I revised the snippet with the help of an awesome person, you know who you are!  Anyways, hope this version is better and as always, point out any errors or anything you think I should add or remove.  I take all suggestions seriously and of course welcome any errors pointed out so I can correct them. 

Chapter 1 – The Siege

In space all you have is time. Soldiers patiently wait at their stations; captains await orders, and Elrik, well Elrik loved to day dream. During battles you can sometimes find Elrik day dreaming about something.  Elrik has the rank of Supreme Commander which means he leads seven legions including his own into battle.  Elrik’s rank affords him the luxury of not really having to do anything.  Elrik gets to sit in his chair aboard his flag ship and simply daydream to his heart’s content. One dream in particular was that of the day Elrik became a champion. Elrik had just been beaten and killed by his father for disobeying him. Elrik felt only pain and sadness as he lay there in the shallow puddle he was left in.  Elrik with tears in his eyes had wanted to keep living but his body could no longer push through like it had always done before.  Elrik’s body was broken and bruised. Elrik, with his only good eye as the other was swollen, stared at the sky hoping one of the soldiers around him would save him, but none came to his aid.  Elrik’s friends were too far away and none could reach him in time. Elrik closed his eye, another tear fell down his cheek, and he took his last breath and died there all alone. As soon as Elrik died, he was immediately taken to the darkness that surrounds the Underworld. The Underworld is a prison that the Vanguard God created just for them as punishment for their betrayal. Before one reaches the Underworld, they are taken to a place where there is only darkness.  You can hear the sounds of all the warriors in the Underworld fighting one another.  The darkness holds monsters which act as a motivator to those that first appear. They push and force the new visitors to the gates of the Underworld.  Elrik, only a boy with no training became scared at the sounds. Fighting in front of him, monsters behind him, to Elrik it felt as a no win situation.  But, Elrik felt a sense of calm as while he walked toward the gates, he could hear other Vanguard soldiers.  Elrik knew the rumors were true at that point and rushed to the gates.  Elrik wanted nothing more to be with his fellow brethren and to see all the kings of old. But, before Elrik could reach the gates he was stopped by The Spirit Mother.  The Spirit Mother happened to be there to witness Elrik’s death and saw in him a light so powerful, she knew she had found her champion.  The Spirit Mother always a being of light, though with no body, the way the body of light conforms to her is breathtaking.  You cannot see her face but you already know that she would be beautiful.  She appears to look as if the heavens had sent her to you. She appeared before Elrik blocking his path; Elrik became awestruck with what and who was before him. He always heard rumors about the Spirit Mother but never imagined he too would get to see her.  The Spirit Mother walked up to Elrik and gently wrapped her arms around him.  She embraced Elrik and gave him the warmest hug he’d ever had in his entire life. Elrik was unfamiliar to hugs and when the Spirit Mother hugged him he could not help but cry.  For the first time in Elrik’s life he was feeling loved by someone.  Elrik has craved this so much but was never able to get it.  All Elrik ever wanted was to feel loved and wanted by his family and his fellow brothers of the Vanguard. With her arms still holding onto Elrik she whispered to him, “Would you like to be my champion Elrik?” Elrik wasn’t paying attention though because he was so enveloped in the hug he did not want to let the moment go.  Elrik felt a sense of peace and calm he had never felt before. The Spirit Mother smiled and with a little laugh repeated, “Elrik my son would you like to be my champion?”  Elrik hearing it this time was taken in even more when she said to him, “My son.” Elrik never having a true mother looked at the Spirit Mother with a smile and with broken eyes with tears streaming down his face simply replied, “Yes. I am yours mother, command me as you will.”

Elrik loved to replay this memory in his mind over and over as it gives him great happiness.  But, before Elrik could continue his dream he was awoken by the voice of his Admiral in the background, “Supreme Commander Elrik!  Why do you not answer me?” Elrik’s ship Captain nudged Elrik and said, “Master, Admiral Áki is requesting you.  Should I tell him you are not available?”  “No” replied Elrik, “Patch him through.” Elrik hates when he doesn’t get to finish his dreams but war never lets you sleep for long.  Elrik in a sad but annoyed voice answered Admiral Áki, “Admiral, how can I help you on this fine morning.” The Admiral, always a serious man, doesn’t enjoy when Elrik seems to not take the situation seriously.  But, even the Admiral should know that Elrik always takes the situation seriously.  The Admiral with the same almost perfect impression of Elrik’s annoyed voice replied, “Master, we need reinforcements in Sector D, Quadrant 42.  The Haronnen have reinforcements coming and that is where they will hit. My troops are spread thin and I need more to cover the area.” Without hesitation Elrik replied, “Yes Admiral, your reinforcements are on their way.”

