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Author Topic: Death's Embrace: The Masquerade  (Read 1168 times)

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Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Death's Embrace: The Masquerade
« on: March 21, 2016, 06:13:03 AM »
I hope you don't mind me making a thread for you. I will review both your chapters. If you get the chance, please do the same for mine.

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Death's Embrace: The Masquerade
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2016, 06:54:26 AM »
I'll give you a quick, but adequate critique. Don't take anything personally. I am here to help.

( ) are comments i put in your story.
------ words that i think you need to remove and replace

Like always, show don't tell. It is the basic rule of writing.

Death's Embrace
   The Emperor's right hand man and royal body guard Kaelik stood outside the main conference room inside the top floor of Central Monma's massive mile high capital tower. Being stationed outside the conference room was something new and rather awkward. His usual routine of being the world's best statue beside the animated and brash Emperor himself made it slightly awkward for him to just be idly standing around with nothing to do.
   The top floor was rarely frequented by anyone who wasn't making one million credits a year or an important political figure. With the hallway void of people, like usual, Kaelik tried his best to listen in to what the talking heads inside the room were blowing their gaskets about.
   “Are you serious!?” the Emperor screamed to one of his roundtable subordinates. “That's the third time in as many days that we've had a dangerous Keorthian slip into the city! I'm getting sick and god damn tired of this faulty security we have at the outside walls! In case you didn't know, and this applies to all of you, Central Monma is called Central Monma for a reason! This place is the center of commerce and attention among the four other Monma districts. It grabs attention. It's a target. The five hundred foot walls that make a complete circle around this metropolis were built to be an impenetrable barrier to any foreign force that may have the stones to take on the Monma military!”  (you need to fix this major amount of exposition.)
   Kaelik, leaning against the wall, couldn't help but chuckle. It was the same 'ole same 'ole from the big mouthed glutton with a constant mean streak. Despite the hilarity of the events unfolding inside the conference room, Kaelik almost found himself dozing off until he heard a knock on the door and The Emperor screaming “get his ass in here!”
   A suave looking young man in a black uniform opened the door and looked at Kaelik with dread smeared across his face. It was as if to say either “get me out of here” or “prepare yourself.” The young man opened the door and ushered in Kaelik near the back of the roundtable. Once both settled down, it was back to business.
   “Senator Spatza,” the fat, easily irritable Emperor began. “You are the supervisor of the south wall, are you not?”
   The senator looked at him and gulped. (The Fat royal guy cliche is tiresome)
   “Uhh, yes sir. I am.”
   It wasn't necessarily the Emperor himself that even the higher ups were afraid of. The assassins and cold blooded killers he paid for and surrounded himself with were the real monsters that kept these people up at night.
   “You better get your act together then,” he said squinting his eyes as if to target or mark him for punishment. “Kaelik, what do you make of the situation? Why are these abominable shape-shifting extremists entering our city for some inexplicable reason? I need answers from someone more capable than these incompetent meat sacks!”
   The entire room didn't even flinch, sigh, or make any kind of offensive movement or gesture. It was the regular lately. Just another mundane, almost scripted procedure that just came with the job.
   “Well, my lord, I----”
   “Take that helmet off Kaelik!” the Emperor demanded. “I'm not in the mood to talk to a robot.” (the robot line threw me off. Emperor=present or future?)
   Kaelik released the pressurized locks off his mask and helmet and pulled it off his face. Some of the men at the roundtable looked at him in awe, as they had never seen his face before, even being in the position they're in. His skin was a porcelain white color that accented his long, pitch black hair. His right eye, compared to his blue left eye was an implanted bionic fixture that glowed a bright red. (Crazy, nvm about the robot line)
   “So that's what you look like, huh,” a frail old man said at the opposite end of the round table. Those who had not seen him exchanged looks for a second until finally paying full attention back at Kaelik.
   “Apologies, my lord,” Kaelik said. “I've noticed by occasionally scouting and surveying the area that certain spots are indeed either cracked or or very weak. I imagine it is because most of the water plants and ducts flow through and operate there. Age combined with lack of daily maintenance has brought to light our current problem in my personal opinion.”
   The Emperor laid his elbow on the table and placed his chin in his hand, contemplating what to do next.
   “Senator Spatza,” the Emperor began.
   “Yes sir?” he replied.
   “Who is actually in charge of leading and physically overseeing the maintenance teams and construction crews? The position directly below yours.”
   Spatza began to open his mouth but Kaelik's eye projected a hologram out onto the table of another man in a suit before the senator could let out a word.
   “Maclin Aviticus Ertz, my lord,” Kaelik said swiftly. “Thirty nine years, four months and six days old. Started out as a low level grunt around nineteen to twenty years old and never really took himself to better places other than a basic construction field. Over the course of roughly the next twenty years, he accepted his role more and more and actually decided to extend his knowledge beyond that of your everyday worker. His resume is actually quite impressive considering what he's been through as well. His wife just died of cancer and his children resent him from never being around other than holidays during their childhood. These circumstances must weigh heavy on his heart which, once again, might be a factor in the sloppiness and occasional disregard of security standards on his part.”
   The grey hairs and political figures at the table exchanged whispers to one another for a few short seconds while digesting the assassin's hypothesis. The Emperor still sat there in the same position he was before Kaelik spoke, almost statue-esque in appearance at that moment. Kaelik closed his right eye and turned off the hologram function.
   “Bring him to me,” the Emperor said in a soft tone. “I feel personal confrontation is needed to get a better grasp of the situation.”
   “But sir, that still doesn't explain the other side of it,” Spatza said. “What about the number of these vile creatures infiltrating our home city? We usually only get them about four times a year. What has possessed more and more of them to brave themselves into their own demise? At this moment in time, we've had fourteen break-ins over the past month. Which is equal to the amount in the prior five years combined. This isn't just a domestic problem sir. This is something many more departments, including the military itself, need to look into to help lock down these borders and barriers that have been here for years and years and years.”
    Kaelik clamped his helmet back on that he had been holding in his hand. He quickly gained attention of the people in the room and proceeded to walk towards the door.
   “What are you doing?” the Emperor asked.
   “I'm headed to floor 646. The information and progressive science division. If you don't mind my lord, would I be able to act alone in pulling up information and doing more research on the situation as a whole? I feel it would benefit us both if I was able to increase my knowledge of the origins of the biforming terrorists that have frequented this place lately.”
   The Emperor pulled back in his chair and crossed his arms, staring at Kaelik and once again contemplating.
   “Alright,” the Emperor said. “I'll give the order to clear them out and give you clearance to their information grid. But don't try anything stupid! It doesn't matter what you do and I don't care who you are, if you deviate so much as one word off your research path, I'll know. And you'll pay dearly for such a crime. Is that clear, Kaelik?”
   “Crystal, my lord.”
   He proceeded to walk out and leave the rest of the roundtable council to their issues. 
   “Get out. All of you,” the Emperor said in a softer than usual tone of voice.
   “Excuse me, sir?” Spatza blurted out.
   “I said.....GET OUT!”
   The council all stood up at the same time and formed two separate lines from the sides they were sitting at. They all exited out and proceeded to follow different paths. The Emperor laid back in his chair, looking at the table empty table. The recent events of the past few weeks were wearing on his conscience and causing him to lose patience and sleep.
   “It's coming,” the Emperor said to himself. “It's coming....”

