Show us what it does with the children? Give us an opening hook that’s so graphic and horrendous it gets us involved right away. Then, cut to the bit where Dregg has gone up the mountain to kill the Borga Mother. Give it to us in real time, not in a dream, it keeps it stronger, more immediate. He kills her and he is at once full of regret and guilt. Then he gets the message that the king wants to see him. He goes down and is told about the mission. He doesn’t want to kill again. He doesn’t want to go. It’s all too fresh. He refuses. But there has to be some kind of motivation, something that makes him want to go… the king promises that he’ll be relieved of all further obligations if he does this. He’ll never have to kill again perhaps? That could be his reason for accepting. (There’s your goal). But what about urgency? Maybe then he goes to the Wizard, who gives him his bow, but tells him that the bow needs blood or it will disappear within one turn of the moon… or something like that…
Chapter two: Dregg sets off, with the urgent need to kill the Glob monster, but reluctant to do so, and unwilling to proclaim himself a hero. On the way there, he runs into obstacles that slow him down (add conflict). Perhaps he comes across Blumbah the Murderous killing innocent slaves, or something. When Blumbah finds out that Dregg is on his way to claim the ‘hero’ role, he tries to kill him, leaves him for dead, etc. Think how more exciting it would be (and shocking for Blumbah) when Dregg turns up at the council alive. Also, you need to show us Dregg’s weaknesses. He can’t win all the time or where’s the final glory?
You’re starting to build on Dregg’s character and we’re beginning to get deeper into his conscience, which is a good thing, because it makes him a bit more ‘human’. But he is still top-to-toe-testosterone, and I don’t know how you see these things in the rugby boys’ locker room, but to me, it’s all a bit too macho. There needs to be some yin thrown in to counter the yang. Real men, aren’t just bravado and balls. There have to be a few more squidgy bits. I’m also hoping that Imple will do something more than just ‘be’ there. He should have some purpose in the story, some role. Maybe later he does. Just a thought. Apart from that I think your antagonists in this chapter (eg. Blumbah the Murderous) risk being just a little bit too over the top –grotesque and hideous is fine, but don’t make them like caricatures from a cartoon. Mernalay, so far, is just a chick on heat, so I’m hoping there’s going to be a bit more depth to her. Female readers like strong female characters, not just damsels in oestrus. (Maybe she’ll pick up a spear and start fighting too, which would bring some balance, or maybe she’s really an enemy in disguise, who’s after Dregg’s cajones in a completely different way). If she’s really only the love interest, then I hope she’ll become a bit more rounded as a character.
You know I like your writing style. It especially works with short stories where the manner of the telling is often more important than the matter. It’s colourful, and lively, and fluid. But in a novel or novella, I think you need to be pull it back a notch as I said last time, and try not to overload the page with too much language and dialogue, which ends up detracting from the actual flow of story. Also, it’s clear that you’re going for a sort of ‘medieval / Shakespearean / country banter’ type of speech, which a lot of fantasy novels seem to go for, but be careful not to overdo the ‘my good man’ comments or it’ll end up sounding like something from Monty Python.
As usual there are some wonderful descriptions and some nice use of language, but you’ll have to take my word for it. I couldn’t note it all down here.
Looking forward to Chapter III…
p.1 The canoe (continued) passed…
p.3 too many ‘goods’ in a short time: ‘my good sir’, ‘my good imple’, ‘my good man’ – makes it sound a little farcical.
p.5 ‘mother-leader’ – ah, good, at last, a female. I was beginning to drown in testosterone.
p.9 a glowing ovum (singular) or glowing ova (plural)
p.9 ‘coveting’ the life of her child? (Is that the right word? to covet = to yearn, crave or desire sth very strongly).
p.9-10 good analogy. I like the message. It reminds me of the constant battle over there in the US between federal government and wolves (for example, but not only).
p.15 ‘affright’ (verb) – affrighted (adjective). Is this what you meant?
p.17 Perhaps it would have been more heroic if he had only shot Blumbah in the leg rather than killing him outright, to endorse the idea that he has no intention of killing where it isn’t necessary. If Blumbah had continued his attack, Dregg may eventually have had no choice but to kill him, but you have to make it look like a last resort if you want us to take his side.
p.21 pealing = peeling
p.21 gambol = skip – hop – frisk – caper – cavort – frolic - leap (are u sure this is the way she comes out of the darkness?)
p.27 pedals = petals read
by Wilsun on 10/08/2012When I received this assignment I was happy to see the name NICK74. I'm aware of his work and I knew i'm in for an interesting concept, well presented environment and characters, all coming from an experienced storyteller. As expected, concept and environment stood to my expectations. However, I can't say the same for the characters and storytelling. Maybe, if I were to read... When I received this assignment I was happy to see the name NICK74. I'm aware of his work and I knew i'm in for an interesting concept, well presented environment and characters, all coming from an experienced storyteller.
As expected, concept and environment stood to my expectations. However, I can't say the same for the characters and storytelling. Maybe, if I were to read this in continuation with the novella then, perhaps, my view would be different. But I received this story as a short story and hence, I expected it be a standalone in its own smart way.
Throughout the story there are a few interesting scenes painted by brilliant words. And knowing the writer's previous work I wanted to like this short story. But once inside the story, I never felt any urgency and just couldn't get connected with the characters. I had reached page nine, I knew where the story was leading to but I began to lose interest. (Maybe, I have a poor attention span.) Next, I was bothered by the sudden change - intervention of narration. The writer is skilled in 'showing' instead of 'telling', yet, in some pages I felt like I was being spoon fed.
Before I conclude my review, I'm compelled to mention that as an aspiring writer I did learn a few tricks in the area of presentation from this story and will definitely include it in my reference materials. It's only the reader\audience in me, who is not satisfied but was not bored for sure.
Overall, a fine read but I expect more from the writer. read
- Writer: Nick Keller
- Uploaded by: nick74
- Length: 28 pages
- Genre: action, adventure, sci-fi/fantasy
- This story is a novella told in 5 parts. To be sure, it is not episodic. Though I encourage a reader to venture through the story in its chronological order to gain all the necessary plot points and character issues to paint a complete picture, I also understand that Triggerstreet's point system does not allow this luxury. Therefore, I also invite a reader to read it in whichever order dictated by the site as well as their own desires. In the end, my only hope is that you enjoy the story as is and that you review it with honesty. In its original form, The Scorned is 133 pages long at 38,000 words. Perhaps this (and other long form stories submitted in parts) will entice Triggerstreet to bring back their Novel Forum.
- Bio: Father. Copywriter. Texan. Competitive air hockey player. Meat-eating juicer (bit weird, I know). Fan of Carl Sagan, Ian Douglas and Stephen King. Picky about music. Lover. Fighter. Ever the aspiring writer. "Opposing Forces" received publication as WriterType.com's May winner and 2011 2nd runner up. "Dr. Towers' Babel" was published in Twit Publications PULP! winter/spring 2012 anthology---http://twitpublishing.com/CatalogWS2012.html. "The Sown" is now in print through Dark Moon Digest, Issue #6 --- http://www.darkmoonbooks.com/dark_moon_digest_6.htm "Dex Puncher, American Hero" will be in print later this year in Twit Publications Dieselpunk Anthology. "Void Touchers" was picked up by Thunderune Publishing and will launch as a novella, in late January. Thanks to my TS friends for all the lessons! Let's keep rollin'!
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