The siege is actually a game the Vanguard is playing with the Haronnen.  Vanguards don’t usually play games when it comes to war, but the Haronnen as always, began to boast and the Vanguard simply wanted to take them down a peg.  The siege has been going on for over 75-years.  The Vanguard could have taken it a long time ago but chose to keep it in siege to spite the Haronnen.  The Haronnen have spent the entire time attacking the Vanguard with no luck of breaking the siege.  Elrik hates when it is his time to oversee the siege, but due to the rotation he has to be there. The Vanguard military has a rotation in place for the siege.  The rotation serves two purposes; one being that those in command do not get bored or complacent and the second being so new commanders can get more experience while older commanders can renew and hone their skills in battle. On the planet’s surface, Commander Roderick has taken a small continent to further piss off the Haronnen. Commander Roderick is one of Elrik’s most trusted friends and follows Elrik everywhere he goes.  Those within Elrik’s inner circle like to joke and call Roderick a dog because he follows Elrik around like one.  Though, Roderick doesn’t mind the joke, he hates when those outside the circle call him that.  Commander Roderick stands by a window in the outpost he is currently stationed at.  He looks out and can see the ocean.  The sun had just risen and its reflection on the water is beautiful. Roderick however, cannot see the beauty in such a sight.  Roderick with all his years of service and training has made him numb to the beauty that nature can have when captured at the right moments. Though, Roderick is not without heart.  Sometimes, when on planets he has to conquer or planets that have just been conquered he wonders how he will feel about them. Roderick ponders at the thought that someday this planet will be vanguard and when that happens could he look upon it as vanguard or will his mind never let go of the fact that it was once Haronnen.  Roderick, like Elrik, loves to day dream and think about better days and of days of old.  But, like Elrik, his dreams never seem to last because someone is always there to interrupt them.  While staring out towards the ocean Roderick gets a message from Anorra, “Commander, the Master wishes to speak with you.”  Roderick with a grin on his face can sense what the message is about, “Put him on Anorra, I am ready.” Roderick and Elrik are so close that sometimes they can understand each other even without saying a word or being in ones presence. Anorra, an A.I. rescued by Supreme Commander Elrik has sworn allegiance to Elrik and only Elrik.  Though an A.I., she is treated as family to Elrik and the inner circle, “Master, you have been patched through.” Elrik thought long and hard about what he was about to do.  Elrik wanted this to end and even though the planet wasn’t a threat anymore, he felt the troops guarding it and keeping it in siege could be better spent elsewhere.  But, some might just think that Elrik did not want guard duty again.  Elrik, with an evil like grin on his face said to Roderick, “Prepare your troops, this planet falls tonight.”  With the same evil like grin Roderick replied, “Yes Master, for I am Vanguard… it shall be done.”

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Owner of this blog and owner of RomesFans.com I'm just trying to find the dream and make it big. Never was the type to work 9 to 5 so I hope my book takes off.

8 Thoughts on “Chapter 1 – The Siege Snippet (Revised)

  1. bailiwick on January 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm said:

    It’s great to see you’re off to a good start with the writing, dude! They say the hardest part of writing a novel is actually, you know, sitting down and doing the writing part. Looking over the snippet you posted, I’ve got a few notes and suggestions for you.

    First off, the technical stuff. I’ve noticed that when you write dialogue, you’re not adhering to the standards rules for using quotations marks. Now, what I’m talking about is the rule for in the United States — if you’re from somewhere else, I do apologize for assuming! In a lot of your paragraphs, you’re forgetting to use a coma when introducing the spoken dialogue. So, for instance:

    With the same evil like grin, Roderick replied “Yes Master, it shall be done.”

    should really be…

    With the same evil like grin, Roderick replied, “Yes Master, it shall be done.”

    Another thing is that format wise, you should start a new paragraph for each new speaker of dialogue. (If this is an issue with formatting on your blog, I do apologize for telling you something you already know!) A decent overview of how to best punctuate quotation marks can be found here: grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm but I’m sure if you Google you can find 5 million similar results if that one doesn’t work for you.