Nice writing in terms of description. I got where i am and was surprised over he blend of formal royal talk with the future.

The thing is, your chapter can't be one scene. I could but your sample doesn't cut it. You wrote the first act. We got the premise but nothing happens with it.

I can already tell you are making Kaelik into a superstar. That is bad. Readers, and i mean the general public, do not like awesome characters from the get go. Try to name the main character that starts out handsome, smart, better than everyone from a story you know. A character needs an arch, emotional and literal, if he is already there, there is no story but just an episodic episode of some dude we don't care about. I just hope you are not making an avatar of yourself in this story. A lot of people do it, everyone does. Just make sure you recognize it and fix it.

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Death's Embrace: The Masquerade
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2016, 07:23:05 AM »
DE Chapter 2
   Kaelik walked down the hallway leading to the two glass elevators that gave the visitors and city patrons the luxury of seeing the entire city from whatever floor they were on. (describe the city he is seeing, not what other have seen)  He looked on the walls to either side of him and giggled. Various pictures of the Emperor either posing for a photo or celebrating a specific event were plastered only a foot or so from each other, making it practically an assembly line of pictures on both sides.
   Kaelik raised his hand and entered an access code to take him to the appropriate floor. He entered the elevator and upon doing so, saw only mist and cloud cover. The door behind him shut and the descent to floor 646 began. With another 354 floors to go, he leaned up against the glass and let out a long sigh. The sound of the elevator moving down was calming to say the least. Despite Kaelik's mask still being on his face, he closed his eyes for a few short moments until the haze and mist of the clouds cleared, revealing the city of Central Monma in all its mid-day glory. (describe it!)
   “Never gets old,” Kaelik said opening his eyes. “You're such a beautiful harlot, you know that Monma? No matter how cruel you are to me, I just can't get enough.”
   The elevator had been descending for what felt like hours to Kaelik. For what reason he was exhausted he didn't know. Maybe it was the view of his mistress down below.
   The elevator beeped, signaling his arrival at floor 646. Kaelik lethargically dragged himself through another hallway, which on any regular day, would be completely slammed with scientists, information specialists, and researchers alike. But since the order was given to clear the floor, another blank hallway welcomed him. It was not somewhere he visited often or even really cared about, so he found himself looking around a bit more than he would like. Kaelik finally spotted a slightly larger door to his left with a sign that read:
   “Casual access restricted. Authorized personnel only.”
   Kaelik twisted a tiny knob on the bottom brim of his mask to radio in the Emperor's comm. Channel.(Dont shorten words that the reader hasn't learned yet. I get it, Communication channel.)
   “My lord, if you could so ki--”
   “Damnit Kaelik, you should've asked before you left here,” the Emperor blurted out. The Emperor's loud and surprising answer made Kaelik jump. “I knew as soon as I saw you looking around like a dumb ass on that floor you'd call for me. Code is 348298134. Don't forget it.”
   The call beeped off suddenly, as to be expected by the Emperor. Kaelik put his hand on his helmet and shook his head. Before he entered the code, his comm. line beeped again, signaling the Emperor's loud voice once again.
   “I saw that head shake, you ungrateful trodite,” he said with a certain condescending tone in his voice (obviously). “Do it again and you'll have to answer to someone a lot meaner than me.”
   Kaelik knew who he was being threatened with. But he didn't think twice about the threat regardless.
   “My apologies, sir,” he said. “I'm starting my research right away.”
   The Emperor closed the comm channel as did Kaelik. However, he was puzzled at the choice of word that was used to insult him.
   “Trodite.....trodite?” he said to himself. Trodite was a racist term born of xenophobia  (obvious)and unbridled hate for a prominent race of biformers called the Retrians. He brushed off his puzzled mindset and entered the code the emperor sent, automatically opening the large door in front of him. It was as if he had entered a completely different universe. The room was dotted with top of the line equipment and computing devices. He couldn't help but stare for a moment, as such an orgasm (Really? Orgasm) of technology was a foreign sight for him. Kaelik could operate all the equipment in the room, but that wasn't the problem. He looked around, not knowing where to even start.
