I have seen unspeakable things in my life.
Perhaps they cannot be written, either, but I have a pressing need to leave something behind in this world. After all, I have no children to carry my name. My weakening heart failed me just three days ago. I fear it will not recover next time.
Being party to terrible things is expected of a fighting man. While many things have escaped my mind over the years, I am unable to forget fighting the group of filthy pirates that attacked my home and tipped my life upside-down. That was forty years ago today. Small wonder I’m so sickly.
I remember seeing the boats docking downstream of us during my patrol. I didn’t think anything of it. There were only thirty of them. We had 500 veteran soldiers and 1000 farmers who would take up arms if required. Thirty feral, uneducated pirates shouldn’t have been able to scratch our defence.
That evening I returned to the town square, only to find it burning with vigour. The thick, black smoke billowing from its depths was all wrong, though. I left the village people to desperately toss water at the base of the flames.
I didn’t have to walk far to see the barracks was burning, as well. Those not patrolling, or clearing the dirt roads to prevent the fire from destroying our crops, were trying to control the destruction.
My father sat on the back of his favoured dark steed, and galloped into the barracks.
“We will leave the civilians to take care of the fire. Almost 200 outlaws have amassed on the hilltop. From there, they are shooting arrows carrying flame into our village,” he said.
“But that can’t be right. The only ship I’ve seen today held thirty men, no more,” I tried to explain.
“My scouts have reported otherwise. Now gather your unit and we’ll circle around behind them together.”
“Yes, father,” I replied obediently.
I swore and ran my blade through one of the straw men. The scouts had been fooled by such a simple ruse. I quickly moved to the other side of the hill, eyes darting over the empty landscape.
“Joshua, take half the men into the town.” I ordered. “I will go to the barracks. One of us will meet them.” The man nodded stiffly, mouth grim and eyes fearful.
As we ran I saw them. The filthy pirates had broken through. My father had managed to get back in time. Now he was engaged with their captain.
The head pirate had a moronic grin on his face as he parried another of my father’s blows and spooked his horse. “Father!” I called as he fell.
This provided enough distraction for my father to get back up. I slashed out wildly, desperate to keep his attacker preoccupied. Our swords clashed and the good-for-nothing winked as he slid his blade along mine. Suddenly the handle flew from my grip.
“Get away!” Father growled, bringing his own blade down upon the cocky man’s head. He was forced to turn and block before he could cut me down.
I obeyed and scrambled away. I took up my sword and I turned back to assist. But fear had me frozen in place. I hesitated a moment.
I’ve been scratching my head over this for weeks. The first word, sentence and page are all important when it comes to whether a reader will bother with your work. So, let me know what you think so far?
Summary: “Cascade” is a historical fantasy set in a fictional world, which is reminiscent of the Three Kingdoms era of China. Follow Bai Jiang of Li from oppressed child draftee to famous warlord. Are his alliances and strategic genius enough to overcome the tyrannous Li family?
“Bai Jiang,” the officer announced sharply.
Jiang’s stomach muscles clenched as though the nervous butterflies that had been building up over the afternoon had instantly frozen. The young boy quickly stood, almost knocking the bench over, before hurrying into the General’s room.
He scanned the room upon entering, and soon noted the somewhat feminine General Zhang Hua trying not to look too bored. He smoothed his silken, plum robe from his position seated behind a low work desk. In a show of rudeness, he picked up his violet folding fan and casually began chasing away the heat of the day as he waited for the last new recruit to be seated.
“Afternoon, Bai Jiang,” he stated in an even voice, pulling a slip of parchment forward and inspecting it. “Low class, father dead, mother can’t support you?” he rattled off briefly. It wasn’t that he didn’t care; he was just weary of hearing the same story.
“Yes sir,” Jiang answered neutrally, staring at the ground to maintain a polite demeanour. His family had no status, but Zhang Hua’s was important enough that he could marry directly into their ruling family, Li. He was glad to get an interview, even if he had been forced to wait hours for this brief chance with a rude officer.
As he was inspected, Jiang tried not to get distracted by the feeling of the occasional puff of breeze on his recently shorn head. He would never cut it again after this, unless he disgraced himself in some way.
Just a few thoughts I had while typing up my novel (woot second draft!)
I’ve noticed there is a huge lull in the action of my story. This is due to a pile of characterisation through conversation, and then one character taking it upon himself to deliver a massive monologue.
I guess only the reaction of my beta readers will let me see whether I’m interrupting the story, or if the information is useful and interesting enough to remain in that form.
The way I worry about things, it’s small wonder I’m getting grey hairs at nineteen…
I finished the first draft of my novel “Cascade” just moments ago. It feels absolutely amazing! Finally, I can work on making my story legible to people other than myself.
If you haven’t completed a first draft yet, don’t give up! If you have, how did you feel afterwards?
2. The passive voice should never be used.
3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
4. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
5. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
6. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
7. A writer must not shift your point of view.
8. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
11. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
12. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
14. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
15. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
17. The adverb always follows the verb.
18. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
At the train station, there was a lady
Depressed and down, she cried and cried
The old man pulled her away from
The edge of the deadly train tracks
“He left me,” she said, “no one cares,”
“There is nothing more to this life,”
“Than smoking and watching TV,”
So I sat next to her, listened
She was pushed to prostitution
By the one she called her mother
Just a depressed drug addict who,
Was kept away from her children
Why this today? Why mother’s day?
She tried to get educated
She was beaten down by failure
Trapped and alone, my sympathy
But I could not speak up enough
My fellow human beings went
To go and fetch security
I left her with them, to talk more
I hope the help was adequate
Now I have the time to reflect
And think over my life so far
I think I must be braver and,
Stand up for others and their rights
I must fight for equality
Challenge this society and,
Find a better way to run things
All for a better tomorrow
I fight in the name of justice!
Sorry, this word vomit is a little more depressing than usual, but I did assist in talking a lady out of suicide today. I hope one day to create things that inspire and impassion. As you might be able to tell, I get some of my passion for life from old stories and video games.
A few words can make all the difference,