    My second note is more about style than function so take as the subjective opinion it is! Although it’s clear you’ve got a strong foundation in your plot and characters, I think you’re struggling in best expressing those thing. Your description technique relies on telling more than showing. “Show, don’t tell,” is definitely one of the most thrown out pieces of writing advice in existence, I know. Personally, I tend to go by the writing advice found here about it: http://synecdochic.dreamwidth.org/115721.html

    If you’re not in the mood read essays, I’ll summarize! There are a lot of ways to describe things that give the readers a better idea of the story than straight up feeding them information. For instance, the opening paragraph — it can be argued that a stronger hook would be to describe the imagery of Elrik’s daydream. What did he look, beaten to death, with his life fleeting. What did he feel, what did he think about? Could he hear the sound of the Underworld calling for him as his life slipped away? Did it have a smell? That sort of descriptive imagery can carry a lot more weight in setting the scenes, and establishing who your character is and how he thinks than being directly told things like, “Elrik was in space. He thought about the time he became the Champion.”

    Honestly, I don’t want to harp the point too much because you do have a strong foundation, and a clear sense of character and direction you want to take the story in! That’s half the battle right there. I’m intrigued by the story you want to tell!

    • Thanks, yeah the commas are an error I made. My brother pointed that out as soon as I posted this. I type so fast that when I am typing errors pop up and my brain automatically fixes them so I don’t see them. Trick of the mind, shows you how powerful the brain is.

      Also, to be honest I wasn’t sure how to describe things. I have a few books I’ve been looking at and all of them have different styles so I didn’t know how to phrase things. I will go back and be more descriptive. Will post a revised snippet soon. As for the paragraphs, that is a mistake as well you are right. I didn’t notice as I was writing, so used to writing papers that I naturally just space the paragraphs out after a certain amount of sentences.

      Thanks for the advice!! I really appreciate it.

      • bailiwick on January 17, 2014 at 5:23 pm said:

        It’s cool, I totally do the type too fast thing, too! In fact, I’m sure my comments on here probably have a few typos because of it! That’s the beauty of a first draft though, you can mess it up as much as you want and ultimately your end-product readers will never know the difference.

        As far as picking a writing style, you should definitely go with whatever style feels most comfortable/natural to you. There are a lot of ways to approach it; I prefer being overly detailed myself (but that just might be because I’m too chatty for my own good). Since this is going to be primarily a military story (I assume anyway) having a clipped, heavily focused style definitely would fit the atmosphere as opposed to something more fluid and poetic — think Hemingway vs. Faulkner ( http://library.guilford.edu/hemmingway-vs-faulkner/ ).

        The switch between academic writing and fiction writing can definitely be a challenge. Good luck with that! I look forward to seeing what else you post.

        • Thanks! I’ve been procrastinating on the book lately but I just need to push myself to at least get 2 pages a day done. By summer I should have a book in draft if I don’t procrastinate that is lol I hope to have more soon. I will be giving out another snippet, so I might just save it for a bit and when half of chapter 1 is done, I’ll just use the first half as a snippet. A reward for all my loyal members who comment frequently (like 2 of you lol)

  2. LaurenGrey on January 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm said:

    Reading over your first chapter, I enjoyed the first installment of the story. It was a good start, and I wish you luck for continuing on with the same verve as you are now. I know in writing just being able to get it down is one of the most important parts, and the one that most people seem to get stuck on. It’s really great that you are putting in the work to see your vision of a different world come to life. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Thank you, the chapter is bigger than that part on the blog. I just posted what I had so far. I plan to make ch1. free so as I get it finished I will regularly post the new additions to it here. The rest however, well, you will just need to wait for the book to come out :)

      I hope to see you as a regular commenter here on the blog. I enjoy reading comments and encourage you to comment as much as you like.

  3. Brittneygellately on January 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm said:

    Very interesting first chapter. I found the imagery absolutely impeccable. Although this genre of writing is not something that I would typically pick up on my own, I found that once I started reading I really wanted to know where the story was heading.

    You are definitely headed in the right direction and as a first draft I applaud your work. You are definitely giving the reader an experience worth remembering and that is the definition of an excellent author. I look forward to seeing what comes next and really admire you for taking the time to sit down and put your thoughts on paper. It takes a lot of discipline to write a novel, and with that beginning I think you are well on your way!

    • Thanks! I am trying to balance everything out and when I write, I write how the story should play out then add detail to make it come alive. I am trying to write it how I’d like to read it and hear. I love watching the history channel and videos on history so I kind of mimicked that and tweaked it a bit. I will have the rest of chapter 1 done soon.

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