   “Welcome master Kaelik,” a robotic voice said.
   Kaelik jerked his head from side to side being drawn totally off guard by such a random address.
   A screen that nearly took up the entire wall of the back of the room flashed on, revealing a computerized three dimensional face.
   “My name is Pell, and I'll be your assistant in your research. Whatever you desire for your inquiry, it will be my pleasure to help you complete your task in the most efficient way possible.”
   It sounded very sincere and courteous, but Kaelik knew better. It was just one of the Emperor's ways to baby sit him disguised as a personal AI unit.
   “Alright you glorified tin can,” Kaelik said. “I want you to pull up all the incidents of terror and extremism in the last five years that is NOT of domestic origin.”
   “Alright Master Kaelik. Your search has yielded the following.”
   The results were astounding. Of the twenty eight offenders, twenty one of them were Adulerians.
   “Pell, is it possible to bring up how many of them actually assumed their natural form excluding these most recent fourteen accidents?”
   “One minute please. This may take awhile Master Kaelik, as I'll have to individually review footage of each occurrence.”
   Kaelik looked around to see if he could find a chair or anything like it. He looked to the left of the computer where a roller chair was present. He grabbed the chair and brought it in front of the screen and console and sat down, pulling himself back to stretch.
   “I have your results,” Pell said. “Of the original fourteen incidents prior to recent events, six of them assumed their original form.”
   Kaelik connected his hands in front of his face and put his elbows on the console.
   “This is getting interesting,” Kaelik thought. (thoughts aren't quoted)
   “OK Pell, let's keep going deeper. Can you identify what type of biform those six were?”
   This search was a lot quicker. The results were practically instant without Pell having to say anything.
   “Retrian biformers huh,” Kaelik said. “Alright, surprise me Pell. I want any and ALL relevant information on these six suspects. I mean every single bit of it.”
   “Compiling,” Pell said.
   Kaelik's heart started beating suddenly. It came as a surprise considering it was out of nowhere without any trigger at all. (redundant) He put his hands on his chest and inhaled. A shot of adrenaline had pumped through his body. From an relatively still position, it was uncomfortable. Pell noticed Kaelik's movement.
   “Are you ok Master Kaelik?”
   “Yeah I'm fine....I've just been a little tense today. Don't worry about it. Do you have the results yet?”
   “Yes. It is quite a lot of info so please bear with me. If you desire for me to stop, say as you must and I will fully comply.”
   “Alright, Pell, let's go!”
   “As one might expect, all of them attempted to penetrate deep into the city to the central tower.”
   Pell brought up images based on their relevance to his information.
   “As you can see here, they actually succeeded to some degree. The attempted break in was to the western base of the tower, where the prison and incarceration cells are located.”
   Kaelik crossed his arms and cocked his, confused.
   “Hold on, hold on,” he said. “I just realized. How come I never heard much about these? Some of this stuff is completely new to me.”
   Pell looked at Kaelik with a rather solemn straight face.
   “The Emperor felt it was best to keep these incidents classified from outside. Another point you may find interesting is that each time, you, as well as Andreen, were stationed outside of Central Monma. In each instance, you both of you were the farthest possible distance from this city. As an AI, I can only say so much, but these occurrences lead me to believe there is someone already inside the city. ”
   Kaelik was becoming real curious. Things were really being put into perspective as Pell went on.
   “Give me more information on the terrorists themselves, if you don't mind.”   
   “Of course,” Pell said. “According to reports, four of them were female, with the other two unidentified. These six Retrians were also the only ones that also came together as a team. The female suspects created the most damage. The other two weren't seen as much and almost seemed completely useless to whatever motive they had. They were also reported to have been seen all around the ci--”
   “Obvious diversion,” Kaelik interrupted. “Send in the big guns to divert the city's attention from the real threat. A very clever strategy, especially coming from a biform. They were trying to scout Central Monma. Find out what weaknesses, strengths, etc. there are in our infrastructure. But why would they send mostly females though? I mean, I'm not one to be sexist, but you don't usually hear that very often, especially when it involves such rough and violent measures.”
   “Yes Master Kaelik,” Pell said. “A very astute hypothesis.”
   Kaelik once again sat back in the chair and attempted to absorb and process all the information thrown his way.
   “Pell,” Kaelik said. “I know your basic textbook breakdown of Retrians, but give me all the information you can on their race as a whole.”
   “Processing,” Pell said. “There is not much known Master Kaelik, to be perfectly honest. Of all the other biformers being Momulics, Havukrites, and Fendrons, the Retrians are clearly the most intelligent of them all. They transform up to five times faster than any of the others and their ways of camouflage and infiltration are very dangerous.”
   Kaelik depressurized his helmet and took it off, placing it to the right of the console. He rubbed his eyes out of frustration and what appeared to be lack of sleep.
   “One of those Retrians never left the city,” Kaelik said with his hands still on his face. “There is just no denying it. That's the only way these...these....beasts...these THINGS could be giving Central Monma so much trouble. Ugh, plug me in to the Emperor please. I'm sure he heard every bit, but do it anyway.”
   “As you wish,” Pell said. A couple of beeping sounds and some line static later, they were both on the line.
   “Yes, yes, I heard every bit of it,” he said. Kaelik heard some more beeping and tapping sounds, and a few seconds later, the door opened. Th Emperor himself had come down to floor 646.
   “Damn it,” the Emperor said. “I thought that might be the case but I just needed some confirmation, however little it may be. Hmph.”
   The Emperor walked back and forth as Kaelik just sat still in his chair, almost telegraphing his lethargy to the exuberant man in front of him.   
   “You look like you just got hit by a train, son.”
   Kaelik shook his head to attempt to look like he was fully awake, but to no avail.
   “I'm calling Andreen back in from Sky Monma,” the Emperor said. “I clearly am not going to get as much effort from you right now as I would him relative to what you have been ordered to maintain. Besides, Sky Monma has the smallest crime rate in all of Keorth. I don't know how that swine Spatza convinced me to send him to that place.”
   Such a sudden decision caught Kaelik off guard. It's as if the Emperor had it boiling inside for a long time.
   “I'm sorry my performance has not been satisfactory to your standards, my lord,” Kaelik said, delivering the usual 'polite' response to his superior. “There's no excuse for my actions of late.”
   The Emperor stood still and looked at Kaelik as if they were father and son. He looked to the ceiling and inhaled and exhaled heavily. Another decision was weighing in his mind and Kaelik knew it. That feeling he had earlier talking to Pell was coming back. The Emperor looked back at him with a determined facial expression, confident in what he was about to say.
   “I'm sending you to South Monma, the military complex.”
   Kaelik reared himself back. Well, wasn't so bad now was it?
   “I feel like you'd be of better use down there with assignments that are more your forte. Andreen will be fine in your place. You are two different people with different strengths, and I'm somewhat kicking myself at the moment, considering I went the easy route some time ago and settled for you at the time I required something different.”
   As with mostly everyone, he kept the same face as everyone does who deals with the Emperor on a face to face level. Never to show signs of distaste or annoyance amidst the constant berating one may receive.
   “I appreciate your decision, my lord,” Kaelik said, expressing his inward joy in a rather sly and suckup-ish way. Little by little, his lethargy dissipated from his conscience. What would normally be a death sentence, metaphorically speaking, to the average man, Kaelik found much happiness in the Emperor's brash decision.
   “I can see that spark in your eyes, Kaelik,” the Emperor said. “That's more of a slap in the face to me to be honest, but it means nothing. As long as you're gone and where you're ultimately the most needed, I care not of your much self-anticipated departure from my immediate order.”
   Kaelik said nothing, knowing it would really only damage his immediate future. 
   “Head to your living quarters,” the Emperor said. “But don't make yourself known. I don't want the city streets in a ruckus, like it usually is when they see something they don't understand and fear. That means more work and explaining for me, and you should know by now that I hate unnecessary news coverage of things so trivial as someone walking down the streets.”
   He held his hands together behind his back as he began walking out. Kaelik followed his walk with a straight faced gaze. The Emperor stopped at the door.
   “I'll be arranging your departure. You will leave this place in about a week. And if you must walk the streets at any point in time, then you know what you have to do.”
   He left out the door as it closed behind him.
   “Alrighty then,” Kaelik said, hopping out of the chair.

For some reason this is a hard read. By that i mean, i don't feel flow in your writing. Try reading it out loud and see how hard it is. It may be me, so don't sweat it. 

Merge this chapter with the first chapter.

I still don't care whats going on. I feel no impending doom. You can fix this by adding drama with the main character himself. He keeps going over everything that is threatening him. He's too perfect, even if some guy above him yells at him he no fazed. He is a cardboard cut of you ideal character.

Offline Masquerade

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Re: Death's Embrace: The Masquerade
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2016, 10:35:11 AM »
I hope you don't mind me making a thread for you. I will review both your chapters. If you get the chance, please do the same for mine.

It has been done! At least for the Snow Mountain. Now I'll give you a few chops about my background real quick with some questions.

One of my favorite books ever, Maximum Ride, was set up similar. For whatever reason, I guess it could be somewhat of an easy fix, considering condensing isn't really that much of a problem as the story goes. I would ask of you to read a sample of MR: The Angel Experiment. It really is more of an accessible read to the younger crowd to be honest, but the chapters are set up somewhat like mine. It would probably be the best way to get a feel for what I'm trying to accomplish.

NOW, getting into the questions. These are really a bit independent of the characters, so keep that in mind.

1. Description. Was the description of scenery and characters adequate? For some reason I remember describing Kaelik a lot more when I originally wrote the beginning but I suppose not now that I read it back haha.

2. Does this have a novel feel as choppy as it is/was? A short novel is really not what I was going for, but does the feel of it sound more accessible to a visual crowd or a reading crowd? Would you feel that, character type nonwithstanding, this story would be a lot better off with the reader only having to take in the dialogue rather than the setting to it as well?

3. Even though you don't know much about the character, what improvements to the character should I make obvious at what points that your read so far in your personal opinion?

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Death's Embrace: The Masquerade
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 02:19:32 PM »
I was only able to read like a page from barnes and Nobles. Not much help.

For you questions-

Describing the scenery? I know they are surrounded by a huge wall but that's about it. I read your story twice and i still can't imagine it.

Describing characters? that was fine.

Even if it is for a visual or for a reading crowd, you need to describe the world in detail when appropriate. What i mean by is that allow moments to describe the world while a character is doing something. I don't mean  that put a character in front of a window and describe what he/shes. That's boring and unrealistic.

For it only being dialogue, the answer is no. I have never actually heard that before. What do you mean by that? If this is for a manga, you have to at least give the illustrator a sense of the world.  Even plays have descriptions of the scenes where people talk.  Lookup transcripts from court proceedings or even closed captioning of tv shows. No one wants to read any of that for fun.

If i remember correctly, the guy use to be a hardcore killer? Is that the same character from one of your postings? I think you wanted to set that up as surprise for later on. All i can say is reveal what is necessary. I know *censored*ty answer. Set up a personality for him and follow it through. If he is a character who's past is going to catch up to him, give hints like character flaws that put him in situations where he struggles. And when he feels those struggles, reveal more characteristics that push forward his impending doom.